Thursday, April 27, 2017

Entropy in Bloom: Stories by Jeremy Robert Johnson


For more than a decade, Jeremy Robert Johnson has been bubbling under the surface of both literary and genre fiction. His short stories present a brilliantly dark and audaciously weird realm where cosmic nightmares collide with all-too-human characters and apocalypses of all shapes and sizes loom ominously. In “Persistence Hunting,” a lonely distance runner is seduced into a brutal life of crime with an ever-narrowing path for escape. In “When Susurrus Stirs,” an unlucky pacifist must stop a horrifying parasite from turning his body into a sentient hive. Running through all of Johnson’s work is a hallucinatory vision and deeply-felt empathy, earning the author a reputation as one of today’s most daring and thrilling writers.

Featuring the best of his previously independently-published short fiction, as well as an exclusive, never-before-published novella “The Sleep of Judges”—where a father’s fight against the denizens of a drug den becomes a mind-bending suburban nightmare—Entropy in Bloom is a perfect compendium for avid fans and an ideal entry point for adventurous readers seeking the humor, heartbreak, and terror of JRJ’s strange new worlds.

There is something for every horror fan here whether you enjoy dark satire, straight up gross out horror, or psychological terror. Beginning with The "League of Zeroes" which takes the art of body modification to blood curdling extremes and ending with the novella "The Sleep Of Judges" which was an unsettling tale of the aftermath of a burglary. In between is a wild ride of love, desperation and how to survive the end of the world just like the cockroaches will. This was my first time reading anything by Jeremy Robert Johnson, who in my humble opinion is a master story teller. This was an incredible collection of dark fiction/horror stories. 5 out of 5 stars from me.

I received an advance copy for review

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Horror Library, Volume 6 Eric J. Guignard (Editor)

The multiple Bram Stoker Award® nominated Horror Library anthology series is back!

Authors - Garrett Quinn, Jackson Kuhl, Stephanie Bedwell Grime, Connor De Bruler, Tom Johnstone, Bentley Little, Kathryn E. McGee, Josh Rountree, Jeffrey Ford, John M. Floyd, Raymond Little, Rebecca J. Allred, Darren O. Godfrey, Sean Eads, David Tallerman, Marc E. Fitch, Vitor Abdala, JG Faherty, Dean H. Wild, Jayani C. Senanayake, Lucas Pederson, C. Michael Cook, Thomas P. Bal√°zs, Jay Caselberg, Ahna Wayne Aposhian, Edward M. Erdelac, Carole Johnstone

Shepherded by new editor Eric J. Guignard -- himself a past Stoker winner -- Horror Library Volume 6 is imbued with a new level of literary energy and purpose. It features 27 brand new horror short stories, written by 27 different authors, including well-known pros and up-and-coming new talents.

As always, if you'd like a snapshot of where modern literary horror fiction is headed, you've found the right book.

Don't miss Horror Library Volume 6! The Librarian is waiting for YOU.

I love short horror stories so this was a huge treat for me. It was a great way to discover some new authors and also read some of my all time favorites. (My heart skipped a beat when I saw Bentley Little.)
This book contains 27 dark and delicious stories sure to fill you with dread. Now a few of them did end too abruptly for my taste and I would have preferred a more definitive ending. I am not against leaving things to the readers imagination or leaving an end that could be open to interpretation but a non-ending is just not my favorite way to leave a story.
All were good but my absolute favorites (in no particular order) were "The Plumber" by Bentley Little, probably because he is just so good at taking a mundane every day normal occurrence and turning it into something terrifying. Or perhaps because my shower is actually dripping as I write this yet I think I will just live with it a while rather than have to call someone to fix it.

"We Were Monsters" by Lucas Pederson was quite clever but it's hard for me to say too much without giving it away.

"The Creek Keepers' Lodge" by Kathryn E. McGee reminded me of that old saying you can't go home again. Or maybe it's that you just plain shouldn't go back if you managed to escape.

"The Night Crier" by C. Michael Cook was simply brilliant. I had never heard of this author before but this story just blew me away.

"Kalu Kumaraya" by Jayani C Senanayake  was another excellent story. If you have ever had a child or grandchild who spoke to an imaginary friend this one will give you chills.

"Five Pointed Spell" by Jeffrey Ford was spectacular. This was my first time reading anything by this author but I think I need to keep an eye out for anything else he writes from now on.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

White Fur A Novel by Jardine Libaire


Friday, April 14, 2017

Penance by Kanae Minato, Philip Gabriel (Translator)


Monday, April 10, 2017

The Fear by Rae Louise

Fear is all in the mind ...

But Mia’s nightmares become a reality when she and her troubled sister, Jamie, inherit their deceased uncle’s house and experience phenomena that extends way beyond a typical haunting. Only Mia’s infant daughter is aware of the sinister presence of a man that roams freely about the house, but it’s Jamie who has become the subject of the entity’s torment.

No one’s secrets stay buried for long, and the psychological abuse that the family are forced to endure soon turns physical, with the demon’s attachment to Jamie taking on a sexually violent nature. When the evil spreads beyond the boundaries of the house and wreaks chaos in the lives of those closest to Mia, she knows that she must uncover the house’s past, along with the identity of its ghostly inhabitant, in order to sever his hold on anyone who enters.

This was a hair raising haunted house tale.
After a fire, Mia and her younger sister Jaimie move into their deceased Uncle Billy's house along with Mia's young daughter Louisa, and their family dog. Right away the dog starts behaving strangely and Louisa begins to see "The Shadow Man" in her room. At first Mia puts this down to stress from the fire, the move, not seeing her father enough, and grandma having to be put into care due to dementia. Unfortunately for Mia, none of these circumstances are the cause of the evil that is infesting the house. There is something unearthly there, and it knows what you are afraid of and how to use it against you.
4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dark Screams: Volume Six by Brian James Freeman (Editor), Richard Chizmar (Editor)

Stephen King, Lisa Morton, Nell Quinn-Gibney, Norman Prentiss, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tim Curran plunge readers into the dark side in this deeply unsettling short-story collection curated by legendary horror editors Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar.

Richard Drogan has been spooked ever since he came back from Nam, but he’s no head case, dig? He just knows the old dude needs to die.

Even though she made her name revealing the private lives of the rich and famous, Sara Peck has no idea how deep their secrets really go . . . or the price they’ll pay to get what they desire.

THE MANICURE by Nell Quinn-Gibney
A trip to the nail salon is supposed to be relaxing. But as the demons of the past creep closer with every clip, even the most serene day of pampering can become a nightmare.

It’s a little strange how baby Lydia can only be soothed by her grandfather’s unnatural voice, ravaged by throat cancer. The weirdest part? What he’s saying is more disturbing than how he says it.

THE SITUATIONS by Joyce Carol Oates
There are certain lessons children must learn, rules they must follow, scars they must bear. No lesson is more important than this: Never question Daddy. Or else.

Grave robbers Kierney and Clow keep one step ahead of the law as they ply their ghoulish trade, but there’s no outrunning a far more frightening enemy that hungers for the dead.

For me, the absolute stars of this compilation are "The Rich Are Different" by Lisa Morton in which a writer accepts an invitation to a birthday party from a very wealthy and very different sort of fan.
"The Comforting Voice" by Norman Prentiss offers no comfort at all. In fact it set my teeth on edge and made my skin crawl, in the most delightful ways. Josh and Cheryl are new parents, which under the best of circumstances would be an uncomfortable time to take in a sickly relative. When the new baby has constant fits of inconsolable crying, and the relative is your estranged and abusive father-in-law, it's about as comforting as nails on a chalkboard. This tale had my anxiety levels through the roof and I loved it. These two stories alone are worth more than the cost of admission. 5 stars to both.
"The Corpse King" by Tim Curran is the longest story in this collection. It's a creepy tale of best buddies and grave robbers Kierney and Clow who find that not everything under the ground is lifeless. 4 stars

"The Manicure" by Nell Quinn-Gibney Has me eyeing my nail scissors distrustfully while I consider buying one of those as seen on tv doodads that files them instead. Another solid 4 stars.
"The Situations" by Joyce Carol Oates is one I have read previously in another collection and though I like much of her work this one just didn't quite do it for me then or now. 3 stars
"The Old Dude's Ticker" by Stephen King is a 1970s version of the Tell Tale Heart by Poe. Sometimes the classics are best left alone. It was ok, but not one of King's best efforts. 3 stars.
All in all this is a good collection of sinister stories that are certain to jangle your nerves.

I received an advance copy for review