Book Review: Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West


Servant of the Red Quill
Servant of the Red Quill

Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West. Published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc. 

Available 01-02-15, but can be ordered now.

Overall Score: 5/5

“It’s funny, don’t you think? The way you ignored your family in life and they now ignore you in death? Some are aware of how your uncle gave his cursed baubles of the black room away. But none know of how you followed suit, in your own grief and anger.”

A broken and haunted man, Baker Johnson is a second generation parapsychologist and trustee of plagued and cursed items during New York’s “Roaring 20’s”. He turns to the drink to fill the void of his lost family and quiet the regret of unleashing his cursed items back into the world.

He is coerced away from his downward spiral in order to help an old acquaintance to his deceased uncle, another collector of plagued objects, who is being plagued by a recent acquisition. The item in question, a cursed tome written in an undecipherable language. But is Baker in any kind of shape to resist the shadows and help an inflicted soul?

“‘Go back to your whores and brandy,’… ‘You are hollow, sir. You are a faithless, immoral drunkard. The world deserves a better champion- one who is not at such odds with the people he defends.'”

The brand of Terry M. West has become synonymous, to me at least, with quality, easy to engage and tough to let go, frights. Populated with damaged heroes, imaginative creatures and real world, believable predicaments. With “Red Quill” Mr. West serves up another tightly knitted yarn. It is a period piece, taking place in 1927 with dialogue and social definitions & interactions feeling true to the era. The narrative cruises along at a brisk pace and before you know it, the last page is turned and you are left aching for more.

And with Baker Johnson, Mr. West has delivered his most gripping character yet, from a long line of memorable dramatis personae. A man working more on science and fact, less on faith, although he uses faith based items in his repertoire of tools, to abolish dark entities. He is damaged goods, but not by his own hand, at least not initially. It’s easy to empathize with Baker, feel his pain, all the while rooting for him to rise from the murk.

There is a touching moment when Baker interprets his own suffering, a  defining moment when we, the readers, feel his shift away from the his self-imprisoned black spiral. And we know, if Baker Survives he’s going to make it.

Servant of the Red Quill is a great, quick read. It’ll stick with you for a bit, the shadows rattling around in your brain pan. The character Baker Johnson has legs, hopefully strong legs, as I am quite curious and excited to see where his adventures will take him after “Red Quill”. Whatever is next, I’m in.

“Something was rotting her from the inside. ‘Use me and be very cruel about it.'”

Z-Dubbz is a big dumb animal!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West

Servant of the Red Quill

by Terry M. West

Giveaway ends February 04, 2015.

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Book Review: The Last Night of October by Greg Chapman


The Last Night of October
The Last Night of October

The Last Night of October written and illustrated by Greg Chapman, 102 pages published by Bad Moon Books.

Overall Score: 5/5
“His existence was one of silent dread; a slow, steady tick of days until that last night of October. It was his every thought, every beat of his tired, old heart.”
Then, two boys disobeying their parents and braving the worst storm in ages to honor a night made for children, to honor an annual tradition.
Now, one wheelchair bound old man, ravaged by emphysema, starring down and dreading the shadows of past tragic choices, on the anniversary of their making. Haunted by the promise of a promised visitor, the only child who will knock on his door this night, and every Halloween night passed, facing his memories cold and alone.
But tonight is different. This night Gerald is not alone and truths need to be revealed.
“‘Oh, God – was that the boy?’
‘Yes – he’s crying’ Gerald said.
‘Crying – why would he be crying?’
Gerald looked right into Kelli’s eyes.  ‘Because he knows how the story ends.'”
“The Last Night of October” is a quick and hypnotizing Halloween yarn. Greg Chapman (author of Torment & The Noctuary) is a talented scribe and he does a fantastic job here. Providing rich imagery, thick tension and heartache throughout. He had me hanging on every word of this tale, illustrating and craftily weaving both the dark sense and youthful spirit of my favorite season. I could see the snow covered ground, I could hear the heavy knocks on the door.
I was invigorated by young Gerald’s youthful sense of invulnerability and I was empathetic to elderly Gerald’s living a lifetime of regret. But then, the shuffle…
This novella solidifies the fact that I need to delve further into Mr. Chapman’s catalogue as I truly enjoyed every moment of “The Last Night of October”. It’s great anytime read and a perfect addition to my list of annual seasonal reads. Fit snugly between Norman Partridge’s “Dark Harvest” & Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree”. I will definitely be revisiting this. When the nights are murky, the wind is bellowing and the candle’s flame is flickering, I will answer the knock at the door. Check it out.
Zakk is a big dumb animal.