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Friday, April 20, 2018

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman [5+ Stars]



 

From the Description
 
The Bram Stoker Award–nominated author of Bird Box returns with a haunting tale of love, redemption, and murder.
 
Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.
 
Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.
 
And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.
 
The haunting story of a woman literally bringing herself back from the dead, Unbury Carol is a twisted take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
 
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Length: 384 pages
 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
 
Unbury Carol is a mix of weird western, grown-up fairytale, and horror that is far more than the sum of its parts. This story was enchanting, captivating me with both a sense of wonder and terror, as I raced through its pages to find out what would happen to Carol, and James Moxie. Would Dwight, Lafayette, Rot, and Smoke succeed in their nefarious plans? As someone who is more than a little claustrophobic the thought of being buried alive terrifies me, plus Rot and Smoke are pure Evil, making this a very effective horror novel. I was rooting for Carol and James to not only survive but to find a happy ending in a very dark world. They are fantastic characters to follow. Their flaws made them feel like real people who you could consider friends instead of heroes in a book. A phenomenally written, gripping 5 star read that I can’t recommend enough. Seriously, go buy this one now!    
 
Buy the Book
 
Amazon       Barnes & Noble
 
About the Author
 
 
 
 

Josh Malerman is an internationally bestselling, Bram Stoker Award–nominated American author and one of two singer/songwriters for the rock band The High Strung. His debut novel, Bird Box, was published in the United Kingdom and the United States in 2014 to much critical acclaim. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan, with his best friend/soulmate Allison Laakko and their pets Frankie, Valo, Dewey, Marty, and the fish.
You can find him at his WEBSITE or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
 
Praise
 
“Bleakly lyrical à la Cormac McCarthy and Flannery O'Connor.” —Library Journal, Starred Review
 
“Breathtaking and menacing… an intricately plotted, lyrical page turner about love, betrayal, revenge, and the primal fear of being buried alive.” —Booklist, Starred Review
 
“This one haunts for reasons you can't quite put your finger on. Malerman is too fierce an original to allow anyone else’s vision to intrude on his. [He] defies categories and comparisons with other writers.” —Kirkus
 
"With vivid prose and characters that leap off the page, guns a-blazing, Unbury Carol creates its own lingering legend."  —Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Phasma
 
“Unbury Carol is a Poe story set in the weird West we all carry inside us, and it not only hits the ground running, it digs into that ground, too. About six wonderful feet.”—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels
 
“Fantastically clever. A breakneck ride to save a life already lost, proving sometimes death is only the beginning.”—J. D. Barker, internationally bestselling author of The Fourth Monkey


Monday, April 16, 2018

They Feed by Jason Parent [4 stars]



 

From the Description
 
The night uncovers all we wish not to see.
A troubled man enters a dusky park before sunset. A young woman follows, hidden in shadow. Both have returned to the park to take back something the past has stolen from them, to make right six long years of suffering, and to find justice or perhaps redemption—or maybe they'll settle for some old-fashioned revenge.
But something evil is alive and awake in those woods, creatures that care nothing for human motivations. They’re driven by their own insatiable need: a ravenous, bottomless hunger.
The campgrounds are full tonight, and the creatures are starving. Before the night is over, they will feed.
An unrelenting tale of terror from Jason Parent, acclaimed author of People of the Sun and What Hides Within.
 
Publication Date: April 15, 2018
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Length: 254 pages
 
 

I received a free copy of this book as part of the They Feed publicity tour, hosted by the wonderful Erin Al-Mehari over at Hook of a Book Media & Publicity and SinisterGrin Press. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novel. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review. Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #TheyFeed  #SinisterGrinPress
 
Media/Reviewers
 
If interested in featuring They Feed or Jason Parent, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.
 
They Feed is a throwback to some of the best creature features of the 70’s & 80’s. This gore fest is packed with characters I couldn’t wait to see die and one or two that I was rooting for to make it out alive. Set in a state park campground and hiking trails this book was right up my alley, I camp and hike nearly every weekend. Jason did a great job at capturing the fear of wandering off the trail and getting lost with the constantly bickering married couple who are trying to save their marriage. Karl (KY) is a much more sympathetic character than his wife, Abigail, who I found to be kind of a cold hearted, bitter woman. I felt bad for both Tyler and Dakota, both victims of assault trying to overcome a single horrible tragedy, throughout most of the book. Both Charlie, Tyler’s parole officer and Merwin, the park ranger, were characters I was rooting for, the frat boys not so much. In the beginning of the book I wondered what these very different groups of characters went together. Then the creatures appeared,,, leechlike slugs, slimy, nasty slugs with teeth, that want to both impregnate and then devour their prey. These creatures were brilliant in their ability to make my skin crawl without the hive-like intelligence they possessed. This story was fast paced and exciting up to the explosive twist ending. A highly recommended 4 star read.
 
 
Buy the Book
 
 
For all your other horror, fantasy, or sci-fi needs, check out Sinister GrinPress!
 
About the Author
 
 
Jason is an author of horror, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, and dark humor, though his many novels, novellas, and short stories tend to blur the boundaries between these genres. From his award-winning first horror/mystery novel, What Hides Within, to his widely applauded police procedural/supernatural thriller, Seeing Evil, Jason’s work has won him praise from both critics and fans of diverse genres alike. His work has been compared to that of some of his personal favorite authors, such as Chuck Palahniuk, Jack Ketchum, Tess Gerritsen, and Joe Hill.
 
Jason grew up near Fall River, Massachusetts, the setting for several of his novels. He has lived in New England most his life, currently residing in Rhode Island.
Find out more about Jason at his WEBSITE or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads

Praise
 
"Seeing Evil has some very special moments and is a very fast read. There's no denying Parent has talent." - Glenn Rolfe, author of Blood and Rain and Boom Town
 
"Jason Parent has done it again! He has created a brilliant story that will grip you tight and won't let go! I found myself turning page after page to see what happens next. From start to finish, this book is mind blowing!" - Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews on A Life Removed
 
"Wonderfully original tales of horror... Wrathbone and Other Stories gets my highest recommendation." - Cemetery Dance
 
"From the eerie opening tale to the grisly closer, and all of the wonderfully mean-spirited tales in-between, Wrathbone is a winner!" - Jeff Strand, author of Dead Clown Barbecue


Friday, April 13, 2018

Old Hollow by Ambrose Stolliker [4 stars] Plus A Special Author Interview



 

From the Description
 
“Come Forth, O Dark Ones, and Avail Thee of Our Blood.”
 
Spring, 1865. The Southern armies are close to defeat. Union Cavalry Commander Philip Sheridan has loosed his scouts into the Virginia countryside in search of an opportunity to intercept and destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Rebel army and bring the war to an end.
 
One such scout is Captain Benjamin Lawson, a man haunted by the scenes of senseless slaughter he has endured from Antietam to Gettysburg. On a dark, rainy night, Lawson’s party of scouts stumbles upon a large group of Rebel cavalry. All Hell breaks loose. Only Lawson, Sergeant Jordy Lightfoot and Corporal Emil Boyd manage to escape into a thick forest.
 
There, Lawson discovers the young corporal has been gravely wounded. Determined not to lose another man under his command, Lawson heads for a small town called Old Hollow in the hopes of finding a doctor who can help the dying boy. What he finds there is far more terrifying than anything he’s witnessed on the battlefield. Soon, he and his men are in a fight for their lives against a twisted preacher who has struck a diabolical covenant with an ancient, unspeakable evil.
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Legion
Publication Length: 98 pages
 
 
 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Old Hollow Blog Tour. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this novella. I did not receive any form of compensation for my review.
 
Old Hollow is a Civil War horror story that feels both familiar yet new. We’ve all heard tales of hidden towns or families that survived by luring in travelers that would meet with horrific deaths. From the legends of Sawney Bean’s cannibal clan to the unfortunately true story of the Bloody Benders these monsters lurk in our darkest nightmares. The town of Old Hollow fits right in with these haunting stories, but with a supernatural twist. Like a favorite campfire story that still sends delicious shivers down your back and makes the night feel eerie Old Hollow is a fun book to read. A solid 4 stars.
 
Buy the Book
 
Amazon       Barnes& Noble
 
About the Author
 
 
 
Ambrose Stolliker lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son. His stories have been published in Ghostlight MagazineSex and Murder MagazineHungur MagazineSanitarium MagazineStupefying StoriesCreepy Campfire Quarterly, Tincture Journal, WEIRD CITY, the State of Horror: Louisiana Volume II anthology from Charon Coin Press and DAOwen Publications' horror anthology Muffled Scream I: Corner of the Eye. He is a former newspaper reporter and magazine journalist and currently works as a storyteller and digital marketing manager in the technology sector.
For more information, visit www.ambrosestolliker.wordpress.com.
 
Social Media:
 
An Interview With Ambrose Stolliker
 
1.                 What made you become an author?
 
I think I’ve wanted to be a storyteller from a very early age. Like many people in their early to mid-forties, my love of storytelling was born on a warm, summer day in 1977 when my mother took me and my older sister to a movie theater to see Star Wars. The movie and the story made an indelible impression on me. The story and mythology of Star Wars were presented on such a grand scale, how could it have not made an impression on me? From then on, I loved listening to and telling stories. Not long after, I developed a deep love of reading, especially fantasy, science fiction and horror. I wrote my first book, an unfinished fantasy novel, at the age of nine, and have been pretty much writing nonstop since then, either as a newspaper and magazine journalist or as a fiction writer.
 
2.                 What inspired you to write Old Hollow?
 
I’d characterize Old Hollow as a classic horror story set during the Civil War. I think any horror story worth reading has to do two primary things – gradually build a feeling of suspense or dread and tell a story wherein the reader becomes invested in the fate of the main characters. Almost as important, I think, is setting. It just so happens that I am a Civil War buff and have spent a great deal of time reading about and researching the conflict that defined so much of who we are as Americans today.  Being well versed in that particular time period makes it easy (and enjoyable) for me to create evocative settings for the reader. Old Hollow is not the first Civil War story I’ve written, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.
 
3.                 What are you most excited to share when it comes to Old Hollow? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?
 
The characters, first and foremost. Writing about Benjamin Lawson, Jordy Lightfoot, Emil Boyd, Nan Forrester and Preacher John was a lot of fun. Each one brings something different and important to the story. Lawson and Jordy are probably my two favorite characters in Old Hollow because they’re both so very different from one another. At the same time, they complement one another in critical ways, and function well together as they try to navigate and survive the war and the situation in which they find themselves in Old Hollow. I love the dialogue between the characters too, especially Jordy’s dialogue. His voice and patois were really fun to write. Finally, I love the themes that emerged as I wrote and revised the story over three separate drafts – the danger and inherent hypocrisy of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism; the sense of brotherhood and comradery that is developed between soldiers during times of war; the notion that one’s word and personal honor stand for something, even (and perhaps especially) when given to someone we might consider an enemy; and the importance of protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
 
4.                 What’s your favorite horror [movie, book, etc.]?
 
The Exorcist. It is, in my opinion, the finest piece of horror fiction and cinema ever created. Not only is it truly frightening – I still have Exorcist-inspired dreams to this day – but it is also a masterpiece of storytelling. It’s a masterpiece because it isn’t JUST a scary story. It’s about a great deal more than that. It’s about good versus evil. It’s about family. It’s about what it means to have faith in the modern world, and what happens to us when our faith in God or the goodness of others is tested.
 
5.                 Finally, do you have any advice and/or tips for aspiring writers out there?
 
Easy. Write as often as you can, and read as much as you can. I try to write at least 1,000 words a day, five days per week. I don’t always accomplish that, but that’s my goal. I don’t think one can become adept at anything if one isn’t willing to practice and put in the time necessary to develop one’s craft. Also, I’ve learned over the years, both as a journalist and a fiction writer, that the real work begins with the second draft. First drafts are easy. First drafts are fun. You’re basically just vomiting the words, story and characters onto the page, and not thinking too much about plot, or how good the writing is – at least that’s how I approach first drafts. But revision? Revision is hard. And essential. Finally, you’re going to face a lot of rejection and criticism. I started writing seriously in my early thirties. I sold my first story when I was 36 or 37. It took about seven or eight years to make that first sale. Then I had to wait another year or so for the second. I’m 44 now, and STILL not writing full-time, so that should give aspiring writers an idea of what it takes to make it in this business. I consider myself marginally successful in having secured a dozen or so publishing credits that netted me any kind of money. It’s a long haul. It’s natural and even healthy to get discouraged once in a while, but the one thing a serious writer can absolutely not do is to stop writing. So, don’t.
 


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Mystery Walk by Robert R. McCammon Narrated by Nick Sullivan [5 stars]




From the Description
 
Born and raised in rural Alabama, Billy Creekmore was destined to be a psychic. His mother, a Choctaw Indian schooled in her tribe’s ancient mysticism, understands the permeable barrier between life and death—and can cross it. She taught the power to Billy and now he helps the dead rest in peace.
 
Wayne Falconer, son of one of the most fervent tent evangelists in the South, travels the country serving his father’s healing ministry. Using his unique powers to cure the flock, Little Wayne is on his way to becoming one of the popular and successful miracle workers in the country. He helps the living survive.
 
Billy and Wayne share more than a gift. They share a dream—and a common enemy. They are on separate journeys, mystery walks that will lead them toward a crossroad where the evil of their dreams has taken shape. One of them will reject the dark. The other will be consumed by it. But neither imagined just how monstrous and far-reaching the dark was, or that mankind’s fate would rest in their hands during an epic showdown of good versus evil.
 
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication Length:  432 pages
Audiobook Release Date: February 20, 2018
Audiobook Producer: Audible Studios
Audiobook Length: 16 hours and 35 minutes
 
Mystery Walk is a sublime coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the south in the late ‘50’s and early 1960’s. Billy Creekmore is a captivating character and easy to root for. My heart broke for him more than once as he learns how to live with his special abilities, as well as deal with the small town racism and evangelical fanaticism present not only in Hawthorne, but in his own family.  Other parts of this thrilling tale left me on the edge of my seat as Billy has to fight for his life against the Evil that wants to destroy him because of his gift. Wayne Falconer is a character that I loved to hate. He’s spoiled, judgmental, and weak, but he’s also someone who I feel sorry for. I was drawn deeper and deeper into this gripping tale of good vs. evil as these two boys lives intertwine and impact each other in horrific ways. Nick Sullivan does a phenomenal job narrating this book. I was so absorbed in the story that I felt as if each person talking was actually a different person instead of one person reading it. Not an easy task for a narrator to accomplish! I highly recommend this totally engrossing 5 star book, both in print and in audiobook format.
 
Buy the Book
 
Amazon       Barnes& Noble    Audible
 
About the Author
 
 
Robert McCammon is the author of 23 novels and two short story collections. Starting with his first novel, Baal, in 1978, McCammon quickly became one of the bestselling horror authors of the 1980s, with three consecutive novels hitting the New York Times Bestsellers List: Swan Song, Stinger, and The Wolf’s Hour. During that time, he also won several Bram Stoker Awards for Best Novel and Best Short Story. As the ’90s dawned, McCammon expanded his writing away from the horror genre, and his 1991 classic Boy’s Life won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. After Gone South in 1992, McCammon decided to try historical fiction, which had always interested him. After clashing with a new publisher over the direction of his new books, McCammon retired from publishing for ten years. He returned in 2002 with Speaks the Nightbird, which became the first book in a planned nine-book series about Matthew Corbett. The Corbett books are set in the early 1700s, and each volume has explored different genres: mystery, adventure, chase, pulp, thriller, and more. In addition to the Corbett books, McCammon has also written contemporary novels, including The Five, The Border, and The Listener, coming in February 2018 from Cemetery Dance Publications. McCammon lives in Birmingham, AL.
To find out more about Robert R. McCammon go to his WEBSITE or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
 
About the Narrator
 
 
NICK SULLIVAN has worked extensively on Broadway and at many theaters throughout the U.S.  His television credits include The Good Wife, The Affair, Madame Secretary, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, Elementary, BrainDead, Reading Rainbow, and all three Law and Order series.  Film credits include Our Idiot Brother and Private Life.  Nick began narrating on reel-to-reel, and has recorded over four hundred audiobooks, is an Audie winner, and has received numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. His own novel, Zombie Bigfoot, hit #1 in Horror Comedy on Amazon, you can find my review for this fantastic book HERE. His next book, Deep Shadow, is coming in May.
 
Visit Nick at his WEBSITE, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads
 
Praise
 
“An "impressive" tale of psychic power, Native American mysticism, and an ancient evil in Alabama, from the New York Times best-selling author of Swan Song”  -- Associated Press
 
“From the author of Gone South, Boy's Life, and the Matthew Corbett series, a master of suspense who has won the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards, Mystery Walk offers "creepy, subtle touches throughout [and] splendid Southern-town atmosphere" --  Kirkus Reviews
 
“As finely a turned tale of horror as the best of them.” —Houston Chronicle
 
“McCammon delivers terror with skillful ferocity.” —Publishers Weekly