Book Review: Things You Need by Kevin Lucia

Things You Need – Kevin Lucia
(Crystal Lake Publishing)
5/5 stars

I enjoy collections and anthologies but with so many available these days, it takes something special for a new publication to rise above the herd and Lucia has achieved that. By cleverly intertwining the individual stories with the thread of the tale of a traveling salesman, he effectively creates a story within a story which ends with a twist I did not see coming.

Johnny is a sales rep, disillusioned with his life, despairing of his future, ready to turn his .38 on himself; however, before he can commit this act, he finds himself browsing the shelves of Handy’s Pawn & Thrift in the town of Clifton Heights. This shop gives you what you need – although this might not necessarily be what you want. Each item he handles – a tape player, an old Magic Eight Ball, a phone, a word processor – takes him away to other lives, all featuring characters who are trapped in one way or another. A ghost haunts his old den in The Office, the nightmare of being trapped in rooms and hallways continues in Out of Field Theory, Scavenging and A Place for Broken and Discarded Things. In each, the main character has to face up to, or accept certain truths, much as the character of Johnny is forced to do, each tale taking him nearer to his own truth.

Johnny too is trapped, he is locked mentally into his own depression and physically in the store, with no apparent escape from either. The shopkeeper has disappeared and, between the tales, he finds himself facing never-ending corridors and suddenly-appearing trapdoors, all the while feeling an increasing desire to kill himself. This parallels the stories he reads or hears, an overarching theme which makes sense when you read Almost Home, the tale of Johnny himself, and which delivers an unexpected, and wonderfully conceived, twist.

This is Death of a Salesman written for the horror market. The stories are flawless and original, avoiding the usual, hackneyed tropes, with no weak links between them. A thoroughly enjoyable read for the longer autumnal nights.

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.



Press Release: Kevin Lucia’s Devourer of Souls from Crystal Lake Publishing

Press Release: Kevin Lucia’s Devourer of Souls from Crystal Lake Publishing


Kevin Lucias third installment of the Clifton Height Saga

Welcome back to Clifton Heights.


In Kevin Lucias latest installment of his growing Clifton Heights
mythos, Sheriff Chris Baker and Father Ward meet for
a Saturday morning breakfast at The Skylark Dinner to once again
commiserate over the weird and terrifying secrets surrounding their
town. Sheriff Baker shares with Father Ward the story of a journal
discovered in the ruins of what was once an elaborate koi pond and
flower garden, which regales a tale of regret, buried pain, and
unfulfilled debt. Father Ward reveals the story of a tortured man
from the nearby town of Tahawus, who visited his
confessionalseeking solace froma cosmic horror he can never
souls 1Sophan Jake Burns has always been a bit…off. Rude, awkward,
sometimes brutish, he’s tolerated by Nate Slocum and his friends
because he hits a mean line drive, and because they all know but
don’t discuss the abuse he faces at the hands of his troubled father, a Vietnam veteran consumed by his demons. But Jake is suffering something far worse than domestic abuse, and when Nate discovers what, he faces an impossible choice: help Jake and put himself in the path of evil, or abandon him, only to damn himself in the process.
The Man in Yellow Stuart Michael Evans has suffered from
cerebral palsy all his life, but he’s made due. Sure, his preacher dad
is always yammering about the healing grace of God” and “God’s
will,” saying all he needs is faith and someday he’ll be healed, but
Stuart mostly ignores him. Life isn’t perfect, but it isn’t awful either,
so Stuart figures he doesn’t need God to heal him, or do anything,
for that matter. Everything changes, however, when a renowned
faith healer Reverend Alistair McIlvian pays avisit to
Tahawus annual Summer Vacation Bible School. Revival sweeps
the town as Reverend McIlvian’s healing touch makes believers out
Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia
ISBN: 978194478243-6 (PB);
978-1-944782-89-4 (Kindle)
$13.99 (PB), $3.99 (Kindle)
Page count: 228
Release date: April 1st, 2016
Devourer of Souls further cements Kevin Lucia as a
distinctive voice in horror and the fantastic, and its as good a
place as any for new readers to jump in. Recommended. Josh Black,Hellnotes

The author handles the small town horror subgenre as well as anybody currently writing, and his fictional Clifton Heights sits comfortably among the many other such places on the literary horror reader’s tourist map.” Richard Wright
This is quiet horror at its best, subtle and unsettling. It lingers in your waking hours, and
transports you back to Clifton Heights in your nightmares.
Kevin Lucia is, without a doubt, the heir apparent to the legacy of the late Charles L. Grant.....a master at weaving tales of whispers and shadows...the chill touch of night fog and the sound of the wind in the eaves. John Recluse
The “Stand By Me vibe leads into the “True Detectiveone with ease, and each story is unique and will keep you guessing until the next twist. Highly recommended!”
Armand Rosamilia
““The Man in the Yellow” is some of the best small town Horror I’ve read. Nice conflict in a young man with Cerebral Palsy who sees how his dad looks at him in shame. When the Man in Yellow comes to town and brainwashes people with promises of healing, things get incredibly creepy. Goodreads review
WOW! its real easy to see why this book has so many 5 star reviews. As far as creepy
Lovcraftian/King style horror goes, it is flawless.” Goodreads review
Quality writing and superb storytelling. For fans of Charles L. Grant and H.P. Lovecraft.
Devourer of Souls is quite horror at its finest!” Goodreads review
Stephen King and Robert McCammon are arguably the two kings of the hill when it comes to comingofage horror stories. Well, if Devourer of Souls is any indication, Kevin Lucia is scratching and clawing his way to join them at that mountaintop.”
Goodreads review
The parallels being made by reviewers to Stephen King’s goldenera tales are genuine. There is a mastery of the genre blooming here. Readers take heed. With “Devourer of Souls” Kevin Lucia has earned a permanent and honored place on my shelf. I can’t wait to see what he offers up next. Goodreads review
Devourer of Souls is two short, wonderfully written tales of subtle horror, cleverly packaged within another story that seems to promise more weird tales from the town of Clifton Heights. Loved it! Slow burn horror done right, with a satisfying, creepy conclusion.” Goodreads review
Available on Amazon: Devourer of Souls