Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

CRIES FROM THE STATIC by Darren Speegle_Tour and Review

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Cries From the Static, Synopsis
Print Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press
Publication Date: January 31, 2018
This collection of stories winds through the twisting streets of the unconscious mind with the grace and power of an experienced traveler. The exotic sensations of lands beyond dreamscapes and nightmares mingle with the harsh truths of reality in tales unbound by borders or convention. Speegle's rich, poetic language breathes life into visions that are by turn sensual, macabre, lyrical, and haunting. From the decadence of ancient Rome to the hedonistic European party scene of the modern day, from life to death and back again, these cries illuminate the supernatural lurking one step beyond and give voice to the silent truths of the heart.


Darren Speegle is the author of six books, including his recently released debut novel The Third Twin (Crystal Lake Publishing). His second novel, Artifacts, is due in 2018, while a third, The World Is My Oyster, has recently been completed. The latest of his five short story collections, A Haunting in Germany and Other Stories, was released in 2016 by PS Publishing.

His short fiction has appeared in numerous venues, including Subterranean, Cemetery Dance, Clarkesworld, Postscripts, ChiZine, Crimewave, The Third Alternative (now Black Static), Fantasy, Dark Discoveries, and Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

He has recently become interested in editing, and his human-evolution-themed anthology Adam's Ladder (co-edited with Michael Bailey) will be a late 2017 Dark Regions Press title. A widely traveled American, Darren often sets his stories in exotic or interesting places where he has lived (Germany, Alaska, Southeast Asia) or otherwise explored (broader Europe). Between gigs as a federal contractor in the Middle East, Darren resides in Thailand. When not writing, he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

Praise for Darren Speegle

"Speegle's stories are impressively literate, intelligent and highly imaginative." --Bookgasm

"You don't just read about the places, you experience them, the people, and the entities that inhabit them. Darren Speegle has the ability to capture your soul, and slowly release it back to you, with merely a few scars. It's more than worth the read, it's worth the euphoria your mind senses when you've turned the last page."--Midwest Book Review

..".one of the most intriguing voices active in genre fiction."--Cemetery Dance

"Smart. Imaginative. Literate. Original. All of Darren Speegle's fiction shares these characteristics. Add in intriguing and complex for the occult mystery of The Third Twin. Above all the novel is a highly compelling and entertaining read. It has my highest recommendation."--Gene O'Neill, Lethal Birds, The Cal Wild Chronicles

"Speegle's very accessible voice takes you gently by the hand--and then pulls you into shadows that are subtle and deadly but studded with stars."--Michael Marshall Smith

"Creepy and atmospheric, Darren Speegle's The Third Twin is a winding, lushly written nightmare that will linger with you. Yes, you."--Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Disappearance at Devil's Rock

"Darren Speegle's delicious evocation of landscape delivers the reader, quite seamlessly, from places of precisely-evoked geography into landscapes of haunting spiritual menace..."--Graham Joyce

Purchase Links

Want to Feature?
Professional bloggers or media who would like to review Cries From the Static, or are interested in featuring or interviewing Darren Speegle, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Cries from the Static by Darren Speegle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: CRIES FROM THE STATIC by Darren Speegle

I am frequently concerned about human devolution, of which one important aspect is as authors for the past few decades have termed "dumbing down": less education, less attempts at achieving and maintaining high intellect, and as 19th century America experienced, anti-intellectualism (see historian Richard Hofstadter). But even in the midst of a declining civilization, I find hope, I find high intellect, I find literary excellence--might I say, I find literary genius.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Darren Speegle, an under-extolled intellect of highest quality, nay of brilliance. CRIES FROM THE STATIC, his new collection, I shall return to again and again throughout eternity, revelling in its sheer ineffability (while simultaneously searching out his every other work, and witnessing my intellect and imagination expand).

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review: Bad Man

Bad Man Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: BAD MAN by Dathan Auerbach

An engrossing horror novel which seems to start out carefully, but almost immediately segues into flat-out horror, from then on BAD MAN is non-stop horror, tragedy, grief, suspense, terror. There are no "normal" folks in this story (except perhaps Clint, Ben and Eric's father, store cashier Chelsea and a neighbor, James) but I think these are present more as a reflective backdrop in which we watch the dysfunctional, the villainous, the evil, and the barely-human abusers.

This novel is rife with the constant churning ups and downs which must be common in all cases of abducted or missing children, or runaways, when the child has not been located, either alive and recoverable, or deceased: the long durations without news, the mistaken or willfully intentionally false sightings, the unending grief, the fraying of family connections, the awareness that the loved ones left behind no longer hold a connection with "normals" (read: the unbereaved). But throughout the horror is unrelinquished and unmitigated. Throughout is the Shadow of the Store, in which or from which a joyful three-year-old boy "disappeared." Throughout is the oppressive influence and personality of Store manager Bill Palmer. There is something wrong in this quiet, almost backwater, North Florida town. There is something wrong at the Store. There is a lot wrong in the protagonist. In the end, who or what is the responsible, the culpable party--and why?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: Creep

Creep Creep by R.M. Greenaway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: CREEP by R. C. Greenaway
(B. C. BLUES #3)

CREEP is an exciting wild ride of a police procedural thriller, third in R. C. Greenaway's B. C. BLUES series, about RCMP officers in British Columbia, Canada. Deeply characterized, this mystery leaves the reader pondering exactly what is reality: what is the line between mental illness and the paranormal, and at what point does a seemingly "normal" individual completely lose the concept of right vs. wrong? I pondered also why, in this era of modern medical research and widespread education, mental illness can still be so readily overlooked or ignored, to tragic consequences.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: The Silent Girls

The Silent Girls The Silent Girls by Ann Troup
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE SI LENT GIRLS by Ann Troup

This engrossing mystery (along with a mystery of the same title I had just read, by Dylan Young) reminds me exactly what I love about "psychological horror " Ms. Troup masterfully sets a stage, then populates it with a series of then-and-now, interconnected plots and characters. Leading with a shocking reader's hook, the novel becomes, in a sense, a validation of that supremely wise quote of George Santayana: "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it." In the square at Winfield, those who remember keep silent, and the next generation remains in the dark. Yet even secrets fifty years old or older refuse to forever stay buried. Sometimes there results poetic justice, sometimes vengeance, sometimes evil rejoices.

THE SILENT GIRLS is definitely a stay-up-to-all-hours read.

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Review: The Death Run

The Death Run The Death Run by Destiny Hawkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE DEATH RUN by Destiny Hawkins

This short story (which I think would be an exciting novel) left me speechless. At every twist (and there were many) author Destiny Hawkins managed something new and different, something I couldn't have expected. She also juggled several character points-of-view and really brought us inside their heads (in a couple of cases, where I really didn't want to go), eliciting our empathy (and our stricken "oh no!"). Set in a Dystopian construct that literally made me shudder, a situation in which death is the most hopeful outcome, operated by individuals whose sociopathy and hubris are far off the charts. I read this in literally one sitting, it was so rocket-speed paced. I still want to know, "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?"

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Review: The Silent Girls

The Silent Girls The Silent Girls by Dylan Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE SILENT GIRLS by Dylan Young

I don't think I've ever met a British police procedural I didn't love. THE SILENT GIRLS is certainly no exception. Fast-paced and suspenseful, this mystery is also character-driven, including but not limited to, the female protagonist, Detective Sergeant Anna Gwynne, and the villain-killer adopting the appellation "The Woodsman." The novel also expertly sounds themes of criminal justice, including railroading of suspects in order to close a case, possible corruption in law enforcement, and the dangers of closed-mindedness (in which the truth cannot be discovered because one believes the truth is already known).

THE SILENT GIRLS is engrossing, and I anticipate reading more from this author.

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Review: The Shunned House

The Shunned House The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: The Naturalist

The Naturalist The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE NATURALIST by Andrew Mayne

Professor Theo Cray is champion! I loved this book, and I can't wait for the next. Professor of bioinformatics at the University of Texas-Austin (Ph.D. MIT), Theo is a genius in systems and in computer programming, and the usual feckless absent-minded scientist, lacking consummate social skills. In Montana studying ecosystems, he is distraught to learn a former student has been killed in a forest, seemingly in a bear attack. Then Theo is accused; soon he's using the computer program he designed to map missing person cases in the area. He's on the track of a stone killer who will stop at nothing; and nobody in law enforcement will believe Theo, until it's too late.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Review: Broken Shells

Broken Shells Broken Shells by Michael Patrick Hicks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: BROKEN SHELLS by Michael Patrick Hicks

I was totally enraptured by the author's earlier novel MASS HYSTERIA, and found his newest, BROKEN SHELLS, the very definition of a page-turner. The book flew by so fast I was amazed to find myself at the end {and oh, such an end!} From the introductory page I thought I would probably be reading either a serial killer plot, or possibly (with its reference to "buried secrets") about an antagonist with ties to organized crime. Oh no, no, no. Mr. Hicks takes a legend common to several indigenous North American tribes, then TWISTS it--oh, does he twist it!-to deliver a horror that's truly implacable, and a generational legacy that prides itself--and closes eyes to the decades of blood on its hands. Like Nazi concentration camp guards and staff who "only followed orders," this family's males are sworn to "protect" the world from what inhabits the underground caverns. {Yeah, right.}

If it's an incredibly riveting extreme creature horror that effectively discerns and exposes certain contemporary ingrained societal blasphemies, look right here. Michael Patrick Hicks delivers right-between-the-eyes terror, and I love it.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review: Mudcat

Mudcat Mudcat by John Quick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MUDCAT by John Quick

MUDCAT is one superlative horror novel! Everything I look for in creature horror and more! The prologue blew me out of the water {intentional analogy!} with a scene of extreme horror I could never have imagined, then rocketed right on with one intensity after another! Implacable horror--evolution gone to extremes, with interspersed subtle suggestions that the evolutionary mutations weren't Nature, but likely human-designed, or at least nudged. All this--a creature nigh unstoppable--and what's the prime motivator in every biological organism? Hunger! An organism this size gets extremely hungry, extremely frequently. When you factor in that this creature is not blindly biological, but has a functioning intelligence--nothing can stop it. All this, and CHARACTER EVOLUTION! I absolutely adore MUDCAT!

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: The Unknown Devil: A C.T. Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery

The Unknown Devil: A C.T. Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery The Unknown Devil: A C.T. Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery by Tom Fowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE UNKNOWN DEVIL by Tom Fowler
(A CT Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery Book 2)

THE UNKNOWN DEVIL is a delightfully intriguing and very fast-paced thriller-mystery starring a remarkably likable protagonist {that's become a rarity} who is far beyond my usual sphere, but is eminently empathetic nonetheless. CT Ferguson is an expert computer hacker and coder, university graduate, wealthy enough not to need to work, son of wealthy philanthropic parents. He became a PI after some years in Hong Kong, his empathetic traits and desire to help others as strong as ever. Here he leaps in to rescue another coder genius, who exemplifies feckless victim perfectly. Ransomware, the Baltimore Mafia contingent, and a Mob loose cannon with anger issues and sociopathy also get mixed in, to detrimental results. But our intrepid PI protagonist continues to carry the day and simultaneously endear himself.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: Key of Midgard

Key of Midgard Key of Midgard by Sarah-Jayne Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: ICE WARRIORS KEY OF MIDGARD by Sarah-Jayne Briggs

A thrilling reader's hook propels readers nonstop into an exciting and compelling tale of a group of young moderns conscripted into a battle of and for the Ages. For them, ancient Norse mythology is not myth cycle nor a subject of study. It's a real life enterprise, and these are battles they must engage in.

If you love Norse mythology, as do I, or if you just want a rousing magical fantasy thriller, check this out!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: The Dead House: A Novel

The Dead House: A Novel The Dead House: A Novel by Billy O'Callaghan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE DEAD HOUSE by Billy O'Callaghan

I sped through this exciting and enlightening literary supernatural thriller in a day; I couldn't separate myself from the story. I was so engrossed in empathy with the protagonists: Michael, Maggie, Allison; and with the fulcrum character, Liz--and much later, with the child Hannah, who may be the target, or who may be another fulcrum character. {By fulcrum character, I am meaning the individual whose lever applied just at the crossroads crux situation quite literally changes the path and direction of the story.}

In no way am I about to imply derivativeness: THE DEAD HOUSE is perfect in its originality, and I believe its drama to be quintessentially Irish. Yet in certain portions (specifically Michael's return visit to the painter Maggie's cottage, her new paintings and sketches, and the way in which Maggie encapsulates her new view of "the way things really are"), I perceived somewhat of both a Lovecraftian tone, and of the rural prime madness of the countryside of Thomas Hardy' s moors. Then in the Epilogue, several elements combine to resonate for me with the subtle unendable terrors of Henry James' "Turn of The Screw." Yet again, these literary allusions are my perception, not derivation.

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Review: Elsham's End

Elsham's End Elsham's End by H.J. Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: ELSHAM' S END by HJ Williams

This debut supernatural mystery was also my introduction to a vastly talented author who capably weaves multiple layers of theme, plotting, character, and time frames to keep the reader wildly engrossed and eager for the protagonists to succeed, if at all possible. (With an antagonist of this strength and might, success is never assured.)

A family living outside a small English village lives a content life, for the most part, somewhat insular, but rather well off economically. Life is comfortably routine, until suddenly, it is anything but. A neighboring home burns and the family dies; eighteen-year-old son John meets his true love, opening a Pandora' s web of supernatural horror; lives are fraught, gained, and lost. The suspense is constant and total, maintaining edge-of-the-seat breathlessness throughout. I so much enjoyed it I went straight on to purchase Mr. Williams' equally engrossing second novel, THE SHADE CLAN.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Review: The Last Alchemist

The Last Alchemist The Last Alchemist by Erik Hamre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE LAST ALCHEMIST by Erik Hamre

I found THE LAST ALCHEMIST wildly engrossing, surprisingly so because the foundation is ostensibly about wealth and why some have it and most don't . But like a tasty onion, this novel builds in layers upon layers upon layers. Utilizing my current favorite protagonist type, the feckless hero, we soon acquire multiple wild goose chases across Europe, many characters who turn out to be facades, Nazi history and the Nazi occult obsession, life and death and the fourth dimension. I couldn't put it down!

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Review: Alone

Alone Alone by George Kane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ALONE by George Kane

Tautly-plotted, ALONE commences with enticing cover art and a great if gory reader's hook. The outcome for a small Australian community foreshadows the terror to visit a tiny isolated rural English village. By the end, relationships and alliances are reformed, broken, forged; the village experiences unexplainable natural disaster, lives are lost. The author superbly weaves preternatural evil with the evil resident in the human heart.

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