Review: A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng

cover of A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina SngA Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng
Raw Dog Screaming Press (April 2020)
169 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Christina Sng’s collection A Collection of Nightmares won the Bram Stoker award for best poetry collection in 2017. Her follow-up book, A Collection of Dreamscapes, has all the promise of her previous successes. It’s already been listed as one of Reading Vicariously’s Must-Reads from 2020, Tor Nightlife’s Ten Best Horror Poetry Collections of 2020, and Well Read Beard’s Top Five 2020 Poetry Collections, as well as being short listed for the 2021 Stoker Award. Reading the collection, it is obvious why it is receiving so many accolades. It’s a very strong collection of mythic horror poetry that readers will enjoy.Continue Reading

Review: The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard

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cover of The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard

The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard
Iron Circus Comics (February 2021)
320 pages; $18 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Abby Howard is a cartoonist whose interests include dinosaurs, horror, and Spoons, her beautiful cat. She’s been drawing comics since she first discovered there was such thing, eventually putting them online and gaining a following of over 30,000 fans. Her newest collection is The Crossroads at Midnight, a teen horror collection of five short comic stories.Continue Reading

Review: The Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne

cover of The Wind in My Heart by Douglas WynneThe Wind in My Heart by Douglas Wynne
Crystal Lake Publishing (January 2021)
362 pages; $8.75 paperback; e-book $3.99
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

Douglas Wynne’s The Wind in My Heart has a fun premise and is a quick read! This story kept me engaged with its touch of mystery and quirky characters.

Miles Landry is the private detective at Insight Detective Agency. Known around the local bar scene as “Dirty Laundry,” he tends to handle extramarital affairs. Immediately after a scorned woman shows up at his office to teach him a lesson, he receives a call for an unusual job. A Buddhist monk named Jigme Rinpoche wants to hire him to find a former student’s reincarnated soul. A series of murders against gang members have popped up in Chinatown, and he believes this former student is responsible. Even though Landry thinks this monk is wasting his time, he’s curious nonetheless and heads to the temple for the meeting.Continue Reading

Review: There Comes a Midnight Hour by Gary A. Braunbeck

cover of There Comes a Midnight Hour by Gary A. BraunbeckThere Comes a Midnight Hour by Gary Braunbeck
Raw Dog Screaming Press (March 2021)
226 pages; $17.95 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Gary Braunbeck is back! Many horror and dark fantasy fans have been anticipating this day for a long time. Raw Dog Screaming Press, a stellar entity, rarely misses on producing something special for readers. There Comes a Midnight Hour is one of their greatest achievements, from the stunning (and warped) cover to the arrangement of stories which first grasps the reader by the hand with the apocalyptic “We now pause for station identification” to the stylish closer “Down in darkest Dixie where the dead don’t dance.”Continue Reading

Review: The Writing Life: Reflections, Recollections, and a Lot of Cursing by Jeff Strand

cover of The Writing Life by Jeff StrandThe Writing Life: Reflections, Recollections, and a Lot of Cursing by Jeff Strand
Independently Published (December 2020)
276 pages; $11.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

If you’re a horror writer or even just a Stephen King fan, you’ve probably read his treatise on the writing biz, On Writing, multiple times. And for good reason, because it’s one of the best books on writing there is, imparted in that casual storyteller way only King has mastered. If I were to recommend only three writing books to prospective writers, On Writing would be the first book I’d recommend. A close second would be Zen in the Art of Writing, by the venerable Ray Bradbury.Continue Reading

Review: Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman

cover of Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod ChapmanWhisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman
Quirk Books (April 6, 2021)
307 pages; $19.99 hardcover; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

It’s the early 1980s, and Satan is everywhere. He’s lurking in the lyrics of heavy metal music. He’s hiding among the marshmallows in your Lucky Charms. He’s capering through our neighborhoods, our basements, or churches, our schools.

Welcome to the era of Satanic Panic.Continue Reading

Review: The Gulp by Alan Baxter

cover of The Gulp by Alan BaxterThe Gulp by Alan Baxter
Independently Published (January 2021)
316 pages; paperback $14.25; e-book $4.99
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

Alan Baxter is a relatively new author for me, but I’ve been impressed with everything I’ve read so far. His newest short story collection, The Gulp, is most certainly my favorite book to date. With five novellas all woven together within a common setting, this collection delighted as much as it intrigued me.Continue Reading

Review: You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell

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cover of You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife

You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell
Iron Circus Comics (March 31, 2021)
260 pages, $20 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In her introduction to You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife, Caitlin Dougherty compares the anthology to a medieval memento mori. This is a fitting comparison. This book is both a reminder, to the reader, that they will die, but also about the equanimity of death. Everyone will die, and once they’re dead, there’s nothing in this world that they can do about it. This anthology confronts these facts head on, and in a way, helps the reader confront their own deaths as well as the deaths of those they love.Continue Reading

Review: Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger

cover of Cradleland of Parasites by Sara TantlingerCradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger
Strangehouse Books (October 2020)
89 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Sara Tantlinger is a phenom when it comes to horror poetry. Author of three poetry collections, including the award-winning The Devil’s Dreamland, Tantlinger is one of the vibrant new voices in horror poetry. Her newest collection, Cradleland of Parasites, is no exception, and this take on the Black Death is a brilliant and chilling book of poetry.Continue Reading

Review: In Nightmares We’re Alone by Greg Sisco

In Nightmares We’re Alone by Greg Sisco
Off Limits Press (March 2021)
260 pages; $16 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

As far as introductions to an author’s work goes, I can’t think of a better offering than a collection of three, novellas differing in style and substance but sharing the same universe and characters.

All three tales in In Nightmares We’re Alone are told from a first person POV. Greg Sisco takes readers through a character’s own, personal nightmare as they are living it. . .alone. But they’re not really alone, are they? We are with them.Continue Reading

Review: Later by Stephen King

cover of Later by Stephen KingLater by Stephen King
Hard Case Crime (March 2021)
266 pages; $9.62 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

This is a horror story.

Yes, it’s a Hard Case Crime release, and yes, it has plenty of the necessary ingredients for a crime story. It has drug dealers and dirty cops and kidnapping and a serial bomber.

So yes, this is a crime story…but mostly it’s a horror story. A damn good one, I’m happy to say.

Continue Reading

Review: Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling

cover of Devil's Creek by Todd KeislingDevil’s Creek by Todd Keisling
Silver Shamrock Publishing (June 2020)
404 pages; $15.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

Todd Keisling’s Devil’s Creek recently made it onto the Final Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award in Superior Achievement in a Novel, and there’s good reason for that. It’s very likely the best thing I read in 2020, and also one of my favorite contemporary horror novels, period. Reviewers have compared it to Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, and while usually I might roll my eyes slightly at such a comparison, in this case it’s very apt. Continue Reading

Review: His Own Devices by Douglas Wynne

cover of His Own Devices by Douglas WynneHis Own Devices by Douglas Wynne
Promethean (March 4, 2021)
246 pages; $4.99 Kindle
Reviewed by Chris Hallock

Generations before cyberspace was a practical application, the pioneers of weird fiction toiled in artificial worlds beset by shadowy cabals and god-like monstrosities. Imagine the possibilities open to Clark Ashton Smith or Algernon Blackwood had the tendrils of the internet penetrated early twentieth century life, offering another vast dimension for them to explore in their eldritch tales.Continue Reading

Review: Whitechapel Rhapsody by Alessandro Manzetti

cover of Whitechapel RhapsodyWhitechapel Rhapsody by Alessandro Manzetti
Independent Legions (October 2020)
85 pages; $10.90 paperback, $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Alessandro Manzetti has quickly made a fairly large stamp on the genre. I remember hearing his name some a couple years ago, seeing something from him pop up here and there. Now, dude’s name is moving mountains. Whitechapel Rhapsody is a marvelous example of why.Continue Reading

Review: Shiver by Junji Ito

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Shiver by Junji Ito
VIZ Media (December 2017)
400 pages; $22.99 hardcover, $15.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

Junji Ito is one of Japan’s top horror manga creators. His short story collection Shiver — which at almost 400 pages of length is longer than average for manga — gives a glimpses into what makes him so popular.Continue Reading