Book Review: Lost Highways edited by D. Alexander Ward

Roads are, by design, a space in between — between cities, between the looming wilds on either side of the pavement, or between two versions of oneself. They exist in a perpetual state of flux. Millions of people pass along highways, driving through towns and lives they will never know and through stories stranger than they can imagine.

Lost Highways is an anthology of short stories and artwork edited by D. Alexander Ward and presents 20 stories that you’ll never see from the safety of the passenger seat.

The stories are equal parts entertaining and enlightening. No two ever present the same theme, stretching the anthology’s premise of roads and highways to the limits of connectivity. Each author interpreted the theme in a novel and inspiring way.

Lost Highways was gripping throughout. It presents a wide array of styles within the horror genre: philosophical musings, psychological terror, gruesome violence, and tingling suspense. At no point did I consider a story to be predictable.

Though the anthology is superb from start to finish, several stories stood out to me while reading. “A Life that is not Mine” by Kristi Demeester presented a bleak look at life where the road is both a prison and an escape. Demeester’s writing was haunting and the prose almost lyrical. “The Heart Stops at the end of Laurel Lane” by Jess Landry (an alumni of the HorrorAddicts.net Next Great Horror Writer Contest!) straddled the line between harrowing and heart wrenching and left me reeling through each new revelation. “Outrunning the End” by Cullen Bunn was a trippy experiment in fiction that blurred the lines of reality on the page. These are my favorites, but each story is excellent in its own way and all the contributors should be commended for their work.

Overall, Lost Highways is an expertly curated collection of the best that horror has to offer. I highly recommend taking a look. If you’re especially brave, you might consider making it your companion on a long road trip.

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Book Review: Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach

Book Review: Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach

Ben has been searching for his missing brother, Eric, for five years. The three-year-old boy couldn’t have just vanished into thin air in the middle of a grocery store. Eric has to be somewhere. But Ben has run out of rocks to look under and life doesn’t seem to stop no matter what he does. To help support his family, he takes a job at the very store where Eric disappeared.

The night shift plays tricks on Ben’s brain, turning his days into a blur, like the Missing Person posters of Eric that have been copied so many times that the image warped into something that doesn’t even resemble him anymore. Things seem to move when no one is around. Items go missing. Others appear as if from nowhere. The building seems as if it’s trying to tell Ben something if only he could figure out what it is.

The strange occurrences renew Ben’s search, but someone doesn’t want him to find out what really happened to Eric. In small towns, someone always knows more than they say. In this case, everyone has something to hide. Even Ben.

Dathan Auerbach spins a wonderful web of intrigue and suspicion. I sat on edge through the whole book, unsure if I was going to encounter the paranormal or the darkest depths of humanity in each turn of the page.

Bad Man approaches a difficult setting, addressing poverty, abuse, mental illness, and grief in a powerful way. Auerbach doesn’t pull any punches with his descriptions and gives an unflinching account of real-life horror. The characters feel like real people. From Ben’s tenuous grasp on reality to the quiet, sinister nature of the store’s owner, there is depth to every character you meet. No one is safe from the dreadful suspicion in the book. Auerbach masterfully leads readers to conclusion after conclusion, never knowing if they are on the right track.

Bad Man leaves you feeling the way you do in a Walmart at two am. Everything feels overexposed, too brightly lit, too empty, too quiet. It isn’t the darkness that is frightening in Bad Man, it’s the blinding light that reveals that there is nothing there to see.

Auerbach’s prose is a delight to read. He includes masterful descriptions and insights throughout with lingering quotes that you’ll want to remember for yourself. The novel is artfully crafted from cover to cover, each word carefully chosen to draw you in at every turn.

Bad Man may not linger in your nightmares, but the effect is much deeper than that. It deals a slow sort of agony as you face the uncertainty of what happened to Eric and inevitable feeling that there is no happy ending for Ben. Even if Ben gets what he wants, will there ever really be an ending to his torture? The suspense lasts until the last page. It leaves a tingling feeling of dread that claws its way out of your bones and refuses to let you put it down.

Bad Man is a fantastic novel. If you are looking for a dark, atmospheric, gripping book, then make sure to pick up a copy.

Cheap Reads

Hey Horror Addicts, for the last couple of seasons of the horror addicts podcast I had a regular blog post/segment called Free Fiction Friday, where we gave away a paperback book. For this season I’m switching things up a little and instead of giving away a book I’m going to promote some cheap horror books that you can find on Amazon for less than $5.oo. For my first post I’m going to look at books that are available from the Horror Addicts staff. If you still want a free paperback book or to promote a book you wrote, shoot me an email at horroraddicts@gmail.com and We will hook you up.

21719117From our hostess Emerian Rich we have Night’s Knights. Vampires on a quest for knowledge attempt to create the perfect offspring, but from the shadows an even more demonic evil threatens their immortality. Markham is a simple Irish immigrant striving for the American dream in 1860 when coach robbers cause his untimely death. Severina is an exotic beauty from the jungles of Brazil whose family is brutally murdered by the same man she later calls a lover. Julien is a knight who serves as guardian angel to his family but has no clue about his predestined fate. Will a powerful mortal named Jespa be the one to save them all?

5791268Next up from Dan Shaurette we have Lilith’s Love. Donovan, lonely and getting over the recent death of his parents, asks his long-time friend Christian to move in with him when he relocates back home again to Phoenix from Los Angeles. After the Vampire Hunters find Lilith in New Orleans, she and her Wiccan friend Anna decide to go where they think no one would expect to find vampires — The Valley of the Sun, Phoenix, AZ. Christian, who is also a Wiccan, meets Anna at a Samhain event (Halloween). The chemistry between them is immediate, and when they introduce their roommates to each other, Don realizes Lilith is not only the woman of his dreams — but that she is the woman in his dreams at night.

12348944From our movie and TV guru Kristin Battestella, we have Fate And Fangs Love: Ann and The Viking. The Vampire Family has a long and torrid past, present, and future. In FATE and FANGS, the family’s Occult scholar Professor A. James shares vampire vignettes of love, punishment, struggle, debauchery, lust, humanity, and resurrection. In this medieval tale, scorned vampire mistress Ann leaves vampire family patriarch Antonio behind, travels across Britain, and encounters a wayward Viking named Eric. Will Ann accept her true vampiric nature and turn her Nordic lover into a vampire?

Also our events guy Mark Vale has a book called Silhouette available. Aaron Tate moves into a new house in a little town he doesn’t feel comfortable in. It could be he’s feeling lonely as the new kid, or it could be he doesn’t like the backyard. Or more precisely, the swamp behind the backyard.

21337311 (1)In addition to these four books from our horroraddicts staff we also have two anthologies available. The first is The Wickeds: A Wicked Women Writers AnthologyHorrorAddicts.net presents thirteen horror tales from up-and-coming women writers. This diverse collection of revenge, torture, and macabre is sure to quench any horror addict’s thirst for blood. Between these covers reside werewolves, demons, ghosts, vampires, a voodoo priestess, headless horseman, Bloody Mary, and human monsters that are perhaps the most disturbing. With an exclusive interview of The Wickeds by Sapphire Neal. Lock your doors, bar your windows, and enjoy stories from: H. E. Roulo Jeri Unselt Linda Ciletti Emerian Rich Marie Green Hollie Snider Jennifer Rahn Michele Roger R. E. Chambliss Arlene Radasky Kimberly Steele Laurel Anne Hill Rhonda R. Carpenter All proceeds will be donated to LitWorld, a non-profit organization that uses the power of story to cultivate literacy leaders around the globe.
hahdfront-coverOur second anthology is Horrible DisastersHorrorAddicts.net proudly presents Horrible Disasters. Thirteen authors from around the globe share their visions of terror set during real natural disasters throughout history. Travel back in time to earth shattering events like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and the Winter of Terror avalanches, 1950. What supernatural events went unnoticed? What creatures caused such destruction without remorse? Stock your emergency kit, hunker in your bunker, and prepare for… Horrible Disasters. Proceeds go to help disaster relief globally by way of the Rescue Task Force.