Review: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

cover of Survive the Night by Riley SagerSurvive the Night by Riley Sager
Dutton (June 29th, 2021)
336 pages; $20.39 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Despite the fact that she is still emotionally recovering from the violent murder of her roommate and best friend by a suspected serial killer, Charlie Jordan accepts a rideshare request from a young man she’s never seen around campus before.

Readers will need to suspend copious amounts of disbelief in order to enjoy this ride, but it’s possible; for curiosity’s sake.Continue Reading

Review: Tears on the Glass Desert by Wesley D. Gray

cover of Tears on the Glass Desert by Wesley GrayTears on the Glass Desert: Speculative Poetry of Holocaust, Fallout, and Decay by Wesley D. Gray
Marrowroot Press (June 2021)
47 pages; $5.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Wesley D. Gray is a writer of things mostly strange.  His newest collection of poetry is Tears on the Glass Desert, which is a post-apocalyptic nightmare that will certainly capture the attention of horror poetry readers.Continue Reading

Review: Moon Lake by Joe R. Lansdale

cover of Moon Lake by Joe R. LansdaleMoon Lake by Joe R. Lansdale
Mulholland Books (June 2021)
352 pages; $23.49 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

After a man attempts a murder/suicide with his 13-year-old son, the boy survives, is orphaned, and goes through a heartbreaking journey into adulthood, where the meat of the book begins. 

As an adult, Daniel Russel returns to his hometown, where he’s met with more puzzles than he has clues regarding his father and the town’s history, which ultimately leads to a DIY investigation with the help of one-time crush, Ronnie Candles, and a few unlikely locals. Continue Reading

Review: Hallowed Days by Daniel Hale

Hallowed Days by Daniel Hale
JournalStone Publishing (November 2020)
156 pages; $15.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Hallowed Days is a dark fantasy- and horror-themed anthology focusing primarily on Christmas and Halloween. What makes Hale’s fiction so potent is the way he builds up to the ominous dread at the end of his stories. Rarely do we see any actual blood and guts, and most of the stories depend on tiny details that are magnified at the end of the tale. Continue Reading

Review: Double Threat by F. Paul Wilson

cover of Double Threat by F. Paul WilsonDouble Threat by F. Paul Wilson
Forge Books (June 29, 2021)
384 pages; hardcover $22.99; e-book $13.99
Reviewed by Dave Simms

The Secret History of The World is alive and well in F. Paul Wilson’s Double Threat, an unusual thriller that brings together different puzzle pieces of the author’s diverse career into one novel. For the diehard Repairman Jack fans, this story is a bit out in left field, but in the best possible manner, meaning that while the overarching plotline and universe connects with Wilson’s other works, it utilizes more humor and science fiction than what Jack fans might be accustomed to.Continue Reading

Review: Deathtripping by Andersen Prunty

cover of Deathtripping: Collected horror stories by Andersen PruntyDeathtripping by Andersen Prunty
Grindhouse Press (July 2020)
424 pages; $16.95 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage. A short story is a photograph; a novel is a film. -Lorrie Moore

I discovered Andersen Prunty during the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 when he kindly offered a few of his titles for free to quarantined/housebound readers. I read Creep House and We Don’t Talk About Her, becoming an instant fan. Prunty has an extremely unique voice and writing style, unlike anything I’ve ever read before.Continue Reading

Review: Collectibles edited by Lawrence Block

cover of Collectibles edited by Lawrence BlockCollectibles edited by Lawrence Block
Subterranean Press (May 2021)
320 pages; $50 limited edition hardcover; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I’ve been a collector as long as I can remember. From Star Wars figures to comics to trading cards to wrestling magazines to movie posters to….well, you get the picture. This continues today as I peer anxiously at my encroaching dotage, indulging in an old(er) man’s passion for vinyl records and vintage books.

I’ve got my grails, for sure, and a few pieces in my collection(s) that I’d vigorously defend, but damn….I’d never kill anybody over them.Continue Reading

Review: Goddess of Filth by V. Castro

cover of Goddess of Filth by V. CastroGoddess of Filth by V. Castro
Creature Publishing (March 2021)
156 pages; $14.64paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

This is a possession story with a twist. A few friends gather together to channel their inner witch vibes and unintentionally conjure up an ancient goddess. This sudden presence in the friend group causes some concern among the girls and their parents. A priest is summoned which only manages to make the situation worse and more dangerous.Continue Reading

Review: John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6

banner reading Graven Images and Cemetery Dance

cover of Tales for a HalloweeNight Volume 6

John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6
Storm King Comics (October 2020)

184 pages; $25 paperback
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

John Carpenter’s Tales for a HalloweeNight Vol. 6 offers up thirteen tales of terror in a solid graphic novel horror anthology. It’s the type of graphic novel many people would enjoy curling up with at Halloween time. Or, if you’re a Cemetery Dance reader, it’s the type of graphic novel you could enjoy curling up with any time of the year.Continue Reading

Review: The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu

cover of The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie LiuThe Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu
Tachyon Publications (June 15, 2021)
239 pages; Paperback $16.95; Digital $9.99
Reviewed by Chris Hallock

The boundless creative energy of prolific author Marjorie Liu flows through The Tangleroot Palace, a collection of seven genre-defying tales set in worlds both strange and familiar. This eclectic anthology contains work selected from various points in Liu’s career, displaying astounding growth and versatility along that trajectory. Evidenced is Liu’s knack for cultivating deep intimacy within grandiose dark fantasy — exemplified in her romantic urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss and Eisner award-winning comic series Monstress — where demon-hunters, shapeshifters, and superheroes grapple with issues of identity, sexuality, race, and acceptance, while engaged in spectacular battles. As expected, Liu’s flair for world-building is on full display, as well as her penchant for representing diverse voices, embodied in the powerful women and people of color who inhabit her fantastic realms.Continue Reading

Review: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred

cover of Where the Wolf Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred
Diode Editions (June 15, 2021)
82 pages; $18.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Sally Rosen Kindred is a well-known poet and teacher. She has multiple chapbooks and full-length collections published. She has also been the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council. Her upcoming collection, Where the Wolf, was the winner of the Diode Editions Book Prize. Continue Reading

Review: Possessed by Peter Laws

cover of Possessed by Peter LawsPossessed by Peter Laws
Alison and Busby (July 2020)
330 pages; $4.57 paperback; $4.34 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

I first encountered Peter Laws in his nonfiction book The Frighteners: A Journey Through Our Cultural Fascination With the Macabre. I stumbled over it quite by accident on Amazon, looking for who knows what, and of course by Reverend Peter Laws caught my eye. An ordained minister writing a nonfiction book about how it’s totally normal to love the dark and the weird? Sign me up.Continue Reading

Review: Dark Across the Bay by Ania Ahlborn

cover of Dark Across the Bay by Ania AhlbornDark Across the Bay by Ania Ahlborn
Earthling Publications (2021)
$50 limited edition (Sold Out)
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Readers are given an unexpected treat by the sterling Earthling Publications with this novel by a rising star, Ania Ahlborn (yes, she’s been around for awhile — her Seed and The Bird Eater cemented her place in the world of horror and thrillers).

Typically, Earthling chooses a supernatural route, yet with Dark Across the Bay, readers are given a straight-up suspense thriller reminiscent of classic Alfred Hitchcock or Rod Serling. Cape Fear is mentioned as a comparison, yet I believe that it’s a bit unfair to this book. Ahlborn has created a entrancing tale that even takes on a shade of Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, and not because it takes place on an island off the coast of Maine.Continue Reading

Review: King of Eden by Takashi Nagasaki and Ignito

cover of King of Eden volume 1, showing a man in a trenchcoat with his back to us

King of Eden by Takashi Nagasaki and Ignito
Yen Press (September 2020)
384 pages; $24 paperback
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

In Spain, some police officers find a mountain of grotesque bodies that no longer look quite human. One man, a Korean archeologist named Teze Yoo, is there to burn the bodies. He’s taken into police headquarters for questioning, where he tells police they must evacuate the area, because it’s a virus that attacked all those people, and then he starts talking about the world’s first murder. He asks the police if they’ve ever heard of the neuri, because all this began with them. Some sort of human-turned-beast attacks the police department and Teze walks off into the night.Continue Reading

Review: Transmutation by Alex DiFrancesco

cover of Transmutation buy Alex DiFrancescoTransmutation by Alex DiFrancesco
Seven Stories Press (June 8, 2021)
140 pages; $16.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre phenom who is taking the literary world by storm. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was the first finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards by a transgender author. DiFrancesco is the human companion of a rescue Westie named Roxy Music, Dog of Doom. Their newest book is a collection of short stories titled Transmutation, and it is a necessity for any fan of horror literature.Continue Reading