Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Evicted by Matthew Desmond


Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Consultant by Bentley Little

CompWare is in serious trouble after a promised merger falls through, so they do what other businesses have done to bolster their public image: they hire a consulting firm to review and streamline their business practices.

But there's something strange about the firm they hire--more specifically, the quirky gentleman who arrives to supervise the project: Mr. Patoff, tall and thin and wearing a bow tie, and with an odd smile that never quite reaches his eyes.

In his first interactions, the consultant asks a few inappropriate questions, and generally seems a nuisance. Over time, Patoff gains more power, to the point where he seems to be running the whole company. He enacts arbitrary and invasive changes to office protocol. He places cameras all over the building, making workers paranoid; he calls employees at all hours of the night, visits some of their homes and menaces their families.

People who defy the consultant get fired… or worse.

They soon realize they're not just fighting for their jobs: They're fighting for their lives.

The Consultant is a biting workplace satire, with the horrific touches only Bentley Little could provide.

In the same vein as his previous novels The Store, The Policy, The Resort etc  Bentley Little paints a horrifying (yet satirically comedic) picture of big business as an evil entity. While I did mostly enjoy this story, as a long time fan of the author I can't help but notice I'm starting to feel that he is basically writing the same book over and over. He has a formula and he sticks to it. Because of that, if you have read his previous works you may find this one a bit predictable.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Sentinel by by Jeffrey Konvitz


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Behind Closed Doors 2 Dana's Story by A.L. Smith


"The love of money is the root to all evil, but poverty and wealth are its greatest companions..." ~ A.L. Smith

Interior Darkness by Peter Straub


Monday, January 11, 2016

Life After Dane by Edward Lorn

A mother’s love is undying… and so is Dane.

After the state of Arkansas executes serial killer Dane Peters, the Rest Stop Dentist, his mother discovers that life is darker and more dangerous than she ever expected.

The driving force behind his ghostly return lies buried in his family’s dark past. As Ella desperately seeks a way to lay her son’s troubled soul to rest, she comes face to face with her own failings.

If Ella cannot learn why her son has returned and what he seeks, then the reach of his power will destroy the innocent, and not even his mother will be able to stop him.

Ella Peters thought she was going to live happily ever after when she married Phillip and gave birth to their son. Instead she sat back and watched the makings of a serial killer. As the abuse Dane suffers turns more and more horrific Ella seems desensitized to it all. When Dane is found guilty and put to death for his crimes that should have been the end of it. Instead Dane has other plans and Ella may have to face some justice of her own. Dane is back and he is coming home to momma. I didn't think I could ever feel sympathy for a serial killer, and yet in those years when Dane was growing up, I did. I'm not sure who is the worst villain in this story, the murderer himself, the father who made him that way or the mother who never lifted a finger to protect her son. Either way this was a hell of a story.  I would rate it 4 of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dark Moon Digest Issue #22 by Lori Michelle and Max Booth III

Dark Moon Digest #22 includes the fiction: “Late Fee” by Patrick Lacey, “Horror Junkie” by Michael Schutz-Ryan, “Room 207” by Cooper O’Connor, “Drummer Boy” by Kenneth O’Brien, “The Seventh Date” by Mason Gallaway, “That’s the Price You Pay” by Matt Hayward, “Ion Dissonance” by Benoît Lelièvre, and “Girl Six” by John C. Foster. Also included are Jay Wilburn’s “Bits of the Dead” column, book reviews, and an excerpt from Vincenzo Bilof’s upcoming novel The Violators

Here lies some first rate, freaky, creepy, fiction. Which begs the question, if this is issue #22 where can I get my hands on the first 21? Because I want them all and so will you.
If you like short horror stories you will love these.
In "Late Fee" A spurned lover gets more than he bargained for when he wanders into an old timey 80's style video store.
"Horror Junkie" is a tale of best friends and roommates who share an affinity for horror movies until one of them gets a bit too extreme.
"Room 207"  is probably best left alone but a man on his way to surprise his wife makes a quick stop-over at a motel and lets his curiosity get the best of him. 
In "Drummer Boy" a happily married couple who have been trying to conceive find an antique toy that may bring them luck. Of course not necessarily good luck....
"The Seventh Date" is a tale of a love spell gone wrong.
"That's The Price You Pay" is a story of a shop owner and the strange curios for sale in his antique shop, though there is no charge to see the main attraction in his store.
"Ion Dissonance"  is a story of a young man who can't quite tell where dreams end and reality begins.
In "Girl Six' an interrogation takes a very strange turn. 
All in all these stories were quite unnerving!

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

They Call Me Crazy by Kelly Stone Gamble

"Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking."

Life in a small town is not the peaceful happy "Mayberry" that some people imagine. This novel portrays a more accurate depiction.
Everybody knows everybody else's business, or at least they think they do. They sure don't mind sharing everyone else's business either if it gets them a bit of attention. So of course it's common knowledge that Cass Adams is just plain crazy, like her mother before her was crazy. Her witch of a grandma might not be all there either. Her Husband Roland is a great guy, at least to your face. Maybe not so great behind closed doors, and maybe Cass isn't so lucky after all to have landed the husband every other girl wanted for their own. Even so, she should not have killed him. Or should she? Maybe he deserved it. Though he didn't even beat up on her all that much. What's a few blows to the top of the head and a degrading insult or two. Who can blame him when she won't even lift a finger to clean up the tar paper hovel of a shack he has her living in. Or maybe she didn't really do it. She says she did but everybody knows she's crazy as a loon, and if that's what everybody thinks it must be true.
This story, told in first person from multiple points of view, with sarcasm and wit kept me up turning pages all night long. I would rate it 5 of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Northwoods by Bill Schweigart


Friday, January 1, 2016

The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee by Talya Tate Boerner

"Ten-year-old Gracie Lee knows a few things. She knows which trees are best for climbing. She knows how to walk through the hallway without making a sound on the hardwood floor. She knows if Daddy's crop gets one more drop of rain, the whole family will pay the price. There are plenty of things Gracie doesn't know. These things keep her awake at night. Gracie longs for something bigger and grander and truer, and feels certain there is more to life beyond school and dull church sermons. She worries about the soldiers in Vietnam and wonders what it must be like to have been born Lisa Marie Presley from Tennessee instead of Gracie Lee Abbott from Arkansas. Mostly, she wishes her Daddy wasn't so mean. Gracie's unchecked imagination leads to adventure, and adventure leads to trouble. She confides in unexpected characters and seeks solace in a mysterious gray house beyond the cotton field. When Gracie faces a difficult family situation, she must make a life-altering decision, one that will test the very essence of her character."

Gracie Lee lives on a farm with her mother, father, little sister and their dog Lucky. She is a nervous worried child, always anxious over everything from whether she will drown during her baptism to how many beers her father has consumed, to what has become of the man from the "pretty gray house." Gracie's mom plays piano at their church. Gracie decides one day during the invitational hymn to go up and speak to Brother Brown about praying for her heavy drinking father with the nasty disposition. From that point on Brother Brown becomes somewhat of a confidante for Gracie as she struggles through a difficult home life. 
As a fan of historical fiction I enjoyed this story, set in the 70s, with references to Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Nixon. I did feel it started off a bit slowly but it was definitely worth sticking with to the end.
I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review