Tag Archives: Gord Rollo

The Translators – Gord Rollo

IMG_0430

When John Taylor was a boy, he and his father were out riding a motorcycle when they were abducted by aliens. John was returned with a fuzzy memory of what happened and strange voices in his head that tell him things. His father wasn’t so lucky. He disappeared without a trace. Left to grow up without a father and the constant chatter inside his brain that the doctors think is schizophrenia, which John is able to keep at bay by taking psych meds. That is, except for once a month when he uses the voices to tell him the winning numbers at the roulette table in Atlantic City. He thinks that no one is the wiser, until his wife is trying to get a promotion at the local radio station and uses John to come on and tell his story of the Translators in his head. Little did John know that the government has been watching him and his special abilities and now they need to cash in on his expertise to be able to translate any language through the voices in his head. You see, the end of the world is coming and it’s not going to be from global warming, nuclear war, or genocide. It’s going to be coming from outer space and the aliens that abducted John when he was little and the government needs his help. Will it be too late to save man kind?

The Translator is a unique Apocalyptic tale from Gord Rollo, the man that brought us the gems, The Jigsaw Man and Valley of the Scarecrow. He uses his imaginative vision to carve out the approaching end of the world using everything from Area 51 and Roswell, NM to the Loch Ness Monster, Machu Pichu, and his take on the Bible’s Revelations. John is a three-dimensional character that you soon feel for and I love the take on the whole Area 51 and Mayan end of the world calendars. However, I wasn’t crazy with the biblical battle at the end. It seemed a tad hokey and had the “what’s the point?”factor going on. But, that’s a small complaint for great characters and crisp writing. Rollo has been MIA the past couple of years and that’s sad to see. He is definitely a talent that I have come to know and love and hope that he’s able to get back into kicking out more works of his imagination on a more regular basis.

4 Horseman of the Apocolypse out of 5 (or was it 4?)

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

Gods & Monsters – Gord Rollo

image
Let’s get right into this one:

Divine Intervention – A priest has lost his faith and is looking for a sign. Be careful what you wish for. Not really my bag. It didn’t do much for me.

2 1/2 stars out of 5
Chamber of the Gods – Lovecraftian-influenced tale about a commercial pilot that is starting to crack up. His co-pilot friend talks him into using an isolation chamber to relieve his body of stress and try to get his old self back. Instead of his old self, he finds something else in that chamber.

4 out of 5 stars
Chopper’s Hands – A psychotic reverend gets busted when it’s discovered that he’s murdered 30 people while claiming to be on a mission from God. He was locked up in an insane asylum where he began preaching his demented gospel to the inmates and causing trouble. After a strange suicide where his hands were chopped off and never found, an inmate swears that he’s being pursued by “Chopper’s Hands”. A fun story that reminds me of old EC Comics.

5 out of 5 stars
Love; In Pieces – Set in Edward Lee’s Infernal Hell series as a backdrop, Nick will do anything to save his beloved wife who has been captured by Satan. Love; In Pieces has an obvious comic book feel, but also harbors an effective love story too.

4 out of 5 stars
Breath of an Angel/Touch of the Devil – Equal parts hard-boiled crime story, serial killer horror, and dark fantasy. A detective that is harboring a mountain of guilt for bust that went bad and cost a young boy his life. Him and his partner are investigating a serial murder that happens to take place every 28 days and all of the victims have something in common, especially with his partner. A well written story that Rollo co-wrote with Gene O’Neill.

4 out of 5 stars
The Last Straw – In 1936, while the drought had turned the central states into a dust bowl, for Miller’s Grove, Iowa, the cornfields were remarkably strong. To add insult to injury, an unknown killer was abducting young girls. With tensions high, Reverend Joshua Miller’s sermons are reaching a fever pitch. One day, the Reverend claims that God has spoken to him and told him that the town’s mentally handicapped boy was responsible for the murders and the town is afraid to stop him from being the judge, jury and executioner. Is the Reverend right or has he lost his mind? A great story that is actually a prelude to Rollo’s excellent Valley of the Scarecrow.

5 out of 5 stars
Moving Pictures – When small-time mafia thug, Ronnie, is on his “collection” route, he notices a new tattoo parlor opening up in his neighborhood. Trying to win favor with his boss by shaking down the Chinese owner, Ronnie is offered a free tattoo in exchange for more time to come up with his extortion money. But this isn’t any ‘ol tattoo artist. No this Chinese gentleman knows a rare and secret art. A kick ass story with great characters and visuals.

5 out of 5 stars
The face of an Unlikely God – In 1963, Professor Leonard Harris can’t believe his good fortune as he becomes the first white man to be allowed to research and observe the Huaorani tribe that live in the remote Amazon jungle. He learns that they worship the Great Jaguar as their deity. The nearby tribe, the Quatuani, whom they’ve been warring with for hundreds of years worships the pirahna as their deity. When professor Harris finds himself involved in a sacred ritual of the Huaorani, the tribe believes they have unlocked Harris’s destiny.

Rollo has packed so much into so few pages, there is no way you can resist not finishing The Face Of An Unlikely God in one sitting. It simply pulls you into the story with its mesmerizing qualities with images so vivid, you’d swear you were there.

5 out of 5 stars
Rollo is an outstanding author that I’ve always felt never got enough credit. His writing is so visual and his characters are so lifelike. The only story in this whole lot that I wasn’t a fan of was Divine Intervention and it was’t because it was a bad story. The subject matter simply didn’t interest me. That’s it. It may work for you. As for the rest of them, way too much good stuff to ignore. Pick it up now.
Overall – 4 1/2 Deities out of 5
You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

Valley Of The Scarecrow – Gord Rollo

imageA homage to the slasher films of the 1980s with a few twists and turns. A body is found inside the walls of an old Iowa theater in a hidden sealed room. Now in an assisted-living facility, Kelly’s grandfather has been harboring a secret from his childhood past for all these years. A forgotten small town deserted since the 1930s, buried in the thick woods of rural Iowa. The old, dilapitated church still boarded up after all this time and inside still remains the Reverend Joshua Miller where he was last left by the towns people – lashed to the church’s old wooden cross. His body mumified from decades of intense, dry heat and intertwined with old, dried cornstalks that have grown up through the rotting floor. The townspeople long gone to their graves thinking that the evil that took over Reverend Miller and caused them to turn against the town’s founder was dead too. But evil never dies. It simply waits for it’s time to be resurrected again.

I loved the premise of Valley of the Scarecrow. The Iowa setting was different than most stories and I loved the back history of what happened in Miller’s Grove in the 1930s. It gave the slasher story a unique place to grow from. Thats a hard thing to do from a tired horror genre. Rollo weaves the interestiing characters and events from the past into the present day storyline. He succeeds for the most part, but still falls in some of the traps that make the slasher scene a worn out one. You have the group of college age kids – the oversexed boyfriend and girlfriend, the awkward artistic type, the slutty bimbo, the token black guy, and the normal, all-american girl that you know is going to survive until the end. The other thing that kept sticking out like a sore thumb is that Rollo kept having his midwestern characters say the word Bloody all the time – bloody hell, I can’t see a bloody thing, it might be worth a bloody fortune, etc. I’m from the midwest and I’ve been to Iowa. I have yet to run across any native Iowan that says the word bloody to describe anything that doesn’t have blood running down it. Also, a couple of the characters come across a stash of Agent Orange that their dad happened to have stockpiled. OK, I needed this to be a little more fleshed out. Where the hell would he get a banned military defoliant that was never legal to use in the states? It would be like pulling a fully operational tank out of the barn without explaining how they got their hands on it. But other than that, the story was rather enjoyable. If you can overlook a few of the flaws, there are enough creepy moments to make it worth the read. Rollo does a good job at wrapping the material he has all together.

3 1/2 dessicated scarecrows out of 5
You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1JOKW56F2YT

Crowley’s Window – Gord Rollo

imageAbby was born with a cowl over her face which has given her the ability to see into people and their doings, ala reminiscent of Johnny Smith in the Dead Zone. The ability crescendos once she has her first period and enters womanhood. This is then followed by horrible visions of all of the world’s evils. Enter Marcus Crowley, a mysterious man that promises Abby’s parents that he can help her stop seeing these visions. He can help her to stop seeing, alright. He does it by removing her eyes! Years later, Abby is working in a traveling carnival as a fortune teller. Even though her eyes are removed, she can still see into people by touching them. When she witnesses a girl being abducted from the carnival, the hell from her past comes to visit.

I’ve read a few reviews of Crowley’s Window and I think it deserves more love than it has. In fact, I’ve got this 3.5 star rated novella actually as a 4.5 star read. Why? Characters and setting. The characters are interesting. Ones that you want to read more about. The setting of the carnival adds to the layers of the story and provides depth and realism to Abby’s ability to see. Rollo also uses it to bring the creepiness out. The carnies and “freaks” have always been a spooky bunch of outcasts and he uses the characters and the setting well. Add in the mysticism of Crowley and it truly makes for a real page turner. I do think the story could be expanded into something more and I’ve read the complaints that it should’ve been. But isn’t that the tell-tale sign of a good story – leaving them wanting more? I think it is and I enjoyed the ride. Rollo is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors for a fun romp into the macabre.

4.5 bloody eyeballs out of 5
You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1JOKW56F2YT

TWITTER – @KenMcKinley5

The Face of an Unlikely God – Gord Rollo

image

What an absolute gem! This is my third story of Rollo’s that I’ve read and it serves as a wonderful tie-breaker. Let me explain. My first exposure to Gord’s work was The Jigsaw Man and it blew me away. So much so, that I ranked it as my favorite read of 2014 and that was no easy feat. That led me to pick up his first novel, Crimson. Unfortunately, that one was a mixed bag of nuts for me. If you’d like to learn more on why that was, I encourage you to read my review for an in-depth analysis of it. So, that left me wondering where Rollo stood in the batting order. Was Crimson simply an example of a debut covered with warts but still holding a layer of potential underneath while The Jigsaw Man showcased what he could really do now that he had cut his literary teeth? Or was The Jigsaw Man an anomoly? I let The Face Of An Unlikely God be the tiebreaker and oh what a slap to the face wake up call it was. I’m pleased to anounce that Rollo has indeed matured into one hell of a writer.

In 1963, Professor Leonard Harris can’t believe his good fortune as he becomes the first white man to be allowed to research and observe the Huaorani tribe that live in the remote Amazon jungle. He learns that they worship the Great Jaguar as their deity. The nearby tribe, the Quatuani, whom they’ve been warring with for hundreds of years worships the pirahna as their deity. When professor Harris finds himself involved in a sacred ritual of the Huaorani, the tribe believes they have unlocked Harris’s destiny.

Rollo has packed so much into so few pages, there is no way you can resist not finishing The Face Of An Unlikely God in one sitting. It simply pulls you into the story with its mesmerizing qualities with images so vivid, you’d swear you were there. I cant say this enough – get this story and read it NOW!

5 out of 5 stars
You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5…

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1…

TWITTER – @KenMcKinley5

The Jigsaw Man – Gord Rollo

imageA modern take on the classic Frankenstein story for the ages. This is my first novel by Rollo and simply put, it won’t be my last. I’ve read some amazing books in 2014. Jigsaw Man is now not only my favorite for this year, but many other years as well. The writing is crisp and the story is one twisting turn after another. Some you can see coming. Most of them you can’t. And boy does Rollo grab you by the throat with an iron-like vise of a grip. He had me believing the unbelievable every step of the way. At no point was I like “Oh that’s BS. I can’t buy that!”. No, Michael Fox was a sympathetic character you could relate to and you rooted for him, gasped with him, and experienced his dread as if you and him were one and the same. Dr Marshall and his henchman Drake were deliciously evil without being a cardboard cut out of the stereotype. You hated them with every fiber of your being. That’s impressive and hard to do. We’ve all read stories where the villains weren’t realistic. You couldn’t buy in and be completely invested. That’s not the case in Jigsaw Man. I couldn’t put it down. I had to see what was around the corner. And every corner I came to had something lurking that was even worse than the previous one. This story was a roller coaster ride that you didn’t want to ever end. This may have been my first read by Gord Rollo, but it won’t be my last. Before this review, I downloaded everything else of his I could get my hands on. If the rest of his work is only half as good as Jigsaw Man, I will consider it money well spent! Enough gushing on my part. The Jigsaw Man needs to be the next story you read. Period.

5 out of 5 stars

Crimson – Gord Rollo

imageCrimson is a tough one to review for me. After reading Rollo’s fantastic The Jigsaw Man, I couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Out of all the great books that I read in 2014, Jigsaw Man was tied for my absolute favorite. The writing was crisp, the characters were three-dimensional and fully fleshed out, and Rollo made an unbelievable story completely believable. Jigsaw Man was also his second novel. Crimson was his first and it shows. Gord’s fantastic writIng style is still there. But, you can tell he was still cutting his teeth. The characters didn’t feel fully developed and the story had the feel of a puzzle that was put together with the wrong pieces and were made to fit even when they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. There are still some great ideas explored in Crimson. Unfortunately, all of those ideas didn’t make for a great, cohesive story. I’m going to chalk this up as Rollo learned many things between writing Crimson and Jigsaw Man. If the progression between #2 and #3 as it was for #1 and #2, then the third story of his should be lights out.

3 stars out of 5