Genre: Horror / Thriller
Publisher: Midgard Books
Publication Date: 23rd Jan 2017
REVIEWED BY NEV
A copy of Jackals was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Stuart R Brogan, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Midgard Books.
I love it when a new author contacts me to have a look at their book. I love it even more when they have been advised to contact me by another author. This gives me a lovely warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy. Well…..at least until I read the synopsis of this one…..then the warm fuzzy feeling turned to one of delight at what I was about to read but also to one of intrigue.
When the word massacre is used in a synopsis I jump and want to see more. Some of the other words used in the synopsis cemented things for me and I could not wait to pick this one up. I was praying it would not let me down.
This is what I thought.
DI Lewis Class is on the edge. The edge of everything completely falling apart. He isn’t very good at his job, he loves his drink and he loves his drugs.
Jesse and her husband Damien are celebrating their wedding anniversary. It is a great night, until they are returning to their car.
The Jackals have had to deal with one of their own in brutal fashion. It’s a downside of the job for the victim but the ones who are left enjoy it.
Their impromptu massacre is going to fall to Class to investigate. This will throw himself and Jesse together in an unlikely alliance as they battle for survival in a world where they can trust no one.
And the Jackals are coming for them.
This one is full of characters that play huge parts in the story, then ones who flit in and out but define the direction of the story in oh so many ways.
Our main ones, on the good side, would be Class and Jesse. Class is not a good policeman and he knows it. Lazy and on the verge of losing his job, you would think he would use this case to rescue his career. He actually looks at it like a way to finally get the sack and get out of his job. He really is a slob and an annoying character to begin with. Jesse is a shy, married woman with a traumatic past that haunts her every single day. She suffers from some mental health issues and comes across as quite meek and mild. As the story progresses, some of her true colours shine.
The Jackals are a mixture of different people from different walks of life that are all after one thing. Something that I will not tell you about here. They are evil personified. They fear nothing and seem to love nothing either. A group of people who believe in ridiculous ideals and will stop at nothing to prove their point.
One other that has a starring role in the story is Michael Stokes. Good guy or bad guy? Good luck with trying to figure that one out. That is as much as I am telling you about him.
On the surface, the plot with this one is very simple. There has been a massacre. A couple get caught up in the middle of it and it falls to a policeman to protect the woman at all costs as she is their only witness to some things. Easy.
Nope. It isn’t. If you like conspiracy theories, there is a box full of them in this story. You, along with the characters, never know where to go, where to turn. You never know who to talk to. Who is telling the truth and who isn’t. People you would expect to be in a position of power because they are trustworthy? Well, believe them at your peril.
This all leads to the characters having an absolute nightmare. And you as well. You really need to believe nothing and trust no one in this story but then how can you possibly proceed? You ask questions of people and depending on their answers, take a gamble as to whether you believe them or not. Sometimes it works but then sometimes it doesn’t. Even with the same people.
This trait in the story gave me a bit of a headache. Not in a bad way though. It will frustrate the hell out of you and I predict you will huff and puff and let out a few huge sighs because, is everything you believe the truth? Or is everyone lying through their teeth? See what I mean? You just never know. From the very beginning, to the very end.
If you believe you have guessed what is going on and who is who and who to believe and who not to believe before you have read the very last word in this story, you, my friend, are lying through your teeth!
This, in a first ever work of fiction by a new author is very admirable. I would expect this sort of thing from a seasoned pro with quite a few works under their belt but not from a newbie. The level of horror, thrills and suspense is relentless throughout.
One other thing that I would want to point out to you is not to read this with a drink in one hand. You will spill it. The story, on many occasions, is trundling along quite nicely with a bit of dialogue going on between a couple of characters, explaining some things or trying to figure them out and then BANG!!!!!!! from out of nowhere, the silence is shattered in a brutal fashion and everything kicks off again at one hundred miles an hour.
Do not sit back and relax with this one because that nice comfortable feeling you have will disappear in a second. There are a lot of things you will never ever see coming.
I have been trying to decide on my rating for this book for a while now. There is an abundance of pros for this book but there a few cons. There are a few times where phrases and words are repeated a bit too much for my liking. There are a couple of times where certain things that happen seem to be a bit unlikely.
You know what though? When you take into account that this is Mr Brogan’s first work of fiction? I think it would be very unfair of me to mark the book down for those reasons. The repetitive phrasing is surely an editing issue more than anything and who am I to say what is likely or unlikely in the big bad world of conspiracy and world domination?
To summarise: In essence, this is a fantastically put together story that will have you on the edge of your seat for most of it. It will frustrate you but equally thrill you and scare you. If this is the first writing effort, I can’t wait to see the next.
★★★★★ even with the cons.
Everything else rating:
★★★★★ and again.
If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Jackals or any other books from Stuart. This not only supports us but also lets us know how many people actually like to buy books after reading our reviews.
From the aftermath of a brutal massacre at a rural police station two survivors leave behind a swathe of bodies and a cryptic sigil painted on the wall in blood.
A disgraced Detective Inspector begrudgingly starts to investigate the crime scene but as the facts begin to emerge the trail appears to lead into the highest echelons of power making the policeman himself the next target.
As the conspiracy spirals ever deeper and with no-one to trust, both prime suspect and policeman are forced into an unlikely alliance to prove, not only their innocence but the existence of a force so ingrained into our society it could rewrite the very fabric of human nature.
Former nightclub Bouncer and unwaveringly proud Heathen who loves nothing more than expanding people’s minds with Pagan related Non-Fiction or blowing people’s brains out with fast paced, gut wrenching Horror / Thrillers.
Harley lover, extreme metal drummer and avid movie nerd, Stuart has never followed the crowd but instead carved his own path and danced to his own tune. Since his early years, Stuart found escapism in both the written word and the silver screen. A huge fan of 80’s Action / Horror movies such as The Thing, Aliens, Predator & Die Hard and literary heroes such as Shaun Hutson, Clive Barker. Richard Layman and Brian Lumley, Stuart endeavours to bring an unapologetic cinematic eye to his fiction in the hopes of rekindling his childhood sense of wonder, all whilst blowing through vast amounts of ammunition down his local shooting range.
Stuart currently resides in Glastonbury, UK with his long-suffering Wife and man eating Shih-Poo dog “Poppy” where he co-owns a kick ass Viking / Asatru shop, fiercely named “Shield Maiden”
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