{ Bundle Review } #JustWritePH’s #ForJustice

When justice calls, heroes rise. Follow the journeys of a fire programmer, two very unique detectives, and an unlikely partnership between a mortal and a ghost as they fight for what they believe in and even their very survival in this action-packed bundle of four stories from up-and-coming writers. Features Eleven by Michael Recto, Expendable by EK Gonzales, Between Two Worlds by Pau Castillo, and The Seven-Day Detective by Mark Manalang.

The #ForJustice bundle is available on Buqo for only P45/$0.99! CLICK HERE to buy the bundle.

There is an ongoing #JustWritePH giveaway! Get the chance to win this bundle for free by clicking on THIS LINK!

Click the Read More link below for story blurbs of all four stories in the #ForJustice bundle as well as my review of Eleven and Expendable. Excerpts will be posted separately.

Eleven
Michael Recto

Detective Randall Dela Rosa is hot on the trails of a string of unexplained murders halfway around the world. There have been 7 victims so far, all of them murdered in creatively horrible methods, had the number 11 carved on their corpses, and were made to recite a cryptic in Filipino before their murders: “Mayroong isangdaan at dalawampu’t isang dahilan kung bakit hindi para sa iyo ang kuwentong ito ngunit…” The latest victim, number 8, has lead him back to his father’s home country, the Philippines. As an Interpol agent, he expected that his presence will not be welcomed. The local police deemed his “meddling” as unnecessary and a blow to the local force’s pride. However, Detective Dela Rosa is ready to place everything on the line to stop the murders and finally stop the nightmares haunting him.

Review

eleven1The beginning of Eleven alone intrigued me into lapping everything up in a matter of minutes. I used to watch a lot of procedural crime shows and this felt like one–a detective is following the trail of a ruthless murderer whose MO seemed to follow a certain pattern. Until it didn’t. Until the clues started not making sense and leading somewhere Detective dela Rosa missed.

What I liked about this story is the way each crime scene is presented in the beginning. I must admit it’s shockingly visual (if you’re the type of person who can see things with your mind’s eye) but the delivery is effective in that you see a pattern and try to be a detective yourself. You start asking questions and formulating your own theories along with the main character, and I believe that this is a necessary aspect to writing crime: to entice your reader enough to want to solve the crime with your main character.

The smattering of clues throughout the story were well placed, though I found myself wanting to see a bit more backstory between the detective and the perpetrator (as well as detective and police officer) because I think that would have been a solid arc that would’ve strengthened this story even further. I felt that the foundation was really strong in Expendable, it had really strong start, but in the end I was wanting more. And that’s not a bad thing per se. I merely wish a little more exploration would be done regarding the main and supporting characters . . . in a next book, perhaps? A prequel of sorts?

Overall rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Plus points for: The math references. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely abhor anything that has to do with complex mathematics, but when done right, it could get really interesting. ^_^v (Think Numbers, for crying out loud. I mean . . . right?) #incoherent
Because of this story, I wish I could: See a really nice procedural crime show made for and by Filipinos, because COME ON. If we can write something like this for starters, doesn’t it follow that we could also pull off a damn show? (Without the unnecessary lovelines, please. *rolleyes*)


Expendable
EK Gonzales

Corespasa is a fire programmer, drifting and drinking through his aimless life. But during a fire of his own making, he is saved by a stranger, a scholar running away from the rival region. As their paths and lives join, their individual paths will change the other. But will he destroy their joint world?

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Review

expendable1Expendable happens in a fictional place called Bersa, now split into two political regions: Pendi in the North, ruled by business, intelligence, and government, and Selatan in the South, which had a king. Long story short, the two factions have long disagreed on how society should be, therefore, they hate each other’s guts. So much so that killing the entire population of a faction isn’t out of the question. This is where Corespasa’s (Pas) skill comes to play. He is a fire programmer–he has the ability to control fire from within his body, a firestarter, if you will–from the North who finds himself sheltered in a Southerner’s (Rikai) house after an incident of his own doing. Pas eventually gets sniffed out by his government and is offered a large amount of money to put his skills to use.

What I like about Expendable is the simplicity in its delivery. A foreign, new world is being introduced to us, the readers, but it doesn’t sound so foreign at all. The idea of a place (a country, for example) being divided into factions is rooted in a universal truth, something I, as a Filipino, am very familiar with. That being said, it was easy to understand the internal conflicts that Pas and Rikai have as people representing a faction and a set of beliefs, as people with personal wants and needs, and as people who feel. To me, Expendable was, in it’s core, Pas’ personal journey from having nothing to live for to finally finding a purpose. His journey wasn’t ideal in that a lot of pain came out of it, but I liked how there’s a hint of redemption in the end. It’s not (yet) a happy ending, but you can see a glimmer of it somehow, and that’s enough to keep me satisfied.

Overall rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
Plus points for: Making me root for Pas and Rikai. Admittedly, I don’t read a lot about this kind of love, but as I was reading the story, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself wanting them to have a happily ever after.
Because of this story, I wish I could: See a comic book set in Bersa, with fire programmers and all that jazz. Would make for an interesting series, don’t you think?


Between Two Worlds
Pau Castillo

At the age of 5, Sam Lawrence discovers a peculiarity which changes her life forever. Along with three others who share a similar curse, Sam eventually finds herself caught up in a mishap involving a family, a mansion, and a spirit who continues to haunt its walls. With Sam’s perseverance, an unlikely friendship forms between Sam and the infamous White Mansion ghost, Lucian Malliarch. Together, they try to stop a greater and more sinister force which connects Sam and Lucian in ways no one had expected.

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The Seven-Day Detective
Mark Manalang

Insp. Gene Bello is no stranger to rape cases, or speedy investigations. As a cadet, he was known as “The Seven-Day Detective”, having solved a serial rape incident in seven days. So when an NBI official asked him to handle a similar case, he was ready to take on the job… or so he thought. The case: a serial rapist targeting call center agents from Bonifacio Global City. Luck is on Gene’s side, though. Four PUV drivers plying the EDSA-BGC routes have seen and interacted with the fifth victim. Each of them knew her well. Each of them, perhaps all of them, may hold the key to stop the next attack and find the suspect before he strikes again. But they have to hurry… All they have is seven days.

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The #JustWritePH workshop which ran from July 1 to August 8, 2015 challenged participants to write a story and prepare it for publication in a little under six weeks. The reward? Guaranteed distribution on Buqo, plus marketing opportunities like a bundle launch (held at Bo’s Coffee Megamall on August 22), a Facebook party, and a blog tour.

You may view all the available bundles by typing #JustWritePH on the Buqo shopfront’s search bar. A total of five bundles are now available for you to buy. We hope you keep on supporting Filipino authors by buying and promoting the #JustWritePH bundles! 🙂

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