Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Murder: Psych You Out

The Psychopath and the Rose by Sheldon Cole introduces readers to a very disturbed Dr. George Eager (nice pun), who fantasizes regularly about inflicting pain and suffering on another person. This story is fantastic in every way: the set-up, the suspense and the grand finale. Just enough is revealed about the characters to feel something about each of them, whether it's disgust, fear or awe, which makes the ending that much more powerful.

If you enjoy mystery-horror written in the classic style, you're going to dig Cole.

As always,

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fighting The Good Fight

Demon in the Lines by Joriah Wood is another supernatural crime noir that I stumbled upon. In this story, two characters attempt to break up a cult ritual, although they have different reasons. There is a lot of action and a few surprises, but I didn't feel any concern for the main characters, not even enough to dislike them. I'm not sure if this story simply wasn't to my personal liking, or if the author failed to create a sharp hook.

To be completely honest...I enjoy breaking away from my usual horror preferences to check out other genres, but I have to admit that I rarely get excited over crime noirs, even with supernatural elements mixed in. Perhaps other readers will enjoy Wood, but it just wasn't enough to satisfy me.

As always

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sinister Home Alone

I Remember Now Kingsley by Connor Lynndan would make a great full-length novel or a novella, at the very least, if the author were to begin with Malik's early years leading up to the barn incident and ending with this story.

The twist in this story reminds me a little bit of Split, in a good way...I enjoyed all the little surprises...I really wanted the story to be longer.

As always,

Friday, July 28, 2017

Toxic People...Like The Lousy Author

Toxic Love by J Asheley Brown is a collection of flash fiction stories that serve no real purpose other than to exploit victims. "Read these stories and get the conversation started about abuse in all of its destructive forms. You just might be able to reach a life and save it." What a damn joke. Having characters get beaten or raped, or find out their significant others are cheating is simply not good enough if the the author isn't going to bother including any real drama or suspense. Violence for the sake of violence is not story-telling. Flash fiction doesn't mean skipping any attempt at writing with substance.

As always,

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Eating Disorder Awareness

Inching by A.N. Valentine is the most horrific depiction of an eating disorder that I've ever read, but I imagine the reality of such an illness is much worse, and I applaud the author for using creativity to bring attention to a mental illness that is often kept hidden and seldom discussed by those who suffer from it.

As always,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Two For One

Dinky Dau Man by Jake Wilhelm takes place in Vietnam, with one hell of a hook: a drafted detective realizes a fellow soldier is a criminal from his past...absolutely chilling.

Also included, On Through The Night, a short science fiction story about a grandfather determined to see his grandchildren for Christmas.

I think Wilhelm should focus on the scifi seems to come easier for him than horror.

As always,

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ask For Trask

Banquet of Souls by T.D. Trask is a collection of twelve stories, ranging from creepy to maddening. I first discovered Trask when he co-wrote Deadsville with Dale Elster, and I can honestly say, Trask has only gotten better with his story delivery.

I'M HERE FOR YOU is a gut-check...I thought I knew how it would end. I was wrong.

RUTH is one hell of a domestic disturbance.

BANQUET OF SOULS is one of the darkest and most original stories that I've ever read.

BUS 1309 is an excellent story told in the classic style of horror.

SHE'S STILL BREATHING is a complete mystery, right up to the very last moments.

BLOOD PRESSURE is almost comical.

RYAN NOT RYAN is a great twist on a familiar folklore story.

THE CRUMBS OF MY SOUL is one of those stories where you can't be sure the narrator can be trusted.

THE GLASS IN THE WINDOW has a bit of a Lovecraft influence.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED ON AUGUST 14, 2003 is awful...I hope Trask never writes anything like it again...absolutely beneath him.

DEAD RUN is quite a spectacular zombie story...makes up for the previous story.

WHO'S A GOOD BOY? is another great genre story, and a fine way to end the collection.

Aside from the one lousy story, Trask has again set new standards for short stories in the horror genre.

As always,

Monday, July 24, 2017

Doom and Gloom

World of Pulp (Book 1) by Skyler Isaac is the first in a new anthology series featuring several different sub-genres from various authors. Most of the stories are more like novellas, with themes ranging from crime noir and the paranormal to mystery and dystopian fantasy. Many of the characters appear to be on a downward spiral or trying to escape from a personal hell. Essentially, this is a collection of lost souls.

As always,

Sunday, July 23, 2017

His Stone Heart

The Beast Within by D.F. Holland is a gargoyle story, which kind of reminded me of the animated series, Gargoyles. At first the POV is with the creature, then it changes over to a woman who has caught his eye. The story seemed to be lacking in both action and decent dialogue, and I only finished the story to see what the ending had in store. I have to admit, the big reveal is pretty good, but too many pages are spent on romantic crap to call this a horror story. I think Heather's POV could have been left out entirely.

That said, I think the author has an excellent idea for novel about a curse, should Holland decided to rework this story into something more grand.

As always,

Saturday, July 1, 2017

My Eyes Hurt

Backwood Babies by R.P. Healy makes me think the author probably strokes quite a few out to movies like Wrong Turn, not because of Eliza Dushku, but because the inbred mutants get Healy all hot and bothered...or maybe a movie like I Spit On Your Grave. I have read all kinds of trash, but this has some seriously limited vocabulary describing some very basic torture fantasy. Even if I didn't find the entire story offensive, the writing is simply atrocious. No plot at all.

As always,