Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sleep, Savannah, Sleep - By Alistair Cross


The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace
Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own - and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.

When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.

Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem - and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.

Excerpt - Sleep, Savannah, Sleep

“This is it? Seriously? It’s like we’re moving into Hill House.” In the passenger seat, Brent looked uneasy.

Jason Crandall turned to his son. “It has character.” He looked up at the old Victorian. But he’s right. It’s creepy. Surrounded by mid-century houses, the decrepit Victorian seemed like a flaw on the neighborhood, a stain on something otherwise clean. The cat’s claw vine climbing the walls seemed to shroud the house, as if trying to hide it, the violently yellow blossoms creating a diversion from the faded wood siding - as did the bowers of honeysuckle that accented the yard, draped the veranda, and sweetened the air. Two second-story windows peered out from between the lush vines, looking like the eyes of a hunted beast.

Surrounded on both sides by white split-rail fences coated in spindly climbing roses, the property was spacious, with a small courtyard beyond a wisteria-choked arbor that lead to the back yard. “I don’t know. I think it’s charming.” He offered his son a grin, and shut off the silver Legacy. The annoying squeal - probably a fan belt - went silent and Jason made a mental note to hunt down a local mechanic.

“It’s creepy, Dad. Seriously creepy.” Brent leaned back and assumed his usual air of annoyed indifference.

“But creepy in a cool way, right?” asked Jason.

Brent’s eyes, the color of seawater, looked unimpressed. “Only if you like haunted houses.”

“It’s haunted?” In the back seat, Amber sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Even Ruby, the blond, blue-eyed doll that never left her arms, looked alarmed.

“Of course it isn’t haunted.” Jason shot Brent a warning look. “It’s just old.”

The three of them stared at the house and it seemed to stare right back. All in all, it didn’t appear pleased to meet them.

“Let’s go have a look around.” Jason undid his seatbelt. “After that, you two can help me unload.” A large moving van was a day or two behind them; the small trailer they’d pulled contained only the essentials - and most of Jason’s massage equipment. He knew he was being optimistic about how quickly he could get his studio up and running, but he couldn’t help it. His new business was the entire reason he’d bought the house. It had a basement complete with its own entrance, so Jason could work without having strangers traipsing in and out of the family’s living space. Overall, the old Victorian was pretty ideal, even if it was a little spooky.

Then again, the whole town - or what he’d seen of it so far - was pretty spooky, too. Quaint and quiet, Shadow Springs was a startling contrast to the buzzing pace of Los Angeles. Jason told himself this would be good for him - good for all of them.

Here, just outside of Ojai in Ventura County, they’d begin their new lives, free of bad memories. That was what Jason had told himself a hundred times in the past weeks - it was what he had to believe.


Alistair’s debut novel, The Crimson Corset, was an immediate bestseller, earning praise from such authors as Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series, and vampire-lit veteran, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Alistair also writes with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and together they have released several bestsellers, including Mother, The Cliffhouse Haunting, and The Ghosts of Ravencrest.

To pre-order your copy of Sleep, Savannah, Sleep, and find out more about Alistair's books and his doings on the web, check out the following links!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall

Anchor Leg
By:  Jack Croxall
Publish Date:  January 9, 2017
Published By:  Author
Genre:  Science Fiction, YA, NA, Futuristic
Pages:   194 Kindle Edition
Source:  Jack Croxall

‘I toss my knife out into space. It doesn’t matter, I’ll kill him with my bare hands.’

Humanity has spilled out into the solar system, into a succession of giant space stations known as the Relay. Seren Temples is a security apprentice running the Relay’s Anchor Leg. Her ship forced off course, sensors detect an automated distress signal. The ship responsible for the signal is a zero-G graveyard. Inside its vast hold, nothing but a single vial of frozen blood.

I’m excited to be doing another review for Jack Croxall as I really like the warm human touches in his writing. Anchor Leg is a bit of a departure in that he’s branching into science fiction though he keeps his signature YA/NA focus. (And check out my spotlight review link for 6 Short Stories, one of the author’s earlier books.)

Jack Croxall writes his new novel from the female perspective, Seren Temples’ POV, which I think is unique and tough to do. I really like his take on Seren even though she gets a tiny bit on the androgynous side which probably has more to do with the science fiction/space setting for the book. Even so, the author is sensitive to feminine sensibilities and has put in the research on his heroine’s way of being. There is an LBGT angle and the author handles this very gently and fits Seren’s romance seamlessly into the story. So nicely done and I think will go easy with younger readers. I do feel like this take overall though is currently being kind of pushed through media and sometimes wonder how many authors are picking this up for that reason.

I really feel for Seren who has ‘escaped’ planet earth only to get caught up in a dangerous situation developing around one of the outer planets where her mining spaceship, Charybdis, is traveling through. For a 17-year-old she keeps a very cool head when sudden important responsibilities are thrust upon her, moving her up from apprentice level and things start to go crazy.

Anchor Leg reads a bit like Star Trek mixed in with some Sherlock Holmes sleuthing stuff. Interestingly, the names of the two spaceships, Scylla and Charybdis, are two ancient Greek mythology sea monsters that guarded a narrow sea strait and brave passers would inevitably get caught by one or the other. So too, Seren and security teammates shuttle between the same-named spaceships as time runs out on figuring things out. Good pacing with fast-paced ending keep the reader wanting to turn the pages.

I would have liked to know a little more about the bad situation on earth and maybe some more of that history through Seren as additional background to the story.
YA and NA science fiction readers will whip through Anchor Leg and those who really like relationship feel-y stories in other genres should branch out and give this sci-fi a try. You’ll love it.  4.5 stars!

Check out Jack Croxall at these internet links: