Authors Showcase: Mystery and Horror

The Book: Requiem for the Puppet Master

The Author: DJ Murphy

ref=sib_dp_kd-2The Story: Can video machines really be used to program a 13 year-old boy to kill? Can a rogue agent for the National Security Agency avenge his expulsion from the agency by programming the kid to eliminate his rivals still in the agency? And is the programming strong enough to make the boy kill the agent’s last living rival, who just happens to be the boy’s father, the father he hates.

Grady Harrison, after the tragic loss of his wife and only daughter, has simplified his life, quit his psychology practice and moved onto his old wooden Chris Craft cruiser. When the boy’s redheaded mom shows up on his boat, it’s not the far-fetched sounding tale of programming and murders that hooks Grady it’s the boy’s mom, Peg, the redhead. He takes the bait and away we go. What starts as a simple request for help with a disturbed teenager morphs into a full-fledged battle against a ruthless and powerful NSA rogue agent. It’s a battle to rescue and reclaim the boy, Brian. It’s a battle to save Brian’s father. It’s an opportunity for Grady and Peg to find strengths they never knew they had.

Requiem for the Puppet Master is a tale that unfolds on the Mississippi River and its banks. Grady has his cruiser moored in Big River Marina, just downstream from lock and dam 15, near Rock Island, Illinois. Grady is a character rising out of the author’s own need for this kind of story. John D. MacDonald is no more. Travis McGee sits on the bookshelf in a rainbow of colored titles, all read at least once, but now gathering dust. It’s time for a new guy who lives on the water and who in his own unorthodox way, rescues maidens and sniffs out and neutralizes bad guys.

Review by D.R.M.: For fans of first-person mystery-suspense (think Travis McGee, Spenser, Doc Ford) REQUIEM FOR THE PUPPET MASTER is a book that’s well worth seeking out. The hero is a fascinating character who draws a wonderful picture of his world and the people in it. You almost feel as if the Quad Cities area of IA/IL and the Mississippi are some of the main characters.

The intriguing mystery involves a nefarious plot by a rogue government. agent to condition damaged youngsters so that they perform killings on command. Our hero manages to rescue one of these kids and his mom, and thereby hangs the tale. There’s plenty of action and suspense, but also lots of reflection. I like that.

Review by David J. Gould: I’ll give D. J. Murphy five stars for his intriquing, psychological mystery. It takes place along a stretch of the Mississippi River in the Heartland of America. His interesting take on the workings of an ex-intelligence agent programing and manipulating an adolescent boy to do his dirty work(murder) makes his novel a real page-turner. For a first time author, Murphy writes a great story.

The Book: Dead Size

The Author: Sawney Hatton

Dead Size 400X533_revThe Story: Gulliver Huggens is having one of those lives. He watched his family perish in a tragic car accident as a child. He doesn’t know how to win the heart of the girl at the coffee shop. And he shares his home with a clan of mischievous tiny people. Yet these all turn out to be the least of his troubles.

When Gulliver learns of a race of Giants dwelling in the neighboring mountains, it couldn’t be a more horrifying scenario: they want him to exterminate all the Little People, his only friends, or else suffer the “unpleasantries.” When folks in his small hometown begin brutally dying — literally losing their heads — Gulliver must make a hard choice. But choices have consequences. And consequences, he’ll learn, come in all terrible sizes.

Original and genre-defying, sometimes funny and sometimes frightening, DEAD SIZE is a manic tale of fantastical creatures, obsessive love, haunting memories, family secrets, and murder out of proportion.

The author describes the book this way: My book is rather eclectic, a Comedic Psychological Fantasy Mystery Thriller (or, more succinctly, Contemporary Fiction). He says it has a lot of violence and profanity. Sounds like an HBO series to me.

Goodreads Review: It’s not quite a horror novel, although it certainly has some horror in it. It’s not quite a comedy, despite a darkly comedic take on small-town life.

And it’s not really a family novel, despite the richly created family history, complete with some dark secrets.

It’s a little of everything… and the sum of the whole is greater than the parts, because it becomes something more than all of these things.


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