David’s Haunted Library: Forever Vacancy: A Colors in Darkness Anthology

David's Haunted Library

33846776 The Kretcher Hotel opened it’s doors in Atlanta in the 1960’s. It’s a rundown place in the slums of the city surrounded by prostitutes, drug dealers and any kind of crime you can imagine. Some people say that the Kretcher Hotel was built by the devil himself. Bad things happen there and some say its cursed. In charge of the hotel is Sybline Kretcher, a six-foot 4  woman with a long dark past and a personality that can’t be controlled by Satan himself.

The Kretcher Hotel is a place where anything goes. Within its walls are suicidal men, evil monsters, witches, a succubus looking for redemption, thieves, addicts and any other abominations you can imagine. The Kretcher Hotel is a place surrounded by evil, but people also go there for redemption.

Forever Vacancy is an anthology of 13 horror stories that all feature diverse characters that you don’t see in most horror anthologies. The setting of a broken down hotel is a perfect place for a horror anthology and that comes across loud and clear in the story The Thing In Room 204 by C. W. Blackwell. It begins with a cloaked man being led to the hotel by a mysterious man. There is a mystery as to what is going on here which is made more complicated by the prostitute on the street. Another good story is The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion by Sumiko Saulson which is about a grief-stricken man who is trying to make the choice between being consumed by the bitterness of loosing someone, the need for revenge and wanting the chance for forgiveness.

My favorite story in this book is Salvation by Ross Baxter. This story follows a succubus who wants to find salvation after centuries of taking the souls of men. She goes to a priest for salvation, but is the priest strong enough to resist her and give her the help she needs? What I liked about this one was how offended the priest is when he sees how Sybline acts towards him and how sure he is of himself before being given the ultimate test. I also liked the idea that despite how evil the succubus is, she still hopes to change her ways.

I loved the concept behind Forever Vacancy. This is a book where each story has the same location and one character in common. I loved how Sybline shows so much depth of character even though she is a small part of each story. In some stories Sybline shows herself as being cold and uncaring but in others she proves that she is helping the protagonists. Sybline may be working for the devil but she has a mind of her own and does as she pleases. Every story in this book is fast paced and filled with gruesome situations in a dark setting. This is the kind of book that all horror fan should read because it’s a great example of how good horror stories can be. I would love to see a series of books based on this setting. Despite the desolation of the location there are still souls in search of redemption and that is what makes this anthology good.

http://www.colorsindarkness.com/

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.

 

 

David’s Haunted Library: The Human Condition

DavidsHaunted

28368109Terror, murder and madness are all part of the human condition. We try to hide the fact that we have evil thoughts inside us and we don’t speak about the things that scare us the most. Like what bad things a person can do to another or even to themselves in a desperate situation. The Human Condition by Mark Taylor is a collection of 17 stories that have to do with the dark side of life, such as what happens when a person is driven to madness or faced with their worst nightmare.

The first story in this collection and one of my favorites is Christmas At The Mill. The story is about a man named Jimmy who gets trapped in a room at his work over the holidays. He wanted some peace and quiet and got much more than he bargained for. I love the simplicity of this story, it’s just one character and his struggle to escape his situation. I loved how the tension builds in this story and how everything was described. Mark proves here that you don’t need a lot of elements to tell a great story.

Another good one was Bobo. This was about a man named Tim who works as a clown on a famous children’s TV show. Things start to go bad for Tim as he starts having visions of everyone in the studio audience dying. Is Tim going insane or is his subconscious trying to tell him something? Once again I loved the storytelling here, I liked how Tim sees himself as crazy, but as the story moves along you see that’s not the case. I especially liked the ending to this one.

Each story in this book is well written and focuses on characters that are just average people put in gruesome, horrifying situations.  I love character driven fiction so I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology. Mark Taylor made me like every person in this book, which made it that much scarier when they were put in danger. When I finished reading this I wondered if Mark Taylor can make short stories this good, then his novels must be excellent.

Press Release: Crystal Lake Publishing Presents: Tales From The Lake Volume 3

Crystal Lake Publishing has just released Tales From The Lake Volume 3 and includes a story from Sumiko Saulson. Sumiko was the featured author on episode 109 of the horroraddicts.net podcast, she has also written various articles for the horror addicts blog and has an article in The Horror Addicts Guide To Life. Sumiko Saulson’s story is called Enclosures and you can find out more about her here:

https://sumikosaulson.com/

The TALES FROM THE LAKE legend continues with volume 3 in this popular series.

Dive into the deep end of the lake with 19 tales of terror, selected by Monique Snyman.

31437640Tales from the Lake Vol. 3 features ghosts, monsters, assassins, alternate dimensions, creatures from the deepest depths and the darkest parts of the universe.

Join “Maybelle” by Mere Joyce in a world where books become real enough to cause both pleasure and pain. Avoid the sounds of “The Cruel” by Harper Hull, lest you want to come to a terrifying end. Travel across the world to see what terrors lurk in an abandoned hospital with “Hush” by Sergio Pereira.

This non-themed horror anthology is filled with suspenseful stories, terrifying thrillers, tragic tales, mystifying mysteries, and memorable adventures that will leave you wanting more. Let these modern urban legends prickle your imagination, share it around a campfire, and revel in the magic of Crystal Lake’s exceptional authors.

The Owl Builder by D. Morgan Ballmer
Tragedy Park by Chris Pearce
Enclosures by Sumiko Saulson                            Woe Violent Water by Lily Childs
The Cruel by Harper Hull
Red Scream with Little Smile by Paul Edmonds
Maybelle by Meredith Cleversey writing as Mere Joyce
Rodent in the Red Room by Matt Hayward
The Deeper I Go The Deeper I Fear by Natalie Carroll
The Pigmalion Pigs by Mark Allan Gunnells
Chemical Oasis by Tommy B. Smith
Hush by Sergio Pereira
The Reaper’s Fire by Kenneth W. Cain
Effigy by Kate Jonez
Scents of Fear by Steve Jenner
The Bet by Amy Grech
A Hand from the Depths by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
The Monster of Biscayne Bay by Roxanne Dent
The Song at the Edge of the Unfinished Road by Patrick Bates

Foreword by the editor, Monique Snyman.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing.

“A solid anthology representing the best in horror fiction, with tales that will stay with you for some time.” — Ben Eads, author of, Cracked Sky

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Links:
Amazon:
http://getbook.at/Lake3
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31437640-tales-from-the-lake-vol-3

http://www.crystallakepub.com/

David’s Haunted Library: Housebroken and Night as a Catalyst

David's Haunted Library

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]Blake is a rich man with a wife and teenage son. Things look perfect on the outside and he thinks they are about to get better when he moves across the country to a new home in a gated community in California. After they settle into their new home a strange person comes to their door selling magazines, Blake refuses to buy and sets off a chain reaction of events. Now Blake and his family are at the mercy of two sociopath kidnappers.

These kidnappers don’t want money though or to torture them. What they want is to observe Blake and his family for one week to see how they became so successful. There is a catch, though if you break one of their rules the kidnappers have promised to torture them and they have proof to show how vicious they can be. Blake is caught in a game of survival  his perfect life starts to erode  and he has to reevaluate what is most important.

 I loved the concept behind Housebroken by The Berg. You can tell that the kidnappers come from a rough background and the idea that they just wanted to see what made these rich people different is an intriguing idea. After awhile you start to see that Blake’s life isn’t as perfect as it looks and it doesn’t take a lot to make everything come undone. What I liked best about this book is that all the characters were shades of gray. There were times that the kidnappers came across like they weren’t bad people and you could have sympathy for them and there were times when Blake’s family showed that each one had a dark side. I cared about all of these characters to an extent and in the beginning, I even liked the kidnappers and could understand their point of view, though the story gets more complex as it moves along.

As much as I loved the characters though there were also scenes in this book that came across as so ridiculous that I almost wanted to stop reading. I don’t want to give anything away but at one point there was a scene with a car and also by their pool where I was asking how was that even possible and then there was an escape attempt where I was just scratching my head in confusion. There was also a scene with a doctor that I thought wasn’t necessary at all.

Despite its flaws I did enjoy this book, there are some well-written scenes and I loved the depth given to the characters and how their feelings are described. The best part of this book though is how you feel for the family. At first, they come across as a normal slightly dysfunctional family, then it gets revealed that they may be even worse than the reader thought. You still care for them though because you see how despite their conflicts they are still counting on each other to survive. Housebroken is a page turner and even though the story has its problems, it’s still good enough where I was wondering what else has this author written.

25459659Night As A Catalyst by Chad Lutzke is a collection of 18 horror stories that are short but pack a punch. Most of these stories would be considered flash fiction and while I admit to not liking short horror stories a lot, I thought the atmosphere in these stories was really good. Another thing I liked was at the end of each story Chad Lutzke tells where he got the idea from, which made each story more personal.

One of the stories in this book that I really liked was One Up A Tree. It’s about two hikers lost in the woods that come upon a cabin. When the owner comes home and finds the two people, he shoots first and doesn’t ask questions. One gets away but is soon trapped by the sadistic cabin owner. For such a short story I was surprised at the depth of the characters here. In the beginning, we find out that the two hikers are friends that drifted apart over the years and are trying to rekindle their friendship. Being able to relate to them makes it that much scarier when they meet the cabin owner. There is a scene in One Up A Tree where the cabin owner gives one of the hikers some meat. I knew where the scene was going when the hiker starts to eat but it was still terrifying to think about.

A good flash fiction piece here if you are a cat lover is Collecting Cats. It’s about someone who finds injured cats and nurses them back to health. What makes this story interesting is how the cats react when they find out about the one injuring them. This book has a lot of good short ideas and another story that follows this formula is Moving Made Easy which is a story about teleportation. This one has a really good Twilight Zone ending.

My favorite story here is Birthday Suit. It follows a group of friends who are at a house for a birthday slumber party, they go up into a tree house and one of the kids sees something amazing and horrifying. This one mixes nostalgia and horror. In particular, I liked the conversation the kids have in the tree house as they look into other people’s homes. They talk about things like what old people do all day, girls at school and of course horror movies. This one reminded me of sleepovers I had as a kid and the shock ending made it a great tale.

Night As A Catalyst is a perfect book for horror fans who like to read but don’t have a lot of time. I say that because each story here is quick, to the point and packs a good scare. As a fan of the genre what more could you ask for, this book is a lot of fun and a quick read. If you like horror anthologies then Chad Lutzke’s book is one you shouldn’t pass on.

Press Release : MADHOUSE

 

MADHOUSE, a shared world psychological horror anthology from the publisher that brought you World War Cthulhu and Chiral Mad 3, is now available on both DarkRegions.com and Amazon. Edited by Brad C. Hodson and Benjamin Kane Ethridge, the entire anthology takes place in the same mental institution during the midst of a violent sandstorm: Golden Canyon Behavioral Health Center.
Each story in MADHOUSE is written by a different author but follows the same timeline of events and even references other stories within the book. The anthology is woven together with meta chapters and contains over 30 original full page interior illustrations by surrealist artist Aeron Alfrey. It marks the first release in the new Dark Regions Horror imprint.
For a full table of contents or a sneak peek at Aeron Alfrey’s nightmarish artwork, head over to DarkRegions.com to read more: Madhouse Official

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Wayne Faust

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Wayne Faust and recently he talked to us about his writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “Old And In the Way.” It is the closing tale in the book. It’s about a very prominent character in horror fiction at the tale end (pun intended) of his life. If I told you what character it is, it would ruin the surprise.

What inspired the idea?

I’ve always wondered about characters in books, especially ones I’m fond of, after the action in the books take place. I’ve always liked spooky, atmospheric stories, so I continued that feel from the original book the character appeared in.
When did you start writing?

I’ve been a full-time music and comedy performer for 40 years, playing in 39 states and overseas. When you’re on the road, you have some time to write. One night I had a very vivid dream in which I pictured the last scene of a story concerning werewolves. The next morning I was compelled to write some of it down. After taking an adult ed class about writing, and after many re-writes, that story saw the light of day as “Promised Land,” appearing in a horror anthology in Australia. It was also performed live on stage in Denver for a literary series that continues to this day. Your readers can read the story online for free at my fiction page.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Most of my stories are character-driven science-fiction and horror. I like writing about time travel, Tales8-3-cover-bigmonsters, alternate history, and lots more. Many of them spring from “What if…?”
What are some of your influences?

My favorite writer has always been Ray Bradbury, especially in the poetic way he tells a story. Craft is very important to me and I love the rhythm of words and sentences. I was also a big fan of Rod Serling. All that being said, there continues to be a lot of new, great writers coming around these days. I find some of them through self-published works on Amazon. I recently finished “The Island” series by Michael Stark and it was very good.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

I love atmospheric, spooky tales that make me pull up the covers at night. I especially love stories that go in a direction I haven’t seen before.

What are some of the works you have available?

fictionvale 2I’ve written two full-length books that are available on www.waynefaust.com. One is an entertaining memoir of life as a resort performer called “Thirty Years Without A Real Job” and the other is “12 Parables,” a Christian book from healthy Life Press. I have completed two parts of a three-part apocalyptic, YA novel and am hoping for a mainstream publisher for that one. Most of the over 40 short stories I’ve had published in various places are available to read for free http://www.picklehead.com/wayne/wayne_stories.html. I plan to release several books of short stories soon, so if you want to read these for free, it would be a good idea to do it now!
What are you currently working on?

The above-mentioned novel project. Also, I’m co-writing a space-horror novel with fellow Colorado writer Charles Anderson. We’re about 1/3 of the way through and hope to have it completed by the end of the summer. It’s coming along really well.
Where can we find you online?

Main website: www.waynefaust.com

Fiction page: http://www.picklehead.com/wayne/wayne_stories.html.