D. Ryan Leask
D. Ryan Leask is an avid reader and writer. "Counting Down the Storm" is his freshman effort with many more to come. He grew up in small town Alberta but after studying in the Maritimes and briefly living in Ottawa, now calls the bustling and booming city of Calgary, Alberta Home. He lives there with his wife, Antonia, two beautiful children and his faithful dog Nemo.
I have temporarily un-published Counting Down the Storm as I am in the midst of editing and re-vamping for a re-launch! Stay tuned!
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Smashwords book reviews by D. Ryan Leask
- Ties That Bind (A Madison Knight Novel)
on June 20, 2011
In a Nutshell:
Dedicated Detective Madison Knight and her partner Terry Grant find themselves in the middle of a bizarre crime scene with a rare and expensive tie as the apparent murder weapon. The usual suspects are eliminated and another body appears with the same M.O. The race is on to try to stop a murderer before he becomes a serial killler.
It starts with a great introduction of characters and you immediately get a feel for how they will interact. I think a bit of a grab right off the start would have been helpful as the start is a little bit slow but thankfully well written so it's easy to go through.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Ms. Arnold gets the story really rolling and how her main characters past gets tied into the current events. Excellent writing Carolyn!
Thoughts Upon Completion:
There was a lot left unsaid that perhaps needed more explanation such as the case preceeding this one that was the cause of some of the underlying conflict. It felt a little too much like a second or third book in a series as opposed to a first. Procedurally what little I know of police work (which is little) was believable and interesting and the story kept moving at a nice pace which kept me wanting to read. I liked the character of Madison Knight although her relationship with Terry seemed a little bit forced at times and not as close as I would expect.
The epilogue was unnecessarily detailed and as I am assuming there are more books to come with this character didn't do much to get me excited for another Madison Knight Novel, luckily the rest of the book did make me willing to explore more of this character.
It's not an edge of your seat thriller and it is flawed in a few ways (I'm sorry but the loss of a Grandparent does not compare to the death of someone you love who is close to your own age —sorry pet peeve—) however it is paced well and interesting enough that I certainly didn't feel I wasted my time in reading it. I would give another Carolyn Arnold/Madison Knight Novel a read.
First Impressions: 4+ Editing: 4+ Story: 3=☼☼☼☼
on June 24, 2011
In a Nutshell:
Daniel Lawless is a bachelor detective who prefers shoes over people. What he once thought of as a gift to help him escape the constant torment of school bullies becomes a nightmare when he starts seeing visions of dead bodies, and the visions are real. Along with a local cop, the beautiful and young Sandra Jensen, they set out to try to stop the unstoppable monster from eating it's way through the population of Modesto, California.
Everett Powers, you have written a masterpeice of thrilling horror! I immediately fell in love with Daniel Lawless (although a detective named Lawless made me roll my eyes but am used to it now). I knew I was going to love this book because of the last line in the second chapter:
"Modesto needed a Dirty Harry, a man of action who carried a big gun he wasn't afraid to use, but what they got instead was Daniel Lawless, a man who carried a small gun he preferred not to use, a man who liked shoes."
Now only thing that detracts from the story, I am afraid to say, is that it has a number of simple typos that really need editing.
Everything about this story has made me very excited to continue on and I spent most of the weekend sneaking a few pages in whenever possible. Wow, just wow. Blown away.
Thoughts Upon Completion:
On one hand I am sad that I've finished one of the best books I have read for a while, on the other hand if there had been much more action I may have had a heart-attack! Somewhere I read that writers should avoid having too intense of action for too long, Everett pushed the envelope on this one but it did seem that too much was happening, day break hit and all slowed down again (Daylight is the monster's only weakness).
I found myself at times questioning what the author was doing with the story and why he was taking it that way, at one point I thought he was "Spielberg"-ing it (To Spielberg is to introduce aliens into a plotline for no apparent reason or because you don't know where to take the story, in other words, if all else fails, add aliens, for example, A.I. and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull). I was wrong, the direction was necessary and made perfect sense. the story was always able to overcome this with proof of need and history to back it up.
I loved this story, I loved the characters, I loved the monster, I loved the storyline and how Lawless could see through the eyes of victims before they were going to be killed. He was indiscriminate with the victims too! there is one scene where a young girl is about to get gang rapped by a group of boys. Of course you root for the boys to get killed and the girl to escape, nope, they all die!
The only issue I have is the concept of "The Leader", it brought a level of 'preachiness' that I didn't think was necessary and could have been toned down or eliminated, not all stories need a moral, cause the moral to this story is, don't walk so close to the canals or you're gonna get yourself eaten!
There was only one thing that reminded me that this fantastically well written story wasn't written by someone backed with a slew of editors and publishing clout behind them, simple mistakes, nothing plot breaking but more the run of the mill type:
(these aren't actual quotes from the book)
-Frank had a good look at he. (should have been her)
-All of the pretty horses had beautiful golden manes of gold. (beautiful manes of gold or beautiful golden manes)
-I did see numbers spelled numbkers once as well
There was enough of these that it caused me to stumble and re-read a few sentances.
I stand by my saying that this is a "masterpeice of thrilling horror". I have no idea why I keep wanting to compare it to Stephen King's It but I do (I hate using Stephen King as the touchstone of horror writing). I also would have to say that this would make one hell of a 3D horror movie that would scare the crap out of millions of viewers and I don't think it would take much imagination to make a screen adaptation (except for what needed to be cut to fit it into 120mins of action).
5(1st Impressions)+3 (Editing)+10 (Overall Story)=18/20 (☼☼☼☼☼ )
- Death of a Matador
on Sep. 19, 2013
My first experience with Mr. Powers was the fanastic novel Canals where he established himself to me as a fantastic writer, this solidified that.
A great story set in the very real, but not well known, world of Portuguese American culture. His descriptive voice and well thought story lines make this a great read and hard to put down!
I hope to read many more Grant Starr novels or anything from this fantastic author!
- The Mighty T
on Sep. 28, 2013
I was enthralled from the start. I love his characters, their interactions and just the way he describes places situations and history, very matter of fact but yet enjoyable to read. I read the review by Jay Krow and completely agree with what he said. Keep an eye on this author, hens going places!
- Gabriel's Revenge
on Dec. 08, 2013
On ne hand I'm sad this trilogy is through but on the other it ended so well!. The author builds such amazing characters and landscapes that are so easily visualized and believed that you get lost in this world and for a moment you believe that you could hop on a shuttle and be off to Mars.
I really look forward to the next adventures to come from this wonderful storyteller!
- Wrinkled Shorts
on Jan. 13, 2014
a great and eclectic collection of sci-fi/horror that are fun and unique. Mr. Umpstead can tell a tale in a few pages just as well as he can over a three book series! Can't wait to see what he'll write next!