Review: Dance Among the Flames by Tori Eldridge

cover of Dance Among the FlamesDance Among the Flames by Tori Eldridge
Running Wild Press (May 24, 2022)
404 pages; $19.99 paperback; $9.49 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

I love when a novel not only exceeds expectations but expands the limits of what’s expected. Dance Among the Flames is a story that demands a reader’s attention and exquisitely opens the mind to descriptions and concepts not found in books typical of this genre — or genres, as this combines elements of horror, historical, fantasy, and thriller novels into a dangerous, yet delicious concoction. It asks the reader to kick back, put their feet up and bleed their imagination into the fiction.

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Review: Howls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror edited by P L McMillan and Solomon Forse

cover of Howls from the Dark AgesHowls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror edited by P L McMillan and Solomon Forse
Joshua Mortensen (May 12, 2022)
352 pages; $19.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

HOWL Society, located on Discord, is the most active horror book club on the web. With hundreds of members, the club offers readers the chance to join a supportive community where they can enjoy books alongside other horror-lovers while engaging in meaningful discussions and forming long-lasting friendships. Aside from serving as an organized platform for discussing books, HOWL Society is also home to a tight-knit group of horror writers. Additionally, members can participate in tangential conversations about horror films, horror games, and much more. Because the club aims to provide equal access to all readers and writers around the world, membership is 100% free. Occasionally, HOWL Society publishes anthologies, and their most recent is Howls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror.Continue Reading

Review: What Flies Want by Emily Pérez

cover of What Flies Want by Emily PerezWhat Flies Want by Emily Pérez
University of Iowa Press (May 11, 2022)
96 pages; $19.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Emily Pérez is an English and gender studies instructor and grade-level dean at Colorado Academy. She is the author of What Flies Want, winner of the Iowa Prize; House of Sugar, House of Stone; and the chapbooks Backyard Migration Route and Made and Unmade. She lives in Denver, Colorado. What Flies Want, her newest collection, is a dark collection of poems that deals with very real traumas — mental health, marriage difficulties, self-harm, etc. — and their very real consequences.Continue Reading

Review: Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

covered by Hidden PicturesHidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
Flatiron Books (May 10, 2022)
384 pages; $25.19 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chris Hallock

Jaded readers may approach new fiction with skepticism; however, Jason Rekulak’s eerie new work Hidden Pictures proves that the genre is ever-evolving. Rekulak’s latest character-driven work (following up his Edgar-nominated debut The Invisible Fortress) benefits largely from an isolated setting, clever twists, and a compelling protagonist who finds herself ensnared in a tragic supernatural mystery. The author layers his ghostly tale with intriguing psychological and cultural components that enrich its taut narrative, while exposing the sinister underbelly of its suburban setting. Continue Reading

Review: John Carpenter’s Night Terrors: Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke and Jason Felix

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cover of Sour CandyJohn Carpenter’s Night Terrors: Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke and Jason Felix
Storm King Productions (March 2022)
104 pages; $17.99 paperback
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Back in 2015, I had the pleasure of reviewing Kealan Patrick Burke’s then-new novella, Sour Candy. You can see the full review here, but I’ll include the plot summary from that review below:Continue Reading

Review: The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

cover of The HaciendaThe Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
Berkley (May 2022)
352 pages; $20.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Lost to the wilds of war, death, and deceit, The Hacienda ensnares readers in its malevolent maw.

In Isabel Cañas’ debut novel, dread and unease snake up the spine of both the reader and characters in a tone as haunting as the mothers of gothic stories like Elizabeth Gaskell and Daphne du Maurier. Continue Reading

Review: Lust Killer by Ann Rule

cover of Lust Killer by Ann RuleLust Killer by Ann Rule 
Berkley (May 2022)
288 pages; paperback $12.00; e-book $6.99
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

“In the face of cruel madness, calm, sane steps must be taken.” – Ann Rule

Ann Rule once again proves she is the exemplar of true crime books. After reading Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story, one of her most famous and intimately written true crime tales, I knew I had to read more of her work.Continue Reading

Review: Fortunate by Kim Rashidi

cover of FortunateFortunate by Kim Rashidi
Andrews McMeel Publishing (May 3, 2022)
161 pages; $14.99 paperback; $7.16 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Kim Rashidi is a 24-year-old poet based in Toronto. She explores the cosmos through her words and has a soft spot for capturing love and life in the mundane. Writing about the lives, cities, and timelines that mirror back the romantic, she weaves reality with imagined possibilities. She holds an MA in English literature and has taken to poetry since she was 16. Her newest collection is Fortunate, a series of poems based upon the Waite-Rider-Smith tarot deck.Continue Reading

Review: The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

cover of The Ghost of Rose HillThe Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero
Peachtree Teen (May 3, 2022)
452 pages; $18.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

R.M. Romero is a Jewish Latina and author of fairy tales for children and adults. She lives in Miami Beach with her cat Henry VIII and spends her summers helping to maintain Jewish cemeteries in Poland. You can visit her online at RMRomero.com. Her newest book, a YA verse novel, is the ethereal The Ghosts of Rose Hill.Continue Reading

Review: The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

cover of The HaciendaThe Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
Berkley (May 3, 2022)
352 pages; $20.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Isabel Cañas’ striking debut, The Hacienda, is a historical, Gothic horror novel enticing readers with a compelling haunted house tale while making a grab for hearts with a love story nestled in its core.Continue Reading

Review: Antisocial Housing by Tim Mendees

cover of Antisocial Housing by Tim MendeesAntisocial Housing by Tim Mendees
Nordic Press (April 30, 2022)
87 pages; $9.99 paperback; $3.91 ebook
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Tim Mendees is a rather odd chap. He’s a horror writer from Macclesfield in the North-West of England that specializes in cosmic horror and weird fiction. A lifelong fan of classic weird tales, Tim set out to bring the pulp horror of yesteryear into the 21st Century and give it a distinctly British flavor. His work has been described as the lovechild of H.P. Lovecraft and P.G. Wodehouse and is often peppered with a wry sense of humor that acts as a counterpoint to the unnerving, and often disturbing, narratives. Tim has had over eighty published short stories and novelettes along with six stand-alone novellas and a short story collection. His newest tale is Antisocial Housing, a fun, quick read of cosmic horror.Continue Reading

Review: A History of Touch by Erin Emily Ann Vance

cover of A History of TouchA History of Touch by Erin Emily Ann Vance
Guernica Editions (May 1, 2022)
101 pages; $17.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Erin Emily Ann Vance is the author of the novel Advice for Taxidermists and Amateur Beekeepers (Stonehouse Publishing 2019) as well as six chapbooks of poetry. She was a recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize in 2017 (nominated by Aritha van Herk) and a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards for her short story “All the Pretty Bones.” Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in magazines and journals all over the world. Her newest poetry collection is A History of Touch, which is a profound collection of poetry about women who were ill, disabled, mad, or simply too rebellious, and the fates they faced.Continue Reading

Review: The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon

cover of The Children on the HillThe Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon
Scout Press (April 26, 2022)
352 pages; $25.19 hardcover; $13.39 paperback;  $14.99 Kindle
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I’ve been reading Jennifer McMahon’s books forever. I remember running across a few titles in my local, small-town library and binge-reading them both fairly quickly. Her storytelling voice effortlessly draws readers into the lives of her characters who are almost always involved in a dark mystery. 

My favorite McMahon book is The Winter People. She’s had several releases since that book, but none of them gave me that same kind of experience.

I’m excited to report that The Children on the Hill is that book. Continue Reading

Review: Madame Cruller’s Couch by Elizabeth Massie

cover of Madame Cruller's CouchMadame Cruller’s Couch and Other Dark and Bizarre Tales by Elizabeth Massie
Crossroad Press (August 2021)
290 pages; hardcover $31.99; paperback $18.99; e-book $4.99
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Elizabeth Massie is an American literary treasure. Yes, she’s won the Bram Stoker Award twice but she’s far more than a horror icon. Ameri-Scares, her middle-grade series that tackles dark legends in every state, was optioned by Warner Horizon. Then there’s the mysteries, psychological suspense, historical fiction, and simply great weird stories.
In this new collection, readers will be treated to a wide swath of masterful stories, from the horrific to the oddly weird and everything in between.

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Review: Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren

cover of Horror HotelHorror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren
Underlined (February, 2022)
224 pages; $8.49 paperback, $9.99 kindle
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Sometimes they want to hurt you. Sometimes they want you to help them stop hurting.

Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren are an award-winning coauthor duo specializing in edgy rom-coms and horror stories laced with romance, friendship, and movie references.

With this formula, mixed with ghosts, psychics, and inspiration from the infamous Cecil Hotel, the pair breed a spine-tingling tale for young adults in this suspenseful horror debut. Continue Reading