Thursday, September 29, 2016

Grave Predictions: by Drew Ford (Editor), Harlan Ellison (Introduction

"This is a book of stories intended to describe that hand of mortal destruction in 16 utterly different, yet all apocalyptically stunning ways!"—Harlan Ellison, from the Introduction.
These compelling visions of post-apocalyptic societies and dystopian worlds include short stories by some of the most acclaimed authors of  our time. Among the noteworthy contributors and their works are Stephen King's "The End of the Whole Mess," "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke's "No Morning After."
The first-ever apocalyptic fantasy about global warming, "The End of the World," appears here, in translation from Eugene Mouton's 1872 French-language original. "The Pretence," by Ramsey Campbell, questions the nature and structure of everyday life in the aftermath of a doomsday prediction. In addition, thought-provoking stories by Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Greg Bear, Erica L. Satifka, and others offer an end-of-the-world extravaganza for fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy.

These are stories of the end of the world, and the various ways it can come about. There are lots of big name writers which is what attracted me to this book but also I was hoping for a little more horror and a little less science fiction. You may have come across some of these stories in previous publications. All are worth a read but none are particularly terrifying. I did particularly enjoy "Automatic"
"2BRO2B" where population control is of such importance that if you want to have a baby you must find a volunteer to die. "The End Of The Whole Mess" a Stephen King story that I don't think I have read before.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blood Related: A Psychological Thriller by William Cook

For over two decades, Detective Ray Truman has been searching for the killer or killers who have terrorized Portvale. Headless corpses, their bodies mutilated and posed, have been turning up all over the industrial district near the docks. The remains of young female prostitutes have been the killer’s victims of choice, but now other districts are reporting the gruesome discovery of decapitated bodies. It seems the killer has expanded his territory as more ‘nice girls’ feel the wrath of his terrible rage. This horrifically disturbing tale of a family tree of evil will embed itself in the mind of the reader, long after the last page has been turned. A crime thriller in the vein of other power-packed thrillers like Thomas Harris's 'Silence of the Lambs' and James Ellroy's 'Killer on the Road.'

Meet the Cunninghams . . .
A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards.

Meet Caleb Cunningham . . .
Caleb is a disturbed young man whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his Father’s suicide, Cunningham’s disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is to be released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose when the brothers combine their psychopathic talents. Eventually stepping out from the shadows of his murderous forebears, Caleb puts in motion his own diabolical plan to reveal himself and his ‘art’ to the world. He’s a true aesthete. An artist of death. His various ‘installations’ have not received the status he feels they deserve, so Caleb is expanding his ‘canvas.’

Meet Ray Truman . . .
A tragic cop whose personal demons won’t let him rest. Overworked and underpaid, Truman is tenacious as a pit-bull. He won’t rest ‘til he’s brought to justice Portvale’s infamous serial killer. His battle with his own demons gives him the strength to chase the shadows and to cut corners when necessary, as he embarks on the hunt of his life. His search leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met.

BLOOD RELATED is a chilling Psychological Thriller that will leave you gasping for more.

Warning: R18+ contains adult content + graphic violence & psychological horror.

I wasn't sure what I would think of this story since the description begins with telling us about the detective on the hunt for a killer. I am usually not a big fan of detective stories, but this book gets right to the heart of the matter. The killers and what makes them tick
Charlie and Caleb Cunningham are bad apples that didn't fall far from their twisted family tree. Like their daddy and his day before him. Fans of horror and thrillers alike should enjoy this well written and gory tale, I was up all night reading this one.
Be warned it is quite graphic! 4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Graveyard Apartment: A Novel by Mariko Koike, Deborah Boliver Boehm (Translator)

A terrifying tale of a young family who move into an apartment building next to a graveyard and the horrors that are unleashed upon them.

One of the most popular writers working in Japan today, Mariko Koike is a recognized master of detective fiction and horror writing. Known in particular for her hybrid works that blend these styles with elements of romance, The Graveyard Apartment is arguably Koike’s masterpiece. Originally published in Japan in 1986, Koike’s novel is the suspenseful tale of a young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow in to, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that longer they stay, the more trapped they become.

This tale of a young married couple who are harboring a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building begin to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone... or something... lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again.

I have mixed feelings on this one. A husband, wife, their young daughter, and dog Cookie (who is the only character's name I can spell or pronounce) move into a beautiful brand new apartment which overlooks a graveyard and crematorium. In fact on some days you can see the smoke of burning bodies drifting towards the windows. From the minute they move in odd things start  happening. Their pet bird dies their very first night in their new home, and as if that is not enough of a bad omen, right away the mom hears of a tragedy that occurred when a child in the neighborhood was killed on his way to kindergarten. They want to leave.. but something seems intent on making them stay.The book definitely held my interest however I expected it to be scarier. Some of the scariest horror movies have come from Japan and have Americanized versions so I guess I expected the same from this book. The terror factor just wasn't there for me.  I would occasionally come upon a word that just seemed an odd choice. I don't know if something was lost in translation from Japanese or if it is due to the time period of the book (late 80s) but some things just seemed a bit off. For example I don't think little girls still said things like "oh goody" Of course I could be wrong but I just don't think I have heard that since maybe the last time I watched an old black and white 50s sit com. When I first started the book I kind of stalled each time I came to a name, and tried to sound it out and figure out how to pronounce it. I don't have a clue how to pronounce Japanese names so I gave up and began to think of the main characters as Maisy, Terry and Tammy. I can't say I actually liked any of the characters, including the brother and his wife. This was not a "bad" book it was just not very scary.
I would rate it 3 and a half of 5 stars.

I received an advance copy for review.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fresh Fear An Anthology Of Macabre Horror Edited by William Cook

*WARNING: R 18+ - Contains graphic scenes of violence and psychological horror. Not suitable for younger readers.

FRESH FEAR: An Anthology of Macabre Horror* is a collection of horror from some of the genre's best writers of dark fiction. In the introduction, a selection from W.J. Renehan's The Art of Darkness: Meditations on the Effect of Horror Fiction, we are reminded that, "Horror serves to reconnect us with our primal selves, provides temporary respite from the droning conditions of modern life."

With over 450 pages, Fresh Fear is packed with stories written by both masters and up-and-coming maestros of the horror genre. Tales steeped in psychological horror sit alongside visions of strange worlds and fantastical landscapes drenched in blood. 'Quiet horror' sits comfortably next to more visceral portrayals of the monsters that lurk deep within the human heart. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famously once said, "where there is no imagination there is no horror" - the horror expressed by the authors in Fresh Fear show that imagination is indeed tantamount to excellent story-telling.

Prepare yourself for 28 tales of fear-inducing horror from some of today's best authors of dark fiction.


Scathe meic Beorh – God of the Wind
Robert Dunbar – High Rise
Ramsey Campbell – Welcomeland
Lily Childs – Strange Tastes
Lincoln Crisler – Nouri and the Beetles
Jack Dann – Camps
Thomas Erb – Spencer Weaver Gets Rebooted
Brandon Ford – Scare Me
Carole Gill – Raised
Lindsey Beth Goddard – The Tooth Collector
JF Gonzalez – Love Hurts
Dane Hatchell – ‘takers
Charlee Jacob – Inside the Buzzword Box
K Trap Jones – Demon Eyed Blind
Tim Jones – Protein
James Ward Kirk – Block
Roy C Booth & Axel Kohagen – Just Another Ex
Shane McKenzie – So Much Death
Shaun Meeks – Perfection Through Silence
Adam Millard – The Incongruous Mr Marwick
Christine Morgan – Nails of The Dead
Billie Sue Mosiman – Verboten
Chantal Noordeloos – The Door
Don Noble – Psych
WH Pugmire – Darkness Dancing in Your Eyes
William Todd Rose – The Grave Dancer
EA Irwin – Justice through Twelve Step
Anna Taborska – Out of the Light

First off please heed the warning. If you are easily offended this book is not for you. If you are a horror lover than prepare to be delighted and disturbed by 28 horror tales that are indeed horrifying!
This is a large volume at over 400 pages of gruesome acts and evil doers.
There are stories of cannibalism, serial killers, madness, abuse and more. There is the sarcastic wit found in "Scare Me"   "Love Hurts" is a twisted tale of love and sex, and fulfilling a lovers deepest darkest wish. Brothers fall prey to a sex crazed ghost in their new apartment in "High Rise"
 In "Nouri and The Beetles" 2 jealous girls conspire against the village's most beautiful young woman. A hospitalized man has vivid dreams of Nazi prison "camps" Kidnapped children are found alive and a happy reunion takes place in "So Much Pain So much Death"
There is a tooth fairy the likes of which you never imagined in your childhood. "Psyche" just plain scared the bejeezers out of me. A child is terrified of what's behind "The Door"
A girl will do whatever it takes to find her missing sister in "Verboten"
All of this and more await you in Fresh Fear, enter if you dare and remember.. I warned you.
4 out of 5 stars from me.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sullen Falls by Frank Julius Palumbo

Deep below Sullen Falls
stirs an ancient evil.
Seth left Sullen Falls monastery five years ago in search of answers to his life. With the unexpected appearance of a comet, he is lured back to the town he once called home. There he discovers that an evil warps those he cared about and threatens the woman he loved–Sophia.

The Coughlins thought that vacationing in the scenic campgrounds of Sullen Falls would provide the respite from the crazy world and build a closer bond between parents and teen children. Drawn into town by what appears to be a festival, the family of four is plummeted into a nightmare none can awake.

The secret to defeat the evil lies in an ancient book, guarded by the last of an order thought to be extinct. To save Sullen Falls, the Coughlins and Sophia, Seth must find the tome and accept his destiny, even if it would cost him everything that is dear to him.

                                    "There are things in the forest, strange things, little creatures that shouldn't be"

A priest who has lost his faith, a town gossip, astral projection, and "ghoul-gobblers" are all waiting for you in Sullen Falls. Then there is Wilbur, the town's creepy little pervert but don't let that scare you off. There are people who think the miraculous has happened, "the second coming" but all is not as it seems in this fast paced action packed story. Be warned, there is blood and gore and sex. Not for younger readers. 4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mortom by Erik Therme


Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.

Andy and his sister arrive in Mortom shortly after their cousin Craig's untimely death. For some unknown reason Crag has left everything to Andy even though they were not particularly close. In fact they have not even seen each other in years. The death itself has been ruled accidental, however Craig did seem to have an enemy in town. Most people just thought he was weird, odd voice, odd mannerisms, riding around on his moped. One person in particular really had it out for him though, and may have had reason to do him harm.  There is not much in the house worth picking through, but there does seem to be some strange goings on. A dead rat holds the first key to this mystery. Andy becomes more and more obsessed with unraveling these clues, while his sister just wants to pay her respects to their aunt and get back home. Things take a sinister turn as more clues are unraveled.
This was a fast paced and highly suspenseful read. 4 out of 5 stars from me

I received a complimentary copy for review

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

"In the end we were a hurricane wind in each other's lives, though we shouldn't have been."
Have you ever driven by a picturesque, peaceful little street and thought how lovely it would be to live there? How neighborly everyone must be? How close knit? Well after reading this, I'll take city living any day, where I don't know my neighbors and they don't know me!
Julie, her husband, and their twins move to such a street. It's lovely at first, and welcoming, and there are even block parties where all the neighbors get together. Just make sure you follow Cindy's rules or you'll be sorry. Cindy fancies herself queen of the street. She oh so gently "guides" the neighbors in what is and is not allowed. Constant emails and rule updates are sent out by Cindy and heaven help you if you forget to thank her for sarcastically given welcome basket.

Julie tries to fit in with her new neighbors but eventually that becomes impossible. She has bigger fish to fry anyway what with a stalker that may or may not have found her new residence. 
As things get more heated and hostile between Julie and her neighbors I could just sense something horrific was going to happen. This made me fear turning the page, even though I was unable to put this book down til the very end. 5 out of 5 stars from me.

I received an advance copy for review.