Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

New review for Blood Related - check it out!



Recently I received this great review for my serial-killer novel, Blood Related. Check it out and grab a copy if you like. Happy reading ­čśŐ

Review: Blood Related by William Cook


William Cook is a painter of impressions and moods, artfully rendering complex, authentic characters and weaving a twisted, darkly psychological narrative.

In his exploration of the minds of a pair of prolific serial killers (those peculiar creatures of popular morbid interest), Cook introduces us to the Cunningham  brothers – products of a long hereditary line of aberrant, pathological behaviors. For Caleb, our central narrator, killing is more than a habit – it is an obsessive art form, personal and highly selective. His brother, Charlie, on the other hand, is a human wrecking ball – careening from victim to victim as he plans grandiose mass murders like a one man terror squad. Both present acute symptoms of varied psychoses – suffering delusions and hallucinations, suicidal ideation, and displaying a generally tenuous grip on reality. In this way (much like the character of Quentin P. in Joyce Carol Oates’s Zombie), Caleb serves as an unreliable narrator in the tradition of Poe, accentuating the twisting, fever-dream nature of the narrative.

Cook takes a carefully measured approach to scenes of extreme violence, which speaks much to his talent. Too often works of horror are overloaded with grue, overpowering the narrative and thus breaking aesthetic distance, putting the reader off the text. The imagination must be free to run, and Cook appreciates this.

If you’re looking for a truly haunting ride into the primal depths of the psychopathic mind, Blood Related is for you. Be sure to leave the lights on.


BUY THE BOOK HERE.

Review Written by W.J. Renehan

Corpus Delicti - Poetry Collection, Critique by Anthony Servante

Recently, this very insightful and intelligent critique of my poetry collection, 'Corpus Delicti', was posted online by Anthony Servante. Please have a read and visit Mr Servante's wonderful blog for more interesting and thoughtful article and reviews.

Poetry Today February 2015
Featuring William Cook
Critique by Anthony Servante



Just as Andrew D. Blacet represents the poetry of stream of consciousness, William Cook reflects the work of self-awareness, what the Romantic Poets called "sublime realization". Utilizing the form of a "journal" to capture his perspective, Cook escorts us through a prosaic journey "between birth and death", not so much "life" as the waiting period of consciousness as it develops only to die. Thus the title "Corpus Delicti", an allusion to a crime without the evidence of a body, or rather, a body of work without the evidence of existence. The book of selected poetry becomes that body, that proof of life, that self-awareness of being without beginning or end, or in Cook's words: "the realization of a truth about oneself...And this new knowledge of the soul — that there is no soul, no muse, no thinking heart . . . it is the worst truth I have ever had to bear". And so he shared his burden with his readers. It is our intent here to see how he does so in poetic deed.

If we read each of the poems as if they were each a breath the poet is taking and that each breath will lead to death, we can understand how William Cook has arranged his words for us to empathize with rather than understand. This is not a puzzle with one solution. It is more a prism with a sequence of colors leading to blackness or in this case the absence of color. It is more about the order of chaos rather than a "meaning" to life. We can call this empathetic reading a "subjective correlative", a personal reading unique unto each reader rather than a unified book of poems with a universal truth that we can all identify with. That is not the experience here. But allow me to delineate a bit to discuss the "objective correlative" from which I have altered my phrase to better appreciate its relevance and history given Cook's poetic rapport with the Age of Romanticism.

T.S. Eliot, poet and literary critic, developed the "objective correlative" in his criticism of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Simply, it is the evocation of emotion by its representation in the work (poem, play, painting, etc) or the corresponding "image" in the world to the word or symbol of the image. We write "my first puppy" and its corresponding emotion should be a nostalgically pleasant memory of one's own first puppy. And this definition worked fine for the Romantic critics, but today we must not trust to its universality. Not all people have pleasant memories of their first puppy. Some of us wept in terror when we were first introduced to this four-legged beast, while others suffered an allergic reaction. We understand what the writer intends when he writes of his first puppy, we understand the consensus, but we each have our own empathetic relationship to the term, namely, "I screamed" or "I sneezed" rather than I fell in love with the little critter. It is this personal correspondent with the image, rather than the intellectual understanding of it, that we call the subjective correlative. We want to find ourselves in the work, not the artist.

Corpus Delicti is a challenge to our emotions, not our intellect. To read it as an objective correlative is to detach oneself from the experience; to read it as a subjective correlative is to share Cook's experience with our own, for each individual consciousness is itself an object in the world just as much as a puppy or chair or poem. In Circle of Ouroboros, the poet points out this relation of the work to the readers,

And so the steps one makes towards the end
to quote a clich├ę
are aspects of the journey
the final destination relegated
to the ethereal realms of the unknown
the infinite possibilities that exist
outside of human consciousness (p 13).

To know the "unknown" is to know ourselves outside of human awareness, just as we understand Cook's realization of this "clich├ę" (that is, its universality). In New dawn prophecy, Cook expands on this alienating realization, 

What lies outside the heart and soul is restriction
that leads an arterial bypass past life’s true intentions (p 14).

How does one come to know one's self? Alone, one can only know alienation and solitude, but via others (friends, poetry, art, etc), we find our humanity, our individuality among the multitude. 

In Epiphanous vision, the poetry echoes the fallibility ("bullshit") of finding universal truths, whereas individual truths coalesce with others' truths,

nothing is as plain as it seems
when you put words to it
when you apply words to the world ...

perhaps of some consequence
to the greater scheme of things
(whatever that may be!)
‘truth’ that elusive quagmire
of common census
inferring evidence
that many, can make one reality
and that it is without variance
indisputable . . .
bullshit!!! (p 17).

"Without variance", there can be no universal truth. We vary as individuals and it is with variance that we find ourselves rather than a "greater scheme" (an objective correlative to reality or the world). 

Once William Cook has established this intent for the reader to experience, he delves into the workings of individual minds. In Terror is not my thing, Cook joins his experience with his readers, "It’s fear for all and all for fear" (p 22). In Dead Love, he is more specific in his emotive description, "My warm loving cadaver we are one, forever". The cadaver can be read as his lover or his own dead body, the vessel that his life occupies. This dualism (other and self) represents individuality as single being and collective beings, just as the reader and the poet become one through the "corpus delicti".

In Truth, Cook gives us a straightforward accounting of the universality of emotions: 

Truth is: hunger
pain/death
violence/dissolution
apathy/hope . . .
Anything
you want it to be.
I believe . . . (p 33).

The italicized "I believe" describes the poet's thoughts on "truth" after sharing with us those universal emotions that we all identify with in our own way (subjective correlative) while this belief also asserts Cook's own identity as its own subjective correlative. Very clever. Very forceful. Then in ironic reflection, Cook restates this truth in I who am no one:

I is nothing and
I speak for all of us when
I say that (p 34)

Ego is everything and nothing. All egos are also everything and nothing. But our collective empathy with this "truth" is the only truth we can realize. Much as the individual can be alone in a crowd, so too can he be the crowd. Cook teases us with this irony. Think of the illusion where the drawing can be seen as an old woman or a young woman. Which is it? Neither. And both.

The totality of the poetry of Corpus Delicti echoes that last sentiment, for the book is neither the work of William Cook nor our own reflections, but both. In this dark journal of self-realization, self-deprecation, and selfish irony, William Cook has given us the abyss that we stare into just as it stares into us. 


Get your copy here.

Anthony Servante, Review, Corpus Delicti, Poetry, Critical Analysis, Literary Criticism, critique,

Latest Review for Corpus Delicit: Selected Poetry by William Cook

Very pleased to have secured another great review from the fine folk at 'The Horror Fiction Review.' Thanks to Christine Morgan (< make sure you check out her website) who gave a fair and insightful review of my latest collection - Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry.


CORPUS DELICTI by William Cook (2014 James Ward Kirk Publishing / 210 pp / trade paperback)


"Poetry can just be so cool … language in a more freeform, flowing arrangement … imagery and evocation … the sound and rhythm of the words, and even the look of them on the page, as much an element as their meaning. 

It can also be challenging, maddening, baffling, incomprehensible, and weird. Does it have to rhyme? Is it like a song, or not? How does it work? What is it? What does it do? What does it MEAN? Or, for that matter, DOES it mean anything? And so on. Vincenzo Bilof’s introduction to this collection sums up all that better than I can. 

And then you get to William Cook’s collection of poems. Rest assured, this is no slim poetry chapbook. This is a BOOK. Almost 300 pages, something like 140 poems, two decades’ worth of accumulated artistic craftsmanship. 

Don’t go thinking that poetry equals sappy flowery greeting card stuff, either. These are dark jewels, bloodied and moonlit. These are raw nerves, the exposed heart and meat and emotion. These are heinous acts framed in beauty, and beauty wrapped in hideousness.

As to whether they’re romantic – isn’t that one of those big poetry things, after all? – well, it’d depend on who you were trying to romance. I know some people who might seriously go for being courted with such poems. How worrisome that may or may not be, I’ll leave up to your own discretion.  

With so many poems, and blending together in the harmonious threads that they do, it’s pretty well impossible for me to single out any particular few by title. Some, I know I just didn’t ‘get,’ but I figure that’s more on me than on the poems or the poet. 

I found myself uttering “oh wow” and “ooh that’s nice” and various wordless noises of appreciation several times at particularly stunning bits of phrasing, lines that made me just have to pause for a moment or two to reflect, to admire and think and mentally savor the resonance. 

Admittedly, they may not have been the best thing to be reading during a stressful time surrounded by difficulties, depression and drama. Then again, maybe that’s the perfect time. Maybe that’s when they’re most needed."

-Christine Morgan

The Horror Fiction Review, Christine Morgan, Corpus Delicti, Poetry, William Cook, James Ward Kirk Fiction, Review, Vincenzo Bilof

Latest Review for 'Blood Related'


Blood Related by William Cook: 5 of 5 Stars


Goodreads Synopsis:
 

For over two decades, Detective Ray Truman has been searching for the killer, or killers, who have terrorized Portvale. Headless corpses, their bodies mutilated and posed, have been turning up all over the industrial district near the docks. Young female prostitutes had been the killer’s victims of choice, but now other districts are reporting the gruesome discovery of decapitated bodies. It seems the killer has expanded his territory as more ‘nice girls’ feel the wrath of his terrible rage.

Meet the Cunninghams... A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death, and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards. Ray Truman’s search for a killer leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted, as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13508567-blood-related
Click to go to Goodreads Review
 
Blood Related by William Cook
My Review: 5 of 5 stars


Blood Related is a psychological roller-coaster. I couldn’t put it down. The nature or nurture theme comes across strongly. Reflective of Caleb and Charlie Cunningham's disturbing family background and the outcome of what could be only described as twisted parenting. Parents (Ella and Vera’s) poison continues to bleed into the adult lives of two brothers. The madness of their crimes is chilling, and persistence of Ray Truman whose goal is to bring them to Justice - leads the story into an endless horror fest for the reader. 


The Cunningham’s childhood home becomes a house of horrors. Spine chilling gore and the insight into the mind of a serial killer kept me hooked. In my mind’s eye I could imagine the carnage, sense the emotions, with that feeling of watching a horror movie at every twist and turn, I wanted to look away, but couldn't.
 

Buy a Copy now from Amazon

William Cook has a talent of making the story come to life. And if this is your choice of genre, then you are in for a treat.
No Spoilers Intended




Debbie Allen (see all Debbie's reviews)


http://debs-bookwormbookmark.blogspot.co.nz/p/who-is-debbie-allen.html
Check out Debbie's cool blog - click on the image above







Reblogged from the fantastic Bookworm's Bookmark

Review, Debbie Allen, William Cook, Blood Related, 5-star, Horror, Thriller, Bookworm's Bookmark

Poetry Review

Recently Anthony Servante reviewed some of my poetry on his thought-provoking blog, Servante of Darkness: Horror, SF, and Noir. Words & Sounds for the Living. Here is an abridged version of the post, the full version can be found at the link above including features/reviews on other writers like Michael H. Hanson and Mark McLaughlin.
 
*****


William Cook

Author Links:

Follow William on Twitter - @williamcook666



Poem #1
  
Lest We Forget
By William Cook 

We forgot the death-white burden
that lay curled explodingly
on the flat line between here and there

we forgot the gaping pit
of atmosphere that singed the soil
and us that burnt it there above

we forgot the airborne tumours
of ignorance and time that swells
beyond our grasping paws of greed

we forgot the twisting paths
of molecules denied of science
and therefore from our perception

we forgot our mortality
in the feast of fire and flood
as we wash our hands with famine
swill it down with cups of blood

and we forgot that which we taught
to all the objects of our need
that all that grows beyond its use
holds no measure we shall heed

from alpha to omega
we have joined our ends to end
we have bridged between the islands
drained all wells to poisoned sand

we forgot our search for new air
is subconscious flight for fear that
courage is the vice of dumb pride
that shakes and billows rage
in every new-found virgin sphere

and we forgot what it was we once loved
and whose back-yard we played and when
the string in the labyrinth would snap
and disappear in burning cloud of dissolving day

and finally we just simply forgot, because we could not remember
because we could not forget.


Review:

William Cook's poem, Lest We Forget, is a reminder to remember the things in life we choose to forget. But rather than give us a laundry list of events to consider, we get a sequence of metaphors at once recognizable but vague enough to work at a subliminal level. Consider the “death-white burden” that lays “explodingly” on a flat line. Subconsciously we think of an electrocardiogram as “death” and “flatline” (sic) parallel one another, except that it “explodes”, implying a spike, or a labored life, the “burden” mentioned in the line. Furthermore, besides forgetting “life”, we forgot about the ozone that we “burnt” a hole in, allowing ultraviolet light to pour through and “singe” the “soil” (earth). Although the metaphor is not vague, it advances the concept of our (mankind’s) ignorance, our choosing to progress (verb) even as progress (noun) depletes the future. The metaphors culminate with our choice to ignore this depletion and its resultant effects (“poisoned sand”, “dissolving day”, etc). Because William does not send this eco-nightmare message via a flyer or protest march, but rather via poetry, it manages to crawl under our skin and fester, like an ignored infection that threatens to swell to a boil. Cook does not let us off easy. He holds up a mirror to man’s amoral treatment of the future. It is no mistake that we, dear readers, are in the reflection. 
  


Poem #2

Asylum - From the Asylum
By William Cook

Judgment engaged - time’s slave
slips whispers over the shoulder.
Love is the only one to never lie
those branding, burning words
that make the heart grumble
with the cold hands of the stranger’s dominion
presenting polarised arcs, of disparate monologue . . .

What the fuck . . . ?

The long day has only just begun 
and still each evening winds it down.
Still the clock keeps cutting quarters
always gathering doubles,
for the Ark.

For the what . . . ?

Limbs as arrows, chains, and beds 
supported the weighted chest with grief
and sometimes joy. Between
the islands we traverse . . .

Sounds like thighs . . .!

The vessel soaks the sun with journey
as we shed our Winter’s skin - floods
seem far away right now, yet still
the ever eye rings sight. Palladiums
of secrets - carried on caress
of hurried breeze. Kingdoms
of neighbours dissent, are all
of the same suburb on that plane!   

Airplane . . . ?

The same beaches where we bathed
and gave away dead skin, now hold
invisible sacrificial rites - they were always
there, when we were. Still tumbling
birds of prey and pride wrestle
with serpents, under luminous boughs.
and we travel - turns and tides
between these magnets. Eternite

I’m feelin’ pulled both ways . . . !

sides, by side. The age of memory
sweeps shores and provides
such force - behind the oars.
The whip crack that attempts to tame
- tumultuous pump, that billows.
Sucking only air sometimes, like
this warm Etesian air. A cyclone gathers
waves, where earth and sky appear.

That means we’re all gonna die, right . . . ?

But more than that, which sinks beyond
- a secular line of sight and silver
crests the Sun’s slow decline. Dawn’s
ships will still run aground. Raising night.

Raising Cain . . .!

Back on land and back in pain
the movement can seem slow.
The raging current murmurs deep
and only serves to show . . .

The best way down, is to drown . . .

When the eye marries time to the heart’s
blind pull and the blood muscles, bones
of fingers. So cruel – to chaste and touch
with searing fire. They leave the trace
of journey’s charted scars
and the only soothing grace, it seems
- is the dam-burst flood,
of love’s lost dreams. Swimming
in that place between. Where
islands float and birds and serpents
silent scream - Esoteric psalms. At the Night

Or am I awake . . .?


Review:

Asylum - From the Asylum by William Cook deals with biblical promises hidden in half-truths and mythos, an unreachable ken that seems real only in dreams. The problem is: we wake up. The poem begins with “Judgment”, basically where the Bible (with a capital B) ends. Thus the world has ended, The Rapture has passed, The Horn of Gabriel has sounded, The Leviathan has risen, and The AntiChrist is about. It is time to those remaining on our good Earth to be sent to Heaven or Hell. “Love” (for God, for fellow Man?) will be our only truth, and that’s the scary part: Did I choose the right path for this love? Doubles (or couples) are being selected for the Ark, a symbol for those who will be saved (and always between stanzas, in italics, are the reminders that doubt may still be relevant), that this judgment is not real (after the mention of the “doubles for the Ark”, a disembodied voice asks, “For the what …?”). “Birds of prey” (sky) and serpents (earth), evils emerging from all directions, Heaven (God judging) and Hell (Satan creating doubt), create a religious tug-of-war: “I’m feelin’ pulled both ways …!” When doubt dissipates and faith begins to take hold, the “Esoteric psalms”, that is, confuses the nature of faith found in the bible (small “b”), for it is just a book; only with faith can we capitalize the “B”, but how do we acquire faith when doubt makes more sense? The answer becomes clear when it is too late: “At the Night” (capital “N”), and even then, Satan can still win if you believe the Day of Judgment is all a dream (“Or am I awake . . .?”). William Cook grapples with faith and doubt and refuses to offer easy comforts for his readers. And should you, dear readers, be inclined to choose a side, Cook will be there to “pull you both ways.”  
*****

 Michael H. Hanson, Mark McLaughlin, Anthony Servante, Review, Poetry, #FF

Latest Review for Blood Related

Image
Written by William Cook
Reviewed by Char Hardin
May I introduce the Cunningham Family: father who is a suspected serial killer who dies by his own hand who is married to an insane alcoholic combined they beget two sons who follow in their father’s footsteps Caleb and Charlie inherited more than dysfunctional family traits they inherited a blood soaked heritage that caused the boys to rain down a legacy of terror and death.
The beginning of the story is a preface by the psychiatrist Dr. Mary Brunswick who tells how she worked with Charlie during his trial and then after he was sentenced how his brother Caleb approached her with his own tales of murder. The trust between doctor and patient was built on the confidentiality clause that she could not break. He was free with his accounts and then disappeared. Just reading the preface was a strong indication of the content of the pages to come. I consumed this story in one sitting. One word to describe what William Cook has accomplished…TERRIFYING.
Blood Related kept me up all night on the edge of my recliner, chewing on my fingernails and constantly looking to my front door to note that it was indeed locked. Each murderous account drew me deeper into the psyche of the killers to marinate as I tried to fathom what created these modern day monsters. Fans of American Psycho will eat this book up. Throughout the text, I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that I was being watched and at one point rose long enough to turn on the light battle back the encroaching darkness.  When at last I turned to the final page, I drew in a deep breath and noticed my fingers were white and tightly gripping my laptop as I read the story.
Upon further reflection and glancing back at my notes, I was relieved that I text was well edited. I do detest reading a story and feeling like I am deprived of the enjoyment as a reader, when the text is so riddled with errors and misspellings that I become an editor instead of a reader…not so with this book.
One thing I would have liked on some of the murders, it felt like I was being overly told of the circumstance instead of being allowed to feel and be shown the events as they played out. It is something even I as a writer suffer with telling more and showing less. It does not reflect badly on the author and in no way takes away from the flow of the story. It is just a “feeling” I got at times and could be only “felt” by me.
This is a male dominated story with women playing a less than glamorous role and more of an object to be to thrust pain and degradation upon. This did not bother me, but to those out there it does, then you may just pass on Blood Related or in any case be warned this is not boy meets girl and falls in love and lives happily ever after. No, more like boy meets girl and thinks of ways to take her apart and then does so piece by bloody piece. Personally…I loved every blood soaked page!
I would recommend this story to my horror readers, especially to the ones who love serial killers. Blood Related will not disappoint. I would like to add also while reading the story at times, I had to pause and whisper. “This is fiction. This is only fiction and is not real.” After I went to bed, I left the light on and slept fitfully as I just couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. Awesome book 4 Out of 5!

Check out Char's cool blog here.

Latest Review for Blood Related

William Cook ‘Blood Related’ Review

bloodrelatedcoverfront1+(2)

Written by: Drake Morgan

William Cook’s Blood Related delves into the mind and dark psychology of a serial killer named Caleb Cunningham. The story centers around Cunningham and his family who have all been connected to a series of brutal murders over a number of years. The story begins with a psychiatric overview and then progresses to Caleb’s version of events.

The format of the narrative is interesting in that it makes not two shifts, but several. The first chapter is a first-person perspective from a court appointed psychiatrist. Through her, we get a very rough overview of the Cunninghams. We learn that there are twin brothers, both deeply psychotic and sinister. The psychiatrist examines Charlie during the course of a trial, but then becomes heavily involved with Caleb. We learn that Caleb is the true monster and the bulk of the narrative then becomes Caleb’s diaries, journals, and psychiatric sessions. Later chapters shift again to a series of newspaper articles giving the reader a final summary of the events that Caleb’s first-person account misses. The novel closes with a series of letters from Caleb explaining his motives and leaving the reader and his doctor with a cryptic goodbye.

Caleb’s story is fairly straightforward. Abused as a child, he’s described as “evil,” “one of the most dangerous men alive,” and the like. Cook’s writing is fluid and descriptive, but Caleb’s exploits take on mythological proportions as the story progresses. Cook goes to great length in his research of abnormal psychology. He skillfully uses the terminology and psychiatric evaluations to create an authentic element to the narrative. Caleb’s excesses are in stark contrast to the realism in other areas and it’s a jarring juxtaposition at times.

As a study in dark psychology, Blood Related is an interesting tale. Cook does an excellent job grappling with the disturbed mind. Psychiatry struggles with the abnormal that goes beyond the human comprehension of evil. Cook takes on the challenge of this struggle and handles it well. A more subtle handling of Caleb’s story would have added a great deal to the psychological framework. Definitely worth a read for the insight into a twisted mind.
Grab it here!

Rating: 3.5/5

SOURCE: 

What's not to love about John Paul Allen's 'Monkey Love'? - review

'Monkey Love' by John Paul Allen, Cover Art by Keith Minnion
This is the first work of John Paul Allen's that I have had the pleasure to read but certainly won't be the last. i liked it so much that i read it twice. My first reading of 'Monkey Love' revealed a dark, ironic sense of humor that had me in stitches, building the pathos in this unique work until i thought i knew what 'kind' of novel it was, only to flip my notions upside down with surprise after surprise. 

This great little book is laced with cultural references and metaphor that take on a new life afforded by the foresight of a well-deserved second reading. This is a well-crafted story centered on a tragic situation and the pursuit of a love that knows no bounds. 

As the title suggests and the exceptional cover art, the quest for love through tragedy is fraught with the horror of new and bizarre discoveries of the self and the surrounding world. Other reviewers have mentioned the basic precepts of the novel and Biting Dog Press provide the introductory blurb: "When Professor Sandra Rixx lost her husband in a terrorist bombing, she turned toward her work for salvation. When Richard kept his vow and returned three years later, she learned to mix business with pleasure. Sometimes we can't help who we love. Sometimes we can't help what we love." 

But there is so much more to this story and the way JPA writes the snappy dialogue and creates evocative imagery with succinct words, 'Monkey Love' is destined to entice and enthrall the reader which it so effortlessly does. 

Do yourself a favor and get some 'Monkey Love,' you will not regret it.


John Paul Allen
**********************************************************
Where to get it?
  

So you wanna be an indie horror writing superstar?

This article outlines the pros and cons of being an indie horror author on Amazon.com. Hey, fellow writers! If you’ve got a penchant for wri...