Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Blood Wail by Jae Mazer


Every night, sisters Saoirse and Imogen beg their Dadai to read to them from an old storybook, Tales from Ramnon. They’re entranced by the mythical creatures described within its weathered pages. But when tragedy devastates their blissful childhood, the book is closed, and the sisters are forced to cope with a loss darker than they could have ever imagined.

As Saoirse and Imogen grow into adults, they attempt to navigate their lives in County Cork, Ireland. But phantoms from their past have followed them, lurking in the shadows and wailing in the night. In desperation, one sister turns to drugs to quiet the horrors, while the other embarks on a journey to seek answers from the fables and myths of their childhood.   
BLOOD WAIL is a folk horror story about addiction, loss and pain, family and love, and the possibility of creatures beyond our understanding.  

Sometimes the stories are real.

Saoirse and Imogen reveled in the stories their father read to them nightly, but were left unprepared to deal with the night he didn't come home. There was far more to these stories that had been held back from young ears and dark secrets kept from the girls that will shape their adult lives. When they begin to see and hear the wailing mournful screams of the harbinger of death they tell no one. Not even each other.
 This dark folktale combines Irish legend with real life horror in a moving portrayal of one loving family's grief and loss. 
4 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy for review.

About the author
Jae Mazer is a Canadian who was born in Victoria, British Columbia, and grew up in the prairies of Northern Alberta. After spending the majority of her life in the Great White North, she migrated south to Texas. She is a connoisseur and creator of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Many moons ago, a rampant love of reading led her to believe she could weave a good tale herself, and now she is an award-winning author with ten novels under her belt, as well as stories published in various anthologies.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Monster Carnival: An Anthology of Things, Beasts & Creatures

 This Halloween the monsters are real, and they are coming to your house! Shadow House Publishing opens the crypt and unleashes a MONSTER CARNIVAL!

Under the bed and behind the closet, in dank basements and gloomy attics…they are the whisper in the dark, the growl in the corner…they are everything we fear, and all that we secretly desire…they are us…they are MONSTERS!

MONSTER CARNIVAL: An Anthology of Things, Beasts, & Creatures
, edited by supernatural horror author and critic WILLIAM P. SIMMONS, is an evocative anthology featuring the monsters that terrified us when we were children…and still do.

They’re all here, a paranormal parade of the dead, demonic, and devilish! Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghouls, and blobs…unnamable entities and marvelous monstrosities, murderous severed hands and demonic frogs…every crawling, lurching, leaping, shambling THING that ever stalked a printed page.

They were the original bad boys of horror–the ugly outcast, the despised loner, the creature from the grave-basement-coffin-outer space-that everybody loved to be scared by (even as we secretly rooted for them). From ancient folklore bogies to inter-dimensional demons, this funerary feast of 22 classic and rare stories makes fear fun again.

Children of the night stalk in 22 tales from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten, from the gothic era to the 20th century. Contributors include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, E.F. Benson, H.P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, Rudyard Kipling, Lord Dunsany, and H.G. Wells alongside fear specialists Manly Wade Wellman, Frank Belknap Long, William Hope Hodgson, Henry S. Whitehead, and Robert E. Howard. Some chilling tales make their first appearance in decades, including monstrosities from Edward Lucas White, Victor Roman, Anthony M. Rud, Hume Nisbet, Ulric Daubeny, Augustus Hare, and several others.

Editor William P. Simmons leads this spectral spectacle, hand-picking supernatural, psychological, and weird tales for every torrid taste. From the bloody behemoths of pulp magazines to the terror titans of the Lovecraft circle, from classic supernatural monsters to mutants and slithery things with tentacles, this compendium of long legged beasties and ‘things that go bump in the night’ features an Introduction discussing the appeal of the monster in fiction.

Featuring a cast of creatures to delight and disgust, the Monster Carnival has something for everyone... Well everyone who is not afraid to plow full steam ahead into some very dark and disturbing worlds where creatures masquerade as human and family curses can ruin one's love life.
Most of these stories were new to me, since my knowledge of the classics is pretty limited to Poe and Lovecraft. This anthology includes monsters that were familiar to me, but aside from the usual werewolf and vampire fare it offers strange and unusual tales with creatures that as of yet had never made the acquaintance of my nightmares. I am sure that will change now that I have been introduced to several wondrous and horrifying beings. Read if you dare, and should you see something from the corner of your eye in the misty morning fog trust your vision and seek immediate shelter.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Monster Carnival Table of Contents:

  • Here There Be Monsters, William P. Simmons
  • Amina, Edward Lucas White
  • Four Wooden Stakes, Victor Rowan
  • The Hounds of Tindalos, Frank Belknap Long
  • Mark of the Beast, Rudyard Kipling
  • The Demon’s Spell, Hume Nisbet
  • Jumbee, Henry S. Whitehead
  • The Spectre Spiders, W.J. Wintle
  • The Werewolf, Eugene O’Neil
  • At the End of the Corridor, Evangeline Walton
  • The Hoard of the Gibbelins, Lord Dunsany
  • The Lurking Fear, H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Sea Raiders, H.G. Wells
  • Lot 249, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Voice in the Night, William Hope Hodgson
  • The Vampire of Cronglin Grange, Augustus Hare
  • Frogfather, Manly Wade Wellman
  • Rukorokubi, Lafcadio Hearn
  • The Death of Halpin Frayser, Ambrose Bierce
  • The Beast with Five Fingers, W.F. Harvey
  • The Sumach, Ulric Daubeny
  • Ooze, Anthony M. Rud
  • The Thing in the Hall, E.F. Benson
  • About the Editor: William P. Simmons is a supernatural fiction author, critic, & journalist. Eight of his stories earned Honorable Mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. By Reason of Darkness was praised by Publisher’s Weekly, All Hallows Cemetery Dance. Graham Masterton, Hugh B. Cave & T.M. Wright endorsed his fiction. He has interviewed such authors as Richard Matheson, F. Paul Wilson & Caitlin Kiernan.
  • SHADOW HOUSE PUBLISHING preserves our horror heritage!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Mister Glow-Bones and Other Halloween Tales by Ronald Kelly


Halloween is more than a holiday; more than a fun time of candy and costumes for the young. It is inoculated into our very being at an early age and there it remains. As we grow old, it grows dormant… but it is still there. For the lucky ones, such as us, it emerges every year, like a reanimated corpse digging its way out of graveyard earth to shamble across our souls. And we rejoice… oh, if we are the fortunate ones, we most certainly rejoice.

So turn these pages and celebrate our heritage. Blow the dust off the rubber mask in the attic and hang the glow-in-the-dark skeleton upon the door. Light the hollowed head of the butchered pumpkin and string the faux cobweb from every corner and eave.

It’s Halloween once again. Shed your adult skin with serpentine glee and walk the blustery, October streets of long years past. And, most of all, watch out for misplaced steps in the darkness and the things that lurk, unseen, in the shadows in-between.

I had actually read a couple of these stories not long ago in another collection The Essential Sick Stuff
and had planned to skip over them, but instead found myself enjoying them a second time.
The title story alone is worth it's weight in gold, or maybe chocolate, since I devoured these grim and grisly tales like a bag of Halloween candy. If you are looking for something to get you into the spooky spirit or whether like me you enjoy that delicious spine tingling feeling all year long this is a well written collection of creepy tales. But beware, some of your dollar store d├ęcor may have ill intent.

5 out of 5 stars

Stories included in this collection:
Mister Glow-Bones
The Outhouse
Billy’s Mask
Pins & Needles
Black Harvest
Pelingrad’s Pit
Mister Mack & the Monster Mobile
The Halloween Train
The Candy in the Ditch Gang
Halloweens: Past & Present
Monsters in a Box

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A Song for the End by Kit Power


Becoming an overnight sensation was supposed to be a good thing.
Not for Bill Cutter, supply teacher and weekend rock star. His band, The Fallen, have just released their latest tune on social media, and it’s blowing up.
So is the body count.
Now, Bill faces a frantic race against time to stop the spread of the song, before the horrific effects can no longer be contained.
Terrifying, bitterly funny, and tragic, A Song For The End is a breakneck, blood-soaked tale of truth, lies, consequences… and Rock N Roll.

Bill Cutter is thrilled at first, with his band's new song. It's literally the best work they've ever done. Unfortunately, the song forces everyone who hears it to tell the truth. While at face value this could be an amusing development as people spill their embarrassing secrets, there are deadly and immediate consequences for trying to lie, or even trying to remain silent. Bill's band mate Jeff feels that truth at any cost is exactly what the world needs, and he plans to spread the song far and wide regardless of the death toll. Bill will risk his life to stop him.
Sprinkled with humor and splashed with blood, A Song for the End lies somewhere between the Twilight Zone comedic episode The Whole Truth about the haunted car that forces the shady salesman to tell the truth, and the mysterious recording played on Lords Of Salem for the devil's child to take over the earth. Even the most honest among us may have to stop and think what would happen if the option of saying nothing when you had nothing nice to say, were replaced with a grisly death for not speaking the truth.

4 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy for review

About the author
Kit Power lives in the UK and writes fiction that lurks at the boundaries of the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres, trying to bum a smoke or hitch a ride from the unwary.
In his secret alter ego of Kit Gonzo, he also performs as front man (and occasionally blogs) for death cult and popular beat combo The Disciples Of Gonzo, www.disciplesofgonzo.com