My Review of Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle by Lynn Gerrard

I don't read a great deal of poetry but I do enjoy Lynn Gerrard's occasional poems on Twitter. 

I noticed this collection was available in Kindle UnLimited so thought I'd try it.
And I'm so glad I did.

The book description says that 

the poems will take you on a trip through the dark and the humorous sides of reality and fantasy alike, which they certainly do.

Some of the poems are funny, 

notably "The Lovers" and "Filth". Some even are hilarious especially "The End".

Many of the poems are dark and thought provoking. 

"Behind Closed Doors," "Old Soul" and "A Dragon and a Gargoyle" stand out. While "The Path of Yesterday," "Going Home" and "The Box" are just plain sad.
Another feature of some of the poems are the quirky twists in the final couple of lines: "Death Bed" and "An Appointment with Death" are good examples.
The rhythms in some of the poems are really musical: for example, "A Monster's Lullaby," "Panic Attack" and "Oh For Those Days".

This anthology is an excellent mix of subjects and styles

 and each poem is beautifully written with a sharp precision in the language.
I've noticed that

Lynn Gerrard has another collection of poems ready for publication on March 3rd.

I'm looking forward to seeing what's in it.
Meanwhile to read Darkness and Decadence: The Grumblings of a Gargoyle just follow this link or (if it functions on your device) use the Previewer below.

Guest Review of The Anniversary by Jonathan Hill

In the Murray household Michael and I rarely read the same books but occasionally our tastes coincide, most notably with the novels of William Boyd. And from time to time we tell each other of a book the other would probably like. One such is "The Anniversary" by Jonathan Hill which I read a few weeks ago. Click here to read my review. 
Michael got up unusually early this morning and some while later handed me this review which I'm delighted to post here today.

Michael Murray's review of The Anniversary by Jonathan Hill

The nihilistic narrator of 'The Anniversary' engages in bizarre shaving rituals and belongs to that cast of unusual and socially challenged outsiders who first made their appearance in Jonathan Hill's wonderful short story collections: Eclectic and Beyond Eclectic. The novella is a page turning psychological thriller that is perfectly plotted and has great forward drive.

The action is permeated with celebrations of Christmas and moves effortlessly back and forth through time, impressing upon us that childhood torments are exacerbated by thwarted Christmas expectations which extend into adulthood. Perhaps that's why so many adults behave so badly at office parties. The office in The Anniversary is a snake pit of suppressed malice that finds its release in alcohol and contrived Christmas bonhomie at the office party from hell. Childhood torments produce tormented individuals and the torments are never more so acute than at Christmas as this beautifully constructed and macabre novella demonstrates so cruelly and unexpectedly.

The anniversary is full of Jonathan Hill's trade mark prose: similes and analogies that make us stop and re-read sentences with admiration and respect for their unexpected appropriateness. For example, the person who initiates the narrator on his first day at the office characterises her individual co-workers with 'ruthlessness masquerading as humour, a sniper picking off each person one by one'. And I have never before been aware that the recovery from a bereavement could be compared to the movements of a stapler until I encountered Jonathan Hill's marvellous analogy.

The first person point of view is pitch perfect and demonstrates a breath-taking technique. Anyone who has ever attempted to write Stream of Consciousness will be aware of the immense technical difficulties involved such as the presentation of time and the integration of the physical actions of people and objects outside the narrator's direct consciousness; not to mention the tortuous grammatical problems occasioned by such an approach. All these technical difficulties have to be solved if the action is to appear seamless and continuous. Jonathan Hill's complete mastery of the technique eradicates any notion that such difficulties might even exist!

The Anniversary provides the delightful experience of an author extending his range. It has echoes of Bret Easton Ellis and Dostoyevsky, if Dostoevsky had a sense of humour. Highly recommended.

Michael and I both enjoyed The Anniversary as a benefit of our Kindle Unlimited subscription and it's available to download from the Amazon Kindle Store if you follow this link or (if it works on your device) there's a Previewer below.

My Review of Dead on Demand by Sean Campbell and Daniel Campbell

This book is the first of the DCI Morton series. I've already read and enjoyed the third: Ten Guilty Men.
See my review here.

The book description for Dead on Demand 

explains that Edwin Murphy is a career oriented person who puts more into his work than he puts into his family. Then life changes for Edwin when his wife files for divorce. He's on the brink of losing his home, his job and his little girl so Edwin comes up with a plan to eliminate his wife and regain his former lifestyle.

The police are baffled 

when bodies begin to appear all over London with no apparent connection between them. Inspector David Morton must think outside the box as he investigates the deadly web of deceit behind the murders.

I really liked the character of DCI Morton 

who is a straight-talking, old-school detective on the verge of early retirement. Morton doesn't want to stop work but his wife and senior colleagues think he's at the end of the road when he is unexpectedly injured. However, Morton is having none of this and more than proves his worth as the novel progresses.

The construction of the plot 

is based in the dark web about which there is sufficient information to create the plot without becoming overly geeky. The complex intricacies of the plotting keeps the reader engaged throughout. Most of the time the audience is one step in front of DCI Morton and in possession of more facts than he is. This provides a whole extra level of involvement and suspense wondering how Morton is going to catch up and get to a satisfactory conclusion.

There are some interesting aspects to the case 

which the authors explore through references to the criminal justice system which seems very authentic and adds to the credibility of the plot. It would be very easy to give something away and spoil the plot so I'll just say that Dead on Demand is a page turning, gripping, detective thriller mystery and well worth reading.

As I acquired Dead on Demand as a free download 

from the Amazon Kindle Store and enjoyed reading it so much, it was extremely good value for money! Cleaver Square is the other DCI Morton novel and it's definitely going on my Waiting To Be Read list.

Click here for Sean Campbell's author page and links to all the DCI Morton novels.