Yellow Tape and Coffee by Pat Luther Review

A superb debut novel

Advertisements

Let’s kick off with a warning before I start this review. Pat Luther’s Yellow Tape and Coffee is a big book, and I mean a really big book. The print version is 706 pages long, that’s not an easy undertaking for anybody, let alone the casual reader. I think that might put some people off and that’s a huge shame because this is a very good book.

Yellow Tape and Coffee follows a number of different but interwined stories, stories that bring to life four different people from various backgrounds all with their own agendas and ideals.

For four hundred years a secret society of werewolves has remained hidden in Portland, Oregon. Some people want nothing more than to reveal this society, while others will do anything to maintain the status quo. Intriguing right?

For the most part the book is chocked full of action and great character development. There are moments of dullness I have to say but that has to be expected in a book of such epic scale and vision.

The biggest difficulty for me in reading Yellow Tape and Coffee was getting over my initial prejudice about one of its main selling points, werewolves are just not my thing. I think they’re boring, tedious and over done.

I’m thankful to say though that I was wrong. Pat Luther has managed to breathe new life into this over-milked cow.

I have to give special mention to Luther’s writing talents. His work is filled to the brim with wonderful imagery and description while managing to remain concise and flowing. The novel is also well edited, for being 706 pages long there’s little to nothing I would be happy putting in the bin. Some of the dialogue felt a little over bloated sure but for the most I’d personally want nothing to change.

As for the multiple view points this is not really my cup of tea, I like a concise story where I can really get to know one character really well. At points I did dislike the jumping from one person to another but once I’d gotten used to it it was no problem at all. In fact I learnt to findthe mix of characters enthralling, each one was as vivid and intriguing as the last.

The female lead Veer needs special mention however, she is sharp, intelligent and a fierce investing reporter who is uniquely well written. A true example of female protagonist writing done well.

Overall Yellow Tape and Coffee is more than a solid debut, it’s a magnificent one and Pat Luther is certainly one to check out and keep an eye on. He has managed to balance suspense, humour, a little bit of terror and drama in a delightfully composed cocktail of literature.

I would love a sequel to this novel but whatever he writes next will certainly be on my list.

Highly recommended.

Rating…

Rating: 9 out of 10.

You can get a copy for yourself from Amazon.

Fiona’s Guardians by Dan Klefstad Review

I love vampires and I’ve have written about them more than once on this website, so I loved it when Fiona’s Guardians dropped into our inbox. This unique and intriguing novel was just the thing to devour over a free weekend.

Daniel is more dedicated to his job than most people are, and certainly far more than he should be. Daniel’s job is his life, and it’s an unusual life to say the least. You see Daniel is the guardian of a 250 year old vampire named Fiona.

Daniel’s main job is pretty straightforward actually, to supply Fiona with 10 pints of blood every day. He also needs to manage a bunch of investments to fund this, but its really the acquisition of the blood that’s his main focus.

This is certainly no easy feat but when Fiona becomes the target of a secret group of vatican vampire hunters (called Mors Strigae) its gets even more difficult, not to mention deadly.

This is an interesting story which for the most part fully delivers on what it promises. The idea of exploring the day to day activities of a modern day vampire assistant is intriguing and is easily the most fleshed out and well defined aspect of the novel. Everything about the job is explored and given purpose and meaning within the larger context of the story. Daniel on the other hand is not, he felt a little forgotten and lost within the confines of his job.

We think you’ll enjoy…

An exploration of the Vampire and its Sexuality

Vampires have enjoyed something of a renaissance in modern literature and one of the main reasons for that is the sexual nature of what is otherwise a monster from the depths of mankind’s nightmares

Though I suppose that was intentional, for all intents and purposes he was his job, his whole life revolved around Fiona and what he had to do to guard her and service her needs. Yet it still would have been nice to know him more as a character and feel some sort of connection with him, but I understand why he was explored so little.

As for the plotline itself I was invested enough to read to the end quickly, but I also found it a little convoluted with numerous perspectives from various characters, I think a more limited narrative structure and focus would have been beneficial.

At points I found myself losing my grip on the story as I attempted to correlate the new perspective with what I had already read. When you couple this flowing between perspectives with different time periods it can be a little difficult to keep everything straight in ones head.

This sadly also moves focus away from Daniel and Fiona, which is a shame because this is their story and sometimes they feel sidelined by anothers narrative.

With that said though this was an enjoyable read that I would heartily recommend for any horror or vampire fans, doubly so if you love both. It is a fun and exciting read that could do with a polish but then so could we all.

Rating

Rating: 8 out of 10.

You can get a copy of Fiona’s Guardians from Amazon.

Trillium by Margaret Lindsay Holton Review

Trillium by Margaret Lindsay Holton is an epic multi-generational saga that spans 250 years and is set around the shores of Lake Ontario.

We are first introduced to 19 year old soldier Tom as he struggles to cross the raging Niagara River. Tom eventually becomes the patriarch of the Hartford family, and it is with him that the saga begins, a saga that explores human behaviour across distinct cultures and generations.

This epic tale begins by looking into the history of the indigenous populations and their struggles against the new settlements and buildings being erected across Southern Ontario and the Niagara River.

While Tom may be our first protagonist he is by no means our last. This saga takes us through three very distinct families all of whom seek out land in Canada to make their fortune.

This is a book that celebrates the rich history of its gorgeous setting, as well as the beginning of its famous ice wine industry. But it does so much more than that too, it explores the influx of migrants from Mexico and Italy, it deals with a man struggling with his sexual identity, and it deals with con men and hedonists.

This is a novel packed with a cornucopia of different characters and personalities, each as vivid and cultivated as the one before them. This is a masterpiece of interweaving stories that span over two centuries of Canadian history. But it’s also a little confusing. There are a lot of stories and people to remember here, and sometimes I found myself a little lost at what was going on, but I think that’s part and parcel for this kind of work. It’s also a shame that we don’t get to spend more time with each family as the narrative whisks off to another place in time.

On the other hand this does make our short time with each character that little bit more precious, and I found myself more captivated by characters like Anna because of the short time I would get to know her.

You may also enjoy…

There is also a lot of attention paid to the farmhouse, and its transformation over the many years. Details like the introduction of indoor plumbing and double pane windows are not missed out or glossed over here, and while that may sound boring it is actually fascinating to visualise the house changing as new families come and go. In many ways the house is the central character, it is the one constant in an ever changing sea of characters.

The main problem I had with the story was it’s pacing, a lot of the first half of the book is a slow burn, very slow in fact, most of the action gets going towards the end and while it’s a decent payoff I did force myself through a fair bit of the opening.

Holton has achieved a rich and varied novel filled with beauty and wonder as well as revulsion and shock. Her use of language to create unrivalled imagery is akin to a painting on a canvas, this is a rich and imaginative world she has created but it’s the characters she has given form to that are the standout gem to be found here.

Rating

Rating: 8 out of 10.

If you’d like to check out Trillium for yourself you can find it on Amazon.

Nevada Noir by David Arrowsmith Review

Nevada Noir by David Arrowsmith is a collection of three intriguing stories set in, of course, Nevada. These stories are not simply separate entities though, they are interlinked and connected throughout, they are connected through characters, plot, and the theme of death.

Death is an ever-present figure throughout these stories, its dark fingers manipulating the events and leading to a twisted finale.

Advertisements

Arrowsmith is a description master, all three of the stories are packed to bursting point with wonderfully curated description that at times read more like poetry than a story.

Sadly though at more than one point this is also a weakness. This emphasis on being highly descriptive slows the flow of the story down to a crawl and detracts from the plot to the point where it can become confusing as to what is occurring on the page.

I found this issue to be more prevalent in the first, and for my money least interesting of the three stories. The other two tales are more focused on the characters and the plot, creating a much tighter reading experience, it also helped create characters that I cared for.

The second story in particular was my favourite, its tight focus on just two characters allowed them to grow and take seed in my mind, even for just a brief time. I found myself invested in that story in a way I never became with the first one. Each story has its strengths and weaknesses but for me the middle tale was the strongest.

You may also enjoy…

I read all three of these stories in one sitting, although devoured may be a more accurate description. This was a great read, each story was a rollercoaster of a journey that all came together in a gripping and unexpected conclusion.

The stories all flow in and out of each other seamlessly creating a deep and rich world that is clearly larger and more alive than the small snippets we read in the page.

I have to congratulate David on his particular skill on bringing his characters to life in such a small amount of words. It was only on the second, more careful read through, that I could fully appreciate the sensitive subtlety he put into his characters that helped bring them to life.

The main complaint I have though is that this collection was so short, too short for the final story in particular I felt. I was just beginning to enjoy the journey and it was over. And the second story really felt like it could have been at least a novella, there was far more to explore there but it was cut off so quickly.

Yet that makes for a quick well paced read that all told was highly enjoyable.

I highly recommend you check out Nevada Noir it really is a brilliant read.

You can grab a copy of the book for yourself on Amazon.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

If you have a book you’d like us to review you can contact us at submitbooklytical@gmail.com