Finally, we get The Brave and the Bold: Book 3 of The Hidden Truth.

You may remember that the previous two books in the series explored an alternate history where 9-11 killed President Al Gore, destroyed the White House, spared the twin towers, and revealed a shadowy conspiracy that had been twisting fate, warping history, and bending culture and all of society to their will.

And most of that was in the opening chapters of book one.

Book two was a chess game, as the enemy came closer and closer to encroaching on our heroes’ turf, raiding academia, targeting professors for personal destruction, and a game of wills that only the wary would pass.

Then there came the Order of Preacher spies, the tong assassins, and the forces of counter revolution, for lack of a better term.

And now, book three. 

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Review: Fade, by Daniel Humphreys

Fade (Paxton Locke Book 1) by [Humphreys, Daniel]

With the novel Making Peace, I noted that I found the successor to Terry Pratchett.

Now, it seems I’ve tripped over the spiritual successor to Jim Butcher.

Where the hell have all of these people been hiding?

Yes, yes, I know I’ve been busy with building my own damn shelf of novels, but this is ridiculous now. These people are some awesome writers, and I’ve been hip deep in writing my little heart out.  Gah. It’s a bit frustrating.

But anyway, it’s Halloween…

Time for a ghost story.

Welcome to Fade.

From Dragon Award nominee Daniel Humphreys

Son of a Witch

Family drama is bad enough without adding magic and human sacrifice. Ten years ago, Paxton Locke’s mother killed his father in a mysterious ritual that – thankfully – went incomplete. Now, Paxton makes his living as a roving paranormal investigator, banishing spirits while Mother languishes in jail.

When a terrified ghost warns him of a dangerous, newly-freed entity, Paxton faces a fight far beyond simple exorcism. In a battle for his very soul, will he be able to endure – or simply fade away?

Harry Dresden’s sorcery goes on a Supernatural-style road trip. Cool car sold separately.

Frankly, the last line isn’t branding. It’s fairly accurate …. and despite having his own family drama, Paxton Locke is no where near as angsty as the Winchester brothers, whose own angsty bullshit killed any interest I had in Supernatural, no matter how good the plots were.

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Review: War Demons

The Devil went down to Georgia. He was looking for a soul to steal.And this time, he isn’t coming with a violin.

Welcome to War Demons, by Russell Newquist.**

When he came home, so did they…

Driven by vengeance, Michael Alexander enlisted in the Army the day after 9/11. Five years later, disillusioned and broken by the horrors he witnessed in Afghanistan, Michael returns home to Georgia seeking to begin a new life. But he didn’t come alone. Something evil followed him, and it’s leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

The police are powerless. The Army has written Michael off. Left to face down a malevolent creature first encountered in the mountains of Afghanistan, he’ll rely on his training, a homeless prophet, and estranged family members from a love lost…

But none of them expected the dragon.

Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden collides with Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International in this supernatural thriller that goes straight to Hell!

That tag at the end isn’t bluster. It’s fairly accurate. Personally, I think War Demons leans more on the MHI than the Harry Dresden. So much so that I’m willing to say up front that I would not be surprised if Russell ends up authoring an MHI spinoff novel. No, I’m not exaggerating. This is a story that could have been mistaken for a Monster Hunter International novel if Larry Correia used prayer as a weapon more often. But I will admit, there is a TON of Dresden-level action.

Let’s back up a step.

Chapter one opens up with a swordfight with a demon, and ends with dropping a daisy cutter on it.

That irritated the sucker a little.

Fast forward a few years to our hero, Michael Alexander, who Jack Ryaned out of the military when his helicopter crashed. He and his buddy hid in a cave …. only do discover something in the cave that was colder than the dark and hungry.

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Ask a Catholic Geek: Moral Culpability in Service

I’ve been meaning to start up an Ask a Catholic Geek series, and this question posed in our Facebook group was the perfect opportunity.

How do we explain, using moral theology, why it is licit to allow racists to use your credit card services? CAN we say it’s licit?

What level of material cooperation is licit? I think many people are deeply confused on this question.

~ Stephanie S.

Racism does not enter into it. What you are looking for is the following: When does 
providing a service to those who shall use the service to commit a sin mean I myself participate in that sin?
 

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Castlia House Reviews Hell Spawn

Over at Castalia House, Jon Mollison reviewed Hell Spawn.

Played entirely straight, the result is an urban fantasy for people who don’t like urban fantasy. Instead of the usual kitchen sink approach as seen in the “Iron Druid” series and countless magic-girl of the week series, Finn steeps the universe of Saint Tommy entirely in a Catholic worldview where Earth represents a battleground between heaven and hell. Though the dual nature of the conflict – good versus evil – lacks the political complexity of the kitchen sink approach, it also grounds the novel with a unified system that carries with it the weight of two thousand years of refining, evolution, and tradition. There are real rules to what can be done and how things operate, and that grounding in a single understanding of the rules of the game allows the action to proceed at a faster clip, and with considerably higher stakes than most examples of the genre.

Considering how popular Iron Druid is, I’ll take that review.

Which is not to say that this is a book for Catholics only. The matter of fact presentation of the faith that lies at the core of this work never veers into preachiness or ham fisted apologia. Hand wave away the protagonist’s explanations for his powers – most of the supporting characters do – and you’re still left with a gritty tale of a serial killer targeting a cop. Head-canon the supernatural abilities into a secular expression of natural law, and you’re left with a dark superhero tale that makes the nineties grimdark culture seem tame by comparison.

I …  yeah. I cop to it. This went dark. But it’s nice to see that Mollison finds I did it well.

One word of warning on that note – and Declan Finn’s unflinching willingness to show the nature and effects of evil, this novel goes into some ark places where even the most bloody-minded Hollywood producers fear to tread. The setting being New York City, the usual political theater enters the investigation

I don’t know why, this part just pleases me.

Declan writes with an economy of words that packs a lot of impact into this relatively short novel. Never quite dipping down into the close-mouthed unwillingness to describe even the most recurring characters or locales, he nonetheless manages to present just enough information to keep things visually stimulating without dragging the action down.

Be well.

 

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Hell Spawn is alive! ALIVE!

So, Hell Spawn, the latest in Catholic horror, is live.

 

In paperback, hardcover, and yes, ebook.

This has been one of the most interesting experiences of my writing career. In large part because this one started with a publisher asking for the book, requiring an outline, getting an editor especially for my output, and having people casually mention that it’s a Dragon Award contender before it’s even published.

I think people like it.

And it already has over a dozen reviews. The lowest of which is one three-star review who can’t seem to understand that, when your subplot involves MS-13 in New York, less than 500 words on sanctuary cities is not “over the top preaching.”

They want to see over the top preaching, I can mange that [cackles evilly].

But otherwise, the reviews have been amazing, all four and five stars. You’ve probably all seen the early reviews (and if you haven’t, they’re right here). This is pretty much more of the same.

I like the one entitled “Wow — Can I Open My Eyes Yet?
The highlights are as follows.

From the start, the hint of humor in the narration during the chase scene let me assume that this was probably going to be a good book, despite the dark overtones of the title. But when the fight scene at the precinct with the demon started, I was ready to scamper out of the way of the fight that made me feel I was right there! Powerful descriptive writing, as the whole scene appeared clearly in my mind and the chaos never stopped! Whew! Believe me, this is a book you’ll want to read, if only to see the mastery of words from this author. I was definitely impressed!

Someone named Brenda who I need to buy a drink for.

This is a well written book with an interesting and intriguing story line. The author brings strong well developed characters and weaves an exciting story filled with danger,suspense and action. He does a great job pulling you into the story and keeping you glued to the pages right to the end. I highly recommend this book

Or Heidi’s review

This was such a interesting book to read. It was full of action, suspense, thrills, excitement, and great characters.

Or this one.

The murders are brutal to say the least thankfully the author does not take it to a totally immersed sick level but uses it to keep just enough tension to move the story along.

….There is enough humor to counter the dark nature of the story.

….Since we are dealing with a saint there is a religious aspect to the book that some may get a bit standoffish about…however you are reading a book about a saint and expecting no religion theology to be shown would be a bit foolish.

….Tommy’s discoveries and his journey as he tracks down this demon is compelling and keeps you interested to following him down that dark alley.

So, yeah, this has been awesome.

I think it’s time to get on board with the best thing that I’ve ever written.

I can promise you that you won’t regret it.

Purchase Hell Spawn here.

 

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TV Review: New Amsterdam

This is an odd one.New Amsterdam the show is about a hospital of the same name. It’s a rebranded Bellevue, the state run hospital in New York, made famous mostly by locking in felonious nutcases.

In the case of this series, it is based on Dr. Eric Manheimer’s memoir Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital. Since he’s been the Medical Director of Bellevue Hospital for over 13 years, I can only wonder how much of what is on screen is what happened in real life, what Manheimer WANTED to happen in real life, and how much is just television.

The premise, so far, is, from IMDB,

Dr. Max Goodwin is brilliant, charming — and the new medical director at America’s oldest public hospital. While he’s set on tearing down the bureaucracy to provide exceptional care, the doctors and staff are not so sure. They’ve heard this before, and no one else has delivered on those promises. Not taking no for an answer, Max disrupts the status quo and proves he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated hospital — the only one in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rikers Island and the president of the United States all under one roof — and return it to the glory that put it on the map. Inspired by Bellevue in New York City.

Step one is to remove all of the buzzwords from that BS write up. What’s actually happening is “hospital brings in new guy, new guy takes a sword to the Gordian knot of red tape.”
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