Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series Two Book 5) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Wolf by Tim O'Rourke‘Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 5)’ draws the reader in from the very beginning, especially for those of you who have followed this series, as it picks up from where we left off in ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’. However, for those readers that are not familiar with the Keira Hudson series yet, the beginning of this novel is well-explained, easy to follow and provides the background knowledge that is needed to follow the story.

As a fan of the series, I would urge those readers that haven’t already done so, to read the entire Keira Hudson series for the stories of each of the characters. This is because they all have their own story to tell in-between the main focus of their adventure and these stories are written from each characters point of view. It is amazing how Tim O’Rourke places himself in the mindset of each of his characters and describes every emotion that they are feeling intensely.

So, ‘Dead Wolf’ is told mostly from Murphy’s point of view. However, it does begin from Keira’s, after she has found out a great deal about Jack Seth’s history and about herself. Keira is still at a crossroads when it comes to choices and the information she has learned will not make her choice any easier to make, if she makes one at all.

Keira and her friends are in a world that has been ‘pushed’ from the one that they knew before, there are statues that appear to be sending them signs and, without making a decision, it is highly possible that Keira herself will turn to stone. The only lead they seem to have at the moment between the world they knew and this new ‘pushed’ version is that of a mystery photographer who has managed somehow to go from one world to the other, leaving photographs for some of them to find.

Meanwhile, Murphy, Kayla and Sam have an ordeal of their own in Chapter 2. This chapter really excited me due to its intensity, passion, action, violence and gore. There are moments where I found myself cringing, but loving every word. I truly feel alive as I visualise every movement as if I am there when reading this series, and this scene was no exception. My heart is racing as I am hoping for a positive outcome. I worry for the characters and long to be of assistance. The reader is completely gripped as the story then moves on.

Shortly after, ‘Dead Wolf’ becomes Murphy’s story, as he narrates his history of family, friends, relationships and his career. Murphy’s story throughout is full of emotion. The reader finds out how Murphy became a police officer, how he feels about the Vampyrus and Lycanthrope, who has touched his heart and, on a lighter note, why he wears his beloved slippers! Although Murphy’s story is emotionally intense as it is full of sorrow, lies, deceipt, betrayal there are also some lighter moments and I found myself laugh out loud on a few occasions.

The emotional rollercoaster that Murphy has been on does not seem that different in one way than that of Jack Seth’s. They have both seen their fair share of deceipt and lies and they have both lost people that are dear to them. They are two sides of the same coin in one way: they have both been through great ordeals, they both care about family, they have both been deceived. However, one is Vampyrus and the other Lycanthrope. They are possible enemies under most circumstances.

Tim O’Rourke always brings something new and fresh to each instalment of the series. ‘Dead Wolf’ introduces the reader to different characters that have played parts in Murphy’s life, such as his mother, Pen, Chloe, Marc, Steve and Annie. We are also made aware of how much Rom, a character from earlier in the series, has supported Murphy and helped him with his career and his ordeal.

It was lovely to read this book as it was snowing out of my window, as was the setting for some scenes in ‘Dead Wolf’. This assisted me even moreso (not that it needed to whatsoever) to relate to the scenery in the story. We are taken on a scenic journey as well as an emotional adventure in regard to the scenery, as always with this series, as we go deep in the caves at The Hollows to the forest and the lake.

The end of this novel is written from Keira’s point of view, which I feel wraps it up really nicely and brings us back to the here and now with Keira and her friends. The reader has travelled a long journey with Murphy, but then returned to the present situation that the characters are in. Will they find the photographer? Will Keira turn to stone? How are Potter and Keira going to be with each other? Will they all return to the world they once knew as their reality/home?

The next instalment is ‘Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 6) which should be out soon! I really cannot wait to see where the characters will go from here, on their next adventure, to try and get their lives back on track.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dead Seth (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #4) by Tim O’Rourke

Again, Tim O’Rourke has left the reader completely shocked. I do not usually begin my review with the end of the book, however, it is the end which unravels some serious revelations, after many twists and turns. I love how these novels surprise the reader. They are unpredicatble and yet still believable and in line with the whole series. Hence, the five stars that it truly deserves.

The writing is excellent, as in ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’ we are subjected to the history and background behind Jack Seth, the Lycanthrope, the cursed killer wolf. This novel is written from mostly Jack Seth’s point of view as he narrates to Keira his story of how he became cursed and detailing the life that he led growing up. As in most of the Keira Hudson novels there are many twists and turns, especially on the emotional scale. This book is no exception.

We realise the many corners that Jack Seth’s life turned, how he was mentally tormented and how unstable his whole family life was. It would be wrong of me to reveal anything more without spoiling the story as this is a must-read. There are moments when the reader hates what he is doing and other moments when we feel compassion and understanding for him. Once the reader is engrossed in the thick of the story it is easy to empathise with Jack and I must admit that, apart from the paranormal/fantasy side, there are elements that feel very real. The mental torment, lies, betrayal, and the instability are all elements that real people, real children have lived through and are living through.

Keira’s point of view is also told in ‘Dead Seth’, as she is desperately wanting to escape in order to save her father and Potter. However, as Jack is telling her his story she does feel for him. At the same time she is gradually turning to stone which proves difficult for her to even talk to him at times. During the whole read I kept asking myself; will she escape, will she rescue her father, Potter, or both or will she turn into a statue?

Throughout the first half of the book I did feel the need to know exactly what Potter was doing and how Murphy and Kayla were. This is no different to when reading the novella, ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5)’, and ‘Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 2)’ where we are told Potter’s story and in the latter, Isidor’s. As these books focus on the one character mostly I did terribly miss the others and was desperate to know what they were going through and what they were thinking.

However, in hindsight, I think that this is a fantastic way of writing as it allows the reader to get up close and personal with each character, good and bad, and become fully aware of them and understand their point of view. It also makes it the more exciting when we are reunited with the other characters in the following books as we have waited with eager anticipation and cannot wait to sink our minds into the next adventure.

All of the Keira Hudson books are interwoven and provide a great backbone for all of the others. I would strongly recommend that any reader of this book, along with ‘Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 3)’, should read the earlier books and novellas of series one and series two. This would really assist the reader in understanding the whole picture: where these characters have come from, their adventures together and also their connection between each story and the other characters.

I simply cannot wait for the next instalment, ‘Dead Water’. However, I am glad that I am finally up-to-date with the series.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dead Statues (Kiera Hudson Series Two #3) by Tim O’Rourke

Dead Statues (Kiera Hudson Series Two, #3)This novel has left me feeling utterley shocked and impatient to find out exactly what is going to happen next. Keira Hudson is definitely back and the main focus of this book, along with Potter. The story is told from both points of view and is completely filled with mystery, emotion, action, adventure, fear and dread.

At the beginning of the book is an Author’s Note. This is a short account of what ‘Dead Statues’ has in store for the reader, i.e. the areas and characters it will be focusing on. It also explains the connections between the previous novellas, ‘The Wolf House’ and ‘Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets, and this novel. I, personally, would take notice if you haven’t already read the previous novellas as they do provide great background information and knowledge of certain characters that will help the reader understand the emotions behind this novel.

Keira and her friends have just escaped a huge attack from the Skin-walkers, however it did not end well. They are all contemplating what had just happened and are trying to rest before they figure out what to do next. Before much can be said we find that they are in the thick of it again with the Skin-walkers. When events begin to calm, Keira is made aware of secrets that Potter has kept from her. Keira is hurt, angry and confused. How could Potter do this to her? She thought that he loved her.

Because she feels deceived and has found out that her father is alive in this ‘pushed’ world, Keira decides to leave her friends behind in search of her dad. Her friends, in the meantime, have problems of their own. And Potter has a great deal of making up to do. Potter goes in search for Keira, hoping to explain himself to her.

Throughout this novel it is easy to sympathise with Keira as she is the one that was kept in the dark and deceived. However, for those that have read the two novellas, Potter is also easy to sympathise with as the reader will understand the how’s, where’s and why’s. On saying this, I do believe that Potter should have explained all to Keira, for at least then she would know the truth firsthand, without becoming more paranoid and having more questions and doubts.

Throughout this series we have been introduced to the statues. These statues seem to appear from nowhere and when unseen they change positions. Some appear to whisper, but without their lips moving. They are eerie and it is the whole mystery surrounding them that make the reader fear for what or who they are, at the same time as wonder whether this will end up being Keira’s fate.  These statues remind me of the Weeping Willows in the ‘Doctor Who’ series. And, likewise, they make me feel all goose-bumpy as they are strangely ghostly. Who are these statues, where are they from and what connection do they have to Keira and her friends?

The setting for this main novel is largely at a cottage where Keira’s friends are holding out for her, a graveyard near Keira’s fathers’ house and Keira’s fathers’ house. The atmosphere is very moody, very emotional, scary and terrifying. The snow is falling all around, in contrast, creating a more calm background, especially as the last novel was very stormy with thunder and lightning.

The ending of this novel is a complete cliffhanger and it is an absolute must to read the following novel, ‘Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series Two, Book 4)’. Keira and Potter both seem stuck in at their own dead end and it is impossible to know what will happen next. Will their enemy succeed? Will Keira or Potter be saved? I hope both, but the chances are slim.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker