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Blood & Dirt

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Blood & Dirt by Corey Niles.
Vincent depended on his boyfriend, James, to stand up for him—until a violent hate crime results in James’s murder. Weeks after his funeral, James reappears, perfectly healthy but changed in ways that neither of them can quite understand. Now, Vincent must uncover what truly happened on the night they were attacked. In the face of an apathetic police force and a growing number of missing gay men, Vincent and James work to identify the criminals who attacked them. With James scarred from what happened to him in the weeks between his death and rediscovery, Vincent must learn to stand up for himself and face his real monsters or lose James—and himself.
An OK read. Not what I thought. 3*.

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I was utterly disappointed by the direction this book took.

When you start a story with a hate crime, and it's a story with a supernatural element, I consider it a given that the supernatural element will be used in order to reverse the pain and the suffering of the gay main character and wreak chavoc on the perpetrators. This seemed to be the case until it wasn't.

I also didn't like the main character, Vincent, who spent half the time whining and depressed and the other half unable/unwilling to ask logical questions about the strange things happenning around him.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!

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Vincent and James are a happy young gay couple working their way through college living in an upstairs modest apartment. Having decided to go for a run through campus early one evening they are ambushed by 2 men and a boy. A heinous hate crime occurs and sadly James does not survive but Vincent badly hurt makes it and starts his recovery in hospital.
A few weeks after the funeral James appears back, apparently fully recovered, but some of his attitude and moods seem a bit off. Vincent doesn’t understand but is overjoyed to have James back to protect him.
Other gay men start to go missing and they believe it is the same people who attacked them and as the police have made no progress they decide to try and find the attackers and deal with them theirselves.
A gritty and scary read with twists that will keep you awake.

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This is a very well-paced horror/romance. Beware! the first part of the book is pretty heavy... lots of emotional/ visceral events. This story definitely kept me guessing, which I always like. It's a paranormal mystery with queer content - just the way I like to read it.

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Be warned, the first five chapters of “Blood & Dirt” are intense as the story kicks off with a brutal hate crime that ends in murder, however, it’s a great trifecta of horror, mystery, and suspense all wrapped into one novel.

As Vincent wakes up in the hospital, he learns that his boyfriend, James, didn’t survive. Devastated, Vincent reluctantly returns home, completely paranoid and fearful that his attackers will seek him out to finish the job. While in a deep state of despair, James reappears completely unscathed. Fearing it’s just a figment of Vincent’s imagination, others begin to witness James’s return, but they all notice the same thing: he’s not the same.

What should be a happy reunion turns into a brutal revenge plot that has lots of dark twists and turns along the way. On top of that, is James really James? And what happens when you needed protecting from your protector? It’s a lot, but it made one heck of a story that I couldn’t put down.

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i absolutely loved the mythical aspect within the plot and i really did like Vincent and James (both as real James and monster James)

it was a very interesting storyline and it definitely kept me on edge while reading it!

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This book was a little frustrating for me. Some parts I loved and some I thought were very slow. I really liked the characters in the story. I would like to read more from this author though.

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This book man

It's nice to come across a book and think sure why not give it a go. Expecting to not like it and walk away. And instead end up really enjoying it from the start.

The beginning of this is dark. But damn was it written so well!

James is the anchor for Vincent. While Vincent is the complete opposite. After such a horrific night Vincent is a mess. Not knowing what he remembers being real or not. Seeing James everywhere.

The way this is written you can feel what Vincent is going through. It's well paced and just such a good horror read. I can't wait to see what else this author writes.

I was giving a copy of this book for an honest review.

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Blood & Dirt is a captivating, effective horror novel that forces us to ask ourselves: What would I do if the person I loved more than anything and then lost came back from the dead?

While out on a run one evening, Vincent and James become victims of a group of homophobic murderers who are responsible for the disappearances of numerous gay men in Pittsburgh, and James winds up being murdered. Vincent is not only left behind with the grief of losing his boyfriend, he's left with the desire to find who killed James. Things become even more complicated, however, when James seemingly comes back from the dead and seems fine, though not quite himself.

Corey Niles's writing is skillful as it takes the reader through Vincent's layers, effectively drawing the reader into Vincent's psyche and perspective. The reader grieves, rages, panics, and perseveres along with Vincent in a way that only a writer with Niles's talent is able to produce. Niles's pacing is also impeccable. He masterfully weaves together a plot full of fast-paced action but with the appropriate amount of non-action moments that allow his authentic characters to shine in their complexities and development.

I loved the incorporation of different cultural legends throughout the novel, too. The parallels between these various myths and Vincent's quest as the modern day tragic hero are striking, and Niles does a stunning job weaving these elements of ancient folklore into a present day setting with present day people. For readers of horror, especially horror that pulls from mythology and folklore, I highly recommend Blood & Dirt, and I can't wait to read more of this author's work!

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This is a new to me author & the book appears to be their debut novel. Can't wait for more. Vincent & James are savagely attacked with James being killed & Vincent left for dead. Turns out there is a rash of killings of gay men. Vincent is shocked when he finds James alive, but there is something off. What I was disappointed in was we didn't really get any background on golems. The other disappointment was no one really was trying to figure out how James ended up coming back when they knew he was dead. I loved Sam. She was a great friend to Vincent.

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Vincent and James are out for a jog one night when they're involved in a hate crime that results in James' death. Unable to convince the police that they were attacked for being gay and not in extreme college rivalry, Vincent just tries to move on, but one night not long after the attack he wakes up to find James alive and well in their apartment.

I was incredibly excited to read this book. After reading the tags in the NetGalley description and the summary, I thought this was going to be a horror novel with some gay Jewish representation. I was very wrong. This is a horror novel with gay representation, but the longer I read the more I realized this was not going to be any kind of good Jewish representation. I was expecting James or Vincent to be Jewish and for the story to delve into the story of golems and their history in Judaism.

Nope. There is absolutely no mention of golems in relation to Judaism except for a very short blip we get at the end when Vincent finally figures out what is going on and that's all. I hated that this piece of Jewish mythology was taken just to create the monster of the book and add to the "scare" factor. I might have been willing to overlook that if there had been more discussion of the stories behind golems, but in the end I was extremely let down and honestly upset that a piece of Jewish culture was once again taken and twisted to be made to look bad and scary.

The book might have been good otherwise, but in the end, I only finished it to see if I would get the Jewish representation payout I was looking for or if it was only for the jump scare.

Thank you to NetGalley and NineStar Press for making this available in exchange for an honest review!

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This one of those books that are hard to review without spoiling anything, but I'm going to do my best!

Firstly, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would, and it was not what I expected at all, which is a huge plus!
Secondly, it was both a quick and easy read, so it's not one of those stories that are too intimidating to begin.

Vincent was a great character, maybe a little bit too naive, but I liked him, and I hated that he had to ho through the trauma he did.
Sam was a great character too, I just wish we'd gotten to know her a little bit better since she plays such a huge part in the plot. I would've liked her personality to shine a bit more than it did.

What I wasn't the biggest fan of was the way Vincent was so focused on finding the attackers instead of trying to actually figure out how his boyfriend came back from the dead. Personally that would've been my first priority if I was him. And I would've loved to know more about why and how he came back. (Again, I can't say too much without spoiling it) I wanted to know more of the backstory to James's comeback (if you've read it you know what I mean)
Other than that I really enjoyed this book and I managed to finish it in one sitting, because I couldn't put it down.

I gave this book 4 stars, and I highly recommend it to anyone who's into crime mixed with a bit of horror.

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“Vincent wanted to get back in their car. Keep driving until they ran out of money to refill the tank. Start a new life wherever they ended up. But he knew that wouldn’t be living. That’d be surviving. Ever since the attack, all they’d been doing was surviving. They were no different from that raccoon who picked through trash in the hope of finding something to get it through the night.”

A vicious attack results in the death of Vincent’s boyfriend James. As Vincent tries to heal, he finds himself at risk to fail his college classes and lose his apartment. He’s frustrated because the police are focusing on the fact that college students are the target of the attacks, while Vincent knows first hand the motive is hate for members of the LGBT community. James appears, seeming uninjured and with a burning desire for revenge.

There’s no shortage of conflict with the quest to bring their attackers to justice, Vincent trying to accept the uncanniness of his boyfriend’s return to the land of the living, academic issues, tension with the other occupants of their duplex, the strained relationship with Vincent’s alcoholic father, James’s parents’ denial of their son’s sexuality, and the need to heal from the physical and mental trauma of the attack.

I liked how Sam, James’s best friend and Vincent’s housemate, supported Vincent despite the conflict between them.

Grief is a strong theme throughout, and the Pittsburgh settings do a great job of grounding the story. I enjoyed Vincent’s character arc and the LGBT elements. I was a bit more invested in the dynamics between Vincent and the newly resurrected James than in the subplot of finding the men behind the attack. However, the two plots are nicely entwined, marrying the genres of crime and horror.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thanks to NineStar Press for providing an Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley.

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