Cheap Reads

18591386809 Jacob Street by Marty Young

Fourteen year old Byron James wishes he’d never been dragged to Parkton.

It’s a crazy sideshow of a town in the middle of damn nowhere, and he’s stranded there. To make matters worse, his two new friends – his only friends – turn out to be class rejects with an unhealthy interest in monsters. They want to discover the truth to the infamous monster house at number 809 Jacob Street.

Joey Blue is an old blues man who fell into his songs and couldn’t find his way out again. Now he’s a Gutterbreed, one of the slinking shifting shadows haunting the town’s alleys. When an old dead friend comes begging for help, Joey’s world is torn apart. He is forced to stare down the man he has become in order to rescue the man he once was – and there is only one place he can do that.

The house on Jacob Street calls to them all, but what will they find when they open its door?

18211208Suffer The Children by Craig DiLouie

Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod’s Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe. Soon, they return from the grave…and ask for blood. And with blood, they stop being dead. They continue to remain the children they once were…but only for a short time, as they need more blood to live. The average human body holds ten pints of blood, so the inevitable question for parents everywhere becomes: How far would you go to bring your child back?

The Darkest Touch by Joseph Sale

In the aftermath of a world-wide nuclear conflict, dark forces have taken control in New York City.

Gifted with powers beyond reckoning, the Touched have inherited the after world, instating their own notion of order, and killing all who oppose their rule.

But rebels are gathering, along with strange voices that sound in the deep, and the dark city is about to go even darker

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Press Release: Exoskeleton

16086863A convicted felon is given a choice following his sentencing… Serve a twenty-five year conventional prison term, or spend 365 days in a new, experimental corrections program… He opts for the latter, only to realize he has made a horrible mistake.

A dark tale of science spun dangerously out of control, EXOSKELETON will leave even the most jaded of readers quaking in their boots.

” … a cleverly executed [blend] of science fiction, suspense and horror. … a certified dark journey into madness.” – David Gammon, HORROR NEWS

“Stadler – an experimental physicist by trade – effectively uses his background working in government and defense labs in painting vivid, appropriately clinical looks at the very base concept of torture. He spins it, however, into a horrifying tale of supernatural vengeance, one wrought with complex questions of faith, spirituality, and the after-life.”- Chris Hallock, CHIZINE

“Exoskeleton utilizes several science fiction and horror tropes: the medical experiment gone horribly wrong, the malevolent secret government organization that will stop at nothing to achieve its aims, vengeful spirits against which the fleshbound have no defense, [still] Stadler never lets the story devolve into cliche, but instead uses these tropes with originality and energy.” – Tracie McBride, EXQUISITE CORPSE

Find EXOSKELETON online: http://www.darkhallpress.com/exoskeleton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shane Stadler is an experimental physicist. He has worked at numerous government research and defense laboratories, and is currently a professor of physics at a major research university. EXOSKELETON is his first novel.

ABOUT DARK HALL PRESS:

Dark Hall seeks to promote a diverse body of quality works, advancing the tradition of Horror storytelling as well as providing exposure for up-and-coming writers.

Our list includes works of supernatural and non-supernatural horror, as well as cross-genre pollinations (sci-fi/horror, fantasy/horror, noir/horror, etc.) and experimental works.

A Psycho’s Medley and The Bloodline: Birth Of The Vampir

apmposterSometimes the scariest place imaginable can be a person’s mind; such is the case with A Psycho’s Medley by Terry M. West. This book has six short stories that take a look at human monsters. Each story takes you into the mind of a serial killer and does its best to shock you.

The first story in the book is also the title and my favorite, it looks at a man awaiting trial after he was found to be a serial killer. In hopes of finding out what he thinks, his therapist gives him a blank notebook and has him write his feelings, which he does. In his diary he goes into detail on his killings and what motivates him to do what he does. I really enjoyed how this story was told, it uses the diary method effectively and gives you a good glimpse of what a psychopath might think about.

Terry M. West must have done some research on psychopaths because some of what the main character wrote in his diary is what I have heard in documentaries. I liked how the main character talks about how he has never killed someone unless they wanted it and how he says killing was a calling for him. This story was chilling because the character talks about how no one suspected him and he had the appearance of a normal person even though he was a killer.

The next four stories are very short and have their moments but I didn’t like them as much as the first one.  Each story takes a look at a killer and what drove them to it. The last story called Hair and Blood was very good and is the longest in this collection. This one takes a look at a young man who recently lost his parents and hasn’t been able to get over it. To make himself feel better he goes to a carnival in town and meets a woman who has her own issues. I liked how the point of view in the story changes towards the end and how the carnival is described.

This book made me think of the show Criminal Minds with the exception of A Psycho’s Medley being much scarier. Human monsters can be more terrifying than fictional monsters because they can look normal. Terry M. West does a great job of describing some horrifying situations that could really happen and that’s what really makes this book a disturbing read. If you like to be shocked then A Psycho’s Medley is for you.

18337424The next book I want to mention is The Bloodline: Birth of the Vampir by Rod Garcia and Shaun McGinnis. Set in 13th century Europe, the book begins with the Knights Templar on a holy quest to talk to a man who may know the whereabouts of the holy grail.  The knights accompany the man to a town called Erdley where no one has aged in hundreds of years. The surrounding villages call Erdley’s leader Ivan, Ivan the terrible and believe the whole town to be evil. Not everything is as it seems but The knights Templar do discover the grail and under the orders of the Archdeacon of the church, they are ordered to bring it back to the church of England. The knights take over the town and force the citizens of Erdely into exile. To add insult to injury the Archdeacon curses the villagers and they become something the world has never seen before—the first vampires.

This book has a good story to it that kept my interest, and the way the setting was described really brought it to life. The use of medieval torture devices in the story made me cringe but I found it fascinating hearing about them since I knew they were used in that time period and I thought it added authenticity to the story. Another part I liked was how the vampires slowly learned that they weren’t human anymore and how they learned that hunting was a lot different then it use to be.

One thing that bothered me about the story was that the authors spent too much time describing how characters felt. For instance at one point an army’s leader tells his son to lead the army into battle and then they say that the man didn’t love his son and was afraid to fight. As a reader I already assumed that and didn’t have to be told. There were other examples like this in the book also, it felt sometimes like the authors thought that the reader wouldn’t figure it out so they came right out and said how you should feel.

Other things that bothered me was that some of the action scenes needed to be described a little better and a couple of times The author mentioned that the army of vampire’s blood thirst was satisfied by drinking from one animal. I know its being nit picky but I thought that it would take a little more than that to feed that many vampires. All in all though I did like the book. Vampire fans will enjoy it and it is the first in a series which I hope gets better as it goes along.

Midnight Echo and After The Fire

ME9_cover-724x1024Not to long ago I had the privilege of reading and reviewing Midnight Echo magazine issue 8. Midnight Echo is the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association. Midnight Echo comes out about twice a year. Each issue contains over 100 pages of horror literature, art, poetry, a regular column on understanding poetry, author interviews, articles on movies and a  vampire comic called Allure of the Ancients which is illustrated by the author from episode 91 of Horror addictsGreg Chapman.
The theme for issue 9 of Midnight Echo is mythology.  The issue contains an article on Russian mythology and every story in the magazine deals with mythological creatures. Some of the stories in this magazine include Changeling by Jonathan Mayberry which is about shape shifters, The Wee Folk by JG Faherty about a group of little people who live in the woods and kill those who bother them and there is another great story by the name of Little Boy, Little Girl Lost In The Woods by Mark Patrick Lynch which gets into witches and Hansel and Gretel. This story shows how much fun fairy tales can be with a horror twist thrown in.

My favorite story is The Fathomed Wreck To See by Alan Baxter which takes a look at the myth of Sirens. This story is so amazingly good that I’m dying to ruin it so I can talk about it, but I won’t because I really think you should buy Midnight Echo issue 9 and read it for yourself.  The story is about a man named Dylan who is having problems with his wife and a Siren who wants Dylan to herself.  This is a love story but it looks at the dark side of love and is not one of those make you feel good kind of love stories.

Proving that Midnight Echo is not your normal horror magazine is the regular column called Tartarus by Charles Lovecraft which helps explain how metre and resonance are used in dark poetry. There is also a great article on movies based on Australian myths including films about a haunted house and one about an Aboriginal spirit that feeds on animals, women and children called the Bunyip. The magazine also includes articles on Middle Earth mythology, an interview with the creator of the comic Killeroo and an interview with author James A Moore.

Midnight Echo is an excellent horror magazine. This magazine is for the hard-core horror fan, the type that can’t go to long without reading a good horror story or watching a horror movie. It’s also for the people who are always on the look out for great horror fiction, art, and interviews with the people who make them. If you’re not a hard-core horror fan you might not be able to appreciate it, but If you live and breathe horror,  you owe it to yourself to buy a copy.

18144958I also recently read After the Fire by D. Alexander Ward. Things started simple enough, two boys named Frankie and Lane at the age of 12 decide to go on a little adventure. There is a house in their town known as the witch house and they decide to explore it while the witch is out-of-town.

They break into the witch’s house and see things that they’ve never witnessed before. They hear a noise in the attic and decide to investigate and see something that makes their worst nightmares seem tame. In a rush to escape the witch’s house they knock a candle down and start a fire and Lane is killed in the blaze.

As an adult Frankie is plagued by constant nightmares of that day. Some horrors never go away and have a tendency to ruin your life. Will he come to terms with what he saw in that house, and the death of his friend or will the nightmares haunt him for the rest of his life?

After The Fire is a psychological horror story that looks at how one horrific event can affect your life forever.  There is some great and disturbing imagery in this book. The way the witch’s house is described was excellent, including the pictures of post death Victorian corpses that the house contains. This is a good tale about redemption and confronting your personal demons. Its also a short read with great characters, a lot of action and enough spooky atmosphere and gore to keep horror fans happy.