Review: Hannah and Other Stories by Rami Ungar

cover of Hannah and Other StoriesHannah and Other Stories by Rami Ungar
BSC Publishing (September 23, 2023)
120 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Rami Ungar is a horror and dark fiction novelist who resides in Columbus, Ohio. He has self-published two books (The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones and Snake), and has traditionally published two novels (Rose and The Pure World Comes). In addition, he has had several short stories and novelettes published, including “Blood & Paper Skin” in The Dark Sire and “Cressida” in the anthology Into the Deep. Rami is an Affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and the Coordinator for the Ohio HWA. His newest collection is Hannah and Other Stories.Continue Reading

Review: Midas by Tyler Jones

cover of Midas by Tyler JonesMidas by Tyler Jones
Earthling Publications (October 2023)
$60 hardcover
Reviewed by Dave Simms

It’s about that time of year again for the Earthling Halloween book series to wow horror readers. This year’s offering from Earthling Publications and Paul Miller keeps the streak alive with the eighteenth straight winner, this time from Tyler Jones, author of Burn the Plans, another fine read. This entry scrapes the bottom of the human soul and how far one is willing to go for the ones they love, even if it means losing the riches that build the foundation of who that individual is and how deep their conviction runs. Some might find a comparison to Pet Sematery or “The Monkey’s Paw” — yet this cautionary tale breaks off from the comparisons due to Tyler’s strong talent and grasp of natural storytelling.Continue Reading

Review: Schrader’s Chord by Scott Leeds

cover of Schrader's ChordSchrader’s Chord by Scott Leeds
Tor Nightfire (September 5, 2023)
448 pages; $28.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Horror novels revolving around music almost never fails to excite. Two primal entities tap into humanity’s inner core, often bypassing most emotional defenses, leaving the reader or listener bare to the effects of the intended message. When combining both, the effect can be powerful.

The publisher touts this novels as a combination between Heart-Shaped Box and The Haunting of Hill House. It definitely hold elements of each, but Schrader’s Chord is its own beast and should be enjoyed as its own creation. To this reviewer’s ears, this novel is the literary equivalent of a great rock album.Continue Reading

Bev Vincent explores Holly by Stephen King

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

“No one will believe it really happened”

Stephen King doesn’t hide the identity of the murderers at the center of Holly Gibney’s latest case in the novel that bears her name. In 2012, Emily and Rodney Harris, professors emeritus at Bell College, tricked a colleague named Jorge Castro into helping them resolve a roadside issue. They drugged him and took him to a dungeon in the basement of their presentable home in a respectable part of town.

Why did the elderly Harrises kidnap him, why do they force him to eat something unpalatable, and what are their plans? Since Castro knows the identity of his abductors, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be released. The popular consensus is that he packed up and left town abruptly, although his lover doesn’t agree.

Continue Reading

Review: anOther Mythology by Maxwell I. Gold

cover of anOther MythologyanOther Mythology by Maxwell I. Gold
Interstellar Flights Press (September 4, 2023)
72 pages; $14.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Maxwell I. Gold, in his end author’s note, argues that his purpose in writing this book was that “it didn’t matter how we as queer people were seen, but it mattered how we saw ourselves…” and “These are myths that are meant for us.” It is understood that the target audience for this book is specifically the queer community, written almost as a triumphant reclaiming of thousands of years of heteronormative patriarchy. This energy permeates the poetry in this collection, and anyone reading it will thoroughly enjoy it.Continue Reading

Review: Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien

cover of Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O'BrienCan You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien
Interstellar Flight Press (August 2021)
89 pages; $11.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Can You Sign My Tentacle? is a wild amalgam of Afro-futurism, Cthullu mythos, and social commentary with a finger on the pulse of hip-hop culture.Continue Reading

Review: Major Arcana edited by Steve J. Shaw

cover of Major Arcana 7Major Arcana edited by Steve J Shaw
Black Shuck Books (September 2022)
234 pages; $14.99 paperback
Reviewed by Daniel Braum

Major Arcana is the title of the seventh annual installment of the Great British Horror series published by UK Publisher Black Shuck Books. Each book in the series features ten British authors and one “international” (non-UK) author.

The 2022 edition features 11 stories, each having a title sharing the name with one of the Major Arcana cards of the Tarot deck.Continue Reading

Review: The Dead Shall Rise by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin Louis

cover of The Dead Shall RiseThe Dead Shall Rise by Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia and Erin Louis
Crystal Lake Publishing (August 25, 2023)
202 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Henry Allison

Zombie fiction is just like its namesake — it never really dies. Just when you think you’ve seen the last zombie story or movie, when you think the trope isn’t popular anymore, it shambles back to life, ready for another go around. The zombies are shambling in Crystal Lake’s latest Dark Tide collection, and it’s definitely one you’re going to want to check out.Continue Reading

Review: The Unhallowed Horseman by Jude S. Walko

cover of Unhallowed HorsemanThe Unhallowed Horseman by Jude S. Walko 
Blue Falcon Productions LLC (Oct. 2021) 
319 pages; $25.67 hardcover; $14.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

“Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue” – Washington Irving

Jude S. Walko’s The Unhallowed Horseman scrupulously reimagines the infamous tale of a silent secluded valley, a place laced with superstition and scandal, called Sleepy Hollow. Continue Reading

Review: Ghost Book by Remy Lai

banner that reads The Comic Vault

cover of Ghost BookGhost Book by Remy Lai
Henry Holt & Company (August 15, 2023)
320 pages; $22.99 hardcover; $14.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Remy Lai studied fine arts, with a major in painting and drawing. She was born in Indonesia, grew up in Singapore, and currently lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she writes and draws stories for kids with her two dogs by her side. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Pie in the Sky, Fly on the Wall, and Pawcasso. Her newest graphic novel is Ghost Book, a haunting tale based on Chinese mythology and a child fated to see ghosts.Continue Reading

Review: Mister Magic by Kiersten White

cover of Mister MagicMister Magic by Kiersten White
Del Rey (August 8, 2023)
304 pages; $25.20 hardcover; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Reminiscing about the children’s shows many grew up with is a blurry experience. From The Magic Garden to Barney and Friends, there’s often a bit of weirdness, even some scariness, when the program is looked at without the innocence of youth to soften the edges. Revisiting those times can rip the scabs off some tough times, some repressed memories.

Kiersten White has crafted an entertaining and damn creepy romp through those shows in Mister Magic, which might just cause a therapy visit or two. For a Bram Stoker-winning author, she definitely lives up to the hype, surpassing her previous work, Hide, which was impressive.Continue Reading

Review: Whalefall by Daniel Kraus

cover of Whalefall by Daniel KrausWhalefall by Daniel Kraus
MTV Books (August 8, 2023)
336 pages; $27.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

What is a whalefall? A spoiler would be cruel, so steer clear of any marine biology sites until the end. What Whalefall the book is cannot be contained in the definition of the word readers will discover late in the story. What can be said is that this is one of the most intense — and moving — stories that will grace the bookstores in 2023. It’s bound to make the year’s “best of” lists, which is quite the feat on its own, yet what Daniel Kraus has created here is something that can’t be quantified.Continue Reading

Review: The Price of a Small Hot Fire by E. F. Schraeder

cover of The Price of a Small Hot FireThe Price of a Small Hot Fire by E. F. Schraeder
Raw Dog Screaming Press (July 2023)
72 pages; $13.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

E.F. Schraeder believes in ghosts, magic, and dogs. A Rhysling nominated poet, Schraeder is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association. Her newest collection is The Price of a Small Hot Fire.

Continue Reading

Review: Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward

cover of Looking Glass SoundLooking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward
Tor Nightfire (August 8, 2023)
352 pages; $25.19 hardcover; $20.53 paperback; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Catriona Ward lures readers with charming coming-of-age humor and strife in her latest novel, Looking Glass Sound, reminiscent of Stephen King’s “The Body.”

Those who’ve read Ward’s previous work, Little Eve and The Last House on Needless Street (favorites of mine), know the loveable and exciting are a facade. And the truth, particularly a harsh one, leaves readers black with poison, bitten by the spider, trapped in her intricate web. Twitching with metaphysical dread, desperate for answers.Continue Reading

Review: Beautiful Malady by Ennis Rook Bashe

cover of Beautiful MaladyBeautiful Malady by Ennis Rook Bashe
Interstellar Flight Press (June 2023)
72 pages; $14.99 paperback; e-book $9.99
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Ennis Rook Bashe is a nonbinary graduate student from New York who loves their rescue cat, making cosplay TikToks, and watching horror game streamers. They write books about queer and disabled people surviving and recovering from trauma, finding community, living their best lives… and falling in love.  Their newest book of poetry is Beautiful Malady. Though short, this collection is a powerful exploration of what it means to be disabled in a world that is not willing to accommodate or undersand, written from a place of honest authenticity that will capture the attention of any reader.

Continue Reading