Friday, September 8, 2017

Insurance Agent Vs. Zombies

Eaters by Michelle DePaepe follows the survival of Cheryl, an insurance agent returning from a weekend camping trip with her fiancĂ©, only to discover a deadly virus outbreak that is mutating the afflicted.
God help us if this is how the zombie apocalypse goes down…zombies are bad enough – zombies that are capable of coordinated attacks and basic problem-solving are an early invitation to put a bullet in your head to avoid the inevitable. The zombies begin as infected people with an insane craving for rotting food, but eventually they attack and eat non-infected people as well, and there is a rumor that the virus has gone airborne.
I loved the development of Cheryl; in the beginning, she is very dependent on her fiancĂ©, who has just returned from a tour of duty in the Army, but she quickly learns to adapt to the horror around her. There were a few twists that I wasn’t expecting, concerning her interactions with some of the other survivors. It’s always refreshing when an author can write something original, and not predictable.
I read this in one sitting, and nearly flipped out when I reached the end and realized this was the beginning of a new series. I will be reviewing the sequel, The Resistance, in the next day or two, so check back this weekend!
As always,
AstraDaemon

Thursday, September 7, 2017

What's With Guys and Basements?

Don't Ask About The Guy in The Basement by Jason Ingolfsland is a disturbing story about a new house with a catch: there's a guy in the basement and he has an unbreakable lease. The couple buying the home are desperate, so they accept the house, creepy guy included. Unfortunately, the husband becomes obsessed with his downstairs neighbor and his marriage begins to crumble. The ending is a superb twist.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Penzig Should Put People in the Basement More Often

Guy Wakes Up In A Basement by T.L. Penzig reminded me of another story I read earlier this year about a guy waking up with amnesia, Pursuit. However, this story is far better than the other. Penzig uses everything from setting to suspense to dark humor to bring readers into the mind of Arthur, the guy who wakes up in the basement. When Arthur receives additional injuries during his exploration, I swear my head hurt too.

The ending is outstanding. The dramatic identity reveal could have sufficed, but Penzig goes above and beyond with a sinister discovery about Arthur's predilections and his "so what" attitude, complete with smugness. This story would've made the Crypt Keeper proud.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Death In The Streets

The Watcher by A.L. Butcher is a tale of Jack the Ripper, told from the killer's POV. I wouldn't necessarily categorize this as horror. There's no build up of suspense, no mystery, just a graphic description of another brutal murder by the Ripper. I will give props to the author for painting such a morbid, visceral slaughter, but it takes more than violence and gore to be truly frightening. Even with a glimpse from the victim's POV, this is more of show-and-tell than anything else.

In the future, the author might want to think about including more personal details about characters, to elicit more of a response from readers.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Monday, September 4, 2017

The End of Life

Horror author Stephen A North recently released a double-feature, Like A Man and Purchase Order #2113-21A, two short stories about apocalyptic and dystopian survivors. North is best known for his Dead Tide series, but he has also written a few science fiction stories as well.

Like A Man begins like a scene from Scarface and evolves into an action-packed invasion unlike anything I've read in a any horror or sci-fi story. While not much is revealed about the character Rudy, he is someone I still rooted for. The description of the enemy is fantastic and I wish North had saved such a creation for a novel, or even a novella, rather than such a brief thriller.

Purchase Order #2113-21A is a mystery, right up to the very end, but fascinating the entire time. Usually, I'm frustrated when I only know what the main character knows, but, in this case, the lack of information makes the fight scenes feel more desperate. I think fans of Warhammer 40K might get a kick out of this sci-fi story.

If you haven't read the first three books in the Dead Tide series, I suggest you do so soon because the fourth book will be featured at the Lair in the near future.

As always,
AstraDaemon


Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Parents Never Believe The Kids

The Stain in the Stairwell by A.P. Sessler is such an excellent, original short story, I would LOVE to see it made into a movie. Sessler mixed in all the elements crucial to a truly terrifying nightmare: mystery, suspense and children...of course, the "monster" is exceptional. In hindsight, Sessler is quite clever with his use of seemingly insignificant details. I strongly recommend that everyone reads this twice to truly appreciate the author's writing style.

Reading The Stain in the Stairwell is much like falling down the stairs: the beginning is slow, at first, but, as you pick up speed, you know the ending is going to mess you up.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Friday, August 25, 2017

WTF Did I Just Read?!!

The Assignation by Edgar Allan Poe is one of his stories that I've never read. I thought it would be a good idea to read a classic, but it left me feeling a bit like a troglodyte trying to decipher hieroglyphics. From what I understood, as the narrator is returning home in a gondola, a woman accidentally drops her baby into the canal, but a stranger is able to rescue the child. The woman arranges a rendezvous with the hero, but this proves to be fatal for all involved.

The ending might be confusing for those trying to figure out what happened to the narrator...I suggest paying close attention to the very beginning of the story, before the narrator mentions Venice. Even with this hint, I think readers will wonder why in the hell Poe bothered writing this story. If I remember correctly, he is referring to an affair of Byron's, but using allegory instead of being direct.

This story is also known as The Visionary. Some people think this is Poe's best work...I am not one of those people.

As always,
AstraDaemon