The time has come to pay my tribute to @Shalini_G26 and her Digital Reads Blog Tours and all the book bloggers she recruited for the Death Among Us blog tour. That is her Twitter Handle and a link to her website.
For those tour bloggers who reviewed our book, I would love to give you a free Audible audiobook code as soon as it becomes available. Just comment below if you would like one.
All the authors in our anthology of murder mystery short stories truly enjoyed the tour and interacting with some lovely people who happen to blog about their passion – books. Indie authors like us rely on such people and we are thankful that so many give up their own time to read, review, and blog about books. We are grateful!
A full list of bloggers on our tour follows and I have decided to nominate some as my own personal favourites. I scored them not only on the content of the post but also on factors such as the review crafting skills, blog layout, speed of website loading, as well as other perceptions of my own.
Forgive me if your blog is not listed by me as one of my favourites. It is not a criticism. Here goes:
Alakhnanda at the BookXpert blog
I loved the way Alak reviewed and set out the review on her blog like so (but this does not do it full justice) –
An anthology of murder mystery short stories- not my usual choice of read, because I don’t prefer short stories. But this one! I was surprised I liked it, it blew me away! I’m now glad all of them are short stories, because otherwise the book would have become unputdownable.
What I loved about these stories is that there is an element of mystery and murder involved in each of the stories. None of them feel over the top or too gory, which is an accomplishment with the given themes. All the authors have contributed 2-3 stories to this book, and it is amazing how apparently different all their writing styles are, yet so engaging to read.
Each author has a connecting element in their stories. For Robbie Cheadle, it was real life cases.
Justice is Never Served is a fictionalised account of the numerous murders of babies alleged to have been committed by Amelia Dyer, who operated as a baby farmer in Victorian Englan. Amelia Dyer was found guilty of only one murder, that of Doris Marmon, but is believed likely to have killed between two hundred and four hundred babies and children.
For Michael Spilleni, it was monsters. Monitaur actually felt like a horror movie to me, and at one point I even gasped while reading it.
Stephen Bentley’s stories offered the Sherlock style whodunnit, slow burning mysteries. Eleanor Rigby, his second story in the collection, felt like a continuation of first story- The Rose Slayer, though they are two completely different stories with different plots. His connecting thread is the line-
When I saw the bouquet of seven roses, I knew exactly who had murdered Mrs O’Connell.
I would seriously love to read more works by these authors. I know how difficult it is to fit an entire story in about 2000 words and still make the reader care for the characters. These stories have also inspired me to try my hand at writing short stories myself (though they will not be anything near as good as these!)
Lili at Lili’s Blissful Pages Blog
Again well set out with a thoughtful. well-crafted review.
I expected reviewing an anthology is as hard as reviewing a collection of poems but surprisingly reviewing “Death Among Us” isn’t that hard. Why, because everything is clear to me. I know exactly what I liked about this collection and why I finished it in one sitting.
First of all, I like the title: Death Among Us. This is such a perfect title for this collection. As stated, the main theme is murder but that doesn’t mean the collection lacks variety. The short stories broaden its scope, taking into different settings and subgenres. Maybe because they were written by different authors, and that I felt like I hit jackpot with this book. Why, instead of owning one, I feel like I’m owning several books which means every short story stood out in my mind. I liked how meticulously each story was crafted, just giving enough about the plot. Enough and yet made me want to urge the authors to make them a full-length novel. And by the way, I didn’t know, not one of these authors, which is shame on me.
My favorite books from each author:
“The Rose Slayer” by Stephen Bentley: This is actually an award-winning short story and upon reading it, it’s clear why it won an award. The story is very clever and interesting. Amusing in some way, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. But for me as a reader and reviewer, it made me grin and when you read it, you’ll understand why. I also found Stephen Bentley’s Author’s notes in connection with The Rose Slayer.
“Hello World” & “Goodbye World” by Greg Alldredge: These two short stories are connected and surprise, surprise, a sci-fi. I’m not really a sci-fi fan but put AI in a murder mystery? I’m sold. The plot was really well done, I couldn’t wait to find out the twist and I wasn’t disappointed. The mystery was at a different level. I love it and the ending made me want for MORE.
“Bad Bones” by Kelly Artieri: This one is quite predictable, at least for me, but still my fave among the three short stories written by the author. I just thought it was so well-written and the suspense is always present. It’s very eerie. I can totally imagine the scenes playing out, creepy and intriguing.
“Justice is Never Served” by Robbie Cheadle: The title pulled me right into the story and oh my God, the first few paragraphs promised the creepiest story. And creepy, the story was. It’s also so twisted. It creeps the hell out of me whenever babies or kids are part of horror and suspense plots. This short story made me feel many things.
“Monitaur” by Michael Spinelli: Like I said, it creeps me more when babies are part of stories like this and so needless to say, I found this story so creepy involving a new parents and their baby Lola. I kind of think the author is a fan of Stephen King, not only The Shining is part of the story but the writing resembles a bit of that SK’s. And this is not a bad thing. This one is really well-written.
“A Deadly Lady” & “Stop Me If You Can” by L. Lee Kane: They’re two connected stories but the first one is my favorite because it’s what made me “whoah”. I really liked the turning point the character made.
“Something about the Gift of Beauty” by Kay Castaneda: From the title to the story itself, it was brilliant. I love the underlying theme or the double meaning of THE GIFT or beauty. Why would anyone try to kill “Beauty” indeed?
“The Neighbours” by Aly Locatelli: I was grinning by the end of this story and then I realized, OMG, I shouldn’t be grinning. But since this is fiction, forgive me. I just love when people open their eyes to the truth and do something about it and not remained foolish.
“Canceled” by Justine Bauer: The thing I like about this story is it’s too twisted because the characters are too calm about what’s happened and happening. And I like how the story is really TOO short and yet have given me a lot.
“Next” by G: There’s this long note by Stephen Bentley introducing “G” before the stories and he said, he’s sure the readers will understand why he included “Next” even though it’s not murder-themed. And I can only say that yes, as a reader, I’m even glad he included it. It’s supposed to be a part of this anthology.
So there you have it guys. This is such a long, long review but it’s OK. I highly recommend this anthology even though a couple of the stories in it didn’t appeal to me, thus the 4-star rating, still this is a great collection.
Nishta’s Feel The Read blog sported the best featured image. It was stunning and I hope she doesn’t mind if I reproduce it here.
Nishta also writes well-crafted reviews and this is the start of her review of Death Among Us:
The blurb of this book says it’s a “Murder Mystery Mash-Up” of short stories and I can’t disagree to this. Murder mysteries of all possible imaginations have been covered in this book. Ten authors with their vivid story telling techniques have contributed to this anthology.
The language is lucid with each author’s personal touch to their stories. Character developments are apt and backgrounds are provided wherever necessary. Few of them are super short with the lengthier ones compromising for them. Reading this book is like reading so many books in one, such is the plethora of stories offered.
Amy’s The Zany Bibliophile was different in that she ‘star-rated’ every story in the collection. I liked that!
Jackie’s Reading Corner is a nice looking ‘pinkish’ blog, and once more here is a book blogger who writes a thoughtful review:
This is certainly a colourful collection of stories. A good introduction to new authors that you may or may not have read before. Some stories are based on true crime, some have witty dialogue, a mixture of genres paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi. Some dark drama, complex writing with a little side serving of revenge mixed in the blend of some. There is something here to whet any appetite. I couldn’t include every writer’s contribution or this review would be longer than the short stories. But every tale is well thought out, well written and a pleasure to read.
What I did enjoy is that some of the stories were actually linked to each other, followed on in some way. Starting off with Stephen Bentley’s three stories which had to include a specific sentence in each one “When I saw the bouquet of seven roses, I knew exactly who had murdered Mrs O’Connell” I found myself reading each story to see how the sentence would be added and there it was, very cleverly woven into each one. I read all three of these in one sitting. I actually liked that I could pick to read either a couple of short stories or just one. Depending on the time I had.
I did enjoy the Robbie Cheadle stories as they all had some historical/supernatural truth about them. These were slightly darker stories and a little gruesome or would have been for the poor person suffering, An Eye for an Eye with Mother Abigail an absolute tyrant and the poor chimney sweep boys, who had to climb the chimneys to clean them. The Murder of the Monk, which is based on the nursery rhyme Little Jack Horner.
I did enjoy Aly Locatelli’s story. The Neighbours – about a man having an affair with his neighbour and always promising he would leave his wife. She knew he never would. But the twist at the end I thought was entertaining, although not sure that should be the right word!
The spine tingling Monitaur by Michael Spinelli – where strange noises and happenings can be heard over the baby monitor. Not sure I will I use my daughters monitor next time I have my grandson.
I have only mentioned a few of the stories here, but if you enjoy reading something where the theme is murder/mystery, but you don’t know who you want to read, or are looking for a new author to try there are plenty here to give you a glimpse of their style, or if you just want a few short stories rather than a large tomb of a book for when you are pushed for time. I can highly recommend this, I liked the fact that even though it’s murder/mystery many sub-genre’s are covered, sci fi, supernatural, true crime, something to suit all tastes. Before each writers stories they give you a little bit of information about themselves, which I thought was a nice touch.
The only downside for me some is that some of the stories were too short, it doesn’t give you a chance to get to know characters etc. But I have to admit all of these authors are new to me, so I now know who to look out for. I think a few of these stories could possibly be expanded into longer stories. I am guessing it may be harder sometimes to write a short story than it is for a longer one, especially if you are limited to the amount of words allowed. So if you want a taster session of what these authors are capable of then this is the perfect book.
Special mention for Shalini too. I know she was having some health issues during and before this blog tour, but she was magnificent in sharing all the blog posts to social media, and more. Not only that, once she read some of the reviews, she reviewed it herself 🙂 You are a star! You can check out the review here.
Here are the remainder of the bloggers in the Death Among Us Digital Reads Blog Tour. Thank you to each and everyone of of you!
Jody at I’m All About Books
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