Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol II of V) by Josh Holliday | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This is an adult level book and has graphic content. Drug use, as well as some triggering sexual encounters and subject matter is involved in the book. The author has made clear he does not support drug use or the actions herein, but told the story as events occurred. If situations like this trigger you, be warned.

The continuing tales of the drug fueled, crime ridden 60’s and two men who dove head first into the era come to life in author Josh Holliday’s novel Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol II of V). Here is the synopsis:

The gripping story of two young adventurers just out of high school in the late 1960’s. Drugs are rampant in society in California. Follow them as they barely escape drug deals, confrontations with the police, smuggling across the International Border with Mexico, a risky trip into Arizona, and the final “Bust” at the Mexican border. Your eyes will bulge at some of the true adventures they skated though. Several times they barely escaped death. Based on true lives lived in this book II of V Books, a Series.

Once again this series continues to highlight the shocking, often deplorable actions of those fueled by sex and drugs in the 60’s. Using graphic and detailed images to highlight the stories told within, the author goes to great lengths to showcase the power of drugs and highlight the toxic, misogynistic and often heinous acts used against women in that era. In today’s day and age that sadly still occurs, but more often than not public support and the use of the internet has allowed victims to come forward, share their story and rally support to highlight these crimes. Yet in that era, when drugs and sexism ran rampant, not only were women more susceptible to these crimes, but convinced themselves it either didn’t happen or just went along with it out of fear. The author highlights these acts to show just how toxic this mentality is to have and to show how we can do better to teach future generations to respect one another and to view these acts for the crimes that they are.

The author did a great job of highlighting the way people living a life like this often miss the signs to change their ways. The book begins where the first left off, with one of the buddies in jail and the other lost without him. Yet rather than learn from his friend’s mistakes and making a change, he finds himself where many drug addicted people find themselves, and that’s back in the thick of it, tumbling further down the rabbit hole into disparity and illegal acts that they don’t even see themselves. While the book is graphic, (and on a technical note to the author, I would recommend going through the book and looking for grammatical and spelling mistakes more thoroughly. They didn’t hamper the story whatsoever but using quotations in dialogue will help separate the thoughts and make it easier to see who is speaking), the book’s importance of showing the rampant drug use and unspoken crimes committed in that era can help us to learn from the past and grow as a society, especially in this era of so much political turmoil, sexual harassment and abuse scandals, and global uncertainty.

Overall this was a fascinating, sometimes uncomfortable but wholly necessary read. The author did a wonderful job of highlighting these events and showing the way those involved in these crimes rationalize their actions so much that they believe their own lies. As the series looks to continue in book three, one can only hope the people involved in the true story this book is based upon will see “the light” and find a way to end these actions. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up Runnin Buddies: (A True Story, Vol I and II of V) by Josh Holliday today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GN4FHNC/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

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The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller #2) by J.D. Barker Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today is a special treat my friends. I was recently sent an advanced copy of the highly anticipated sequel to one of my favorite thrillers in the last few years, The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. This time around the author has published The Fifth To Die, a thrilling ride that explores the continuing hunt for the deadly 4MK. Here’s the synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

This book was incredible. Of course as with all my reviews this will be a spoiler-free review. However I can honestly say that author J.D. Barker has mastered how to write the perfect sequel, upping his game greatly to create an even more intense, thrilling and engaging story than The Fourth Monkey. Delving deeper into the killer’s past, Detective Porter finds himself drawn into the twisted world of 4MK in ways no one can ever imagine, unless of course you’re J.D. Barker.

The way the story takes readers into the minds of everyone involved in the case, from new investigators and the team you came to know and love in the first novel to the killer himself and the newest victims who have to face the very heart of darkness and evil alone. It’s a powerful and explosive story from the first page, showing the way everyone was affected by 4MK’s surprising actions in the first novel and how just when you thought you knew the limits of this killer, he takes things so much further. By the end of the story your heart will be racing and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath because you got so enraptured with the twist ending that you forgot to breath.

Overall I loved this story. It was so fun and thrilling to take part in, and the entire time I was reading it I kept asking myself when someone is going to make a movie or show about this story. The tale of 4MK and those hunting him is the modern day serial killer story we’ve been waiting for, and makes for the perfect summer thriller read. In J.D. Barker we’ve found a spiritual successor to the incredible Stephen King, taking the characters of the everyday man and transforming their lives into one of a kind adventures and thrill rides that only these one of a kind authors could come up with. If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, be sure to do so now. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker comes out July 10th, 2018, so grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0544973976/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0544973976&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

ABOUT J.D.

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Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.

At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.

Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public. The novel, titled Dracul, sold at auction to G.P. Putnam & Sons, with film rights going to Paramount. Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) is attached to direct.

Barker’s initial indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.

Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

http://facebook.com/therealjdbarker

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http://jdbarker.com/

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