Ginger Nuts of Horror
We all dream of escaping the rat race, don't we? Most of us never do, I know I won't, but that's because I've read too many books like this. I know what's out there, I know that those nice secluded villages, and nice dream homes in the country will in most cases be a haven for some supernatural shenanigans. So when Steve and Melody purchase the house of their dreams, which just happens to be in the middle of a forest, you just know that things are not going to turn out well for the couple.
These sort of stories are a horror staple so for this sort of story to stand out from the crowd it really has to offer the reader something special.
Where Whisper strength lies is in Michaels Bray's ability to create a tense, brooding and well written story, that ticks all the boxes for a great supernatural story . Ancient curses, haunted house and cast of great characters all come together in this extremely satisfying novel.
I particularly liked how the mounting tension of the story's main narrative thread was mirrored by the mounting tension in Steve and Melody's relationship. As things unfold and they both encounter the dark underbelly of Oakwell Forest, they start to keep things from each other. By doing this Bray adds an extra layer of tension to the story, the dark secrets have infiltrated all layers of this story.
In many novels flashback sequences are over used and sometimes they make the narrative a little confusing, while at the same time robbing the story of all tension. Thankfully Bray uses these flashback sequences perfectly as a means to divulge the true nature of Oakwell and it's curse.
This is a strong and confidently written novel, that showcases a relatively new author who has already discovered his own voice. When the Whispers start you will by hypnotized by this novel of terror.
Michael Bray is a Horror author based in Leeds, England. Influenced from an early age by the suspense horror of authors such as Stephen King, and the trashy pulp TV shows like Tales From The Crypt & The Twilight Zone, he started to work on his own fiction, and spent many years developing his style. In May 2012, he signed a deal with the highly reputable Dark Hall Press to print and distribute his collection of interlinked short stories titled Dark Corners, which was released in September 2012. His second release was a Novella titled MEAT ,which was quickly followed by his first full length novel, a supernatural horror titled Whisper was also initially self-published, and following great critical acclaim, was sold to Horrific Tales publishing - his first Advance paying sale.
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2013 seems to have been the year of anthology horror fiction reviews here at Ginger Nuts of Horror. Horror short stories are a format that I enjoy, perfect for riding the bus to work, however they are in my opinion one of the hardest formats of story telling to get right. Constrained by length they don't give an author much room for error. So when you get an anthology that is just a pure joy to read, you know it's something great. Not that I expected anything less from this horror anthology, you see it has been compiled by the good folks fromHorror World, which is one of the best sites out there for horror fiction reviews and horror news. These guys know their stuff, and from this horror anthology and this 371 page monster is a fantastic read.
Every now and then a book falls through your letterbox that reaffirms your love for the genre. Sadly these books don't come along quite as often as I would like. So when Ken Goldman's freshman publication with Horrific Tales came into my possession I was slightly apprehensive, could a relatively new publisher keep their track record for producing quality books?
Of A Feather, is one of those horror stories that just seems to work better set in the USA, this is a small town horror with a small cast of characters, not quite a coming of age tale so beloved of our American friends, but with just the right amount of teenage angst to dip a toe into that sub genre.
Socrates has just graduated from High School, ignored by the majority his classmates, and even bullied by some of them, the future isn't looking to bright for him. However thanks to his love for birds, and his infatuation for the cute girl who works in the local Bird Shop, Socrates summer might just brighten up.
We all know that this isn't going to be the case, otherwise I wouldn't be reviewing this book here. So when you throw in a sick and twisted bully, a bully who has a heart of gold, a shy Socrates whose affinity for our avian friends goes further than you can imagine, and a healthy dose of ancient Native Indian folklore, you just know this book is going to be one hell of a read.
What makes this book so special is the way in which it straddles two generations of horror writing, while still maintaining its own voice, and more importantly being fresh. While reading this book I was reminded of a time when Graham Masterton ruled the shelves. Of A Feather shares many of the elements that made Masterton's horror novels so brilliant in the 1980's. A small cast, in a small town battling and ancient evil, to many, this may sound like old hat, but to me this is horror heaven.
Ken Goldman, brings this all into the mix wonderfully, while at the same time ensuring that this horror novel remains fresh and his voice unique. The prose is tight and punchy, and builds up the tension perfectly. One of the things that makes the book fresh, unlike those horror novels of the 80's is the fact that Goldman takes time with his characters. These aren't just cookie cutter characters that only exist to carry the narrative, they change, grow and develop over the course of the story in a way that just feels right. Even Socrates' sister who plays a small but important role in the narrative's development, has grown by over the intervening years of the story.
I also loved the Ying Yang connection between Socrates and one of his bullies, as one redeems himself the other forfeits his soul. It's this sort of grey area characterisation that lifts this novel far above the trappings of its parentage.
As for the narrative, this is one of those stories that has a natural almost organic sense of momentum towards it gruesome conclusion. Peppered with some extremely intense descriptive passages, some of which involve animal cruelty, this book will keep you on the edge of the seat, right up to it's pitch perfect ending.
To paraphrase horror's most famous crow, "More, More More"
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I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. And I love Daniele Serra's art. Veins and Skulls gathers together some of his finest work to date in one wonderfully bound book.
Daniele is one of those artists whose work you will immediately recognise. He has a unique style that that commands the viewer to stare long and deep at his work. Working with a limited palette of colours Serra can bring can an emotional depth to his work that borders on the Godlike. These are passionate, evocative and spellbinding pictures that go beyond being just mere book covers, they give us glimpse into the secret world that exists all around us, a world where our sensuality and mortality rules.
SST Art Book Series #1
Publisher: Short, Scary Tales Publications
Subject: Horror / Erotica
Release Date: December 15, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-909640-12-2, 8.5 x 8.5 inches, 64 pages, £16.95
Here are the details of our Art Book Series editions:
Unjacketed hardcover with four-colour matte laminated cover
Full four-colour interior
Printed on acid-free paper
When you think of horror fiction, South Africa isn't the first country that springs to mind, but thanks to Crystal lake Publications, S.L.Grey, Ivor Hartmann and new kid on the block Charlie Human, South Africa looks as though it is now where all the cool kids hang out.
Charlie Human's début novel Apocalypse Now Now is a riotous mix of horror, comedy, thrills and spills, all held together by the beautifully twisted mind of Charlie Human.
Don't be fooled by the resemblance to another famous fictitious schoolboy, any resemblance to that rather wet and dull kid suggested by the cover image is purely coincidental. Baxter Zevcenko is not what you would call your classic hero. In fact he can be barely classed as a likeable character.
The head of the schools premier porn distribution ring Baxter seems to have have everything a kid could ever want, money, respect, power and the woman of his dreams. But when his girl is kidnapped Baxter is plunged in the strange, dark and odd world of Cape Towns supernatural under belly. Aided by the only man crazy enough to help him, a drunk washed up bounty hunter by the name of Ronin Baxter will face the deepest nightmares to save the girl of his dreams.
Apocalypse Now Now is an extremely ambitious novel, Human, throws everything including the kitchen sink into this glorious novel. Kung-Fu dwarves, giant crows, zombies and fabulous cast of South African folklore creatures all come together to give this book a twisted dreamlike quality that is just a joy to read. Human's prose is tight and gifted, and manages to maintain an air of reality in the ever increasing insanity that unfolds. By making Baxter such an utterly despicable character is a master stroke of genius, he's the sort of kid that I I was his teacher I'd lose my job over him, after stringing him up a flag pole. And yet despite this you still feel for him and connect with him.
One of the strong points of this novel is the skill of the author at injecting a mischievous vein of dark sarky humour in the narrative. in one sentence he will have you chuckling out load, and in the next sentence he will have you squirming uncomfortably in your seat. With these sort of novels there is always a danger that the humour takes over and cause all sense of tension and horror to be lost in a sea of gags. Thankfully Human keeps the humour firmly caged.
With a cast of characters so weird and mysterious Apocalypse Now Now can stand proudly next to such works as Clive Barkers Weaveworld and Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. This is a rich novel that will take the reader on a thrilling journey through a wild and wondrous land.
Every now and then a special book comes along, that blows the cobwebs from stale and dull genre. Apocalypse Now Now, not only gives the urban fantasy genre a spring clean it gives it a well need kick up the backside.
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FILE UNDER HORROR FICTION REVIEW
Well here it is folks my final part of my roundup of what I thought was the best in horror publishing in 2013.
Part 1 - HORROR AUTHOR COLLECTION REVIEW
PART 2 HORROR ANTHOLOGY REVIEW
PART 3 - HORROR NOVELLA REVIEW
PART 4 - HORROR NOVEL REVIEW
and now we come to PART 5 HORROR NON FICTION REVIEW.
Welcome to part four of my personal favourites from the past year ... The Novels. In terms of review and reading horror novels this has been a funny year. It has only been in the last few months that I have actually really read any horror novels, let alone actually write up any horror novel reviews. This has certainly been the year of the horror novella for me. Having said that there have been some fantastic horror novels. Hell even some "proper" publishing houses have embraced the genre.
One thing I have noticed is my move away from the more schlocky cliched type of horror novel to the more introspective and supernatural one. Am I finally growing up?
So click on the read more to find out what i think was the best of the year.......
This has been a busy year for me. For practically the whole year we have been critically understaffed at work. Which for me meant long hard shifts, which in turn left very little time for quality reading. Luckily this has been a bumper year novellas. I think over the last year novellas have become my favourite format for horror books. A great novella can take the best ideas of a horror novel and distill tthm down into one punchy yet extremely satisfying read.
So read on for my picks of this years horror novellas.
This is going to be a tough one and a hard one to compile, along with novellas, anthologies appear to have been the most read type of book over here at Ginger Nut Towers.
So what makes for a great anthology? I believe that a great anthology should be like a great album where the individual stories are in themselves great, and where they each compliment the other stories in the the anthology. However it's not just as simple as finding the right mix of songs a great anthologist needs to know how to order the stories to maximum effect. So here it is my pick of the anthologies. Remember this is in no particular order.
I wasn't going to do this as I have a million full length book reviews to do. However time is short and there are a lot of great books waiting to be reviewed that could do with a signal boost before Christmas.
I'm going to break this down into four parts the books listed in each category are in no particular order.
Some of these books haven't been reviewed yet at Ginger Nuts of Horror, please stay tuned for a full review.
Please note this is not The Ginger Nuts of The Year Awards, these will appear very shortly.
BEST SINGLE AUTHOR COLLECTIONS
BEST NON FICTION
BEST SINGLE AUTHOR COLLECTIONS
There are some books that are so good I wish I hadn't read them. Nathan Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters is one of those books. After finishing this collection I was left stunned by the quality of the stories, to the point that I sent me into a reading slump. These stories got under my skin, into my mind and into my soul, so much so that for a while no other book could hold my interest for very long.
These are intelligent, heartfelt and beautiful stories where the monsters play second fiddle to the horrors of humanity. This is an awe inspiring collection, that shows that the horror genre is more than scares and shocks.
Anna Taborska's For Those Who Dream Monsters was the book that brought me out of the reading slump brought on by the book above. I can't remember why I choose to read Bagpuss first, it may have been because I always found the show to be extremely creepy. Whatever the reason I am glad I did.
Bagpuss is one of those stories where you kind of know how the story is going to end, but it doesn't stop your mind from screaming "No, please god no!". This is a tight emotional and deeply unsettling story of grief loss and isolation.
Anna's writing is poetic, and capable of stirring powerful emotions in even the most jaded of horror fans.
As soon as I heard about this collection I knew I had to get a copy of it. Lynda's columns in Black Static have quickly become a must read. So I was eager to see if this talent for writing fascinating non fiction could be translated into fascinating fiction as well.
Lynda is one of those writers who knows that as in music it's not just the words and notes you use, the spaces in between the words and notes are just as if not more so important. Quite how she manages to create such spellbinding and captivating stories with her sparse yet beautiful prose is beyond me, but boy does she do it.
Dark, emotional and otherworldly, The Moon Will Look Strange is another wonderful example of intelligent horror.
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