Damnation by Peter McLean

Please note that Damnation is the third book in The Burned Man series and if you haven’t read books one and two then this review is highly likely to contain spoilers… I’m not kidding… seriously there is one in the first paragraph. Ok, consider yourself warned. Shambolic demon-hunting hitman Don Drake is teetering on the edge of madness in this smart, witty urban fantasy novel. Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist. With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step into save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time. The thing I like most about this book, and by extension this series, is Don Drake himself. You would think that someone who had the ability to control magic would be a bit more together. Not in this case. You can almost guarantee that if there is a wrong thing to say,…

Stone Cold Bastards by Jake Bible

Only a rag-tag team of gargoyles stands between humanity and extinction. Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession. Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains. Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the Sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive. All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last Sanctuary is about to fall. Ahh, my favourite fictional sub-genre – the end of the world. Always a joy. I may have mentioned this before, I can’t remember? I do love me some apocalyptic fiction. The latest Armageddon to grace my review pile is Stone Cold Bastards by Jake Bible. The gates of Hell are open and they are spewing forth a demonic horde. Our last line of defence? A mismatched collection of humans and living gargoyles. The main story focuses on a monster…

Joan De La Haye Appreciation Day
Fox Spirit , Horror , Joan De La Haye , Supernatural / August 26, 2016

In a weird bit of synchronicity, August appears to have had a distinctly African flavour here at The Eloquent Page. First there was that fine debut novel Infernal from South African born author Mark de Jager. Then the fantastic Poison City by Durban based author Paul Crilley arrived. To round things off, it seemed only appropriate to celebrate another of my favourite authors from the southern hemisphere, Joan De La Haye. So breaking from tradition, today you are getting two reviews for the price of one. I’ve decided to rename Friday August 26th to “Joan De La Haye Appreciation Day”. I first discovered Joan’s work a couple of years ago with her splendid zombie novella Oasis. Since then, she has continued to produce wonderfully dark fiction including the deliciously evil Fury. I kept promising myself that I would go back and check out some of her other work in her back catalogue. This week, I finally managed to get some space in my schedule and so decided it was high time to check out the two books below. Burning Marcie Grove is a lonely witch. After a full moon ritual she decides to do something about the abysmal state of…

Judged by Liz de Jager
Fantasy , Liz de Jager , Supernatural , Tor Books / January 14, 2016

Please note Judged is the third book in a series. It is highly likely if you haven’t read the first two books then this review will contain some spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya! Kit’s job description includes solving crimes – the supernatural kind . . . Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they’re trying to stop. In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands. Thorn turns to the only person he knows who’ll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherwhere and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the…

The Way of Sorrows by Jon Steele

Please note The Way of Sorrows is the final part of The Angelus Trilogy. If you haven’t read books one and two then it is highly likely, I can almost guarantee it, that there will be spoilers in the review that follows. With that said, enter at your own risk. The earthly—and cosmic—adventures of Katherine Taylor and Jay Harper come to an electrifying, action-packed conclusion in The Way of Sorrows, the final installment of Jon Steele’s critically acclaimed Angelus Trilogy. Sadly all good things must come to an end. I felt slightly conflicted when I started reading The Way of Sorrows. Part of me wanted to know how this story was going to pan out, things have been building towards an epic conclusion since book one, but another part of me was dreading that there was going to be an end at all. I love it when I connect to a book, or series of books, like this. An author has proven their worth as far as I am concerned if I am actively concerned about what happens next to a character. When The Way of Sorrows begins, the ultimate evil that has been working in the shadows for millennia…

Ruins by Joshua Winning

Please note Ruins is a direct sequel to Sentinel and if you have read book one in this series it is entirely possible that this review might contain the odd spoiler or two. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. In his desperate search for answers about the Sentinels, an ancient society of demon hunters that his parents belonged to, fifteen-year-old Nicholas Hallow is tipped into a fresh nightmare of terrifying monsters – and even more sinister humans – which threaten to send the world spiralling into chaos. Can Nicholas track down the mysterious girl who holds the key to their fate?  Ruins picks up events not long after the end of book one. Nicholas Hallow is starting to settle into his life as part of the Sentinels. He is beginning to accept his place as part of a secret society tasked with protecting all humanity. Nicholas still has lots to learn however and so some on the job training is required. Working as Sam Wilkins assistant is the best way to learn, the old man has a knack for locating evil in all its many forms. I was glad to see Sam appear again, he was probably my favourite character from…

Sentinel by Joshua Winning

They are the world’s best-kept secret – an underground society whose eternal cause is to protect the world against the dark creatures and evil forces that inhabit the night. Now Sentinels are being targeted, murdered and turned as the fury of an ancient evil is unleashed once more. And when 15-year-old Nicholas Hallow’s parents are killed in a train crash, the teenager is drawn into a desperate struggle against malevolent powers. I’m sure that everyone has had daydreams of living a different life; of waking up one morning and discovering your regular life is changed so dramatically that everything is new and exciting. It’s great to dream but for Nicholas Hallow the dream becomes a nightmare when a family tragedy unlocks a new life that he could never have expected. The Sentinels are the de-facto guardians of humanity. This secret society are the chosen few, just slightly out of step with normal existence. They suffer and fight for us so that we can live on in blissful ignorance. I’ve always liked that idea, the premise that groups like this could exist side by side with the rest of us, hidden in plain sight. Nicholas is an engaging lead, and it…

The Wolves of London by Mark Morris
Fantasy , Horror , Mark Morris , Supernatural , Titan Books / December 5, 2014

Alex Locke is a reformed ex-con forced into London’s criminal underworld for one more job. He agrees to steal a priceless artefact – a human heart carved from the blackest obsidian – but when the burglary goes horribly wrong, Alex is plunged into the nightmarish world of the Wolves of London, unearthly assassins who will stop at nothing to reclaim the heart. As he races to unlock the secrets of the mysterious object, Alex must learn to wield its dark power – or be destroyed by it. I’m incredibly lucky that from time to time, publisher see fit to send me books and I get to read them and waffle a bit about my opinions of their contents. That said, there is little I love more than a good rummage around in a book shop. Last week I was doing that very thing and I suddenly found The Wolves of London by Mark Morris in my hands. I can’t really tell you how it got there, all I can confirm is that as soon as it was in my hands I knew I was going to read it. My cleverly monitored review spreadsheet was immediately ignored and my previous commitments…

The Unquiet House by Alison Littlewood

Mire House is dreary, dark, cold and infested with midges. But when Emma Dean inherits it from a distant relation, she immediately feels a sense of belonging. It isn’t long before Charlie Mitchell, grandson of the original owner, appears claiming that he wants to seek out his family. But Emma suspects he’s more interested in the house than his long-lost relations.  And when she starts seeing ghostly figures, Emma begins to wonder: is Charlie trying to scare her away, or are there darker secrets lurking in the corners of Mire House?  Who hasn’t dreamed of inheriting a rambling old house hidden in the heart of the countryside? I know I certainly have, even if it has seen better days and is a bit worn round the edges. It sounds like the perfect rural idyll. When the reader is first introduced to Emma, the sadness that permeates her character is quickly established. She has suffered recent loss and that trauma has left its mark. She is keen to escape the past, to find somewhere new where she can build a life and really belong. The opportunity to start again at Mire House seems almost too good to be true. As she starts…

The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the Fleet into battle against an implacable machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds. But after saving a planet, and getting a bum robot knee in the process, he finds himself relegated to one of the most remote backwaters in Fleetspace to oversee the decommissioning of a semi-deserted space station well past its use-by date. But all is not well aboard the U-Star Coast City. The station’s reclusive Commandant is nowhere to be seen, leaving Cleveland to deal with a hostile crew on his own. Persistent malfunctions plague the station’s systems while interference from a toxic purple star makes even ordinary communications problematic. Alien shadows and whispers seem to haunt the lonely corridors and airlocks, fraying the nerves of everyone aboard. Isolated and friendless, Cleveland reaches out to the universe via an old-fashioned space radio, only to tune in to a strange, enigmatic signal: a woman’s voice that seems to echo across a thousand light-years of space. But is the transmission just a random bit of static from the past—or a warning of an undying menace beyond mortal comprehension? After an explosively rip-snorting prologue, to confirm our protagonist’s suitably heroic credentials, there…

Phase by Adam Hamdy

Thomas Schaefer is haunted by a memory. He has devoted a large part of his adult life to finding his kidnapped daughter. Since Amber’s disappearance ten years ago, Schaefer has become an expert in the recovery of missing people – his particular speciality is rescuing young adults from cults. When an old friend brings him a case that bears striking similarities to Amber’s kidnapping, Schaefer starts down a dark path that threatens his very existence. I like to mix up my genres as much as I possibly can. Last week I was reading an upbeat young adult urban fantasy, so this week I was looking for something a mite darker. I’ve always been a firm believer that thrillers and horror make for a good fit when you are mashing genres together. Cults, possession, dark magic and kidnapping are a fertile playground when it comes to thriller fiction. From the first page, Hamdy’s writing does a good job of giving us plenty of insight into Schaefer’s fragile, angry character. You quickly get the sense that you’re really getting under his skin. Thomas Schaefer is a man who has sacrificed everything, and I mean everything – his career, the rest of his family and…