Audrey Driscoll

Biography

Audrey Driscoll is the author of the Herbert West Series. She lives, writes and gardens on the west coast of British Columbia.
Contact: Audrey.d@telus.net

Smashwords Interview

What is the story behind your books?
Quite literally, it's "Herbert West, Reanimator," an early short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Herbert West, Lovecraft's corpse-reanimating doctor, has more personality than most of HPL's protagonists, whose main function is simply to experience horror. I began wondering about Herbert -- what lay behind his bizarre interests? Opening that door led me on a journey of several years, during which Herbert travels from Arkham, Massachusetts to an island called Bellefleur, and then to Providence, Rhode Island and ultimately back to Arkham. In the course of these transitions, he undergoes a series of transformations, from amoral, rational scientist to wounded healer, psychopomp and magus.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on the West Coast, mainly in British Columbia. The city of Victoria, where I have lived for the past 20 years, is a hotbed of writers, so it's easy to find critiquers and beta readers. More or less wild places are not far away, and this awareness of the natural world certainly appears in my writing.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Audrey Driscoll online


Books

Hunting the Phoenix
By Audrey Driscoll
Series: Herbert West, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 169,830. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2012. Category: Fiction
Journalist Alma Halsey chases the story of a lifetime to Providence, Rhode Island and finds more than she expected – an old lover, Charles Milburn, and an old adversary, renegade physician Herbert West, living under the name Francis Dexter. Fire throws her into proximity with them both, rekindling romance and completing a great transformation. Age 14+
Islands of the Gulf Volume 2, The Treasure
By Audrey Driscoll
Series: Herbert West, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 125,420. Language: English. Published: May 28, 2012. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Abandoned and abused, young Herbert West resorts to drastic measures to survive. At Miskatonic University, he becomes a scientist who commits crimes and creates monstrosities. Decades later, haunted by his past, he finds safety as Dr. Francis Dexter of Bellefleur Island, but his divided nature threatens those he loves and forces him to face the truth about his healing powers. Age 14+
Islands of the Gulf Volume 1, The Journey
By Audrey Driscoll
Series: Herbert West, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 163,950. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2012. Category: Fiction
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
To Andre Boudreau, Herbert West is the Doctor, who saved his life in the Great War. Andre will follow him into Hell if necessary. Margaret Bellgarde knows him as Dr. Francis Dexter, attractive but mysterious. One day she will be shocked by what she is willing to do for his sake. But who is he really? He doesn’t know – and the possibilities are disturbing.
The Friendship of Mortals
By Audrey Driscoll
Series: Herbert West, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 157,970. Language: English. Published: May 22, 2010. Category: Fiction
0.5 star(4.50 from 4 reviews)
Herbert West can revivify the dead – after a fashion. Miskatonic University librarian Charles Milburn agrees to help him, compromising his principles and his romance with Alma Halsey, daughter of the Dean of Medicine. West’s experiments become increasingly risky, but when he prepares to cross the ultimate border, only Charles can save his life – if his conscience lets him.

Audrey Driscoll’s tag cloud


Smashwords book reviews by Audrey Driscoll

  • Turning Tide on Feb. 06, 2011
    star star star star
    Turning Tide is a well-executed story about an older woman whose life changes suddenly. The drabness of Betty's years-long marriage contrasts strongly with the lively interactions among a nearby household of women. Life on the beach, a spiral of stones and shells, shared food and stories are all enticingly evoked. The ending is surprising but not final.
  • A Ghost Story of the Norfolk Broads on May 14, 2011
    star star star star
    I enjoyed this story. It's quietly told, with a slow up-ratcheting of tension. The setting was another plus for me. I've never been to the Norfolk Broads, except in imagination, courtesy of Arthur Ransome. I enjoyed seeing the place names I was familiar with from his books in a totally different context. As a ghost story, this reminded me of M.R. James -- the same literate, understated creepiness. I recommend it.
  • From Such Small Things on May 23, 2011
    star star star star
    From Such Small Things is a well-crafted and adroitly written short ghost story. Using plain, matter-of-fact language, Brian Harmon ratchets up the tension so gradually that the reader experiences the weird events in Allan's house in much the way that Allan does. Footsteps overhead, open doors that should be closed -- and the cat! These details have appeared in many ghost stories, for a good reason: they have the power to creep you out and wish you could tell the protagonist, "Don't you go up those stairs!" My only quibbles are a paucity of information about Allan's neighborhood and neighbors. I assumed the setting was contemporary suburbia, but the story would have been enhanced by a bit more detail. It's a good read, but maybe not late at night when you're alone in the house!
  • Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, Book 1) on Aug. 27, 2011
    star star star star
    I had a feeling that Still Life With Murder would be a good read after the first paragraph, and I was right. Well-written and thoroughly researched, this novel combines history, romance and mystery, with an emphasis on romance. Its main strengths are the principal characters, Nell with her problematic past and Will with his psychological problems and addictions. Their interactions are compelling, to the point that the actual "whodunit" aspect is secondary. I found the revelation of the murderer a bit unlikely, but that didn't matter.
  • Northern Liberties on June 30, 2012
    star star star star
    Northern Liberties by Glenn Vanstrum is a rich concoction of art, medicine and murder set in 1870s Philadelphia. Its unifying element is artist Thomas Eakins’s painting The Gross Clinic. Vanstrum takes the reader into the operating theater and Eakins’s studio, twisting several thematic threads into an interesting and gripping read. He demonstrates an insider’s knowledge of anatomy and surgery, as well as the process of creating an oil painting. A number of historical themes give this book heft and depth. The primary one is the terrible residue of the American Civil War, which informs the choices of the principal characters, real and fictitious. Another is the transition from primitive to modern surgery that resulted from the work of Joseph Lister. From a present-day perspective it’s hard to believe that the adoption of antiseptic procedures was strongly resisted by the medical establishment, but Vanstrum’s book makes that vividly clear. The grisly business of obtaining corpses for scientific dissection adds a macabre touch to the story. The dialogue is tense and realistic, the pacing brisk but not dizzying. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. That it provoked me to learn more about Thomas Eakins and Samuel Gross is a bonus.
  • What She Doesn't Know on July 22, 2012
    star star star
    I acquired this ebook for free during Read An Ebook Week in March 2012. Its description suggested that it was a mystery, and I was intrigued by the setting – an island in the Bay of Fundy. What She Doesn’t Know is actually romantic suspense. I don’t read a lot in this genre nowadays, which may have coloured my attitude somewhat. The necessary elements of the genre are definitely present – an injured, bereaved and beautiful woman, and a strong, skilled but not altogether trustworthy guy. She (Raven) is identified as a librarian near the beginning, and he (Sloan) tells Raven that he is a university professor and an archaeological expert. But there is almost no mention of these professions afterward. Raven is affected by some form of amnesia, which may explain the paucity of details about her. Sloan’s background is somewhat more developed, but to me both characters remained flat – types rather than real people. The author handles their mutual attraction deftly and with touches of humour. That’s one of the strengths of this book. The other necessary element, that of suspense, is furnished by a gang of bad guys and a shadowy organization called the Protectorate. The gang is trying to find a precious “artifact” whose existence has been revealed to them by Raven’s seemingly dead husband, once a member of the Protectorate. The bad guys are singularly ineffective, hovering in the background until they are needed to deliver a shot of action. More often than not, they quit the scene empty-handed, leaving the two protagonists to speculate as to what they wanted and why they didn’t kill anyone. The plot moves along quickly, sometimes at the expense of the all-important element of suspension of disbelief. The main characters have many discussions/arguments that dance around the central secret of the plot, which cannot be revealed too early. Which is why no one ever asks some logical questions – what is the treasure/artifact supposed to be, and what exactly is the Protectorate? Eventually, the plot is resolved in a fairly satisfying fashion that hints at a sequel. I was disappointed that the setting received fairly short shrift from the author. In my limited experience with romantic suspense, I’ve noticed that often the reader gets a mini-travelogue along with the story, but that is not the case here. The island in the Bay of Fundy could be anywhere in temperate North America. Finally, one error occurred so many times that I am compelled to mention it: the plural possessive of “parent” is “parents’,” not “parent’s.”
  • Effie Perine on Sep. 15, 2012
    star star star star
    Readers who are intimate with The Maltese Falcon (movie or book) may recognize the heroine of the title of this book. Effie Perine is Sam Spade’s secretary and has a minor but significant role in the case of the elusive black bird. Buzzy Jackson interweaves elements from the classic story with a contemporary tale of a young woman’s search for identity. Her Effie is a 21-year-old who has fled the Mendocino commune in which she grew up to live in her traditionalist grandfather’s house in San Francisco. Chance finds her a job as a secretary to a pair of private eyes, Sam Spade and Miles Archer. It’s fortunate that Effie is into vintage clothing and rather innocent when it comes to popular culture, because Spade and Archer’s office is as retro as can be – big black rotary-dial phones, no computers and no coffee maker. Even the typewriter is a manual one, which is okay with Effie because she learned to type on one like it. Effie is strangely content with her job and even more so in the company of Sam, even though their relationship remains almost (but not quite) platonic. A short time later a curvaceous client who calls herself Miss Wonderly appears and Miles Archer is murdered. Sam is in and out of the office, leaving Effie to deal with Archer’s widow Iva, various cops and the delightful Miss Wonderly, who changes her name as often as other women change their underwear, finally settling on Brigid O’Shaughnessy. Outside of the office, Effie has to juggle her eccentric mother, a former-but-wanting-to-be-present boyfriend, the illness of her grandfather and tantalizing traces of her father, who vanished just about the time she was born. After a dizzying sequence of encounters and conversations, Effie makes an informed choice as to which world she wants to live in. This is a weird but interesting novel. Effie is an engaging character, and the odd combination of the 1920s, 1970s and 1990s somehow manages to work. The author is good at creating ambiance and the dialogue made me feel that I was eavesdropping on real people. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed The Maltese Falcon or was part of the 1970s scene in California. And to anyone else who likes a good read with a dash of romance. A minor problem is occasional lack of clear separation between different people's statements in sequences of dialogue -- most likely a formatting issue. I acquired this book for free during Read An Ebook Week 2012.
  • Gravely Mistaken - Tales of Medicine, Mishaps and Body Snatching in Augusta, Georgia on Sep. 29, 2012
    star star star star
    The author of this book is a long time resident of Augusta, Georgia and has had a long career as a registered nurse. The book is related in a fictional style and includes fictional characters, but there is a substantial amount of history in the 32 chapters. The primary plot involves three students at the Medical College of Georgia in 1854 and an incident of body snatching that spins off into burial and reburial, consternation, anxiety and a dash of romance. Other chapters describe the early years of the Medical College and its founders, as well as significant events in the history of Augusta and of medicine in the South between the 1830s and the 1850s. I acquired this book during Read An Ebook Week in March 2012, when it was available as a free download. I was initially attracted by the subject matter as described in the title because of similarities with my own first novel. For some reason I expected this to be a novel as well, not having taken notice of the word “tales” in the subtitle. As a result I was slightly disconcerted by the digressions from the rather engaging opening chapters into what appeared to be historical essays in Chapters 3 through 6. I kept on reading and was glad I did because those chapters were interesting too, and their relevance to the main story emerged by the time I was half way through the book. Ms. Parks writes in a competent, straightforward style. Her primary characters are vividly rendered, from students to professors, a black man sold as a slave and an Irishwoman desperate to escape from the potato famine with her children. As the story progressed I came to care about them and how things would turn out for them. In a way, these interwoven tales reminded me a little of essays by the medical writer Berton Roueche. Like them, they impart facts in an interesting and entertaining way through clear, straightforward prose. I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of medicine or life in the antebellum South.
  • Clear Heart on Oct. 08, 2012
    star star star star
    I’m not a guy, and this is definitely a “guy book.” Still, I found it engaging and entertaining. Once I started reading, I realized I had no idea how the book would end and I kept reading to find out. The things I liked best were the details about how the construction business works and the fact that the female characters aren’t physically perfect types. Come to think of it, no one in this book is perfect, physically or otherwise, and that’s part of its charm. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by a man in which romance was such a significant component; the author certainly has a different take on that aspect than what is found in the usual love story. Altogether a good read, which I would recommend to anyone. I acquired this book as a free download during Read An Ebook Week 2012.
  • Rise Above on Oct. 25, 2012
    star star star star
    Rise Above is a thought-provoking story, beautifully written. It's a narrative of quiet deliberation that ends with a shocking revelation. Thank you, AM Kirby, for making this freely available.
  • He Needed Killing on Nov. 25, 2012
    star star star
    He Needed Killing is billed as a "cozy mystery," and it's all of that. Retired university tech guy James Crawford has a delightfully relaxed, friendly narrative voice. Having spent some years on university campuses (in Canada)I could relate to the personality types and situations he describes. (In fact I've sometimes wondered why there aren't more murders in academia, given the intense animosities created by the "collegial system"). My main problem with this book is that it's very slow in spots. I don't object to slow books, but there were extensive sections here that seemed to have little relevance to the story -- detailed descriptions of Crawford cooking meals, for example, and a charming essay on barbecues. The denouement, when it comes, is perfectly satisfying. It turns our that our sleuth's grey cells were working out the mystery while he was cooking, socializing with his cat and dog and doing other everyday activities. Looking back I can see a number of details from these scenes that turn out to be clues later on, but all I could think of in these ruminative sections was "When is something going to happen here?" The prose style is clean and straightforward, the voice and setting engaging, but the story bogs down too often. If I could give 3.5 stars I would, but since that's not possible I have to settle on 3.
  • He Needed Killing Too on Dec. 31, 2012
    star star star star
    This is the cleverly titled second novel in the "Needed Killing series by Bill Fitts, featuring James Crawford, a retiree who unexpectedly becomes a private investigator. This time the victim is an unpleasant, rifle-loving fellow who runs the University Press. The story leads readers through the world of academic publishing and the personalities associated with it, some of whom are suspects and one who turns out to be the murderer. Like the first book, this is a leisurely yet engrossing read. Occasional diversions into topics such as food, football and firearms, along with the intricacies of campus computer networks and relational databases add texture and interest.
  • Let Fall Thy Blade on Feb. 04, 2013
    star star star star
    Impressed by this author’s book Northern Liberties, I was eager to read more by him. Let Fall Thy Blade did not disappoint. The first part of the book, which shows the central character’s driven life as a heart surgeon, is totally gripping. Vanstrum demonstrates an insider’s knowledge of what goes on in the operating theater and in the surgeon’s mind. Once the Hartford family is in Africa, viewing wildlife and gaining insights into Maasai culture, I found a certain degree of disconnection from Malcolm Hartford. Granted, he’s on vacation, but I expected him to mentally link up his African experiences with his career, in which he seemed totally immersed. But things definitely pick up once the Hartfords are kidnapped by poachers and Malcolm faces crisis after crisis before the ambiguous and poignant conclusion.
  • A Dream of Death (Detective Lincoln Munroe, Book 1) on Nov. 02, 2013
    star star star star
    The strength of this book is the author's inside knowledge of police procedures and what it's like to be a cop. In the middle of a serial murder investigation, the main character, Lincoln Munroe, has to deal with nightmares and a host of personal issues. All these elements work together to produce a gripping read. The ending is only partially resolved, which creates a reason to check out the other books in the series.