Sunday, 2 October 2022

Markmaker - Mary Jessica Woods

ISBN 9781941720950

This is a stunning debut novel from Mary Jessica. My son and I listened to this story during a long road trip using adaptive technology. The story was fascinating from start to finish. And we both hope it will be the first of many stories set in this world. We listened to the story over almost 7 hours during a trip and the journey back. When we stopped on the way there the first thing my son asked was if we were continuing the story when we got back in the car. The description of this book is:

“He swore to paint the truth. Now he is living a lie.

For the Noxxiin people, tattoos define identity: they commemorate birth, ancestry, accomplishments—even crimes. As a tattoo artist living on an ancient generation ship, Mariikel Serix has sworn to record the truth. So when he becomes an unwilling accomplice in the banishment of an innocent man, he is horrified that he has broken his oath—and his eyes are opened to the misery of the Underbelly, the realm of the outcasts.

Despite the risk to himself, the young markmaker begins secretly helping the ship’s exiles. But more trouble is brewing. The Serix guild, which regulates the ceremonial tattoos, engages in a power struggle with the Ascendance, a domineering political faction—and the conflict threatens to destroy the fragile peace among the Noxxiin clans. Amidst this discord, an enigmatic artist named Haza’ruux singles out Mariikel to be his apprentice, for hidden reasons of his own. As Mariikel ventures deeper into a maze of political strife and ancient clan secrets, he realizes that his pursuit of justice may not only cost his reputation—it may cost him his life.”

My son commented that the story had a bit of a Babylon 5 feel to it, especially comparing the exiled to people in down below on B5. He loved the concepts of clans, and factions, and family as presented in the story. And he was intrigued by the idea of a life told in ink, your successes and failures, achievements and punishments. Family, clan, marriage, children all inked in the skin. My son loved that Mariikel was not really ashamed of being a skin changer. How he believed that his work for those in exile was a different sort of honourable task. That he was trying to make up for a wrong he feels he committed. We both loved the concept of the mad markmaker, his role and slowly unfolding history and position of true authority. Is it wrong to do something that is a crime if it gives dignity to a baby and mother abandoned by society? It is a sin to try and make up for mistakes from our past, even if they cross societal rules, laws, and expectations?

We really could not stop listening to this amazing story. The characters are well thought out and crafted. The world is nearly unique. The concepts presented are masterfully written. The pacing is excellent. The tension starts with the opening words and builds throughout the novel.

My grandfather was a military lifer and was covered in tattoo’s from his time in service. When I was four my letter to Santa asked for a tattoo to be link my grandfather. My son when he was little would tap the wolf on my back and howl, and then tap his back and say ‘me’! My deceased brother was nearly covered in ink, and my other surviving brother has ink representing his wife and children. This story played close to our heart strings. Ink as truth, ink as history, ink as reminder and challenge, it is in our skin and blood. And it is written about in a wonderful way in this story.

The story is not implicitly Christian or even Catholic Fiction, for that matter, but the faith of the author is woven between the pages, in the underlying currents of emotions, feelings, and intentions of Mariikel. As a debut novel it is one of the best I have ever read. And having read this I would pick up the next offering from Woods’ pen without hesitation. It was an easy 5/5 stars for this from both my son and I. He even restarted reading it the day after we finished. He loved the story so much he wanted to reread it on his own. An excellent science fiction novel that crosses over into epic fantasy along the way of the telling.

A fantastic read that I can easily recommend! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Saturday, 1 October 2022

The Bible in a Year Companion Volume II Days 121-243 - Fr. Mike Schmitz and Jeff Cavins - Ascension Press

The Bible in a Year Companion 
Volume 2 Days 121-243
Kara Logan
ISBN 9781954881150
eISBN 9781954881167

I completed the Bible in a Year in 2021. Then early in 2022 I attended the The Bible in a Year Retreat, and absolutely loved it. When I found out about the three volumes of companions for the Bible in a year I picked up Volume I Days 1-120 right away. The eBook only released a day or two before it began for this volume and for Volume III it was available several days early. I was surprised by where the splits came. They did not split the year equally in 3, or break them at ends of periods. That is the only thing odd of off about these books. Other than that I find them excellent resources for working through the Bible in a Year, following along with Father Mike and the Ascension Podcasts. I really believe that these volumes make the Bible in a Year an even better experience. 

The description of this volume states:

“The Bible in a Year Companion guide takes Catholics through the award-winning Bible in a Year podcast with summaries, transcripts of Fr. Mike’s daily prayers, and extra content for each episode. It’s the perfect way to remember what you’re hearing, as well as learn even more about each part of Scripture!

The Companion presents daily content for each episode of the podcast, including:

- The proprietary Bible in a Year Reading Plan
- Reflect on the Word, where readers will find a summary of the key points and highlights of Fr. Mike’s commentary on the daily readings
- Take It to Prayer, where Catholics will be able to pray the daily prayer alongside Fr. Mike and the rest of the BIY community
- Dive Deeper, which features unique content surrounding each day’s readings, from images and Q&As to prayer prompts and ways to live out the Scriptures in real life

In addition to the daily content, each time period will have a Time Period Introduction and Review. Written by Jeff Cavins, these will help Catholics to know what to look for in the days ahead, and to recall what has happened in the days completed.

Volume II of The Bible in a Year Companion covers Days 121–243 of The Bible in a Year podcast. For Days 1–120, visit here, and for Days 244–365, keep an eye out for Volume III, which will be announced and available in summer 2022. If you’re going through the podcast starting on January 1, 2022, it will be available before you need it!

This sought-after guide to the award-winning podcast The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)TM featuring Jeff Cavins is coming to you thanks to many collaborators including:

Fr. Mike Schmitz
Jeff Cavins
Bobby Semendy
Members of the Ascension Catholic Bible Studies Facebook group
Kara Logan
& many more!”

And father Mike states at the end of the introduction of the first volume:

“I believe that this Bible in a Year Companion is a great tool to take you deeper. It is one thing to be exposed to the Story, but it is another to remember it. This Companion will help those who are so quick to forget—which is all of us! … In this world, where we are so tempted toward distraction and distress, we now have a resource to understand how the story of salvation unfolds and how we can fit into that story today.”

And towards the end of the introduction to this volume he states:

“We have been through a lot over these first hundred days or so. We have been challenged quite a bit. God has confronted us with his true character. God has revealed to us who he is. He has revealed a heart for those who are lost. In addition, we have seen the fickleness and failings of God’s Chosen People—as well as our own.

And yet, just like the people of Israel, we keep walking. Our journey with the Lord continues. We have learned that perseverance is more important than perfection. So we keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

Each time period begins with an introduction by Jeff Cavins. This is where Jeff explains the colour of that period, what it means and why. He gives a brief overview of key events, people, and changes from period to period. And each period ends with a recap and summary from Jeff. Each day has a two page spread. The first page Had the Day number and title, and a section called Reflect on the Word. The Second page has the Passages read at the top and two more sections; Take It To Prayer and Dive Deeper. A sample day is:

Day 126: David’s Victories

Reflect on the Word
• At first, the twelve tribes of Israel were a loose federation.
• In 2 Samuel 8, we see that David works to bring the twelve tribes together in a united kingdom. He seeks to accomplish this by conquering the nations around them.
• There is a reason the stories of Saul and David are repeated in Chronicles: their author, Ezra, writes of the past to give the people a vision for the future—with a king and Temple worship.
• Ezra seeks to give Israel a clear sense of God’s presence, both in the past and the present.
• He reminds them of their pedigree, of where they came from. He writes not only about David but of the other mighty men of the time.
• One of these men is Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba, with whom David will commit adultery. David will arrange for Uriah to die in battle.
• The events described in the Bible are not incidental or arbitrary. They are meant for our direction, our education, and our vision.
2 Samuel 8, 1 Chronicles 10–11, Psalm 60

Take It to Prayer
Father in heaven, we give you praise, and we do know that with you we can do valiantly. Without you we can do nothing. If we remain in you, then all things are possible. If we remain in you, then we can bear fruit, fruit that will last. And yet if we remove ourselves from you, if we remove ourselves from your presence and from your power and from your help and from your holiness, then there is nothing that we can do. We can bear no fruit, and we can make no difference in our lives. So we need you, God, not only for our existence, but also for perseverance. We need you not only for fruitfulness but also for faithfulness. So please, Lord God, help us to be faithful and fruitful. Help us to persevere and to be yours forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Dive Deeper
By recounting their past, Ezra reminds the Israelites of God’s presence then and in the present. In your prayer today, recall a significant moment in your relationship with God that reminded you of his presence. Thank the Lord for his presence in your life.”

It is an excellent resource. Most days I have listened to the podcast in the morning. And then on my first coffee break at work, I read through the two pages for that day. I love praying the prayer that Father Mike prayed that day, and I love the going deeper sections. I believe this is a must have resource to support your Bible in a Year journey. This is my second time through the podcast, and I see it being an annual journey going forward. If you are listening to the BIAY pick this up as a supplement to that adventure. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

The Bible in a Year Resources:
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume III

Books By Father Mike Schmitz:
Made for Love: Same-Sex Attraction and the Catholic Church
Quick Catholic Lessons with Fr. Mike
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume III

Contributed to:
Pray, Decide, and Don't Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God's Will
Don't Be Afraid to Say Yes to God! Pope Francis Speaks to Young People

Audio Talks by Father Mike Schmitz:
Living Life by Design, Not by Default
Love - Sacrifice - Trust He Showed Us the Way
From Love, By Love, For Love
True Worship
The Four Last Things
Jesus Is …
Changed Forever - The Sacrament of Baptism
We Must Go Out - The Sacrament of Confirmation

Books by Jeff Cavins:
My Life on the Rock
When You Suffer
I'm Not Being Fed
Praise God and Thank Him
Adventures In Revelation
Insight Journal
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume III

Friday, 30 September 2022

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2022

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Third Quarter 2022

It has been good year for reading so far. So many great reads. I have read just over a book and a half a day. I read 87 books this quarter and 344 so far this year. Part of it is due to my youngest two children’s reading skills really growing and they read to/with me for 20 minutes four or five days a week. In the spring of 2016, I worked through Brandon Vogt’s course Read More Books Now (now available on ClaitasU). 

But back to this quarter by the numbers:

Books Read: 87
First Time Reads: 76
Fiction: 42
Non-Fiction: 45
5/5 Stars: 61

Here is my top ten fiction and non-fiction books of the third quarter of 2022.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:
1. Devotions books from the Catholic Truth Society
Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Fr Anton Nadrah OCist
2. Vision Books for young Readers from Ignatius Press
4. CTS Christion Shrines Series from the Catholic Truth Society
Apparitions of Mary: Their Meaning in History - Donal Anthony Foley
7. Maximilian Kolbe: Victims of the Nazis - Franz Jägerstätter, Karl Leisner, Rupert Mayer - CTS 20th Century Martyrs
8. Joseph the Huron - Antoinette Bosco - Portraits in Faith and Freedom

Bonus Books:
Top Ten Fiction Books:
4. Shambling in a Winter Wonderland - Karina Fabian - Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Book 3
5. DCI Logan Books by J.D. Kirk
9. A Snowball's Chance in Hell
10. Ahead of the Game
11. An Isolated Incident
6. St. Tommy NYPD Series by Declan Finn
8. Hussar
9. Destiny
9. The History of the Earth-9 Colony - Manuel Alfonseca

Bonus Books:
Ashes Visible and Invisible - Catholic Teen Books Anthology (Note not out till Lent 2023)
A Pius Man - Declan Finn - The Pius Trilogy Book 1 (Only not above because out of print at the moment.) 

It has been a very good year for reading. So many great reads, both fiction and non-fiction.

Note: I do not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they are sometimes in the bonus section. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list.  

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2018
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Fiction Books 2018
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2019
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2019
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Fiction Books 2019
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2020
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2020
365 - 2021
317 - 2020 
392 - 2019
359 - 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Wicca And Witchcraft Understanding The Dangers - Elizabeth Dodd - CTS Explanations

Wicca And Witchcraft: 
Understanding The Dangers
Martin Cyril D'Arcy SJ
John Haldane (Forward)
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827136
CTS Booklet EX35

I have now read fifteen booklets in the CTS Explanations series from the Catholic Truth Society. The series spanned decades. And has had books come in and out of print. This one is a fitting partner to Witchcraft, Sorcery & Magic by J.B. Midgley. This one was published in 2011 and is currently out of print, but was well worth tracking down and reading. And to be honest 11 years on from first publication it is even more relevant today. I wish it was still in print or that there was an eBook edition available.  

The description of this volume is:

“Understanding such phenomena and hot to evangelize them.

To marginalized and spiritually hungry generations the growing spiritual phenomena of Wicca and witchcraft have proved attractive, with much to offer; power, supernatural abilities and socially acceptable agendas such as ecoactivism and feminism. This booklet examines their origins, history, beliefs and practices, and then explains Catholic teaching’s cogent assessment of them. Further it explores why young people are attracted to Wicca, and describes ways in which it is possible to bring witches and wiccans back to Christ and his Church.”

The chapters and sections in this volume are:

     The position of the Catholic Church 
     The difference between Wicca and Witchcraft 
A History of Wicca 
     I 900-I 950s: Wicca·s Roots in the Occult 
     I 960s-I 990s: Wicca Flourishes in America 
     1990s to the Present 
What Witches Believe 
     The Afterlife 
     Magic and Spells 
     The Five Elements 
     Sacred Spaces 
How Wiccans Practice 
     Wiccan Holy Day - The Wheel of the Year 
     Rites of Passage 
Wicca and the Church 
     The Church and Wiccan Thealogy 
     The Church and White Magic 
     The Church and Divination 
     The Church and Occultism 
Wicca and Young People 
How to Evangelise a Witch 
     The Dignity of Women 

I highlighted many passages my first time through this volume. Some of them are:

“Wicca is a strand of modern witchcraft; a new religious movement that grew out of the New Age and Occult movements and was influenced by political trends within feminism and ecology. It is one of a number of ‘neo-pagan’ spiritualties, a term used to describe contemporary pagan religions that revive or are inspired by indigenous and ethnic folklore, mythology and spirituality. In 2001 there were over 3 1,000 nee-pagans living in the UK, of which 7, 000 self-identified as Wiccans (Census, 2001. Office for National Statistics). Wiccans are predominantly women - 67 percent of the
Wiccans in the 200 I census were female - and often young.”

“The Church, however, is very clear in her condemnation of Wicca and other New Age or Neo-Pagan spiritualties. As a pagan, pantheistic movement Wicca involves. By definition, rejection of and opposition 10 1he revealed truth of Chris1ianity.”

“According to 1he Catechism the practice of magic - one of the key elements of Wicca - is inherently sinful, whether or no l 1he intentions behind the spell are malicious. It is for God alone, not man, to have dominion over spirits. Of particular concern to Catholics is the appeal that Wicca holds for the young and vulnerable: attracted by the promise of magical powers and authority over spirits, they can be exposed to grave psychological and spiritual dangers. More will be said about this below, in the chapter on the Church and Wicca, and at the end of the book.”

“Wiccans optimistically understand their religion as stretching from prehis1oric totemic and animist ethno-religion through the witch-trials and burnings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and find anthropological parallels in the contemporary indigenous religions of Africa and Asia.”

“Wicca, then, has little to do either with genuinely prehistoric religion, with the witch hunts of Tudor and Stewart England or with the indigenous religions of Africa and Asia. Witchcraft of that sort has nothing in common with the religion as practiced by Wiccans today. Modern Wiccans do refer to themselves as witches, but it is important to understand that they do so in a purely modern sense, with no historical or anthropological justification. There is no evidence that modern witchcraft originates any earlier than the nineteenth century.”

“Modern Wicca’s origins lie in Victorian occultism and the work of anthropologist Dr Margaret Murray. Occultism provided a spiritual and theological springboard for the neo-pagan and Wiccan movements. and many of the religion 's founding members were involved in occult societies such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - a nineteenth-century occult group roughly structured around Freemasonry - and the Fellowship of the Rosicrucians.”

“Gardner was inspired by the work of Dr Murray, whose work. In particular the book Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921) - now largely discredited - sought to prove that witchcraft as a consistent religious movement had existed continually from the Neolithic period, only being exposed during the witch trials of the fifteenth century. Murray theorised that witchcraft had existed in opposition to Christianity and was part of a larger underground pagan resistance movement.”

“Gerald Gardner and his friend Aleister Crowley, the infamous occultist, endeavored to recreate the pre-Christian witch cult Murray claimed to identify, incorporating into it elements of the Victorian occultism both were familiar with: freemasonry. Crowley's own esoteric Ordo Templi Orientis and religio-philosophy Thelema.”

“Fuelled by the emerging New Age culture of the 60s, Wicca was exported with great success to the United States, where it began to emerge across the country in a series of home-grown traditions and covens. These included an Americanised version of Gardner's own tradition, exported by Raymond Buckland, an American friend of Gardner's and the self-appointed leader of America's Wiccan movement, and variations on the theme, such as Zsuzsanna Budapest's Dianic Wicca.”

“A raft of literature emerged in the 1980s and 90s to capitalise on Wicca' growing popularity. As the term became a recognisable signpost within popular culture it began to appear in popular television series: Joss Whedon's sci-horror series Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured a Wiccan main character studying the craft, while popular 90s horror film The Craft combined Wiccan thealogy with contemporary ‘Goth’ elements of the anti-establishment subculture. Coinciding with this, books explicitly marketed to young people - for example Silver Ravenwolf's Teen Witch - provided a way into Wicca for young people attracted by its portrayal in the media.”

“Wiccan thealogy and polytheism is opposed to Christian monotheism, which teaches One immutable, indivisible God in three Persons, with whom we are called to have a personal relationship, growing in the love and knowledge of our Creator. Wicca's duotheism is incompatible with this teaching.”

“Old Testament exegesis, then, suggests that witchcraft involving any of these practice - even if it is performed with the intention of helping another - is contrary to the Judaeo-Christian faith. The Church has never permitted the ends to justify the means: whatever the outcome of divination or necromancy, the performance of magic itself arrogantly attempt to raise man to the level of God. misleading him into believing that he has the right to understand the future or communicate with the dead.”

“While Wicca as espoused by feminist authors and New Age spiritualists may seem, superficially, harmless, it almost invariably leads the practitioner deeper into ceremonial magick and occultism - both of which depend on the practitioner's attempts to summon and work with spirits.”

“A witch performs divination to ensure that they are acting in accord with the Wiccan ethic ‘an it harm none’: the Church insists that divination is, itself, harmful. It harms one’s relations hip with God and it can inflict lasting psychological and spiritual damage on the Wiccan themselves.”

“It is no surprise that Wicca and witchcraft have become the spiritual phenomena that they have in the twenty-first century: that the writings of a group of Victorian occultists should have been appropriated to suit the needs of a spiritually hungry generation. Wicca, by its very nature, appeals to those who feel marginalized by mainstream religion: it promises power and supernatural ability, and it encompasses these promises within a wider, socially acceptable agenda of eco-activism and feminism.”

“A recognition that Wiccans are on a genuine spiritual quest can provide the starting point for a dialogue with witches that may lead to conversion.”

I hope those examples will show you some of the depth and thought that went into this volume. It is very well written, and easily accessible. It is a volume that I believe we could use back in print. Especially in what we face in the world today. It is another excellent volume in an important series from the Catholic Truth Society!     

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Explanations series click here.

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Be Yourself An Explanation of Humility - William Lawson SJ
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Knock Knock - Alex Smith - DCI Kett Crime Thrillers Book 10.0

Knock Knock
DCI Kett Crime Thrillers Book 10.0
ISBN 9781913877095

I had pre-ordered the eBook for this, so it dropped to my devices on release day. But when it released I was busy at work and in some other series of books, and it sort of fell off the radar until my manager at work, whom I introduced Kett to, mentioned his physical copy had arrived. I went and bumped the eBook back to the top of my reading list. It is by far the longest book in the series to date. Listed as 478 pages. Each book in the series had gotten longer and I can only wonder if the next volume will surpass 500 pages. I devoured this volume over 3 days. It was hard to put down. Now it was not as fast paced as some of the other Kett novels. And really not as violent or gruesome. But the last section man what a set up for book 11, Rat King. The description of this instalment in the Kett saga is:

“Whatever you do, don’t open the door…

When a severed foot is delivered to the unsuspecting residents of a student house in Norwich, DCI Kett’s Extreme Crime Task Force begins one of the most gruesome investigations of its career.

And it’s not just a foot. More packages begin to appear at random on people’s doorsteps, all of them containing body parts that have been surgically removed and meticulously wrapped.

Kett, Porter, Savage and PC Duke find themselves in a race against the clock to identify the victims and their killer, who shows no sign of stopping.

And it soon becomes clear that this monster isn’t just delivering corpses.

He's sending a message.”

I started this book the day it released, and even though it was a very busy week at work I ripped through it in a few days. I could not put it down. All of the Kett books are dark, and somewhat disturbing British Crime Thrillers, but this one takes it to a completely different level. Kett and his new team the Norfolk Constabulary’s Extreme Crime Task Force, have gone on holiday for some team building time. But the few days away do not end up relaxing in any way shape or form. It is another great story an intense series. There are a few twists in this tale and somethings very much unexpected. 

If you have been fallowing the saga of DCI Kett this book is a must read. If you happen to be a fan of rough and tough action you will almost certainly enjoy this novel. And the other books in the series. This is the eleventh of the DCI Kett stories that I have read, the tenth novel, Kett has also made a brief appearance in The Harder They Fall, the first of the Softley Series of books. But back to this volume.

This one is much more of a procedural crime thriller. Kett and the team are working a case where couriers are delivering body parts. They soon find out it has ties to a much larger problem. And that there are different forces at work her. When you include a rowdy football team, and it’s star player. Said star being the son of a former MP and mouthpiece for the Alt Right. But when a second appendage shows up it at first seems completely unrelated. And then … but that is getting aHEAD of the story. The return of Norman Balls sheds some light in dark places the police were unaware of. And using skill, cunning and just a bit of luck Kett and the team have a chance to stop a madman. But Can they put it all together in time? To Find out you will need to read this story. With over 2600 reviews on amazon and 1350 on Goodreads this story average s 4.5 stars. 

This is another dark and gritty crime thriller from the pen of Alex Smith. About the author we are informed that:

“Alex Smith wrote his first book when he was six. It wasn’t particularly good, but it did have some supernatural monsters in it. His latest books, the DCI Robert Kett thrillers, have monsters in it too, although these monsters are very human, and all the more terrifying for it. In between these two books he has published thirteen other novels for children and teenagers under his full name, Alexander Gordon Smith—including the number one bestselling series Escape From Furnace, which is loved by millions of readers worldwide and which is soon to become a motion picture. He lives in Norwich with his wife and three young daughters.”

My introduction to Smith’s works were The Furnace novels many years ago. I have not read everything he has published but much of it. And they are always edge of your seat thrillers. I still hope that someday he will finally release book 2 is the Softley Softley Series, but until then I am thankful for another read in this dark and disturbing series. For some the Kett stories will be the things of nightmares, for others a look at the underside of society. But no matter how you read them they are crime thrillers with a lot of action, great characters and often a lot of violence!

Mystery Books as Alex Smith:

Softley Softley Series:
2.0 Hard Luck House

DCI Kett Series:
2.0 Bad Dog
3.0 Three Little Pigs
11.0 Rat King 

Books By Alexander Gordon Smith:
Escape from Furnace:

Death Sentence
Execution Epilogue - Short Story
The Night Children - Short Story

Fury Series:
The Fury
The Storm

The Inventors:
The Inventors
The Inventors And The City of Stolen Souls

1001 Questions and Answers
Inspired Creative Writing: 52 Brilliant Ideas from the Master Wordsmiths
The Solar System
Family Quiz
Writing Bestselling Children's Books: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Inspiring Young Readers