Review: ‘Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror’ by Jasper Bark

Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark
Crystal Lake Publishing (September 2017)
123 pages; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

Quiet Places opens with a prologue presenting mysterious goings-on in the small village of Dunballan. Right away we’re given a potentially exciting premise as a lone woman aids local residents in their vegetative states, picking random citizens to assist while they stand slack jawed and wide eyed, empty bellies and soiled clothes.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders’ edited by Doug Murano

Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders edited by Doug Murano
Crystal Lake Publishing (July 2017)
280 pages; $16.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

This is Crystal Lake Publishing’s second anthology with Doug Murano acting as editor—the first being Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. It’s also their second anthology that brought in some very big names, which no doubt aided in healthy sales, securing a nice spot at the top of Amazon’s anthology charts. The ironic thing is, those big names (Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and Ramsey Campbell) brought the weakest stories to an otherwise very solid collection. 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 Fiddle is the Devil’s Instrument” by Brett J. Talley

The Fiddle is the Devil’s Instrument by Brett J. Talley
JournalStone (April 2017)
247 pages; $25.95 hardcover; $8.20 paperback; $3.95 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

I am no Lovecraft connoisseur. There’s a lot by him I haven’t read. My knowledge in all things Lovecraft—other than reading “The Call of Cthulhu” and the Herbert West stories—is probably just par for the course. Maybe below par, as my familiarity does extend beyond pop culture references, which has taken second only to zombies this modern day. And I suspect that most who share the Cthulhu memes and sport the elder god swag haven’t read anything past the title. Maybe it’s because Lovecraft isn’t an easy read. Maybe it’s because smart phones and video games have taken the place of brittle paperbacks and warped hardbacks. And maybe that’s where books like The Fiddle is the Devil’s Instrument fit in best.Continue Reading