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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review, Giveaway, and Guest Post with Richard Brown, author of The Gift of Illusion


Hi, everyone! I am pleased to participate in The Gift of Illusion Virtual Book Tour sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours. We will be joined today by the author of The Gift of Illusion, Richard Brown.

About Richard:
 

Richard is not a vampire, yet. 

While he awaits immortality, Richard spends much of his time banging his head on the keyboard trying to make sentences out of words. 

Since the age of ten, he's written dozens of short stories, over a hundred poems, and two novels, the first -- The Gift of Illusion -- was released May, 17 2011. 

He also enjoys spending time with his daughter, girlfriend, three dogs, watching mixed martial arts, singing karaoke, debating politics, and of course dressing up for photo shoots with a guitar he never really learned to play (ahem).





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Guest Post: 

Are you happy now?
A short story by Richard Henry Brown

He woke on the bedroom floor, his arms crossed over his chest, trembling.
His first thought—after establishing where in the hell he was—was how he’d arrived there. 
There on the carpet, on his back.
Had he rolled off the bed, hit the floor, and bumped his head? 
He couldn’t remember.   
The room was dark and smelled of things both strange and unfamiliar.  A ceiling fan spun above him, and for a moment he stared upward and watched the blades cut through the air.  When he tried to sit up, he felt a sharp wrenching pain in his abdomen.  He cried out and laid his head back down on the carpet. 
After a moment he tried again to pull himself up and again failed, but instead managed to roll on to his side.  He groaned and struggled for a quick breath.  The air was cold and hard to breathe.
And then he saw the blood.
Lots of it.
Someone had stabbed him in the stomach and left the knife buried inside the wound.  The blood soaked his white undershirt and trickled down in small streams to the carpet. 
He was sure now he had passed out, likely due to extensive blood loss, though by the grace of God, he wasn’t dead.  Dying, but not yet dead, what a hospital was apt to label critical condition. 
Naturally he wondered who stabbed him, but whoever they were they obviously weren’t here now.  They’d fled, believing they’d killed him, and so he’d piece that puzzle together later.  If he was going to survive, he needed to find help, and soon.
 Where was his wife?
 He slowly reached for the knife and wrapped his fingers around the handle.  He jerked at the blade a little and then screamed a lot.  He wanted to pull it out, and thought he could, but the pain was excruciating. 
 Still on his side facing the foot of the bed, he took his hand off the knife and grabbed at the bed sheets.  Using the sheets as a grip, he slowly dragged his body closer to the bed until his back was up against the mattress.  This motion proved to be absolute agony to his wound but necessary nevertheless.  On the floor, he was helpless.  In order to reach a phone, or find his wife, he needed to stand up.
 He let go of the sheets, which he had painted with bloody handprints, and now placed his hands on top of the mattress.  He took another quick breath and then began to lift himself on to the bed.  The pain hit him harder than ever as the knife gently twisted inside him, and for a moment he thought he would lose consciousness. 
 Exhausted, he sat there for nearly a minute with his head down, a mixture of spit and blood drooling from his mouth. 
Lying next to him on the bed was his wife’s pink robe.  She wouldn’t be happy with what he was about to do next, but when was she ever happy anyway?  He was her burden, his illness making him unable to work and provide for her, and she’d never let him forget it—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Never.
He loved her still, even if she would rather him be buried in the backyard. 
He grabbed the robe with his left hand and bundled it up as best he could.  His right hand went around the knife.
A tug and the blade came out with little resistance.  An upsurge of blood followed. 
He winced as he pushed the pink robe on to the exposed hole to slow the bleeding.  The robe was instantly ruined.  Somewhere the old hag was having a heart attack.
From the bed he rose to his feet and stumbled toward the bedroom door on the other side of the room.  He passed his dresser, still applying pressure to the wound, the excess robe dragging on the floor behind him, and stopped at the entrance to the master bath.
The door was open.  He heard the sound of splashing water.  The mirror above the sink showed only a bleary version of his face. 
He stepped closer.
A hot steam met him in the doorway.
As he stepped inside he looked over at the shower.  The peach colored curtain was closed and the water was running.  He called out to his wife but received no response.
He set the bloody knife down on the counter and wiped away much of the steam from the mirror.
He looked like a sack of rotten potatoes.  His sunken cheeks.  His old, gray skin.  His chaotic hair.
Again he cried for his wife, and still she just showered and said nothing.  He wasn’t surprised.
She treated him like he didn’t exist.
He bowed his head. 
An empty bottle of pills was in the sink.  His medication.  The doctor said it would relax the nerve endings in his brain, help him to better focus his thoughts in a productive manner.  His wife always said it kept the little lunatic inside on lockdown. 
They were both right.
But then she had cursed at him and poured the pills down the sink, he now remembered.
Why would she do that?
He limped toward the shower and snatched open the curtain.  There she was, the old hag lying naked on her back in two inches of brown water, multiple stab wounds in her chest and stomach, while the showerhead above rained hot water down, washing away the fresh blood as it bubbled up.
She brought it all down on herself.  She let the little lunatic out to play.
Are you happy now?
He threw the pink robe over his dead wife and backed away from the shower.  He picked the knife back up from the counter.
The killer smiled at him.
A haunted smile, reflected in the mirror.
A smile all his own.                            
Then he drove the knife deep into his chest again and again and again until fatigue beat him—until he collapsed to the bathroom floor, the black plastic handle of the blade protruding from his bludgeoned belly like a gravestone.
He lay there, tranquil, hoping the next breath would be his last.
And knowing this time he wouldn’t wake up.

Another totally creepy story! Thank you so much for joining us today, Richard! I am going to sleep with the lights on tonight!


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TITLE: The Gift of Illusion
AUTHOR: Richard Brown
PUBLISHER: CreateSpace
DATE OF PUBLICATION: May 16, 2011 
FORMAT: Paperback, 258 pages  
GENRE: Horror 
ISBN: 978-1461147329
 
SYNOPSIS:  

Something wicked has returned to Elmwood, and it longs to continue the study it began over a century ago. It's looking for volunteers, but few seem worthy of the gift. Isaac Winters might be the one. He's a detective with a damaged past, and something to prove. Still haunted by his wife's murder sixteen years earlier, Isaac has thought more and more about turning in his badge. Over the years, he's seen the worst mankind has to offer. Until now. A strange fire has consumed the life of a young girl. But she won't be the last. There are no witnesses and no evidence except a small stone figurine, a gateway to the past. Accompanied by a partner with questionable experience, Isaac must discover and defeat this faceless villain before it takes from him the greatest reminder of his dead wife. Their daughter.

MY REVIEW:

 
I received this e-book for review from Bewitching Book Tours as part of the author's virtual book tour. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

Isaac Winters is a police officer, whose wife was brutally murdered in their home. Although Isaac was shot, he survived the incident that claimed his wife and their infant daughter was left unscathed.

Sixteen years later, local residents in Elmwood are dying in a mysterious fashion: The bodies are completely incinerated and turned to ash. As the pieces of the strange puzzle come together and Isaac's daughter disappears, he realizes that the past has come back to haunt him. 

Brown does a great job in bringing the "creep" factor to the story, which is certainly frightening. 

**SPOILER WARNING**

A malevolent evil invades a person's body and takes over them. After the evil has transferred into another host, the previous one dies gruesomely by a fire burning from the inside which I gather is like spontaneous human combustion. This evil is known as Lucius, an illusionist whose "gift" is death.

Back in the day, Lucius held "shows" in an underground chamber of his mansion, to which people flocked for entertainment. Lucius kept people imprisoned in cells and would torture them, and the audience would often participate in these morbid shows. At some point, members of the audience invariably became the ones being tortured and the vicious cycle went around and around. Didn't the townsfolk wonder where all the people were going and what was happening? How is it that Lucius was able to get away with these shows for so long? Did he brainwash the audience into not speaking or revealing what took place?

I found the history of Lucius interesting, although dark. He truly is twisted and sadistic, but I'm not sure if I really grasp an understanding of how Lucius's "spirit" so-to-speak has been able to survive for so many years. The only clue seems to be this small statue that is found at each of the crime scenes. I may have missed it, but I didn't understand how the statue seemed to disappear from each crime scene and then re-appear and new ones only to disappear again. And how is the statue tied to Lucius?

Brown does a nice job building the story, but I felt as though the ending was a little too abrupt. I still have unanswered questions about the story, and I'm left scratching my head wondering at the parts that weren't neatly tied up.

MY RATING: 3 stars!

This book qualifies as:
#54 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge
#6 for my 2011 E-book Reading Challenge
 
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Richard has generously offered to giveaway one copy of his e-book, The Gift of Illusion.
This is an international giveaway open to all.

To enter this giveaway, fill in the Rafflecopter below. Comments are always appreciated and welcome, but they will not count towards entry in the giveaway. You must fill out the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway!





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Buy Links:






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Tour Participants:

August 9 - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway - A Cupcake and a Latte
August 10 - Guest Blog and Review - Getting Naughty Between the Stacks
August 10 - Guest Blog and Giveaway - Sugarpeach
August 11 - Guest Blog and Giveaway - Among the Muses
August 13 - Guest Post and/or Review - Donna's Blog Home
August 13 - Guest Post and/or Review - Gothic Mom's Book Reviews
August 17 - Interview - Theresa Stillwagon
August 18 - Interview - Laurie's Thoughts & Reviews
August 18 - Review and Giveaway - Romancing The Book
August 19 - Review - Braintasia Books
August 19 - Interview and Giveaway - Frequent Reader, Infrequent Blogger
August 22 - Guest Blog and Giveaway - A Peek Inside the Chaotic Mind of Coral Moore
August 22 - Review, Guest Post & Giveaway - Workaday Reads
August 24 - Review & Interview -The (Hopeful) Librarian
August 30 - Giveaway, Interview & Review - Oodles of Books
August 31 - Excerpt & Giveaway - Everyone Loves a SiNner
September 2 - Review - aobibliosphere™
September 3 - Guest Blog - aobibliosphere™
September 3 - Guest Blog, Review & Giveaway - Darlene's Book Nook
September 4 - Review & Giveaway - Sooz Says Stuff
September 5 - Interview & Review - Back of the Book Reviews



2 comments:

  1. Now that was an interesting story. I did wonder if he was ill, how he found the strength to do all that he did before he died.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post is a such a complete representation of the author and his work. I really enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete

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