ASMSG Scifi Fantasy Paranormal Emagazine March 2014 - Page 46

Book Description: A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a lifeand-death battleagainst an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, the Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision. Review The Shepherd by Travis Luedke Offers Hope to Weary Horror Fans M Joseph Murphy About the Author: Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion. SoulCare, his professional consultation practice is devoted to the tending of the soul. One of the few therapists writing fiction with a healing emphasis, Dr. DeBlassie has been deeply influenced by the surreal beauty and natural magic of the mestizo myth of Aztlan. My Review: The first thing I have to say about THE UNHOLY is that I am excited for this new take on fantasy. The merging of magic and Native American healing is unique and fresh. DeBlassie’s main character, Claire, is a joy to read as she finds her way through the human and her ancestral world all the while trying to avoid the evil sorcerer that murdered her mother. The character that stood out to me most was Elizabeth. Her anger and plight touched me while giving me a bit of a creepy feeling. DeBlassie knows how to bring on the suspense. 5 Stars. Purchase The Unholy here. 46 | P a g e Travis Luedke’s The Shepherd offers hope to horror fans weary of the pale, recycled horror populating the current market. One of the coolest things as a reader is finding a new author and watching him grow. In the 80′s, I was was lucky enough to discover Dean Koontz before he hit it big. I watched as he improved with each novel until he became the household name he is today. I get the sense that Travis Luedke is on the same path. The Shepherd is his newest novel and it is definitely his strongest. The plot is tightly woven, wasting no space on unnecessary filler. The lead character, Mike Evans, has a crystal clear voice. Readers will get a sense of his personality from the first page. He’s 16 from a less-than-ideal home who meets a mysterious young girl named Nadia who changes his life. There is more to Nadia than meets the eye. There is a twist in the middle which I won’t spoil for you. Thankfully, unlike so many other writers, Luedke does not bash you over the head with clues. The secret is fun and completely obvious only upon reflection. Much like the twist in The Sixth Sense, I was expecting the story to go one way. Then it went somewhere completely different. I couldn’t be happier. A word of caution, the book has a warning about mature subject matter. Luedke has chosen to write Mike Evans in a very realistic way. There are copious amounts of profanity, violence, and sexual situations. Many may be offended by the language even though it is realistic based on the character. Though classified as Young Adult, this book has nothing in common with Harry Potter, Twilight, or Hunger Games. The Shepherd is not appropriate for young children (although many could argue that Hunger Games isn’t appropriate for young children, either). I chose to read The Shepherd as a straight horror story. It reminds me very much of a good Richard Laymon story. If you’re a horror fan and not familiar with Richard Laymon, I strongly recommend you check him out. Laymon was called “Stephen King without a conscious” (Dan Marlowe). Dean Koontz said of Laymon “No one writes like Laymon, and you’re going to have a good time with anything he writes.” When Richard Laymon was at his best, he mixed sexuality, tension, and the supernatural better than anyone else. Travis Luedke is a fine successor to Laymon although he never devolves in to the pure pornography Laymon was prone to. This is Luedke’s 5th publisher novel. If he continues to improve his craft at this pace, I’m very interested to see where he will take us in the future. Purchase The Shepherd Here. Review – Initio by Alyssa Auch Kristin Pulioff