Review: ‘The Damned Vol. 1: Three Days Dead’ by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree

The Damned Vol. 1: Three Days Dead by Cullenn Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree
Oni Press (March 2017)

152 pages, $9.99 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

The Damned Volume 1: Three Days Dead can only be described as horror noir. It’s set during prohibition, when mobsters and criminal organizations build fortune peddling vice to the citizens of the city. However, those sins are controlled not by human gangsters, but by rival families of demons. The long-standing feud between two of the families is about the come to an end thanks to a brokered deal to consolidate power. But before things can be finalized, the bookkeeper tasked to brokering the deal is kidnapped along with a ledger that could spell doom for all the families.Continue Reading

Review: ‘A Life Removed’ by Jason Parent

A Life Removed by Jason Parent
Red Adept Publishing (May 2017)
284 pages; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

It’s been a while since I’ve read any kind of crime thriller, and I’ve quite missed it. Books like Red Dragon, The Bone Collector and Intensity certainly have their place in the horror world. After all, what’s scarier than reading about something more than capable of happening right in our own backyards by the person down the street who’s convinced their homicidal ideations are healthy and normal? I was looking forward to taking that kind of ride. Unfortunately, the scenery was too familiar to sit back and thoroughly enjoy it.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Process (is a Process All its Own)’ by Peter Straub

The Process (is a Process All its Own) by Peter Straub
Subterranean Press (July 2017)
96 pages; $40.00 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The majority of slasher fiction—whether it’s short stories, books, or movies—tends to focus on the hunt. Here’s a group of thinly-sketched victims, cannon fodder to be creatively knocked off one-by-one; and here’s a killer, often silent, usually masked, his or her motivations as mysterious as their identity. What comes after is, more often than not, a by-the-numbers recreation of the stalk-n-slash formula that’s been a staple of horror since the 1970s.*Continue Reading

Review: ‘Monochromes and Other Stories’ by Matt Bechtel

Monochromes and Other Stories by Matt Bechtel
Haverhill House Publishing (April 2017)
148 pages; $12.95 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

“Some people just see the world differently. Matt Bechtel is one of those people.”—James A. Moore.

After reading this collection I’d have to agree with that assessment. Matt has an eye for detail and is masterful at shedding a unique light on the otherwise mundane.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Marathon’ by Brian Freeman

Marathon by Brian Freeman
Quercus (May 2017)
408 pages; $19.16 hardback; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

This book will undoubtedly hit several nerves for fans of well-written, tight, timely thrillers. Brian Freeman (Editor’s Note: Not to be confused with Cemetery Dance staffer and author Brian James Freeman) has cemented himself as a strong contender for being one of the top writers in the genre today.  Marathon is a firecracker which doesn’t exploit the headlines as much as blows them apart and delves into the topics which really matter—all within a story that never lets up. It does, however, let the novel breathe.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Tunnel’ by Carl-Johan Vallgren

The Tunnel by Carl-Johan Vallgren
Quercus (June 2017)
336 pages; $18.35 hardback; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

For those who haven’t read any thrillers set in Scandinavian countries, please start here. This is pure horror even before the story kicks into gear. The setting contains more darkness found in most contemporary American or British horror and brings to mind the beautiful terror of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series, but it has its own personality, one which will make many readers a fan of the genre. Continue Reading

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