Book Review: Gate 4: Part One: The Eater by Terry M. West
More a teaser than a terrifying tale, Gate 4: Part One: The Eater is the first episode of a six-part serial novel by Terry M. West about a portal located in a bunker beneath a forgotten city in north-central Texas. Called Gate 4, the portal is the only defense against an ancient evil that could destroy the world.
The gate is guarded by a group of monsters recruited by a secret organization. The Eater introduces one of the monsters, a vampire named Paul Marrane. After leaving a honky-tonk bar, Marrane is ambushed by gun-wielding soldiers and approached by a mysterious mind-reader named Lucas Glover.
“I’m offering you a purpose,” Glover tells Marrane. “A chance to make a difference. To be more than a soulless killer.” Marrane initially balks but shows interest in joining when Glover promises to help the vampire piece together his forgotten past.
The Eater sets the table for an intriguing series by promising a motley cast of characters and by sparking interest in the mystifying force behind Gate 4.
One thing I like about anthologies and short story collections is that no two are ever alike. You can count on diversity, even in a collection from a single author. That was also one thing I appreciated about this book. While some themes were shared by a few of the stories, such as cannibalism and the supernatural, they were still all very different and had something of their own to offer the reader.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this collection was the human element. The characters in the stories didn’t feel like archetypal or tropish cardboard cutouts – they had depth, strengths and flaws, and real feeling. Even the shorter stories…or I’m inclined to say especially the shorter stories…drew me in with strong character descriptions that gave true purpose to the tale.
While I was entertained by every story, the longer pieces did not have as much appeal for me. Honger, for example had a strong start, but I felt the modern day parts of the story had a bit too much exposition and drew me away from the main plot to some extent. I liked the concept of the tale and the descriptions were well written, but I found myself wanting to get back to the central focus of the story from time to time.
Comparatively, the author’s shorter stories had delightful punch and held my attention from start to finish. My favourites were the opening story “Don’t the Monsters All Get Scarier at Closing Time,” “Morsel” and “The Rose Man.”
This collection was certainly worth my time and I would happily rate it a solid 4 out of 5.
Baker Johnson has a gift and a curse. He has the ability to read people by just looking at them, but he is haunted by a dark past and doesn’t like to be close to people. At least not living ones. Baker is a demonologist, exorcist, and keeper of cursed objects living in the 1930’s. Baker: Demons and other Night Things by Terry Westincludes4 stories aboutBaker Johnson as he gets introduced into the Night Things universe.
The first story is The Giving Of Things Cold and Cursed and is about Baker inheriting his uncle’s Black Room where he kept cursed objects. To Baker’s surprise many of the objects have been given away and now he needs to clean up the mess. In this story we find out about Baker’s personality and why he does the things he does. Baker is a complex character, he uses his gift because he has to, but he isn’t happy, he just accepts it as his station in life.
The second story is The Servant Of The Red Quill. Here Baker is called to a home of a wealthy collector of Cursed objects, where he has to perform an exorcist on the man’s daughter who is being possessed by a spirit tied to a book written by Marquis de Sade. I loved the concept of this story, I loved that we learned more about The family Baker had and I liked how Baker acts when the demon uses Baker’s family against him. The Baker character grows in this story and I found myself starting to like him despite his flaws.
The next one is called The Dark Alp, this one once again has Baker grow as a character as we see him being haunted by a nightmare demon. Not everything is as it appears in this story, I loved the ending and I loved how once again Baker is confronted with the ghosts of his past but he shows that he is more powerful than his past. In all these stories I loved that there seemed to be a theme of not letting your past define you.
The last story called A Weird Tale ties Baker to the Night Things universe. The story opens with H.P. Lovecraft telling Baker that the old gods are coming and nothing can stop them from destroying the world. These words haunt Baker and that leads to a meeting with Johnny Stucke who pays Baker to hand over a cursed object that might change everything. We see a very different Baker in this story, he now has a team backing him up but he still has to contend with the darkness within. Once again I loved the ending and how it sets up future Night Things stories.
This book also includes a sample of Terry West’s next Night Thing book. If you are not familiar with Terry West’s work this is a good book to start with. West knows how to make memorable characters that are flawed and that you can relate to at the same time. What is interesting about Baker is that he has this dark history but despite that, he still tries to do the right thing and we see the character grow into a different person through each of these stories. Terry West knows what horror fans like to read and this book is a great example of how horror should be written.
What would our world be like if vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghouls, mermen and other creature walked the earth? They aren’t all trying to hurt humans, some of them just want to make an honest living and be accepted. People still fear what they don’t understand and even though some accept the Night Things, others aren’t so trusting. So the night things are given devices that track their every move.
Times are changing after the events of Z Day and Johnny Stucke, a Night thing himself is getting involved in politics. One of his first orders of business was getting Dr. Herbert West to work on a way to control zombies. Enter recently deceased professional MMA fighter Carol Haddon. Her DNA may hold the secret to changing the world’s zombies. Carol has also drawn the attention of Herbert West’s greatest enemy Jack The Ripper. Due to an accident Dr. West has made Jack more powerful than ever and if Dr. West can’t defeat him, it could bring on the apocalypse.
Night Things: Undead And Kicking by Terry M. West is the second book in The Magic Now series and there is so much going on here that a 2 paragraph description hardly does it justice. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, it includes several sub plots and some great characters. There are also some great cameos from popular creatures and people known to classic horror fans. What makes this masterpiece of horror stand out over other works in the genre is how Terry M. West presents his characters.
For instance the main character is Carol Haddon. When she is introduced we see her as someone who feels compassion for the Night Things, she works in a shelter for them and we hear her comparing them to immigrants(love the metaphor). We also see her as a bad ass MMA fighter, but at the same time she is a vulnerable human being who goes to a therapist to deal with feelings she has for her mother. At this point Carol comes across as a complex person and things get harder for her as we find out that the two people helping her, Johnny Stucke and Herbert West have their own agenda and might not have her best interest at heart. That being said they are better than Jack The Ripper who would like nothing better than to rip the dna from her bone marrow. Carol is a hero you can relate to because she’s a compassionate person in a bad situation. Then we have Johhny Stuck and Herbert West who are shades of grey. They want to help Carol but at the same time they have an agenda that has already made major problems for Carol. You see the good and bad in both and it makes you like them that much more.
Undead And Kicking is the type of book that you can point to when people ask you why you like horror. Terry M. West is a horror fan writing books that he knows other horror fans will love. This story puts a fresh spin on classic horror mythology and also manages to add humor, great characters and plenty of blood and good scares to the mix. I can’t say enough good things about this book and I hope there are several more books in The Magic Now series.
New York City is a place where you can meet all kinds of people. In Terry M West’s Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein, New York is also home to vampires, werewolves, zombies and other odd creatures, who are referred to as the night things. Night things walk the streets with humans but they don’t have the same rights that we have. Dracula has plans to change that though and not in a good way. He is rallying the night things and his goal is to destroy all of humanity.
That’s where Frankenstein comes in, he has been living as the king of New York under the name of Johnny Stücke and he runs the city’s criminal underworld. Dracula and Frankenstein have been enemies for years and Frankenstein doesn’t like the idea of living in a world of Night things and humanity being destroyed. A war is about to begin between the world’s most famous monsters and it may be a heroin addict that is the deciding factor in who wins.
Every once in a while a book comes along that reestablished my love for the horror genre and Night Things: Dracula versus Frankensteinis that book. This is a short book but it packs a lot into it. The beginning starts in the distant past showing a time when Dracula and Frankenstein were friends and you feel a certain amount of sympathy for both characters as you see how they react to a world that neither one fits into. Then we flash forward to the present and see how much the characters have changed and you get a different feel for what they are in the present. Once you’re get invested into the two monster’s stories we get introduced to a third main character, a heroin addicted monster porn movie director named Gary.
At this point you start to think there is way to much going on but Terry makes it work. While this is a self-contained novella, Terry has created his own mythology based on established monsters and has had a few other stories in this universe, most notably: Monsters in the Magic Now. I love the concept of monsters living out in the open and everyday people having to deal with them. The most interesting character in the book is Gary who has to face a personal demon in heroin. He also has to live with the consequences of his hatred for monsters and is forced to change his ways when Dracula kidnaps his daughter. One of my favorite scenes in this book is when Gary has a run in with his ex-wife who is now a ghost.
There is actually a good message about the evils of discrimination and racism in this book. Though rather than being preachy,the message is part of a horror story about living in a world of supernatural creatures. Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein is beyond brilliant. Even the villains are likeable because you see them as monsters just being monsters. They’re not evil they are trying to survive, which leads us to a perfect ending with one of the characters becoming a totally changed monster by the end. Terry M. West knows what horror fans want and he delivers in this book.
Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein coming in March!
In a world where every creature of legend has stepped forward from the shadow to exist shoulder to shoulder with humankind, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein meet for a final showdown.
New York City has become a macabre melting pot. Vampires, werewolves, zombies and ghouls are now the new immigrants and they are chasing the American dream. The Night Things have become part of the system. But many humans feel the creatures are dangerous ticking time bombs.
Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein is a new novel by Terry M. West. It features a battle between the biggest icons of horror in a world gripped with fear over the Night Things. The fate of the Night Things and humanity itself hangs in the balance of this monumental confrontation.
The Magic Now universe began with the book, Monsters and the Magic Now. Here are some review blurbs for that book:
“A grippingly twisted saga. West depicts this macabre world with style and dark humor.”-Bram Stoker Award® winner Lucy Taylor
“Will definitely leave an indelible mark deep within your soul!”-DIABOLIQUE MAGAZINE
“Only Terry M. West could spin a tale so dark and brutal and still make it transcend horror and become a work of literary craftsmanship.”-Kevin Lintner, SANITY’S GRAVEYARD
“Equally disturbing and powerful.”-Bob Milne, BEAUTY IN RUINS
“[Monsters and the Magic Now] is a nightmare on acid. It is beautiful, deep and sad.”-Heather Omen, THE HORROR NATION
“One of the most powerful and disturbing- yet incredibly entertaining things- I have read in decades. “-Michael Donner, Captain Creeper
“[Monsters and the Magic Now] is a super edgy, blood-thirsty tale that made me uncomfortable and left me wanting more. I love this story!”-Zachary Walters, THE MOUTHS OF MADNESS PODCAST
“What true horror is all about.”-SCARLET’S WEB
“Terry M. West has created an unnerving horrific masterpiece!”-GEEKDOM OF GORE
“I cannot overstate this: Horror fans looking for something truly original that will get under their skin need to read [Monsters and the Magic Now].”-author DS Ullery
“The story is full of dark places inhabited by dark characters – both in human and monster form.”-Stuart Anderson, The 5th Dimension
Critically-acclaimed horror author Terry M. West continues his Magic Now series with this standalone novel that presents a world only a slight shade darker than our own.
Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc. will release Night Things: Dracula versus Frankenstein onMarch 18th, 2016 in Kindle and paperback versions. Dracula will grace the Kindle cover while Frankenstein will be featured on the paperback edition. An audio-book will follow. It is available now for pre-order at this universal book link: http://bookShow.me/B019SFEHQK
****Terry M. West is a filmmaker, author and Active member of the HWA. He was a finalist for two International Horror Guild Awards and he was featured on the TV Guide Sci-Fi Hot List. He has been at it since 1997, but recent years have seen a strong rise in his popularity. His website: www.terrymwest.com****
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a big fan of two things: horror stories and professional wrestling. When I saw that we had a book with both, I knew it was one for me.
When it comes to professional wrestling, most people think of the major federations like WWE, Ring of Honor, and TNA. This story doesn’t take place in any of those, but in one of the independent federations deep in the heart of Texas. Tojo Smith is an Earth born demon whose very existence is to promote evil in any fashion possible, albeit on a small enough scale to not draw the attention of Heaven. He takes his childhood love of professional wrestling and creates a heel character, or villain, to promote the hate Hell requires. What Tojo doesn’t count on is the crowd getting behind his character and cheering him on. He does everything possible to remain the bad guy, but the crowd continues to cheer and this catches the attention of a denizen of Hell.
I really enjoyed this story and felt a lot of nostalgia for the Texas based federations I used to enjoy watching when I was a kid. I didn’t find the story all that horrifying as it played out much in a similar soap opera fashion as a pro wrestling storyline. If you are a fan of the art of wrestling, or enjoy reading about demons creating mayhem on Earth, then this story is for you. Definitely a fun read.
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Turning Face, a new novella by Terry M. West, is the story of Tojo Smith, an undercover hate demon whose job involves creating hatred in the fans of a local wrestling promotion near Fort Worth, Texas. Portraying the masked heel known as the Crimson Demon, Tojo’s job is suddenly endangered when the fans begin to cheer his devilish antics. Soon after, Hell intercedes and Tojo finds himself on a mission to restore this imbalance before he faces the wrath of Satan himself!
“This is a story that has been knocking around in my head for a long time,” Terry revealed. “Wrestling was a fixture in my youth. I grew up in Texas and I watched a ton of World Class Championship Wrestling in the Fort Worth area. My heroes were the Von Erichs but I always had a soft spot for the heels (bad guys). The Freebirds, Macho Man Randy Savage, Ravishing Rick Rude… these guys entertained the hell out of me. They were the most interesting characters I had ever encountered. They did all of the hard work and had excellent mic skills. I think it is hard to make people despise you on that kind of level.”
And though Tojo Smith is a demon, West insists that he may be the most sympathetic character he has ever given life to. “Tojo is referred to as Eden-born. What this means is that he was born on earth. His parents are two pit demons, disguised as humans, who conceived Tojo topside. As a result, Tojo feels very alienated. He is just a lonely spectator, trying to figure humans out. But he also has no connection to Hell. He is an orphan, caught between two worlds and it is very difficult for him.”
Turning Face has its moments of humanity, but it is definitely a horror tale with a gory finale that defies description. “There is a lot going on with this novella,” West explains. “There’s humor, but not the slapstick kind. There is a lot of wrestling. The tale builds to a pretty gruesome third act. But I will say that Turning Face is the most original thing I have ever created. It is a love letter to old school wrestling and horror/comedies of the 80s.”
Turning Face: A Tale of Horror, Comedy and Wrestling! will be available FridayJune 12th as a Kindle e-Book with a paperback edition to follow shortly after. Here is a universal book link where you can reserve a copy: myBook.to/babyface
What’s better than a big book full of horror fiction? The answer is a big book of horror stories that are about Heavy Metal music. Axes Of Evil is a heavy metal anthology for people who are passionate about metal music and horror fiction. There are 34 stories in this collection that go from supernatural horror to comedy to splatterpunk. Axes of Evil is edited by music journalist and horror writer Alex S. Johnson and it includes stories from Sephera Giron, Terry M. West and Charie D. La Marr.
There are so many good stories in Axes Of Evil that its hard to pick just a couple to talk about but one of my favorite story in this collection was The Plaster Casters Rise Again by Charie D. La Marr. Since I love stories that combine horror, humor and smut this one really appealed to me. It’s about a woman who makes molds of Rock Stars privates and goes to a metal show to get a mold from a rock star named Thor. Thor always talks in the third person and considers himself to be the viking god of thunder. I thought it was hilarious the way Thor talks about the women he has been with and the situation that makes Thor loose his temper towards the end was funny. There is another good story by Charie D. La. Marr in this book called Once Bitten, Twice Shy. This is a more serious story and deals with a night club fire that killed almost 100 people in Rhode Island back in 2003.
Another story I liked was All the Rage by Lindsey Beth Goddard. This story was told by a rock god who has been living disguised as a singer in a boy band. The rock god gets tired of hiding his true self and decides to give his fans a surprise. I liked the concept here of rock gods that don’t like music that isn’t heavy. The editor of the book Alex S. Johnson has a great story here also called Die, Clown, Die! This one shows the diversity of stories in this book. It’s about a guy dressed as a clown that goes to a clown metal show. He goes to the wrong place and the band that is playing is called Bozokill and they don’t like clowns.
Battle Of The Bands by Joel Kaplan is another one of my favorites in this book. This is a futuristic story where the competition between the bands isn’t just about having the best songs, they also have to kill the other bands and try to be the most shocking. This story was gruesome but entertaining at the same time. These bands torture their audience and and use their instruments as weapons to slice through their competition. This story is an original idea and has to be read to be believed.
At 572 pages, Axes Of Evil is one massive anthology. For fans of horror and heavy metal this is a must have. Both metal and horror have a lot in common, they both look at the dark side of life yet in my opinion have a positive energy to them. Reading horror and listening to metal is like a socially acceptable way to get your aggression out, so its great to see an anthology that merges the two.
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The first book I want to talk about is Heroin In The Magic Now by Terry M. West. In the introduction to this book Terry says how the main character’s pain is based on reality and he tells the story of how he got into the horror genre. In order to get into the business he helped make soft core porn to raise money to make horror films. This lead him into a world of sex, drugs and emotional pain which is what this book is based on.
Heroin in the Magic Now follows a pornographer named Gary Hack, who has found himself making disturbing monster porn videos for his depraved clients. People ask him to do things he can’t live with and the only escape that Gary has is through heroin. The problem is his escape is taking over his life and leading to a darker reality.
Gary is a complicated man, he is self medicated and numb to the fact that vampires, zombies and werewolves are now part of our every day lives. In the beginning he is working on a porn movie called Dracula’s Exotic Guest. He hates what he does and himself for doing it, but he is good at it and still dreams for a better life.
Gary is a brilliant artist but his career didn’t go where he wanted and now he is stuck making monster porn and working with difficult people. Gary handles his problems well enough, such as a leading actress telling him he is the worst director ever and wanting more money. Gary looses a little more of his soul every day, his wife has already divorced him, his daughter wants nothing to do with him and he just got another directing job hes not proud of as head of production for a zombie gang bang movie.
I loved the character of Gary in this book, he is a lost soul and you cant help but root for him despite the bad things he has done. Gary is a man who never meant to hurt anyone, he just did some things that he wasn’t proud of to fulfill his dreams. Heroin In The Magic Now has a good mix of horror and comedy. I loved the concept behind this book and it was a fresh look at a world where monsters do exist, but some of the worst monsters are the ones within. My favorite scene in the book was towards the end where the street vendor who sold Gary a gris-gris bag for protection against the supernatural sells Gary another, saying that each time he has to buy a new one he was going to charge Gary more. If you read the story you will understand but I think Terry was making a point that each time Gary screwed up it was going to be harder for him to get his soul back. Terry M. West knows what makes a good horror story and he knows how to make monsters scary and funny.
Next up is The Clinic by Matthew Weber. Patricia Tyler’s son, Alex, has made the Tyler families lives a living hell. He argues constantly, has destroyed property, bullies family members and classmates, and he is a pyromaniac and sexual deviant. Patricia doesn’t know what to do so she turns to the clinic for help and the reader learns what happens in the future when children misbehave.
This is the kind of story that you would see on The Twilight Zone, except its scarier than anything the classic TV series has to offer. I can’t talk to much about this short story because I don’t want to give it away but I will say that the concept is terrifying. One scene that scared me was when Alex tried to get to his sister late at night. I also thought that it was interesting to see who was on the bus at the end of the story. Where I would agree that Alex deserved to be there, some of the others didn’t. This is a well written story and a chilling read. The story is meant to preview an upcoming anthology by Matthew Weber . If The Clinic is any indication of the quality of the other stories in the book then I would be really excited to see what Matthew Weber has coming out next.
The last book I want to mention is a short story by Terry M. West called The Giving Of Things Cold And Cursed. The year is 1925 andBaker Johnson has just inherited his uncle’s home. His Uncle was an odd man who kept a room full of cursed objects. Baker and his uncle are not like other people, they study the supernatural, collect strange objects and try to prove if spiritualists are charlatans or not.
Even though this is a short story I got the impression that Terry did his homework. The character of Baker made me think of Houdini who also was into proving spiritualists weren’t what they said they were. In 1925 spiritualists were common place and preyed on people who had lost someone. I enjoyed hearing about how the objects taken from the room effected the people’s lives that took them. In particular I liked how the man who wrote humourous poetry started writing dark poetry like Poe when he got a cursed object. This is a well told horror story that reminded me of something you would see on the show Tales From The Darkside.
Terry M. West unleashes his demons with Heroin in the Magic Now
Terry M. West has spent the least year producing some highly-acclaimed horror fiction. His work is being appreciated by many new readers, but not all of Terry’s work has been so highly regarded.
“My soft-core film work just about destroyed my reputation and my life,” Terry confided, openly.
Though his horror fiction work was on the rise in the late nineties, Terry took an opportunity in 2000 and wrote/directed a string of erotic parodies and horror erotica of the After Dark kind.
“I didn’t have an issue with what I was doing at the time,” West says. “It was work. I was paid to create and I figured it would help me land other gigs. The content didn’t detour me. I thought I could shine through it, you know. A lot of people who work on adult industry material figure they are bigger than it, and that they can somehow elevate the genre. I thought I was doing that, but it was crap; plain and simple.”
His association with soft-core did lead to his writing/directing chores on Media Blaster’s FLESH FOR THE BEAST, a horror flick with heavy erotic tones. The film has received extremely mixed reviews.
“After I directed Flesh for the Beast, I hit a wall; really hard,” West explained. “My personal life fell apart and I had a falling out with damn near everyone, friends and family alike. It didn’t help that I was going through a mid-life crisis at the time.”
West found himself experimenting with drugs to make the pain go away. “There was a lot going on. I was being crucified unmercifully for the type of work I was doing. I was going through a divorce that this lifestyle of mine had caused. I went into this dark playground as a fairly nice guy, but there is something about it that twists you, after a time. Bad habits are not only acceptable, but expected and encouraged. I grew an addiction quickly and quite honestly prepared myself to die.”
But West managed to persevere and pull himself out of the tailspin. He sobered up and remarried and he even has a child now. West took the better part of a decade to focus on his family life, and he didn’t miss the creative world at all. But horror was in his blood, and in early 2013, he rededicated himself to being the best horror author he could be. He produced two collections, WHAT PRICE GORY? and A PSYCHO’S MEDLEY, as well as the horror/comedy novella, CECIL & BUBBA MEET THE THANG. His short fiction has been accepted into numerous anthologies and he has been praised by readers and fellow horror authors alike.
His film work seldom gets mention these days, but the darkness of that period still lingers in him. “I decided to write HEROIN IN THE MAGIC NOW to get it out of my system, you know? I had written a short story, HARDCORE CRUST, for an anthology called AXES OF EVIL. The story centers around Gary Hack, a desperate junkie film director who lives in a New York City filled with monsters. The universe Gary lives in has witnessed every creature of the night come from the shadows and stand next to man. So, of course, a market for monster fetish pornography blossoms and Gary jumps on it. But it turns out to be a very dark and dangerous occupation.”
After writing the story, Terry felt that some of the demons were exercised from him. “I had toyed with the idea of writing about my experiences in filmmaking, and the story of Gary Hack gave me a safe environment to let it all hang out. Gary Hack is a dark caricature of me. He is what I was on my way to becoming. All of the doubt, self-loathing and pain Gary feels comes from me. He expresses what I went through and felt at the time. There is one line in the story, ‘Gary didn’t want to be a joke or a cautionary tale.’ And that is how I feel. The soft-core work I did is old, now, and I want it to be a very small footnote in my career.”
HEROIN IN THE MAGIC NOW will be available for both Kindle and Paperback versions on August 31, 2014!
HEROIN IN THE MAGIC NOW takes place in an alternate version of NYC where every form of monster exists next to man. Gary Hack, a down on his luck porn director with an appetite for heroin, finds himself working in the dangerous world of monster fetish videos.
Gary is made an offer he can’t refuse by Johnny Stücke, an immortal crime boss. The video Johnny envisions could be the greatest zombie fetish film ever created. But it could also ignite an apocalypse that could destroy the city.
Critically-acclaimed horror author Terry M. West has written a startling and original novella that is loosely based on his own life experiences and struggle with addiction.
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The first book I want to talk about is a little different. Dead Aware by Terry M. West is a horror story told in screenplay format. This book is about a private investigator that can talk to the dead. He sees what awaits in the afterlife and it’s not pretty, you could say its driving him insane.
The P.I. named Dunlavey was messing with occult magic he didn’t understand and now his third eye is open and can’t be closed. In special cases the police use him to solve crimes and now a killer is exterminating victims and stuffing them with straw. Dunlavey may be the only one that can stop him. The killer also has his sights set on Dunlavey and has his own powers that may end Dunlavey’s nightmarish existence and bring death to everyone he loves.
This was a chilling book with great imagery and would work well as a TV show. The screenplay is presented as a pilot for a TV show or at least that’s the way I took it. If I saw this as the first episode of a series I would have been hooked and would keep watching because I would have to find out what was next for Dunlavey. It made me think a lot of Kolchack The Nightstalker but with a more interesting lead character.
The beginning of Dead Aware hooks you right away with a scene of Dunlavey putting the barrel a gun in his mouth. From there you find out exactly what makes Dunlavey feel the way he does. You see him as flawed and you feel sorry for him but at the same time you get to see how he created his own problems. The supporting cast in this book are almost as damaged as Dunlavey and you can see why they are attracted to him, misery loves company and Dunlavey gets plenty of it, from the living and the dead.
There are two scenes that really stood out for me in this book. One was when we see how Dunlavey got his powers in New Orleans, I loved the voodoo priestess and her husband. Also there was a part where a woman meets Dunlavey in an alley and starts to tell him how to control his gifts, but disaster strikes before things go to far. The dialogue here was great and the description of the action throughout the story brought it to life. There is a lot of disturbing descriptions in this book, so if this script ever gets filmed, it will be one big gore fest and not for the major networks. I’m hoping we do get to see more of Dunlavey in the future because he is one tortured soul and I would like to see what his future holds. the ending to the story hints at some great things to come.
Next up is a werewolf novel set in the 1970’s called Beast of ’77 by Shawn Jenkins. In the winter of 1977, there came upon the town of Murray, Ohio a grisly event. For years it would go on to become one of the most baffling and heartbreaking cold cases in Ohio’s history. In one night, seven people were gruesomely murdered inside their own homes by an unknown entity that no one has ever been able to identify. But as with most tragedies, this particular incident not only affected those whose lives were taken, but also the ones that surrounded the entire case.
At times, it takes one individual to transform the lives around them, for the better or worse. In Isaac Mercer’s case, a man just recently released from a short stay at a mental institution, the better is all he can pray for.
But when strange blackout episodes and abnormal behavior resurfaces, the worst only becomes his most terrifying nightmare come true. His beloved, small family is suddenly put back into harm’s way once more, and Isaac is forced to face the harrowing fact that evil has never left him…it has only been waiting. What does a man do when no one will believe him?
Last but not least is Dying Days by Armand Rosamilia. Sunny Florida, beautiful beaches, no traffic on A1A… Zombies roaming the dunes in search of the living… Darlene Bobich in a fight to survive, find food, safety and ammo for her Desert Eagle before its too late… Dying Days are upon us… The Undead Roam the Earth… Searching for the Living… To Eat… To Feast… To Rip Apart… Extreme Violence… Extreme Sexual Situations… Extreme Undead… Continuing the Darlene Bobich story begun in “Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer..”. And soon to be an independent film!
There is a thin line between comedy and horror. In my opinion, horror should have a little comedy in it to lighten the mood once in a while, but sometimes it is hard for a book to be funny and scary at the same time. One book that manages to scare and make you laugh is Cecil And Bubba Meet The Thang by Terry M. West. Cecil and Bubba’s problems began when they ran over a drunken gypsy’s dog. The gypsy got her revenge by cursing the two men, saying that they would be plagued by strange and evil beings until the day they die. Their first run in with the supernatural was with a succubus named Hattie Mae, but in this story things get worse. It’s Halloween night and Cecil is working late in his father’s garage while Bubba is working as a bouncer at the strip club. Bubba gets the shock of his life when he finds out that Hattie Mae is now working as a stripper in the strip club and she wants to help Cecil and Bubba lift their curse. Back at the garage Cecil has a couple of customers come in with a broken down truck, they leave the truck to be fixed and warn Cecil to not look in the back. Not being one to follow directions, Cecil looks in the back and an alien escapes to terrorize the town. The only ones that can save the day now are Cecil, Bubba and Hattie Mae. For a short novella, there is a lot going on in this book. The characters are deep and the story has it all, including drama, comedy, science fiction and horror. The story draws you in from the beginning, making you feel a lot of sympathy for the main characters. Cecil has a heart to heart with his dad that doesn’t go well and we see Bubba at the strip club feeling lonely and not noticing that there is one woman who really likes him. We also get a glimpse of Hattie Mae and see her as a changed woman who is trying to start a new life and redeem herself. After Terry M. West gets us emotionally invested in the characters he manages to give us a great science fiction tale with a creature who could have easily came out of a 1950’s monster movie. The creature has long tentacles and wants to destroy earth and Terry does a great job of describing him. Some of the dialogue between the FBI agents and Cecil and Bubba was also great. There were some good funny moments such as the Plan 9 From Outer Space reference and some of the lines like “Maybe he will phone home.” This book has a lot of heart along with some laughs and good scares.
Keeping with the Halloween theme, I also recently read One Hellacious Halloween from Horror Novel Reviews. This is a book of flash fiction with 30 stories in it all having to do with Halloween. This book has humor, horror and lots of quick quirky stories that would be fun to tell around a campfire. This anthology includes a story from Horroraddicts.net’s own Emerian Rich called “Soul Taker 2.0”. It’s about a game programmer named Tory who is designing an add on pack to an online game called Soul Taker. To play the game you have to sign over your digital soul and all your supernatural fantasies come true, but there is a price to pay. I felt like Emerian really put some research into this story which made it seem more real and I loved the ending. Terry M. West also has a story in this anthology called “The Hairy Ones,” which is about religion and marriage and what kind of horrors people are willing to put up with for the sake of both. This was a story that managed to be disturbing using the power of suggestion rather than being violent. I felt that this was one of the better stories in the book. This book was a fun read and will do a good job getting you in the mood for Halloween. There were a lot of good ideas and stories in this book such as “Werewolf Dentists From Hell” and “The Halloween House”. The stories were so quick that you didn’t have a chance to get bored and it will introduce you to several new writers. Which leads me to the one thing I didn’t like about the anthology. There were no author bios, so if you like an author from this collection you will have to look them up to learn more about them. I think it would be fun to read a story from One Hellacious Halloween everyday in October to get you in the mood for Halloween, but these stories are entertaining all year-long.
Demons, a succubus and a man with many faces are just a few of the things that await you in Terry M. West’s What Price Gory? This collection includes eight stories and a sneak preview of an upcoming novella. All of the stories here are good and they get better as the book moves along.
The first story is a tale called Car Nex, it’s about a man named Adam who summons a demon and now hopes to stop it before the demon devours all the townspeople. I loved how all of the characters react when Adam displays why they should help him kill the demon. The demon is described as a shark on two legs and reminded me of the Tasmanian Devil with only one way to stop it.
The next story is Cecil and Bubba Meet A Succubus. This is a simple tale of two underachieving simpletons who get hired by a paranormal investigator to help him explore a haunted house. This is a fun story and at the end of the book there is a preview of the upcoming Cecil and Bubba Meet The Thang. These two characters have been cursed by a gypsy and now they have the misfortune of being magnets for strange creatures. Cecil and Bubba were easy to relate to, it was interesting to see how things worked out in the end and I look forward to their next adventure.
Next up is Held Over which is an original take on zombies. How much would you pay to keep your body alive after you die and what would happen to it? This story has the answers. The fourth story is The Hairy Ones which is about religion and marriage and what kind of horrors people are willing to put up with for the sake of both. This was a story that managed to be disturbing using the power of suggestion rather than being violent.
In The Hermit’s Creepy Pet a man who is trying to become a writer finds inspiration when a hermit comes to his door claiming to have caught an urban legend in a bear trap. The writer has his story idea but he also may be biting off more than he can chew. This is an excellent horror story with a little twist.
Put On A Happy Face is the most bizarre story here and would make an excellent horror movie. Deep in the woods lives a young girl and her older brother who wears a mask to show his emotions. He has a happy face when things are going well and an angry face which warns his sister to run far away. I loved the way this story unfolds, you hear what the girl feels is happening and then you hear the brother’s story as he is about to put on his angry mask. I loved hearing about the emotions of the man who comes to the house and how he tries to escape. I also liked the revelation that the sister suspects more than she lets on.
Next is Midnight Snack which follows a man who has taken a wrong turn in life and on the highway. He gets a second chance when he enters a dinner full of demons and learns a hard truth about life. This is a creepy story with a good moral. The last story is What Price Gory? which looks at what an author is willing to do, to become the new king of horror. I liked how the writer gets his dream and his worst nightmare at the same time. What Price Gory? is an excellent horror anthology that will give you nightmares and leave you screaming for more.
Sometimes the scariest place imaginable can be a person’s mind; such is the case with A Psycho’s Medley by Terry M. West. This book has six short stories that take a look at human monsters. Each story takes you into the mind of a serial killer and does its best to shock you.
The first story in the book is also the title and my favorite, it looks at a man awaiting trial after he was found to be a serial killer. In hopes of finding out what he thinks, his therapist gives him a blank notebook and has him write his feelings, which he does. In his diary he goes into detail on his killings and what motivates him to do what he does. I really enjoyed how this story was told, it uses the diary method effectively and gives you a good glimpse of what a psychopath might think about.
Terry M. West must have done some research on psychopaths because some of what the main character wrote in his diary is what I have heard in documentaries. I liked how the main character talks about how he has never killed someone unless they wanted it and how he says killing was a calling for him. This story was chilling because the character talks about how no one suspected him and he had the appearance of a normal person even though he was a killer.
The next four stories are very short and have their moments but I didn’t like them as much as the first one. Each story takes a look at a killer and what drove them to it. The last story called Hair and Blood was very good and is the longest in this collection. This one takes a look at a young man who recently lost his parents and hasn’t been able to get over it. To make himself feel better he goes to a carnival in town and meets a woman who has her own issues. I liked how the point of view in the story changes towards the end and how the carnival is described.
This book made me think of the show Criminal Minds with the exception of A Psycho’s Medley being much scarier. Human monsters can be more terrifying than fictional monsters because they can look normal. Terry M. West does a great job of describing some horrifying situations that could really happen and that’s what really makes this book a disturbing read. If you like to be shocked then A Psycho’s Medley is for you.
The next book I want to mention is The Bloodline: Birth of the Vampir by Rod Garcia and Shaun McGinnis. Set in 13th century Europe, the book begins with the Knights Templar on a holy quest to talk to a man who may know the whereabouts of the holy grail. The knights accompany the man to a town called Erdley where no one has aged in hundreds of years. The surrounding villages call Erdley’s leader Ivan, Ivan the terrible and believe the whole town to be evil. Not everything is as it seems but The knights Templar do discover the grail and under the orders of the Archdeacon of the church, they are ordered to bring it back to the church of England. The knights take over the town and force the citizens of Erdely into exile. To add insult to injury the Archdeacon curses the villagers and they become something the world has never seen before—the first vampires.
This book has a good story to it that kept my interest, and the way the setting was described really brought it to life. The use of medieval torture devices in the story made me cringe but I found it fascinating hearing about them since I knew they were used in that time period and I thought it added authenticity to the story. Another part I liked was how the vampires slowly learned that they weren’t human anymore and how they learned that hunting was a lot different then it use to be.
One thing that bothered me about the story was that the authors spent too much time describing how characters felt. For instance at one point an army’s leader tells his son to lead the army into battle and then they say that the man didn’t love his son and was afraid to fight. As a reader I already assumed that and didn’t have to be told. There were other examples like this in the book also, it felt sometimes like the authors thought that the reader wouldn’t figure it out so they came right out and said how you should feel.
Other things that bothered me was that some of the action scenes needed to be described a little better and a couple of times The author mentioned that the army of vampire’s blood thirst was satisfied by drinking from one animal. I know its being nit picky but I thought that it would take a little more than that to feed that many vampires. All in all though I did like the book. Vampire fans will enjoy it and it is the first in a series which I hope gets better as it goes along.