This is a possession story with a twist. A few friends gather together to channel their inner witch vibes and unintentionally conjure up an ancient goddess. This sudden presence in the friend group causes some concern among the girls and their parents. A priest is summoned which only manages to make the situation worse and more dangerous.
John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6 offers up thirteen tales of terror in a solid graphic novel horror anthology. It’s the type of graphic novel many people would enjoy curling up with at Halloween time. Or, if you’re a Cemetery Dance reader, it’s the type of graphic novel you could enjoy curling up with any time of the year.
The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu
Tachyon Publications (June 15, 2021)
239 pages; Paperback $16.95; Digital $9.99
Reviewed by Chris Hallock
The boundless creative energy of prolific author Marjorie Liu flows through The Tangleroot Palace, a collection of seven genre-defying tales set in worlds both strange and familiar. This eclectic anthology contains work selected from various points in Liu’s career, displaying astounding growth and versatility along that trajectory. Evidenced is Liu’s knack for cultivating deep intimacy within grandiose dark fantasy — exemplified in her romantic urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss and Eisner award-winning comic series Monstress — where demon-hunters, shapeshifters, and superheroes grapple with issues of identity, sexuality, race, and acceptance, while engaged in spectacular battles. As expected, Liu’s flair for world-building is on full display, as well as her penchant for representing diverse voices, embodied in the powerful women and people of color who inhabit her fantastic realms.
Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred
Diode Editions (June 15, 2021)
82 pages; $18.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Sally Rosen Kindred is a well-known poet and teacher. She has multiple chapbooks and full-length collections published. She has also been the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council. Her upcoming collection, Where the Wolf, was the winner of the Diode Editions Book Prize.
Possessed by Peter Laws
Alison and Busby (July 2020)
330 pages; $4.57 paperback; $4.34 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
I first encountered Peter Laws in his nonfiction book The Frighteners: A Journey Through Our Cultural Fascination With the Macabre. I stumbled over it quite by accident on Amazon, looking for who knows what, and of course by Reverend Peter Laws caught my eye. An ordained minister writing a nonfiction book about how it’s totally normal to love the dark and the weird? Sign me up.
Dark Across the Bay by Ania Ahlborn
Earthling Publications (2021)
$50 limited edition (Sold Out)
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Readers are given an unexpected treat by the sterling Earthling Publications with this novel by a rising star, Ania Ahlborn (yes, she’s been around for awhile — her Seed and The Bird Eater cemented her place in the world of horror and thrillers).
Typically, Earthling chooses a supernatural route, yet with Dark Across the Bay, readers are given a straight-up suspense thriller reminiscent of classic Alfred Hitchcock or Rod Serling. Cape Fear is mentioned as a comparison, yet I believe that it’s a bit unfair to this book. Ahlborn has created a entrancing tale that even takes on a shade of Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, and not because it takes place on an island off the coast of Maine.
In Spain, some police officers find a mountain of grotesque bodies that no longer look quite human. One man, a Korean archeologist named Teze Yoo, is there to burn the bodies. He’s taken into police headquarters for questioning, where he tells police they must evacuate the area, because it’s a virus that attacked all those people, and then he starts talking about the world’s first murder. He asks the police if they’ve ever heard of the neuri, because all this began with them. Some sort of human-turned-beast attacks the police department and Teze walks off into the night.
Transmutation by Alex DiFrancesco
Seven Stories Press (June 8, 2021)
140 pages; $16.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre phenom who is taking the literary world by storm. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was the first finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards by a transgender author. DiFrancesco is the human companion of a rescue Westie named Roxy Music, Dog of Doom. Their newest book is a collection of short stories titled Transmutation, and it is a necessity for any fan of horror literature.
The Golem & the Nazi by Anna Cates
Red Moon Press (2020)
118 pages, $15 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Haibun is an interesting form. From 17th-century Japan, the term was first used by haiku poet Basho to describe a hybrid writing style of terse prose accompanied by haiku. In her book The Golem & the Nazi, Anna Cates uses a Western version of this form to weave a very dark and fantastic spell for her readers.
Necronomicon: A Manual of Corpse Eating by Martin Llewellyn
Biting Dog Press (December 2019)
42 pages; Limited Edition (35 copies)
Reviewed by Rick Hipson
Welcome to a grotesque and fascinating journey into the historical depths of the Book of the Dead and its curator, the mad alchemist, Abdullah Alhazred. Martin Llewellyn, who provides translations from Alhazred’s ancient texts, proclaims he obtained the pages in error when they fell from another book he had requested from the Rare Books and Music in the British Library. Knowing he shouldn’t scour the third century torn, scorched and barely illegible texts, how could he resist? His translations now remain for your eyes only. Or, at least for those lucky enough to own one of only thirty-five copies produced.
Daphne Byrne by Laura Marks, Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen
DC Comics (November 2020)
160 pages; $24.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Danica Davidson
14-year-old Daphne Byrne lives in a world where she doesn’t belong. Her father was the only person who understood her, but he died in a disgraceful way, a way that gives gossips plenty to talk about. This is 1886 in New York, and Daphne’s morbid, literate, precocious personality doesn’t fit well in a time and place where women are expected to be docile and obedient. The other girls at school all make fun of her, so she doesn’t fit in anywhere.
Lori suffers from stress-induced migraines. She is enjoying a pain-free day shopping for groceries when she is approached by a woman crowding her personal space. Lori notices the woman has peculiar eyes… a slit instead of a round pupil.
“Confess and atone-or suffer.”
Max Booth III is carving a niche out for himself as the king of premises that should not, in any way whatsoever, work. Yet, somehow, he does it. Every frickin’ time. Even with that anthology that every editor on the planet curses him for. I’ll be damned if he doesn’t pull it off again with We Need to Do Something.
Haley Newlin’s Take Your Turn, Teddy is a dark, psychological horror story exploring the manifestations of early childhood trauma. Newlin uses themes of domestic violence, anxiety, and isolation to create a provocative landscape, The Shadow, for her characters to encounter and battle. A disturbing glimpse of how a broken spirit can unleash powerful demons of the soul. Absolutely captivating, I couldn’t put it down.
A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng
Raw Dog Screaming Press (April 2020)
169 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Christina Sng’s collection A Collection of Nightmares won the Bram Stoker award for best poetry collection in 2017. Her follow-up book, A Collection of Dreamscapes, has all the promise of her previous successes. It’s already been listed as one of Reading Vicariously’s Must-Reads from 2020, Tor Nightlife’s Ten Best Horror Poetry Collections of 2020, and Well Read Beard’s Top Five 2020 Poetry Collections, as well as being short listed for the 2021 Stoker Award. Reading the collection, it is obvious why it is receiving so many accolades. It’s a very strong collection of mythic horror poetry that readers will enjoy.