April 12, 2018

Joshua Winning: "Vicious Rumer" (ARC Review - Blog Tour Review)

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(BTW, I love how vibrant the cover is, even if it clashes with my equally vibrant blog colours 😅).

Title: Vicious Rumer [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Joshua Winning [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Thriller/Mystery
Year: 2018
Age: 15+, or at least mature 14+ (this is NA - the protagonist is 19)
Stars: 3/5
Pros: Never a dull moment. A damaged lead you can root for.
Cons: The short-sentence style probably fits the book, but may not work for everyone. The main villain is a bit over-the-top.
WARNING! Violence and gore.
Will appeal to: Readers who like action and unhinged but resourceful heroines.

Blurb: Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, Rumer lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’. Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid. Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming. (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I was offered a review copy by the author. This didn't influence my review.


I don't read a lot of modern thrillers - old-time mysteries are more my thing (think Agatha Christie and her tribe). But this story appealed to me because 1) it promised a damaged but kickass heroine, and 2) there might, or might there? be a supernatural angle to it. Now, I believe that my rating reflects more my personal genre tastes than the actual quality of this work, plus some things went definitely in a different direction than I expected (I can't be more specific here because SPOILERS). Then again, I don't regret reading this one, and to be honest, I found myself on the edge of my seat a few times following Rumer's (mis)adventures, though of course she had to make it somehow - at least till the end of the book 😉. But then again, at what cost? The story doesn't spare her danger and pain, and we get to see how resourceful she is in spite of that, but we have no idea how much more damaged, or alone, she may become in the end... [...]


Vicious Rumer is action-packed (though we get musings/flashbacks as well), with a strong noir vibe. Rumer is not your usual heroine - she's not trying to save the world, just to stay alive (and, well, to bring someone with her too). There's a lot of morally gray ground in this story, and not just the one she treads on. I wasn't able to completely buy the main villain (or the alleged main villain...), because they come off a tad too much over-the-top, but it was fun (well, bloody fun 😀) to see Rumer fight them and try to buy herself some more time, at least. The book cleverly starts with a scene that gives us the wrong idea about her (or more precisely, a skewed one), and still, for some reason, even that early in the story, the empathy is there. And even when she does the unthinkable, a part of us understands that it's pretty much the only choice she has, and in reality, everything that happened has been building to it all along.


I think what bothered me more about this book was the writing style. I've new to Joshua Winning as an author, but I read a handful of articles on his site (he's a journalist BTW), namely the Charmed Rewitch series (you know me and Charmed 😉), and I realised it's a deliberate choice on his part to use very short sentences in this case. But even in a book so full of action, I do believe there might be room for a more fleshed out (though not relaxed, of course) style. As for the content...Rumer's obsession with Celena, the criminal mother (literally so) who abandoned her at birth, her fear of being destined to follow in Celena's steps, her belief that she's cursed and toxic for everyone she gets close to - all of these things ring true, though upon closing the book, one might wonder if they do have a place (at least all together) in the real world. But if you see them through Rumer's eyes, they sort of become solid, and the combo works - which is a testament to the author's ability to create a tridimensional character you can root for despite her faults and the, let's say, unusual predicament she finds herself in.

For more Thriller/Mystery books click here.

About the Author:

Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for TOTAL FILM, SFX, GAY TIMES and RADIO TIMES. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.

In 2014, SENTINEL – the first book in Joshua’s SENTINEL TRILOGY – was published by Peridot Press. The second book, RUINS, followed in 2015. Book 3, SPLINTER, will be out in July
plus there's a hot-off-the-press novella set in the same universe, WITCHPIN. Joshua’s short story DEAD AIR appeared in SPEAK MY LANGUAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF GAY FICTION. He also co-wrote ’80s teen horror CAMP CARNAGE.

Joshua grew up watching Labyrinth and The Neverending Story on repeat, and was raised on a steady diet of Whedon, Cameron and Lucas. His literary heroes include Robin Jarvis, Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier. As a journalist, he has interviewed some of the most exciting names in the film industry, including Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds, Charlize Theron and Christopher Lee. He dreams of getting Sigourney Weaver to yell “Goddammit!” at him one day.

Find Joshua Winning Online:


  1. That sounds pretty wild. And can I just say - Joshua's bio sounds just as interesting as the book! I'll have to investigate his books further.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. Wow, you used to be the queen of RTs, and now you're the empress of comments! I barely posted LOL.

      Yes, that's an interesting bio, isn't it? And the Sentinel Trilogy is YA fantasy. I am considering giving it a chance myself.

  2. Hello.

    Did you know there is a SPIDER COMING OUT OF HER EYE? Because now I have gooseflesh and an irrational urge to sleep in a mosquito net (not helpful, I know).

    That's it... I can't get past the cover to read your review... stuck on the SPIDER. Joking! (Sort of...)

    I do like that this sounds very action-packed, and I loved the Charmed reference you mentioned (bonus points there), so I might read this. If I do, I'll have to borrow it from my library or wait for an audiobook. I. HATE. SPIDERS. Fictional or not. UGH.

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Haha, don't worry, there are no actual spiders in this book...though they're virtually present - the lead says something along the lines of "the spider in my mind" a few times. Wait, I might have made things worse...😂


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