Posts Tagged ‘Dark Regions Press’

William Meikle Double Bill

January 21, 2014 - 12:24 am No Comments

The Ravine
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Page count: 218pp
Release Date: 19th November 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Written by prolific author William Meikle, The Ravine is a period Western horror in Meikle’s inimitable style.
Captain David Stevens has been on tour of duty for nine months now and is getting antsy for action or home. Hoping for rest that was unlikely, Stevens was sent out to investigate something strange happening in the west badlands. On his mission, he sees a vortex whirling black in the distance but it is no natural phenomenon; the vortex sucking the platoon deep inside. When they emerge from the vortex it’s night and one of the men is dead. And the night sky, which Stevens should’ve known, is unfamiliar to him. And then the group of soldiers hear a scream, and find their dead friend being tortured by a winged ten foot creature enrobed in blackness. So begins a dark journey into the old west blending the best of horror with the vibe of The Valley of Gwangi.

Further down stream, on a trail in the ravine herding cattle, when Joe, Doyle and Joe’s son Tommy find water, it appears to be a life saver for them and their town, but there is something strange about the water and the fish that swim there.

As always, Meikle’s writing is emotional and incredibly visual. The story itself is wonderfully apocalyptic and dark, perfect for fans of old school horror and adventure. And some of the descriptions Meikle uses are gross enough to cause nausea in the reader, and the monsters in this novel are almost Lovecraftian in their perversity and reminiscent of Carpenters The Thing

Samurai and other Stories
Author: William Meikle
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Page count: 132pp
Release Date: 25th January 2014
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Prolific writer William Meikle here reprints a collection of previously published short stories together in one volume with Crystal Lake Publishing. The collection starts with the lead story Samurai, and Cap’n Duncan on a Japan Run. When his boat is lost only five of fifty five men make it out alive. On an island they take refuge in what appears to be a temple, a welcoming temple with food and warmth, but what’s the catch?

Meikle’s stories are imbued with a sense of old codes of conduct and honour, the sins of man and greed, the supernatural and the just plain weird. His stories are also visual and full of literal and metaphorical colour. Rickman’s Plasma, an unusual piece about a form of music devouring all those in its way is almost an homage to The Blob. Meikle’s turn of phrase is entertaining and also grim and visceral. In this story anaphora is used to comic effect.
Home is the Sailor is the story of a cursed hotel, occupied by pensioners gradually decaying away and is perhaps the most darkly humorous of the stories in this collection. Turn Again, in contrast is a short piece but the least satisfying of the collection.

The collection spans centuries and cultures adding diversity to the readers enjoyment. However Meikle seems rather fond of the name Duncan, perhaps because of his Scottish heritage. Yet this heritage adds a depth of culture to much of his work, particularly The Scottsmans Fiddle. He is adept at using lyrics, limericks and shanti songs to add flavour to his stories. A particularly strong story is The Havenhome, the tale of a ship that arrives in a deserted town where all of the inhabitants have been frozen to death beyond all reason. Meikle brings out a much darker style in Living the Dream, a story of obsession and kidnapping.
Overall, this is an engaging insight into Meikle’s work and I would say I enjoyed 99% of the stories, with their variety of flavour and Meikle’s obvious talent. Great value for money.

Addicted to the Dead

January 10, 2014 - 4:47 pm No Comments

Addicted to the Dead
Author: Shane McKenzie
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Page count: 278pp
Release Date: 22nd October 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Featuring an introduction by Joe McKinney about violence making sense in horror, he talks about the relevance of Night of the Living Dead and race relations of 60s. America. McKinney describes Addicted to the Dead as shocking and in some senses extreme but the discussion of addiction relevant to current society. He declares it to be the cutting edge of zombie fiction, an in some ways he isn’t far wrong.

The novel starts with main protagonist Calico (a black man with pink skin birth marks/blemishes) dragging an addict girl by her hair, as she begs ‘like they always do’, then dumping her on a film set of what appears to be a ‘Corpse Snuff’ film preceded by the girls violent rape. Then the girl wakes up – dead. As the assailant continues to rape the dead girl he bites a piece of her flesh and starts to eat. This then is the violent and graphic beginning of Addicted to the Dead.

In the next ‘scene’ masses of people are queuing at the store for their daily dose of meat, squirming, wriggling pieces of dead flesh, that ironically, will prevent the eater from rising after death but will also cause addiction if eaten too much. Everyone apart from young Paco’s family is queuing for their dose of meat from Ted Fleet.
In this new world there are hardly any children and young Paco wants to know why. But a TV program informs him it’s because the meat makes people infertile. Paco would buy the meat if he could so he wouldn’t have to worry about what happened to him after he died, but his family can’t afford it and hunt instead. Paco learnt all about the addicts from the TV. The right meat means you won’t come back from the dead.
Primarily, my issue with the concept is that eating dead wiggling zombified meat actually prevents the eater from coming back from the dead, which I couldn’t quite get my head around to start with, but as the novel progresses so does the logic.
“Eat your portion of Ted Fleets Dead Meats every day, year round, and keep your body in the ground.”
When Pacos Dad finds a shambler in the woods and prepares it for his family, Paco is the only one who doesn’t eat the meat, so is the only one left alive whilst his family turn into shamblers themselves, but something is different about Sophia.
McKenzie’s depiction of addiction is on the money but without the inherent sympathy; Calico is not a nice guy. Or at least he appears to be to start with, until you realise he is very much the anti-hero with his own code of honour and morals.
The text is quite harsh in places as Calico us a hard aggressive character and his opinions are less then savoury. If harsh language and crude sex offends you this is not a book for you. The text is lively and visceral.
I was also uncomfortable with the portrayal and representation of female characters in the novel who seemed shallow and addicted to sex and there are quite a few scenes of female masterbation, rape and gang rape. Saying that, Calico’s daughter Beauty is a strong female character.
The image of meat addicts who are living but eat the dead is an interesting inversion of the zombie horde. The city itself is a post apocalyptic nightmare, all tortured and decayed buildings swarmed by shambling addicts. McKenzie also has a knack for ending chapters on cliffhangers then swapping perspective to keep you hooked. There’s an enjoyable noir gangster vibe to the novel. Unfortunately the ending itself leaves the reader a little short changed, because although you can guess the ending is bloody, the question of Calico and his daughter Beauty is not fully resolved.
However, this is a challenging book that certainly breaks new ground in the zombie genre. Well worth a read.

Wolf Hunt

May 31, 2013 - 5:39 pm No Comments

Wolf Hunt
Author: Jeff Strand
Publisher: Dark Region Press
Page count: 252pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Meet George and Lou; thugs for hire, and dent collectors, they will happily break your bones if it comes to it, though Lou is a tad squeamish. Don’t get him wrong, Lou is great with knives but a little bit nervous when it comes to the bone breaking. George however, has no such compunction.
The novel starts with George and Lou on a job, collecting $63,000 and the odd broken bone from a shifty old guy who has stolen from a drug lord. Not the most clever of things in the world to do! Both George and Lou are literally the ‘heavies’ both standing well over 6ft tall. So, they seem like the perfect goons to transport a man in a cage across Florida. The man? Well, he’s a werewolf. It should be an easy gig, after all, there are no such things as werewolves, right?
Ivan the ‘werewolf’ is only slightly annoying at first, and the banter as he cajoles George and Lou is incredibly fun; Ivan is a real smart-arse and the dialogue between George and Lou flies thick and fast. In fact, the bickering between George and Lou is rather like that of an old married couple or siblings, and is filled with witty one-liners, almost reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs.
Delightfully funny and gory, this is a wonderful blend of comedy and horror that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go. Jeff Strand is a name to watch. I could not put this down and read it in one sitting.

Sideshow

May 28, 2013 - 11:03 pm No Comments

Sideshow
Author: William Ollie
Publisher: Dark Region Press
Page count: 214pp
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Step right up ladies and gentlemen, and come along to . . . the Sideshow.

This quirky and enjoyable horror novel starts ‘many years ago’, when after listening to rumours, young soldier Stanley Johnson is desperate to go to the local carnival, with all of its grotesqueries, gambling and other tantalizing temptations. Much to his surprise, it is full of rednecks rather than kids and is much more like a fly by night open air casino.
Stanley watches the action with a knowing smile and enters the sideshow tent anticipating the sight of freaks and carny’s. Disgusted by what he sees, Stanley gives the tall old gentleman, the Sideshow Barker, a really big piece of his mind. But it isn’t the sideshow he’s interested in. He’s really there for the strippers. Entranced by the deformed yet delicious stripper, and drunk on whisky, Stanley yells a torrent of abuse at the poor woman; something he may regret for a very long time!
Switch to the present, and young Justin Henry and his friend Mickey Reardon are excited by the approach of Halloween in their small town of Pottsboro, Carolina. Young Mickey tells Justin about the carnival tents he literally saw grow out at Godby’s field, a place with a dark and twisted history of racial abuse relevant to its Deep South residents and the growing tale. This is Hannibal Cobb’s Kansas City Carnival, and the residents are in for one hell of a surprise.
Reminiscent of similar ‘carnival’ sub-genre horrors such as Funhouse, The Vampire’s Assistant, and The Traveling Vampire Show, ‘with touches of Stand By Me, the tension builds steadily in this fun-filled romp. Told from multiple points-of-view we get to know the varied residents of Pottsboro and for those we don’t really like, we can anticipate a truly dismal and drastic demise. This is visceral and imaginative horror at its best, the beauty of the book being that the horror happens for a real and valid reason. Justin, as the child protagonist is very well written and we become engrossed in his journey. This is a real love story to middle town America, and Ollie is now a name I would recommend to any horror fans.

Books for Good

March 25, 2013 - 12:32 pm No Comments

I bring you a message from genre publishers Dark Regions Press

Dear customers,
I wanted to tell you about our sale starting this Tuesday. It’s our first “Sale For Good” – every book sold is a book donated to a school, library or military base. We will be donating many of these books to libraries/schools/military bases in the Southern Oregon area, but will have a full list on the website with the initiation of the sale. Customers are invited to choose the destination of their donations.

Every in-stock item will be discounted up to 90% off retail price.

We’ll be offering the new DRP Book sets, including 10x deluxe hardcover sets, 20x trade paperbacks and even every single book we have in stock. These sets will be available when the sale begins on Tuesday. Take a look at our new book sets on the product page located here: http://www.darkregions.com/books/dark-regions-press-book-sets-save-up-to-5-350

We’re also going to be selling our laminated dust jackets that have some fantastic horror, fantasy and science fiction artwork for just $5 a dust jacket and will also be selling damaged books for the first time as well.

Our goal is to donate 1,000 books or more. This will also enable DRP to pursue some exciting new projects planned for later this year.

We hope you join us on Tuesday, March 26th for the Sale For Good. I’m excited to say we’re also going to be hosting a local event here in Ashland, Oregon on April 5th with the same concept (each book sold is a book donated). If you happen to live in Oregon or near the California border stop by and get a cookie, some coffee and a book or two.

DRP is open to requests for other forms of payment and shipping, so don’t feel constrained by what’s offered on the website if you would prefer to pay via check or money order, for example. Just contact us under the “Help” menu and let us know your request.

Of course, any help in promoting the sale, such as tweeting, Facebooking or blogging is greatly appreciated.

Thank you, and hope to see you at DarkRegions.com this Tuesday!