Joel McCandless

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Smashwords book reviews by Joel McCandless

  • The Box (The Temple of the Blind #1) on Nov. 04, 2011

    A thoroughly enjoyable read. At turns horrific, mysterious, thrilling, and arousing, this book is an adult adventure that deserves more attention. Brian Harmon has a compelling voice and writing style that begs to have a wider readership. Wih one part The da Vinci Code, one part Indiana Jones, and one part The Shining, shaken well and stirred, Horror, Fantasy, Mystery, and Thriller fans should all enjoy this offering. Now on to book two!
  • Gilbert House (The Temple of the Blind #2) on Nov. 17, 2011

    As a stand-alone novel, this would have been so-so. It had a much slower pace than the previous book in the series, with less mystery and adventure. I decided while reading this book that to do it justice with a review, I needed to complete all the existing books in the series, and I'm glad that I did. By itself, I probably would have given it a 3 star rating. However, when taken in context of the series as a whole, it was a necessary story to tell to bring together elements of the greater story. The writing itself was just as good as the previous novel, but the slower pace for the majority of the book (with what appeared at the time to be irrelevant back-story of some of the characters) made it somewhat less appealing...for a while at least. The last third of the novel, however, was a whole different story. It was fast paced, action-driven, and a horror fan's delight. I recommend sticking with this book through the slower start. the back-story, when taken in the context of the whole series, is anything but irrelevant, and the payoff of the last third of the book is well-worth the wait. My rating is an average of the rating I would have given it as a stand alone book (3 stars) and the rating it deserves as a crucial piece of the greater story (5 stars). I recommend it highly, but only to those who have read the first book, and intend to continue the series and read them all.
  • The Temple of the Blind (The Temple of the Blind #3) on Nov. 17, 2011

    This 3rd entry into Brian Harmon's Temple of the Blind series is a very welcome return to the pace, mystery, and adventure of the first entry in the series. It was truly thrilling to dig deeper into the mysterious locale presented in The Box (I won't say more so as not to give spoilers), but I will say that it results in a satisfying journey to an ending that gives just enough answers to give proper closure to this part of the story, while opening up enough new mystery to leave me hungry for the next chapter of the saga. Oh, and there is some truly chilling terror in this one. Highly recommended!
  • Road Beneath the Wood (The Temple of the Blind #4) on Nov. 17, 2011

    I had my reservations about this book when I realized very early on that I would not be seeing any sign of the original heroes that I had come to love across the previous 3 entries in this series: Albert and Brandy. This story follows primarily Wayne, who I felt was a less interesting character in the previous two books. But Brian Harmon has surprised me yet again! He has fostered and matured a much stronger understanding of character development than he has presented to us before, and delivered his deepest, most complex character yet in Wayne...and delivered one helluva story in the process. While this does maintain some of the mystery and adventure of the series, this book is much more of a horror story than the previous entries. The first half of the book is nearly purely psychological horror, while the second half is nearly 100% of the more visceral, graphic variety, thus exploring both sides of the same coin in one outing. This is by far my favorite book yet in the series, and I simply cannot wait for the next entry. I'm practically salivating onto my keyboard for more this very second! Please Brian, write FASTER!