Review: Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer

Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer
(May 2017)
180 pages; $9.99 paperback; ebook $2.99
Reviewed by Peter Tomas

When a shark breaks out of a sketchy underwater research facility, the seas surrounding Sharkwater Beach suddenly grow ice-cold as the prehistoric predator begins her reign as “Queen of the Ocean.”

Our protagonist, a sarcastic and rather realistic woman by the name of Jill McCourty, finds herself stranded on Key Water Island, on which Sharkwater Beach resides, along with a small group of friends, strangers, and a particularly interesting trio of rough-around-the-edges men. Together, they must collaborate and fight for their lives against their massive oceanic captor until help arrives, but eventually they come to realize that, even on land, they aren’t safe.Continue Reading

Review: Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke

Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke
CreateSpace (September 2017)
80 pages; $6.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

I love the tagline on the cover of Kealan Patrick Burke’s new novella, Blanky: “The gift that keeps on living.”

And then there’s the opening, one that immediately draws the reader into the story:

You say you can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a child.

Let me make it easy for you.

It’s the beginning of the end of your world.

Continue Reading

Review: The Changeling by Victor LaValle

The Changeling by Victor LaValle
Spiegel & Grau (March 2018)
448 pages; $12.30 paperback; $10.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

There are relatively few new authors in the horror/speculative field today who can make a reader both disappear into a book and later sit back in awe of the pure storytelling and the ease in which the language flows in such an enthralling, dark manner. John Langan is one. Sarah Pinborough is another. Victor LaValle ranks near the top of the list.Continue Reading

Review: The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
G.P. Putnam’s Sons (June 2017)
320 pages; $15.42 hardcover; $12.39 paperback; $11.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

This breakout novel has been hailed as the book of 2017. Karen Dionne decided to leave the high concept science thriller behind (the wonderful Freezing Point and Boiling Point) in favor of something much more organic and disturbing. The Marsh King’s Daughter succeeds on all levels because of what it sets out to do—simply tell a story without all the bells and whistles. Dionne’s writing features a songstress’ voice and rhythm, yet doesn’t overwhelm the reader with the love of language. It embraces the feel of the setting and story, pulling the reader deep into the marsh’s realm, only relenting when the final page is turned.Continue Reading

Review: Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews edited by Sam Weller

Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews edited by Sam Weller
Hat and Beard Press (2018)
224 pages; $45 hardcover; $200 limited edition
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

I’ll speak more at length about this when I discuss the influence Ray Bradbury has had on me in a future edition of my column Revelations, but suffice to say: I discovered his work late in life. I’m sure I was assigned several of his short stories in junior high and high school—probably the oft-assigned “All Summer in a Day,” “Soft Rains Will Come” or maybe even “The Fun They Had”—but I never had a teacher really bring me to Ray Bradbury. This is probably why—as most of my former and present students will attest—I’ve made it my personal mission to ensure that all my students experience the work of Ray Brabdury while they’re in my class. Whether they love his work, are ambivalent toward it, or don’t like it, they’ll never be able to say they don’t know who Ray Bradbury is, or what his place is in American Literature. Continue Reading

Review: Roam by Erik Therme

Roam by Erik Therme
Self-Published (January 2017)
244 pages; $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Josh Black

Roam, Erik Therme’s third novel, begins in deceptively typical fashion. A broken down car, and a couple of kids with no cell reception. Continue Reading

Review: The Goat Parade by Peter Dudar

The Goat Parade by Peter Dudar
Grinning Skull Press (March 2018)
300 pages; $23.58 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Peter Dudar hit the scene hard with his Stoker finalist A Requiem For Dead Flies, offering a style that evoked the best of Bentley Little and Rick Hautula. He returns with The Goat Parade, a novel that hits the gas full throttle in a thrilling supernatural tale that might remind readers of some other guy from Maine.Continue Reading

Review: The Boulevard Monster by Jeremy Hepler

The Boulevard Monster by Jeremy Hepler
Bloodshot Books (April 2017)
300 pages; $14.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

Once in a while I’ll start a review with some poetic prose plucked from the pages to give the reader an idea of the skills the writer may possess.  The Boulevard Monster has none of that. Instead, it’s a straightforward, entertaining story with a thrilling Koontz-ish vibe…and the best book I’ve read so far this year. There’s good reason it was nominated for a Stoker award. Hepler’s no-filler prose is designed to simply tell a story with no literary glitter, which makes perfect sense considering the protagonist. Continue Reading

Review: The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy
Tor Books (August 2017)

130 pages, $10.39 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Brace yourself for this one, friendos, because it gets pretty weird here. I know. I know. Whodathunk a book about crustpunks that summon a demonic deer to protect their squat only to have the demondeer turn on them would be weird. Odd how that works.Continue Reading

Review: Slashvivor! by Stephen Kozeniewski and Stevie Kopas

Slashvivor! by Stephen Kozeniewski and Steve Kopas
Sinister Grin Press (September 2017)
296 pages; $16.99 paperback, $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

It’s 1983. An accidental nuclear war has left the U.S. with just 1% of its former 234 million residents. Stephen Kozeniewski and Stevie Kopas have created such a world and have decided to have some fun with it. Take for example the tagline for the TV ads for Albino Al’s Discount Surplus: “Come on down! It’s not illegal. In the Geiger Lands, nothing is!”Continue Reading

Review: Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
Del Rey (April 10, 2018)
384 pages; $24.54 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

I had certain expectations for Unbury Carol. That was foolish. I should know by now, after reading much of Josh Malerman’s output (except, somehow, the one that got everybody talking about him to begin with: Bird Box), that he is not going to deliver the expected. So, when I allowed the title and the synopsis and the cover to lead me to expectations of a western/horror hybrid that would be a dark cross between a fairy tale and a Hammer movie…well, I should have known that wasn’t what I was going to get.Continue Reading

Review: Skyjack by K.J. Howe

Skyjack by K.J. Howe
Quercus (April 10, 2018)
400 pages; $26.99 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Last year’s surprise thriller by K.J. Howe, The Freedom Broker, hit the field hard, introducing both a razor sharp writer and a series featuring Thea Paris, a character tough enough to stand toe-to-toe with Reacher and Repairman Jack. The kidnap and rescue team delves into dark territories that combine the thriller aspects with a character development rarely found in the genre.Continue Reading

Review: Witches by Donna Lynch and Steven Archer

Witches by Donna Lynch and Steven Archer
Raw Dog Screaming Press (March 2018)

66 pages, $23.06 paperback
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I never read Daughters of Lilith, the previous literary/artistic collaboration between Donna Lynch and Steven Archer. Why have I never read it? Seriously, because Witches is a wonderful, odd bit of joy in the world.

Let’s start with the obvious: $25 is a bit intimidating when looking at a book of poetry, especially one this short. But, as much as it feels weird saying these words in this specific order, this is more than just a book of poetry. It is also more than just a book of art. It’s the combination of the two and how they mesh and interact to create something that, to beg forgiveness for the cliché, is much more than the sum of its parts.Continue Reading

Review: The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen
Harmful Monkey Press (January 2018)
274 pages; $10.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

At it’s heart, The Nightmare Room (The Messy Man Series Book 1) is a ghost story and a very good one to boot. Here’s a killer opening line for you…

The boy woke to the sound of his screams.Continue Reading

Review: Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre edited by Joe Mynhardt & Eugene Johnson

Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre by Joe Mynhardt & Eugene Johnson
Crystal Lake Publishing (November 2017)
368 pages; $16.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Books on writing usually bring on the snoozes, even from the authors who read them. Of course, exceptions exist, like the one from the King guy and Morrell and Steve and Melanie Tem, but reading most of these kinds of books feels like dragging eyeballs across sandpaper.Continue Reading