Blog Tour: Buried In My Past by Eva MacKenzie

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BURIED IN MY PAST
BY: EVA MACKENZIE

buried in my past

Genre: Domestic/Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Craven Ink Press
Publication Date: February 6, 2020

SYNOPSIS

She’s desperate to stop the panic attacks. But the truth won’t set her free…

Jamie Kendal sees life through the bottom of a bottle. After surviving assault and betrayal, she is forced back to her hometown to care for her mother. Not long after her return, she’s plagued by terrifying slivers of memories from the night her twin brother disappeared forever…

Unearthing new evidence, she’s shocked to learn she’d been found wandering in the woods that same night—covered in blood. More than one person from her past hid the haunting truth that’s bubbling to the surface. The deeper she digs into the horrors from her past, the more she fears almost anyone could be a killer, including Jamie herself.

Can Jamie expose what happened that night, or will she join her missing brother?

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REVIEW

Buried In My Past is a pretty great thriller. While its story, in general isn’t quite as unique at first glance to other stories told in the similar type, its the way that the author executes it from its pacing to how the story is structured to building its characters that give it quite a good deal of depth and opens up a world of questions linking the past to the present of a case happening in a small town bringing back its victim to figure out her own past. Because of its good execution, this novel is quite the page-turner, as it gets the readers to engage in the whole guesswork of what happened in the past and who the killer could possibly be.

The story is structured in the perspectives of a few of the characters. The first is from the view of Jamie, a mid-30s lady who goes back home with the news of her mother being unconscious after a break-in to her home. Upon searching, she realizes that there’s more going on to what happened in camp when she was younger that caused her family to lose her brother and that somehow she was involved as well. Its this investigation that takes her character into a deeper exploration of the chunk of memory loss that might be the key to solving this case. This perspective is possibly the one that has the most impact.

However, the other perspectives float around a few other people. The more prominent goes to the leading detective (maybe sheriff, I can’t remember the title) called Drew who happens to have history in Jamie’s youth of the romantic variety and ends up being something of a tangent as in the midst of all the things happening, their attraction also builds. If anything, I didn’t quite think this is completely necessary but that might just be that there’s a place and time for everything and romance in thrillers (unless its meant to be the focal point) doesn’t seem to have its spot although part of the resolution did have to do with Drew and Jamie’s connection. Not quite sure on that element yet.

With that said, as much as there is the romance, the story does know to keep its focus on the different characters that appear here. They all contribute and are a piece of the story and add to the investigation at hand. Buried In My Past is clever and uses the little details and descriptions as well as each of its characters to its potential and with the use of separating the chapters into quick-paced pieces from different character perspectives and guiding through the past and present effectively and clearly, its a well-written and gripping thriller to read.

Score: 4 out of 5

Purchase on Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Pic (3)

Eva Mackenzie is an author who enjoys twisty, emotionally engrossing tales. Her debut novel has been a work in progress for over a decade. Under the urging of a loved one, it’s finally finished.

She is a wife and mother living on the east coast. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family, training for her next marathon or reading stacks of suspense novels. Some of her favorite authors are Minka Kent, Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag, and Lisa Jackson.

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

February 3rd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Viviana MacKade (Spotlight) https://viviana-mackade.blog/
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
I’m All About Books (Review) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

February 4th

Ghoulish Life & Reviews (Review) https://ghoulishspirit.wordpress.com/
Tales of a Natural Spoonie (Review) https://talesofanaturalspoonie.com/
Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com
Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com
Book Dragon Girl (Spotlight) https://bookdragongirl.com

February 5th

My Bookish Bliss (Review) http://www.mybookishbliss.com
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Vick’s Bookish Writing (Review) https://vicksblogcom.home.blog/
Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

February 6th

Ally’s Reading Corner (Review) http://allysreadingcorner.wordpress.com
Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/
Cup of Books Blog (Review) https://cupofbooksblog.wordpress.com/
The Eclectic Review (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/
Phantom of the Library (Spotlight) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

February 7th

Ity Reads Books (Review) http://www.ityreadsbooks.home.blog
Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Tranquil Dreams (Review) https://klling.wordpress.com/
Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

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Double Feature: The Big Sick (2017) & Sinister (2012)

Welcome to the next double feature! Somewhat of a mixed bag for the rest of January double features from what I see. This time, we’re pairing a 2017 romantic comedy The Big Sick with 2012’s Sinister. Both at the time of release did get quite a few good reviews that its been on my to-watch list for a little while.

Let’s check it out!

The Big Sick (2017)

big sick

Director: Michael Showalter

Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Bo Burnham

Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings. – IMDB

*originally written for Friday Film Club on Movies and Tea HERE*

Loosely based on the real life relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon who also penned the script for this romantic comedy, The Big Sick is something of a breath of fresh air in the whole realm of romantic comedies. It highlights a little of cultural differences that stand between those involved in interethnic relationships. At the same time, it still bundles in a decent amount of soul-searching on behalf of primarily the character of Kumail as the character of Emily does fall into a coma for at least half of the film or something. This also is quite the unusual sort of flow of events as it makes it much more than simply a typical rom-com.There’s a deeper level as these other elements get brought into the picture.

Looking at the cast, there is not much to say about Kumail as someone who plays himself in this somewhat autobiographical flow of events. However, there is quite an impressive little cast here going and the first goes to Zoe Kazan who, while spends most a good part of it in a coma, brings in a very quirky female lead, which shouldn’t be a surprise with the roles that she has played before whether in an indie romance like In Your Eyes or Ruby Sparks. Playing her father Terry is Ray Romano who plays a fairly serious role here despite the story touching in the stand-up comedian main character. Playing the mother is Holly Hunter who takes on quite a strong motherly role who finds a growing bond with Kumail and has a powerful scene where she attacks someone in the audience for making a racial comment.

There’s a lot to love about The Big Sick. A big part of it goes to it feeling genuine and heartfelt. The other part is that the intercultural relationship is a refreshing angle to take with some new themes to explore. If you like a nice romantic comedy, this one definitely fits the bill.

Sinister (2012)

sinister 2012

Director (and co-writer): Scott Derrickson

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone, Michael Hall D’Addario, Clare Foley

Washed-up true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s. – IMDB

Sinister is a decent horror movie. Setting around watching home movies on this old tape projection machine is something that adds a lot of mystery. Plus, the story unfolds in sections. The first part plays out like a mystery thriller and adds in a lot of suspense and finding clues and piecing together the different things of these past murders. The second half goes more into the horror elements and frequently some tropes. It operates a lot of the film in the dark because the main character, other than that one moment where they make an effort to say that they lost electricity randomly, seems to enjoy investigating noises and abnormalities in the dark hallways of their new home. It does create the atmosphere but then, logically, sometimes it doesn’t quite make sense.

Deal is, tropes don’t bother me so much as how well they are executed. Sinister might have some truly unbelievable decision-making especially on the main character Ellison played by Ethan Hawke. Thats not saying that Ethan Hawke isn’t suitable for the role because he does fit quite well in this character. To be fair, the darkness was a bit deliberate but it did manage to deliver some very predictable and oddly effective startles and jump scares. Plus the evil in question here is actually rather creepy from afar. A lot of evil is much better as unclear figures as it leaves space for imagination to run wild. This one does that well partially. The uncovering of the lore behind this evil was done pretty well though especially with its focus on children. There is one scene with the children running around the house in the dark popping up in odd places that was the best scene in the whole film.

Sinister is a decent horror film. It relies on some of the obvious horror tropes and overuses the dark element to create its scares and suspense by blinding the audience. However, it does manage to create quite the evil here and give it a deep enough lore to give it mystery and horror. Is it one to revisit again? Probably not. But is it intriguing enough to watch the sequel? I’d say yes.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?

Double Feature: Mean Girls 2 (2011) & Geostorm (2017)

Welcome to Double Feature #2 of 2020. I’m going to stop counting at a certain point (probably the next one). This pairing is probably the two least liked movie that I’ll put together but hey, why not, right? The first is the (not so) long-awaited sequel to Mean Girls, a whole 7 years after the original. The second is a disaster film which I watched on New Year’s with Gerard Butler in the name of Geostorm which I remember bombed pretty hard at theatrical release.

Let’s check it out!

Mean Girls 2 (2011)

Mean Girls 2

Director: Melanie Mayron

Cast: Meaghan Martin, Linden Ashby, Donn Lamkin, Claire Holt, Diego Boneta, Patrick Johnson, Maiara Walsh, Nicole Gale Anderson, Jennifer Stone, Bethany Anne Lind, Tim Meadows

The Plastics are back in the long-awaited follow-up to the smash hit Mean Girls – and now the clique is more fashionable, funny, and ferocious than ever. – IMDB

Its a fairly certain statement here that no one particularly wanted a sequel for Mean Girls especially when the entire cast had changed. Plus, the Mean Girls thing isn’t exactly something that can merit a sequel. Apparently, my non-creative mind was right because Mean Girls 2 was incredibly predictable and while it changed its characters and the lingo, it was pretty much the same kind of story as Mean Girls but just more mild in its bad deeds. The Mean Girl wasn’t threatening, the new girl that turns bad with power also isn’t all the innocent or whatnot. The whole scheming with friends plot line is all been there done that.

There’s a lot of unnecessary sequels out there and Mean Girls 2 definitely fits into that category. Mean Girls was great the way it was with its one movie as it covered what it wanted to express properly. There’s nothing new that they can add to the content in its original, making Mean Girls 2 quite less impressive especially if its the same structure, showing the same issues that occur in a different decade in the tough high school environment. I can be forgiving about the cast here as I think they did what they could with their flat characters, its really more the mentality that I don’t support that everything at some point or another needs a sequel. Sometimes, you can just leave things alone.

Geostorm (2017)

Geostorm

Director (and writer): Dean Devlin

Cast: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Andy  Garcia, Ed Harris, Robert Sheehan

When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate starts to attack Earth, it’s a race against the clock for its creator to uncover the real threat before a worldwide Geostorm wipes out everything and everyone. – IMDB

Disaster films are never really meant to be some award-winning masterpiece. Its just a fun little romp with a lot of explosions and illogical concepts and some overdone action pieces. Geostorm got a lot of crap and lost a lot of money for the studios and its pretty understandable. I mean, Gerard Butler projects haven’t really been all that great in its last few offerings so for myself, it was like I was expecting it to be really good. Perhaps its the low expectations going in or the New Year’s alcohol hasn’t left my system but Geostorm wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Geostorm tries really hard to add suspense and also tries really hard to be different. Where it misses its mark is in a lot of the overuse of drama and the whole brothers story that gets dragged into the mix. Gerard Butler is Gerard Butler which is pretty decent as he has some alright moments. The story itself has some issues here and there. I’m not a very knowledgeable science person so I don’t go and question too much about the whole technology they are talking about and whether it makes sense because it probably doesn’t if you dissect it.

Honestly, I’m not trying to defend Geostorm. Its just an average disaster movie. There are some funny moments here and then some moments that really stretched the imagination which they chalked it up to the family communication code or whatever. But hey, I always kind of like the charisma that Gerard Butler brings to movies (even the bad ones) and then we get a short role from Daniel Wu and Hong Kong scenes and I have a soft spot for that. The mystery of it all was pretty obvious where they would place the twist. Like I said, nothing too special here. Its just pretty average and I can see how some would think its below-average even. Like I said in the beginning, I’m pretty forgiving for disaster movies but if you aren’t, then just skip this one.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two movies? Thoughts?

Blog Tour: Death in Smoke by Barbara Elle (Review/Giveaway)

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Death in Smoke (The Cape Mysteries #2)
By: Barbara Elle

Death in Smoke

Publication Date: December 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS

*Each book in The Cape Mysteries can be read as a standalone novel*

A bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off Cape Cod.

A cold case in Kansas.

What’s the connection between two unrelated murders over a thousand miles away and decades apart?

In Death In Smoke, the thrilling sequel to Death In Vermilion, artist Leila Goodfriend unravels the truth about two brutal killings.

From Cuttyhunk Island to a Native American casino in Kansas, Leila tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a faded past.

Once again, Leila has to trust her instincts, which puts her at odds with Detective John Grace—a relationship of attraction that, in the end, reveals a tragic secret from her own past.

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.

Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across clashing cultures and time, challenging assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.

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REVIEW

Death in Smoke is the second book in the Cape Mysteries Series and yet, while the main sleuth carries forward from the previous book, this mystery is pretty much a standalone with only a little bit of reference to the previous book and it makes to effort to fill in those spaces for new readers (like myself). At least its the feeling that I got here which is always good to not feel like starting in the middle of a series is an intrusion and it stands alone as it promotes itself.

Psychological thrillers are always tricky business. Death in Smoke does a relatively good job. It starts off on a strong note in its set up its foundation with the discovery of the body and the well-described scenario and the forensic and detective work that follows. While the story does seem to a bit deliberate in some of its leads and the discoveries making it seem a bit predictable in certain plot progression, it does redeem itself in the second half when it shifts its scenario from the murders on an island, which is always an intriguing setting, to the link to another case in Kansas and brings in the Indigenous American elements. This brings in the unique angle for this mystery.

Looking at the characters of Death in Smoke, the main sleuth is an artist called Leila who has unexpectedly been around for this and in this story, feels the urge to follow the leads and help solve it as she finds the body and therefore responsible to follow through (or at least it seems that way). There’s a nice little bit of what would probably be a link to the previous book in terms of the little love tangent it goes on but done in a classy way. All these elements build up on Leila’s character.

Overall, there are some small pacing issues where with Death in Smoke. However, the book is well-written with some vivid descriptions and a decent main character Leila leading the mystery. The mystery itself also is well structured with gradual layers that eventually build up to the finale. The ending isn’t hard to completely figure out but it does redeem itself also with finding a unique twist. Plus, the grand finale shares a little on the origins of dreamcatcher which a lot of people know about but never the art of it or the different elements and the meanings. I’m not sure if it was meant to end to give Leila some more depth in its ending or to give it a little informative moment for the readers but whichever the reason, the ending does add to the experience.

Score: 3.5/5

Available on Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BARBARA ELLE

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, the musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

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BITS 2019: Hunter’s Moon (World Premiere 2019)

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Hunter’s Moon (2019)

Hunter's Moon

Director (and co-writer): Matthew Campagna

Cast: Steven Morana, Holly Deveaux, Ari Millen, Colm Feore, Katie Boland, Art Hindle, Marco Timpano, Bobbie Philips, Melissa D’Agostino, Jon Cor

A creature-feature twist on the Agatha Christie Whodunit thriller-genre, that turns into an action-packed race for survival when the killer is revealed. – IMDB

I always say that werewolf movies are really not done enough. In fact, if you look back at the last while, there really hasn’t been too many without them having to pair with the vampires world or some other world. Its why Hunter’s Moon is a movie that hits a lot of elements that become very intriguing and one that breaks through overused topics especially as it hits a clever style of whodunnit (which is a fairly challenging mystery to tackle) and action-paced survival.

Hunter’s Moon is about a video game launch party that has to be hosted by their introvert and anti-social lead designer, August (Steven Morana) who reluctantly takes the reins when the game development company’s owner Brian (Art Hindle) is under scrutiny for some questionable practices. While August would prefer to be anywhere else but the party, he is motivated to be there to meet an online friend, Cheyenne (Holly Deveaux) that he has been interested in furthering their relationship. Unfortunately, the party takes a turn when the guests start falling dead in different ways and its seeming that the game is somehow coming to life in its way. As they try to survive while deciphering who is behind all this, its a rather wild ride.

There’s this very cheesy satisfaction to Hunter’s Moon. Its not that the effects aren’t done well or that there are any technical elements that aren’t done on point. Actually, the scenes itself including the cinematography and the atmosphere matches with the style here, whether its in the first part of the whole who-dunnit mystery investigation or the second part where its a game of survival. The story here feels like a fun little ride. Its never really that intense but its an entertaining fun time, which feels like what its partially trying to achieve. The oddest part of the film is some weird change in tones with its background music especially one specific scene that gets some sudden action happens and then switches to some sexy music. Its a bit odd in the beginning but then its also something has this very satisfying moment to it all in the most awkward way. Plus, the whole werewolf transformation (which is a key element in werewolf films) as well as the whole blood and gore is executed pretty good.

If there were any little things that may have fell a little short, it might be that some of the characters weren’t written well or there was some overacting for some of the supporting cast. There are quite a few smaller roles here and its a question of whether they were intended to have this bit of over the top elements to give them a sort of more comedic element to the film. I can’t quite decide the intention yet. Other than that, there is a certain level of deliberateness to how some items come into play like Cheyenne having a gun in her purse for example. Coincidences sometimes gives the film a level of being on rails but yet, there are quite a bit of unpredictable turns here and transitions that do take it off guard mostly in a good way.

The main cast was very fun to watch including Steve Morana as the male lead here who has this subtle intensity to this character behind his introvert personality paired up with Holly Deveaux as Cheyenne who is a rather bad-ass female character. There are some comedic reliefs  as well as some other more intense characters like Remy (Ari Millen) and even a supporting role from Colm Feore (who honestly seems to appear in some of the less expected films).

Overall, Hunter’s Moon has some little things that fall short here and there but its a fun little experience. Its always great to see these lesser used film story telling themes/genre get used and in one film, they hit werewolves and whodunnit all in one shot along with the backdrop of a video game launch party turned into a night of survival which somehow all fits together rather well. Its shot well and the atmosphere is done well and between all this supposedly more suspenseful environment, there still a good balance of fun entertaining elements. Its a satisfying film overall to watch and so much to appreciate.

As an ending thought, the ending does leave me wondering whether there is space for a sequel because that could be fun.

BITS 2019 Shorts: Sky So Blue/One in Two People/Songs My Mother Taught Me/Break In Break Out

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As we continue the Blood in the Snow Festival coverage, these are the next batch of films that were paired with full feature films screened. This time, we’re taking up four films: Sky So Blue, One in Two People, Songs My Mother Taught Me, Break In Break Out. Four very impressive horror shorts!

Sky So Blue (2019)

Sky So Blue

Director: Tyler Williams

Cast: Jeff Sinasac, Daniel Park

After being attacked and imprisoned in his own home, a man stands accused of creating a strange piece of music that may or may not have the power to kill anyone who hears it. – IMDB

Sky So Blue is a 15 minute short that is a psychologically unsettling and suspenseful interaction between two people: a man being accused of creating a deadly music piece that has gone viral and since then killed a lot of people and the other a man who has lost his family because of it. The interaction leads to a whole did he or did he not do it. Is the accusation right? Is the other one just acting innocent? The questions constantly rise as the man asks him questions to get the reason of why and how he created this music. Its a little bit of a cat and mouse sort of conversation with not a whole lot of resolution but as revenge seems to get stronger between them, its a rather “shocking” sort of ending that still manages to keep it slightly ambiguous. Those types of endings are the best as they can spark up some nice afterthought and reflection.

*Sky So Blue screened at the Blood in the Snow Festival with Dead Dicks on November 23 at 7pm*

One in Two People (2019)

One in Two People

Director: Ali Mashayekhi

Cast: Ashley Leggat, Katie Boland, Karissa Strain, Jade Hassouné, Katie Strain, Adam Tsekhman, Matt Murray

Emily is surrounded by her friends as she reveals her dark secret. – IMDB

One in Two People is a 7 minute short that plays with the unseen and the unknown. This one is executed really well as it leaves a lot of suspense and guesswork that only be deciphered through the conversation between the friends and their different position in Emily’s life and how they view her. It all becomes a question off deciphering both the character of Emily and whether she is to be believed. Of course, being a short film, it wouldn’t possibly be nothing but rather how this something will be presented. One in Two People uses the reactions of entering into this locked and the aftermath that builds up the unsettling horror feeling and giving this well-executed finale that honestly was rather creepy. As an addition, Jade Hassouné who played Meliorn in Shadowhunters plays the boyfriend of Emily in this short which was pretty great.

*One in Two People screens at Blood in the Snow Festival with The Nights Before Christmas on November 23rd at 9:30pm*

Song My Mother Taught Me (2018)

Song My Mother Taught Me

Director (and co-writer): Doug Cook

Cast: Julian Robino, Ace Hicks, Brock Morgan, Jane Moffat, Farid Yazdani, Allison Dawn Doiron, Blake Johnson

After Bobby and Lydia lose their mother to cancer, life becomes a difficult feat, especially for Bobby. In an attempt to cheer up her brother, Lydia throws a Halloween party with a close group of friends. It is on this night that they will discover what they mean to each other and learn an important lesson…the dead should always be left alone. – IMDB 

In some ways, Songs My Mother Taught Me starts in a rather generic rundown especially with the recent overuse of Ouija as a central focus however, this short film takes it for a refreshing new twist as this Ouija channels something very different from the moment that the literal countdown starts. From the first moment of how they present what this group channels that causes from a lot of craziness that ensues. It builds up the tension very well and adds in a different element of surprise of what is actually going on, leaving a bit of mystery of the whole situation. Its a fun, tense and quick-paced spiral of events executed with a lot of heart to give this premise a refreshing take.

* Songs My Mother Taught Me is screening with Majic on November 24th at 4:30pm at the Blood in the Snow Festival.*

Break In Break Out (2019)

Break In Break Out

Director (and writer): Michael Driscoll

Cast: Athena Karkanis, Nick Smyth, James Rejent, Robert Morse, Tara Yelland

Break In Break Out is a 7 minute short about a routine burglary goes terribly wrong. This short is probably the one which is the most daring in its execution as it keeps it silent with no dialogue. Its hyper focused on the actions and the sound effects around the scene to build up the interest. Its a awesome and unique way to present this story as within the few minutes that it is presented, it adds in two surprising twists, flips the typical story that you’d expect around and then adds in so much style to its execution. Its a lot of awesomeness to this one that gives it a wow actor. Its one that shouldn’t be missed!

*Break In Break Out is screening with Hunter’s Moon on November 24 at 9:30pm in the Blood in the Snow Festival.*

Blog Tour: Proximity (iMe Series, Book 1) by Jem Tugwell [Review]

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Proximity (iMe Series #1)
by: Jem Tugwell

Proximity

Publisher: Serpentine Books
Genre: Techno Thriller/Procedural

SYNOPSIS

You can’t get away with anything. Least of all murder.

DI Clive Lussac has forgotten how to do his job. Ten years of embedded technology – ‘iMe’ – has led to complete control and the eradication of crime. Then the impossible happens. A body is found, and the killer is untraceable. With new partner Zoe Jordan, Clive must re-sharpen his detective skills and find the killer without technology, before time runs out for the next victim…

Leading the trend in speculative crime thrillers, Jem Tugwell’s thrilling and thought-provoking debut sits alongside Black Mirror and The City and the City in a compelling exploration of our near future. Proximity draws on Jem’s 20 years of professional experience as a software developer in the city to give an unnerving insight into how our world might be transformed by the rapid advance in embedded technology and fitness trackers.

What if the cash-strapped public healthcare system can be given a second life by using tech to regulate our health and behaviour?

What if we can eradicate gun, knife and other proximity crimes by tracking everyone’s activity?

What if civil liberty is seen as an acceptable sacrifice for the greater good?

What if the convenience of technology is used for control?

“Proximity is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. From my own experience, technologists are often amazed or horrified about the other uses that people imagine for their products. Clive and Zoe’s world might be closer than we think, but is it heaven or hell? How do we decide the perfect balance of free will and greater good?” – Jem Tugwell

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REVIEW

Proximity is set in a future where technology of override the lives of society as one technology as made everything so functional that it takes away any risks while controlling the every lives of the people which is a foolproof way against crime and tracking the citizens every step of the way. In a world with this technology, the police has also over-relied on this technology, making it hard when an anomaly happens. Of course, that exactly happens. On one hand, Proximity emphasizes the dangers of a society over-reliant on technology but on the other hand, it always shows how sometimes the untraceable element and the part of life that isn’t controlled makes some balance that may work and is needed.

In this sense, the futuristic world and the technology design and how it interacts with the characters is one of the most fascinating part of the mystery. The technology itself has its own life which adds to the characters here who is a team of two detectives: one of which has gone through the old-fashioned, before iMe technology investigation while the newbie is learning how to do this. The story also chooses to let the readers be the third party and see the efforts of this serial killer but never quite reveal who it is but rather the mindset behind its choices, slowly converging the big reveal in the final few chapters. One of the parts that usually work very well to character-building is using different characters’ point of views as a focal point. In  this case, the three main characters all have their own chapters that shift between each of them to see their own views and opinions of what is going on and how each of the character develops.

Proximity is a solid page-turner with a lot of potential to build up this new future. Technology is such a key element in the current day that its not hard to imagine a future that could possibly turn out like this one. Its only a matter of time, making this feel rather realistic. At the same time, the plot is executed very impressively, giving it so much room to guess who is the serial killer but never revealing too much too early. Its hard to grasp the pacing in thrillers and Jem Tugwell handles this very well. Proximity sets a great foundation as the starting novel of a series. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

Score: 4.5/5

Purchase Links:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JEM TUGWELL

I am a crime fiction author with a Crime Writing MA from City University. Proximity is my thrilling debut novel, inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. Available on 6 June 2019.

In a past life, I had a successful career in investment management, and now live in Surrey with my wife. I have two great children and dog. Outside of my family and writing, my loves are snowboarding, old cars and bikes.

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