Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

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

 

 

Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

December 3, 2016 - 12:19 am No Comments

Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 28th November 2016

197 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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A government run hospice for zombies, where the undead go to live out their remaining days.  Emily is an agency nurse who has a past, having to provide for her daughter leads her to getting a job in one of the hospices. It’s a job that no-ones wants, caring for the undead whilst running the gauntlet with the anti-hospice supporters.

The hospice setting gave a human element to the zombies and it was a pleasant change to have the zombies having conversations and being treated with compassion. The horror element to this book builds up slowly lulling you into a false sense of security and when it started I must admit I let out a shocked cry. Throughout the story, Emily’s past is revealed and you understand why she is so protective over her daughter and why she has such a caring nature for the patients.

When I finished this book my emotions were in tatters, as a mom there were parts of this story that I could not imaging me doing and my heart went out to Robby who was in the hospice. My favourite character was Mama Metcalf a lonely elderly lady who had a heart of gold. Some of her one liners broke up the tension in the book.  A nice touch was the instruction on how to make an origami crane which were at the beginning of some of the chapters.

The story flowed smoothly and with the added suspense made it a quick read. the twist at the end was unexpected. Another great publication by Crystal Lake and a well written book by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells

Haunted Grave and Other Stories by Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso

November 13, 2016 - 10:14 am No Comments

Haunted Grave and Other Stories by Ezeiyoke Chukwunonso

Published 1st August 2016 by Parallel Universe Publications

101 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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8 short stories each completely different, the only common theme was the African setting. I have not read anything by this author nor have I read a story set in Africa, I didn’t know what to expect but I pleasantly surprised. Each story left you wanting to read more, making it a quick read.

Eaters of Flesh is about a young man’s missing mom. Written in his POV, you find him trying to find the truth about why his mom was getting ill and then just disappeared. With a note left from his mom and his dad’s weird behaviour, was is due to her religious belief or was it something else. It is not till the end of this story do you find out what actually happened.

The Last Man Standing: Nigeria is battling ADAIDS, an advanced form of AIDS. To speed up the research, the government start moving their money from non-essential items like TV, Radio and what they deemed non-essential foodstuff. This does not hit home to the protagonist until he can’t buy a can a Sprite. Opening up his place he tries to set up a safe haven for survivors and it works pretty well until one of his trips he finds a lonely young girl. This story shows the true horror of death and the fear of dying.

Exorcism: The narrator of this story is the other half of Ifeanyi. Reading this you can’t tell who is good or evil as Ifeanyi likes to get on the wrong side of people and the narrator tries his best to put it right. A good twist at the end when a priest pays a visit.

Haunted Grave: A story about an urban legend. Sitting in an old cemetery Chidi tells them the story of Ekene. Like all urban legends was it true or not but the story never goes away. Beware of people with nails as teeth.

To Love is Strange: A moving story of a clan that the females are cursed. They can have sex but not with the man they love. Juliet enjoys sleeping around to satisfy her itch but what feelings does she hide. Her twin sister Ginika is in love with Ebuka. Written in Ginika POV, the story is about the battle of her conscious and what risks she is willing to take to get what she wants.

A Cursed City: When children go missing they are reported to the Elders. The one witness is Nkeshi, the local drunk, she saw a bird like monster with the body of a man take a child. Due to her status, they did not take her serious, but then more children go missing, each eye witness the same thing. This is a story about revenge and the loss of a civilisation.

The Game of Aids: Another story about the Aids virus, Maria is the latest victim of the Aids virus. Caught from her husband this is story about how he caught the virus.

The Green Race: The one sci-fi story, Professor Oliver Brown is giving a lecture about his time on Mars and his views on the alien life form he met.

What I enjoyed about this book is that not all horror are monsters, what happens in the modern world is just as horrific. The stories leave you thinking about the vulnerability of the human race, Aids, revenge and racism all play a part. These stories are well written with a mixture of African culture and horror makes them a good quick read. Looking on his Amazon page, this author has other stories published which I will definitely read.

Some Will Not Sleep by Adam Nevill

October 31, 2016 - 7:19 pm 1 Comment

Some Will Not Sleep by Adam Nevill

Published by Ritual Limited on 31st October 2016

250 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

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Some Will Not Sleep contains 11 short stories, 11 stories that takes you different times and places. 11 stories that will give you your fix of the macabre.

I have wanted to read this book since I attended Adam’s book launch at FantasyCon and I was not disappointed.  This book is well written and each story leaves you wanting more, making it a quick and exciting read. I enjoyed this book so much but for reviewing purposes I will write about the few that stood out for me

Where Angels Come In: A story about a young lad’s adventure to a derelict building and the consequences when he got there. Like most derelict buildings there is always a story accompanies them adding to the suspense and this building was no different. Written in the POV of the child, this just added to the suspense of the story. I enjoyed the added touch of the creepy statues and throughout the story the evil was implied but was never fully revealed. With the strange grandma, trying to get the story out of the boy made this an eerie read.

Yellow Teeth: What would you do if you met someone from way back and he ended up moving in with you. This is what happened to the narrator of this story when Ewan an old acquaintance from University, moves in and slowly takes over his flat with his beliefs and his unhygienic ways. Whilst I was reading this story I could imagine the smell of the flat, could hear the ramblings of Ewan who was probably the most disgusting houseguest I have ever read about.

Doll Hands: A story about a change creature that had a large head and tiny dolls hand, working at the Gruut Huis an elite apartment for the rich, where fine dining were the humans. I enjoyed this story because all the characters were unnatural and freakish and the protagonist became the unlikely hero.

What every story you read first you can guarantee a story that will make your skin crawl, a story that will play on your fears and as the title implies when you read this some will not sleep. A brilliant read