Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

The Rage of Cthulhu by Gary Fry

March 23, 2017 - 7:13 pm No Comments

The Rage of Cthulhu by Gary Fry

Published by Horrific Tales Publishing on 23rd March 2017

98 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After being medically retired George and his wife decide to spend some of what time he has left travelling round the world. Starting off in the picturesque town of Whitby, George stumbles across a derelict foghorn station and whilst he investigates the damage to the building gets embroiled into a mystery of an ancient being which will follow him around the world.

Not having read HP Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, I had no idea what this creature was or the history behind it, but after reading this story, I am curious to find out more. From the start of this story you are drawn into a secret that has not been talked about in 50 years, from listening to the two old men’s tales or reading an ancient Norwegian manuscript, you are taken on a journey around the world only stopping when George gets to his final destination. Whether it was in George’s dreams, visiting different places and seeing new cultures all this added to the mystery of the Cthulhu. The use of George’s illness makes you doubt yourself whilst you are reading it, as I kept wavering between thinking it was all in his head and thinking that he was chasing the monster down. Even finishing this book did not solve my dilemma. I had sympathy for Christine, George’s wife as I felt she was struggling between letting him investigate the mystery and believing him and worrying about his illness.

As it is a novella it is a quick read and it is a book you can finish in one sitting. The suspense builds up slowly and I had to keep reading to find out what happened. Whilst reading it I was expecting something dramatic to happen, but when it did, the descriptive way the author wrote those scenes I was imagining being with George and watching him face his demon.

A well written tale of an ancient monster, this will have you gripped to the end a good horror read.

Angel Manor by Chantal Noordeloos

February 25, 2017 - 8:00 pm No Comments

Angel Manor by Chantal Noordeloos

Published by Horrific Tales Publishing on 12th November 2014

396 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

In honour of Women in Horror month this book was top of my list to read.

Freya has inherited Angel Manor from her “nutty” aunt, ignoring her mom’s wishes to sell it, she decides with her friends to turn it into a hotel. Strange things start as soon as they arrive, but with the nuns still haunting the building can they survive.

Freya was quite a weak needy character. Throughout this story, she never once stood on her own two feet. Whether at the start where she had Oliver and Bam to lean on, or further on with Logan or Marie-Claire, she always had someone there to watch her back. Although rather tiresome, it wasn’t a bad thing as it helped develop the other characters.  One of favourites was Terrance, a minor character but a bad lad trying to go good.

From the prologue to the final page there is enough gruesome action to keep the majority of horror fans happy whilst keeping with the traditional horror theme of the haunted house and the monster in the basement. Having evil nuns was a good idea as I always sense an air of sinisterism with them and feel that they have something to hide.

The suspense and terror builds up as the story progresses and just when you think the story has finished with the ending you expect; the author has one last surprise and another secret is revealed.

A fast-paced action filled book and another author I will follow

 

Blowback by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

February 22, 2017 - 6:20 pm No Comments

Blowback by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

Published by H Harksen Productions on 3rd August 2016

(Alternative Title: Black Propaganda)

Reviewed by Chris Amies

Mackintosh’s tendency is to the dark and the gothic. From the opening story “The first Circus of the New Year” with its atmosphere of high decadence and bloody resolution we are off for a circus ride among the deranged and decadent. “Advertising Autoerotic Asphyxiation” borders the Society of the Spectacle and William S Burroughs’ fixation with hanging and his cynical approach to the modern media, which lurks in the background of most of the stories: the hunger of the mob for blood or indeed circuses.

“The Princess And The Dragon” is a nostalgically sensual tale set in Singapore, and handles a caring S&M relationship better than some recent offerings we can think of. The Pacific Rim features in several stories in this volume – and one of my favourites given my fondness for Lovecraftiana, is “The People of the Island”, suitably full of dread and dampness and a mysterious marginal race clinging to their batrachian gods in an island off Hong Kong.

“Master of Darkness” is essentially a murder mystery set in London though with an interesting mix of perceptions – at first it reads like the 1930s but there are blogs and the unaffordable hollowed-out London of the 21st century. It all depends which character’s viewpoint you are in. This tale has a good use of mythology too, the kind of thing Ben Aaronovitch writes, in a good way but with that monochrome-shot-with-scarlet nod to the clubland mysteries of the 1930s. It could quite easily be a film though whether a period piece starring Basil Rathbone or bring it up to date with Ben Affleck or Cumberbatch is another matter.

“The Island of Dr Bataille” as its title suggests, resembles “The Island of Dr Moreau” in some ways though its resolution is strangely and deliberately low-key; the typical Mackintosh protagonist is often not so much resigned to fate as welcomes it. Similarly in “Coma Berenice” a celebrity finds a unique way to disappear from the world’s attention; as the narrator of “The Mutations of Fame” says, if you want to live whole and long, live invisible and dim. I don’t, Berenice says, want to be there when you do it; and she is and she isn’t. Is she a victim (as many of his female characters are, participating in a voyeuristic ride to desecration or destruction) or a protagonist, or both?

This book does have an alternative title – in some places it is known as “Black Propaganda” which may give you some idea of the kind of thing it is, a kind of Manichean journey into night, but if you find a Mackintosh book called “Black Propaganda” it’s the same stories as “Blowback” so don’t buy it twice. Buy it once though, by all means.

I AM PROVIDENCE by Nick Mamatas

February 8, 2017 - 7:54 pm No Comments

I AM PROVIDENCE by Nick Mamatas. Night Shade Books, New York. $15.99 (US). 241 page paperback. ISBN: 978-1-59780-835-4

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

There is one kind of story that never seems to make sense. It is the first person narration of a person who turns out to be a ghost. The questions that hang over it is, who are they telling this story to, how are they telling it and who is listening? If the spirit has gone on to judgement and is having to justify their presence it becomes a different kind of story. Another kind of story that has a low success rate of being convincing is the one set at a convention, perhaps because genre readers are too familiar with them. It is almost on a par of a writer writing about a writer – we want the story, not the story of how the story was written. But like everything, sometimes you find an exception. Nick Mamatas has set his novel at a convention and the first person narrator is dead. His skill has made it work.

Although there are horror conventions with a Lovecraft theme that are held in Providence, Rhode Island, the one featured in I Am Providence is not one of them. Convention attendees may think they know people who have a resemblance to the characters in this book, but that is superficial. All conferences, whether genre, business or scientific have attendees with similar characteristics. That is to be expected. Here, the Summer Tentacular is the H.P. Lovecraft convention which draws this group of fans to the town. Most of them seem to write in, what they consider, the style of their hero. The impression given is that this is a place to have your ego stroked.

From the beginning, we know that Panossian is dead. He tells us so in the first paragraph. He is just as perplexed about the situation as a critical reader might be. He still seems to be able to think and hear. He wonders if this is a condition for all the dead and if this is a phenomenon that fades as his brain rots. What he does, as there is nothing else he is capable of, is to run through in his mind the events leading up to his murder and to try and make sense of them. He can also hear and try to interpret what is going on in the morgue. This excellently handled device keeps the plot going forward as well as filling in gaps in the narrative that only the victim would be aware of.

Paralleling, Panossian’s story, is that of Colleen Danzig. This her first Summer Tentacular and is the outsider through whose eyes we see the other, quirky characters. She appears to be an otherwise well-adjusted human. She becomes involved because, in order to save money, she is sharing a room with Panossian. They have not met before now, except on-line. Because of this, she is asked to identify the body. She is the viewpoint character in the present away from the morgue and aware of any developments in the police investigation.

The murder seems to revolve around a rare book which the author has bound in human skin. For this reason he hasn’t been able sell it on eBay, because they have a policy against auctioning body parts, and skin counts as such. Panossian was sent one of the only five in existence and has a private buyer for it, though for much of the time there is doubt over the existence of the book, or the potential transaction.

Mamatas is an author well versed in the writings and cult of H.P. Lovecraft and to add to the delight of the book, each chapter heading is the title of a Lovecraft story. The design of the book adds interest as tentacles insert themselves into the pages. And tentacles wind through the plot as the origins of the events here stretch back to a time beyond. Recommended.

13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction by Savannah Blevins, Marissa Farrar, Thomas S. Flowers, Taylor Henderson, Erin Lee, Carissa Ann Lynch, Bradon Nave, D.A. Roach, Samie Sands, Sara Schoen, S. Valentine, Jackie Sonnenberg, Luke Swanson

December 22, 2016 - 10:12 pm No Comments

13: An Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction by Savannah Blevins, Marissa Farrar, Thomas S. Flowers, Taylor Henderson, Erin Lee, Carissa Ann Lynch, Bradon Nave, D.A. Roach, Samie Sands, Sara Schoen, S. Valentine, Jackie Sonnenberg, Luke Swanson

Published on 4th October 2016 by Limitless Publishing LLC

435 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

32188483When I saw this book advertised I knew that I had to buy it. Having read books from the majority of the authors I knew that it would be a good buy, and I was not disappointed. As I enjoyed every story I will give a short review on each one:

Mèrchante Reine by Savannah Blevins: Set in the 19th Century this a short story about Lake, an orphan who is on a mission to kill a witch who is terrorising Sanctuary. Most of this story was between Lake and Abram, the son of the family who took her in, madly in love with her, Lake did not feel worthy of his love. She was a very determined and strong minded girl who knew what she had to do to free her town. It wasn’t the ended I expected but tied up the story perfectly

Room 313 by Thomas S Flower: Will Fenning’s life has gone downhill, recently separated and a failing business. Once a brave man he ends up in an airport hotel, to do the only thing he can think of doing. Whilst reading this I did feel sorry for Will as everything went wrong for him. This story was very descriptive, full of suspense building up to a dramatic ending. Another great story by Thomas S Flower.

The Devil’s Daughter by Marissa Farrar: Set in Peru, Erika is doing a story on an ancient tribe, documenting their customs and traditions, but what she did not expect was the ostracizing of a young orphaned girl, who the tribe blamed after members of the tribe started going missing. Erika was very opinionated with her views and although she felt and saw strange things, this did not her maternal instinct kicking in. Although you know what this girl was, it was not explained till the end. An interesting story and I loved the use of the tribe to tell the story.

Haverly Insane Asylum by Taylor Henderson: No anthology is complete without a story set in derelict asylum. Lacey and her boyfriend meet their friends in the asylum and like all teenagers don’t head the danger written on the walls. At the start of this story Lacey was a wimp cowering at every noise, but the further she went into the asylum she knew something was not right. This story gave me the creeps as whilst reading this I knew something was going to happen, I loved the death scenes and the twist at the end

Anesthesia by DA Roach: Mary want to change her life, she had managed to secure her dream job and had the date for her breast reduction operation. With the support from her two friends Justin the owner of the bar she worked and Fray, who she worked with, she thought her life was perfect. How wrong she was! The way the author writes this story makes you think it is a pleasant read, but how wrong you will be. This story has stalking, human trafficking and much more. I was shocked when I found out who was doing this to poor Mary

This One’s Broken by Bradon Nave: Due to the death of their parents, Billy is Savannah‘s main carer. Making sure they are ok is Sheriff Golay. I am not saying anymore about this story as I do not want to give anything away, but they do make the most tender meat in the area. This story was dark and I loved the enthusiasm of Savannah when she was taught a new task. There was a reason for each action which made this a good story.

Ricochet by Carissa Ann Lynch: Regan had a secret, she had got a job at Adventure Town, to earn money to escape her life. Living with her brother and her drunk of a father, this is the reason she wanted to escape. The problem was that her mom disappeared when she was young after she was accused of the murder of a child at Adventure Town. Due to this tragic event, it had stayed closed until now. The only condition of Regan getting this job was she had to wear her mom’s old work shirt. This story was intense and kept my interest from the start. I love the twist at the end and was quite unexpected.

Rest in Peace by Erin Lee: Jeff had Parkinson’s Disease, and with his wife Lisa decided to die with pride and dignity. Opting for euthanasia, Lisa booked them into an old motel seeping with history. Haunted by the Ghost Widow of Coach Motel, she even booked the room where the event took place. Written in their POV, it was interesting how the author played with your emotions, when you were reading Lisa’s story you felt sorry for her but flipping to Jeff’s story she was the evil one and you started feeling sorry for him. I loved the use of the ghosts to get them to finally get to the truth.

The Virus by Samie Sands:  A prequel to the AM13 Outbreak series. What I loved about this story was each chapter was a different character’s POV about the zombie outbreak. This made the story exciting and it flowed smoothly and I as I have not read the Outbreak Series this has really made me want to read it.

The Six-Foot Ladder by Luke Swanson: Ramona Price goes on a road trip to get away from her past and to avoid the ghosts that she sees. What is strange she has no interaction with them. When her car breaks down she finds herself in a little town call Crawford.  Finding the town extremely quiet, she meets a creepy undertaker, who is there to explain the whole story. I enjoyed this story as it was so different to your usual ghost-seeing story, as the undertaker was so creepier in his actions it totally threw you, a great twist at the end

The first of Thirteen by Sara Schoen:  Written in Kelly’s POV, this story is about her life after being kidnapped by Steve. Steve is one sick individual and Kelly’s life is hell. You read and hear stories about girls that are kept prisoner for years and this story helped you understand what they could have gone through. My heart went out to Kelly and I was willing her to survive.

The Challenge by Sophia Valentine: The circus was back in town after a long break and Carla had promised to take her little brother, but when he went missing she has to go into the House of Horrors and face her biggest fears. This story surprised me so much as I only recognise the author as an erotic writer. This story was well written and you could feel the fear Carla had whilst walking the house of horrors. Each room visited was scarier than the last and I could not believe how Carla could keep going. I hope Sophia writes more horror as she definitely got the knack.

This is a must read for horror lovers, each story is a quick read and I am sure you will find a new author to follow. I hope there will be more collaborations with these authors. A good buy and well worth the money