Cantraip Press

Darkroom

DarkroomMary Maddox
Author:
Publisher:
Published: May 3, 2016
Author's Twitter: @Dreambeast9
Art curator Kelly Durrell goes looking for her missing roommate, talented photographer Day Randall, and becomes entangled in a demimonde of powerful people who will go to any lengths to protect their secrets.   There’s plenty of room for another grave in the mountains… Talented but unstable photographer Day Randall has been living rent-free in Kelly Durrell’s Colorado condo for eight months. Day needs someone to keep an eye on her. Kelly needs someone to draw her out of her stable but not spectacular life. The arrangement works for both of them. Then Kelly comes home one day to find Day gone. There’s no note, no phone call. Day’s car is still parked out front, but her room is starkly, suspiciously spotless. No one seems to care. The police certainly aren’t interested in a missing bipolar artist, but Kelly knows something is wrong. Day wouldn’t just leave. Alone, Kelly traces Day’s last steps through shadowy back rooms of Boulder nightclubs and to a remote mountain estate, where the wealthy protect themselves behind electric fences and armed guards. Along the way, she uncovers a sinister underworld lying just below the mountain snow, and a group of powerful people who will do anything to protect the secrets hidden in Day’s enigmatic photographs. If she trusts the wrong person, Kelly herself will be the next to disappear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daemon Seer

Daemon Seer
Author:
Publisher:
Published: February 24, 2015
Author's Twitter: @Dreambeast8
As a teenager, Lu Darlington attracted national attention when she and her friend Lisa escaped a sadistic killer known as the Professor of Death. She never told anyone about the daemon who saved her life that day. Ten years later, Lisa shows up at Lu’s door, fleeing another psychopath stalker. But Lisa’s not the only one seeking Lu after all this time. One by one, the daemons descend: Voracious Chama. Sinister Black Claw. Beautiful Talion. Chama wants Lu, but Talion claims her. The women of Lu’s family have always belonged to Talion—and they’ve suffered deeply for it. As the human threat draws closer, Talion demands that Lu bind herself to him in a harrowing ceremony that will destroy an innocent man and change her forever—but might save Lisa’s life. Can she navigate the violent intrigues of the daemon world without being consumed by its terrible, all-consuming demands?

Reviewed  

Get that third eye ready, Daemon Seer is a rollicking, dark thrill tide through the mind of one Luanda Darlington, aka the woman who ended the serial murder spree that electrified and terrified the nation. She’s avoided the spotlight, but for how long? The Professor of Death might be dead, but his ghost still haunts Lu in the form of the bestselling nonfiction book detailing Conrad’s exploits. And the writer responsible for the book… he’s haunting her as well.

Lisa, the scarred survivor of the Professor’s final lesson is in the picture too, on the run from an abusive cop. The same cop currently combing the entire lower 48 states to bring Lisa back to a punishing world of sex, drugs and degradation. Lisa arrives at Lu’s door with nothing, except an annoying case of telepathy with Lu.

Plus, it’s about this time that the gorgeous, seductive and irresistible daemon Talion shows up.

Stylistically, Daemon seer flows at a fast pace, with bits of back story stuck into it like bloody shards of glass into a voodoo doll. The narrative is tense, active, and stripped for speed. There are a few points where the speed actually overtakes the reader’s ability to keep up, but keep reading: the thing you’re confused about is going to be explained soon, either next few paragraphs or the next page. If there’s one continual source of confusion, it’s the amnesia box. Not entirely sure how it was developed, how it works, and how at other times it doesn’t.

The characters are realistic as human beings, with description painting them as individuals rather than dialogue.

It was awesome to see the plot progress, and to see how intense the action got. Most impressive is how I thought the various events would be the climax of the story, but then I thought to myself, ‘that can’t be right, there are 60 more pages left’ and lo and behold, the actual conflict continued on to later smash me with another great climactic scene.

The book ties up very nicely, without leaving the reader at a cliffhanger, yet sets up further books in the series well. I’d be intrigued to read the following book in the series and see how events and characters develop, notably with Galen, Lisa and Chama.

 

Talion

Talion
Category:
Author:
Publisher:
Published: January 1, 2014
Author's Twitter: @Dreambeast7
A sadistic killer stalks two teenage girls, but one of them has a secret that could destroy him.