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Blood Moon by John David Bethel – Review

Title: Blood Moon

Author: John David Bethel

Genre: Psychological Crime Thriller

Book procurement: I was contacted by the author for an honest review.

Synopsis:

On a hot, steamy afternoon in Miami, Cuban-American businessman Recidio Suarez is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. What he discovers is heart-stopping. What he endures during almost a month of captivity compares only to the most horrendous stories of prisoners of war. He is tortured, and under the threat of death, and worse – the rape of his wife and torture of his children – Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors.

Suarez survives and then spends the next few months staying one step ahead of the murderous pack. During this time, he and his lawyer, Nolan Stevens – a former Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Office of the FBI – are having difficulties convincing the Miami-Dade Police Department that a crime has been committed. Their efforts are complicated by Steven’s difficult history with the head of the MDPD Special Investigations Division, who is not interested in pursuing the case.

Review:

First Thoughts

It’s quite difficult to write a review on such a tragic story. To filter past the horrendous events the story tells, to focus on seemingly petty things such as writing style, emotion and general narrative devices used. However all of these combined make for compelling story telling which Blood Moon was not.

Nonetheless, the story begins right into the action. We get a glimpse of the man that is Recidio Suarez. We experience his kidnapping, and his confusion. As the story unfolds, and characters come to light, there was a sense of sickness at the inhumanity his kidnappers were willing to display.

Writing

From a writing perspective, Blood Moon was not thrilling. Not suspenseful. This is due to how close the novel was to the truth. Sitting through the thirty days of a man’s torture is not supposed to be fun or easy or thrilling, and on that merit, Blood Moon is spot on. At the same time, without all the context of “based on a true story”, there isn’t anything gripping about the story. Disturbing, yes, but not engaging.

I did not relate to, or felt moved by Recidio’s perilous situation. The writing was more of a journal than a delve into the frayed mind of a man who is on the brink of losing everything. No internal monologues. No thoughts about “what ifs” or “could haves” or anything that would give us an emotional tie-in during the horror of his experience. Just the gritty day to day of surviving. Not to undermine what he went through, but a little humanity would have made it more digestible.

Humour was thrown in here and there to show how Recidio was working to cope with the fact that he’d been kidnapped and would most likely end up dead. The unlikely friendship forming also broke the monotony. The violence was gruesome, descriptions visceral, and it all made me wonder just how depraved humans can be.

Final Thoughts

While this wasn’t my favourite book to read, it was respectable. I applaud John Bethel for the amount of research and effort he must have put in to write this novel true enough to the actual tragedy. The foreword and afterword put a real perspective on the whole thing. That it’s not just a fictional tale, but a reminder of a tragedy re-written in fictional form.

Rating: A fair 3 out of 5


J. David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue that is receiving praise from a number of Washington opinion leaders

Facebook: Facebook.com/Inspiredbytruecrime

Amazon: John David Bethel


Have you read any books based on real events? How did that affect you during and after reading? Would you recommend any?

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Friday Fiction: ‘Til Proven Innocent

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: Business Person Transport : Car Genre: Crime


Schultz-Werner Automobil were renowned for their reliable vehicles – German engineering at its finest. The death of corporate magnate, Herr Michael Götze, came as a shock, more so when the story revealed that he’d died in a SW Automobil sedan. Once the coroner confirmed he’d died before the crash of a crushed oesophagus, however, the media was in uproar.

I was in uproar. 

Herr Götze had promised to appoint me next-in-line at SWA before we helped move him along to the next life. Only it seemed someone else had beat me to it.

A hurried board meeting was called by the higher-ups that same evening of the crash, where they duly informed us that Herr Götze’s Will had been amended earlier that day and the details would only be revealed in the next official meeting where his successor would be named.

“Aren’t you his successor?” Julian whispered to me as we somberly stalked out of the board room. As usual, he carried a stench of aftershave that bordered on toilet spray.

“How do you know that?” I hushed back at him.

“Everybody knows. You were his favourite.” he placed a hand on my shoulder, “They think you did it.”

It was then I noticed that stares from the solemn employees around us, suspicion drawn on their furrowed brow.

“Well I didn’t.”

Julian shrugged, then ambled off hurriedly as though my supposed guilt was contagious.

I arrived home to find the door ajar. I’d seen enough movies to know I should probably call the police. Twenty minutes later two bulky officers pushed through the door before me to a condemning sight. Frau Götze sat in a pool of her own blood, her husband’s tape recorder in her hand. The one we used to plan his death.

I had been set up.

 

Friday Fiction: Confessional

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Character: I’ve Always Been Crazy Setting: Village Genre: Crime


confessional-122763_1280

“It’s getting worse Father.”

Francois knelt within the narrow confines of the confessional. Sweat trickled down his temples but his clasped hands shivered uncontrollably.

“The Lord knows our struggles. He sees all and knows all. He will never give you more than you can handle.” The voice replied from beyond the wooden grating separating confessor from absolution.

“I understand that Father but… I literally felt as though my hands were wrapped around her neck and…  and I was squeezing. Squeezing. Squeezing! Her neck…” Francois’s whole body began to shiver. Sweat continued to trail down into his collar, while a hollowness suffused his chest and clutched at his heart.

“It was merely a dream my child, perhaps manifestations of impure thoughts you harbour towards her or her sinful occupation?”

“I don’t even know her.”

“And yet you recall her with clarity? The Lord said, if you hate your brother in your heart then you have similarly committed murder. Do you hate her?”

“No Father! I… may have seen her once? Maybe?”

“Are you certain my child? You are safe in the house of the Lord.”

“I…” Francois searched his memories and could recall nothing concrete. A flash of someone but it was hazy. Fragmented. “Perhaps I’ve always been crazy Father.”

“Ephesians tells us our battle is not against flesh and blood, but the forces of darkness.” A sombre silence filled the air. “Pray ten Hail Mary’s. Tonight, I will visit again for special communion.”

The priest’s door clicked open and suddenly a familiar scent filled Francois’ nose. He looked out the glass portal of the confessional and watched the priest slip a tattered blouse into his vestments. A familiar blouse. He shook his head and turned back to prayer, the suspicion overshadowed by his guilt. He soon forgot about the blouse.

Friday Fiction: Sweets from a Stranger

Today’s Friday Fiction is courtesy of microcosmsfic.com. 300 word short story using the following elements.

Topic: Sweets from a Stranger, genre: Crime.


The car tottered over gravel on a quiet October afternoon. A quick glance in the rear-view mirror revealed glossy cerulean eyes below thin furrowed brows. An upturned nose blew out every few seconds while silver tape around the lower half of the face crinkled against barely perceptible lips. The man grinned through the mirror,
“You still okay back there?”
The boy turned towards the window in reply. A dimmed sky cascaded sunlight through, dulled by the tint to ensure no one could see in.
“Well you better be. And don’t bother memorizing the road.”
Silence. It was exactly how the man preferred it. The radio had been turned off and only the low hum and crunch of gravel permeated the vehicle. Another glance back and it seemed the boy had fallen asleep, eyes shut and chest rising gently under the Manchester City jersey he wore. Perfect.
*
The silence felt heavy. Outside the sun had deepened, vermillion against the tinted windows. The man took a glance at the rear view mirror and felt his body gradually chill as bright hazel eyes stared back at him unblinkingly. He was sure the boy had blue eyes.
“You still okay in the front there?” The boy asked. The man’s eyes widened, mouthing drooping agape as duct tape around the boy’s lips fell away completely. Sharpened teeth revealed in malevolent grin.
“Well you better be. And don’t bother getting off the road, we’re going exactly where we should be.”
*
The detective stared at the file before him then up at the tall man who had shucked off his lab coat,
“You’re saying he looks like a boy but is actually a full grown man?”
“And takes sweets from a stranger before letting them think they’ve lured him away. Only the assailant becomes the victim. Always.”


You know how I like to add a horror spin to everything I write. Muhahaha!

The Harvest Man by Alex Grecian

The Harvest Man

Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—and Jack the Ripper—return, in the extraordinary new historical thriller from the author of the acclaimed national bestseller The Yard.

In The Devil’s Workshop, London discovered that Jack the Ripper was back, sending the city—and Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad—into chaos. But now it is even worse. Not only is the Ripper still at large, but so is another killer just as bad.

For Inspector Walter Day, it has been a difficult time. His wife has given birth to twins, his hostile in-laws have come to stay, and a leg injury has kept him at his desk. But when the Harvest Man begins killing, carving people’s faces off their skulls, the Yard knows they need Day in the field.

Not so Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith. Rash actions have cost him his job, but that doesn’t stop his obsessive hunt for the Ripper. When the mutilated bodies of prostitutes start turning up again, Hammersmith enlists the help of a criminal network to stop Saucy Jack, his methods carrying him further and further from the ideals of the Yard, so far in fact that he may never be able to find his way back.

Of course, the Ripper’s been playing a game with him—with Walter Day, as well. He is pushing both of them to their limits, and what happens when they get there . . . no one can say.


Spring Death month continues and this week is Serial Killers. The Harvest Man gave me chills, exploring the one antagonist character type that freaks me out. A 4 star rated book in my Book Review: The Harvest Man. It’s an entire series so get it from the first book.

Alex Grecian

Alex Grecian - Photo

Grecian is the author of several bestselling historical thrillers featuring Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad: THE YARD, THE BLACK COUNTRY, THE DEVIL’S WORKSHOP, THE HARVEST MAN, and LOST AND GONE FOREVER, plus the original Murder Squad ebook, THE BLUE GIRL.

He also created the six-volume graphic novel series PROOF, and the two-part graphic novel RASPUTIN.

He currently lives in the American Midwest with his wife and son. And a cat. And a tarantula.

Goodreads: Alex Grecian

Personal Site: AlexGrecian.com

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