WHO

WHO'S COMING DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY TONIGHT?




Charles Stross, "Overtime"

2018: CTHULHU FOR CHRISTMAS

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Review: Collected Halloween Horror Shorts: Trick 'r Treat

Collected Halloween Horror Shorts: Trick 'r Treat Collected Halloween Horror Shorts: Trick 'r Treat by Kevin J. Kennedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release Oct. 1

Review: Collected Easter Horror Shorts (Kevin Kennedy and Various)

I've totally enjoyed the first two anthologies in this series COLLECTED CHRISTMAS HORROR SHORTS and COLLECTED EASTER HORROR SHORTS) so I was poised to expect a delightfully horrific romp through the ramifications of horror lovers' favourite holiday. Needless to say, once again, Mr. Kennedy has collated an excellent set of tales to inspire and frighten all of us who love horror well delivered, thoughtful, and scary. I'd like to especially note Kevin Kennedy' s tale of "HalloweenIand," a "traveling" carnival with Lovecraftian tendencies (just read it--you'll see) which we all need to hope never travels to our locale [if it ever visits your town, lock up your pets and your kids and stay home, safe].

Meanwhile, settle in for a rockin' October with a chilled spine as you peruse these tales. Remember, horror writers and storytellers were delivering the scares long before the invention of horror films. So.why not spend your October with books?

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror

Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror Quiet Places: A Novella of Cosmic Folk Horror by Jasper Bark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: QUIET PLACES by Jasper Bark

I read an earlier version of this fascinating story in.the lovely 2016 anthology GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND VOL. 1, edited by Steve J. Shaw, which collected rural British horror. This version, according to the author's own account, is greatly revised plus expanded.

Those who've read Jasper Bark' s THE FINAL CUT; BED OF CRIMSON ROSES; STUCK ON YOU; and others know that he is a master indeed when it comes to laying out the gore. But you also know, as with THE FINAL CUT, he is equally accomplished playing in the fields of metaphysics. Here in QUIET PLACES, he strums chords somewhat reminiscent of those in THE FINAL CUT, but here he presents a totally British setting. Indeed, I cannot imagine such a tale occurring anywhere but in isolated, insular, rural, small-village Britain, a land where millennia of history drape the region, and heavy upon the head of scions lies history's burden, and the obligation of duty to one's lessers.

My especial thanks to Mr. Bark for including my humble name in his acknowledgements--indeed an honour.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Review: Money Back Guarantee

Money Back Guarantee Money Back Guarantee by Hunter Shea
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MONEY BACK GUARANTEE by Hunter Shea
(MAIL ORDER MASSACRES)

WOW! WOW! WOW! Talk about pageturner! Talk about speed of light reading experience! Hunter Shea continues to outdo himself!

I didn't breathe while reading. I certainly didn't blink. If the world ended, guess I missed it. Nothing existed for me but the characters and plot in this story.

Three truisms here:

If it's too good to be true, it isn't true. Avoid it.

The customer is NOT always right. Sometimes, the customer is dead.

Yes, Virginia, there really are worse bugaboos than multinational corporations or the government. And they're hungry and like to toy with humanity. Beware.


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Review: Infinite Darkness

Infinite Darkness Infinite Darkness by Patrick Reuman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: INFINITE DARKNESS by Patrick Reuman
and Others

The word I most take away from this book is: SCARY. Scary, Scary, Scary. Yes, indeed. Impressively so.
What author/curator Patrick Reuman accomplishes herein is to gently cocoon stories of other authors, within a framework of his own writing. It's not a format I've encountered before, but it works excellently. The reader doesn't have time to repress the fear from one story before launching into the horror of the next. Titled "INFINITE DARKNESS," that is truth in advertising, because darkness both covers and infuses this collection, and rightfully so.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Review: Shadows Over Main Street Volume 2

Shadows Over Main Street Volume 2 Shadows Over Main Street Volume 2 by Doug Murano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: SHADOWS OVER MAIN STREET VOLUME 2 (Various Authors. Editors, Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward)

This extraordinary anthology series continues, with this new volume. It's readily understandable that the Editors, Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward, are Bram Stoker Award nominees. Their ability to identify and collate excellence is definitely gifted.

Often when reading a collection or anthology, I keep a mental running total of my personal favorites, but for SHADOWS OF MAIN STREET VOLUME 2, I would have to list every single entry. Here we have horror: subtle, scary, all-consuming. We have Lovecraftian overtones, of Elder Gods, of cosmic horrors inconceivable, worshipped by incalculable monsters, holding the universe hostage. If your spine doesn't chill, if your hair doesn't stand vertical, if your skin isn't 100% goosebumps_then you must not have read this anthology.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

Something there is about Ray Bradbury' s incredible gift that is unlike any other I've read. I am certain that in some mysterious and unaccountable fashion, reading FAHRENHEIT 451 changed my life--or at least, altered me internally.

This novel made me grieve, for all the lost books, for all the lost knowledge, for the Firemen, who are such instruments of wanton destruction, and for a virtually blinded, "dumbed-down" populace, who would rather watch spectacularly-staged televised "talking heads" on their living room walls, than read or even think.

From the beginning, I knew this is a Dystopiana I never want to enter or experience. However, 64 years after its initial publication, popular culture holds little hope of avoiding it. We can only hope that, as in the conclusion of FAHRENHEIT 451, those there are who will memorize and retain millennia of wisdom, who will retain the wisdom of books.

The story is all about book burning {shudder}, and the title is the temperature at which paper burns. It's also a chronicle of the triumph of the human spirit, despite... It's a chronicle of wonder, and amazement, of the evolution of the imagination, and of change.

Read for Banned Books Week 2017

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

BANNED BOOKS WEEK SEPTEMBER 24-30

BANNED BOOKS WEEK

Banned Books Week is an initiative of the American Library Association and its Office for Intellectual Freedom. This year's event is September 24-30, inclusive. "Challenged" titles are those which an individual or group finds offensive, for whatever criterion. Usually criteria include profanity or obscenity; sexual references; religious or anti-religious connotations; ethnic reference or bias; and inappropriateness for a specified age group (occasionally, for all age groups).

Challenges are attempts to remove or restrict the material. Banning means the challenged title is actually taken out of the curriculum, library, bookstore. Occasionally, books have even been destroyed--yes, in America also. (More on that topic in a subsequent post.)

Find out more here:
Banned Books Week

Review: OCEANS: The Anthology

OCEANS: The Anthology OCEANS: The Anthology by Ken Liu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: OCEANS: THE ANTHOLOGY (Various Authors; edited Daniel Arthur Smith)

What a wonderfully imaginative, creatively speculative, multi-author collection! I loved it! I was intrigued by the title, as I have been an aficionado of the Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic sub-genres for nearly six decades, and because over the last couple of years that interest has focused on rising sea levels, climate change, and Lovecraftian apocalypses. I found plenty to gratify my intrigue here, and OCEANS: THE ANTHOLOGY has found a place on my special rereader shelf. You can't go wrong here, as there is much from which to choose, all of it guaranteed to stretch the imagination.

Kindle release Sept. 26 2017

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Review: 13 Night Terrors: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction

13 Night Terrors: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction 13 Night Terrors: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction by D.A. Roach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: 13: NIGHT TERRORS ANTHOLOGY (Various)

This third entry in Limitless Publishing's wonderful "13" Anthology series is every bit as delightful and engrossing as the first two entries. You want page-turning thrills? You got it here, you truly do. Horror, dark, grief, spooky, shocking, your choice. The added benefit is that this is a multi-author anthology. Got a favorite author or two? Go for it. A weekend free for reading? Sit down and read straight through. Not enough time? Sample a story; the rest will be there when you are ready. Or follow a returning author from one entry to the next. You can't go wrong. But you can take some truly scary pathways.

Release: September 26 2017
.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Monsters

Monsters Monsters by Thomas Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MONSTERS by Thomas Smith

I loved this horror novella! It was an entertaining one-session read for me, much more due to my enrapture in the story than to length. Protagonist Jack has so much about which he could boast_; but he keeps his knowledge and talents to himself, an effective vigilante for the forces of good. What a refreshing character!

I can't be too specific, in order not to give away the tale. There is gore--in monstrous bucketloads. There are monsters--human and not. There is a wonderfully engaging tale. I expect to think of this one for quite a while.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors

Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors by Todd Keisling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: UGLY LITTLE THINGS by Todd Keisling

When commencing an anthology or a single-author collection, a reader often doesn't know quite what to expect in terms of quantity. Some single-author collections are of such high quality, consistently, that the discerning reader wishes to read, savor, reread, ponder. This year I have been immensely privileged and gratified to discover two magnificent authors new to me, via the venue of their collections: Paul F. Olson, WHISPERED ECHOES, and now Todd Keisling, in UGLY LITTLE THINGS.

Oh my oh my. When I am in the presence of a master, I am rendered speechless. I had requested to review UGLY LITTLE THINGS in advance of release, and from page one was awestruck. A review copy was not enough; I rushed to purchase. There is no single story, no single page, in this collection that is not extraordinarily perfect. I don't know from whence Mr. Keisling derives such a gift; I am satisfied to bask in his application of it.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: Carter & Lovecraft

Carter & Lovecraft Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: CARTER & LOVECRAFT by Jonathan Howard

I am so totally impressed with CARTER & LOVECRAFT: very faithful to the master, and expands the Mythos in an unexpected direction. I love to read of science, and of metaphysics tautly combined with science. I won't go into too much detail, so as not to spoil the many surprises; suffice it to state, if you love Lovecraft, or love the Mythos, you will surely be awestruck.

For those who aren't Lovecraft fanboys and fangirls, let me say that Jonathan Howard is a superb novelist. Despite the very serious nature of the plot, his tone is laid back, he treats the horrors so subtly, so that they really are startling and frightening because so unexpected! I have in mind several particular scenes, exquisitely undertaken. Jonathan Howard definitely is firmly established in the Lovecraft Mythos pantheon.

I am delighted to discover CARTER & LOVECRAFT. I can't imagine anyone not loving this novel, and I am ecstatically anticipating the release of the sequel in November!

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Review: Ride the Lighting

Ride the Lighting Ride the Lighting by Nick Younker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: RIDE THE LIGHTNING by Nick Younker

Reading this short story is a joy and delight, as I have found to be true throughout Nick Younker' s oeuvre. RIDE THE LIGHTNING focuses on two intrepid young men, lifelong friends as close as brothers. Scott and Brandon are intrepid explorers of the unknown: supernatural, paranormal, outre. This story links to the mysterious State Island in Lake Michigan, to the cursed millennia-old Native American Turik, to Lucy, Indiana, and to the disappeared online journalist of the paranormal, Duncan Criss.

Scott and Brandon's quests take them to State Island, where they discover that, like Cthulhu, that which is dead is still extremely dangerous, and for Brandon, their visit becomes a life-altering encounter.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

OCTOBER IS LOVECRAFT COUNTRY!!! FRIGHTFALL 2017

FRIGHTFALL 2017, a creation of Seasons of Reading, is held this year from Oct. 1-31. Sign up here (the definition of "scary" is pretty wide, in case you are a reader who is not an aficionado of horror): FRIGHTFALL 2017

Michelle Miller of Seasons of Reading is also holding a September-long Edgar Allan Poe reading at her blog Castle Macabre, which inspired me to declare my personal version of October reading:

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

In hopes that this Christmas Eve will see Cthhulhu slithering down my chimney, or that Samhain will bring the proper alignment of stars for Cthulhu to awake from his dead and dreaming sleep in sunken R'lyeh, I will spend October in the pursuit of the Master, H. P. Lovecraft, and of his worthy successors who toil in the fields of the Lovecraft Mythos. I will read as much of the original HPL as I can, plus novels, short stories, anthologies, and collections in the Mythos. {Who knows, perhaps I shall be gifted with Cthulhuian dreams?}

October 1:

I collated a list of about 27 books. I read
THE X-VARIANT by Rosemary Cole (sci fi),
FRANKENSTEIN, adaptation by Saviour Pirotta (for Junior Readers)(horror classic),
SMILEY by Michael Ezell (serial killer mystery/police procedural).

October 2:
IN THE COMPANY OF FALSE GODS
PUCKERED

October 3:
CARNACKI, THE GHOST FINDER

October 4:
MESTLVN

October 6:
AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD

October 7:
YOGA NIDRA MEDITATION

HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL VOLUME 3

October 8-9:
THELEMA By Colin D.Campbell

HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL VOLUME FOUR

October 9-11:
LOVECRAFT COUNTRY by Matt Ruff

October 12:
"DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE" by H. P. Lovecraft

THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM by Victor LaValle

(NEW AGE BUNDLE by Tabatha Zalot--for review

RELIGION HISTORY BUNDLE by Michael Stewart--for review

OCTOBER 13:
DEVIL BOARD by Glen Frost

OCTOBER 13-14:
THE CHANGELING

OCTOBER 14-20:
ENCOUNTERS WITH ENOCH COFFIN by W. H. Pugmire and Jeffrey Thomas

OCTOBER 15:
DISTURBED by Jennifer Jaynes (psychological suspense)

OCTOBER 16:
FRANKENSTEIN: A LIFE BEYOND by Pete Planisek

OCTOBER 16-17:

PARADOX BOUND by Peter Clines

OCTOBER 17:

ANCIENT HISTORY BUNDLE by Robert Dean
HEALTH BUNDLE by Diana Campbell

OCTOBER 18:
THE KING IN YELLOW DELUXE EDITION by Robert W. Chambers

THE DEMON GUARDIAN

BUBBY'S PUDDLE POND (children's, Nature)

OCTOBER 19:
"THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE," H. P. Lovecraft

THE GIRL WHO IGNORED GHOSTS, by K. C. Tansley (reread, from 2015)

SUB-BASEMENT, by Carol McMahon (horror)

OCTOBER 20-22:
WICKED HAUNTED Anthology, New England Horror Writers

OCTOBER 21:
THE STRANGE CASE AT MISTY RIDGE by David Brian

OCTOBER 22:
"Picture in the House" by H. P. Lovecraft

HAUNTING OF CHAMBERS HOUSE by Sable Ridge

THE HAUNTING OF ANDLER HOUSE by K. C. Banter

OCTOBER 23:
MURDER IS A MONKEY'S GAME

WEEKEND GETAWAY

OCTOBER 24:
AFTERNOON TEA 2 in 1 BUNDLE [review]

BEER 2 in 1 BUNDLE: ULTIMATE GUIDE [review]

OCTOBER 22-24:
PSYCHOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN (collection) by David Owain Hughes

OCTOBER 22-25:
TALES FROM THE LAKE VOLUME 4

OCTOBER 25:
THE WENDIGO by Algernon Blackwood

OCTOBER 25-26:
HAVEN by Tom Deady {Bram Stoker Award Winner, debut novel]

OCTOBER 26:
A HALLOWEEN NIGHT by Laura Hiram [poem, children's]

TWO HALLOWEEN TALES by Mark Scioneaux and Dane Hatchell

OCTOBER 27:
DON'T BURY ME by Nick Younker

OCTOBER 28:
THE FOURTH PROPHECY by Ernest Dempsey

OCTOBER 27-28:
ARACHNOSAUR by Richard Jeffries

OCTOBER 29:
MONOCHROMES AND OTHER STORIES by Matt Bechtel

SLITHERS by W.W. Mortensen

OCTOBER 30:
JOURNALING BUNDLE (review)

AMERICAN HISTORY BUNDLE II (review)

LIONS AND THE LIVING DEAD by Ruby Loren

DINO AND MONSTER AND THE MAGIC CARPET (children)

OCTOBER 30-31:
THE BLACK GOAT MOTORCYCLE CLUB By Jason Murphy (Lovecraftian horror)

NOVEMBER 1 Wrap-Up: NOVEMBER 1 Wrap-Up: 56 books. 3 are children's, + 1 juvenile version (Frankenstein). 3 short stories by H. P. Lovecraft {I'll endeavor to improve this month.} 10 are either single-author collections or anthologies (one of those is a 2-author, 2-story). 10 review non-fiction 29 are novels or novellas.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Spotlight: WHITE WALLS AND STRAITJACKETS by David Owain Hughes

Blurb: 

Meet Crystal and Harry – lovers who work in the entertainment business: after murdering three critics for poor reviews, they decide to skip town and head for the coastline.
Once there, they know things will be fine – it’ll be a chance to start fresh. A new beginning. But, before they head to the seaside, Crystal must first visit her sister at a mental hospital – after all, it’s Crystal’s fault her sibling is there…

As they start their journey, Harry discovers a book in the van’s glove compartment –
White Walls & Straitjackets. The author is unknown, but whoever he is, he seems to know a lot about the deadly duo and other nutjobs who inhabit the Rhondda Valleys, south Wales.

As lives and stories collide, Crystal and Harry soon discover escaping the Valleys won’t be as easy as they think. Especially with another serial killer hot on their heels…

Bio: David Owain Hughes is a horror freak! He grew up on ninja, pirate and horror movies from the age of five, which helped rapidly instil in him a vivid imagination. When he grows up, he wishes to be a serial killer with a part-time job in women’s lingerie…
He’s had multiple short stories published in various online magazines and anthologies, along with articles, reviews and interviews. He’s written for This Is Horror, Blood Magazine, and Horror Geeks Magazine. He’s the author of the popular novels “Walled In” (2014), "Wind-Up Toy" (2016), “Man-Eating F****” (2016), and “The Rack & Cue” (2017) along with his short story collections “White Walls and Straitjackets” (2015) and "Choice Cuts" (2015). He’s also written three novellas – “Granville” (2016), “Wind-Up Toy: Broken Plaything & Chaos Rising” (2016).

WHITE WALLS AND STRAITJACKETS will be FREE September 6-10!

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