Posts Tagged ‘dark horror’

Whispered Echoes by Paul F Olson

June 23, 2017 - 6:36 pm No Comments

Whispered Echoes by Paul F Olson

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 23rd June 2017

275 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Having only read Indie authors for just over a year I had not had the pleasure of reading any of the author’s work. However, when I was offered the chance to read a collection of his dark horror stories in one book and being a lover of short stories, how could I say no.

Before I even got to the stories I found the introduction by Paul F Olson fascinating, how he explained the history behind the creation of some of the stories and the lengths he had go to, to get these stories to the format we all know. It shows my age as I remember floppy discs.

For this review, I am going to pick a couple of my favourites, but with 11 short stories and a novella I was spoilt for a choice.

Homecoming:  Beckett was having a relaxing drink in a rundown bar, when he noticed a teenager having a drink, having a son the same age, he thought he may be in trouble. Having offered to take him home, he did not expect what he found. This story lulls you into a false sense of security however the further you read the creepier is gets. Whilst you know something is not right, you don’t expect the ending, then it hits you.

The More Things Change: Elvin lives in a town that nothing stays the same, it gets more surreal over time. The animals talk, the sky is green at the moment but can change every day structures change shape and texture and my favourite; bears riding Harleys, this is only a few things that are affecting this town and whilst at the start the residents find it quite fun, over time, the cracks start to appear and they are looking for someone to blame. Written from Elvin’s POV, this story is showing an apocalyptic at its funniest and whilst it is humorous, there was a serious side showing the mob culture, when they want changes.

Faith and Henry Gustafson:  Henry Gustafson gets a call in the dead of night about a murder at a disused summer camp, but when he gets there he is in for a surprise. This story reminded me a lot of those slasher movies set in the woods. This story was full of suspense and not knowing what to expect made it a really quick read.

Bloodybones: Amy loves life, an action junkie, who lives in a lighthouse. This story follows her on a regular journey home and the aftermath of that fatal Saturday afternoon. This story is intense from the start, starting with the race against the storm, you can feel Amy’s concerns and fears. The story then changes to her boyfriend’s POV we follow each step of his investigation. Reading from his POV makes the story more harrowing as you can feel his loss and when Amy’s sister comes to visit, you get the feeling that he thinks he is losing his mind. The more they investigate Amy, the more sinister the story gets, as they come across a creature called Bloodybones, who reminds me of Slenderman, created by adults to scare their children. A great story with a dramatic ending

This a great selection of short stories that will have looking over your shoulder whilst you read it. Now I have read Paul F Olson’s work I will look out for more

The Painting of Martel by L Bachman and Put on a Happy Face by Terry M West. 2 short stories that will give you a fright

June 9, 2017 - 7:44 pm No Comments

The Painting of Martel: A Short Story by L Bachman

Published on 1st May 2017

14 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

People have always had a fascination of serial killers; some go one step further and try and own memorabilia. Damon was one of these people, after coming across a book about clown serial killer James Martel, his interest soon becomes an obsession when he finds out that Martel’s final painting is up for sale and Damon wants to own it regardless of the consequences.

With a lot of people scared of clowns, this story will play on their fears. From start to finish this book will put you on edge. The style of writing has you feel that something is about to happen but you don’t know when. Although this is a short story there is so much going on and you get to know about Martel and his victims whilst Damon is doing his research. At the start, I did feel sorry for Kenneth as Damon’s fascination was looking to be getting out of control, but the twist at the end soon gets rid of those feelings.

A short scary read which will keep thinking about the painting even after you have finished it. A must read for horror lovers

 

Put on a Happy Face: A Short Horror Story by Terry M West

Published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment on 9th March 2014

82 Pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Living in an old large house Susie Monroe only had her older brother Billy for company. Used to her own company, she only had the abandon toys to play with. One of her favourite items was an old record player which she played her favourite song “Put on a Happy Face”. She only saw her brother whilst he was wearing a mask, he had a different mask for every emotion. Although what secrets was Billy keeping, why didn’t their visitors eat breakfast with them and why were they in hiding.

A sweet and innocent girl Susie never asks questions of her brother. With the help of the masks worn by her brother, Susie always understood his moods and always tried to please him.

From the start of the story, you have the sense something is not right, but as the story progress, you get to know more of their story. There is something creepy about people wearing masks and Terry M West captures this with his writing.  The apprehensiveness I felt whilst reading this made it a quick read as I wanted to know more about this unusual family. If you have a spare ½ hour for a scare than get this book and put on a happy face.

The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride by Lisa Vasquez

May 8, 2017 - 10:06 pm No Comments

The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride by Lisa Vasquez

Published by Stitched Smile Publications on 20th January 2017

266 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Set in plague hit England, the story follows Dr Angus Wulfe. An egocentric doctor who only had eyes for Morrigan, but due to his badly scarred face and the way he lusts after her she would not give him the time of day. However, when the plague hits her home, he knew that he could get what he wanted, if only he could make the cure. What cost to lives does it take to cure the love of his life.

From the opening scene, you know what type of man Dr Wulfe is. A Dr with no bedside manner, who whilst having a prestigious job, still felt inferior amongst the high class. An arrogant man who had a sadistic, evil streak. When it came to him experimenting and his ideas to save Morrigan he was more like Jack the Ripper and no woman was safe. Like any gentleman, Angus had his man servant Marshall, who was able to adapt to any situation. Due to the amount of gold he received he usually turned a blind eye to Angus’ behaviour. However, when Marshall’s curiosity got too much, Angus had his revenge. By the end of this story I was backing Marshall all the way.

Morrigan and her family were your typical upper class and whilst her behaviour to Angus was not ladylike, I did not blame her one bit. I felt sorry for her when she got ill and the experiments Angus did to her.

This is the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. From page one you are hit with graphic scenes and it really sets you up for a great read. Any book set in history should always be researched and this story will not disappoint, as you could tell that a lot of research had gone into creating the story.  Throughout this story, I was feeling sorry for some of Angus’ victims and I was willing Marshall to find out his secret. Angus’ past is revealed in detail and it does explain why he acted how he did. The characters were well developed as I had an instant dislike to the doctor. This book is dark, well written and enough twists to make it a page turner. The ending came as a surprise and scenes between Morrigan and Robert were heart-breaking. A slant on The bride of Frankenstein makes this a must read for any dark horror reader. I cannot wait for what else the author brings out because if it is as dark as this one then I will definitely read it.

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W Cain

April 1, 2017 - 10:42 pm No Comments

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W Cain

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 30th March 2017

217 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

 

As a fan of short stories, I jumped at the chance to read this book.  As usual when I read a collection of short stories I have my favourites, so for this review I will mention the ones that stood out for me.

To Save One Life: This short story is about a serial killer. Due to this being written from the Hero’s POV, you can really imagine being in the room whilst the killer does the deed. I can guarantee that you will be as surprised as me when you find out who the hero is.

Final Breath: Glenda is sitting by her dying daughter’s bed and makes a statement that she tries to keep. This is a story about a mother’s grief and as a mom myself, my heart was with Glenda. I can understand why she did what she did and the fear of the chase makes this story a page turner.

Pirouette: Like the majority of young girls Maddie wants to be a ballerina and spends all her time at home practising. Unfortunately, unlike other girls Maddie’s home is not a happy one. This story tackles domestic violence, which is always a difficult subject to tackle and although some of the scenes were harrowing, this story went to show how brave Maddie and her mom where.

A Window to Dream by: Seth is staying in a hotel whilst working away from home and comes obsessed with a mysterious woman. As she is not your stereotypical beautiful woman I could not understand why he had such a fascination. However, as the story progressed and the scenes got more descriptive, showed how obsessed Seth was and what he was willing to lose. A good twist at the end involving the group of homeless men.

Water Snake. This is one of the creepiest stories in this book. If you have a fear of swimming in open water than do not read this. This story was intense and you knew something was going to happen, but even I was surprised how the story progressed. A fast pace story with so much action, it puts some full-length stories to shame.

Not having read anything before by Kenneth W Cain, I did not know what to expect, but from page 1 I enjoyed reading each and every word. Each story is individual and you will not find two stories the same, whether it is a widower grieving for his lost wife or an ancient hermit hiding in his cave. With 25 stories, this book will keep you entertained for hours. A great read that lets your imagination run wild.

Gristle and Bones by Duncan Ralston

February 5, 2017 - 11:30 am No Comments

Gristle and Bones by Duncan Ralston

Published by Shadow Work Publishing on 17th June 2014

274 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

For this anthology, the author has taken a regular human need or action and turned them into seven dark stories, each one completely different from the one before.

Baby Teeth: Candace and Joel really want a baby, but after Candance was told she couldn’t have children, they slowly drifted apart. However, when Candance started hearing noises in the house, she did not expect the outcome. Reading this story, you definitely know that this is horror as the way the author described what happened to Candace was one of the darkest scenes I have read which was not what I expected.

Beware of the Dog: When Dean needed counselling for his PTSD, he knew that he had to go home and seek professional help. Going back home drags up old memories and the fears he had as a young boy resurfaces, but the saying “A dog is a man’s best friend” is definitely true. This is a moving story about a man who has to face his childhood fears and the guilt he still had over a childhood fight. Meeting up with his teenage crush was a pleasant surprise.

Viral: When a girl’s disappearance goes viral, Tara Maxwell manages to persuade her editor to let her investigate. This quite a sad story as there are a lot of people that are invisible and are able to hide their pain from the outside world. A very thoughtful story.

Artifact: A group of friends are highly successful in the porn industry, what their customer don’t know is that they trick the girls into performing for the camera. Everything was going well until an unexpected visitor gets revenge. This is a story about revenge, although a ghost story, it shows the seedy side of the porn industry.

End User: Mason is getting emails and videos from an unknown source. This story is full of suspense, and you are kept guessing who is responsible and the reason behind it until the very end.

Fat of the Land: David and June are on vacation, and they come across a restaurant where they try the most amazing food, but where did the meat come from. David and June had grown comfortable together and June started to notice small things that irritated her. Although I had my suspicions about the food, I enjoyed reading this story. The description of the meal made you feel as if you were in the restaurant eating the meal. The dramatic scenes after the meal, made this story a real page turner.

Scavengers: We have all heard of people who dumpster dive, to find food that has just been thrown out, but when Jim comes across a dumpster diver that can threaten life, he knows that he has to take action. This was one of my favourites and the longest story in the book. Written from the neighbour’s retelling of the events, this story had everything horror, suspense and action. I loved the idea of a new creature terrorising the streets and the description on how they moved reminding me of the girl from The Ring.

This book was a great introduction for me to the author’s work and I loved each story. The majority of this book I could see being made into a TV show like Tales of the Unexpected, as the descriptive way the author tells a story, makes you feel that you are there watching it scene by scene. A good read