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Friday, September 30, 2016

Deadside Revolution by Terry Grimwood [3.5 stars]

 
From the Description

Shreds remain…

The dead are ascendant while The Living hide like rats in the dark corners of their cities.
For some there is the hell of the flesh farms that supply their Masters with live meat and fresh skin
For others, the Vitally Skilled, there is servitude,
slavery, And survival.

Dr Robert Lewis, cosmetic surgeon, clings to life as a
Vitally Skilled repairer of dead flesh.
He is a survivor, a shadow, and plans to remain that way,
until a message arrives which plunges him into an
inferno of unspeakable violence and destruction.

A Fallen Angel is in revolt.
There is war in Hell and as it spills over into this world, Robert Lewis
discovers that he has the key to the Living’s defeat or salvation.

Publication Date: September 24, 2016

Publisher: Horrific Tales Publishing

Publication Length: 230 pages

 
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story.

Deadside Revolution is a dark, tension filled look at the lengths some people would go to to survive the zombie apocalypse. The world in this book is violent, bloody and doesn't have much, if any, hope. Robert Lewis is a selfish cowardly man who ends up holding the fate of the Living in his hands. His character arc as he decides whether he's going to do what's best for all of the living or for Anna is brutal. I really liked both Nick and Nathan, both survivors who held on to a little of their humanity. The creatures that inhabit this world are like something ripped out of a nightmare. The Dead didn't scare me as much as the scythers and the sucklings but Reeder and Baker were the most terrifying. The action is chaotic and frenzied as the survivors try to escape the army of Dead and their minions. I had a hard time getting into this book but by the middle I wanted to know what would happen next and I liked the ending. A solid 3.5 stars.

 
Buy the Book

Amazon      Barnes & Noble
 
About the Author

 

Suffolk-born Terry Grimwood started his working life as an electrician and is now a college lecturer, having travelled full-circle from doing the job to teaching it (which he prefers). Along the way he has been a quality assurance manager, project manager and technical author. He is the author of numerous short stories and reviews which have appeared in Midnight Street, Bare Bone, Murky Depths, All Hallows, FutureFire and Eibonvale Press’s Blind Swimmer anthology, among others. He has written and directed three plays and runs the Exaggerated Press which started when he published his first collection, The Exaggerated Man.

 
Praise


"…the most important thing I know about Terry Grimwood – the thing I want everyone else to be aware of – is that he writes one hell of a tale of dark fiction." - Gary McMahon, author of the British Fantasy Award nominated novella "Rough Cut"


"Terry Grimwood interweaves wry social commentary with lively narrative." - Darja Malcom in "Strange Horizons"
 
 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Can Taste The Blood edited by John F.D. Taff & Anthony Rivera [ 4 stars]

 
From the Description
 
Five Unique Voices.

From international bestselling author of BIRD BOX and Bram Stoker Award-nominee Josh Malerman -- the newly minted master of modern horror -- and Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS, John F.D. Taff; to the mind-bending surrealism of Erik T. Johnson; the darkly poetic prose of J. Daniel Stone and the transgressive mania of Joe Schwartz, I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD offers up five novellas from five unique authors whose work consistently expands the boundaries of conventional fiction.

Five Disturbing Visions.

I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD opens the doors to a movie theater of the damned; travels the dusty, sin-drenched desert with an almost Biblical mysterious stranger; recounts the phantasmagoric story of birth, death and rebirth; contracts a hit that's not at all what it seems; and exposes the disturbing possibilities of what might be killing Smalltown, U.S.A.

One Nightmare.

As diverse as they are, in voice and vision, the work of the five celebrated authors assembled in this stunning volume of terror share one common theme, one hideous and terrifying nightmare that can only be contained within the pages of I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD.
 
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Grey Matter Press
Publication Length: 290 pages
 
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story. To join in the fun follow along with the blog tour hosted by the always awesome Erin Al-Mehairi over at Oh, for the Hook of a Book. If you are a professional blogger or media outlet, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi at hookofabook@hotmail.com about a review copy or to schedule an interview or feature with any of the authors.
 
 
 
 
I Can Taste The Blood is an interesting anthology of novellas. A lot of anthologies have a theme to connect the stories but this was one of the most unique ones I've come across. All of the stories share the same title. The five novellas in this book are each very different in both style and content, ranging from horror to a stream of conscience type story straight out of a fever dream. My two favorite stories in this collection are John F.D. Taff's story, a phenomenal body horror nightmare with hints of The Old Ones. And Josh Malerman's story which is reminiscent of a fantastic folktale told around a campfire as a warning about strangers. This anthology is both entertaining and thought provoking. I highly recommend this 4 star collection.
 
Buy the Book
 
 
About the Authors
 
Josh Malerman
 
 
 
Josh Malerman is the author of Bird Box and Ghastle and Yule and some forty other novels and stories that he wishes he could release all in one day… and he just might do that! He lives in Michigan with his fiancĂ©e Allison Laakko and their two cats Dewey and Frankie. Used to be three cats, but Dandy died on Halloween, begging the question: will the color orange always make Josh sad? Or will he see Dandy amongst the pumpkins, deliriously, happily, for the rest of his days…
 
J. Daniel Stone
 
 
Daniel Stone is the pseudonym for a hotheaded Italian kid from New York City. He has been a menace to society since 1987 and continues to terrorize local bookstores, art galleries and dive bars.
When he is not causing mischief, Stone reads, writes and attends as many rock shows as possible. He is the intermittently proud father of two bastard children: The Absence of Light (2013) and Blood Kiss (2016). Somewhere, out there in the dark, one can find more of his illegitimate spawns telling imaginative stories. Find him on Twitter @SolitarySpiral
 
Joe Schwartz
 
 
In 2008, Joe’s Black T-Shirt: Short Stories About St. Louis was published as a personal favor for friends of Joe Schwartz. The idea that people outside of Schwartz’s limited Midwestern world could find these dark, and occasionally personal, stories entertaining was as exciting as it was mysterious for the first-time author. Since then, he has written two more collections of short stories as well as the novels A Season Without Rain and Adam Wolf and The Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll. The kind of stories he tells have been described as "a sharp punch to the gut" and disarming "like a sunny day in Hell."
 
Erik T. Johnson
 
 
Erik T. Johnson doesn’t believe in order or boxes. He became a writer because he can’t make a straight line to save his life—since stories consist of terrifically asymmetrical, random sequences of random shapes. Also because of what Georges Bataille meant by: "I write the way a child cries: a child slowly relinquishes the reasons he has for being in tears."
Johnson is a Written Backwards DARWA Voice Award-winner whose fiction appears in renowned places, such as Space & Time Magazine, Tales of the Unanticipated, Qualia Nous, and all three volumes of the award-winning Chiral Mad series.
Erik is certain unreliable narrators don’t exist—only unreliable authors. He will prove his uncompromising reliability when his first book of short stories is published in 2016.
Visit Erik at eriktjohnson.net
Stalk him on Twitter @YES_TRESPASSING
Curse him at your own risk, do other stuff when it suits you.
 
John F.D. Taff
 
 
John F.D. Taff has been writing for about 25 years now, with more than eighty short stories and four novels in print. Six of his stories have been awarded honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror & Fantasy.
His collection Little Deaths was named the best horror fiction collection of 2012 by HorrorTalk. His 2014 collection of novellas, The End in All Beginnings, was published by Grey Matter Press. Jack Ketchum called it "the best novella collection I’ve read in years," and it was a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection.
Taff’s work also appears in Single Slices, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and The Beauty of Death.
He lives in the wilds of Illinois with a wife, a cat and three pugs.
 
 
Praise for I Can Taste the Blood and for Grey Matter Press
 
"Only a group of psychopaths would assemble a book such as this. Bloody brilliant, and beautifully executed. Taste this." - Michael Bailey, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor of THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD


"I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD is a tour de force for Grey Matter Press and for the five outstanding dark fiction authors gathered here. If you've read their work before, then you'll know what we're talking about, and if you haven't, you won't find a better place to start than right here." 
- Shane Douglas Keene, THIS IS HORROR


"It is the slow burn, the creeping doubt, the inherent violence, the lore made real. Through exotic locations, where the wind blows from within; flashing across the silver screen, violence echoing into the night; pulled from the trunk of a car, dark deeds that deserve retribution; a monster lying in wait, one more city down every road. Haunting and disturbing, even now, I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD" - Richard Thomas, author of BREAKER and TRIBULATIONS 


"While this quintet of authors may taste the blood, we readers will feel the fright of their nightmare visions, sense the dread, the thrills, the awe of their standout voices. MALERMAN, STONE, SCHWARTZ, JOHNSON, and TAFF: The five points of a brilliant star that herald short horror mastery." - Eric J. Guignard, fictionist, winner of the Bram Stoker Award and finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award
 
Praise for Grey Matter Press


"Grey Matter Press has managed to establish itself as one of the premiere purveyors of horror fiction currently in existence via both a series of killer anthologies --SPLATTERLANDS, OMINOUS REALITIES, EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED -- and John F.D. Taff's harrowing novella collection THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS." - FANGORIA


"The dark, all-encompassing theme seems to be the trademark of Grey Matter Press. When asked for a referral I often state without hesitation to the very press that has enchanted my reading attention." - Dave Gammon, HORROR NEWS
 
About Grey Matter Press
 
Grey Matter Press is a Chicago-based publisher whose mission it is to discover and cultivate the best voices working in dark fiction. The company is committed to producing only the finest quality volumes of exceptional fiction for its readers.Since the publication of their first volume in late 2013, Grey Matter Press has released a succession of bestselling titles, including two of which that have been nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award. FANGORIA Magazine says of the publisher: "Grey Matter Press has managed to establish itself as one of the premiere purveyors of horror fiction currently in existence." For more information visit GreyMatterPress.com or follow the publisher on Twitter at @GreyMatterPress.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Rot by Paul Kane [4 stars]

 
From the Description
 
Something has happened to the world.
People are going mad, the very foundations of society are crumbling... Only Adam Keller, testing a prototype environment suit, apparently remains safe – but for how long?
Can anything be done, can any of it be reversed, before everything goes to Rot?
The latest post-apocalyptic tale from award-winning and bestselling author Paul Kane (the sellout Hooded Man, The Disease, The End of the End) presents a nightmarish vision of a possible future, blending social commentary with page-turning action. This is one that fans of The Road and The Walking Dead will really not want to miss!
 
Publication Date: September 24, 2016
Publisher: Horrific Tales Publishing
Publication Length: 120 pages
 
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story.
 
The Rot is the tale of one man trying to survive the end of life as we know it. Paul Kane has deftly combined elements of The Road and The Crazies to create a desolate world where nothing can be trusted. The Rot is bleak, there is no other way to describe it. This story had me hooked from the start. Told as a series of recorded journal entries made by Adam as he travels across an ever changing landscape, trying to survive the crazed people and animals. Adam is slightly sarcastic and likeable, I kept hoping that he would make it to a safe place and find other survivors, or even the slightest glimmer of hope for a happy ending. I highly recommend this hopelessly grim 4 star read.
 
Buy the Book
 
 
About the Author
 
 
Paul Kane has been writing professionally for almost fifteen years. His genre journalism has appeared in such magazines as Fangoria, SFX and Rue Morgue, and his non-fiction books are the critically acclaimed The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark. His award-winning short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic (as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 2), and has been collected in Alone (In the Dark), Touching the Flame, FunnyBones, Peripheral Visions, Shadow Writer, The Butterfly Man and Other Stories, The Spaces Between and GHOSTS. His novella Signs of Life reached the shortlist of the British Fantasy Awards 2006, The Lazarus Condition was introduced by Mick Garris - creator of Masters of Horror - RED featured artwork from Dave (The Graveyard Book) McKean and Pain Cages was introduced by Stephen Volk (The Awakening).

As Special Publications Editor of the British Fantasy Society he worked with authors like Brian Aldiss, Ramsey Campbell, Muriel Gray and Robert Silverberg, he is the co-editor of Hellbound Hearts for Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster), an anthology of original stories inspired by Clive Barker's mythos - featuring contributions from the likes of Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola, Kelley Armstrong and Richard Christian Matheson - The Mammoth Book of Body Horror (Constable & Robinson) - featuring Stephen King, James Herbert and Robert Bloch - and the Poe-inspired Beyond Rue Morgue (for Titan).

In 2008 his zombie story 'Dead Time' was turned into an episode of the Lionsgate/NBC TV series Fear Itself, adapted by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (SAW II-IV). He also scripted The Opportunity which premiered at Cannes in 2009, The Weeping Woman - starring Fright Night's Stephen Jeffreys - and Wind Chimes (directed by Brad '7th Dimension' Watson. He is the author of the novels Of Darkness and Light, The Gemini Factor and the bestselling Arrowhead trilogy (Arrowhead, Broken Arrow and Arrowland), a post-apocalyptic reworking of the Robin Hood mythology gathered together as the sell-out Hooded Man omnibus. His latest novels are Lunar (which is set to be turned into a feature film) and the short Y.A. book The Rainbow Man (as P.B. Kane). He currently lives in Derbyshire, UK, with his wife - the author Marie O'Regan - his family, and a black cat called Mina. You can find out more at his website
www.shadow-writer.co.uk which has featured Guest Writers such as Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz, John Connolly and Guillermo del Toro.
 
You can also follow Paul on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
 
 

Praise for Paul Kane
 
‘Paul Kane is a first-rate storyteller.’ - Clive Barker – Bestselling author of Books of Blood & The Scarlet Gospels

‘It seems there is no risk, no high-stakes gamble, he fears to take…Kane’s
foot never gets even close to the brake pedal.’ - Peter Straub – Bestselling author of Mr X, In the Night Room and A Dark Matter

‘Paul Kane knows how to make you want to avoid the shadows
and the cracks in the pavement.’ - M.R. Carey – Bestselling author of The Girl With All the Gifts and Fellside
 
Arrowhead is huge fun. The characters we know from the tales of Robin Hood are all there, and Kane allows them to understand they are playing a part in the re-establishment of a myth. If you’ve ever wanted to see Robin Hood go up against tanks, this is for you; if not, well, buy it anyway.’ - Four star review by Anthony Leigh, DeathRay magazine
 
Arrowhead is another great installment in the Afterblight Chronicles, well written and a great visual. If you are lacking a good book to read and want an action-packed, this is a good one to pick up.’ - Sacramento Book Review
 
‘I love reading Abaddon’s "Afterblight Chronicles" and Broken Arrow was no exception. It’s lightweight but fun, and a very accessible retelling of the Robin Hood story...worth a read if you’re a fan.’ - Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

13 Questions With Brett McBean


Today here at Horror Maiden's we get to talk with Brett McBean, author of The Awakening, The Invasion, and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game. I recently reviewed The Awakening, a phenomenal coming of age horror novel that is one of my favorite books this year and in my opinion one of the best written by him. You can read my review Here. Now sit back and relax as we get to know more about the man behind the magic,,,,
 
 

HM: Tell me a little about yourself.

 

BM: I’m thirty-seven years old, was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, am a Sagittarian, eat way too much chocolate, and love a good bourbon.


HM: What do you do when you’re not writing (day job)?

 

BM: I’m fortunate that writing is my day job. When my daughter was born almost six years ago, I stayed at home to look after the baby while my wife went back to work (she has a very good, secure job so it made sense for me to be the one who stayed home with the baby). Now my daughter is in primary school, I’m able to concentrate almost solely on the writing, making time to do a few chores around the house now and again.

 

HM: How long have you been writing?

 

BM: I started writing late 1999, so over fifteen years now.

 

HM: Who or what inspired you to be a writer?

 

BM: I’ve always been a big reader, and dabbled with writing stories over the years, but it wasn’t until I was studying music at college that the writing bug really took hold. I was in my third and final year and I was burned out, I wasn’t enjoying the course and wasn’t sure I wanted to make music my career. I had been thinking about sitting down and working on a novel for a while, had an idea that had been percolating in my head, and so, when I finished my music degree, decided I had to take some time off and see if this writing bug had any legs. Well, it not only had legs, but arms and a head and it grew to something bigger than I ever expected. The moment I sat down and started writing, I knew I had found what I wanted to do. It just felt right. The novel was no damn good, but I loved writing so much I put music to the side and dedicated my time to making up stories.

 

As far as my biggest inspiration, that would be Richard Laymon. I discovered his work when I was a young teenager and I fell in love with his writing. His stories were so compelling, so macabre, so much fun, and I had never read anything quite like it. When I started writing seriously later on, I thought about how much joy Laymon’s writing had given me and wanted capture some of that and hopefully pass similar enjoyment on to my own readers.

 

HM: What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?

 

BM: Challenging: keeping yourself motivated, especially when life and aspects of the writing/publishing business gets you down. Enjoyable: when the writing is humming, when what’s in your head comes out mostly intact on the page. Also, getting feedback from readers, knowing your work has touched them in some way.

 

HM: Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

 

BM: No, none that I would consider strange. Other aspects of my life, sure, but when it comes to writing, my habits are oddly straight.

 

HM: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?

 

BM: I’m a massive film buff, so I spend a lot of my free time watching movies. I also love listening to music (especially classical, blues, jazz, and funk/soul), and I still enjoy getting out and playing the drums. I read obsessively, mostly fiction, but I do have a fascination for true crime.

 

HM: What is your favorite book? Movie? TV show?

 

BM: Book: American Psycho. I think it’s one of the darkest, funniest, most cutting satires ever written. Movie: Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. I’m a huge zombie movie fan, especially ones from the ‘70s and ‘80s, and, for me, Dawn is the greatest ever made. It’s also the best example of independent cinema; daring, unconventional, and imbued with a unique sensibility. TV show: I think The Sopranos is the greatest drama of all time, Seinfeld the funniest, and Gilmore Girls the best at combining both pathos and humour.

 

HM: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

 

BM: Take time to find your own voice. Don’t give up. Editing is your best friend. And write, write, write...

 

HM: Can you tell us about any of your new work?

 

BM: I’m editing what I think will end up being the third book in my home invasion trilogy, while also making plans for the second installment. As far as recent releases, the first home invasion novel, The Invasion, came out a few months ago, and the US edition of my coming-of-age/voodoo novel, The Awakening, was just released.

 

HM: If you weren’t a writer, what would you do for a living?

 

BM: I mentioned being fascinated by true crime, and before I discovered my love of writing, I was seriously considering studying criminology. I could see myself being a mind hunter, like John Douglas or Robert Ressler. Either that, or a professional drummer or the new voice of Donald Duck – I do a mean impression of Donald, you know!

 

HM: I know that you have visited some of my favorite horror movie sites, like the area where The Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were filmed. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?

 

BM: Not a movie location, per se, but the one place I’ve always wanted to visit is Whitechapel, in the East End of London. I have an unhealthy obsession with the Jack the Ripper murders, and am eager to walk in the footsteps, so to speak, of the most famous of serial murderers.

 

Film-wise, I’d love to do a Hitchcock-tour, being a Hitchcock fanatic. I’d love to visit the real places in California he used as settings for some of his movies, such as Bodega Bay (The Birds), Santa Rosa (Shadow of a Doubt), and the various locations in and around San Francisco that were notable in Vertigo, such as the redwood forest, Mission San Juan Bautista, Palace of Fine Arts, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

HM: What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?

 

BM: "Can I purchase the movie rights to your novel, The Awakening?"

"Of course you can, Mr. Spielberg."

 

Thanks for joining us Brett and stop by anytime!




About Brett McBean
 
 
Brett McBean is an award-winning horror and thriller author. His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game, have been published in Australia, the U.S., and Germany. His latest book, The Invasion, was published by Sinister Grin Press and has been optioned for a movie.

He’s been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards, and he won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness.

He lives in Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd.

You can find him at his website, brettmcbean.com or on Facebook and GoodReads
 
 
 
 
From the Description
 
 
Welcome to the small Midwestern town of Belford, Ohio. It’s a quiet, friendly town. On one corner of Main Street you’ll find Barb’s Corner Store. Opposite you’ll see the town square, with its neatly trimmed lawn and statuesque gazebo. There’s everything you need here. There’s even a local bogeyman. You know the type: reclusive, looks a little strange. The person all the kids are afraid of. Every town has one. Except this one is stranger than most.

Meet Mr. Joseph. With his severely crooked neck and nasty facial scar, the old man from Haiti is the one resident all the kids whisper about and are scared to go near. But there are things about Mr. Joseph no one knows about. He has no heartbeat. No breath passes by his lips. And he has been dead for over ninety years.

It’s summer vacation and fourteen-year-old Toby Fairchild is looking forward to spending a lazy, carefree summer playing basketball, staying up late watching monster movies, and camping out in his backyard with his best friend, Frankie.

But then tragedy strikes. And out of this tragedy an unlikely friendship develops between Toby and the strange old man across the street, Mr. Joseph. Over the course of a tumultuous summer, Toby will be faced with pain and death, the excitement of his first love, and the underlying racism of the townsfolk, all while learning about the value of freedom at the hands of a kind but cursed old man.

Every town has a dark side. And in Belford, the local bogeyman has a story to tell.

Note: Book cover by Kealan Patrick Burke (elderlemondesign.com)

 

Publication Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Bloodshot Books

Publication Length: 485 pages




Buy the Book
 

 

Praise for The Awakening
 
"A story that raises itself above a simple horror tale, THE AWAKENING resonates with heart while applying just the right amount of chills. Highly recommended!" – Ronald Malfi, author of THE NIGHT PARADE

"THE AWAKENING is a riveting and fascinating novel that really grabs readers. I loved that it’s a coming of age novel that thrusts readers into the story and won’t let them go. Brett McBean was already one of my favorite authors but The Awakening is one of the best books I’ve read in years, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!" – John R. Little, author of THE MEMORY TREE, MIRANDA, and URSA MAJOR

"A coming-of-age tale that hit me in the gut, THE AWAKENING ranks up there with James Newman’s MIDNIGHT RAIN, SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons, and THE BODY by the grand master of them all, Stephen King. This is one that you’ll recommend to your friends for years to come." – Pete Kahle, author of THE SPECIMEN

"The Awakening is on par with Stephen King’s story, The Body, which was the basis of the movie "Stand By Me." It is a story that, at times made me chuckle and also brought me to tears, more than once. When the truth is revealed, it was unexpected and enlightening." –Frank Errington
 


For more fun and information about Brett McBean and The Awakening follow along with the blog tour with these hashtags: #TheAwakening #BrettMcBean #BloodshotBooks #HookofaBook #OhioHorror

If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Awakening or Brett McBean in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com
 
 


 

 

 
 


Monday, September 19, 2016

The Awakening by Brett McBean [5 stars]



From the Description
 
Welcome to the small Midwestern town of Belford, Ohio. It’s a quiet, friendly town. On one corner of Main Street you’ll find Barb’s Corner Store. Opposite you’ll see the town square, with its neatly trimmed lawn and statuesque gazebo. There’s everything you need here. There’s even a local bogeyman. You know the type: reclusive, looks a little strange. The person all the kids are afraid of. Every town has one. Except this one is stranger than most.

Meet Mr. Joseph. With his severely crooked neck and nasty facial scar, the old man from Haiti is the one resident all the kids whisper about and are scared to go near. But there are things about Mr. Joseph no one knows about. He has no heartbeat. No breath passes by his lips. And he has been dead for over ninety years.

It’s summer vacation and fourteen-year-old Toby Fairchild is looking forward to spending a lazy, carefree summer playing basketball, staying up late watching monster movies, and camping out in his backyard with his best friend, Frankie.

But then tragedy strikes. And out of this tragedy an unlikely friendship develops between Toby and the strange old man across the street, Mr. Joseph. Over the course of a tumultuous summer, Toby will be faced with pain and death, the excitement of his first love, and the underlying racism of the townsfolk, all while learning about the value of freedom at the hands of a kind but cursed old man.

Every town has a dark side. And in Belford, the local bogeyman has a story to tell.

Note: Book cover by Kealan Patrick Burke (elderlemondesign.com)


Publication Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Bloodshot Books

Publication Length: 485 pages


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story. To find out more about Brett McBean and The Awakening follow along the tour with these hashtags: #TheAwakening #BrettMcBean #BloodshotBooks #HookofaBook #OhioHorror and don't forget to join me on Wednesday for my interview with Brett. If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Awakening or Brett McBean in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com
 
 
 

The Awakening is a coming of age horror tale with a twist. This is one of the best books I've read all year, and if you follow my reviews you know that that's a lot of books. Brett McBean has captured both the good and bad things about living in a small town and the people who live there. The quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, prejudices against those that are perceived as different or strange, the unthinking cruelty of both children and adults as well as the comfort of knowing who your neighbor is and a sense of history. The characters are realistic and easy to care about. I loved Toby and Frankie, the conversations and shenanigans they get into are utterly believable and at times laugh out loud funny. Toby's pain in the face of tragedy had me in tears. I also loved Mr. Joseph, a kind old man who has a fascinating history. Zombie books are everywhere these days and let's face it they can be pretty hit or miss in terms of being both original and good books. What you don't see a lot of is zombi's in their original form, brought about as a Vodou curse from an evil Bocor for revenge or to be used as a slave. The zombi in The Awakening is far more horrifying and sympathetic than the shambling dead that want to eat you and far less horrible and terrifying than some of the people you'll find here. I highly recommend this exceptional 5 star read.
 
Buy the Book
 

 

About the Author
 
 

Brett McBean is an award-winning horror and thriller author. His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game, have been published in Australia, the U.S., and Germany. His latest book, The Invasion, was published by Sinister Grin Press and has been optioned for a movie.

He’s been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards, and he won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness.

He lives in Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd.

You can find him at his website, brettmcbean.com or on Facebook and GoodReads
 
Praise for The Awakening

"A story that raises itself above a simple horror tale, THE AWAKENING resonates with heart while applying just the right amount of chills. Highly recommended!" – Ronald Malfi, author of THE NIGHT PARADE

"THE AWAKENING is a riveting and fascinating novel that really grabs readers. I loved that it’s a coming of age novel that thrusts readers into the story and won’t let them go. Brett McBean was already one of my favorite authors but The Awakening is one of the best books I’ve read in years, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!" – John R. Little, author of THE MEMORY TREE, MIRANDA, and URSA MAJOR

"A coming-of-age tale that hit me in the gut, THE AWAKENING ranks up there with James Newman’s MIDNIGHT RAIN, SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons, and THE BODY by the grand master of them all, Stephen King. This is one that you’ll recommend to your friends for years to come." – Pete Kahle, author of THE SPECIMEN

"The Awakening is on par with Stephen King’s story, The Body, which was the basis of the movie "Stand By Me." It is a story that, at times made me chuckle and also brought me to tears, more than once. When the truth is revealed, it was unexpected and enlightening." –Frank Errington


 

 

 


Friday, September 16, 2016

Seven Buried Hill by Kristopher Rufty [5 stars]


From the Description
 
Everyone told her that her father wasn’t missing, but Catherine Dalton knew better. That old man could handle his horse like nobody’s business, and not only was he able to survive in the wild—he thrived there.

So after many days passed since he headed for the mountains of western Carolina and still hadn’t reached his destination, Catherine knew with certainty something was wrong. Ill fortune had undoubtedly befallen her father. Former outlaw Henry Hardin and his gang weren’t known as the helpful type, but with time and terror mounting, Catherine had run out of options.

As the mercenary crew treks into the remote mountains in search of their payday, one-by-one they learn of the black heart that beats there, of the evil palpitating through each step they take forward. Brutal savagery glides through the gloom silently alongside them, biding its time, nurturing appetites only sated by slaughter.

Little do the outlaws know that their quest to save a life might end with a battle for their own, as two breeds of evil collide, the hunters become the hunted, and desolate mountains ring with the screams of men and savages fighting to survive.

Publication Date: June 21, 2016

Publisher: Lazarus Press

Publication Length: 339 pages

 


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story.
 

Have you ever read a book that you get so lost in it's as if it's a movie playing in your mind? Seven Buried Hill is one of those books! This novel is perfect for fans of no holds barred horror. It has gun slingers, cannibal mutants, animal attacks, violence, sex and gore soaked pages, everything I love in a weird western/horror novel. I quite literally couldn't put it down. The characters are fun to follow on their search for Catherine's father. I loved Henry, an ex-outlaw with a heart of gold, and most of his gang. Drippy reminded me of Hoss from Bonanza. Catherine is great as a strong willed heroine. Emmett is a bully with an Oedipus complex. Charlie and the Horns are straight out of a nightmare. This book has parts that made my butt clench with horror and is definitely not safe for the squeamish. I highly recommend this terrifying 5 star thrill ride.


Buy the Book


 
About the Author
 
 
 
Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife, three children, and the zoo they call their pets. He’s written various books, including The Vampire of Plainfield, Jagger, The Lurkers, The Skin Show, Pillowface, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays.
 
If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he’s sent to his desk without supper often.

For more about Kristopher Rufty, please visit his Website
Last Krist On The Left

He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads as well.




Praise
 
 
"Kristopher Rufty reimagines iconic horror themes for a new generation. Breathing new life into familiar monsters, and making them fresh, relevant, unique, and utterly terrifying."—Wrath James White, author of The Resurrectionist.

"Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!"--Jeff Strand

"A Dark Autumn is a wild gender role reversal of I Spit On Your Grave, with gonzo nods to Norman Bates and Friday The 13th thrown in for good measure. Kristopher Rufty delivers the goods yet again." --Bryan Smith, author of Kayla Undead and The Late Night Horror Show.

"A creepy, gripping tale of horror. And it's got one of the best death scenes I've read in a long time!" --Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller

"A powerhouse debut novel. Rufty's prose will suck you in and hold you prisoner!" --Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase and Snow

"An occult thriller with a new twist. Rufty juggles captivating characters, breakneck suspense, and insidious horror in a macabre story that will leave you feeling possessed by the end of it. Next time you think about taking that old Ouija board out...forget it!" –Edward Lee, author of LUCIFER’S LOTTERY and CITY INFERNAL



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Grove by Elizabeth Guizzetti [3.5 stars]

 

From the Description
 
Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. For an eon, their bloodthirsty dreams have radiated into the ground and restore anyone who walks within the Grove. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver, their cat and garden gnome roommates.

That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.
 
Publication Date: September 13, 2016

Publisher: ZB Publications

Publication Length: 340 pages
 
 
The Grove Trailer
 

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book.
 

I'm always iffy when it comes to books about witches. So often they end up being a poor version of The Craft or try to imitate Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Thankfully The Grove doesn't fall into either of these categories. The Grove started out a little slow for me, making it hard to get into,,,, at first. I think it was because of the switching from one characters POV to another. As I read I became more interested in what was going on with Dayla, Oliver, Jonah and Sam. Plus I absolutely loved the garden gnomes, Willow and Howard! Dayla is starry-eyed and little bit of a mess but with a good heart as she tries to protect Sitka's Quay and it's people from the evil that resides in the Grove. Oliver is just straight up annoying right from the start, he's very condescending toward his wife and kind of stuck up. Jonah, along with Sam, wants to end all war and violence no matter who they have to kill to do it. The world building for Sitka's Quay is well done. You get a realistic place full of people that you will recognize if you've ever lived in a small town. The action doesn't really start until the later parts of this book. Some of the events are horrifying but it doesn't get exciting until the end. That being said, the ending is fantastic. A full on battle full of blood, fire, as Dayla tries to stop Jonah and Sam from waking the Old Gods. This is a charming and quirky story that morphs into horror. Overall a good book, just not really one that scared me. A solid 3.5 stars.
 


Buy the Book
 

 

About the Author
 
 
Much to her chagrin, Elizabeth Guizzetti discovered she was not a cyborg and growing up to be an otter would be impractical, so she began writing stories. Guizzetti currently lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. When not writing, she loves hiking and bird watching.

Guizzetti loves to write science fiction, horror, and fantasy with social commentary mixed in – even when she doesn’t mean it to be there. She is the author and illustrator of independent comics. She became a published author in 2012 and her debut novel, Other Systems, was a Finalist for the 2015 Canopus Award. The Grove is her third novel.

She believes the best advice for all aspiring authors and artists is "Believe you have a story worth telling and get to work!"

You can find her at her website, elizabethguizzetti.com, or at her blog, ZB's Blog of Awesomeness, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
 


Praise For The Grove
 
"Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all." - Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

"If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…" - Fia Essen, Ariel

"Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…" - Janice Clark, Healer's Apprentice Series

"I was blown away…" - Madison Keller, The Dragon Tax Saga