Sometimes the scariest place imaginable can be a person’s mind; such is the case with A Psycho’s Medley by Terry M. West. This book has six short stories that take a look at human monsters. Each story takes you into the mind of a serial killer and does its best to shock you.
The first story in the book is also the title and my favorite, it looks at a man awaiting trial after he was found to be a serial killer. In hopes of finding out what he thinks, his therapist gives him a blank notebook and has him write his feelings, which he does. In his diary he goes into detail on his killings and what motivates him to do what he does. I really enjoyed how this story was told, it uses the diary method effectively and gives you a good glimpse of what a psychopath might think about.
Terry M. West must have done some research on psychopaths because some of what the main character wrote in his diary is what I have heard in documentaries. I liked how the main character talks about how he has never killed someone unless they wanted it and how he says killing was a calling for him. This story was chilling because the character talks about how no one suspected him and he had the appearance of a normal person even though he was a killer.
The next four stories are very short and have their moments but I didn’t like them as much as the first one. Each story takes a look at a killer and what drove them to it. The last story called Hair and Blood was very good and is the longest in this collection. This one takes a look at a young man who recently lost his parents and hasn’t been able to get over it. To make himself feel better he goes to a carnival in town and meets a woman who has her own issues. I liked how the point of view in the story changes towards the end and how the carnival is described.
This book made me think of the show Criminal Minds with the exception of A Psycho’s Medley being much scarier. Human monsters can be more terrifying than fictional monsters because they can look normal. Terry M. West does a great job of describing some horrifying situations that could really happen and that’s what really makes this book a disturbing read. If you like to be shocked then A Psycho’s Medley is for you.
The next book I want to mention is The Bloodline: Birth of the Vampir by Rod Garcia and Shaun McGinnis. Set in 13th century Europe, the book begins with the Knights Templar on a holy quest to talk to a man who may know the whereabouts of the holy grail. The knights accompany the man to a town called Erdley where no one has aged in hundreds of years. The surrounding villages call Erdley’s leader Ivan, Ivan the terrible and believe the whole town to be evil. Not everything is as it seems but The knights Templar do discover the grail and under the orders of the Archdeacon of the church, they are ordered to bring it back to the church of England. The knights take over the town and force the citizens of Erdely into exile. To add insult to injury the Archdeacon curses the villagers and they become something the world has never seen before—the first vampires.
This book has a good story to it that kept my interest, and the way the setting was described really brought it to life. The use of medieval torture devices in the story made me cringe but I found it fascinating hearing about them since I knew they were used in that time period and I thought it added authenticity to the story. Another part I liked was how the vampires slowly learned that they weren’t human anymore and how they learned that hunting was a lot different then it use to be.
One thing that bothered me about the story was that the authors spent too much time describing how characters felt. For instance at one point an army’s leader tells his son to lead the army into battle and then they say that the man didn’t love his son and was afraid to fight. As a reader I already assumed that and didn’t have to be told. There were other examples like this in the book also, it felt sometimes like the authors thought that the reader wouldn’t figure it out so they came right out and said how you should feel.
Other things that bothered me was that some of the action scenes needed to be described a little better and a couple of times The author mentioned that the army of vampire’s blood thirst was satisfied by drinking from one animal. I know its being nit picky but I thought that it would take a little more than that to feed that many vampires. All in all though I did like the book. Vampire fans will enjoy it and it is the first in a series which I hope gets better as it goes along.