Book Review: Her Dark Inheritance Meg Hafdahl

Book Review: Her Dark Inheritance by Meg Hafdahl

Don’t be alone. Not at Night. Not in Willoughby.

Willoughby, Minnesota is an idyllic small town in Middle America. It boasts one café, one motel, and a population of five-hundred-nine. But, there are more than small town secrets hiding in the shadows of the town square. Something lurks just out of sight—and out of mind—from the residents. A bloody history of accidents, violence, and murder plagues Willoughby and threatens the town even in the present.

In July 1982, someone brutally murdered three members of the Bergman family with an ax in their Willoughby home. For decades, town suspicion has fallen on the sole survivor of the bloody massacre: Caroline, the Bergman’s teenage daughter.

But Daphne Forrest knew her mother not as Caroline Bergman, but as Jane Downs-Forrest. It wasn’t until Jane’s death that Daphne found out that her mother was the suspected murderer that newspapers had dubbed The Minnesota Borden.

Daphne visits Willoughby for the first time, looking for answers to questions about the woman she thought she knew. She may not have grown up in Willoughby, but Daphne quickly finds that she shares a connection with the town that not even the residents can fathom. Willoughby wants to show her something, something that can save the town and, maybe, Daphne herself.

Thrust into memories of unfathomable violence and fear, Daphne must face her own mistakes and find a strength that her mother never had. If she wants to get out of Willoughby alive, she must face an evil that has stalked the small town since its founding.

Her Dark Inheritance follows in a glorious tradition of American ax murderers, but it’s far from the typical tale.

Meg Hafdahl creates characters real enough to climb off the page, including a monster that stalks you long after the novel’s last sentence. The town of Willoughby itself is as real as any character. Vividly described, it’s delightful and terrifying in equal measure. It embodies an abusive relationship that traps the residents in a situation where manipulation masquerades as protection and “this is for your own good” can be just as sinister as any threat. The story raises questions that strike to the core of all of us: What does it mean to be evil? What does it mean to be weak?

Hafdahl weaves an intricate tale of betrayal, murder, and small town intrigue. Her brilliant narrative style keeps you guessing from beginning to end about the next shocking twist. Whether it’s the truth about the Bergman murders or Daphne’s ultimate fate, Hafdahl keeps you at her mercy through every page.

I haven’t read a book in one sitting in a long time, but I couldn’t put down  Her Dark Inheritance. ‘One more chapter’ led to ‘one more chapter’ and ‘one more chapter’ after that. The book is labelled for Young Adults, but is just as gripping for adults. I recommend it whole-heartedly, especially for those who like to see the darker side of the American Dream.


Guest Blog : Ungodly Undoing by Essel Pratt Review by Michele Roger

Review of Essel Pratts, UnGodly Undoing

by Michele Roger

It is rare to find a book with a fresh, creative delivery. UnGodly Undoing by Essel Pratts does not disappoint. In essence, a collection of stories but brilliantly presented via alternating chapters. The first chapter sets the stage for an ongoing conversation between a bookish, teenage boy and the local, elderly bookstore owner. The next chapter has the old man as narrator, telling a ‘real life’ story of the small town of Mishawaka. The old man in the bookstore explains that not all great stories are found in books and the stories of Mishawaka are of a town deeply cursed. The chapters continue in kind, in an anthology of a cursed town.

Love Transcends Death,” is a simple story about angst and grief of a local doctor who is mourning the death of his wife. One day, kissing her urn goodbye becomes his undoing. Pratts build up in this particular tale is well timed; revealing an unexpected plot twist.

In the chapter entitled “Damned to Life”, we hear the story of an unlikely step-father and his vampire daughter. Elizabeth is a thirteen-year-old vampire held captive in the basement of her family home. After a vampire raped her mother, Elizabeth was born violently, killing her mother in the process. She lives a life of her father feeding her tainted blood from the local blood bank. Her escape from her prison and the reconciliation between father and daughter keeps the reader guessing until the last moment.

One of my favorite stories is Canopic Servitude. This chapter tells the tale of how the town warehouse contains the preserved remains of cursed, Egyptian royal cats who come back to life. I admit I was reading that chapter with my cat in my lap. By the time I had finished, I obediently went to the kitchen, opened the fridge and made him an offering of vanilla yogurt to my familiar feline. Just in case. 

If UnGodly Undoing has one set back, it’s that the stories are told in present tense. All of them. While, as a reader, I like that the conversations between the bibliophile boy and the old bookstore owner are set in present day, it feels strange to read the town’s chilling past in the same tense. For the narration to feel more authentic, I would have liked the actual stories of the strange incidents in Mishawaka to be told in past tense.

All in all, the book is a page-turner with alternating chapters bringing both closure to the previous chapter and baiting the reader to read just one more story in the chapter to follow. Pratts final story in the book, Silence, My Love is chilling and complex. I think that his ability to write psychological horror shines in this closing story. I would hope that he would consider a whole novel in this particular sub-genre. Fighting the demons of the mind, attempting to decipher between fantasy and reality and the complete undoing of a man due to madness makes for excellent horror reading.

Guest Blog: Arrachnattack by Mark Woods Review


Arrachnattack! By Mark Woods was passed to me by in return for an honest review.

3 out of 5 stars.

In the Norfolk town of Dyreham, strange things are happening. Melvin Dobbs, an obnoxious and thoroughly unlikeable man, is a scientist in a secretive establishment on the outskirts of town. A project he had been working on was closed down due to funding issues but he continued to carry out his highly illegal and dangerous research on spiders in his own home. Using his research as a means of revenge against those who have crossed him, he forgets to protect himself and unfortunately falls victim to his lethal arachnids. From there, the spiders spread across town, and as their victims pile up, they come to the attention of a local reporter Daniel Blake. As he investigates, a shadowy body, The Company, warns him off his story; others who try to help him die or are discretely silenced. And behind all this is a reference to ‘Mr. Skinny Legs’, a supernatural being who appears to be controlling events.

I must admit, I took a strong dislike to Mr. Melvin Dobbs, so at first, it was hard for me to keep going but once he’d been unceremoniously-and deservedly-bumped off, the story really began to draw me in and I’m glad I persevered. In this small town, so much is happening, old mysteries are resurfacing with references to Mr. Skinny Legs and the Lovecraftian Elder Gods, that you can’t help but read on. And not every question is answered. You know something more is coming, but that is the next book. You know something darker than anyone has ever experienced before is hovering on the horizon and you are fed teasing snippets and you want to know more. Again that is the next book. Mark Woods has created a believable world, has developed characters you begin to care about and want to follow on their adventures, and has laid the foundation of what promises to be an entertaining series.



Stephanie Ellis can be found: and herTwitter handle is @el_Stevie

When Stephanie isn’t writing reviews, she is the co-editor at The Infernal Clock a fledgling publishing venture. And the co-editor at The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear online magazine ( where they are always open for flash submissions

Book Review — “How a Loser Like Me Survived the Zombie Apocalypse”

Hello Addicts,

As much as I enjoy a good horror story, I will admit that I am a sucker for the occasional oddball or offbeat story in the genre.  “How a Loser Like Me Survived the Zombie Apocalypse” kind of fits that bill, but it wasn’t as humorous of a story as I thought it might be.

The book, written by Steven Bereznai, follows a man named Marty at the start of the zombie apocalypse.  He is engaged to the love of his life, part owner of a gym, and in an otherwise happy place in his life.  All of that changes when he wakes one morning to find his fiancee, Steph, missing.  As he searches the house for her, he finds her eating a dog in the backyard.  She attacks him on sight like a rabid animal, and he is forced to kill her.  That begins his backward cycle to the person he was before meeting Steph, a man with little to no self-esteem.  It is only made worse when he ends he ends up at his business with the ex-girlfriend partially responsible for his self-esteem issues in the first place.  It isn’t long before she begins playing her mind games again.  Add to that the uncertainty of the infections and how it is transmitted, and you have a group of mistrusting survivors who are easily manipulated.


I expected this story to be more of a funny take on the zombie apocalypse type of stories.  Even with that in mind, I enjoyed this story a lot.  It was relatively short and paced pretty well, mostly.  You couldn’t help but wonder just how much of what was going on between the survivors was because of the ex-girlfriend, or if Marty read into things based on past experiences.  You couldn’t help but feel for him.  There were times, however, where it felt like things were rushed along a little too quickly when drawing it out might help the story more.  That being said, I did have a hard time putting the book down until I finished the story.  If you are looking for a nice, fun, and quick read, this is definitely a book to check out.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus

Hello Addicts,

For this month’s book review, I selected Resurrection America by Jeff Gunhus. Let me start by saying that the book isn’t your typical horror story fare. I assure you that there are enough elements by the end of the book for the more discerning horror tastes.

Resurrection is a small, picturesque town in Colorado attempting to rebuild itself after many years of financial hardship. The day before their annual Fall Festival, an event they hope will jumpstart their tourism industry, the sheriff is called out to the mine overlooking the town. A new company has moved into the long dormant mine with plans to reopen it and give a large donation to the town. The sheriff agrees to keep mum about the company’s presence until they are ready to speak with Resurrection’s mayor and council. The actual plans for the town and the mine are far from the happy, hopeful story given. The real hope is for the events in Resurrection, CO, to kick the United States of America out of their post-war stagnation. Needless to say, what is planned for the townspeople is truly horrifying on many levels.

As I said at the beginning, this doesn’t fall easily into the realm of horror. The story as a whole would fall under science-fiction thriller, but there are enough horror elements to whet the casual Addict’s appetite. What is most frightening about the story is the plausibility of something like this possibly happening with the technology available today. If you are a hardcore horror fan, you may not appreciate the story as much. Overall, I think Resurrection America is a fun read.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Review: “The Tank” by Nicola Lombardi

Hello Addicts,

Imagine you live in a world where any crime, from murder to having a difference of political opinion, is cause enough for lifetime incarceration?  The governments which come to mind probably are Nazis, communists, and, to some people, the United States’ current political climate.   Dystopian stories are some of the scariest ones you can read.  True, there may not be blood, gore, monsters, or jump scares like the traditional horror stories utilize, but they deal with people as the monsters.  People so desperate for relief from red tape, corruption, and chaos that they are willing to give up freedom to feel safe and in control.

the-tank“The Tank” by Nicola Lombardi tackles the dystopian story very well and in a pretty believable manner.  It is the future, and a military coup has placed the New Moral Order (NMO) in charge.  When is person is convicted of a crime against the NMO, they are delivered to one of nine Tanks for storage.  The Tanks look fundamentally like grain silos, however there are no cells inside.  The “guests”, as the training manual refers to the prisoners, are tossed into the main cylinder of the building and left to suffocate and rot among the other prisoners.  Those who survive the landing struggle to survive as refuse until a quarterly Cleaning, which involves acid, occurs.

Giovanni Corte is named the Keeper of Tank 9, one of the more sought after positions.  For enough money to relocate to an island with no more worries, he sacrifices one year of his life to run the facility.  Spending a year with little to no human interaction, save for the brief daily prisoner deliveries, plays on a person’s mind.  Before long, paranoia begins to rear its ugly head, which only gets worse when he finds a diary possibly left for him by the previous Keeper.  In that are mentions of spirits roaming the halls in revenge for being tossed into the Tank.  Things only get worse for Giovanni as the story progresses.

I thought the story was well told and you got pulled into the story pretty well.  There are a few spots where you notice that the translation from Italian didn’t work out as smoothly, but overall, I really enjoyed this book.  If dystopian stories are your cup of tea, definitely check this one out.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Review of Viscera by Jessica B Bell

Review of Viscera by Jessica B Bell

viscera_frontcover_promoJessica B Bell has successfully found scary, turns it nicely and ever so sweet into a bow of nightmares.

This anthology starts out with a nice little joke and moves into a nice little recipe leaving me wanting some munchies. Jessica B Bell has left me impatiently waiting for  Thirty Seven coming out on the 24th of this month… yay!  I read this book out of excitement from one story to the next and when I finished, I instantly wanted a second installment. The stories vary well enough to have diversity but go together in a perfect way to keep boosting your fear and what just happened meter.

I enjoyed a few stories in this book and she will be sharing a couple of them in the next few days. Be sure to read “A Visit to the Doctor”. This is by far my favorite poem. She has a short very short story “The Banshee” and a cute photo to accompany it. The anthology is a great showcase of Jessica B Bell’s talents and ability to scare leaving me wanting more. She will be sharing a couple of her stories in the next few days…. be sure to check them out!