Review: ‘Mormama’ by Kit Reed

Mormama by Kit Reed
Tor Books (May 2017)
288 pages; $17.63 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I love “quiet horror.” I love a book filled with tension, atmosphere, and that creeping-up-on-you sense of unease where you can’t quite put your finger on what is wrong, but you know something is.

Here’s the thing: eventually, all that atmosphere and tension and unease has to pay off. When it does, it’s magic. When it doesn’t, it’s like cracking open a cold soft drink only to find that it’s gone flat.

Mormama, I’m sorry to say, is the flat soft drink of haunted house books.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Whispered Echoes’ by Paul F. Olson

Whispered Echoes by Paul F. Olson
Crystal Lake Publishing (June 21, 2017)
275 pages; $14.99 paperback; $0.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Admittedly, I have heard of Paul F. Olson, but up until now, I can’t say I’ve read any of his work. I can happily say I’ve now corrected that omission. Whispered Echoes is a wonderful collection of old and new.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Come to Dust’ by Bracken MacLeod

Come to Dust by Bracken MacLeod
JournalStone (June 23, 2017)
$17.95 paperback; $4.95 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Last year, I got to read Bracken MacLeod’s Stranded. Sixteen crew members of the Arctic Promise become ice bound under strange circumstances. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s one of 2016’s better reads.

Bracken’s new release, Come To Dust, is even better. Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Freedom Broker’ by K.J. Howe

The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe
Quercus (February 2017)
400 pages; $17.79 hardback; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Far too many times, a thriller fails to live up to its name. Formulaic, tired tropes, ripoffs of the same old “high concept” plots which circulate through the shelves as readers’ minds numb to the repetition. Thankfully, a few push beyond the herd with something new now and then. Newcomer K.J. Howe has definitely brought something special to the table.  Continue Reading

Review: ‘Final Girls’ by Mira Grant

Final Girls by Mira Grant
Subterranean Press (May  2017)
111 pages; $40.00 hardcover; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Mira Grant mixes a diverse set of influences ranging from The Matrix to A Nightmare On Elm Street to produce her fresh, tautly-written new novella, Final Girls.

Continue Reading

Review: ”Til Death: Marriage Poems’ by Janice Leach and James Frederick Leach

‘Til Death: Marriage Poems by Janice Leach and James Frederick Leach
Raw Dog Screaming Press (January 2017)

112 pages, $12.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Let’s go ahead and skip the expected Princess Bride reference and pretend I made it so we can move on, alright? After all, marriage isn’t just about love, no matter how true that love may be. Just as it isn’t about sex (just ask every hack comic). Or the creation of small clones of yourselves. Or the merging of empires. Sure, those are part of it, but they utterly fail to encompass the actual experience. Marriage is about a life shared, along with all of the terror, heartache, unbridled rage and desperation that entails. The rest is just window dressing.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Forgotten Girl’ by Rio Youers

The Forgotten Girl by Rio Youers
St. Martin’s Press (June 13, 2017)
352 pages; $19.03 hardback; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Many readers will consider this novel to be Youers’ first, but fans will be familiar with the author from strong efforts such as Westlake Soul, Mama Fish, and End Times. With a voice demanding greater exposure, Rio’s The Forgotten Girl just might be the breakout novel he’s needed to reach a well-deserved massive following.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Monstrumführer’ by Edward M. Erdelac

Monstrumführer by Edward M. Erdelac
Comet Press (January 2017)
335 pages; $15.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

If you read Edward M. Erdelac’s story, Andersonville, about the most sadistic rebel prison of the Civil War, with a supernatural twist, you likely have some idea where he’s going with this new novel, Monstrumführer, combining the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, with Frankenstein’s monster. Once again, this gifted storyteller plays with historic events and imbues his tale with elements of horror, as Josef Mengele endeavors to improve upon the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Ruler of the Night’ by David Morrell

Ruler of the Night by David Morrell
Mulholland Books (November 2016)
352 pages; $17.70 hardcover; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

What can one say about the conclusion of a terrific trilogy from one of the masters of horror and thrillers, besides wow? Many fans are still marveling that David Morrell, Rambo’s father and author of the classic dark novels The Totem, Creepers, and Testament, embarked on a ride back into the Victorian Age, giving birth to yet another enigmatic character in Thomas DeQuincey (the real life Opium Eater) who in real life penned several stories and essays which directly influenced Edgar Allan Poe.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse’ by Melinda Marshall and Christine Steendam

The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse by Melinda Marshall and Christine Steendam
Hazelridge Press (October 2016)

127 pages, $10.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

The High-Maintenance Ladies of the Zombie Apocalypse is exactly what the title conveys, a humorous attempt to pit pampered fashionistas against brainless, flesh-eating hordes. Taken in that spirit, this book is a complete success. It is at times silly, gory, irreverent, suspenseful and all around fun. Co-authors Melinda Marshall and Christine Steendam have concocted some clever heroines and given us insight into their survival skills. Overall, this is a quick, fun read that’s worth pursuing.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Halloween Children’ by Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss
Hydra/Random House (June 2017)
300 pages; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

A Halloween story is something no reader of horror fiction should ever miss. A broad statement, true, but The Hallowen Children is another Hallowen tale which has knocked it out of the park. This is a disturbing, claustrophobic, beyond enjoyable read which encompasses everything Halloween should be. Of course, parallels will be drawn to The Shining, but that would be extremely unfair to Brian Freeman and Norman Prentiss. The Halloween Children is utterly original and deserves to be given applause on its own merits. This is an everyman’s horror story—the best, most relatable kind—and holds family close to its dark heart.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Crow Shine’ by Alan Baxter

Crow Shine by Alan Baxter
Ticonderoga Publications (November 2016)
$29.99 hardcover; $22.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

The first short story I ever read by Alan Baxter was “In Vaulted Halls Entombed,” which featured a group of soldiers chasing terrorists into a cave in Afghanistan only to see them trapped by something their training never prepared them for. Since then, I always get excited when I see his name attached to an anthology.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Life in a Haunted House’ by Norman Prentiss

Life in a Haunted House by Norman Prentiss
Amazon Digital Services (May 2017)
175 pages; $0.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

I absolutely love coming of age stories. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m an overgrown kid myself. Maybe there’s something inside me which looks back on those years fondly, but also remembers how hard it was to be a kid. Everyone expects you to “grow up” and figure out what it is you want to do with your life, all before your sixteenth birthday. I remember those years well, and as a high school teacher, I see it enacted before me, in living color, every single day. So I’m always a sucker for a well-told, engrossing coming of age tale. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Savage Jungle’ by Hunter Shea

Savage Jungle by Hunter Shea
Severed Press (April 2017)
198 pages; $11.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Fresh from their adventure in Scotland, Natalie McQueen and her brother Austin are called upon to aid Henrik Kooper in his quest to find the lost city Gadang Ur and the elusive Orang Pendek. Go ahead and Google it. You’ll find it’s every bit as much of a thing as Bigfoot, Yeti, The Jersey Devil, and The Loch Ness Monster—all cryptids Hunter Shea has written about in previous books. As a matter of fact, Savage Jungle is a sequel to his book Loch Ness Revenge.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction’ by Kenneth W. Cain

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction edited by Kenneth W. Cain
Crystal Lake Publishing (March 2017)
217 pages; $13.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction features twenty-five stories. In any collection of this size, there are bound to be some hits and some misses along the way. Fortunately, there are more of the former, leading me to suggest this work be added to your personal TBR list.Continue Reading