Review: Below by Laurel Hightower

cover of BelowBelow by Laurel Hightower
Ghoulish Books (March 2022)
115 pages; $12.95 Paperback; $4.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I dug the hell out of Laurel Hightower’s previous book, Crossroads. It had that heart I am always looking for, a fair amount of “messeded up,” and an attitude that took zero percent of my guff. So, of course, when I found out that she had a new one coming out, and that it involved Mothman, I was down as a clown in D-town.Continue Reading

Review: Entomophobia by Sarah Hans

cover of EntomophobiaEntomophobia by Sarah Hans
Omnium Gatherum Media (January 2022)
178 pages; $14.99 Paperback; $3.49 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Bugs, amiright? Creepy little bastards. Skittering around on too many legs. Staring at us with too many eyes. Click-clacking their chitinous carapaces from the dark corners. Then they have the nerve to squirt out all those gloppy bits when you squish them. EW!Continue Reading

Review: Dancing With Maria’s Ghost by Alessandro Manzetti

cover of Dancing with Maria's GhostDancing With Maria’s Ghost by Alessandro Manzetti
Independent Legions (December 2021)
65 pages; $11.90 paperback, $2.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Alessandro Manzetti always does a great job of evoking a narrative with his poems. He has figured out a great balance of information given and withheld within the swirling images his poems paint that hints at the larger narrative beyond what we are given. I love it. So, when he has a narrative stretched over fifteen poems, you know I’m in. Continue Reading

Review: Straight by Chuck Tingle

cover of Straight by Chuck TingleStraight by Chuck Tingle
Self-Published (May 2021}
129 pages; $13.99 Paperback; $6.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Most likely, you know Chuck Tingle. Also incredibly likely, you have never read more of his work than the covers. Which is a shame, because Dr. Chuck Tingle is honestly a hell of a writer. But, if you are too scared of a little butt pounding, then maybe his first foray into full-out horror will get you to give the dude a chance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.Continue Reading

Review: Revelation: The Poppet Cycle Book 1 by Donna J.W. Munro

cover of Revelation: The Poppet Cycle Book 1 by Donna J.W. MunroeRevelation: The Poppet Cycle Book 1 by Donna J.W. Munro
Omnium Gatherum (January 2021}
229 pages; $14.99 Paperback; $3.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

In the decently distant future, most population centers of the United States of North America are domed cities where even the poorer members of society live in relative ease and comfort. Poppets, the reanimated and mechanized bodies of the deceased, have taken over most manual labor. Outside of the domed cities lies the chaos of the wilds. Ellie, the assumed heir of the company that makes and runs the Poppets, is about to learn that life within and without the domes is far uglier and more complicated than she realizes.Continue Reading

Review: We Need to Do Something by Max Booth III

We Need to Do Something by Max Booth III
Perpetual Motion Machine Press (May 2020)
12cover of we need to do something by max booth III2 pages; $12.95 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Max Booth III is carving a niche out for himself as the king of premises that should not, in any way whatsoever, work. Yet, somehow, he does it. Every frickin’ time. Even with that anthology that every editor on the planet curses him for. I’ll be damned if he doesn’t pull it off again with We Need to Do Something.Continue Reading

Review: Whitechapel Rhapsody by Alessandro Manzetti

cover of Whitechapel RhapsodyWhitechapel Rhapsody by Alessandro Manzetti
Independent Legions (October 2020)
85 pages; $10.90 paperback, $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Alessandro Manzetti has quickly made a fairly large stamp on the genre. I remember hearing his name some a couple years ago, seeing something from him pop up here and there. Now, dude’s name is moving mountains. Whitechapel Rhapsody is a marvelous example of why.Continue Reading

Review: Devil’s Night: Bite-Sized Horror for Halloween by Pippa Bailey and Myk Pilgrim

cover of Devil's Night Bite-Sized HorrorDevil’s Night: Bite-Sized Horror for Halloween by Pippa Bailey and Myk Pilgrim
Pugnacious Press (May 2020)
111 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I generally don’t spend time talking about the personalities of writers when reviewing their work. Here, though, personality is the point of the whole thing. Pippa Bailey and Myk Pilgrim have established themselves as playful, boisterous members of the horror community over the years they have been a part of it. They walk that line between the dark and the heart and the weird little dancey places in between very well and it comes across clearly that this is just who they are.Continue Reading

Review: The Masque of the Red Death (Fine Art Edition) by Edgar Allan Poe and Steven Archer

cover of the masque of the red death fine art editionThe Masque of the Red Death (Fine Art Edition) by Edgar Allan Poe and Steven Archer
Raw Dog Screaming Press (January 13, 2021)
72 pages; $26.95 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I know what you are thinking: we can all get this story for free. At the very least, we can get it in a collection with plenty of other stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe. Why would anyone want to pay $27?Continue Reading

Review: Boinking Bizarro edited by Brian Asman and Danger Slater

Boinking Bizarro edited by Brian Asman and Danger Slater
Death’s Head Press (December 2020)
138 pages; $9.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Porn parodies. We know ’em. We love ’em. Except maybe Porn of the Dead. I don’t think anyone was asking for someone to go that far with it. Maybe Joe D’Amato. Look, I got a bit sidetracked. Point is: why the heck didn’t anyone think of doing porn parodies of classic literature before now?

Take Autumn Christian’s “The Thottery, by Shirley Jacksoff.” That title alone should print solid gold bricks that fall like rain from its moistened nethers. Or “The Martian Cumsicles by Ray Fatberries (Charles Austin Muir).” And “A Bird Came Up My Walk and I Put It in my Vagina by Emily Getta Dickinson.” That last one deserves an award.

But it isn’t all just the titles. Stories here range from the pure goofball oddity of Max Booth III’s “Tit, by Stephen Kink” to the satire of a satire that is “American Sly-ho by Breast-Eatin Ellis” from our dear friend Jessica McHugh. Then there is the raw heartache and fury we all have come to expect from Betty Rocksteady encapsulated in “Pinnochio’s Big Dick Energy, by Cucko Cuccoldi.” The less said about Johnwayne Comunale’s “The Receiving Tree, by Shell Silversteen” the less prepared for that particular ball of what-did-I-just-experience you will be.

Point is, Boinking Bizarro is exactly what it says on the tin, with just that smidge more to make for a special surprise. I liked it so much that I bought a physical copy just so the pages could get stuck together.

 

Review: Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre

cover for Anton Cancre's poetry collectionMeaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre
Dragon’s Roost Press (October 2020)
114 pages, $9.99 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love, Anton Cancre creates scenes of death and works to capture them in short, poignant poems. Cancre works within various horror tropes but does his best to keep the ideas fresh and visceral for the reader. This is an interesting collection, and while the poetry is inconsistent at times, fans of horror poetry will enjoy perusing it.Continue Reading

Review: Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Pals by Bitter Karella

cover of Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight PalsSubmitted for the Approval of the Midnight Pals by Bitter Karella
Guttersnipe Publishing (2020)
99 pages; $25 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I assume you know about @midnight_pals and The Midnight Society. If you dig horror literature, I don’t know how you could have missed it. You know, THE twitter gathering of great minds from across generations. Where Mary Shelley slaps the soul out of anyone pretending to the throne. That Midnight Society.

If you don’t know it, just look it up. I don’t have the space here and it is worth your time. This is the best literary satire currently going. And it is actually funny.

If you do, then I am sure, like me, you wanted to know why you should buy a book of stuff you can get online for free. But Bitter Karella has some treats in store for you here. Cute drawings that add to the lampooning of your favorite writers? Check. Plus additional faux stories from those authors we all love that really nail the silliness we all look past.

And if you want to find out about new horror talent, this is a surprisingly good place. Amid the gags at King and Barker and Lovecraft, there are pokes at the likes of Mary Sangiovanni (one of the bewb gags had me spitting while I sat on the toilet) and Betty Rocksteady, aka the sneaky snake of Canada that will rock your world.

The only downside is that orders can only be placed through direct contact via twitter at @midnight_pals but it is totally worth it.

Review: A Complex Accident of Life by Jessica McHugh

A Complex Accident of Life: Blackout Poetry Inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Jessica McHugh
Apokrupha (June 2020)
104 pages; $18.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Writing poetry is a tough gig. Trying to put together poems from someone else’s words, even tougher. Putting together personal, meaningful poems from someone else’s words and using their location to make for impactful, visually appealing art seems nigh impossible. So, of course the inimitable Jessica McHugh has done just that.Continue Reading

Review: Escape from the Billings Mall: A Select Your Own Timeline Adventure by Chuck Tingle

cover of Escape from the Billings Mall by Chuck TingleEscape from the Billings Mall: A Select Your Own Timeline Adventure by Chuck Tingle
Independently Published (April 2020)
154 pages; $12.66 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Dr. Chuck Tingle tends to be treated as a joke. That guy who writes those silly Pounded books. However, that is only by those who have not bothered to read his work. No one can pull off weird like he can and still hold the humanity of it. Dr. Tingle knows people, hearts and what drives us.Continue Reading

Review: Devil’s Bane: Tales of a Fourth Grade Warrior by Ken MacGregor

cover of Devil's Bane by Ken MacGregorDevil’s Bane: Tales of a Fourth Grade Warrior by Ken MacGregor
Dragon’s Roost Press (May 2020)
160 pages; $8.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I know Ken MacGregor mostly for his harder stuff. That Burnt Fur, Sex and Centipedes stuff. I always liked it. He can be super abrasive, rambunctious, gross and fun while still keeping a fair amount of heart in the ordeal. But a middle grade book? I thought he was joking.Continue Reading