Review: Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Castle of Sorrows by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press (July 25, 2019)

288 pages; $24.95 hardcover; $14.95 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

The Sorrows  is a wonderful example of a place exercising its influence over its occupants. Gothic horror at its finest.”Frank Errington for Cemetery Dance

This review is dedicated to Frank who would have loved to read and review the sequel to The Sorrows. I miss my friend.Continue Reading

Review: Ghoul by Brian Keene

Ghoul by Brian Keene
Eraserhead Press (2012)

228 pages; $11.59 paperback; $7.95 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

“Boys have scars”, he thought. “Some of them fade—and others don’t. Some scars stay with us for life.”—Brian Keene, Ghoul

Even though this book was originally published some years ago, stories this good are timeless and a well-written book can find its audience yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Ghoul will now join the ranks of my favorite coming-of-age horror tales. And I know what some of you are thinking right now, “We know all about Brian Keene and Ghoul, Sadie. You’re a little late to the party!”Continue Reading

Review: A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben

A Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben
Word Horde (March 2019)

270 pages; $15.42 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

This debut novel from Carrie Laben sure sticks to your ribs long after you’ve read it. The prose itself is rich but it’s all the subtext and symbolism that fills up your mind with food for thought. Continue Reading

Review: The Fearing, Book One: Fire & Rain by John F. D. Taff

The Fearing, Book One: Fire & Rain by John F.D. Taff
Grey Matter Press (July 9, 2019)

$3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I think it’s a fact that human beings are obsessed with stories about our own cataclysmic demise. There’s something about this potential threat to the end of the world as we know it that inspires writers to pen epic sagas exploring humanity under extreme duress. Off the top of my head, I have enjoyed apocalyptic books like The Stand by Stephen King, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, and The Passage by Justin Cronin.Continue Reading

Review: The Bone Weaver’s Orchard by Sarah Read

The Bone Weaver’s Orchard by Sarah Read
Trepidatio Pub (February 2019)

194 pages; $12.36 paperback; $4.95 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

Where are my fellow John Bellairs fans? Raise your hands and be counted. I need to know who you are. It’s important to this review because I’m an avid horror fan who was first nourished on the horror milk of John Bellairs novels. Bellairs wrote dark, gothic mysteries for young readers and he never shied away from being “too scary” for kids. I relished my time in those pages.

Here I am now at forty-two years of age and Sarah Read, the talented author of The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, has just rekindled that fire by tapping some of my favorite things I loved as a young reader.Continue Reading

Review: A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward

Cover of A Penny for Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt HaywardA Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward
Poltergeist Press (June 1, 2019)
264 pages; $21.99 hardcover; $15.99 paperback; $5.39 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

As far as introductions go, I couldn’t ask for a better way to familiarize myself with the talented voices of Bob Ford and Matt Hayward. A Penny For Your Thoughts is the collaborative effort of both authors. I’m impressed with how harmoniously they blended their storytelling because this read like one, seamless narrative.Continue Reading

Review: Growing Things by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things by Paul Tremblay
William Morrow (July 2, 2019)

352 pages; $25.99 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

“I’m terrible at remembering plot and character specifics…if the story is successful, what I do remember and will never forget is what and how that story makes me feel.”—Paul Tremblay in the “Notes” of Growing Things.Continue Reading

Review: The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press (April 2019)

352 pages; $16.48 hardcover; $10.37 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

2019 is the year of Jonathan Janz. There. I said it. Flame Tree Press performed the remarkable act of acquiring his previously released titles and then doling them out to us on a pretty aggressive schedule, which is an impressive gesture all on its own…but wait! There’s more. Flame Tree is also releasing new titles from Janz.Continue Reading

Review: In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
Skyhorse (March 2019)

384 pages; $13.80 paperback; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

Stephen Graham Jones posted on social media a few times about a book called In the Valley of the Sun and I took note, but it wasn’t until he posted the book’s cover that I got excited. The cover boasts a human skull bleeding from the eye sockets. It’s wearing a cowboy hat and vampire incisors are clearly visible.

Interesting.Continue Reading

Review: Tribesmen by Adam Cesare

Tribesmen by Adam Cesare
Black T-Shirt Books (January 2019)

154 pages; $9.95 paperback; $32.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

You know, sometimes Mother Horror feels a little left out of the conversation. I don’t watch very many horror movies, so when some of my horror fiction friends start bringing movies into a bookish discussion, I’m often left standing alone in the corner with not much to say.Continue Reading

Women in Horror: An Interview with Ellen Datlow

If you’ve read an anthology of horror, science fiction or fantasy stories in the last couple of decades, chances are good it was edited by Ellen Datlow.  In addition to editing more than 100 anthologies over the course of her 35 year career, Datlow has served as the editor magazines such as OMNI and Event Horizon, and currently acquires fiction for Tor.com.

Datlow’s impeccably keen eye for talent has made her one of the most important figures working in modern horror fiction. We at Cemetery Dance are honored that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.

Continue Reading

Women in Horror: An Interview with Alma Katsu

In 2018 Alma Katsu took the world of horror fiction by storm with The Hunger, her re-imagining of the tragic story of the Donner Party. The Hunger was named to NPR’s list of 100 Best Horror Stories, and made the “Most Anticipated” lists of a number of media outlets, including The Guardian and io9.

Katsu is currently working on a new novel centered around another historic tragedy—the Titanic—as well as a spy novel and other projects. She was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to chat with Cemetery Dance. Continue Reading

Review: The Same Deep Water As You by Chad Lutzke

The Same Deep Water As You by Chad Lutzke
Static Age Books (January 2019)

120 pages; $6.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

In 1990-1993 I was a skater girl groupie. I wore high-top Converse sneakers, ripped jeans, a flannel shirt tied around my waist and garage band tees. After school and on the weekends, the boys would skate and a few other girls and I would watch. They let us sit on their old boards and we would smoke weed or cigarettes and laugh when the boys ate it and cheer when they landed something.

We listened to The Dead Kennedys, NOFX, the Sex Pistols and the Pixies (theme song: “Where is My Mind”). So when I say that I could immediately relate to Chad Lutzke’s coming-of-age novella, The Same Deep Water As You, it is because I lived that lifestyle and in that same era.Continue Reading

Review: Savage Species by Jonathan Janz

Savage Species by Jonathan Janz
Flame Tree Press (January 2019)

304 pages; $16.48 hardcover; $13.86 paperback; $6.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

Last year I read my first Jonathan Janz story titled Children of the Dark. I absolutely loved it. Janz expertly fused together a gruesome horror story and a nostalgic coming-of-age tale. The monsters in that book—the lithe, tall, insatiably hungry Wendigos—were a formidable enemy that I enjoyed reading about as they went on a blood-soaked rampage.Continue Reading

Review: Let There Be Dark by Tim McWhorter

Let There Be Dark by Tim McWhorter
Hydra Publications (August 2018)

180 pages; $11.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

After reading nothing but horror for over a year now, is it possible for me to still be scared? I’ve been asked that question quite a bit lately and the answer is: Absolutely. If horror fans are honest with themselves, we are showing up for horror because there is always the potential for something to crawl up under our skin and linger there. We like it.Continue Reading