Greg Nibler and Sarah X Dylan with Funemployment Radio may not be totally household names, but Sarah’s art has appeared on the cover of Cemetery Dance magazine, and their great and funny podcast with over 2,000 episodes is a must-listen.
Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer
180 pages; $9.99 paperback; ebook $2.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas
When a shark breaks out of a sketchy underwater research facility, the seas surrounding Sharkwater Beach suddenly grow ice-cold as the prehistoric predator begins her reign as “Queen of the Ocean.”
Our protagonist, a sarcastic and rather realistic woman by the name of Jill McCourty, finds herself stranded on Key Water Island, on which Sharkwater Beach resides, along with a small group of friends, strangers, and a particularly interesting trio of rough-around-the-edges men. Together, they must collaborate and fight for their lives against their massive oceanic captor until help arrives, but eventually they come to realize that, even on land, they aren’t safe.
I love the tagline on the cover of Kealan Patrick Burke’s new novella, Blanky: “The gift that keeps on living.”
And then there’s the opening, one that immediately draws the reader into the story:
You say you can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a child.
Let me make it easy for you.
It’s the beginning of the end of your world.
There are relatively few new authors in the horror/speculative field today who can make a reader both disappear into a book and later sit back in awe of the pure storytelling and the ease in which the language flows in such an enthralling, dark manner. John Langan is one. Sarah Pinborough is another. Victor LaValle ranks near the top of the list.
This breakout novel has been hailed as the book of 2017. Karen Dionne decided to leave the high concept science thriller behind (the wonderful Freezing Point and Boiling Point) in favor of something much more organic and disturbing. The Marsh King’s Daughter succeeds on all levels because of what it sets out to do—simply tell a story without all the bells and whistles. Dionne’s writing features a songstress’ voice and rhythm, yet doesn’t overwhelm the reader with the love of language. It embraces the feel of the setting and story, pulling the reader deep into the marsh’s realm, only relenting when the final page is turned.
Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews edited by Sam Weller
Hat and Beard Press (2018)
224 pages; $45 hardcover; $200 limited edition
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
I’ll speak more at length about this when I discuss the influence Ray Bradbury has had on me in a future edition of my column Revelations, but suffice to say: I discovered his work late in life. I’m sure I was assigned several of his short stories in junior high and high school—probably the oft-assigned “All Summer in a Day,” “Soft Rains Will Come” or maybe even “The Fun They Had”—but I never had a teacher really bring me to Ray Bradbury. This is probably why—as most of my former and present students will attest—I’ve made it my personal mission to ensure that all my students experience the work of Ray Brabdury while they’re in my class. Whether they love his work, are ambivalent toward it, or don’t like it, they’ll never be able to say they don’t know who Ray Bradbury is, or what his place is in American Literature.
Roam by Erik Therme
Self-Published (January 2017)
244 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Josh Black
Roam, Erik Therme’s third novel, begins in deceptively typical fashion. A broken down car, and a couple of kids with no cell reception.
Peter Dudar hit the scene hard with his Stoker finalist A Requiem For Dead Flies, offering a style that evoked the best of Bentley Little and Rick Hautula. He returns with The Goat Parade, a novel that hits the gas full throttle in a thrilling supernatural tale that might remind readers of some other guy from Maine.
Once in a while I’ll start a review with some poetic prose plucked from the pages to give the reader an idea of the skills the writer may possess. The Boulevard Monster has none of that. Instead, it’s a straightforward, entertaining story with a thrilling Koontz-ish vibe…and the best book I’ve read so far this year. There’s good reason it was nominated for a Stoker award. Hepler’s no-filler prose is designed to simply tell a story with no literary glitter, which makes perfect sense considering the protagonist.
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy
Tor Books (August 2017)
130 pages, $10.39 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre
Brace yourself for this one, friendos, because it gets pretty weird here. I know. I know. Whodathunk a book about crustpunks that summon a demonic deer to protect their squat only to have the demondeer turn on them would be weird. Odd how that works.
Slashvivor! by Stephen Kozeniewski and Steve Kopas
Sinister Grin Press (September 2017)
296 pages; $16.99 paperback, $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
It’s 1983. An accidental nuclear war has left the U.S. with just 1% of its former 234 million residents. Stephen Kozeniewski and Stevie Kopas have created such a world and have decided to have some fun with it. Take for example the tagline for the TV ads for Albino Al’s Discount Surplus: “Come on down! It’s not illegal. In the Geiger Lands, nothing is!”
I had certain expectations for Unbury Carol. That was foolish. I should know by now, after reading much of Josh Malerman’s output (except, somehow, the one that got everybody talking about him to begin with: Bird Box), that he is not going to deliver the expected. So, when I allowed the title and the synopsis and the cover to lead me to expectations of a western/horror hybrid that would be a dark cross between a fairy tale and a Hammer movie…well, I should have known that wasn’t what I was going to get.
Last year’s surprise thriller by K.J. Howe, The Freedom Broker, hit the field hard, introducing both a razor sharp writer and a series featuring Thea Paris, a character tough enough to stand toe-to-toe with Reacher and Repairman Jack. The kidnap and rescue team delves into dark territories that combine the thriller aspects with a character development rarely found in the genre.
I never read Daughters of Lilith, the previous literary/artistic collaboration between Donna Lynch and Steven Archer. Why have I never read it? Seriously, because Witches is a wonderful, odd bit of joy in the world.
Let’s start with the obvious: $25 is a bit intimidating when looking at a book of poetry, especially one this short. But, as much as it feels weird saying these words in this specific order, this is more than just a book of poetry. It is also more than just a book of art. It’s the combination of the two and how they mesh and interact to create something that, to beg forgiveness for the cliché, is much more than the sum of its parts.
At it’s heart, The Nightmare Room (The Messy Man Series Book 1) is a ghost story and a very good one to boot. Here’s a killer opening line for you…
The boy woke to the sound of his screams.