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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Angel of Holloway by M. R. Williamson [3.5 stars]




From the Description
 

A normal life was all that soldier Johnny Tremain ever wanted. But laying wounded in the elephant grass deep in the jungles of eastern Vietnam, he saw a vision of a girl from his past, one whom he once loved.

"Get up, Johnny," she urged. "You’re not hurt," she said.

Quickly realizing this was no vision, Johnny struggled to his feet and followed her, hopefully toward Camp Holloway. Losing his strength, he passed out only to be brought back by the same, haunting voice.

Those at Camp Holloway accredited Johnny’s survival to something angelic. But visions sometimes follow soldiers home, all the way back to the States. And the only way to escape back to normality is to confront them… But how?

Pro Se Productions proudly presents The Angel of Holloway by M. R. Williamson, the first in a series of digest novels set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, tales of love, loss, of war and the supernatural.

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

The Angel of Holloway is a fun little ghost/war story. It's spooky without being graphic, and safe for a younger audience. Haunted by the things that happened overseas, and struggling to find his place at home, Johnny is an easy character to care about. So is Lou, the girl who loves him. She quickly finds out that one of the ghosts that haunt him is all too real. The first part in a series, this enjoyable novella left me wanting to know more about Johnny's guardian angel, I'm looking forward to part two. This is a fast 3.5 star read (110 pages) perfect for a lazy afternoon.


Buy the Book

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About the Author
 
 
 
Greetings from Camelot Cove:



After retiring from ‘Ma Bell’ in the year 1999, I seriously took to the pen. Through E-Bay and various bookstores, my novel collection, The Pragamore Chronicles, eventually reached more than eight countries.

 My poetry has won the Editor’s Choice Awards from the International Library of Poetry in 1999, 2000, and 2002. View from the Easley Place, a short story, is on exhibition at Munford Library. My stories are published in such anthologies as Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells (‘Quest for the Dragon Scale-Kerlak), ParAABnormal (‘Spotter’-Sam’s Dot), Stories in the Ether (‘Shelled’-Nevermet), ‘Unlikely Friend’ (Sam’s Dot), and ‘Apprentice’ (Sam’s Dot).

 Added short story features include, ‘Hell’s Gate’ (Seven Star Press), and ‘Phagan’s Shadow’ (WolfSinger). Coming short stories are ‘Cry Wolf’ with Dark Oak and ‘The Ghost of Queen Anne’s Revenge’ also with Dark Oak. On the front burners in 2015, are the novellas, ‘The Curse of the Monkey’s Paw’ with Tyree Campbell and his Alban Lake Publishing and 'The Angel of Holloway' from Tommy Hancock and ProSe Productions.

In the works are novellas, ‘In the Shadows of the White Owls (Held by Under the Moon), ‘Bedouin’, ‘The Angel of Holloway’, ‘Ooze’, and ‘The Moleskin Cap’ with WolfSinger.

 The year 2016 promises to be a ‘One-Of-A-Kind’. It starts out with the publishing two, novellas, two large short stories, and then soars from there.

 
 
Keep reading and I’ll keep writing. . . M. R. Williamson


You can email M. R. Williamson at mwilli44@comcast.net or find him on his website, pragamorechronicles.com or on Imagicopter.com and on Facebook
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    


 
 

 


 

  




    




 

 


 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Woman In White by Kristin Dearborn [4.5 stars]




 

From the Description

 
Rocky Rhodes, Maine.

As a fierce snowstorm descends upon the sleepy little town, a Good Samaritan stops to help a catatonic woman sitting in the middle of the icy road, and is never seen or heard from again. When the police find his car, it is splattered in more blood than the human body can hold.

While the storm rages on, the wave of disappearances continue, the victims sharing only one commonality: they are all male. Now it's up to three young women to figure out who or what is responsible: a forensic chemist, a waitress struggling with an abusive boyfriend, and a gamer coping with the loss of her lover.

Their search will lead them on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors that are all connected to a mysterious Woman in White.

Publication Date: March 1, 2016


Length: 139 pages

 

I received a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this book. For more fun and information follow along with the blog tour hosted by Erin Al-Mehairi at Oh, for the Hook of a Book or you can email Erin at hookofabook@hotmail.com





 

Woman In White is chilling and fantastic! This story is so well written that I could feel the cold from the storm and the terror as something hunts the people in Rocky Rhodes. I found that the characters, while not always likeable, easy to identify with and care about. Angela, Mary Beth, and Lee are great! I love how human they are, complete with flaws and hidden strengths. I also love that the heroes of this tale are women. The creature that is hunting the town's men reminded me of something out of The Thing, which I loved. A fast paced and fun 4.5 star read.

 


Buy the Book

 


 

About the Author
 

 
 


If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She’s written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out. She revels in comments like "But you look so normal...how do you come up with that stuff?" A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!), she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Find more on Kristin at http://kristindearborn.com/ or visit her on Facebook.



Praise for Kristin Dearborn


"Horror born straight from a nor'easter, Dearborn's  Woman in White  is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I'll never forget."  —Christopher Irvin, author of  Federales  and  Burn Cards

"Kristin Dearborn's  Woman in White  is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!"  —Tim Waggoner, author of  Eat the Night

"Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!"  —Jeff Strand, author of  Pressure

 

 


 

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Complex by Brian Keene [4 stars]


 

From the Description

 
For fans of Garth Ennis' "CROSSED" and "THE EVIL DEAD" comes a new novel of savage terror.

There was no warning. No chance to escape. They came suddenly. Naked. Bloodthirsty. Sadistic. They descended upon the Pine Village Apartment Complex, relentlessly torturing and killing anyone they could find.

Fearing for their lives, the residents of the complex must band together. A young trans woman, a suicidal middle-aged writer, a lonely Vietnam vet, a newlywed couple, an elderly widow, a single mother and her son, two on-the-run criminals and the serial killer known as The Exit. Eleven strangers. The only thing they have in common is the unstoppable horde that wants to kill them. If they are to make it through the night, they must fight back.

From World Horror Grandmaster Award winning author, Brian Keene, comes an ultra-violent and action-packed horror thriller.


 

The Complex is a lot of fun to read, the action and horror starts right away and never slows down. The characters are realistic and easy to root for as they try to escape the relentless assault of killers they're surrounded by. Sam, Stephanie, Mrs. Carlucci, Grady and Mendez are my favorites. As a longtime fan I love the connections to other books and worlds that Keene has created. My only complaints would be that I want to know why the people went crazy and the ending. The ending does fit the story but I still wish it had been different. Reminiscent of The Crazies this 4 star read is sure to please both fans and newcomers to the Brian Keene universe.




Buy the Book






About the Author

 
 
 
BRIAN KEENE is the author of over forty books. His novel, THE RISING, is often credited (along with Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic and Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later film) with inspiring pop culture's current interest in zombies. Keene has also written for media properties such as DOCTOR WHO, THE X-FILES, HELLBOY, and MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE. Several of Keene's works have been developed for film. He has won numerous awards and honors, including the World Horror Grand Master award, two Bram Stoker awards, and a recognition from Whiteman A.F.B. (home of the B-2 Stealth Bomber) for his outreach to U.S. troops serving both overseas and abroad. He lives in rural Pennsylvania.
 

You can find him at his website, http://www.briankeene.com/ or on Facebook and Twitter






 

 
 


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Timeweaver's Wager by Axel Blackwell [4 stars]







From the Description

 

Would you give your life for a second chance? Glen McClay sits on a fallen log by the railroad trestle, watching for his girlfriend's ghost. Eight years ago, Connie Salvatore was savagely murdered here. Glen has spent his life seeking redemption, haunted by the knowledge that he might have been able to save her. The time has come to let go of his past and move on with his life. But as he prepares to do so, an old friend offers Glen the redemption he has always sought a chance to relive that horrible night and change the past. All he has to do... is die.





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 Timeweaver's Wager is a haunting story. This character driven novel pulls you in with a tale of sorrow, guilt, and redemption. Many of us have wondered 'What if I could go back and change things,,,' Glen gets that chance. The story starts out slowly, giving us a chance to learn about the lives of Glen, Sophia, Alan and Connie, then speeds up toward the last third of the book. The writing has a lyrical quality that had me hooked from the first page. While I had figured out a bit of the ending it was still satisfying. Reminiscent of The Butterfly Effect without all the repetition. An engaging 4 star read.




Buy the Book




About the Author

 

Axel Blackwell grew up in one of those small Indiana towns where the only fun is the kind you make yourself. Many ghost sightings and UFO sightings in the central Indiana area between 1985 and 1990, as well as several small fires, can be attributed to Axel and his brothers attempting to escape boredom.

Axel now lives with his wife and an assortment of animals in the Pacific Northwest. He still enjoys summoning ghosts and fires, but has learned to bind these creations within the pages of his books...most of the time.
 

You can find him lurking about at https://axelblackwell.wordpress.com/ or on his author page at Amazon or Goodreads and on Facebook or Twitter
 
 
 

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Mixed Bag Of Blood by David Bernstein [4.5 stars]



 

From the Description

 
 
From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person’s nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing, and the consequences of one man’s night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

This is a Mixed Bag of Blood.

 

Print Length: 86 pages

Publisher: Sinister Grin Press

Publication Date: March 1, 2016
 

I received a copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion. If you would like more information about A Mixed Bag Of Blood or David Bernstein follow along with the blog tour hosted by Erin Al-Mehairi at Oh, for the Hook of a Book or you can contact Erin at hookofabook@hotmail.com
 
 
 

 
A Mixed Bag Of Blood is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach! This collection of stories is filled with horror, humor and more than a few moments of serious eww. Some of my favorite stories were The Trojan Plushy, a tale of revenge that will make you take a closer look at your stuffed animals. Invasion was as disturbing as it was great, and Small Town, Big Trouble had me hooked right away, I would have loved it to have been longer. The only story that I didn't love was Potty Mouth, there are just no words,,, Fans of tongue-in-cheek horror like Tales From The Crypt will find much to love in this horrific and gory collection. I highly recommend this 4.5 star read.

 


Buy the Book

 



 
About the Author

 
 
 
David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. Visit him at his website: davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com or via email dbern77@hotmail.com.You can also reach him on Goodreads, Facebook, or on Twitter.


 


Praise for A Mixed Bag of Blood
 
"Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you’ll want to read. With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did." Cat After Dark


 


Praise for David Bernstein
 
"David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…" Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight

"A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!" Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

"Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein." Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden

"A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!" Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift





Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dead Shift by John Llewellyn Probert [3.5 stars]






From the Description

 

Nobody Likes Going to Hospital

They thought the old man was harmless. Just another tramp found collapsed in an abandoned housing estate. At Northcote Hospital they put him in a bed and let him keep the strange old book he insisted on clutching.

Nobody Likes Having to Stay In

Three friends working through the night at Northcote Hospital are about to experience the worst shift of their lives, trapped inside the building as creatures undreamed of in their worst nightmares begin to crawl from the walls in a bid to make the place their own.

And Nobody Wants to Die There

Soon everyone and everything in Northcote Hospital will be changed. Will anyone be able to stop the evil worming its way through the building? Or will the horror escape to infect the planet?

John Llewellyn Probert’s

Dead Shift

Where the worst thing in this world is nothing compared to what’s lurking just outside it


I received an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review from the fine folks at Horrific Tales Publishing. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story.



Reading Dead Shift is like a trip to Hell's emergency room as imagined by Lovecraft. The story is a little slow at the beginning but once the ritual begins things escalate quickly. Parts of this novella quite literally made my skin crawl with disgust. The creatures on the second floor and things growing throughout the hospital were the stuff of nightmares for me. I loved the banter between Richard, Dev, and Sandra. The witty dialogue and some of the scenes were laugh out loud funny, making some of the darker scenes more horrifying by comparison. This fast paced novella is well written and filled with such vivid imagery that it almost feels like you're there. An utterly enjoyable 3.5 star read.




Buy the Book (Available March 19)






About the Author
 
 





John Llewellyn Probert won the 2013 British Fantasy Award for his novella The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine and 2015 saw the publication of its sequel, The Hammer of Dr Valentine.He is the author of over a hundred published short stories, six novellas and a novel, The House That Death Built (Atomic Fez). His first short story collection, The Faculty of Terror, won the 2006 Children of the Night award for best work of Gothic Fiction.

His latest stories can be found in Best British Horror Volumes 1 & 2 (Salt Publishing), Psychomania and Zombie Apocalypse! Endgame (both Constable Robinson). Endeavour Press has published Ward 19, Bloody Angels and The Pact - three crime books featuring his pathologist heroine Parva Corcoran.
He is currently trying to review every cult movie in existence at his House of Mortal Cinema (http://johnlprobert.blogspot.com/) and everything he is up to writing-wise can be found at http://www.johnlprobert.com/



Future projects include a new short story collection, a lot more non-fiction writing, and a couple of novels.

He never sleeps.




Praise for John Llewellyn Probert
 
"Horror is lucky to have him"

Ramsey Campbell

"Horrific and charming in equal measure"

Ellen Datlow

"Gruesome, unsettling and often unnervingly funny"

Publisher's Weekly


"A writer who knows his horror and isn't afraid to use it"
Black Static



 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Children Of The Dark by Jonathan Janz [5 stars]


 
 

From the Description
 


Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.

Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals
the Moonlight Killerhas escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loveshis mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friendswill be threatened.

And very few of them will escape with their lives.
 
 

Print Length: 293 pages


Publication Date: March 15, 2016

 


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. Follow along with the blog tour hosted by the always fantastic Erin Al-Mehairi over at Oh, for the Hook of a Book. For more information you can contact her at hookofabook@hotmail.com
 
 
 
 

 
 
Children Of The Dark is hands down the best book I've read this year! It has set the bar extremely high for all of the books that will follow. Filled with characters that are easy to care about and non-stop terror, I couldn't put it down. Will is a typical teenage boy who not only has to deal with the normal problems a fifteen year old has but must also deal with a drug addicted mother, an absent father he's never met, and being a parent to his little sister, Peach. When you throw in a serial killer and vicious creatures lurking in the woods near his house you get pure horror gold. I loved Will and his friends! This story is reminiscent of some of my favorite coming of age horror novels like It or Boy's Life. Every book I read by Jonathan Janz is better than the last. If you haven't read one of his books yet you are missing out on an incredibly talented author. Fans of King, Laymon, and McCammon will love this phenomenal 5 star read.


Buy the Book

Children of the Dark comes out on March 15. It is available for pre-order at Amazon


About the Author
 
 
 


Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a
way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, "reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story."
2013  saw the publication of  his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, "Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish." Jonathan’s Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.
Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a "Rousing-good weird western," and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014’s top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of  The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan "Horror’s Next Big Thing."  2015 also saw the  release of Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called "gruesome yet entertaining gorefest" with "an impressive and bloody climax."  He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.


His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at http://jonathanjanz.com/. You can also find him on Facebook, on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.




 



Praise for Children of the Dark




"Jonathan Janz brings us a vicious tale of terror with the innocence of youth in a coming of age tale that should surely make Stephen King smile." – Dave, Beneath the Underground



"Jonathan Janz has written the next definitive coming-of-age horror novel that is sure to be mentioned alongside those that came before it. Be on the right side of history and read it now, before it becomes a classic." –Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to be Paid



Praise for Jonathan Janz



 
 
"Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won’t be disappointed."
-Pod of Horror
 
"One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites." –Brian Keene, best-selling author
 
"It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it 'The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.' You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!"
-Author Edward Lee on House of Skin
 
"Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre." –Tim Waggoner, multi-published author
 
"Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror--Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows--will find much to relish." - Publishers Weekly on Savage Species




Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Zee Brothers: Zombie Exterminators by Grivante [5 stars]

 
 
 
 
 
From the Description
 
This is the first story featuring the Zee Brother’s, in which they meet the love of their lives, JJ and her magical puppy, Xanadu. They uncover the secrets of an ancient Indian curse involving a zombie omelet, wait, amulet. They fail to rescue their first client of the day and end up keeping him as a pet instead.

All of this takes place in the small gated community of Winter Oaks, AZ, built atop the tribal burial ground of the Pakatini Tribe and right next to the county dump. Awakened when the obnoxious president of the home owners association disturbs an ancient artifact, the zombies return from their graves to reclaim their sacred amulet.

Arriving in their extermination truck loaded with weapons and their strangely premonitory Magic 8-ball shifter, the brothers quickly get to work. Bodies and brains explode as they seek the answers to end the ancient zombie curse before it leads to a full on Zombie Apocalypse.

Before it’s over, Jonah, Judas & JJ teach us about Zombie Bondage, Zombie Dental Hygiene & The Wonders of Orgasms and Chocolate, all while trying to survive being the target of an ever growing number of newly awakened dead.

Aided by JJ’s mysterious dog, the brother’s manage to get the amulet, but not before Jonah is marked for death by the Pakatini’s High Priest. It is going to take more than their really big gun, that they affectionately refer to as DeeDee, to get them out of this one.

Filled with nods to zombie pop culture, this tale of Pulp Horror will keep you entertained and leave you smiling.

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

The Zee Brothers: Zombie Exterminators is fabulous! If Edgar and Alan Frog had grown up to be redneck zombie exterminators this would be their story. This illustrated novella had me laughing as soon as I saw the Zee brothers' business card on page 3 and only got better from there. With nods to everybody from Ash (Evil Dead) to Michonne (The Walking Dead) it's impossible not to love this hilarious zombie invasion tale. The illustrations are pure graphic gold that gild the action packed fun in this book. I loved riding along with Jonah, Judas, JJ and Xanadu as they try to keep a step ahead of this zombie invasion and I can't wait to see what adventures the future brings. If you love The Evil Dead trilogy or Tucker & Dale you're going to love this action packed 5 star read.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Buy the Book
 
 

About the Author
 
 
 
 
I take a look at ideas from different angles and write tales that I find interesting. What the heck is a zombie omelet? I didn't know either, until I started writing The Zee Brothers!

My characters tend to banter like eighties super-heroes, a sign of my childhood influence of Spiderman comics.

I tend to look for humor even when writing on a serious subject. Did someone just lose their arm? Perhaps we can use it as a weapon on the next page or maybe we try and put it back on because one of the characters once played doctor during role play with his girlfriend and has been talking about it throughout the story.

Yes, sometimes its absurd humor, but if it gets you laughing than I've done my job!

My stories are often influenced by my real life events. The old axiom, "Write what you know" manifests to fill the pages.
 
You can find Grivante at The Zee Brothers Website or on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cadaver Dog by Doug Goodman [5 stars]

 
 
 
From the Description
 
Training a dog to track a zombie is like training a cadaver dog or a bomb dog. It takes patience, trust, and the right dog-and-handler team. And to not be afraid of zombies. When Angie Graves is approached with the idea of training a dog to track zombies, she thinks this is a bad idea. She has worked all kinds of dogs, including cadaver. But she needs a different dog for this line of work, and the only one available is a rescue named Murder. The problem is, Murder is nothing like a hero dog. He is scarred emotionally and physically. He is slow to trust, has a mischievous mind, and obsesses over his chicken toy. But if he and Angie can learn to work together, they may be able to solve the riddle of where the zombies come from, and why they are snatching up people.

 
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.

Cadaver Dog is a gripping novella, I didn't want to put it down. It's rare that a zombie story gives us something beyond the usual end of the world scenarios but this book delivers a whole new, and chilling take on how zombies are created. The science behind the zombies found here is entirely believable and horrifying. The characters are easy to care about and realistic. I loved Angie and Murder. I found myself rooting for them to succeed in both the training and rescue missions. The ending left me heartbroken and wanting more. I highly recommend this phenomenal 5 star read.


Buy the Book
 
 
About the Author
 
 
 

Doug Goodman is the writer of Dominion, Warriors of Camlann, and Kaiju Fall. His writing has also appeared in anthologies such as Twisted Boulevard, Horrors Beyond, Cthulhu Unbound, and State of Horror: Texas. He lives on the Texas Gulf coast. He works at the Johnson Space Center and in his spare time when he is not writing, he trains human remains dogs.
Like all authors of the digital age, there are many ways to reach or follow him.
Webpage:

 
     Amazon author page:
Facebook:
Twitter:
Instagram:
Good Reads:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at douggoodmannet@gmail.com



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hell's Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale & John L. Lansdale [4 stars]




From the Description

 
If the Western town of Falling Rock isn't dangerous enough due to drunks, fast guns and greedy miners, it gets a real dose of ugly when a soulless, dynamite-loving bounty hunter named Smith rides into town to bring back a bounty, dead or alivepreferably dead. In the process, Smith sets off an explosive chain of events that send him straight to the waiting room in Hell where he is offered a one-time chance to absolve himself.

Satan, a bartender also known as Snappy, wants Smith to hurry back to earth and put a very bad hombre out of commission. Someone Smith has already met in the town of Falling Rock. A fellow named Quill, who has, since Smith's departure, sold his soul to the Old Ones, and has been possessed by a nasty, scaly, winged demon with a cigar habit and a bad attitude. Quill wants to bring about the destruction of the world, not to mention the known universe, and hand it all over: moon, stars, black spaces, cosmic dust, as well as all of humanity, to the nasty Lovecraftian deities that wait on the other side of the veil. It's a bargain made in worse places than Hell.

Even Satan can't stand for that kind of dark business. The demon that has possessed Quill, a former co-worker of Satan, has gone way too far, and there has to be a serious correction.

And though Smith isn't so sure humanity is that big of a loss, the alternative of him cooking eternally while being skewered on a meat hook isn't particularly appealing. Smith straps on a gift from Snappy, a holstered Colt pistol loaded with endless silver ammunition, and riding a near-magical horse named Shadow, carrying an amazing deck of cards that can summon up some of the greatest gunfighters and killers the west has ever known, he rides up from hell, and back into Falling Rock, a town that can be entered, but can't be left.

It's a opportunity not only for Smith to experience action and adventure and deal with the living dead and all manner of demonic curses and terrible prophecies, it's a shot at love with a beautiful, one-eyed, redheaded-darling with a whip, a woman named Payday. But it's an even bigger shot at redemption.

Saddle up, partner. It's time to ride into an old fashioned pulp and horror adventure full of gnashing teeth, exploding dynamite, pistol fire, and a few late night kisses.





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



Take one part Jonah Hex and one part Bubba Ho-Tep, mix with a liberal dash of Lovecraft and you get Hell's Bounty. A weird western that is full of ghoulish sarcasm and gun slinging adventure. This book has a bit of everything, from zombies to cowpokes, Satan to Old Ones, making it a rip roaring good time. I laughed like a maniac at parts and had to cringe at others. The characters were fun to follow, I loved both Smith and Payday but Cameahwait was my favorite. If your looking for a fun filled, action packed trip to the weird west this is the book for you! A solid 4 star read.




Buy the Book


 

Hell’s Bounty (excerpt)

Part One:

A Whiff of Sulfer

(1)

A full moon hung at the peak of a shadowy mountain like a gold coin on a pedestal, shining thin light into the narrow canyon below. Above it all, shimmering white dots filled the dark velvet sky. A lone wolf’s howl echoed across the canyon as if it were trying to call up the dead. When the howl faded, the ground began to shake, rumbling louder and louder.

At the summit of a narrow, rising grade, an old boarded up mine shaft trembled and dripped dirt. The boards in front of the mine cracked and blew out in a spin of splinters and dust. A dark cloud coughed out of the shaft, soared toward the sky, temporarily blotted out the moon. The cloud tore apart with a screech, burst into a horde of chattering bats flying in all directions, once again revealing the gold doubloon moon.

The bats flew a short distance, merged, and raced toward a smattering of lights from the town of Falling Rock. In one elegant swoop they dove, soared above the dusty street that centered the town, fluttered past the sound of a plinking piano and shrill laughter spilling out of the dimly lit Sundown Saloon.

Horses out front, tied to the hitching post, began to snort. The twisted mass of bats rose up and appeared to swim through the sky, toward a church belfry, toward the tall bell tower there, gathered in it thick as wet rot, and once collected there, there was a puffing sound and a thick twirl of black shadow. The shadow hardened, formed a dark image with eyes like wounds. Wings flapped from the shape’s back, gathered up moonlight and folded it into the wings and tossed it out again. It flexed its hands and took in a breath so deep the night sky seemed to shudder.

With a flip of a dark hand, a small box became visible. With a touch of its other hand, the box lid sprang open and red lights jumped out of the box like inflamed grasshoppers. The lights twisted into odd shapes and the little shapes darted about the tower and ricocheted off the huge bell like gunfire. Then they slowed and went for the inside of the bell and clung to it, hissed like ants on a hot skillet, burned themselves into its interior. Finally, they were still and the hissing stopped and the glowing stopped and what they left imprinted deep in the metal of the bell were hieroglyphic-like impressions.

The shadowy thing snapped the box closed and let out with a sound like it had just eaten something tasty. The box was deftly put away and the great winged shadow leaped from the tower, fell for a long distance, then flapping its leathery wings, rose up against the moonlight briefly, sailed away, filling the air with a whiff of sulfur.


(2)

The bat wings of the Sundown Saloon cracked open and a little man flew through them, out into the street, another man’s boot flashing at the end of his ass. The little man’s bowler hat came loose from his head and rolled around in the dirt before lying down with a wobble.

The man who had kicked the little man came into the street. He had a smashed hat in one hand and a bottle in the other. He looked mean enough to eat floor tacks and shit horseshoes.

"You little worm," the mean man said. "Ain’t nobody sits on Trumbo Quill’s hat."

The man in the street hiked a leg under him and made it to his feet. He eyed his hat but decided against it. He took off running.

Taking his time, Trumbo Quill put his hat on his head and pulled his revolver and fired. The little man, who had actually covered a pretty good patch of ground, threw his leg forward in what looked like a goose step, did a stumble step, and went to one knee. He hung there for a moment then fell on his face in the dusty street and rolled on his back. He set up and took hold of his knee. The bullet had gone through the back of his leg and popped loose the knee cap, splintered it. There was a hole there big enough to hide a plum.

Quill came and stood over the little man and said, "How’re you feelin’?"

"God, Quill. You done ruined my knee."

"I’d say the whole leg, wouldn’t you? Your dancin’ days is over, if you ever had any."

"I can’t walk. You’ve ruined me."

"I think you’re right. Well, can’t leave you that way."

Quill lifted the pistol and fired. The shot took off the top of the little man’s head.

"See," Quill said. "All better now."

Quill lifted the bottle in his other hand and finished it off. Without moving toward the saloon, he yelled out, "Hey, Double Shot, bring me another bottle."

After a moment the bat wings moved and a tall, skinny, near bald man moved through them, briskly made his way over to Quill. He looked down at the little dead man as he handed Quill the bottle.

Quill said, "Put it on my tab." Then he looked at the little man on the ground, back at Double Shot. "Ain’t none of your kin, is he?"

Double Shot shook his head.

"That’s good, cause in case you hadn’t noticed, little sonofabitch is dead. I’m gonna take me a walk. Have him out of the street before I get back. Nothin’ I hate worse than a dead man in the street."

"Yes, sir," Double Shot said.

Double Shot went back in the saloon. Quill uncorked the new bottle with his teeth and took a jolt, went trudging back toward the saloon where the little man’s bowler hat lay, and stepped on it, smashing it flat. He then turned and went up the street, pausing now and again to take a swig. At the end of the street, Quill passed a marker that said BOOT HILL.

He’d put a lot of men there and one woman. He hadn’t liked her singing, caterwauling was more like it. She had sounded like a cat with a stick up its ass. Even the horny miners and cowboys in the saloon applauded when she hit the floor. She was not only a terrible singer, she’d had a face that could drop a raccoon out of a tree at twenty paces. Her piano player caught some of the blame too. He had been pretty swift, however, and he had made it to the door before Quill fired, punching a hole through the back of his head with a well placed shot. They were finding that piano man’s teeth in the street for three, four days. Little boys gathered them up and put them on strings and wore them around their necks as mementos of the gun fight. There was even a little song they made up that went something like "He played the ivory teeth, but lost his in the street."

Quill thought it was a glorious shoot out. Course, only Quill had a gun. He felt it worked better that way, less tension on his behalf.

Quill went up the hill, and at its peak he came to a tombstone under a big oak that leaked shadow on the ground. Quill stopped there and took off his hat and placed it on the tombstone. He dropped to his knees and used the bottle of whisky to support himself.

To his left, unnoticed by Quill, a shadow perched on top of a nearby tombstone. It flicked its wings and twisted its head like a curious dog. It watched Quill carefully with its glowing eyes, watched as he pulled grass from around the grave, tossed it behind him.

A voice like thunder inside a cave said: "Would you like to have her back?"

Quill dropped the bottle, came to a crouch, pistol drawn, aiming between the glowing eyes. When Quill saw the thing he inhaled sharply.

"What in the hell are you?"

"You loved your wife, didn’t you," said the winged shadow, the wings moving gently.
"How do you know about What are you?"


"I’m your wish come true."

Quill cocked back the hammer of his revolver. "What wish?"

"I can give her back to you."

Quill swallowed. "No you can’t."

"Oh, I can."

"I’ll shoot you off there like the buzzard you are. You tauntin’ sonofabitch."

The shadow lifted its wings and the night air moved with the motion.

"You’re just some drunk dream," Quill said.

"I can give her back."

Quill made with a sound that might have been a laugh. "If you could, I’d sell my soul."

The dark head of the shadow broke open and showed a smile. Lots of sharp teeth, yellow in the moonlight. The shadow stretched its right hand; it appeared to leak ink, and the next thing Quill knew the hand was long and then longer and it grabbed his own; the shadows from the arm dropped along the ground and flowed, and then the thing was no longer on the stone; it was standing right in front of him, holding his hand, the one gripping the pistol. He tried to pull the trigger, but the gun was taken from him as easily as a rattle from a baby and dropped to the ground.

Weak with nausea, Quill dropped to one knee and the shadow moved swiftly, drawing its claw-like hand across Quill’s palm, cutting deep. Quill looked up at the shadow as it spread its wings wide, said, "Done."

"You are real," Quill said.

"Very."

"You’re him…the one down there."

The thing split its face apart and showed the yellow teeth again.

"Worse."

"You took my soul?"

"Not yet. But soon. Pick up your gun."

Quill’s hand shook as he picked up the revolver and stuck it in the holster. The shadow shape said, "First, your reward."

The shape turned its head and looked toward the grave Quill had been brooding over. The grave trembled and the dried dirt became soft and began to shift. There was a sound below the dirt like rats chewing wood, and then some of the dirt fell inward. There was a cracking and creaking sound and a hand shot up through the soil and the moon glistened off the tips of the broken fingernails.

Quill jumped to his feet, stumbled and fell on top of the grave. He grasped the wriggling hand. "Darlin’ Jenny," he said, and then he let go and began to dig with his hands like a dog for a bone. Finally, he saw a sandy shape through a cracked slat of coffin. He grabbed at the slat, and pulled. The board groaned and broke. He tossed it aside, grabbed another piece and ripped. The body in the coffin worked from the inside, pushing, clawing, and then the shape sat up. Her dark hair dripped sand. Her eyes blinked, shedding dirt from the lids; the eyes were bright and green. The white burial gown she had worn was rotten and ripped. Her flesh went from sheet white to a healthy pink. She looked at Quill and smiled and spread her arms. When she did, most of the rotting gown fell off.

Quill lifted her near-nude body from the coffin as easily and as gently as a kitten. He started down the hill, carrying her. As he went down, she whispered something in his ear. It was hoarse, but he understood it: "I love you."

"And I love you," he said. "Without you…I…"

She pressed her hand to his lips.

And then her foot fell off.

Quill stopped. He looked at it on the ground, and then looked at her. She had an expression like a worm had just crawled up her ass, and considering where she had been, maybe it had.

And then her leg fell off.

Followed by an arm.

"Dang it," she said.

"No," Quill said.

"Sorry," she said.
Jenny’s head rocked to one side, made a noise like a dog biting into a chicken bone, then her head rocked in the other direction

and fell off.


The rest of the body crumbled in his arms. He dropped to his knees as dirt and desiccated bone and hanks of flesh and hair fell to the ground. The wind picked up the fragments and moved them about and carried some of it away.

Quill yelled to the darkness. "You cheated me, you son-of-a-bitch. You cheated me. You lying bastard!"

Drawing his gun, Quill charged back up the hill, firing at shadows amidst the tombstones. But they weren’t the shadows he wanted. He kicked at a stone, shoved over another, then fell into his wife’s grave and rose up on his knees. He picked up a piece of her gown, clenched it in his fist, let out with a hoarse bellow that could be heard all the way down to the Sundown Saloon.

No one came to investigate.