Due to dire circumstance, Matt Riley, his wife, Debi, and their fourteen-year-old son, West, had to move in with West’s Grandpa Abraham. Grandpa insisted the place where he lived was haunted. That was fine with West, because “(he) devoured horror books like they were M&Ms.” I loved the mentions of popular horror podcasts and magazines, as well as a number of today’s most-read writers within the genre.
David Bernstein is rapidly becoming a MUST READ author for me. His stuff tends to be raw, gripping, compelling and, above all, imaginative. Sometimes played for fun, but more often for vengeance.
I love amusement parks, especially the old ones from my youth. The local ones were the best, where sometimes it seemed the rides were likely to fall apart while you were still riding them. The ones within an hour’s drive from where I grew up—Lakewood Park, West Point Park, and Willow Grove Park, all in Southeast Pennsylvania. In its dying days, the later was known as Six Gun Territory. I remember they used to have a small wooden coaster, The Scenic; exciting not because of it’s speed or height, but because of the way it always seemed like it could leave the track at any moment.
Reminiscent of the pulp fiction stories of the ’30s through the ’50s, or perhaps the B-Movies popular at drive-ins in the ’70s and ’80s, Greg F. Gifune’s new novel, Savages, is every bit as good as the best of those sub-genres. Prior to the start of the book, the author quotes the 1920 film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”:
A man cannot destroy the savage in him by denying its impulses. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it…
The story which follows is about a group of friends and acquaintances, shipwrecked, adrift for days, and washed ashore on a seemingly uninhabited island…and that’s the good news.
I’ve read several works by David Bernstein in the last few years and I’ve mentioned once or twice that no one is safe in one of his stories. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this observation. Author Kristopher Rufty echoes that sentiment in his introduction to A Mixed Bag of Blood, saying “Nothing, or no one, is safe in Dave’s worlds.”
There are some very good stories in this new collection of ten horror tales from a writer who knows how to push all of my buttons: scary, gory, gross and, at times, humorous.
Reviews for Children of the Dark, the new novel from Jonathan Janz via Sinister Grin Press, have been flowing freely for the last couple of weeks, and if I’ve seen one reference to Stephen King’s “The Body” or Robert McCammon’s Boy’s Life, I’ve seen a dozen. Each time I’d think, if I was Jonathan Janz I might ask people to ease back on that, because…talk about setting expectations on “High.”
Then I dug into the book itself and, well, I can see where those other reviewers are coming from.