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: ‘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: ‘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: ‘Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire’ by Joe R. Lansdale

dead_on_the_bones_by_joe_r_lansdaleDead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire by Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Press (December 2016)
296 pages; $40.00 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

“I was living in a pulp writer fury, a storm of imagination.”

That’s how author Joe R. Lansdale describes his early years, that delicate time when a steady diet of television shows, comic books and Edgar Rice Burroughs novels cemented his desire to become a writer. Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire is full of stories in which Lansdale seeks to honor those early influences that have given him—and, in turn, his readers—so much.Continue Reading

Review: 'Freedom of the Mask' by Robert McCammon

freedom_of_the_mask_designFreedom of the Mask by Robert McCammon
Subterranean Press (May 2016)
528 pages; $24.26 hardcover; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The Matthew Corbett books have historically been hefty affairs—Speaks the Nightbird, the first in the series, clocked in at over 800 pages, and the others have gone 400 or more. The lone exception was the fifth book, 2014’s River of Souls, which was a lean 256 pages. It’s my personal favorite of the series, the perfect mix of Robert McCammon’s incredibly detailed world building and action/thriller pacing.

Freedom of the Mask has put some of the weight back on—my advance copy hit 530 pages—but maintains the breathless pace of its predecessor. There’s enough story packed in it for two books, but it’s filler-free, and for good reason: there’s a ticking clock hanging over McCammon’s head now. He’s announced that the series will go nine books and no further, which puts us deep in the overall Corbett story arc at this point. McCammon is very calculated in the way he handles each book’s immediate plot while moving all the pieces toward the series conclusion. Continue Reading

Review: 'This Year's Class Picture' by Dan Simmons

This_Years_Class_Picture_by_Dan_SimmonsThis Year’s Class Picture by Dan Simmons
Subterranean Press (March 2016)
54 pages; $20 hardcover; $50 signed, numbered limited edition
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The limited edition hardcover treatment for a short story might seem like overkill, but some pieces deserve to be highlighted on their own. Such is the case with This Year’s Class Picture, a classic zombie tale by Dan Simmons that first appeared nearly 25 years ago in John Skipp and Craig Spector’s stellar anthology Still Dead: Book of the Dead 2.

Ms. Geiss is dealing with the aftermath of the zombie uprising as best she can – staying vigilant, fortifying her sanctuary, keeping a watchful eye out at all times. She’s also trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, albeit through some rather extreme measures. Ms. Geiss was a fourth grade teacher in another life and another world; a dedicated educator who chose the school she taught in for years as her safe place during the end of the world; a woman who now maintains and attempts to teach a small class of undead children in her former classroom.Continue Reading

Review: 'Hell's Bounty' by Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale

Hells_Bounty_by_Joe_R_Lansdale_and_John_L_LansdaleHell’s Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale
Subterranean Press (February 2016)
190 pages; $40 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I don’t know how the Lansdale brothers divvied up the writing duties on Hell’s Bounty, and, truth be told, it doesn’t matter. Storytelling runs deep in the Lansdale family, and Joe and John’s new novel is a seamless powder keg of a collaboration, packed tight with wild, weird western fun.

Something has emerged from an old mine shaft near the town of Falling Rock. Moving about as it does on bat wings, leaving a whiff of sulfur in its wake, chances are it’s nothing good. Typical for Falling Rock, which seems to attract bad things – and bad people. Take Trumbo Quill for example, a man bad enough to shoot another man dead just for accidentally sitting on his hat. Or Smith, a newly-arrived bounty hunter whose explosive confrontation with Quill lands him, literally, in Hell.Continue Reading

An Interview with Richard Chizmar: Looking Forward to 'A Long December'

An Interview with Richard Chizmar: 
Looking Forward to A Long December

LongDecemberRichard Chizmar is perhaps best known as the founder of Cemetery Dance magazine and Cemetery Dance Publications. He is also an accomplished writer, with fiction appearing in dozens of publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. HIs fiction has netted him several prestigious awards, including two World Fantasy Awards, four International Horror Guild Awards, and the Horror Writers Association’s Board of Trustees Award.

Recently, Chizmar announced that Subterranean Press will be publishing A Long December, a massive collection of thirty-five stories spanning his career. The book comes twenty years after Chizmar’s first collection, Midnight Promises, itself a finalist for a World Fantasy Award. Advance buzz on A Long December has been strong, with novelist Scott Smith (The Ruins, A Simple Plan) saying, “…Chizmar does a tremendous job of peeling back his world’s shiny layers, revealing the rot that lies underneath. His stories feel like so many teeth: short and sharp and ready to draw blood.”

Read on for insight from the author about this upcoming collection, including what was behind his decision to publish it through a press other than his own.
Continue Reading

Review: 'Working for Bigfoot' by Jim Butcher

Working for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher
Subterranean Press (June 2015)
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Working_for_Bigfoot_by_Jim_ButcherLong-time fans are likely to be the biggest benefactors of Working for Bigfoot, Jim Butcher’s collected trio of Harry-Dresden-meets-Sasquatch stories, but newbies (like me) may find it the perfect gateway into the world of the author’s popular Chicago-based wizard.Continue Reading