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.

Boilerplate book review

By Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett
Published by Abrams Image
ISBN: 9780810989504
Review Posted: 9/14/2009

Imagine a robot that could span history that could fight the big battles side by side along with soldiers. Imagine that robot being strong, made of metal and documented in history through art and photographs. Now since you have imagined it, you have just thought about Boilerplate.

Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel is a book created by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, published by Abrams Image.

What is just pure amazing is the photographs and art work that includes Boilerplate in history. The images are so well done that when you look at them you can’t tell they weren’t real.

Any Science Fiction fan, Steampunk fan, will be delighted to turn these pages and see Boilerplate described through a fictional account in history; from the robot’s development, the battles the robot had fought a long side soldiers and to its final resting. Nothing describes more detail, more fun than this particular story. The images along side this fictional history is not only pleasing to the eye, but makes this a book to cherish.

Boilerplate not only shows you what could have been but allows you to really want to get to know this robot of many talents. Nothing makes your heart jump more than to see another account description or another image where Boilerplate is in.

Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel is available everywhere in October 2009.

Vlad the Impaler Graphic Novel Review

By Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Published by Hudson Street Press
ISBN: 9781594630583
Review Posted: 9/14/2009

When you think of Vampires one can’t help but think of Dracula. But of course there is a history behind who was thought of as the first “Dracula” which was Vlad the Impaler. The history of Vlad The Impaler is depicted wonderfully in a graphic novel by Sid Jacobson and art work by Ernie Colon entitled Vlad The Impaler: The man who was Dracula, published by Hudson Street Press.

The art work is colorful, bright and full of life. Each image allowing the reader to step inside the story, feel the story as it was meant to be told. Some of the images are graphic in nature either sexual or just gory. However, even though this graphic novel maybe for a more audience with its pictures, it is not one to miss.

The story line takes the reader back to the beginning, back to where Vlad became who he was and how he went about getting the name “The Impaler.” What the story brings is a sense of horror, humor and wow on how such a man could possible be the way he was. The story also brings a nice sarcastic twist at the end.

This graphic novel is worth the time to pick up, if not just for the amazing art work, but for the interesting way the story is told.

Creeping Shadows by Alan Draven, Bradon Ford and Jessica Lynne Gardner Review

By Alan Draven, Bradon Ford and Jessica Lynne Gardner
Published by Pixie Dust Production
ISBN: 9780981021317
Review Posted: 10/04/2009

Creeping Shadows is a collection by not one, but three authors’ novellas. Each story unquie in itself and together makes an enjoyable scare fest. Thrilling to the end each novella discusses fears we have within, things that make us think and history rich details that make us feel we are back in that time period.Who would have thought such a collection of talent could be brought together. Each story a gripping taste of horror. Each story making you beg for more.

It all begins with Alan Draven’s story Vengeance is Mine. Now for anyone interested in Jack the Ripper lore, this story is certainly for you. You go back in time to the Ripper Murders. You see the streets, smell the smells and feel the footsteps of the people walking on the streets. Darkness creeps in and you have who becomes Jack the Ripper. Victims are present, the murders try to be solved, yet one victim is not satisfied on being dead.

This story brings you back to that time period. The history makes you feel as if you are watching it unfold right in front of you. Once more, there is a twist. A wonderful twist at the end that makes you feel that maybe if this happened just like this…what if?

The next novella in this collection is by Bradon Ford. Ford is known for two other books, Splattered Beauty and Crystal Bay. The story of Merciless takes the reader into the lives of two teenage girls. Each dealing with their own troubles. A madman bent on disturbing their already stressful lives comes into their world. This is a story of survival and inner strength.

No one can tell a story better than Ford in describing what each of us are willing to do in a life and death situation. He shows the strength and heart of each character. He allows you inside the mad man’s head to see why he feels the need to do just what he does.

The last story of this collection is by Jessica Lynne Gardner and it’s called Sugar Skull. Allow us to take you to a curse that has been brought on by a family, one that brings forward a woman, a detective, and others to fight for their survival. How do you survive something you can’t seem to fight?

Gardner proves that an author can show the reader the depth of a character. The emotions, the struggles of what could have been, what should have been and what is now. Each word is filled with hints and clues of what will happen next, what the character will feel. She allows you to want to help these characters, experience their pain and fear, making sure they make it through.

This collection is of three great authors with three amazing novellas. It may not be for the faint of heart, but just for a moment why not take the chance? Go out and get Creeping Shadows. Who knows maybe you will find your lost horror.

The Second Virgin Birth by Tommy Taylor Review

By Tommy Taylor
Published by BookSurge Publishing
ISBN: 9781419671500
Review by Jim Cherry
Review Posted: 9/23/2009

Ideas are the foundation for any writer. An average idea executed well can get national attention and make the author a critical and commercial success, such as Dan Brown‘s The DaVinci Code. Conversely, a great idea that is poorly executed may lay unread. Unfortunately, I have to put The Second Virgin by Tommy Taylor in the latter group.

When people talk about cloning they usually discuss it in the context of bringing back some historical personage, Elvis, Caesar, Hitler (for some strange reason) or Jesus. This is exactly the premise of The Second Virgin Birth. Dr. James Burk is a scientist working for Pope John Paul III in trying to isolate DNA of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin. Burk does indeed find DNA on the shroud that he is able to identify as being 2000 years old, and from a 25-35 male who was crucified. Convinced, the Pope will have him killed after Burk turns over the DNA. Burk steals it, heads to England and meets up with Dr. Clark Sullivan, a bioengineer who can clone the DNA. Together they meet and convince Brazilian industrialist Alberto Alvarez to invest in the project to clone Jesus from the DNA they’ve stolen from the Pope. Alvarez sets them up in a state of the art of lab.

After finding a young girl, Mary, who God has told she’ll be the mother of his son, they clone and impregnate her. They set-up the Church of The New Living God and start receiving pilgrims and donations from around the world which makes them richer than their wildest dreams. While they’re doing this the Pope has mercenaries track them down, and launches raid after raid, to have Mary killed. All fail until he hires a genocidal general from a third world African nation, who launches an all out assault against Alvarez’s compound that protects Mary. There is murder, greed, attempted rape, and gunfights but this isn’t enough to move the novel.

The main problem seems to be that there is very little literary artifice, as if Mr. Taylor expects the idea itself to carry the reader over. No real dramatic tension is built up over plot points. They’re mentioned and then resolved within a chapter or two with no real time or exposition to build up the dramatic anticipation of wanting to see what happens next. There’s no real character development beyond the avarice of Alvarez, Burk and Clark, and even they’re clich├ęs. The Pope is said to be evil. Sending mercenaries to kill Mary is certainly the act of an evil man, but there is no real reason given that the Pope is threatened by the cloning or Mary except that it will bring down the church.

No reason’s are given for the Pope to believe this, and we’re not even sure of the Pope himself. Is he an evil man who worked himself up to the Papacy? Or is he an inherently good man who either genuinely or mistakenly believes the new Son of God will bring about the ruin of the church? The DaVinci code also casts a Cardinal and a devout zealot as the antagonists, but their actions are understood because Brown gives us some background and explains their motivations. That is what is lacking here.

The Second Virgin Birth is a really good idea as a concept, but it misses the opportunity that comes naturally from the source material and that is morality and values. A lot of good science fiction uses extreme ideas and scenarios to comment on a society’s morals or values. The idea behind this novel lends itself to comment on cloning, whether it’s a good idea, or is it “because we can science.” Nowhere does Taylor take the opportunity afforded which should be the natural stomping grounds of a Christian writer. The book also fails to succeed as a thriller. As mentioned before, there is no real tension in the actions or decisions of the characters and events. It doesn’t even have non-stop action that would keep the reader hanging on by the seat of their pants.

There are also some logical inconsistencies that detract from the story. A couple anomalies may exist in a novel, but when they start adding up they become noticeable as a pattern. Taylor says that people who come into contact with Mary instantly become their better selves, but the people closest to her act opposite to this and you would think those closest to her would be affected the most. If there was supposed to be an ironic reason for this, I didn’t see it. The characters of Burk and Sullivan at first seem to waver between being faithful and unfaithful, but these inconsistencies seem to exist for no reason within the world presented to us by Mr. Taylor.

Like most Christian writers, Taylor wants his climatic battle scene to be a battle between good and evil. The characters that are supposed to be the “good guys” are shown to be acting as vilely as the Pope’s attacking mercenaries, committing murder, demonstrating avarice and lying to each other. Good has to distinguish itself from evil. In the end nothing redeems these “good guys.” The breakthrough of Christian novels like the Left Behind series is that they use modern literary techniques to capture the interest of their audience and not count on the reader’s faith, or the morality-tale aspect to sell the story to the reader. They conjure their own sensibilities and induce the reader to follow. The Second Virgin Birth doesn’t.

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

Legacy of the Ripper by Brian L. Porter Review

By Brian L. Porter
Published by Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN: 978-1554046904
Review Posted: 9/15/2009

Legacy of the Ripper by Brian L. Porter starts with the story of Jack Reid the nephew of Robert Reid who upon Robert’s death has inherited the mysterious ‘Jack the Ripper’ journal.

Jack starts to show disturbing actions as a child, which was thought to be taken care of. As he got older his personality changed and all was well, for a little while; that was until he read the journal.

Murders were being committed and they were similar to Jack the Ripper’s. Could Jack have been the person behind these murders? Could the journal have swept him up into a life of crime and deceit?

Porter leaves the reader hanging to each and every word on the page. The reader will get wrapped in, absorbed into the story of how Jack Reid is part of this. The rich details lead the reader on a wonderful chase of time and adventure through the 1800’s and the present time in the book.

There is no doubt that Porter has brought about a sequel to A Study in Red that is not only intriguing, even for those that don’t study Jack the Ripper history, but a tale that makes you yearn to find out did Jack really do these awful things, or has The Ripper came back to commit again?

The book tends to jump around in places giving different perspectives from some of the characters. However, this does not hinder the story, but it helps to enlighten the reader, see through the eyes of the character and participate in a story like no other.

A fascinating, brilliant story by one of the best writers out there. It is worth not only buying, but remembering what a good story really looks like.

Go to Amazon and pick this up now! You never know what lurks in the shadows.

A Study in Red by Brian L. Porter Review

By Brian L. Porter
Published by Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN: 978-1554045273
Review Posted: 9/12/2009

A Study in Red by Brian L. Porter and published By Double Dragon Publishing, tells the story of Robert Cavendish who inherits a journal from his deceased father. The journal itself reveals a dire family secret, who was the Whitechapel Murderer.

The journal passed down from great-grandfather and finally to Robert, leaves him intrigued and baffled. In being a psychiatrist, he has diagnosed several clients with different mental disorders. But can he understand the mind of a killer?

Porter does a fine job of bringing in the diary of this serial killer of the 1800’s with flare and wisdom. The story is rich in researched detail of the time period in the diary and any psychiatric terminology.

In this story, Porter grasps the concept of the White Chapel murders and adds a special circumstance to it. Ripperologists may like this story, may not, but they can’t deny the ability to see what this killer could have thought; see the details of the victims, the madness that struck the killer and his surroundings. And like Robert, try to analyze why the killer did what he did.

The character was meshed well with the storyline diary. Not once should a reader get bored by reading this book, but intrigued at what happens next. There is even a twist at the end one would not expect.

One maybe critical of this book in saying it is too long. The character’s feelings have been said enough, but really pick this book up and read it. It’s not only amazing, but spine chilling. And please tell me how many books can say that?

Go to Amazon and pick this up now! You never know what lurks in the shadows.

All of Yesterday's Tomorrows By Corey K. Cotta Review

By Corey K. Cotta
Published by IUniverse
ISBN: 9780595422142
Review Posted: 9/3/2009

The story starts with Conrad Bishop who takes a vacation with his girlfriend Amber. However, all is not well. What is thought to be a sudden terriost started outbreak of a virus spreads through the country. His girlfriend Amber being one of the victims, Alone and fearful, Conrad still manages to move forward, finding his way around death and just trying to survive.

When first reading this, one may think ‘oh no, not another end of the world story’, but and there is a but, though the story is hard to read in the first few pages, it picks up with a blast. Cotta moves with ease explaining how Conrad and the group of people he ends up meeting survive, struggle through any differences and start to just understand what it means to be alive.

The amount of fear, warmth, and understanding these characters have with each other is amazing and this shows through what Cotta does. He writes with such passion about all of them and their strong wiliness to survive in their now own formed community.

What was the best thing about this book was that you felt the need to help these people, be with these people and just want to understand why.

Recommending this book is not enough, but saying you need to have this as part of your collection and read it, not once, but over and over again.

The Vampire Collection by BellaDonna Drakul Review

By BellaDonna Drakul
Published by Publish America
ISBN: 9781604418026
Review by Rob Walter
Review Posted: 9/3/2009

This is a collection of 14 vampire short stories and novellas from the new author BellaDonna Drakul. The stories range from the horrifying tale of a child turned to a vampire at an early age never to develop into and adult, to an apocalyptic end of the world war between the mortals and the immortal vampires, to a short lived, painful, but passionate relationship between a human and a vampire.

The collection imparts an “ebb and flow” of emotions to the reader that is effective. These stories most definitely are not “Twilight” redone. They are darker, treading more into our psyches. Drakul doesn’t leave the reader with the typical one dimensional vampire, but gives them multi-dimensional depth and development. An example of this is Sala of the “Blood Kin” stories, is as evil a character as you have read while showing some compassion for her victim. She has some original twists to the stories as well. In “The Merciful Physician” she adds a twist with a “moral” vampire that uses his “gift” to ease the suffering of his patients only after getting them to agree.

A similar phrase found in every story, “brushed her hair from her face” or “moved his tousled hair from his face” did become repetitive, but was not enough to ruin this collection.

Overall BellaDonna Drakul provides interesting characters with original ideas and a definitely not mainstream treatment of vampires. Her use of the genre to talk to the basics of life and love and bring home the feelings derived from that, was quite refreshing. If you are looking for something that isn’t “Twilight” and don’t mind a few sleepless nights it is worth your time to read a copy.

Nights of Blood 2: More Legends of the Vampire Edited by Elyse Salpeter and Bob Nailor Review

Nights of Blood 2: More Legends of the Vampire
Edited by Elyse Salpeter and Bob Nailor
Published by 23 House Publishing
ISBN: 9780990195041
Review Posted: 8/27/2009

Nights of Blood 2: More Legends of the Vampire, published by 23 House and edited by Elyse Salpeter and Bob Nailor is a short story collection of magnificent proportions.

These 17 tales of gore, horror and just plain making you think stories are so well written that it was hard not to jump into the story itself. One of the best stories in this collection was A Rustle of Curtains by Henry Leon Lazarus. The story is written in diary format, which normally on a personal note, would be discouraged from me reading any further as only few can master story telling through that format, but Lazarus has found the right combination.

The story tells of a woman dying of a disease. A doctor advised her writing in a journal to get her emotions down and to help to deal with her illness. In this process she comes across a stranger. A stranger who will change her views on things and perhaps help her cope a bit.

I was "wowed" by this story. It was heart moving, yet thought-provoking and just overall an enjoyment to read.

All these stories in this collection make you wish there was more. There was not one in which I myself, didn’t want to read for a second time or even a third time.

I would recommend this collection to anyone into a good read, or vampires or just wanting something to read relaxing from a hard day's work. It is worth your time, so please do give it some.

Empire by David Dunwoody Review

David Dunwoody
Published by Permuted Press
ISBN: 978-1-934861-02-8
Review Posted: 8/27/2009

Empire, the name itself leads one to think in the terms of vastness. And frankly they would be correct. Empire written by David Dunwoody and published by Permuted Press, shows just that, a vastness of ideas.

One may go, "oh it's just another zombie story", however, it's not. The idea Dunwoody came up with is not just to have zombies munching on people, but what if Death came about and didn't want people dying that way, as if to think perhaps they were being taken away from him?

There are of course the scenarios where people are trying to stay alive; get eaten and well you know what happens if they are bitten by a zombie. But Dunwoody puts that extra twist on the zombie lore making this book exciting and new. The conflict is not only with the humans, but with Death and the zombies, stretching the reader's view so far out there.

There are parts of this book that do sadly drag a bit. But don't stop reading because of that, keep going. If you don't you will miss out on one of the best tales told of Zombies since Eric S Brown released his last book. You can find Empire at your local Borders, or online at amazon.com.

Monster by A. Lee Martinez Review

A. Lee Martinez
Published by Orbit Books
ISBN: 978-0-316-04126-3
Review Posted: 7/19/2009

Humor and Horror, can it be? It can be with A. Lee Martinez writing it. Monster is a book filled with humor, monsters and some action.

The story starts out with Monster who runs a pest control agency. However, the agency is not simple bug control; monster control is what they specialize in.

A food store has a monster attacking it's stock of food. Monster is called in. He meets Judy who works there and from that point on the two are put together in the world's chaos.

Martinez writes in such a way that laughter always follow. The story drives one to insanity with humor. It is well worth the reading experience. This is a book that is part of the ones that sometimes are forgotten because 'Horror' is not supposed to have humor. Well, they are wronng and one should run out and get this book.

Season of Rot by Eric S. Brown Review

Season of Rot
Eric S. Brown
Published by Permuted Press
ISBN: 978-1-934861-22-6
Review Posted: 7/14/2009

When you think of zombies, a name that always comes up is Eric S. Brown. Why is that? Well, because he excels at the writing of zombie stories and Season of Rot is no different. Inside these pages, are zombie tales that fill you with thought, fear and some of that ole’ time zombie action you’ve grown to love.

There are five novellas put together in this collection: “Season of Rot”, “The Queen”, “The Wave”, “Dead West”, and “Rats”. Each story shows zombies in a different way. The one novella that stands out the most in this collection is “Dead West.”

“Dead West” is a story that takes place a little after the Civil War. However, the war that now exists deals with Zombies against humans. All the imagery, the details are brilliantly mastered in this story and well researched. The tales takes you back to that time period and into a place that only the imagination of Brown call allow you to be.

Is there anything that is bad about this collection? Only that a thirst for Brown’s zombies tales will want you yelling for more.

You can purchase Season of Rot by Eric S. Brown either on Amazon.com or going through Permuted Press’s site.