Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Secrets/Outcast by John R. Little & Mark Allen Gunnells - Book Five in JournalStone's Doubledown series

4.5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

This is the fifth entry in the successful Doubledown series from JournalStone Publishing.  The idea is to combine the work of an established writer with a relative newcomer.  This time featuring John R. Little and Mark Allen Gunnells.

In past Doubledown books, it's been the theme that's been loosely shared.  In book five, John R. Little came up with the idea of a shared prologue which introduces readers to Karen and Bobby searching a cemetery for a particular grave.  Then, keeping the characters, each writer takes the story in their own direction with intriguing results.

In John R. Little's story, Secrets, there were times the tale seemed like a charming little fantasy and then events would take a very dark turn.  Both Karen and Bobby have a very unusual gift.  There are points in time when the world just stops, freezes, for everyone except these two.  Sometimes for both and occasionally for just one or the other.  Karen uses her alone time to learn the secrets, of her neighbors and her own family.  Bobby has more destructive hobbies.

For Mark Allen Gunnells, Outcast is a story where wallflower, Karen, discovers her powers as a witch and outcast Penelope tries to guide her development for her own purpose.  At the same time Penelope's former coven tries to warn Karen of Penelope's less than honest intentions.

Some of the best lines come from Karen's growing powers, "So what, just because someone makes me mad doesn't give me the right to go all Carrie-a-the-prom.  I could have killed her." and "I mean once upon a time all I could do was make items shake a little, but now I'm Voldemort all a sudden."

Both stories are above average and make for one of the better Doubledown books.

Secrets/Outcast will be available as a Limited Edition hardcover, hardcover, paperback and ebook from JournalStone and can currently be pre-ordered now through  Publication is set for August 22 2014.

Strongly recommended.

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