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52Books: Symptoms of a Broken Heart by Cory Cramer

I received an email a couple weeks ago from writer Cory Cramer asking if I’d be interested in reviewing his novella Symptoms of a Broken Heart. He asked nicely, so how could I say no?

Cory gave me a brief overview, but I really didn’t know what to expect when I got it in the mail a few days later. It was a thin book, a mere 45 pages of story. Definitely skirting the line between short story and novella, though to tell you the truth I’m not sure what those criteria are. Despite being a short read, I set it to the side as I was reading SLEEPLESS at the time.

I found myself a few mornings later picking it up and flipping through the short book. I had a half an hour before taking off to work, so I began Symptoms of a Broken Heart.

Because Symptoms is so short, I can’t really give you much more than the overview that Cory gave me.

The story is about two sisters, Lisa and Susan, who attend a Werewolf Party down in Louisiana. Lisa is the wild child, buxom and beautiful, and Susan is lankier and conservative. Susan is getting married and wants to have one last hoorah before finishing college and settling down into married life. The next morning, however, Susan is mysteriously dead.

Symptoms is all about the twist ending which Cramer starts seeding on the very first page. The twist is one of two things I can really appreciate in Symptoms. The second is the handling of the lycanthropy via dermal transmogrification or totem tattoos that is revealed during the Werewolf Party. I hadn’t seen that before, at least in the way depicted by Cramer.

It was a good read with a satisfying twist.

I will warn that those a little shy of overt sexual acts might be turned off by two key scenes in Symptoms. While utilizing sex as a plot device isn’t really part of my bag of tricks the use of it in Cory Cramer’s story is essential not only in building the character of Lisa but to play out the final twist.

Learn more about Cory Cramer at his website: http://www.corycramer.com

I just finished Jonathan Maberry’s The Dragon Factory, the follow up to Patient Zero. Review will be coming soon.

In the midst of reading Warren Ellis’ Crooked Little Vein.

Look for an audio review of Joe Hill’s Horns later this week on James Melzer’s Unleashed Podcast.

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52Books: The Pack: Winter Kill by Mike Oliveri

It’s very rare that I read a book in one day. As much as I like to read, I just can’t block out that much time in a day to read. 50 pages is a good day for me. There are always exceptions.

My Amazon order arrived at my office just before lunch. It contained Mike Oliveri’s The Pack: Winter Kill and I stuck it in my pocket on the way out the door. Eating alone that day, I sidled down at my favorite cafe, Capital Roasters, with a hot Cuban, unsweet Ice Tea and the book.

Munching away at the delectable pulled pork and ham sandwich, I bit into the first chapter of The Pack: Winter Kill. By the time I had finished my sandwich and started in on chips, I had devoured 40 pages. I finished it up that evening in 15 and 30 minute bites. Consumed and Satisfied.

The Pack: Winter Kill is a page turner with fast action, succinct dialogue and short chapters. Mike Oliveri races you through the book and you clamber to turn the pages fast enough.