April 7, 2012

The Haunter of the Threshold by Edward Lee Review

By Edward Lee
Deadite Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 4/07/2012

I'd heard good things about Edward Lee, but had never read any of his books until now. One other thing: The Haunter of the Threshold is, by Mr. Lee's own admission, a sequel (of sorts) to H. P. Lovecraft's story, The Haunter of the Dark. Thus far there are two things that cast doubt on this book: reputation, and sequel. That's a lot to live up to.

Well, he's certainly as sick as I'd heard. No doubt about that. The Haunter of the Threshold starts off, right from the get-go, with a woman being violently raped. Later said woman and her heavily pregnant friend (and co-worker) head off, on vacation, to a shack in the forest which the pregnant woman's husband has just inherited.

The red-neck area seems quaint enough, with many a friendly villager, and with our heroine developing a crush on one of the residents. Meanwhile our pregnant, hormonally-challenged, co-star is none to happy that her husband is delaying his arrival at the house due to rifling through the papers of the recently deceased.

Our heroines crush dispenses information to her which starts the ball rolling in this Lovecraftian mystery. It's all to do with strangely lettered boxes and the mysterious 'ST'. Whatever it may be.

Haunter of the Threshold is definitely a good book. I expected it to be pulpy trash, but Ed Lee can definitely write, and write a good mystery too. By the end of the book all the loose ends were tied, even those I'd forgotten about since the start of the book, and it definitely had that Lovecraftian ending. Mr. Lee's reputation remains intact.

What I will say though is that the book is sick throughout. This is not your typical indescribable, unnameable, Lovecraft short (if you haven't read Haunter of the Dark, you'll still be OK in reading Haunter of the Threshold) Lee reveals every detail of the rape, murder and fetishes involved in the mystery. Caveat emptor!

April 1, 2012

Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island by Cameron Pierce Review

By Cameron Pierce
Eraserhead Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 4/01/2012

Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island is the latest bizarro horror fiction tale from the twisted mind of Cameron Pierce and is published by Eraserhead Press.

Let me warn you by saying this has some VERY heavy sexual and violent content.

Think Gilligan’s Island on LSD. This story is quite a trip. Oscar, Allen, Collette and Jane are four college seniors taking off for a little tropical getaway hoping for some fun. Throw in some half-witted sexual deviant pirates and sprinkle with some “natives” and an unmapped desert island and you have the beginning of this bizarre story. Of course it helps to have cases of rum and American cigarettes with you when you are lost on an island having to fend for yourself.

The natives are hyper sexual woman that turn into super strong sex crazed gargoyles with a village of men slaves.  The mayhem that ensues is truly twisted, mind bending at times and disgusting at other times.  The ending of the story is a bit obvious and is beyond bizarre in nature.

You need a strong stomach to read the entirety of this story.

March 12, 2012

Zombies and Shit by Carlton Mellick III Review

By Carlton Mellick III
Deadite Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 3/12/2012

Don’t let the title throw you as this story is “Running Man” meets “Night of the Living Dead”. The zombie apocalypse happened 50 years ago and the survivors now live in enclaves. The largest of these is Neo-New York. The island is divided into three classes, Platinum, Silver and Copper. Platinum is for all the higher muckety mucks, silver is the middle class workers and Copper is for all the rest of society. Television is finally returning and the hottest show (only available in platinum you understand) is Zombie Survival! Twenty “contestants are taken from the copper area and deposited in the middle of the zombie dead zone (mainland) otherwise known as the “Red Zone”. There can only be one survivor who must make it to a designated spot on the other side of town to be picked up by a remote control helicopter.

The story is well written and the characters have more depth than your average zombie stories. This is amazing when you remember the number of characters in this book. The twenty contestants, Zippo, Scavy, Popcorn, Brick, Haroon, Xiu, Gogo, Heinz, Alanzo, Nemesis, Oro, Junko, Wendy, Bosco, Adriana, Vine, Lee, Rainbow Cat, Laurence and Charlie are a wide sample of people. Punks, Writers, prostitutes etc. Some of the people are contestants to have them disappear. There are many twists and turns to the story not only in the red zone but also back in Neo-New York.

A unique touch is at the start of each chapter there is a table with pictures (program)of all of the contestants. Can’t tell the players without your program. As they are killed or turned to zombies, their pictures get blacked out in the following chapters.

I really enjoyed this story as it was a fresh take on the zombie story in a world of zombie stories. I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves a good zombie story especially if you have gotten tired of the “standard” zombie stories out there.

March 2, 2012

Cripple Wolf by Jeff Burk Review

By Jeff Burk
Eraserhead Press
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 3/02/2012

Although the book is called Cripple Wolf, the title refers to one of several bizarre short stories written by Jeff Burk.

Cripple Wolf
is, I kid you not, a story about a wheelchair bound werewolf on a plane. No, seriously, it is. And it's awesome! It's exactly the kind of story that, if it was made into a film (which I think it should be), I'd be the first in line to see it. You really can't go wrong when the story begins with a werewolf gnawing a chunk from a baby while people are queuing up to ride on Fetish Flights. The story begins with a Vietnam vet who likes his fetishes and is about to board a Fetish Flights plane on the night of a full moon. I'm not going to spoil the story for you as you really need to read it to believe it. The only downside to the story is the stereotypical, cardboard, Japanese band members, but other than them Cripple Wolf is a top-notch short.

Frosty And The Full Monty
is a short about Frosty the snowman who's fallen on hard times and works in a strip club. Although we do learn that in his past Frosty robbed a liquor store, did time in jail, probably got snow-raped, but did learn to give good snowjobs hence his seedy life. Absolutely mad, but again, it's so mad it's brilliant.

Cook For Your Life
is about contestants in a futuristic 'fighting for your life' cookery show involving cannibalism. I felt it wasn't as good as the previous two stories, but it's still good and unusual since parts of it are written like a script rather than a story.

House Of Cats
is about a house made of cats. No, really, it is. There's also a house of dogs next door and, needless to say, they don't quite get along that well. This one was so-so to me but it was unusual in that it was written in a very fairy tale 'once upon a time' style.

Adrift With Space Badgers tells the tale of off-duty space badger fights and, in the end, how they (inadvertently) get their own back. Another story that's as mad as a box of frogs, and up there with Frosty and Cripple Wolf.

Punk Rock Nursing Home... well, I'm sure you can guess what it's about. One of the weaker ones for me, but I'm no punk rock fan, so maybe that had something to do with it?

Just Another Day In The Park is a bit of a Twilight Zone short with a man trying to figure out what a mute woman, on a box, with a blank cardboard sign is trying to say. Probably the weakest of the lot, but still OK.

Thankfully there are no real duffers in the book. If you like your gore odd then this is definitely a book you need to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

February 16, 2012

Ghoul by Brian Keene Review

By Brian Keene
Deadite Press
ISBN: 978-1936383733
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 2/16/2012

Ghoul begins with your typical two teenagers, one the popular teen boy and the preachers' daughter having sex in the church graveyard, but with a twist. But I digress, as this is just a setup for some of the horror to come.

This is a coming of age horror story with three 12 years old. Timmy Graco, the leader of this little "rat pack" with a "normal" family life. Then there is Barry Seltzer, the muscle of the group whose father is the caretaker of the graveyard and an abusive drunk. The last is Doug Keiser, the over-weight always being picked on member whose dad ran off with a waitress from the local bar and has a family secret you will have to read the book to find out. We start with the boys at the beginning of their summer break dealing with their arch enemies the evil Ronny, Jason and Steve. We see the lesson of being careful if you are fighting monsters not to become monsters as well when the boys work together to stop the marauding neighborhood dog, Catcher, who has bitten and nipped at them for years. Then, after a fight with Mr. Seltzer in the graveyard, they come across a car hidden in the woods with a grisly cargo. Will their world ever be the same?

I enjoyed reading this story as Mr. Keene has a talent for bringing the characters to life for the reader. While the story was somewhat predictable at times, it had enough twists that were unexpected to make it entertaining.

I recommend this to all avid horror readers who are looking for a story that will keep them thinking.

February 13, 2012

Placenta of Love by Spike Marlowe Review

By Spike Marlowe
Eraserhead Press
ISBN: 978-1621050033
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 2/13/2012

I have gone to several amusement parks in my time. Perhaps, I'm dating myself here. However, I don't recall going to one that is as strange as the one depicted in Placenta of Love on Venus.

The story handles Captain Carl an automated pirate robot. He is in charge of the pirate ship display at the amusement park. There are also many other rides that are for fun, some beaten down and some even for sexual pleasure. Most are with automated robots to serve the needs of customers coming in.

Captain Carl though wants to be like his creator, basically create things. He has a partner every so often in a very sexually frustrated feline who is also automated named, Jiji. Strange as it may seem, the two of them can think and at times Captain Carl tries to satisfy the cat's so called needs.

The story doesn't stop there. The Captain is lonely and discovers that he wants to help the automated ship to become his companion. So while on one of his adventures through the park he comes across a secret area and steals one of the placentas. He puts what will be his companion in there. He names her Helen. Now what happens after this is one Hell of an adventure.

It is said that parks are fun and their rides are there for our enjoyment. This book is certainly different, but focuses in its strangeness the heart and feelings of one automated being, Captain Carl and how just to find someone to love he goes through everything possibly thought of and Marlowe has thought of a lot.

With this story you will take the ride of your life. Whether or not you will end up with a season pass or with a one- time shot is up to you. Enjoy it while you can.

February 5, 2012

Deadstock by Ian Rogers Review

By Ian Rogers
Stonebunny Press
ISBN: 978-0986854743
Review by: Dana Bell
Review posted 2/05/2012

Deadstock by Ian Rogers is a fun little read full of supernatural creatures. Dryden and Raisy arrive in a small western town to help out a rancher whose cattle are being gutted and left for him to find. They meet all the members of the family before setting out to discover who or what is killing the cows.

Eventually, they discover a cave inhabited by ghouls. Yes, that's right ghouls, the proper name for what has been morphed into Zombies. There is a battle in which the creatures survive, but at least our hero and heroine now know what they're up against.

They meet Bonnie, the oldest not quite right in the head daughter, mourning the loss of her sister who dies because a rattlesnake bit her. She is found naked and muttering at an old creek bed.

Although, short, the tale is delightful and set in the wild west, complete with a mysterious sheriff who seems to know something about the Dryden and Raisy, but who allows them to do what they were hired to do. And thus the question arises, who was the man really and was he the true sheriff of the town?

Truth be told, the reviewer was expecting a UFO tale of mutilated cattle in the old west and was delighted to discover the true culprits were ghouls. The ultimate twist of the story is an interesting turn and keeps the real perpetrator a secret until almost the very end.

Not to mention an unusual use of a wolf who is summoned to help the hero and heroine. Oh, and a mysterious cat who travels with Raisy and has its own roll heroic roll in events.

A highly recommended read for fans of ghouls, zombies and old west supernatural tales and not as graphic as one would expect. Kudos for the writer. 

January 25, 2012

Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose Review

By Michael Allen Rose
Eraserhead Press
ISBN: 978-1621050068
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 1/25/2012

When it comes to the strange and just plain out there, Michael Allen Rose tells the best tale in  Party Wolves in My Skull.

Norman Spooter wakes up one day to find something wrong with his eyes. They not only sting, them seem to be alive. Several small beings are fighting, falling in love with each other and basically trying to rip out of his eyes. Not only can he not see because of this mess going on, he runs into Zoe, a woman who is running away from her out of control boyfriend. What becomes a chance meeting turns into a bizarre adventure of wits and survival through a mess no one can describe better than Rose himself.

Not only will a person want to read this just because it is such a different story, but will just want to see what happens to poor Mr. Spooter who never seems to have any luck and frankly haven't we all had one of those days?

January 23, 2012

The Walking Wounded by Robert Devereaux Review

By Robert Devereaux
Deadite Press
ISBN: 978-1936383856
Review by: Ronnie Tucker
Review posted 1/23/2012

Walking Wounded, by Robert Devereaux, is a bit of a strange one. It begins with one woman who has decided to kill her husband. Good start, but then it seems to slip back in time by twenty years and has characters chatting via BBS. I'm old enough to know about pre-Internet civilization, but I think he'll lose many a reader with that. Also a fair chunk of the book is taken up with showing us how the characters are chatting, via text, in their little BBS world as in every line of chat. Complete with smilies. Really I think that it may well be down to pulling out an old story for current release. The cover is copyright 2011, but the story is (according to the second page) from 1996.

Some people out there will love this book, but it just wasn't my thing. It seemed to me to be written from a female perspective (ie: love, divorce and massages) possibly with female readers in mind. At 200 pages, it was a tough read for me.

January 21, 2012

A Hollow Cube is a Lonely Space by S.D. Foster Review

By S.D. Foster
Eraserhead Press
ISBN: 978-1621050087
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 1/21/2012

When it comes to short stories you often try to find that one thing that binds the collection together.  In this collection that is often considered the strange, weird and many times just too far out there.

The first story, The Course of Clementine, tells of Clementine, the fruit, that tells the story of her life. Often than not she feels that she strives for something she will never get. The story is a bit out there but does give the moral implication of one's life, even a fruit's.

The other stories in this collection such as  The Noggin, tells of a man loosing his head and then being reintroduced to it later. The tale is certainly odd, but grasps the attention of someone just not 'having their head on their shoulders.'

These stories bring about everything you can possibly imagine. No they aren't your normal way of thinking in what they describe, but they do hit the heart and soul of every way we truly act as human beings, even if some of the characters aren't really human.

January 18, 2012

Severed Volume 2 - Myths and Legends by Darren Sant and Sam Lang Review

By Darren Sant and Sam Lang
Trestle Press
Review by: Rob Walter
Review posted 1/18/2012

This is the second in the Severed Series of short stories from the minds of Darren Sant and Sam Long and published by Trestle Press. My previous review available here: Severed: In the Beginning

The story begins by introducing a new character, Judy Brantwood, who was, pre-Zombie Apocalypse, an employee of Health-Pharm responsible for marketing the EZ-Thin Diet Pills that start the zombie infection. She ends up post-apocalypse meeting up with Zac from Severed, In the Beginning down in Florida.

We then jump back to New York City to Randall Bueller, the former head of Health-Pharm, who is now the dictator of the fortress built around the Helath-Pharm Headquarters to keep the zombies at bay ala’ Night of the Dead.

Then we change to a team of survivors who call themselves the Vindicator Team. They  patrol the dead streets of New York dressed as super-heroes. The leader of the team is Rick, aka Kid-Bolt.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but it is well written if somewhat derivative and has a surprising twist at the end. The authors get the reader into the story without using the normal blood, gore and guts.

I recommend this to those looking for a different take on the standard Zombie story and I look forward to the next installment.

January 4, 2012

Santa Steps Out by Robert Devereaux Review

By Robert Devereaux
Deadite Press
ISBN: 978-1621050131
Review by: Terry Morgan
Review posted 1/04/2012

When thinking of a fairy tale or holiday characters we think about, normally Santa, elves, Tooth Fairy and several others.  But what are the images that come to mind? Certainly not what is in this book, Santa Steps Out.

The Tooth Fairy bored because she doesn't have a lover as she once did, goes out in search of Santa, yes, that's right, good ole Saint Nick. After all he is so giving right?

Well, we continue the story with the Tooth Fairy teasing Santa into wanting sex with her. After awhile he caves in s to speak and they have many encounters. Let's just say some people's Christmases were getting a whole lot better because of these actions.

Santa tells Mrs. Clause what happened and vows to never do it again, but again he does on several occasions. Also, they have a quest watching the spectacle of Santa and the Tooth Fairy, yes, you guessed it: The Easter Bunny who is not only disgusted by what the two are doing, but has envy of Santa for many reasons.

What this book holds back on is basically, nothing. It is not your charming tale of deers or white snow. It has sex and lots of it. It has characters doing things that perhaps even some people would cringe on. Yet through all this it brings into play everyday morals that people go through.; heartbreak, lust, acceptance, vengeance and trickery.

Santa Steps Out is not for everyone and if you are not into the far fetched and the sexual scenes that take place often, you may not want to read it. However, if you don't mind the above, then take a shot at it. Who knows you maybe now thinking of these well-known figures in a whole new light.