Horror Drive-In: Talking About Clay McLeod Chapman’s MOTHER

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cover of What Kind of MotherClay McLeod Chapman writes without a net.

His stories defy easy categorization. The bare bones of the books may sound like typical generic plots, but he always goes in unexpected directions. Chapman doesn’t seek the easy, commercial way to publishing success. Instead he is carefully, skillfully, creating a body of bold, uncompromising fiction unlike anyone else.

The latest book, What Kind of Mother, is perhaps his most audacious to date. On the surface it’s another domestic thriller, perhaps tinged with the supernatural. It is so much more than that.Continue Reading

Review: Fearless by M.W. Craven

cover of FearlessFearless by M.W. Craven
Flatiron Books (July 2023)
416 pages; $28.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

We’ve all seen multiple movies and read multiple books in which the heroes are described as “fearless,” meaning they are able to put aside their self-preservation instincts and do what needs to be done in the face of grave danger.

In M.W. Craven’s thriller Fearless, the scenario is a little different. Ben Koenig is a man who literally cannot feel fear. As cool as that sounds, it’s a condition that often puts Ben — and those around him — in danger.

Koenig is a man on the run, a U.S. Marshal who upset the wrong people and has a sizeable bounty on his head. He’s pulled out of the shadows by an old friend whose daughter has gone missing. Koenig is convinced the woman is already dead, but he agrees to go on the hunt for her…and for those who took her.  The chase leads Koenig down a dangerous, elaborate rabbit hole that involves warring cartels, solar energy, and a passel of angry Russians.

Craven is an award-winning crime writer who has the thriller format down pat. Short chapters (most of them only three pages) and constant forward momentum make this a quick, fun read. There’s not a lot in the way of characterization — Koenig’s backstory gets a good amount of attention, but the supporting cast is barely sketched out — but that’s not the point of a book like Fearless. This is all about the action, and Craven deals it out on nearly every page.

The back of my advance copy screams “Major Streaming News to Come,” and I can see this becoming a really fun piece of episodic content.

Fearless is crammed with shooting, chasing, hand-to-hand combat, scene-chewing villains, tough guys and tough ladies, plot twists and surprising revelations. If that’s your idea of the perfect summer thriller, you won’t be disappointed.

Review: Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates

cover of Dead of WinterDead of Winter by Darcy Coates
Poisoned Pen Press (July 11, 2023) 
352 pages; $14.39 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Darcy Coates upholds her reputation as a deft storyteller with a knack for conjuring atmospheric page-turners in her latest release, Dead of Winter, “an icy homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.” Continue Reading

Review: The Little Book of Satanism by La Carmina

cover of The Little Book of SatanismThe Little Book of Satanism by La Carmina
Ulysses Press (October 2022)
144 pages; $14.95 paperback; $10.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Now for a controversial topic, one that is highly misunderstood. La Carmina, a journalist and television travel host, penned this short, but highly informative and entertaining pocket-sized book about the history and culture of the religion.Continue Reading

Horror/Western Hybrid THE SIXTH GUN Rides Again

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There is a lot of stuff going on with Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s comic series The Sixth Gun, including a Kickstarter for deluxe hardcover omnibus editions. This is the longest running creator-owned series released by Oni Press, and it mixes horror, fantasy and Westerns into a unique and popular story form. Both Bunn and Hurtt spoke to Cemetery Dance about their Kickstarter campaign, their upcoming Sixth Gun comics, and what it is they like about writing and drawing in the horror genre.Continue Reading

Night Time Logic with Kathe Koja

Night Time Logic with Daniel Braum

“Velocity. The Nature of Ghosts. Life. Existence and Extremities.”

portrait of Kathe Koja by Rick Lieder
Kathe Koja
(Portrait by Rick Lieder)

Night Time Logic is the part of a story that is felt but not consciously processed. 

This column explores Night Time Logic and other aspects of horror and dark fiction through conversation with authors ranging from favorites and award winners to underexposed talents and new comers. 

I delight in exploring the strange, weird and uncanny in fiction particularly the kind of story one might call “Aickman-esqe.” My short story collection is titled The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales in homage to Robert Aickman’s strange tales. The new Cemetery Dance Publications trade paperback edition of the book can be found here. Included are all-new story notes discussing strange tales and an essay exploring one of Aickman’s own.

In my previous column I spoke with Matthew Cheney about strange tales, Robert Aickman, and more. In today’s column Kathe Koja and I speak about ghosts. Life. Existence. Her short story collection Velocities, and more. We begin with a road trip.Continue Reading

Review: The Sibyl by Hamant Singh

cover of The SibylThe Sibyl by Hamant Singh
Partridge Publishing (December 2022)
102 pages; $27.99 hardcover; $8.03 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Hamant Singh is a Singaporean writer who is influenced by horror, different cultures and the occult. He currently resides in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico where he enjoys gardening, reading and making music. He is currently working on a second book featuring more international writers. In 2022, he completed his first collection of poems entitled The SibylContinue Reading

Review: Horrific Punctuation by John Reinhart

cover of Horrific Punctuation by John ReinhartHorrific Punctuation by John Reinhart
Arson Press (July 2021)
34 pages; paperback $3.99; $0.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

An arsonist by trade, John Reinhart lives in Maine. He is a Pushcart, Elgin, Rhysling, and Dwarf Stars Award nominee, and has had over 500 poems published internationally in print and on the internet. He was the 2016 Horror Writers Association Dark Poetry Scholarship recipient. His newest collection is Horrific Punctuation.Continue Reading

Eric Palicki Returns to Black’s Myth with The Key to His Heart

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Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart, a new punk rock horror comic from writer Eric Palicki and artist Wendell Cavalcanti, is debuting this month from AHOY Comics. It stars a werewolf PI and a djinn assistant working in Los Angeles’ supernatural underground, and Palicki spoke to Cemetery Dance about its connection with Black’s Myth, his influences, and where people can find out more about his various comics. 

Continue Reading

Review: Constellations of Ruin by Andrew S. Fuller

cover of constellations of ruinConstellations of Ruin by Andrew S. Fuller
Trepedatio (April 2023)
246 pages; $18.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Andrew S. Fuller is a fiction author who grew up climbing trees and reading books, later dabbling in archery, theater, and heavy metal. He once stared at the waters of Loch Ness for nearly twelve full minutes, but his family made him leave early. His fiction appears in magazines, anthologies, and a few short films. His screenplay Effulgence won the Deep One Best Screenwriter Award at the 2009 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival. He has served as Editor of Three-Lobed Burning Eye magazine since 1999. His debut short fiction collection, Constellations of Ruin, is a solid debut collection with over 20 stories of weird, speculative horror. Continue Reading

Dark Pathways: When Nature is the Monster

Dark Pathways

cover of The Hollow KindThe first thing that stands out about Andy Davidson’s The Hollow Kind is the exceptional writing. It’s as if Henry Thoreau went out into the woods, was captured by demonic trees whose roots bit into his flesh, and then wrote about the experience. What I’m trying to get at here is that Davidson’s great novel is freaking scary. Imagine something like Poltergeist, only it takes place on a Georgia estate and there’s something evil lurking underground that demands blood sacrifices. Oh, and there’s also a creepy guy who actually wants to live on the property.Continue Reading

Review: Graveyard of Lost Children by Katrina Monroe

copy of Graveyard of Lost ChildrenGraveyard of Lost Children by Katrina Monroe
Poisoned Pen Press (May 2023)
368 pages; $15.17 paperback; e-book $6.49
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Katrina Monroe has done it again.

Much like in her debut, They Drown Our Daughters, Monroe’s latest release, a modernized and stylish gothic grim, Graveyard of Lost Children doesn’t just scare. It lurks, prods, then manifests into a hellish dreamscape where reality bends and breaks. And it all starts with the skull-splitting cry of life of a baby.Continue Reading

Review: The Ferryman by Justin Cronin

cover of The FerrymanThe Ferryman by Justin Cronin
Ballantine Books (May 2023)
560 pages; $20.99 paperback; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

For those familiar with Justin Cronin’s previous works, particularly The Passage and City of Mirrors, it’s readily apparent that nothing is straightforward. The author loves to create labyrinthine plots with characters more layered than a Greek maze. The Ferryman doesn’t disappoint. It might just be his best work yet. It’s nearly impossible to describe. Part thriller, part science fiction, part dystopia, and elements of mystery and horror sprinkled in will keep readers’ minds churning to figure out the endgame.Continue Reading

Dead Trees: Crucifax Autumn

banner reading Dead Trees by Mark Sieber

It’s in vogue for horror novels to take place in the 1980s. Fans rightly revere it as the Golden Age of the genre, both for film and fiction. The genre has a long history, but the building blocks of modern horror were laid in the eighties.

Naturally I am fond of the trend. I was an unabashed fan then as I am now. However I am all-too-often disappointed in current horror fiction set in the ’80s.Continue Reading

James Aquilone Kickstarts Some DEAD DETECTIVES

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There are many detectives in fiction, but how many of them are also dead? James Aquilone, the same man behind Shakespeare Unleashed and Kolchak: The Night Stalker 50th Anniversary Graphic Novel, has launched a Kickstarter for Dead Detectives Society, a pulpy new anthology about undead gumshoes.Continue Reading