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Laura Bickle

Laura BickleLaura Bickle (aka Alayna Williams) writes urban fantasy, and horror. She has an MA in sociology-criminology (research  interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She lives happily ever after with her chief muse and four mostly-reformed feral cats in the Midwestern U.S. Learn more at Laura Bickle’s website.


Embers: Well-executed A-plot

Embers by Laura Bickle

In her debut novel, Laura Bickle introduces us to Anya Kalinczyk, a woman as troubled as her home city of Detroit. Like many of her sister urban-fantasy heroines, Anya has a tragic past and uses it as a reason to push people away. She works as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department and moonlights with a ghost-hunting team. Anya is a Lantern, which means she has the rare ability to consume ghosts and demons. She also has a familiar spirit, Sparky, a fire elemental who takes amphibian form but acts more like a large dog. (Sparky, needless to say, is adorable.)

A serial arsonist is targeting what seem to be random buildings in the city. Anya discovers that the crimes are ritualistic in nature, and that the perp is planning a grand finale on Devil’s Night, just two weeks away. This plotline is exceedingly well done. The investigation scenes are fascinating. The arsonist harbors... Read More

Sparks: The salamander is an irresistible bright spot

Sparks by Laura Bickle

In Sparks, Laura Bickle’s follow-up to Embers, Anya Kalinczyk faces another baffling case of magic and mysterious fires. The Detroit Fire Department is confounded by what seem to be instances of spontaneous human combustion. Meanwhile, huckster guru Hope Solomon is amassing wealth and power on the backs of Detroit’s desperate. Anya and her friends are in grave danger when Anya discovers a link between Hope and the fires.

Hope Solomon is incredibly creepy. She espouses a blend of the popular “law of attraction” and “pay it forward” philosophies, with a sinister twist. I got a chill down my spine when I realized what she was doing, and I don’t even mean what she was doing supernaturally. If you’ve read anything about cults and/or pyramid schemes, it’ll probably give you a chill too. Hope may be a fan... Read More

Witch Creek: I was disappointed, but fans may love it

Witch Creek by Laura Bickle

I was disappointed in Laura Bickle’s 2018 contemporary fantasy Witch Creek. To be fair, this is the second book in a series and I haven’t read Nine of Stars. (There are also two prequels to this series.) It’s possible I would appreciate this book more if I knew more of the background.

Since I haven’t read Nine of Stars, I may give one or two mild spoilers for that book without realizing it.

Witch Creek opens with a powerful, shockingly realistic passage in which we see our protagonist, Petra Dee, in the aftermath of a chemo treatment for leukemia. The treatments have robbed her of her vitality. It’s unclear whether they are beating the disease. Petra decides to leave the hospital against medical advice to searc... Read More

Nine of Stars: A slightly rocky introduction to a “new” series

Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle

Nine of Stars (2016), Laura Bickle's dark and fantastical tale of an alchemist's daughter in Wyoming, is attempting to cast a wide net as far as its readership goes. It is billed as both the third instalment of the DARK ALCHEMY trilogy, as well as the first book in the WILDLANDS series, which readers can jump straight into. What's more, it's a fantasy-cum-crime-cum-romance, so it should in theory be ticking a lot of boxes for a lot of readers. Jana and Ray have once again joined forces in this review, so in the interest of clarity, we've marked Jana's contributions in black whilst Ray's are in blue.

Jana: Petra Dee is a geologist living in the small town of Temperance, Wyoming; she spends her days taking rock samples in Yellowstone Park and hanging out ... Read More

Writing the Apocalypse

Today we welcome Laura Bickle, author of Embers, Sparks, and the YA novel The Hallowed Ones. The Outside, a sequel to The Hallowed Ones, will be released later this year. Laura also writes the DARK ORACLE series under the name Alayna Williams. Her question for you today is: Where do you want to be when the apocalypse hits? One commenter wins a copy of The Hallowed Ones.

One of the great things about writing is getting to ask those “what-if” questions. When I was writing The Hallowed Ones, I knew that I wanted to unleash a plague of bloodthirsty vampires on humanity. But I wanted to also explore the idea of survival, and I gave some thought into who might be best-equipped to survive if... Read More