Ginger Nuts of Horror
By John Boden
This book is ugly. It's gritty and grimy and claustrophobic and unpleasant at turns but as a foundation it is a ferocious and fun read.
It's 30 Days Of Night in OZ, and I mean the prison drama not the over-the-rainbow and ruby slippers nonsense.
Lights Out begins with Digger and his reluctant friend, Randy tunneling out of the maximum security prison they had called home. Randy starts having a freak out because he's afraid of confined spaces and the tunnel is pretty damned confining. In his panic he breaks through the wall into a dark hole, a cavern and there is something waiting for them. Something vicious and timeless and very, very hungry.
That scene lights the fuse that sizzles and pops through the book to the adrenalin-drenched climax. It's a powerhouse prison drama with vile and unsettling creatures. Can the jailhouse preacher and a group of stubborn prisoners survive? I'm not spoiling any of it.
Southard writes with a clean and strong voice. I've read his work before and call myself a fan. With Lights Out, he appears to be paying tribute to those 80's pulp horror novels that lined the shelves in the 80's. It's drips with enough violence to satisfy the genre hardened but also enough of a glimpse into how life is in the big house to work better than any Scared Straight special.
I’d been hearing a lot of talk about the new short story collection by Jason Parent. My only other experience with Jason’s work was reading the excellent psychological thriller ‘Seeing Evil’ in 2015. A few folk inside the writing community were giving it high praise so I decided to take the plunge.
By Tony Jones
“Daddy awaits for those who stray from the path in the forests of remote New Mexico.”
‘Little Heaven’ is the fourth horror novel Craig Davidson has written under his pseudonym ‘Nick Cutter’, with two further thrillers and short stories written under the Davidson banner. The critically acclaimed 2012 film ‘Rust and Bone’ is also based upon his shorter form work. Cutter came to prominence to the horror world when his terrific debut ‘The Troop’ won the inaugural 2014 ‘James Herbert Award’. This competition had one of the strongest horror shortlists of modern times memorably featuring MR Carey’s ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’, Andrew Michael Hurley’s ‘The Loney’, Josh Malerman’s ‘Bird Box’, Frances Hardinge’s YA smash hit ‘Cuckoo Song’ and a certain Kim Newman. All of these are real heavyweights in the world of modern horror.
Book Review: Blood Kiss by J. Daniel Stone
The first (and until this book arrived) only example of Jeffrey Ford 's work I had encountered was a very strange and amazingly unique tale in an anthology called Creatures. It was an update on the happenings on Dr. Moreau's island. It was wild. I have since obtained a few of his older works. When I saw he had a new collection on the horizon, I reached out about obtaining a review copy and the wish was granted.
A Natural History of Hell is most likely covered under the "weird fiction" overcoat. His premises and narratives are quite unusual and often times darkly humorous. The collection opens with "The Blameless," wherein a suburban couple are invited to the exorcism of a neighbor's daughter. it's quite an event-there are snacks and drinks and small talk until the exorcist arrives and starts removing demons. This story is followed by my favorite, "Word Doll." A writer (also named Jeffrey Ford) investigates a closed down roadside attraction and hears a tale about the pacifying and healing nature of words and distraction. But not all healing is scar -free and not all the stories children conjure are whimsy. This one is brilliant.
"The Angel Seems" is a toothy tale about a village held under the thumb of a creature claiming to be an angel. "Mount Chary Galore" offers back-woodsy folk tale and natural magic and a communicative severed head in a jar. "Blood Drive" is a meditation on the gun issue, you wish it was more exaggerated than it actually is. "A Terror" is a wonderful period drama that concerns Emily Dickinson and a weary world traveler, Death.
"Rocket ship To Hell" exposes writers and readers being as they are while "The Fairy Enterprise" delivers the story of a businessman who longs to craft fairies on demand. "The Last triangle" is an excursion into modern sorcery. "The Thyme Fiend" is one of the best things in here. A wonderful almost Coming-of-Age tale about an ill boy living in Ohio, in 1915. he sees the dead and becomes a deputy to their quest for closure. If it sounds familiar in premise, it is but let me tell you, Ford's prose and rich characters elevate this above anything else.
There are a few tales I didn't shine a light on, they are good stories too, but I have to leave some surprises, right? Ford writes with a clear voice and a focal prowess that is exhilarating. His ideas are fresh and the populace of his tales well rendered and relatable. A great writer giving us great stories.
A Natural History of Hell is available from Small beer Press .
PURCHASE A COPY FROM
BY CLICKING ON THE LINKS
I've read a lot of work by some great authors lately, much of it as bleak and dark as it gets, some viscerally, brutally violent. But none could be said to be as dark as Charlee Jacob's Season of the Witch, and very few could be said to be as viciously bloody or horrific. Jacob is an author who never pulls her punches, willing to take risks and push boundaries that other authors shy away from and, where a lesser author might stumble, she pulls it off admirably. Think Edward Lee with the gloves off and you’ll have an inkling of what I’m talking about.