The Devil’s Lieutenant by Shervin Jamali

The Devil's Lieutenant by [Jamali, Shervin]

Amazon Link to The Devil’s Lieutenant

In the blink of an eye, Michael loses his family. As his life spirals out of control with grief, he is presented with the possibility that their souls might be trapped in Hell. Michael is a good man, a moral man, forced to do terrible things.

Thus begins an unimaginable and nightmarish journey to rescue his family from the depths of Hell, with the Devil as the puppet master pulling his strings.

My review:

The Devil’s Lieutenant is a fast-paced story that managed to hold my interest enough to read in one sitting. It’s about a man who loses his wife and son to a terrible accident and then falls into deep despair, basically trying to drink himself to death. One night Lucifer shows up to inform Michael his family is suffering in hell and he needs Michael to perform a task for him if he wants any hope of rescuing them.

The plot description caught my interest right away as I was curious what type of task Lucifer could have for a man. I did groan a bit at the start with the abrupt changes in the time line. This continues throughout the story and though I’m not sure I cared for it, I did eventually settle in. What Lucifer asks of Michael was interesting and unique. I can’t say I’ve ever read anything quite like it, so kudos to the author for coming up with something original. In today’s world, this is extremely difficult.

I do feel the characters and the story needed to be fleshed out a little more. Though it’s a novella, I personally think it would have worked better as a full novel. I wanted to get inside the character’s head better, feel his pain for myself instead of sitting on the outside looking in. I received hints of awesome with his portrayal of the devil character, but it could have been so much more. The action scenes were interesting. I’m usually groaning because the pace is too slow and I end up skimming, but here, except for one scene with the KKK, I actually craved more detail. It’s hard to explain what I mean without giving anything away. You’ll have to read it for yourself. From the other reviews, most readers were extremely happy with the character development and pace, so I have to assume I’m in the minority here.

I do recommend readers give this story a look. It’s a good, fast-paced read at a more than reasonable price of .99. I think the author is talented and I’ll look forward to reading more by him.

 

NEW RELEASE!! GHOST WARRIOR

Ghost Warrior (Immortal Warriors Book 2) by [Holm, Denna]

i’M EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE NEW RELEASE “GHOST WARRIOR”!! YOU CAN PICK UP A COPY NOW IN PAPERBACK OR KINDLE AT AMAZON.

GHOST WARRIOR– AMAZON

Amanda Cross survives one nightmare only to face another. She’d always thought of herself as a strong woman, but her many trials on the hostile planet Lavina almost break her. After her rescue, it should be an easy decision to return home to Earth, but she didn’t count on her attraction to the tall, handsome shapeshifter.

Tallyn’s parents rule the most powerful werewolf pack on Laizahlia. As heir to the crown, they expect him to mate with a strong female, but he can’t deny his attraction to the short, curvy woman from Earth. He suspects there is more to Amanda than first meets the eye. To learn what, he must first convince her to trust him enough to remain on Laizahlia.

Calem has waited centuries to right a wrong done to his mate and only daughter. Their deaths nearly destroyed him, but he sees a chance for redemption through Amanda. Tallyn was right to ask for Calem’s help, because he is the only one who can guide the petite female toward her destiny. Calem is determined to protect Amanda from facing the same fate as his mate and daughter, even if it ends up costing him his own life.

THE RIDER

THE RIDER

The Winners of the 2016 Crimson Cloak short story writing competition, along with a selection of the best runners-up, are presented here in a compilation volume entitled THE RIDER.
Writers were asked to write a story of 1500-3000 words based around a stock picture showing a hooded rider in a fantasy landscape. The standard was so high that judging proved very difficult: in fact, first prize was a tie between talented writers Dawn McCracken and Ricky German. Third prize was won by David A. Jones after a tiebreak involving authors James Bruce and Denna Holm.

Buy this book to read the cream of the crop.

Victims of Vanity, Ricky German JOINT FIRST PRIZE
The Crimson Crown, Dawn McCracken JOINT FIRST PRIZE
Of Malice and Magic, David A. Jones THIRD PRIZE
The Good Exile’s Grub, by James Bruce
Spirit Ride, Denna Holm
The Awakening, Nikki Broadwell
What You Wish For, Keith and Jess Flaherty
Ruby’s Return, Rosalyn Kelly
The Switch, Debbie Proulx
Tor Donnach, D.J. Reid
Gray Riders, Rick Stepp-Bolling
Lady Shalamaine, Veronica Taylor
Tineria, Paul Thurston

 

CRIMSON CLOAK PUBLISHING WRITING COMPETITION!!

 

THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENTER THIS GREAT WRITING COMPETITION. AN OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN THAT COVETED TITLE AFTER YOUR NAME– AWARD WINNING AUTHOR!

ENTER HERE!!

STORY WRITING COMPETITION


The judges for the competition are Veronica Castle, Lynne North and Clive West.

Carly McCracken, proprietor of Crimson Cloak will be keeping track of the lists, without judges knowing which story belongs to who.

* Veronica Castle is the chief editor of Crimson Cloak Publishing and loves stories with a good solid structure to them.

* Lynne North is an author of several books and Marketing Manager of Crimson Cloak Publishing.

* Clive West is a busy commercial writer as well as author of a number of books including the blockbuster white-collar crime story, The Road.


First Prize – $150 (this will be increased if there are a high number of entries so watch this space)
Second Prize – $100
Third Prize – $50
Runner Ups – Free entry into the next competition


Competition opening date – Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Competition closing date – Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Lower word limit (minimum) – 1,500
Upper word limit (maximum) – 3,000
Entries are welcome from all countries but must be written in English.


Please look carefully at the picture – there are several key features which stand out, these being:
•    The hooded rider
•    The horse with red eyes
•    The body hanging from the gibbet
•    The castle with its single tower
•    The high mountain in the background
•    The lake, sea, loch, or fjord (etc)

Image courtesy of Canstockphoto

 

CRIMSON TIMELINES BY 13 Crimson Cloak Publishing authors

Crimson Timelines (ebook)

Crimson Cloak Publishing Store– Crimson Timelines

Smashwords– Crimson Timelines

Crimson Timelines is an anthology of engaging stories weaving paths in time and the mind. Enjoy a stroll through the fourth dimension with these diverse authors. A great read with wide appeal.

  1. Stepping out of the Holocube by Janice Clark– A clever paradox story. 
  2. Life Within a Stone by Madeline Dow
  3. The Lighthouse by Glennyce Eckersley– A couple tour a fascinating lighthouse, only to later discover it has been in ruins for years  …
  4. Captain Tom’s Trophy Time Safaris by TW Embry– An escape to the past has unexpected consequences.
  5. Second Chance by Denna Holm– Gillian had longed for years to see her lost daughter and husband again. Could her prayers have been answered?
  6. The Certain Path by W.H. Matlack– An antiques expert stumbles upon a mysterious “watch” that appears to be able to turn back time …
  7. The Grass is Always Greener by Lynne North– One should be careful
    when transporting oneself to the past …
  8. The Man on the Beach by Rodney Page– A mysterious encounter proves life-affirming for a despairing man.
  9. The Tattoo by Esma Race– A window in time helps a mother to keep her promise.
  10. A Mother’s Love by P.J. Roscoe– Bittersweet memories of an often-absent parent.
    A story with a twist.
  11. Mail by Patrick Shanahan– Unravels the consequences of a late-delivered letter.
  12. Vladimir Lazorav is Missing by Patrick Shanahan
  13. In the presence of time by Sean Tate– Time is a mysterious thing, that catches up to us in the end …

You can learn more about these authors and other wonderful books here at Crimson Cloak Publishing.

CCP Store

 

 

 

EDO BLOOD by Don McCann

Edo Blood by [McCann, Don]

Amazon– Edo Blood

When a present-day student, on a field trip to Kagoshima, Japan, found an ancient scroll in an abandoned monastery, he unlocked a dark secret that had lain hidden for over 1400 years. As he followed what turned out to be a trail of scrolls all across Japan and China and back, he was shocked to find himself reading about a 16th century feudal lord named Mitsui Hamada—a woman!

Except there were no female feudal lords in 16th century Japan.

Mitsui’s dark history began with a vow of vengeance, then faded into a sweet promise of love. But that promise was torn asunder as that love was ripped from her grasp in one horrific moment. Plunged headlong back into her nightmare of revenge, her enemy’s destruction was the only thing that would satisfy her. At that moment, she embarked on a twisted journey which sent her fleeing her homeland in pursuit of ancient knowledge. At the end of Mitsui’s bloody journey waited an enemy more dangerous and powerful than she could ever imagine.

But, none of this was Mitsui’s secret.

Mitsui’s darkest secret—only told in the scrolls—was that she was a vampire. But, in this tale of blood and vengeance, Mitsui’s was not the only secret . . .

MY REVIEW

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS

Wow! That about sums up my feelings about this novel. I had a real love-hate relationship going on while reading Edo Blood and actually fought with myself a bit over the stars afterward. I was almost ready to give it four stars, but then the truth is, I couldn’t put this story down, finding it completely captivating. Anything that gives me that kind of rush, the “I’ve got to finish this” deserves nothing less than five stars. So now I’ll get down to the review itself.

At the start of this story, Mitsui is a very young girl in 16th Century Japan, a male oriented society. Her father (a Samurai warrior) is a bully, who ends up raising another bully in Mitsui’s brother. But her brother attacks the wrong boy at school one day, one younger than him, and he is defeated, his father left humiliated. Shamed, their father sends his son to a monastery and then begins to devote his time to training his young daughter. He doesn’t do this because he loves her. He does it because he doesn’t have another son to train. Mitsui puts all the blame for what happened to her family on the shoulders of the boy who defeated her brother, not aware of the circumstances that initiated it. She is determined to train hard and become a strong enough warrior herself one day to kill this boy, vengeance all that matters to her.

Kenji is the young boy who defeated Mitsui’s older brother, but he doesn’t have any idea what happened to Mitsui’s brother or that she grows up hating him. Kenji is a smart young man devoted to his training. He eventually ends up being in charge of the Daimyo’s personal guard, a great honor for a young man.

The story mainly alternates between Kenji and Mitsui, both of them living separate lives, though we know they will eventually come together at some future point. Then we have the vampire element added in, which is completely different from any other type of vampire story I’ve ever read. I’ve held a lifelong fascination with vampires, be they the evil kind, the good kind, or even the sparkly types. Doesn’t matter, I like them all. But this story is unique, a little evil and a little something I can’t quite figure out. What I do know is that once I started reading, I had a tough time trying to put this book down, and it’s one of those rare stories that stays with you long after you finish it. I have a feeling most readers are going to be just as spellbound. Such a wonderful, realistic view of Japan. I can’t give it high enough praise.

So, why the conflict with stars? The author has a way of getting the reader straight inside the character’s head, a talent I wish more authors had. It allows us to experience it firsthand right along with the characters we’re following. Unfortunately, there are a few places where we go off on little side stories, such as with the father of Mitsui. It’s all wonderfully written, but it took me away from the two characters I wanted to know better, Kenji and Mitsui. As a standalone book I would probably have preferred these scenes to be cut. But, because this is a series, I’m assuming these extra bits of information will probably be needed for future books. Regardless, the story is awesome, with vivid descriptions that I swear takes us right to Japan and the era involved.

Am I going to buy the next one? You bet, can’t wait. If you like vampire stories, I’m willing to bet you’ll like this one too. If you like martial arts, you’re going to love this, vampires or not. The same if you enjoy the history of Japan and Samurai warriors. I feel the author either has firsthand experience living in Japan, or he did a bang up job studying Japan’s history before he put pen to paper. Either way, kudos, I’m impressed.

 

THE DOOM MURDERS by Brian O’Hare

The Doom Murders (The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Book 1) by [O'Hare, Brian]

Amazon– The Doom Murders

Prominent figures in Belfast are being murdered. The bodies are left naked and posed in grotesquely distorted shapes. No clues are left at the forensically immaculate crime scenes except odd theatrical props and some random numbers and letters concealed at each scene by the killer. How are the victims linked? What is the connection between these killings, the bible, and a famous medieval painting of The Last Judgement?

The Doom Murders has been the recipient of three literary awards – The IDB Award in 2014; The New Apple Award, 2014, for Excellence in Independent Publishing; and the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards (Bronze Medal Winner).

“The Chief Inspector, Jim Sheehan, is drawn so deftly and with such genuineness, you can feel him breathing.” (Eugene Fournier, novelist and screenwriter, film and TV)

“The most subtle of clues are intricately interwoven into the story line, and even the most astute mystery buff is apt to miss them.” (Donna Cummins, Author of the Blacklick Valley Mystery Series)

“Incredibly addictive page turner.” (Meghan, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer)

“O’Hare leans toward the human side of his characters, imbuing them with a real world presence that is in turn witty and passionate.” (Roy.T James, for Readers’ Favorite)

MY REVIEW

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS

I love mystery novels like this one even though I’m terrible at figuring out the clues given along the way. Authors like O’Hare make us think like a real detective as we follow along with the characters in the story. I have to admit that I didn’t connect the title with any sort of religious element, but it does hold a prominent place in the story. Important figures in Belfast are being murdered, the bodies left naked and posed in grotesque shapes. The scenes are forensically immaculate. Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team must figure out how these victims are linked, what is the connection between the killings, the Bible and the medieval painting The Last Judgement?

The character building was excellent here. I felt I had a real look into the minds of these people as they struggled through a difficult case, especially Sheehan. I noticed a few reviewers compared this piece to the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, but personally I thought this was much better. I couldn’t get through Brown’s novel, but had no problem here. It held my interest from start to finish. The scenes are also well described, brought to life in my mind. I like to picture myself there when I’m reading, much like playing a movie in my mind. If I’m not given enough from the author, it makes for a boring and dull story. That wasn’t a problem here.

Points I didn’t like so much. Okay, point. A tad slow to start, though I’d admit the beginning to most novels can be a bit hard to get into.  We need time and patience to get to know these characters and be given an idea of where the plot is taking us. I don’t dock points for a slow start. My stars are judged on how I feel after the first few chapters, whether or not I want to keep reading. Not a problem with this one. The Doom Murders held my interest from start to finish, and the end took me completely by surprise. I admit I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack when it comes to guessing murder mystery, but I’m willing to bet there are few out there who will guess this one.

And I’m not telling you. You’ll have to go out and buy your own copy if you want to learn.  Can’t wait to pick up my next novel by Brian O’Hare.

OBSIDIAN TEARS (Apparition Lake book two) by Doug and Daniel Lamoreux

Obsidian Tears (Apparition Lake Book 2) by [Lamoreux, Daniel D., Lamoreux, Doug]

Amazon– Obsidian Tears

New troubles are stacking up like cordwood for Chief Ranger Glenn Merrill, as Yellowstone’s existence is threatened by earth tremors and an imminent supervolcano. After a series of gruesome deaths claiming animals, tourists, and a ranger, it’s clear that something’s gone terribly wrong at the nation’s oldest national park.

But putting an end to these mysterious deaths is more than just the chief ranger’s job — it may be his end.

Obsidian Tears plunges Glenn, his Shoshone friend, an aggressive young seismologist and an Arapaho healer into a world of Indian mysticism. Will man and nature join forces, or risk losing all of humanity to an ancient evil?

MY REVIEW:

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS

So far I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Lamoreux, (And I think I’ve read them all) so I wasn’t surprised to find myself getting lost in this story as well. It is well written, fast paced, and full of tension throughout. I had a hard time trying to focus on my own work, my mind always drifting back to the story until I could turn that last page. This is the second in the Apparition Lake series and I loved it just as much as the first one. Interesting characters, intense action and Mother Nature. What better setting than Yellowstone National Park? Couldn’t really ask for more?

Troubles hits again for Chief Ranger Glenn Merrill, as Yellowstone’s existence is threatened by earth tremors and an imminent supervolcano. There are a series of gruesome deaths claiming animals, tourists, and a ranger, and it’s clear to Ranger Glenn that something’s gone terribly wrong at the nation’s oldest national park.

Obsidian Tears brings Ranger Glenn’s Shoshone friend Johnny Two Ravens back into the picture, and I have to admit he was one of my favorite characters from the first story. Man against nature, or man and nature joining forces against an ancient evil. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.

ALIEN MANIFESTO By T.W. Embry

Alien Manifesto: The Adventures of the Human Thomas Scott by [Embry, T.W.]

Amazon– Alien Manifesto

When orphaned ex-Navy S.E.A.L. Thomas Scott decides upon a life of crime, he does not expect to be recruited to join an elite Special Forces operation charged with stealing an alien artifact. Especially a mixed-species alien team headed by inter-galactic billionaire Snarth. The close-knit team soon becomes Tom’s family in more senses than one, which complicates matters when the mysterious artifact turns out to hold secrets that may plunge the whole of the known universe into a devastating war…

MY REVIEW

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS

So I love a good sci-fi story, but many times I’ll get a little bit lost in the science part—especially if things don’t make perfect sense, it’ll go right over my head. That’s not the case with Alien Manifesto by T.W. Embry. He gave me the sci-fi fix I tend to crave but without the headache that usually goes along with it.

Ex. Navy S.E.A.L. Tom Scott is on the wrong side of the law when he suddenly finds himself recruited by an alien intergalactic billionaire named Snarth to join an elite special forces operation. He joins this mixed-species team, their first assignment to steal an alien artifact. This eventually leads them to a planet once ruled by a species called the Ones, (at one time the most feared alien force in all the known universes). With the Ones supposedly now extinct, they go to this planet in search of precious jewels, but find much more than they bargained for, all their lives placed in danger. Sound like a fun ride? You bet, and much more besides.

This is a super-fast-paced story, almost too fast for my personal taste, but sure to keep you on your toes from start to finish. A real page-turner if I ever came across one. I read this in two nights, and it would’ve been one if I hadn’t needed to fit my work in there somewhere. Never once did I feel the urge to skim, and being a writer and editor myself, this is saying a lot. Believe me, if the story lags, even a little, I skim.

So even though I grinned like a little kid through most of it, I give this story four over five stars because I did crave a little more depth from the characters, especially at the start. This is where that fast pace comes into play. By the end of this first story in the series though, I felt I had a good feel for all the characters involved: which included Tom, another human known as the Irishman, a feline assassin, an alien canine, a spider, and Snarth (their billionaire boss).

Here’s the deal. I finished this story and immediately fired up the kindle to go in search of the next novel in line by Embry. Should be enough said. Go out and pick up a copy for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

WIN A FREE SIGNED COPY OF “SOUL OF A WARRIOR” by Denna Holm

Soul of a Warrior (Immortal Warriors Book 1) by [Holm, Denna]

A handsome blond stranger shows up at Kimi Wicker’s place of work claiming to be her mate. But he also claims to be from another world. She does what any sane woman would do in her situation. She runs. Tagging along are her two best friends and a feisty tabby cat. No one could anticipate the second stranger showing up, one with a completely different agenda.

Kimi and her friends are abducted by the second man, a vampire, then tortured and abandoned on a hostile alien world. Given only the clothes on their back, they must now try to find a way back home again.

One man will do everything in his power to see Kimi and her friends are brought safely back home, even sacrifice his own life. The second man wants Kimi and her mate to suffer, alive, but forever out of reach of each other. Kimi and her friends must work together against astronomical odds for any hope of surviving this nightmare.

Latest review at Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of genres, September 7, 2016
By
This review is from: Soul of a Warrior (Immortal Warriors) (Volume 1) (Paperback)
The book is about a character named Kimberly Wicker. She’s also known as Kimi Wicker. She works at a country western bar in Oregon. It has an interesting start being thrown into the supernatural elements rapidly in the first chapter with the introduction of vampires right away. These are introduced with a couple of strangers walking into her bar. The first of them ordered a water and nothing else. The second has an interesting mental exchange with Kimi in a telepathic almost exchange apparently imparting something to her. It’s hard to write an original concept these days and well to be honest this is certainly original. It combines several elements from different genres. I happened to enjoy it as I enjoy all the genres that were combined so for me this wasn’t a bad story at all. However others may not. It’s a bold and risky proposition anytime you combine multiple genre story arcs that usually aren’t found together. But in some cases like this one in my opinion it can turn out well done. Unlike many of the books on amazon there are next to no errors in grammar, formatting, and it’s a respectable length. Clearly the author takes pride in their work enough to do final clean ups and edits. This is refreshing. I suggest picking it up for yourself and deciding for yourself to be honest.
Denna Holm

A retired FEI competitor in dressage, she earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze and Silver Medals.

After Denna retired from training and showing horses, she decided to try her hand at writing novels in paranormal and science fiction romance. She used the unique personalities of her many wonderful students to help bring life to her characters.

Denna and her husband Lee make their home in the beautiful State of Oregon with their two loyal German shepherds, one energetic border collie, and two very spoiled cats. Animals are given a special place in her novels, their offer of unconditional love a lifeline in this difficult world. Denna and Lee enjoy spending time camping and fishing with their children and grandchildren.