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Book Reviews: By The Pricking Of My Thumbs +Deadly Curiosities +Impact +Blood Engines +Poison Sleep

By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
From the author of ‘Dead Man’s Folly’, ‘Cat Among The Pigeons’, ‘Crooked House’ and ‘A Murder Is Announced’ comes this macabre tale of her third rate sleuths Tommy and Tuppence. The now elderly pair visit Tommy’s aged aunt Ada at her nursing home. This visit unwittingly uncovers a dark series of events long hidden. This was published and set in 1968 and the glaring sexism is even more glaring. But this was very good better than dreck like ‘The ABC Murders’, ‘Endless Night’, ‘Evil Under The Sun’ and ‘And Then There Were None’. It is a creepy tale of graves, dead children, unsolved murders, undetected murders and paranoia. It all comes to a chilling conclusion.

Best Lines:
I went to Spain once and believe me, you couldn’t get a meal before ten o’clock. Ten p.m. I ask you! Heathens!”

“Yet, sooner or later, things happened.”

“You haven’t come out of a mental home or anything have you?”

“I won’t have people coshing my wife.”

“Things had happened here.”

“There did not on this occasion seem to be any possible assailants lurking behind the tombstones.”

Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin
From the author of ‘The Summoner’, ‘The Blood King’ and ‘Dark Haven’ comes this inept boring urban fantasy about an antique store with a dark secret. This novel bears more than a passing resemblance to ‘Friday The 13: The Series’ as whining psychic Cassidy, her pet gay Teag and deux ex machina vampire boss Sorren do boring cursed antique hunting in Charleston.

This was utterly boring and my disappointment is unbrindled. Every cliché is present: ghosts, the Darke web, demons, magic and exposition. It all ends in a predictable fight against an inept bad guy with barely contained rage. The plot moves at the pace of a tranquilised brontosaurus and I just did not care.

Best Lines:
“I did not want to see the creatures making those noises.”

“Like someone who has stared into hell and found something staring back.”

“The stuff we chased could eat your soul for breakfast.”

“This guy was seriously mental.”

Impact by Adam Baker
The 4th in Baker’s apocalyptic series after the good ‘Outpost’ and ‘Juggernaut’ and the inferior ‘Terminus’. The B52 Liberty Bell is sent on a last desperate mission. But it crashes and the surviving crew are stranded in Death Valley. There is no hope of rescue and death awaits beneath the burning desert sands. This was good survival horror with zombies and gasbagging by fools with acquired situational narcissism.

Best Lines:
“Must have been hell. Battery light. No air con. Dysentery, overflowing toilets, rival family groups battling over floor space and hoarded food.”

“Bodies choking the stairwells, the corridors. Blood up the walls. Screaming.”

“The war is over. We lost. Earth belongs to the virus.”

“Lost communication. They must be out there, somewhere, under autonomous control.”

“No sign humanity ever walked the earth.”

“Tent cities, corpse-pyres, cities under martial law.”

“Personnel were left to picture dead family members bulldozed into a grave-trench, bed sheet-shrouded bodies doused with quicklime or gasoline.”

“Centuries before a person could walk the streets.”

“Things got apocalyptic.”

“Where exactly did it come from?”

“Maybe it’s been here before.”

Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
The 1st ‘Marla Mason’ novel sees Marla the protector of Felport travel to San Francisco to stop a rival from staging a deadly coup. She meets a psychic washed up movie star, a cannibal, a snake god and lots of frogs. This was wonderful.

Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt
The 2nd ‘Marla Mason’ novel sees a reweaver escape from the Blackwing Institute for Criminally Insane Sorcerers. It’ll take all of Marla’s cunning and magic to stop this threat. This was wonderful.

Best Lines:
“The mad sorcerer determined to sacrifice the world to a dark god that didn’t actually exist.”

“The necromancer with the Cotard delusion who believed he himself was a corpse.”
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