Review: ‘Modern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers’ by Michael McCarty


mythmakersModern Mythmakers: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and FIlmmakers by Michael McCarty
Crystal Lake Publishing (February 2015)
424 pages; $15.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

Books of interviews tend to be fascinating reads for hardcore movie fans, writers, and super fans, but they serve a small niche audience. Reaching out to a larger audience is often a tougher task. Mike McCarty nails it with a fun, insightful, and educational read that should entertain all of the demographics it targets.

McCarty has a great voice and style that elicits deep answers from those interviewed, going beyond the expected as readers will find great anecdotes about these celebrities which is pure gold. Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Angel of the Abyss’ by Hank Schwaeble

abysscoverThe Angel of the Abyss by Hank Schwaeble
Cohesion Press (October 31, 2016)
306 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

Jake Hatcher is one badass character. He’s been to hell and back, fought for his country only to be put in prison, watched people he cares for die at the hands (or other deadly appendages) or demons and other creatures. In Damnable and Diabolical, Hatcher fought off hell and survived—barely—but has returned with a vengeance in The Angel of the Abyss. If readers aren’t familiar with the Stoker-winning first book, it’s okay. Catching up can be done afterwards. Each works somewhat as a standalone but are best served to be read in order.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Stranded’ by Bracken MacLeod

strandedStranded by Bracken MacLeod
Tor Books (October 4, 2016)
304 pages; $24.99 hardcover; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

Stranded is the kind of book which generates plenty of hype and high expectations—like many others every year. This one delivers on all that’s promised, and more, in a genre-hopping blockbuster which draws immediate comparisons to The Terror, The Thing, and even The Twilight Zone. Strong comparisons, yet in this case, apt words. A tour-de-force of claustrophobic thrills which places the book in the same field as Simmons, Koontz, and Golden.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Kraken Sea’ by E. Catherine Tobler

thekrakenseaThe Kraken Sea by E. Catherine Tobler
Apex Book Company (June 2016)
128 pages; $11.95 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

If reading YA has gotten a little cliché for readers, the same old dystopian plots and angst-ridden ghosts, there’s a new wave coming. Back to the intelligence of what made the genre strong, some new authors have decided to push back and take a chance.The Kraken Sea is one such entry. E. Catherine Tobler has given the YA world something it may not have seen before.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Fisherman’ by John Langan

thefishermanThe Fisherman by John Langan
Word Horde (June 2016)
352 pages; $11.03 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

Imagine, if you will, a dark tale co-written by Peter Straub and Thomas Ligotti, filtered through the whimsical sensibilities of Neil Gaiman and spoken to a friend over beers at a campfire. If that image conjures up something quite different than what you’ve read lately, John Langan’s The Fisherman might just be what a jaded reader craves this year.  

The term “literary horror” is often misunderstood, sometimes turning away the casual fan and other times focusing more on the writing than the story itself. Fear not, this intriguing novel dispels the misconceptions as it is a smooth read, almost begging to be read on the porch with feet up and a drink in hand.Continue Reading

Review: 'Dark Matter' by Blake Crouch

darkmatterDark Matter by Blake Crouch
Crown (July 26, 2016)
352 pages; $17.32 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

Jason Dessen, Daniela, Charlie—“Are you happy with your life?” It’s a question humans lie about all the time. Some truly are content, but how many torment themselves with enough “what ifs” until anxiety rears its ugly head? When a choice is finally presented in this intense, mind-bending novel, readers might just forget about those roads not taken.

Blake Crouch has written several fine thrillers in the past decade, but it wasn’t until the breakout success of the Wayward Pines trilogy last year that the world was alerted to this talented author (and original drummer of the kick-ass Killer Thriller band). M. Night Shyamalan’s television series gave the writer the spotlight he has long deserved.  Yet, it’s always, “what’s next?” for the author, and can you top this?Continue Reading

Review: 'Black Static' #52

blackstatic52Black Static #52
TTA Press (May 2016)
164 pages; $5.99 print; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by David Simms

Black Static is more than a British magazine of horror and dark fantasy. It IS the best magazine of dark fiction that is produced on a regular basis. While many have compared it to Cemetery Dance, including this reviewer, it transcends anything currently in production. Bimonthly, readers are treated to stories that are not of the norm in the genre and often evoke a cross between the Borderlands anthologies and Dangerous Visions. Yes, it’s that solid—and consistent.Continue Reading

Review: 'Rage Master' by Simon Clark

Rage Master by Simon Clark
Earthling Publications (October 2015)
250 pages, signed/numbered hardcover $45
Reviewed by David Simms

RageMasterEach year as the special holiday approaches, Earthling Publications treats horror readers with a special book that harkens back to the good old days of the genre. The supernatural is at play with haunted houses, monstrous creatures, and otherworldly scares which make the Halloween Series such a fixture in horror fiction. Paul Miller has yet to produce a bad book, yet after last year’s stellar The Halloween Children, expectations were set at a high level.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Hunt' by Tim Lebbon

The Hunt by Tim Lebbon
Avon (July 2015)
400 pages, paperback $6.68
Reviewed by David Simms

HuntThe transition from writing horror to thrillers sounds like it should be an easy move, yet very few authors have mastered the art of actually “thrilling” the reader from the first page to the last without letting up. Tim Lebbon pretty much pulled off the task in his first attempt in a definite departure from horror and fantasy. That might be due in part to Lebbon’s training in endurance sports, entering triathlons, Iron Man, and Outlaw competitions. The man knows how to sustain pace and suspense.Continue Reading

Review: 'Devil's Pocket' by John Dixon

Devil’s Pocket by John Dixon
Gallery Books (August 4, 2015)
352 pages, e-book $8.99, paperback $10.99
Reviewed by David Simms

DevilsPocketJohn Dixon gave the YA world a much needed punch to the throat last year with Phoenix Island, a novel that was filled with brutality, humanity, and intelligence. It launched the television series Intelligence, but even better, won the Bram Stoker Award for “Best YA Novel” this past May.

Sequels in book series usually tail off a bit, even in the most successful books, typically a rehashing of the first book. What does Dixon do? He takes a wide left turn into uncharted territory where it could have been disastrous for the many fans he accumulated.Continue Reading