Hallowed Days is a dark fantasy- and horror-themed anthology focusing primarily on Christmas and Halloween. What makes Hale’s fiction so potent is the way he builds up to the ominous dread at the end of his stories. Rarely do we see any actual blood and guts, and most of the stories depend on tiny details that are magnified at the end of the tale. Continue Reading
For me, an avid reader of horror who reads nothing but books in this genre day in and day out, Ronald Malfi is among the legends. He is the award-winning author of several novels, novellas, and two short story collections, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of his work.
My introduction to his storytelling was the collection, We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone. The first story stood up and punched me square between the eyes, making me a fan for life! I highly recommend it. Later, I went on to read December Park (one of my favorite coming-of-age novels with an intense murder-mystery-thriller storyline) and Bone White (a creature-feature with heart, high-stakes, and themes of loneliness/isolation).
I’m excited that I have more Malfi books to look forward to both from his back catalog of fan-favorites and new releases. We talk about those books and more in this interview. Continue Reading
Skillute is one of those towns that has quickly become one to remember in horror fiction. It’s creeping like a tainted tide, inspired by Oxrun Station from Charlie Grant and Cedar Hill from Gary Braunbeck. The land has been poisoned, seeping into the soil of a town that should be long forgotten, but things that refuse to die grasp hold of the frayed threads of reality in this Pacific Northwestern hell. Good people still reside there, and S.P. Miskowski has made them pawns in her playground, a setting that never can shed the shadows which infect everything that breathes within.Continue Reading
Novels about riding the rails have always been exhilarating journeys if left in the right hands. Eric J. Guignard is fresh off his Bram Stoker win for best fiction collection (That Which Grows Wild), so he has the skills to terrify his audience. Luke Thacker is a victim of the Great Depression, scraping by to survive on the dangerous rails of America. Along the way, he learns many secrets to staying alive, one of them being a code left by other hobos, often warning them of strangers who would sooner leave them bleeding in a ditch, or indicating a friend ready to help out a guy in need, through symbols carved into trees. When he discovers one odd symbol, an infinity sign, he learns that reality is a bit broken.Continue Reading
For those out there who are unfamiliar with Gwendolyn Kiste’s gorgeous prose, The Rust Maidens would be a great place to start. After last year’s stellar collection, And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe, Kiste steps out with her debut novel, which rattles the soul in a disturbing, yet beautiful read.Continue Reading
It’s time for a return to the Secret History of the World by the iconic Dr. F. Paul Wilson. That should be enough reason to pick up this short novel about the plant where Nicola Tesla conducted some of his most dangerous experiments. This should serve as an appetizer to the return of Repairman Jack sometime in the very near future (yes, it’s actually happening). For the many fans of both Jack and the Adversary Cycle, Easter eggs abound everywhere, adding to what is a thrilling story on its own.Continue Reading
Remember this name. Gwendolyn Kiste will one day rule the world of dark short fiction if there’s any justice. Every once in a while, a new voice emerges and takes the genre by storm. Several have broken the surface lately and shown tinges of greatness to be, but rarely is one “born” with a style and substance this mind-boggling.Continue Reading
And Her Smile With Untether the Universe is an amazing collection of speculative fiction by Gwendoyn Kiste which touches on surreal fantasy but never loses its grip on an all too tangible—sometimes painfully so—sense of reality. This is important for me, because I often find that happens with surreal stories of the fantastic. While I admire the world created and the surreal experience rendered, I sometimes feel distant from the characters and their experiences, and the stories fail to really impact me on an emotional level.Continue Reading
We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone, the debut short story collection from Ronald Malfi, is a bit of a mixed bag. Although the twenty shorts included do make for an enjoyable read, I have to say I much prefer Malfi’s recent novels to the tales included here. Little Girls made my top ten list in 2015, The Night Parade did the same in 2016, and Bone White is my favorite read so far in 2017.Continue Reading
Cthulhu Blues is a fitting conclusion to the SPECTRA Files series which began in 2015 with Red Equinox and continued last year with Black January. I’m going to miss Becca Philips and Jason Brooks as they battle the cosmic horrors found in the Lovecraftian mythos. I’ll even miss Becca’s dog Django.Continue Reading
Last year, I got to read Bracken MacLeod’s Stranded. Sixteen crew members of the Arctic Promise become ice bound under strange circumstances. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s one of 2016’s better reads.
I am no Lovecraft connoisseur. There’s a lot by him I haven’t read. My knowledge in all things Lovecraft—other than reading “The Call of Cthulhu” and the Herbert West stories—is probably just par for the course. Maybe below par, as my familiarity does extend beyond pop culturereferences, which has taken second only to zombies this modern day. And I suspect that most who share the Cthulhu memes and sport the elder god swag haven’t read anything past the title. Maybe it’s because Lovecraft isn’t an easy read. Maybe it’s because smart phones and video games have taken the place of brittle paperbacks and warped hardbacks. And maybe that’s where books like The Fiddle is the Devil’s Instrument fit in best.Continue Reading
JournalStone has been a treasure trove of new authors and new stories which rarely disappoints. For years now, each release has drawn strong attention from readers of horror, dark fantasy, and other speculative fiction. This time, they made a smart decision to reprint Christopher Golden’s “Shadow Saga” series.Continue Reading
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
Red Equinox places us in the shoes of Becca, an urban explorer whose Gramma was deep into cultish lore and who stumbles onto something far too real and far too sinister for her to believe. Soon, she finds herself caught between a cult that wants to bring the Elder Gods to bear on us all and a secret government agency that is definitely not the B.P.R.D. Dimensional walls are breached, horrific and barely describable monsters are summoned and it looks like the world may end.Continue Reading