Nukekubi by Stephen B. Pearl

Nukekubi means headless.

A paranormal, modern fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, detective novel.

Rated PG16 - adult.

Published by Dark Dragon Publishing in trade paper back and e-book.

ISNB-13: 978-0986763366, eISBN-13: 978-0986763373.

Location: Canada - Toronto, Hamilton, McMaster University, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Available from Dark Dragon Publishing.

Amazon on line booksellers - including Canada, USA, UK, Australia,
Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and Nook, Chapters and Indigo, and other book store locations.

Nukekubi book cover - modern fantasy, paranormal mystery, romance

Nukekubi Chapter 1


Interview & background information


  •      I found Nukekubi to be a fascinating tale without any vampires or werewolves so many other writers employ in their quest to tag onto the coat tails of urban fantasy. The monster itself is not original, but the story implementation of an oriental monster is. Mr. Pearl maintained a good level of suspense and managed to weave a good plot with characters that one could relate to. I did find the first person POV distracting and noticed a few grammar and spelling mistakes, but that didn't annoy me enough to keep me from enjoying the book. Nukekubi is a good read and I would recommend it to those readers who enjoy urban fantasy with a touch of originality.

         4 out of 5 stars

         Review by Robert Larrison Good Read.

  •      In this day and age it is rare for a paranormal/urban fantasy novel to be original. Stephen has done just that. There are no vampires, weres, fairies, and shifters that are your standard fare. Stephen basically reinvents the paranormal genre with his originality and his wonderful writing style.

         5 out of 5 stars

         Review by Karen Dales, Goodreads, award winning author of The Chosen Chronicles.

  •      Reviews may contain information that could be considered 'spoilers'. Readers should proceed at their own risk.

         Ray joins his Western wizardry with Toshiro and Kunio's Japanese magic to hunt a centuries-old evil.

         This book is fantastic! It's quite apparent that the author has done his research. He includes important cultural details that really make the story and characters come alive. I am thoroughly impressed with some of the Japanese nuances he included, as well as the details in the myriad of spells and powers and how they're presented. In fact, I found myself impressed and enjoying the book from the beginning, and it only got better. A few times I could have done without Ray's comments about "being a guy," but even that worked into the story.

         The two main female characters are both strong and well-rounded. Yes, they were sidelined a bit, but the author did an excellent job of making them a real part of the fight throughout the book despite their handicaps (Cathy can use magic but has a broken ankle, and Kama can't use magic). It's a male-centric story, but I appreciate the fact that the women were not just "extras." I should also mention that Cathy is an exotic dancer and Kama starts as a prostitute. At first I questioned why they couldn't be "regular" girls, but they show that they are amazing women and their lifestyles are actually pertinent to the plot!

         The male heroes are just as realistic, though I sometimes doubted that Ray's lifeguarding first-aid skills would really teach him everything he seems to know (I just chalked it up to him being an avid learner). Toshiro is the classic Japanese master, and I picture an older, slightly rounder, mellowed-out Toshiro Mifune (a Japanese samurai film legend). Watching both Kunio and Ray grow under his guidance is a subtle layer of icing on this cake. Kunio's naivety makes him a good, impulsive third to Toshiro's wisdom and Ray's controlling.

         I sometimes found Ray's "spells" to be a bit goofy, but I know that others will see the Japanese side in the same way. Besides, as Ray explains, it's not the words themselves that truly matter; they allow him to focus on the actual magic, energy and interaction with nature and gods. I like that they used Egyptian deities; it gives the book another wonderfully unusual aspect. Including a familiar was a nice extra; it was a pleasure to see some of her power as well. Using reincarnation as an important yet subtle part of the story added one more dimension, creating a complex web of life that made the story that much more enjoyable.

         The writing is exciting and easy to follow. The story is rich, and the characters real and fleshed-out. My only complaint is an aesthetic one: there are entirely too many fonts on the page each time a chapter starts. There's the font for the chapter number, another for the chapter name, another for the main text and a final one for the first letter of that chapter. It's too much. It looks like they're trying too hard to put a little Eastern and Western touch with the first letter and chapter name fonts. However, this complaint has nothing to do with the quality of the read. Nukekubi is an exceptional book, and based on reading this, I hope to read more of this author's works.

         Grade: 9 out of 10.

         Sequential Tart web zine - report card. Tart: Sheena McNeil.

  •      At the start of this book I knew I would love it. Ray, a Wizard and lifeguard by trade, and Cathy, a Mystic who is an exotic dancer to earn money for her doctorate in psychology, are in an apartment trying to get rid of a poltergeist. Cathy and Ray have a friends with benefits relationship since Cathy can't commit. Furniture is flying all around and Ray and Cathy are trying to get rid of it. In spite of the flying furniture, knives and dishes it is really funny. I knew I was in for some laughs in addition to the seriousness of the story. When Cathy breaks her ankle due to the poltergeist throwing her across the room, she is upset about having to see her mother who is a nurse. Ray's remark to her is tell her the truth about the Poltergeist after all "you came out of the broom closet" with everyone but your mom. Classic remark, have to love it.

         There is a new drug in Toronto called Terror causing panic, since it is deadly. Cathy has asked Ray to do her a favor. He is to go to the strip club and get the money her friend Jessy owes her. While there, he encounters one of the dancers running through the street screaming. As he attempts to help her he is face to face with a headless being leaving her body. It is a Nukekubi, Japanese Goblin, who feeds off the fear and energies of its victims. The the new drug that has been killing people, Terror, is appropriately named since the Nukekubi feeds off the terror of those infected. This is no ordinary drug.

         It would be impossible to explain to the authorities what Terror actually is without him being considered insane. Ray realizes that he is the only one that can destroy the Nukekubi; he can't let it just continue to kill. Hit in the head and captured by the one he believes responsible for the drug, he wakes up to find that he has allies in his fight instead. Kunio and Toshiro from Japan are searching for the Nukekubi and have been fighting it in Japan for years. Both men had lost family to the Nukekubi and enlist Ray's help. At least now there are three people aware of the danger willing to fight together.

         The battle between good and evil begins. There is danger for the three soldiers who are fighting against an enemy that is not human and has mystical powers. Will they succeed? Is there hope that three mortals can defeat an enemy such as the Nukekubi?

         I loved Ray. He is such a funny character and many times speaks in the first person as if he is talking directly to the reader. This is a great paranormal book it has witches, mystics, violence and amazing heroes.

         5 stars

         Linda Tonis, Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team.

  •      What would you be willing to do to protect others? Would you be willing to fight against a monstrous evil and risk your life and soul?

         Terror has a new name. A new drug named Terror has hit the city streets, claiming its victims by causing them to die of unspeakable horrors.

         Ray McAndrues, a lifeguard by profession, is not what he appears, for he can sense energies and perform magic. While doing a favour for his girlfriend and fellow mystic, Cathy, Ray discovers exactly what is causing the gruesome deaths of innocents when he witnesses a friend succumb to Terror's destructive Effects. Horrified, Ray believes he is the only one who can stop this ancient evil, for a Japanese goblin - a Nukekubi - has come to feast upon those Ray cares about.

         In his pursuit, Ray is joined by two allies who have come from Japan to hunt the Nukekubi. With Toshiro and Kunio, Ray discovers he does not have to fight alone. Will Ray be able to find and destroy the Nukekubi before it can consume him and those he loves?

         Cathy and Ray are good friends and lovers. They are wizards and work together to fight against evil that is infecting our world. Cathy has a fear of commitment because of her parent's divorce. She doesn't believe in monogamy. Ray is deeply in love with Cathy and would like nothing more than to have a permanent committed relationship but he struggles to get past her negative history.

         When prostitutes begin dying, Ray and Cathy with the help of Yoshida Toshiro and Sasaki Kunio must work together, bringing Eastern religion together with Western religion to defeat the evil Japanese soul stealing, fear monster, The Nukekubi before he destroys the world.

         Nukekubi is an exciting read filled with mysticism and spiritual understandings. As Ray, Cathy, Toshiro and Kunio battle the Nukekubi; they must also face their own shortcomings and fears in order to succeed. Because the Nukebuki feeds on fear and death forcing Ray to live his worst nightmares.

         Nukekubi is more of an action story than a romance although there are definite aspects of romance as Cathy and Ray must work out the kinks in the relationship, as well as Kunio learning to accept women as more than housekeepers and sexual playthings. The action is fast paced and filled with danger as the characters face off against a formidable demon. If you enjoy stories along the lines of fantasy and action without the romantic "Happily Ever After", then you are going to enjoy Nukekubi.

         Review of Nukekubi by Melissa at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews

  •      What is a Nukeubi? I guess in order to understand the story, you need to know what it is.

         By day, Nukekubi appear to be normal human beings. By night, however, their heads detach at the neck smoothly from their bodies and fly about independently in search of human prey. These heads attack by screaming (to increase their victims' fright), then closing in and biting.

         While the head is detached, the body of a Nukekubi becomes inanimate. In some legends, this serves as one of the creature's few weaknesses; if a Nukekubi's head cannot locate and reattach to its body by sunrise, the creature dies. Legends often tell of would-be victims foiling the creatures by destroying or hiding their bodies while the heads are elsewhere.

         By day, Nukekubi often try to blend into human society. They sometimes live in groups, impersonating normal human families. The only way to tell a Nukekubi from a normal human being is a line of red symbols around the base of the neck where the head detaches. Even this small detail is easily concealed beneath clothing or jewelry.

         With that said, author Stephen B. Pearl has brought a folklore into an reality to Ray McAndrues, who most people when they look at him, see nothing special or out of the ordinary. Little is known but Ray can sense certain energies and perform magic. He has probably used his special talents before, but not in life threatening situations, but for sport or maybe just in goofing around with the girl who has his eye, Cathy, who herself is a mystic.

         This is what the papers are saying, a drug that is taking lives on the city streets, and it's called Terror. It appears to cause the person to die a horrendous death. Ray, happens to witness a friend die to 'Terror's' effects.

         Ray then realizes this is no drug that is taking lives, but what is called a Nukekubu or a Japanese goblin. And it is killing and feasting on people he cares for. He feels deep down he is the only one that will be able to conquer it, and extinguish it forever.

         Ray has help come over from Japan who are willing to help him in his endeavor. Ray is grateful he does not have to do this alone.

         Take a journey of magic and 'terror' with Ray, Cathy, Kama, Kunio and Toshiro. When you are done, you will look at what is considered 'folklore' in a different way. The next time you are told something is a folklore, make sure you think twice.

         I was absolutely spellbound by this book and I applaud the imagination and creativity the author put in this book. I look forward to reading more by him.

         I give this book five stars

         Reviewed by Nora Chipley Barteau, Reviewers Helping Authors