‘Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.’
‘And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.’
THE DINNER GUEST is a multi-perspective narrative written in alternating chapters and timelines as seen through the eyes of Charles Allerton-Jones’—husband to Matthew and Father of fifteen-year-old Titus, and Rachel—a perfect stranger Charles meets at a Bookstore and later the market where Matthew insists on inviting her to his Book Club and upon doing so, their lives.
I wanted to like this book, but…
I couldn’t stand many of the characters (which is the author’s intent) specifically, Charles, a prudish elitist snob who looks down upon Rachel, who he considers one of the lower-class poor, undeserving of being a part of or in the presence of the Upper-class collective.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a book with a deplorable villain and even one that has some redeemable qualities, however, having to be submerged in Charles’ mindset for the majority of the narrative was nauseating, to say the least.
The one aspect of the synopsis that drew me to want to read the book is that it’s a who-done-it, so having characters depicted with potential motives for murder are essential. However, I personally would have preferred to view it from the perspective of an outsider looking in.
Thank you, NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishing UK, for loaning me an eGalley of THE DINNER GUEST in the request of an honest review.
About the Author:
Ann Harth writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Strong, interesting characters creep into most of her books and stories, and many arrive with a sense of humour.
Before becoming a writer, mentor and developmental editor in Far North Queensland, Ann studied psychology, waited tables, bar-tended, picked strawberries, worked as a clown and punched keys on various tills. She also spent ten years working with children with special needs. Ann taught writing for the Australian College of Journalism for eight years before taking the leap into freelance work.
Ann has had a number of fiction and non-fiction children’s books published in Australia and the UK and over 120 short stories sold internationally.
After five years (2015-2020) she has stepped down from her position as Far North Queensland representative for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators as Bernice is eager to dive into another book.
When not tapping the keys, Ann stuffs a notebook into her pack and searches for remote places to camp, hike or explore.
Bernice Peppercorn was not a morning person, her little brother Jake, on the other hand, was. Ugh!
Breakfast was often bickering on toast, that is until Mum read in that day’s morning newspaper that local celebrity Crystal Bell’s mansion was broken into the night before.
‘It looks like family members will be dealing with the authorities because Ms. Bell is shooting a film in India.’
Bernice and her best friend Maggie want to be just like Crystal Bell who is calm, cool, smart, knows karate, can get out of any situation, solve mysteries, and outwit any bad guy who tries to mess with her.
The next day, armed with her Crystal Bell secret spy watch, notebook, and Crystal Bell pencil, Bernice must dive into detective mode alone (Maggie is stuck at home with Chickenpox) and stumbles across some vital clues. Oh, what imagination and adventure she has!
Age Range: 9 to 12
Genre: Children’s Action And Adventure
I had a blast reading BERNICE TAKES A PLUNGE, which brought me back to The Stone Age when I was a wee girl, and we had to read Judy Blume’s books on stone tablets. *sigh* #memories
BERNICE TAKES A PLUNGE – A Funny Adventure/Mystery That I Highly Recommend!
‘There’s a good reason we’ve been hired again and again by some of the biggest names in publishing. Our covers stand out from the pack and assist you in selling your book. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, everyone does, and that’s where we come in. Check out some of our designs below and drop us a line if we can help you!’
During his waking hours Mawson Bear thinks about the perfect nap while his friend Scottie Bear daydreams about being a brave King or a great guitarist, Professors Caddy and Bree Bear have high hopes for their new inventions, and Samantha sees wondrous things all around her.
You too can join The Seekers journey to the edge of the world, as long as you return by bedtime. 😉
Take It Back is a harrowing and twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.
Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.
When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.But Zara does—and she is determined to fight for Jodie—to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.
‘Take It Back is an intense courtroom thriller that had this reader riding an emotional rollercoaster until the very end. Highly Recommend!‘
— ~D.K. Hundt
~More Praise For Take It Back~
“Riveting, thought-provoking legal thriller… Abdullah is definitely a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Abdullah has done an exemplary job of character development and is especially good at ratcheting up suspense as the trial proceeds.” – Booklist, starred review
“A thought-provoking and sparklingly intelligent novel, with the welcome bonus of an unguessable ending.” —The Telegraph
KIA ABDULLAH is an author and travel writer. She has contributed to The Guardian, BBC, Channel 4 News, and The New York Times. Kia currently travels the world as one half of the travel blog Atlas & Boots, which receives over 200,000 views per month.
She watched her reflection in the empty glass bottle as the truth crept in with the wine in her veins. It curled around her stomach and squeezed tight, whispering words that paused before they stung, like a paper cut cutting deep: colorless at first and then vibrant with blood. You are such a fucking cliché, it whispered—an accusation, a statement, a fact. The words stung because Zara Kaleel’s self-image was built on the singular belief that she was different. She was different from the two tribes of women that haunted her youth. She was not a docile housewife, fingers yellowed by turmeric like the quiet heroines of the second-gen literature she hated so much. Nor was she a rebel, using her sexuality to subvert her culture. And yet here she was, lying in freshly stained sheets, skin gleaming with sweat and regret.
Luka’s post-coital pillow talk echoed in her ear: It’s always the religious ones. She smiled a mirthless smile. The alcohol, the pills, the unholy foreskin—it was all so fucking predictable. Was it even rebellious anymore? Isn’t this what middle-class Muslim kids did on weekends?
Luka’s footsteps in the hall jarred her thoughts. She shook out her long dark hair, parted her lips, and threw aside the sheets, secure in the knowledge that it would drive him wild. Women like Zara were never meant to be virgins. It’s little wonder her youth was shrouded in hijab.
He walked in, a climber’s body naked from the waist up, his dirty blond hair lightly tracing a line down his chest. Zara blinked languidly, inviting his touch. He leaned forward and kissed the delicate hollow of her neck, his week-old stubble marking tiny white lines in her skin. A sense of happiness, svelte and ribbon-like, pattered against her chest, searching for a way inside. She fought the sensation as she lay in his arms, her legs wrapped with his like twine.
“You are something else,” he said, his light Colorado drawl softer than usual. “You’re going to get me into a lot of trouble.”
He was right. She’d probably break his heart, but what did he expect screwing a Muslim girl? She slipped from his embrace and wordlessly reached for her phone, the latest of small but frequent reminders that they could not be more than what they were. She swiped through her phone and read a new message: “Can you call when you get a sec?” She re-read the message, then deleted it. Her family, like most, was best loved from afar.Read More
When a serial killer pulls Dale and Jessica into his world of torture and murder, they are left fighting to escape the clutches of a sadistic cult leader.
Dale simply wanted to rebound from a failed relationship. Now, he is fighting to escape abduction.
Jessica’s curiosity led her onto the dark web where she found The Silent Red Room Show. She admired the show from afar…until she found herself sucked in.
Will these perfect strangers survive the dark web? Or will they become a part of a vicious serial killer’s deadly collection?
‘Most people are unaware of what lurks on the other side of Google or Yahoo. […]There’s a huge space, the deep web, that’s full of cyber trash and noise. Nothingness, really. Then there is the other side. The darknet.
‘What was it going to be? A hatchet to the knee? A butcher knife to the lips? Would they make him remove that blindfold? Did they want the poor bastard to see the artist at work? Envy coursed through her veins. If only she were there. Watching. Learning. Partaking.‘
All I can say, with a sinister grin on my crimson lips, is ‘Welcome To The Dark Side—of the internet, that is. K.T. Rose has no trouble pulling this reader into the tangled web she weaves, kicking, and screaming will be had, though, not by me.
As the reader, you will soon get acquainted with two of the main characters; Dale—broken-hearted—is introduced to the world of online dating by his well-meaning sister, Diane. Then we have the impressionable fifteen-year-old, Jessica, who’s allured by the dark web and the macabre within.
Don’t be fooled into thinking there is nothing but gore filling the one-hundred and twenty-nine pages. Rose created characters I care about, each given enough back story that paints a picture of who they are for the reader, as in life, flaws, and all.
Will they survive?
You will have to read the book and discover that for yourself. 😉
NETTED: THE BEGINNING – Highly Recommend!
K.T. Rose is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog at kyrobooks.com and is the author of a suspenseful short story series titled Trinity of Horror, an erotic thriller novel titled When We Swing, and A Dark Web Horror Series. She also writes supernatural and paranormal horror novels and short stories.
Newlywed Will Battese finds himself homesick and overwhelmed after following his ambitious wife, Shannon, to New York City. When a surprise pregnancy shreds their already meager budget, Will drops out of college and settles for work at a low-end diner. There, a small act of kindness draws the attention of Victor Degas, a man with an unsettling presence and deformed eyes. Unbeknownst to Will, Degas belongs to an ancient, sophisticated cult known as the Edens and believes Will to be the key to gaining otherworldly power. As the sun sets on Good Friday, Degas orchestrates a home invasion in which Will and his baby boy, Gideon, are kidnapped, leaving Shannon to join forces with an unreliable agent from the Roman Catholic Church. While Will struggles to save other innocents from the Eden parish below the city, Shannon discovers that the cult plans to use her family for an unimaginable demonic ritual, and that the Vatican may let it happen. With no one to trust but themselves, Shannon and Will must fight not only to survive, but to keep their humanity intact. THE CULT OF EDEN is the first volume in The Unrisen saga.
Bill Halpin was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, where he grew up on the horror genre. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Bill moved on to New York City and earned a degree in Optometry from SUNY. Now, he lives and practices in Saratoga Springs, NY and writes in between his appointments. The Cult of Eden is his debut novel.
A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times—but from his life in the late 1800s. After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century.
Okay, I’m going to be honest with you and say that my hackles were up as soon I read the opening scene.
PICTURE IT…SICILY, 1922. Just kidding, but seriously…PICTURE IT, Alaska, 2020…
Two of the main characters are out in the Alaskan wilderness rifle hunting for Caribou when they shoot and kill three Caribou for food…
They lift two Caribou into the truck and plan on leaving the third there because there’s not enough room–THIS is the moment I throw a flag on the play, my coffee goes flying, and blurt out (scaring the crap out of my cat by the way). ‘Why didn’t you do a field dressing?!?’ ‘You could have fit all three in the back of the truck!’
Don’t worry, no coffee went flying and no hackles were raised at any time when reading THE ANCESTOR 😉
My Dad used to be a Hunters Safety instructor, so I’m guessing it was his voice in my head at that moment.
Seriously though, I really enjoyed reading THE ANCESTOR, which I just finished about three this morning. There are some cringeworthy, absolutely heartbreaking, and surprising moments in this book, and I’m not going to spoil any of them for you.
I will say, as the reader, at times, it’s easy to empathize with Wyatt throughout the book, that is–up to a point.
THE ANCESTOR – Recommend!
‘[A]s I’ve learned from life, happiness sometimes only greets us in fits and starts. For tragedy often follows merriment. Without strife, we would not know the true meaning of gaiety. That’s what I like to tell myself to ease the pain.’
~About Lee Matthew Goldberg~
Lee is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of- the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests.
After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.
Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.
~Click Here To Follow Saturday Morning Scenarios Kickstarter Project – The Fearing Blood And Brimstone~
John F.D. Taff is a Bram Stoker Award short-listed dark fiction author with more than 25 years experience, and more than 100 short stories and seven novels in print.
Follow John F.D. Taff on:
Twitter – @johnfdtaff
Website – johnfdtaff.com
The Fearing: Blood & Brimstone by John F.D. Taff
Learn the story behind the emergence of Tim Jacoby & his army. Coming Sept 15th 2020
~Click Here To Follow Saturday Morning Scenarios Kickstarter Project – The Fearing Blood And Brimstone~
Follow Matthew Corley On Twitter – @matthewdcorley
Blurb: John Richter’s Disturbing Works Volume II
Another compendium of delightfully macabre stories by Jon Richter, author of Deadly Burial and Never Rest. Jon’s first short fiction collection was described as ‘Black Mirror meets Tales Of The Unexpected’, and here he brings you another chilling assortment of twisted tales encompassing killer creatures, terrifying technology, and scientific experiments gone horribly wrong… These dark fables are perfect for anyone who likes their reads short, shocking, and laced with a dash of black humour.
Jon Richter writes dark fiction (Yesssss!), including his two gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial and Never Rest, (adding to my to-be-read list) and his two collections of short horror fiction Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works volumes one and two – volume two – featured in this review.
You know, that thrill you get when you are first introduced to a writer’s work that you have never read before, that ‘Where have you been my whole life!?!?’, feeling.
Okay. Not that dramatic, but you get my point.
Jon Richter is one of many authors over the years whose writing has pulled me into a narrative by way of a tentacle or two, or in the case of my favorite author, a tentacle and the razor-sharp teeth of an evil clown known to the kiddies of Derry, Maine as Pennywise. Yep, I’m definitely okay with that!
‘You’re demented!’ you say. Nah, just a Horror Fan since I was ah kiddie.
I won’t touch on all ten short horror stories in this collection, but I will highlight many favorites:
Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works Volume Two opens with ‘The Pit’ – About a disused quarry that quickly overflows with garbage when sanitation workers go on strike, and the surrounding neighborhood becomes, well…
‘The streets were choked with rubbish, including a reeking mound right outside his own house. […] And it really was the flies that were the worst part… despite closing every window, blocking every crack, they somehow found a way into your home. They buzzed around, bloated and content, jubilant in their dominion.
‘Then they bit you.’
‘The Truth’ – without revealing spoilers, I can tell you this short centers around a husband, his pregnant wife, and his fathers’ secrets…
‘There were many words to describe the day that loomed before me, words like ‘bizarre’, ‘disturbing’, ‘addictive’. But nothing remotely ‘lovely’ awaited me, in the dark cellar beneath my father’s house.’
‘Polaris’ – Is set in Canada, centered around two abandoned zinc mines know as Polaris A and B and a small group who are tasked with finding what lurks within…
‘She gestured to the pack at her feet, from which the barrel of a .375 Holland & Holland Magnum rifle protruded menacingly […] What did we need protection from? Establishing the answer to that question was the reason the four of us were out here.’
‘Source’ – Another short of creepy goodness (Loved It!) that I won’t spoil for you, I will, however, leave you with this…Your in bed, your wife who was sleeping next to you is no longer by your side when you hear a crash down stairs…
‘I dashed towards her, grabbing her, yanking her head away from the freezing rain that had already lashed her face, making the blood run in rivulets from the cuts […] I will never forget her expression, as she turned to look at me with a scalding mix of rage and hatred in her eyes.‘
‘“He wants it…” she was shrieking, without forming the consonants properly, almost as though she was drugged. “He wants it back!”’
‘Monolith’ – Aka, the Domino, is the latest addition to London’s skyline and home to a pharmaceutical giant, which is…
‘“We have to assume the worst here,” she barked at her five male subordinates as they traveled towards the scene. “There could be a terrorist incident, with active hostiles. Maybe multiple hostages. Going dark for this long means…’
Nope, no spoilers; you will just have to read the book and find out. 😉
‘Leviathan’ – Loved it! This short story is set in July of 1936, narrated by a young journalist, or more specifically penned in a journal by his hand, an account of his nautical adventure aboard the Leviathan …
‘Today I received a most unusual assignment from my employers at the Patriot. I will confess to a not insubstantial measure of trepidation, but, for an aspiring young journalist, such opportunities as this are rare, and demand to be grasped.’
‘Urbex’ – I had never heard of the word ‘Urbex’ before reading this short – and honestly – it sounded kind of fun after learning what it was, that is, before reading this story…
‘Exciting, frightening, dangerous, clandestine. Soaking in that mood was what urban exploration was all about. That was why Callum preferred the darkness.’[…]There was something about mortality, too. Watching the rot and the weeds slowly reclaiming these buildings felt like documenting the inevitability of death…’
‘Endurance’ – The race is called the Wheezing 100, the ultra-marathon, an event that is known as the ‘best-kept secret.’ There is no marketing, no fundraising, no banners or sponsors. Just a few local volunteers, a Vietnam war veteran, and his hellish brainchild.
‘”I’m not looking for show-offs, or sightseers, or god damn Instagrammers,” he’d said. “I’m looking for people who want to test the absolute limit of what they can accomplish.”’
‘Interface’ – Loved it – Sooooo Good!!
‘Whatever had caused that initial, feverish surge of bloodlust – replaced now by this ominous docility or, in the case of most of the creatures, mysterious absence – seemed able to discern between those affected and those immune to its horrifying effects.’
I want to thank Blackthorn Book Tours and author Jon Richter for letting me take part in promoting a book I had such a pleasure reading.
If you like Dark Horror Fiction as I do, then I highly recommend Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works Volume Two!
Jon Richter writes dark fiction, including his two gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial and Never Rest, and his two collections of short horror fiction, volumes one and two of Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works.
Jon lives in Elephant & Castle and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story. He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you more macabre tales in the very near future, including his upcoming cyberpunk noir thriller, London 2039: Auxiliary. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the greatest works of dark fiction, available wherever you get your podcast fix.
If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites.
His website haunts the internet at www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.