A MelanieM Review: High Stakes (Four of Clubs #4) by Parker Williams (Pulp Friction 2015 #15)

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5      ★★★★★

High Stakes coverBen Nelson marvels at the resiliency of his lover, Artie Middleton. He takes everything life throws at him and comes out the other end stronger than ever. It’s with this strength in mind that Ben tosses Artie a curveball that will change both of their lives forever.

A single question from Ben’s lips has Artie rushing headlong toward his happily ever after. One that he never thought he’d have and is now being served to him on a silver platter. He has it all—friends, family, and a future. But even a gifted psychic can’t see everything, and Artie is about to get a wakeup call.

Things he thought to be true about his past aren’t as clear-cut as he believed. His history with some of the people in his life runs deeper than he realized. And he’s about to learn a previously unknown threat from his childhood has returned to rip it all away.

Artie soon finds that in this game, the stakes couldn’t be higher: the lives of everyone he loves.

We’ve reached book four in the latest Pulp Friction series and we all know what that means if you’ve read any of the previous series.  It’s time for some serious angst and despair.  Boy, does Parker Williams and High Stakes deliver that in, well, clubs. Can’t very well say spades can we?

Using the poker game analogy, the stakes of the games are raised up even higher still.  Within these 60 pages, Parker Williams fills in more of Artie’s history and family background, along with a connection to another character’s past.  The author uses this information not merely to inform but to scare the living bejeezus out of us with the ramifications it brings.

If any book has a purpose in a series (and this one surely does), its to show the closing in of evil around our small gang of knights gathering to do battle.  And the odds aren’t looking good.  The despair pours off the descriptions, and the angst flows even over the most joyful of scenes.  And that ending?  A shocker to the soul.  That one went beyond a mere gnashing of teeth and tearing of the hair into the “Oh Nooooooooooo!” *cue to  screams of disbelief*.

I did not see that one coming.  When you can hide something like that event in the small clues stashed away in bits and pieces throughout the tale, well, that’s wonderful storytelling.  Well done, Mr. Parker!  Still devastated but well done.

Two more books to go.   One more by Parker Williams and then the series finale written by all the authors and combined story lines.  I can’t wait to see how they are going to pull this off.  I  am totally perplexed about the whole thing.  The villains, the subplots, and just how its all going to work itself out.  Am I a happy camper?  Yes, I am.

All the stories are short, so it easy to catch up if you need to start at the beginning of a series.  There are four of them that are connected here.  I have them all listed at the bottom of the review.  Use it as a TBR list if you haven’t already.

Love paranormal romance?  Murder mysteries?  Supernatural beings?  Why not combine them all in the style of a pulp fiction series?  They have it all here.  Now I just can’t wait to see how it will all end.

I highly recommend this series and all the interconnected series its attached to.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I’ve been ambivalent about these covers from the start.  But I really like this one.  Especially with the shadows that can be taken a number of ways.  Great job.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe)  | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 65 pages
Published September 13th 2015
ASINB015DBPJHE
edition languageEnglish
seriesPulp Friction 2015 #15, Four of Clubs #4
other editions (1)
High Stakes (Four of Clubs #4) (Pulp Friction 2015, #15)

 

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About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A MelanieM Review: The Devil’s Playground: Four of Clubs Three (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 9) by Parker Williams

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Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

The Devil's Playground CoverThey say the course of true love never runs smooth, and Detective Ben Nelson is learning the truth of that adage in a big way. Two months ago, his lover Artie Middleton was tortured by demons determined to claim the psychic’s special gifts for their own. Now the same friends who helped Ben with the rescue are making a strong case that something about Artie isn’t right. When Artie verbally attacks his best friend, Ben is forced to acknowledge the unbreakable barriers surrounding Artie’s mind.

Searching for someone with the right gifts to help, Ben encounters a woman who insists there’s only one way—and one person—who stands a chance at saving Artie. What Ben finds when he goes on his solo rescue mission may very well mean both of their deaths, as they confront the evil that has made Artie’s mind the Devil’s playground.

Round Three stories are always a joy to read! Although not my favorite ones (that would be Round 5 and the finale), it comes close.  There’s always a mini explosion or three, and somewhere within the plot, the readers will get a small, yet so satisfying emotional payoff for all the angst and heartbreak that has  gone before.  That’s The Devil’s Playground by Parker Williams, book three in his Four of Clubs series in the Pulp Friction Altered States Universe.

When last we left our heroes, Artie and Ben, things were dark and getting darker.  Artie was behaving strangely, asking for help and yet repudiating any that came his way.  And he was mean, deeply, hurtfully, vindictive.  Every the opposite of the character we have come to love.  Ben, his partner and lover, was distraught and at a loss for answers.  In The Devil’s Playground we finally get some answers, and they’re as ugly as we had anticipated.

Demons, a nefarious, unknown plan and a close circle of friends imploding from the inside.  That’s the heartbreak, the suspense and the element that  provides so many emotional layers to this story and series.  Parker Williams continues to remain true to the pulp friction format with a writing style that’s crisp, descriptions that make his characters and situations feel real and a plot that keeps the suspense and angst ratcheted up to high levels. .  He gives us moments of happiness and then  proceeds to break our hearts and that of his characters.  And of course, there’s a cliffhanger as well.  Be still my heart!

I consider this Pulp Friction series one of the top reads this year and that includes all the interconnected series that goes along with it. I have them listed below.  Put them all on your TBR  list!  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Simple, perhaps too simple.  I wish more elements of this story had been included to give it a punch its lacking now.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published July 13th 2015
ASIN B011K2DZSU
edition language English

 

☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠

About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams