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Symphony of Blood, A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case [Kindle Edition]

Adam Pepper
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

Hank Mondale, a rough-around-the-edges P.I. with a small drinking problem and a large gambling problem, needs a break. With his landlord threatening eviction and his bookie threatening worse, things look bleak. Until real estate mogul Thomas Blake calls with an incredible story: a monster is trying to kill his daughter. Hank figures she's probably some whacked-out spoiled brat, but desperate, Hank takes the case to track down the supposed monster. It seems that people around Mackenzie Blake are disappearing. It's obviously no coincidence. Was Hank hired to unwittingly aid a wealthy murderess? Or is there really someone...or some thing, trying to kill Mackenzie Blake?

A symphony plays that only It can hear. But there will be a special performance, just for her.

Symphony of Blood hits like a sledgehammer. Fast and furious. I loved this book.
  -JA Konrath, author of Whiskey Sour

A frightening fresh voice with an intensity that will forever alter the color and texture of your dreams.
  -Joseph B. Mauceri,

Editorial Reviews


"Stellar prose, vivid characters...Pepper writes with a confidence and mastery that makes you feel as if you are being led on a tour of the seedier side of life, and your tour guide is a man who basks in the grimy filth of the of the best modern incarnations of the classic detective."
   -Dreadful Tales

"A fast, fun and adrenaline filled read" 


"Adam Pepper writes with zeal, verve, and a steak knife to the throat."
   -Scott Nicholson, Author of Liquid Fear

Product Details

  • File Size: 408 KB
  • Print Length: 205 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005E8S6AE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #938,813 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
(Cross-posted from the Adarna SF book blog)

Hank is a private investigator who has to solve the case of a man-eating monster. I'd peg this at both contemporary fantasy and horror. The fantastical and horror elements come from-well... the man-eating monster. The protagonist is a fairly typical P.I., but Pepper does excellent characterization, so it's hard not to be charmed by Hank.

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. I was hooked right from page one, it's fast-paced, and the dialogue and the descriptions of the characters are delightful. They're quirky people: Sandy the kleptomaniac secretary, Joe at the Pool Hall (when he shrugs, his chins line up like a seven layer cake), Mackenzie the moody rich girl who knows more than she's letting on-and there's plenty of other personalities. I swear I was chuckling or grinning at something on every third page.

The monster itself is original too. Pepper masterfully writes the creature in such a way that the reader has an idea of what it could be like, but not with too much detail that all the mystery is gone. What's unknown is always more terrifying than what is completely known. The creature is also a surprisingly well-developed character on its own right, and is actually more sympathetic compared to the humans that it gets to know (fairly intimately).

I was surprised that a sizable portion of the book is written from the monster's point of view, and it's one of the highlights. I'm a sucker for body horror, and I was giddy with delight at the descriptions of the monster devouring people from the inside out. It's simultaneously fun and disgusting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay, except for that gaping plot hole... February 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I originally downloaded the sample and enjoyed it, but, to be honest, the price and lower scoring reviews dissuaded me. I wasn't sure I wanted to take a chance. Then I noticed the book was on sale months later, so I snapped it up and decided to see if the poorer reviews were right-on, or not.

Well. For the most part, they were.

The premise itself is rather unoriginal: PI is hired to protect self-centered socialite. It's the supernatural aspects and Pepper's great writing that made the book worthwhile.

Sadly, however, that wasn't enough.

No, the book is copyedited just fine.

Yes, the structure is odd. I didn't find it as distracting as others did, but I can't say I enjoyed it. It was a relief to finally see some pieces of the puzzle fall into place once I got to the monster's POV, but I think that's more of a flaw than a positive. I could live with it, though. I can see what the author was going for, so I'm okay with it.

The real problem was that huge, cavernous plot hole. I got to the last page and let's just say I would have heaved it were this a print book. I don't get it? Why? I'm willing to suspend disbelief. I'm willing to go along for the ride. But it's got to make sense, and you've got to give me some sort of pay-off. But in this case, I read through the entire book, went through the whole thing, and I felt ripped off. Seriously pissed. One bullet pages and pages ago would have solved the whole thing.

That being said, Pepper is an amazing writer and storyteller. My gripes are all structural. So I would, and will, read other works by him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hank is the man! August 25, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I'll start off by saying I don't read much fiction. But I was looking for something different to read and gave this a shot. Right I off the bat I liked Hank Mondale. There was something easily relatable to his hard luck ways and poor decision making. You really root for his character to get out of the hole he seems to dig himself in throughout the book. As the book progresses it starts to get darker and darker. You start to realize how disturbed the Blake family really is and begin to question what exactly is Hank trying to find?

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone into Dark/Horror novels or even if you're like me and are just looking for something different.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad structure, unlikable characters, lack of editing December 23, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Hank Mondale wanted to be a cop but his gambling, alcohol, and drug addictions ruined his record. Instead, he is now a private detective barely scraping by, so when a wealthy and famous man named Blake hires him to figure out where the monster pursuing his daughter is hiding out, he takes the case in spite of the odd sound of it. Particularly since Blake and his daughter insist that this is a literal, shape-changing, lizard-like monster after her.

This is a book that suffers from bad structure, a plethora of unlikable characters, and a serious lack of editing.

I can look beyond the editing problems, but the structure is intensely problematic. The first half of the book is told entirely from the detective's point of view, only to abruptly switch and have the next 25% or so back-track and tell what occurred from the monster's perspective. Then the last bit of the book reverts back to the detective's perspective. This gives the book an incredibly odd structure and simultaneously removes most of the mystery and suspense. Either choose to be investigating the monster or be the monster or alternate more quickly between the two to maintain some mystery.

Similarly, none of the characters are likable. They are all the type that you would either move away from on the subway or roll your eyes at them behind their back. There needs to be at least one character the reader can root for in a horror mystery.

All that said, Pepper does have some writing abilities. He clearly has a creative mind and is capable of telling a story one can follow. This would be a good draft, but not a final published work. He needs to decide if he wants to tell the monster's story of the detective's, then rewrite entirely from that point of view and also invest in an editor. If these steps are followed, Pepper could have a solid book here. As it stands now, though, I can't in good faith recommend it to anyone, even staunch horror fans.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A great sci-fi/thriller
I recommend this book for anyone looking for a fast paced detective book with an unforgettable lead character. Read more
Published on August 18, 2012 by John R. Coniglio
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant supernatural thriller
I don't normally give 5 stars. When I do, it's because the book blew me away. Such a book has great, fully fleshed out characters that become as real as my next door neighbour; it... Read more
Published on August 7, 2012 by Vered Ehsani
4.0 out of 5 stars Great horror/noir
Private detective Hank Mondale has been hired by one of the wealthiest men around, Thomas Blake to help his daughter Mackenzie. Read more
Published on August 4, 2012 by Colleen Wanglund
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
i first became a fan of the author when i read his extremely bizarre novella Superfetus. S.O.B. took me by surprise because of the improvement in the quality of writing. Read more
Published on August 3, 2012 by David L. Tamarin
5.0 out of 5 stars Starts out as a normal mystery, then gets pretty creepy.
Hank Mondale is a private detective who loves to drink and gamble, and is bad at both. He hasn't paid his rent, can't pay his secretary, and is in debt from gambling on various... Read more
Published on August 3, 2012 by Sherin White
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
If it wasn't for bad luck Hank Mondale would have no luck at all. Hank's bad luck makes it impossible to root against him. Read more
Published on July 31, 2012 by Joseph Ferretti
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty crime thriller with sci-fi twist.
Private detective Hank Mondale is down on his luck and needs a client to earn some fast cash when he gets a call from billionaire Thomas Blake out of the blue wanting to hire him... Read more
Published on June 30, 2012 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard-boiled detective fiction meets creature horror
Cross-posted from Papyrus Independent Author Reviews [...]

Hank Mondale is an out-of-luck private investigator with his fare share of vices. Read more
Published on June 4, 2012 by Caleb Blake
2.0 out of 5 stars Seroiusly creepy
This book is seriously creepy and now I remember why I don't usually read thrillers! They are way to creepy and I have nightmares for days if they are well written. Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read!
Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper is a police procedural mystery, with one big twist. There is a supernatural element to it, or rather a creature element that was a lot of fun and... Read more
Published on April 28, 2012 by AnnBoozeandBooksBlogspot
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More About the Author

At times disturbing and grim, others raunchy and comical, Adam Pepper's work is known for a unique blend of horror, suspense and speculative fiction. MEMORIA, Adam's debut novel, reached #1 on the Dark Delicacies Best Seller list and received rave reviews from Cemetery Dance and Chronicle. "Super Fetus," his outrageous bizarro novella was called "In-your-face, allegorical social commentary" by esteemed reviewer, Paul Goat Allen. His quick-hitting short work has appeared in genre magazines including THE BEST OF HORRORFIND, Vol. 2 and SPACE AND TIME. Adam's non-fiction credits span from NEW WOMAN MAGAZINE to THE JOURNAL NEWS. Learn more about Adam at his website:


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