Review: Horror Movie by Paul Tremblay

cover of Horror MovieHorror Movie by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (June 11, 2024)
288 pages
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

In his classic, fatalistic tone, Bram Stoker Award-winner Paul Tremblay cleverly assembles a haunting level of empathy between readers, the narrator, and characters in Horror Movie. At times the story felt all-too real, which will appease fans of Tremblay’s previous work like A Head Full of Ghosts (2015) and The Pallbearers Club (2022). Down the road, maybe even a few weeks from now, the characters’ names from Horror Movie may evade you but you’ll never escape the reality-bending and unsettling “horror void.” Continue Reading

Bev Vincent explores You Like it Darker by Stephen King

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

“Lack of belief is the curse of intelligence”

It’s a short story collection. No, it’s a novella collection. No, it’s two…two…two things in one! OK, you have to be really old to get that reference to an old Certs commercial. They don’t even make Certs anymore, I’m displeased to discover.

Anyhow, You Like It Darker is a hybrid of two types of books we’ve come to expect from Stephen King. It’s a collection of the seven short stories published since The Bazaar of Bad Dreams but it also contains five brand-new long works ranging from a novelette (“The Dreamers”) to novellas (“The Answer Man,” “Two Talented Bastids” and “Rattlesnakes”) to a story long enough to be considered a novel by the SFWA and other awards criteria (“Danny Coughlin’s Bad Dream”).

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Review: Where the Worm Never Dies by Quinn Hernandez

cover of Where the Worm Never DiesWhere the Worm Never Dies by Quinn Hernandez 
Swann + Bedlam (June 1, 2024)
114 pages; $18.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Quinn Hernandez loves the full spectrum of speculative fiction, and he is currently working on expanding his fiction universe. His poetry collection Life and Other Unfortunate Horrors is available from Madness Heart Press, and his short story collection Viva La Muerte! is available from Nightmare Press. His second poetry collection Where the Worm Never Dies is forthcoming from Swann and Bedlam Press.Continue Reading

Review: Where the Dead Wait by Allie Wilkes

cover of Where the Dead WaitWhere the Dead Wait by Allie Wilkes
Atria (December 2023)
400 pages; $20.49 hardcover; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

What do you get when gothic horror goes to the arctic? Pure poetry with a fiendish dark heart.

For those who read the pitch-dark All The White Spaces from Allie Wilkes two years ago, this is a worthy follow-up. It’s not a true sequel, meaning readers can start with this novel and enjoy it, as Wilkes covers the backstory in a manner that isn’t overkill with infodumps. Instead, readers are treated to another great study in character building and setting.Continue Reading

Review: When the Rain Begins to Burn by A.L. Davidson

cover of When the Rain Begins to BurnWhen the Rain Begins to Burn by A.L. Davidson
Disturbances by Alycia (October 2023)
140 pages
Reviewed by Chandra Claypool (Instagram) (TikTok)

Noland and Judah are finally on a vacation together and they stop in the Appalachian wilderness to be one with nature and enjoy the gorgeous views.  Well off the beaten path to avoid the local yokels, they get stuck when an unexpected storm leaves their RV cemented into the mud.  As if things couldn’t get worse, a deadly rain has come upon them, which Judah finds out about when a few drops eat away at his hand.  As this acid rain continues, there appears to be no ending and they watch animals being consumed in disgusting fashion making their beautiful view into one of death and despair.  Now they’re trapped inside their RV, not knowing when this will end.  Not only do they have to endure what is happening outside, but they quickly have to deal with their own personal demons as well.

Oh my freakin’ beating black heart.  Yes, this is an eco-horror novel with some gruesome scenes, but it’s the relationship between Noland and Judah that truly shines. Their forced isolation truly brings out the good and the bad within themselves and to each other. All I want to do is take them both into big bear hugs and tell them everything is going to be okay.  Each moment of their tenderness pulled at my heart strings and each time they put themselves in danger, in their relationship and in the terrible death rain, I held my breath and hoped for a happy ending. I really want to discuss more but I feel you should read this with little information and let the words pierce you as they did me.

This is a fantastic read for those seeking a haunting and introspective horror story that explores the complexities of personal relationships and the terrors of the unknown.  Come for the dread and stay to see what happens to the cutest couple in horror history.


Review: Inkblots by Jeff Oliver

cover of InkblotsInkblots by Jeff Oliver
300 South Media Group (February 2024)
240 pages; $16.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Jeff Oliver is a writer of intense emotions, having started composing his dark poetry at just 11 years old. His poetry has an ethereal quality. When others may have been destroyed by such devastating darkness, he manages to weave lyrical justice into an otherwise unfair world. His newest collection of poetry is Inkblots.Continue Reading

Review: Eynhallow by Tim McGregor

cover of EynhallowEynhallow by Tim McGregor
Raw Dog Screaming Press (February 2024)
178 pages; $17.19 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chandra Claypool (Instagram) (TikTok)

Eynhallow is a beautiful gothic piece of horror literature taking place in the Orkney Islands way back in 1797.  Our protagonist, Agnes, is a pleasure to get to know.  She lives on a remote island and is in an abusive marriage, trying to get through the days and raise her kids the best that she can. Then one day a stranger comes and occupies a house that really is uninhabitable and here our story truly begins.Continue Reading

Review: Extinction by Douglas Preston

cover of ExtinctionExtinction by Douglas Preston
Forge Books (April 23, 2024)
384 pages; $20.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

For those who have read the thrilling Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, it’s apparent that Preston knows how to roll out a successful high-concept thriller that often borders on horror. This dark thriller might just have cemented itself in many top ten reads of the year, especially for those who enjoy some science and beasties in their reading.Continue Reading

Review: Grasshands by Kyle Winkler

cover of GrasshandsGrasshands by Kyle Winkler
JournalStone Publishing (January 2024) 
216 pages; $16.95 paperback; $6.95 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

In Kyle Winkler’s Grasshands, the line between reality and nightmare trembles, unsteady, before dispersing into scattering spiders.

“Farce lands first. Tragedy knocks later.”

Throughout this read, I often thought of Ray Bradbury, who wrote stories like Fahrenheit 451, emphasizing the power of knowledge and caution against its misuse and exploitation. Winkler revived Bradbury’s calling card of creating characters who grappled with the pursuit of knowledge, whether for the exposure of hidden truths or devotion for discovery and conjured an unputdownable biblio-horror novel. Continue Reading

Review: The Redemption of Morgan Bright by Chris Panatier

cover of The Redemption of Morgan BrightThe Redemption of Morgan Bright by Chris Panatier
Angry Robot (April 23, 2024)
400 pages; $18.99 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

2024 is already looking to be a banner year for horror and dark thrillers. Chris Panatier is set to be one of those voices readers are not likely to forget.

Tales told in an asylum setting tend to be fascinating as a whole, especially through the fractured mystique of mental health. The Redemption of Morgan Bright is likely the best novel is this vein since Shutter Island, even though the two couldn’t be any more different. So much of Panatiers’ story relies on the layered plot and unfolding of who Morgan Bright truly is — and who she’s not.Continue Reading

Review: All the Fiends of Hell by Adam L.G. Nevill

cover of All the Fiends of HellAll the Fiends of Hell by Adam L.G. Nevill
Ritual Limited (April 2, 2024)
346 pages; $15.99 paperback
Reviewed by Dave Simms

With a title such as All the Fiends of Hell, a reader would likely suspect a broad, electric, and brutal story that goes for the throat with no remorse. Adam Nevill changes it up a bit here, harkening back to the tone of The Reddening and The Ritual, departing from the quieter horror of the past couple of entries, The Vessel and Cunning Folk. This might be his Swan Song or The Stand, at least in scope and story. It might also break him into a whole new stratosphere of readers — hopefully.Continue Reading

Review: Lost Man’s Lane by Scott Carson

cover of Lost Man's LaneLost Man’s Lane by Scott Carson
Atria (March 26, 2024)
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Coming-of-age novels have been done so often that it’s brutally tough to come up with something unique and experienced, as if the reader hasn’t traveled down that same old road a million times over. Yet, such as in the case of Boy’s Life or Stephen King’s “The Body,” sometimes something stands out. Scott Carson, who many now know is best-selling mystery/thriller author Michael Koryta, loves to blaze his own trail. Lost Man’s Lane, thankfully, is that great read that combines the smart characterization of Koryta with the darker feel of Carson, a smooth yet disturbing tale that lingers long after the final page.Continue Reading

Review: Question Not My Salt by Amanda M. Blake

cover of Question Not My SaltQuestion Not My Salt by Amanda M. Blake
Crystal Lake Publishing (February 2024)
151 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chandra Claypool (Instagram) (TikTok)

Don’t let the cover fool you, this is HORROR, not a cookbook…though a cookbook from this novella just might be fun to read. ? Imagine you’re a Canadian who goes to college in the U.S., is roomed with someone you become friends with who invites you to their home for Thanksgiving… and things go… awry. Do NOT piss off Mother. Do not ask for salt and for goodness sake, spit in that wine glass and pass it already.Continue Reading

Review: The Day Tripper by James Goodhand

cover of The Day TripperThe Day Tripper by James Goodhand
MIRA (March 19, 2024)
368 pages; $28.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Who says a time traveling novel can’t be scary and also a feel-good story? To find a true comparison to this fun book is tough, but pieces of Ray Bradbury’s A Sound Of Thunder, plus Rewind and Groundhog Day as if written by Stephen King might give some ideas.Continue Reading

Review: Midnight on Beacon Street by Emily Ruth Verona

cover of Midnight on Beacon StreetMidnight on Beacon Street by Emily Ruth Verona
Harper Perennial (January 2024)
208 pages; paperback $14.39; e-book $11.99
Reviewed by Chandra Claypool (Instagram) (TikTok)

If you have ever been a babysitter, you probably know of all the urban legends and scary things that could happen while you, a teenager and almost a child yourself, is in charge of the safety of other humans. No pressure, right? Midnight on Beacon Street is a “love letter to vintage horror movies.” I weirdly love anxiety-inducing babysitting-type reads and movies. The Babysitter, When a Stranger Calls, Halloween, Better Watch Out… I love it. And this debut novel at a teensy bit over 200 pages gives us that nod to classic horror films and I’m here for it!Continue Reading