David’s Haunted Library: The Beauty Of Death

David's Haunted Library

30732852There are a lot of horror anthologies out there and it’s not always easy to find one that you think you would like. That being said sometimes you find a horror anthology that when you see it you know you can’t go wrong. The Beauty Of Death: The Gargantuan Book of Horror Tales is that book. Edited by Alessandro Manzetti, this book includes stories by such great horror authors as Tim Waggoner, John Skipp, Poppy Z Brite, Peter Straub and many more. This is one mammoth collection that all horror fans should have.

One of my favorite stories in this collection is Carly Is Dead by Shane McKenzie. This story is told from the viewpoint of a rotting corpse in a field who is being eaten by the forest animals but is still aware of what’s going on. Who would have thought you could have sympathy for a corpse. Another good hard-core gore story is White Trash Gothic by Edward Lee. This one has to do with an author who gets amnesia due to a traumatic event and he travels to where he wrote his last book to find out what happened. I loved how Mr. Lee makes you feel compassion for the author and then throws him into a bizarre situation that will make you fear going to a small town.

Another one of my favorites was Calcutta, Lord Of Nerves by Poppy Z. Brite. This one is about a boy born in Calcutta, he is moved to America but returns after his father dies and the zombie apocalypse starts. In Calcutta things are so bad it’s hard to tell the poor people from the zombies and weird things happen as we find out that the zombies may be worshiping an old God. My favorite scene in the book is when the lead character excepts that zombies are just part of the world now and he doesn’t think they’re that bad.

It’s really hard to pick favorites in this book and if I wrote about each story here this review would be a book in itself. Other stories that stood out for me were The Office by Kevin Lucia which is a psychological horror story about a  man who relives his life through his favorite place, his office. Another one is No Place Like Home by JG Faherty which follows a man who bought a haunted house that changes his life for the better. Things get bloody though when someone tries to get him to give it up. In The Garden is one by Lisa Morton that really got to me. In this one a woman lives in a house and is taking care of her crippled brother when something in her garden causes him to get better, I loved how Lisa made you feel compassion for the lead character and then hits you with a shock ending.

The Beauty Of Death deserves a spot on every horror fans book shelf. When I first saw it I knew I had to have it and I wasn’t disappointed. This book reminded me of The Year’s Best Horror anthologies that come out each year, but The Beauty Of Death has more to offer. Every story here has the anatomy of a good horror story and focuses on characters dealing with their worst fears and considering its length it will keep you scared and reading for a long time.



Free Fiction Friday: Hot Blooded Twins

For our Free Fiction Friday post for this week we have a set of Hot Blooded Twins. These two books are a part of the Hot Blood Series which was an ongoing anthology of horror erotica books. There are 13 books in this series, the first one came out in 1989 and the last one came out in 2007. Hot Blood was created and edited by Jeff Gelb and Michael Garrett.  The two editors have also worked together on other anthologies such as Shock Rock, Dark Delicacies and Fear Itself.

Our first twin was number 6 in the series and is called Strangers By Night. Some of the stories that are included here are Dead Girls in Love by Edward Lee, Take It as It Comes by Tom Piccirilli and The Body In The Window by Ramsey Campbell. This book originally was released in 1995 and according to some of the reviews I read its much nastier then the 5 books that came before it.

The second twin is called Fear The Fever, it was  the seventh book in the series and was released in 1996. Some of the stories in this anthology includes: Love Letters From The Rain Forest by Jack Ketchum and Edward Lee, Untamed Sex by James Crawford and The Sinister Woods by Wendy Rathbone. If its possible this book is even more racy then its predecessors. According to what I read some of the stories include an erie pornographic art gallery, necrophiliac humor and a story about a long lost cookbook.

So if you like a little sex and humor with your horror  or if you want some erotic thrills before bedtime, you’ll probably want to adopt these two books. Sure they’re a little raunchy but with a little love they’ll fit nicely on your bookshelf. So in order to have these two Bram Stoker award winning books mailed to your home, all you have to do is leave a comment on the blog as to why you want to have these books and why you would make a good owner. The best comment wins the books. This is open to US residents only. Good Luck.

1930’s Books

The first Book I want to talk about is It Drinks Blood by J.F. Gonzalez from Delirium Books. Delirium books is a small independent publisher of horror literature that has been in business since 1999. Delirium distributes titles from some big name horror authors such as Douglas Clegg and also releases titles from new authors in the horror field. They’ve also won a Bram Stoker award for excellence  in specialty press publishing.

The story for It Drinks Blood begins in 1939 and follows a pulp fiction writer and ex-criminal named  Robert and his life in New Castle Pennsylvania. Living next door to Robert is an abused girl named Allison who is living with her mother Linda, her grandmother, and Linda’s boyfriend James. Allison lives a life of torture at the hands of Linda and James but Robert and his wife Ellen try to help Allison whenever they can.

In addition to the abuse Allison has also noticed something peculiar in the town of New Castle. A series of people have been killed around town over the last few years and Allison has her eyes on a strange man who walks the streets late at night.  She  believes that the man may be a vampire  who drinks the blood of his victims and leaves the bodies in a nearby swamp. Allison dreams of becoming a detective and hopes that by exposing the strange man walking the streets as a serial killer, she will become famous and be able to leave her abusive home.

Robert encourages Allison’s detective work because he also sees it as a way for her to escape her abusive home. Problem is, Robert believes that another person living in the town may actually be the killer.  Allison’s time may be running out though as the abuse in her home is getting worse and the bodies drained of blood keep piling up.

I enjoyed reading It Drinks Blood, it has a good story and I found myself rooting for Allison and Robert and hoping for a happy ending. If your looking for a straight forward horror novel though, this may not be for you. It’s more of a mystery with some horror elements. Also its written to resemble pulp fiction of the 1930’s, so it is a period piece and if you are not familiar with pulp fiction you may not enjoy it.

One other item that kind of bothered me was that there is a scene where Allison describes the torture that she suffers at the hands of her mother. I don’t like hearing about the torture of kids, but it is a short part and was necessary to show what motivates Allison.  I did like  how the the book wraps up with Allison and Robert in the present day in an old folks home talking about their lives after the murders and explaining how the mystery was solved.

It Drinks Blood is a good, quick read with a lot of action and a mystery that doesn’t get solved until the very end. The book  leaves you with the feeling that maybe serial killers have their good points as well. If you love old pulp fiction magazines such as Weird Tales or Black Book Detective then you should love this story. J.G. Gonzalez has really done his homework.

Another book  I found is by H.P. Lovecraft called The Shadow Over Innsmouth. This novel was written in 1931 and is about a town called Innsmouth which is inhabited by a race of people who are half human, half fish and worship the god Cuthulu. There is also a movie based on this book called Dagon which came out in 2001 and was directed by Stuart Gordon who also directed  Reanimator and From Beyond which were also based on works of H.P. Lovecraft.

The last book I found also includes H.P. Lovecraft but this time he is a character in the book and not the writer. The story takes place in 1934 and follows Lovecraft as he is hired to write a story for an underground magazine. In order to write it he has to take Trolley No. 1852 to a  bordello that hosts the most beautiful women and in the back room are monsters performing horrible tasks and opening doors to other dimensions. The name of the book is Trolley No. 1852 by Edward Lee. This book obviously pays homage to the works of Lovecraft by including characters and situations from his stories but it also includes Lee’s hard core writing style and plenty of sex and blood.