Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Who Killed Little Johnny Gill? by Kathryn McMaster ~ 2016


 He's just eight years old.  He's your son.  You wave goodbye to him one morning as he disappears into the swirling fog.  And then he is gone.
Forever.






Author: Kathryn McMaster
Publisher: Drama Llama Press; 1 edition (February 9, 2016)
Publication: February 9, 2016
Pages: 250
ebook
ASIN: B01BMXMZHE
Language: English
Jacket design: Hayley Faye
Author photographer: A friend




"This book was provided by Kathryn McMaster in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."



4 Stars



Kathryn McMaster
Since what I felt was Kathryn McMaster setting off to tell me about a heinous crime ~ a gruesome mutilation of a young boy where the pompous arrogant bastard or ... ? got away with the perfect murder ~ personally, I believe Kathryn pulled it off.

The setting, 1888, I had myself mentally prepared for the archaic language of the times and I would like to say thanks Kathryn for making this read 'readable' for today's times.

In the back of my mind I was really intrigued with the thought of reading a true mystery;  I was reading some other material not related to mystery and once I started Kathryn McMaster's book, the first few chapters had me in intrigue.  Now since I'm finished ~ did I set myself up?

Personally, I was looking for intrigue throughout and suspense in a true-life mystery.

This story is about such a horrendous crime with the utmost heart-breaking ending, all around agreed here, because hell, we're all human.  The read was slow for me since it was a bit dry.  Seemed it was like going through documents and transcripts and in a way, felt like someone was telling me the news.  Ms. McMaster reported to me of Johnny Gill's extremely short life in novel form.  No suspense and intrigue, no page-tuner-nerve-endings going off, no I have to finish this chapter.

Her whole point was telling us there is an unsolved murder out there; a perfect unsolved murder is still in the filing cabinets.

William Barrett - the murderer ... ? .  This presumptuous ass could very well have been the one.  And that was not the demeanor I had of him as Kathryn introduced us.  Ms. McMaster is excellent portraying Barrett as nothing more than the milkman doing his rounds.  I felt good character description from introduction then throughout the story.  But  ~  all the focus?   No others.

Now, I believe - and it is because of her writing - she is adept in getting her heart and her curiosity about true crime around the beginning of the twentieth century out and down on pages, but, I needed captivation.

Where was all the focus on suspects?  Building questions elsewhere and building that suspense so the Reader can say Mmm to themselves other than the focus on one under the microscope.  Folks, I do keep in mind researching this murder from so long ago you only have X amount of viable reliable resources, right?  Okay one under the scope, yet, where's the anticipation?  Where was the writing that wanted me to turn the page to 'find out' more.

Tom Gill, Johnny's dad, was a character I felt close to for some reason I cannot pin.  Couldn't start to imagine what he went through as he went to see what they had found was in fact his boy, his Johnny.  Hell, back in that day I wonder why he didn't kill the SOB?  Man, my heart goes to mom, Mary Ann.

After Johnny was so brutally murdered, for me, the story turned into a dusty page turner.  I had a hard time getting back to it as I went about life.  She did depict the times for me nicely and visually the times where there in my head.  There are scenes where you just might shed a tear, scenes where you could agree with Chief Constable James Withers and then of course the adverse, or, make your own conclusion folks. 

What I did enjoy about it was the awareness of Johnny Gill's story.  Brings to question, how many others are there through times past?  Not counting any other alleged victims from William Barrett.

This book was received quite well, yet, I have my issues.  But that's me.  I would read Kathryn's work again because this read was not bad, it was and is good enough to inquire of her next read.  Some debut's are 'knocked-it-out-of-the-park' and some are not, though, this ball is still in and it's live.





Would I recommend?   ~ you into true-crime? ~  sure thing





Here's where you can get your fingers on Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?:
  •  Amazon ~ Kindle $ .99 ~ Paperback $9.99 ~ Audible, Unabridged $1.99 ~ USD



About the author ~


Kathryn McMaster is an historical crime fiction author of true and unsolved murders occurring during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  She crafts stories around unsolved murders of the Victorian and Edwardian eras highlighting poor policing practices with a rudimentary knowledge of Forensic Science that allowed the guilty to walk free, and the innocent to hang.

Her debut novel covers the shocking murder and mutilation of an eight-year old boy in Bradford, England, titled  "Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?" was well received and swiftly became a best seller in the free Kindle books for British Historical Fiction.  The murder was so heinous that it was thought, at one stage, to have been the work of Jack the Ripper.  Her next novel, which is in the pipeline, is a maritime triple murder mystery which is set to be released in June, 2016.

Having lived in 5 different countries during her fifty-something years, namely South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and the United Arab Emirates, she is now retired and finally has time to write her crime fiction novels from her 200 year old stone farmhouse in Tuscany, Italy.

She owns 8 hectares in the beautiful Casentino Valley and raises a small flock of sheep and goats.  Having named most of her sheep she finds it difficult to eat any, including an extremely obstreperous and rambunctious ram called, 'Sylvester'.   However, that sentiment could change at any time!

Kathryn graduated from the University of Natal, Durban in 1980 with a double degree in English Literature and Psychology.  The following year she completed her teaching diploma, and later completed a TESOL diploma through Trinity College, London to teach English to adults as a second language.  For the majority of her working life she worked in Education, both in the classroom, and in management.

Kathryn’s books are further enhanced by her in-depth knowledge and training in Psychology, Criminal Profiling and a partial Masters of Forensic Science (Investigation) which she draws on to analyze each crime in the Afterword.

She has long had a fascination with crime and the criminal mind, looking at the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’.


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Connect with Kathryn McMaster


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Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Seeds Of Nightmares by Tony Tremblay ~ 2016


The Seeds Of Nightmares did not bring the reader into the story,
it brought the story into reality for the reader.







Author: Tony Tremblay
Publisher: Crossroad Press; Macabre Ink First Digital edition (January 9, 2016)
Publication: January 9th, 2016
Pages: 155
ebook
ASIN: B01AEC7FUQ
Language: English
Jacket design: David Dodd
Author photographer: Chris White


"This book was provided by Tony Tremblay in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."


5 Stars

Tony Tremblay
Hope you all dream in color.  What a beautiful ride.  If you are of the unfortunate, The Seeds Of Nightmares will color them for you ~ just as you will feel that excitement you get when you open a brand new box of crayons and smell that ever so familiar smell.

You know folks, sometimes you got to listen to your gut and this collection of nightmares sated that silent sound I heard.

Tony Tremblay's pen told of a debut short-story collection of 13 nightmares that fall hard under the delusional oppression you would not want to have fill your night. Or maybe you do.

I've voiced myself before  - my dreams and nightmares are 'little movies that play through the night' and this collection Tony has, I was glad I had my Good-N-Plenty on hand.  I sure as hell enjoyed these features.

First off, thanks for the individual introductions to your stories Tony.  Your notes prefacing each nightmare are very cool for the Reader to know a little history of where in the world that story came from.  You all have heard - Where in the world does that author get his/her idea's?  Tony thankfully answers.

I have not read Mr. Tremblay's work before and I was amazed at how captivated I was in each tale.  He pulled me in comfortably and then scared the shit out of me.  Quick and silent ... then the damn scream that you hope someone hears. Thanks man, I really needed that.

Each tale was tailored so individually different from one another it is difficult to pick a favorite.  I prefer to mention a favorite character in my reviews, this case - favorite tale, and with a humble concede, cannot.  So, to ratify this for myself, I look and listen to the author's voice.  Seriously folks, I want to listen to this voice again.  If Tony's conveyance to my frights was as quick and silent and ever so neighborly in The Seeds Of Nightmares, I do wonder of his even darker side.

Tony, you are amazing at introducing the characters and the situation their in, their saga, their story; you bring their existence to life and that's the kicker folks - their real.  These characters are actual breathing nightmares with a smell you cannot get rid of for a day or two.  These characters were written as if you had met them somewhere and boy I love that in a read.  Tony, you have a gift to make pages breathe the way they do.  You really do.

I felt their motives were described and detailed so well in short-story form, a reader would understand completely the situation on hand. Or in hand on some occasions during the read.  Grin.

As for the themes and your tone and an over-all, as an everyday reader Tony, this book is probably making a new genre - Gotta-read.  No, I'm serious here.  You don't write to the reader, you talk to them. You scare.  The Seeds Of Nightmares did not bring the reader into the story, it brought the story into reality for the reader.

I'm not going to make a list of all the nightmares and comment on each and there is a variety of themes to choose from, but, here's a few that stuck with me: 

The Strange Saga of Mattie Dyer  -  would love to see this in a mini-series starting on a Sunday night. You won't see the ending coming folks.

"Chiyoung and Dongsun's Song"  -  twisted romance folk tale 

The Soldier's Wife  -  what a twist in this ghost story

Something New  -  captivating.  period. 

The Pawnshop  -  I related to for some strange reason; it reminded me of this recurring nightmare I have although it has nothing to do with the theme. Scratch my ass, scratch my head - crazy.  The way Tony wrote that feeling you get, when your hands are tied, but, but, you just have to wait for the outcome and you hope to God it's not a negative one. 

The Black Dress  -  redemption twice?


Tony Tremblay's writing forced me into trance like states as I read, because hell! I was in the midst of it all.  Loved it.  Loved it.  Loved it.  What an excellent read!

This short review did not render enough praise I feel, but, rest assured -  The Seeds Of Nightmares will not sit for long on your to-read list.  Tony Tremblay will captivate you ever so peacefully then ... well, there are no words when he activates your silent scream.

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I would like to give a shout-out to award-winning John McIlveen for introducing me to Tony Tremblay  ~  Thank you, that was a great ride




I most recommend this read.




Here's where you can get your fingers on The Seeds Of Nightmares:
  •  Amazon ~ Hardback $22.99 ~ Kindle $3.99 ~ Paperback $12.99 ~ USD
  •  Barnes & Noble ~ Hardback $22.99 ~ NOOK $3.99 ~ Paperback $12.99 ~  USD



About the author ~

Tony Tremblay
Tony Tremblay is the writer of numerous short stories that have been published in various horror anthologies, horror magazines, and webzines under his pen name, T T Zuma.

Tremblay has also worked as a reviewer of horror fiction for Cemetery Dance Magazine and Horror World.

In addition to his print work, Tremblay is the host of The Taco Society Presents, a cable T. V. show on G-TV based out of Goffstown, NH ( it can be viewed on YouTube ) that features discussions on horror as well as guest interviews with horror authors.

He lives in New Hampshire with his wife Paula.

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Connect with Tony on


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