The identity of Jack the Ripper remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of both Victorian England, and of the murky world of serial killers.
Maniscalco takes that mystery, envelopes it in the life and times of a fictional would-be forensic scientist, shrouds it with London fog, and hides it in a dark place where nobody thinks or dares to look.
‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ is a beautifully written blend of mystery, macabre horror and historical fiction that keeps the audience completely rivered as the story unfolds. Suspense builds from the time of the discovery of the first victim right up to the climax and conclusion.
The cast of characters is varied and complex, each with secrets and personal motivations that intrigue both the reader and one another. The way in which the author drops hints and suggestions is quite tantalising, adding another layer of mystery to the characters and their actions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The narration was fluent and well paced, and a pleasure to listen to.
I definitely plan to indulge in the sequel very soon.
‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
‘Children of Darkness is a grim tale filled with foreboding and brooding suspense from which there is little relief. Even when the protagonist forces herself to relax, both she and the reader remain slightly tense with the sensation that the respite can only ever be fleeting.
Shockey builds the tension and darkness until it is almost tangible, then delivers blow after blow that suck the air from the reader’s lungs and keep them on the edge of their seat.
This is a very well crafted horror story that keeps the reader guessing right to the end.
‘Children Of Darkness’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
What happens to a world where things are valued more than people? In the midst of songs and stories about jolly old Santa comes a tale of foreboding and darkness that speaks to a materialistic and selfish world.
The story immerses the reader in an environment where “naughty” far outweighs “nice”, and where the consequences affect all of humanity. Yet still, even in the depravity and darkness, a small flicker of hope survives— perhaps just for one more night.
‘Merry Apocalypse’ is a well-crafted short story with a powerful message. We may not be experiencing the apocalypse, but its warning is relevant and timely.
‘Merry Apocalypse’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.
Part mystery, part macabre horror and part paranormal suspense, ‘The Awakening’ is a very good read.
The story is interesting and complex, cast with believable characters who face their biggest challenge ever while just trying to get through life from day to day.
The central character is a regular teenage guy named Phil, who faces his own questions of identity and belonging by trying to fit in with the “in crowd”, as so many teens do. This sets off a disturbing chain of events that intrigue the reader and draw them deeper into Phil’s life as the story unfolds.
This is the prequel to The Dowling House, but works perfectly well as a standalone book.
It’s a really good read. I have awarded ‘The Awakening’ a Silver Acorn.
Another great read in an excellent paranormal series.
This seventh book in the Elemental Witch Trials series focuses on Rose, Brac’s daughter, take over as the main character, Brac still features prominently in the story, while Gwen and other family members continue to take supporting roles. Once again, the author achieves a natural and smooth progression that enriches the series without losing continuity or cutting off the stories of other family members.
Rose is a formidable character, not afraid to use both her physical and inner strengths to achieve her goals. She is complex and conflicted, which adds a very relatable layer of depth to her story.
As with every other instalment of this excellent series, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ is a Victorian Gothic mystery suspense story embellished with some gloriously macabre moments. The author builds the suspense steadily, creating tension that is almost palpable by the end of the book. The reader’s suspicions grow alongside those of Becky, the main character, but the ending of the book still comes with a surprising twist that, in keeping with the conventions of gothic horror, leaves the reader both shocked and satisfied.
I really enjoyed the way in which the author depicted life both “upstairs” and “downstairs” in the house, and the ways in which the different threads of the story were woven together to create one complex, elegantly constructed story.
To craft a story that is reminiscent of Poe, Dickens and Downton Abbey at the same time is quite an achievement.
Well worth reading, this beautifully dark novella has been awarded a Gold Acorn.
Far more interesting than an attack of mindless zombies, far more complicated than teen angst of not fitting in, and highly unique in its storyline and character development, ‘Through the Lichgate’ is an absolutely ripping read.
Adams has developed a really interesting premise and storyline in this first ‘Drama Club’ book. The reader is quickly drawn in by Thana’s singular perspective on life, and is absolutely hooked by the complication with which she is presented. She is complex and conflicted, which makes her highly relatable for teen readers, and older readers too, since we rarely actually lose our complexities or resolve all our conflicts as we age – we just get better at either disguising or dealing with them.
Thana is a strong female lead who will fight her own battles and stand up for what she believes is right in a world which doesn’t always agree with her standards or her choices. When she is faced with not just one almost impossible dilemma, but a whole series of them, the reader cannot help but hold their breath and cheer her on as the action unfolds.
I’m definitely keen to read more books in this series.
I’ve awarded ‘Through the Lichgate’ a Gold Acorn for excellence and originality.