Review: Our Lady of the Inferno by Preston Fassel

Our Lady of the Inferno by Preston Fassel
Fangoria Presents (September 2018)
376 pages; $13.50 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Two women.

One is a businesswoman navigating the male-dominated world of the Staten Island landfill system. She is respected, if not entirely understood, by her peers.

The other is a businesswoman, too; she’s also a den mother of sorts, fighting hard for a group of girls who see her as protector and savior. Under her guidance, they navigate the flesh-for-cash trade of New York’s 42nd Street. She is both respected and feared by her peers.

One of these women is deeply, dangerously insane.Continue Reading

Silverwood: The Door – An Interview with Richard Chizmar

Silverwood: The Door is the follow-up to Silverwood, an original video series from Tony Valenzuela’s Black Box TV (episodes are available on YouTube). Brian Keene acts as showrunner for a writers room featuring Richard ChizmarStephen Kozeniewski, and the Sisters of Slaughter – Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. The result is a 10-episode series, released in weekly installments in both prose and audiobook formats beginning in October.  The team promises a mix of horror styles encompassing slashers, splatterpunk, psychological, Lovecraftian, and more.

Richard Chizmar is a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author. He is the co-author (with Stephen King) of the bestselling novella, Gwendy’s Button Box. He has edited more than 35 anthologies and his fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including multiple editions of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He’s also an accomplished screenwriter and the founder/guiding force behind Cemetery Dance. Recently, he took on another project: answering these questions about his work on Silverwood: The Door.

Continue Reading

Silverwood: The Door – An Interview with The Sisters of Slaughter

Silverwood: The Door is the follow-up to Silverwood, an original video series from Tony Valenzuela’s Black Box TV (episodes are available on YouTube). Brian Keene acts as showrunner for a writers room featuring Cemetery Dance founder and publisher Richard ChizmarStephen Kozeniewski, and the Sisters of Slaughter – Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. The result is a 10-episode series, released in weekly installments in both prose and audiobook formats beginning in October.  The team promises a mix of horror styles encompassing slashers, splatterpunk, psychological, Lovecraftian, and more.Continue Reading

Review: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books (September 18, 2018)
336 pages; $16.50 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

The idea that rock ‘n roll is the Devil’s music is as old as a Robert Johnson blues riff. It’s an idea that’s been mined by countless musicians and writers over the years, to varying degrees of success. Leave it to Grady Hendrix, acclaimed author/historian of ’70s and ’80s horror fiction, to breathe new life into one of horror’s most well-worn tropes.Continue Reading

Silverwood: The Door – An Interview with Stephen Kozeniewski

Silverwood: The Door is the follow-up to Silverwood, an original video series from Tony Valenzuela’s Black Box TV (episodes are available on YouTube). Brian Keene acts as showrunner for a writers room featuring Cemetery Dance founder and publisher Richard ChizmarStephen Kozeniewski, and the Sisters of Slaughter – Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. The result is a 10-episode series, released in weekly installments in both prose and audiobook formats beginning in October.  The team promises a mix of horror styles encompassing slashers, splatterpunk, psychological, Lovecraftian, and more.Continue Reading

Review: Severance by Ling Ma

Severance by Ling Ma
Farrar, Straus & Giroux (August 2018)
304 pages; $19.60 hardcover; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I’ve read a post-apocalyptic novel or two in my day, and a common thread that runs through them is that when the bomb drops or the plague hits or whatever apocalyptic thing it is that happens happens, people stop going to work. The apocalypse, it seems, is an unimpeachable reason to play hooky.

Not so in Ling Ma’s entertaining, thought-provoking debut novel, Severance. In Severance, when the apocalyptic thing happens — in this case it’s a disease called Shen Fever — the unaffected minority keep going to work. For some, it’s a coping mechanism. For others, it’s the promise of a hefty bonus, or the idea that their loyalty to the company will get them ahead when this all blows over.

For Candace Chen, it’s a case of not knowing what else to do.Continue Reading

If Books Could Kill: Jason Voorhees in Print

If Books Could Kill: Jason Voorhees in Print

Somewhere along the way, Friday the 13th got a new mascot. Instead of an unlucky black cat — back arched, fur standing on end, claws bared, hissing — the official symbol of this unofficial holiday became a mute serial killer in a hockey mask.

His name is Jason, and today is HIS day. Today, you won’t be able to look at social media without seeing his masked mug on every other post. There will be lists about his best kills, and debates about who is the best “Final Girl” (it’s Ginny, from Part 2), and arguments over which is his best movie (it’s The Final Chapter).

Here at Cemetery Dance, we love movies, but we live for books. So on this, the last Friday the 13th of 2018, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the Jason Voorhees story as it has played out in print. As you’ll see, the authors who have tackled the character of Jason Voorhees over the years have taken him on a ride as wild — and wildly uneven — as the film franchise itself.Continue Reading

Review: Stirring the Sheets by Chad Lutzke

Stirring the Sheets by Chad Lutzke
Bloodshot Books (April 2018)
130 pages; $8.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Read enough horror, and you start feeling like you can predict where a book or story is going to go within a few pages or chapters. I’m not saying that all horror is predictable or formulaic; just that enough of it is that some reviewers (like me) might find themselves getting a little cocky after a few successful predictions. Then someone like Chad Lutzke comes along with a novella like Stirring the Sheets, and gleefully knocks you off your high horse.Continue Reading

Serial Box, Brian Keene introduce new fiction series SILVERWOOD: THE DOOR

If you follow Brian Keene on social media, you probably noticed he’s been teasing us all a lot lately. I don’t mean teasing in a mean, name-calling, bullying kind of way; I mean he’s been dangling a mysterious new project in front of us like a carrot on a stick. Finally, during a May 11 telethon that featured a rap battle and Keene wearing tights, among other things (oh, and that raised over $21,000 for the Scares That Care charity!), the beans were spilled: Keene has joined forces with Serial Box and a room full of talented horror writers to produce a new prose fiction series called Silverwood: The Door.Continue Reading

Review: Blood Standard by Laird Barron

Blood Standard by Laird Barron
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (May 29, 2018)
336 pages; $26.00 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

While The Godfather Part III is not the most revered entry in that series, that Al Pacino line is one of the franchise’s most memorable quotes. The idea behind it—the notion that people play certain inescapable roles in their life, no matter how hard they may try to change—is the basis for quite a bit of crime fiction, and it forms the backbone of Laird Barron’s new novel, Blood Standard.Continue Reading

Review: Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
Del Rey (April 10, 2018)
384 pages; $24.54 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

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.Continue Reading

Mary SanGiovanni stirs up a Tempest

Mary SanGiovanni is a prolific author and podcaster, and she’s getting ready to add another title to the list: editor. Recently, SanGiovanni announced that she is joining forces with respected publisher Thunderstorm Books to form a new, female-centric imprint. In the following interview, SanGiovanni discusses her approach to creating and curating this new line of horror fictionContinue Reading

Review: Hellraiser: The Toll by Mark Alan Miller

Hellraiser: The Toll by Mark Alan Miller
Subterranean Press (February 28, 2018)
96 pages; $40 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Over the years, the Hellraiser mythology has become something of a hash, combining elements of Clive Barker’s original novella The Hellbound Heart with bits from the Hellraiser movies (mainly the first two in the franchise: Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II). Nowhere is this more evident than in The Scarlet Gospels. In Barker’s 2015 novel, the cenobite known as Pinhead (but not to his face; no, never to his face) was a sometimes confusing mix of the elegant sadist from Hellbound Heart and a bloodthirsty, Hollywood-style slasher.Continue Reading

Review: Apart in the Dark by Ania Ahlborn

Apart in the Dark by Ania Ahlborn
Gallery Books (January 2018)
384 pages; $8.49 paperback
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Quiet horror is, to me, the most effective style of horror, especially when it comes to written horror. Shocks, gore, jump scares—when done right, those things work in the moment. But quiet horror, when done right, lingers. Stays with you. Comes back to you at the worst (i.e., the best) possible times, like when you’re just about to drift off to sleep and you hear a soft thump behind the closet door, or when you catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye that disappears when you look straight at it. Shock hits you and then wears off a second later and you’re laughing, shaking your head, saying “They got me again.” Quiet horror hangs around, and when it comes back to you, nobody is laughing.Continue Reading

Robert McCammon Previews The Listener

Robert McCammon Previews The Listener

The Listener Preview Event
The Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, Alabama
December 5, 2017
by Blu Gilliand

More than a dozen devoted fans (some driving from more than three hours away) braved a rainy Alabama night to gather at The Alabama Booksmith for a “preview party” for Robert McCammon’s upcoming Cemetery Dance novel The Listener.Continue Reading