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December 30, 2010

The Weaponer by Eric S. Brown Review



by: Eric S. Brown
CosCom Entertainment
ISBN: 978-1926712703
Review by: Gina Desory
Review posted 12/30/2010

The Weaponer by Eric S. Brown is a story of Alan who lost his mother to the undead and his father shortly years after. Alan who is 'The Weaponer' tracks down these undead in a time period where western style of old and new modern technology come together. Through the aide of others and another bunch of strange creatures that come into the mix, Alan deals with his past and present struggles along with just trying to keep his head in tack.

Let's go with an old time western classic with this review: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

First let's start out with 'The Good.' In reading this story the characters, especially Alan who was the main, you got a sense of the 'western style' with their chatting back and forth and just overall demeanor. It was fun to read how the characters reacted to some undead taking apart one of their loved ones.

'The Bad.' Unfortunately, there were a few things that caught me off gaurd and made the story at times a stumble to read. Though the combination of having a western type story and modern technology is a good idea in itself and not one often done, at times in this story, it was hard to pinpoint a visual on when it took place. The confusion at times made the story seem to jump around.

Also, there was a flashback scene in the story that was hard to tell if it was a memory or if it was going on presently in the story while reading it. It wasn't until after reading it it was told it was a memory. That made for a confusing adventure.

'The Ugly.' The ugly part of this book? Well the undead of course and the other attackers. Both were described so well that I thought for a moment one was coming through the book at me. One thing about Eric S. Brown you can depend on is describing the monsters good in his book and this was no disappointment.

Overall even if you don't like a 'western' feel to your stories, you will most likely at least want to give this a go. Yes, if you are not aware there is a combination of different time period's technology, you may get confused, but stick with it. It's a good read and one worth trying out.


December 26, 2010

The Man of Shadows by Angel Zapata Review




by: Angel Zapata
Panic Press
ISBN: 978-446724705
Review by: Gina Desory
Review posted 12/26/2010

The Man of Shadows by Angel Zapata is a collection of 25 of her short Horror stories ranging from a tattoo that comes alive, a man afraid of trolls and a man who gets his what's coming to him from kidnapping children.

The stories by Zapata are not only disturbing, but makes you afraid to go to sleep at night. Each story has a range of description that leads you to ask yourself, 'is this really fiction?'

This is a wonderful collection of Horror shorts that one needs to keep along side such works as Stephen King on their shelves to come back to when those days seem boring and they need a little scare to shake themselves up.

December 22, 2010

Every Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli Review



by: Tom Piccirilli
ChiZine Publishing
ISBN: 978-1926851105
Review posted 12/22/2010

Every Shallow Cut describes a man in desperation. He has lost his house, lost his wife, never had children, though he regrets the child that was aborted and lost his way with his brother, who he finds a bit obnoxious. He's a writer with really no royalties and an agent who could care less. His only friend, a dog that goes with him everywhere and the local pawn owner who normally makes a good amount of money off things the man sells.

When reading this book there is a clear sense of loss and depression. You find yourself caught up in this man's world of just pure hopelessness. He doesn't care anymore what happens, at times he does try. Piccirilli really gives a sense of wanting to either kick this character in the rear to get him to do something or lend him a hand to move forward. You battle the heartaches, the turmoils, situations this character does or has with him. And at times you find yourself extremely depressed as well. The only problem I had was there didn't seem a solution to this man's many woes. Then again when so many problems occur at once is there really a solution?

Every Shallow Cut is not a light book to read. It really makes you think about what life would be if all was lost. It is not fluff or an upbeat book, but a story that needs to be told and certainly needs to be read.

December 20, 2010

As the Worm Turns by Brian Rosenberger




by: Brian Rosenberger
Blue Room Publishing
ISBN: 978-0984300631
Review by: Dana Bell
Review posted 12/20/2010


The first story from whence comes the title of the book is an accurate description of teen age life in high school, how friendships are made and the unusual professions of the friend’s father, the bully, the girl and finally, here’s how it all turned out.

‘Something Funny is going on’. Journal entries of a serial killer and how his mind works. Rather frightening and makes one hope that the BAU from ‘Criminal Minds’ is on the case.

‘Water’s Edge’ Never get too curious about a floating log.

‘GodTV’. A delightful tale about a not very nice man, Hollywood dreams and two demons who came knocking at his door. Echoes of ‘The Mummy’.

‘Rot and Roll’. You die and come back and maybe, your life will be better.

‘Dragon Skin’. Fun little fantasy piece tossed in amongst the horror stories, with a nasty twist at the end.

‘The Guests’. Halloween from another perspective.

‘Monster Burger’. Life in a small town. So true, so true!

‘Picnic in the Woods’. Where it starts is not where it ends. Where is does end – the reader isn’t expecting.

‘The Fisherman’. A familiar story, meaning, the reviewer has read it someplace else. The desire of catching the biggest fish, the secrets of bait and what championship fishers will do to win.

“The Angel and the ass’. Very ‘Miami Vice’ dealing with drug lords, undercover cops, and how no one actually wins.

‘Starting Over’. Another story read elsewhere. Unrequited love and what can come of it.

‘The Psychic’. . Twist is a bit too subtle and leaves the reader wondering ‘who’ the killer actually was. Read before too.

‘The Samaritian’. A dog, a man and a car. Not a good combination. Reviewer has read before.

‘Selling Sea Shells’. Rather frightening story based in a mythology not really familiar leaving the reader with an unsatisfied feeling.

‘The Better Mousetrap.’ Dr. Frankensmith I presume? (Read elsewhere as well.)

‘My Goth Prom Date’. Vampire on a date with a Goth. What could be more perfect?

‘Devil’s Advocate’. What you wish advice columnists would really say!

‘Shop Till you Drop’. Zombies. Who doesn’t like them? (Reviewer has read before.)

‘Hollyweird and Vine’. Hooker’s unhappy life, who she knew from the golden days and her wish.

‘The Audition’. Unfortunately, a very confusing story that didn’t seem to sew the idea together very well.

‘Bunnies’. Something awful happened to the world. The bunnies must be protected.

This collection of stories is told from the seamy side of life. The language is frank and often vulgar, but presented honestly. Sexual fantasy is played throughout from a male perspective and again, accurate and realistic. Recommended only for those not easily offended because the ideas in the tales are interesting, whether a new twist or a not so new one. Not suggested for those who don’t like the F*** word.

December 19, 2010

A Pint of Bloody Fiction:200 words to quench your bloody thirst anthology review



Edited by: Nandy Ekle and S.E. Cox
House of Horror
ISBN: 978-1446119468
Review posted 12/19/2010

A Pint of Bloody Fiction:200 words to quench your bloody thirst anthology has 42 flash fiction stories of horror, delight and just pure enjoyment. There are so many talented authors in this collection that one may be thrown off by the great book put together. But you can't miss reading this.

In this book we have Charlotte Emma Gledson with her story 'The Toy.' 'The Toy' describes how a sexual encounter can turn a bit more deadly. Ms. Gledson has always shown readers that she can dive into her stories and pull out the most strange, the most horrific feelings you can imagine and this story is no different.

Other stories such as 'Rorschach's Vampires' by Jason M. Tucker, shows a different side to vampires that thrills the reader even if they are not into vampire stories.

What this collection has is a pure horror feeling. Each page turned is another story where you may cringe, you may shiver and you probably will enjoy. The fact that the stories are 200 words a piece will not make you groan because it is too long, but give you a slight taste into the world of stories past, present and future.

December 18, 2010

Into the Dark by Patrick D' Orazio Review



by: Patrick D' Orazio
Library of the Living Dead
ISBN: 978-1456317102
Review posted 12/18/2010



Into the Dark is the second book of the Dark Trilogy by Patrick D' Orazio. The story starts with Jeff who we know from last time and his new found survivors from the walkers IE infected, George, Megan and a few others stopped in a van that barely works by other survivors. Their leader is someone by the name of Michael. After the confrontation is over, Michael leads Jeff's group back to where his community is staying. However, comfort is not the thing that occurs once Jeff and his band enters Micheal's little area. What comes about is a struggle of will, a struggle to live and a struggle to just go on.

When people hear the work sequel or trilogy, they think it won't be as good as the first movie or book they read. However, Into the Dark is better than the first book in the series Comes the Dark. We are learning more about Jeff the main character and what his limits are. We see more conflict with human nature and what it means to everyone to just survive.

D'Orazio grabs the reader and pulls them into this story with a large violent hook and your stuck, but what does happen is you don't mind being stuck, actually you love it.

If you love The Walking Dead you will love this book and please be aware you won't be able to live without it.

December 6, 2010

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King Review


by: Stephen King
Scribners Publishers
ISBN: 978-1439192566
Review by Jim Cherry
Review posted 12/6/2010

Stephen King is perhaps the greatest living writer of any genre working today. His “Hearts in Atlantis” was the best the book of short stories I'd read since Joyce's “Dubliners” and now “ Full Dark, No Stars” puts him in serious contention for being the being the Poe of our time.

“Full Dark, No Stars” is four stories with various levels of horror attached but each story is so very plausible the horror elements don't seem contrived or impossible. The first story “1922” is a very visceral story of murder and it's after effects. You can feel every ounce of creepiness the characters are experiencing. Some of the action may make you want to shrink away from the story but King's writing makes a reader a literary addict needing the next word, sentence, paragraph, hungry to see what happens next.

King wastes no elements in these stories, he explores every dark avenue of the story to it's fullest. “Big Driver” demonstrates this very ably. It's about a writer returning home from a book signing and is raped and left for dead after getting a flat tire. At first I thought King was going to get bogged down in every little detail of the aftermath, but it never happens, and King stays away from every cliche of the genre (whichever genre he may be writing in) but the action leads so naturally from one action to the next you think you're witnessing it unfold in real time.

King also reveals his mastery of the story not only does he show you what he wants you to see, but like any good magician he reveals things only when he's ready to reveal them, and when he does in “Fair Exchange” you realize the clue was in front of you all the time and King just moves the curtain aside ever so slightly to reveal what you only intuited was there.

Each story is loosely connected in theme that there's an unknown self in all of us that can push us over the edge into the unknown. King doubles up on this theme in his last story “A Good Marriage.” We see this from the point of view of a woman who discovers the darkest of secrets about her husband, and her reaction to it. It's a story that's going to make wives think twice about looking around their husband's workbench for spare batteries when the TV remote goes out.

I don't want to resort to the reviewers cliche of saying the author really keeps turning the pages, but in King's case it's an addictively true statement. Each story in “Full Dark, No Stars” is like enjoying a full and satisfying meal and you may want a little time to digest what you've read but you'll find yourself pulled back to find out what happens next.

Jim Cherry is the author of The Last Stage, www.jymsbooks.com

Guardian of the Sky Realms by Gerry Hutman Review


By: Gerry Huntman
IFWG Publishing
ISBN: 978-0984329885
Reviewed by: Jim Cherry
Review posted 12/6/2010

Alienation, self-identity, feelings of becoming something greater than you are have become the subjects of young adult novels. In recent years YA has exploded and opened up to explore weightier and more pertinent subjects to teens, such as nascent love and sexual awakening, than previous generation’s Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. These subjects are finding a voice and expression in heroic stories or supernatural novels creating a new mythology for teens.

Gerry Huntman’s Guardian of the Sky Realms is the story of a typical Sydney teen Maree who is an outsider at school and the confines of her homelife are well, confining. Maree craves to be able to become the person she knows is inside. Maree has an affinity for angels. She finds herself unconsciously drawing them. She discovers a painting titled “Wings in Despair” and decides to steal it. When Maree tries to steal the painting she discovers it is a nexus to another world, another world where she was once a guardian of the sky realm named Mirriam. She must discover which of these is her true self while fighting the fear that she may be losing her real self. Alanar, who was once a guardian of the sky realm with Mirriam, becomes her guide to this new world. Alanar must teach her the rules of the world, and accompanies Maree on a quest to save the boy she loves in the human world.

In the author’s note it says Gerry Huntman was active in Australia’s role playing world and you can see it in the writing. Huntman has created a highly imaginative world where hopefully a teen would imagine himself in. Instead of letting the reader discover that world as Maree/Mirriam does, the reader is given the information in a lump sum form where the history and rules are laid out instead of letting the magic of discovery awe the reader as well as Maree.

The main theme that I think Huntman intended the novel to be, finding your identity, seems unfocused. He lets the different elements he uses in the novel, fantasy, heroic adventure, the quest, lead him off on tangents that are fun to read but he they don’t reinforce the theme. For instance, when Alanar takes Maree/Mirriam to Suisa the prophetess, and all the detail in how the future is augured feels like the novel has been abandoned for a role playing game. If these elements were more successfully integrated it would make for a more satisfying novel.

Guardian of the Sky Realms pushes some of the right buttons in wanting to explore the transformation of teens into adult roles, but the fantasy elements, dragons and gargoyles seems like a story a much younger audience would enjoy rather than a teenaged audience.

Jim Cherry is the author of The Last Stage, www.jymsbooks.com

November 26, 2010

Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill Review


by Mercedes Lackey
Tor Teen Books
ISBN:978-0765327079
Review Posted: 11/26/2010

Legacies the first book in the new Shadow Grail Series, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill tells of a teenage girl named Sprint who parents die in a horrible car crash. She wakes up in a hospital where she is told that her parents have arranged for her to go to a prestigious school called Oakhurst. However, once she gets there she finds out Oakhurst is no regular school but one that is for what are considered 'legacy children' which also means magical. As she makes friends and figures out what her powers maybe and why she is there, students start to disappear from the school and her new found friends and her start to investigate. Could there be something more to the school than just learning?

Getting into this book I found it interesting. It kept my attention and seemed to have decent characters and overall background for them to play in. As the main character Sprint and her friends traveled around the school I did get a sense that soon they would walk around the corner and someone would yell 'hey Harry.' Yes there were many similarities to that series where a main character named Harry is in that is included in this book; from the professor name to the school, to even how they go about investigating.

Even though similarities are there between this book and another series out there, I did find it charming and loved the way the characters' powers were described and at times how they were limited even if they were in a magical school.

Yes, this book is easy reading and it won't take years to complete, but it is good entertainment and looking forward to the next book in the series.





November 23, 2010

Trio of Sorcery by Mercedes Lackey Review


by Mercedes Lackey
Tor Books
ISBN:978-0765328519
Review Posted: 11/23/2010

Trio of Sorcery three new tales by Mercedes Lackey. Two of the stories brings back two characters, Diana Tregarde from the Diana Tregarde series in Arcanum 101 and Jennifer Talldeer from Sacred Ground in Drums. Plus there is a new story called Ghost in the Machine.

The first story Arcanum 101, brings back witch and guardian, Diana Tregarde, in the 70's Harvard days. Diana discovers her life as a college student and guardian can be rough and at times lonely. She comes across a cop who sent by what he says is his cousin to seek her help out on a case of what seems to be a fraud psychic. She along with her new found friends in her apartment, seek out the psychic and find out other strange things as well.

Arcanum 101 is the meat of the three stories. It was interesting to see the time period play out with the magic symbolism and how Diana related to it. The story was fresh and crisp. Something that was just plain delightful to read. Even if you haven't read the series of Diana Tregarde before, you will just adore this story focused on her trials being a college student and having these special gifts.

Drums brings back a character from where Sacred Ground left off, Jennifer Talldeer. She's a Osage Shaman and a private investigator. In this particular story, she is tracking down an angry Osage ghost who has paid its attention on a young Chicksaw woman.

Drums lacks what Sacred Ground had started. The story is set more modern in 1995 with a few confusing history points for us who have lived in 1995 would be going 'uh?' The story seemed to drag and drag. The sparkle that was Jennifer Talldeer was not there. She was the same second guessing character who investigated something supernatural, but in Drums it became listening to something whinny and predictable.

The last story out of the three is called Ghost in the Machine. Lackey brought into play a new character,Ellen McBride who is a computer programmer and technoshaman. The story starts out with a programmer, Tom, confused about why people's avatars are getting crucial hits and being killed off when they shouldn't be. Then he receives a suggestion to see Ellen to possible help out with the problem. In turn, there is a lot going into the gaming world and supernatural world they both discover.

This story was to say the least, interesting. In being a gamer myself, it was a nice twist to something some of us wonder at times, could there be some outside force running the game or computer? I would say Ghost in the Machine was like trying a new piece of candy for the first time. The flavor was new, and you liked it, but not sure if you wish to taste it again.

Over all Trio of Sorcery if you are a Lackey fan is not a bad read. I do caution that it does in places lack spark, and a feeling of dread having to push through some of the pages.

November 19, 2010

How to Be a Zombie: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Craves Brains by Serena Valentino Review



by Serena Valentino
Candlewick Press
ISBN:978-0763649340
Review Posted: 11/19/2010

Zombies are everywhere. In movies, books, and even T.V., but what if you were a zombie or wanted to be one and had a hard time figuring stuff out?

Well How to be a Zombie by Serena Valentino is a guide so that you don't sweat the small stuff.

Inside descriptions of different zombies, different zombie fashion looks, how to look like a zombie before you make the final dive into actually becoming one and how to deal with your human counterparts and much more.

I found this book just funny in some cases and the pictures and descriptions for each section not too bad. Though there were some things about zombies they choose as the best for movies ect. that I may disagree with, this book gave a look at what could be a guide to all us zombie lovers.


November 16, 2010

Breaths in Winter: A Collection by Donna Burgess Review


by Donna Burgess
Naked Snake Press
ISBN:978-1453868621
Review by: Rob Walter
Review Posted: 11/16/2010


Breaths in Winter: A Collection contains 31 stories. Some are dark, some more intense and some just plain out disturbing. The stories make your heart flutter in not so good ways, makes you look under your bed at night and some are just amazing to read.

Three of these stories stuck out the most as what I thought were the best of this collection: Teenage Zombie Homecoming Queen, Scarecrow John, and The Vampire's Tale.

The best overall story was Teenage Zombie Homecoming Queen. The story goes by way of what is called 'Deadgirl's Blog' and takes you through the days of Audrey who with some freak running into what was considered to be a 'deader', was bit. She then describes her days as a new 'deader' and how life as a teenager goes with her new found status.

This collection brings about joy in the hearts of any horror fan. It brings forward interesting topics, twists and turns and just an overall feeling of disappointment when you get to the last page.

Well, done Ms. Burgess on giving us a new exciting look at stories and letting this reviewer enjoy your work.

November 3, 2010

Pomegranate Stories by Gay Degani Review





by Gay Degani
Lulu Publishing
ISBN:978-0557222100
Review by: Rob Walter
Review Posted: 11/3/2010

Pomegranate Stories is Gay Degani’s newest collection of eight short stories for conversation. Published by Lulu Press it includes the following stories:

Dani-Girls Guide to Getting Everything Right
Hawaiian Hairdo
Rim Shot
Listing Lisa
Chair Girl
Pomegranate
Spring Melt
Monsoon

The stories in this collection all feature the mother-daughter relationship at the core of the story. These relationships range from how to survive in a dysfunctional family to what is or should be important in life. Without giving away the stories, Pomegranate and Monsoon were two that really caught my attention and forced me to spend time with.

Pomegranate was really disturbing as it explores the mother-daughter connection and how that can sustain you over distances and through difficult times. The circumstances and emotions drawn out by the story hit so close to my life and served as a cautionary tale.

Monsoon rang a reality bell to reinforce what is important in one’s life vice what we let distract us. It took me awhile to put the book down after I finished reading.

Ms. Degani is a good story teller and quite talented with drawing the reader into the story and getting them to empathize with the characters in the story. The emotions generated are quite real and power the reader into the story. The stories serve to get the reader to examine their own lives in a different light.

This isn’t my normal area of enjoyable reading, but I was quite surprised to find that I liked the collection of stories.

Overall, I recommend this collection.



October 29, 2010

We're Living in a Science Fictional Universe- a review of "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" By Charles Yu Review


by Charles Yu
Pantheon
Hardcover Ed.
ISBN:978-0307379207
Review by: Jim Cherry
Review Posted: 10/29/2010

When I was a kid and I thought, or tried to think, about what life would be like in the year 2000 it seemed a far off date that was more science fiction than real. Now we have traveled to this future, so I guess we now live in a science fictional universe, at least according to Charles Yu in “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.”

Yu wrote what could have been a fairly typical time travel story about a father and son who work on creating a time machine but get separated in time and space with its invention. However, Yu deconstructs the structure and format of the novel with a genius and imagination perhaps not seen since Phillip K. Dick. It is deconstructed to the bone. It seems like it could be a schematic for a science fiction novel. All the elements of a time travel story become fair game for Yu's pen and wit. All aspects of a time travel novel are torn apart and examined, characters reasons for wanting to travel through time, the existential ramifications, the paradoxes created, even grammatical tenses, and the process of writing the book itself.

I don't want to give anyone the idea that the book is overly academic or studious. Yu has a great sense of humor and freely plays with the genre including meshing, or mashing genres such as L. Skywalker making an appearance. Not Luke Skywalker but his ne'er do well son Linus.

“How to Live Safely in Science Fictional Universe” is a fresh approach to a well established genre. Yu is willing to play with the elements that make up the story, and share that sense of literary adventure while taking the reader through the time machine of a novel. When you emerge on the other side you'll have a slightly different perspective than you did before entering.


Jim Cherry is the author of The Last Stage at www.jymsbooks.com

October 16, 2010

Season of Death by Eric S. Brown Review


by Eric S. Brown
Pill Hill Press
Hardcover Ed
ISBN:978-1-61706-020-5
Review by: Gina Desory
Review Posted: 10/16/2010

Season of Death is another novellas collection by author Eric S. Brown. The four novellas are Undead down Under where a character named Kyle who you met in Season of Rot one of another novella collection that came before, fights the crocodile-demons in Australia. In How the West went to Hell is a horror western that a book editor travels to the small town of Reaper's Valley to research a dead author's manuscript where he discovers more than just some kind hospitality, plus a yellowed-eyed demon. Kinberra Down is the science fiction novella that is co-authored with Jessica Marie Roberts where Kinberra crew stumble upon an icy planet that is loaded with creatures beyond their imagination. Ragnarock Island is the sequel to the Queen story Eric S. Brown wrote dealing with the survival of the character Scott races through the undead and the troubles that come everywhere he looks.

This is a collection that has many twists and turns. The most noted novella that had a wonderful twist was How the West went to Hell. Eric S. Brown took a western, wrapped it with horror situations and turned the story into a gem.

I found that Kinberra Down lacked holding my interest for very long. There were some really good parts to the story, but the first section dragged a bit. It was not typical Brown writing and perhaps reading Science Fiction by this author is not what readers maybe used to. It is not to say lovers of Science Fiction may not like this, but I found it to be a bit simplistic.

Ragnarock Island took my breath away. If you have read his story called the Queen, you will see the brilliance that came about when this story out of Season of Death was done. The thrill of seeing what the characters were going to do next, what leaped out here and there, it gave chills down my spine waiting to see what would happen as I read. This story certainly is at the top when it comes to this collection.

Undead down Under left a bit of a hole as I read it. It did not present itself as a separate novella. If you didn't read the original story, you as a reader could be lost. Was it good, yes, only because I had read the original story. The strange demons and such portrayed in this story left me craving for me.

Should you buy this collection? I give it a yes and yes. There are some parts where you maybe sighing a bit, however, this is a must buy for Eric S. Brown fans and if you have not read any of his stuff, make sure to get Season of Rot and Season of Death, but reading Season of Rot first to get a grasp of some of these characters.






Buy from Amazon below:

Season of Death

Zomblog by T.W. Brown Review


by T.W.Brown
May December Publications
ISBN:978-0-9845372-1-1
Review Posted: 10/16/2010

Samuel Todd on his spare time starts a daily blog. He had no idea that his life would suddenly change and his accounts of what seemed to be a weird infection break-outs he would be documenting in his online diary format.

I normally don't like any story that has to deal with blog type or even diary types formats. However, this one not only caught my attention by its name of Zomblog, but pulled me in right from the start.

Brown handles Samuel Todd the character who writes in the blog in the most amazing way, he makes him human. Todd goes through these dates of about a year's time describing what happens to him and his family during an infection outbreak. This is done with the dates of a blog. What Brown does with these is allow the reader an insight to what a person could and most likely would do during what is thought of as a zombie outbreak.

Brown writes the character of Todd with precision. There is Todd thinking twice about helping someone because he is scared. Well, who wouldn't be in such a situation? This is just one of the things I love about this book.

Then there is the way the blog posts are written. There is not a dull moment as sometimes you read with certain posts about whatever they did that day. The posts are the thoughts of Todd yes, but a glimpse into a scary situation that can be felt through each word.

Zomblog is a story that has such human heart to it that you will be feeling each moment with Todd and then have to wonder and look outside to make sure the outbreak is not occurring by you.

October 15, 2010

Eye Witness Zombie Anthology Review


Edited by T.W.Brown
May December Publications
ISBN:978-0-9845372-2-8
Review Posted: 10/15/2010

Now before you say 'not another zombie anthology,' let me tell you this:
Eye Witness Zombie is an eclectic taste of brilliance. First we start off with the cover. I normally don't mention covers unless they are so striking or bring attention to the book; this one does. I mean nothing says eye witness like a news station, but not any news station but one filled with zombie reporters.

And the cover needs to be opened. Inside you have the 15 stories that will make you laugh, make you squirm and just feel your thoughts with delightful tales of zombies. There are even character drawings of each of the authors before they stories along with their signatures below it.

What makes this anthology so pleasing to read is it is not your typical end of the worlds scenario. It has well established characters, sometimes more sarcastic than most, but hey end of the world time here people, and amazing situations that you gasp out, laugh at and go wow at. Nothing says a good zombie anthology such as Eye Witness. Normally I would have a favorite story, but I loved them all.

This is a great anthology to pick up for Halloween or any time that you need to be reminded that zombies can be gory, but they can also be interesting, funny and out right dangerous.

October 12, 2010

People Live Still in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess Review



by Tony Burgess
ChiZine Publications
ISBN:978-1-926851-05-1
Review done by Dana Bell
Review Posted: 10/12/2010

A chilling and sometimes confusing fictional look into the mind of a mass murderer loosely based on an actual case. Mr. Clark, for no reason that he can fathom, goes on a killing spree in a small town. The first is someone he doesn't know and thankfully, the reader is spared the grisly details. The second is also a woman told in cold specifics. The third is simply shot inside his own car.

Fearing he is about to be caught after revealing is secret to his gas station employee; Bob flees through a cornfield where he experiences a type of 'rebirth'. After emerging on the other side he is ready to kill yet again. This time, his victims are a family living in an old Victorian house. The mother and grandmother are shot while preparing breakfast. He prowls the interior of their home and readies himself, although unwillingly, to murder the children when they come from school. When the deeds are done, he lays the bodies out in the ballroom cocooned in sleeping bags.

Later, guilt ridden, Bob fools himself into thinking one of the children survived his attempt. First he hears noises as if someone is walking around. Second, he finds one of the sleeping bags empty. Third, there is music and when he investigates he finds a damp towel in the bathroom. Fourth he has a conversation with her and apologizes for trying to shot her. She leaves for school and he disposes of the bodies of her family behind the house.

The delusion goes on for days. He calls the school to check on her and talks to teachers on how she's doing in class. He's told not well and how did she get that gash in her forehead? Also, she wasn't eating. He tries to feed her and blood comes out of her mouth. Eventually, he tires of her company and again, brutally, murders her.

Although a somewhat interesting account, there are many confusing aspects to the book. The wandering from subject to subject in the first chapter does not entice the reader to continue further. Once the story starts often the main character goes off on a tangent that seems to have nothing to do with main plot and doesn't really explain the motive or reason behind the killing spree.

Perhaps 'People still live in Cashtown Corners' makes a type of sense to those familiar with the original case, but the reviewer can not recommend this book to readers.

Dead The Ugly Beginning by T.W.Brown Review




by T.W.Brown
May December Publications
ISBN:978-0-9845372-0-4
Review done by Rob Walter
Review Posted: 10/12/2010

Dead The Ugly Beginning starts out with Steve who while lounging about gets a call from one of his friends who informs him that something nasty is going on. Steve turns on the television to see reports of people doing what he would watch with movies, eating each other, being zombies. Yet Steve does not believe it and falls asleep, waken later by the darkness and a strange noise he is soon to discover that it is not only the darkness he needs to worry about. This is only the beginning as several other characters come into play.

There is a lot of hardcore zombie action. Fans of this horror genre will not be disappointed in that. There are a lot of moments where reading this you will want to yell out 'watch out they are right there!'

However, this book falls a bit short in follow through. It jumps around a lot and at times very hard to follow on what character is doing what. In the beginning there is too much of little interludes of Steve's thoughts that after awhile distracts from reading on.

Overall the book as said has a lot of Zombie action and was fun to read those specific parts. If you can manage to stay through the book jumping around as I did, it maybe worth the read.


October 10, 2010

MonsterMatts Bad Monster Jokes Vol 1 Review




by Monster Matt Patterson
May December Publications
ISBN:978-0-9845372-3-5
Review Posted: 10/10/2010

I have always liked horror with humor. I think when people say it can't be done they are wrong. In this collection of jokes that not only include general horror, but horror icons and some science fiction as well, gives people a taste of what humor can be like.

This is a book in which some of the jokes are great, others make you groan and yet some you would have never thought of. However, MonsterMatt did. You will laugh at some of the strangest things combined you can think of. While other times you are rolling your eyes at what is an obvious answer to the joke given.

What is purely enjoyable about this book is that all ages can read it. Horror fans who need a break from the gore and scared writing they do or watch will be delighted to relax to these pages of sometimes dry humor. Kids who love jokes will love this book, but be warned they may repeat the jokes over and over to you, so you better read this book to know what to watch out for.

September 28, 2010

In the Meantime By Paul Tremblay Review




by Paul Tremblay
ChiZine Publications
ISBN:978-1-926851-06-8
Review Posted: 9/28/2010

In the Meantime is a collection of short stories by Paul Tremblay. The stories wind you in a twisted way, releasing you with a sense of relief. The stories are often in first person which some people find difficult to read. However, in these stories the heart of the matter is through these first person narrations. Often more than not when reading this collection a feeling of wonderment strikes.

The best short out of this collection is The Blog at the End of the World. It is an amazing story depicting different dates of a blog. Who doesn't read blogs these days? The girl named Becca takes you through her life, her trials and her most inner secrets. This story is a delight in so many ways.

The best thing about this collection is you don't grow tired of the stories. Each one is fresh and keeps you wanting to read more.

September 23, 2010

Stitched Up! An anthology of Stitched up Flesh Review





Edited by S.E.Cox and Nandy Ekle
House of Horror
ISBN:978-4461-7792-1
Review Posted: 9/23/2010

When one thinks of stitches we often think of either medical or quilting. Let's put some horror, some bizarre tales and you have Stitched Up! An anthology of Stitched up Flesh.

The anthology starts out with a strange little tale by Nate Burleigh called Quilty as Charged. A man talking to a sheriff because of weird things that had happened to him, causing limbs to be taken away, basically destroyed. Now what happens next is not only gross in its sense, but surprisingly good.

This particular story is just the beginning. The anthology takes you through a journey of the undead and even a poem at the end by Brain Rosenberger called The Bride wore Black that takes the reader into a very creepy state of mind making you want to look behind you.

What is the best part of this anthology is you are never bored with any one story. Yes, some are better than others, but you never have a dull moment. You even get some art in the beginning from some artists, Nick Rose for example, among others to give your eyes even more of a delight.

This anthology is a refreshing theme of horror anthologies out there. Worth picking up and reading over and over again.

September 12, 2010

Lies at the End of the World by Phil Woters Review



by Phil Wolters
Pill Hill Press
ISBN:978-1617060366
Review Posted: 9/12/2010

John Frank and his family prepared for everything:Y2k, solar paneling and supplies to last a long time. His father and mother now both dead, John had to fend for himself and that's when it came:the zombie attacks. He had a high fence, tons of supplies and then Rachel, a survivor he found while she drove her truck fast by.

The fall in love being stuck together in his house. They talked, they enjoyed each others company. Afterwords they begin they journey together, meeting others on the way.

Wolters did a fantastic job of describing the human soul during a time of crisis. He explains so well the very nature of the situations the characters go through in such brilliant and eloquent wording. It is a book that can be enjoyed any time. One that if you don't grab a copy now you will be sorry you missed out on such an amazing, different type of zombie story.

Comes the Dark by Patrick D' Orazio Review



by Patrick D' Orazio
Library of the Living Dead Press
ISBN:978-1453701287
Review Posted: 9/12/2010

It all happened in one day. Jeff Blaine witnesses his wife being attacked and chewed on by his next door neighbor. The horror makes him freeze for a moment forgetting what is currently going on, an infestation of zombies who are attacking everything and anything. His guilt overcomes him as he sees his wife's anniversary ring shine ever so slightly as she bleeds out. Jeff leaves his house killing along the way any undead he can find. At last he comes across another survivor, her name is Megan. Megan and Jeff start on an adventure of basic survival not only physical, but of their souls.

Comes the Dark is non-stop action. It feels as if you are watching a movie that you can't get up to go to the bathroom because you might miss something. D'Orazio, portrays the undead in the best light, hungry, vicious creatures with a destructive appetite.

When reading this story, one feels themselves rooting for Jeff and the survivors he comes in contact with, with out any doubt you feel their pain, their anger and their will to live.

The only part that was slow was the actual plot. It started out with action, action kept going, but for a sense of a real plot you needed to read a bit further into the story. However, readers will still be able to get a sense of the characters, even relate to them in feeling they may do the same if suck an attack were present.

Comes the Dark was an enjoyable read with much zombie action for any zombie fan.

September 8, 2010

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt Review



by David Rosenfelt
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN:978-0446551526
Review Posted: 9/08/2010

Andy Carpenter is back in Rosenfelt's new book, Dog Tags. In the lastest installment of this lawyer series, Carpenter is asked to defend a specific kind of client, a dog named Milo. Milo is a German Shepard who has special abilities that was trained by an ex-cop turned thief Billy Zimmerman who is concerned that either someone will take Milo because he is so trained or Milo will be put down. Both Zimmerman and Milo are so called 'arrested' for a murder/theft that occurred one night. It is now up to Andy Carpenter to track the circumstances, defend his client and hope for the best.

What makes the Andy Carpenter series so different from any other lawyer series is the compassion that the main character has for dogs. With his dog Tara who is mentioned a lot, Rosenfelt gives a more personal touch to his stories and this one is no different.

A good law story, courtroom type action has always held my interest. My love for animals caught my attention to Dog Tags. Anyone who has ever not wanted to see an animal lose, needs to read this book. Not only does it hold mystery, the law and a sense of one's passion for a dog, it holds your heart, your mind and very well a forever spot on your bookshelf.

August 20, 2010

The Immortal Memoirs by Belladonna Drakul Review



by BellaDonna Drakul
Publish America
ISBN:978-1-4512-3153-3
Review done by Rob Walter
Review Posted: 8/20/2010

BellaDonna Drakul is back with a new collection of her decidedly non-mainstream vampire/ horror called The Immortal Memoirs. The collection is published by Publish America and is made up of 8 in this collection ranging from stone statues made by vampires in The Petrified Sister to an unlikely pair of werewolves in a future world fighting vampires in Blood Moon of the Damned.

In The Petrified Sister, a vampire and his minions have taken control of a Catholic school over hundreds of years. The difference is that the vampire has an additional curse called oestrus-roue petrification where the victims will turn to stone just before their death and if the vampire drinks to the last drop of blood is drained from them then he too may change into stone. I won’t give any more of the story away, but it is a unique premise and makes for an interesting twist.

Succubus Dream is a cautionary tale warning us to be careful what we wish for as we may get it. A widower in his grief wishes for love and a succubus comes to him and the resulting story is definitely a different read.

Blood Moon of the Damned is a tale of the apocalypse with some hints of sci-fi where vampires and werewolves fight over the Earth. The difference is in how they came to be, how the war transpires and eventually ends.

While there is some repetitious use of cackling in the stories and occasionally the dialogue/ language seems strained and/ or unlikely, it isn’t enough to disturb enjoying the story.

Overall the stories are different from anything else I have read with some interesting twists and turns that make them worth the time.

The Immortal Memoirs

August 15, 2010

Annie and the Ripper by Tim Champlin Review




by Tim Champlin
Pill Hill Press
ISBN:978-1617060373
Review Posted: 8/15/2010

Inspector Frederick George Abberline is thrown into a series of ghastly murders in Whitechapel known as the 'Ripper murders.' The investigation goes dark, sometimes besides himself, Abberline notices an advertisement for an American type entertainment 'Wild West' type show. He at first is a bit disturbed at their antics to take money from the people for their strange shows.Later he comes in contact with a sharp-shooter who is part of this show named Annie Oakley. He enlists her help in the pursuit of this 'Ripper Killer.'

Tim Champlin produces a fine book about the 'Ripper' Killings that any Ripperologist would be interested in reading. His research was well thought out, his play on the actual murders and the inspector that has a few twists and turns is just frankly amazing.

What brings this story to be so different from the others is the introduction of Annie Oakley. In bringing the 'wild west' to the 'ripper murders' in that time period adds flare to Jack the Ripper history and lore. Readers will be pleased to see this new take on what could possibly be one of the best Ripper stories told.

August 4, 2010

Requiem for the Ripper by Brian L. Porter Review




by Brian L. Porter
Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN:978-1-55404-758-1
Review Posted: 8/4/2010

Requiem for the Ripper is the final installment of a trilogy by Brian L. Porter that also includes: Legacy of the Ripper and A Study in Red.

What is nice about this book is that there are brief excerpts of the two previous books. So in other words even if you did not read those two, and frankly you should anyways, you will be somewhat caught up in time for this third treasure of the trilogy.

The story begins with a Doctor Hemswell who lives in an area called Skerries Rock. One day he gets a strange phone call asking him to discuss something of complete urgency from a William Forbes who was a solicitor of some very strange, but important documents from a certain Jack Reid. Their conversation continues until Hemswell reluctantly agrees to have Forbes come and see him.

What results is a span into Jack Reid's mind, the ripper notes from before and a friend who tries to help both Hemswell and Forbes. Forbes being scared for his life on a constant basis and Hemswell not sure what is going on.

What is fascinating about this last installment, is that Brian L. Porter shows the reader how one can construe things in their mind, how even the slightest doubt of something can make a person almost crazy with fear. No other writer can take you deep into the inner workings of fear as Porter does here.

Requiem for the Ripper is not a disappointment. Grab a copy now, and don't forget to read the other two first. You never know what might be lurking in the shadows.

Jack Brand by John M. Whalen Review




by John M. Whalen
Pill Hill Press
ISBN:978-1-61706-013-7
Review Posted: 8/4/2010

Jack Brand is a man with wisdom, with secrets and a mission. He stands to go against some of the toughest aliens, nomads and worlds. But wait, you've heard this type of story before so you're complaining? Get a grip of yourself. Jack Brand does have some of those same elements, but the execution of these elements are done in such a unique style that one could hardly complain with this story.

Jack Brand starts in the year 2197. Jack is a lone man searching for his sister that was captured by a ruthless bunch. A man with a soul, Jack helps a woman who was captured by a group called the Tulon. He gives the Tulon something in exchange for the woman and frees her. She figures it has to do with the money that her father is giving for a reward, but no, Jack Brand is not that type of person. And this is just the beginning to Jack's adventures.

The world Jack lives is different. He goes amongst the desert in a future world where gas is plenty and oil companies are shutting down. His mission is to find his sister who he feels guilty about her being captured. In the process he comes along old-time foes, new friends, and old jobs that are done as well.

What makes Jack Brand so different from the typical shoot-them-up stories is there is a setting of the future with an old-time western feel to it. You can envision a desert setting, a lone man with his futuristic guns and a thirst for justice in any area he is in.

He is Jack Brand, man of so many qualities, a character you fall in love with and never want him to leave your side. John M. Whalen has done a magnificent job on this story. There is always a worry about a western feel to a science fiction type story mixing well together. Not in this case. So stop your whining and grab a copy of Jack Brand. It won't be disappointing, and you know you will be craving more.

August 3, 2010

The Bitternest Chronicles by Alan Draven Review



by Alan Draven
Pixie Dust Press
ISBN:978-0-9810213-2-4
Review Posted: 8/3/2010

Alan Draven one of the contributing authors of Creeping Shadows brings readers another collection of work entitled, The Bitternest Chronicles. In this collection there are two brand new novellas, Cellar Door and The Dark Emissaries, plus five already published short stories. The collection focuses on one area, the Bitternest city.

What is always interesting about collections is what the author decides to put together to form it. This particular collection from Alan Draven was no different. At first thinking about a few short stories slumped in with a couple of novellas sounded, well, frankly boring. However, that was not the case in this collection.

The Bitternest Chronicles gives you these short stories to wet your appetite for the pure meat of the collection, the two novellas. The better of the two, Cellar Door keeps you interested through every word, you're drooling for more. The second novella, The Dark Emissaries gives what is felt as a lighter taste, but none the less just as yummy.

The Bitternest Chronicles won't scare your socks off so to speak, but will keep you reading and wanting to know what happens in the city so eerie, so unusual, the one only named, Bitternest.

Proxies of Fate by Matthew Moses Review



by Matthew Moses
Pill Hill Press
ISBN:978-1617060069
Review done by Rob Walter
Review Posted: 8/3/2010


Proxies of Fate, is Matthew Moses’s most recent novel published by Pill Hill Press.

It is a story set in the past, somewhere around the 1930s. It starts with an invading force called the Krush traveling to conquer the little rock called Earth. The Krush are a reptilian race that only live to terrorize and conquer worlds of the universe. The Krush invasion forces are intercepted by a single ship with a single occupant, Pol from Theria. Pol in trying to prevent the Krush from conquering the Primitive inhabitants of Earth comes up with a plan to genetically alter two people of Earth to be “proxies” to fight each other to decide the fate of the planet. One of the people chosen (Therian) is a decorated was veteran from the Great War from the great Plains state of Kansas who had fallen on hard times (Great Depression). The second person chosen (Krush) is a young Chinese boy living in Japanese Occupied China. The story follows the two “proxies” as they are changed, discover their powers, eventual roles in the future of man on planet Earth and the battles between the two.

I was impressed with the depth of the characters and the story development. It is a unique twist on the old formula of invasion from space. Bringing the story into a past time really lent to the story as well. The book is well written and flows well providing lots of action and details of history to keep the reader involved and thinking.

Overall I liked the book and heartily recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting and enjoyable read.



July 16, 2010

The Four Horsemen Edited by Jessy Marie Roberts Review



Edited by Jessy Marie Roberts
Pill Hill Press
ISBN: 978-0984261031
Review done by Rob Walter
Review Posted: 5/12/2010



The Four Horsemen An Anthology of Conquest, War, Death & Famine is the newest anthology from Pill Hill Press edited by Jessy Marie Roberts. It is a collection of 25 short stories that is not your average anthology in that it is broken into sections that represent the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse; War, Famine, Conquest and Death. Even the introduction, by Camille Alexa, is different in that it is a short story vice a narrative.

I first began reading the anthology thinking this was going to be a horror collection, but was pleasantly surprised when I found there were other genres in the mix. The themes of the stories cover all time periods and situations that relate to each horseman’s’ “theme” section. They range from future invaders from space to near term end of the world to World War II to the long-past Viking lore. One of the best stories is Savage Planet by Alethea Kontis which is science fiction / horror about a couple in a rocket that are drawn to a planet by an emergency beacon and the results of their investigation. Many of these short stories while complete leave you wanting more.

Overall I was impressed with this collection and I heartily recommend it.

The following is a list of the short story authors included in the anthology: Marie Croke, Matthew S. Dent, John H. Dromey, Megan R. Engelhardt, Laura Eno, L.E. Erickson, Jamie Eyberg, Nye Joell Hardy, Christopher Heath, Kat Heckenbach, Carla Joinson, Alethea Kontis, Will Morton, AR Norris, Jacob Henry Orloff, Marshall Payne, Alva J. Roberts, Jessy Marie Roberts, Scott M. Sandridge, Jonathan Shipley, Scott Taylor, Jason Toupence, Bill Ward and Kelli A. Wilkins.

Bigfoot War by Eric S. Brown Review



Eric S. Brown
Coscom Entertainment
ISBN: 978-1926712437
Review Posted: 5/11/2010



Jeff has always watched his younger brother Scott while his father was occupied with other things; then came the terrible day that a drastic event would take Scott and Jeff's father away from him. A creature of enormous size, hairy and only thought to be a legend.

That was twenty years ago. Now Jeff has come back to Babble Creek, the place that had called him crazy so long ago. He came back to take care of this creature that took his father, his brother. Jeff enlists the help of a local coach named Tom to destroy this creature.

Is the creature real or will Babble Creek once again label Jeff as crazy?

Eric S. Brown has once again woven a tale of Horror, intrigue and a non-stop thriller questioning our beliefs in this legend. We fall in love with the character of Jeff, marvel at the characters of Babble Creek and wonder what will happen next.

Bigfoot War is one of Brown's finest works. Know normally for his tales of zombies, he shows us not only can he write about something that does not involve the undead walking, but something that grabs at the meat of your being, shakes you until you have no choice but to finish this fine piece of work.

PayPhone by Brandon Ford Review




Brandon Ford
Artic Wolf Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9841233-2-2
Review Posted: 4/4/2010



Jake was down on his luck. He lived in a run downed apartment, had no job and had Susan who constantly told him what to do, yet at times enjoyed her company.

His addiction was the only thing that kept him strong. His addiction was killing; the weapon of choice, a pay phone which drew his victims to his inner most demons, up to his apartment where he killed them. Sometimes his wants were overshadowed by the fear of the women and he would loose them to the streets.

One day, he calls the phone and a woman answers. He sees her across his apartment. She is not like the others. She is like Susan; her name, Chelsea, a wannabe actress. She talks to him and he invites her up, she refuses, but the thought of her doesn't leave his mind and strangely enough hers either.

Could that call give Jake the ultimate feed to his addiction or will Chelsea go away and leave Jake finding someone else to feed his needs.

Pay Phone by Brandon Ford is a spine-chilling story that sucks the reader in and traps them, but they don't want to get out. A pleasant, yet disturbing reading experience, one feels that you are living every moment of Jake's terror. His thoughts become your own as you walk down his path of terror. Ford takes what horror and suspense can be, mixes a bit of thriller action into it and you have yourself a priceless book.

Just make sure if you want to answer a Pay Phone, you may want to rethink that.

Napoleon Concerto By Mark Mellon Review



Mark Mellon
WhoooDoo Mysteries/TrebleHeart Books
ISBN: 9781936127085
Review Posted: 3/02/2010
Review done by Rob Walter


Alternate History is an area of fiction that is fraught with traps and pitfalls and many fail to do it well. The cover of Mark Mellon’s newest novel of alternate history from WhoooDoo Mysteries, a division of Treble Heart Books, features an illustration of Napoleon astride a white horse done in the style of the Napoleonic Period demonstrating a very good example of the genre. You don’t have to be a history major to enjoy the narrative of this story.

The story is an alternate version of history that is quite a good mix of actual characters from history mixed with fictional characters. Characters from history include Robert Fulton, Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine to name but a few. The historical characters are accurate in detail and personality, but massaged quite nicely into the story of how history could have been. The fictional characters are written just as accurately to people of the period and show not only the outward visible person, but also the internal dialogues of why they are how they are.

It is quite obvious that the author, Mark Mellon, has taken his time to make the details of his story accurate. From the engineering and science of the day, to the scenery of the locales, to the intricacies of the royal courts of France and England as well as the battle scenes all come together in detail to propel and draw the reader into the story.

The story is well written and has many twists along with accurate details that not only make it plausible, but a thoughtful study. What if Napoleon was not defeated at Waterloo? How would the world be different today? These and other questions jumped into my mind as I read the story.

Overall this is an excellent book and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read. Alternate history done well.

And Now the Nightmare Begins: THE HORROR ZINE Edited By Jeani Rector Review




Edited By Jeani Rector
BearManor Fiction
ISBN: 978-1593933562
Review Posted: 02/05/2010

Review by Robert Walter

And Now the Nightmare Begins: THE HORROR ZINE is the first anthology of some of the best contributors to the online Horror Zine edited by Jeani Rector and published by Bear Manor Media, a publisher know for their non-fiction books on early Hollywood and 1950’s to 1980’s Television Shows. The Horror Zine is an online publication for authors, artists and poets to publish and share their darker sides. Ms. Rector is not only the editor of the anthology, but is a contributor as well with two stories.

The authors of the remaining short stories are: Lawrence Barker, Jason D. Brawn, David Byron, Ramsey Campbell, Chris Castle, Simon Clark, Connor De Bruler, Trevor Denyer, Alan Draven, Terry Grimwood, Kyle Hemmings, Christina Hoag, David W. Landrum, Rick McQuiston, Bryan Medof, B.A. Sans, Brian J. Smith, Anna Taborska, E.J. Tett and Debra Young.

The Artists are: Ignacio Bernacer Alpera, Luis Diaz, Ryan Doan, Mike Kerins, Tom Mattel, Liza Phoenix, Joe Roger, Muhammad Azri Sazali, Justin Stauffer.

The poets are: Dennis Bagwell, Kate Bernadette Benedict, Gary William Crawford, Norbert Hirschhorn, Jean Jones, Joe R. Lansdale, Juan Perez, D.L. Pesavento, Stephanie Smith, Sylvia Tanaka, Scott Urban and Bruce M. Whealton.

The cover art of the front cover by Ryan Doan is disturbing which is the perfect fit for this anthology and sets the bar for the remaining artwork that appears throughout the anthology. There really are some creatively and artistically dark minds out there which complement the stories as well as the poetry.

The collection of short stories, poetry and artwork is a veritable treasure trove of dark repulsive story telling by truly creative writers and artists. Every item brings a piece of real life into the dark world of horror fiction. This “familiarity” from real life makes the horror that much more visceral to the reader. The collection literally spans the full spectrum of horror from cockroaches, rats, mineshafts and dead lovers. There is definitely something here for everyone. While some of the names are not as well known as others, I have a feeling we will be hearing them more often in the future.

Overall this first collection is well put together and comes off very well. I strongly recommend it to any horror lover out there.

The Occult Files of Albert Taylor by Derek Muk Review



By Derek Muk
Impact Books
ISBN: 978-1449541958
Review Posted: 01/25/2010

The Occult Files of Albert Taylor by Derek Muk brings the character of Albert Taylor who is an anthropology professor that investigates paranormal activity and cases that all supernatural activities. Known for his magazine, The Occult Files, people track him down for help in cases no one else would believe. His cases involve researching Jack the Ripper, Bigfoot and so much more.

Muk Brings each of the 11 stories into separate cases; yes 11 different cases involving Taylor and some supernatural creature or event. What is special about this book is that Muk allows the reader to be able to look inside the characters, feel there struggles with their beliefs on whether or not certain things exist.

This book has come out at a time when paranormal movies and books are bringing back the unknown. The characters breathe life into the detective type story that thrills any reader. The search, the finding, the research all explained in detail with these stories. One could never quite get their fill of Albert Taylor.

Is there one thing bad about this book? Yes. It ends too short. Reading these stories makes a person want more, turning to the last page of the last story makes the reader feel hungry. Perhaps one day we can hope to see more of Albert Taylor in future stories or perhaps a television series.


The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror Edited By Jessy Marie Roberts Review



Edited By Jessy Marie Roberts
Pill Hill Press
ISBN: 978-0984261024
Review Posted: 01/02/2010
Review done by Rob Walter


The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror is the newest anthology from Pill Hill Press edited by Jessy Marie Roberts and the cover design is by Alva J. Roberts. The collection contains 27 short stories by the following authors: Patrick Rutigliano, Jameson T. Caine, Lucas Pederson, Laura Eno, Sam Battrick, Stephen D. Rogers, John McCuaig, Jessica A. Weiss, Jacob Henry Orloff, Christopher Jacobsmeyer, Kelly M. Hudson, Michelle Bredeson, Miles Boothe, Allen Wise, Alva J. Roberts, Anthony Giangregorio, Anne Maclachlan, C.A. Verstraete, Joel Arnold, Mike Chinn, Kassi Shimek, D. Nathan Hilliard, Scott Harper, Bill Ward, Rachelle Reese and Flora Winters.

It is a very unique and intriguing idea bringing the sea together with horror for a series of short stories. I have always loved the sea so this collection really caught my attention. The first story of the collection, The Revel, gets this great read underway with a monster race and what they are doing with abducted sailors. Other ideas that really pop out at you involve people, sharks, people-sharks, alien invasion and cruise ships of horror. One of my favorite stories of the collection is a very short story about a German Airman shot down in the English Channel during WWII called Wellenkrieg. He is tortured by the waves.

I really enjoyed this collection. I strongly recommend you go out and buy a copy today. It is horror at its best mixed with the sea.

Wolves of War Edited by Eric S. Brown Review



Edited By Eric S Brown
Library of Horror Press
ISBN: 9781449573669
Review Posted: 12/01/2009
Review done by Rob Walter


Wolves of War is an anthology of Werewolf stories compiled and edited by noted Zombie Author Eric S. Brown and published by Library of Horror Press. While Eric is known for his love of the Zombie Horror genre he does an excellent job compiling and editing this collection. He states in his intro that his inspiration for creating this anthology was the movie Dog Soldiers, a standard I believe he has met or even exceeded. Combining the horror genre, werewolves and war resulted in some very interesting and unique stories.

The cover art by Jodi Lee definitely captures the essence of the collection. It shows a werewolf under a Full Moon with an ammunition belt wrapped around it holding an automatic belt-fed rifle on the front cover and on the back the same werewolf, but now standing on a human body. It definitely gives a visceral feel of the collection of stories within.

The authors of the stories for this anthology include: A.P. Fuchs, David Dunwoody, Derek J. Goodman, Anthony Giangregorio, Grayson Moran, Casey Quinn, Rhiannon Frater, Franklin E. Wales, John Grover, Timothy Long, Alan Mendoza, T. Patrick Rooney, Dylan J. Morgan, John McCuaig, Thom Brannan & Victorya, Tim Curran and Lee Pletzers.

This anthology brings a new slant on the werewolf which has not seen the popularity of the rest of the horror genre of late. I believe this is a good start to re-invigorating the werewolf within the horror genre.

The stories included in this anthology range from the basic werewolf to apocalypse, running wild on a navy ship, in space etc. With my background in the Navy, “Adrift: A Werewolf Tale”, the werewolf on a navy ship, was one of my favorite stories in the collection. I can’t tell you how many times I would have loved to do some of what happens in that story. I don’t want to spoil your fun in reading the anthology, but suffice it to say the stories are well written and edited and really take the reader to new places in horror. The ideas represented by the stories are very original, definitely bloody and gory, and move the werewolf from the old days into the modern and future times and settings with an alarmingly scary degree of realism.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Wolves of War and strongly recommend that you go out and get yourself a copy. If you like horror you will love this anthology.

Archelon Ranch by Garrette Cook Review



By Garrette Cook
LegumeMan Books
ISBN: 9780980593822
Review Posted: 11/23/2009
Reviwe done by Rob Walter


Archelon Ranch, the third book written by Garrett Cook, is published by an Australian Publisher, LegumeMan Books. The cover art, by Jude Coulter-Pultz is disorienting and strange when first viewed. I had to look at it a number of times just to see the title of the book. Strange, but it fits the story.

I have to admit that I was confused through much of this book. I could not read this in one sitting as I had to let my mind wrap around what was written in pieces, some larger than others. This is the first work of fiction that I have read/reviewed where the author has brought himself into the story as the author and a character. Quite an interesting premise. The book follows Bernard, a test subject, and his brother Clyde as Bernard attempts to make his way through and out of a city/existence overrun by dinosaurs, crazed suburbanites and other mental challenges in his search for paradise, the namesake, Archelon Ranch.

As strange as it may seem the books ends up feeling like a commentary on the struggles many people go through in life. While Archelon Ranch was confusing at times and tiring it is an interesting book that I recommend.

Toe Tags Edited Brian Barnett and William Pauley III Review



Edited Brian Barnett and William Pauley III
Published by New Flesh Books
ISBN: 9780557135035
Review by Robert Walter
Review Posted: 10/28/2009


Toe Tags is an anthology containing 21 stories written by 17 authors. The hook for this anthology is that the authors are known for flash and short stories, but agreed to do something longer for this anthology. Many of the authors’ names will be familiar to those of us that have been reading contemporary horror for awhile. Authors like L.B. Goddard and Lori Titus jump out of this list along with the new authors such as Stephanie Barnett and Chad Chase. Add to this the artwork for each story by Joshua Day, Melanie Pauley and William Pauley III and you have an attractive well rounded anthology.

The stories of this anthology run the full range, and beyond, of the horror genre: a run- down carnival, a succubus, beyond lifelike tattoos, hunting explosive zombies with your insane uncle, vampires vs. zombies vs. humans and an anatomically-correct doll are some examples. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun by going into too much detail on the stories, but this is one of the better anthologies I have read lately. The accompanying artwork really does complement and add a feel to the book that would otherwise not be there.

If you enjoy your horror fresh and new this is a book for you.

Complete list of authors contained in the anthology: Brian Barnett, Stephanie Barnett, Jimmy Calabrese, Chad Case, Joshua Day, Robert C. Eccles, L.B. Goddard, Oonah V Joslin, Michael A. Kechula, T.J. McIntyre, William Pauley III, Graeme Reynolds, Nathan Rosen, Brett Saunders, Joshua Scribner, Lori Titus and Angel Zapata.