Review: 'Paper Tigers' by Damien Angelica Walters

Paper-Tigers-Hi-ResPaper Tigers by Damien Angelica Walters
Dark House Press (February 29, 2016)
286 pages; $10.63 paperback
Reviewed by Jonathan Reitan

In a horribly tragic apartment fire, Allison is left disfigured and emotionally haunted by the inner ghosts of pain the trauma has caused. Her disfigurement is so overpowering, Allison confines herself to her home to escape the constant stares and whispers from the outside world. A nagging mother and routine visits with a therapist are her only connections to reality.

In her own personal confinement, Allison finds solace in collecting old photo albums and forgotten photos from sales and thrift stores. It’s through these photos of other people’s families and other people’s memories that Allison escapes. She transforms herself into their memories, their past…while leaving her sorrowful and somber self in another plane.Continue Reading

Review: 'Ritualistic Human Sacrifice' by C.V. Hunt

ritualisticRitualistic Human Sacrifice by C.V. Hunt
Grindhouse Press (October 2015)
200 pages; $12.95 paperback; ebook $3.99
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

So, there’s this guy. Nick Graves. Nick is a bit of a jerk. He hates his wife, but when her surprise pregnancy derails his plan to divorce her, he decides to move them both far from friends, family and anything they know. That’ll show her. Too bad he didn’t look into the neighbors a bit closer as everyone he meets seems to act very strange and they have their own plans for him.

Let’s be straight here: this is not a book for most of you.Continue Reading

Review: 'This Year's Class Picture' by Dan Simmons

This_Years_Class_Picture_by_Dan_SimmonsThis Year’s Class Picture by Dan Simmons
Subterranean Press (March 2016)
54 pages; $20 hardcover; $50 signed, numbered limited edition
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The limited edition hardcover treatment for a short story might seem like overkill, but some pieces deserve to be highlighted on their own. Such is the case with This Year’s Class Picture, a classic zombie tale by Dan Simmons that first appeared nearly 25 years ago in John Skipp and Craig Spector’s stellar anthology Still Dead: Book of the Dead 2.

Ms. Geiss is dealing with the aftermath of the zombie uprising as best she can – staying vigilant, fortifying her sanctuary, keeping a watchful eye out at all times. She’s also trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, albeit through some rather extreme measures. Ms. Geiss was a fourth grade teacher in another life and another world; a dedicated educator who chose the school she taught in for years as her safe place during the end of the world; a woman who now maintains and attempts to teach a small class of undead children in her former classroom.Continue Reading

Review: 'American Nocturne' by Hank Schwaeble

AmericanAmerican Nocturne by Hank Schwaeble
Cohesion Press (January 2016)
287 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

There are so many talented writers working in the fields of horror and speculative fiction that I’m constantly discovering authors I’ve not read before who immediately leave me wanting to read more of their work. Case in point: Hank Schwaeble. Prior to being sent a copy of this new collection from Cohesion Press, I’d never even heard of him. Maybe I just need to get out more or stay in and read more.

Jonathan Maberry, an author I have read and greatly respect, has penned an excellent introduction to Hank Schwaeble in general and specifically to American Nocturne. In essence, he says Hank is the real deal, and that’s good enough for me.Continue Reading

Review: 'Hell's Bounty' by Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale

Hells_Bounty_by_Joe_R_Lansdale_and_John_L_LansdaleHell’s Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale
Subterranean Press (February 2016)
190 pages; $40 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I don’t know how the Lansdale brothers divvied up the writing duties on Hell’s Bounty, and, truth be told, it doesn’t matter. Storytelling runs deep in the Lansdale family, and Joe and John’s new novel is a seamless powder keg of a collaboration, packed tight with wild, weird western fun.

Something has emerged from an old mine shaft near the town of Falling Rock. Moving about as it does on bat wings, leaving a whiff of sulfur in its wake, chances are it’s nothing good. Typical for Falling Rock, which seems to attract bad things – and bad people. Take Trumbo Quill for example, a man bad enough to shoot another man dead just for accidentally sitting on his hat. Or Smith, a newly-arrived bounty hunter whose explosive confrontation with Quill lands him, literally, in Hell.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools' by Nick Mamatas

LastThe Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools by Nick Mamatas
Night Shade Books (January 2016)
252 pages; $33 hardcover; $12.22 paperback; $9,99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Despite having the word “Zombies” in the title, this novel is far from your typical zombie fare. If you’re looking for a brain munching gore-fest, you may want to look elsewhere.

On the other hand, if you’re familiar with the Billy Wilder directed film-noir, The Lost Weekend,  based on Charles R. Jackson’s 1944 novel of the same name about an alcoholic writer, then you’re in for a real treat.Continue Reading

Review: 'Dust of the Dead' by John Palisano

dustofdeadDust of the Dead by John Palisano
Samhain Publishing (June 2015)
216 pages; $14 paperback; ebook $5.49
Reviewed by Jonathan Reitan

Oh God, another zombie book? Wait, before you jump to conclusions, sit a spell and give Dust of the Dead by first-time novelist John Palisano a chance, for what he offers is a fresh look at the zombie mythos.

The zombie apocalypse came, and then life returned to normal. Late night TV talk shows were back on the air, iPhones were re-charged, people returned to work, and life resumed, but not entirely as it once was. Zombies still existed but were contained and were few and far between.Continue Reading

Review: 'Death Do Us Part' by JG Faherty

deathDeath Do Us Part by JG Faherty
Samhain Publishing (January 2016)
76 pages; $2.66 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

A marriage that’s falling apart, an apparent suicide, and a haunting that turns out to be so much more. Death Do Us Part by JG Faherty is a thrill ride from start to finish. A complex tale of the lengths one will go to for love and what the dead will do for revenge. This is one of those stories that just reaches out from the pages, grabs you by the collar, and shakes and shakes until you collapse from exhaustion.Continue Reading

Review: 'Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast' by Jonathan Winn

eidolonEidolon Avenue: The First Feast by Jonathan Winn
Crystal Lake Publishing (January 2016)
212 pages; $12.99 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

2016 is only a few weeks old and already it’s showing signs of being a banner year for horror.

Whether you’re snowbound or it’s too cold to venture outside or you’re just looking for a great read, Eidolon Avenue: The First Feast will keep you warm and entertained for hours.

From the description of the book on the publisher’s website:

One building. Five floors. Five doors per floor. Twenty-five nightmares feeding the hunger lurking between the bricks and waiting beneath the boards. 

If that’s not enough to drag you kicking and screaming through the front door, let me introduce you to the tenants on the first floor.Continue Reading

Review: 'Familiar Spirits' edited by Donald J. Bingle

familiarspiritsFamiliar Spirits edited by Donald J. Bingle
Orphyte, Inc. (September 2015)
131 pages; $14.99 paperback/$4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I grew up with ghost stories, passed down from my mother while sitting around a fire or simply hanging out and chatting after watching the X-files or Tales from the Darkside. I am sure that’s why I feel such a comfy, cozy connection to them. Admittedly, I warmed up quite a bit when I saw this anthology arrive in the mail.

Right off the bat, Sarah Hans kicks the door off the hinges with “The Cold Earth,” making it clear that this won’t be a simple collection of traditional drafty-old-mansion tales. We are placed square in the POV of our dear departed, a poor girl murdered by her ne’er do well husband, but it doesn’t devolve into the simplistic revenge story it so easily could have. Instead, we are shown a victim working to stop the cycle of violence and predation of the past, instead of simply exacting revenge for it.Continue Reading

Review: 'Flowers In a Dumpster' by Mark Allan Gunnells

FlowersFlowers In a Dumpster by Mark Allan Gunnells
Crystal Lake Publications (November 2015)
314 pages; $13.99 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I’ve found myself reading more and more anthologies and collections these days. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy story-telling in the long form, but there’s something about anthologies that allow you to get to know a lot of new authors quickly, and then there are the collections for a single author which permit a more in-depth look into what makes a particular author tick.

Prior to reading Flowers In a Dumpster, I had not read anything by Mark Allan Gunnells. Now that I’ve gotten to know his work, I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning for more.Continue Reading

Review: 'Prince of Nightmares' by John McNee

PrincePrince of Nightmares by John McNee
Blood Bound Books (January 2016)
189 pages; $11.99 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Prince of Nightmares begins with a Traditional German charm against nightmares…

I lay me here to sleep;
No night-mare shall plague me,
Until they swim all the waters
That flow upon the earth,
And count all the stars
That appear in the firmament.
Thus help me God Father, Son, and Holy host.  Amen.

Continue Reading

Review: 'Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series' by Alyse Wax

Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series by Alyse Wax
Curious-Goods-Behind-the-Scenes-of-Friday-the-13th-The-Series-951x1427BearManor Media (October 2015)
490 pages; $36.95 hardcover/$26.95 paperback/$9.95 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand 

Alyse Wax first encountered Friday the 13th: The Series at the age of nine. It was an episode called “Stick it in Your Ear,” a tale about a haunted hearing aid from the show’s third and final season, and Wax was hooked. Her interest blossomed into an obsession that led to an Internet fan club, a fanzine, and, finally, this book.

Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series is Wax’s massive guide to Paramount’s short-lived attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Friday the 13th film series. Muuch more than just an episode guide, this book is a comprehensive account of the difficulties faced when trying to produce good entertainment under difficult circumstances.Continue Reading

Review: 'I Will Rot Without You' by Danger Slater

rotwithoutyouI Will Rot Without You by Danger Slater
Fungasm Press (February 8, 2016)
143 pages
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I Will Rot Without You is not a book I would have sought out on my own. I’ve never read anything by the author, other than some of the reviews he’s written on Goodreads. I’ve never read anything from the small press responsible for its publication, although I have read a number of short stories from John Skipp, the owner of Fungasm Press.

I Will Rot Without You was sent to Cemetery Dance for review and when I saw it on the list of books offered this month, I recognized the name from Goodreads and thought this might be interesting. I love it when I’m right.Continue Reading

Review: 'Dark City: A Novella Collection' by Brian Hodge and Gerard Houarner

darkcityDark City: A Novella Collection by Brian Hodge and Gerard Houarner
Necro Publications (August 2015)
240 pages; $11.95 paperback/$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Dark City is a collection of three novellas with varying takes on the apocalypse and the times following such a catastrophic event. The book features one longer piece from Brian Hodge and a couple of smaller novellas by Gerard Houarner.Continue Reading