Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Ushers by Edward Lee

THE USHERS is the author's long-awaited first collection of short fiction and features some of his most disturbing and provacative horror stories, including "Goddess of the New Dark Age", "The Seeker", The Wrong Guy", the 1994 Bram Stoker award nominee "Mr. Torso," plus more over-the-top classics, along with seven brand new stories appearing here for the first time.

If you're ready for horror fiction that takes you well past the edge, Edward Lee is happy to be your tour guide.

I have read and loved a few of Edward Lee's novels but these short stories were pretty hit or miss.
There were only a couple that I really liked a lot, one of which previously appeared in Cemetery Dance Magazine and had a more main stream horror feel to it.

The thing about Edward Lee is that he likes to write about vomit, urine and feces, and forcing people to swallow waste. He likes to write about rape, sexual deviants, and after a while though the titles of the stories change the subject never seems to.

In "Almost Never" a young girl is being stalked by would be kidnappers who mean to sell her but they don't know she is not as easy a target as they expect her to be.
In "Please Let Me Out" Joyce Lipnick is a woman scorned, who will make sure she gets and keeps her man. These two stories were the best of the bunch.

The rest of the stories? meh.
The have all blended together in my mind. I can't tell you which story had someone vomiting into someone else's mouth, or raping a corpse (oops that may have actually been the same story.) but it seemed to me that only the names of the characters changed and bled into the same acts in the same stories over and over.

3 out of 5 stars only because of the 2 stories that I enjoyed so much.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mean Little People by Paige Dearth

Seven year old Tony has two choices to live or to die.

Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.

Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.

At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.

All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.

From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.

Mean Little People is a haunting story of one bullied child deprived of love and taunted by corrupt individuals along his journey. Tony’s story will make you question the balance between good and evil.
This story begins when Tony Bruno is 7 years old and follows him through young adulthood. It is bleak, brutal, and at times shocking. Life for Tony is nothing but pain. He is taunted, beaten and bullied nearly to death by his classmates, belittled and beaten at home by his good for nothing father, friendless and alone in his misery. He is subjected to every abuse imaginable. Physical, emotional, and later sexually assaulted, which was quite difficult to read...I had to put this book down twice and walk away for a bit.
At 13 he is tossed out of his home with nowhere to turn. Tony ends up in a gang and later in the mob. There are few friendly faces amidst all this turmoil. He meets a kindly older woman and her grand daughter who become his surrogate family, and a girl he falls in love with, but his gangster lifestyle attracts danger to those closest to him. This was an emotional read, that at times had me enraged, disgusted, and sometimes in tears.
4 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

"From the New York Times bestselling author of She’s Not There, a new novel about a woman whose family and identity are threatened by the secrets of her past.

Long Black Veil is the story of Judith Carrigan, whose past is dredged up when the body of her college friend Wailer is discovered 20 years after her disappearance in Philadelphia’s notorious and abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary. Judith is the only witness who can testify to the innocence of her friend Casey, who had married Wailer only days before her death.

The only problem is that on that fateful night at the prison, Judith was a very different person from the woman she is today. In order to defend her old friend and uncover the truth of Wailer’s death, Judith must confront long-held and hard-won secrets that could cause her to lose the idyllic life she’s built for herself and her family."

The above is the description taken from Goodreads.
However as fitting as that is, it is not the description from the cover, and I feel a bit let down. I was expecting this book to be more of a thriller, and I guess I was expecting it to be.... thrilling. I suppose it is more a mystery, and it's aftermath. When the reason for Wailer's disappearance was revealed I was let down again, and even more so at the ridiculous ending.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent


The dense Bavarian forest outside the town of Rattenberg has long been rumored to harbor something sinister, something wild — mythical beasts that vanish into the shadowy woods after each attack, leaving carnage as the only evidence of their existence. Many villagers turn a blind eye to what is happening, but those who believe tremble at the mere whisper of the word: werewolf.
There are those who stand and fight, however. Konrad is one such boy. Too poor to live in the village, he and his mother fend for themselves in their forest hovel alone for months at a time, his father preoccupied with mysterious business abroad.
After a vicious assault on their homestead, Konrad finds himself buried beneath his mother’s mutilated body, escaping death only due to his father's chance return. Alive, but taking no comfort in the presence of the man who had left him and his mother to face death on their own, Konrad soon discovers that his father’s work has followed him home…

…and it's hungry.

Konrad has never had much of a relationship with his father. He's always off somewhere, rarely returning home. "Mostly he and his mother lived alone, happy."
When Konrad's mother is murdered he finally learns what Father is up to. Werewolf hunting! But does Father always know best? Konrad is not sure whether he should trust Father's ability to discern werewolves from men, or who should be put to death.  
This was a short read, less than 100 pages. There was nothing really remarkable about it other than "Father" never being named and only referred to as "Father" even when not with his son, which seemed odd.
I did like the ending.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Boulevard Monster by Jeremy Hepler


You say that I am a madman. You say that I am dangerous. You say that I am the one who has been abducting women, slaughtering them, and burying their corpses all around this city for years. You are wrong, because only part of that statement is true…


I know that you probably won’t believe me. Not now. Not after all that has happened, but I need to tell my side of the story. You need to know how this all began. You need to hear about the birds, but most of all, you need to understand…


Seth Fowler was near the end of an ordinary day when it all started. There would be no more ordinary days for Seth. When his long time friend and coworker Randy stops by with a 6 pack and a brand new truck that he shouldn't have been able to afford Seth is understandably a little jealous and maybe a little suspicious but he doesn't notice the birds just yet. What he does notice, when Randy goes in the house to use the bathroom.. is the dead body in the back of the truck. When Randy leaves, Seth calls the cops, but soon he is met by Luther, an otherworldly  stranger who makes him an offer he can't refuse. Literally, there is no way to refuse Luther, so Seth will do what it takes to protect his girlfriend, his adopted daughter and his elderly father from harm, but the police and his brother-in-law are getting suspicious and meanwhile the bodies are piling up.

I can't tell you this wasn't a bit of a crazy story, or that I wouldn't have liked some sort of explanation of what and why Luther is whatever he is, but damned if I didn't enjoy it anyway. It's suspenseful, and creepy, and Seth is just plain likable. I was rooting for him, I wanted those pesky cops to leave him alone. I wanted his brother-in-law to mind his own business, and now I think the birds are spying on me!
4 out of 5 stars from me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Child by Fiona Barton


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dark Screams: Volume Seven Edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar


Friday, May 5, 2017

Little One by Timothy G. Huguenin


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Just Add Water by Hunter Shea


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Party A Novel by Robyn Harding