Review: ‘The Jersey Devil’ by Hunter Shea

jerseydevilThe Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea
Pinnacle (August 30, 2016)
352 pages; $7.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Hunter Shea’s latest is a romp through the Pine Barrens of New Jersey with multiple twists, layers, and additions to the mythos of The Jersey Devil.

I’ve lived in Southeastern Pennsylvania most of my life. It’s close enough to South Jersey that I’ve grown up fascinated by the tall tales of The Jersey Devil. As a result, I come to Hunter Shea’s new book with a firm grasp on all of the hearsay from over the years. While Hunter keeps the history of the legend intact, he really uses those stories as a starting point for his own tale, which makes anything you may have heard before look like a child’s bedtime story.Continue Reading

Genre Gentrification, or, “Queers Hate Techies”


Genre Gentrification, or, “Queers Hate Techies”

Steven Shrewsbury, Brian, Christopher Golden, and James Moore - Isotope Comics, 2006. (Photo Copyright Steven Shrewsbury)
Steven Shrewsbury, Brian, Christopher Golden, and James Moore – Isotope Comics, 2006.
(Photo Copyright Steven Shrewsbury)

Last week, I mentioned that I’ve visited San Francisco’s Mission District well over a dozen times. One of those times was back in 2006, when Christopher Golden and I led a group of writers on what was supposed to be a trip to James Simes’s legendary Isotope Comics, but—due to the fact that none of our phones had GPS technology back in the ancient days of 2006—turned into a walking tour of the Mission District instead. Nate Southard refers to this fondly as “the sixty-block death walk.”

People (mostly out-of-towners who had heard sordid tales of how the Mission District was home to roving bands of homeless, drug addicts, and mentally ill people) admonished us to be careful. They didn’t think such a pilgrimage was a good idea. We explained to them that, if San Francisco’s Alan Beatts was a bookselling demigod, then James Simes was his comic book counterpart, and we had to go pay homage. “Stay in a big group,” people then advised us. “Stay together or you’ll get stabbed!”Continue Reading

Review: ‘Quick Shivers About Bugs’ edited by James Leach and Janice Leach

quickshiversQuick Shivers About Bugs edited by James Leach and Janice Leach
Cosmonomic Multimedia (March 2016)
80 pages, $15.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Quick Shivers About Bugs is a horror anthology based on articles published at Daily Nightmare. Each piece focuses on bugs in one way or another, though that term is taken as broadly as possible. Most of the pieces are short, one-hundred-word stories or poems, but there are a few longer non-fiction pieces interspersed between the short pieces to give some balance to the anthology. Overall, it’s an entertaining collection.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Dead Souls’ by J. Lincoln Fenn

dead-soulsDead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn
Gallery Books (September 20, 2016)
352 pages; $10.16 paperback; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Jonathan Reitan

How J. Lincoln Fenn’s first novel Poe escaped my radar I don’t know, for it won a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, but after finishing her upcoming second novel, Dead Souls, she’s created a new dedicated fan in this reviewer.

It’s a wonderful thing when a new writer comes out of seemingly nowhere to offer up such a mesmerizing and truly hypnotic work of fiction. When you’re knocked on your ass with its quality…even better. Continue Reading

A Message to the Next Generation


A Message to the Next Generation

Brian, Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman. (Photo Copyright 2016 Brian Keene)
Brian, Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman.
(Photo Copyright 2016 Brian Keene)

Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman are badasses. Alan is a former private investigator, bodyguard, firearms instructor, and motorcycle repairman. Jude is a former welder and computer micro-assembly technician. They also run Borderlands Books in San Francisco, a name inspired in part by William Hope Hodgson’s horror-fantasy-science fiction classic House on the Borderland.

I was introduced to them by Richard Laymon back in 1999. I first visited Borderlands Books in 2001, right after they’d moved to San Francisco’s Mission District. Indeed, when I visited, they were still remodeling the place. I signed there later on that year with Gene O’Neill, Mike Oliveri, Michael T. Huyck, Geoff Cooper, and Gak. And I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve signed there—or shopped there—since. At least twice with J.F. Gonzalez, once with a large group from the World Horror Convention, once with my ex-wife, once with Nick Mamatas, once with Mary SanGiovanni, and so on. Basically, anytime I’m in San Francisco, I stop at Borderlands.Continue Reading

Veruca Salt Playing Pokemon Go: How I’m Dealing with the Manic Pace of Modern Fandom


Veruca Salt Playing Pokemon Go: How I’m Dealing with the Manic Pace of Modern Fandom

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Adam wanted to tell you that he’s just released a brand-spankin’-new book, The Con Season, but was afraid to increase his already out-of-control word count, so I told him I would tell you. We now return you to this month’s edition of Paper Cuts.)

Twitter is a lot of things. It can be a place to get your news, try out your comedy chops or keep tabs on your friends.

As a tool for mass communication the social network is powerful enough to overthrow governments, but its uses can be as simple as some R&R spent hurling anonymous insults to let the world know how terrified you are of women.

But I digress.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: ‘Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!)’ by Mark Sheldon

sarahkillian (1)Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!) by Mark Sheldon
Crystal Lake Publishing (July 2016)
216 pages; $13.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I want to love every book I read, I really do. Regrettably, it’s just not possible. There are times when you pick up a title that grabs your interest, but doesn’t quite live up to your expectations. Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (for Hire!) is such a tome.Continue Reading

Review: ‘I Am Providence’ by Nick Mamatas

ProvidenceI Am Providence by Nick Mamatas
Night Shade Books (August 2016)
256 pages; $10.66 paperback; $15.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I can’t say I read a lot of Nick Mamatas, but what I have read, I’ve certainly enjoyed.  

Nick’s most recent work is dissimilar from anything I’ve read before. Set at the fictional, annual Summer Tentacular—“Providence’s premiere literary conference about pulp-writer, racist, and weirdo Howard Philips Lovecraft”—the book is an inside look at the craziness such an event would give rise to.

The attendees at said conference seem to be based on a combination of real writers and an amalgamation of the writers and fans who frequent such a happening.

The story is told from two separate points of view: that of first-time attendee and recently published Lovecraftian writer, Colleen Danzig; and the other, her roommate, a writer know as Panossian who spends most of the book in the morgue, lying on a slab.Continue Reading

Ad Capere Tenebris


Ad Capere Tenebris

So, I’m boarding an airplane in El Paso, about to traverse the time zones once again and fly to San Francisco, when it occurs to me that the ISIS-fighter’s psychic suicide bomb is still in my carry-on bag. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you need to read last week’s column). The totem is snuggled up against my laptop, three Yeti microphones, my digital voice recorder, an assortment of pens and Moleskin notebooks, half a tin of Altoids, a few cigars, a cigar cutter, and a hardcover of David Schow’s DJSturbia, which I bought way back in Burbank. Nobody in the TSA thought to question the trinket. Why would they? To them, it just looks like a small triangular wedge of red leather with a leather cord attached to it. But I know what it is, and now that I do, I can’t stop thinking about the damn thing.

This in turn leads to unkind thoughts concerning my mother.

Allow me to explain.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Sinister Stitches’ by Mark Cassell

stichesSinister Stitches by Mark Cassell
Herbs House (October 2015)
128 pages; $6.99 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Josh Black

Mark Cassell’s The Shadow Fabric (2014) was a fast-paced and entertaining romp through a mythos involving the extraction of evil, a unique take on the living dead, and the encroachment of primordial darkness into the modern world. Sinister Stitches collects twelve stories (thirteen in the paperback version) that expand on or relate to the mythos, and an extract of the novel.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: ‘The Shadow Fabric’ by Mark Cassell

shadowfabricThe Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell
Herbs House (September 2014)
340 pages; $12.99 paperback; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Josh Black

Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day, he witnesses a murder, and the Shadow Fabric—a malevolent force that controls the darkness—takes the body and vanishes with it.

Uncovering secrets long hidden from humankind, Leo’s memory unravels. Not only haunted by his past, a sinister presence within the darkness threatens his existence and he soon doubts everything and everyone… including himself.

Now Leo must confront the truth about his past before he can embrace his future. But the future may not exist.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Odd Adventures with Your Other Father’ by Norman Prentiss

OddAdventuresOdd Adventures with Your Other Father by Norman Prentiss
Kindle Press (May 2016)
217 pages; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

Norman Prentiss immediately distinguished himself from average horror fare with his debut novella Invisible Fences. A brilliant character study about the fears we inherit from our parents, and also about the guilt we carry deep inside us, it embodied the best of the “quiet horror” sub-genre with powerful, creeping atmosphere and an exploration of the human psyche.

Invisible Fences won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in long fiction (as a novella), an award well-deserved. Norman followed this up with his mini-collection Four Legs in the Morning, another brilliant exercise in quiet horror, about the machinations of Dr. Sibley, Chair of the English Department at Graysonville University, and the unpleasant fates of those who try to oppose him. Personally, I can’t to read about this mysterious (maniacal?) character again.

With his first full-length novel, Odd Adventures with Your Other Father, Prentiss has once again distinguished himself from others in the horror/weird fiction field. Continue Reading

Time Bomb


Time Bomb

All roads eventually lead to... (Photo Copyright 2016 Tod Clark)
All roads eventually lead to…
(Photo Copyright 2016 Tod Clark)

Last week’s column ended with high school football coach Tod Clark and I leaving a triumphant, standing-room-only signing in Phoenix, and climbing into his truck to head for Albuquerque. We’ll return to that in a moment. But first, I need to tell you about the bomb I was carrying with us.

Back in the eleventh installment of this column, I wrote: “A fellow Navy veteran gave me a Chief’s badge and a trinket taken from around the neck of a dead ISIS fighter (more on that a few columns from now), both of which I was very touched by.”

Well, here we are at “a few columns from now,” still in Phoenix. Tod and I have not yet gotten into the truck. Indeed, we haven’t even made it to that triumphant Phoenix signing yet. Instead, we are sitting in a hotel room with author Weston Ochse and publisher Paul Goblirsch of Thunderstorm Books.

How is that possible? Well, right now, we are traveling through time, you and I. Continue Reading