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Book review: 'Caller Unknown'

As a general rule, I don’t have time to review books. Then again, I don’t often get sneak peeks at exciting upcoming releases. This time, I luckily had both.

I was fortunate to work with the wonderful and talented Jennifer Brozek on the Grants Pass collection, and she has been absolutely prolific since. Caller Unknown is a collection of short stories written by Jennifer that features the character, Karen Wilson, and her trials and tribulations in a town called Kendrick.
KarenWilsonChronicles-CallerUnknown_Cover_800
The town of Kendrick is special. It’s a place where ley lines and magical powers seem to congregate, much like Sunnydale, from the Buffy TV series. Unlike in Buffy though, the town isn’t overrun by vampires. Rather, it’s host to a variety of supernatural beings and humans with special powers. There’s a club known as the Bacchanalia, the police has a special task force designed to help with supernatural problems, there’s a gargoyle called Sebastian and a rather troublesome cult known as the Order.

And then there’s Karen Wilson. She’s an operator for 911, until one day (on her private phone), she receives a call from UNKNOWN. They’re asking for help: someone’s going to be murdered and Karen has to stop it. Thus begins Karen’s role as a protector of the city.

This collection isn’t really a collection. It’s a novel told through a series of short stories; very much like a mosaic work. In general, it’s a very effective way to tell Karen’s story. Each chapter is punchy, fast-paced and action packed. Sometimes, though, I wanted to know more about what was happening – the stories that occurred between each chapter. Fortunately, the collection had a bonus story at the end, which helped sastify some of the questions I had developed.

Karen herself is likeable. She’s headstrong with a spine of steel and she's sometimes a bit rash. But she’s human, and she makes mistakes. And that’s what is great about this collection. There’s no super-powered Buffy to save the day or a character who can weave a spell to get out of trouble; rather, it’s argumentative and creative Karen who steps in to help.

The only real criticism I had was that one or two of the villains felt a little shallow at times. I think this contrast struck me because Karen is so well-developed, as are her friends and the wonderful Sebastian, who is frankly cute-as and awesome. But as far as issues go, this was pretty minor.

Caller Unknown definitely kept me intrigued and I wanted to keep reading to discover who UNKNOWN was and how Karen managed to deal with all the supernatural troubles that kept landing in her lap.

If you're interested in grabbing a copy, you can purchase it from Amazon.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
livejournal
26th Oct, 2012 23:20 (UTC)
Bubble and Squeek for 26 October 2012
User jennifer_brozek referenced to your post from Bubble and Squeek for 26 October 2012 saying: [...] all of the electronic versions of the book will be available. Amanda Pillar reviewed it at her blog [...]
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Book News

NOVELS




In a world where being different is dangerous, Elle Brown is just trying to keep her kid sister out of trouble. But can she manage to keep herself safe?

Graced is Amanda Pillar's first novel. Out now!

ANTHOLOGIES




Bloodlines will be out in 2015! Blood will tell... blood holds memory... blood is sacrifice... blood is thicker than water... blood is life. These are the stories that will make up Bloodlines!

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Bloodstones, edited by Amanda Pillar, features 17 stunning tales of urban fantasy set in the contemporary world. BUY HERE

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Damnation and Dames, edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar, features 16 tales of paranormal noir. Put on your coat and step into a world of noir...with bite. BUY HERE

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Ishtar. Powerful, sexy, and very, very deadly. This outstanding novella collection contains gems from Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren and Cat Sparks! Edited by Amanda Pillar and KV Taylor. BUY HERE

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Each story in this collection has been inspired by a track from the album, Scenes from the Second Storey. Quirky, dark, insightful and sometimes downright disturbing, these tales are written by an all-Australian cast and are set to enchant. Edited by Amanda Pillar and Pete Kempshall.
BUY HERE


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Are you looking for a dark chocolate anthology full of tales about the Morrigan goddess? Then go no further than the The Phantom Queen Awakes. Edited by Amanda Pillar and Mark S. Deniz. BUY HERE.

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The award-winning Grants Pass is a post apocalyptic anthology, edited by Amanda Pillar and Jennifer Brozek. BUY HERE.

"Grants Pass is a remarkable, disturbing, and worthwhile read, and one that is likely to stay with the reader for some time to come."

- HorrorScope



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Voices' is set in a hotel of horrors. Have you ever wondered what's happened in your hotel room before you arrived? Edited by Amanda Pillar and Mark S. Deniz. BUY HERE.

"Every story in Voices is of high quality, and the editors should be commended for their high standards. This is one of the best anthologies of dark fiction to have been released recently, and is highly recommended."

- HorrorScope



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