Thursday, August 18, 2011

J.J. Westendarp: Spiral X

First off I would like to Thank Wenj over at Black Lagoon Reviews who had an interview and giveaway featuring J. J. Westendarp and I was lucky enough to be one of the winners. I think this is the first book I have ever won. So Thank You again.

In his debut novel J.J. Westendarp introduces the reader to a darker side of paranormal where life and death may be determine by how much one has Faith:

Cheryl has been fighting vampires since she was 16 and now six years later she is still fighting but questioning how much fight she has left in her as she has just crossed some unwritten line but, she is not about to give up yet. With the introduction of a new street drug, Plast, that turns the human user into their primal self when they come back down from their High, Chery knows that the vampires are the ones distributing it on the street, this may be her last fight but she wants to make her streets safe again. To make matters worse, it is going to be very hard to do her job as there has been an underworld hit put out on Cheryl with the emphases on dead. From cops to underworld bosses to gang members, Cheryl will leave no rock unturned and neither will the bad guys as they pursues Cheryl for the bounty on her head, and she pursues the distributor of Plast.

Loved this book, it was everything that I wanted it to be; lots of action, darker writing and a little bit of twist on the paranormal genre. The book was fairly well written (I found a few typos here and there but nothing major), easy to read and the plot line was full of mystery and suspense. Additionally, Westendarp was not afraid of his main characters getting hurt or suffering, which I prefer as it opens up a whole new whelm of possibilities that the author can explore.

This is the first book I have read that had a belief in God as a very powerful weapon against vampires. I know that in Laurell K. Hamilton's series that Anita believes in God and that is why her cross glows, but this takes it to whole other level. Westendarp has reintroduced an aspect that I think has been lost in the paranormal genre and the old folk lore about Vampires and Demons being destroyed by an individual's Faith in God. The way that Westendarp uses the church and the blessing of stakes is a great reinvention of an old "myth".

I really liked Rev and the what he is and what he represents. He is a very interesting character and I hope that we are able to see more of him in later books, I do not want to give too much away about who and what Rev is. Lets just say it is something that I have not seen in a very long time, I'm thinking 90s area. Cheryl is part of the main reason that I liked this book, she was a great mis of tough chick/vulnerable. She does not think that she has all the answers, she is willing to get the job done, but after 6 years of fighting, she is wonder how much longer she can actually fight. I think that Westendarp did a good job of not crossing the line into what I have found lately the annoying ass kicking i know everything heroine in this genre.

The one thing I'm not sure about, and it could be that I missed a reference to it earlier in the book, is that Cheryl is part physic when it comes to vampires. She is able to pick up who is a vampire, and sometimes tell what they are planning or going to do next. I felt that this aspect was just dropped on me halfway through the book, as I do not remember it mention in the beginning. It is an interesting power, that I think will be explored more, but it is not to the extent (yet?) that she is able to fully read anyone's mind (think more like a spidy sense feeling).

The is mystery in this book is great with twists and turns, with ones that I am sure that you will not see coming, coupled with some new ideas and great reinvention of old ones that I think that Westendarp has something here. Spiral X is an easy to read, fast paced, action infused novel that I think those who like the paranormal genre on the darker side of things will enjoy. Westendarp is definitely an Indie author to watch out for and I know I will be picking up the next book.


Note: You can find Westerdarp's books on Smashwords

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