Friday, August 19, 2011

REVIEW: Detective Fiction and Horror for People Who Don't Like Detective Stories


The following is a review of Symphony of Blood: A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case by Adam Pepper.

Although I am a writer (and almost exclusively a reader) of romance, I do occasionally venture out into another genre – namely, horror. With only a few works of horror flash fiction under my belt, when I do read this genre I do so only in my capacity as a lover of fiction.

If you're looking for a book to quicken your pulse and raise your heartbeat faster than a double-shot espresso, Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case by Adam Pepper is for you. An urban fantasy with an otherworldly twist that the author weaves seamlessly into the plot, Symphony immediately establishes itself as a gritty, witty detective story by introducing you to the character of Hank Mondale, a luckless private investigator with a small drinking problem and a large gambling problem – or is it the other way around? - who combs through bars, police stations and wherever else he needs to go when hired by a client with deep pockets and a deeply disturbing problem on his hands.

Some may say that the book leans on too many clich├ęs from the troves of detective fiction. This is true as far as it goes, but Pepper gives fresh air to this journey into the familiar by employing quite a unique take on the novel's monstrous antagonist as well as making his characters into genuinely likable people rather than the cardboard cut-outs too often seen in dark fantasy. Though the story is light on sensory detail, this can be forgiven owing to the never-a-dull-moment pacing and the engaging dialog.

While flawed, on balance Symphony is a page-turning read both sexy and scary, with sections featuring the elusive monster giving me the same chills I felt while enjoying Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box. Adam Pepper's novel is a strong showing in modern horror and detective fiction – even for those like myself who don't normally care for the latter.

Buy Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case in eBook for $2.99 for your Kindle, Nook or from SmashWords or click here to read a sample from the author's website.

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