Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Tour: Risen II: The Progeny by Krystal Lawrence

About the Book:

Title: Risen II: The Progeny
Author: Krystal Lawrence
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Pages: 281
Genre: Horror/Suspense
Format: Hardcover/Kindle
Producers take note! Francis Barclay is back and he’s ready for prime time.

Fans of horror/suspense masters Stephen King and Dean Koontz are sure to delight in the return of Francis Barclay, the vengeful and bloodthirsty vampire resurrected from the dead after 200 years, in RISEN, by the “Mistress of Macabre,” Krystal Lawrence. Barclay, cremated at the end of RISEN, has once again returned from the ashes -- and this time he’s not alone!

In Lawrence’s riveting sequel, RISEN II: THE PROGENY, Barclay is working his slow and agonizing way back to Alder Lake, determined to save the child he accidentally sired.

RISEN began the tale of Francis Barclay’s return to Alder Lake to avenge the centuries old murder of his family. In this spellbinding sequel, Barclay is determined to save his progeny. When last we left Alder Lake, seven year-old Lorna was waiting patiently by the window for her blood-father’s return. Her wait is now over. She has inherited Francis Barclay’s luminous glowing eyes as well as his taste for blood.

Alder Lake is once again plagued by murder. Only this time, the suspect will surprise everyone!

The “Risen” books may remind readers of the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVELS by Charlaine Harris or Stephenie Meyer’s TWILIGHT series, but Lawrence reaches farther back for inspiration in the undead genre. She calls her novels “vampires for grownups,” in the manner of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, the most famous bloodsucker of them all.

The main similarity of the RISEN novels to Harris’ and Meyer’s books lies in their rich potential to be adapted into the kind of theatrical or television films that can’t miss in attracting hordes of dedicated fans.

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Book Excerpt:
The sun was sinking behind the mountains as the dead boy walked on, every bone in his over-taxed body aching from strain. The constant cloud of dust and ash that floated about him like a grimy halo made flagging down car rides impossible. This journey would be made on foot, and there was a very long way to go, especially for a boy who should have been resting peacefully in his grave for some three hundred years.
As the boy felt the rising breeze lift his long hair from his brow, he raised his hands to his face and groaned. He watched in silent horror, as his fingers dissolved into fine grains of ash and floated off into the mild California evening. If he did not find shelter for the night soon, there wouldn’t be much of him left to lie down tonight at all.
Five years before, Francis Barclay had been cremated and interred in a vault one hundred miles east of his hometown. Though he was no stranger to rising from the dead, the first time around he was given a fully formed body to work with. This time he was comprised of hundreds of thousands of tiny flakes of burned ash, and they didn’t stay put when the wind grew restless. Worse was the odor clinging to him like an unwanted lover. He smelled like a poorly tamped-out brushfire, lingering cinders smoldering on his skin.
Francis stumbled. He watched with dismay as his left foot began evaporating into fine powder, swirling in the air before him. It turned to mist, and rose into the sky above him like a departing soul, taking that miserable burnt smell with it.

My Review:

Warning: This review may contain spoilers of this book, as well as the first in the series.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the main story of it. The seven year old vampire sired by a murderous centuries dead vampire, waiting as patiently as a young child can for her blood-father to return for her. Said child trying to learn to control her cravings for blood. Then all of the mayhem that ensues when she isn't as successful at it as she'd like to be.

I enjoyed the characters quite a lot, even the unlikable ones. The mom is sure that there is something up with her daughter, but loves her whole-heartedly anyway. The blood-father, Francis, was very interesting to me, trying desperately to make it to his daughter in time. I wish I had read the first book. I think I would have really enjoyed reading about his previously blood-thirsty ways. I really disliked the dad, Kurt. He is a two-timing husband and, I feel, a poor excuse for a man. Every time he turns around, something bad is happening that usually is somehow his fault. 

The only thing that I didn't like about the book is that it seemed too busy to me. There were so many things going on that I couldn't just sit back and enjoy it. Murder, kidnapping, investigations, more murder, infidelities, secrets, vampires, and vampire dogs were around every turn! It seemed like not one chapter could just focus on one element of the story. While it never got confusing, it just felt like too much at times. I felt like I was reading a soap opera at times. I really wanted to just dive into the young vampire dealing with her urges and the ensuing mayhem that was the result. I understand that it is all tied together, but I felt like it would have been an even better story if there had been more about Lorna and less about everyone else.

That being said, I give this book about a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I almost gave it lower, as it was really hard for me to get into the story, but then I found that I didn't want to stop reading. I had to find out what happened. Then there was a nice twist at the end. So, while I found the story busy, I also found it engaging. Once it had my interest, it kept it. 

Would I read it again? Possibly. If I ever read the first book, I might re-read this one afterwards. I think I would enjoy it more with the back story in place in my mind. There were a few times I had really wished I had read the first one. They brought up the happenings in the first book frequently and I was frustrated by not knowing all that had happened before.

Would I recommend it to anyone? Yes. I think that a lot of people would enjoy it. It is an adult book as there are some sex scenes, intense fight scenes, and murder scenes.  I wouldn't recommend this to younger readers, but perhaps older teens that are comfortable with these things. If you like murder, mayhem, and vampires, then you might enjoy this book. 

Krystal Lawrence was born and raised in Southern California, where she was a child actress. In her late teens and early twenties she redirected her creative energy into radio, and hosted a successful talk show in Las Vegas for many years. She is the author of two previous books and numerous short stories. She now lives in Seattle where she is working on her fourth novel, PHONE CALL FROM HELL.

Her latest book is the horror/suspense, Risen II.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to leave a positive review.

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