Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Could This Be Our Future?

Paul Sanders is a desperate man. He and his daughter, Isobella, are weeks away from living in the Gutter.

Enter Jono Falanges, a greasy stockbroker who promises Paul all the money he needs, and more. The only catch is, Paul must invest Isobella’s health on the stock market.

Investing Isobella by Jason Werbeloff is a horrifying science fiction story set in a dystopian future in which finances can be genetically linked to individuals. Essentially, Paul becomes so concerned with his unemployment status, he takes everything else for granted. His personal decisions raise all kinds of interesting ethical questions: What does a person value the most? How far would someone go for peace of mind? Does the loss of a loved one justify murder?

Science fiction has often predicted reality...knowing that makes this story all the more frightening.

As always,

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Terror: Morbid Tale #5

Beth thought she’d escaped the cult-like traditions of her childhood home in Drumfort, Illinois. College life has given her what she yearned for; the ways of the world, for knowledge, and the freedom that it brings. No more of that nonsense and ridiculous blind faith that has kept so many trapped back home.

But when a strange being disturbs her dreams she returns home to find out why. And when she is chosen for the Sacrifice she must hold firm to her unbeliefs if she is to survive.

The Unbeliever is the most recent Morbid Tale written by Zachery Miller. There are so many layers and themes in this story. Miller blends horror and folklore, religion and psychology, and family drama. You could call this a thriller, a coming of age...a warning. At first glance, it appears to have a happy ending, but, upon closer examination, Beth does make a sacrifice after all. More than one, in fact.

For some reason, I'm curious what this story would have been like if told from the POV of some other character, instead of Beth's perspective. The town had such an odd assortment of people, Miller should consider revisiting Drumfort in another tale.

I'd lose my mind if the author found a way to tie all the Morbid Tales together.

As always,

Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Murder: Morbid Tales Returns

Tonight, little Amy lays in bed, hurt and sad at how unfair life has been toward her. From a dark corner, the darkest place in her dimly lit room, a silhouette watches, listens, and speaks.

Fearful and distraught, and nowhere to run, she has no choice but to stay. But who is this thing, this creature, this…it? It asks a question, Amy answers, and with her words many will die tonight.

The Silhouette by Zachery Miller is the fourth addition to his Morbid Tales. I love everything about this story. Amy is a very relatable character...I'm sure most readers probably have known someone like her, maybe they were her. I found the demon, Many, intriguing and intimidating at the same time. The deaths are heavily influenced by modern culture, a detail which gives this tale the appearance of an urban legend to be passed around. Miller doesn't show his characters any mercy...he is the silhouette.

As always,

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Suspense: A Morbid Tale

Trish and Henry mistakenly turn onto a dead-end street. The wrong street, at the wrong time of twilight, and find themselves in the grip of the Nightcomer. But in this cul-de-sac of horrors these two people, so busily caught up in their lives, will find that there can be only one kind of ending on a dead-end street.

The Nightcomer is the third story in the Morbid Tales series by Zachery Miller. This one is considerably more horrifying than the previous two. I only expected one monster, not the Home Owners Association from Hell. I'm still trying to figure out why anyone would leave the safety of their car, and wander around a strange neighborhood, especially if they think they're lost. The ending is brutal...wouldn't surprise me if Miller walks the streets at night with a bloody wheelbarrow.

This author doesn't do happy endings.

As always,

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Saturday Short: Another Morbid Tale

About a year ago, I stumbled upon Zachery Miller, a horror author who grabbed my attention with The Shopkeep. I asked for a full-length novel; he wrote a mini-series instead: Morbid Tales. There are now five stories and I'll be reviewing the rest of the short tales over the next few days.

The Amorphous Horror is number two. Laura is listening to her grandfather tell her stories about his imprisonment in Nazi Germany. Something is thrashing about in the locked basement. Laura knows where he keeps the key. She decides she needs to find out the truth behind his last day in the concentration camp.

Slightly predictable with only a few terrifying moments, this story is still very entertaining. Miller's setting reminded me of the "creepy German guy" scene in the movie The Monster Squad, blending real-life tragedy with supernatural folklore.

Although Miller's writing style is somewhat charming in a dark way, his work hints the author may be on his way to seriously establishing himself as a modern-day Edgar Allan Poe...for example, in this tale, he balances the reckless curiosity of youth with the agonizing secrecy of old age to keep his readers captivated.

Keep checking back for more Morbid Tales...

As always,

Friday, April 13, 2018

Reading For TWO Charities

When normal life collapses, peril waits around every corner, and one small slip could mean certain death. In THE WILL TO SURVIVE, twenty-two unique and brilliant voices bring to life stories of post-apocalyptic danger sure to make the heart race, the flesh creep.

It’s the end of the world. Do you have the will to survive?

NOTE: THE WILL TO SURVIVE is a collective effort by a great group of authors, born from the desire to help their fellow citizens suffering the devastating effects of multiple hurricanes. 100% of proceeds are being donated to two charities, One America Appeal and Global Giving Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Twenty-two stories of tragedy, hope, and survival in one volume.

The Will To Survive, edited by Felicia A. Sullivan is a fantastic way to sample some of the best authors in apocalyptic fiction, as well as contributing to two different charities:

ALL THE OPTIMISM OF HAMLET by M.L. Katz centers on two neighbors (one inspired by the editor) desperately trying to stay afloat.

CODE EMP by M.P. McDonald features a family who happen to be in the right place at the right time, under some frightening circumstances.

THE SHIMMERS by Kelly Hudson is a terrifying mix of horror, science fiction and drama; one of my favorites.

THE WORST CASE SCENARIO by C.A. Rudolph is the dragged out thoughts of a prepper, more setup than story.

PHASE 6 by A.J. Norris features a mother determined to rescue her daughter; action-packed.

DOUBLE OR NOTHING by Clabe R. Polk is a fantastic behind-the-scenes natural disaster story and another one of my favorites.

WOOLY by Shane Gregory is an extremely bizarre science fiction story with a fascinating ending.

BROTHERS BY DUST by Timothy Johnson is an excellent post-apocalyptic story about a boy and his dog.

THE COLLECTIVE by Patrick D'Orazio is a science fiction story which would impress Ray Bradbury.

THE LAST CHARTER by Steven Bird is a teaser; the author created a great intro for a full-length thriller. *hint, hint*

THE SPREAD by Sean Schubert is a short story which takes place in the Alaskan Undead Apocalypse universe.

FRACTURED HOPE by Chris Pike is a tragic coming of age.

RUSTY'S RUN by Nick DeWolf is told from the POV of a dog and had me bawling for most of the story; highly recommended for dog lovers.

INTO THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW by Sean T Smith is a story about a man determined to fight for his family, until his last breath.

ABOVE THE LINE by Josh Hilden is another fantastic post-apocalyptic tale...I think the premise would make a great movie.

MAKE MY DAY by Mike Sheridan is an absolutely delightful story about a change of heart.

REPLICA by Stephen North is a devastating sci-fi dystopian future; well-written.

SHOWDOWN AT RIG CITY by Jamie Mason is another dystopian story full of suspense.

THESE THINGS THE KITTEN SAID by D.J. Goodman is a beautifully-written apocalyptic fairy tale...the ending made me cry a little.

A SINGLE STONE by Joshua Guess centers on a handicapped man fighting to stay alive.

THE ANGEL OF LAFAYETTE by Jonathan Yanez is one of the most unusual stories in this collection; I want a Dread t-shirt.

LAST BUS OUT by Brad Munson is the most horrific story in the collection...kind of like something H.P. Lovecraft would write.

This is one hell of a collection, with some of the best authors in genre fiction, for a great price and TWO wonderful charities. Buy your copy today!

As always,

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Re-Civilizing Teenagers

Elaine is an average teen girl. All she wants is to be noticed by the boy she likes and for her parents to relax enough to let her go on a date with him. She’s tired of her boring life where the most excitement she has is her parents fighting, which she hates.

When the zombie apocalypse wipes out the world as she knows it, she makes her way home, where she has always been overprotected and safe.

This time, home is not the fort of comfort she has always known. Instead it’s a den of danger where she’s bitten by her zombie mother.

Wounded and scared, she manages to hide. Her father comes to her rescue and attempts to get them to a safe zone he heard about on the radio. They run out of gas and end up having to find shelter. They end up in Chad’s house.

Chad tells them how he’s immune to the zombie virus, and that he believes Elaine is too, because she hasn’t turned into a zombie from her bite.

They make plans to travel together to the safe zone once Elaine is strong enough. When Chad goes to find them a new vehicle and supplies, he finds a small boy named Tad.

At the safe zone, Elaine has to deal with being separated from her father and Tad, while being forced to make a decision that will change who she has always been…and her relationship with Chad.

Re-Civilize: Elaine (Zpoc Exception Series Book 2) by Rebecca Besser is the second novella in a mini-series following the lives of immune teenagers, expected to protect the rest of the survivors who aren't so lucky. Elaine's story begins as the virus is spreading through her community, continuing to when she crosses paths with Chad (from the first book). Her version of events are much the same as Chad's, but, somehow, less emotional.

I believe the difference between Chad's and Elaine's POVs has something to do with their family backgrounds. Her home life seems much more stable. Elaine's biggest complaint is her mom's health food obsession. Not to mention, her Z-day doesn't seem nearly as traumatic as Chad's. When her group arrives at the safe zone, Elaine seems oblivious to the dangers of their situation.

I can't wait to read Liam's POV...I'm hoping there will be more action in his story.

As always,