Review: The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror Volume 1 edited by Paula Guran

cover of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Volume 1 edited by Paula GuranThe Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror Volume 1 edited by Paula Guran
Pyr (October 2020)
440 pages; $15.53 hardcover; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

In her introduction to The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror Volume 1, editor Paula Guran writes “Most of these stories begin with a world you can identify with. Then…the world changes. The normal is subverted.”

My first thought was, “That’s horror fiction in a nutshell.” (My second thought was, “That’s 2020 in a nutshell,” but I don’t want to get into all that.)

The stories Guran has chosen for this, her eleventh volume in this series (the first ten were published by Prime Books), back up her assessment. These are stories of worlds that you will probably recognize; or, at the very least, be able to relate to on some level. These are stories of ordinary beings trying to persevere under extraordinary circumstances. These are stories of extraordinary beings looking to reshape the world around them. These are stories of what happens when “the normal” is intruded upon, wiped out, rethought….or undone.

A few highlights:

Rebecca Campbell’s “The Fourth Trimester is the Strangest” follows a new mother as she fights through a postpartum horror show. As her sleeplessness and fear ratchets up, so does the fear she and those around her feel for her baby, and for the damage that may come at her suddenly unreliable hands.

Sam J. Miller’s “Shattered Sidewalks of the Human Heart” depicts the surreal encounter between a New York cab driver and a post-King Kong Ann Darrow. The cabbie takes Darrow away from yet another vapid red carpet event, and unexpectedly finds himself privy to her plans to avenge the death of the god-like ape.

“Conversations with the Sea Witch” by Theodora Goss tells of the meeting between a woman who was once a mermaid and an old sea witch. The two get together often to discuss the life-changing decisions they each made in the past, and how things turned out for them in the aftermath.

I’d call “About the O’Dells” my favorite of the collection. Pat Cadigan writes about a young girl who witnesses a murder, and who is (understandably) haunted by what she saw. Years later the killer — or someone the girl strongly believes is the killer — re-emerges, and the girl finds herself collaborating with a revenge-seeking ghost.

Guran has put together a solid collection here, filled with intriguing characters, fresh approaches to old tropes, and sound storytelling. This is definitely a great book to have around when you want something quick and good to read. It’s introduced me to a number of new names that I’ll be seeking out in the future. Recommended.

Review: Ink by Jonathan Maberry

cover of Ink by Jonathan MaberryInk by Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin’s Griffin (November 2020)
464 pages; $13.72 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Jonathan Maberry first caught my eye nearly 15 years ago with Ghost Road Blues, which was both his first novel and the first novel in the Pine Deep Trilogy, which also includes Dead Man’s Song and Bad Moon Rising.  The town of Pine Deep has popped up here and there in his work since the completion of that original trilogy, but with Ink it’s back center-stage.

For those of you who haven’t read the Pine Deep Trilogy yet, don’t worry — Ink  stands on its own. I haven’t re-read those books since their original release, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this book as its own story. However, I highly recommend picking them up — it’s a great trilogy, and reading them will certainly enhance your experience with Ink.

In this new novel, something is targeting citizens of Pine Deep and stealing their most precious possessions — their memories. It’s not just taking these moments from these people, it’s feeding on them, erasing them from existence. For many of the victims, memories are all they have, and losing them is the equivalent of losing their last tenuous grip on life.

I’ve long been in awe of Maberry’s talent. He does not write small books — I’d say 400 pages is about average for him. But his characters are so real, his scenes so vivid, you never feel bogged down. You come out of a Jonathan Maberry book not having read it, but having lived it. It’s the highest compliment I can pay to a writer, and Ink once again earns that accolade for its author.

Reading Ink was, for me, like returning to a place after along absence. It’s a place you once called home, and while lots of things are different now, there’s enough there that’s recognizable to bring those old feelings to the surface. Those feelings — those memories — are just what the monster in this book is feeding on. Losing those moments, those feelings, those memories, is a scary proposition, and Maberry’s work brings that feeling to dreadful life. Highly recommended.

Review: Bone Chase by Weston Ochse

cover of Bone Chase by Weston OchseBone Chase by Weston Ochse
Gallery/Saga Press (December 1, 2020)
336 pages; $26 hardcover; $9.99 paperback
Reviewed by Dave Simms

A hunt for giants? Ties to the Bible? Rival factions that stretch back eons?

This is easily going to be one of the hottest thrillers of the year. Imagine if you will, Dan Brown writing with the pacing of Lee Child with the adventure factor of James Rollins. If that’s not enough to crack open this book, nothing will. Did I mention there are giants?Continue Reading

Interview: Catching Up with Ronald Malfi

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photo of author Ronald Malfi
Ronald Malfi

For me, an avid reader of horror who reads nothing but books in this genre day in and day out, Ronald Malfi is among the legends. He is the award-winning author of several novels, novellas, and two short story collections, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of his work.

My introduction to his storytelling was the collection, We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone. The first story stood up and punched me square between the eyes, making me a fan for life! I highly recommend it. Later, I went on to read December Park (one of my favorite coming-of-age novels with an intense murder-mystery-thriller storyline) and Bone White (a creature-feature with heart, high-stakes, and themes of loneliness/isolation).

I’m excited that I have more Malfi books to look forward to both from his back catalog of fan-favorites and new releases. We talk about those books and more in this interview.
Continue Reading

Review: WYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. Nevill

cover of WYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. NevillWYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. Nevill
Ritual Limited (October 2020)
106 pages; $7.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

In the third collection of horror stories from Adam Nevill, something is missing. The “who” and the “what” and the “why” aspects of the story have been intentionally omitted from the narrative and it’s up to you, the reader, to discover and discern these things for yourselves.

Doesn’t that sound…

Horrifying?

Because it is.Continue Reading

Review: Sadako at the End of the World by Koma Natsumi and Koji Suzuki

cover of Sadako at the End of the WorldSadako at the End of the World by Koma Natsumi and Koji Suzuki
Yen Press (November 17, 2020)
146 pages; $15 paperback, $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Sadako, the vengeful ghost villain from The Ring franchise, gets a new twist to her story in the manga Sadako at the End of the World.

The Ring started out as a 1991 novel written by Koji Suzuki (and is available in America from the publisher Vertical), and that spawned off into more books and then movies. Japan made two movie adaptations and South Korea made one before the franchise made its way to America with a 2002 Hollywood movie adaptation starring Naomi Watts. In America, “Sadako” was changed to “Samara Morgan.” The obsession with Sadako and The Ring franchise continues in Japan, where their most recent movie in the franchise (called Sadako) came out in 2019.Continue Reading

Video Visions: A Very Cannibal Thanksgiving

Black background with spooky lettering that says Hunter Shea Video Visions and the Cemetery Dance logo

Like all things in 2020, Thanksgiving will be a little different this year. Uncle Hank who showers only on quarter moons and is addicted to scratch-off tickets is not welcome in the house. Nor is cousin Amber, she of the chronic rhinitis and inexhaustible lineup of failed relationships. We tell ourselves it’s for everyone safety, but really, aren’t you glad they’re not coming?Continue Reading

Review: Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre

cover for Anton Cancre's poetry collectionMeaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre
Dragon’s Roost Press (October 2020)
114 pages, $9.99 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love, Anton Cancre creates scenes of death and works to capture them in short, poignant poems. Cancre works within various horror tropes but does his best to keep the ideas fresh and visceral for the reader. This is an interesting collection, and while the poetry is inconsistent at times, fans of horror poetry will enjoy perusing it.Continue Reading

END OF THE ROAD by Brian Keene: Brand New Trade Paperback Shipping Soon!

We’re pleased to report that End of the Road by Brian Keene is now being published in an affordble trade paperback edition that will begin shipping in just a few weeks!

End of the Road

Read more or place your order on our website!

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

Review: WYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. Nevill

cover of WYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. NevillWYRD and Other Derelictions by Adam L.G. Nevill
Ritual Limited (October 2020)
106 pages; $7.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Adam Nevill has quietly transformed into one of the top writers in the past decade. His novels, ranging from Apartment 16 to last year’s The Reddening (easily this reviewer’s vote for most frightening novel of the year), have evolved into fiction that’s both accessible and surreal. The Netflix adaptation of The Ritual broke open the floodgates to new audiences everywhere. Hopefully, other films will follow.Continue Reading

Two New Reviews for The Girl Who Builds Monsters!

The reviews for The Girl Who Builds Monsters by Brian James Freeman and Vincent Chong have been really terrific, but we just had to share these two that really sum up how we feel about this book:

“There is so much to love in this new children’s book from Brian James Freeman and Vincent Chong. The illustrations are simple and understated, yet explode on the page. The story is equally simple and understated, yet contains a deep moral about inclusion and acceptance. Put the two together, and the result is a book destined to be named a classic… what a gorgeous hardcover it is — and one sure to retain the durability that will be needed through voluminous readings.”
Mountain Times

“For me, one of the things that makes this an absolutely outstanding book and a choice I would recommend for anyone working with elementary aged children is that it is one of the few picture books out there that depict disability in a positive and respectful way. Too often picture books about disabled people are educational texts describing a child’s disability for abled peers, and in the few fictional picture books, disabled people are rarely depicted as multifaceted individuals with positive characteristics. In fiction in general, disabled people are usually presented stereotypically, as either someone to feel sorry for (like Beth in Little Women), someone inspirational (think Auggie from Wonder), someone with ‘magical’ abilities (Charles Xavier of the X-Men), or a villain. In horror in particular, villainy is frequently signified by disfigurement or masking (some of the classics in horror fiction include the Phantom of the Opera, the Invisible Man, and Dorian Gray).  Brian James Freeman has done a great job at subverting the trope of disability and disfigurement as villainous and monstrous, and celebrating imperfection, and it’s really exciting to see this. Highly recommended for grades K+.”
MonsterLibrarian.com

The Girl Who Builds Monsters

Read more or place your order on our website while supplies last!

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

Interview: Talking Paperbacks (and Pugs) with David Sodergren

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photo of author David Sodergren and his pug dog, Boris
David Sodergren and Boris

I have been a Night Worms customer for two years and on their review team for one. The Night Worms have opened up a new world for me and introduced me to some incredible indie publishers and authors. And somewhere in my travels through the world of indie horror, I found a real talent: David Sodergren.

I have read all of his books: Night Shoot, The Forgotten Island, Dead Girl Blues, and his newest, Maggie’s Grave. What did I think of them, you ask? Well, I gave every single book five stars. His words leap right off the page and take us on cinematic horror adventures. It’s a unique writing style that I can’t get enough of! His stories are always perfectly paced, with plenty of gore, highly addictive, and tremendously fun to read. Gore, violence, graphic, uncomfortable scenes—it’s all there, and whatever your comfort level is, I promise you won’t want to look away until you reach the end.Continue Reading

Malorie by Josh Malerman Signed Limited Edition Hardcover!

We’re pleased to report we will be getting some copies of the Malorie Special Edition by Josh Malerman from Dark Regions Press, but our supply is very limited and these won’t last long given the acclaim for Bird Box!

Bird Box by Josh Malerman was an international sensation reaching the New York Times bestseller list and creating a Netflix film starring Sandra Bullock that was viewed by over 45 million accounts. Now author Josh Malerman is back with a sequel to Bird Box and Dark Regions Press is publishing the special edition! Featuring stunning wraparound cover art by Vincent Chong, 10 interior illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne and a new afterword from the author. Malorie Special Edition has been designed to line up nicely with Bird Box Special Edition, also published by Dark Regions Press.

Cover

Read more or place your order while supplies last!

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

Review: The Witch and the Beast by Kousuke Satake

cover of the witch and the beastThe Witch and the Beast by Kousuke Satake
Kodansha Comics (October 27, 2020)
192 pages; $12.99 paperback, $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

The Witch and the Beast opens with a question: “Do you know how to break a witch’s curse?” It gives two answers: “Method 1: A loving kiss from a prince on a white horse. Method 2: Hope the wrathful witch has a change of heart.”

But the manga is quick to assure us that these methods are nearly impossible to work out.Continue Reading

Election Day Special Offer! Save 44% Off Your Cemetery Dance Order TODAY! No Coupon Needed!

Election Day Special Offer!
Save 44% Off Your Cemetery Dance Order TODAY!
No Coupon Needed!

Hi Folks!

Happy July 4thIn case you haven’t heard, there’s an election in the USA and we are pleased to offer ALL of our customers, anywhere in the world, 44% off your order today!

Even better, you don’t need a coupon code! The website will automatically add the discount when you go to checkout!

There is NO MAXIMUM AMOUNT you can save, which means you can order as much as you would like:

* Cemetery Dance in-stock books including Limited Editions and Lettered Editions
* Cemetery Dance preorders including Limited Editions and Lettered Editions
* Cemetery Dance magazine back issues and Cemetery Dance magazine subscriptions
* slipcases
* other items
* in-stock books from other publishers
* preorders from other publishers

(Sorry, but Gift Certificates, eBooks that are sold on other stores, TeeSpring items, club memberships, and any other items that are excluded on their product page do not qualify for this special offer.)

All you have to do is add qualifying items to your cart and then you can save 44% off your entire order — there is NO MAXIMUM amount you can save, so this is the time to order anything you’ve been waiting to order!

To save 44% off your order, just start shopping and our website will do the rest!

This offer expires at 11:59 PM eastern time on November 3, 2020.

Click here to start shopping before time runs out!

As always, thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm!