Review: The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson

cover of The Girl in the VideoThe Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (April 28, 2020)

106 pages; $12.95 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

We all know Michael David Wilson from the infamous podcast, This is Horror. Michael is the one with the exceptionally wonderful British accent. If you haven’t listened to an episode, question what it is about your life that needs assistance and then at least start listening to This is Horror on a regular basis. It’s a great way to get your life back on track.

The Girl in the Video is Wilson’s first published book of any kind and I know exactly why Max Booth III picked it up for Perpetual Motion Machine…Continue Reading

Review: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Quirk Books (April 7, 2020)

408 pages; $15.29 paperback; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

You might be a horror book consumer like me and have already bought into the Grady Hendrix brand. You come for the unique titles and clever packaging (My Best Friend’s Exorcism) but you stay for the alluring storytelling, memorable characters, and iconic cultural references.Continue Reading

Review: Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape by Joshua Chaplinsky

Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape by Joshua Chaplinsky
CLASH Books (October 2019)

185 pages; $13.95 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

It’s this reader’s opinion that short story collections are the best way to read a new author. It’s the quickest way to discover an author’s versatility; each story an opportunity to showcase a variety of unique skills without being locked into one narrative.

I also believe that a reader begins their relationship with a book with the cover. In this case, primate skulls in bold, appealing colors with a recognizable Matthew Revert style. A real winner for me. A cover-buy.Continue Reading

Till the Score is Paid by Gemma Amor

cover of Till the Score is Paid by Gemma AmorTill the Score is Paid by Gemma Amor
Giles Press (December 2019)

254 pages; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Some authors have a storytelling voice that feels familiar to the reader. I often say that these authors’ books are like coming home after wearing formal clothes all day, and then putting on your favorite pajamas; the definition of comfort.

Gemma Amor’s writing style “fits me.” We are a perfect reader/author match. The minute I start reading one of her short stories I am immediately drawn in and compelled to finish. It’s difficult for me to put any story of her’s down until I’m done.Continue Reading

Women in Horror Month Interview: Becky Spratford

Becky Spratford, MLIS

Becky Spratford is an informed and passionate advocate of fiction (particularly horror fiction). She trains librarians to match readers with books they’ll enjoy — an amazingly important job, if you ask us! Becky maintains a magical presence on Twitter and a blog that gives great insight into the importance of the work she does.

We’re proud to feature Becky in this special Women in Horror Month interview.Continue Reading

Women in Horror Month Interview: Ania Ahlborn

Author and interview subject Ania Ahlborn
Ania Ahlborn

February is Women in Horror Month and I wanted to check in with some of my favorite writers of horror fiction. Ania Ahlborn is the author of several creepy books of which I would recommend, starting with Brother, and then working through her extensive back catalog. Her most recent release, If You See Her, is about buried mysteries, haunted houses, and the ghosts of past sins coming back to haunt you.

Ania and her husband, Will, have a toddler we will refer to as “R” in this interview. I wanted to find out how Ania has been balancing her writing career and motherhood. Continue Reading

Review: Miscreations edited by Doug Murano and Michael Bailey

Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors edited by Doug Murano and Michael Bailey
Written Backwards (February 2020)

342 pages; $29.95 hardcover; $16.95 paperback; $3.95 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I clearly remember a debate that transpired last summer on social media about anthologies. An author wondered about the future of anthologies because it seemed to him they don’t make any money. Several industry people weighed in with their strong opinions either in support of anthologies or against them (not really opposed to anthologies in general but speaking more about the profitability, or lack thereof).

Watching from the sidelines, I was beside myself. Anthologies are some of my favorite books to read. I chimed in on the conversation, only to add that I enjoy a well put together, themed anthology and that I am wholeheartedly in support of their continued success. Miscreations, by award-winning editors Doug Murano and Michael Bailey, proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that anthologies are well worth any amount of effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears.Continue Reading

Review: The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson

The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson
MCDxFSG Originals (February 11, 2020)

416 pages; $10.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Last year, if I talked about highly anticipated novels in 2020, The Boatman’s Daughter was at the top of my list. This is Bram Stoker Award finalist Andy Davidson’s second novel. His debut, In the Valley of the Sun (2017) was one of the best books I read last year. Continue Reading

Review: Spungunion by John Boden

Spungunion by John Boden
Fungasm Press (January 15, 2020)
106 pages: $9.95 paperback
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Once every blue moon, a reader will encounter an author who possesses a storytelling style that works for them every damn time. I have a few of these authors. Let’s call them the “Do-No-Wrongs.”

John Boden is a “Do-No-Wrong.”Continue Reading

Review: Trouble at Camp Still Waters by Eddie Generous

Trouble at Camp Still Waters by Eddie Generous
Severed Press (July 2019)
134 pages: $9.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Ben Ray Collins is a serial killer fanboy who gets caught trying to execute a copycat murder. By some stroke of luck, he manages to escape prison and finds himself at Camp Still Waters, but the waters are anything but still. Some kind of natural phenomenon is happening there and a team of scientists head out to learn more.Continue Reading

Review: Ghoster by Jason Arnopp

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp
Orbit (October 2019)

496 pages; $12.50 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I think it’s important to tell readers straight away that Jason Arnopp writes modern horror stories like nobody else in this industry. His books are written for horror lovers alive today, in this cultural moment. Ghoster is for me, you and us—right here, right now.Continue Reading

Review: Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here by Michael Wehunt

Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here by Michael Wehunt
Nightscape Press (September 2019)

78 pages; $30 paperback
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Late at night, in the comfort of my cozy bed with my husband slightly snoring next to me, I read stories about werewolves, monsters or bad things happening to people when they’re camping. I can rest easy before sleep knowing I can leave all those made-up nightmares in the pages of the books on my nightstand (I don’t camp or go outdoors so, no real threat there). Continue Reading

Review: The Fearing, Book Four: Earth & Ember by John F.D. Taff

The Fearing, Book Four: Earth & Ember by John F.D. Taff
Grey Matter Press (November 2019)
170 pages: $9.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

I like horror that fires on all cylinders, as I’ve said countless times in interviews. I want my horror to unnerve and disturb me, yes. But I also want it to make me feel love and sadness and regret and anger, too. And I want my characters to have some shot at redemption at the end, Some glimmer of hope, even if it’s obscured. —John F. D. Taff/Earth & Ember

Book four of John Taff’s epic apocalyptic series The Fearing is, sadly, the conclusion to one of the most interactive reading experiences I’ve had since Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.Continue Reading

Review: Teeth by Kelli Owen

Teeth by Kelli Owen
CreateSpace (June 2018)

248 pages; $12.99 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Sometimes I feel like a treasure hunter when I pick up a new book. I hold it in my hands and I think, “Will this book be a bright, shiny gem?” I get excited about the prospect of discovering something new and precious.

I think Teeth by Kelli Owen is such a treasure; a true gem in vampire fiction. Continue Reading

Review: A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries

Cover of A Place for Sinners by Aaron DriesA Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries
Poltergeist Press (July 2019)

394 pages; $21.95 hardcover; $14.56 paperback; $5.39 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

Sometimes, in the genre of horror, a reviewer stumbles upon a dark, glistening vein in the granite of horror. Maybe the reviewer reads a book from a specific indie press and enjoys it so much, they find themselves reading other books they have to offer. Or maybe the reviewer finds an author and they run in a circle of like-minded authors who do collaborative work—so the reviewer finds not just one new favorite author, but several!

I found Aaron Dries in one of the aforementioned dark veins in the granite. Being the excitable and curious reader that I am, I bought myself some of his books. A Place for Sinners entices you with an intriguing premise; boiled down it amounts to the simplest of tropes: A traveling experience to the jungles of Thailand goes terribly wrong.Continue Reading