Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weird Wednesday: Men Only

Home Alone Men by Peter Shaw is the strangest story I've read in a long time, and I hope there will be more written about these men. Just the idea of men forcibly quarantined into their homes is enough to hook me, but Shaw is a freaking dystopian genius. These few pages are full of surprises, and I've been left wanting more from this future the author's created. I have so many questions...

I sincerely hope Shaw will either continue this as a mini-series or follow up with a full-length novel, but I would settle simply for more stories from this imaginative author. I love authors who know how to tell a story without telling.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday Twist: Among Thieves

Among Thieves by Samuel Brower is a departure from the author's usual writing style, but just as entertaining. This story is a mix of drama, suspense and justice...a most unique twist on the concept of Robin Hood. The character's references to "the organization" are so intriguing, I think Brower could easily write a full-length novel based on this one aspect.

I do not consider this a genre piece, but rather fiction in general...a good story to read if you are looking for a break from the genre-specific settings.

Hopefully, by now, I've convinced readers to check out Samuel Brower for themselves...

As always,
AstraDaemon

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday Murder: Brother's Keeper

In The Shade by Jacob Stanley would make a great horror/sci-fi movie. I thought it was just going to be a murder-suspense story, but as the details were revealed, Stanley shocked me with the twisted relationship between the two brothers. Even after all the secrets are out in the open, I still couldn't have guessed the ending.

Harold took "brother's keeper" way too far...Ben should have remembered "ignorance is bliss."

If you have time for a cup of coffee, you have time for this excellent mix of genres.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Suspense: The Good Neighbor

The Good Neighbor by Evan Grant features a good neighbor named Connor Callahan, but Connor makes the mistake of entering someone's house uninvited, and his neighbor's secret becomes Connor's nightmare.

Introverts are going to feel totally justified after reading this one. I hope Grant keeps writing more horror...

As always,
AstraDaemon

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Shorts: Five Strips of Flesh

Five Strips of Flesh by Christopher Cox is a terrifying collection of very original horror stories, ranging from suicide by roller coaster to zombie hunters.

Suicyclone is frightening because it's the most likely to become real in the future.

The North Bay Bridge Club is also a story that could very likely take place, and, as I've often said, reality is often scarier than make-believe.

Dahmer Flu is a short story which has been expanded into a novel (something I plan on reading in the near future), featuring a family trapped inside their house during the onset of an undead outbreak.

The North Bay Bridge Club continues with an exceptional death theme.

The Judas Goat is a horrifying ending to this anthology.

I'm really impressed, and I can't wait to read more from Cox.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Feature: Karen A Foster

HELLD by Karen A Foster is an abduction story that caught me completely off guard. I didn't really have any expectations, other than , "I hope this doesn't suck...," and I was rewarded with a thrilling crime-drama. Foster did an excellent job of creating concern for Hannah, as well as her family, which is somewhat difficult with the short story format. The drama not only arises from the kidnapping, but also the family history. I was so impressed, I decided to immediately read something else by the same author.

Insignificant wasn't as good as the other Foster story, but it held my interest. Norma is a terrible mother, cruel to her only daughter, Celia, who has a learning disability, among other problems as a result of Norma's constant berating. The ending is a twisted surprise.

I went one step further, and read her anthology, Twisted. The collection has everything from family issues and spiders to astral projection and murder. Foster's best work, in my opinion. However, when I reached the end of the anthology, I found the title of another story by the author...

Vine is unpredictable...I knew Kenny had screwed up, but I didn't realize just how bad everything would become. It's a good story, but not nearly as entertaining as the stories in Foster's anthology, Twisted.

Having read several stories by Foster, I think she is a very creative writer, but she would probably get better reception from readers if she hired a professional editor. In the meantime, I highly recommend HELLD and Twisted for horror fans.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Pavlov's Dogs

Pavlov’s Dogs by DL Snell and Thom Brannan took a scientific approach to placing werewolves and zombies in the same setting, and the result was a brilliant undead thriller. While the military’s approach to manipulating the lycanthropic genetics of the “dog soldiers” with technology was fascinating, the release of the Dogs into an undead outbreak was awe-inspiring.
The Dogs are tasked with rescuing the survivors of a zombie plague in a nearby city, and bringing the humans to the research facility on an isolated island. Of course, it all goes to shit: there is some in-fighting between the various ranks of the pack, which leads to a rebellion against the scientific team, and eventually the infection reaches the island. Instead of just human zombies, Snell and Brannan create werewolf zombies.
Readers might initially be tempted to compare this storyline to the movie Dog Soldiers mixed with a Romero flick, but this was far more complex, with a well-developed cast of characters. I would love to see this novel optioned into a movie, but selecting actors to fill the roles would be extremely difficult. The characters are put through a gauntlet of suffering, unlike anything I’ve read before, and their emotions reflected the tone of the story in perfect detail – I can’t imagine who could pull it off onscreen.
The character that stood out the most for me was Jorge; while he wasn’t the most central figure in the plot, I thought his scenes were riveting and thought-provoking. He starts out as guy casually swilling a beer on the way to his last day of work, pushing his friend’s buttons for fun – I almost thought he was going to be the jerk of the story, but he wields his twisted sense of humor like a sword & shield as everything falls apart on the island due to a rogue Dog & a mad scientist.
In the follow-up novel, The Omega Dog, the apocalypse is turned up several notches, with zombies turning into Cthulhu-type mutants. Unlike most other sequels, The Omega Dog begins exactly where Pavlov’s Dogs left off, with Ken and Jorge trying to salvage what’s left of the island’s facilities and resources, and plan a search and rescue for Jorge’s children. The apocalypse becomes something more than just a battle of survival between werewolves, humans and zombies: the authors dig into both history and mythology to create a terrifying end-of-the-world nightmare for their characters and readers alike.
However, I didn’t enjoy the sequel as much as the first novel. What I loved about Pavlov’s Dogs was the interaction between the undead and the genetically engineered werewolves, but in The Omega Dog, there is only one Dog left, he is a fucked-up zombie werewolf with some serious issues that go far beyond being undead, and the zombies take a backseat to the rest of the action. Also, while it was hinted that the scientist behind the Dogs is also behind the zombie virus in the first book, that storyline remains largely untouched in the sequel.
As always,
AstraDaemon

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Uninvited

Holdout by Eric Blood is pretty straight-forward: a guy is trying to force his way into Jimmy's house, and Jimmy's not having it. When you think about it, most of us would be fairly freaked out if a home invasion happened right in front of us, in the middle of the day.

I'm not exactly sure if I was losing my mind alongside Jimmy, but I laughed at some of the desperate things he did in his attempt to get rid of the stranger. It's safe to say I was thoroughly entertained, and I couldn't wait to find out what the deal is with the stranger.

The ending is a total surprise...for some reason, I expected the stranger to be Jesus Christ.

You really have to read this for yourself.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Jane's Addiction

Hoarder by Patti Larsen is not the "paranormal" horror story I was expecting. While the doll involved does bring a touch of the supernatural, this story is more a sad drama exposing the hidden side of hoarding. Even though it is a work of fiction, I found myself captivated by the realistic downfall of Jane. The author put so much detail into Jane's mental breakdown, the doll wasn't even necessary to keep me captivated. Larsen is a natural storyteller.

As always,
AstraDaemon




Monday, May 22, 2017

Tinder Terror

Gene Catcher by Adam Vine is a great mix of science fiction and horror. As a matter of fact, I think the author should write a follow-up full length novel because he's created a very original and intriguing monster. I also think many readers will be able to relate to the setting of an online dating nightmare. Paul, the main character, should've remember how dangerous some STDs can be...

Adam Vine is a talented writer, and I invite you to check out his other stories.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Samuel Brower Is Scary AF!!

Samuel Brower is an author that I stumbled upon a couple of years ago, and I became an instant fan. Here at the Lair, I've written about his work a couple of time in the past, Works of Fiction and The Rail Yard Apparitions. I finally had time to look him up again to see what he's been writing...

There's Something In The Walls is a fantastic novella which needs to be made into a horror movie ASAP. Brower first draws the reader in with a humorous introduction to the tenants of the Perkins Building, during an earthquake evacuation. At least, I think it is meant to be a funny hook...I laughed so hard at David in his Ambien haze, I peed myself. Then Brower lets the terror flow, or, rather, ooze from one page to the next.

Something old and ancient has made its way into the walls. Nothing as complicated as Lovecraft's Cthulhu, but a reminder that mankind is not the top of the food chain. Pay attention to the discussions about the people who live in the building because, when everything goes to hell, you'll be devastated when you realize who never made it out.

It's less than 100 pages, so I strongly recommend horror fans add this story to their collections!

As always,
AstraDaemon

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Short: The Blackout

The Blackout by Sharon A. Austin could have been a great story, but the editing is so bad that it ruined the flow. I enjoyed the creature released from the earth after an earthquake, but the townspeople could've been more developed. I didn't necessarily feel any suspense or terror...mostly just observing events unfolding in a violent manner.

The bonus story piece at the end is actually far better...too bad the short story wasn't written with the same writing style. However, the extra story makes me think Austin is an author who does better with a full-length novel than a short story.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Feature: Rhiannon Frater's Living Dead Boy [review]

Rhiannon Frater made an impression on me years ago with her As The World Dies series, so, even though I'm not a fan of stories told from a child's POV, I was willing to give The Living Dead Boy a chance. I'm so glad I did...there's a depth to the characters and their struggle to survive which pleasantly surprised me.

Normally, I have serious doubts about younger characters rising to the occasion...I mean, a lot of kids can't seem to keep their rooms clean - how can they be expected to handle a zombie outbreak? However, Frater does a fantastic job orchestrating a believable outbreak at a school in Texas, and the kids, with all their hang-ups, prove that age has nothing to do with using common sense. The contrast between the children and the adults adds the right amount of drama to the setting as well.

In the first book, The Living Dead Boy, Josh and his friends are trying to get from their school to their neighborhood, but they soon realize the fresher the zombies, the faster they run. The children try to remember their "zombie fight training," but the horrifying discoveries they make on their way home is too much for some to handle. Faced with watching his friends crack under the overwhelming pressure of trying to survive, Josh is determined to take whatever risks are necessary to keep going, until his dad returns with his Army connections to relocate the survivors.

In the second book, Lost In Texas, Josh, the Living Dead Boy, and his group of Zombie Hunters, have made it to an evacuation convoy. They've lost some of their original members, and gained several new friends, but their fight for survival is far from over. Their new goal is to make it to a an airlift point and find their missing loved ones. It doesn't help some of the other survivors are less than friendly, particularly a bully named Chad, and many of the adult survivors view the children as a burden.

Despite being preteens and young teenagers, Josh and his friends have been through far more than most adults in this Texas outbreak...they are no longer the children they once were, and they are struggling with their new identities. Chad's obsession with taking over Josh's group complicates the already deadly situation, and delays the group from rejoining the evacuation process. The Zombie Hunters face some extremely difficult choices, such as whether or not to take an uninfected life, even in self-defense.

In Journey Across Zombie Texas, the third installment, Frater does a great job of creating terror through her young characters, without getting graphic or obscene...kind of like classic horror, with suspenseful build-up and shocking twists. Josh and his Zombie Hunters face a new threat: adults who are clueless about how bad the outbreak has become. These adults insist that Josh and his friends will be safe with them, but it soon becomes clear the adults can't even help themselves. As if the lack of proper preparations wasn't bad enough, the adults underestimate the threat that Chad has become. The adults only see a group of injured kids, not the people they've become during their journey through Texas.

Even if you're not into the zombie genre, I recommend this series. It's not just a story about survival, it's also a coming of age story about the key relationships that transform each child. While this series is written with young readers in mind, there is no reason adult zombiephiles won't enjoy following Josh and his friends through their Texas nightmare. This series has all the elements that true horror fans will love, but it's also something younger readers can get into as well. Definitely a series for the whole family.

There are some loose endings when Book 3 concludes. In real life, we don't always know what happens to people after we parted ways with them...sometimes people just disappear during a crisis. Maybe Frater will use the loose ends to continue the series, maybe not. I don't feel like she left readers with a cliff-hanger, but this series is so awesome on so many levels, I'd hate to see the author set it aside. No matter what, Josh is definitely a hero, to both my son and me.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Canadian Horror

Dead North is an anthology of Canadian zombie literature featuring some of the most amazing & imaginative horror scenarios that I’ve ever read. Usually, when I think of zombie literature, I think of outbreaks described in the States, the UK and, on occasion, Australia. Canada has simply been that place that American survivors try to flee to in the stories. While I am no stranger to Canadian authors, I’ve never given much thought to apocalyptic outbreaks scenarios up North, which is a poor reflection on my imagination, especially considering that I live “next door” in Michigan. And – wow – have I been missing out on some great zombie stories!
The reason I picked up this anthology is because I had heard that one of my favorite Canadian authors, Chantal Boudreau, had written another zombie story (she’s one of my favorite YA authors as well). I’ve also been looking for something a little less mainstream, and, well, original. I don’t know what impressed me more: the diversity of the stories in this collection, or the strong cultural themes within. And, for that, all of the authors should be commended.
Of course, when you’ve read as much zombie-lit as I have over the years, you begin to develop a palette for certain flavors of undead horror. So, some of the stories appealed to me more than others. There are, I think, 20 stories in this anthology (I may have miscounted), so, rather than review each one, I am going to highlight my personal favorites:
THE HERD by TYLER KEEVIL was the first story, and a great way to begin this undead buffet of gore and drama. The Herd reminded me of the movie Ravenous, but with zombies.
KEZZIE OF BABYLON by JAMIE MASON has a zombie horse. Enough said.
THOSE BENEATH THE BOG by JACQUES L. CONDOR was the most frightening story in the anthology, as far as I’m concerned. I would really love to see more horror from this author in the future.
GROUND ZERO: SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE by CLAUDE LALUMIERE had me hooked with the first paragraph, and dragged me down a path of unexpected terror.
DEAD DRIFT by CHANTAL BOUDREAU is sure to please her fans. I loved the source of the zombie virus, and I wish that she would turn this story into a full-length novel.
HALF GHOST by LINDA DeMEULEMEESTER was the very last story in the anthology, and a great way to wrap it all up. The creepy-factor was very high in this undead tale, but it left me wanting more. Prequel? Sequel? In any case, it left me hungry for more (pun ABSOLUTELY intended).
I have learned my lesson. From now on, I will make sure to include Canadian zombie lit in my reading list, and I recommend Dead North to my fellow zombiephiles, regardless of which country you live in.
As always,
AstraDaemon

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weird Wednesday: Pursuit

A man wakes up in a cell with his hands tied and no memory of who he is or what has happened. The cell is in the middle of a forest. As he makes his way out, he starts having flashes of memory. He also makes a few horrifying discoveries within the woods.

The author does a great job of making the reader feel the loss and confusion of the mystery man, but the flashbacks don't reveal much. The ending was unexpected, but, again, nothing much is revealed about what actually happened to the character in the first place.

Would have been better as a flash fiction piece.

As always,

AstraDaemon

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Twisted Tuesday: Mother's Day

Mother's Day by Jack Buckner is a short story that features two characters who have issues with their mothers. I think the author had a good idea, but Buckner spent too much time with the thoughts of Julia and Guy, and glossed over the actual interactions, with the exceptions of the extreme perversion.

It's not as if I haven't read a story with a sickening scene or two, but it seem as if the author included the repulsive details just for shock value. Without a proper balance between suspense and terror, Mother's Day doesn't appear to be much more than a piece of torture porn.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday Mayhem: Nightowls

Nightowls by John West is a sinister short story. The action hooked me, but the ending is too abrupt and too cliche. I think the author needs to flesh it out a little more...West has talent, but he needs more effort. With so many authors writing horror stories, it's not a good idea to pull punches.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Suspense: They Watch

They Watch by Mary Crellin is a collection of three short stories with some rather unexpected horror twists. The first one, Watching, has a Tales of the Crypt  sense to it...I could almost hear the Crypt Keeper cackling at the beginning. The Push could pass for a Twilight Zone episode. However, the Hag Phenomenon is quite original, and the ending caught me completely off-guard.

In other words, Crellin uses the elements of classic horror to give the readers something frightening without being overly brutal or revolting. I love finding these modern stories that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud. The third story alone is worth picking up a copy of this anthology.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Short: Polarized

Polarized by Lemi K. is an excellent horror piece. The main character delivers the story as if speaking to a friend about a traumatic memory. The suspense is the perfect way to hook readers, and, once the horror is revealed, readers will feel as breathless as the character running for his life. The polaroid camera is a terrifying touch.

I think the author could develop this story into a full-length novel...in any case, I highly recommend Polarized.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Feature: Knowing

Knowing, Five Tales of Cosmic Horror by Morgan L Morcant is an interesting collection of short stories.

Cage of Earth takes readers to the East African Rift, where volunteer work takes on new meaning.

Sand Thing centers on an island town along the South Carolina coast, and has a Silent Hill flavor to it.

Life's Burden places readers in southern Alaska, and includes an offer too good to be ignored...but it should've been.

The L-Shaped Man begins in a political setting, but it's the most suspenseful story out of the five.

Love's Void is anything but marital bliss, proving having a child does not solve problems.

Overall, this anthology could be labeled as bizarro fiction...unfortunately, too much effort trying to be cerebral dulled the horror.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Zombies vs. Trekkies

Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall is one zombie book that I'll never forget. Now, the zombies themselves might not be the kind zombiephiles are used to, and the science fiction might not be realistic enough of the sci-fi fans, but this book is definitely a thrilling adventure that will appeal to all kinds of readers.

The prologue begins with two employees, at an underground military facility in Houston, TX, making plans to go to a Star Trek convention; while they’re talking, the security system fails, opening some doors that should have stayed closed. Meanwhile, at a hotel in the same city, Jim Pike is having a bad day that is about to get apocalyptic. Jim is a soldier with serious PTSD, and he’s convinced himself that working as a bellhop will reduce his stress. However, he has to help prepare for GulfCon, an extremely popular Star Trek convention. Jim’s younger sister, Rayna is also attending with some friends.

Before Rayna’s group arrives in the parking garage, the hotel staff is already having trouble with violent hotel guests, and employees keep going missing. Jim’s instincts are screaming at him that something horrible is happening, but by the time he is able to convince anyone else that the problem is not just in his mind, the hotel is overwhelmed by zombies. Jim, with the help of a Star Wars fan, tries to rescue his sister and her friends, while Trekkies are dying all around them.

Star trek fans should know that this isn’t just a horror story set at a convention, but I can’t elaborate without ruining the storyline. Zombie fans should know that the undead are shamblers, but able to move as a group, with a very unusual source of infection, which is spread in a similar manner to 28 Days Later.

I also recommend viewing the book trailer.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Weird Wednesday: Portrait in Sunspots

Portrait in Sunspots by Marty Armon is a weird short story about a middle-aged man who depends on his ham radio for a social life. He makes a connection with a young lady, but when they try to meet up, he realizes they don't live as close together as he first thought. He also learns there are some obstacles that are impossible to remove.

The author gives just enough info about the character Jay to explain why he would be so devoted to a woman he's never met in person. While Jay's discovery is a bit predictable, the ending is a surprise. Armon delivers an interesting piece of science fiction centered around 9/11.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday Terror: Tommy

Many horror fans are aware of a site called the Thought Catalog. Within their pages is a section called the Creepy Catalog. It's within those pages that I stumbled into the terror known as Tommy.

Elias Witherow has written a series of short stories which are quite possibly the most horrifying I've ever read. This particular series centers on a life-size nightmare known as Tommy. Without giving away spoilers, Tommy is literally the houseguest from Hell.

If you haven't discovered this frightening collection of Tommy tales, make a trip to ThoughtCatalog.com and look up Witherow's creation. You'll never answer the door again...

As always,
AstraDaemon

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Murder [review]

Broken Lie by Melody Jade Allen is a roughly written short story resembling a mix of Twilight Zone and Fight Club. Readers are introduced to a man named Aron, who has witnessed multiple murders. However, the local police never find any evidence of foul play. When FBI Agent Valverde takes an interest in Aron, a sinister secret is finally unraveled.

Broken Lie is more of a crime drama than a horror tale, but the suspense is pretty good. I think the author should consider turning this into a novella and getting an editor to help polish it up.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday Sci-fi: iHuman

iHuman by Vincent Robert Annunziato is a strange sci-fi short about a special forces team being assigned a mission to capture two A.I. creations that have apparently gone rogue. Too much dialogue and very little action didn't appeal to me, and I found the ending to be too predictable. The technology might appeal to some readers, but I wasn't drawn into the story the way I had hoped.


As always,
AstraDaemon

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday Short: Sick. Just...sick.

For The Preservation of the Species by Michael J. Evans should come with warnings for readers..."don't read if you have a fear of bugs"..."don't read if you're pregnant"..."don't read if you're taking a road trip in the countryside"...PROCEED WITH CAUTION...YOU'RE GONNA HAVE NIGHTMARES...YOU'LL NEVER PEE OUTSIDE AGAIN.

Amy and her husband are expecting. She has a surprise for him, so they are on their way to a bed & breakfast in a rural area. They both have to pee. They should've never left the car. Michael J. Evans knows exactly how to exploit people's most primal fears. Evans' monsters make me want to crawl in the sewer with Pennywise.

I dare you to read this on a camping trip...in the woods...with no toilet...

As always,
AstraDaemon

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Fright: The Rest Area

The Rest Area by Jason Davis is the perfect short story, I thought, to acknowledge the upcoming road trip season. Davis has always been a favorite author of mine, known well for great lines, such as,

"He was the Frankenshit, hurrying to an outhouse near you, trying to make it before that brown stain would creep down his pant leg."

That's right. A trucker desperately has to take a dump, and the closest rest area is...well, a dump. I think those of us who frequent the highways have all encountered at least one bathroom that is so bad, we have flashbacks to every movie death taking place in a disgusting restroom we've ever seen. You know, the kind of bathroom that makes taking a dump on a the side of a road far more appealing.

Make no mistake, it's a horror story, complete with terror and gore, but Davis' dark humor had me laughing out loud like a deranged patient at an asylum. What really blew my mind is the surprise ending...never saw it coming.

I definitely recommend this story to all readers, especially if you're planning a long drive...

As always,
AstraDaemon


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Zombie Western

Cursed Bounty by Rebecca Besser was a pleasant, but macabre surprise. I’m not big into Western themes, but I still enjoyed the story. After a bank robbery involving multiple murders, the Sheriff of Bristleton requests help from the governor. Let me tell you, Besser’s governor would scare the crap out of The Walking Dead governor.
The foreshadowing in the governor’s office was a dead giveaway (no pun intended) as to the fate of the bank robbers, but nothing could have prepared me for the shocking ending.
Besser has written an excellent example of what a horror short should be like, especially when mixing genres.
You can find more of Besser’s work featured in Code Z.
As always,
Astradaemon

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday Wisdom: African Albinos

Then She Was Born by Cristiano Gentili is a novel written to bring awareness to the ongoing plight of African albinos. Gentili is more than an author, he is a humanitarian who travels around the world to offer his assistance with various issues, ranging from natural disasters to the effects of war. One such trip was to Tanzania, to learn first-hand about the living conditions of albinos in Africa. This novel is part of a campaign to give a voice to this persecuted group.

Within these pages, the story follows an African albino girl, Adimu, from birth and through the years of her personal struggle. From her first hour, both parents reject her as a curse, so she is raised by her grandmother. Unable to socialize with anyone in her village, Adimu identifies with the white people who pass through, believing a rumor that her father is actually a nearby white businessman. In addition to Adimu's coming of age tribulation, this novel explores the conflicts between the old traditions and the modern world, as well as the younger generation's attempt to find balance with both ways of life. Adimu and others have to make many hard choices that may or may not end in death. Gentili uses suspense and drama woven with African folklore to create a powerful view of a culture most of us would never even think of.

Although it's not very often, from time to time I do like to review books that bring attention to issues in other countries that don't often reach us in the States. This is one of those times, and I am hoping this review will help the author with his efforts through this novel. If you would like to know more, I strongly suggest visiting the website: #HelpAfricanAlbinos

As always,
AstraDaemon

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tuesday Terror: The Sanguinarian Id

The Sanguinarian Id by L.M. Labat is nothing short of a masterpiece, blending horror, suspense and mystery with jarring strokes of the supernatural against the backdrop of Nazi-occupied Germany. It should come as no surprise that this novel has been nominated for numerous awards...I've never read anything like it...not even close. More surprising? The author is barely old enough to drink. If this is what she's writing now...my God...

This novel is the first in a new series that will follow Hael (a suspected dhampir) around the world, while exploring the vampire lore from various regions. She is literally hellbent on exacting revenge from a monster known as Mendelson. No one knows quite what to make of her, from her first appearance as a changeling child to her brutal battles as an adult. Hael doesn't even understand what she is...aside from being orphaned by a sadistic bastard.

As if the darkness and depravity surrounding Hael isn't enough to impress readers, Labat's artwork highlights turning points:

 


I can't wait for the next installment...this novel blew me away. If you only have time for one book, make it this one...

As always,
AstraDaemon

Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday Murder: Stranger Danger

Road to Darkness by Joleene Naylor is a great short-story and a fantastic way to get readers hooked into her Amaranthine series. Two young girls, Jenny and Cade, go to a concert to forget about two guys that gave them the brush off. On the way, they meet two older guys pulled over on the side of the road, only to find themselves in a supernatural nightmare.

I don't usually go for this sub-genre of horror, but Naylor delivers both suspense and terror in equal measure, by mixing a kidnapping with a deadly hunt. The ending is a little abrupt, but it only made me more curious about the character, Patrick.

If you like your monsters with sharp, pointy teeth, be sure to check this out...

As always,
AstraDaemon