letters

The Last Letter

 Tears are the silent language of grief ~Voltaire

I lost my grandmother four days ago. Just writing those words rips at my heart. I know she’s gone, but she can’t be. Not Grandma. She was ready to go; she told us so as kindly as she could. But never were we ready to let her go. Not Grandma.

The world, my world, my children’s world, is poorer for not having her in it. She would laugh at that, my grandma. Tell me I’m a wonderful child then tell me to stop being silly. Joan Mary Spedding never saw the greatness that she was. She was humble, wise, loving and kind. And she was stubborn, boy was she stubborn.

But she slipped away in the early morning hours last Sunday, ninety-five years young, leaving us but now reunited with my grandfather – the love of her life. Eric and Joan. Together again. And that mends my heart just a little.

Eric and Joan

I write this because the world needs to know what it’s lost, for it’s those who toil quietly who seem to pass into obscurity, and it’s those who should be remembered most, especially my grandmother.

She had two great loves, my grandma. Family and words. She was a writer, my grandma, a storyteller. Her last book, and her most prized, Ten Men of Resolution, was published when she was 89. There’s beauty and wisdom in words, courage and magic, she told me, and I know she was right.

My grandma wrote stories and poems, history and anecdotes, but it was her letters I most cherished. From my earliest memory I received them. Hand-written words on paper. Letters. And when my children were born, they too received letters – “all the way from New Zealand!” Each one addressed to them and opened with excitement at what was to be found inside. Sometimes it was a poem, other times a story, and always there was a newspaper clipping or two she thought the kids would find interesting. There was love in these letters, in each beautiful phrase, and lovingly formed word.

I wrote back often, but now I think never often enough. Grief does that. It brings with it guilt, and I can hear my grandma calling me silly, telling me I’m a wonderful child, but … grief. I treasured the moments I could sit down and put pen to paper, writing to my grandma of all that was happening here, what the kids were getting up to, how I missed her. We shared memories of the year when I was 19 and my grandfather had had a heart attack. I’d flown over to stay with her – just me and Grandma in her house, staying up ‘til all hours just talking. Of me climbing One Tree Hill in Auckland the ‘wrong way’ – oh, how she and Grandpa had laughed at me. Years later I told them I’d hitch-hiked back from the Hill to the hospital; my grandfather was livid, my grandmother smiled and said (in the English accent she never lost): “What an adventure! Just don’t tell your father.”

When I became a journalist she was proud; when I became a storyteller, she told me this was where my heart lay, and she was right. Grandma didn’t read horror, it wasn’t her thing, but she read every story I ever wrote. Even the ones I warned were explicit. She didn’t care. I wrote them, she’d read them.

She loved unconditionally, all of us. And we saw it in her letters. Letters I will no longer receive. Hand written notes of love my children will no longer receive. Letters.

I found my last letter from Grandma sitting on my bedside table. I’m sure I put it away with all my others. I know I did. But there it was. The last letter. The writing was a little more shaky, the words painstakingly written, but always, there was love. ‘My wordsmith’ she called me, ‘there is always magic in what you do, creating worlds from imagination is a gift, don’t waste it. But remember the greatest magic you have ever created is your children. Magic. Wonder. Love. Kindness. Take that with you wherever you go.”

But the magic is dulled, the wonder floundering, the love is aching and the kindness hard to fathom. My grandma… Grief. It clouds it all. But I know she’s not truly gone, for I see her in the sweet nature of my children, hear her in the words she passed to my father – those same words he passed to me, and I, in turn, to my children. “Nothing is fair in this world. If you know this, really know this, when life knocks you down, and it will, you can pick yourself up and go on. Stronger because of it. Kinder because of it.”

I know this, I really know this. Nothing is fair in this world, because it took from us one of the most remarkable women I know. Am I stronger because of it? I’m too deep in tears to know. Am I kinder? I hope to be. For my grandma, I hope to be.

Joan Mary Spedding… Grandma, though your flame burned bright, the world is darker now you’re gone.

Me and Grandma

black and white

Don’t Colour Me Pink

It’s been a particularly crappy couple of weeks when it comes to the gender divide, and people getting their hate on for feminism (yeah, I’m gonna poke that bear again). But it was while out shopping with my daughter yesterday, that the ire in both of us was roused. Why? Because of the colour pink.

I’ve never been a fan of the colour (although I do have a pale-pink skull cap I adore), and that dislike has only deepened over the years as its use as a marketing ploy to lure half the species. It basically equates to: female bits = love of all things pink.

Yeah… no. When I see aisles of pink in the toy section, it pisses me off. As parents, are we too stupid to know which toy our child will like unless it’s painted a particular colour? Will my daughter or nieces not play with Lego unless it’s pink? Will they not pick up a Nerf gun or crossbow unless it’s pinked-up with ‘Rebelle’? (Why not Rebel?) Is that blue truck not for them?

So prevalent is this gender-marketing, my daughter refuses to buy into its blatant bias. But yesterday, it reached a new low. We were out shopping when she stormed over to me, anger etched clearly on her face, and I wondered what had garnered her ire. She dragged me over to the ‘girls’ clothing section and pointed out a t-shirt. “What the hell is this?”

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“Wrong is what it is,” I told her, my ire matching hers. My daughter loves to read, she loves books and she loves comics, and she’s just been told by company marketers that if she’s a girl, the only way she can like superheroes is if they’re pink.

Am I jumping to conclusions? No. Because she then took me to the ‘boys’ section and showed me this:

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Superheroes as they’re depicted in the comic books.

“Why’d they pink it up?” she asked. “They don’t even look right. Am I supposed to like it more because it’s pink and I’m a girl?”

Honesty was all I could give her. “That’s what some people think, yes.”

“People are idiots,” she said. “I’m not buying that. No one should buy that.”

She’s smart my daughter. Strong and opinionated. She won’t be swayed by the stupid pink marketers put on merchandise, and she’ll speak up when she sees how wrong that is. But most of society is conditioned to ‘girl = pink’ and ‘boy = blue’, and what happens to those kids who identify to so-called opposing gender colours? You see it’s more than just an ‘identifier’, it’s a separator. Girls here, boys there. These are for them, not for you. And just to make it easy, let’s colour-code the crap out of it. Are you pretty in pink? Or dark and tough?

It’s this gender divide that begins at birth (or even pre-birth for those who discover the gender of their child), and is reinforced via gender-stereotyping of toys and clothes, and infused with colour. It’s something my husband and I never bought into, and something we explained to both our daughter and our son – colour, like everything else, has nothing to do with gender. You like what you like. If the marketers have done one thing though, they’ve shown me and my daughter that we don’t like being coloured pink.

And for those of you who want to know how to pick a toy for a child? Here’s a simple flow chart:

gender toys

book review

Review: ‘Davey Ribbon’ by Matthew Tait

Woo hoo! It’s review time again! I’ve been going strong with my reading of Aussie writers this year, and Matthew Tait is the next Australian author whose work I’ve had the pleasure of reading. As mentioned in previous reviews, the Australian spec fic community is a close-knit one – the horror community, more so. Yep, you guessed it, this review comes with a disclaimer. I know Matt quite well, you could even say we’re buds. We have a mutual love of Clive Barker, and horror as a whole. I’ve never worked with Matt on any of his projects, so when I purchased Davey Ribbon, it was as a reader (and to support the work of Aussie writers, of course).

Alrighty, with the disclaimer out of the way, the next order of business is the spoiler alert:

SPOILERS ABOUND WITH ABOUNDING ABOUNDEDNESS – DON’T BLAME ME IF YOU READ ON AND HAVE AN ‘AWW, SHE SPOILED THE STORY WITH ABOUNDING SPOILERS OF ABOUNDEDNESS!’

davey ribbon

 

Davey Ribbon (released through HodgePodge Press) is the first of Matthew Tait’s work I’ve read, and if this is the mettle of what he has to offer, then I will fast be rectifying this fact.

Let’s begin with the cover art – yes, I know the old adage ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ but as someone who works both sides of the desk, aah, yeah, I do (if you’ve got crap cover art, I’m gonna assume—rightly or wrongly—the words inside aren’t going to be much better). No problem here with Davey Ribbon; the cover art is as hauntingly eerie as it is beautiful.

The story begins in the past, 1969 to be exact, where Angus Fisher has stumbled upon the murder of a child – Sarah Capeshaw – in the middle of the forest surrounding Cyclone Cove. Angus is in dire straits; the murderer, Reginald Avery, won’t have any witnesses to his crime. As Angus begs, reasons, yells for his survival, in strolls Davey Ribbon, a child-savant with a love of ribbons (which trail behind him wherever he goes).

Things go from bad to worse, and while I won’t spoil this scene (it really does deserve to be spoiler free), it’s this dark past that will come back to bite Cyclone Cove and its residents on the arse.

Fast forward to the present day, and Davey Ribbon has become the stuff of urban legend, but there are those within Cyclone Cove who will not let the past die. Cyclone Cove is reminiscent of many a small town with secrets (think Stephen King’s ‘Derry’, from IT), and when you add in a huge conglomerate that has come to the Cyclone Cove as its “saviour”, things aren’t going to end pretty.

We’re slowly introduced to those townfolk who will become major players in the story’s finale, and Tait does well to weave the many characters within the story, although there were, at times (about midway through), where I began to wonder whether I could keep the characters straight in my head. With the twins (Beatrice and Michelle), their religious-nutter mother (Patty), their babysitter (Miriam), the head of the cult-conglomerate (Samara) and her boy-toy (Nathan), the town’s recluse (Norman Perks), renowned musician (Jerry), returned resident (Sean), town cop (Bill), Samara’s acolytes, pub owner… and those characters from the past.

It’s a big character list, but this is a small town, and there are a lot of things at play behind the scenes and from the past that sit like a volcano beneath Cyclone Cove. It’s not a matter of will the eruption occur, but when.

DAVEY005

This is a story of secrets – everyone has them – and the biggest secret of all is Davey Ribbon. As with any urban legend, it differs in its telling, growing more macabre. Tait works the legend and the secrets well, giving the reader a little more then a little more as the story slowly unravels (and the townsfolk with it).

The crux of this story revolves around the book’s namesake – Davey Ribbon – who begins to show himself to those who have been chosen to fight the big fight. But Davey isn’t the only one behind the scenes pulling the strings. While Samara Reagan and Norman Perks are working overtime and double-shifts to bring Davey into the now (each with differing agendas), there are those within Cyclone Cove who are the puppets for the puppeteers. Each of the players in this finale have only pieces of the puzzle, as does the reader, and I enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on as the characters’ did.

From about midway, though, I began to wonder when Angus Fisher would make a reappearance – Tait does well with his misdirection, and when all is revealed, I was able to look back and see the clues – whether other readers will see it before I did, I’m not sure; if they don’t, will they feel cheated with the misdirection? I can’t say.

The ending of the story was brutal, bloody, and over a little too cleanly. I like messy endings – I don’t mean blood and gore (although huzzah on that point), but rather I don’t want to have all the answers. Tait doesn’t give us everything, and if I have one misgiving about the telling of this tale, it’s the chapter where the survivors – those who truly know what happened that fateful day – get together to try and figure out what exactly happened and why. Personally, as a reader, I’d rather ruminate on that myself. I was given enough within the confines of the story and the ending to make those connections.

All in all, this was a strong story with a great premise that was delivered in an engaging and sinister way. It isn’t shy in its brutality, and it doesn’t hold back when tackling themes some find disturbing. A special mention goes out to the editor of HodgePodge Press – this was one of the cleanest reads I’ve had in a while, thank you!

On a Goodreads scale, I give Davey Ribbon 4.5/5 stars.

Four and half stars

pencils1

Story Art, and the Art of the Story

Yes, yes, even I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get back to my blog, but work has taken precedence (what with me wanting to eat and pay bills), but as the saying goes: too much work makes AJ something-something bitchy bitch, so I’ve taken a small break from editing, and will now fill this post with art.

I mentioned in an earlier post that apart from my family and my cats, I have two loves: books and art. I can’t get enough of either. And sometimes, the two cross over in an awesomely good and awesomely personal way.

So I’d like to talk to you about that art – story art – and in particular, the art of Andrew J McKiernan.

My first introduction to Andrew was via his short stories, which are bloody brilliant (check out his collection here), but it was my short story Nightmare’s Cradle published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) #46, which was my introduction to Andrew the Illustrator, who also produced the cover of ASIM#46.

ASIM461

I’ve written previously about writing being a visual process, and this was never more true than with Nightmare’s Cradle. The story is set at my father’s farm – 300 acres of rolling hills with nary a neighbour in sight. It’s isolated, hard country with no internet or cell-service, and runs on solar power. It’s writer heaven. Visually, it was the perfect setting for the story, and clear as all get-out in my mind – I could see Hannah moving through the rooms of the cabin, could see Eli roaming the hills and skirting the dams of the property.

So when the publisher told me my story would be illustrated, I was both excited and a little wary, truth be told. Would Andrew’s artistic vision hold true to my vision? I shouldn’t have worried. Andrew perfectly captured the heart of the story, and I have been in love with the illustration ever since. Andrew has a shit-tonne of talent, and I’d even go as far as to say he’s hogging the talent pool a wee bit.

http://www.andrewmckiernan.com/mediagallery/mediaobjects/disp/7/7_nightmare_s_cradle.jpg
Nightmare’s Cradle by Andrew J McKiernan
Excerpt from Nightmare’s Cradle:

The windowpane is cold beneath my forehead, my breath warm against the glass. Thunderheads stalk the sky as lightning sears. Winds howl and rain pours from the heavens. God’s fury is unyielding and absolute.
A bird snared in a fence wire hangs, leg twisted, feathers mangled. I wonder how long it struggled before finally accepting its fate.
How long will I?
The bird sways in the wind, one wing raised in accusation. The rain unleashes its next barrage, dropping a thick, grey curtain around the cabin. My childhood home, sequestered amid rugged hills and hostile terrain has become the prison my father intended. Escape isn’t an option. It never has been.

Andrew saw what I did, and brought it to life in forlornly beautiful fashion, and I will always be thankful and grateful for that.

If that wasn’t enough, when I first met Andrew in person (at another horror writer’s birthday weekend), he had a copy of the illustration with him. For me. FOR ME. And which now sits proudly on the wall above my desk.

Andrew is one of those special individuals who can both write and draw, and if he wasn’t such a hell of a nice guy, I’d kinda hate him a little. But as we meet for drinks on a regular basis with a bunch of other horror writers (big shout out to the Sydney SHADOWS), that would be a little awkward.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned Andrew’s short story collection – he also illustrated the book, so if you’re looking for great stories and some kick-arse art, you really can’t go past it.

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As for me, when I’m sitting at my desk writing a story and hit a road-block, I can look up, see my Nightmare’s Cradle illustration, and know that my words and my worlds really are alive in more than just my imagination.

steampunk_quill_by_sokkenn-d3dqxyv

Art My World

I’m a writer, a creative. And while it’s words I weave it’s also a very visual process – most writers will tell you the same. In our mind’s eye, we can see our characters manoeuvring through our created landscape, we envisage them interacting with each other and with their surrounds. Clear as day we see them walking down the street, being chased through the wilds by a monster, piloting a spaceship or riding a train.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted my worlds brought to life, and while I love to draw, I don’t have anywhere near the talent of some of my contemporaries. Talent is a bit of an understatement, though, as you’ll soon see.

In my last post, I spoke about Montgomery Borror’s, art, and how much of a damn fine artist he is. As his Kickstarter is so close to being realised, I’m going to show you why the man’s work needs to be out in the world.

Lovecraft

First, a little background…

A few years ago, I wrote a steampunk horror short – Shovel-Man Joe – that won the Australian Shadows Award for short fiction. It was my first stab at steampunk, and I fell in love with the genre. The story is set on a train, but it’s a train like no other. I could see it clearly in all its sinister glory, but with a very limited word count I had to write tight. I’m not a poet, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a love of Coleridge and his words, so I took a chance to tell part of the backstory of the tale with… yep, you guessed it, a poem… of sorts.

The poem is regaled by one destined to tell and retell the story of the train and those who choose to ride it (think Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner). It’s told within the workings of the story, and while penning it, I saw the train screaming down the tracks toward the exiled depot, and I hoped the poem would work well enough to pass that visual on to the reader.

It wasn’t until last year that I saw ‘my train’ brought to life. Only it wasn’t for ‘Shovel-Man Joe’, but rather ‘Black Train Blues’ by James A Moore (I’m a huge fan – check out his stuff) for Midnight Echo Issue 9. The illustration is phenomenal, and perfectly captured both James’ train, and the vision I had of Shovel-Man Joe’s train. When I first saw it, I said: “That’s my train!”

This was my introduction to Monty, the master-illustrator and it wouldn’t be long until we were working together on a comic based on one of my stories. That project is a while away yet, and Monty being the workaholic he is, has another project on the go – one where he’s both writer and illustrator, and where he tackles two of the masters of horror: HP Lovecraft vs Aleister Crowley.

With just five days to go and just $140 to get to fund the project, he’s so close to getting his dream comic off the ground. So, for those who are a little unsure as to whether they’d like to kick in, just take a look at Monty’s work, and trust me when I say you won’t find a harder-working, more dedicated illustrator.

I now own a copy of ‘Train in Vain’, and though it was drawn for another’s story, take a look at it below and read the poem I’ve pulled from ‘Shovel-Man Joe’, and if you can, think of backing Monty so he can get his artwork out in the world.

train in vain 1

Crack! The whip struck Shovel-Man Joe!

Back slashed red, blood and sweat flowed.

Piled high at his feet were limbs and entrails.

The shovel scraped loudly; the fire inhaled!

 

The throttle released with a hiss and a groan;

The engine chugged forward on pistons of bone.

First class hurrah’d and raised glasses high;

The whore settled back, spread wide with a sigh.

 

All aboard! All aboard!

Fresh meat, the fire roared!

Ride the train it was writ; be the first to The Pit!

But who has returned and spoken of it?

 

He comes, can you hear?

Who’s the first to disappear?

Whispers in the halls; scratching in the walls.

One by one you will surely fall.

 

Beware the Shovel Man’s ire!

Feed the fire! Feed the fire!

Ride the train if you dare…

You must all pay the fare.

 

Lovecraft

Paying Art Forward

Those who know me know how much I love books. My bookcases are overflowing, my bedside table is stacked high, and my desk is a library of novels and comics and reference books. And let’s be honest, the book and comic-buying isn’t going to stop.

My other love is art; be it paintings, illustrations, sculptures, carvings… anything that ‘speaks’ to me (and by speaks, I mean screams: buy me! Now!).

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been slowly buying more art, a lot of which is associated with my love of the darker stuff, and my writing. I’ve been gifted a short story illustration from Andrew J McKiernan, and have artwork from Greg Chapman and David Schembri (I also have one of Dave’s designs inked on my skin, but that’s a post for another day).

Today I want to talk about the beauty of comic art; more specifically, the art of Montgomery Borror. Not only is Monty one helluva nice guy, his artwork is amazing. I know this is fact as he’s illustrating my comic ‘The Road’, and I’ve been blown away by his interpretations, which far exceed anything I imagined (check out one of the pages below).

road page 17(page from comic ‘The Road’)

Monty, from what I’ve seen, is a workaholic—I’m not sure he sleeps at all—and is working on his own pet project (as writer/illustrator) of HP Lovecraft vs Aleister Crowley. Now artists (like writers) aren’t paid anywhere near enough for what they do, and Monty is no exception. So to get his project off the ground, he’s enlisted Kickstarter to help fund his comic. Check it out here.

There are some great pledge tiers available — starting at just $1! My favourite, though, is the chance to be drawn into the comic – yes, you read that right. There are two different tiers for this: a more prominent character, or a background character. I, of course, have taken Monty up on the first tier, then coupled that with a copy of one of the internal pages (I get to see comic-me!).

Lovecraft

This is a project I’m backing as best I can – I’ve taken on two pledges to help get this project off the ground. So here’s where you, dear reader, come in. Check out Monty’s Kickstarter, and if you can, pledge – as little as $1 will help toward Monty reaching his goal. If you can’t pledge, then please take the time to share this on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram… any of the social media places you like to hang your hat. With only $500 left to reach his goal, the more people who know about this project, the closer we can get to having this fantastic comic funded.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be posting a bit more about art and my love of the medium, and the interconnectivity between illustrations and writing, but for now, if you can help spread the word and the love for Monty’s project, that’d be awesome!

book review

Review: Carnies by Martin Livings

After the controversy of my last post (yeah, I poked that bear), it’s review time again! And yes, that sentence deserved a ‘screamer’. I’ve read eight novels so far this year, and while that might not be a lot for others, compared to last year, I’m killing it. As an editor, I read a lot — flash fiction, shorts, novellas, novels (in all genres) — but that’s a different kind of reading; approached in an entirely different way. Reading for pleasure, where I can disengage the editor in me and just immerse myself in a story and sidle up to characters, is something I’ve really missed.

So I’ve dived back into my mammoth ‘to read’ pile, and Carnies by Martin Livings (published through Cohesion Press) was at the top of said pile. As with the last couple of reviews, this one also comes with a disclaimer. The Australian spec-fic community is a small and close-knit one – if you don’t know someone, you know of them. Martin is a friend of mine (and all ‘round nice guy – he loves cats), and we’ve also had short stories appear in the same publications. I soon became a fan of his short works, so I was very much looking forward to reading a longer piece. But before we go any further, it’s spoiler alert time:

 

HERE A SPOILER, THERE A SPOILER, EVERYWHERE A SPOILER, SPOILER!

carnies

 

The title alone tells you we’re heading into carnival territory, and I was hoping this was going to be an old-school carnival with all its oddities and ‘freaks’ that had a more… otherworldly feel to it than the almost antiseptic feel of what passes as a carnival today. I wasn’t disappointed.

Carnies follows the story of brothers David and Paul Hampden. David, a journalist in a spiralling career, has gotten wind of a creepy carnival in country Australia that might just revitalise his career. He enlists younger brother Paul, a sometimes photographer, to join him. David and Paul are somewhat estranged; it’s not just the large age gap, but the ultra-religious (read: fire and brimstone) upbringing at their father’s hand after their mother’s disappearance. Both men want to bridge the gap that’s developed between them over the years.

The minute the brothers drive into Tillbrook, they know (as does the reader) that something’s not quite right. It doesn’t take long for that ‘not quite right’ to show itself. A close-call that almost results in a car accident reignites the animosity between the brothers, but it’s put aside when the men head to the carnival that night.

This is the start of the brothers taking different path to the somewhat same destination. The carnies have been in Tillbrook for … well, forever, really, and the townsfolk grudgingly live alongside them. Later in the book we discover that this is due to a pact made a hundred years ago with the town and the carnies’ forebears. The arrival of David, and more specifically Paul, tears the final threads of that fraying pact apart.

At its heart, this is a story of familial bonds, of blood ties that are, in essence, impossible to deny but also as tenuous as a spider’s web. Both Paul and David sit at opposite sides of this blood – both drawn from the same vial but poles apart.

The carnies are werewolves, and while Paul is enamoured with the Alpha female, Rachel, he comes into his own via a bite from a ‘bitch’ further down the totem pole. His fate (destiny?) is sealed, and he finds a sense of belonging he’s been wanting.

werewolf 1

When Paul goes missing, David goes in search, and with the help of a secretive town “council” hell bent on destroying the carnies, manages to step in so much dog doo-doo, you know it’s not going to end well.

After an attempted extraction that fails in spectacular fashion, Paul, giving into his animal instincts, bites his brother in the throat, believing he’s killed him. He doesn’t, of course, and this sets up a finale that pits brother against brother.

It’s during David’s turning we discover the bloodline runs through both men via their mother. David doesn’t turn well; he hears the fundamentalist voice of his father, directing him to his own personal jihad. He does this well, pretty much taking out the Alpha male, Amos, in a very bloody fashion, but his plans unravel in the final confrontation with Paul.

I’m not going to spoil the ending of the book – read it, it’s a hell of a finale.

This is a great read, and it’s been a long time since I’ve read a werewolf story (and the turn from human to wolf is done remarkably well by Livings), let alone one that engaged me so well. It’s a well-written story, with threads tangling all the players – none of which is ever really as it seems.

It’s not a perfect story (what story ever really is?). When David is bitten, his body isn’t collected with all the others in the clean-up – makes no sense. But my main gripe would be what I call the ‘missing scene’. When David kidnaps the Alpha male, Amos, we only see the aftermath of that confrontation. Amos has been tortured and maimed – it would have been a great to see the dichotomy between the two enemies. What information did David get from Amos? Did he get any at all? It was an opportunity missed, in my mind.

Overall, Carnies is great read, and I was happily immersed in the world Livings had created, and I’d have happily spent more time there. There are no happy endings with this story, but it is open for a sequel (which I would definitely read), but I’m told this won’t be happening. It’s a shame, as it’s a very cool world Livings has created.

Four and half stars

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