Ginger Nuts of Horror
DEATH’S REALM Editors Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson Grey Matter Press 279 Pages Published January 6, 2015
This is a brilliant anthology; one of the best I have read in a very long time, akin to the Zippered Flesh series in its intelligent writing, well-crafted stories and taut editing.
Whenever I dive into one of Matt Shaw’s black cover books, I mentally prepare myself, and actually look forward to the disturbing, unsettling, and foreboding contents I will no doubt find within its covers. When Matt began talking about writing his most disgusting book to date, in all honestly, I had my doubts. All of his black cover books are cringe-worthy, nightmare-inducing tales, so how could it possibly get any worse? Don’t Read demonstrated just how much worse it could get.
Sometimes, it just happens; wham! Visceral, ineffable; that shock of engagement when we shake someone's hand, say hello for the first time; at the opening credits of a film or when we read the first page of a book.
For those of us immersed in one media or another, that phenomena comes rarer and rarer the more exposed to material we become. Stories become tried and tested; patterns more familiar; tropes and traditions more overt. When it happens, it is something to treasure; something to effuse about and obsess over.
Either during or after reading this review of C. Jones’s Ascendance, you may be tempted to go to the Amazon link and avail yourself of the “Look Inside” feature.
This is a horrible book. There is literally nothing good about it. Every single aspect of Ascendance, from the cover to the formatting to the writing is awful beyond belief. It’s not worth your time, even as a curiosity piece.
On its surface, Russell James’s Dreamwalker has it all: voodoo magic, dreamworlds aplenty, a nightmare version of Atlantic City, a horribly evil drug lord, and a love story. The novel follows the adventures of Pete Holm, who is lured from his uncomfortable life of a college student into a world of nightmares fueled by the power of the evil voodoo god Cauquemere. With all those elements, it should’ve worked.
Abram’s Bridge is not your typical ghost story. It’s a story that is so well written, it doesn’t have to rely on gore and heaps of bad language to get its point across. From the minute the story begins, readers feel invested in the characters and want to get to the bottom of the story. Lil Ron wants to escape his horrible home life, Sweet Kate is a ghost who needs answers to be able to move on from this life to the next, and personally, I couldn’t wait to find out how the story played out.
It amazed me to realize how many elements the author managed to put into one 85-page story. Abram’s Bridge is a combination love story and ghost story, and it reminds us just how evil humans can be. There’s a little thriller, a little suspense, and a little horror on each page and each element is intertwined seamlessly.
Overall, this story was the perfect length, had realistic characters you can’t help but care about, and immediately drew me with its beautiful scenery and multiple settings. I see great things in Glenn Rolfe’s future and I’m happy to have had the chance to check out Abram’s Bridge.
This is without doubt one of the greatest short stories I have ever read.
James A Moore has written something
so beautifully atmospheric that it is mesmerising.
This is another sent into Ginger Nuts of Horror in exchange for an honest review of the book. This is an anthology of 4 military horror short stories.
I decided to grab this one because it features four different authors, two of which, Joseph Nassise and James A. Moore, I have read before and two others I have wanted to read, Jonathan Maberry and Weston Ochse. Military horror is a favourite of mine, if it’s done right. I have seen good reports about previous SNAFU anthologies so was looking forward to this one.
All the proceeds from At Hell’s Gate 2 go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund so why not pick up a copy, make a cuppa, turn off the lights and see which one is your favourite.
What do you get when you put together a horror anthology that contains stories from some of the world’s best authors? You get a great value that is a hell of a lot of fun to read. Mark Tufo, Kit Power, Paul Mannering, Ian McClellan and more come together to raise money for charity and this is one collection you should not miss.
Here’s what you get in in At Hell’s Gate 2:
I automatically cried out "Aw leave 'im alone!" as the Star of the book was chased by us puny humans
This story so far has influenced my imagination no end. I have always been inspired and fascinated in the sea and the possibilities and terrors it could contain. After reading just under a fifth of the book I had a vivid dream about studying a global map of all the water areas on the planet with a detailed list where on land would be place names were detailed lists of the largest dwelling creatures in that area. I had to check that the first fifth of the book hadn't come with any maps or diagrams it was so vivid. And I found myself Googling images of giant squids, whales and other sea dwelling creatures.
Any book that can infiltrate my sleep and make me have memorable dreams is worthy of my praise.
I loved the story, and as most stories involving freaks of nature I automatically cried out "Aw leave im alone!" as the Star of the book was chased by us puny humans. I always have a bit of sympathy for the monsters, ever since Frankenstein.
Upon reading through to the epic finale, I immediately purchased the sequel and have promised myself it's going to the top of my TBR pile.
" On the one hand, it’s a masterpiece of writing with its bleak setting empathetically mirroring the soullessness of the inhabitants and characters who grab you from the outset "
In trying to write a review for this book, I find myself torn in two, much like this novel. On the one hand, it’s a masterpiece of writing with its bleak setting empathetically mirroring the soullessness of the inhabitants and characters who grab you from the outset and won’t let go. On the other hand, it single-mindedly charts one man’s obsession with rape and manipulation.
I am perhaps making it out to be worse than it is. The crux of the story is that Lucky has an ability to sway the minds of those around him. Every woman he encounters desires him instantly and gives herself to him, but it’s not consensual since they are being brainwashed by his uncanny abilities – sometimes with fatal consequences. Holloway thus writes “consensual” sex scenes that still have the tang of rape to them. Lucky also influences men not to disagree with him and so garners his nickname as the man who gets away with it all. He is charismatic, deadly and an engaging character for any reader to follow.
But before reading this book, you should ask yourself the following questions. Do you have a problem with rape? Are you squeamish when it comes to beastiality? Can you stomach scenes of animal cruelty? If you answer yes to any of these, then elements of the book are not going to be for you.
If none of that stuff bothers you in fiction, then this book is definitely worth a read. At first, I put it down when I was disgusted by one character’s attitude to rape (interestingly, not Lucky’s), but I went back to it. I think that is probably a form of praise in itself: despite my dislike of the content, I enjoyed the writing sufficiently and cared enough about the characters to continue reading.
Holloway’s characters are valiant but flawed. Strangely, I found his strongest characters to be the ones on the periphery. Kenny, arguably the main protagonist, was one I couldn’t get on with. In fact, it was Kenny’s thoughts on the rape of his daughter which made me put the book down in the first place – an opinion which seemed to have even less merit when you learn of Kenny’s childhood experiences with Lucky in part two. I wonder if this throwaway comment might lose Holloway some readers who, unlike me, would not return to the novel. Personally, I would much rather have followed the story through the eyes of Kenny’s kids, Jenny and Jake. They seemed far stronger characters, more proactive while their father remained a reactive character only.
You may look at this list of flaws and think that this is a book to avoid, but that isn’t the case. If you go into it knowing what to expect, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the tale. It’s dark, evocative and doesn’t pull its punches. Lucky’s preaching that nature and the people need unifying is reflected throughout with the dry and barren lake and township that Holloway describes which matches perfectly the washed out citizens of Elton. Some of those inhabitants get swallowed up by their fate, and some of them rise above their surroundings and their nature to be unlikely heroes. Holloway’s writing keeps you guessing as to whether characters are going to be heroes or prey.
So while I would have given this book four, if not five, stars overall if I’d been rating it that way, instead I’d feel inclined to reduce that somewhat given the opinions and themes within the novel. That said, they’re very personal to me and won’t apply to everyone. So pick up a copy and give “Lucky’s Girl” a go; you may just love it.