Tag Archives: psychological thriller

id: A Novel by Kevin Spark

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

Bookbaby.com helps independent authors bring their creative vision to the marketplace. Sell eBooks online in the biggest retail stores.

A psychologist and daughter of a murderer develops a revolutionary test to explore the id unencumbered by morality and sets a killer and the cop driven to violence by that same killer on a path of destruction in author Kevin Spark’s “id: A Novel”.


The Synopsis

Dr. Shelly, a brilliant psychologist, forever haunted by her father and his murderous past, is driven by the need to find out why we do the things we do? Is the concept of free will just a concept and nothing more, a construct that blinds us to a less palatable truth, that who we are is predetermined and encoded at birth? Does anyone really choose to do the bad things we do or are we just doing what comes naturally?

Shelly constructs an experiment using a sensory deprivation tank and virtual reality, allowing the darkest part of ourselves, the id, to run free. Unencumbered by morality or remorse, Shelly finds the perfect subject in Adam. A borderline psychotic born into a world of neglect and crime. Delving into the deepest pits of his subconscious, Shelly surfaces with far more than she bargained for.

Detective Hopper, responsible for Adam’s capture, remains a broken man. After suffering a breakdown due to the escalation of his own violent behavior, he is placed under the care of Dr Shelly. Encouraging him to go looking for his own redemption, Hopper becomes a pawn in her web of deception until the lines of reality are redrawn as Hopper and Adam come full circle to an explosive end.

ABN Banner

The Review

This was a mind-blowing and thought-provoking psychological horror thriller. The imagery played well into the deep-set tone that psychological horror novels often take, and the inclusion of VR gaming environments and sensory deprivation tanks helped elevate the tension that the reader felt as the story progressed. The way these psychological ids came to life in the story and the way they spoke to the psychological aspects of our own minds helped elevate the atmosphere of this book tenfold. 

Yet it was the rich character development that really helped highlight this psychological horror. The way each of the main characters really played off one another in this almost cat-and-mouse style thriller and the steady pace of the narrative itself allowed the tension to build more and more as time went on. The way the author explored the “animal” that rests within us all and the ways in which we all deal with that animal in our lives played well into the story, and the heart-pounding terror that the imagery of these character’s ids brought to life will haunt readers well beyond the final pages of this book.

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and engaging, author Kevin Spark’s “id: A Novel” is a must-read psychological horror thriller. The twists and turns the narrative takes and the shocking conclusions that each character finds themselves in only lend themselves to the dynamic atmosphere and chilling imagery the author’s impressive writing style conjures up, drawing me in similarly to the way the acclaimed film The Cell starring Jennifer Lopez and Vincent D’Onofrio did when I first watched it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


Blog Tour Blast: Max, The Sequel by Bey Deckard

Max, The Sequel - Bey Deckard

Bey Deckard has a new MM dark erotic psychological thriller out, Max the Series book 2: Max, the Sequel. And there’s a giveaway.

Robert Montagnet and Dan Cooper are a nice gay couple who live in a nice waterfront condo in a nice, touristy part of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

At least, that’s who they’re pretending to be.

After five months on the lam, Dr. Crane is strained to the point of breaking—he just wants it to be over. But, with his mental and physical health in decline, living where he doesn’t speak the language and relying on his partner for everything, he feels trapped.

Just the way Max likes it, of course.

When Crane is presented with an opportunity to clear his name once and for all, he’s compelled to take it… But, it means betraying the young man who thoroughly intoxicates him in ways he had never imagined possible.

Can Crane break his addiction or is he too far down the rabbit hole to escape?

This book is available through Kindle Unlimited.

Warnings: abuse, mind games, drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating, crime, dubcon, violence

Get It at Amazon | Goodreads


Bey is giving away one Signed paperback copy of book one in the series, “Max”:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47274/?


Max the Sequel

Crane left a note for Max, letting him know he’d gone out for errands and closed the door quietly behind him so he wouldn’t wake Max from his well-deserved nap. Whistling, he took the stairs down, spinning the key ring on his finger as he shielded his eyes against the midafternoon sun. He stopped on the last step and stood there momentarily, just glad to be out of the house. It felt great. He felt great. Crane watched a family of four cross the street, the mother squinting down at the phone in her hand while dragging along a little boy in bathing trunks. From the pallor of their skin, Crane assumed they’d just arrived and weren’t familiar yet with the area. Sure enough, the father spotted Crane and steered the baby stroller towards him, a smile on his face.

“Howdy! Hablar Ang-lays?” the man asked in a twangy accent as he touched the rim of his cap.

“I do,” Crane replied. “Are you looking for the beach?”

“We are,” the man replied, then called to his wife. “Mags, I found help!”

Crane grinned. “Just keep following this road, then turn left at the fence. You’ll see the access to the beach right away.”

“Thank you. We got turned ‘round,” the man said, jiggling the stroller back and forth a few times to soothe its cranky occupant. “Much obliged. Mags, it’s this way!”

Watching them go, Crane felt his mood shift. Soberly, he thought about how foreign it all seemed to him now. Just a nice little family vacation where no one was trying to drug or manipulate anyone, where no one had to worry about winding up in jail or whether someone was going to sodomize them while drunk . . .


With a rueful chuckle, Crane shook his head and went up the street in the opposite direction of the tourist family and had to admit the voice in his head had a point. If there was one thing life with Max certainly wasn’t, it was boring.

Author Bio

Bey Deckard

Artist, Writer, Dog Lover.

Bey Deckard is the author of a number of novels including the Baal’s Heart books, Max, Beauty and His Beast, and Better the Devil You Know.

Bey lives in Montréal, Canada where he spends most of his time writing, doing graphic work, painting portraits, speaking French, cooking tasty vegetarian eats, or watching more movies than is good for him. If you’re the curious type, http://www.beydeckard.com is where you’ll find art and free stories by Bey as well as information on his published works.

Author Website: https://www.beydeckard.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/bey.deckard

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/authorbeydeckard

Author Mastadon: https://pettingzoo.co/@Beybey

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beydeckard

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/beydeckard

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/bey-deckard/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Bey-Deckard/author/B00IE4DZT2

Other Worlds Ink logo Bookbaby.com helps independent authors bring their creative vision to the marketplace. Sell eBooks online in the biggest retail stores.

Arcranium™ by Mark Towse and Daemon Manx Review

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

Four authors enter a new form of technology that brings their creations to life in a virtual space and compete to determine who is the scariest of them all in authors Mark Towse and Daemon Manx’s “Arcranium™”. 


The Synopsis

Four horror authors with four vulnerable egos, square off against one another, in the virtual world, to find out who is the scariest. Welcome to Arcranium™, a powerful technology that fuses with the author’s mind to stimulate their best possible creation, immersing other participants in the narrative. It’s all in good fun, but with so much pride at stake, things are bound to get a little bumpy once the gloves come off. So, strap your headset on and don’t forget the safe word. The future of literature is about to get an upgrade. The future is … Arcranium™

Bookbaby.com helps independent authors bring their creative vision to the marketplace. Sell eBooks online in the biggest retail stores.

The Review

This was such a chilling and captivating read. The perfect blend of modern horror and haunting psychological thrills, the authors did a wonderful job of bringing a shocking and visceral story to life on the page. The imagery and tension that layered this writing allowed the fictional worlds the main characters conjured up to come to life in such perfect detail, and the scares that occurred as a result felt natural and paid off from the developing narrative.

For me, the draw of this book came from both the stories within a story concept and the powerful themes that helped draw out the horrors of the genre into this novel. The way the narrative honed in on each character or author’s story and allowed those worlds to flourish not only moved the story forward but allowed the authors of this novel to showcase and flex their own creative work in a unique way. Yet it was the themes of the dangers of technology, the downfall of the ego, and the idea of playing god as a writer that really made the terrors of this fictional world tear into our own deep-seated fears, making this a wonderful read.

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and entertaining, authors Mark Towse and Daemon Manx’s “Arcranium™” is a must-read horror novel meets psychological thriller and anthology novel. The short yet powerful read immediately strikes readers with its commentary on the state of writing (and subsequently entertainment as a whole) while also delivering potent scares and thrills that will keep readers wide awake at night. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Authors

Mark Towse is an Englishman living in Australia. He would sell his soul to the devil or anyone buying if it meant he could write full-time. Alas, he left it very late to begin this journey, penning his first story since primary school at the ripe old age of forty-five. Novellas to date include: Nana, Crows, The Bucket List, Hope Wharf, 3:33, One Last Shindig, Nature’s Perfume, and Arcranium.

‘Mark Towse is an exciting new discovery. His stories are hidden gems that glint in the darkness. His characters draw you into their worlds, making you care, then plunge you into the abyss, leaving only a memory of warmth. These tales will linger in your mind long after the telling. His are heart-felt stories with an icy edge. Highly recommended.’

Trevor Denyer – Editor and Publisher – Midnight Street Press



Daemon Manx is an award-winning American author who writes horror, suspense, supernatural, and speculative fiction.

He was born on January 16, 1967, shortly after the very first Super Bowl, but never played the game and never had a favorite team.

Daemon has recently been nominated for the 2021 Splatterpunk awards for his debut, Abigail in the best short story category.

In 2021 he received a HAG award for his story The Dead Girl.

He is a member of the Horror Authors Guild (HAG) and has been featured in magazines in both the U.S. and the U.K. 

In 1999 Daemon was a contestant on the television game show Wheel of Fortune where he made it to the bonus round and walked away with a fully loaded Chevy Tahoe…pretty amazing, right?

On another unbelievable note, in 1991 Daemon was involved in a motor vehicle accident with Ronald Reagan’s motorcade. He accidentally crashed into the former president’s limousine on a New York City Street shortly after Ron and Nancy had stepped out of the vehicle. No one was injured, except for maybe the pride of the secret security agent who was directing traffic.

Most recently, Daemon has opened his own publishing company and works with fellow authors, Diana Olney and Jack Wells, as well as business associate, Romol Chiossi.

Daemon lives with his sister, author Danielle Manx and their narcoleptic cat, Sydney where the patiently prepare for the apocalypse. There is a good chance they will runout of coffee far too soon.


Little Miss Fortune by Sans Emmert Review

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

The line between reality and fiction blurs for a writer as the dark inspiration for a new screenplay brings old enemies and danger to his doorstep, and triggers darkness within himself at the same time, in author Sans Emmert’s “Little Miss Fortune”.


The Synopsis

“Echoes of the JonBenét murder mystery permeate this exceptionally well executed, sinfully clever, and deeply absorbing psychological drama.” —Author David Aretha

‘Presumed Innocent’ meets ‘Sea of Love’ in this JonBenét Murder Whydunit

To escape the dark family secret that wrecked his childhood, aspiring screenwriter Damon loses himself in a movie world, becoming one with each character in his imagined plots. But that strength pales against the obsessive love he finds in his beautiful, can-do-no-wrong, Savannah spouse and their new son.

Haunting visions of her prior fling with an older married millionaire—who’d stolen her teenage virginity and corrupted her with dreams of the champagne life—kindle a brilliant revenge screenplay that could make Damon a millionaire.

But does the rich goliath still lurk? Damon’s paranoia redlines when the same dark secret suddenly seems to strike at his son. The eye-for-an-eye plot turns more sinister—and more real—as Damon rewrites the script to hurt his nemesis where it hurts most by stalking his pageant princess daughter. Will looking into her innocent eyes snap Damon from his deathly delusion?

“Dark and filled with a gritty tension that will leave readers feeling raw, Sans Emmert’s Little Miss Fortune is a twisted tale of love, deception, and the blurring of lines between reality and make-believe…. Sans Emmert has created an atmosphere that draws readers in, almost holding our breath as we fall deeper into the mind and perceptions of Damon’s world and his writing.

Razor taut throughout, readers will balance precariously on the edge of their seats waiting for that final shoe to fall…. Not for the faint of heart, this is a true test of the nature of man versus the nurturing of the soul. Highly recommended reading that is both chilling and haunting long after that final page.” —Tome Tender Book Blog

The Review

If I could sum up this psychological thriller and dark crime/horror read in one word, it would be chilling. Readers should first off be aware of some scenes implying acts of violence, including physical, psychological, and sexual in nature, all of which play an important role in the development of this main character. The haunting imagery of the narrative showcases the dark undertones this story hints at, and the rich development of these characters.

To me, the story excels due to the dynamic development of the main character and the essential themes the author touches upon. The horrifying backstory of the main character’s childhood and how it would impact his development and mindset overall was shocking and heartbreaking. The reason this character is so unique is that the story brings him into the role of both protagonist and antagonist at the same time, as he becomes his own worst enemy over time and the psychological impact of his past plays a role in the dark road he goes on. The themes of toxic masculinity, the impact violence, and toxic relationships can have on a child’s mind, and how young men need to be taught how to shed the mindsets that lead to those violent and dark sexual tones in their minds are all felt heavily in this narrative.

The Verdict

Captivating, haunting, and shocking, author Sans Emmert’s “Little Miss Fortune” is a must-read dark psychological thriller and horror novel. The way the story mirrors some of our own world’s true crimes will give the reader an equal amount of chills, as the author explores the cycle of violence and horror that often occurs in life, and how violence often begets violence. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Sans Emmert is a former cancer researcher and biomedical product developer with a PhD in Molecular Medicine and a passion for Spanish guitar and beach volleyball. Little Miss Fortune is his debut novel.



Interview with Author Steve Malik Swayne 

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into writing?

I am Steve Malik Swayne. I was born in Ogden, Utah and raised in Salt Lake City, UT and Las Vegas, NV. I became fascinated with words in elementary school, where I began writing short stories and poems. This eventually led to me writing music and fictional novels.


2) What inspired you to write your book?

Traitor was inspired by actual events. Traitor gave me the chance to express how I felt during my first few years of incarceration on a poetically creative level. The story was a release for me – the transformation of darkness into light, if you will.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

In this specific piece, I would like for the reader to recognize the in-depth expression of what can dwell inside of each one of us when driven or pushed by betrayal. Secondly, I would like the reader to be dazzled by poetry and comparison to life and recognize we all have some kind of monster inside of us, rather it be negative or positive. Finally, I would like the readers to enjoy the various plots, twists, and craftiness of mental perception that Traitor delivers.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I am a complex thinker. Psychology was one of my favorite classes in college, not to mention, I am a major fan of thriller and suspense. I honestly put myself to the test with this one; I wanted to see if I truly had an understanding of what it is to create suspenseful dissimulation in the context of an urban thriller.


5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

This is a difficult one, I mean, I am essentially the creator of their thoughts. So, there isn’t an answer they’d provide that I wouldn’t know. I guess if anyone, I would sit down with Xavier. Many times throughout the book, Xavier vowed he would never go back to prison. I would ask Xavier if he was nervous, worried, or concerned he could possibly be found connected to the downfall of his former friend, Tyson, causing him to go back to prison.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I would have to say Facebook thus far, although we have barely begun adventuring into our social media campaigns.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Just let the ideas flow. What begins as a simple thought may very well snowball into something monumental. As long as you believe in yourself, there is nothing you can’t accomplish, for creativity has no bounds.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have three new projects that I have recently finished, all in different genres written from an urban perspective, delivering a unique message within each of them. I believe it’s invaluable to be able to deliver a relevant message through artful composure while still entertaining people. My ultimate goal is to bring my works to life on the big screen so that I may furnish people with entertainment on a broader platform.


About the Author 

What’s up everybody! I am Steve Malik Swayne. I was born in Ogden, Utah and raised in Salt Lake City / Las Vegas, NV. I became fascinated with words in elementary school where I began writing short stories and poems which eventually led to me writing music. After years of pursing a music career, I began running the streets, headed down the wrong path eventually leading to my incarceration. While incarcerated, (a father of three) I decided I wouldn’t become a statistic. I enrolled in college classes where I obtained two associate degrees, one in Liberal Arts and the other in General Business Administration. Still passionate about writing, I began writing fictional novels, calling home to my wife, where she would record my writings, then take the hours of recordings and type them into her laptop. From there, we pursued publication and now those publications are being introduced to the world.

Social Media:

Instagram @stevemalikswayne_theauthor

Facebook @SteveMalikeSwayne

Twitter @Malik_theAuthor

Website traitorthenovel.com

Available on Amazon & Barnes&Noble

Crazy Love by Rachael Tamayo Review

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

Find out how the mind of a disturbed and vastly rich stalker works as they pursue the person they believe loves them in author Rachael Tamayo’s “Crazy Love”.


The Synopsis

I love Emily. I know she loves me too, she just needs me to show her. One day, we will be together forever, I’ll make sure of that. She’s only with this guy she’s been hanging around with to test me, see if I’ll stand true. Emily wants me to fight for her, to see if I can win her. Of course, I will. Once she sees how I’ve been caring for her, all the plans I’ve made, the lengths I’ve gone to in order to be with her, she will be so proud of me. If only she would stop pretending so I could stop hiding in her attic.

Reach deep into the mind of mentally ill millionaire, Noah Burell, as he turns Emily’s world upside down.

The Review

This was such a chilling and haunting read. The author perfectly captures the fear and horror that so many people have had to endure over the years. The combination of mental illness left untreated and unhealthy obsessions have led to some truly terrifying cases over the years, and the author’s story really drew the reader in with the theme of obsession. The haunting atmosphere and tone the author’s narrative captures is the perfect way to capture the suspense thriller genre. 

The characters really just jumped off the page. The way the author was able to capture the POV of each character’s journey made the story feel that much more alive. The striking contrast between Emily’s whirlwind relationship with the protective and loving Isaiah with the disturbing and haunting obsession that Noah takes with her makes this story the heart of the novel overall.

The Verdict

Chilling, harrowing, and entertaining, author Rachael Tamayo’s “Crazy Love” is a must-read novel. The brilliant way the author captures the fear these cases can bring while also highlighting the need for better mental health awareness and help was a breath of fresh air, and the way the author did this without sacrificing the heart-pounding thriller aspect of this suspense novel was amazing to read. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Rachael Tamayo is the bestselling author of the award-winning Deadly Sins Series, and award-winning thriller, Crazy Love, among several other titles.  Before she started her writing career, she was a highly awarded 911 emergency services dispatcher with twelve years of experience and many commendations under her belt.   Upon exiting law enforcement, she’s focused her writing career on the dark, suspenseful, and psychological after beginning as a romance author.  Now Rachael uses her dark thriller as a sort of self-therapy after all those years answering 911 calls, and works all that she knows and was exposed to into the frighteningly realistic and layered characters her readers know and love her for.  Rachael lives on the Texas Gulf Coast in Houston, Texas with her husband of eighteen years this May,  their two children. 


Fan Club by Erin Mayer Review

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

A young millennial searching for meaning in her work finds herself drawn further and further into a psychological wormhole revolving around an obsession with a pop star and a group of hard-core fans that take their fandom to all new heights in author Erin Mayer’s “Fan Club”. 

The Synopsis

In this raucous psychological thriller, a disillusioned millennial joins a cliquey fan club, only to discover that the group is bound together by something darker than devotion.

Day after day our narrator searches for meaning beyond her vacuous job at a women’s lifestyle website – entering text into a computer system while she watches their beauty editor unwrap box after box of perfectly packaged bits of happiness. Then, one night at a dive bar, she hears a message in the newest single by international pop-star Adriana Argento, and she is struck. Soon she loses herself to the online fandom, a community whose members feverishly track Adriana’s every move.

When a colleague notices her obsession, she’s invited to join an enigmatic group of adult Adriana superfans who call themselves the Ivies and worship her music in witchy, candlelit listening parties. As the narrator becomes more entrenched in the group, she gets closer to uncovering the sinister secrets that bind them together – while simultaneously losing her grip on reality.

With caustic wit and hypnotic writing, this unsparingly critical thrill ride through millennial life examines all that is wrong in our celebrity-obsessed internet age and how easy it is to lose yourself in it.


The Review

This was such an intense, emotional, and heartbreaking yet moving read. The author brilliantly captured the tone and psychological concept of many millennial today, both the popularized “selfie-obsessed” millennial that appear in shows and films in today’s pop culture, and the more heartfelt, directionless, and depressive millennial who have inherited so many problems from previous generations and have a harder time making their schooling and degrees match up with the jobs that are available in our current market. It added depth and really challenged the notion people have of the millennial generation. 

What was so fascinating about this narrative was twofold: the protagonists’ mystery identity and the comparison of intense fandoms to cults. The lack of personalized identity to the protagonist was so interesting to read, as it allowed the reader to feel like they could either step into the protagonist’s shoes or witness her actions with somewhat of familiarity after knowing someone who has lost themselves to an obsession with pop culture. The comparison between fandoms and cults was so deeply felt in this narrative, as the protagonist and the other members of this group found themselves losing themselves more and more to this idea of having a deeper connection to this individual than they actually had.

The Verdict

Intense, mind-bending, and shocking to watch unfold on the page, author Erin Mayer’s “Fan Club” is a must-read novel. The perfect read for fans of psychological thrillers that focus on more modern themes, the author brilliantly touches upon the more intimate nature of celebrities and the access their fans have to them thanks to social media. With an emotional finale, this is one book readers will not want to miss this fall. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Erin Mayer is a freelance writer and editor based in Maine. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Man Repeller, Literary Hub, and others. She was previously an associate fashion and beauty editor at Bustle.com.


Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/fan-club/9780778311591 

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778311591 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9780778311591?AID=10747236&PID=7310909&cjevent=65e1269f327311ec8113ab580a82b832 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fan-club-erin-mayer/1138476507;jsessionid=447EED4856C3B3C9AFCBCB912D1233C6.prodny_store01-atgap13?ean=9780778311591&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7310909_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0778311597?tag=harpercollinsus-20

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fan-club-4 

Apple Books:https://books.apple.com/us/book/fan-club/id1545139327 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Fan_Club_A_Novel?id=pXAPEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 


Author website: http://erinmayer.com/

Twitter: @mayer_erin

Instagram: @erinkmayer


Here is an Excerpt from FAN CLUB

Chapter One

I’m outside for a cumulative ten minutes each day before work. Five to walk from my apartment building to the subway, another five to go from the subway to the anemic obelisk that houses my office. I try to breathe as deeply as I can in those minutes, because I never know how long it will be until I take fresh air into my lungs again. Not that the city air is all that fresh, tinged with the sharp stench of old garbage, pollution’s metallic swirl. But it beats the stale oxygen of the office, already filtered through distant respiratory systems. Sometimes, during slow moments at my desk, I inhale and try to imagine those other nostrils and lungs that have already processed this same air. I’m not sure how it works in reality, any knowledge I once had of the intricacies of breathing having been long ago discarded by more useful information, but the image comforts me. Usually, I picture a middle-aged man with greying temples, a fringe of visible nose hair, and a coffee stain on the collar of his baby blue button-down. He looks nothing and everything like my father. An every-father, if you will.

My office is populated by dyed-blonde or pierced brunette women in their mid-to-late twenties and early thirties. The occasional man, just a touch older than most of the women, but still young enough to give off the faint impression that he DJs at Meatpacking nightclubs for extra cash on the weekends.

We are the new corporate Americans, the offspring of the grey-templed men. We wear tastefully ripped jeans and cozy sweaters to the office instead of blazers and trousers. Display a tattoo here and there—our supervisors don’t mind; in fact, they have the most ink. We eat yogurt for breakfast, work through lunch, leave the office at six if we’re lucky, arriving home with just enough time to order dinner from an app and watch two or three hours of Netflix before collapsing into bed from exhaustion we haven’t earned. Exhaustion that lives in the brain, not the body, and cannot be relieved by a mere eight hours of sleep.

Nobody understands exactly what it is we do here, and neither do we. I push through revolving glass door, run my wallet over the card reader, which beeps as my ID scans through the stiff leather, and half-wave in the direction of the uniformed security guard behind the desk, whose face my eyes never quite reach so I can’t tell you what he looks like. He’s just one of the many set-pieces staging the scene of my days.

The elevator ride to the eleventh floor is long enough to skim one-third of a longform article on my phone. I barely register what it’s about, something loosely political, or who is standing next to me in the cramped elevator.

When the doors slide open on eleven, we both get off.

In the dim eleventh-floor lobby, a humming neon light shaping the company logo assaults my sleep-swollen eyes like the prick of a dozen tiny needles. Today, a small section has burned out, creating a skip in the letter w. Below the logo is a tufted cerulean velvet couch where guests wait to be welcomed. To the left there’s a mirrored wall reflecting the vestibule; people sometimes pause there to take photos on the way to and from the office, usually on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend. I see the photos later while scrolling through my various feeds at home in bed. They hit me one after another like shots of tequila: See ya Tuesday! *margarita emoji* Peace out for the long weekend! *palm tree emoji* Byeeeeee! *peace sign emoji.*

She steps in front of me, my elevator companion. Black Rag & Bone ankle boots gleaming, blade-tipped pixie cut grazing her ears. Her neck piercing taunts me, those winking silver balls on either side of her spine. She’s Lexi O’ Connell, the website’s senior editor. She walks ahead with her head angled down, thumb working her phone’s keyboard, and doesn’t look up as she shoves the interior door open, palm to the glass.

I trip over the back of one clunky winter boot with the other as I speed up, considering whether to call out for her attention. It’s what a good web producer, one who is eager to move on from the endless drudgery of copy-pasting and resizing and into the slightly more thrilling drudgery of writing and rewriting, would do.

By the time I regain my footing, I come face-to-face with the smear of her handprint as the door glides shut in front of me.


I work at a website.

It’s like most other websites; we publish content, mostly articles: news stories, essays, interviews, glossed over with the polished opalescent sheen of commercialized feminism. The occasional quiz, video, or photoshoot rounds out our offerings. This is how websites work in the age of ad revenue: Each provides a slightly varied selection of mindless entertainment, news updates, and watered-down hot takes about everything from climate change to plus size fashion, hawking their wares on the digital marketplace, leaving The Reader to wander drunkenly through the bazaar, wielding her cursor like an Amex. You can find everything you’d want to read in one place online, dozens of times over. The algorithms have erased choice. Search engines and social media platforms, they know what you want before you do.

As a web producer, my job is to input article text into the website’s proprietary content management system, or CMS. I’m a digitized high school janitor; I clean up the small messes, the litter that misses the rim of the garbage can. I make sure the links are working and the images are high resolution. When anything bigger comes up, it goes to an editor or IT. I’m an expert in nothing, a master of the miniscule fixes.

There are five of us who produce for the entire website, each handling about 20 articles a day. We sit at a long grey table on display at the very center of the open office, surrounded on all sides by editors and writers.

The web producers’ bullpen, Lexi calls it.

The light fixture above the table buzzes loudly like a nest of bees is trapped inside the fluorescent tubing. I drop my bag on the floor and take a seat, shedding my coat like a layer of skin. My chair faces the beauty editor’s desk, the cruelest seat in the house. All day long, I watch Charlotte Miller receive package after package stuffed with pastel tissue paper. Inside those packages: lipstick, foundation, perfume, happiness. A thousand simulacrums of Christmas morning spread across the two-hundred and sixty-one workdays of the year. She has piled the trappings of Brooklyn hipsterdom on top of her blonde, big-toothed, prettiness. Wire-frame glasses, a tattoo of a constellation on her inner left forearm, a rose gold nose ring. She seems Texan, but she’s actually from some wholesome upper Midwestern state, I can never remember which one. Right now, she applies red lipstick from a warm golden tube in the flat gleam of the golden mirror next to her monitor. Everything about her is color-coordinated.

I open my laptop. The screen blinks twice and prompts me for my password. I type it in, and the CMS appears, open to where I left it when I signed off the previous evening. Our CMS is called LIZZIE. There’s a rumor that it was named after Lizzie Borden, christened during the pre-launch party when the tech team pounded too many shots after they finished coding. As in, “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks.” Lizzie Borden rebranded in the 21st century as a symbol of righteous feminine anger. LIZZIE, my best friend, my closest confidant. She’s an equally comforting and infuriating presence, constant in her bland attention. She gazes at me, always emotionless, saying nothing as she watches me teeter on the edge, fighting tears or trying not to doze at my desk or simply staring, in search of answers she cannot provide.

My eyes droop in their sockets as I scan the articles that were submitted before I arrived this morning. The whites threaten to turn liquid and splash onto my keyboard, pool between the keys and jiggle like eggs minus the yolks. Thinking of this causes a tiny laugh to slip out from between my clenched lips. Charlotte slides the cap onto her lipstick, glares at me over the lip of the mirror.


That’s Tom, the only male web producer, who sits across and slightly left of me, keeping my view of Charlotte’s towering wonderland of boxes and bags clear. He’s four years older than me, twenty-eight, but the plush chipmunk curve of his cheeks makes him appear much younger, like he’s about to graduate high school. He’s cute, though, in the way of a movie star who always gets cast as the geek in teen comedies. Definitely hot but dress him down in an argyle sweater and glasses and he could be a Hollywood nerd. I’ve always wanted to ask him why he works here, doing this. There isn’t really a web producer archetype. We’re all different, a true island of misfit toys.

But if there is a type, Tom doesn’t fit it. He seems smart and driven. He’s consistently the only person who attends company book club meetings having read that month’s selection from cover to cover. I’ve never asked him why he works here because we don’t talk much. No one in our office talks much. Not out loud, anyway. We communicate through a private Morse code, fingers dancing on keys, expressions scanned and evaluated from a distance.

Sometimes I think about flirting with Tom, for something to do, but he wears a wedding ring. Not that I care about his wife; it’s more the fear of rebuff and rejection, of hearing the low-voiced Sorry, I’m married, that stops me. He usually sails in a few minutes after I do, smelling like his bodega coffee and the egg sandwich he carefully unwraps and eats at his desk. He nods in my direction. Morning is the only word we’ve exchanged the entire time I’ve worked here, which is coming up on a year in January. It’s not even a greeting, merely a statement of fact. It is morning and we’re both here. Again.

Three hundred and sixty-five days lost to the hum and twitch and click. I can’t seem to remember how I got here. It all feels like a dream. The mundane kind, full of banal details, but something slightly off about it all. I don’t remember applying for the job, or interviewing. One day, an offer letter appeared in my inbox and I signed.

And here I am. Day after day, I wait for someone to need me. I open articles. I tweak the formatting, check the links, correct the occasional typo that catches my eye. It isn’t really my job to copy edit, or even to read closely, but sometimes I notice things, grammatical errors or awkward phrasing, and I then can’t not notice them; I have to put them right or else they nag like a papercut on the soft webbing connecting two fingers. The brain wants to be useful. It craves activity, even after almost three hundred and sixty-five days of operating at its lowest frequency.

I open emails. I download attachments. I insert numbers into spreadsheets. I email those spreadsheets to Lexi and my direct boss, Ashley, who manages the homepage.

None of it ever seems to add up to anything.

Excerpted from Fan Club by Erin Mayer, Copyright © 2021 by Erin Mayer. Published by MIRA Books.

HELLROSE by Emma M. King Review

A doctor plagued by traumatic visions of trauma must try to fix her past by helping a new patient at the asylum she works at in author Emma M. King’s “HELLROSE”.

The Synopsis

Over the past 150 years, HELLROSE psychiatric hospital has become one of America’s most feared establishments.

After being plagued by flashbacks to a terrifying past, a psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Williams, tries to repair her life by helping a new outlandish patient who has his own horrifying history.


The Review

This was a gripping psychological thriller! The author did an incredible job of delivering a tense and haunting look into the world of mental health and the criminal justice system, exploring how mental health can affect so many people, not just a particular group of people, and the shocking behavior and actions that can arise within someone so completely separate from their own personalities. 

The character exploration was detailed and engaging in this novel. The protagonist’s personal struggles mirror the intensity of the environment around her, and the twisted cases that arrive on her desk daily. The mystery surrounding her new patient and the investigation that arises during his evaluation will have readers on the edge of their seats. 

The only thing of note here is that some of the dialogue between characters can come across as less natural and more pointed, so my only critique would be taking a less “tell” approach to the character’s interactions and more of a “show” approach instead, but honestly this happens only a couple of times that I could see so the narrative overall feels powerful enough to overshadow those few instances.

The Verdict

An entertaining, chilling, and thought-provoking psychological thriller, author Emma M. King’s “HELLROSE” is a must-read novel for the fall 2021 season! Shocking revelations and a twist ending will take readers by surprise, and the novel showcases the depth and experience the author has brought to this particular genre of thriller, making the narrative’s tone feel authentic and more engaging. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10


About the Author

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Emma M. King graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism & psychology.

Her publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly. She has appeared on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning.

Emma lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family. She enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the city’s best brunch options. She regularly blogs about her “writing life” at www.emmaking.co.

The Mirror by Neerav Harsh Review

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

An unnamed man goes through a psychological journey as he comes into contact with a man in a mirror, and sees two realities come shattering together in author Neerav Harsh’s “The Mirror”.


The Synopsis

This is the story of an unnamed man. One morning, he looks into the mirror and finds someone else looking back at him. His first reaction was not to jump into an adventure to unravel this mystery. He chooses to keep it under wraps. He is worried that it may affect his prospects of an upcoming promotion at work and tries to function normally in his dysfunctional marriage of 5 years to Lina. But the secret comes out and brings with it its own complications. It is learned that this, not the first time. The last time this happened, he was young. He was in school then.

For the safety of everyone, the man is locked inside a room. It is there that he first interacts with the man in the mirror (also unnamed) which opens a pandora’s box. His reality shifts constantly between the present and his childhood. He had always found the inside of a pea a little special. His mental journey to get rid of the outer layer is the center of this story. Slowly he starts losing touch with reality and the relationships he has outside of the room. What he doesn’t know is what changes as he loses this outer cover.

The Review

This is a short yet powerful and thoughtful thriller. The obscurity of the main character does a fantastic job of adding to the mystery and suspense of this narrative, while the author’s thought-provoking layering of the themes allows readers to go back and re-read chapters to see the things that may have been missed previously.

The themes themselves are so powerful and lend well to the emotional core of this narrative. Themes of identity, reality, and looking back and dealing with regret and what may have been all come crashing down around the protagonist as his life and the reality he knew begin to deteriorate the further and further he goes on this journey to understand the man in the mirror. 

The Verdict

An emotional, chilling, and psychologically deep narrative, author Neerav Harsh’s “The Mirror” is a must-read short story/novella. The reader will be enthralled with the author’s natural world-building and pacing in such a short yet powerful read and will want to read more of the author’s work to be sure. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Neerav is a trained salesman selling innovations by the day. He wrote his first poem at the age of 10.

He lives and works out of his home in Mumbai (India) and spends the holidays traveling and exploring the world with his beautiful wife, Rini.

A serious daydreamer, he can spend lazy afternoons dreaming of anything under the sun and beyond. He loves history, physics, philosophy. His favorite questions are 1. What is going on? Has this happened before? So, where is it all heading?