Monday, July 13, 2020

The Midnight Lullaby by Cheryl Low

For years, Benedict Lyon has been living a lie. Not even his family knows the truth he's been keeping from the world. Only Emmeline knows his secret—and she's dead.

…some are darker than others…
When the matriarch of the Lyon family passes away, Benedict is summoned home for the funeral. Emmeline urges Benedict not to go, certain that if he returns to that house, neither one of them will escape.

…but are they worth dying for?

Their presence in the family home causes the spirit of Gloria Lyon to become restless, and as the remaining members of the Lyon family attempt to put their mother to rest, long buried secrets, some deadlier than others, are unearthed. Who will survive…

The Midnight Lullaby.

They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky.....
Oh wait, wrong family, but the Lyons are most definitely a scream. Poor Benedict has never quite fit in with the rest of his spiritualist family. They see dead people, and he sees just one. A single spirit who has been sharing his home for some time now. Emmeline is somehow cloaked from everyone's view but Benedict's. Since she is a spirit she can see what Benedict can not, thus relaying this information to him much like the fake psychics who have a microphone in one ear, being told all the little details about the people they are trying to con. When Benedict is forced to return home for his mother's funeral he fears his family may discover that he is a fraud, but it is Benedict who will uncover far darker secrets than his own.
This was a fast paced, blood splattering, bone cracking tale.
4 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

About the author
Cheryl Low might be a primeval entity, born from the darkness of the universe and vacationing on a forgotten island where she eats coconuts and the souls of stranded sailors.
…Or she might be a mundane human with a deep love of all things sugary, soap opera slaps, and horror flicks.
Find out by following her on social media @cherylwlow or check her webpage, The answer might surprise you! But it probably won’t.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Lee Murray's Grotesque: Monster Stories

11 short stories from the imagination of New Zealand's multiple award-winning author and editor Lee Murray! Contains 4 original stories including a new adventure in the much-lauded and awarded Taine McKenna series!

Foreword by USA Today bestselling author David Wood
The New Breed
Cave Fever
Dead End Town
Edward’s Journal
Maui’s Hook
Heart Music
Into the Clouded Sky - A Taine McKenna Adventure
Also includes a glossary of Maori terms, as well as an afterword by the author.

Aptly titled, these stories are full of monsters. Be they zombie, or humans who commit monstrous deeds. My favorite had people that became fused together. (Selfie) Don't expect much in the way of happy endings. These stories are quite dark and even an innocent boat ride can lead you to slaughter. Surprisingly, the stories that make it immediately apparent who the monster is, such as the child molester in "Dead End Town" can still lead you into a shocking direction and down a far darker path. The author has a talent for making the reader feel uneasy and uncomfortable, and isn't that what good horror is all about?
4 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

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Monday, July 6, 2020

The House that Fell from the Sky by Patrick R. Delaney

When twenty-nine-year-old Scarlett Vantassel comes to the conclusion that her life doesn’t resemble any of the things she actually wanted for herself, she drops out of school and moves back home, attempting to reconnect with the people she left behind. But a shadow falls over her return one early October morning when a sinister house miraculously appears in the center of the city, sparking a media frenzy that attracts attention nationwide.

Soon after the newspapers label it, "The House that Fell from the Sky," Scarlett’s childhood friend Hannah becomes obsessed with the idea that the house holds the key to discovering whether there really is life after death. Undeterred by her friends' numerous warnings, Hannah becomes increasingly consumed with the desire to enter the house, convinced it would allow her to reconnect with her recently deceased mother.

Despite a series of escalating events suggesting that the house may be more dangerous than anyone ever thought possible, a privately owned company seizes control of the property and hosts a lottery to lure the city’s residents, promising the winners a large cash reward if they dare to enter the house.

To Scarlett’s horror, Hannah uses her vast wealth to secure a spot among the winners to gain access to the house. Now, it’s up to Scarlett, her older brother Tommy, and her friend Jackson to face their fears and journey into a place where nothing is ever quite as it seems, and decide if they can help a friend in need, or if Hannah truly is lost.

What a gorgeous cover.  A total work of art. Kudos to whoever designed it.  The House That Fell From The Sky was a  bizarre and imaginative story that weaves a bit of horror and fantasy together, but it is not the haunted house story I had hoped for. There are lots of flashbacks that for me, did not always work in the book's favor. While sometimes a flashback can fill in details or provide character insights in a faster paced tale it felt to me that this story should have been told in a more direct way since there was plenty of time.
A bit long for my taste, it was a slow start before our main characters actually got into the house.  The book was about half over before our 4 friends got inside the house even though it "fell" almost right away. This immediately set up a great spooky atmosphere since even people who got too near the house were affected by it but at over 500 pages It felt to me that the 4 main characters could have gotten in sooner. For me this was just an OK read but I am sure others may enjoy it more than I did.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Dark Choir by Paul Melhuish

Six victims.
Six perpetrators.

A means for the scarred, abused, and powerless to take their revenge upon those who have wronged them. To make them pay the ultimate price for their crimes.

Dan Hepworth is forced to return to his home town of Scarsdale after his mother’s death where memories of fear and abuse still haunt him. His disabled sister, Lindsey, and her live-in nurse, Alison, still reside in his mother’s isolated rural house where Dan is to spend the next few days for his mother’s funeral. However, all is not right in Scarsdale. A ghostly robed man walks the hills around the town at night and unearthly singing had been heard coming from the derelict asylum across the valley.

Worse still, retired nurses and ex-patients from the asylum are being targeted at night by unknown assailants, enduring psychological and physical attacks on their person and property with the word CHOIR scrawled across the walls of their homes after each attack. When Dan’s sister, Lindsey, is visited by the robed apparition and those around her are stalked by the violent assailants, Dan begins to uncover uncomfortable truths and dark secrets about the asylum and its former patients.

Dan starts a perilous journey into the past as he gets close to finding out the identity of the nocturnal attackers, the abuse carried out on those too weak to defend themselves, and the reason why the ghostly singing can be heard from the asylum at night. Alone and isolated in the run-down former hospital, Dan will need to accept the mind-bending truth as he comes face to face with the Dark Choir.

Once upon a time, one woman stood up for those who could not defend themselves. One nurse dared to speak out against the horrific abuse at the asylum, but she was shot down, shut up  and driven out.
Dan Hepworth knows what it is to be abused. He grew up under the thumb of an abusive religious fanatic, but he has moved on from his traumatic childhood, escaped his mother's clutches and built a life for himself, never to see or speak to her again. Now she is dead and Dan is forced to return to his hometown to tie up loose ends and arrange for the care of his older sister Lindsey who is disabled. He plans to stay only a few days but soon becomes entangled in the mystery of the choir.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and The Dark Choir certainly provides generous and heaping portions. Perfectly chilled and aged to perfection. Just when those most deserving least expect it, the singing starts and vengeance is served. I am not a vindictive person but as it pulled me toward a most satisfying conclusion I almost sang along.

5 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Get a copy

About the author
Paul’s publishing history includes a short story in Dark Horizons, (The British Fantasy Society’s fiction magazine) about a farm that bred humans for meat. More recently a story of his was featured in issue 13 of Murky Depths magazine. This joyful piece was a satire on euthanasia entitled Do Not Resuscitate. In October 2010 one of his stories was included in the anthology Shoes, Ships and Cadavers: Tales from Northlondonshire. Edited by Ian Whates and Ian Watson with an introduction by Alan Moore (a Kindle version of this anthology is being considered by NewCon Press for release during 2011).