December 29, 2011

Scarecrow & The Madness by Robert Essig and Craig Saunders Review

By Robert Essig and Craig Saunders
Blood Bound Books
ISBN: 978-0984540877
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 12/29/2011

The Scarecrow and The Madness are two stories published together in 2011 by Bloodbound Books. It is an interesting pairing as they really have nothing in common besides being in the horror genre and being penned by twisted authors.

The Scarecrow is by Craig Saunders and is set in England. It involves Bernie and Margaret, two people who have obviously been married forever, taking a little trip into town. Marge to do some shopping and Bernie to have a pint at the pub. This would not turn out to be your average trip to town as there was a roaming band of gypsies in town. Bernie, after imbibing more than the allowed “just one”, is rudely interrupted by the gypsies in the pub. This leads to the police busting in and breaking it up. The gypsies pledge revenge against Bernie. So far, somewhat predictable, but I won’t go into it any further and ruin the story for you, but it is twisted and will have  you looking at farmers’ wives’ in a whole new light.

 The Madness, by Robert Essig, is by contrast set in Colorado. It involves a nice banker, Tony, getting caught in a blizzard on his way home from the bank and being forced to seek shelter at the closest house to the road he was on.  That house belongs to Dan and Sue along with their son Phillip. Sounds nice and normal right? Well, Tony has a dead brother (Randy) who manifests in Tony’s mind and has conversations with Tony.  Dan has a family “curse” they call a “tickle” that causes the men in the family to kill eventually. Dan’s father killed both his mother and brother, but left him alive for some strange reason. Mix that all together and you end up with a twisted little tale that contains violence, extreme torture and coming of age.

Neither of these stories is for the weak at heart. While I liked both stories, they took my mind into places I would rather not have been. I actually had to stop reading the second story a couple of times as I had to recover from what was there. Both stories have unique twists to them that make them worth the read.

I would recommend them to anyone over the age of 18 that can handle intense violence and psychological horror.

December 3, 2011

Love Me by Danger_ Slater Review

By Danger_ Slater
Jersey Devil Press
ISBN: 978-0984612741
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 12/03/2011

Love Me is Danger_Slaters latest work and is published by Jersey Devil Press.

BE WARNED: This book is not for the faint of heart.

This book is hard to classify as to a specific genre. Saying this book is bizarro would be an understatement. I have never read anything like it previously. From a castle of skulls reaching above the clouds to Jehovah’s witnesses being “processed” by crocoweilers (characters’ crossbreed of crocodiles and rottweilers) to discussions with the moon (made of blue cheese by the way), the story bounces around wildly while still carrying the reader. We follow the isolation and loneliness of the main character as time begins on his path to self discovery and what is the meaning of it all. Through all of the insanity the central idea still manages to come through to the reader (I won’t spoil it for you here).

The illustrations add to the story to give you a visual of what your mind can’t quite get itself around from the text.

The book has it all dark comedy, angst, nuclear attacks and genitalia. If you are thin skinned and don’t enjoy risqué comedy you may not want to try this book. If you love being entertained while your mind goes WTF! This is a book for you.

I was kind of amazed myself that when I finished reading it, I had enjoyed the journey and would actually recommend it to other readers.

December 1, 2011

What Fears Become: An anthology from the Horror Zine Edited by Jeani Rector Review

Edited By Jeani Rector
Imajin Books
ISBN: 978-1926997209
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 12/01/2011

What scares you in the night? What makes you even fear going to the bathroom unless there is a light everywhere you go?

In What Fears Become: An anthology from the Horror Zine Edited by Jeani Rector, you will once again sense that fear, drive yourself to the brink of insanity or beyond. Stories that deal with a cut leg replaced by a dog leg and to boot done by kids in the story Dogleg by Bentley Little, a guy who sleeps with a woman one second and then finds her this creature who gnaws at him in Gnaw by Lala Drona to Mall walkers by Chris Reed where a boy suddenly can't figure out where all the time went in his life.

There is also some great poetry in here. One that caught my eye was By John T. Carney. His poem entitled, The Ghoul was not only dark, but a meaning beyond any meaning that one could see at face value.

An added bonus is the artists' section. I do love dark art and this is filled with some very talented artists.

I really loved this book. It had so many great stories, poems and art to fill my goodie quota all year long.

November 26, 2011

Undead Drive-Thru by Rebecca Besser Review

By Rebecca Besser
Living Dead Press
ISBN: 978-1611990096
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 11/26/2011

Kyndra and Colleen needed some extra money so the made a choice to apply at Aunt-B's restaurant that is about to open. They get the jobs as waitstaff. Before the opening they are asked to do some work to clean, paint and what not to help with the opening. They meet John, Aunt-B's nephew and Jose who was also just hired. They then get a tour of the restaurant and find out that Aunt-B and her husband Sam live in the back a ways out. Sam apparently is sick and an alarm goes off when he is not supposed to be doing something. But Aunt-B and her nephew keep a secret: Sam does not have an ordinary illness, he's a zombie. Collen and Jose one night run into Sam who was let out to make a new cage for him. But Aunt-B and John can't allow them to go off and tell others so they kidnap them.

Undead Drive-Thru takes twists and turns, leaving gross images behind. The characters are in a frenzy most of the time either for survival or to keep the secret of Sam close.

I found myself thinking if I had a loved one who turned into a zombie what would I do? Morals and real life emotions are placed well in this story as it is not your typical bang, bang you're dead because you're a zombie. It is clear that the author put heart and soul into this writing and thought about how readers would digest the aspect of keeping your loved one even if they are a zombie.

My suggestion? Watch the diners you eat at these days, you never know what might be hidden behind those doors.

November 24, 2011

Just Like Hell by Nate Southard Review

By Nate Southard
Deadite Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 11/24/2011

Just Like Hell is a short anthology of five stories from Nate Southard. The first is called Just Like Hell, runs for 70+ pages, and is your stereotypical kidnapped man against several protagonists, but it's very well done since the protagonists really are quite despicable and deserve their gory comeuppance. A Team Building Exercise is like a modern day episode of Outer Limits. A bit more sci-fi than the other shorts, but has a nice twist ending that was quite humorous. Miss Kenner And Me is written in first person and is about a boy who seems just a bit too attached to his teacher, Miss Kenner, to the point where it's creepy, and who latches onto another unfortunate girl who meets an untimely demise. Senorita is a bit of an odd one. Is it horror? Maybe sci-fi? I'm not sure, but it's another one of those stories where its man meets woman, and within minutes he's so obsessed with her he's mowing people down left, right, and centre. No idea why authors seem to keep using the kills-through-obsession scenario. Finally we hit Work Pit Four. It reads like a sci-fi story, but it too has an Outer Limits feel to it. But without the cool twist ending.

Just Like Hell is a nice little book of shorts. There's really only one horror story, the title track, with the others being a bit more sci-fi, but that's OK with me since the horror story takes up almost half of the book anyway. Your a sick man, Mr. Southard. Keep up the good work!

November 21, 2011

A Vampire's Guide to Sex by Sam Lang Review

By Sam Lang
Trestle Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review Posted 11/21/2011

If you are looking for a how to manual for vampires, this isn’t it. This short story from Sam Lang is interesting in its design, but is somewhat predictable in the execution.

The story is about Mallory and Danyelle, two normal people, both of whom manage to get themselves turned into vampires before ever having sex. It begins with Mal providing his back story and lamenting that “Why isn’t there an instruction Manual?” for being a vampire. We then jump to Dany who provides her back story and leads into the two of them meeting in search of a meal and a way to finally have sex.

They devise and execute their plan to finally have sex with each other. I won’t spoil the end, you will have to read it.

Overall it was an interesting, if somewhat predictable read.

November 18, 2011

Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey by Daniel D. Shields Review

By Daniel D. Shields
ISBN: 978-1461092391
Review by: Shells Walter (Guest Reviewer)
Review posted 11/18/2011

When you think of sharks you think of vicious marine creatures that end up attacking humans in horror movies.

What about a shark that plays pool? Yes, that's right plays billiards. That is what the shark named Shark does in Shark & The Wolf: Predators and Prey.

Shark is playing in his favorite pool bar called Gills that is owned by an aged dolphin. He and his friend Dog Z are having some fun, some beer and Shark is trying to beat a hyena named Old Jack. At first Shark thinks that Old Jack is hustling him because the last wager seems a bit weird, win and get a post card from Shark's long lost love Vixen, a wild fox that has disappeared awhile ago.

However, Old Jack gives Shark the postcard that invites him to what seems half-way across the world on an adventure to find lost treasure and to be with his love Vixen.  When Shark and Dog Z arrive, they meet a bunch of interesting characters, Shark finds his lost love, but what awaits them is not only Vixen, but a whole lot of trouble that even a Shark, who by the way doesn't like water, might not be able to handle.

I read this story and suddenly felt the urge to play pool again, haven't in so long. Not only does this story bring true charisma to animals that have human characteristics, but an adventure like Indiana Jones would take.

I thought long and hard what I would do if I saw creatures such as these walking around playing pool and drinking beer. Once I got over the shock of it all, I think it be a great time. And that is what this book is, a great time.

If you love adventure and like something a bit different that isn't the same yuck, yuck, mainstream stuff that is out there, you will love this story. I guarantee you it is not Jaws, but it is also not Dr. Do Little and the thrill of reading it will be so worth it.

November 8, 2011

Severed In The Beginning By Darren Sant and Sam Lang Review

By Darren Sant and Sam Lang
Trestle Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 11/08/2011

While we don’t normally review short stories, we did read Severed In The Beginning by Darren Sant and Sam Lang.

The story starts out in a prologue with a bird flying overhead and switches to a description of the Zombie Apocalypse. “The end of the world came not with a bang or a whimper, but with the use of diet pills.” Hell of a way to start the description of the end of the world, eh?

The story then changes to a diary format following a boy named Zac coping with the Zombie Apocalypse the best he can as he becomes a man and a leader of a small band of survivors.

This is a good story that involves the readers without driving the story home with the normal “blood and guts” gore of your normal zombie tale. It has a more deft touch using the psychological impact and the readers imagination to carry the reader along.

I recommend this short story to lovers of intelligent zombie horror.

November 6, 2011

Fleshbags by Gerald Dean Rice Review

By Gerald Dean Rice
Review by: Dana Bell
Review posted 11/06/2011

Since Zombies are all the rage, this story capitalizes on the current trend with a slight twist - a virus is causing them to rise. Their stomachs are transparent, hanging down their torso and they contaminate others by spitting a clear fluid out their mouths.

The story opens with one being found and EMT's trying to transport it to the hospital. Boom. It blows up and spreads the contagion all over the scene. Afterwards several characters are introduced and the plot line twists between characters, the horrible events leading up to many of them dying, and eventually the open end with no real explanation on how it all came about.

Chapters are done by hours reaching ten after the epidemic starts.
Included is a short story about a little girl with hints of incest and more zombies.

Lastly, an excerpt from an upcoming novel with what looks like a murder mystery, an investment scam and mysterious tiny men in black looking for a Bible of all things.

What is done well is the sense of smell through out the work. The reader can almost taste the stench or the unwashed bodies. Also, there are many clear images adding a chill and a delightful shiver for those who are fans of the genre.

What is not done well is the constant shifting between characters which would work well in a film, but not so much in a work of prose. The action is choppy and unclear giving the reader no change to actually bond or care about any of the characters. They had horrible things happen to them. Many died. So what?

The gore and sex seem to the main focus of the Flesh Bags. Not to mention the disgusting side of humanity. Is it really important that a man farts? Or uses the bathroom?

All in all, probably a good read for those of the genre. It holds all the elements one would look for in a Zombie read. However, the lack of any redeemable character makes this a dry and unfulfilling read.

November 4, 2011

Darklands: A Vampires Tale by Donna Burgess Review

By Donna Burgess
Naked Snake Press
ISBN: 978-0982966518
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 11/04/2011

Darklands: A Vampires Tale is the first in a new series from Donna Burgess published by Naked Snake Press.

The book starts out with a bang of action when Susan Archer witnesses the killing of her twin brother and is attacked and bitten by a Deathwalker named Devin Mcree, but not totally turned. 20 years pass and we come to Susan, now married and working as a police officer recovering from being shot on-duty.  Devin returns to finish her becoming a vampire and reclaim the woman he has always loved. As the story progresses a crazed Nazi hunter named Jasper Jacobsen begins chasing them. The majority of the story is the two of them on the run as Susan learns what it is to be a Deathwalker. There is quite the interesting twist at the end that I won’t spoil for you, but it adds to the darkness of the tale.

Overall I was intrigued by the story. I was somewhat confused at first with the vampire lore used in the story, but not enough to detract from the story. The characters are strong and multi-dimensional which makes this not another “glittering vampire romance”. There is definitely violence as well as some graphical sexual content which adds to the darkness of the story.

I would recommend this story for readers looking for something more than a vampire romance. The story has heart and I look forward to the next in the series.

November 2, 2011

Kaptain Vamp by Joanne Lécuyer Review

By Joanne Lécuyer
Gilmore Printing
Review by: Gina Desory
Review posted 11/02/2011

Kaptain Vamp by Joanne Lécuyer, is about a young vampire named Allistaire. He lives amongst a world of humans and vampires who don't really get along.

Allistaire wants to help humans, but doesn't know how until he reads a certain comic book. Then he becomes 'Kaptain Vamp.'

This was a delightful read. The story of how Kaptain Vamp came about is endearing. Any child would be interested in Allistaire's adventure. I certainly was. And what makes this book even nicer was the wonderful illustrations that took a part in describing this young vampire's tale.

I could not be more happier than seeing where Allistaire was going next. And if you want your child to get a taste of something horror in fiction, but don't necessarily want them getting into stuff that maybe either a bit off or watching some kind of vampire glitter, then this is the book for them. There is no doubt that Allistaire's tale is one of a kind.

October 31, 2011

Soul Survivors Hometown Tales Vol 1 Edited by Shawn M. Riddle Review

Edited by Shawn M. Riddle
Knight Watch Press
ISBN: 978-0987691460
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 10/31/2011

When you're thinking Halloween, you are thinking scary, spooky and downright frightening. That's what you have here in Soul Survivors Hometown Tales Vol 1 edited by Shawn M. Riddle.

In these 13 fitting stories, you come across a weird neighbor, who likes to eat dead flesh, fighting between family members, rabbits and clowns, plus more of the undead devouring people and cities.

Also, in this great collection of anything gore and bloody, you have introductions by David Moody and Joe McKinney.

A person could not ask for more in these tales. As I was reading it became apparent just how much the undead has become a popular source for fiction. It was a pure amazing adventure to read each and every page as yet another person has suffered their fate that was owed to them, or maybe even perhaps not.

I love Halloween, all the sights and screams it can produce. If you want to get that special someone a wonderful gift for Halloween to make sure they don't do any nasty tricks for a treat, get them this collection. You may just get through another Halloween.

Available here

October 16, 2011

Like Porno for Psychos By Wrath James White Review

By Wrath James White
Deadite Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 10/16/2011

Like Porno for Psychos certainly has an apt title. It's a book of short stories that contain everything from explicit sex (both human and bestial) to gore, and everything in between. Suffice to say, I wouldn't like to be the authors wife as most of the stories seem to involve a woman getting raped or ripped to shreds!

But, don't worry, there's a couple of poems too, so that's OK. That makes it 'proper' literature.

Several of the stories have a Twilight Zone style twist to them whilst several just have someone getting murdered for no real reason. Although one story does have a giant orgy with people literally humping each other to death.

It's quite a short book, 100 pages which includes several pages of ads at the end, but I personally prefer short books and short stories as I like to drip in and out of them (no pun intended with these stories!) and not need to remember previous plot points.

The author, Wrath James Wright, definitely has an active imagination, and isn't afraid to write about taboo subjects (female bestiality with a lion anyone?) and for that he definitely gets my respect.

All in all, a good book. Just don't expect happy endings.

October 4, 2011

Thursday Thistle by August V. Fahren Review

By August V. Fahren
Star Books
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 10/04/2011

Thursday Thistle is a young girl that lives with two lazy sisters who always expect her to do everything and yet deal with their constant annoyance and her father. Thursday is not your typical girl. She likes insects that crawl on her and is sometimes labeled a freak. Her only happiness comes from going into her room to draw and to watch on VHS her favorite movie, Snow White.

Until one day while waking up in a sweat, she notices a mouse, not just any mouse, but one that talks. It then runs off with Thursday grabbing her things including her drawing materials, and chases after it. Thursday soon discovers her own fairytale world with so many odd things, including others who are named after days of the week.

Thursday Thistle is a bizarre fairytale of something never been seen before. This is no Alice in Wonderland, but has you slipping into different degrees of strange. I found it odd, yet the story provoked me to keep reading.

This book is not for the reader who is looking for a light moral type fairytale. It is not something you would read to your child for a bedtime story, unless you want to give them nightmares.

Take a step into Thursday's world and enjoy the darkness, the strange and a whole heap of new things you may have not thought you could see together.

September 27, 2011

Cinema of Shadows by Michael West Review

By Michael West
Seventh Star Press, LLC
ISBN: 978-0983740209
Review by: Dana Bell
Review posted 09/27/2011

A spooky old theater house - a series of mysterious deaths - a young girl with special powers…these ingredients are mixed into a paranormal investigation to discover the truth about what happened.

Set in the Midwest with plenty of local flavoring, the story follows a pretty much predictable plot line. Although, the angle about the gargoyles was an interesting touch - wait a minute - wasn't that used in Dr. Who? (giggle) Anyway, the possible parallel to the episode 'Blink' was nice, although it is possible the writer, Michael West, may or may not be familiar with the long running British series.

The final epilogue really came as no surprise, almost expected really, since many such horror stories take a final stab at their readers.

There are references to familiar series and movies, giving the story a modern day feel. Some of the language is a bit rough and the talk of female body parts and sex seems to be a common theme in most horror stories, along with the spooky elements.

There are a number of good sentences like 'The table erupted in laughter', 'Rust slowly feasting on the metal carcasses of forgotten film canisters' and a nicely done simile in reference to voodoo dolls and pins. Description is nicely done and the dialogue sounds like real people.

The labeling done for 'Preview of Coming Attractions', 'And now our Feature Presentation', 'Credits' and for the credit watchers, was a nice touch and in keeping with what the book was about.

There are also a few illustrations sprinkled in glorious black and white.

Highly recommended for fans of horror just for the imagery alone and wannabes of this genre should take lessons from a writer who has this skill mastered.

Just watch out for those gargoyles….

September 22, 2011

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September 10, 2011

Kill Whitey by Brian Keene Review

By Brian Keene
Deadite Press
ISBN: 978-1936383665
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 09/10/2011

Kill Whitey, by Brian Keene, is the story of how a Russian stripper, called Sondra, manages to persuade an ordinary every day guy called Larry to kill her night club boss, Whitey.

The story starts off with some co-worker stuff, which is fair enough, but then it goes into several chapters of how Larry has been attending the strip club and has now become infatuated by Sondra. I've no idea why we need several chapters of Larry's perving as there's only so many ways to say a girl is hot. Once we've done the intro/perving stuff we get to some action.

The action is well done, there's good atmosphere, but it does fail to show any emotion at times. For example: in one scene Larry sees one of his good friends, and co-worker, lying dead in a pool of blood with his neck in shreds. Does he break down in tears? Go in to shock? Nope. Not a jot. He seems to quite easily go from being an every day guy into a gun totting, semi-invincible, maniac. Also there are some scenes that are obviously there for humour (to break things up a bit) but the scenes are a bit too Bill-&-Ted-ish. Something a bit more subtle would have been better.

I know it sounds like I'm being harsh on it, but I liked Kill Whitey. It's just that the end is pretty obvious once Sondra explains some background stuff to Larry, and Larry seems to act anything like a normal guy.

Even with those negative things that I've written, give it a read if you like horror films, and heavy metal, as there are quite a few references for you to catch.

August 20, 2011

Mangled Meat By Edward Lee Review

By Edward Lee
Deadite Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 08/20/2011

If you read horror then I'm sure you've heard of Edward Lee. Known as the godfather of gore and writer of all things deviant, Mr. Lee has written many short stories in his illustrious career. This one, Mangled Meat, features a trilogy of short stories.

First we have The Decortication Technician. This one is more sci-fi than horror and is, in my opinion, the weakest of the three. A team of people are to crack open what seems to be an abandoned space craft. It's a nice enough story, but every sentence uses several technical terms (whether real or imaginary) and/or abbreviations (again, real or imaginary) and it's very jarring. Imagine being lectured by a NASA engineer who can only use space jargon. Not very nice.

Getting better is the second story, Cyesolagniac. This one is more like it. Short, sleazy, sick and has a nice twist ending. Poor Heyton is a bit of a deviant, and is addicted to pregnant women. Trawling a red light district he can't believe his luck when a hot pregnant hooker gets in his car. This one shows why many horror/gore fans read Lee's work.

Last, but not least, is Room 415 which is about a guy who is mentally affected by his ex-wife. So much so that he is unable to orgasm as memories of his ex flash into his mind and cause him to wilt. Indulging in some voyeurism he sees a hooker getting a sound beating which, he realizes, really turns him on and does make him orgasm! Disgusted that he came, rather than call the police, he investigates the rooms occupants. This one doesn't really have any gore, as such, but does show that Lee can write a good detective story.

Another good anthology from Lee I think. Room 415 had more feeling and atmosphere than the other two, but in sickness value Cyesolagniac wins.

August 15, 2011

Belong by George Wilhite Review

By George Wilhite
Review by: Dana Bell
Review posted 08/15/2011

Ian is the very image of most young boys tormented by the bullies of his school and an undesirable to the girls. He finds refuge in a downstairs bathroom, makes contact with what he thinks is a beautiful woman in one of the stalls and they communicate by graffiti on the walls. Eventually, she sucks him into her realm and holds him as her sexual captive, until another young man, on a dare, accidentally frees Ian back into the real world.

From there, Ian learns of the terrible murder of a young girl who gave birth to the monster who kills men out of revenge for that terrible rape and death long ago. He learns the girl's identity, uses the power of her name to free her, and helps put matters right before scrubbing to the inevitable death he himself suffered twenty years earlier.

An interesting premise mixed with the power of urban legends, many of which the origins become forgotten or blurred with time. Set in a high school, a true horror to many young people and the growing sexual awareness that grows during those years, the author sets up a believable situation, including the story of how Ian was found dead - no explanation and in an embarrassing position.

Once the sexual torture scenes are over, the story becomes interesting, full of the promise the original opening scenes hinted at. The search for the truth of how the horrid creature in the mirror came about, its defeat, and the two trapped finally freed, gives the story a compelling and fulfilling ending.

Belong is a good novella with a well thought out story line, even with all the sexual cruelty and bondage images. Although it should be classified as male erotica, it is also a murder mystery, an urban legend and a little scary, although a bit too graphic in some parts, so much so it was almost cliché.

August 14, 2011

Fractured Time by Alan Draven Review

By Alan Draven
Black Bed Sheets Books
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 08/14/2011

Donovan Vicar is a feeler. He experiences emotions, bad and good vibrations of sorts. One day while walking home from a class he taught, he sees a man. The man produces a strange feeling for Vicar, a really evil feeling. He gets closer to the man, then hesitates. The the man goes on to the bus terminal and disappears, making Vicar regret not doing anything else.

He approaches his mentor, Mason with the problem. They talk and soon Vicar decides to go onto the bus where he thinks the man went, only to realize soon after being let off that the time has changed. He is now in the past of where he lives in Bitternest and not only has the time changed, but a growing evil force is present that he learns is darker than anything he has come into contact with.

Fractured Time is a story of dealing with one's gifts for the greater good. It was an interesting story that leads the reader down the growing paths of Vicar and the people around him in the past where the story takes place.

The one issue I had is at times when characters would do something that would just not make sense at the particular moment. For example, when Vicar tells his Mentor Mason he feels a certain way, his mentor tells him he is being paranoid. Why would a fellow feeler tell another 'you are being paranoid?' Isn't feelings what they are all about and they should listen to them?

This book regardless of that one issue is a great read. Its settings make you feel as if you are time-traveling with Vicar and experiencing all the conflict and horror that comes from the Bitternest past. I will say that no matter what you do, after reading this, you may think twice about going on a long bus trip.

August 5, 2011

His Pain By Wrath James White Review

By Wrath James White
Deadite Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 08/05/2011

His Pain is a book about pain, but thankfully it's not painful to read. The book begins with a new born baby who is diagnosed with a rare condition which means every sensation results in severe pain. Rather than euthanasia the parents keep the child in a manufactured world to keep him safe from every sensation and be as pain free as possible. Eventually the mother hires a yoga master who can help the child focus his pain and convert it to pleasure. And if you've read Clive Barkers Hellraiser you'll know that no good comes of pleasure and pain! Parts of His Pain remind me of Barkers Books of Blood stories. Back when he wrote good stuff.

The book starts off quite slow. It's necessary set up, but I felt it was a bit too wordy. Everything was explained to us word by word. The letter the mother writes to the yoga master is verbatim as is his speech on TV (which is what gets the mother interested in him). If things like that had been suggested to us then we'd have gotten to the action much quicker. And we'd have more room for even more action! Win win methinks.

It's once the yoga master teaches the boy to convert pain to pleasure that the real fun begins. There's top class hookers, incest, emo chicks, murder, gore... the list goes on, and all in the second half of the story!

It's a short story, at 88 pages, but it's well written and doesn't beat about the bush when it comes to sex and controversy. It takes a good writer to write about sex (and incest) without turning it into either a cringefest or a Mills & Boon romance.

If you want a quick short story with graphic depictions of sex and gore then this will fit the bill very nicely!

August 3, 2011

Alice and Dorothy by JW Schnarr Review

By JW Schnarr
Northern frights Publishing
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 08/03/2011

Alice and Dorothy is, in essence, a road movie novel. It also pulls in inspiration from, as the author admits, Alice in Wonderland, and (to a lesser extent) The Wizard of Oz.

Alice is a drug addicted prostitute who often visits her dealer who is, shall we say, a 'friend with benefits' which works both ways. One night she begins convulsing, and her dealer (being the nice guy that he is) takes her to the hospital. Unfortunately he drops her off and bolts. Alice ends up in the funny farm and it's here she, and we, meet Dorothy who, the doctors suspect, tried to killer herself. They eventually become friends, even lovers, and decide to make a jail break. Along the way things go horribly wrong involving a brick of dope, guns, hallucinations, and (of course) death.

My main complaint is that the Alice hallucinations really confuse matters as you, like Alice, begin to wonder what's real and what's hallucination. Having Alice as just a plain Jane good ol' psychopath would have been just dandy, and would probably have been a nod toward realism such as Aileen Wurnos the female serial killer.

Every so often there's be several words in italics, I assume, emphasized something, but sometimes the part emphasized didn't make sense, and I'd have to go back, and re-read a sentence/two to see what the emphasis was for! That really popped me out of the story on many occasions.

Still, a good story none the less. It has a strong female character, a hint of madness, and plenty of gore. I'm sure if you're a fan of Alice in Wonderland you'll love it even more.

The official Alice and Dorothy Page

July 31, 2011

Highways to Hell by Bryan Smith Review

By Bryan Smith
Deadite Press
Review by: Gina Desory
Review posted 07/31/2011

Highways to Hell by Bryan Smith is a collection of 13 stories that are often bizarre, thrilling and just plain scarey. The list includes:

Living Dead Bitch- Rick and Danny are in the car, hopped up on drugs and discover a woman's body in their car. It looks like a ghost, but acts like a zombie. After that, it becomes a matter of how the two handle this new found item.

Slugger- Walter Percy has a hard life. He eats to make up for any bad things that has happened to him, gets ridiculed for it and through an injury gets out of baseball. However, soon Walter gets to play a new type of game, one in which he relives the thrill of being someone in control.

Pizza Face- Will Hopkins, a pizza delivery guy, delivers a pizza to a house that is experiencing a home invasion. After the door opens for Will, his world changes forever.

Remorse- Jack Roth killed his girlfriend and what he figured was her lover. He gets a second chance to relive his life through a strange new guardian. But does getting a second chance always mean it's the right choice?

Jarhead-Craig meets up with a lost friend Mark. He takes his love, Jenny, with him. Questions are asked what happened to Mark for so long. Some are answered and others are left hanging. After a brief time, Mark takes Craig into his van to show him a head in a jar. What happens next is something Craig could not have possibly ever imagined.

Sustenance- Kent Hogan one day leaves his wife. He has no reason, just does it. He waits at a light thinking about his wife and his life, that perhaps he regrets it. When soon he sees a woman walking in front of his car. She doesn't look good and collapses. He runs to her, with thoughts he doesn't think are right, but will act on them. But soon after meeting this woman, there are things that he discovers that will never make him the same again.

Killers on the Road
- Heather and Josh went to rob a store. What they didn't expect was who would be coming there as well and what they would have hoped would never have happened.

Brain worms crave soul food- Rafe Martin is a writer with a very bad relationship. He feels stuck and with writer's block becomes worried. A strange headache forms. It seems okay until little things come out of his nose, relieving the headache, but causing chaos like he has never known.

- Ray Webber is getting annoyed by this person they calle Rattlehead. The man never shuts up. One night he gets the urge to just kill him. And the urge produces a very strange result that will change Ray's life forever.

-Kyle Miller has nightmares of killing. He doesn't want to sleep or think of these dreaded dreams. But are the dreams real or is it just a way for Kyle to get out his frustrations of life? The truth for Kyle is worse than his nightmares.

Left for Dead (Moon child ascending)
- Mitch MacCaffrey gets shot one day and left for dead where all he sees is the moon in the sky. Then a woman appears and Mitch is given strange powers that he uses to seek one thing, revenge.

Walk among us- Jack Grimm and Andy O'Day are time travelers who use their magic and wisdom to track down creatures with unexpected results.

Hell ain't a bad place to be- John Marlowe wants to be a serial killer and he succeeds. Then one day one of his victims starts talking to him, one that he has already killed. He soon discovers they are a match made for each other. But where does this take John? To a place he finally feels he belongs to.

This collection often made me think, at times even cringe. The stories played out so well together except for one and that was 'Walk among Us.' This story was often too jumbled and confusing at times. While the other stories talked of revenge, even a moral in there somewhere, this particular story left me with confusion and questions, making it hard to get through.

The best story out of this collection is 'Killers on the Road.' If you like twists that seem to bring justice to bad actions, this one is for you. It had a certain niche that made me want to read more about these characters. I was thrilled to see such a story in this collection.

Highways to Hell
is not a collection for those who like light horror or not bizarre type situations. However, this collection will bring the fear out of you like nothing you have ever experienced. But be warned, if you are not sure you can handle it, take care in turning the pages.

July 28, 2011

Vampyrnomicon BOOK TWO OF THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS TRILOGY by Scott M. Baker Review

By Scott M. Baker
Pill Hill Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 07/28/2011

Vampyrnomicon is the second of The Vampire Hunters Trilogy from Scott M. Baker published by Pill Hill Press.

Drake Mathews and Alison Monroe are back for the second book in the trilogy. As I said in my review of the first book (The Vampire Hunters, Pill Hill Press, 2010), this is not a book about Twilight Vampires as these vampires are evil, nasty and destructive. Drake and Alison continue their crusade to eliminate the vampire nest in Washington D.C with varying degrees of success. They discover that there is a book called the Vampyrnomicon that contains information that will give them the ability to eliminate vampires once and for all or, if it falls into vampire hands, establish world control by the vampires. The vampires have gotten nastier and tougher to kill, but Jimmy Delmarco , an ex-engineering student who is the newest addition to the team, is also improving the weapons the hunters use.

The action is not as prominent in this as the author has spent time developing the characters giving them more depth and not falling into the one dimensional trap many authors have with vampire stories.

I really enjoyed reading this book and following along with the Hunters on their quest. I am looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy.

I strongly recommend the series for anyone who enjoys good stories that are action packed. Of course it helps if the reader likes dark vampires, but these books would be enjoyable for anyone.

July 19, 2011

Revolution City by Darren James Review

By Darren James
Panic Press
Review by: Chris Bartholomew
Review posted 07/19/2011

This story is written in beautifully descriptive language. First person POV's are not my favorite but when the story is written with such vivid scenes, it hooks me from the start.

This is a story about an out of body experience. The death of the body of the person this one came from is so well told that I want to know more, bringing me through the experience feeling like I was there. The writer is able to pull you in and keep you there so this is like a shared experience.

'If I was not really there, then was I moving through the world, or was the world moving through me?' This quote from the book says a lot. Was this happening, was this not happening, what would be next?

By chapter three we are following a Hudson J Shirow. The book goes into a different POV and I'm able to follow it better, the great writing continues throughout the book. The writer keeps you wondering throughout the book... is this an awakening or a death. Are the experiences real in some future world, or just the mind?

The only thing I didn't care for are the single quote marks for dialogue. Though the story flows well, I am used to double quote marks and the single is a distraction. Other than that, this is a great read and to me it's a mixture of Suspense, Literary, and Science Fiction.

July 4, 2011

Alienology – Tales From The Void Edited by T. Patrick Rooney and D.G. Sutter Review

Edited by T. Patrick Rooney and D.G. Sutter
Library of Horror Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 07/04/2011

Alienology – Tales From The Void is an anthology of 28 Sci-Fi/horror short stories ranging in length from just a couple of pages to a couple of dozen pages for a couple of stories.

The book starts with a short poem which is an ode to the movie Alien then it's off and running with the first short, Devil's Hole. From Devil's Hole through to, and including, The Conservators (which is roughly the half way mark in the book) the stories are all good stuff with equal amounts of alien and gore. I particularly liked Devil's Hole (which is 100% Lovecraftian in nature, and my favourite out of the whole book), Space Freaks, Fuck You ET (good action, but lame ending), Blind Encounter (good Matrix-style idea, but, again, the ending was a bit lacklustre), Salt And Copper (which, like several other shorts, shows how many Sci-Fi authors are terrified of human-eating aliens), Midnight In A Small Town (good 80's B-movie idea, but let down with a saw-it-coming slushy ending), It Came From Outer Space (reminded me of Silent Hill for some reason, and has a nice sick ending), Jacob's Bad Day (another nice idea with a sick ending), Heavenward (one of the better shorts in the last half of the book), and The Fruits Of Incubation was pretty sick too.

The only down side with Alienology is that, in my opinion, it seems that the editors have put all the good stuff in the first half with all the mediocre stuff in the last half so, for me anyway, the last half of the book is a bit of a drag. The majority of the stories all tried to have a twist ending which remind me of either The Twilight Zone, or Outer Limits (no bad thing), but, for reasons unknown, a couple of the shorts just seemed to end. Almost as though the author left it unfinished. Very odd.

All in all though the first 150+ pages were very enjoyable with some nice ideas and kudos to those authors who went for the sicko ending. They're always my favorite.

July 1, 2011

The Vampire Hunters by Scott M. Baker Review

by Scott M. Baker
Pill Hill Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 07/01/2011

The Vampire Hunters is the first book in a trilogy by author Scott M. Baker. The other two books of the trilogy will be Vampyrnomicon and Dominion.

The story begins jumping straight into action with Drake Matthews already hunting and fighting the first of many vampires. Of course there is also a sexy young female sidekick, Alison Monroe. But this isn’t your average run of the mill vampire story. There are no twinkling vampires or fancy dance scenes or gauzy lovemaking bouts. The vampires of this story are evil nasty creatures that torture and kill as much for entertainment as for food. They have been around for centuries and are experienced in hiding.

The first thing you have to know about Drake is he is not the “by the book” kind of guy. He was a detective in Boston before learning the undead were real and responsible for a string of serial killings. As a result of his investigation and “final solution” for the perpetrator, he was booted from the police department for excessive force (Does burning down half a city block including a church count?). His partner Alison, a rookie detective during the aforementioned investigation, resigned from the department and followed Drake to Washington DC. Drake is a firm believer in the “scorched earth” method of fighting vampires and in the opening chapter manages to destroy half of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge getting himself and his partner arrested. Again.! Alison saves Drake’s behind on many occasions and is actually the more capable hunter.

The vampires discover that Drake and his merry band are hunting them and vow to take them out.

Scott M. Baker has taken a story that could have been cute vampire pulp and turned it into an action packed thriller with character driven details that draws the reader in. I will be looking forward to the two other books in this trilogy. If nothing else, I am now addicted to this story.

June 30, 2011

Ashton Memorial (Zombie Trilogy, Book 2) by Robert R. Best Review

by Robert R. Best
Library of the Living Dead Press
ISBN: 978-1453652688
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 06/30/2011

Ashton Memorial, the second book in the zombie trilogy by Robert R. Best, starts with characters from the first book: Park, Angie and Angie's kids, Maylee and Dalton walking away from the now burning Lakewood Memorial hospital. They find the truck, start it and after a discussion, head toward Ashton. It is Ashton where Angie's brother Bobby lives and Park's twin girls Ella and Lori.

However, as the zombie outbreak continues, other horrendous situations are occurring. Ella and Lori's step-dad, Gregory, has bounded and gagged Lori at the zoo he runs, Ashton Memorial Zoo. Ella is in another part of the zoo not sure whether or not her sister or even her mother is alive.
The story intensifies when Angie, Parker and Angie's kids come to the zoo, along with all the walking corpses. It is now survival not just against the walking dead, but against each other and themselves.

The second in Best's zombie trilogy throws a punch. It is in this story we learn more about Parker, about Angie and what each of them will do when being pushed to their last limits. There is not as much action as in the first book, but, there is compassion, heartbreak and certainly a showing of what family really means when it comes down to the last days on Earth. With a striking form, Best does what many zombie authors fail to do, give the characters actual feelings and situations that would seem more realistic in a zombie outbreak if it occurred. And let us not forget the ending of this story is not only drastic, compelling but totally unexpected.

I look forward to the third installment in what I consider one of the best zombie series out there.

June 28, 2011

Blood War : A Novel by Dylan J. Morgan Review

by Dylan J. Morgan
Pill Hill Press
Review by:Dana Bell
Review posted 06/28/2011

Much like 'Underworld' a war brews between werewolves and vampires, escalating when hybrids, a mixture of the two species begin to appear. The conflict spans over four hundred years, ending with a battle in a village filled with the half breeds and, during the victory celebration, the betraying revelation of the powerful vampire leader.

Unlike many books about the undead and werewolves, more of their kind are not made by biting a human. Instead, there are breeding colonies and married couples who produce offspring, and raise them as well.

The imagery is vivid, drawing the reader a clear picture of the place, and early in the book, the time. However, the constant labeling of where/when the section took place became distracting as the novel progressed.

Fans of gore and the horrific werewolf transformations will love this story. The details are vivid, complete with smells. Yet the 'snapping bones' during the change got tiresome. Since that had already been established, there was no reason to continually remind the reader of the details.

One minor detail in the early section of the book is the question raised about what happened to a little girl during the Black Death. Yes, undoubtedly she died, yet the inclusion of such an image demanded some sort of finish. Instead, the reader is left dangling wondering why the scene had been included at all, unless it was an attempt to convey the feeling of real people during a horrible tragedy. And how, from the viewpoint of the character involved, would he have had such knowledge of her life? And why would he have even cared considering he was chasing his quarry?

All in all, an enjoyable book for vampire and werewolf fanatics and for those who wish to read more stories along the lines of the 'Underworld' trilogy. By the way, the name of the vampire leader is Markus - just like in the films.

June 17, 2011

Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson Review

by Daniel H. Wilson
Doubleday Publishing
Review posted 06/17/2011

Technology sneaks upon us when we least expect it. In Robopocalypse: A Novel, we learn how robotics and artificial intelligence can actually put the human race on hold. How even the smallest robot created can be damaging to life as we know it.

Through interviews, stories of damaging first person accounts, like a man playing a prank on a senior citizen who has a robot that he loves with dire consequences, military extractions and battles, that the robots and machines have taken on new identities, and all are here to eventually destroy the human race.

With slight of his mighty pen and with the experience he has, Wilson tells a tale of destruction that may not be foreseen because of the obsession with advancement in artificial intelligence. Even though this is a story of fiction, it makes one aware of what can come about if we push the laws of the world. If we create something that are for our own needs, but forget how the creation can develop its own wants.

I was floored when reading this novel. As several novels before, it can tell how the human race with one fleeting idea, can destroy itself. Wilson has the flare to push the envelope and dive into the human reaction, the human soul.

To find out that this book will also be a movie in the future was thrilling to know. What better story than this to put on the screen and allow us to really or should I say hopefully, learn what can happen if we push into an area we are not sure of.

June 16, 2011

Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders by Gyles Brandreth Review

by Gyles Brandreth
Touchstone Press
Review by:Gina Desory
Review posted 06/16/2011

It all starts with a conversion between Oscar Wilde and his friend Robert. A conversation in which Mr. Wilde seems to have forgotten key situations and incidents that are about something weird, something not normal. Robert encourages him to publish his findings, Oscar does not remember what they are. Then Robert hands him a file with all the information in it. We then go to Oscar at a party for the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. A telling of where Oscar meets Rex LaSalle, who he believes is a vampire.

The story of Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders is told through various flashbacks, through letters, invitations and a whole slew of characters that give us a backdrop of what Oscar Wilde did while not writing.

Without falter, Brandreth gives us another look into the literary great.
When I first opened this book I was a bit worried. There are so many books out now combining vampires or zombies with some classic author. However, this book did not disappoint. It was not only different from those many other books that at times we are now groaning over, but it was interesting to see how Oscar's life was portrayed during such an ordeal of vampire chasing and clues that came from the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders is no ordinary mystery, nor is it a horror book. It is filled with excitement, some bizarre moments and certainly will fill you personally with a want for more.

June 14, 2011

Lakewood Memorial (Zombie Trilogy, Book 1) by Robert R. Best Review

by Robert R. Best
Library of the Living Dead Press
ISBN: 978-1448644193
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 06/14/2011

Lakewood Memorial is the first book in Robert R. Best's trilogy.

We start the story with Angie Land, a nurse aide at Lakewood Memorial. She does her job, sometimes hates it with certain doctors and has two kids with very different attitude problems. On this particular night's shift, she feels something is off. Her two kids get a babysitter, even though her daughter objects, and Angie walks around in a haze wondering why she feels something is off.

Then it starts. The strange injuries that start to come in; gashes, bloody bites and several other wounds Angie can't figure out where they came from. Soon afterwards, the monsters come, the people who were bitten, chewed or dead from one of these wounds, sprouting up and attacking. Angie, along with Park, Kristen and Kristen's cranky father who is in a wheelchair, fight for survival in the hospital against these awful things.

What was different about this story was not a typical zombie story. In most cases there is blood, guts and gore, a bit of shooting and wham zombies down. However, this book has depth, feeling for the characters. I caught myself several times as if I was watching a horror movie and yelling at the characters in there not to do something or why did you do that?

The book was a short account of what I assume to be a longer zombie outbreak. But what's wrong with that? In the first few moments of a zombie breakout what would you do? Perhaps, worry about your kids or fight your way through the mess or maybe just sit there and complain like Kristen's father in the book always does. Either way, Best has done an amazing job of showing all sides of fear, anger and just plain being fed up.

You never know what lurks in a hospital. I know I will be looking around more if I ever have to go to a hospital again.

June 10, 2011

A Conflict of Interest by Adam Mitzner Review

by Adam Mitzner
Gallery Books
Review posted 06/10/2011

Alex Miller is a defense attorney, married and the father of a young daughter. His father just died and he travels down to Florida to attend the funeral. It is there he meets his father's lifelong friend, Michael Ohlig, who asks Alex to represent him in a criminal case against a company Michael had set up.

What Alex is not aware of is what this defense of his father's lifelong friend will bring up and then starts a series of personal and public turmoil, such that Alex feels his life turning upside down.

A Conflict of Interest brings the reader into the life of the character Alex Miller with such ease and then force, that you are leaning against something to hold on. Adam Mitzner puts you into the legal process of defending a client and even throwing some interesting things in there about a so called 'judge lottery.'

The writing in this story is striking and even for some readers who may know little about a lawyer's life or what they do without joking about it, will find this book fascinating and well worth diving into. If all else, Adam Mitzner has been a new tone on Lawyer and court drama, one in which his mark on the publishing world will never be forgotten.

June 9, 2011


by Michelle Bredeson
Pill Hill Press
ISBN: 978-1617060663
Review by:Gina Desory
Review posted 06/09/2011

Carly Morneau is a teenager who just lost her mother and her father has a new job that has moved them to a small town of Sterling. She starts to have dreams of a wolf and snow, not sure where they are coming from she puts it aside. Then on her first day of school, she meets a boy named Gabe. He and his friends seem nice enough and she starts to hang out with them learning the legends of the caves by her home. These legends are not only part of the Sterling community, but part of Carly's past. As time goes on Carly learns the secrets of her family and what it means to be part of the group of friends she now has. Her journey through what 'shape-shifting' means changes Carly's life forever.

Legacy is a story that takes the reader through a fantastical world of change in not only shape-shifting, but life itself. As with the likes of Mercedes Lackey, Bredeson shows us that life is not just life, but wonders beyond our imagination can exist. This story holds the reader tightly, and a want to help Carly and be her friend is strong. Bredeson awesomely lets us into her world and allows the door to be open, but seriously, after reading Legacy, who would want to leave?

June 7, 2011

Warm Bodies: A Novel by Isaac Marion Review

by Isaac Marion
Atria Press
Review posted 06/07/2011

A young man, well, not a young man anymore, but a recently turned zombie, who is called R, lives in an airport with others like him. They travel in pacts to hunt, they can think, somewhat, memories are in bits and more of them are just from the human's brains they eat.

R takes his turn in eating brains in a hunt with the others. However, this particular human, named Perry, who's brains R eats, leaves more than just memories, leaves his emotions and thoughts. Perry's girlfriend, Julie is nearby and R suddenly finds himself feeling emotions he can't remember feeling since his new condition.

Warm Bodies is a charming tale of love. For a hardcore zombie fan as I am, I was curious on how love could be put in the same category as zombies. However, this tale does the trick. It warms your heart to the core to see how R handles his feelings, how he awakens his senses and how even though he is a zombie, Julie, his love interest, seems to think of him of not so much a zombie.

This story tells of how no matter what, the human core is compassion. In the fight to survive, love can be there no matter what you are or could be. There is hope within us all to be alive.

Warm Bodies has changed my outlook that monsters can't love or the stereotype that Zombies just need to fall apart or munch on brains.

It is the love of the author for his story that allows me as a reader to feel the same passion for this book and its characters as I know you will if you just turn the first page.

June 5, 2011

HEINOUS by Jonathan Moon Review

by Jonathan Moon
Library of Bizarro Horror Press
Review posted 06/05/2011

Imagine bodies laughing as they are mutilated, blood spurting everywhere. You are walking, but behind something that looks like another version of you. Is it real or just a dream?

In Heinous by Jonathan Moon, the dreams of Gavin Wagner become true. After a small trip into the forest with a friend, Gavin discovers a stone in which he can't let go of. His friend warns him of the danger that seems all around them, but Gavin holds on to the stone. Then, something like no other thing goes into Galvin. Spikes, unthinkable feelings, takes a hold of him. Now like no other time, he becomes what this creature wants him to be, pure evil.

Dive into the mind of Mr. Moon. It is a scarey place filled with horrors only thought of by the masters such as Clive Barker. The thrills, the chills, the blood, and let's not forget the gruesome nightmares, are all part of thoughts that invade our souls as the pages turn and our fear becomes part of reality. Unlike anything since Clive Barker, have we experienced such impacting writing and a want to have the hell literally scared out of us.

June 4, 2011

Picking up the Ghost by Tone Milazzo Review

by Tone Milazzo
ChiZine Publications
ISBN: 978-1926851358
Review by:Gina Desory
Review posted 06/04/2011

Cinque was a young boy who dealt with his cousin's constant harassment and living with his mother who was now going to school at night. He didn't know his father, as he left when he knew Cinque's mother was pregnant with him. However, one day a letter comes for Cinque informing him his father has died and all of his father's estate is his. He argues with his mother and than makes a choice to go to Chicago where his father had lived.

But the story doesn't stop there. A world unknown to Cinque suddenly opens up. A world with an African witch Doctor and a creature that shows up from time to time. In this world Cinque discovers several things about himself and those around him chasing the ghost of his dead father.

At first when I picked up this story, I thought it would be just that another ghost story. But, not only was I surprised, but was delighted to learn the depth of Milazzo's talent. In each page I was taken into the world this author created, finding myself drifting along with Cinque and wanting to know how he would deal with the strange things that kept popping up as the story evolved.

A must read for anyone who wants a story that gets you involved and wanting to know more.

May 27, 2011

Sustenance by Nate D. Burleigh Review

by Nate D. Burleigh
Panic Press
Review by Terry Morgan
Review posted 05/27/2011

Coert was dealing with everyday stresses of a high school student. However, the concerns of prom and graduation take a back seat to what horror. is unleashed.

Sustenance is a young adult novel that has the horror and suspense you would expect for younger readers. I was able to tell the plot very easily, which in some ways for what was supposed to be a somewhat suspenseful book was disappointing. There were moments in the story where Coert was confused and scared. The author did a wonderful job at detailing this particular character out.

The story was overall was a decent read. But do remember that if you are looking for a hardcore scare, this book may not be for you.

May 24, 2011

Rope of Thorns by Gemma Files Review

by Gemma Files
ChiZine Publications
ISBN: 978-1926851143
Review by Robert Walter
Review posted 05/24/2011

This is Gemma Files second book in the three part Hexslinger series published by Chizine Publications. The first The Book of Tongues was published in April 2010.

This book continues where The Book of Tongues left off. It is a bit confusing in the prologue due to the choppy writing to give the effect of old-time Western Union wire messages, but this gives way fairly quickly to the story itself. We come back to the characters “Reverand” Asher Rook, Chess Pargeter, Ed Morrow etc and get to know some new ones as well and leaves the reader ready for the third and final book in the series, A Tree of Bones, due in 2012.

Ms. Files has a unique style that melds magic hexes with Mayan mythology along with fantasy in a wild-west setting heading for an end of the world apocalypse. While much is familiar to the wild-west fan (Pinkerton Detectives looking for criminals) there is plenty different as well (In this wild-west the characters don’t use six-guns, they use hex-guns). It does get difficult at times to recognize which point of view is speaking as well as understand all of the action, but this book pulls the reader in past these difficulties into the world of the characters.

As with the previous book, there are some homosexual language/scenes in the book which seemed a bit too raw and graphic for the purpose of the story. This does add to the unique nature of this book since homosexuality in a western story is so rare.

This book overall has enjoyable writing and characters as well as a richness to the story. Due to the unique mix of the story, I recommend it to anyone of age, even if they don’t normally enjoy westerns or fantasy.

May 22, 2011

Mind Rotting Tales by Kevin and Ken L. Jones Review

by Kevin and Ken L. Jones
Panic Press
Review by Dana Bell
Review posted 05/22/2011

If the reader enjoys gore, which there is a lot of, sexual themes and acts enjoyable, then many of these stories will fulfill the current mentality that in order to be scary, there must violence, blood and sex.

Cumbersome are the long, rambling paragraphs which are difficult for the reader to get through. Also, the 'telling' rather than 'showing' in many of the stories, causing many of what must be important details to be skipped over to get to the heart of what is supposed to be going on.

The continual and brutal murder of women, some of which are the murderer's spouse, causes a sickening sensation in the stomach of the female reader. Very few of the dealers of death are feminine and when they are, they are often portrayed as mythic creatures such as a vampire or succubus.

The writers used a good mix of popular culture, including well known people, infamous serial killers, and current eating establishments. Their readers must know these references in order to understand the story, for instance the Sugar Plum Fairy and her role in Christmas traditions. Also included is a tale about a revolting porn film style where animals are stomped to death. Granted, it is twisted differently, but the end result is just as disgusting.

None of these stories hold any type of redemption for the main character. They are shown as the worst of human nature and pure evil, taking joy in the pain and suffering inflicted upon their victims. Few are caught and run free to inflict their sickness upon others. Granted it is a true insight into what really happens in our society, but makes one wish for the outcome and them being hunted down and then captured as happens on the TV show 'Criminal Minds'.

May 20, 2011

Scream for Me by Brian Rosenberger Poetry Collection Review

by Brian Rosenberger
Panic Press
Review posted 05/20/2011

Normally here at Sonar4 Landing Dock Reviews we only review fiction books. However, in rare cases we may review poetry collections.

Here in Scream for Me, Brian Rosenberger takes us on a journey through zombies, house hunting, strange sundaes and a slew of poems that will make you shiver, make you confused, but certainly not make you put the collection down.

It has been a long time since I have read such an extreme poetry collection that I was thrilled to see such an amazing combination of every emotion possible to experience.

If you have ever wanted to read poetry, but like some are afraid to, don't be with these poems by one of the masters of the written word. It will be worth your time in more ways than one.

May 18, 2011

Beyond the Dark by Patrick D'Orazio Review

by Patrick D'Orazio
Library of the Living Dead Press
Review posted 05/18/2011

Beyond the Dark is the last book in the 'of the Dark trilogy.'
We come across the gang from the other two books, Jeff, Michael, George, Cindy and the others. In this particular time, Michael has made a choice to stray away from the others. A selfish plan that includes smashing into a wall and it doesn't include his psychotic girlfriend Cindy.

The story of course moves further into the undead scene and survival for some of the characters becomes a no win situation. We also are able to get a more in-depth look into the character's motives for everything, especially George, who learns what everything around him means and how nothing will stop him in getting what he wants.

Beyond the Dark was D'Orazio at his best. The undead come in numbers but its not the same boring zombie tale. It is a nice conclusion to this trilogy. However, it will be missed and I hope a sudden tale or perhaps a supplemental book will be in the future.

May 13, 2011

Carnal Surgery by Edward Lee Review

by Edward Lee
Deadite Press
Review by Gina Desory
Review posted 05/13/2011

Edward Lee brings us 11 stories in Carnal Surgery. All of which will wet your appetite for the strange and the horrific. Some of the stories in this book, such as the story 'Seeker', takes you the reader on the journey with 'the writer' who searches for the ultimate truth, coming across some very odd things, yet surprisingly normal for the environment he gets stuck in.

The best story out of this collection is 'Please let Me Out.' It tells of a woman, Joyce, who keeps prisoner the man she loves because he has cheated on her. It strikes at the theme of revenge in so many ways. This story proves that you need to watch your actions.

The other stories in Carnal Surgery, some extreme, others taking you into moral thinking, are profound in their settings and their characters. It made me feel as if I read something that was unique and good, something that I hated to put down once I was finished.

May 10, 2011

Baby's First Book of Seriously Fucked-Up Shit by Robert Devereaux Review

by Robert Devereaux
Deadite Press
Review by Terry Morgan
Review posted 05/10/2011

Baby's First Book of Seriously Fucked-Up Shit
Is a bizarre collection of stories by Robert Devereaux. There are 10 stories total, each with its own strange theme. Its a disturbing collection, one in which I was at odds with on whether or not I enjoyed it.

There were several erotica moments in these stories that were often a bit extreme and I felt myself taken back. I'm not sure how some of them fit into the stories except for perhaps some shock value. Now I won't say that this collection was bad, because overall it wasn't. However, it is not for the faint of heart. If you don't like reading shocking moments where at times includes erotica behavior, this collection is not for you.

I will say this, being shocked with some of these stories reminded me I was alive. Overall this particular book left me wanting a bit more than what it could give. I look at it as a snack in which I wanted more, but the place was out of it. I will suggest as said before if you enjoy shock type stories this is your book, take a look and enjoy.