*REVIEW* – The Isle of Sin and Shadows – by Keri Lake

#Gothic #Romance #SouthernGothic #Mystery #Suspense

Blurb

This island alone boasts more ghost stories than all of Louisiana combined.
And I’m one of them.

In the Louisiana swamplands, ghost stories are as much a part of childhood as chasing fireflies and crawfishing. They never much scared me, though, nor the possibility of evil out to do me harm. Until the night I watched shadows come to life and butcher everything I loved.

With a stranger’s help, I managed to escape to an isolated place miles north, and, in time, became my own ghost story. A cautionary tale for the locals.

Nearly a decade passed, before I returned to my birthplace, in hopes of unearthing long-awaited answers. Instead, I found something I wasn’t looking for. Someone. A remedy for my loneliness.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, Thierry Bergeron is no elixir. He’s a deadly poison, cursed by the demons of his past, and feared by those who call him the elusive Rougarou of the bayou. A devious rogue, whose seductive whispers and rough hands haunt my dreams. The big bad wolf that defiles me without apology, or remorse.

I should resist him, but I can’t.

And when the shadows return to stake their claim on me, his darkness is the only safe place to hide.

The Isle of Sin & Shadows is a southern gothic mystery & romance standalone

My Review

Southern Gothic par excellence – 5 dark and sexy stars!

If you fancy a walk on the dark side, The Isle of Sin and Shadows by Keri Lake, a standalone Southern Gothic Romance fits the bill perfectly. This suspenseful and atmospheric read features ghostly goings on, voodoo, crime lords and a slow burn/tension filled romance which set alight my Kindle when the couple finally get it together. I loved it!

The read is a haunting one, being set in and around the Louisiana swamps with its close-knit community and its many secrets and local legends. The stakes are high when Céleste returns to her childhood home in an attempt to face the demons of her past and find out answers, so far denied. She soon finds her path crossing with the notorious Thierry, the owner of a strip club, who is a powerful force in the local community and feared by many. I enjoyed how Thierry is intrigued from the off by Celeste, a young woman who refuses to fear and respect him, and wants to know her secrets. I just loved the battle of words and deeds between them and their relationship is passionate and intense, each scene that takes place between them just crackles with sexual tension.

Both central characters are flawed and we learn about their respective backstories as the plot develops. Thierry is the type of dark anti-hero I adore and on the face of it he is just so wrong for Celeste, on so many levels. He is not looking for any type of relationship other than a quick hook-up. Céleste herself is traumatised by her past and sometimes she is confused by her reality. She is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of her past and I admired her inner strength which tempers her vulnerability. She hides her pain under a tough exterior but has a heart of gold.

Somehow the couple are just perfect together, their relationship developing over the course of the book as they find their paths becoming ever more entwinned. There is such a lot going on in this read as the past and present collide, and I admired how the author pulled it all together whilst creating a powerful romance amidst the hauntingly beautiful and dangerous atmosphere of the swamps. I was gripped from the first page to the very last.

Perfect for fans of Gothic romances.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Website

Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon – HALLOWEEN HORROR!!!

PumpkinSteve Vernon’s ‘Tatterdemon’ is a horror like no other! It is more than appropriate to read at this time of year during the harvest and Halloween season! Highly recommended for adults only due to its violent, gory and horrific theme, Tatterdemon is full of terrifying tales as well as being one complete horrifying nightmare based in the small town of Crossfall. TatterdemonThe town’s people have all been cursed by Thessaly Cross, a witch, 300 years previous and now after a wife-beating husband is killed by his wife he returns from being buried in his field as a zombie scarecrow – the Tatterdemon! Many of the local folk begin to take their personal matters into their own hands and face the ones they feel ridiculed or belittled by. As each person is killed the Tatterdemon is able to have them buried and then begins to raise the dead for more mayhem and to destroy the town of Crossfall for good!

The prologue introduces the reader to Thessaly Cross, a witch who has been condemned by the townsfolk and is being buried alive, after many various methods of trying to kill her has failed. She accuses them of trying to take her land and as she is being buried she ensures that she leaves the people of Crossfall with a curse for their descendants to encounter some 300 years later. We then fast forward to the present where Maddy Harker has had enough of her violent and abusive husband and kills him spontaneously with a frying pan after he comes home late complaining about his dinner or lack of it. Maddy then buries her husband, Vic, in the very same field that Thessaly Cross had been buried in all of those years before. Only for Vic to be raised from the dead as a demon of the witch, the Tatterdemon, a somewhat strange and scary vision of a scarecrow mixed together with mud, straw and of course Vic.

From the very beginning the reader is introduced to the atmosphere of Tatterdemon. It is dark and horrific, tense and terrifying with a great deal of violence and gore. Tatterdemon is certainly not for the young reader or those faint of heart, however it provides a story complete with action and evil depths that provides readers of the horror genre something profound to become gripped with instantaneously. It is a nail-biting and under-the covers type of read and works brilliantly late at night with the lights dimmed! Steve Vernon also shares his sense of humour which really relieves the tension and calms the blood in between the most tense scenes before it begins to boil with adrenalin again for more fear.

One of my favourite aspects of Tatterdemon are the characters. Many of them seem to be going through their own personal ordeals, however they are familiar with each other and as their paths cross their own troubles do too. From the victim of an abusive husband, Maddy, to the grieving husband of a suicide victim (who just so happens to keep his wife’s body in his freezer at home – and that is the Chief of Police for you), you can already begin to imagine what life might be like in Crossfall. From the creepy peeking mailman to the reclusive circus freak living reclusively in a trailer and to many, many more wonderful and weird characters. Tatterdemon in many respects is a fascinating read from the vivid imagination of Steve Vernon. If this genre is for you, Tatterdemon will tick all of the boxes that intrigues you and draws you in to this surreality.

Within each chapter the reader visits the different characters of Crossfall. And even though they have their own story to tell they are not too dissimilar from each other. The chapters themselves are broken down into smaller sections so that the reader can discover which character is doing what. In this way there is no waiting pages or whole chapters to find out what your favourite character is up to. The chapters have been put together cleverly and carefully in this manner. I also found this method to be faster to read and keep up with the story, especially with Vernon’s style of writing that is direct and easy to follow, allowing for plenty of momentum and horror to build up!

To make Tatterdemon the perfect horror story Steve Vernon hasn’t missed a thing from this genre. Tatterdemon holds it all, from witches, ghosts, zombies and killer scarecrows and complete with resurrections, spells and voodoo. There is no shortage of crime with murders and suicides taking place regularly. Yes, Tatterdemon is very disturbing but for all of the right reasons in this fantastic fun and gruesome horror!

Tatterdemon was provided by the author, Steve Vernon, for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

The Kindle version of Tatterdemon is available at Amazon.com for $1.24 and at Amazon.co.uk for 77p! (Prices correct at the time of posting.)

Reviewed by Caroline Barker