A Dark Dividing

Author: Sarah Rayne
ISBN: 978-1934609804
Publisher: Felony & Mayhem

In A Dark Dividing, Sarah Rayne has expertly woven a frighteningly dark tale that should make even the most valiant readers recoil in horror. This is my first novel by Rayne (who is already a highly accomplished writer with many great works to her credit) and I am already in love with her clever narrative structuring. She has such an impeccable way of enticing a reader to turn the pages ceaselessly until the final written word.

Journalist Harry Fitzglen is not thrilled when his editor Clifford Markovitch assigns him to cover the opening of a new art gallery. But Harry is there for more than just reviewing the featured work at the gallery. His editor wants him to dig into the past of Simone Anderson, the talented photographer whose compelling works are on display. Harry learns that Simone had a twin sister, Sonia, who had disappeared mysteriously years ago. No one quite knows what happened to her.

There is more to the story as a dark and twisted connection between the Anderson twins and another pair of twins – Viola and Sorrel – born almost a century ago comes to the picture. Then there is the ruined mansion located at the Welsh border called the Mortmain House. What does this godforsaken place has to do with these two sets of twins divided by time and space?

Three different storylines overlap in a galloping narrative. Simone hears voices of a little girl in her head and Harry tries to make connections that could lead him to solve the eerie mystery. Simone and Sonia’s mother Melissa Anderson has known the tragic fact that her daughters are conjoined twins early in her pregnancy and when she learns – to her horror – that her husband wants to use the misfortune of the twins to his political gain, Melissa runs away to protect her daughters.

Through the pages of Charlotte Quinton’s diary written almost a century ago, keeping records of the events leading to and after the birth of her conjoined twin daughters Viola and Sorrel, we learn that she loses her daughters during birth. We also learn that both women share a common dislike to their respective husbands. In Charlotte’s case there was even a lover before her marriage – Philip Fleury, passionately known to her as Floy. The century-old dark dividing between the two sets of twins comes to a terrifying convergence that will leave your spine tingling.

Rayne’s A Dark Dividing is most certainly the type of book that you can’t let go of until you have read it all. I found myself reading deep into the night, in spite of it. The suspense keeps piling up and, in almost equal rhythm, the goosebumps on your arms until you arrive at the bone-chilling climax.

A book that should be devoured in hungry chunks, a terror-filled psychological thriller doesn’t get any horrifying than this. You will never see any of it coming. Clear your schedules and find some quite time for yourself and be prepared to be horrified and amazed at the same time in what awaits within the pages of A Dark Dividing. A real winner!

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

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The Lucifer Code

Title: The Lucifer Code
Author: Charles Brokaw
Publisher: Forge Books
ISBN: 978-0765320933

“Welcome to the end of the world as we know it. Within the next few minutes, the course of human events will drastically change.”

Those were the bone-chilling words uttered by Lucifer when Professor Thomas Lourds came face-to-face with the Devil himself in Charles Brokaw’s exhilarating new thriller, The Lucifer Code. Following the footsteps of master of thrillers Dan Brown, Brokaw sends readers through a complex maze in the dark depths of Istanbul, trailing to piece together an evil puzzle that threatens to bring about the end of the world.

Brokaw didn’t waste any time when he immediately plunges the readers into an adrenaline-surging adventure from the opening scene itself, as Professor Lourds pursues a quest more menacing and evil than imaginable as he comes to a challenging face-off with the Devil.

Professor Thomas Lourds is summoned to Istanbul to investigate artifacts never before seen by Western scholars. Upon his arrival, he is instantly caught in a deadly web of assailants chasing him. His captors want him to translate an ancient scroll lost for over thousands of years known as the Scroll of Joy, authored by John of Patmos, who also wrote the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

As it turns out, his captors are not the only one searching for the scroll. The Brotherhood of the Scroll, a secret religious group striving to protect the scroll and, even the CIA wants to uncover what’s written in the aged document, which is believed to be capable of bringing about the end of the world and even raise the Devil himself.

Little did Professor Lourds know that the Devil is already among us in human form and a storm is brewing in Saudi Arabia that threatens to bring the world down around us and destroy humanity, orchestrated by none other than Lucifer himself. While there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the scroll for all the wrong reasons, including a senior official at the White House, Professor Lourds risks his life to save the world from the impending doom as he realizes that the fate of the world rests solely on his shoulders.

With its exhilarating fast pace and The Da Vinci Code-like rush, Brokaw grips the readers with intriguing historical backgrounds and speculations, recreating the thrill of his debut novel The Atlantis Code throughout various exotic locations in the medieval city of Istanbul. I can assure you one thing; this guy sure knows how to weave a thrilling plot out of an age-old belief of the evil rising.

At the end of it all, you will emerge breathless but only more eager for Professor Lourds next adventure, as you can’t help but wonder what Brokaw has in store for Professor Lourds in his next. Needless to say, Brokaw’s fans will absolutely be thrilled with this gripping adventure.

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com

The Postcard Killers

“She felt with her fingertips for the man’s pulse on his neck and estimated the force of the flow. Then she thrust the stiletto into the man’s left jugular vein. She cut quickly through muscle and ligaments until she heard a soft hiss that told her that his windpipe had been cut.”

Throughout the breathtaking locales across some of Europe’s most beautiful cities including Rome, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Stockholm, The Postcard Killers set out to thrill you with the odd mystery surrounding a number of grisly murders. The exhilarating narrative doesn’t cease to thrill you even for a second with the extremely fast pacing of the story and the taut, succinct chapters that makes it a true gripping page-turner.

A series of gruesome murders have been sweeping across Europe with the culprits at large. Always a step ahead of the police, the only clue the heartless murderers leave behind is a postcard of the crime scene sent to a local newspaper at the time where the murder is going to take place.

Enter NYPD detective Jacob Kanon, on the hunt for the postcard killers who murdered his daughter Kimmy, follows the trail of the killers to Stockholm. With a deep vengeance, Kanon makes it his obsession to find the killers and bring them to justice.

With the help of Swedish reporter, Dessie Larsson, who has been sent the postcard of the murderer’s crime scene in Stockholm, Jacob finds himself trying to put together pieces of the complex puzzle that will – at last – lead him to the notorious Postcard Killers.

James Patterson’s latest collaboration with Swedish crime writer Liza Marklund adds a highly thrilling factor to it that inevitably brings you onboard to solve the puzzle along with NYPD detective Jacob Kanon. The Postcard Killers brims with real excitement, with expert plotting to give you an adrenaline-fuelled, high-octane thriller.

As one would expect from any James Patterson novel, the top-notch narrative and the riveting personalities, The Postcard Killers give you the roller-coast ride of an absorbing murder mystery that you have been yearning for. It is thoroughly readable due to the short, concise writing to guide you through the maze of mystery in your quest to find out the motive of the killers. That’s when the real excitement begins. You close the last page of the book with a sense of contentment, similar to that of getting off an adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster ride.

Hard-core fans of the master of thriller-mysteries will be delighted with this one. James Patterson will once again rock your world!

Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Author Exposure (September 2010)

Not ‘A Perfect Getaway’

I am a huge fan of thrillers. In fact, I have high standards set aside for this genre. Why you ask me? Thrillers are supposed to be thrilling: give you the chills, make your heart race, make you jump out of your seat (the more the better), raise the hair on the back of your neck, give you the goosebumps, and last but not least, even though you think you are ready for the next scare, a good thriller will always out-win you. Now if none of the above applies to a thriller you have just watched (with high expectations in my case), it would be nothing less of a catastrophe.

That was exactly what director David Twohy’s new thriller ‘A Perfect Getaway’ was. A minor catastrophe. Even with an ensemble of talented cast including the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Timothy Olyphant, Steve Zahn and Marley Shelton, the movie fails to achieve the ‘thrill factor’ quite miserably. Blame it on the sloppy direction and tasteless storyline.

a-perfect-getaway-movie-stills

The newlywed young couple Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are on their honeymoon in Hawaii where they come across two hitchhikers Cleo (Marley Shelton) and Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and get off to a bad start. Later, Cliff and Cydney learn from a group of hikers that a newlywed couple has been murdered and butchered in the island. While the killers are at larger, Cliff and Cydney contemplate whether they should head back when they joined another young couple, Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez). A long way away from civilization, they were left in the middle of nowhere in the company of each other, seeing one another as a threat and not knowing who to trust until a series of unfortunate events reveal one of the couples as the brutal killers. Pretty plain, don’t you think?

I had to admit, the director scores well with revealing the killers. In fact, that was the only high point of the whole movie. The pace of the unfolding story does not live up to a good thriller which mainly involves more or less of a guess game on ‘who are the killers’? While you contemplate yourself the likely killers, you’ll totally miss the thrill of it due to the blandness of the whole plot. Whatever happened to creating a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat while you are taken on a roller-coaster ride? Beats me.