‘For Rye’ by Gavin Gardiner – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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Everywhere, knives; everywhere eyes.

She plunged trembling fingers into her worn leather satchel. Damned thing must be in here somewhere, she thought in the moment before her bag fell to the concrete flooring of Stonemount Central. The ticket collector’s eyes converged with her own upon the sacred square slip, tangled amongst the only other occupant of the fallen satchel: a coil of hemp rope.

They stared at the noose.

The moment lingered like an uninvited ghost. The woman fumbled the rope back into the bag and sprang to her feet, before shoving the ticket into his hand, grabbing her small suitcase, and lurching into the knives, into the eyes.

The crowd knocked past. A flickering departure board passed overhead as she wrestled through the profusion of faces, every eye a poised blade. The stare of a school uniformed boy trailing by his mother’s hand fell upon her, boiling water on her skin. She jerked back, failing to contact a shriek of pain. Swarms of eyes turned to look. The boy sniggered. She pulled her duffle coat tight and pushed onward.

The hordes obscured her line of sight; the exit had to be nearby somewhere through these eyes of agony. She prayed the detective – no, no more praying – she hoped the detective would be waiting outside to drive her, as promised. One last leg of the journey, out of the city of Stonemount and back to her childhood home after nearly thirty years.

Back to Millbury Peak.

Synopsis –

Renata Wakefield, a traumatised novelist on the brink of suicide, is drawn back to her childhood hometown following her mother’s ritualistic murder. Before long, she becomes ensnared in the mysteries of Millbury Peak as one question lies heavy: who killed Sylvia Wakefield?

As the answer draws nearer, as madness continues to envelop the quaint country town, Renata will come to realise that the key to all this insanity lies with one man—the world’s leading writer of horror fiction. His name is Quentin C. Rye, and he will guide her to the revelation that true madness lies within.

Discovering that the darkness of her family’s history runs deeper than she ever could have imagined, Renata Wakefield’s eyes will finally be opened to one single, hideous truth, which will awaken a long-dormant evil.

Thoughts –

For Rye is a dark and twisting mystery story involving a reclusive romance writer, her mother’s bloody and brutal murder, and a famed horror writer whose words were found at the scene of the crime. With layers of secrets and darkness, revenge and avenging, this is not a predictable story. Our protagonist Renata Wakefield, foiled in her attempt to take her own life as her careers wanes, is now staying to fulfil a long held promise to her dear mother; to care for her abusive father on his death bed no matter what. But the appearance of the mysterious writer Rye, the forbidden writer that may just have sparked her love of story writing in first place, may have just given her a new reason to keep living – to find out just what this mysterious romance thing is all about.

Rye himself, the boisterous American among the reserved English, is fascinated with the death of Renata’s mother, staged to look like a scene from one of his own horrifying books. He wants to get to know Renata, to help her find her mother’s killer, to give her new life. Little does he know that Renata’s life is a lot more complicated than he knows, her past darker even than a mind like his could imagine. And when his adult daughter Sandie shows up unannounced and determined to bring Renata’s works to the big screen as her leading lady, the danger surrounding Renata hits a little too close to home.

For Rye pulls you in with shocking events and complicated characters, and holds you within it’s pages with superb writing, a mix of genres, and twist after twist. By the end of this story you will not know who to trust, who to feel sorry for, and just how Gardiner managed it in the first place.

A darkly enjoyable read for any mystery lover’s out there.

About the Author –

Gavin Gardiner’s lifelong love of horror didn’t manifest into his debut horror novel, FOR RYE, until his early thirties. Between its completion and publication, he wrote a novella, several short stories, and a selection of non-fiction articles and analysis pieces. These can be found in various online publications and in print via:

www.gavingardinerhorror.com

Before he threw himself into the writing game, Gavin dedicated much of his teen years and twenties to the pursuit of music. Although the nightmares he’s since committed to the page have garnered more attention than his songs ever did, he hopes to one day return to music. The writing of horror, however, is here to stay.

He’s currently working on his second novel, Witchcraft on Rücken Ridge, and has grand plans for the future of his unique brand of horror. He very much hopes you’ll join him for the ride.

He lives in Glasgow, Scotland with his ever-patient girlfriend and ever-demanding kitten.

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‘Psychic Sisters’ by M. E. Purfield – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

 

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I do not know where I am. Sort of. I am at home. My new home. Mikis condo. I grunt and scream and try to say the words in my head but they will never come out. At least not that way. I cannot speak words. Only write them. So instead I pound the couch. I pound my head. I stomp the floor. I feel my face flush red. Tears run down my cheeks. All these thoughts speed through my brain. All these sensations. But most of all anger. 

Please calm down Miki says. I can hear the fear in her voice. Scared of me or what she might do. 

I cannot calm down. She does not understand that I have no control right now. I go through control all day. I hide. I mask. Try to pass myself off as normal and neurotypical so I do not have to suffer the annoyance and sympathy in peoples voices and faces. 

Maybe this is a way for me to finally let loose and show Miki how I am. Who I am.. She will hate me for it. She appears sad and worried. She must be feeling pain. My explosion is hurting her even though I am not touching her. But does she think I am having fun. Does she think I want to do this. That I want attention and love. I hope not. It is not about that at all. 

 

Synopsis –

Miki and Prudence Radicci. Sisters. One, an adult artist. One, a nonverbal autistic teen. Both with a psychic ability. Both that trouble keeps following.

Life is different now for Miki Radicci. Her long lost sister Prudence lives with her so she’s determined to create a stable life for her. But the world is far from stable. Especially when Miki psychically experience a person’s death and Prudence accesses computers with her brain. Whether they are suffering bizarre visions of pink-eyed albinos of another dimension, saving a neighbor from sexual predators, finding a body on vacation, or getting carjacked, nothing will test the sister’s new bond than a catastrophic event that strikes New York and brings their dreams to life.

 

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Thoughts –

The first in a new series for M. E. Purfield, but a series that carries on a previous one, Psychic Sisters follows young artist Miki and her autistic sister Prudence as they try to navigate their new lives and not get on each others nerves. Their unique psychic abilities lead them to situations that test their bond.

Being autistic himself, it is no surprise that the character of Prudence is an accurate and sympathetic representation of a non-verbal autistic teenager. Prudence has difficulty communicating with others and the fact that she has the ability to manipulate machines – able to text without a phone – is a bitter sweet skill when she must keep it secret from anyone she wishes to befriend. Always aware that she is different to others and coupled with her dark skin treated differently, and often times overwhelming to others, she struggles without her sister to help her. And with a sister like Miki, hellbent on doing right by her sibling, it is heartwarming to see their authentic relationship throughout the story, from petty sibling arguments to an unshakable sisterly love.

Miki as a main protagonist has her own issues though. Feeling the pain of others is not an easy gift to have for anyone, and for an independent eighteen year old artist who must now care for her sister as a parent, the burden on her shoulders is mighty. But she carries it with her head held high. While this is part of a larger story, Psychic Sisters can be read comfortably as a stand alone book but be warned – you will be compelled to grab the next one, and probably the previous series too.

 

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One sister an artist, the other an autist, but both with unique psychic abilities – the Radicci sisters are just trying to live their lives, but the world has other plans for them.

 

About the Author –

M.E. Purfield is the author of the long running and highly rated Miki Radicci series and the sci-noir Blunt Force Kharma series. He has had short stories in Broken Pencil, Unwinnable Magazine, and Norwegian American Weekly. He lives in Jersey City, NJ but you can always find him at on his Instagram here or on his website www.mepurfield.com

 

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