Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case

Rated 3.28/5 based on 18 reviews
The story of a hard-up P.I. whose plush case of protecting a rich spoiled brat escalates into an encounter with a man-eating monster. More
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About Adam Pepper

At times disturbing and grim, others raunchy and comical, Adam Pepper’s work is known for a unique blend of horror, suspense and speculative fiction. MEMORIA, Adam’s debut novel, reached #1 on the Dark Delicacies Best Seller list and received rave reviews from Cemetery Dance and Chronicle. "Super Fetus," his outrageous Bizarro novella was called "In-your-face, allegorical social commentary" by esteemed reviewer, Paul Goat Allen. His quick-hitting short work has appeared in genre magazines including THE BEST OF HORRORFIND, Vol. 2 and SPACE AND TIME. Adam’s non-fiction credits span from NEW WOMAN MAGAZINE to THE JOURNAL NEWS. Learn more about Adam at his website:

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Reviews of Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case by Adam Pepper

Elizabeth Miller reviewed on June 30, 2012

Gritty crime thriller with sci-fi twist. Private detective Hank Mondale is down on his luck and needs a client to earn some fast cash when he gets a call from billionaire Thomas Blake out of the blue wanting to hire him to find the murderer now stalking his daughter MacKenzie. The only problem seems that the suspect seems less and less human with every murder. Decent sci-fi crime nvel and was a good way to spend an afternoon in the sun.
(reviewed 11 months after purchase)
Becky Raymond reviewed on Feb. 12, 2012

Hank Mondale is a private investigator whose bad habits and trouble with the law blocked him from ever making it to his dream job as aNew York Citycop. Days filled with drinking too much and gambling away money he doesn’t have make the job offer from a wealthy client almost a life or death situation. When his new client reveals that a supernatural monster trying to kill his daughter, Mondale is not sure whether to stay for the money or run before it’s too late. Desperate for the paycheck and assuming real estate mogul Thomas Blake’s daughter, Mackenzie, is likely spinning a dope-induced tale, Mondale takes the case.

As Mondale dives deeper into Blake’s story, he discovers that people around Mackenzie keep disappearing without a trace and that she and her father are clearly hiding more than just the threats to her life. Has Mondale been hired to protect a clever murdering family or is there really someone – or something – to blame?

The early pages of the story made me think of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser – if he had continued on a self-destructive spiral into drunken debauchery – at least until things took a supernatural turn for the weird. As I progressed to the second section of the book and learned more about Mackenzie’s stalker, I found Pepper’s stark and disturbing narrative made me cringe in distaste.

While I found this to be an eminently readable story with compelling characters and engaging descriptions, I still can’t decide if I liked it or not. The protagonist of the story, Hank Mondale, has more bad habits than Charlie Sheen on a bad day. Just when I started to think I might like him, he would do something else to make me cringe and question his sanity. The only endearing character is Mondale’s childhood friend, Vic, who struggles to balance his loyalty to Hank with his dedication to his job as a cop with a heartfelt and genuine frustration.

For lovers of supernatural fiction who have a strong stomach for vivid depictions of gory situations, Pepper’s engaging dialogue and descriptions make for a good read, even if they don’t make for likeable characters.
(reviewed 74 days after purchase)
Cecilia reviewed on Dec. 29, 2011

This book is seriously creepy and now I remember why I don´t usually read thrillers! They are way to creepy and I have nightmares for days if they are well written.

This book was partly kind of boring and partly creepy. This book is written from two perspectives, from the P.I. Hank Mondale´s and from It´s perspective. When the story was told from Hank´s view it was kind of boring and I found it difficult to continue reading. His whole personality was boring and lazy. He is not a very likable person. Then we get to read the story from the monster It´s view and then it got seriously creepy. The way it thinks and describe things just gets under my skin and I found it hard to continue reading because it creped me out. And it is not the only disturbing person in this story. There are someone else that is really horrible.

I would think that this novel is really good and it is very well written no doubt but it was not for me. If you thrillers and if you like things to be described in a way that it will be hard to get that image out of your head then this is for you. If you do not like that then you should stay away from this book. I wish I had. The images this book gave me will be hard to forget.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
Trinity Foreman reviewed on Dec. 26, 2011

This book was strange and intriguing from the first page to the last. Pepper's writing style is truly unique. Hank Mondale is a sorry excuse for a PI and that is is greatest strength when a celebrity comes calling. He knows Hank will be discreet because Hank plays everything slightly under the radar. However, things in the Blake house start to get more than strange. Hank gets caught up in the Blake world and a world of unexplainable disappearances, which he quickly begins to realize coincide.

For me this book started out great! I was ready to read more until Pepper changed POV's. It began to bounce back and forth an became erratic. I know a lot of people like books like this but it wasn't my cup-of-tea.
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Shirley Frances reviewed on Dec. 22, 2011

I put off reading it for a week, since it's not one of my usual reads. The first chapter was good. I enjoyed getting to know Hank and all the "investigating" that was done. However, once on Chapter 2, I lost much of my interest. I skimmed parts, just focusing on the parts I thought mattered. Its not that I wasn't interested in It's POV. I just found it to be too long but lacking in some areas. Anyway, on to Chapter 3, which I enjoyed since it's told from Hank's POV again and had some action and dialog. I loved the banter between Hank and Mackenzie. I think they're great characters, even if I though Mackenzie lacked some development. The conclusion left me with some questions, the confrontation between It and Hank was anticlimatic and the ending left me blank, but I think with some tweaks in POV's, some more action in particular scenes and more character development and this could be a fine book.

All in all, a quick, interesting read.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Alana Rock reviewed on Dec. 21, 2011

Hank Mondale, a down-on-his luck private investigator, has dug himself a substantial hole between his alcoholism and gambling addiction. He can't pay his kleptomaniac secretary, is about to get evicted from his office building, not to mention the hired muscle breathing down his neck from his overdue losses on basketball games.

A new case seems to practically fall into his lap at just the right time, backed by a secretive wealthy client. Hank is not about to blow his chance to pay off his debts with one job, and agrees to meet with the client to find out more details. Once he realizes it's a very rich real estate mogul and his spoiled, drugged-out daughter with wild claims, he tries to back out. But he instead finds himself on a case that seems to tie-in with several missing persons and two odd homicides....

I have to admit, this is not the type of book I normally read. After reading just the first 10% of the book, I was nearly ready to put it down from there. It's well written, and the characters are detailed... but I didn't find myself liking the main character, Hank. Now, Liking a character is not a requirement for enjoying a book, but it helps. I couldn't identify with his gambling addiction, and I have demons from growing up regarding relatives and alcoholism... and the entire beginning of the book is Hank's personal train wreck of a life. I just plain didn't want to read that part. I did, and I am glad because once it pushed through that and actually seem to pick up the story it was much more interesting.

At one point in the story, the point of view changes, and I actually found that part of the story to be the best and most interesting to me. The innocence Adam Pepper writes into essentially a "monstrous" character was wonderful. I think "Symphony" as it is later named was probably my favorite character out of the book. I found myself rooting for the monster. The other characters were all so damaged and ruthless (except Hank- but I already explained my problems with him) I was basically ready for them all to die and the monster's hands so I could be done with the book. It was decent... I likely will not read it again. If someone likes a darker story with gritty, damaged characters and a horror/supernatural element- then I would recommend they try this book out. But it if's already not your cup of tea, this book won't change your mind about that.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile reviewed on Dec. 21, 2011
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile reviewed on Dec. 21, 2011
(no rating)
First off, I would like to thank PNR & UF Goodreads group for giving me a chance to read and review Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case.

Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case started off pretty normally where the main character Hank Mondale is introduced. A very unusual PI in that he has a big alcohol addiction and a smaller gambling problem. He is so not your typical protagonist; much more like an anti-hero. So it does not come as much of a surprise to learn that he is barely scrambling by, owes money to shady people involved in even shadier businesses and has a dumb kleptomaniac secretary. This should have bothered me, but then considering that Hank Mondale is pretty much depraved of any redeeming qualities himself; it was okay. However, it did bother me when he didn't try to keep up a good relationship with his mother.

Moving on with the story. Hank Mondale looks like a cop, behaves like one and pretty much have the whole cop act perfected to a tee. But he can never become one which is why he has contacts to help him get a decent job in the worst of times. Yet the contacts couldn't help him this time around. So when he gets an offer from a rich business man involving his snob of a daughter, he jumps at the chance. Little does he know what's in store for him.

The whole symphony of blood element is presented here and though it is gross to read about the things that trigger the symphony, the book offers something unique from this perspective. But moving onto the character of Mackenzie Blake. I so did not like her! She is not only immensely annoying, but she is worse because she is a true egomaniac with very fake blonde hair. I mean, who calls themselves a 'mommy' of their pets? Thomas Blake, her father, is much the same though. See a genetic link here?

Anyhow, moving onto to It or Symphony. I really liked It. I liked how Adam Pepper developed him and his abilities of adapting to human life, of wanting a companion in his lone life, of being scared of its prey, of having weaknesses despite being scary at the same time. It gave a new perspective to the concept of monster. The element of music in the whole process was refreshing to read about and I really liked everything about the monster. The gory, horrendous details were horrifying to read about but they made the book thrilling to read.

In all, Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case is a good read. It is a short book and if you're looking for a paranormal thriller book to read this is the one to pick. Adam Pepper has sure set his image as a frighteningly fresh author in the genre.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Sharon Lipman reviewed on Dec. 21, 2011

From the description I was given, this book should have been great. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Trust me, I don’t say this lightly. If I hadn’t been reading this for review purposes, I probably wouldn’t have finished the book. It showed great promise, but just didn’t deliver.

Maybe because I’m a girl, but I struggled with Hank’s first person narrative. There was a lot we didn’t know and never found out – why did he had a drink problem? Why didn’t he make it as a copper? What are the “felonies” that blotted his copy book? When I finally got to grips with the narrative, the book jumps from Hank’s point of view to “It’s” point of view, the creature that has been literally sucking the life out of innocent people. It was a good idea, but it just didn’t work and ended up being a bit repetitive.

I think maybe the author was trying to fit too many ideas into one story. The idea of some sort of supernatural being that can take on the outward appearance of any human it chooses running riot and killing people should have been enough, but that is coupled with a murderous Father and Daughter team – Thomas and Mackenzie Blake who use the creature to do their dirty work and it all became pretty irritating. Hank gets caught up in whole thing as Thomas hires him to protect his daughter from “someone” trying to kill her, but it turns out that Blake knows exactly what’s after her since he’s already fed his business partner to the creature and Mackenzie has offed her so-called best friend and boyfriend for screwing around behind her back. The missing gardener? That was just practice. It all seems like a completely pointless exercise.

Then there’s the ending. After being on the run from the creature since it’s pissed at Mackenzie for killing it’s chameleon friend (I know), the creature catches up with them, tries to kill everyone, but doesn’t. The cops turn up and arrest the Blakes, the creature walks into the sea and Hank gets off Scot-free because he’s friends with a cop. It ends with him having dinner at his mum’s contemplating his close call. What a waste of time. Yawn

The lack of character depth meant I actually didn’t care what happened to anyone, least of all Hank. I found the story pretty boring to be honest. I wasn’t nearly scared enough of the “creature” despite worrying about it before I started reading and I didn’t buy into the story as much as I should have done.

I am really sorry to have to write such a bad review, but I just didn’t like the book at all. Unless someone can convince me that despite the fact that this one was a complete donkey, Pepper’s other books are absolute diamonds, I wont be bothering with any of his others. Sorry. Just not my bag.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Midu Hadi reviewed on Dec. 20, 2011
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
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