"The Reader of Acheron" Featured on Black Gate

I'm very pleased to announce that my novel "The Reader of Acheron" was recently featured on Black Gate.  There are a lot of Fantasy web pages out there, but as far as I'm concerned, Black Gate is one of the very best.  My writing has appeared on a lot of different pages throughout the years, but seeing the listing on Black Gate was, and continues to be, a thrill.

So please, take a few moments to head over to Black Gate and read the wonderful words of Joe Bonadonna as he discusses "The Reader of Acheron."  Also, if you would be so kind as to leave a comment, I would be eternally grateful!  I'm very curious to hear what you all have to say about this book, and this insightful review.

Also, I'm still looking to hit 50 Amazon reviews for this novel, so if you are willing to review it send me an email and we'll discuss how to get you a copy (kindle and paperback are both possible).  My email is: walterrhein@gmail.com

Thanks folks!

Review of "Unrelenting" by Travis Ludvigson

A Great Kindle Unlimited Find!

I grabbed this book for free off Kindle Unlimited and was delighted by it. “Unrelenting” is a fast-paced action thriller that you can read in a matter of hours. At 108 pages, it’s just the right length. “Unrelenting” is not so long that you have to click the page button fifty times just to see your progress bar go up one percent, and it’s not so short that there is nothing to sink your teeth into. This is the perfect size novel for a trip that involves a lot of waiting or sitting. It’s a solid story, but not with so much nuance that the effect is lost if you have to take multiple breaks.

While reading this, I was reminded of Jim Roberts’s “Code of War” books. The action revolves around a group of military men who go on a camping trip in Wisconsin to process the grief their sharing over the loss of a friend. While they’re out camping, they end up being stalked by a mysterious creature prone to dismembering local wildlife and leaving the gory carcasses hanging from trees.

It sounds a bit like “Predator” but there are some surprises as to what the origin of the stalking creature is. Also, the real strength of this book is how the characters are developed in the first half. These are a bunch of military warriors attempting to process their grief, and Ludvigson does a great job showing this in a way that is believable and realistic. Because they are Rangers and Air Force men, they aren’t going all to pieces. In fact, they mainly just drink beer and try to tell jokes. But there is a nice nuance of real pain in their banter. I thought the first half of this book was probably the most compelling part, and once the characters are established, the action starts to take off.

“Unrelenting” is a quick and exciting read that is a good choice for someone who is looking for a couple hours of entertainment. The fact that it’s free on Kindle Unlimited makes it a no-brainer. Reading “Unrelenting” is far more entertaining than the alternative of wasting time perusing garbage articles on the internet. The fact that there is some real solid writing skill on display, especially in the first half, makes “Unrelenting” a slam-dunk.

Please grab a copy and like my review on Amazon here!

Review of The Lilith Scroll by B.L. Marsh

An Interesting Mash up of Biblical and Urban Fantasy

This novel is an interesting mash up of religious imagery, urban fantasy, Biblical warfare, and intriguing storytelling. The story centers around an intriguing young woman named Lilith St. Cloud who has drawn the attention of the immortal hierarchy that exist in the world of this book. Lilith is something of a mystery as she exhibits ancient powers although nobody seems to know exactly who she is. As the novel progresses, Lilith’s identity is revealed and the stakes are raised in a way the reader will find delightful.

The initial setting of the novel is a Starbucks in Scotland, and it takes quite a while for the book to get rolling. Lilith is sitting at the Starbucks and various characters of consequence are observing or stalking her. Many of these characters are given scenes which sometimes are told in the past perfect tense—this is an interesting choice on the part of the author since the past perfect (“had visited” etc.) tends to distance the reader from the action. However, I suppose in a novel like this where events are separated by millennia, it would be difficult to write the scenes chronologically. Flashbacks are jarring as well since that undermines the significance of the past episode in relationship to the unfolding action. B.L. Marsh does effectively set up the action with the approach she uses here, and I found examining her approach to be quite interesting.

The world building of “The Lilith Scroll” is noteworthy as well. Fairly early we are told that we can expect to meet werewolves and vampires as well as angels and demons. The fact that modern things such as iphones and Starbucks are also mentioned can provide a jarring sensation. There’s a brief scene where an immortal uses a iphone to make a very important call, and the fact that the iPhone was mentioned struck me as kind of comical. It’s almost as if the author is saying, “yes...even God has to use iPhones, and even he can’t escape the iTunes licensing agreement.”

This book reminded me quite a bit of “Tears of Heaven” by RA McCandless. “Tears” also features Nephilim set in a mostly modern world. I don’t know if it’s correct to call these novels “Christian Urban Fantasy” (For short...I don’t know...maybe “CurFs” or something?) but there’s getting to be a lot of them (the Paul Bettany movie “Legion” probably fits into this category).

I enjoyed the world building of “Lilith Scroll” very much. The writing is very solid, although I’m on the fence about the present perfect scenes (though I can’t really blame the writer as I mentioned). There are some sequences that really get some rhythm going, and the characters are interesting, well-rounded, and appealing. If you’re the type of reader who is into Curf, this is a great book for you.

Please like my review on Amazon (and pick up your copy of "The Lilith Scroll") here.