Supernatural

Destiny

Destiny
Set in Australia this YA paranormal romance is the story of Lili who, while looking for her destiny, finds herself in a world filled with vampires and ghosts. Destiny: ‘The predetermined or inevitable path a person must follow.’ When nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born. But when she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him. Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy. But the real test is how to follow her destiny as she faces some of the hardest decisions of her life.

Reviewed 

Lili McIntyre just ended a difficult relationship and is now on a much-needed summer vacation to Melbourne, Australia for a few months. Her aunt Debs welcomes her Down Under and provides her with a chance to clear her head. On the plane, Lili meets Claire, and that new friendship introduces her to more than she dreamed of. Though Claire doesn’t know it, her new boyfriend, Tom, has an enormous secret. The oblivious Claire introduces Lili to Sam, Tom’s close friend. As a natural double-date, Sam and Lili find themselves thrown together and soon discover a growing attraction.

Soon, Lili discovers why Sam and Tom behave so strangely. They are vampires! Suddenly a world of the supernatural opens up to Lili and her heart will lead her to help Sam keep his secret identity and defend the city from conflicts begun in ages past.

Destiny is an enjoyable book with a fun take on the vampire genre, full of characters created with affection and care. Lili’s struggle to determine her future and the pressures from home struck a chord with me. She feels the urgency to decide her future and move forward, although the hugeness of the decision overwhelms her.

The American/Australian crossover made me wonder through the tale about the author’s origins, but I think I know. Some telling word choice clued me in. I loved hearing about life in Melbourne and all the interesting trips the characters took nearby. Though some of Melbourne’s history appears in the book, I would have like to learn more.

I appreciated the potential for the tale to discuss the subject of abuse. I think that young women, especially, need reinforcement that abuse is real, encouragement that they don’t have to endure it, and illustrations of what it really looks like. Plenty of speakers and nonfiction writers share about abuse, but tales of people enduring and overcoming it reach us in a different, sometimes more personal way.

Lili wonders through the tale why she isn’t scared that Sam is a vampire. I know why: it’s because none of the vampires in this book are the slightest bit scary. Romance and good looks trump blood-drinking. Any slip of the teeth is slight and polite to the extent that Claire never once discovers their identity. Even the scenes that should be thrilling and terrifying lose their teeth because of the detached and passive way the author describes them. My take is that the trouble lies in the author’s unwillingness to make the characters suffer. She loves them too much. Any problem is short and quickly resolved without the pain that blood-drinking romantic interests should pose.

Aside from the pressured calm of the tale, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the second book in the trilogy to find the answers to the problems that Lili hasn’t solved yet. Four stars.

Vingede

Vingede
A possibly schizophrenic adolescent boy who speaks mysterious, rhyming riddles… a mute teen girl who can only communicate through art and has an odd collecting habit… Two young people held captive by unrelated mental illness or is there a sinister connection between the cases – a swan song cry no one has yet heard? When former novitiate turned PI, Tobias Berger, is hired by the foster father of a teen whom his unusual new client believes may have knowledge of an undiscovered crime, the private eye finds himself immersed in two cases stranger and darker than the one which introduced him to his current secretary, a young woman who’s much more to him than an employee. As the pieces in an eerie puzzle come together and the couple begins a relationship that Tobias has been hesitant to let take flight, the two discover that the supernatural is far from done with them and that the mystical may well be at work in more than one aspect of their lives. Another fairy tale mystery in which the paranormal proves itself business as usual.

Reviewed 

An Excellent and Eerie Mystery

The second of Krisi Keley’s Friar Tobias mysteries is even better than the first. Once again the author’s background in linguistics and theology provides the unique material for this superb supernatural mystery.

A man seeks Tobias’s help for his foster son. He thinks the child may have witnessed a crime, but the boy has a speech problem due to either autism or schizophrenia, so no one can understand him. Like Ms Keley, Tobias has a degree in linguistics which is why the man seeks him out. Paolo speaks in poetry and makes obscure references to what Tobias eventually figures out is an old fairy tale about a girl and her eleven brothers that are turned into swans by a wicked witch. He senses that someone is in trouble, but who?

Tobias’s friend, the psychiatrist priest, wants him to meet a mute and apparently traumatised girl who has turned up in a hospital and, in what appears to be sheer coincidence, her sketches indicate that she fills the role of the girl in the fairy tale. But where are her eleven brothers? And how does Paolo know all this? This description is a gross simplification of a story with many subtleties, but as with all good mysteries, our suspicions are aroused and the pieces come together at the end.

Ms Keley manages to imbue her mystery with more than just the supernatural. As with all her books, questions of spirituality are at the core of the story. Tobias is a staunch Catholic. He believes in leaving sex until marriage, so his girlfriend, Samantha, who he met in his last case, must wait with him, and this provides some interesting topics of conversation. The nature of the crime and how it reflects present day morals is also a matter of thought-provoking reflection on Tobias’s part, but both these issues sit quite naturally in the story simply because of who Tobias is.

Ms Keley is a master of the English language. Her prose flows beautifully (though I did find the first sentence rather a mouthful) and she expresses subtle ideas succinctly and elegantly. The characters are charming with a delightful intelligent banter between Tobias and Samantha. The plot is interesting, the pacing never languishes and the editing is sleek.

Overall the book is an excellent and eerie mystery about a sick crime that needs a little supernatural intervention to bring the perpetrator to justice. This is a wonderful example of the kind of gems you’ll only find in independent fiction. It’s an entertaining, skilfully executed mystery, but it’s also different, deep and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it for those who like private investigator stories with supernatural and metaphysical elements.

 

Mareritt

Mareritt
Embark on a wild “mare ride” to slay a dragon and uncover the truth. As beauty lies sleeping… Four pretty, partying high school seniors, four strange and startling accidents the police believe the girls have brought on themselves. Do demonic nightmares and fairy tale visions bury a dark secret haunting the girls or is the past simply struggling to reach the light? Twenty-eight year old former novitiate turned PI, Tobias Berger, hired to discover who, if anyone, is threatening the four troubled young women, is about to embark on a wild “mare ride” to slay their dragon and uncover the truth. A dark fairy tale mystery with a touch of mystic light.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

June 30, 2013

A beautifully written, extraordinary metaphysical mystery

5 Stars

Mereritt  by Krisi Keley is a beautifully written, extraordinary and fascinating metaphysical mystery that is a great read for anyone who likes a supernatural mystery. It will particularly appeal to anyone who likes a bit of meat in their fiction and especially those interested in philosophy, which is seamlessly woven into the story. Even the mystery itself is of a metaphysical nature.

Four girls have the same nightmares, see ghostly visions and are involved in strange accidents, one of them is in a comma. The question is, is someone trying to hurt them, or are they just mentally unstable? It’s not a case the police can do anything about, so one of the girl’s mother seeks out the local private investigator, Friar Tobe, as he is known. Tobias isn’t a Friar. He left the order before completing his novitiate, but he is a Christian  with a clearly profound faith who had been on his way to becoming a Brother, and the locals have taken to referring to him as Friar Tobe.  In this way, he is the Christian equivalent of Tenzin from the Rule of a Ten Books by Gay Hendricks . Tenzin is an ex-Buddhist monk and also a PI but his cases are more of a worldly nature.

Tobias  is a likeable character, open-minded, self-aware, intelligent and with a highly refined wit  that is shared by the equality intelligent female lead, Samantha. She is one of the four eighteen-year-olds involved in the case, and she flirts with him. He finds her enchanting, but since she is a client, he mustn’t fall for her, a fact that adds a nice undercurrent of sexual tension to the story. Ms Keley is a consummate story teller, and this book, like her On the Soul of a Vampire Series has a symbolic aspect, in this case in the shared nightmare. Tobias must piece together all the threads of a mystery that operates on the mental, physical and spiritual planes and that calls for his knowledge of linguistics and his understanding of the spiritual dimension.

All the characters are well-fleshed out and believable ( Sam is more mature than many eighteen year olds but not unrealistically so)  and another particularly likeable character is Father Mike. The relationship between the two men has the light touch that comes from a long and close friendship.

This is an entertaining and enjoyable mystery, but it is also much more. It is also a thought-provoking exploration of divine justice and redemption, a particularly wonderful book for those with an interest in philosophy, for Ms Keley has a degree in theology. She knows her stuff and it shows. This is the finest kind of metaphysical fiction in that the philosophy and its world view are not only inseparable from the story, but also are fully researched and don’t in any way impinge upon or overpower the storyline. So it can be enjoyed on many levels; the kind of book that feeds your mind and soul, and perhaps even opens your heart somewhat. It is also flawlessly edited, not a typo or grammatical error in sight. Highly recommended. 5 stars

Pro Luce Habere

Pro Luce Habere
What if the legend isn’t simply a cautionary tale of good and evil, a warning about trading one’s soul for eternal life? What if, instead, it’s a misinterpretation of the unimaginable – something true that has only always overlooked the fundamental truth? In 1212 Provence, a boy filled with hope sets out on a pilgrimage to discover the mysteries of his faith, only to find himself become part of a dark and even more mysterious myth, born millennia ago. Forced to kill so he might live, but cherishing the lives he knows intimately in death, he is both shaped and haunted by the battle between light and darkness, within his victims and within himself. Amidst the inquisitions of the Middle Ages, two history-changing revolutions, world war and the paradoxes of modernity, an immortal being struggles to determine who really is the monster, as he journeys through time toward solving the mystery behind a legend as old as mankind. Look beyond fiction and folklore and believe again. Volumes I & II combined in one book. As a prequel, Book II: Pro Luce Habere may be read before Book I: On the Soul of a Vampire.

Reviewed by Awesome Indies

June 7, 2012

5 Stars

Wow, another instalment in the On the Soul Series about the beautiful French vampire Valery.  If you don’t like vampire stories, then read on, because this is nothing like the usual vampire fare. This series reminds me more of Dostoevsky than Stephanie Meyers or any other contemporary vampire author.  It’s a long time since I’ve read the Russian masters, but the intensity, passion and depth of philosophy in Krisi Keley’s books give me the same kind of feeling. These are powerful and thought provoking books and a must-read for anyone interested in philosophy or the wide sweep of European and American history, especially as it relates to the pervading ideas of the various time periods.

It’s the exquisite character of Valery that drives these books, eloquent, intelligent, deeply contemplative, witty and beautiful both inside and outside. He was a young man with tremendous faith in God when he was turned into a vampire against his will in thirteenth century France, just after the Children’s Crusade in 1212. Volume one of Pro Luce Habere chronicles his outer journey from that time through centuries of life in Europe, and the inner journey of his struggle to reconcile his belief in God and the morals inherent in that belief with the fact that he must kill in order to live.

Volume two continues from there and takes Valery to the New World of America in its early days of colonisation. During the civil war, he uses his abilities to take away the suffering of soldiers who are dying in such pain that they beg for death. To them, he is an angel. We follow him back to Europe for a time and through the two terrible world wars of the twentieth century. Valery continues to suffer over the nature of his existence, feeling that he is an evil monster, while it is clear to those who love him that his soul is full of the light of love and compassion.  His unquenchable search for truth and the depth of his love are extremely moving.

The purity of Valery’s love will make you question your assumptions about the role of sex in a love relationship. Keley’s vampires have no desire for sex, just for the knowing of a soul that they feel at the moment they take a life. It is this, more than the blood, which sustains them and drives their blood lust. The purist of souls ignite Valery’s love, and his relationships with those who, even though he fights against it, inevitably become his ‘children’ are extraordinary.

His pain is that he can’t overcome his overwhelming desire to completely know the mortals he loves, as he only can at the moment of their death at his hands, or to loose them to a mortal death. So, even though he knows he is condemning them to the everlasting suffering of a pure soul fighting the evil of his existence, he turns them, then suffers with remorse as they fight the same inner battle he does.

The first book was set in the present day, and books two and three are Valery’s memories as he lies dying in the arms of his beloved at the end of book one. At the end of this book, we return to that point.

These books are deeply moving, and if you like an intense, passionate character, extraordinary writing and have a fascination for history, then you may become a fan. I give it 5 stars and look forward to the next instalment.

 

Reviewed by Tahlia Newland

5 Stars

This is an extraordinary work of fiction. The central character is a vampire, but this is not your usual vampire story; it is an amazing way of looking at history through the eyes of a man who has lived through it – all of it. The depth of characterisation, the historical detail, the questions raised and the quality of the prose are all exemplary. When I think of the books that have moved me the most, this is top of the list.

On the Soul of a Vampire

On the Soul of a Vampire
The answer’s neither in blood nor life; the key to the mystery is in the human soul. Keley handles words with authority and skill… but more than that, she writes with a genuine spiritual and psychological depth I've rarely encountered in modern fiction. –Werner Lind, Lifeblood   For some it takes a lifetime to discover their raison d’être. Imagine searching for eight centuries. In 1997 Philadelphia, 800 year old vampire Valéry Castellane comes face to face with is reason to be, in the person of Angelina Lacroix, a young mortal woman whose understanding of immortality is about to change all he’s known as truth and which will take him, and his readers, on a journey into the human soul. Discovering a mortal who not only senses his presence, but also somehow knows his name, Valéry becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of how this might be. Confronting the girl, after learning she has knowledge of his entire existence, he is stunned and frustrated when Angelina seems more intent on convincing him he’s not the soulless monster of myth than she is with providing an explanation. Unable to take her life or give her immortality, Valéry embarks on a journey with Angelina that not only take them from Philadelphia to his childhood home in the Provençal Alps, but on a journey into his greatest hopes and dreams, fears and disappointments, and into the past that has shaped him. A novel about faltering faith and never-ending hope, On the Soul of a Vampire will not only alter everything you think you know about vampires, it will change the way you see your very soul.

The Glade

The Glade
You are being arrested for the murder of your husband… You have a secret you can’t tell…The evil is gathering… The Wenstrops have it all: health, wealth and happiness. But then it all begins to fall apart. Helen is arrested for murder, yet is either unable or unwilling to give a defence. During her detention, vital evidence goes mysteriously missing and tensions are running high. Helen finds herself surrounded and yet alone: not knowing who she can trust or how she can tell her enemies from her friends. Helen has to work through her self-doubts and fears, in order to know whether her suspicions and misgivings are valid or simply products of an overwrought mind. There are those who would like to encourage her confusion, and those who would help her – but how to know one from the other? And then there are those who actively mean her harm. Meanwhile, malignant forces in the forest are gathering power, ready for a final assault. Helen finds herself in a battle of life and death, and faces having to lose everything in her attempts to thwart the evil that has insinuated itself into her very existence – but is she ready to make the ultimate sacrifice? This sensational second novel by acclaimed author Harmony Kent will have you alternately laughing, crying and gripping the edge of your seat as this roller coaster ride of a plot unfolds. It will keep you guessing through its many twists and turns, and hijack your attention right up until you turn the final page. This book has it all: murder, intrigue, the supernatural, a broken marriage, a love affair, courage against impossible odds, suspense, and high drama.

Reviewed by  

The Glade is basically a supernatural suspense story. It’s different, intriguing and totally unpredictable.

Like many indie works this book crosses genres. The supernatural element puts it in the fantasy category, but apart from The Presence that Helen and Geoff, her husband, feel in their little glade in the Forest of Dean and the dead people who get up and walk, it all happens in the fairly ordinary world of a small country village. It’s this low key approach that makes the story all the more chilling because we can’t immediately dismiss it as a fantasy world. This real world basis means that the book also fits into the mystery and suspense categories. There isn’t so much fantasy that it would turn off those who aren’t generally fantasy readers, and there’s plenty of mystery and suspense for fans of those genres. Kent’s characters and the world she creates around them are very real, but beneath this ordinary exterior lies a dark underbelly.

Helen has cancer and she and her husband retire to the Forest of Dean to live out her remaining days. Things do not go as they expect, however, and the author takes the reader on a roller coaster ride to find out the truth behind the strange events, and then to work out how to destroy the menace that has haunted the village for generations.

The story is extremely well done in terms of plot and pacing. I never knew what would happen next, was often surprised and always keen to keep reading. The characterisation was excellent. I got to know Helen quickly and soon became concerned for her. Though Geoff was a bit of a mystery, it worked for the story because Helen also discovers that she never really knew her husband. Mike and John were well-rendered and were both lovely characters, and Sheila also came across loud and clear.

I was particularly impressed by how Kent handled the backstory. We moved seamlessly from past to present until they coincided, and the backstory never felt like backstory. Beginning the story, as she did, part way through, created an added layer of mystery as we wonder now Helen got to the point where she took her husband’s life. Another thing the author did well was to feed the information out at the right pace, just enough crumbs to keep you reading, but never too much at once, and she left the real revelations until right at the end, exactly as a good mystery should be.

Endings can make or break a novel, and in this case, the end was its crowning glory and made it much more than just an ordinary suspense story. I was concerned about it for some time as the end grew near, wondering it if would leave me miserable – it could easily have gone either way. Of course, I’m not going to tell you whether it did or not, but I will say that I thought the end was magnificent.

Some of the phrasing I found strange, but I think that’s because it’s local lingo – the author is English.

I like the cover too; it does a good job of expressing the feel of the book. I recommend it for those who enjoy a good supernatural suspense story.

It’s really worth a read.

Review by S M Spencer

This is an excellent book – the perfect mix of mystery, thriller, horror, fantasy & even a touch of romance. Couldn’t put it down. Probably not a good book to take on a camping trip to an isolated forest however 🙂

5 stars for sure.