Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Night Reader Reviews Dead of Knight

This psychological thriller was of special interest to me because a lot of the action centered around the area where I grew up, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. According to the cover blurb, Canadian author William R. Potter began this book in 2002, put the book on hold, and after completing other work, returned to Dead of Knight. I for one, am very glad he did.

A descriptive book, it takes place in the fictional town of Hanson in British Columbia. The book begins with a journey into the mind of a psychotic murderer, nick-named the Birthday Boy, because his victims were murdered on their birthdays. He sees himself as a hero; he is currently Tyro, training to become what he perceives to be a super hero who will be Damian Knight, Soldier of Justice. He believes he is on the same side as the law. The character is well-defined, as is the character of Jack Staal, the detective who becomes Knight's focused nemesis.

The story is also a police procedural that doesn't always follow procedure, often a sign of office politics versus either the very caring or the corrupt. Jack Staal is one of the caring, but he is fraught with demons of past cases. Some might call him flawed, others a hero. No matter, this is one man who is determined to stop Damian Knight, the psycho-serial killer with a mission. But what is the mission? How do the murders connect?

Jack and his group of allies on the police force must buck authority to bring in the "perp" as soon as possible, while the authorized group bungle and follow wrong leads, rumours abound. This is a very satisfying thriller, complete with background descriptions of what has led to this killing spree, internal strife in the police department, a vendetta against Jack Staal by Damian Knight when he thinks he is getting too close to solving who Damian Knight is, false leads, taunting hints left for Jack, death and injury. The methods of putting the pieces together is compelling. The plot was well thought out, played out with passion and resolve. A complex and taut story that kept my attention throughout. Written for mature readers.

Reviewed by Betty Gelean The Night Reader

Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: Dead of Knight

Dead of Knight: A Jack Staal Mystery

William R. Potter

RealTime Publishing (2009)

ISBN 9781849610261

Reviewed by Charline Ratcliff for RebeccasReads (11/10)

I was recently asked if I would be interested in reviewing “Dead of Knight” by author William R. Potter. This book falls into the murder/mystery category and while it’s not my usual reading genre I agreed to review it. I’m glad I did because it was a great book.

The story location for “Dead of Knight” is Canada which, for me, was a really nice change. The book’s premise is this: A delusional young man believing himself to be a “soldier of justice” starts what he feels is a righteous crusade of cleansing. His victims are handpicked and meticulously stalked in order to learn their daily habits until he finally slaughters them on their birthday. I, for one, will pass on that birthday surprise thank you very much… Because of this killer’s gruesome practices the media has nicknamed him “Birthday Boy.” This nickname doesn’t sit too well with him - he wants to be taken seriously but…what’s a serial killer to do? And of course no tale featuring a heinous villain would be truly complete without an equally good counterpart trying to bring the evildoer to justice. Meet Detective Jack Staal who is assigned to this gruesome case. Jack is understandably horrified at the trail of bodies “Birthday Boy” leaves in his wake and he is determined to put an end to his reign of terror. Consequently Jack Staal will stop at almost nothing in order to apprehend this psychopath.

I’m happy to say I found “Dead of Knight” to be a fantastic read. Potter possesses great writing skills; he is appropriately descriptive and the story flows smoothly. “Dead of Knight” was suspenseful and I would agree with the back jacket’s statement that “Dead of Knight” is a cat and mouse thriller sure to delight fans…” I also appreciated that “Dead of Knight” wasn’t too easy to figure out and I admired the various plot twists that the author skillfully threw in here and there.

In summary I give “Dead of Knight” a five-star Amazon rating. It’s a riveting read but it is definitely aimed for mature readers.

Available at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dead of Knight Reviewed by Review the

“There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness.”
~Sam Peckinpah

The murderer is known by many names. He is called Tyro, a apprentice title, until he has killed more then his name is Damian Knight, soldier of justice, that passes judgment on the guilty. In the bar where he plays video games he is known as Retro, the police call him the Birthday Boy, but soon everyone will hear his true name. Jack Staal is a detective with the Hanson Police and has vowed to bring the killer in. “Dead of Knight” is told from the murderer’s and the detective’s perspective, which allows the reader to get a sense of both characters’ personalities. Detective Staal is a veteran cop who is dealing with demons from a past case gone wrong and the killer is also trying to come to grips with a event from his past that has marked him for life.

“Dead of Knight” is set in British Columbia in a fictional town called Hanson where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are enforcers of the law of the land. The book gives a “real” look at what it takes to solve crimes and that it is not done in an hour as seen on Television. DNA samples take weeks instead of minutes and the suspect is not caught in the last 15 minutes of the show. Suspect after suspect are questioned and ruled out, while the killer continues to murder.

Although “Dead of Knight” in not a true murder mystery since you know the killer, the reasons for his actions are not clear until later. It is still a psychological trip with road block around every corner. It gives a chilling outcome of what can happen to someone who was a product of bullying. The characters are realistic and interesting. I recommend this book to mystery buffs that are old enough to read detailed content regarding killing, sex and drug use.

Reviewed by Michele Tater for Review the Book

Available in print and Kindle at

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dead of Knight is a thrilling and original mystery novel.

George WilhiteAuthor,
“On the Verge of Madness”
“Dead of Knight” by William Potter is a thrilling and original mystery novel. The main character, Jack Staal, was introduced in Potter’s exceptional collection “Lighting the Dark Side” in the short story, “Prominent Couple Slain.” There, in the span of an average length short story, Potter provided readers enough information about Staal and his fictional hometown, Hanson, B.C., to leave us wanting more, and “Dead of Knight” certainly delivers.

A serial killer is on the loose, murdering women on their birthdays. The police slap the moniker “Birthday Boy” on him which only fuels his psychosis—he prefers “Soldier of Justice.” How do we know this? Ah, because thanks to Potter, we get the story from two perspectives, Staal and the Soldier of Justice, cop and killer, cat and mouse.

This is a brave undertaking and not easy to pull off. Most mystery and thriller writers stick to the police procedural formula and simply demonize their serial killer as an evil “Other,” a monster, without providing any real insight into their character or purpose.

Thomas Harris raised the bar long ago with Hannibal Lecter, The Tooth Fairy and Buffalo Bill and their complex relationships to agents Will Graham and Clarice Starling, and I think few writers have entered his arena out of fear of failure.

Potter takes on the challenge and succeeds with a fully satisfying, well rounded novel. It is both an exciting page turner and an equally effective insight into human nature and psychology.

Fans of the mystery genre and mainstream readers alike will enjoy this entertaining and thought provoking thriller. Potter’s dialog is brisk and naturalistic and he does not shy away from the graphic verisimilitude necessary to create sufficient terror and repulsion within the reader toward his perpetrator.

Hanson, B.C. is a thoroughly believable fictional town that blends seamlessly into reality and Jack Staal is a multi-dimensional, sufficiently flawed character with plenty of his own inner demons to battle while hunting down his antagonist--the perfect ticket for a successful series. I look forward to reading more Jack Staal mysteries.

I highly recommend “Dead of Knight” and any fiction by William Potter.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Fast Paced Thriller

Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

"It's a good day to die," he said quietly. "Pardon?" "Happy birthday, Kim." "What?" She retreated a step. "How did you know it's my birthday?" Tyro clenched the lighter in his fist, pulled back and struck a quick blow to her throat. The porcelain cup of steaming coffee burst from her grip and smashed to the ground. Her eyes widened in shock as she clutched at her neck and sunk to her knees. He grabbed her hair in both hands and slammed her face down against his rising knee once, twice, releasing her so that she cracked her head against the wall. He stepped aside to survey the results of his attack. "You have accomplished a great deal in your thirty-two years, haven't you, Miss Walker?" he said as he dragged her into the hidden space between the two dumpsters. "Two illegitimate children, a deadbeat boyfriend, and a minimum wage job slinging burgers to the scum of the earth." He undid his leather belt and pulled it from his waist.

Jack Staal is a detective with the Hanson Major Crime Section. At times, teams from his department are sent to a crime scene to start the work-up and secure the scene until the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team arrives. Jack and his partner, Rachel Gooch, have both been assigned to this preliminary work for two prior cases where the victims have been violently raped and murdered on their birthdays. The media has dubbed the killer "Birthday Boy." Now, they can add a third victim to the list with the killing of Kim Walker, who has been murdered on her birthday.

Author William R. Potter takes Jack Staal through the wringer with Dead of Knight. He is already fighting depression from a mass killing in a park. His deceased partner's wife, Wendy Reynolds, has called asking him to find her missing daughter; and now, the Birthday Boy killings. This may be a lot for one person to deal with, even in fiction, but the writing ability of William R. Potter makes not only the characters believable, but the story as well. This story was so well written. There were no super cops coming along to save the day. The events unrolled so well that I actually felt as if I was following a real police story. This is one author that I will continue to follow and I will be waiting on his next Jack Staal Mystery. Until then, I'll be indulging myself in his book, Lighting the Dark Side. 5 Stars

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Book Review: Trapped on Mystery Island by John Howard Reid

Police sergeant Merryll Manning is on vacation on an island in the Florida Keys for a Murder Mystery weekend. The plan is to solve the mystery and win a cash prize of $5,000.00. Easier said than done. Merry has his teenage-looking girlfriend Susan Ford along for the trip. Susan isn’t above using her sexuality to keep Merryll flustered and under her thumb.

Merryll Manning: Trapped On Mystery Island by John Howard Reid was published more than twenty years ago in Australia. The first installment of the twelve part Merryll Mysteries made its American debut in the spring of 2008.

The game players are an eclectic group including a priest, lawyer, novelist, as well as several actors who may or may not be playing parts in the game. Merryll begins mingling with the players as only he can. His abrasive, eccentric style quickly puts him at odds with several of the gamers. Merry continuously aggravates the priest with religious debates; while Susan’s sexy and spunky charms push and pull Merryll’s concentration from the game.

Soon the first victim of the game falls as Merryll has predicted. The others have a problem with a policeman’s unfair advantage in the game. Others believe Susan is under-age and doubt Manning is a cop at all.

When blood is found, Merryll traces it to a real murder victim. The horrific bloody murder scene has a profound affect on Merryll. Another gamer disappears during a smoke break. With no way to contact the mainland, to leave the island, or to inform the police, Merryll takes over the investigation.

Author John Howard Reid has an undeniable skill for keeping the reader guessing who-dun-it. Reid points the finger of guilt, through Merryll, at many of the characters. The reader keeps turning pages to see who Merryll will infuriate next with his accusations and taunts. Tension, mistrust, fear, and a quick pace keep the reader captivated to the final page.

Don’t mistake this as another self-published vanity project. John Howard Reid is a talented, experienced writer with more than 70 books to his credit. His dialogue is brilliant in the back-and-forth banter between Merryll and the priest, and Merryll and the novelist. He paints scenes so well that you expect to see Merryll and his suspect burst into your living room.

Books three and four in the series are scheduled for release in 2010 with Merryll Manning: Beachfront Holiday set for release in June. Merryll Manning is a wonderful, old-fashioned style mystery series. Start here with Trapped on Mystery Island and you’ll be hooked. Highly Recommended. (June 24, 2008)

By William Potter for Reader’s Choice Reviews.

Book Review: Sandman by Ian Kingsley

The Vincent family is set to enjoy some downtime at their Mudeford Sandbank beach hut, near Christchurch Harbour in Dorset, England. It doesn’t take long for a shocking, brutal murder to disturb this tranquil setting in Sandman by author Ian Kingsley.

We meet Paul Vincent, his wife, Sasha, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leah, at a windsurfing lesson. We quickly learn how Sasha’s flirting brings out the worst in Paul. Paul finds himself apologizing for a jealous outburst directed at the windsurf instructor. The point-of-view switches to actress Carol Davis recalling her horrifying rape on the beach not far from the Vincent’s hut by a man wearing a balaclava. This two-pronged opening with a peaceful beach scene and a violent assault in the opening chapter hooked me instantly.

It has been said that good fiction must have conflict. Kingsley has included enough conflict here for two novels. An incident on the beach puts Paul at odds with a young disturbed loner, a man named Stevie Clarke. Clarke, known by the locals as “The Sandman” doesn’t do well with confrontation. His resentment boils; he produces a large knife and aggressively warns Paul, “I’ll kill you the next time you cross me.” A short time after a jogger is killed, Paul informs the police that he believes Clarke is the killer. Clarke is desperate to get even with Paul for putting the police on him and he begins to stalk Leah relentlessly.

The police appear inept in their effort to catch the killer despite an obvious connection to the previous rape on the beach. Carol Davis contacts Paul and soon the pair are working together to prove to the police Stevie Clark is the killer/rapist. Leah’s attempt to help with the investigation only serves to muddy her father’s work when she hands over evidence that implicates Paul as the murderer to the detectives.

Sandman touches our primary emotions: jealousy, love, guilt, fear, hatred, and grief. As a father, I related to Paul’s unwavering commitment to keep his family safe. I also understood his discomfort with his wife’s tendency to flirt openly with men. Kingsley has written an intriguing mystery/psychological thriller with interesting, believable and well-developed characters. There are twists, turns, red herrings, and a healthy dose of hair-raising fear and suspense to keep even the most fickle reader captivated. The dialogue is authentic, and, along with the scene-painting narrative, you’ll feel like you’re on the beach witnessing the unfolding action.

Just when you think you have it all sorted out, the author changes directions—successfully keeping you guessing until the final pages. When you begin Sandman make sure you set aside a good bit of time, for you won’t stop reading until the last page is savored. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy a great mystery! 5 Stars

New Generation Publishing (2010)
ISBN: coming soon.
260 pages

Reviewed by William Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dead of Knight Reviewed by Apex Reviews

A serial killer is on the loose, terrorizing the unsuspecting citizens of rural Hanson, British Columbia. Dubbed the “Birthday Boy” by the media, the sadistic menace chooses to target only women on their birthdays. As his horrific crusade escalates, Birthday Boy soon falls square in the sights of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - that is, only if Jack Staal doesn’t get to him first. Anxious to solve what will surely prove to be the biggest case of his career, Staal strives to stay one step ahead of the Mounties in his pursuit to uncover the Birthday Boy’s true identity and bring an end to his reign of terror...of course, that’s only if he manages to avoid becoming the crazed killer’s latest victim...

With taut, gripping action and a pulsing storyline, Dead Of Knight is a can’t miss mystery thriller. The skillfully penned narrative from author William Potter shifts seamlessly from the perspective of cop to killer as the action unfolds, ensuring that readers stay on their toes with each fresh turn of the page. Furthermore, Potter masterfully maintains the suspense of his tale with a series of ingenious twists and turns along the way, treating the reader to a cleverly crafted whodunit with the capacity to befuddle even the most discerning of mystery buffs.

As a result, Dead Of Knight succeeds brilliantly where many other offerings in the genre often fail, all without having to pander or overreach in order to do so.

Fast-paced and engaging, Dead Of Knight is an equally enlightening and entertaining read. Kudos to Potter for crafting such a compelling instant classic sure to be hailed for years to come.

Reviewed By Josee Morgan

Official Apex Reviews Rating: 5 stars

Dead of Knight-A Jack Staal Mystery

Dead of Knight-A Jack Staal Mystery
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