Review: Attack from the ’80s edited by Eugene Johnson

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Attack from the ’80s edited by Eugene Johnson
Raw Dog Screaming Press (Fall 2021)
hardcover $29.95
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Nostalgia can be horrific and, in this case, also incredibly fun. With over twenty tales thrown back into an era where horror bled out of every corner of the literary universe, Attack from the ’80s culls some of the best writers today, many of whom suffered through the decade to carve deep into the psyche.Continue Reading

Review: Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe

cover of Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy WolfeMonstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe
Raw Dog Screaming Press (September 2021)
130 pages; paperback $12.95; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Jezzy Wolfe is an author of dark fiction, with a predilection for absurdity. A lifelong native of Virginia Beach, Jezzy lives with her family and quite a few ferrets. Her poems and stories have appeared in various ezines and magazines. Her newest collection of poetry is Monstrum Poetica.Continue Reading

Review: The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath

cover of The Smallest of Bones by Holly Lynn WalrathThe Smallest of Bones by Holly Lyn Walrath
Clash Books (September 28, 2021)
90 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Holly Lyn Walrath’s poetry and short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Liminality, and Analog. She is the author of Glimmerglass Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2018), winner of the Elgin Award for best speculative chapbook, and Numinose Lapidi, a chapbook in Italian from Kipple Press. Her newest collection is The Smallest of Bones, a collection of minimalist poems that deal with the body and the horrors found within.Continue Reading

Review: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

cover of Empire of the VampireEmpire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
St. Martin’s Press (September 14, 2021)
752 pages; hardcover $25.49; paperback $14.99; e-book $14.99
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

“Even the greatest of fools can’t deny the existence of evil. We dwell in its shadow every day. The best of us rise above it, the worst of us swallow it whole, but we all of us wade hip-deep through it, every moment of our lives.”

When I think of Jay Kristoff, I immediately think young adult fantasy series. As much as I love watching fantasy, I am much pickier with books. And to be honest, my preferred fantasy to read is horror, so when Kristoff first announced his upcoming vampire series, I nearly lost my mind. Even though I am picky with fantasy, I generally enjoy Kristoff’s books. But it wasn’t until he mentioned vampires that my eyes popped out of my skull. If you’re anything like me, you have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with these creatures. Of course, there are incredible books like Salem’s Lot, Dracula, and Interview with a Vampire, which I make it a point never to compare. But bottom-line, I will read almost any book with vampires.Continue Reading

Review: Slewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery by Brom

cover of Slewfoot by BromSlewfoot: A Tale of Bewitchery by Brom
Tor Nightfire (September 14, 2021)
320 pages; hardcover $25.49; paperback $14.99; e-book $14.99
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

If you’re anything like me, then you have only dipped into Brom’s world with Krampus, an iconic story written by the artistically talented Brom that we revisit every Christmas. I’ll admit Krampus wasn’t exactly my favorite book, but Brom’s style and aesthetic polish made it an enjoyable reading experience. In Slewfoot, it’s not just Brom’s brilliant artistry, but also the plot, his immersive writing style, and his magical mind that drew me in.

How do I put this gently? Slewfoot is bleak. It’s bleakness inside of pain, submerged in darkness, inside of a grey-colored moon. How’s that for bleak? I enjoy bleak when it’s executed well, and Slewfoot is executed perfectly.Continue Reading

Review: Straight by Chuck Tingle

cover of Straight by Chuck TingleStraight by Chuck Tingle
Self-Published (May 2021}
129 pages; $13.99 Paperback; $6.99 ebook
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Most likely, you know Chuck Tingle. Also incredibly likely, you have never read more of his work than the covers. Which is a shame, because Dr. Chuck Tingle is honestly a hell of a writer. But, if you are too scared of a little butt pounding, then maybe his first foray into full-out horror will get you to give the dude a chance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.Continue Reading

Review: Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Eric Powell and Harold Schechter

cover of Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Eric Powell and Harold Schechter
Albatross Funnybooks (August 2021)

224 pages; $26.99 hardcover; $25.64 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

Why are so many of us fascinated by true crime, particularly when it comes to serial killers? While in the comfort of our homes, settled in a favorite chair and feeling content with a belly full of food, we make the oddest choices in the media we consume — subject matter that takes us out of our emotional comfort zone, like learning about people doing unimaginable things to other people. 

We’re a strange breed. Continue Reading

Review: Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper

cover of Queen of TeethQueen of Teeth by Hailey Piper
Strangehouse Books (August 2021)
198 pages; $14.95 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

You might be surprised to learn that Queen of Teeth is the debut novel from Hailey Piper. Her name is everywhere! How can this be her debut? Well, up until this book’s release, Piper has had a string of successful book releases in the novella page count range: The Possession of Natalie Glasgow, Benny Rose the Cannibal King, The Worm and His Kings, a short story collection, and a Short, Sharp, Shocks from Demain Publishing called An Invitation to Darkness. There is also a variety of short fiction published in dozens of anthologies and magazines. Through this whirlwind of storytelling, Piper has gathered unto herself a massive fanbase. Personally, I show up for anything with her name on it. I’m a sell-out for Piper’s unique brand.

Queen of Teeth is special. Her first novel and what a way to crush a debut!Continue Reading

Review: Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota: Poems by Amelia Gorman

cover of Field Guide to Invasive Species of MinnessotaField Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota: Poems by Amelia Gorman
Interstellar Flight Press (September 6, 2021)
62 pages; $11.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

At first glance, Field Guide to Invasive Species of Minnesota is not a book of horror poetry, or speculative poetry at all. It reads, on the surface, like a book of nature poems, possibly odes to or personifications of the titular invasive species. However, reading the author’s notes, it becomes clear the book and its poems are set in the near-future. If the world is not post-apocalyptic, or even apocalyptic, it’s certainly leaning that way, and nature is beginning to rear her powerful head and reclaim what’s rightfully hers, and Gorman is there to record all the awful details.Continue Reading

Review: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

cover of Rock Paper Scissors by Alice FeeneyRock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
Flatiron Books (September 7, 2021)
304 pages; $23.49 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Something’s very wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright.

Yeah, Alice Feeney went there. The troubled couple at the center of her new novel, Rock Paper Scissors, are the Wrights, Adam and Amelia. They’ve grabbed their dog Bob and headed to a remote chapel-turned-bread-and-breakfast in the Scottish Highlands, where they hope to spend a snowy weekend piecing their faltering marriage back together., If you’re guessing that the only thing that holds more secrets than the Wrights is a remote chapel in the Scottish Highlands, you’re absolutely Wright. Uh, “right.”Continue Reading

Review: Writers Workshop of Horror 2 edited by Michael Knost

cover of Writers of Horror Workshop 2 edited by Michael KnostWriters Workshop of Horror 2 edited by Michael Knost
Hydra Publications (September 1, 2021)
e-book $9.99
Reviewed by Dave Simms

This master class of both giants of the genre and fresh voices cuts deep into every angle writers need to explore, both the necessary and the uncomfortable. Any guide that opens with Ramsey Campbell signals to the reader that a journey into the shadows will not leave one unscathed. Yet it’s the surprises within that make this purchase money well spent and a career improved.Continue Reading

Review: Red X by David Demchuk

cover of Red X by David DemchuckRED X by David Demchuk
Strange Light (August 31st, 2021)
272 pages; $17.95 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I’m officially a fan of authors breaking the fourth wall within their novels in order to communicate directly to their readers in their own voice. I’m here for it. Red X is the second book I’ve read this year to use this literary device.

This book wouldn’t have been the same experience without Demchuk’s personal and vulnerable account of his own struggles as they relate to the story.Continue Reading

Review: Bobcats by Matthew Weber

cover of Bobcats by Matthew WeberBobcats by Matthew Weber
Pint Bottle Press (June 2021)
182 pages; $11.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

Horror authors all have their favorite subgenres, and I’d say most of them make at least one attempt during their careers to tackle them — to put their own spin on the types of stories that drew them to horror in the first place. The hard part is not allowing the “spin” to distract from the fundamental things that make those subgenres tick. Freshen them up, throw in a new angle, that’s great; but if they fail at the basics, the story itself is doomed to fail.Continue Reading

Review: My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

cover of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham JonesMy Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Saga Press (August 31st, 2021)
416 pages; $26.99 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

“Do you like scary movies?”- Scream (1996)

Sometimes movies take their inspiration from books and sometimes books are inspired by movies. In the case of My Heart is a Chainsaw, author Stephen Graham Jones lets his “horror movie fan” flag fly inside the soul of his teenage protagonist, Jade Daniels.Continue Reading

Review: Gyo by Junji Ito

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cover of gyo by junji itoGyo by Junji Ito
Viz Media (October 2018)
400 pages; $22.99 hardcover, $15.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Tadashi and Kaori are taking a vacation at Tadashi’s uncle’s beach house in Okinawa, but things quickly turn into a nightmare. Tadashi is peeved by how close some sharks get to him while he’s out scuba diving, yet when they return to the beach house, Kaori can’t stop complaining about an awful death smell. Tadashi tracks the stench to a very strange creature he finds in the house — a fish with mechanical, buglike legs. He kills it and puts it into a plastic bag, although it keeps moving and keeps trying to come after them.Continue Reading