Review: 'A Head Full of Ghosts' by Paul Tremblay

HeadFullGhostsCoverA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (June 2015)
304 pages; $14.58 paperback/$12.99 ebook
Reviewed by Michael Wilson

Paul Tremblay’s fiction has been gracing bookstores and bookshelves for well over a decade. No stranger to horror, Paul’s picked up three Stoker Award nominations – including First Novel for The Little Sleep – and has been on the Board of Directors for the Shirley Jackson Award since it was founded in 2007. In spite of all his accolades, A Head Full of Ghosts has put him on the horror map more than anything he’s released or achieved previously. It’s the horror novel of 2015 that everyone’s talking about. Even Stephen King took to Twitter to give his approval, declaring, “A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay: Scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare.” But is such unadulterated admiration really warranted or are we dealing with over-hyped and under-delivered horror art? Continue Reading

Review: 'The Girl in the Maze' by R.K. Jackson

GirlMazeThe Girl in the Maze by R. K. Jackson
Alilbi: A Division of Random House (September 2015)
292 pages; $2.99 ebook
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

The Girl In the Maze is a genre-crushing story that’s part mystery, part thriller, with elements of horror. The result is a terribly entertaining novel about Martha Covington, a schizophrenic, who with treatment is making her way back into the workplace.Continue Reading

Review: 'Where We Live and Die' by Brian Keene

WhereWhere We Live and Die by Brian Keene
Lazy Fascist Press (August 2015)
162 pages; $12.95 paperback/$5.95 ebook
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

If you’ve ever read anything by Brian Keene, then you’ve read something
about Brian Keene. I say this because the man doesn’t just pour himself
into his work; he tears pieces of himself away and fuses them into his
fiction. Check out his podcast and look for the “Secret Origins” episodes, and you’ll see what I mean.

Or, read his new collection from Lazy Fascist Press, Where We Live and Die.Continue Reading

Review: 'Mr. Suicide' by Nicole Cushing

MrSMr. Suicide by Nicole Cushing
Word Horde Publishing (July 2015)
228 pages; $14.99 paperback/$4.99 ebook
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Nicole Cushing is a Shirley Jackson Award finalist who’s written a number of stand-alone novellas and dozens of short stories. Nicole has been referred to as the literary equivalent of the love child between Jack Ketchum and Poppy Z. Bright. Raised in rural Maryland and now living in southern Indiana, Nicole counts master storyteller Edgar Allen Poe as having had a big influence on her as a writer.

In recent weeks, I’d noticed a bit of a buzz about her debut novel and knew I had to check it out. I’m so glad I did. When I opened the book I right away noticed some very positive blurbs from authors I respect a great deal, including Ray Garton and the aforementioned Jack Ketchum.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Devil in the Clock' by Harry Shannon

The Devil In the Clock by Harry Shannon
CreateSpace (May 2015)
236 pages, paperback $11.99, ebook $3.29
Reviewed by W.D. Gagliani

DevilClockBack when I reviewed Memorial Day, Harry Shannon’s first Mick Callahan novel, I called it “a completely winning, engaging first mystery.” Further, I wrote: “Mick Callahan is no detective or cop. He’s no private dick. No, he’s a disgraced and defrocked television therapist – not your usual tough guy! Think a slicker, more photogenic Dr. Phil. But Shannon wisely hedges his bets and makes Callahan a washed-out Navy SEAL and one time kid boxer – enough pedigree for him to get into fights most of us would eagerly avoid.”Continue Reading

Review: 'Check-Out Time' by Mark Rigney

Check-Out Time by Mark Rigney
Samhain Publishing (October 2014)
229 pages; $12.32 paperback/$4.99 ebook
Reviewed by Damon Smith

check-out-timeCheck-Out Time is actually the fourth book in Mark Rigney’s “Renner & Quist” series, but outside of a few nods in the early part of the novel, knowledge of the prior books in the series are not necessary for you to enjoy this new entry.

While the book has a bit of trouble reaching its stride in its early pages, once it does, it truly becomes something unique, often showing a very refreshing take on what could be a run-of-the-mill ghost story in the hands of another writer. Continue Reading

Review: 'Red Equinox' by Douglas Wynne

Red Equinox by Douglas Wynne
JournalStone (January 2015)
278 pages; $17.95 paperback/$5.39 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

RedEquinoxRed Equinox places us in the shoes of Becca, an urban explorer whose Gramma was deep into cultish lore and who stumbles onto something far too real and far too sinister for her to believe. Soon, she finds herself caught between a cult that wants to bring the Elder Gods to bear on us all and a secret government agency that is definitely not the B.P.R.D. Dimensional walls are breached, horrific and barely describable monsters are summoned and it looks like the world may end.Continue Reading

Review: 'Eulogies III' edited by Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta and Tony Tremblay

Eulogies III edited by Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta and Tony Tremblay
HW Press (May 2015)
264 pages; paperback $12.99; ebook $4.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

EulogiesIIIFirst there was Eulogies: A Horror World Yearbook 2005, then, two years ago, HW Press gave us Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar, and now comes Eulogies III from editors Christopher Jones, Nanci Kalanta and Tony Tremblay.

The effort here is to shy away from the common tropes used in horror. There are no zombies, no vampires or werewolves, in this new anthology, just a wide variety of stories to make you think and perhaps to haunt your dreams.Continue Reading

Review: 'Andersonville' by Edward M. Erdelac

Andersonville by Edward M. Erdelac
Hydra Press (August 2015)
340 pages; ebook $5.12
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

AndersonvilleEdward M. Erdelac is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the author of six novels (including the weird western series Merkbah Rider) and several short stories. He is also an independent filmmaker, an award-winning screenwriter, and sometimes Star Wars contributor. Born in Indiana, educated in Chicago, he resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife, children, and cats.

In Andersonville, Erdelac has taken the story of the Civil War’s most infamous prison camp and added a supernatural storyline that threatens to change the course of the war. Continue Reading

Review: 'Expiration Date' edited by Nancy Kilpatrick

Expiration Date edited by Nancy Kilpatrick
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing (April 2015)
288 pages; paperback $11.93; ebook $5.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

ExpirationDateNancy Kilpatrick is a writer and editor. She has published 18 novels, 1 non-fiction book, over 200 short stories, 5 collections of stories, and has edited 12 anthologies.

Her latest is Expiration Date, an anthology of brilliant stories that examine all sorts of expirations, but mainly the ones that are personal, because those are the demises that matter most to us. The collection of stories is broken into 3 parts; Negotiating Oblivion (trying to reason with death); Resisting Extinction (trying to avoid death); and Best Before/Best After (a group of stories tied to death).Continue Reading

Review: 'Tortures of the Damned' by Hunter Shea

Tortures of the Damned by Hunter Shea
Pinnacle Books (July 2015)
439 pages, paperback $6.02, ebook $5.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

TorturesHunter Shea lives in New York with his family and one vindictive cat. Aside from writing horror he’s been involved in real life exploration of the paranormal, he interviews exorcists, and has been involved in other things that would keep normal people up at night.

Tortures of the Damned manages to avoid many of the clichés found in the typical apocalyptic horror novel and the result is a terrifying read that left me wanting more. Continue Reading

Review: 'Spore' by Tamara Jones

Spore by Tamara Jones
Samhain Publishing (June 2015)
266 pages, e-book $4.24, paperback $15.99
Reviewed by Frank Michael Errington

SporeThe author started her academic career as a science geek, earned a degree in art, and, when she’s not making quilts or herding cats, writes tense thrillers as Tamara Jones and the award-winning Dubric Byerly Mysteries series (Bantam Spectra), as Tamara Siler Jones. Despite the violent nature of her work, Tam’s easygoing and friendly. Not sick or twisted at all. Honest.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven' edited by Ellen Datlow

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven edited by Ellen Datlow
Night Shade Books (August 18, 2015)
416 pages; $7.64 paperback/$7.26 ebook
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

BestHorror7The Best Horror of the Year Volume 7, edited by the amazing Ellen Datlow, brings together twenty-two diverse authors in a collection that features a little bit of everything the horror genre has to offer. It truly does have something for everyone. Ellen has been at this for a long time. An editor of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for more than 30 years and has more than 50 anthologies to her credit.Continue Reading

Review: 'King of the Bastards' by Brian Keene and Steven Shrewsbury

King of the Bastards by Brian Keene and Steven Shrewsbury
Apex Book Company (July 2015)
182 pages, e-book $6.99, paperback $15.95
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00021]Brian Keene, a name synonymous with horror, and Steven Shrewsbury, best known for his work in the sword-and-sorcery genre, have combined their considerable talents and given us King of the Bastards. Told as a story to a small group of children, it was to be about their grandfather, the king…

“Was grandfather king of the entire old world?”

“No, he ruled but a small part of it. But he was known, feared, and lusted after throughout the entire old world. Kings, women, brigands, and bards—all knew his name. It is KING OF THE BASTARDS.”Continue Reading

Review: 'The Hunt' by Tim Lebbon

The Hunt by Tim Lebbon
Avon (July 2015)
400 pages, paperback $6.68
Reviewed by David Simms

HuntThe transition from writing horror to thrillers sounds like it should be an easy move, yet very few authors have mastered the art of actually “thrilling” the reader from the first page to the last without letting up. Tim Lebbon pretty much pulled off the task in his first attempt in a definite departure from horror and fantasy. That might be due in part to Lebbon’s training in endurance sports, entering triathlons, Iron Man, and Outlaw competitions. The man knows how to sustain pace and suspense.Continue Reading