Review: ‘Dream Woods’ by Patrick Lacey

Cemetery Dance Reviews

dreamDream Woods by Patrick Lacey
Sinister Grin Press (October 2016)
318 pages; $16.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I love amusement parks, especially the old ones from my youth. The local ones were the best, where sometimes it seemed the rides were likely to fall apart while you were still riding them. The ones within an hour’s drive from where I grew up—Lakewood Park, West Point Park, and Willow Grove Park, all in Southeast Pennsylvania. In its dying days, the later was known as Six Gun Territory. I remember they used to have a small wooden coaster, The Scenic; exciting not because of it’s speed or height, but because of the way it always seemed like it could leave the track at any moment.Continue Reading

Review: ‘The End of Halloween: Four Tales of All Hallows’ Eve’ by Greg Chapman

Cemetery Dance Reviews

The End of Halloween: Four Tales of All Hallows’ Eve by Greg Chapman
Self Published (September 2016)
60 pages; $1.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

halloweenWriter Greg Chapman loves Halloween. Not exactly a bold statement; the man is a horror writer, after all. What makes this interesting, however, is that Greg is from Australia, where Halloween is not nearly the big deal it is in the United States.

In his novella length collection of short fiction The End of Halloween: Four Tales of All Hallows’ Eve, Greg writes with the passion of a long-time devotee of the holiday on which Americans are expected to spend 8.4 billion dollars in 2016.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life’ by Ruth Franklin

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
Liveright (September 2016)
624 pages; $25.14 paperback; $16.05 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of biographies. Not my thing. Nothing against them, I just prefer to spend my time reading fiction. That being said, when I saw there was going to be a Shirley Jackson biography, I decided to get out of my comfort zone just a bit.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Savages’ by Greg F. Gifune

savagesSavages by Greg F. Gifune
Sinister Grin Press (September 2016)
168 pages; $17.00 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Reminiscent of the pulp fiction stories of the ’30s through the ’50s, or perhaps the B-Movies popular at drive-ins in the ’70s and ’80s, Greg F. Gifune’s new novel, Savages, is every bit as good as the best of those sub-genres. Prior to the start of the book, the author quotes the 1920 film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”: 

A man cannot destroy the savage in him by denying its impulses. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it…

The story which follows is about a group of friends and acquaintances, shipwrecked, adrift for days, and washed ashore on a seemingly uninhabited island…and that’s the good news.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror’

badapplesBad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror by Various
Corpus Press (August 2016)
242 pages; $14.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Halloween is fast approaching. Don’t believe me? Just stop by your local big box store or visit any super drug store. Candy and costumes and decorations are popping up everywhere. Good news is, it’s also time for Halloween anthologies and scary stories to appear on bookshelves and in your news feeds. One such collection is from Evans and Adam Light, co-creators of the Bad Apples anthology series.

Bad Apples 3: Seven Slices of Halloween Horror is a delicious concoction of tales which are much more fun than bobbing for apples. Plus, you’re much less likely to suffer accidental drowning reading this book, unless you like to read in the tub. Then you’re on your own.Continue Reading

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

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

Review: ‘Floaters’ by Kelli Owen

FloatersFloaters by Kelli Owen
CreateSpace (July 2016)
270 pages; $10.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Two quotes at the start of Floaters set the tone perfectly for the story which follows:

America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil. Before the settlers, before the Indians…The evil was there…Waiting. — William S. Burroughs

Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful. — Mary Shelly, Frankenstein

Kelli Owen’s new book starts out looking like a police procedural involving flood waters causing a riverside graveyard to lose a number of its residents, including several Native Americans. It’s all fairly straightforward, until BAM…tentacles.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Devil's Evidence' by Simon Kurt Unsworth

devilsevidenceThe Devil’s Evidence by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Doubleday (July 2016)
400 pages; $20.34 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Thomas Fool, The Devil’s Detective, is an Information Man and a human among demons. Fool is the Commander of the Information Office, a position in Hell for which he gets little respect. Along comes a new department in Hell, The Evidence, headed by Mr. Tap. All they seem to do is get in the way of the Information Men: 

They didn’t investigate, they simply tore things apart and reached conclusions that made little or no sense, and then executed justice on the spot.

Continue Reading

Review: ‘The Devil’s Evidence’ by Simon Kurt Unsworth

devilsevidenceThe Devil’s Evidence by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Doubleday (July 2016)
400 pages; $20.34 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Thomas Fool, The Devil’s Detective, is an Information Man and a human among demons. Fool is the Commander of the Information Office, a position in Hell for which he gets little respect. Along comes a new department in Hell, The Evidence, headed by Mr. Tap. All they seem to do is get in the way of the Information Men: 

They didn’t investigate, they simply tore things apart and reached conclusions that made little or no sense, and then executed justice on the spot.

Continue Reading

Review: 'United States of Japan' by Peter Tieryas

JapanUnited States of Japan by Peter Tieryas
Angry Robot Books (March, 2016)
400 pages; $10.77 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

United States of Japan is Peter Tieryas’s third book. It began as “a story revolving around the tragic events on the Asian side of WWII.” The book is inspired by Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, as well as the author’s time at Electronic Arts and his experiences traveling in Asia.

For the most part, I’ve never been much of a fan of alternate history stories, but John Liberto’s cover art caught my attention and I did enjoy the Amazon Prime series The Man in the High Castle, so I decided to take a chance.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Conveyance' by Brian W. Matthews

ConveyanceThe Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews
JournalStone (June 17, 2016)
260 pages; $16.39 paperback; $4.95 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

The first third of The Conveyance was about ordinary people leading mostly ordinary lives. Before you know it, Brian W. Mathews lulls the reader into a comfort zone brought on by his easy-going writing style.

Mathews has a gift for developing strong characters who interact with one another in the most genuine of ways. Therapist/patient, husband/wife, best friends. Every one of those relationships was one-hundred-percent believable. It’s a good thing, because a lot of what happens in The Conveyance requires readers to check their disbelief at the door.Continue Reading

Review: 'Babylon Terminal' by Greg F. Gifune

babylon_terminalBabylon Terminal by Greg F. Gifune
Darkfuse (June 2016)
$99.00 hardcover; $16.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I can’t say I always connect with a Greg F. Gifune story, but I always try to read his work. He challenges me as a reader and Babylon Terminal did just that. This is not a casual read, it’s not light material.  I feel I had to work for every bit of enjoyment I got out of this book, but it was worth it.

There is some stunning wordcraft in this story. At times Gifune’s prose is close to breathtaking. There is powerful, rich dialogue, as well.Continue Reading

Review: 'Kill Switch' by Jonathan Maberry

Kill Switch-2Kill Switch by Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin’s Griffin (April 26 2016)
544 pages; $9.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Is it to early to add this to the list of my ten favorite reads of 2016? Kill Switch, by Jonathan Maberry, is that good. It’s hard to imagine many books to be published the rest of this year being better than this new adventure in the Joe Ledger series.Continue Reading