Review: Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

cover of Survivor Song by Paul TremblaySurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (July 2020)

320 pages; $25.19 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Beware! Paul Tremblay is not interested in writing stories readers can walk away from unscathed. Survivor Song will leave emotional trenches in your heart long after you’ve finished trying to ugly-cry and read at the same time.Continue Reading

Review: Murmur by Patrick Freivald

cover of Murmur by Patrick FreivaldMurmur by Patrick Freivald
Barking Deer Press (July 14, 2020)
223 pages; $4.89 e-book
Reviewed by A.E. Siraki

Patrick Freivald, author of novels and short story collections, presents his latest, an urban fantasy thriller set in New York City, high on the eroticism, high on the grittiness, and high on the compulsive readability. Continue Reading

A New Forthcoming EARLY READERS Grab Bag!

A New Forthcoming EARLY READERS Grab Bag!
Get Five Advance Review Copies
Before the Limited Editions Are Published!

Includes A Great New Unannounced Book
For Stephen King Fans!

We’ve decided to put together one of our “Forthcoming EARLY READER” Grab Bags for anyone who might be interested — and to be clear, these are brand new review copies that we haven’t used before in any special offers!

The small group of collectors who order this deal before supplies run out will receive Advance Reader Copies for FIVE different upcoming Cemetery Dance Publications special editions before the general public.

These review copies are trade paperback editions of the books that are printed several months before the “final” editions go to the printer, so booksellers and reviewers can read the book before everyone else.

One of the FIVE books will be an unannounced and very original look at the works of Stephen King and their significance in the publishing world!

Even though this special offer always proves to be incredibly popular, we’ve priced this bundle of FIVE early reads at just $99 plus shipping! This is a steal compared to the combined retail price for the regular editions of these books!

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We do not expect these very limited Grab Bags to last long, so if you’re interested, place your order today! After they’ve all sold, we won’t offer more!

Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!

Review: Signalz by F. Paul Wilson

cover of Signalz by F. Paul WilsonSignalz by F. Paul Wilson
Crossroad Press (July 7, 2020)
188 pages; $29.99 hardcover; $17.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Nightworld. For F. Paul Wilson fans, it’s often in the top two or three novels by the legend, surpassed only by the first book in the Repairman Jack series, The Tomb. Nightworld signaled the end of civilizations as we know it (kinda fitting these days, isn’t it?) and was so popular, Wilson rewrote it to fit the series canon after the original Adversary sextet concluded. While that novel hit on all cylinders and checked every box that satisfied both thriller and horror fans across the globe, plenty of mysteries remained. Wilson has plugged some of those, most notably with last year’s Jack novel, The Last Christmas, and prior to that, Wardenclyffe.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #220

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

It’s the end of an era. On June 30, 2020, the message board at Stephen King’s official website closed permanently. On the same day, his long-time personal/executive assistant, Marsha DeFilippo, retired.

Shortly after King launched his website in 1998, a guest book was added to the site. By 2003, this was converted to a “message board,” an unthreaded list of comments from fans that were occasionally answered by the staff.
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Review: Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

cover of Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. CosbyBlacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby
Flatiron Books (July 14, 2020)

320 pages; $26.99 paperback; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Money can’t fix it and love can’t tame it. Push it down deep and it rots you from the inside out.

Blacktop Wasteland features a familiar crime noir trope: A man formally connected to a life of crime is trying to live an honest life and raise a family. When times get tough, he returns to what he knows he’s good at to turn a sizable profit, hoping this will be a one-and-done job. He might think he can leave the life but the life doesn’t want to let go.

We know this story, right?

But you don’t know this story. 

Immediately upon starting this book, I recognized the telltale signs of a character-driven story for the sake of emotional investment. 

I’m an emotional reader. 

I approach my reads with my heart on my sleeve and a willingness to surrender it easily. This book made it clear, right away, I was signing up to have my feelings wrecked and I wasn’t angry about it. I was ready, eagerly anticipating the journey to destruction.

The first neon sign was the main protagonist, Beauregard “Bug” Montage. I like Bug. He’s street smart and savvy. He’s been with his wife since they were kids and now they have kids of their own; a dedicated family man with a solid work ethic but with this wise-ass, “take-no-shit” persona as a remnant from his previous lifestyle.

S.A. Cosby does an excellent job bringing the reader into Bug’s day-to-day schedule and pulling back the curtain on his personal life so that we can share in his intimate relationships with his mama, his wife, and kids and his extended family and friends.

There’s also some seriously developed backstory as Cosby deals with themes of generational addictions: fathers passing on their self-destructive behaviors to their sons and so on and so on. 

Like all good crime noir dramas, the stage is set for conflict.

There’s no right or wrong here. There is only gray area as readers are forced to ask themselves, what would you do if you were forced to choose between a rock and a hard place? Thankfully, Bug is a complex, fully-fleshed out individual who makes some decisions that readers will choose to agree or disagree with; either way, you want Bug to be successful, which is a true sign of the author’s authenticity to the human condition.

The narrative goes from zero to sixty. It is exhilarating and nerve wracking.

Did the author deliver on the emotional wreckage I assumed was coming for me? Yes. Was it what I expected? No. This story is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, victories, and losses. It’s one of those crime dramas that leaves a lasting impact on your mood much like a Dennis Lehane or James Ellroy novel. I carried around a heaviness in my heart for quite some time after I turned the last page.

I recommend this book for those who are looking to read  adrenaline-pumping heist stories, intense car chases (some of the best driving scenes since I watched the movie Drive), good guys that act like bad guys and bad guys with heart, Black authors telling their own stories and just a damn good story told by a damn good writer.

This House by Benjamin Kane Ethridge: eBook Available For Immediate Download!

This House
by Benjamin Kane Ethridge

What makes a haunted house? The unsettled spirits of the dead? Or the unsettled spirits of the living?

When Joey Lodge sustains a severe brain trauma, his delusions take the form of an alien spirit that guides him in the creation of a haunted house. He begins to populate the house with ghosts of his choosing, from family members to criminals, until the line between fantasy and reality blurs and even his delusions start fighting back. As terror in the house ratchets up to a maddening pitch, the alien spirit has one shocking revelation still in store…

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Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!

Review: Tea with Death: A Gothic Poetry Collection by Abigail Wildes and Jeanna Pappas (Illustrator)

cover of Tea with Death by Abigail Wildes and Jeanna PappasTea with Death: A Gothic Poetry Collection by Abigail Wildes and Jeanna Pappas (Illustrator)
Alban Lake Publishing (February 2020)

101 pages, $19.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Gothic poetry is an interesting concept. Originally a nineteenth century invention and an offshoot of Romantic poetry, Gothic poetry was pretty much any poem that had elements of gothic literature. However, it was popularized by Romantic poets such as Keats and Coleridge, and became its own subgenre of poetry. Almost two hundred years later, it’s interesting that this subgenre of poetry is seeing a slight resurgence. Obviously, the advent of Gothic music and the Gothic subculture in the 1980s influenced this, but many speculative poets are returning to older models of poetry for inspiration. One such poet is Abigail Wildes, whose newest collection is Tea with Death.Continue Reading

Gone to See The River Man by Kristopher Triana: eBook Editions Available For Immediate Reading!

Gone to See The River Man
by Kristopher Triana

Super fans. Groupies. Stalkers.

These people will give anything for the idols they worship, be they rock stars, actors or authors. Or even serial killers.

Lori is just such a fanatic. Her obsession is with Edmund Cox, a man of sadistic cruelty who butchered more than twenty women. She’s gone so far as to forge a relationship with him, visiting him in prison and sending him letters on a regular basis. She will do anything to get close to him, so when he gives her a task, she eagerly accepts it.

She has no idea of the horror that awaits her.

Edmund tells her she must go to his cabin in the woods of Killen and retrieve a key to deliver to a mysterious figure known only as The River Man.

In her quest, she brings along her handicapped sister, and they journey through the deep, dark valley, beginning their trip upriver. The trip quickly becomes a surreal nightmare, one that digs up Lori’s personal demons, the ones she feels bonds her to Edmund. The river runs with flesh, the cabin is a vault of horrors, and ghostly blues music echoes through the mountains.

Soon they will learn that The River Man is not quite fact or folklore, and definitely not human — at least, not anymore. And the key is just the beginning of what is required of Lori to prove she’s worthy of a madman’s love.

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Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!

Review: Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

cover of Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham JonesNight of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones
Tor (September 1, 2020)
136 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I’m really starting to kind of feel guilty about it all.

Stephen Graham Jones packs a lot of information about his new book Night of the Mannequins into that opening sentence. You get a hint of events to come, a clear idea of the tone, and an important clue about the attitude of the narrator, all in less than 40 words. That, my friends, is talent.Continue Reading

Goblins by David Bernstein: They want the children!

Goblins
by David Bernstein

They want the children!

Someone is taking children from their homes on Roanoke Island, and gruesomely slaughtering their families.

After a small, hideous-looking creature is discovered at one of the murder scenes, Chief of Police Marcus Hale realizes whatever is responsible for the killings isn’t even human. Hale suspects a bizarre link to the past, to the end of the 16th Century, when the island’s first settlers disappeared, leaving only the word Croatoan carved into a tree.

But something far more sinister than he ever imagined is at work. And if it isn’t stopped soon, the entire island’s population will perish. Just like it did so many centuries ago.

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Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!

Can two kids alone stop a monstrous evil?

The Tree Man
by David Bernstein

Can two kids alone stop a monstrous evil?

Women and children have been mysteriously disappearing from Evan’s town. And now Evan may know why. He was climbing a tree in the woods when he saw a decrepit old man toss a helpless woman into the mouth of a hideous tree-like creature.

Evan knows he can’t stop the man and the creature by himself, but he also knows no one will believe a kid with such a wild story. Only his best friend, Peter, can help him confront this terrifying evil. But if they aren’t careful, they will soon be missing too.

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Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!

Damage and Dread by Kevin Quigley: New eBook Available Now!

Damage and Dread
by Kevin Quigley

I bet you’re hungry.

Hungry for new stories from horror writer Kevin Quigley. Hungry for terror. Hungry for damage. Hungry for dread.

Make a meal out of dispatches from the future in “You’re Going to Kill Me,” detailing gruesome crimes yet to happen, and the off-kilter mind of the man who discovers them. Feast on “The Extinction Device,” in which two women discover the ability to play God with things long dead. Sate yourself with “The Coming of the Elves,” a sinister tale of holiday madness. And gorge yourself on “Drawn to the Flame,” where a dark carnival is only the start of the horrors, and a swarm of fear threatens to swallow you whole.

These stories and more set the table in the murkiest corners of your imagination. Pull up a chair and grab your knife and fork: the terror won’t stop until you get your fill.

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Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!

Review: A Little Amber Book of Wicked Shots by Robert McCammon

cover of A Little Amber Book of Wicked Shots by Robert McCammonA Little Amber Book of Wicked Shots by Robert McCammon
Borderlands Press (Spring 2020)
146 pages; $30 limited edition signed & numbered hardcover (750 copies; sold out)
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Borderlands Press has a built an outstanding back catalog of titles with its Little Books Series, attracting an array of legendary-or-heading-there authors including Charles L. Grant, Jack Ketchum, Josh Malerman, Sarah Pinborough, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and a host of others. These tend to sell out quickly—including the entry we’re looking at today, A Little Amber Book of Wicked Shots by Robert McCammon. So, while today’s review may not serve as a call for you to rush out and buy this book—I mean, I ain’t sellin’ mine, and I doubt many others will, either—let it be a lesson for you to get on the Borderlands Press mailing list so you can start grabbing these titles when they are released.Continue Reading

East End Girls by Rena Mason: New eBook Available NOW!

With East End Girls, three-time Bram Stoker Award winner Rena Mason offers a fascinating new perspective on some of the most-remembered and written about murders in history.

Seized by the vicious killings of Jack the Ripper, Victorian London’s East End is on the brink of ruin. Elizabeth Covington, desperate and failing to follow in her beloved father’s footsteps, risks practicing medicine in the dangerous and neglected Whitechapel District to improve her studies.

Elizabeth crosses paths with a man she believes is the villain, triggering a downward spiral that exposes her to a depth of evil she never knew existed.

Only she knows the truth that drives the madness of a murderer.

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Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!