Review: ‘We Are Always Watching’ by Hunter Shea

We Are Always Watching by Hunter Shea
Sinister Grin Press (March 2017)
460 pages; $18.59 hardback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Due to dire circumstance, Matt Riley, his wife, Debi, and their fourteen-year-old son, West, had to move in with West’s Grandpa Abraham. Grandpa insisted the place where he lived was haunted. That was fine with West, because “(he) devoured horror books like they were M&Ms.” I loved the mentions of popular horror podcasts and magazines, as well as a number of today’s most-read writers within the genre.  Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Garden of Delight’ by Alessandro Manzetti

The Garden of Delight by Alessandro Manzetti
Comet Press (March 2017)
250 pages; $14.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

The Garden of Delight is a sexually charged compilation of stories from Alessandro Manzetti. Most have been previously published, but a few of the tales are new to this collection. All the stories share a similar tone and spirit as they explore human decadance through the centuries. When it comes to sexual relations, nothing is off limits.  Continue Reading

Review: ‘Revenge of the Vampir King’ by Nancy Kilpatrick

Revenge of the Vampir King by Nancy Kilpatrick
Crossroad Press (February 2017)
290 pages; $26.99 hardcover; $14.99 paperback; ebook $4.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas

Revenge of the Vampir King, a blood soaked tale by Nancy Kilpatrick, is the story of a male vampire, a human girl, and the chaos which surrounds them as they interact with one another. Valada, the princess of the humans, is sent to the vampire king, Moarte, as an unwilling gift by her father Zador, the evil human king. Through a mess of emotions and erotic interactions, the two become wed, and the world around them becomes rife with treachery, confusion, lust, and hurt. They must fight their way to Zador’s throne to end his terrible reign and, with any luck, save their marriage, and the people they love most.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Little Gift’ by Stephen Volk

The Little Gift by Stephen Volk
PS Publishing (March 2017)
80 pages; £12.00 hardcover; £20.00 signed edition
Reviewed by Gef Fox

If you live with a cat, you live with a natural born killer. Some prey on dangling bits of string, others go after bigger game. And if they like you, they’ll leave you one of their kills as a little gift. In Stephen Volk’s newest novella, it’s one of these little gifts from a family cat that sends the man of the house, our narrator, down a dark winding memory of an encounter with an alluring woman that shook him from his mundane moorings.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Blood Infernal’ by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

Blood Infernal by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell
William Morrow (January 2016)
576 pages; $19.20 hardcover; $9.99 paperback; ebook $9.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas

Blood Infernal, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell’s apocalyptic nail-biter, is a story dripping with tension, religion, and vampirism. The three main characters, which consist of an archaeologist, a military man, and a vampiric priest, are united by a prophecy written in the Blood Gospel, a book Jesus evidently wrote in His own blood during His time on earth. They face off against impossible odds, dangerous individuals, and an array of damned souls, headed by a demon sent from the loving arms of Lucifer himself. The fallen angel is coming back, and only the prophetic trio are capable of keeping him shackled.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Conspiracy of Angels’ by Michelle Belanger

Conspiracy of Angels by Michelle Belanger
Titan Books (October 2015)
368 pages; $7.43 paperback; ebook $7.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas

Zachary Westland is your average amnesiac protagonist, waking up on the shores of Lake Erie with panic in his nerves and a police notice out for his head. Unable to remember his past, he searches frantically for a way to reconnect to everything he can’t remember, encountering a throng of unique and diverse characters as he goes. Many people know him, know of him, and in most cases, want him dead, and he’s clueless as to why. Eventually, he learns that his past is as dark as the looming future is, and that if he doesn’t step up and right his forgotten wrongs, the people he cares about most could suffer vast and painful consequences. The fight for resolution, and his memory, begins.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Haunted Halls’ by Glenn Rolfe

The Haunted Halls by Glenn Rolfe
Shadow Work Publishing (December 2016)
280 pages; $14.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good in-your-face horror novel. Don’t get me wrong, I read and enjoyed an abundance of excellent work in 2016, but when I compare them to The Haunted Halls, the latest from up-and-coming horror writer Glenn Rolfe, they’ve all been rather tame.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling’ edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli

Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli
Apex Book Company (December 2016)
$13.48 paperback; $4.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Anthologies based on meta-fictive themes can be a bit of a sticky wicket. Sure, we get bored with the same old over and over again, and it is super cool when someone messes with our heads. At the same time, those “look how deft I am at subverting literature” stories are self important in the most boring way possible. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Behind Her Eyes’ by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Flatiron Books (January 2017)
320 pages; $18.18 hardback; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

There’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin at the beginning of Behind Her Eyes. It provides a clue, of sorts, as to the devilish nature of the story which follows.

Three can keep a secret if two are dead.

Continue Reading

Review: ‘Zoopraxis’ by Richard Christian Matheson

Zoopraxis by Richard Christian Matheson
Gauntlet Press 
$275.00 lettered edition; $150.00 Limited Edition; $6o.oo Numered Edition
Reviewed by John Skipp

In the thirty years since Richard Christian Matheson burst upon the scene with his brilliant collection Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks, many things have changed. Up until his arrival, the short-short story was the purview of a miniscule handful of writers—Fredric Brown, Henry Slesar, and O. Henry leap most readily to mind—who’d mastered the art of telling a tight, twisted tale with a punch at the end in one thousand words or less, on a fairly regular basis.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Relics’ by Tim Lebbon

Relics by Tim Lebbon
Titan Books (March 21, 2017)
336 pages; $9.76 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

The first literary hit of the new year has been born. Tim Lebbon, no stranger to penning stories which shrug off the shackles of genre, has hit 2017 hard with the first of a breathtaking trilogy. Equal parts thriller, horror, and fantasy, Relics takes readers back to his best world creating in the apocalyptic Silence, Coldbrook, and The Nature of Balance, along with the more fantastic in Fallen and Echo City. Continue Reading

Review: ‘Infernal Parade’ by Clive Barker

Infernal Parade by Clive Barker
Subterranean Press (February  2017)
81 pages; $275.00 lettered edition; $60.00 limited edition; $3o.oo Trade Edition
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Infernal Parade is the second volume compiling stories created by Clive Barker to accompany figures created in conjunction with Todd McFarlane. The first, Tortured Souls, benefited because it began life as a novella that was broken up to go along with the packaging of the various figures. Infernal Parade is a series of character sketches meant to lend a little backstory to the figures, making it feel incomplete when pulled together in one volume.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Lilith’s Demons’ by Julie R. Enszer

Lilith’s Demons by Julie R. Enszer
A Midsummer Night’s Press (December 2015)

64 pages, $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

For those who don’t know, The Alphabet of Ben Sirach is a medieval rabbinic text famous, amongst other things, for its reference to Lilith. Lilith is the woman that, according to Hebraic lore, God made before he made Eve; she was Adam’s first wife, but refused to submit to him sexually, so she flew off and became mother of demons. Julie R. Enszer builds on this mythos in her book, Lilith’s Demons.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Final Reconciliation’ by Todd Keisling

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling
Crystal Lake Publishing (February 2017)
106 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

First, some background on The King in Yellow. Prior to season one of HBO’s True Detective series, many folks had never heard of Robert W. Chambers or his book of short stories by the same name. The book is named after a fictional play with the same title. The first half of the book features highly esteemed weird stories, and has been described by critics as a classic in the field of the supernatural. There are ten stories, the first four of which mention The King in Yellow, a forbidden play which induces despair or madness in those who read it.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Universal Harvester’ by John Darnielle

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (February 7, 2017)
224 pages; $15.00 hardcover; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

When you work at Cemetery Dance, you tend to make certain assumptions about the books publishers send to you for review. Sometimes, those assumptions are way off. John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester proved to be one of those instances….in the best possible way.

When I got the book (cleverly packaged in a plastic clamshell case like an old VHS tape, for reasons that would become clear when I read it) and scanned its press sheet, a few things jumped out at me: mentions of the “haunted, open landscape of middle-America;” “ominous and disturbing footage” spliced into a video store’s rental tapes; an investigation into “the origins of these unsettling scenes.” I took these tidbits and began to splice together my own version of the book.Continue Reading