Salt and Iron by Tam McNeil ~ Book Review by Karen

salt-coverTitle: Salt and Iron

Author: Tam McNeil

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 03/07/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Paranormal


James van Helsing is the youngest son of the famous monster-hunting family—and the family’s big disappointment. He’s falling in love with Gabe Marquez, his oldest friend and son of the family the van Helsings have worked alongside for years. Things get even harder for James when he becomes what he and everyone else despises most—a magic user.

He didn’t mean to evolve into such a despicable person, and he knows using magic is illegal, but there’s nothing James can do about it, no more than he can stop himself from loving Gabe. Just when things can’t seem to get worse, he and Gabe are called to help nab a network of magicians who are changing destiny. Not just any destiny, but the destinies of the van Helsing and Marquez families. James foresees a terrible fate, one in which monsters emerge from the cracks, along with his dark secret. And that’s when people start to die.

My View:

Another one of those random reviews, I chose this book partially because of the cover, its fantastic, and also because – Van Helsing, come on !  I have a weakness for books and films that take the familiar and mess with what you think you know.

I was partially rewarded, it started so well, James Van Helsing is the youngest of the Van Helsing dynasty, he is a drunk and a mess. The Van Helsing dynasty have settled in a town in the USA, which as often happens is  the epicentre of All Bad Things, where James and his family fight the good fight to vanquish Evil.

James believes that he is in love with Gabe, his best friend since childhood and a fellow hunter of monsters.

On a random raid James comes across some tarot cards, which act as a catalyst for his magic powers to be revealed, which in turn sets off a catastrophic chain of events.  The paranormal aspect of this story was really good, the town with All the Bad is a familiar setting, and the twist on the Van Helsing legend was cleverly done, as were all the characters. James was credible and human, and I really cared what happened to him all the way through the story.

However as well as the paranormal aspect, the book was set up with a romance element, and there simply was none, not even a whisper. And while I didn’t particularly miss it, I had that feeling that you get when you order a meal and the menu says it comes with side salad, you eat the meal and don’t realise until you’ve finished that there was no side salad. While you don’t want it, you question why it was sold like that. Telling us that James is falling in love with Gabe sets us up with an expectation that simply doesn’t happen.

So if you’re looking for a gripping and entertaining paranormal thriller, this is totally the book for you.



Salt and Iron on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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