A MelanieM Review: Dead Blind: Jack of Spades #2 (PF 2015: Altered States) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Dead Blind coverIn the two months since Dr. Sabine Brusilov and his ghostly lover Bart discovered the curious brass circlet while investigating a haunting in an apartment building, Sabine focused on recovering from his accident. Now, his health restored, his mind returns to the mystery of the circlet. Even a commission to appear on a television show can’t distract him from its allure.

After nearly two centuries of resistance, it takes an exorcism for Bart to come to terms with being a ghost…and learning that everything in the other realm isn’t quite the way he had figured. As he grows more comfortable in the spirit plane, his abilities on the earthly plane evolve. Even though he feels the circlet’s evil, he can’t help but connect his growing strength with it.

Life and death are two sides of the same coin, but the circlet blurs lines for both man and ghost.

In Dead Blind (Jack of Spades #2), Lee Brazil takes his plot and gives it a dark, maze-like quality that adds another level of trepidation and suspense to a tale already overflowing with it.  For me, this story is where I start to connect with Sabine whose personality and cavalier treatment of Bart sort of pushed me away in the first installment.

With an evil circlet in his possession, Sabine’s control over his emotions, thoughts and actions become compromised.  And it’s his struggle to remain himself that really draws the reader onto his side and let’s us empathize with this complicated man.  Bart too is growing in substance…literally.  While the reasons he is becoming stronger are still somewhat nebulous, the fact that Bart abilities have grown now allow him to have avenues for his thoughts and emotions not possible before.  He can travel and move things, for good or bad.  But it’s his growing concern for Sabine that pulls us into their relationship and gives us a better feel for their couple dynamics which is undergoing  drastic changes even as they are.

But back to that evil circlet.  Lee Brazil does a fabulous job of bringing that object’s menace to life on the page. Through the vivid imagery of Brazil’s descriptions, t he circlet emanates such malevolence, that the  dreams and actions it’s pulling out of Sabine will bring chills as you read.  Yes, this story is getting marvelously darker, more convoluted and scary.  And I couldn’t be happier.

If you love your romance stories with a touch of horror, if you listen for those things that go bump in the night, than this installment has just the right amount of shivers to make you downright  gleeful.  But be warned, none of these are stand alone stories.  They must be read in the order they were written and often contain cliffhangers just as serialized stories should.

But don’t take my word for it.  Pick them all up and get started today.  Each is a truly delicious morsel of romance and fear, addicting and downright delectable.  Happy Reading.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I like the overall design but am still missing a supernatural element.  It just seems too light and fluffy for the content.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 54 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Lime Time Press
ASINB00W5HNFYE
edition languageEnglish\

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

 

Review: A Silence Kept by Theo Fenraven

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Rating: 4.25 stars

A Kept Silence coverWhen Mikal Gray discovers that his boyfriend is cheating on him, the results are devastating.  It costs Mikal not only the man he thought he loved, but his home and his job as he had worked as his partner’s business manager in their restaurant.  And it evens costs Mikal, their annual summer vacation spot on Fire Island.  Mikal can’t even begin to concieve of spending his month avoiding their mutual friends and watching or watching his ex hook up, so he decides to rent a house in the opposite direction.  Mikal figures this way he will have a home for the summer while he figures out what to do next.

His realtor tells him that the 1800’s farmstead on the Hudson would be the perfect place for him.  Quiet, charming, near the water, everything Mikal could want except for one little thing she must mention.  It is already occupied by a ghost. Not believing her, Mikal signs the papers and steps into a old tragedy that will cut close to his heart and a ghost who needs his help.  With his friend Alice, and a handsome ghost hunter named Seth, Mikal sets out to unravel the mystery of the weeping man of New Paltz.

A Silence Kept is a short  supernatural  mystery, only 80 pages, but it has the feel of a much longer story.  Theo Fenraven does a remarkable job of letting the reader step onto the farm and into the mystery along side  Mikal, our narrator.  This is such an intimate way to tell a story and when it is done well, as it is here,  it brings with it the closest connection a reader can feel with the main character.  Mikal is deeply hurt by his lover’s betrayal.  He had thought that they would make it last so everything he had was tied into the relationship and his partner.  They worked together at his boyfriend’s restaurant, Mikal as his business manager, they lived and vacationed as an established couple.  Now all of that is lost and Mikal is left to mourn and try to figure out how to move on.  I don’t know anyone who has not gone through this brutal event, it hurts and its devastating in that the loss goes beyond the death of love into other areas of the person’s life.  Fenraven gets that and puts all that pain and heartache into Mikal, but not without a dash of humor thrown in:

“But we were exclusive,” I shot back. “We were together three years, and you threw that away for some twink who can’t even make radish roses. Are you insane?”

“I’m in love with him,” he sniffed, running a hand through his close-cropped hair. “It happens.”

I stared at him, remembering how that gesture used to turn me on. I remembered a lot of things in that moment, and some of them were pretty good. Like the time he’d made me chicken soup when I’d been down for two days with a nasty cold. Or the time he’d bought expensive tickets to a concert I’d really wanted to see. The night he told me he loved me, and then went on to prove it three times. How he smelled right after a shower. How he smelled when he hadn’t had one in a few hours, which was even better.

We had history, damn it. We’d created a life together. For a moment—just a moment—I almost relented. The thought of starting all over again with someone new made me want to curl up in bed and sleep until the next millennium.

That sounds so real, including that bit about the radish rose, human and oh so authentic.  Mikal is a fully rounded human being, he sounds like one and acts that way too.  As do all the characters in this story, all alive and multilayered.  I loved one, each and every one.  And Fenraven’s gift of creating moving characters does not stop with the living, but extends to the dead and ghostly as well.

The painful backstory of the ghost is quite literally a haunting one.  It will hit close to home for Mikal and for the reader as well.  I love the supernatural touches  that Fenraven uses to introduce the ghost into the story, the blasts of cold air, and moving rocker, and more.  But those little chills are best left for the reader to discover on their own.

My only issue with this story is the resolution at the end.  At 80 pages, I felt it was a little rushed and wished for a longer ending.  But my quibble aside, I loved this story.  It intrigued me as the mystery was so well done and it left me satisfied at the end.  I wouldn’t mind seeing more stories of Seth and Mikal sometime in the future, they make a great pair.  I highly recommend this for all you lovers of romance and tales of the supernatural.  Within these pages, you will find both lovingly accomplished.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 80 pages
Published February 28th 2013 by Voodoo Lily Press (first published September 12th 2011)
ASINB00BNWB6UC
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://voodoolilypress.com/