Tuesday 4 October 2016

REVIEW: L.X. Cain - Bloodwalker

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Freedom Fox Press
Publication Date: 4th October 2016
Pages: 284


A copy of Bloodwalker was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, L.X Cain, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Freedom Fox Press.

Another fresh name to me that I had the pleasure of receiving an email request to read and review Bloodwalker from. L.X. Cain is a name I have seen around. A lot. I always meant to pick something up but this old reviewing lark doesn’t leave a lot of personal time for reading stuff I just want to pick up.

On the other hand, when you want to pick something up by someone and they ask if you can review something, well, you’re obligated aren’t you?

Bloodwalker had a very interesting synopsis. It intrigued me. This is what I thought.

The Zorka Circus is travelling through Europe. It doesn’t stay long in any one place but when it leaves, it always takes something extra with it.

Young children are going missing and the Circus’ security chief, Rurik, thinks it is one of the performers that is responsible. He needs to find out who it is and put an end to it. For his own sanity and the security of the circus.

Sylvie is getting married at the circus. She is known as a bloodwalker, from the Skomori clan, a clan despised by nearly everyone. Untrusted and seen as ghoulish, they get a hard time wherever they go.

When Sylvie discovers some bones in a trailer, this puts her directly in the path of the killer. It looks like Rurik is the only one that can help. What they are about to have to confront, is something neither of them could have ever imagined.

OK, characters wise in this one, we have quite a few, so rather than go through them all one by one, I will just tell you about the main ones. Rurik is the chief of security but one of the most timid men you will ever meet. Scarred by being struck by lightning when he was younger, he is self-conscious and conscientious but knows he must find the killer. Sylvie is a girl whose life is mapped out purely by the clan she was born into. The bloodwalkers have responsibilities and supposed gifts but she doesn’t believe she has any of them. A caring and thoughtful girl that really needs to toughen up or she will never survive.

Other names of note would be the circus owner, Alyosha, and his wife, Zora. She is a woman who is shrouded in mystery and is rumoured to be the oldest Skomori alive. The Markarov family are the strong men performers in the circus. Always trying to steal Rurik’s thunder, they are not to be trusted. Ivan is the motorcycle rider and probably Rurik’s best friend. Another who will come to the fore later in the story.

The plot is simple. Wherever the circus goes, kids go missing. Rurik knows this and wants to stop it. On his own. Well obviously that isn’t all but I am certainly not going to tell you anymore other than to warn you that this story gets very dark, with some startling revelations coming as it progresses.

I have a problem with how to categorise this one. I wouldn’t exactly call it horror. To me it is more of a thriller with some very dark undertones and a lot of supernatural hints that always have you wondering just what is going on and what is going to happen next. You know the murderer is a strong person but you never know if there is something supernatural involved and are always left guessing.

One thing that I can tell you for sure is that this is one hell of a ride. I absolutely love the way this story is written. It is so fresh and unique. I haven’t read a story with this sort of effect for a long long time.

It is set in modern times. You know this because everyone lives in RV’s and there are obvious references to modern day technology throughout. But, when you first meet Sylvie and the Skomori clan, it gets turned on its head. Their ways and traditions are so old that you could be forgiven for thinking that the scenes they appear in are set in the middle ages. I had to remind myself many times that this is a modern day tale and not one from the 1600’s. LX Cain’s writing is very effective at fooling you into thinking you have slipped back in time. You can almost feel and smell the old ways and traditions of an era long since gone.

The story is also set mainly in Hungary and Romania. Although written in English, you know the characters are mainly speaking Hungarian and Romanian and also Russian at times. Again you get a distinct Eastern European feeling to the story that gives it a certain eeriness that I definitely don’t think would be present if it was set in say, modern day America.

Intrigue and mystery are probably the key words for this one. You know what is happening but right up to the last few chapters you never know who the villain is. You might guess but you will be wrong. When you do figure it out, that’s when things really kick off and the monsters appear. But I am starting to say too much. I’ll leave it there.

To summarise: a dark, dark thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat for most of it and keep you guessing for the rest. Excellent atmospheric writing that gives you a true sense of the times and the people involved, drawing you into their lives and traditions whether you want to or not.

General rating:

★★★★★ excellent first time read of a new author.

Thriller / Horror rating:

★★★★★ really good all rounder.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Bloodwalker or any other books from L.X. Cain. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


Book Synopsis:

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers.

Author of novel Bloodwalker (Thriller/Mystery from Freedom Fox Press, Oct. 2016), and upcoming novels Coldest Night, Soul Cutter (re-release), and Paris Underworld.

Also author of short Horror stories "Biggun," "The Mission," and "The Inter-Galactic Gourmet" for sale on a different vendor.

And for more about L.X. visit her site or find her on social media:

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