When Life Becomes a Nightmare


The Book: The Living Image

The Author: P. M. Richter

My Review:

Only on rare occasions are we fortunate enough to run across a thoroughly new and original story. P. M. Richter has written one. It caught me off guard in the opening sentence and dared me to enter a world that is both frightening and deadly. Perhaps only P. M. Richter could have imagined such a twisted and tormented world.

ddd6a13db7804d6e4db68f1fa2574cbf_400x400She wrote: “Sabrina’s eyelids fluttered in the midst of a dream in which a tiny maniacal form was torturing her, fiendishly stabbing about her head with needles. It was so vivid and frightening she tried to awaken, like you can sometimes do in a shocking nightmare, but her body was paralyzed. She was blind. She couldn’t move.”

I was trapped now. P. M. Richter had captured my imagination and had no intention of letting it go. Was it a dream? Or was it really a nightmare? Who was Sabrina and why is someone doing such terrible things to her?

She opens her eyes and feels as though she is looking into a mirror. She is staring into her own face, but it belongs to another. Sabrina, meet Eve. She is your exact double. She is like you in every way. She has your face, your body, and your mind. There is, however, one exception. Eve is a robot. Eve is your clone. She knows what you think. She feels what you have experienced. She’s in tune with your passions and fears, your hopes and worries. And she may be the most valuable, most sought-after commodity in the world.

Intelligence agencies will do whatever it takes to own Eve and the technology that has come so close to creating another human being. The CIA is after her. So are the Russians. And the Japanese aren’t far behind. There is only one problem. No one can detect any difference between Sabrina and Eve. If the wrong one dies, it’s nothing more than collateral damage.

The race has begun in a tightly knit story of betrayal, of survival. What will happen to Sabrina and Eve? Can they escape? Can Sabrina protect her clone from a myriad of spies and greedy lawyers who always seem to be one lone step behind them? She fights as though she is protecting herself, and perhaps she is. After a while, she does not feel any difference between herself and her living image.

A very talented novelist, P. M. Richter has written a novel that can be described as part science fiction, part fantasy, and all thriller. Looking for a novel not quite like anything you have ever read before? Look no farther than Living Images.


The Book: Presumed Dead

The Author: Jearl Rugh

My review:

You want suspense? Jearl Rugh knows how to write it. You want mystery? Jearl has the ability to tempt you with riddles that will have you guessing far into the night. Want to lay there in the darkness, afraid of the nightmares that may probe your mind while you sleep?

Jearl Rugh
Jearl Rugh

That’s exactly what you’ll find in Presumed Dead, a thriller that follows Kel Nyte, a Seattle patrol office, as she tries to unravel a baffling crime that is suddenly touching her past and threatening her family.

It all begins with a text, with a riddle. The words are haunting and mysterious.

“First the one who owes so much. Final payment by my touch. Breath of life fails to draw in. Pillow talk, my lethal sin.”

What does it mean? And who would send such a poetic riddle? Jearl Rugh writes: “Her bowels cinched tight as a braided rope. A sudden reflex drew her hands to her face. They slipped over a halting breath, but her eyes stayed fixed on the lines. She couldn’t tear away from the simply rhyme she knew prophesied a future she couldn’t accept. Then a dark dread, icy and resolute, slithered into her mind. My God, he’s here?”

On her nightly patrol, Kel Nyte responds to the call and happens to be the first officer to arrive at the murder scene. A woman is dead. The riddle is there for all to find. And Kel is immediately stricken by the fact that the rhyme pattern is oddly similar to the strange poetic puzzles she, too, has been receiving.

Is she the next victim? Was there any connection between Kel and the dead woman? Were their lives or their pasts intertwined? Who would want to murder them, and when will the killing stop? Or will it ever stop?

Seattle is caught in the vicious web of a serial killer, one who leaves a riddle at the crime scene of each victim. Kel is not allowed of officially investigate the crime, but nothing can stop her from tracking down clues on her own time. Her father is dying, but she fears he may know more than he’s telling her about the murderous rampage?

Then again, is the killer? Kel is afraid he might be. None of it makes sense for her, and Kel feels she is being slowly drawn into an abyss from which there is no escape. The last riddle she receives threatens her daughter, and Kel will do whatever it takes to probe the mysteries of the night until she finds his identity and puts an end to his killing spree.

Jearl Rugh writes tough yet lyrical prose in the style of Raymond Chandler and John D. McDonald. He brings you inside the story and lets you experience the same trials, tribulations, fears, and triumphs confronted by his characters. Jearl Rugh is definitely a novelist making an impact on the mystery/thriller scene.


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