Tag Archives: crime thriller

Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean

11822933Review: Please see the note below regarding edition, which is primarily the reason why it took me longer to read and review this book than my average: I had an earlier edition that had many editing errors.

That being said, there was an edge to Shadows of a Dead Star, incorporating mystery and darkness, an eeriness that attracts you but creates a sense of anxiety so that you’re reluctant to look full on: for fear of what you might learn. Mood and tension was great, and main character Walken, was both sympathetic and strong, with understandable vulnerabilities. Very well presented, I thought.

It might be considered strange but in conjunction with everything else, what I liked most about this book was its length, approximately 115 pages. There wasn’t pages and pages of superfluous information, slowing pace and progression. The writing was stylish but not trying to overly impress; instead the author used language that was gripping but not pretentious.  Shean used vivid descriptions and imagery that surprised and satisfied, just enough, never over the top. Very much reminding me of Christopher Hinz’s, Paratwa Trilogy, which had a strange beauty but was undeniably shocking and sometimes brutal, Shadows of a Dead Star was a book I was glad I gave another chance.

Note: This novel was listed as being self-published by Michael Shean, June 2011, then assumingly republished by Curiosity Quills Press, December 2011. After completing my review, as usual, I read through others, a number of which used editing and grammar issues as reason to rate the novel lower. Please take this fact into consideration regarding edition, making sure to get the updated, corrected version.

Description: “Seattle, 2078. The future hasn’t been kind to the spirit of humanity; commercial obsession and technological fetishism rules the day, religion and belief has died screaming in the fires of war, and what remains is moral decrepitude. Life in the future is hard on the soul.

As an agent of the Industrial Security Bureau, Thomas Walken knows that better than anyone. His job is to keep the worst kind of black-market technology out of the hands of citizens, technology born out of the shadowy nation nicknamed Wonderland. But the kind of fantasies that come out of that place aren’t for the good people of the world. Wonderland technology is like black magic made real.

Walken’s newest assignment starts out simply: intercept a smuggled shipment of Princess Dolls, little girls turned into sex toys, and bring them into custody. But when the girls are hijacked from federal custody and Walken gives chase, he finds a trail of bodies in their wake. Before he’s through, Walken will find himself confronted revelations that will answer every question that the troubled lawman has ever had about himself and the world he lives in – but his mind and soul may not survive it.

A dark, brooding piece of future noir, SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR will take you down the rabbit hole on a ride you won’t soon forget.”

  • Published December 1st 2011 by Curiosity Quills Press
  • First published June 21st 2011 by Michael Shean
  • ISBN13: 9781620070000
  • Source: Author

Author Profile

Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in his work as a consequence. At the age of 16, Michael began to experience a chain of vivid nightmares that has continued to this day; it is from these aberrant dreams that he draws inspiration.

In 2001 his grandfather, whom he idolized in many ways, died. The event moved him to leave West Virginia to pursue a career in the tech industry, and he settled in the Washington, DC area as a web designer and graphic artist. As a result his writing was put aside and not revisited until five years later. In 2006 he met his current fiancee, who urged him to pick up his writing once more. Though the process was very frustrating at first, in time the process of polishing and experimentation yielded the core of what would become his first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star. In 2009 the first draft of book was finished, though it would be 2011 until he would be satisfied enough with the book to release it.

His work is extensively character-driven, but also focuses on building engaging worlds in which those characters interact. His influences include H.P. Lovecraft, William Gibson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip K. Dick, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Website: http://michael-shean.com/.

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Filed under Books, Dark Fiction, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction, Writers and Writing

New From Toni Leland: “Double Exposure” a Kovak & Quaid Equestrian Mystery!

You’ll be up late, and in good company, with this exciting new page-turner from Toni Leland!”

  • Title: Double Exposure ~ a Kovak & Quaid equestrian mystery
  • Author: Toni Leland
  • Publisher:  Equine Graphics Publishing Group
  • Genre: Contemporary Mystery, Equine Fiction
  • Length: 300 pages
  • Release Date: October 29, 2012
  • Website: http://www.tonileland.com/p_cur_double.shtml
  • Where to Buy: Amazon

 

Description: A champion show jumper is replaced by a look-alike, but the switch isn’t discovered for months.

Comfortable in the safe world of equine photography, ex-cop Kim Kovak thinks she has finally moved past the terror of a routine patrol that changed her life forever. Then a simple photo shoot catapults her into the middle of a cunning and dangerous ring of horse thieves. Old habits die hard and Kim goes after the truth with a vengeance.

Private investigator Garrett Quaid is determined to expose whoever is organizing a series of thefts where ringers are used and big insurance claims are paid. A quiet loner, Quaid doesn’t welcome the meddling of one pushy photographer who always seems to be one jump ahead of him.

Together, and often at odds, Kovak and Quaid try to out-sleuth each other and, in the process, learn the chilling truth about the crimes.

Author Profile

Toni Leland has written both fiction & non-fiction for over 20 years. She is the author of six equestrian novels, a paranormal romance, two juvenile chapter books, and a young adult novel; some of her short stories have appeared in Arabella Romance Magazine, True Story, Bylines Writer’s Calendar, From the Heart anthologies, and Horse Tales for the Soul.

As a freelancer, Toni writes feature articles for Grit magazine, Over the Back Fence and Ohio magazine, Country Living, and Romance Writers Report (trade publication for RWA) and has written monthly articles for international gardening site, Dave’s Garden. As a spokesman for the Ohio State University Master Gardener program in Muskingum County, Leland produced the monthly newsletter, Connections and wrote a biweekly newspaper column on gardening.

Toni lives and writes in Clinton, Connecticut. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc., Sisters in Crime New England, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association.

Visit Toni at http://www.tonileland.com and follow her writing blog at http://manuscriptmusings.blogspot.com.

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My review of another novel by Leland: “Deadly Heritage

Description: Somebody is stalking horse breeder Kellie Sutton, and the one person who can protect her is the man whose heart she broke 15 years ago. A series of vicious attacks on Kellie s champion Quarter Horses brings devastation to her ranch and former sweetheart Ed Campbell back into her life, only this time as the new local sheriff. Mystery surrounds the wounds inflicted on the animals, then a sharp-eyed veterinarian confirms that someone is out to destroy Kellie and everything she loves.

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