Review: The Drift by C.J. Tudor

cover of The Drift by C.J. TudorThe Drift by C.J. Tudor
Ballantine Books (January 31, 2023)
352 pages; $28 hardcover; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

It’s always a wonderful thing when readers discover a talented new writer whose every offering is rock solid, the quality high yet never failing to break out of comfort zone. C.J. Tudor has become something of a superstar in the thriller and darker tales in the past five years. From the most recent The Burning Girls, an almost folk horror thriller, to her debut The Chalk Man, one of the best thrillers in recent memory, Tudor has played it small, meaning the settings have centered around small, claustrophobic towns and characters who are anything but what readers expect them to be. With The Drift, the author goes big. High concept, end of the world scenario, and a situation that’s horrific, weaving in terror that would find itself familiar in tales of that guy from Maine.

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Review: The Spite House by Johnny Compton

cover of The Spite HouseThe Spite House by Johnny Compton
Tor Nightfire (February 7, 2023)

272 pages; hardcover $27.99; e-book $14.99
Reviewed by David Niall Wilson

The Spite House, the debut novel from Johnny Compton, is a very complex story. There are a lot of well-developed characters, and each of them has secrets, and stories, things they are keeping to themselves and things they want to share. And, of course, there’s that house.Continue Reading

Review: Lucky Girl, How I Became A Horror Writer: A Krampus Story by M. Rickert

Lucky Girl, How I Became A Horror Writer: A Krampus Story by M. Rickert
Tordotcom (September 2022)
108 pages; $13.69 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

The holiday season screams merriment and cheer, a time for friends and family, and a time to compartmentalize evil. But what if something far more sinister than an old family spat is at work? We’ve heard its name and feared its wicked horns, obscene tongue, and fiendish fangs: Krampus.Continue Reading

Review: How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

cover of How to Sell a Haunted HouseHow to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix 
Berkley (January 2023) 
432 pages; $19.60 paperback; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Grady Hendrix’s new release, How To Sell A Haunted House, looms over the haunted house trope with puppets, gore, and restless spirits, but the family lies and sheer shock of how it unfolds will make readers eat this story up right down to the bone.Continue Reading

Review: Marla by Jonathan Janz

cover of Marla by Jonathan JanzMarla by Jonathan Janz
Earthling Publications (October 2022)
SOLD OUT Limited Edition; $TBD Lettered Edition
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Another year, another home run for Earthling, this time thanks to the magic of Jonathan Janz. This offering is no different than any of the other great stories Paul Miller has unleashed unto the world of horror.
MARLA is a fascinating read that can be devoured quickly, but shouldn’t, especially if intriguing writing and deep characterization is your thing. In a year full of quality horror, it takes a massive work of art to stand out from the crowd. 

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Review: All Hallows by Christopher Golden

cover of All Hallows by Christopher GoldenAll Hallows by Christopher Golden
St. Martin’s Press (January 24, 2023)
336 pages: $22.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Christopher Golden sets us up for what sounds like a perfect Halloween night in the opening chapters of his novel All Hallows…and then viciously, gleefully rips it all apart.

It’s 1984 in Coventry, Massachusetts. The kids on Parmenter Road are looking forward to a night of trick-or-treating; the adults are looking forward to the party that starts once the trick-or-treating is done; and everyone is looking forward to a visit to the Haunted Woods, one family’s tradition that’s grown into a much-anticipated annual event. On the surface, things are great. But behind that thin veneer of neighborly civility, things are coming to a boil.Continue Reading

Review: The Vessel by Adam L. G. Nevill

cover of The Vessel by Adam L.G. NevillThe Vessel by Adam L.G. Nevill 
Ritual Limited (October 2022) 
170 pages; $10.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

In his eleventh book, The Vessel, Adam L.G. Nevill summons readers with another eerie folk horror story with his usual ethereal atmosphere, creative conjurings of terror, and family at the heart of it all. Only this time, Nevill offers a cinematic approach — removing access to the character’s inner dialogue.Continue Reading

Review: Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouie

cover of Episode Thirteen by Craig DiLouieEpisode 13 by Craig DiLouie
Redbook (January 24 2023)
464 pages; $18.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

The new year might kick off with its first amazing novel. Episode Thirteen is different. For a fan of the paranormal, it checks all the right boxes. For horror fans, even more. For those who love different modalities of storytelling, well, double check.Continue Reading

Review: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro

cover of Aliens: Vasquez by V. CastroAliens: Vasquez by V. Castro
Titan Books (November 2022)
432 pages; $22.49 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Horror hot take: I’m not that into Aliens as a film. But I dig the heck out of Jenette Vasquez’ take no crap, tear everyone to bits attitude. Without question, I absolutely adore the heck out of everything I have read from V. Castro. While Vasquez ended up being quite different from what I expected, it also ended up being much better.Continue Reading

Review: Shagging the Boss by Rebecca Rowland

cover of Shagging the BossShagging the Boss by Rebecca Rowland
Filthy Loot (June 2022)
82 pages; $12 paperback
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Okay, before anyone starts quoting Austin Powers in a bad accent, the shagging Rebecca Rowland refers to might be a bit different. Well, quite different. The title does fit, though, yet I can’t divulge too much of this novelette’s plot. It’s unique and a quick read, easy for one sitting…but this story stuck to me like a great meal. More on that later.Continue Reading

Review: Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Robert Guffey

cover of Bela Lugosi's DeadBela Lugosi’s Dead by Robert Guffey
Macabre Ink (April 2021)
264 pages; $17.99 paperback; $4.99 ebook 
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Universal monsters Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man and others, primarily produced between the 1930s and 1950s, still stand today as not only icons of horror but pop culture.

And yet, so many of the horrifically haunting films featuring these creatures, including Bela Lugosi’s infamous bloodthirsty Count Dracula, have been buried away and forgotten. Continue Reading

Review: A Gift for a Ghost by Borja Gonzalez

cover of A Gift for a GhostA Gift for a Ghost by Borja Gonzalez
Abrams Comic Arts (May 2020)
114 pages; $24.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Borja Gonzalez is a self-taught illustrator and strip cartoonist from Badajoz, Spain. His first published title, La Reina Orquidea, was a precious and haunting short piece which placed the author at the center of national attention. A Gift for a Ghost is his first long form work, recently translated into English and published for readers in the U.S.Continue Reading

Review: The Black Widow by Louise Worthington

cover of The Black WidowThe Black Widow by Louise Worthington
Self-published (October 2022)
116 pages; $10.44 paperback; $4.23 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Louise Worthington started writing psychological thrillers and horror in 2019 after studying for a postgraduate diploma in psychology and reading true crime non-fiction. Her degree is in literature, and she taught English in secondary schools for many years. The emotional pull of a story is very important to her, both as a reader and a writer. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Her latest work-in-progress, a psychological horror novel, recently won the top spot on Litopia with agent Peter Cox. Her family lives in Shropshire, a rural, historic county in the UK. Her day job is tutoring and running a farm with her husband. Their newest collection of dark poetry is the independently published The Black WidowContinue Reading

Review: We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca

cover of We Can Never Leave This PlaceWe Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca
Trepidatio Publishing (June 2022) 
106 pages; $19.95 hardcover; $12.95 paperback; $5.95 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

In perhaps his bleakest, most grisly tale yet, Eric LaRocca challenges gothic horror’s most visceral and twisted minds, namely The Brothers Grimm.

We Can Never Leave This Place is a screeching, bloody curtain that will hang over readers from start to finish. On the first page, Mara says, “From baby teeth to virginity, to live is to regularly suffer loss,” and it’s here where LaRocca offers a hint of the bloodshed to come. Continue Reading

Review: Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories (2022)

Seth’s Christmas Ghost Stories (2022 Set)
Biblioasis (October 2021)
$7.95 each; $25 set of three
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Reading a ghost story on Christmas Eve was once as much a part of traditional Christmas celebrations as turkey, eggnog, and Santa Claus.

This statement, found on the back of each of the three paperbacks in the 2022 Christmas Ghost Stories set from Biblioasis, is just another reminder that I was born in the wrong era. Ghost stories on Christmas Eve? Sign me up!Continue Reading