Demon Lights

This one came to me through NetGalley review a while back – a long while back.

The review mills of MarzAat grind slow but usually grind fine.

Review: Demon Lights, Michael M. Hughes, 2017.Demon Lights

As the novel opens, the world is falling apart under war, terrorism, and assassinations. It’s all the work of the Black Brotherhood who has been suborning and corrupting the world’s governing elite through magic, blackmail, drugs, sex, and bribery. Under its leader, Lily, it’s looking to crack open the ancient black spheres found in different parts of the world and apocalyptically transform Earth.

Both sides are in contact with extraterrestrial forces – call them gods, space aliens, or beings from another plane.

Deceit and delusion are some of the main themes here, and that was an element I especially liked. The White Brotherhood that rescued series hero Ray, his wife Ellen, and stepson William from Lily’s clutches in the first novel, Blackwater Lights, is corrupted and almost destroyed in an attack on their hidden base at the beginning of this novel. Continue reading

Witch Lights

Yes, I promised you more Kathe Koja, but, since I just read this novel and have had the review copy for more than two years, I’m putting this review out first.

Review: Witch Lights, Michael M. Hughes, 2014.witch-lights

While I liked Blackwater Lights, I liked this novel even more.

Two years after the events of that novel, our hero Ray is hiding out in Guatemala with his wife Ellen and her son William. The very powerful, very connected cult they fled at the end of the first novel is still looking for Ray, hoping to tap into his powers to summon dark, extraterrestrial entities. Its very beautiful (even if she reminds her prey of an insect), very seductive leader Lily is in charge now.

Another almost as well-connected group, the Brotherhood, is helping Ray’s family in their fugitive life in Central America. The strain of maintaining disguise and not knowing the language well is telling on Ray and Ellen’s relationship. So, they break the rules and go out with William to a local carnival one afternoon.

And, as they find out, there was a good reason for those rules. Gunmen snatch Ellen and William, and Ray barely escapes. Continue reading

Blackwater Lights

d96cc07cabda0c659694e7a6841434d414f4141A surprisingly enjoyable novel. While I expected a Lovecraftian story, it is Lovecraftian only in theme and not in any explicit allusions.

I got it for review from the publisher about six months ago. Perhaps inconvenient for Mr. Hughes, but I don’t get paid for these reviews, so, if you don’t give a hard deadline, a title is reviewed when I get around to it.

And I’m not going to be tyrannized by the new or be one of those reviewers who laments they never get to go back and read anything old. Besides, in the age of the long tail, I suspect a book can survive better without the immediate oxygen of a review upon release — providing, of course, it gets reviewed and noticed sometime.

Review of Blackwater Lights by Michael M. Hughes, 2013.

Blackwater, West Virginia’s strange orange lights in the sky aren’t the only forteana phenomena in Hughes’ first novel. There will be a lot more as well as some Lovecraftish bits.

And Hughes’ is not the first author to start a story with the device of a man getting a pleading call from a childhood friend to visit him in some rural backwater. But, from the moment Ray Simon arrives in town from Baltimore, things are weird. His friend Kevin, an internet porn millionaire, isn’t home. A naked girl shows up pleading for sex before being taken away by a creepy sheriff. And then Ray sees the Blackwater Lights. Continue reading