What we have here is a story about a psychic and a detective. That would be the Gus and Alex mentioned in the title. What’s different? They work together without sneering at Gus’s psychic abilities. Holy X-Files, Batman! Really? The police listen to the psychic? Yes, they do. And that’s just the beginning…
Author Steven Cooper created people not just characters to play out in this novel. They are well built, different and interesting. Kudos to you Steven for creating people that might actually live in the real world.
This is quite a long book, for those of you who like to settle in and get invested in your story, this is for you. You will have have plots and subplots, clues and plenty to keep your mind occupied.
Prometheus Books offered to let me read this. They are an imprint of Penguin Putnam. Go check it out wherever you buy books. I think you’ll like it.
Are you as big a fan of Halloween as I am? I’m constantly on the lookout for new stories about my favorite holiday. Well, now we have a new reason to look forward to this upcoming October. Brian James Freeman and Hydra Books have a new anthology series coming out every week in Oct 2017. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Book One starts us off with Robert McCammon’s short but sweet story from 2012 entitled STRANGE CANDY. This is a perfectly written story for Halloween and will have you sobbing into your Snickers bars,
Kevin Lucia brings us another Clifton Heights story called THE RAGE OF ACHILLES or WHEN MOCKINGBIRDS SING. Kevin is also one of the editors at Cemetery Dance; I wish he wasn’t so busy there. He needs more time to write. I love Clifton Heights and want to visit everyone. In this story, we learn about a young boy who is different from others. I actually don’t recall if he used the word, but I think the child was autistic. It was one heck of a Halloween story.
DEMON AIR by John Little had to have it’s roots while the author was in flight. There are so many bad stories about airlines now, why not enjoy another about a girl who is traveling to her ancestral homeland to learn about her roots.
Lisa Morton provided LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS: a story about cowboy movie being filmed south of the border at Halloween. This has a fine twist of an ending. I would expect no less from Ms. Morton.
Finally, the piece de resistance. The novella length #MakeHalloweenScaryAgain by Mark Allan Gunnells. This was a wonderfully twisted tale by an author I’ll need to check out. A serial killer is on the loose apparently because of a Facebook post.
This is a solid 5 star anthology and I’m very grateful to Hydra Books for letting me have an advance copy to review. I highly recommend HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL VOLUME 1 and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
EMMA IN THE NIGHT is a fascinating look at a dysfunctional family who has a mother with narcissistic personality disorder.Emma and Cass vie for mother Judy’s love in this intense page turner. The plot twists will keep your mind working – don’t think you’ve figured out all the answers! This one is a tough one.
Mystery aside (which I really enjoyed), I learned a lot about NPD. How amazing was that? I won’t go into it except to say that I think everyone will get something out of this book. It’s truly a mindbender.
Thanks so much to St. Martins Press for offering me this excellent novel to read. I highly recommend EMMA IN THE NIGHT to everyone who enjoys a great mystery/thriller.
Buy EMMA at Amazon. com
Norman Prentiss and Brian James Freeman wrote what may be my favorite Halloween story ever. I first read it in 2015 when Norm agreed to his first interview for this blog. When I saw that Hydra was going to release it on kindle, I found I needed to help spread the word!
What’s going on inside the gated community apartments? Nothing, if management has its way. No parties, no decorations and certainly no trick or treating. The annual potluck is canceled. It’s to be just another night.
But at the apartment belonging to handyman Harris and his family something strange is happening. Harris’ wife is keeping a journal for a marriage counselor that only she is seeing. And that’s just the beginning…
Prentiss and Freeman write flawlessly attesting to their skill and professionalism. They weave their words together as if they had always written together and this reader hopes they will continue to publish stories together. What a treat THE HALLOWEEN CHILDREN was. Originally published in October 2014 by Earthling Publications in a limited run of 500 signed copies, available on kindle from Hydra in June 2017.
Buy it from Amazon.com!
BRING HER HOME is David Bell’s newest mystery thriller and I happily locked myself away with my advance copy sent to me by Berkeley Publishing Group.
David Bell is known for writing slow paced, extremely descriptive rather long novels. This allows the reader to really get to know the characters and attempt to solve the mystery along with the characters. We get to know the people intimately and feel what they are feeling.
BRING HER HOME is the story of a father of a teenage girl who has gone missing with her best friend. He lost his wife the previous year and still hasn’t recovered from her loss. The twists and turns in this novel are amazing. Bell quite simply outdid himself.
If you enjoy thrillers, move this to the top of your tbr list. It’s scheduled for release 7/11/17. You might also want to check out David Bell’s interview if you missed it. Click over to the Authors Page for the date (and to see who else you may have missed).
Available at Amazon.com
This was a well thought out scary book that is very much a standalone novel though second in a series.
DEADLIGHT JACK is quite simply a man who is not a man that steals children in the bayous of the South. Our heroes are a Native American and an African American who use mythological powers to battle Jack and others like him.
There are so many things that I liked about this book. First the author took his time building the story. There was no need to read the first book first. The characters were not the usual white sugar cookie cutter. He created real people – all colors and sexualities. I enjoyed the banter between the two main characters. Again, it made them feel like real people. I love slow, descriptive stories that In can lose myself in; this is a perfect example. Now I’m going to go buy book 1 and eagerly await book 3.
DEADLIGHT JACK is coming to Amazon in January 2017
If you’re young and impressionable, William Johnstone’s ROCKINGHORSE is bound to scare the crap out of you. Johnstone wrote some of the finest horror of the 80’s and he didn’t leave anything out of this one. A scary toy, insane family, and a whole lot of butchering goes on in this haunted house. And if you’re old and hardened (like me), you’ll just have a blast reading it!
This is one of many William Johnstone books of horror that is being re-released by Kensington books – Lryical Underground. I plan to get every one. This is the horror that I love. It’s well plotted and a satisfying read. While I wondered at the opening, I shouldn’t have. It was all explained at the end.
And on another note, there are subjects brought up that are as pertinent today as they were then.
This is expected to be released in mid-September. Reserve yours now.
Well, THAT was unexpected!
This was my first Charlie Parker book. I know, #14? Why? Why in the world would I start a series so far in when I’m so anal retentive about reading series in order? Issues. I have series issues and I just don’t want to read them anymore. But Atria sent me an email telling me that I was pre-approved for A TIME OF TORMENT and I could go download it.
Now, John Connolly can write. ‘Nuff said. THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS is killer. That’s the John Connolly that I love. I like the fantastic, the otherworldly, the creep factor. There’s enough detectives out there and I felt I read them all.
But I hadn’t read John Connolly’s. Now there are people out there who are nodding and saying “I told you so!” Yeah, you did, but maybe it didn’t come until this book. So, just what the heck is A TIME OF TORMENT?
For one thing, there are a ton of storyline strings that I knew nothing about. Didn’t really matter. Connolly gave just enough information that I was able to pick up and follow the right string and know where I was headed. But, those unknown strings whetted my damn appetite for those past books. John’s Momma didn’t raise no fool… Now Charlie Parker didn’t really seem to be in much of this book. He listened to the story of a man who went to prison and claimed innocence for the crime. There’s a lot of that going around and nobody cares. But Parker listened.
And in other storylines that caught my attention, it seems Charlie his wife and daughter died. Charlie is back on earth…but I must know more.
Is this a book that can be read as a stand alone? Mmmm, sure. Will you want to? Nnnnot so much. But, I highly recommend you start reading the Charlie Parker books somewhere. With 14 out there, you can get caught up in no time.
A TIME OF TORMENT is available at Amazon.com
Luke Walker sent me a copy of his newest book, HOMETOWN, for my thoughts and hopefully a review. Like all of his books, this was an easy read. The tension builds slowly and one gets to know the characters before their lives begin to crumble. Where? What? How? By the time you find yourself questioning just what the hell is going on it’s too lat to stop for your own bodily functions. Hopefully, there’s someone at home to help you out there! Hometown is a journey into disaster. It’s a speedy, breathless trip that I think you’ll enjoy.
Get HOMETOWN at Amazon.com
Subterranean Press is coming out with LAST TRAIN FROM PERDITION and provided me with a copy.
Trevor Lawson was a soldier at the Battle of Shiloh when he was killed and turned into a vampire. This series is his story. LAST TRAIN FROM PERDITION is book two and begins with author Robert McCammon summarizing the first book for the reader. I appreciated this method as it gave the reader the option to read – or not, the summary. If you just read the first book, you could jump right in. Nice!
McCammon’s writing as always is easy to read and flawless. He does not rely on the same old vampire tropes, but twists them and makes the vampire story his own. To be clear, this is a vampire western. It takes place in the American South and West around the 1880’s.
While this book is clearly a stand alone novella, you’re going to want to read Book 1, I TRAVEL BY NIGHT, at some point. I have to admit though, that I liked this book better. It’s like McCammon is getting to know his characters and hitting his stride. The words seemed to flow freely.
Coming October 31!
Check it out at Amazon.com
LITTLE KILLERS A-Z – 26 darkly horrific short stories with the theme of children. Author Howard Odentz does a wonderful job of opening new pathways to terror. These aren’t the same ol’ stories you’ve read time and again; rather they are fresh new stories from one sick puppy!
I really enjoyed reading these and appreciate all the work Odentz put in to making a clean copy for reading. I also love the cover. The book has an excellent interactive Table of Contents making it easy to read the story of your choice.
I received my copy from the publisher – Bell Bridge Books.. I plan to take a look at the other books this author has available and highly recommend you pick up a copy of LITTLE KILLERS today!
Find it at Amazon.com
I loved DEAD SOULS! Fiona goes into a bar. A man starts buying her drinks. No, it’s not a bad joke…but she does end up making a deal with the devil. Doesn’t matter that she doesn’t believe in him, he wants her soul and a favor.
You say the deal story has been before. Well, it’s never been done like this. Fenn’s writing moves story at a breakneck clip. With twists and turns….how will it end? Highly unexpected!
Great horror, extreme scenes and highly recommended. Simon and Schuster gave me an advance copy of DEAD SOULS.
Simon and Schuster provided me with a digital copy of ALL THE MISSING GIRLS. What a great book that was!
ALL THE MISSING GIRLS is a thriller told the only way it could be – backwards. As the story weaves and winds from it’s apparent conclusion, author Megan Miranda tosses in so many more tidbits, you’ll almost be tempted to read from the back of this book. But, don’t! You really don’t want to spoil your fun.
What I found unusual is that nearly all the characters here are pretty much unlikable. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the mystery, though. I admit also to not figuring this one out either. I had to read it and let the author explain everything to me. Maybe you’ll do better. In any case, sit back and enjoy what I think is a perfect beach/cruise read.
Coming June 28, 2016
By now everyone that’s been paying any kind of attention to the goings on in publishing- especially in horror – knows that Samhain celebrated 10 years in the publishing industry last year. They had quite the party, apparently. They fired one of the best editors in the biz, and later declared they were shutting down the company! They still had several books to publish, DEMON WITH A COMB-OVER just one of many.
Stuart R. West is the author of DEMON, his twelfth published book to date. It’s the story of an aspiring stand-up comedian who makes an awful mistake. When his set isn’t going well, he looks for an audience member to heckle…the guy with the comb-over looks perfect. Unfortunately, the ‘guy’ is a demon, and the demon doesn’t like the teasing. It’s an all out battle from there.
The story is riddled with stand-up type humor. It will definitely appeal to some and not others. As they say: Horror is funny that way… I liked it. I hope you do too.
Buy DEMON WITH A COMB-OVER at Amazon.com
Sinister Grin Press is publishing A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD by David Bernstein in March of 2016. This really is a mixed bag of short stories. There’s something for everyone in this collection. You know how usually you like some and not others? I think you’ll have a tough time picking your favorite story here. Some were really horrendous. I loved those best of all. I’m funny that way. Make me queasy and I’ll remember you. Roaches and serial killers, sex (lots of sex) toilets and boogers. Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you’ll want to read.
With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did.
By now you probably know way more than you need to know about the story line of Joe Hill’s THE FIREMAN. What you need to know is Joe Hill can tell a story like nobody’s business. If you’re thinking, hey, he wrote that haunted suit book that I DNF and I haven’t read him since, well, let me tell you I think that finishing THE FIREMAN might have left me speechless. The only thing I can think to say about THE FIREMAN is
This is over 600 pages of pure storytelling. It’s about people. It’s about life and family. You have plenty of time to get to know the people. You can love them, hate them, cry with them and laugh with them.
I started reading this book the beginning of February and realized that I could finish in a couple of days. I could tell from the outset that it was a very good book. I forced myself to slow down and savor it. It took me 6 days to finish. I took my kindle everywhere and read in the car. It was an amazing experience drawing it out that way and I feel like I didn’t miss anything.
The writing is exceptional, the storytelling second to none. Don’t miss this one.
I knew from the first page that I would like this book, and I just love when that happens. It really doesn’t happen all that often that a new writer can intrigue and capture me and make me want to read their book straight through, without stopping.
THE PASSENGER is a wild roller coaster thrill ride that does not give up its secrets until the very last sentence. Lutz doles out clues sparingly, dropping hints like breadcrumbs for armchair detectives to snatch up and ponder as they race to finish.Some bits may fairly obvious to most longtime mystery readers. Others will probably leave you, like they did me scratching your head and asking why did she do THAT? As the story unwinds, I think you’ll feel as satisfied as I did. Everything fell neatly into place.
I received my copy of THE PASSENGER from the publisher for review. I hope you pick up a copy also.
SOUR CANDY is the newest novella by Kealan Patrick Burke. Subscribers to his Digital 50 plan found this wonderfully dark piece of fiction in their mailboxes today.
The story gets going in a Walmart with a screeching child in the candy aisle. Sounds like my Walmart. And while normally a day could only get better after that, there’s nothing normal for the hero of our story. His day is definitely taking a downward plunge into an empty pool. As bad as things are, there are scenes you can’t help but shake your head and laugh at – but then wipe that grin, things only get worse.
SOUR CANDY will be available at all the usual places on November 13. You want to read this!
I received an email from John Everson of Dark Arts Books asking me if he could send me a digital copy of this book and if I would write a review on it. I told him that I had never heard of the author, but for him, I would read it.
OH! This just might be the most unique, most original set of short stories I have ever read! Was that redundant? Let me rephrase that to get my point across. Martin Mundt’s writing is so fresh, it slaps you in the face with each story you read.
Then I come to find that he was published way back in the wayback by Delerium Books only in signed/limited form. Now John Everson has picked him up for the rest of us to enjoy.
And enjoy him you will. He writes dark fiction-comedy, dark fiction-sorrow, dark fiction- horror. And as you laugh, cry, scream at the tree, heroin addict and Realtor be sure to tell others in your house that you’re reading. Or they just might wonder, like my husband did, if you’ve finally lost it. Whatever it is. But you’ve found something new in any case.
But if you miss this, you’ve missed something really special.
Buy Synchronized Sleepwalking at Amazon.com
I just finished reading almost 550 pages of vampire stories. Simon & Schuster/Gallery has put together an anthology of new vampire short stories by an assortment of very well known and not so known horror authors and edited by Christopher Golden. I really hate buying anthologies, don’t you? You never really know quite what you’ll end up with. Well, the ones I knew well I trusted in enough to want to try it. Plus, these are all new stories. That in itself is nice. Did they come through, you ask? Oh, yes they did! And the ones I knew nothing about? Even better. As in most collections not every story is a winner. There were a couple that I just didn’t like. And chances are the ones I didn’t like will be your favorites so no names will be mentioned.
Just check out some of the names: Laird Barron, Brian Keene, Charlaine Harris, Scott Smith, Tim Lebbon, Joe McKinney…I’ll stop there and let you check out the book!
Also, the subtitle is entirely correct. These are NEW tales. Be prepared to have your mind expanded and enjoy many hours and over 500 pages of bloody storytelling excellence.
I received my copy of SEIZE THE NIGHT from the publisher in exchange for my review.
SEIZE THE NIGHT is available at Amazon.com
Jonathan Janz is kicking werewolf butt in the soon to be published WOLF LAND. This is extreme violence and gore and I loved every fleshy page of it! Janz is a force to be reckoned with – everything he writes unfolds before your eyes, each book is a treat for your mind and WOLF LAND is no exception.
WOLF LAND begins with a high school reunion. All the characters are well described and there are no cardboard cut-outs. You’ll get to know everyone and begin to root for your favorites. Where do the wolves come from? how do they change? Janz brings his own ideas in this story. It’s not the same ol’ rehashed werewolf tale you’ve heard a million times. And it does not sparkle! This was a long novel, over 400 pages of well edited writing. Look to Samhain to publish this in early November.
I read a lot of books that are sent to me by publishers and authors before they are released and as a result I’m woefully behind on the books that I buy for myself. So, I usually don’t write about those books here – they’re generally a year old by the time I read them! But I just read one of the best books I’ll probably read this year – 2014’s THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS by John F.D. Taff. I hope you’ve already read this brilliantly written set of novellas and are nodding to yourself smugly and thinking HA! got one on her! If you haven’t read it yet, stop whatever you’re doing and get it now. This is wonderfully written dark fiction; the first story nearly had me in tears, but that didn’t stop me from reading it straight through. Taff’s imagination is vivid; this is not the same ol’ thing. He is extremely inventive and his writing is beautiful.
I highly recommend this – it would make a terrific gift for any fan of dark fiction.
Buy THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS at Amazon.com
SOUL MATES by John R. Little just went on sale. I grabbed it up and started reading! Little tells the story of identical twins Savannah and Alannah in the way that only he can. The story starts slowly and builds engrossing the reader in the twins’ life. But watch out for John Little – he has plot twists and turns that double back on themselves! At the risk of saying too much I’ll just say that this master of dark fiction has done it again. I highly recommend you buy SOUL MATES now!
Buy SOUL MATES at Amazon.com
Samhain Publications has a lot of good books coming out over the next few months. I just read THE LEPER WINDOW by Frazer Lee. This is a short novella – coming in around 50 or so pages – that is well worth your time and money. I think novellas are the way to go in the horror genre. And I think LEPER WINDOW is one of many that prove my point.
What’s a leper window you ask? It’s a window that lepers were allowed to look out of in times gone by. Seriously. Silly question… Why? Umm, should I say read the book? Make an iced coffee, sit down and enjoy. We’ve got demons, chills and superb writing.
Samhain also decided to wrap the CHILDHOOD FEARS series into one nicely packaged volume. Awesome! I didn’t have them all, guess I had a brain cramp and missed out(?) so they sent me the complete volume. I’m glad I finally read them all. Every story is gold. From clowns, evil santas, teddy bears to scarecrows, I can’t and won’t pick a favorite story. Have you read them all?
THE BEAR WHO WOULDN’T LEAVE is a great creep you out story about a teddy bear that comes to life. The boy who is the unlucky recipient of the bear has problems enough at home with stuffed animals that move. He keeps trying to get rid of the thing but…
SCARECROWS is as much a great mystery as it is a scary thing. This extremely well written story relies on suspension of belief more than the others due to the age of the main character. Yet I find myself thinking about the story still. Murder, insanity and ghosts! Oh my! What a great story.
NIGHTMARE IN GREASEPAINT – Does anyone out there really like clowns? This is one twisted story that shouldn’t be missed. I’ve never liked clowns and guess I never will.
WINTERWOOD is Norse folklore of the Black Forest, Krampus and the Yule Cat (among others). This wonderfully scary story for kids should give adults some pleasure too.
I loved them all. My only complaint is that the table of contents wasn’t very user friendly. Or maybe I’m clumsy. Or both. Just enjoy four great creepy, scary reads in one volume!
Both books are coming out in October. Order now to get the best prices.
I started reading DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland a few days ago. I thought to myself, hey! why haven’t I read more of this guy? Well I finished the book…the really awesome book…and before I get too far off-track, let me talk about Moreland’s newest book from Samhain.
Marty is a guy who everyone picks on. All he wants for himself is a decent life. But he grew up in foster homes and loves poetry; he’s working as a janitor with dreams of putting himself through college…
But this IS after all the horror genre. There’s poetry, yes, but plenty of gore. There’s a love story, but there’s a revenge story to back it up. Brian Moreland is at his wicked best with this novella that will keep your heart racing right up to the jaw-dropping climax where you’ll smack yourself in surprise.
When I took a break from reading I jumped over to Amazon and found that I had gotten THE WITCHING HOUSE a couple years ago. I had forgotten reading it. I also saw that TWH now had a prequel called THE GIRL FROM THE BLOOD COVEN. It was free even! As soon as I finished DARKNESS RISING I started BLOOD COVEN. Read together with TWH it’s now a solid story. One I’m not going to forget!
Make your week amazing and read (or re-read) Brian Moreland! And grab a few more of his books while you’re at it. I plan to. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.
Buy DARKNESS RISING at Amazon.com
David Bernstein has been busy lately. He has another book coming out in August through Samhain called GOBLINS. Classic goblins they are! These are mean, green little suckers from hell. Dave’s writing is just getting better and better with every book he writes. GOBLINS takes us to Roanoke Island, NC where back in the late 1500’s a settlement of pioneers disappeared without a trace. When children are kidnapped and then their families are killed the chief of police is in a quandary.
This fast moving book of horror will keep you reading past your bedtime. You’ll be very glad you bought it.
Random House is batting 1000 with Dark Screams Volume 5. All I can say to start is WOW! Every story is brand spanking shiny new. Can’t complain about that!
Sandwiched between your heavy hitters Kealan Patrick Burke and Bentley Little, we have the yummy fillings to try out, so let’s talk.
Mick Garris brought us EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED. This story took up just over half the kindle space, it was quite a long short story. He was very descriptive, something I always appreciate. I did wonder what it was all for, but , trust me when the horror comes, it comes on strong. Even if I did giggle. Sorry. It was horrifying and I’m really glad it happened to this guy.
THE LAND OF SUNSHINE by Kealan (y’all know KPB, right? good.) This guy is married to a woman who is mute. And before I reveal too much, please remember that it’s the words between the lines that matter here…
Del James wrote MECHANICAL GRATITUDE. This starts out as a story about a guy and his ’68 Camaro. Turns into good murder/horror story.
About this time I’m noticing a ‘guy’ pattern. Ok, let’s continue.
THE ONE AND ONLY by J Kenner is a story about a group of guys (yeah!) on the loose in New Orleans after one is rejected by his girlfriend. They go to a fortuneteller prior to hitting a bar and the rejected one hears and sees something interesting…
Batting clean-up with THE PLAYHOUSE is Bentley Little. This not nearly long enough vignette told of a Realtor who while checking out a new listing discovers a very special playhouse in the backyard.
I think that this is the best so far in the Dark Screams series. You can’t go wrong with Kealan and Bentley – ever, and I found three new authors to check out today.
Random House/Hydra gave me an electronic copy so that I could read and review this book. They plan to publish DS5 in October 2015.
Penguin/Nal just gave me a copy of David J. Bell’s newest book SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW.
Intensely twisted. That’s the best description for this new mystery. Bell tells the story of Nick and Marissa, two college students who met and fell in love. But Marissa was killed and Nick never got over his love for her.
Bell’s writing is slow and flawless. The reader gets to know every character intimately. Every question I had was addressed. Just when I had a problem with the storyline Bell responded to it. It was as if he knew at that particular point someone would sputter and say, “But what about??” and he would address that point.
I loved the slow build to the end. And when the ending was finally reached I sighed, closed my kindle and didn’t start another book. This was awesome. Doglovers…there’s even a great dog in here.
I hope you enjoy reading it too.
I haven’t been this excited about a book in a long time! I just finished reading SKINNER by David Bernstein. Dave wrote the perfect horror novel with SKINNER. What we have here is a group of friends that set out for a weekend at a ski resort in Vermont from New York. On their way through a circuitous mountain pass a blizzard overtakes them and sends their vehicle plummeting over the side of the mountain. That’s about all the background I’ll fill your head with, but…let me tell you, this is a bloody gore fest! But my favorite part is that David created smart, real characters for this story. They are able to start fires and make torches. Some are annoying and shallow and you just want to smack them. They’re smart and strong, but can they survive and win out? The ending is, in my mind perfect. You’ll have to decide what you think.
The lovely people at Darkfuse gave me this book in exchange for my review. And if you pre-order at Amazon they will discount the price to $2.99. After publication the price will go up.
SKINNER can be pre-ordered at Amazon.com
Random House provided me with a copy of DARK SCREAMS VOLUME FOUR. This is coming out in digital format August of 2015 at all the usual places.
VOLUME FOUR in the DARK SCREAMS series proves that more is indeed better. I have read all of these books now and and will continue to do so as long as the editing team of Chizmar and Freeman continue to do their stellar work. Nothing slips by this duo – that is indeed refreshing! On to the stories!
Clive Barker’s THE DEPARTED was wonderful, if not new. This very short story was beautifully done and is a great one to pull out each Halloween. It’s also a good one to read if you’ve lost a loved one. Or maybe not. It could bring on a good cry.
THE NEW WAR by Lisa Morton scared the wahoohoo out of me. I’m at the wrong age to read this story…and so are you if you’re, say, over 50. I’ve long realized that Lisa was a terrific editor, but I’ve only read her stories now and then. I didn’t know how good she is. Well, she nailed this. This story sells the book for me.
SAMMY COMES HOME by Ray Garton – Dog lovers beware! There is animal death in this story. You’ve been warned. That said, I read this while holding my breath and ready to stop reading any time Ray got too excessive. He didn’t and I didn’t and the ending rocked.
Ed Gorman came in next with THE BRASHER GIRL. This was a reprint from 1995. I think this story kicked butt! Full of murder, aliens, sex and violence, Ed wrote it for Stephen King.
Finally, Heather Graham finished VOLUME FOUR with CREATURE FEATURE. This is the only story that just didn’t do a thing for me. I couldn’t get into it. I don’t know if it was the writing style or the storyline, but I lost interest very quickly. I also thought it read a bit like a chapter out of a novel.
I highly recommend DARK SCREAMS. Pre-order it today!
SKINSHIFT by Lisa Von Biela was just offered to me by Darkfuse Publications. I did an interview with Lisa back in December…those of you that missed it might want to hit the archives and check it out, but I digress. Normally, Lisa writes technothrillers. Fun stuff. But, this is horror. My first love. Way to go Lisa! SKINSHIFT is what the title makes it out to be. A shapeshifter story. But forget the sparkly teen angst. After a robbery gone wrong, the bad guys dump one of the gang in the desert for dead. After a bizarre set of circumstances this fella finds himself with a strange new ability. And he vows revenge on his old friends. I highly recommend you pre-order this novella before it debuts next month. Darkfuse always offers a savings on pre-orders, the price will go up when the book hits the stands. I loved this!
Find Skinshift at Amazon.com
I was just given DARK SCREAMS VOLUME 3 by Random House-Hydra, edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar. I eagerly dove into it as I did the first two.
There’s always a story that shines in the DARK SCREAMS anthologies: in number 3 my dark star candidate is NANCY by Darynda Jones. This story opens in a high school in the most haunted town in America – ever wonder whop decides that and how? I sure do. Anyway, a new girl comes to town and finds out just why the strangest girl in school is shunned. She’s psycho, all right, among other things…
The other surprise was Jack Ketchum’s entry. Ketchum, known for writing extreme horror, penned a story that anyone could read. It was a great story, I enjoyed the ending immensely. Glad to see that Jack is back. Heh.
A twist of an ending by an unknown to me author was I LOVE YOU, CHARLIE PEARSON, by Jacquelyn Frank. This was another story that took place in a high school, a story of love taken too far.
Brian Hodge, who writes such terrific science fiction offered up THE LONE ONE AND LEVEL SANDS STRETCH FAR AWAY. The story was about a group of free-runners – what they find while out exploring can only be explained by someone like Hodge. I love this guy. But his story titles confuse me.
Then we have THE COLLECTED SHORT STORIES OF FREDDIE PROTHERO by Peter Straub. This was the only story previously published and the only story I didn’t like. It was centered around a young prodigy who in the opinion of ‘some’ wrote amazing stories. The fact they were incoherent is another story. You be the judge of this one.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. The price point is excellent making buying it for even one story well worth the outlay of your hard earned dollar.
DARK SCREAMS Volume 3
I just read the last book I have by John R. Little in my hoarded TBR. It’s called SECRETS and was it ever worth the wait! And boy, was I sorry I waited! I tend to hoard books by my favorite authors, do you do that? Try to make those last couple of books you have by them last so the wait for a new one doesn’t seem so long? SECRETS is an amazing story about a girl for whom time stops randomly throughout her life. What she does with this free time given her when everything else is stopped will really make you think. What would you do if the world was stopped around you and you could do anything you wanted? Don’t wait to buy this book – it’s doubled up with OUTCAST by Mark Allan Gunnells, which explores a different side of the same character, so consider it a twofer bonus!
Available at Amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback
When I started reading ORPHANS OF WONDERLAND it seemed to be different from all of the other books that I had read by Greg Gifune. Different in that it seemed to be a thriller/mystery novel – one I could just sit back and read and put little thought into. Wow, was I wrong!
ORPHANS is a mystery/thriller, but so much more. Gifune takes the reader by the hand and leads them down a winding path of psychological horror so slowly that you don’t realize what has happened until you arrive.
I highly recommend this to all readers of suspense and horror.
ORPHANS OF WONDERLAND – Available in paperback and kindle atAmazon.com
I just read CULT OF THE BLACK JAGUAR by JG Faherty published by Samhain. You can’t go wrong with a book that has a jaguar on the cover! But maybe that’s the cat in me. CULT OF THE BLACK JAGUAR is one of the newest novellas by Faherty and quite a different genre for him besides.
JAGUAR steps into Central America and the realm of the Mayans. It’s an adventure/thriller pulp story somewhat similar to Indiana Jones. But don’t confuse the two stories, JAGUAR has it’s own twists and spins to keep a dark fiction fan happy right up to the very last word. It was a very satisfying afternoon read.
See JAGUAR at Amazon.com