Review: Rattlesnake Kisses by Robert Ford

Rattlesnake Kisses by Robert Ford and John Boden
Apokrupha (July 2019)
216 pages; $12.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

This, it appears, is the summer of Robert Ford and John Boden. Both have other releases stirring up notice in the weird/horror world—Ford with his novel (co-written with Matt Hayward) A Penny for Your Thoughts, and Boden’s recent release, the weird western Walk the Darkness Down. At this point, it should come as no surprise that the authors of The Compound (Ford) and Jedi Summer (Boden) continue to produce high-quality horror/weird fiction. Because of this, one would expect that a story co-written by them would offer double-barrels of emotionally gut-wrenching fiction featuring empathetic-but-doomed characters in weird situations. Rest assured, Rattlesnake Kisses fulfills that expectation, and then some.Continue Reading

Review: The Fearing Book Two: Water & Wind by John F.D. Taff

Book cover for The Fearing Book Two: Water and WindThe Fearing, Book Two: Water & Wind by John F.D. Taff
Grey Matter Press (August 20, 2019)

130 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

The Fearing is an epic, apocalyptic horror story by “King of Pain” John F. D. Taff,  told over the course of multiple, individual book installments published by Grey Matter Press. Book One is titled Fire & Rain, which I reviewed for Cemetery Dance in June. Here’s a quote from the review:

And this is where Taff is a damn genius. He proves time and time again that in just a few pages, in just one scene, he can manipulate the feelings of his readers and make us care about these people on the page like THAT *snaps fingers*.

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Review: Miraculum by Steph Post

Miraculum by Steph Post
Polis Books (January 2019)
320 pages; $17.10 hardcover; $16 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

If readers haven’t yet discovered the magic of Steph Post’s enthralling writing, Miraculum is a fine place to start, a novel that should put her on the map with a style somewhere between Gillian Flynn and John Connolly, but with a mark all her own. Continue Reading

Review: The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson
Penguin Books (July 9, 2019)
224 pages; $8.99 paperback; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

The Saturday Night Ghost Club, by Craig Davidson, isn’t exactly a ghost story. Nor does it feature any overtly supernatural events. However, it is, at heart, about the essence of hauntings. About the things which haunt us, even if they’re buried so deeply, we don’t even remember them.Continue Reading

Review: The Hungry Ones by Chris Sorensen

The Hungry Ones by Chris Sorensen
Harmful Monkey Press (May 2019)

313 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

If you enjoy keeping up with all the new releases in horror, then no doubt you heard about 2018’s The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen. Book #1 of the Messy Man series received a warm welcome from the horror industry with glowing reviews across the board from multiple sources, including me! I loved The Nightmare Room. having this to say about it:

…a really well written haunted house story that’s easy to follow and scary enough to leave the light on or read during the day. I loved it! This is a must have for your horror collection.Continue Reading

Review: Our War by Craig DiLouie

Our War by Craig DiLouie
Orbit (August 20, 2019)
400 pages; $17.74 hardcover; $16.99 paperback; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

This may be one of the most important books you’ll read this year. I say that without an ounce of hyperbole. Given the current climate of our country and its cultural, political, and social polarization, Craig DiLouie has written a heart-breaking, terrifying novel which—I desperately hope—will only be a warning, and not someday viewed as prophetic. Continue Reading

Review: Unamerica by Cody Goodfellow

Unamerica by Cody Goodfellow
King Shot Press (June 2019)
448 pages; $14.99 paperback
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Weird fiction is making a massive comeback. Several authors are breaking out of a box they never felt comfortable being trapped in. Cody Goodfellow has never fit in any box. He can nail commercial fiction, straight up horror and other genres with ease, and has done so several years.Continue Reading

Review: Empire of the Goddess by Matthew Warner

Empire of the Goddess by Matthew Warner
(July 2019)
392 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Fantasy with horror or horror with fantasy is tough to nail down (unless your last name happens to be Martin or King). There has been a resurgence recently in the genre due to Game Of Thrones and King’s Dark Tower series, but true stars are tough to find among the mess of copycats. Finding something truly original and fun to read is tougher than pulling a thread of gold from a ton of dragon poop. There are treasures out there, though, and a new one just emerged.Continue Reading

Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Cover of the book The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten WhiteThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Delacorte Press (September 2018)
304 pages; $8.27 hardcover; $19.99 paperback; $10.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

What a treat that a signed hardback copy of this book showed up in my mailbox just a few weeks before I learned that Kiersten White had won the 2018 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a YA Horror novel. Hearing such glowing reviews made me eager to read this popular retelling of a classic, horror favorite. Continue Reading

Review: Doorways to the Deadeye by Eric J. Guignard

Doorways to the Deadeye by Eric J. Guignard
JournalStone (July 26, 2019)
328 pages; $18.95 paperback
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Novels about riding the rails have always been exhilarating journeys if left in the right hands. Eric J. Guignard is fresh off his Bram Stoker win for best fiction collection (That Which Grows Wild), so he has the skills to terrify his audience. Luke Thacker is a victim of the Great Depression, scraping by to survive on the dangerous rails of America. Along the way, he learns many secrets to staying alive, one of them being a code left by other hobos, often warning them of strangers who would sooner leave them bleeding in a ditch, or indicating a friend ready to help out a guy in need, through symbols carved into trees. When he discovers one odd symbol, an infinity sign, he learns that reality is a bit broken.Continue Reading

Review: In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant

In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant
Subterranean Press (June 2019)
200 pages; $31.71 hardcover; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I love haunted house stories where the house is a central character. The Overlook Hotel, Hill House…those are places where malevelonce seems to rise not only from the characters that inhabit(ed) them, or from the actions that took place within their walls, but from the very brick and mortar itself. Mia Grant opens her short novel In the Shadow of Spindrift House with a spooky welcoming chapter that paints her own seaside creation in much the same light.Continue Reading

Review: Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press (July 25, 2019)

288 pages; $24.95 hardcover; $14.95 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

The Sorrows  is a wonderful example of a place exercising its influence over its occupants. Gothic horror at its finest.”Frank Errington for Cemetery Dance

This review is dedicated to Frank who would have loved to read and review the sequel to The Sorrows. I miss my friend.Continue Reading

Review: Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch
Raw Dog Screaming Press (July 17, 2019)
98 pages; $13.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

This collection opens with a four line poem. A simple, unintimidating sentence:

Demons come in many forms Some with teeth and some with horns But none so vicious as the hordes That came to be when you were born.

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Review: Boomtown by James A. Moore

Boomtown by James A. Moore
Twisted Publishing (April 2019)
354 pages; $30 hardcover; $18 paperback; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

Though I’ve heard a lot about Jim Moore’s recurring character Jonathan Crowley, I’ve never read him. Now that I have, I can add another recurring character (joining F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack and Peter Laws’ Matthew Hunter) to my list of “must read characters.” Boomtown is a fast-paced, smooth-reading weird western which hits all the right notes, and now I want to find every Crowley story and read them, yesterday.Continue Reading

Review: The Buzzard Zone by Ronald Kelly

Book cover showing a zombie eating fleshThe Buzzard Zone by Ronald Kelly
Macabre Ink (November 2018)
272 pages; $85 limited edition; $13.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Right out of the gate, Ronald Kelly makes a point about zombies I’d never thought of before—wherever a pack of rotting corpses roams, a kettle of buzzards is sure to follow. Makes sense, just as it makes sense that savvy survivors would watch for buzzards, using their presence as a signal to avoid areas of potential trouble.Continue Reading