HorrorAddicts.net 107, Wm. A. Yandell

Horror Addicts Episode# 107

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

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54 days till Halloween!

wm. a.  yandell, mixed messages, jennifer’s body

heard it in the graveyard, halloween prep, end of the world radio, dead mail, avery, horror poetry, amy lowell, after hearing a waltz by bartok, events, night of the living dead, nosferatu, edgar allan poe, neve campbell, anne rice, books, the clinic, matthew weber, don pitsiladis, michaelbrent collings, this darkness light, dark blossom, vincent stoia, red beans and rice, feeding the lwas vodou cookbook, amy sumida, best band season 8, unveil, mixed messages, flash fiction friday, kadriah wade, they buried her deep, theme song contest, master of macabre contest, jennifer’s body, hemlock grove, under the dome, terry m. west, heroin in the magic now, crawl or die, crystal connor, the last road, crossback, wm. a. yandell

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This Darkness Light review by D.J. Pitsiladis

unnamedHello Horror Addicts! This is D.J. Pitsiladis with a review of “This Darkness Light” by Michaelbrent Collings. It is a story about an apocalypse at the outset, one in which normal everyday people are turned into horrific creatures for a short period of time before they die off. The story starts out with a man waking from a coma without any memories of who he is, how he got to the hospital, or even why he is there. A glance at his chart lists his injuries as multiple gunshot wounds, but doesn’t feel as bad as he should after a trauma like that. He’s vaguely able to recall that he has a mission, and that he needs to go to Kansas immediately. He doesn’t know anything else except that it is important for his mission. As an assassin enters the man’s room and stares in shock at the John Doe in the bed before he aims a silenced gun at him. As this is going on, a nurse arrives for her shift and discovers every one of her co-workers on her floor executed. She enters John Doe’s room and provides enough of a distraction for the injured man to subdue and kill the assassin. They escape the hospital, but are just as quickly hunted by an assassin named Isaiah, a former priest, who is blackmailed into chasing them by a shadow organization within the government in order to save the world.

I found this a very hard book to put down. It started like it might be a zombie style story, but just as quickly changed to a mixture of Stephen King’s “The Mist” and the 1989 movie “Leviathan”. The priest’s story was well-played out as the man who believes he is so unworthy that he tries to make things right by eliminating people who he knows for sure are abusive to other people. The back story on why is a well told story and very believable. The way John Doe’s character is painted keeps up just enough of a mystery to keep you wondering who he is and what his mission is. The nurse is a tag along who helps John in a couple of instances, but feels more like just a damsel in distress to be rescued. It read through good and very enthralling, but the ending just felt a bit anti-climactic. Up to that point, I thought it was a great read. My ranking is 3.75 out of 5.

Until next time, fellow addicts…

 

Crime Seen

20574075Detective Evan White is hunting a killer but not just any killer. The man he is tracking  killed his wife and he’s taunting Evan via the phone. Evan wasn’t supposed to get involved in the investigation but he couldn’t stay away. The killer is looking to kill everyone Evan loves and because the killer is already dead, he may be unstoppable. With the help of his partner Angela, Evan will have to stop the murderer before he kills again.

The best words to describe Crime Seen by Michaelbrent Collings would be, interesting. This novel was an original idea and I can’t think of another book like it. Reading it does have its drawbacks though. While it is an excellent novel you have to read it all the way through to fully understand everything that’s going on. When I first started it I felt like I was reading a book that started 1/3 of the way through but the beginning makes sense when you get to the end.

There was one point where I thought I was going to stop reading it because there were things going on that I didn’t understand but I stayed with it because I liked the characters so much and all of my questions were eventually answered. My favorite character was Angela Listings. She is described as small and beautiful in the book, but looks are deceiving. Listings is a tough cop but has a soft side and a great backstory.  My favorite scene with her was when two of the characters are talking about how to stop the bizarre killings and what they think is going on. Listings hears this and says she is  leaving to be among the sane. I like how she tries to simplify everything to keep from being scared when she doesn’t understand. If she still doesn’t understand, she lets her gun and fists do the talking.

I also loved the character of Tuyen,  she is another tough female character but she is different from Listings. Tuyen is Vietnamese, and has a rough life. She works in a voodoo shop along with a second job and she believes in a lot of old superstitions that were passed down from her grandma. She is also psychic and I liked how she helped Evan find the answers he needed to stop the killings, even though she found out that her beliefs wouldn’t save her from the killer.

Crime Seen is a paranormal mystery like you’ve never read before. I loved the concept in this story of finding the truth to end what’s going on. I also liked how Michaelbrent Collings doesn’t explain everything until the end.   Without giving anything  away, Evan’s reaction to seeing Angela at the end was the best part of the book. Even though he knows whats going on, he’s still happy because of the people around him. If that doesn’t make sense, read the book and it will. Crime Seen is a masterpiece, it may seem like it has holes but I think Michaelbrent was just making sure you got to the end before he made you understand his vision. I got to the end and now I’m looking for more books from Mr. Collings.

The Colony: Descent

18924947Book 3 in The Colony saga starts with a small band of humans still trying to out run the zombie horde which has taken over Earth. It took only a few hours for society to crumble but a few humans still managed to survive and this is their story. The Colony: Descent by Michaelbrent Collings is a story of hope, survival and zombies.

Descent is just a little different then the first two books. The story begins with 8 people trying to get away from fast-moving zombies who are just as smart as the humans and can’t seem to be destroyed. The survivors have to run through an empty skyscraper and a wrecked aircraft but they finally manage to get to a safe place. There escape comes at a cost though, they are still trapped and they are not in good shape. They need food and medicine and they have no supplies.

One thing that sets this book apart from the last two is it has a little humor and there is a little downtime for the characters. I liked the non stop action that’s in the first two installments and the first half of this book but I liked it that things slowed down in this one, you got to know the characters better and it sets up some really creepy scenes. The action picks up again towards the end and when the zombies find their way to the survivors it is one of the scariest things that I’ve ever read in a zombie novel.

My favorite part of this story is the relationship between Ken and his wife Maggie. In a stressful time Maggie has turned against Ken but when things get  harder they come together. There was one scene I liked where Ken sees two of the other survivors show affection for each other and feels jealous. Another scene I liked was when Maggie sees all the survivors working together and thinks to herself “my family.” I love how all the survivors work together against the zombies despite their differences.

Descent also has one of the funniest lines that I’ve ever read in a book. After Ken has been passed out for a long period of time due to infection, he wakes up and asks how long they have been where they are and his daughter answers: “We’ve been here for seven poops.” I also loved the zombies who were trapped in the airplane and how decapitated zombie body parts start to come after the survivors in the sewer tunnel.

Descent has some great moments, I think this was the best in the series and I’m glad there is a part 4 coming. This one may have less action but it is scarier than the others and all the characters really had a chance to shine. My only complaint about this book was that there are lots of questions that get brought up and I figured they would get answered in this one. Instead the book ends with another major cliffhanger. On the bright side I’m curious what Michaelbrent Collings has in store for the survivors. Considering how each book had something that made it more terrifying than the last one, I have to see what Michaelbrent Collings comes up with next.

The Colony: Renegades

18628643Its only been a few hours since society has collapsed and already the zombies are evolving. They are smarter, faster, stronger,  they spit acid and there are more of them. Things look bleak for Ken Strickland and the other survivors, but they have hope and they will do what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse. This is the story behind book 2 in Michaelbrent Colling’s zombie trilogy, The Colony: Renegades

In book one of this series, the zombies were not as strong and the the thing you wondered about most was will Ken find his family? In The Renegades the main point I wondered about was how were the characters going to survive in this new world where there are zombies at every turn. These zombies aren’t the kind that stumble through the street and walk slow, they are smart, they work as a team and can communicate with each other and they can attack you even when you dismember their bodies..

In most horror novels you find a character that is dealing with something that is much stronger than them and they’re fighting against the odds to survive. Michaelbrent Colling’s book takes it to the extreme. While reading I was constantly thinking  that there is no way that the humans can survive. There is a scene where they survivors are trapped in an elevator shaft while zombies are climbing up the walls to get them. At one point they look down from a window and see so many zombies that they can’t see the ground. There is also a scene where the zombies are climbing up a construction crane to get to their prey.

While writing this trilogy Michaelbrent must have thought to himself what is the absolute worst situation that I can put a human in? The answer to that is the Colony trilogy. I don’t think I’ve ever read a series of  books where the humans had to go through so much to survive. These characters go through hell and back, they lose hope and regain it, they fight among themselves but then have to work together to survive. The Renegades is a hardcore thriller that you can’t stop reading because you have to know how the humans will make it through.

The nonstop action in this book is what really makes it a good read but I also liked the relationship between the characters. For instance the way Ken and his wife act towards each other in the story I think is how most married couples would act in this situation. I also liked how the characters change  in the story. Despite a short period of time passing, everyone changes into a different person by the end.

It’s hard to find any bad things to say about this book. I love the way the story is told and I love the characters. True horror in a novel is watching a character you like have to survive an impossible situation and The Colony: Renegades is filled with impossible situations. My only complaint is that I felt that some of the scenes were over described and the book ends on a big cliffhanger. This didn’t bother me too much, if you made it this far in book 2 than book 3 is already a must read. Michaelbrent Collings has made one masterpiece of a zombie story.

The Colony: Genesis

18338529Giant insects on the windows, planes falling from the sky and students trying to eat each other. This is what teacher Ken Strickland has to deal with as his world falls apart in less than 10 minutes. Half the world’s population has been turned into zombies and most of the other half were bit and turned, so 99% of humans have perished. There is not much hope for Ken but he is still alive and determined to see if his family has survived.

The Colony: Genesis by Michaelbrent Collings is the beginning of a series. It’s a pretty simple premise that has been done in a lot of novels, a man sees humanity fall apart in a short period of time and he wants to find his family. This book is non stop action, it proceeds like a freight train from beginning to end and its one heck of a ride. Despite this premise done many times before, it still works. I like the simplicity in this book, I liked Ken from the beginning and even liked his students even though they were killed quickly.

What I liked most about Genesis was that the chapters were very short and each one ended with a short cliffhanger. I’ve always liked books that keep the action going and this one was no exception.

Though the action is the most important part of the story, Michaelbrent Collings also makes you care about the characters by giving little glimpses of their personalities as the action progresses. For instance there is a character named Becca in the beginning, she is not there long but we learn  that she is a know it all that is constantly looking for recognition. I love it when characters that are hardly in a book get a good description. I also liked how another character that is hardly in it gets described as intelligent but people don’t notice him because he doesn’t have an opinion. It shows that Michaelbrent cares about all the characters in a story, even the less important ones.

The zombies in this book are fast-moving zombies which is a good thing for a book which relies on  action, the swarms of insects in the story was also a nice touch. The chase scene through a collapsed building was my favorite part as Ken learns that sometime you have to trust people. Also I enjoyed how Ken keeps hearing a voice in the back of his head telling him to give up but then he thinks of how his family may be trying to escape the zombies and he has to carry on. One scene in particular has Ken deciding there is no hope anymore and then he looks at the other survivors that have joined him along his journey, he once again feels there is hope for humanity.

The only things I did not like about this book was that it seemed to take Ken forever to decided to try his cell phone and the idea of going upstairs in a collapsed building should have seemed like a bad idea to the survivors. I loved the scenes where these events happened but they seemed far-fetched. The Colony: Genesis is a good action adventure which is in the style of World War Z. Anyone who is in to books combining action and horror will love this one.

The Haunted

On top of a hill in a forest surrounded by tall trees that look like green soldiers was a beautiful old house with a dark past. A long gravel driveway leads to the house and occasionally people drove down the highway to admire the home’s beautiful architecture. They didn’t stay long though because the house had a sinister feel to it and the people in town were afraid of it. The house had a for sale sign in front of it for a long time but one day the sign came down and a young couple expecting a child moved in.

This is the opening to Michaelbrent Collings The Haunted. The young couple’s names are Sarah and Cap. As they move in they experience strange occurences that they can’t explain, such as radios turning on and off, a truck turning itsself on and objects moving on their own. On the second night an all out assault begins and the couple is attacked by a legion of homicidal ghosts who want them dead. Among the army of spirits that try to enter the house is one with a noose around its neck, one with a slashed throat, and one in a long hooded robe that seems to be the most evil of all. The couple tries to escape but there is nowhere to run; the only help they receive is from the local preacher who may be in over his head.

There are a lot of horror novels out there that can be considered a roller coaster ride but The Haunted is more like a freight train out of control. The opening reminded me of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and did an excellent job of creating a mood of spookiness and impending doom. Right from the start before anything happened I found myself hoping Sarah and Cap would leave the forest and not look back. Ounce the mood is set, The Haunted kicks into a terror filled thrill ride and never lets up, leaving the reader breathless and fearing for Cap and Sarah.

While the plot unfolds you learn more about Cap and Sarah, the author gets inside their heads and makes you feel what they’re  feeling. I love the way Michaelbrent Collings presents his characters. you know their fears, their weaknesses and what there thinking at all times. You fear for them because you relate to them and you know you would probably be thinking the same if you were in their situation.

The only things I didn’t like about The Haunted was that the story was a little confusing and I was able to predict the ending. Despite this, The Haunted is still an excellent horror novel. This is the second book I’ve read by Michaelbrent Collings and in both cases I found myself thinking that this book would make a great scary movie. Michaelbrent’s writing paints a horrific picture and his characters are always memorable. This book has plenty of frights, the descriptions of the ghosts are terrifying and one ghost in particular is scary enough to keep you from sleeping for a night. So if you like a good ghost story then check out the works of Michaelbrent Collings.