Available Now: Only Human (Act One) by Leigh Holland

Enjoy Dark Fantasy and Paranormal books?

Now available at Amazon at Only Human.  For a limited time- now only .99 cents!

As advertised at Planetebooks! As featured at Shout My Book.

Check out reviews of Only Human at  Only Human at Tome TenderThe Writer’s Scrap Bin. And also at Underrated Reads.
Check it out!
Check out the book trailer at Only Human Book Trailer.
Hardcover and Large Print available at Lulu Books.
The website for the book series is at Only Human Book.



Special Pricing on Audible!

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Predictable Violence by Gillean Campbell

Predictable Violence cover

Predictable Violence by Gillean Campbell, 324 pages, July 24th, 2017, Genre: Psychological Thriller/Mystery.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Predictable Violence weaves two tales together. The two tales are told in alternating chapters. One is the modern day mystery surrounding the murder of three people in their own home. The other is the backstory several years earlier of the main character, Mackenzie “Mack” Anderson. I very much enjoyed the style in which the two stories were presented and how they melded into one. The pacing worked well.

As a young college student, Mack lost her husband and small child in a convenience store shooting. These traumatic events are what shaped her. They’re what drives her to seek justice for those harmed by violence. Now, Mack is a detective, stepping in when murder occurs in a small town where the officers are unaccustomed to how to handle it. Mack is a well-developed character, likable, relatable, particularly if the reader is a wife and mother. I cared about her, what she endured, and what she would have to face. The other characters serve their purpose in the story but aren’t nearly as well-developed.

I’m not sure if it’s simply because I read a lot of mysteries, but I suspected who did it very early on and as the novel progressed, it turned out my suspicions were correct. The story provides several twists and turns to keep the reader interested regardless. There were several proofreading mistakes in the Kindle edition, such as sentences that lacked ending punctuation and a couple of misspelled words.

Overall, it was an entertaining read. Campbell has produced an engaging debut thriller novel.

You can find this book at Predictable Violence.

Book Description:

The plot of Predictable Violence is intelligent and full of twists, with a reveal of whodunit that will shock. If you love gripping detective thrillers with a jaw-dropping ending, this book is a must for you!

Mackenzie Anderson’s husband and two-year old daughter were shot and killed when Mack was only nineteen years old. When the police stopped trying to find the murderer, Mack began working with a private investigator. But, the murderer was a ghost. Mack had no way of knowing then that in a fluke of life she would come face-to-face with the murderer six years later. Now, she must decide if she will risk everything for vengeance.

As a homicide detective with the Idaho State Police, Mack lives her life being a champion for the dead. When she’s called in to lead the investigation of a triple homicide with no physical evidence and a nine-year old witness, the case seems impossible. Who could carry out such brutality? And why?

The debut novel from Gillean Campbell, Predictable Violence, is a new addition to the great police procedural tradition of Robert Bryndza, Robert Dugoni, Patricia Gibney, and Angela Marsons.

About the Author:

Gillean’s mysteries feature strong females, chilling perpetrators, psychological twists, and a little bit of romance.

Even as a small child Gillean was a storyteller. In grade school, classmates would follow her around the school yard as she role played a new story that had come to her. When Gillean’s children were grown and she retired, stories started coming unbidden to her. Her problem now is that she can’t get the characters to go to sleep at night.

Gillean was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She worked for the military for twenty-five years, while raising two children as a single mother. After retiring, Gillean moved back to Santa Fe where she lives with her four-legged best friend. When not writing mysteries, Gillean is reading them. She also enjoys fly fishing and camping in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado.

Day of the Tiger by Dallas Gorham

Day of the Tiger by Dallas Gorham

Day of the Tiger by Dallas Gorham, 313 pages, Seven Oaks Publishing LLC, March 6th 2016, Genre: Hard-Boiled Mystery. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Day of the Tiger is the fifth installment of a seven book series featuring private detective Carlos McCrary. Carlos “Chuck” McCrary served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, working to make the world a bit safer and better, and has the battle scars to prove it. Now a private detective, Chuck continues his quest to make the world a safer and better place, not just for the strong, but for everyone. There are two things about Chuck that I adored. One, he tries to be funny, but most people don’t get his quirky sense of humor. I could relate to that. Chuck won’t be deterred, and neither will I. Keep the groans and odd looks coming, folks. Two, Chuck cannot stand by and watch someone unable to defend himself get picked on by bullies. When Chuck was a kid, he got the crap kicked out of him by school bullies to defend another kid. He gave as good as he got, and the bullies left the kid alone, so it was worth it. This defines Chuck’s worldview; everything flows from this event and his decision to protect the other kid, no matter the personal cost.

Enter Tank Tyler, a multi-millionaire NFL player, with a job for his old friend Chuck. A mobster named Monster Moffett has threatened to kill Al Rice, his old college buddy and former fellow college football player. Al Rice owes Monster a couple hundred thousand dollars and is past due on the payment date. Monster smashed Al’s hand brutally and has threatened to kill Al’s mother if Al can’t pay by the new due date. Sure, Tank could pay the debt for Al easily, as he has paid all of Al’s other debts over the years. But Tank knows they’re caught up in a vicious cycle and paying off the debts every time only enables Al. Tank asks Chuck to protect Momma Dora and help him find a way to get Al to reform his bad habits that led him here. When the evildoers kidnap Dora, the stakes are raised and there’s no way Chuck can let them harm her.

Despite being part of a series, the book stands alone so it may be read without having to read all the prior books in the series. This is an enjoyable fast-paced hard-boiled adventure with plenty of action, imperfect heroes, and interesting antagonists. I had a lot of fun reading it and would recommend it to fans of hard-boiled fiction.

This book can be found at Day of the Tiger.

Book Description:

It is better to live for one day as a tiger than to live for a thousand years as a sheep.

—Tibetan Proverb

Opposites attract, right? Is that why a tiger like Tank Tyler keeps bailing out a sheep like Al Rice? Tank is a wealthy investment manager and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame—the pertect tiger in life, both personally and financially. Tank’s friend Al Rice is the polar opposite: a miserable failure of a sheep since being kicked off his college football team sixteen years ago, a loser at the mercy of drugs and self-pity.

What mystery has entangled the lives of these two men? Tank Tyler and Al Rice share a secret that ruined Al’s life and turned Tank Tyler’s dreams into nightmares for years, in spite of his outward success.

Now Al Rice has been targeted by Monster Moffett, a loan shark who crushed Al’s hand with a ball-peen hammer when he couldn’t pay his debt. Moffett even threatened Al’s mother, Doraleen Rice. In fear for her life, Doraleen begs Tank Tyler for help. Tank hires Private Investigator Chuck McCrary to protect both Doraleen and Al.

Then Al goes missing. When Chuck searches for him, he uncovers a trail of human sex trafficking and forced prostitution.

Moffett’s organized crime gang kidnaps Doraleen Rice to hold as collateral for her son’s debt. Al swears to turn his life around, but he’s promised that before.

Chuck will need more than brawn, balls, and bullets to sort out this mess.

About the Author:

Dallas Gorham is a sixth-generation Texan and a proud Texas Longhorn, having earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated in the top three-quarters of his class, maybe.

Dallas, the writer, and his wife moved to Florida years ago to escape Dallas,the city, winters (Brrrr. Way too cold) and summers (Whew. Way too hot). Like his fictional hero, Chuck McCrary, he lives in Florida in a waterfront home where he and his wife watch the sunset over the lake most days and where he has followed his lifelong love of reading mysteries and thrillers into writing them in his home office. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Florida Writers Association. He also chairs the Central Florida annex meetings of the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America because he can’t get anyone else to take the post.

When not writing fiction, Dallas is frequent (but bad) golfer. He plays about once a week because that is all the abuse he can stand. One of his goals in life is to find more golf balls than he loses. He also is an accomplished liar (is this true?) and defender of downtrodden palm trees.

Dallas is married to his one-and-only wife who treats him far better than he deserves. They have two grown sons whom they are inordinately proud of. They also have seven grandchildren who are the smartest, most handsome, and most beautiful grandchildren in the known universe. He and his wife spend waaaay too much money on their love of travel. They have visited all 50 states and over 90 foreign countries, the most recent of which was Morocco, where their cruise ship stopped at Agadir (don’t bother).

Dallas writes a blog at dallasgorham.com that is sometimes funny, but not nearly as funny as he thinks. The website also has more information about his books. If you have too much time on your hands, you can follow him on Twitter at @DallasGorham, or Facebook at facebook.com/DallasGorham.

Interview with Devra Robitaille

Devra Robitaille

Interview with Devra Robitaille

Today, I’m excited to welcome author Devra Robitaille to my blog. Welcome, Devra!

So good to be here and it’s nice to meet you 😊 😊

Leigh: Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I live in Florida now, on the Sarasota Bay, but I was born and brought up in London, England. My father was a well-known jazz musician and composer for the BBC, and my mother wrote TV shows throughout the sixties and seventies. So my childhood was mad and crazy, like a revolving door of creative, wild, whacky and wonderful personalities that rotated in and out of my parents’ insane social world. From there I went on to create my own crazy world, touring as a jazz musician, playing with well-known personalities like Mike Oldfield, singing back-up for people like Cher and John Lennon. I travelled the world as a musician, and I thank the powers that be every day for the adventures I had. I don’t have quite as much energy any more, but I can still move my fingers (LOL) so I began to write books for children, and that morphed into books for older teens and now it is a passion that enslaves me. I can’t wait to get to the typewriter (euphemism for computer) every day and see what adventures await my characters.

Leigh: What genre is The Henge and what draws you to this genre?

I think you might call it young adult alternate historical fiction, or metaphysical visionary (not sure if I made that up, but there are elements that hint of other worlds and things to be looked up on google in the book.) Well, as a professional musician I also spent many years directing and writing for the theatre in Los Angeles. That world is so random and magical. That world is what drew me to write about different little universes. In the theatre, the play or the musical takes place between the arches, so to speak, and the writer has to design what goes on in that small space; from everything that’s said, and worn, to the scenery and events and even the thoughts of the characters. But in that medium the author is limited by time, you only have a couple of hours to convey that world. In books you have as long as your readers are willing to sit there, and your job is to keep them enthralled. It’s a wonderful challenge and I am hooked the moment I type the words “Chapter One.”

Leigh: The protagonist tribe- what makes them special? What would you say are the main values of their culture?

The people of the Noble Village of the Arts are trying to thrust their civilization to the next level; they are reaching for better lives for their children than just the daily act of foraging for food. The action of the book takes place in a year, solstice to solstice, but it could also be a metaphor for an eon; the time it took for the hunter-gatherers to figure out how to plant crops and tend flocks and create stable villages instead of being on the move all the time following their prey. When I started the book I had no idea who these people would turn out to be, but as I “wrote” them, I fell for them.

Leigh: What can you tell us about the main character? What’s most important in their world?

Her name is Concinnity Song, of the Noble House of Song and she is just a young woman who has grown up in this most magnificent land. She understands nature and she knows how to “sing” to it….and it sings back. Her people find a stone buried in a quarry, and they recognize its value and purpose. They must transport it across the land to a pre-ordained resting place and Concinnity must use her voice as one of the tools that can liberate this enormous two-ton stone from its watery prison at the bottom of the jade lake. In her world, honor and faith in the ancestors are key to accomplishing this pledge. All the characters interlock with their own “talents” – there is Aderynn the Healer, and Izraziti the Dreamer and Thorsten the Architect to name a few. There are some pretty colorful bad guys too. I’d better stop now or I’ll give away some secrets.

Leigh: “The Henge” is described as an alternate history. Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about how it differs?

Well, as a child growing up in England I was fascinated by places like Glastonbury, and Stonehenge; the stone circles that litter every part of Britain, their mystery and the fact that we still have more questions than answers about the people who built them. So this is a “Henge” that doesn’t really exist but might, in a country that is similar to Britain, but could just as easily exist on the Planet Zott. And the people are normal, just like people we know yet they have special talents and a driving passion to accomplish something sacred. They don’t have technology as we know it, but they do have “technology” as they know it.

Leigh: When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

As I look back, I don’t really remember a time I didn’t write. In school I lived for the essay assignments, I adored being creative, the weirder, the better. Then growing up as I said before I wrote plays and scripts and songs, and now it’s coming out as books. I guess I write because I can, and also because I must LOL.

Leigh: What was your favorite childhood book and why?

Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows (sorry but I just couldn’t decide between the two) and I’d have to say it’s their complete and utter whimsy that enchanted me.

Leigh: If you could go back in time and visit the past, what era would you like to visit?

Well, although I’d like to say that I’d go back to the Bronze Age, honestly I am pretty attached to my nice kitchen and all the nice food I can get at the local market, so I’m not sure I would want to go back to the beginning of time where I’d have to forage for lunch. Having said that though, I am definitely intrigued by the raw, natural beauty of unspoiled nature – so perhaps I could take sandwiches.

Leigh: Where can readers discover more about you and your work?

Website: http://www.thehologramlibrary.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DevRobitaille

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/TheHenge

Book Links: getBook.at/Henge

Thank you very much, Devra, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.

Castle Danger by Chris Norbury

Castle Danger

Castle Danger by Chris Norbury, 296 pages, Booklocker.com, Inc., April 26th 2016, Genre: Psychological Thriller. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Castle Danger is a suspenseful, engaging read. Taking place in northwest Minnesota in a frightful winter, the setting comes alive, menacing and life-threatening to any who lack the foresight and skills to survive. People who’ve been kicked in the teeth and were able to get back up again would call such a place home with pride. The winter’s not easy, but what in life ever is? It’s when things aren’t easy that one’s character and mettle are tested.

No good deed goes unpunished and this is doubly true for our protagonist, Matt. A quiet man, he’d rather watch, learn, and plan than chit-chat. Possessed of a strong personal code, Matt is on the run because he did the right thing against the wrong people. Try as he might to hide from the world, he happens upon a man who will die without his help. Naturally, Matt chooses to do the right thing. It costs him and nearly kills him. Luckily, he passes out in front of The Halcyon, a restaurant owned by Allyson Clifford. Matt awakens the next day to discover Allyson has nursed him back from death’s door. Since her chef has skipped out on her, she offers Matt the job as her cook. Matt is a man of mystery, refusing to reveal much about himself. He is reluctant to take up her offer, but given the situation with the weather and the fact she really seems to need a cook, he repays her kindness by agreeing to stay on until she can find a full time replacement. Meanwhile, we learn that a hired killer is after Matt and gaining clues where he can find his prey. Just as we think Matt is the fascinating one with all the deep, dark secrets, it turns out Allyson has a few of her own. Her “husband” has come to town and wants her and his son back…or else.

Most of the characters were believable, interesting, and relatable. None were saints, and their crimes were understandable. Matt and Allyson were likable and the attraction between them realistic. The antagonist tried so hard to convince everyone he was really the good guy but it was obvious he didn’t believe it himself. I felt the antagonist would’ve been more enjoyable if he truly believed he was the wronged hero in his own tale. Nevertheless, the interplay and struggles between various characters kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next and how things would turn out. Well-paced with an interesting plot, Castle Danger kept me on the edge of my seat.

I’d recommend Castle Danger to fans of thrillers and suspense.

You can find it at Castle Danger.

Book Description:

***2017 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree***

***2017 Honorable Mention, Genre Fiction, Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards***

Fugitive Matt Lanier, unjustly accused of a violent crime, has been hiding in the northeastern Minnesota wilderness for nine months. The law wants him in jail. His enemies want him dead. He simply wants to survive the most brutal winter in decades.

After rescuing an injured trapper, Matt is forced to leave his primitive encampment. He undertakes a Herculean trek through a blizzard to Castle Danger, a small town on the rugged North Shore of Lake Superior. There he’s saved from near death by Allyson Clifford, a shrewd and beautiful restaurant owner with secrets of her own. Despite wanting to move on in order to evade his pursuers, Matt helps Allyson weather a business crisis as repayment for her benevolence.

Then Allyson’s estranged husband, Donnie Vossler, shows up intent on reclaiming their 8-year-old son, Josh. Caught in the middle of the custody battle, Matt learns about Allyson and Vossler’s criminal past life together and is torn between self-preservation and his growing feelings for Allyson and Josh.

Matt’s recent past has left him with little hope for the future, so when Vossler resorts to sabotage, kidnapping, and attempted murder to capture his son, Matt’s integrity, honor, and survival instincts are put to the ultimate test just as a hit man hired by his enemies closes in for the kill.


Castle Danger is that one manuscript in a thousand that is waiting to become a bestseller–yet breaks new ground in doing so. Nonstop suspense, real characters, and a vivid setting in northern Minnesota make Chris Norbury’s work stand out from the rest.Castle Danger’s readership potential is as far-reaching as Lake Superior, with appeal for both men and women and fans of suspense, crime, romance and redemption stories. It is the best manuscript I’ve seen in a long time.”- Lauren O’Neil, Sharp Eye Edits

From the Author

Castle Danger is my debut novel. It started as a sequel to an earlier unpublished novel. I’m a born-and-raised Minnesotan (except for a few early childhood years in Wisconsin) and love the state and its people. The prequel and sequel to Castle Danger will also involve primarily Minnesota characters and locales.

Weather will always be a character in my novels set in Minnesota because we have some of the most extreme weather on the planet. I defy you to name another region on earth that has a temperature range of approximately 175 degrees (as cold as -66 F up to about +110 F!).

Weather of all sorts can disrupt plans, affect outcomes, and be downright dangerous, even lethal. Think tornadoes, floods, lightning strikes, paralyzing blizzards (three feet of snow in two days … at Halloween!), and prolonged cold snaps (weeks at a time where high temperatures don’t get above 0 degrees Fahrenheit).

Instead of writing about “glamorous” main characters who are spies, government agents, ex-Navy Seals, or brilliant trial lawyers or detectives, I prefer writing about more or less ordinary people with normal occupations who I can insert into extraordinary situations and have them fight their way through without the assistance of super “powers,” special training, or unlimited resources and manpower.

At heart, my novels will explore one or more universal character trait found in all people and put a character’s moral fortitude to the test. For instance, in Castle Danger, protagonist Matt Lanier will have his integrity and survival instincts challenged when he’s put into a life-or-death situation. Thanks for your interest and I hope you enjoy reading Castle Danger.

Author Biography

Chris Norbury is a freelance writer and novelist. He independently published his first novel, “Castle Danger,” in April 2016. In June of 2017, “Castle Danger” was awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion from indieBRAG.com. In October of 2017, “Castle Danger” received an Honorable Mention-Genre Fiction- Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

Chris is working on the prequel to “Castle Danger,” whose working title is “Straight River.” A sequel to “Castle Danger” is in the planning stages. He has also been a freelance writer since 2014. His areas of expertise include finance, investing, economics, politics, golf, wine, and current events.

His essay on wilderness canoeing, “Solo Challenge,” was published in the Spring 2014 issue of the Boundary Waters Journal. A second article, titled “Soloing for Solitude,” appears in the Spring 2016 issue of the BWJ.

He is a contributing editor to brokerage-review.com and writes weekly op-ed articles for thinkingoutsidetheboxe.com.

Chris is a long-time volunteer Big Brother (since 2000) and will dedicate a percentage of all sales of his novels to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota. Even if you do not buy his book(s), please consider volunteering for one of the best mentoring programs in the country and contact your local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

During golf season in Minnesota, Chris works on perfecting his golf game, an impossible dream but also an excellent excuse to get out of the office. He lives in southern Minnesota with his wife and golf clubs.

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr, 310 Pages, Purple Toga Publications, October 19th 2015, Genre: Historical Fantasy Fiction. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr is a unique burrito: hard-boiled meat, smothered in urban fantasy sauce and lovingly wrapped inside a historical fiction tortilla. Warmed to near perfection, it provides cross-genre readers with a savory new creation.

We follow Felix the Fox, a private investigator in Egretia, part of the ancient Roman Empire. A realist and a bit of a cynic, Felix accepts his lot in ancient Roman life, despite at times not liking or agreeing with what goes on around him. Corpio hires Felix to find out who is responsible for the bizarre murder of his only son, Caeso. Some cabal performed the Rite of Pelegrinus on his body, turning his heart to a ruby and ultimately killing him. The fact that his corpse is now defiled is a nefas, or sacrilege, a taboo in ancient Rome. Felix questions friends and lovers around town, but as he digs up more clues, it leads to more questions. Felix travels in order to cover the journey the young Caeso made before his death, hoping to discover the missing puzzle pieces and solve the ghastly magical murder. He meets Caeso’s uncle, aunt, and cousin, and visits a sybil on a lonely little island. Her brew gives him a troubling and curious vision Felix can’t immediately solve, a vision showing young Aemilia, Caeso’s cousin, in danger. As Felix gets more involved with a local underground cabal, he uncovers a duplicitous plan. Will Felix be able to protect Aemilia, uncover the cabal’s schemes, and discover Caeso’s killer?

My favorite thing about this book is Mehr’s loving attention to detail, immersing the reader in ancient Rome. It was fascinating to see what it would’ve been like to live in that time and place. Mehr made Rome come alive on the page. Of all the characters, we get to know Felix the best. Felix may not be the most reputable man in Rome, but he certainly has his own code of honor, one he does not betray. Magic is an integral part of life in Mehr’s Rome and it has real world effects. It’s a good thing Felix attended the Collegium Incantatorum and learned valuable lessons about magic.

If you’re looking for something a bit different and enjoy cross-genre works, this historical urban fantasy mystery will be right up your alley.

You can find it at Murder In Absentia.

Book Description:

This is a story of Togas, Daggers and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy.

“Hardcore Historical Fantasy – Felix the Fox is Sherlock Holmes in Ancient Times”

— Jonathan Maas, author of City of Gods – Hellenica

“Mehr’s imagined world based on ancient Rome feels at once familiar and dreamlike.”

— Ruth Downie, author of the Medicus series of Roman mysteries

“Mehr is a master alchemist, blending the real and surreal on a captivating flight of fantasy.”

— Cynthia Celmer

“YESSS! Harry Dresden in a toga. A bit lighter on the magic usage, but every bit as colorful and intriguing!”

— Leslie Conzatti, Erin Sky, and a surprising number of Dresden Files fans

A young man is found dead in his bed, with a look of extreme agony on his face and strange tattoos all over his body. His distraught senator father suspects foul play, and knows who to call on.

Enter Felix the Fox, a professional investigator. In the business of ferreting out dark information for his clients, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician — but something in between. Drawing on his experience of dealing with the shady elements of society and on his aborted education in the magical arts, Felix dons his toga and sets out to discover the young man’s killers.

Murder In Absentia is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hard-boiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.

Virtual Fantasy Con Awards:

1st place: Dark Fantasy / Horror Book & Author

2st place: Urban Fantasy Book & Author

3st place: Favorite Fantasy Series

Voted #1 on Goodreads’ Indie Books Worth the Read for 2016!

About the Author:

“I have always been fascinated by ancient Rome, from the time I was in primary school and first got my hands on Asterix. This exacerbated when my parents took me on a trip to Rome and Italy – I whinged horribly when they dragged me to “yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling”, yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

A few years ago I randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis’ Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair. I fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. When I decided to sit down and write a novel, the setting was clear in my mind.”

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kids, cats, and – this being Australia – assorted spiders. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he’s writing – he seems to do his best writing after midnight.

To contact Assaph visit http://egretia.com.

Gretel by Christopher Coleman

Gretel by Christopher Coleman, 350 pages, October 31st, 2015, Genre: Teen and Young Adult/Horror/Thriller and Suspense. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

As a little girl, my father told me bedtime stories. Among them was “Hansel and Gretel”. I always had questions, such as “Daddy, why did the witch want to feed the little boy sweets? How does she survive in a Gingerbread House in the Summer? Why did she want to eat the children? Why did the father let his mean old wife send his kids away? Did the kids get punished for killing her? How does a grown up fit into an oven anyway?” To which my father answered, “Time for sleep.” It was difficult to sleep after that one. Not because I was afraid of evil witches overfeeding me and eating me- that didn’t sound so bad. It was because I was worried if times were hard enough, my own father might one day get rid of me, too. Why else tell me such a tale?

I expected the modern day retelling would be horrifying and I wasn’t disappointed. Coleman must’ve asked some of the same questions I did, because in this rendition, there are finally some answers.

Aneka Morgan breaks down by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Desperate to avoid being caught in the life-threatening, cold elements after sunset, Aneka tries to find her way home through the woods. What she encounters there is harsher than any winter’s night. Imprisoned by an immortal, desperate, murderous hag, Aneka bides her time, hoping for a chance at escape, sensing that she’s only being well cared for and fed for some foul purpose. Meanwhile, back at home, her daughter Gretel is forced to mature more quickly in order to provide for her family in her mother’s absence. Gretel has given up on finding her mother, believing the worst has befallen her. Gretel develops from a dependant little girl into a strong, confident, capable young lady. Aneka’s young son Hansel relies ever more on his elder sister. Hansel and Gretel are both suspicious of their father’s nurse, who positions herself to become their step-mother. Why does the hag want to kill Aneka? Will she succeed? Will Gretel ever be reunited with her mother again? Who can Gretel trust- within her family and without?

The themes of this work are the same as in the classic tale: the meaning of the blood ties that bind family members to each other and deep betrayal. The plot forces the reader to confront dark moral questions. If you were dying, in pain, in distress, what would you sacrifice in order to turn back the clock? What would you give for a second chance? Could you resist temptation if the price was horrifyingly steep? For how long?

This is an engrossing read with an imaginative spin on the classic. I’d recommend this to fans of modernized fairy tales and dark fantasy. You can find it at Gretel.

Book Description:

Alone. Frightened. Captive. If you hear someone approaching, RUN. She is not there to help you.

There is an ancient evil in the Back Country, dormant for centuries but now hungry and lurking. When it sets its sights on an unsuspecting mother one routine morning along an isolated stretch of highway, a quiet farming family is suddenly thrust into a world of unspeakable terror, and a young girl must learn to be a hero.

Looking for the perfect Halloween read? Gretel is a gripping, spine-chilling, thrilling horror with twists and turns you won’t see coming.

Praise for GRETEL:

“Great Halloween season read! Love the retelling of a classic story.”

“I couldn’t help but think I was reading something from Stephen King (one of my favorite authors).

“One of the best books I’ve read! I couldn’t stop reading it till the END!!!”

“Wow! What a great twist to an old story!”

“Wow. Fabulous twist on a Grimm classic. Such well developed characters. And THREE heroines.”

“If you’ve read the story of ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ and you think you know all there is to know about a girl and her brother abandoned in the forest by their father at the behest of an evil stepmother, think again. You simply have to read Gretel: Book One by Christopher Coleman.”

“Man oh man! A true horror story….not your old time Hansel and Gretel. No gingerbread house, no barred cages to be locked behind while the witch fattens you up. Nosiree bob. If you truly want to be scared out of your wits about what some people will do to others, read this book!”

“That fairy tale your parents used to read to you has changed and grown teeth, although author Christopher Coleman may have captured the feeling the Brothers Grimm originally intended us to feel.

“This book was really creepy. Very well written. Kept me on the edge of my seat. I would love to see this made into a movie.”

Gretel is a horror story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, afraid to turn off the lights and go to sleep. If you are looking for a suspenseful, creepy and spooky read that will leave you scared out of your wits, then Gretel is for you. You have been warned.

The complete Gretel Series includes:

Gretel (Gretel Book One)

Marlene’s Revenge (Gretel Book Two)

Hansel (Gretel Book Three)

About the Author:

Christopher Coleman lives in Maryland with his wife and two children. He received his degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland and has been writing professionally for over five years.