Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 5-Star review for Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror

Fear comes in many forms and speaks with countless voices. This is a collection of stories from authors living in diverse places. It is a tapestry woven from these disparate elements and presented all for the love of horror.

The introduction is a selection from W.J. Renehan's "The Art of Darkness: Meditations on the Effect of Horror Fiction." Entitled "Why We Turn to Horror," it is an illuminating piece on the very attraction of horror in all its many forms.

Launching into the book, we find Scathe meic Beorh's "God of the Winds." It is a vision of human depravity with a taste of ancient terrors. Ramsey Campbell's "Welcomeland" takes you on a journey into an amusement park, forgotten by time but not by the memories which lurk within its depths. Lily Childs brings us "Strange Tastes," a tale of secret hungers revealed.

In "Nouri and the Beetles," Lincoln Crisler tells of primal desires and awful betrayal. Jack Dann's "Camps" takes us into the mind of a dying man with nightmares of a haunted past. In "High Rise," Robert Dunbar reveals a deadly seduction while Thomas A. Erb's "Spencer Weaver Gets Rebooted" is a shocking tale of vengeance.

Brandon Ford's "Scare Me" tells of a woman forced to drive to an inevitable fate. In "Raised," Carole Gill tells of ancient magic and an obsession with death. Lindsey Beth Goddard weaves a tale of unspeakable tragedy and the price to change one's fate in "The Tooth Collector."

In "Love Hurts," J.F. Gonzalez speaks of a love for pain taken to a horrific level. Dane Hatchell's "The `takers" is about a mind's descent into madness, while in "Justice through Twelve Steps," E.A. Irwin speaks of insanity talking to those who will hear.

Charlee Jacob brings us "Locked Inside the Buzzword Box," a story about devouring hunger. K. Trap Jones speaks of a demon hunter faced with a deadly choice in "Demon Eyed Blind." Tim Jones' "Protein" is a fight for survival against cannibal hunger.

Vada Katherine's "Block" describes the hunt for a killer and the desire for release. Roy C. Booth and Axel Kohagen tell of a man facing a lover's vengeance in "Just Another Ex." Shane McKenzie's "So Much Pain, So Much Death" is about a father finding his daughter, only to discover an awful truth.

Shaun Meeks brings us "Perfection Through Silence," the tale of a man constantly vexed by a disturbing noise. In Adam Millard's "The Incongruous Mr. Marwick," a boy learns that some solitary souls are better left alone. Christine Morgan's "Nails of the Dead" is a disturbing journey into mythological depths.

Billie Sue Mosiman's "Verboten" tells of sisterly love with fatal results. D.F. Noble's "Psych" pulls you into the psych ward to learn what hideous presence lurks in the shadows. In "The Door," Chantal Noordeloos reminds us dangers can be found on either side.

W.H. Pugmire's "Darkness Dancing in Your Eyes" is about a lost being and that which it sees in the depths of a mirror. William Todd Rose gives us the seduction of an urban legend in "The Grave Dancer," while Anna Taborska's "Out of the Light" speaks of a soul's desire pulling a man into the darkness.

William Cook has truly brought us a fresh perspective, like a sharpened blade that cuts to the quick. The forms of fear are many and you will find them all waiting for you here. For just like flesh, horror will decay... unless you keep it fresh.

Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror can be found here:


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shutter Speed by Mark Taylor

Jimmy Tasker is an ordinary child. He loves to take pictures: has an eye for it. When some common bullies take things too far, Jimmy ends up burned… and different. It starts when his father is killed in a mysterious house fire. Him and his mother move away… change names… disappear.

Some years later a group of friends are finding it tough. They are unemployed, short of cash, and one of them comes up with a great idea. A robbery. But they are a rag-tag bunch, and Steve declines, leaving the other three, a misogynist, an addict, and poor, easily led Peter, to pull off the “robbery of the century”.

But Jimmy is still in there, somewhere…

…and he’s killing for fun.

Shutter Speed is available here:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An excerpt from Hallowed: The Collection

An excerpt from Hallowed: The Collection:

It was the time of the gathering. Cloaked figures assembled once more around the stone table. They had come, as they did every year to hear great tales of terror. Garbed as they were, one could barely tell one face from another. Were they male or female? It was hard to know.

Each stood silently, waiting for the Lore Master to speak. He studied them all from beneath his cowl. His robes did not distinguish him. Only his deep, resonant voice set him apart. “Welcome, to the gathering. Open your ears to hear what must be heard. Open your minds and be guided to understanding. Open your hearts and receive these gifts, to the enrichment of the soul.”

Those assembled, bowed their heads and a chanting began, “To hear what must be heard. A guide to understanding. Enrichment of the soul.” Then, they grew silent once more.

The Lore Master continued, “In darkness men stumble. But it is the darkness within that they live with every day. Cast off the evil and purge the filth from your souls by the reading of the word.”

And they chanted, “The reading of the word.”

Spreading out his hands, the Lore Master proclaimed, “It is a glorious day of awakening. Learn from the folly of others, and you shall find the peace you seek. May our hearts be as one.”

They responded, “May our hearts be as one.”

Hallowed: The Collection is available here:



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My 4-Star review for Coyote: The Outlander by Chantal Noordeloos

Know your enemy. Charlotte Webb aka `Coyote' is a bounty hunter. She hunts Outlanders, those beings who enter through the rips between worlds. And she has been hired by the Pinkerton agency to track down an especially dangerous one...

The world of this work has a western flavor with a touch of science fiction thrown in for good measure. It is an intoxicating brew, one that will carry you on into the heart of the dream. The main character is tough, yet troubled. In her imperfections, we see her humanity.

An interesting group of people surround her: from quiet associate Caesar to the wise shaman Tokala. The world is full of strangeness and wonder. There are twists and a few unexpected turns along the way. And all along, Coyote must make choices for good or for ill.

The task is simple: kill the Outlander. And it is amazing how complicated such a simple thing can be. In the crossroads of America, Coyote will come to her own crossroads. Nothing worth doing is easy, and the hardest person to look at is the one in the mirror. Coyotes hunt and kill. But what a tragedy it would be for a young woman to turn into a beast...

You can find Coyote: The Outlander here: