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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review: Talion By Mary Maddox

This is a nightmare thriller with well written suspense.
Talion by Mary Maddox
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Cantraip Press (March 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984428100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984428106
Price: Print $12.99
Kindle $3.99
Genre:  Fantasy Suspense
My Rating:  3.5 of 5
Back Cover Description
The dying body has a thousand voices, and all of them speak to Conrad (Rad) Sanders. Fifteen-year-old Lisa Duncan has no idea she has attracted Rad’s interest. At a mountain resort in Utah, he watches as vivacious Lisa begins an unlikely friendship with Lu Jakes, the strange and introverted daughter of employees there. Lu enters his fantasies as well. He learns she is being abused by her stepmother and toys with the notion of freeing her from her sad life and keeping her awhile as his captive. Lu seems like an easy conquest who could be persuaded to act out his fantasy by turning against her new friend.

But something else is watching Lu . . .
From Amazon Kindle description:
"'Silence of the Lambs' meets 'The Turn of the Screw' . . . .The story is propelled by suspense, and made delicious by Maddox's Ray Bradbury-like gift for deft, deep-shadowed description . . . Those last hundred pages just about turn themselves."
Dan Hagen Charleston Times-Courier.
Review: I am conflicted on this book. There is some excellent writing but some gruesome descriptions and excessive use of foul language in parts made it hard for me.

I have to agree with Mr. Hagen’s comment that “Those last hundred pages just about turn themselves.”  The thing is you have to read the first 200 pages to get there and I almost didn’t make it.  There is foul language near the beginning which gave me pause but I kept reading.  Just before midway the language was so bad I almost put the book aside as I had not been drawn in enough to really be enjoying it. Since I had committed to review the book I pushed through and the last portion of the book was masterfully suspenseful and saved the rough beginnings.

The serial killer stalks two teenage girls: the spoiled and rebellious Lisa and the poor, beaten “trailer girl”, Lu.  Lisa is the niece of the owners of a resort where she is spending the summer as a punishment.  Lu is the daughter of the handy man and a mean stepmother who live nearby in a trailer.  Lisa befriends shy and solitary Lu mostly because there is no one else for Lisa to spend time with.  Lu’s only other friends are imaginary: Talion, the angel, and a vampire and demon. These characters are a bit confusing when first introduced as they are not really explained until further along. I felt that the relationship with these characters should have been made earlier and could also have been more clear. Talion is the friend that Lu seeks for comfort during her pain and misery. He is the only one who loves her but even he seems to have some darkness.

The author does a good job developing the deranged character of Conrad, "Rad", the serial killer who is deranged and very “sick”, cruel and brutal - thus the comparison to “Silence of the Lambs”. The descriptions of the kills are pretty graphic.  Although I liked the flash backs which fill in the killer’s backstory, at times the flow of the writing seemed bumpy. The stalking and mystery parts were well done and the tension and suspense leading up to and after the girls were kidnapped was the best part of the story.

I feel like I missed something because I am not sure why the book was titled "Talion." I felt that gave a different expectation.  I would say the book is more suspense thriller than fantasy. The author is skilled at portraying interesting characters and providing detailed descriptions some of which are very realistic, but they are not all pleasant. If you like thrillers and can handle the gore - think Hannibal Lecter - and the foul language then do give this a try.  I would like to read more from this author if the language was toned down a bit.
WARNING: This book contains graphic and gruesome killing scenes and rough language.

Learn more about the author and view the full tour schedule HERE.

Check some of the other Tour Stops for other reviews and interviews. Here are a few other review links:
A Moment With Mystee
Minding Spot
From the TBR Pile

Thank you to the author and Pump Up Your Book Promotion for providing this book for review.

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