Dale T Phillips - Writer

 

Reviews

 





Here's what others are saying about these books.

See what you think- if you like what you read, add a review to any of these sites:
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---A Supernatural Horror Thriller---

Shadow of the Wendigo

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---The Zack Taylor Mystery Series---

A Shadow on the Wall

A Fall From Grace

A Memory of Grief

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---Story Collections---

Crooked Paths

Strange Tales

Apocalypse Tango

Halls of Horror

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Shadow of the Wendigo

From T. M. Simmons (Amazon) 5-STAR!!!:

Phillips is a new author to me, and I'll look forward to reading more of his books. I love books where I can be right there in the middle of the story and forget I'm even reading. This book did that for me. I probably shouldn't have read it before I went to bed, but that's when I usually get time to read. Ended up with a couple scary dreams, but good books do follow me into my dreams. Recommend reading without hesitation.

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From R. King (Amazon) 5-STAR!!!:

If you love folklore with a wee bit of the macabre, this one is for you. I was kept guessing until the very end. The author has a gift for weaving a tale and pulling the reader along. I felt like I was sitting around a campfire listening to a seasoned storyteller. The characters are well developed. My only negative was I wish the story was longer (but really, the ending was perfect)!

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A Shadow on the Wall

From Carol Langstroth, Mind Fog Reviews:

Dale T. Phillips' “A Shadow on the Wall” is a unique action story that is part of the Zack Taylor Series. Zack is trying to put down roots and build himself a life after he had found out who killed his friend. However, the killer has been released and Zack finds himself in another dangerous situation where he doesn't know if it is part of his past or some new trouble that he has stumbled into.

It took me until roughly the middle and towards the ending of the story to start to figure out the plot twist, making this a great cliffhanger. For those that love cliffhangers, this action-packed story is right up your alley. The only thing that I would have loved to have seen in “A Shadow on the Wall” was a little more background on the other stories, so that you didn't feel left out when Zack’s past was mentioned.

You won't have to read 5 chapters to get into the action, unlike other series I have read. Men will love “A Shadow on the Wall,” because it is a true action novel with very little romance. All in all, this is an action-packed part of the Zack Taylor series, and it will intrigue you into reading the entire series.

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By Janice, (Amazon):

A great summer read. A flawed character trying to find his way -- generally on the right side of the law. Zack has his own sense of right and wrong, but you'll find yourself rooting for him, even when you disagree with his methods. Short chapters allow for stopping points, but you probably won't stop very often. If you haven't read the previous two books in the Zack Taylor series ("A Memory of Grief" and "A Fall From Grace"), you'll be looking them up.

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A Memory of Grief

By Buckiboa (Amazon, 5-Star):

A real page turner with likeable characters and a fast paced story line. Mr. Phillips holds your attention and keeps you reading as quickly as you can. I love the mixture of martial arts and mystery. I will definitely read more of his Zack Taylor books.

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From Debbi Mack (Amazon):

Zachary Taylor (yes, just like the president) is an ex-con living in Miami. The novel A MEMORY OF GRIEF opens with Zack sitting in a bar after a fight, not feeling so hot, even though he won. Zack has demons. He's an angry man. He's haunted by his brother's death, which he feels is his fault. He's spent his life drifting aimlessly.

Now he's sitting in a bar, feeling like hell. Then something happens. Something has to happen, right? :) A kid gives him a letter from his best friend Ben's ex-wife, which says that Ben, his best friend in the world, has committed suicide. Shot himself in the head.

Zack ain't buying this for a New York minute. Even though he's in Miami. And he has to go to Maine to prove otherwise. And visit the Carolinas on the way.

The letter moves Zack into action. He takes what's known as "the hero's journey."

Zack is convinced someone killed his friend and his mission is to find out who did it and avenge his friend's death. To do this, he must go up to Maine, where his friend lived.

The trip to Carolina is to see the friend's ex-wife and see just WTF is up with her, anyway. Turns out, she's living in an abusive relationship with a redneck so-and-so, or words to that effect. He ends up being sympathetic to her plight and swears that when he figures out what really happened to Ben, he's going to come back and help her out.

So, now he has TWO missions! In two different parts of the eastern seaboard. Is this guy a saint or what?

Well, he is a drifter, so ... Carolina to Maine and back. No biggie, right? :)

When Zack gets to Maine, he gets right to work. Thing is, everywhere he goes, people basically tell him to go pound sand. Or words to that effect.

This gets a bit frustrating for Zack. And could stall the plot, if it were left in less capable hands. Fortunately, as I've previously mentioned, Zack's a fighter. And despite his best efforts to avoid it, he ends up fighting one particular alleged kung fu master who isn't quite as invincible as he or his groupies think he is. The fight scenes in this book are written with a level of detail that feel almost like the slow motion scenes from a Sam Peckinpah movie, without the bullets and the blood. Although that part will come later. During the big climax. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

There are also great scenes depicted between Zack and the local cops. Two cops, of course. Good cop, bad cop. The usual duo, but without relying on cliches or copying another author's style. Dale T Phillips has a distinctive voice, no question. And it's distinctively hardboiled, suspenseful and action packed.

Zack runs across a number of potential suspects. People who won't cooperate with him and insist upon fighting him to varying degrees. This is especially true in one place, in particular, which I won't reveal for risk of spoilers.

But not everyone is unfriendly to Zack for he finds possible love in the form of Allison, a nurse at the local hospital, a place where he seems to end up after his frequent encounters with people who'd rather he go away. For Zack is basically a really nice guy, who'd rather not fight, but keeps getting resistance wherever he tries to find out what happened to Ben. For a fighter, he's got a sense of humor, and he even quotes Coleridge at one point. So, he's not exactly you're run of the mill action-adventure hero.

Phillips writes with well-crafted prose that paints a vivid picture of small town Maine, as well as the natural beauty of its forests and coastline.

And just so you know, the book is also realistic about the waiting. In order to learn the truth, Zack must patiently conduct surveillance day-after-day. However, if the routine of hiding in the bushes and peering through binoculars takes on a repetitious quality, it also creates a great deal of suspense. You know something will happen. It's just a matter of what it will be, when it will take place and how it will turn out for Zack.

And when Zack gets the payoff from those days of surveillance, there's this awesome "Aha!" moment. Even so, questions remain. Will anger get the best of Zack? Will he ultimately prevail? Will he get the girl? How will the big, bloody Sam Peckinpah climax turn out? And what about that gal in the Carolinas?

There's only one way to know. Read the novel. Which I highly recommend you do.

I look forward to reading more books by Dale Phillips.

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By Don Kidwell (Amazon, 5-Star):

I really enjoyed this book! A man with bodyguard/security job experience learns his best friend committed suicide but knows in his heart it had to have been murder and goes to great lengths to prove otherwise. Lots of deep, meaningful passages in the first half including "For some of us, the tortures of destroying yourself by continually drinking to blackout are nothing compared to the nightmares we carry around in our heads." ,"If we had all the time in the world, we would never value anything. That our lives were all temporary was what made everything so precious" and "Love would have to wait for vengeance." Book takes a turn halfway thru focusing pretty much strictly on action alone which is more like your standard hard-boiled P.I. book and then carries on to a satisfying conclusion that has me looking forward to more of the "Zack Taylor" series. I'll have to add this one to my favorites!

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By Shelleyrae (Australia) (Amazon):

A Memory of Grief features Zack Taylor, a man who has drifted through life in a haze of self recrimination and grief until his best friend, Ben, dies and Zack refuses to accept it was a suicide. Determined to find the truth, Zack travels to Maine and begins his own investigation into the circumstances of Ben's death stepping clumsily on the toes of the local police force, a martial arts expert, a gang of bikies and a drug dealing operation.

A hardboiled mystery with a noir-ish edge, there is plenty of action but Phillips also explores deeper themes like guilt and redemption and there is a touch of romance and even humour amongst the gritty realism of violence. The story gets off to a bit of a slow start, as Phillips establishes his characters and circumstances, but soon picks up the pace building suspense as Zack hunts for the truth.
Zack is an interesting protagonist, his life has mostly been a morass of alcohol, violence and questionable associations. It is Ben's tragic death that finally provides him with purpose and Zack attacks his investigation with the aggressiveness that has long been part of his life. Despite Zack's rough edges he is a likeable guy who sincerely wants to do the right thing by his friend. I liked his persistence even though his choices were largely unwise and avidly cheered him on as he meted out punishment to the guilty.

Memory of Grief is an exciting and strong series debut by Dale Phillips whose writing experience shows in his well crafted prose. I enjoyed being introduced to Zack and look forward to A Fall Of Grace due out in the next few weeks.

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Author Meeting Place:

Zack Taylor, the main character in this novel, is a good guy that is carrying some baggage and he's a bit rough around the edges. I couldn't help but like him. He wants to prove that his best friend didn't commit suicide--that he was murdered--and he goes about solving the crime and finding justice. He doesn't tend to go by the rules, either. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is well-written and engaging. And I am happy to know that this is the beginning of a series of books with Zack Taylor as the main character. Kudos to the author, Dale Phillips, and to Briona Glen Publishing.

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By Anastasia Cassella-Young, Mind Fog Reviews:

“A Memory of Grief” by Dale Phillips there is a line that I first questioned “Taylor is a loner who makes friends easily…” which I thought was odd. When you read this novel you then understand it. It is a fast paced conversation packed novel. The eastern seaboard is well travelled within this novel and Dale shares his novel with descriptions that are bountiful in nature. Therein lies a recognizable theme and plot. The settings are described with enough detail to provide a mental picture. The setting of the eastern seaboard and Maine are essential to Dale’s storyline. It is very clear who the protagonist and antagonist are here. The dialogue is easy to read and flows well within this story. It is grammatically correct with accurate punctuation as well. There are no conflicts within that need to be resolved. There is a climax to this story as well. Dale Phillips point of view was consistent and easy to follow. Enjoy this work of fiction based in Maine and around murder and mayhem for the main character Taylor. “A Memory of Grief” has the perfect title and the tale that ensues will keep you on your toes and pinned to your seat as you will not want to put it down. Your imagination will run wild until you get back to it. No way to put this down, for me, because of the fast paced action. Drama, action, conversations and storyline are a delight to read. It is with high hopes that we see another novel by Mr. Phillips.

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By Catherine Dougherty, author (Amazon):

Zack Taylor, the main character in this novel, is a good guy that is carrying some baggage and he's a bit rough around the edges. I couldn't help but like him. He wants to prove that his best friend didn't commit suicide--that he was murdered--and he goes about solving the crime and finding justice. He doesn't tend to go by the rules, either. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is well-written and engaging. And I am happy to know that this is the beginning of a series of books with Zack Taylor as the main character. Kudos to the author, Dale Phillips, and to Briona Glen Publishing.

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By Indie Bookworm:

Don't let the very long preamble to A Memory of Grief by Dale Phillips put you off this book. The legal stuff, testimonials, dedication, acknowledgements and an author's forward all have to be read before you get to the novel: and I must confess I almost gave up. I prefer novels that start straightaway with a minimum of distractions. So when I arrived at the novel I wasn't in the best frame of mind for reading it and I almost stopped.

But I'm glad I didn't.

It was Maureen who made me change my mind. She is the ex-wife of Ben who is the best friend of Zack or rather was the best friend of Zack because Ben is dead. Maureen is pitiful: abused, down-trodden, working all hours God sends to keep her current boyfriend in a good mood. She sends Zack a letter about Ben's death which starts off a train of events that take you with Zack on a determined journey to find out the truth of Ben's death.

Zack is tough and uncompromising and nothing is going to stop him getting to the truth -or is it?

I'm not going to give away anymore of the plot except to say that I thought this plot was very well executed and I kept turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. The construction of the novel is complicated but everything stacks up and author Dale Phillips has done a good job in writing a convincing tale with some unusual twists.

The protagonist is Zack Taylor and he is a fully rounded character and as well as his tough exterior you get to know his more sensitive side too. The supporting cast are well drawn and in addition to Maureen there's a host of additional players from a variety of backgrounds including some seriously unpleasant characters that you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night in November.

I thought a great strength of the novel was its dialogue: it's sharp and real and provides much of the forward drive of the story. There are some scenes of violence in the book but not gratuitous. In fact some of the details of the fight scenes are quite fascinating and I guess that the author either engages in some form of "karate" sports or has done a lot of research. When characters get hurt they bleed although Zack demonstrates almost super-human powers of recovery.

The book is priced quite highly at £3.12p and there is something odd with the lay-out of the dialogue in places which is indented for no apparent reason. This doesn't spoil the story in any way but it takes a bit of getting used to.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Memory of Grief and I liked Zack Taylor sufficiently to want to read the sequel too. You get the first chapter of the sequel, A Fall from Grace, at the end of the book and it looks as though it will be a good read as well.

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By Amy Bernard, (Amazon):

Great story! I enjoyed it so much I had to get the second in the series! Now I am looking for book number three! The teaser at the end of book two, "A fall From Grace" was deviously wonderful. "A Memory of Grief" was a great read. Taylor is not the dashing hero, he feels real.

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By Mick (Amazon):

Zack Taylor is an interesting guy - he doesn't carry a gun, smoke, do drugs or drink (anymore). His way of preparing for battle is stretching and he is not full of self-assurance like Sherlock Holmes.

Mr. Phillips characters are real and honest, they talk the way we do (or at least the way folks in Maine and the Carolinas do). As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle painted a picture of dark and foggy London Dale brings us to raw and rainy Maine.

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By DavidPdF, (Amazon):

This was a great mystery, a real page turner. I couldn't put it down. I am looking forward to the next book.

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By Lauren, (Amazon):

I really enjoyed Dale Phillips' debut novel. Zack Taylor is a true hero - brave and compassionate, but not perfect, which is what makes his character so believable. I am looking forward to reading more Zack Taylor stories!

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Anonymous- IT'S A GOOD ONE!! (Barnes and Noble)

I really enjoyed Dale Phillips' debut novel. Zack Taylor is a true hero - brave and compassionate, but not perfect, which is what makes his character so believable. I am looking forward to reading more Zack Taylor stories!

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Anonymous- An excellent work (Barnes and Noble):

I read this book expecting nothing. However, Phillips creates a good story line and keeps it a page turner. Good read!

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Rhonda King (Smashwords):

A fun summer read. Very enjoyable.

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Michele (Goodreads):

This is an interesting story about a man willing to put his life on the line to clear his best friend's name. The beginning of the book takes a while to get into, but once a couple of leads fall into Zack's lap then the story starts to pick up. By the end of the book I was much more invested in Zack's storyline than I thought I would be. If you are looking for an interesting take on a revenge story, and want to support a local author, I recommend this book :)

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Beth (Goodreads):

More in-depth review to come but my first impressions: A little slow at the beginning with a bit of awkwardly expository dialogue, but picked up by page 50 and rolled forward nicely from there. Very solid debut novel. Gritty and down to earth. Looking forward to reading more.

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A Fall From Grace

From Beeshon on Author Meeting Place:

This was a very enjoyable mystery novel by Dale Philips.

Zack Taylor is enlisted by his girlfriend, Allison, to help her cousin, Bonnie, who has been wrongly accused of murdering her boss. It would seem, however, that she has been made a scapegoat. There are plenty of potential suspects from the list of family members and business associates, all with compelling motives, but the police seem hell-bent on looking the other way and opting for the easy way out: Bonnie had motive enough and that was that.

Zack gets the bit between his teeth - he knows injustice when he sees it and does his utmost to clear Bonnie's name; the minefield of corruption, greed, infidelity, revenge, fraud, selfishness, and sex that he uncovers leaves no doubt at all that she is completely innocent.

This is the second book in the Zack Taylor series - I have not read the first yet - but I was instantly smitten. I was drawn into the action instantly and Zack is easily likeable, if not somewhat captivating - he is loyal, compassionate, determined and focused. His investigations result in considerably more than a black eye on more than one occasion, but he remains undeterred - sadly at some personal and emotional cost.

This was a well-written mystery, well-paced and well-constructed. The baddies ranged from unscrupulous to abhorrently violent - an excellent contrast to those who are and become close to Zack.

I finished the book with mixed feelings. I was sad to not be able to turn another page with Zack on it, but consoled by the fact that I will bump into him again in Book One, A Memory of Grief, and Book Three, A Shadow on the Wall.

Highly recommended.

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By Lauren, (Amazon):

I found this second novel in the series to be as engaging as the first. I read it from cover to cover - I could not put it down! I am anxious for the 3rd installment in the Zack Taylor series.

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By Catherine Dougherty, author (Amazon):

Zack is back! This is the sequel to Dale Phillips first novel A MEMORY OF GRIEF. I enjoyed this book as much as the first one. It was engaging right from the start and leaves the reader anxious to read the next Zack Taylor mystery. I highly recommend both of Dale Phillips mystery novels.

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By Amy Bernard, (Amazon):

This story managed to keep me guessing! Taylor is great! The story was written well and I can't wait to get "A Shadow on the Wall" Keep up the good work!

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Crooked Paths

From Christopher P. Obert (Amazon):

This is a book of five short stories. Each story is a stand alone tale, relaying the darker side of human nature. The stories are thought provoking with a touch of noir. It is a great book to bring on a trip or to read while sitting on the porch on a hot summer day. It is a quick read only being 48 pages long. I would be interested in reading more stories by Dale T Phillips.

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Strange Tales

From Stewart Bint - Author of The Jigsaw and the Fan (Smashwords):

Definitely worth a look. My favourite was The Cats of Athens, but I was intrigued by The Great Snipe Hunt, which I can only describe as experimental literature. All five stories held my attention right from the first sentence through to the final word.
The book is a nice mix of stories each angled around reality just being a fraction off-key, which is enough to unsettle the key character in each case.

From Vlad Vaslyn - Author of Brachman's Underworld (Amazon):

If you're looking to dive into something off-beat and bizarre, then Strange Tales by Dale T. Phillips might be for you. The five tales in this book are guaranteed to take you to places you've never been.

Phillips begins with Roadside Attraction, the tale of a man named Guy in the midst of fleeing his past. Guy is driving across the country with no destination in mind - he simply wants to get away - when exhaustion and the need for gasoline force him to stop at a roadside service station. He quickly discovers that he's stepped into another reality, and that he's about to be presented with a choice.

The Snipe Hunt is an unexpected, lyrical jolt into the childhood mind of yesteryear where anything is possible, and the powers of belief manifest themselves in unexpected ways. Phillips displays his skill with language here, using plays on words and a fun voice that made me smile. It provides an oasis of sorts in a work that certainly has its share of shadows.

The Tree of Sorrows is a bit of a moral tale about a man standing on the Golden Gate Bridge and contemplating suicide. When a stranger emerges from the fog and offers him a deal, he's inclined to take it. There's a price of course, but what does he have to lose?

Phillips blends science fiction and mythology in The Cats of Athens. Jim has expected more culture and less modernism in Greece, so he ventures into old neighborhoods that echo of the past. When he rescues a cat from a gang of street kids intent on killing it, a seemingly minor event, his vacation takes a bizarre turn. The cat isn't what it seems, and it has a tale to tell.

The Watch of the Yellow Eyes begins like a Stephen King novel. A man escaping the loss of his wife moves into a house in coastal Maine with his dog, Marvel. A fall from a nearby cliff and into the Atlantic offers him an easy way out of life, but when he begins to see eyes in the dark, he's forced to reconsider his options.

For me, the defining theme throughout Strange Tales was its flirtation with morality. Phillips does a nice job of bringing up issues that speak to the human condition, while simultaneously walking the line between what constitutes reality and what is only perceived to be reality. Whether its choosing to ignore our nature because it's easier that way (The Cats of Athens), or being careful what you wish for (The Snipe Hunt), or discovering your inner strength in unexpected ways (Roadside Attraction, The Watch of the Yellow Eyes, & The Tree of Sorrows), this book will take you on a journey brimming with unexpected light and looming shadows.

I recommend it!

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Apocalypse Tango

From Vlad Vaslyn - Author of Brachman's Underworld (Amazon):

If you're in the mood to boogie with the apocalypse, then Apocalypse Tango by Dale T. Phillips might be just the thing to get you moving.

Of the five stories in this book, Yesterday and Today is probably the best. A condition called Presenility has swept through the world, and the survivors are left behind to wander the ruins, forced to live in the "now" in order to avoid backsliding into the labyrinths of their memories. It's a superb imagining of what might happen to the world if your own experiences become a danger. It's more than a little creepy, especially for those of us who fear diseases such as Alzheimer's.

God Save the Queen is an entertaining tale that reminds me of the B horror movies I used to love as a kid (and still do). Told through a series of headlines and news clippings, pollution and climate change have forced the sudden evolution of sea life...much to mankind's dismay.

Ruination Beach is a dark, brooding tale about drug-addled survivors trying to numb themselves against the horrors of an unnamed calamity. It's a bit cryptic, but its strong characters and sense of foreboding help it rise to an excellent conclusion. Human nature is alive and well in this one. A close second to Yesterday and Today.

Phillips succeeds in bringing a new aspect to the zombie sub-genre in Night of the Annoying Dead. I applaud the effort! This amusing and very short piece - almost flash fiction - could serve as the basis for a parody movie about the zombie apocalypse. The dead have awakened, but they're not after human flesh. They just want to go back to their old lives. Unfortunately, that's the problem.

Killer Angel is a bit of a moral tale about a mysterious woman from the sky sent to judge mankind. If we pass the test, we are left to our own devices, but if we don't we are destroyed. I have a problem with these sorts of tales, mostly because they often center around some arbitrary and collective judgment from some superpower, whether it be religious, alien etc. If said superpower were to exterminate all of mankind, wouldn't they be worse than, or bad as, any of us? Plus, I think the average human is mostly good, not mostly bad, as tales such as these seem to imply. Still, Killer Angel was executed well and achieved its goal: it made me think. It might not have been my favorite of the collection, but it may be yours. The quality of storytelling is certainly high.

Other story collections often concentrate on one theme - all horror, all sci-fi, all fantasy, etc. - but Apocalypse Tango swells and dips like a roller coaster, and each tale elicits a different emotional response. Overall I really liked this book, and it has the added advantage of being a quick and affordable read.

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Halls of Horror

From April Alexander (Amazon) 5-STAR!!!:

This is the first book by this author I've read and I have to say I will look for more. I really liked the writing style and the detail...and the stories weren't "overdone". I don't believe a review should be a synopsis of the book, so I'm not going to abbreviate what each story is about and rate it. I enjoyed the book immensely and suggest giving it a try for yourself!

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From bonemonkey (Amazon) 5-STAR!!!:

There is a good variety of stories in this collection with each one covering different ground from the last. The themes include madness, revenge, nature, killers, and demons among others. The plots are well thought out and usually keep you guessing up until the last line. Many of the endings are left open with a (not so) subtle hint that there is unspeakable worse to come, while some of the stories have endings that come full circle in a nice neat package and my favourite in the collection was one of those (Rummy) - while peer pressure from offensive work colleges makes the main character uncomfortable, he finds that going against the grain can be a very lonely place to be. It's a story where little is what it seems and is the one that stayed in my mind after finishing the collection. Other stories I liked were "Moose Tracks" - more a bit of fun really with everyone getting their just desserts (mousse desserts, ha!). Also "Body English" - it's not a question of if the main characters fragile world is going to come crashing down, but when. An edgy read which leaves you relieved that it's not you in the situation the main character inevitably finds himself in.
All in all a good collection of well written stories, all taking you somewhere you may not have been before and bringing you home (mostly) undamaged, but thirsty for more.

 

 
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