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

Review: 'The Strange Crimes of Little Africa' by Chesya Burke

Strange-Case-or-Little-AfricaThe Strange Crimes of Little Africa by Chesya Burke
Rothco Press (December 2015)
201 pages; $17.99 paperback/$2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I’ve been a fan of Chesya Burke’s short stories for years. “The Unremembered” from the Dark Faith anthology floored me, and her collection Let’s Play White is pure fire. Given that, I was extremely excited when she decided to write a novel, but The Strange Crimes of Little Africa had some fairly big boots to step into.

Ostensibly, Strange Crimes is a mystery. Anthropology student Jaz Idawell’s cousin is arrested for the murder of her uncle several years before, but she knows he didn’t do it. With the help of the one and only Zora Neal Hurston, she is determined to find the truth, no matter what it costs her. Of course, like all of the best mysteries, the case isn’t really the point. Jaz’s search becomes a search for her own identity and her own history.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Children's Home' by Charles Lambert

childrenshomeThe Children’s Home by Charles Lambert
Scribner (January 5, 2016)
224 pages; $24 hardcover/$11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Jonathan Reitan

Writer Charles Lambert’s name may not be immediately recognizable by horror aficionados, but in early 2016 the genre will get his first sampling, and it’s a name you won’t soon forget.

Lambert’s previous releases have included a memoir, an award-winning short story collection and psychological thriller novels. In the British author’s latest, The Children’s Home, Lambert offers us a delightful work of parts dark fairy tale and literary horror. Continue Reading

Review: 'Sour Candy' by Kealan Patrick Burke

SourCandySour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke
Published by Author (November 2015)
67 pages; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

We’ve all been there: standing in the aisle of a store, trying to hurry up and get the stuff on your list so you can get done and get out. There’s a hundred other places you’d rather be, and you’re already annoyed because it was hard to find a parking place and you can barely get down the aisle because there’s so many people there, many of whom apparently came for the sole purpose of standing in your way and chit-chatting with the neighbor or friend they happened to run into.

And then, the screaming starts.Continue Reading

Review: 'Christmas Horror Volume 1' edited by Chris Morey

ChristmasChristmas Horror Volume 1 edited by Chris Morey
Dark Regions Press (November 2015)
134 pages; $15.00 paperback/$5.00 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

‘Tis the season…for horror? You betcha. Why should Halloween have all the fun? Editor Chris Morey and the team at Dark Regions Press put together an Indiegogo campaign earlier this year and the result is Christmas Horror Volume 1, a wonderfully enjoyable collection of horror stories for this horror fan’s second favorite holiday, right behind Halloween.Continue Reading