Review: 'At the Lazy K' by Gene O'Neill

LazyKAt the Lazy K by Gene O’Neill
Written Backwards (May 2015)
162 pages; $10.00 paperback
Reviewed by W.D. Gagliani

All the best storytellers get it done without verbal fireworks. In fact, too much style can easily get in the way of the story – in part sparseness is what makes hardboiled fiction still work so well decades after it was written. While it’s not in the hardboiled vein, Gene O’Neill’s novella At the Lazy K is a good example of the simple art of storytelling. It’s not as easy to do as it looks, but when it works it should look easy. O’Neill always does well with common man narrators and/or characters, presenting events from their perspective with an old-fashioned street-smart approach that’s winningly convincing.Continue Reading

Review: 'Dead Ringers' by Christopher Golden

Dead Ringers by Christopher Golden
St. Martin’s Press (November 20150
320 pages, e-book $12.99 , hardcover $17.76
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

DeadRingersChristopher Golden adds another quality horror/thriller to his immense body of work with Dead Ringers, a tale of supernatural dopplegängers tormenting a small group of colleagues and friends.

Some authors lay all their cards on the table at the beginning of the story and let readers watch how everything plays out. In this book, Golden chooses to reveal details to us as he reveals them to his characters, making for a much more immersive and, at times, disorienting experience. This approach, coupled with Golden’s solid character work and relentless pacing, makes Dead Ringers a thoroughly enjoyable read.Continue Reading

Review: 'It Waits Below' by Eric Red

It Waits Below by Eric Red
Samhain Publishing (2014)
282 pages, e-book $4.24, paperback $14.13
Reviewed by Damon Smith

ItWaitsBelowOnce it hits its stride, It Waits Below has a blistering pace that is only helped by the relatively short chapter length. But it sadly takes a bit to build up to that breakneck pace, and during that phase the book is somewhat of a slog.

Hundreds of years ago, a meteorite crashed into a Spanish Galleon, sinking both it and a massive hoard of gold to the bottom of the sea. Now in the modern day, a salvaging company is sending down a three-man sub to retrieve that treasure. Little do they know, the meteorite brought an organism to earth with it; a parasite that is more than ready to come to the surface and infect anything it touches…Continue Reading

Review: 'An Exorcism of Angels' by Stephanie Wytovich

An Exorcism of Angels by Stephanie Wytovich
Raw Dog Screaming Press (May 2015)
163 pages, e-book $4.99, paperback $13.95
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

exorcismofangelsSo that we are clear, An Exorcism of Angels is a book of poems about love, but they are a far cry from the images of roses and violets and fleas as sex metaphors. Stephanie Wytovich presents us with love born of need instead of desire. Love that is desperate, angry, bitter and spewing bile and that red, red kroovy all over the place. Love with no happily ever after, ending in padded rooms and jail cells with screams echoing outside and in. Continue Reading

Review: 'Childhood Fears' by Various

Childhood Fears by Various
Samhain Publishing (October 2015)
306 pages, e-book $9.99, paperback $16.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

FearsIn May of 2015 Samhain Publishing released four new novellas exploring things that go bump in the night, the things that scared us as kids, and in many cases still frighten us as adults. Now, those four stories are available in a single volume called Childhood Fears.Continue Reading

Review: 'Brother' by Ania Ahlborn

Brother by Ania Ahlborn
Gallery Books (September 2015)
336 pages, e-book $7.99, paperback $12.97
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

brotherThis is the second book I’ve read this year from Ania Ahlborn, having read Within These Walls back in April and now Brother. Both works are fine examples of literary horror and each is well worth your time as a reader.

Brother is the disturbing story of the Morrow family who live deep in the heart of the Appalachians in West Virginia. This is a family that has managed to take all of the fun out of dysfunctional. There is definitely a strange family dynamic at play here, with abusive parents and siblings that are just as bad. “Folks like the Morrows didn’t have much. They got by living off the land.”  This is a quote that goes much deeper than what’s on the surface.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #185: 'The Bazaar of Bad Dreams' review

Featured Review: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

There’s something for everyone in Stephen King’s latest collection. Even the most avid fans who try to track down each short story as it is released will find several new tales in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

bobd-cover-reveal-5Some of the stories were published in the customary places: magazines like The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, Tin House, The Atlantic, and Cemetery Dance or in anthologies like Turn Down the Lights and A Book of Horrors, but others were released in less usual places. “Ur” and “Mile 81,” for example, were only released as eBooks. “Blockade Billy” was originally a limited edition novella. “Drunken Fireworks” was previously available only in audio. You’ve only read “Under the Weather” if you bought the paperback version of Full Dark, No Stars. And “Bad Little Kid” is the strangest case of all, previously available only as an eBook in French or German. Two of the stories, “Mister Yummy” and “Obits,” have never been published anywhere before, in any language or using any technology.Continue Reading

Review: 'GodBomb!' by Kit Power

GodBomb! by Kit Power
Sinister Horror Press (September 2015)
190 pages, e-book $3.99, paperback $11.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

GodbombI’ve been lucky enough to be reading Kit for a couple of years now. Admittedly, I have not always given him the most positive of reviews, but he’s always been gracious and has continued to work diligently on his craft.  I have to say his perseverance has paid off.

I think I’ve just read the best book I’m likely to read in 2015. Godbomb! is that good. No, not just good.  It’s great. Kit has written a story that takes the reader into the heart of the kind of story we see every day on the news. The kind of story that leaves us shaking our heads at how crazy this world we live in has become.Continue Reading

Review: 'Seize the Night' edited by Christopher Golden

Seize the Night edited by Christopher Golden
Gallery Books (October 2015)
544 pages, e-book $13.99, paperback $11.93
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

seizeChristopher Golden is a very busy writer. If a project involves the written word, it seems as if Christopher is willing to give it a go. This includes comics, media tie-ins, YA novels, and books for adults. Oh, and let’s not forget editing anthologies. Christopher’s latest project is one such anthology. Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is built upon the premise that “once upon a time vampires were figures of terror…And they can be again.”

The twenty-one authors collected in this volume have accepted that challenge and have largely succeeded in returning vampires and their ilk back into our nightmares where they belong. Although a few stories had me scratching my head looking for the vampiric connection, each tale delivered the goods. And by goods, I mean terror.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Art of Horrible People' by John Skipp

The Art of Horrible People by John Skipp
Lazy Fascist Press (August 2015)
176 pages, e-book $5.95, paperback $12.95
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

HorriblePeopleOn the back cover of John Skipp’s The Art of Horrible People, author Josh Malerman implores readers to “savor this book.” It’s a good suggestion, but difficult to follow with prose like this, which fully embodies the tried-and-true cliché of being difficult to put down.

The book collects nine stories written over the last decade, each of them featuring the razor-like wit and sharp insight which has characterized Skipp’s work all the way back to his days as a young (splatter)punk breaking into the business. Continue Reading

Review: 'Rage Master' by Simon Clark

Rage Master by Simon Clark
Earthling Publications (October 2015)
250 pages, signed/numbered hardcover $45
Reviewed by David Simms

RageMasterEach year as the special holiday approaches, Earthling Publications treats horror readers with a special book that harkens back to the good old days of the genre. The supernatural is at play with haunted houses, monstrous creatures, and otherworldly scares which make the Halloween Series such a fixture in horror fiction. Paul Miller has yet to produce a bad book, yet after last year’s stellar The Halloween Children, expectations were set at a high level.Continue Reading

Review: 'Blood Feud' #1 by Cullen Bunn, Drew Moss and Nick Filardi

blood-feud-1Blood Feud #1 by Cullen Bunn (W), Drew Moss (A), and Nick Filardi (C)
Oni Press (October 7, 2015)
$3.99
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

A lot of people are going to look at the variant cover of Blood Feud #1 – the one modeled after the poster for the original Friday the 13th movie – and assume it’s a slasher series. I know I did. And while it’s definitely a horror book, there’s a lot more going on than a psycho stalker in a mask.Continue Reading

Review: 'The Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror' by George Beahm

The Stephen King Companion: Four Decades of Fear from the Master of Horror by George Beahm
St. Martin’s Griffin (October 6, 2015)
624 pages, e-book $11.99, paperback $18.05
Reviewed by Kevin Quigley

SKCompanionDiscovering George Beahm’s first Stephen King Companion in 1989 was a revelation.  Even then, there had been plenty of books written on the subject, starting off with Douglas Winter’s prescient The Art of Darkness; since, most books on King had tended toward the academic or the hyperbolic, with little in the way of a middle ground for readers who wanted to know more but didn’t necessarily want to take an American Lit class. The Stephen King Companion filled that gap, offering plenty of background information on King and the books, transcripts of important talks King had given, statistics on limited editions and insights into the books and stories that made up the bulk of interest on King. Continue Reading

Review: 'The Silent End' by Samuel Sattin

SilentEndCoverThe Silent End by Samuel Sattin
Ragnorak Publishing (September 2015)
524 pages; $20.95 paperback/$4.99 ebook
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

Samuel Sattin makes his home in Oakland, California and has been writing for some time now. His prior novel was titled League of Somebodies which boldly combines comic book storytelling into a traditional novel format. The Silent End is his first novel with Ragnarok Publications and if I had to pigeonhole this work I would call it YA Horror.Continue Reading

Review: 'A Head Full of Ghosts' by Paul Tremblay

HeadFullGhostsCoverA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (June 2015)
304 pages; $14.58 paperback/$12.99 ebook
Reviewed by Michael Wilson

Paul Tremblay’s fiction has been gracing bookstores and bookshelves for well over a decade. No stranger to horror, Paul’s picked up three Stoker Award nominations – including First Novel for The Little Sleep – and has been on the Board of Directors for the Shirley Jackson Award since it was founded in 2007. In spite of all his accolades, A Head Full of Ghosts has put him on the horror map more than anything he’s released or achieved previously. It’s the horror novel of 2015 that everyone’s talking about. Even Stephen King took to Twitter to give his approval, declaring, “A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay: Scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare.” But is such unadulterated admiration really warranted or are we dealing with over-hyped and under-delivered horror art? Continue Reading