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

Review: 'I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After' by Skottie Young

FairyI Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young
Image Comics (April 26 2016)
128 pages; $8.41 paperback
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Okay, I’m not the biggest fan of comic books, but when I Hate Fairyland came into Cemetery Dance for review, I took one look at the synopsis and knew I had to check this out.

What a trip. Artist and author Skottie Young has concocted a colorful, imaginative, raw blood fest that’s reminiscent of the old Fractured Fairy Tales…on acid. I love the artwork. It reminds me of the old Garbage Pail Kids cards I collected back in the day, only with more blood.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Sound of Time' by Jeremy Essex

soundoftimeThe Sound of Time by Jeremy Essex
Samhain Publishing (February 2016)
60 pages; $2.10 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

The Sound of Time is a quick and surreal novella. The story takes place during the late night move of a business from its old location to its new. As the old place is emptied out, it becomes rather creepy. A discussion of time, and the perception of it, sets the mood for some truly bizarre events.Continue Reading

Review: 'A Mixed Bag of Blood' by David Bernstein

bloodA Mixed Bag of Blood by David Bernstein
Sinister Grin Press (March 2016)
130 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I’ve read several works by David Bernstein in the last few years and I’ve mentioned once or twice that no one is safe in one of his stories. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this observation. Author Kristopher Rufty echoes that sentiment in his introduction to A Mixed Bag of Blood, saying “Nothing, or no one, is safe in Dave’s worlds.”

There are some very good stories in this new collection of ten horror tales from a writer who knows how to push all of my buttons: scary, gory, gross and, at times, humorous.Continue Reading

Review: 'Demon with a Comb-Over' by Stuart R. West

DemonDemon with a Comb-Over by Stuart R. West
Samhain Publishing (March 2016)
168 pages; $4.50 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Demon With a Comb-Over is a novel that combines the world of stand-up comedy with a compelling tale of horror.

Here’s the setup:

Talk about a tough crowd.

Take Charlie Broadmoor’s life. Please. Charlie sucks at stand-up comedy. He gets by, though. Things are okay. His life is decent. Until the night he makes fun of a demon’s comb-over. Big mistake. What kind of demon wears a comb-over? The sensitive kind. The kind who’s not going to let an insult slide. A demon who’s going to take Charlie down. As in down to Hell. And he intends on dragging everyone Charlie cares about along for the ride.

Continue Reading

Review: 'Ghost Heart' by John Palisano

GhostGhost Heart by John Palisano
Samhain Publishing (February 2016)
218 pages; $14.99 paperback; $4.24 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Get this book.  Don’t even bother reading my review, just drop everything and get yourself a copy. You won’t regret it.

Here’s the synopsis you’ll find on the first page:

Live fast, die young, and leave a bloodthirsty corpse.

That’s the saying of a new pack of predators infesting a New England town. They’re infected with the Ghost Heart, a condition that causes them to become irresistible and invincible…as long as they drink the blood of the living. But these vampires don’t live forever, and as the Ghost Heart claims them, their skin loses color and their hearts turn pale. When a young mechanic is seduced by the pack’s muse, he finds falling in love will break more than his heart.

Continue Reading

Review: 'The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever' by Jeff Strand

greatestzombieThe Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand
Sourcebooks Fire (March 2016)
272 pages; $7.42 paperback; $7.02 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

When reading a new work from Jeff Strand, I’m frequently reminded of the popular line from Forrest Gump: “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”  Will I get something in the horror genre, something delightfully demented, strange, or even charmingly romantic like his Kumquat novel from a couple of years back? Or will I just get chocolate all over the pages of the book?Continue Reading

Review: 'Echoes of Darkness' by Rob Smales

darknessEchoes of Darkness by Rob Smales
Books & Boos Press (February 2016)
265 pages; $10.79 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Echoes of Darkness is a baker’s dozen of high caliber horror shorts; some have been published elsewhere and several are new to this collection. I can’t say I’ve read a lot of Rob Smales’ writing, but this collection has propelled him to the top of my list of writers to keep an eye on. His stories are compelling, entertaining and, on occasion, horrific.Continue Reading

Review: 'Good Girls' by Glen Hirshberg

GoodGood Girls by Glen Hirshberg
Tor/Forge (February 2016)
352 pages; $20.44 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Top notch writing, enjoyable prose, a twisted and demented story… but I was a bit lost at times. Seems Good Girls is book 2 in the Motherless Children Trilogy, something the publisher failed to mention when promoting the book. Now that it’s for sale to the public, I see that it’s listed that way, but it’s also being touted as a stand-alone novel. I, personally, would have preferred reading Motherless Child first.

That being said, there is some wonderful story-telling going on here. From the opening line, there’s magic in the words…Continue Reading

Review: 'Northwoods' by Bill Schweigart

NorthNorthwoods by Bill Schweigart
Hydra (February 2016)
202 pages; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

It’s been a year since the events in The Beast of Barcroft, and friends Ben McKelvie and Lindsay Clark are still trying to put their lives back together when they each get a call from the mysterious and very wealthy Richard Severance, asking them to drop everything and head to Minnesota.

Richard has a fascination with cryptozoology, a pseudoscience involving the search for animals whose existence has not been proven due to lack of evidence. This includes living examples of animals that are otherwise considered extinct, animals whose existence lacks physical evidence but which appear in folklore, such as Bigfoot and Chupacabra; and wild animals drastically outside their normal geographic ranges.Continue Reading

Review: 'SNAFU: Hunters' edited by Amanda J. Spedding and Geoff Brown

HuntersSNAFU: Hunters edited by Amanda J. Spedding and Geoff Brown
Cohesion Press (February 2016)
327 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a pessimist. I see an anthology series in its fifth incarnation and I fully expect it not to be as good as its predecessors. I’m overjoyed to say that is not the case with the SNAFU series from Cohesion Press. It’s hard to believe that a little over eighteen months ago the very first SNAFU anthology saw the light of day.

Here’s what I said about the first book…

My expectations were not that high for this anthology. Although I love horror in all its many forms, I’ve never been that big a fan of the military story. Well, I needn’t have worried at all. SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror delivers. Every story killed (pun intended).

Each book in the series has taken a slightly different approach to the military horror theme. This time it’s all about hunters, both the hunter and the hunted.Continue Reading

Review: 'American Nocturne' by Hank Schwaeble

AmericanAmerican Nocturne by Hank Schwaeble
Cohesion Press (January 2016)
287 pages; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

There are so many talented writers working in the fields of horror and speculative fiction that I’m constantly discovering authors I’ve not read before who immediately leave me wanting to read more of their work. Case in point: Hank Schwaeble. Prior to being sent a copy of this new collection from Cohesion Press, I’d never even heard of him. Maybe I just need to get out more or stay in and read more.

Jonathan Maberry, an author I have read and greatly respect, has penned an excellent introduction to Hank Schwaeble in general and specifically to American Nocturne. In essence, he says Hank is the real deal, and that’s good enough for me.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools' by Nick Mamatas

LastThe Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools by Nick Mamatas
Night Shade Books (January 2016)
252 pages; $33 hardcover; $12.22 paperback; $9,99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Despite having the word “Zombies” in the title, this novel is far from your typical zombie fare. If you’re looking for a brain munching gore-fest, you may want to look elsewhere.

On the other hand, if you’re familiar with the Billy Wilder directed film-noir, The Lost Weekend,  based on Charles R. Jackson’s 1944 novel of the same name about an alcoholic writer, then you’re in for a real treat.Continue Reading

Review: 'Death Do Us Part' by JG Faherty

deathDeath Do Us Part by JG Faherty
Samhain Publishing (January 2016)
76 pages; $2.66 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

A marriage that’s falling apart, an apparent suicide, and a haunting that turns out to be so much more. Death Do Us Part by JG Faherty is a thrill ride from start to finish. A complex tale of the lengths one will go to for love and what the dead will do for revenge. This is one of those stories that just reaches out from the pages, grabs you by the collar, and shakes and shakes until you collapse from exhaustion.Continue Reading