Thank you to Phil Williams for the ecopy of Kept From Cages!
|Series: Ikiri #1||Genre: supernatural thriller|
|Date of Publishing: September 22nd 2020||Publisher: Self-published|
No one returns from Ikiri.
Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.
Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?
On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?
Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries. Start your journey to Ikiri today.
“Reece took a breath. There was nothing he could say to this zombie-ninja motherfucker. He moved in a flash, gun up and firing in the same motion. He almost hit the bastard – but Vile moved impossibly fast, predicting the shot, down to the side. The swordsman spun across the ground, low, legs at spider-like angles. Caleb fired too, not even close, and the shadow spun between them. They dropped away as one, a flower of bodies falling to the sides, as Vile spiraled up in a shimmer of whispering steel. Reece rolled and fired again and Vile avoided the shots with unnatural speed, springing into the trees. Leigh-Ann scrambled to her feet, grabbing for terrified Zip, as Stomatt and Reece watched for the next attack.”
It took me a while to find a song with that southern rock kind of sound but here we are- this one is for Katryzna.
Trouble on the Rise by Blacktop Mojo
Kept From Cages was pure popcorn. I could have easily read this in a couple of sittings just because the thriller-style pacing had me flipping the pages pretty quickly. It’s non-stop action with a bit of government conspiracy type stuff thrown in as we have one of our POVs, an Agent Tasker, investigating a Norwegian village incident that rivals something out of 28 days later.
This story is wider in scope, covering several locations and quite a few more characters than the last time I visited this world with The City Screams. I seem to keep jumping in on the branches of the Ordshaw world and I still haven’t managed to actually read Under Ordshaw, the book that started it all. In other words – this reads fine on its own merit.
We do a little globetrotting as Agent Tasker gains a partnership of sorts, in Katryzna; an ex-agent bent on revenge for her friend. Katryzna was my favourite character, she unstable, unpredictable and she was just grumpy bad-ass fun.
New information gives them a common goal as they pinpoint the source of these supernatural power spikes which seem to be the link to the massacres along with answers that Kat is looking for about her friend’s death, here we discover the badness that is the Ikiri – the heart of the power that is bleeding its darkness into the world. I really loved the creepiness of the Congo sections. Weird magic, deformed humans and creatures, psychological horror (my favourite kind of horror) it felt dark, oppressive, and scary.
On the other side of the world, we have Reece and friends. Musicians (and gangsters) straight from the Bayou. Now, in east Texas, they have found themselves in the weirdest of situations after acquiring a young girl (Zip) to their group when they rescue her from a local farmhouse where she was being held.
The action ramps up as Reece and his gang try to protect Zip, whose preternatural gift is like a beacon to all sorts of nasties but the biggest is Vile, who is scarily competent (rival gang leaders have nothing on this guy) and seems to be more supernatural than human. As expected, the two groups converge at a later point for an explosive finale leaving lots of follow-up room in the second half of this duology.
The main players have more depth than you’d expect from something this quickly paced, and I enjoyed their interactions a lot – especially Kat and Tasker, in the Congo group and Zip and Reece, in the other. There is a nice blend of personalities and motivations with an air of unknown surrounding some of the characters. That little bit of unknown about Kat and Zip, coupled with the mystery surrounding the massacres they’re investigating, kept me always wanting to move forward in the story looking for answers.
I think what I love most about these branched-off stories in this world of Ordshaw, is the underlying mystery mixed with that supernatural horror. Even though I am not always clear on the base material, I don’t need to be because the supernatural and unknown elements let me just roll with the story and enjoy it as is. One of these days I will go back and start from the source but for now, I am just enjoying the hell out of these side stories.