Rick Philips isn’t a fighter – but he is a survivor
Haunted by memories of a high school shooting, not even the bottle can wash away the gnawing guilt and creeping feelings of inadequacy that batter Rick’s conscience daily.
His life has been a mess of broken marriages, writer’s block, terrible choices, and the morbid pity of others.
When he meets Harriet at a writer’s conference, the record doesn’t scratch as he falls back – only this time, he may not get up.
Harriet Bristol Wheeler is a dark temptress – and self-confessed serial killer
Harriet has no problem killing – and even fewer issues blending back into the background after the act with the cool, calculating eye of a practiced social chameleon.
Manipulative, unpredictable, and exceptionally intelligent, she’s Rick’s worst nightmare – and the ideal subject for his next book.
A book that they are both desperate to write.
Time is running out – but the sadness will last forever
Rick has no choice but to enter the cracked twilight of Harriet’s world and confront the history of her murderous choices up close.
As Rick starts to gather the evidence for his long-anticipated book, he finds himself looking into answers that put him in even more danger than before – but this time, he may not survive at all.
In the vein of Stieg Larsson and Thomas Harris, Combustible Punch is a memorable novel that captivates readers and lingers long after the last page.
The Sexy Nerd ‘Revue’
I received an autographed copy of this novel from the author, Paul Michael Peters, as a gift for attending his podcast reading of Combustible Punch.
When liquor and words go together, you get one disastrous author. Rick Phillips being the has-been author of a thrilling book never thought his worse dreams would end up being his latest claim to fame. While attending a writer’s conference, he got hammered to the point he really didn’t remember much, except for the gorgeous woman that was sexing him up through the night. It didn’t seem to matter, at the time, that his sex-capade was captured by other hotel goers with his curtains being open for the world to see. Rick was in pain, and he didn’t seem to mind who witnessed it.
Once his drunken stupor wears off, his gorgeous one-night stand has him in a bind of sorts. His lover seems to know exactly what she’s doing, but something about the way she has his body twisted, it would appear that she’s done this sort of thing before. It was at this point that Rick sensed he was in trouble. His best course of action was to remain calm and try to reason with this strong woman who had his arms in a bind. It was at this moment when she whispered to him a deep dark secret. Her name was Harriet and she’s a serial killer. Hmm, Rick thought? This woman had the strength of ten men, and she seemed to be able to dominate her situation. She definitely had all the ingredients to be a serial killer, but what on earth did she want with him?
What wasn’t apparent to Rick was that she was at the same writer’s conference as him, so she obviously wanted him to write something. But what? Oh that…yes, she wanted Rick to write her story about being a female serial killer. Rick knew that, although very rare, women were quite capable of committing multiple murders the same as their male counterparts. Was this woman being for real or was this a hoax? How could he be certain she committed the crimes she spoke of? However, the burning question of the night Rick wondered, why would she do this?
As the reader begins to venture down a deep and dark path of lies, lust, deceit and murder, it becomes very apparent that Harriet Bristol Wheeler has many more layers to her being than what meets the eye, with Rick being at the center of it all. It’s only a matter of time to see who will be Harriet’s final victim.
You know what struck me as odd with this story is that there were times the novel seemed to venture in one direction where it was a little boring and then the next second the story began to pick up speed. Normally, I wouldn’t appreciate that in a book, but I have to say, it worked nicely in this story. There were so many moments where I felt I was losing interest only to have Harriet tell Rick something that had my eyes glued to the page. I’m not sure if that was what the author was going for or not, but I’m so glad Peters gifted me his book. This was pretty damn good, if I say so myself and I do! (chuckle)
Overall, this story had a little bit of everything tied in together and I really enjoyed Rick’s character the more I got to know him. There’s a sense of sadness about him, but he’s lovable and I can appreciate that in a character. Harriet was something else all together different, but again, what you think you’re getting with a person, might not always be what is. I really liked this story.
The Sexy Nerd gives Combustible Punch four knockout hits. If you’re looking for something a little different with lots of mystery and pizzazz, this story will do that for you. Until next time Nerds, open a book and get mind blown!