Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mary Ann Bernal stirs the Wizard's Cauldron and reviews Mark Barry's novels

RED ALERT - Mark Barry's highly anticipated sequel to Ultra Violence will be released next month.  That's right, Violent Disorder will be available early August, 2013.  See you on Amazon!

I am a great fan of Indie author, Mark Barry, and love his work.  Picking a favorite is not easy, since the stories are all exceptional and well written, and cover a variety of genres.  In an attempt to be fair, so you can judge for yourself, I have decided on an alphabetical listing.  Would love to discuss Mr. Barry's works once you've read the novels. 


Carla is the story of a perceived mentally-ill person, John Dexter, who shares his story truthfully about his psychiatric illnesses, hospitalizations, and his obsessive love for a woman half his age. He speaks to the reader, as if writing a blog, sharing painful memories with acceptance, his writings cathartic, purging his fear.  The story held my interest to the very last page and I look forward to reading more novels by this author.  

Hollywood Shakedown

The author has expertly woven a tale of greed and lust into a compelling story of a ruthless man’s quest to obtain a missing manuscript.  The wealthy Mortimer Saxon coerces Buddy Chinn to do his bidding, tempting the alcoholic writer with money, but threatening his life and the life of his woman, Monique, should he fail.  We are introduced to many worlds in this thriller, from racetracks and bars to chess tournaments and British football.  Mr. Barry immerses the reader quickly into the intrigue, an enjoyable page turner that is difficult to put down.  I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

Kid Atomic

Kid Atomic is a story about Kevin Taylor who has joined a protest group on University, and soon finds himself dangerously involved with a radical faction whose sole purpose is to destroy Great Britain.  Mr. Barry expertly weaves into story the complexities of coming of age as Kevin deals with a myriad of emotions, from dealing with bullies to falling in love.  Once Kevin becomes the keeper of the Device, the opportunity for vengeance suddenly is a reality, but could he destroy everyone, including himself in the process?  No spoilers here.  An enjoyable story.

The Illustrated Woman
The Illustrated Woman is a story about a young woman’s choices in the game of life.  Despite Emily’s normal upbringing, extenuating circumstances leaves her on her own, struggling to raise her 8-year-old daughter with a limited income.  Emily’s obsession with having her life’s story told on her body via various tattoo designs is the catalyst for her descent into the seedy world of prostitution.  Despite Emily’s chosen profession, she still dreams of being married to the man she loves, knowing he will never make the commitment.  Mr. Barry manages to shed light into Emily’s psyche - the reader knows why Emily makes poor choices, eliciting sympathy rather than condemnation.  An excellent story for this genre.

The Ritual

The Ritual is an interesting take on a satanic theme whereby the devil returns to earth and claims a human bride.  The story begins when Phillippa and her daughter Jennifer travel from the US to Wheatley Fields, England, so that Phillippa could be near her brother, Damon, in his darkest hour.  Mother and daughter are seen at the airport, quite by chance, by a member of religious cult who believes Phillippa resembles the woman that had been instrumental in establishing the Church’s formation in the last century, and plans are quickly put into place to prepare for the sacrificial rites, and the return of Satan to rule the world.  Mr. Barry’s story captivates the reader with its twists and turns - a page turner that builds up to a suspenseful crescendo, which culminates in an unexpected ending.  An excellent horror story that will cause nightmares, if one is not into horror and the occult.

Ultra Violence

Mr. Barry delves the reader into the bygone days of British football where team followers of Notts County clash with the myriad of opposing fans, resulting in violent clashes on game day.The story revolves around a middle-aged man whose life is in turmoil - a failed marriage, a disinterested son and a career on the line.  He suddenly finds himself reunited with friends from his youthful past, and while nostalgic memories are forefront, replicating events from an earlier era becomes a reality.I enjoyed this story and recommend it to both men and women.

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