Ginger Nuts of Horror
Hot on the heels of my interview with the fabulous Nicholas Vince, here is my review of his equally fabulous short story collection.
What Monsters Do , collects seven of Nicholas's short stories in one nicely put together book. They say you shouldn't judge a book buy its cover, however I always think that when it comes to self published books, a good cover is generally a good indication of the stories held within. My reasoning for this is if the author puts as much effort into his writing as he does for producing a well made cover, then you're quids in. And this excellent cover by Carlos Castro, captures the tone of this book perfectly.
In a number of these stories Nicholas takes a well used monsters, such as werewolves, Mummy's and Ghosts and expertly breaths new life into them.
The opening story Family Tree, is one such story,I don't really want to say to much about this as the discovery of the family secret, and the origin of the monster in the story would be lessened for new readers. However I will say that this story is one hell of read, Nicholas manages to give a new spin on the mythology. And the emotional bomb that he drops at the end of the story is truly heartbreaking.
Over the last few months I have been reading a lot of books published by DarkFuse, in main down to the fact that they have published new works from some of my favourite authors, folk like Gary McMahon, William Meikle, Jeff Mariotte and Tim Curran.
Nicole Cushing however is an author that I was not really all that familiar with, but two things, two very important things drew me to this exquisite novella. Firstly that cover, who could resist a cover like that, a giant bleak and foreboding labyrinth? And secondly the synopsis on Darfuse's site.
Not content with scaring me witless with his last novel, Ritual, a novel that still has me look over my shoulder, and jumping at every sudden noise, when I go for a walk in the woods.
Adam Nevill, has now decided to pile on the scares, chills and horror with his latest stunning masterpiece. And I don't say that lightly, Nevill, really is a master of the genre, he effortlessly combines bone chill scares, and atmospheric settings, with realistic dialogue, and above all characters, that aren't your typical cookie cutter protagonist. If you are looking for a book populated with handsome heroes and dazzling heroines, then you should look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for novels where the characters act real, characters that when faced with unnatural situations don't automatically turn into the muscled super hero beloved by many books, but actually act much like you and I would. The moan, bitch, argue amongst themselves and generally stumble there way to the books conclusion. It's these characteristics that makes his books special, well that and Nevill's ability to chill me to the very core of my being.
There are some places in this world that go far beyond any normal definition of "haunted." These places are so evil, so diabolical, that they become gateways to Hell itself. The Fuller Farm is one such place. It is said that old man Fuller conducted unspeakable acts, blood rituals and human sacrifices, all in an attempt to gain the ultimate knowledge, the ultimate power. And then, he was killed-horribly murdered on his own lands, leaving the house to stand as a vacant monument to his wickedness. But once a door is opened, it can never really be closed. Now, the stars are right. The gateway is ready to once more unleash unspeakable horror upon the town of Harmony, Indiana. And this will be one Halloween that they will never forget!
First off Michael is a great writer, one I have been following for a long time, and Spook House is another fine addition to his canon of work. I am always on the look out for books that make an ideal read at Halloween, and Spook House has now found a permanent home in my must read books for Halloween.
Reclusive outdoorsman, Jimmy Kerrigan, finds himself battling a vampiric plague which threatens to destroy Hobson’s Valley, the isolated mountain community he calls home. When his family, friends and neighbours fall prey to the ‘Fugue’, Kerrigan is the only one who can save them and prevent the disease spreading beyond the remote town’s boundaries.
The illness and its effects have, like tetanus, survived in the earth around the mountain for countless generations. The lineage of Fugue Hunters has always been able to reverse an outbreak but not this time; someone wants the disease to spread and, in combination with a mutation of the virus, Kerrigan realises he may not be strong enough to contain it.
Just take a look at where you buy your books from and you will see that Vampire novels are ten a penny, but look closer, look carefully, these aren't really vampire novels, they are they are book designed to get little girls hearts all a flutter over the handsome homecoming king vampire heartthrob. Where are all the Vampire books that used to get my heart a fluttering with fear, terror and excitement. Sadly those days seem long gone, however into every generation a writer is born: one pen in all the world, a chosen one. He alone will wield the words that will turn the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; into the threat there once were. He is The D'Lacey.
When Grey Friar Press first announced this anthology from Thana Niveua I knew I had read it. Based on the short stories of hers that I had read in a number of anthologies this year, she soon found her way onto my list of discoveries of the year. So when I got a copy from my mother as a birthday present I put every other book aside and gave this collection my full attention. From Hell to Eternity collects 16 of her stories, prefaced by an intelligent and thoughtful introduction from the Grandmaster Himself Ramsey Campbell. This collection like a vintage single malt whisky deserves to be savoured slowly and lovingly one fabulous story at a time. This is not a light read, her stories are layered, dark, melancholic and in a number of cases exceptionally
This review has been a long time time coming. Even though the John Prescott's first instalment in this trilogy, was one of my favourite reads, I had put off reading this book, until I finally hit holiday time. I wanted to be able to read this book with the least amount of interruptions. If you haven't read the first book Pray, then do yourself a favour go and get it now. So after a couple of days R&;R, I finally sat down with one of my most anticipated books this year.
When this was first announced a few years ago, I gave out a little yelp of excitement, a new Steven Savile novel is always something that makes me happy.
It's fitting that my début post on the new site should be a review of the latest release from one of the true masters of the genre.
"1971. A middle-aged man, wracked with grief, walks along the beach at Whitstable in Kent.
A boy approaches him and, taking him for the famous vampire-hunter Doctor Van Helsing from the Hammer movies, asks for his help. Because he believes his stepfather really is a vampire…"
There is a great misconception that horror is just about big scary monsters and buxom women who need saving. When horror is at it's best it becomes more about the human condition than many so called non genre literary works. Whitstable is one such book. Stephen Volk has produced a novella that is works both as a gripping thriller and as a beautiful and heart breaking tribute to one of horrors finest stars.
This is a story of two polar opposite, but interwoven narrative threads. Firstly there is extremely moving and intimate account of Peter Cushing coming to terms with the death of his beloved wife Helen. These passages are achingly beautiful, very few books have actually caused tears to well up in my eyes. The love and respect that the author has for peter Cushing is laid bare on the pages, and as a reader you cannot help but become totally immersed in this poignant tale. It is not an easy read, Volk paints a factional biography of Cushing with a warts and all. By showing, that Cushing was a man full love for his wife and those around him, while also being a stubborn man, and at times a man too full of pride. Volk ensures that you the reader will feel nothing but compassion for Peter in his time of mourning.
As for the second thread, it couldn't be more different. Where the passages with Peter as the main or sole protagonist have a for want of a better term quaint and cosy, almost picture postcard feel to them, Those that feature Les Gledhill are shocking to say the least. The way in which they explode into the narrative and rip apart the the safe world of a 1971 Whitstable is really impressive. This is not just a clash between hero and monster, it's clash between a true English gentleman and a thuggish brute. The passage where Gledhill first confronts Peter is truly gripping, and when Gledhill swears at Peter for the first time I was truly shocked, it just felt so brutal, and animalistic.
Volk capitalises on these feelings with a chilling scene set inside a film house, where the two protagonists confront each other while The Vampire Lovers plays in background. This i one of the most enthralling and terrifying passages I have read in a long time.
Not all monsters are real, but sadly some are all too real.
Sadly the limited edition has sold out, but never fear folks you can still pick up a copy of the paperback, from the Publisher by clicking here.
Or you can hop on over to Amazon by clicking the link below.
It's Peter's birthday this weekend, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate it than by getting a copy of this book.
Before I get into the review, I have to state that Science Fiction is normally a genre I steer clear of when it comes to reading. As to why I decided to review this book, I really don't know.
Artificial Evil, is centred around the story of Gerry Cardle, who is tasked with building and maintaining the computer programme that decides which of the citizens of the domed city are selected for the Death Lottery. He lives as charmed a life as can be expected for someone like him in this overcrowded and crumbling city, that is until one morning on his way to work, Gerry is selected for Death Lottery. Gerry panics and flees when his own Death Clock is activated, which leads him straight into the arms of Gabe and Petal, two hackers who live completely off the grid, and so begins the adventure to discover just who or what is behind the activation of Gerry's death.
Artificial Evil is a top class novel. Colin wastes no time in getting down to action. This is a story that is stripped down to the bare operating system, it is not infected with loads of bloatware, or lines and lines of unnecessary coding. Colin knows what makes for a great and thrilling science fiction thriller, loads of action complimented by interesting and three dimensional characters, surrounded by a believe able world. And Artificial Evil has this in bucket loads. All held together with some excellent and witty dialogue exchanges.
This is a great start to what is looking to be a highly enjoyable trilogy based on the strength of this book I will certainly be picking up the rest of the trilogy