Category Archives: Reviews

Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle – Kat at Quill or Pill?

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I met Kat de Falla through various writing channels online years ago, and though we’ve never met in person, it’s been good to catch up with her from time to time over the years. Just like I’m a doctor by day and novelist by day, Kat splits her time between practicing as pharmacist and exercising her writing muscles when she’s not engaging in medical derring do.

I asked her a couple months back if she’d be willing to review The Mussorgsky Riddle and what she posted today brought tears to my eyes.

I’m glad you loved the book so much, Kat, and will endeavor to knock your socks off with next one as well. All best!

Find Kat’s review here.


Review Tour for The Mussorgsky Riddle

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The Mussorgsky Riddle Launch Party went extremely well yesterday, the book goes live in three hours, and tomorrow, 26 authors and artists and I will be chatting about everything under the sun at the The Mussorgsky Riddle Online Launch Party on Facebook.

Also, tomorrow, the Review Tour begins. Here is the link to the Review Tour for The Mussorgsky Riddle from 12-23 Jan 2015. For the next 12 days, various book reviewers and bloggers will post their reviews of my debut novel. Should make for an interesting week.

To celebrate, I think I’m going to continue my binge watch of the season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

See you all on the flip side!

Darin


Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle – Aimee *just one more page…* from Goodreads

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Received word of another review for The Mussorgsky Riddle this evening, this one from Goodreads, and went to check it out.

This particular review has some sparkle and I wanted to share it with the world. Special thanks to Aimee Landis, not just for the kind review, but for the extra bit of effort and elbow grease she put forth in presenting her thoughts in such a unique way.

All best,

Darin


Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle – Mallory Heart Reviews

Wellness sticker lo-resSo… this is the second review for The Mussorgsky Riddle, and again this was a new experience. NetGalley is a site that allows reviewers, both amateur and professional, to get free e-copies of a new book and leave a review. The fine people who come to NetGalley agree to leave honest reviews on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc. in exchange for the opportunity to read your book for free. This review from Mallory Heart Reviews is my first NetGalley review. I’m so glad they enjoyed the book, but even more so that the book led them to enjoy the original music, as that’s what led me to write the book in the first place.

Excerpt from the review:

What an enchanting story!! Educational, absorbing, paranormal, classical, mythical–with soul-stirring, soul-consuming depths, THE MUSSORGSKY RIDDLE Is lyrical, empathetic, literary; and because of it, I developed an affinity for the classical music at its heart–specifically Mussorgsky’ s PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION, and its contemporary reprisal, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’ s version of it, also Mussorgsky’ s NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN. (Next, Grieg’ s IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING.)

Four weeks out today, and counting! The Mussorgsky Riddle is almost here!

Waiting not quite patiently (with fingers tapping),

Darin


First Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle – Bitten By Books

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In writing, there are many firsts. Your first story. Your first novel. Your first query letter. Your first rejection. Your one-hundred-and-first rejection. Your first agent. Your first published short story. Your first signing. Your first publishing contract.

Your first review.

Just a couple hours ago, I received an email that the Bitten By Books review for The Mussorgsky Riddle was up. This came as quite a shock as I had been told it wouldn’t be ready till some time in January or February. With equal parts excitement and dread, I clicked on the link.

A five-star review, here is what Lori, the reviewer, had to say:

“Darin Kennedy is a literary genius. The Mussorgsky Riddle is truly like nothing that I have ever read before. Mr. Kennedy describes the fantasy world inside Anthony’s mind so vividly that it leaps off the page. The fast-paced story grabs ahold of you and does not let go until you have turned the very last page. I must admit that I did figure out who the villain was before it was actually revealed, but that in no way takes away from the brilliance of this book. The characters are well-developed and realistic. There is even a touch of romance. Mira Tejedor is a fascinating protagonist and I sincerely hope that Mr. Kennedy has more adventures planned for her.”

I may or may not have shed a tear.

There will likely be more reviews, and no guarantee they will be as positive as this one, but this review made my day, and I wanted to share the goodness with all of you.

All best,

Darin


An unexpected review…

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So… I awoke to a pleasant surprise today: an excellent review of a story that I first wrote and published four years ago.

Back in 2010, the second short story I ever published was “Cold Hands, Warm Heart” in the Fem-Fangs female vampire anthology from the now-defunct Pill Hill Press. It was a fun story, but buried in an anthology that resembled a small phone book, it kind of got lost. Then Pill Hill went under and the book went out of print. End of story? No.

Earlier this year, editors Ty Schwamberger (the original editor of Fem-Fangs) and Adam Lewis decided to open their own small press called Neophyte Press and decided to quite literally “revamp” the old Fem-Fangs anthology into something new. Thus, Re-Vamped – Blood, Lust, Revenge was born. Taking 19 of the stories from the original anthology and bringing them forward into a Kindle book, they poured new blood into some old stories. And that brings us to the present.

This morning on my Facebook feed, there was a friend request from Jeremy Price, a reviewer at Up All Night Horror Fiction Review and a link on my timeline to the review below. I just wanted to say thanks to Jeremy for his kind words. Glad you enjoyed the story.

Here’s a link back to the original review.

And here is the review: After reading this review, if you’re interested in buying this anthology of 19 stories for your Kindle or Kindle-app device, look here.

“Re-Vamped: Blood Lust Revenge (2014) is an anthology of short horror fiction stories all about female vampires.  As the title suggests, these are not your average vampire stories.  These stories are full of heart-pounding twists that will make you crave more down to the last drop.

Just when I was growing weary of reviewing the same old anthology over and over (you know the one with a few great stories, a number of mediocre pieces, and one or two unmentionables that somehow slip through the cracks), I found this one.  The tales in Re-Vamped feature a full cast of dominant female vampires who know how to use their beauty and charm to seduce even the most determined victims to their doom.  These deadly vixens have a desire for blood that is insatiable.

The talent of this group of authors is outstanding.  Martha J Allard adorns the pages of Re-Vamped with the complex and intriguing storyline of Getting Fixed.  In this work of short horror, Allard recounts a terrifying tale of a vampire named Casey who has taken up selling hits of her tainted blood to a unique group of junkies with a hunger for the flowing crimson of the damned.  In High Stakes, Kelly Metz continues to carve her niche in the world of horror fiction with an action packed narrative about a vamp who has never made her first kill who hires a hunter to help rescue her younger sister from the clutches a full-fledged bloodsucker known as Madam Death.  High Stakes is a well-developed, original story with multifaceted characters.  At last, my favorite piece in this book is Darin Kennedy’s Cold Hands, Warm Heart.  In this one, Robert enjoys all of the fruits of a lengthy marriage to a much older woman, e.g., unconditional love, money, and a nice home.  However, there is one downfall to this arrangement, and we all know what that is.  This is where Daphne enters the picture.  Daphne is young, sexy, and sophisticated with a pleasantly seductive demeanor and remarkably cold hands.  Robert is her own toy as much as she is his.  Nevertheless, when Daphne has an unexpected encounter with Robert’s wife Elizabeth, Daphne cannot take her mind off her.  Cold Hands, Warm heart is a passionately creepy story with a shocking ending.  Re-Vamped is definitely the best vampire themed anthology that I have ever read.

I give Re-Vamped: Blood Lust Revenge 5 / 5 stars!

Re-Vamped: Blood Lust Revenge is now available from Neophyte Press for Kindle at Amazon.”


Dark Heroes Review

Found this great review of Dark Heroes.

Each story gets a shout out, including “Solstice.”

Hope you check it out, and if you like what you hear, check out Dark Heroes.

I’ll tell April to leave the light on.

Darin

(Imported from original website)


My First Reviews!

Pretty cool news! My good friend Eden Royce let me know today that Bloody Carnival had a new review where the reviewer deemed Nightmare at 200 Feet as their favorite story in the anthology. I have copied the review below and a link to the original is just above it.

Additionally, Flesh and Bone: Rise of the Necromancers got a pretty favorable review back in February. Copy of review and link are also below.

If anyone sees any other reviews of any of my Pill Hill Press publications, please let me know!

Darin

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The Horror Fiction Review – 4-2-2011

BLOODY CARNIVAL edited by Jessy Marie Roberts (2010 Pill Hill Press/ tp / 290 pp)

BLOODY CARNIVAL is a thirty-four story anthology of all things scary and gruesome about the world of carnivals, amusement parks, roadside attractions and circuses. These stories are chock full of zombies, ghouls, ghosts and of course, freaky clowns.

My favorite story of the bunch is “Nightmare at 200 Feet” by Darin Kennedy about a Ferris Wheel ride gone horribly wrong (never mind the fact that I’m absolutely terrified of Ferris Wheels). Another favorite is “Canto Carnascialesco” by Carnell about a first date to a carnival that is rudely interrupted by the appearance of zombies. I also enjoyed “The Really Big Prize” by Robert Essig, about an obnoxious young woman who gets the prize she truly deserves.

Other notable stories include “The Fairground Attraction” by Frank Roger about a very unusual house of illusions; “The Popcorn Challenge” by Scott Cole about a man who wishes to work for his landlord’s carnival and the strange test he must undergo; “The In-Between World” by Lee Pletzers about a woman and her fear of clowns; and “Carnival of the Damned” by Shawn Cook about a carnival that is literally Hell on its performers.

As with any collection there are bound to be some not-so-great stories. “Tears of a Clown” by Matthew S. Dent is about a man who comes face to face with a clown out of a nightmare. “Ghostface and the Last Ride of Boots Gurney” by Kent Alyn is about the drugging of rodeo bulls and the zombies they become. “This Circus, These Roots” by Wayne Goodchild is about a man seeking revenge on the town who ran him and his father out years before. None of these are bad stories I just thought they were maybe a little TOO fantastic.

Overall BLOODY CARNIVAL is a BLOODY good collection.

-Colleen Wanglund

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Speculative Book Review, February 24, 2011

Synopsis: “Twenty-one dark short stories about the undead, and the persons who raise them… Featuring: The Blade of Tears by Lydia Sharp, No Man’s Land by K.G. McAbee, Wrists by Shennandoah Diaz, All the World a Grave by Michael McClung, Blood on the Beach by Anne Michaud, The Scarlet Cat by Rebecca Lloyd, The Mortician’s Secret by Kelley Frank, The King’s Accord by Alan Baxter, Necrodance by Darin Kennedy, The Ghost Walk by Marianne Halbert, Blood Brothers by J. Matthew Saunders, Bequest by Greg Mellor, 9 Mystery Rose by Eden Royce, In the Dark Kingdom by Brandon Berntson, Jenna’s Awakening by TW Brown, Queen of Bones by Aubrie Dionne, Small Matters of Immortality by Michael R. Colangelo, The Stoner Bride by Matthew Fryer, Sedenberry’s Pest by Jon C. Forisha, A History of the Wraith King by Chris Poling & And the Greatest of these is Love by David McDonald.”

While reading Flesh and Bone I was struck with the thought that this entire collection has the feel of a Creep Show or Tales From the Darkside feel to them. The collection contained in the anthology varies considerably. There are tales that are in the modern age as well as from times past. There is also a lot of fantasy elements aside from the obvious dealing with necromancy. While I found the nearly all the stories contained in the collection to be great there were a few that stood out.

The Blade of Tears by Lydia Sharp and All the World a Grave by Michael McClung were very impressive in that they should have been full blown novels. There were a lot of great ideas and characters presented in both of the stories. The Blade of Tears dealt with the undead attacking a woman bent on revenge as she attempts to recover a family heirloom. All the World a Grave had a fascinating assassin. The background for the character was impressive and the ending was something that I did not see coming. The Scarlet Cat by Rebecca Lloyd was a cross between classic Stephen King and Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell. After reading the story I thought she outdid King in many respects and would love to see more work from the author.

The one stand out story that I enjoyed was Blood on the Beach by Anne Michaud. It was a short story told from the zombie’s prospective as the zombie is semi-aware and not as brain dead was we are led to believe. When Michaud has the zombie looking for a hiding spot to avoid the soldiers had me chuckling.

Flesh and Bone: Rise of the Necromancers is not a collection that I would pick up on my own as it is not something that I tend to go after when I look for a new book, but I am glad that the publisher sent me the collection as it was a lot of fun to read and gave me a chance to read several talented authors that I had never encountered before. If you love the undead and those that raise them from their eternal rest then this the perfect collection for you. I wish that I had received this anthology around Halloween because it is a great collection for that time of year.

Plot 8 / Characters 7 / Style 7

Overall 8/10

(Imported from original website)