Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories edited by Lewis Williams

In response to our worldwide call, we received a total of 824 horror short story submissions for this book – adding up to a staggering total of over three million words. But we read them all, selecting only the best of the best stories to include in this book. That is why when we say this book is something special, we mean it – and that when we say it contains the best in new horror short stories, that is no hyperbole.

We love horror, and the stories included in this book prove that it’s a genre where great imagination and great writing are more than possible. From the opening story “Suds and Monsters”, which might put you off washing dishes for good, to the closing story “Scythe”, which brings the proceedings to a short sharp close, each contribution will bring new horrors to unsettle you.

We can guarantee you will find brilliant new horror writing here, but what you won’t find is a collection full of those who have star names (yet). We’re proud to include here both a story from at least one author who has sold books in the millions and a story from at least one author whose work has never been published before. We’ve simply included the very, very best of the stories, without fear or favour, to bring you the very best modern horror anthology possible.

Within these pages, you will find ghostly apparitions, sinister secrets, grisly murders, gruesome hobbies, and debilitating loss. All of the authors are new to me, and although every story may not have been my cup of tea, each brings something unique to the table.
This was an eclectic mix of tales that ranged from dark humor, to the more heart pounding horror and everything in between. My favorites in this anthology were "Suds and Monsters" by Christopher Stanley which is a timeless darkly comedic tale of hapless stepchild and spiteful stepmother. "The Haunting of April Heights" by Tricia Lowther is a more straight forward horror complete with bumps in the night after a young woman moves into a gloomy apartment with a somber past. "Murderabilia" by Adam Meyer is a slow decent into ghoulish obsession as a collector loses control of his hobby. "The First Circle" by Sue Eaton is creepy fun from start to finish and as someone who watches a lot of old TV the first thing I thought of was an episode of the old Dick Van Dyke Show titled It May Look Like A Walnut and I am sure a lot of you young people are scratching your head wondering what I am talking about but seriously look it up, it's free on YouTube. "Luna Too" by Jess Doyle finds a happy family on holiday who discover more than they expected inside their vacation rental.
"A Little Death" by Ryan Harville is both heart breaking and horrifying. I didn't think anything could be worse for a young man than to lose his wife and baby in the same day. I was wrong.
"Lily's Kids" by Florence Ann Marlowe begins innocently enough as young Jimmy Wades and his little sister Katie make the acquaintance of some unusual children... but this is a meeting they will soon regret.
These for me were the 5 star reads in this anthology.
I received an advance copy for review.
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For more info visit http://www.lewiswilliams.com/home/4594649518

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Full Throttle by Joe Hill

In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense, including "In The Tall Grass," one of two stories co-written with Stephen King, basis for the terrifying feature film from Netflix.

A little door that opens to a world of fairy tale wonders becomes the blood-drenched stomping ground for a gang of hunters in "Faun." A grief-stricken librarian climbs behind the wheel of an antique Bookmobile to deliver fresh reads to the dead in "Late Returns." In "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain," two young friends stumble on the corpse of a plesiosaur at the water's edge, a discovery that forces them to confront the inescapable truth of their own mortality... and other horrors that lurk in the water's shivery depths. And tension shimmers in the sweltering heat of the Nevada desert as a faceless trucker finds himself caught in a sinister dance with a tribe of motorcycle outlaws in "Throttle," co-written with Stephen King.

Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a bevy of shocking chillers, Full Throttle is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears.

I have been a Joe Hill fan ever since I read Heart Shaped Box though I believe it was The Fireman that earned his place on my must read authors list. I had been meaning to read "In The Tall Grass" for years so I was especially happy to see it included in this collection just in time for me to read it before the made for Netflix movie comes out next month. It was definitely worth the wait and one of my favorites in this collection. It had everything I could want in a horror story, the spine tingling fear of the unknown, coupled with the sheer terror of being suddenly separated from your loved ones. It was a fine example of how no good deed goes unpunished. In fact all of these stories were more than they appeared to be on the surface. They each have a weight and depth that is often lacking in short stories. I can't say that I loved every single one of them, but they all surprised me in their own way. As a horror fan, I most enjoyed the stories that had supernatural elements, including Late Returns, and Dark Carousel. It won't surprise me if someone is smart enough to make movies out of both of them. If thrillers are more your thing Thumbprint, and Throttle are both action packed suspenseful reads. Another of my favorites was Mums, which kind of left me guessing whether delusions or the supernatural were at work after a woman tries to take her child and flee from her survivalist/separatist husband. Those were the 5 star reads for me in this collection.

I received an advance copy for review.
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About the author
Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He writes short stories too. Some of them were gathered together in his prize-winning collection, 20th Century Ghosts.

He won the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long running comic book series, Locke & Key, co-created with illustrator and art wizard Gabriel Rodriguez.

He lives in New Hampshire with a corgi named McMurtry after a certain beloved writer of cowboy tales.

Monday, September 9, 2019

One by One by D.W. Gillespie

The Easton family has just moved into their new fixer-upper, a beautiful old house that they bought at a steal, and Alice, the youngest of the family, is excited to explore the strange, new place. Her excitement turns to growing dread as she discovers a picture hidden under the old wallpaper, a child’s drawing of a family just like hers.

Soon after, members of the family begin to disappear, each victim marked on the child’s drawing with a dark black X. It’s up to her to unlock the grim mystery of the house before she becomes the next victim.

Frank Easton is thrilled to leave his ordinary house and move his family into a huge fixer upper that he got on the cheap. He seems to be the only one who is excited. His wife Debra is used to his butterfly chasing as she calls it. Frank is always ready to follow one whim after another but this latest dream is putting more than the usual strain on their marriage. Their son Dean would rather be in their old neighborhood, and daughter Alice tries to see it as an adventure but it isn't long before she realizes something is not right in their creepy new home. This was a highly atmospheric novel with a perfect setting. There was not only the sinister feeling house to contend with but also the woods and a snowstorm added heft and weight to the suspense.
5 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy for review.

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About the author
A long time fan of all things dark and spooky, D.W. Gillespie began writing monstrous stories while still in grade school. At one point, his mother asked the doctor if there was anything she should be concerned about, and he assured her that some kids just like stories about decapitations.

He's been writing on and off for over a decade, quietly building a body of work that includes horror and dark sci-fi. His novels include Still Dark, The Toy Thief, and a short story collection titled Handmade Monsters.

He lives in Tennessee with his wife and two kids, all three of which give him an endless supply of things to write about

Monday, September 2, 2019

Grim Harvest by Patrick C. Greene

Almost a year has passed since the town of Ember Hollow learned the true meaning of fear. Last Halloween, something foul and insidious turned their annual celebration into a nightmare of blood-soaked visions, resurrections, and death. Now, as the harvest approaches, the locals brace themselves for the holiday’s return—and the rebirth of an evil that knows where they live . . .

A documentary filmmaker turns his lens on a shaken community—and exposes the darkness in his own soul. The survivor of a mass murderer hides a face disfigured by violence—and a mind infected with madness. A girl who lost her family finds cold comfort in a foster home where cruelty and fear are child’s play. And the local reverend begins to lose faith when a sadistic convict is busted out of jail, unleashing a new wave of evil too hideous to imagine . . . and too seductive to resist.

I really enjoyed the first book Red Harvest (Review Here)
so I was excited to get a copy of the sequel.
Maybe my expectations were too high but this was just an OK read for me. It lacked the momentum of the previous book and the story seemed to jump around too much.

About the author
Some dark serendipity plopped a young Patrick Greene in front of a series of ever stranger films-and experiences-in his formative years, leading to a unique viewpoint. His odd interests have led to pursuits in film acting, paranormal investigation, martial arts, quantum physics, bizarre folklore and eastern philosophy. These elements flavor his screenplays and fiction works, often leading to strange and unexpected detours designed to keep viewers and readers on their toes.

Literary influences range from Poe to Clive Barker to John Keel to a certain best selling Bangorian. Suspense, irony, and outrageously surreal circumstances test the characters who populate his work, taking them and the reader on a grandly bizarre journey into the furthest realms of darkness. The uneasy notion that reality itself is not only relative but indeed elastic- is the hallmark of Greene’s writing.

Living in the rural periphery of Asheville North Carolina with his wife,youngest son Gavin and an ever-growing army of cats, Greene still trains in martial arts when he’s not giving birth to demons via his pen and keyboard.