Posts Tagged ‘dark horror’

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

The Unforgiven Anthology by J.L. Clayton,  R.L. Weeks,  K.L. Humphreys,  Becca Moree,  R.B. Wood, and Steven Evans 

October 30, 2016 - 8:16 am No Comments

The Unforgiven Anthology by J.L. Clayton, R.L. Weeks,  K.L. Humphreys,  Becca Moree,  R.B. Wood, and Steven Evans

Published 30th  October 2016

125 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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The anthology consists of 6 short dark stories.

 

Seeing Red by JL Clayton: If you have every read Carrie then you will understand Challis’s life. One horrific event changed Challis’s for ever but when she meets Natalya, her life completely changed. Whilst a short story Challis character develops from a meek and mild to strong and determined in just a couple of pages. This story gives scope to a series and I for one would love to read it.

Twisted Insanity by RL Weeks: Jacob has been stuck in a psychiatric unit for 10 years after being charged with murder. Convincing the doctors, he is now sane, Jacob is released into the outside world. His first stop is to see his daughter and ex-wife, but when he sees them things are not how he planned he decided to take action. The twists the author puts into this story, makes it a page turner. The mind games played on Gale were priceless. The ending was unexpected, a great read.

Truth or Dare, by K.L. Humphreys: When a woman goes missing after finding a severed hand, The Missing Persons Unit, knows they have not got long to save her. Becca cannot believe who the madman is. This story introduces you to a new police team who from the start really bond to find the serial killer. Although I was surprised who the serial killer was, I enjoyed who the team got to the reason of why he did it. This story leads nicely to a series and I would like to know more about the unit.

Hell House, by Becca Moree: Erin decides to celebrate Halloween differently by visiting the Carnival of darkness. But what she was watching was it real or make believe. This was one creepy story, the scenes in the hell house were so descriptive your felt as you are following Erin’s journey.  I would not be entering that Hell House if I had all the money in the world.

Poison Pen, by R.B.Wood: Marty was a struggling author who was battling his wife and literacy agent until he made a deal with a foreign stranger and received a mysterious pen. I loved the idea of having this pen and at the beginning you do feel sorry for Marty, however thanks to the twist the author gives this story you hope that Marty gets his just desert.

White Wedding: Reckoning, by Steven Evans: Jess is about to go into an arranged marriage, set up by her rich abusive father. His only interests are his wealth and making a good impression. Jess’s only friend is Jen her doll that she has had since she was 8 years old. Jen hears all her problems and sees all her tears and hearing Jess pleas for help, decides to inflict revenge. Every little girl had a doll that she would tell her secrets to but if Chucky was a girl then it would be Jen, the revenge inflicted was brutal but poetic. I was backing Jen all the way and even when the acts were done she always made sure her best friend was safe and protected. You even get a HEA.  Another great short story by this author.

Although I have read other stories written by these authors I was still surprised at the quality of the stories. Every story kept my interest and left me wanting to read more. I love dark horror so the graphic scenes did not affect me, in fact these scenes made the stories. Another brilliant anthology from the minds of 6 great authors.