Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic, Science fiction

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From a Tang Dynasty legend of a young girl trained as an assassin with the ability to skip between dimensions on a secluded mountain sanctuary to a space colony called Nova Pacifica that reflects on a post-apocalyptic world of the American Empire and ‘Moonwalker’ Neil Armstrong, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories is laced with  depictions of silkpunk fantasy, Sci-Fi and old Chinese folklore, wrapped up in a mesmerising genre-bending collection of short stories.
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MY REVIEW 

This is a collection of short stories by Ken Liu with the theme of Science fiction. 

These are tales of alien invasion, of the singularity ( the digitisation of human consciousness – a bit like the film Chappie), survival after the singularity, climate disaster and post apocalypse survival. There are some lighter moments but not many.

This is not a light happy read but almost a warning of letting technology take over and leaving us in a digital dystopia. 

I have to admit a couple of stories did go right over my head, I really missed the point I think and was left a bit puzzled, but this in no way detracts from this rather marvellous, dark and thought provoking collection. 

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Ken Liu is an American author and the winner of the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy, Sidewise, and Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. He emigrated to the US from China at age of 11 and graduated from Harvard with a degree in English Literature and Computer Science. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ken worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. His work includes the epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty and his debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. His short story Good Hunting was adapted for an episode for Netflix’s science fiction web series Love, Death and Robots. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, post-apocalyptic, Psychlogical thriller

Addressed To Kill by Keith Wright – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Christmas is Murder!

It is 1987. A perverted criminal sociopath is on the loose. An innocent young woman is murdered in horrific circumstances.

DI Stark announces, ‘Christmas is cancelled,’ and his team investigate; aware that every second the maniac is on the loose, moves him closer to his next victim.

A second woman is raped and brutalised.

How is the killer discovering intimate secrets about his victims? Why does he insist on terrifying them on the lead up to the attacks? What is driving this depravity? Who will the next victim be?

In his attempts to protect the public, DI Stark makes a huge error of judgement, which will have appalling consequences.

Critically acclaimed author, Keith Wright is a former CID Detective. His professional knowledge of police investigations, coupled with a formidable talent for storytelling, combine to make his third novel a must for all crime fiction enthusiasts and thriller readers alike.  

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MY REVIEW 

Set over the Christmas period in 1987, Nottingham.

This is a tale of misogyny.

A young woman receives an odd phone call, she believes it to be her ex, Patrick, as he used a pet name and personal detail…but she thought he sounded odd. Mandy is then brutally raped and murdered. When Patrick is exonerated….the search begins for the killer.

The maniac is watching.

This was not his first attack, but his first murder and he wants more.

Can DI David Stark and his team identify him before anyone else is killed…or has he set his sights on someone close to home?

I found this a particularly unsettling read, the hatred for women by the maniac is horrific. The language used causes a visceral reaction, which is all credit to the authors creative writing and sense of atmosphere. The chapters from the maniacs perspective are so chilling…I had to stop reading at times to catch my breath..there are also some racist terms used, adding to the sense of unease.

It is graphic at times in its description of the rape and assaults which were hard to read, but it really brought the state of mind of this maniac to life….so scary. Not one for the faint hearted.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Keith is re-mastering his murder/mystery novels, first published in the early 1990’s and set in the late 1980’s; introducing new characters and additional scenes and has decided to open them up to a new readership on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Paperback available on Amazon.  It is remarkable how much life has changed in the last thirty years and the novels are now period pieces and an insight into what life (and death) was really like before mobile phones and the internet!

Keith was brought up on a council estate in a rough area of Nottingham and attended the local comprehensive school.  His father was an alcoholic and left when he was ten. His mother; Marie, brought him, and his four siblings up on her own, whilst balancing a full-time job.  His mother loved reading and he too became interested. His mother would usually be later home from work than school finishing time, so he would call into the local library on his walk home.  Whilst at the time this seemed inconvenient, (although it was a good place to get warm and dry in winter), it was, of course a blessing, as it enabled him to evolve his own love of books. 

 After being told by his careers officer at school that he had no chance whatsoever of getting into the police force, he decided to try himself, and wandered into the local police station at the age of fifteen to enquire what he must do.  By some fluke he managed to pass the entrance exam and interviews and he was accepted into the police force. He worked the area where he had grown up, and this meant that everyone knew him, and so he was trusted, and was able to understand what was going on in the area.  He also, occasionally had to arrest some of his old school friends for various crimes. It was always good to catch up with these mini- re-unions!

Keith spent 25 years in the police service retiring in 2005 as a Detective Sergeant.  He then began working for a global business, leading investigations and up until recently Headed the Serious and Corporate Investigations Team dealing with bribery and blackmail within the corporate world.

He still lives in Nottingham and is engaged to Jackie.  He has four wonderful children, twins, Chris and Andy, and Andy’s. fiancée Katie, who is an operatic singer. Chris and Andy are also writers and have done some amazing bodies of work.  His son, Harry is at university, doing a degree in Computer Science but has discovered a love of acting and has performed in various productions. ‘Follow your heart, son’. Then there is the lovely chatterbox, Lily, who is 9 years old and without knowing inspires Keith to keep on going.  There is a lot of creativity in the Wright family!

Keith has a great relationship with Jackie’s grown up children, Aron and his partner Ayla, Ashley and his wife, April, and Callum.  With all the family interaction it is a wonder any writing gets done at all!

Keith’s novels are set in the 1980’s and involve the investigations of DI Stark and his team of detectives in Nottingham CID.  It is no coincidence that the author was a Detective in Nottinghamshire CID in the 1980’s!

Keith ‘For his sins’ (obligatory comment) is a lifelong supporter of Nottingham Forest Football Club and played for the youth team with Steve Hodge, when Brian Clough was manager and League and European Champions.

His books, first published in the early 1990’s as contemporary fiction, achieved critical acclaim and his first novel One Oblique One was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association John Creasy Award for the best debut crime novel of the year in 1991.  This was the first year that the award was opened up to global competition and Keith was pipped to the award by the fabulous Walter Moseley’s ‘Devil in a Blue Dress’.

Keith was asked to contribute to a short story anthology for the Crime Writers Association called Perfectly Criminal published by Seven House, among such luminaries as Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and HRF Keating.  He wrote ‘The Missing Link’ for inclusion in the book.He was also asked to contribute to a short story anthology called City of Crime published by Five Leaves Publications, alongside great authors, Alan Sillitoe, John Harvey and David Belbin.  Keith’s contribution was ‘From the Cradle’.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keithwrightauthor/

 

Twitter: @Keithwwright

 

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19351123.Keith_Wright

 

Amazon Author Central Page: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile

 

Blog: https://www.keithwrightauthor.co.uk/blog-1

 

Website: https://www.keithwrightauthor.co.uk/

 

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/keith-wright

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Book reviews, post-apocalyptic, Thriller

Blue Gold by David Barker – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The near future. 

Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow. 

When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission.

Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust? As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’. 

David Barker’s gripping debut will thrill fans of Richard North Patterson, Scott Mariani and Steve Berry.  
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MY REVIEW 

Blue Gold is set in a future not to far ahead.

It tells of a world shortage of water, the most precious commodity, and how the world powers fight for control of it.

Two agents, Sim and Freda, travel the world fighting to prevent terrorists and unscrupulous governments from taking control of the water supply.

It deals with the consequences of global warming and feels all too possible, when you think of the current climate,

An action packed, fast paced, thriller that gives you pause for thought. Very clever.

My thanks to Kelly At Love Books Group for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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David lives in Berkshire and is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing.

 

Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/2IbAGUT

 

Twitter Handles 

@BlueGold201 

@UrbaneBooks 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic

Maxine Unleashes Doomsday by Nick Kolakowski – Book Review. @nkolakowski #MaxineUnleashesDoomsday


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The United States has collapsed. Bandits stalk the highways, preying on the weak and unaware.

In order to transport goods between heavily fortified cities, companies hire convoy escorts. Maxine is the best of these new road warriors: tough, smart, and unbelievably fast. But she also has a secret: She’s the niece of New York’s most notorious outlaw, a man hunted by what’s left of the nation’s law enforcement.

Maxine wants to live a normal, upstanding life. But a bad incident on the road leaves her mauled, penniless…and fired. If she wants to survive, she’s going to need to embrace her outlaw roots—and carry off the biggest heist that the post-apocalypse has ever seen. It’s a journey that will take her through obstacle after obstacle to the edge of death itself—and beyond.

Maxine Unleashes Doomsday smashes the gritty frenzy of Mad Max: Fury Road with the top-notch suspense of a crime saga like Heat. It’s a brutal thriller that offers a terrifying glimpse of our future.

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MY REVIEW 

This is the tale of the history of Maxine’s life, taken from old records after the world has been practically destroyed in the Collapse. Global warming and rising sea levels have flooded large areas of the US. Food is scarce, towns are dead and people are scratching a living the best way they can. Various clans control areas and are constantly battling each other for control.

Maxine lives in a poor area, her mother is an addict. So Maxine looks after everything including her younger brother, Brad. She also has an uncle, The Preacher, a well known criminal. She has an agreement with him, that she will finish college before she joins him in his ‘activities’….

But, she decides to do a job of her own…..she gets hurt and her friend becomes paralysed…warned off, she ends up in a job in a convoy…which is how goods are transported….in a heavily armed convoy….

Maxine, is a chaos magnet and obviously things go wrong…she loses an arm and finds out she has cancer…she needs drugs to help and so a big raid is planned and she meets PIG, an AI computer…..will she be cured? Why is her life so interesting to the future world?

I love this book, from its clever little pop culture references, Heisenberg Blue, SkyNet, sick sticks and droogs, (which appeal to the geek in me), to the dystopian world building. Maxine is a strong, intelligent female character, flawed but determined and likeable. A compelling, imaginative, brutal dystopian read and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to the author, Nick Kolakowski, for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (well preorder as publishing 4 Nov)

https://amzn.to/2pkP1r7

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Nick Kolakowski’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Washington City Paper, Playboy, LOST magazine, Trader Monthly, WebMD, and eWeek, among other venues. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

 

Book reviews, post-apocalyptic

A Savage Generation by David Tallerman – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sickness is ravaging America, driving the infected to savagery. 

Petty criminal Ben Silensky is determined to get his girlfriend Carlita and son Kyle free of the quarantined city they live in, enough so to risk a foolhardy crime and then to team up with Carlita’s equally desperate cop cousin Nando. Once they’re out, Nando is certain they’ll find a place in the open prison where his uncle works, unbeknownst to him already become a survivalist colony named Funland under the management of entrepreneurial convict Plan John.

In Funland itself, guard Doyle Johnson is shocked when his ex-wife abandons his son Austin into his care. Fearing the vulnerable position he’s been placed in, he recruits the help of Katherine Aaronovich, the former prison’s doctor. But Aaronovich’s traumatic past has left her with vulnerabilities of her own, along with radical theories on the nature of the epidemic that will place all their lives in jeopardy. 

As the last vestiges of civilisation crumble, Funland may prove to be the safest or the most dangerous of places, depending on who comes out on top – and what can’t be held together will inevitably be torn apart.

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MY REVIEW 

A sickness is spreading around the world, those it doesn’t kill, turn savage with an uncontrollable violence.

White Cliff prison was evacuated but then taken over by Plan John and it’s now called Funland…..its a place of safety as the Sickers can’t get in.

Doyle Johnson has an uneasy relationship with Plan John, which is put into jeopardy when Doyle’s ex wife turns up and leaves his son Kyle with him.

Then Ben, his girlfriend Carlita and her son Austin arrive, but Carlita has to be kept hidden as the only woman in Funland, she wouldn’t be safe.

So, while this does feel like an episode of The Walking Dead, there is so much more to it. Yes the Sickers are out there and if they bite, scratch or spit on you, you will get infected, BUT, this is also about children, and how they are affected, left to pretty much fend for themselves while the adults plot and fight amongst themselves and the Sickers. 

Austin, scared and hurt by his stepdad, then abandoned by his mother. Kyle left to his own devices in a tense environment.  They have secrets of their own.

There’s the politics of a new society with power struggles and violence, but ultimately with survival at its core.  A story of fear, abandonment and tragedy, but also maybe a little hope. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

David Tallerman is the author of crime drama The Bad Neighbour with Flame Tree Press. His other publications consist of the YA fantasy series The Black River Chronicles, which began in late 2016 with Level One and continued in 2017 with The Ursvaal Exchange, the Tales of Easie Damasco series – consisting of Giant Thief, Crown Thief and Prince Thief – and the novella Patchwerk. His comics work includes the absurdist steampunk graphic novel Endangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Science (with artist Bob Molesworth).

David’s short fiction has appeared in around eighty markets, including Clarkesworld, Nightmare, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. A number of his best dark fantasy and horror stories were gathered together in his debut collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories.

His previous career as an IT Technician took him all across the country, but he currently resides in West Yorkshire, on the opposite side of the county of his birth. In his spare time he likes to hike around the local countryside, a hobby that has also taken him to wild spots throughout England and beyond.

David can be found online at davidtallerman.blogspot.co.uk and davidtallerman.co.uk.

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched recently in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, post-apocalyptic

One Of Us by Rachel McLean – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

‘Leave, or die.’

Jess Dyer has won safety for her sister-in-law Ruth and proved her worth as the leader of her refugee community.

Sarah Evans has stood up to her parents and discovered who she can trust.

But the villagers still aren’t welcome. When the local population expresses its anger, can Jess keep everyone safe? And can she hold it together as Steward when someone she loves dies?

And how will Sarah react when her new fiancee Martin receives death threats, telling him he must leave her, and their village?

One Of Us is a gripping thriller about belonging and acceptance. It’s the third book in the Village trilogy, and the sequel to Sea Of Lies.
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MY REVIEW 

This is #3 in The Village series and while it can be read as a standalone, you will miss out on quite a bit of a great story.

There is now a slightly uneasy peace in the village, but then there’s a gas exploration in nearby Filey….do they go to help? 

The villagers discuss offering sanctuary to anyone that needs help, but we know how that ended last time….with kidnap and death….

But then they are attacked…again….Jess loses someone close to her, and threats come in the form of a brick through a window with a message ‘leave or die ‘…

There are continued suspicions….is Martin trustworthy? And plenty of in fighting as the village council try to protect everyone and help the people of Filey….some of them anyway…

Ruth is struggling, Ben tries to help but it’s not going well…

Can Jess save everyone again? Now they have new members in their society will the council need to grow?

Great characters that I feel I know now having read all three books in the series ( not the prequel yet though) and really want them to have a peaceful, settled life…..not sure that’s going to happen !

Fast paced and engrossing…..I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Link: 

 

https://books2read.com/one-of-us

 

Author Bio 

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My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcleanwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmcwrites/

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Horror, post-apocalyptic, Science fiction, Thriller

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
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MY REVIEW

This is my first read of a novel by Chuck Wendig and it’s definitely not going to be my last…..

The Wanderers is an epic journey of a band of people, the flock and the shepherds…..trying both to survive and keep the sleepwalkers safe….

Safe from what ? 

White Mask…..a fungal infection that slowly invades a person, giving symptoms of a cold, but as it grows it reaches the brain causing dementia and madness…..where did this disease come from?

There is Stover, a white supremacist who is violent and a vile man, he uses torture, rape and fear to keep control. He believes the walkers are the reason for this illness and so plans to kill them all…..I found this all too real, just listen to the news coming out of America these days…..the hatred is there coming right from the top.

Matthew, a man of god, gets drawn in by the charisma of Stover, until he realises the truth, but it’s too late and he is imprisoned by him…..he does have a change of heart, but can he do the right thing??? 

Then there’s the CDC\EIS group, all doctors and scientists trying to find out how this illness works, is there a cure? How are the walkers surviving with no food, rest or seemingly any consciousness other than a desire to keep moving….woe betide you try and stop them !!

There are incredibly well written characters that you will truly become invested in, willing them on, suffering their fears and doubts, the little successes and those awful moments of failure.

Yes, there will be comparisons to Stephen King’s, The Stand, there is a ‘plague’, and two distinct groups of people but that’s where the comparison ends. (There is a mention of The Stand in the Book too)….In my view, this is even better…

It’s unique and ultimately scary, as it’s so believable. The fear of AI taking over, just look at the fake news bots!!…..Black Swan the all seeing, statistic driven computer programme is terrifying ….

Will the walkers awake? Will humanity survive? What will happen to Benji, Shana, Sadie, Arav, Matthew, Pete, Landry and of course Black Swan?

At 780 pages, this is not a light read, but it is totally and utterly compelling. I loved every single minute of this beautifully harrowing tale. A modern classic and a must read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2lfDyHD

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.

He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.

He’s written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com.(Courtesy of Goodreads)

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