Short Reviews: JE Gurley’s Bloodlust / Fiona Dodwell’s Obsessed

Bloodlust by J.E. Gurley

A monster is on the rampage in Detective Tack Hardin’s city, murdering young women and drinking their blood. It isn’t long before Hardin learns that the killer is a chupacabra, and that its young will soon awaken with their own thirst for blood. He finds an ally in the beautiful and mysterious Joria Alvarez, whose father was murdered by the creature and whose obsession with it may prove Hardin’s undoing. As the body count rises, Hardin risks his career and his life to fight a threat to humankind that may be more massive than even he realizes.

There’s a lot to like about Bloodlust, starting with Hardin, who reminds me in some ways of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch in his grim determination to protect the innocent and ability to take large amounts of damage and keep going. The subplot with a secret government agency attempting to capture a chupacabra alive to further its own projects was intriguing. As far as Joria’s character went, I’m afraid I guessed the twist with her well before it was revealed, but that was about all I foresaw. If you like hardboiled police noir with a supernatural enemy, you’ll likely enjoy this tale.

Obsessed by Fiona Dodwell

James Barker is haunted by the death of a man who jumped in front of a train he was driving. Despite the urging of his wife Chloe, he finds himself increasingly drawn to investigate the man’s life, and what possessed him to commit suicide. It’s not long before he is seeing visions of the dead man, both in his nightmares and in the waking world, and is forced to choose between abandoning his search to save his sanity and his marriage, or to pursue the clues all the way down to the dark truth of that night.

Fiona Dodwell does compelling work in creating a feeling of compulsive need in Barker, and as he goes deeper into obsession, in keeping the supernatural suspense as to what is really happening and what is in Blake’s fevered imaginings. The book relies more on atmosphere and suspense to draw readers in, all the way to its unflinching denouement. If you like your horror stories mixed with subtlety and suspense, I recommend trying this one.

Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and several previously published and forthcoming short stories. He can be found via his website, his blog A Taste of Strange, as @gwox on Twitter, and in many other far-flung places on the Internet.

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