Juniper's Shadow by Fiona Dodwell is a novella that reads like a novel. It also feels like the story isn't over. Far from it. And that's one thing I lJuniper's Shadow by Fiona Dodwell is a novella that reads like a novel. It also feels like the story isn't over. Far from it. And that's one thing I love about this story so much. The author could do so much with this concept, which isn't to say that Juniper's Shadow is lacking. It isn't by any degree.
The story is about Leighton and his pregnant wife, Jessica. Leighton is trying to make his dream of running a used and rare vinyl record shop a reality while Jessica works full time. One day Leighton is at a music fair and comes across an old and very rare vinyl record, Juniper's Shadow by Victor Marlow. He's never heard of it and is instantly interested. The old, creepy man selling the record tells Leighton the story behind the record, that people tend to commit suicide after listening to it. Leighton doesn't believe him. He's hypnotized by its dark power, and so he buys it.
The story then takes a turn for darker shores, with some genuinely frightening and disturbing scenes. It's better if you read it for yourself. I highly recommend this one as it was a lot of fun. There's a few great horror references that enriched the reading experience. The characters were real to me as they argued over small, and yet to them large, matters. Very well done and I can't wait to read more. ...more
One thing that really impressed me about Nails were some of the genuinely creepy scenes, of which there are a few within these pages. It's almost as tOne thing that really impressed me about Nails were some of the genuinely creepy scenes, of which there are a few within these pages. It's almost as though the author has had experienced hauntings before. Don't be fooled, though. Nails is a slow burn with a focus on character and real life situations, which I think lends strength to the creepier scenes.
The Story is about a young woman, Carla, trying to survive for herself out in the big bad world. Unfortunately, she has a boyfriend who can't commit, and her first house is haunted. This alone is symbolic to anyone who has attempted to take charge of their lives in this new and expensive world.
Gary Fry is a new and prolific writer whose influence of Classic horror stores is almost transparent within his own writing. This is not a bad thing,Gary Fry is a new and prolific writer whose influence of Classic horror stores is almost transparent within his own writing. This is not a bad thing, however. Indeed, this gives a much needed spice to his stores that are lacking in a lot of today's horror stories. In a way, you could say that an older style of story telling in today's horror literature scene is refreshing is a strange thing. But I don't think so. What makes it refreshing is Fry's talent for crafting these stories so that they're both modern and classic.
Mutator is no different.
James and his beagle, Damian, move into an old house in a new community. James is newly retired, if memory serves, and is looking to spend retirement gardening and spending time with his dog.
One morning soon after moving in he finds a hole in his yard that is a perfect circle with no evidence of anything having dug it – there’s no dirt around the edges. It’s just a perfect hole. This leads James into the basement where he finds a journal written by the previous owner along with a silver sphere.
The story moves along pretty fast and is a fun story with a unique monster. This one isn’t necessarily Lovecraftian, as some of Fry's other works, but it still maintains the classic horror feel of Lovecraft along with Poe and Algernon Blackwood, among others. It’s a short and fun read, and I recommend it.
One element that makes great horror so effective, at least for me, is isolation. I think it's scary enough being somewhere so far out of reach from feOne element that makes great horror so effective, at least for me, is isolation. I think it's scary enough being somewhere so far out of reach from fellow humans that to have something go horribly wrong, such as a monster intent on destroying and/or assimilating you, can, if done well, make the atmosphere and dread of what's already a dreadful situation even worse. Some of my favourite stories involve this kind of isolation and dread. Movies like Alien and John Carpenter's The Thing come to mind first. Those movies really cemented my perception of horror.
But then in the late 90s, or there abouts, came a slew of deep sea movies like Leviathan, Deepstar Six, and The Abyss. The latter of these isolation stories reminds me of David Salkin's novel, Deep Black Sea, for obvious reasons, but the actual story and intensity of the growing dread remind me more of the former. No disrespect to the mentioned deep water movies, but none of them have the staying power of the classic Alien and The Thing.
In Deep Black Sea we start the story with an introduction to all seven crew members as they discuss their mission: to stay in a new type of research submarine four miles below sea level for an entire year. The description of the living conditions down that deep, which also compares the differences of outer space, was fascinating and actually gave me nightmares. I'm not even claustrophobic. Or, perhaps I am and just haven't been in a situation yet to show me that I am. If that's the case, then my thanks to David Salkin for pointing this out to my unconscious mind.
The seven crew members then head off on their mission. They make their slow descend into the deep. Along the way they catch fish and get to know each other better. Once they hit the ocean floor, things become immediately interesting. They bring aboard a bacteria that can enable flesh to live in extreme circumstances, such as seven-hundred degree water near a black smoker--which is sort of like an underwater volcano.
The story moves quickly after this as a terrible situation grows worse and worse with each passing scene.
Is Deep Black Sea so good as to become a classic and sit amongst greats? No, not necessarily. The book is really good with an ending that's probably one of the best I've read in a long time, but to join the cannon of true classics is seriously tough. First, it would be great to see this one become a movie. If done well, I think it would offer some new things along with some great homages to said classics. But we'll have to wait to see how the future remembers Deep Black Sea to see for sure.
Whatever the case, this is a great read and a lot of fun. Give it a go and see what you think! I really don't think you'll be disappointed.
When I began reading Keith Deininger’s new book, Shadow Animals, I thought, “Wow, this reads a lot like Neil Gaiman. By the time I was finished the stWhen I began reading Keith Deininger’s new book, Shadow Animals, I thought, “Wow, this reads a lot like Neil Gaiman. By the time I was finished the story I wondered if perhaps Neil took a trip into the ninth circle of hell and met Clive Barker there where, together, they spawned off the demon baby that is Shadow Animals.
Shadow Animals is hard to describe or review. One reason for this is that it’s so short I don’t want to go into the plot too much in fear of ruining what happens to potential readers. So, let’s go with the basics. The story’s protagonist, Saul, is looking for his missing son, Ezzy, who went missing in “the forest”. I put quotations around the forest because this forest is known as the place where people enter and never come back.
Saul’s goal is to find his son and fix his family. His intentions are good. But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Shadow Animals is a dark fantasy set in a world that is both beautiful and violently horrifying. I compared Keith’s work to two other brilliant authors, and I know that I am not far off the mark on saying so. And yet Keith keeps his own voice and vision intact throughout the entire story. This is Keith Deininger’s work, and you, dear readers, are in for a treat....more
The Vampire Apocalypse book 1, A World Torn Asunder, by Derek Gunn, is a pretty fantastic book. I don't say this often, but I think it is deserved herThe Vampire Apocalypse book 1, A World Torn Asunder, by Derek Gunn, is a pretty fantastic book. I don't say this often, but I think it is deserved here. The reason being is that it breaks a lot of standards in traditional publishing, but it does it in a way that tickles me.
Imagine, if you will, humanity devastated by a war with vampires. A war that humans have lost. The vampires control the world's major cities and keep the human population under control with a serum that renders them sedated and unable to fight back. Within an unnamed city (If the city was named, I missed it), there's an uprising occurring. Harris is among a group of rebels, you could call them, that have found a way to avoid the vampire's serum and are building their army to fight back and retake their home. What results is a strange mix of Saving Private Ryan and the Underworld movies. Which, for a guy like me, means a very fun and exciting read. The battle scenes are brutal and violent and, sometimes, very realistic-feeling. Other times, the battle sways into the land of fantasy. However, these battle scenes, along with the evolution of the rebel army is the novel's biggest strength, in my opinion. I don't think this novel was really meant to be a serious character study rich with plot. It's a war story. With Vampires.
Having said that, this book is not perfect. No novel is. My biggest problem came with the opening scene. It has some questionable motives in it, especially the part with the parents and their kids (I don't want to spoil it). No parent, in my mind, would do that. My second biggest problem comes with the rules of the vampires themselves. I don't like how they shape shift so much and into whatever they want. Or so it seems. If they're to be shape shifters, they should have more barriers, in my opinion. Don't let any of this spoil it for you, though. This is a fun book to read, and the best part? It's just the beginning.
There is a new feature with this opinion piece/review. It is what I like to call the CHUD-Dweller rating. If you don't know what C.H.U.D. is, then you need to educate yourself....more
When I met Jen, my wife, about twelve or thirteen years ago, I tried to find common ground with her. We were both avid readers, but different kinds ofWhen I met Jen, my wife, about twelve or thirteen years ago, I tried to find common ground with her. We were both avid readers, but different kinds of readers. She liked romance while I liked horror. So she found herself reading John Irving (not horror, but nonetheless a favourite of mine), while I, with no particular interest in tackling the romance genre, suggested chick-lit. Back then, the term chick-lit was making its first marketing waves and books, like Bridget Jones’s Diary and the Shopaholic series, were transparent in their new marketing schemes.
What does this have to do with Shana Festa’s debut novel, Time of Death: Induction?
That’s a good question. Picture chick-lit written for a guy like me. You have a woman protagonist, Emma, written in a somewhat light, comedic way with these horrible things happening around her, her husband, and her dog. A zombie virus hits and knocks out civilization pretty quickly and our protagonists find themselves on the run for their lives. All they want is to find a safe place to hold up.
The more they travel and the more people they meet, however, the more they learn that safe is an old-world term, and that to sit in one spot for too long results in tragedy.
As Time of Death: Induction is the first in a series of novels by Jana, it will be really interesting to see where she takes Emma’s character, the dark places she will visit not only within this violent new world, but also within Emma herself as a person.
What I really enjoyed about Induction was recognizing and remembering that chick lit feel to some of those books I read way back when first trying to impress the woman who would become my wife. I guess my scheming worked. I’m not sure how, though. Jen became a John Irving fan where as I left chick lit behind. It’s not that I didn’t like the genre. It’s more like it didn’t really hold anything of value for me.
Jana, however, puts the type of value that gives me my kicks when reading horror novels and fused it well with that old marketing scheme. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun to read. The action almost never stops and is well-written. There are also some pretty awesome gory scenes in here as well.
Dream of the Serpent is one of the most gut-wrenching stories I've ever read. This says a lot to the writing powers Alan Ryker has developed in a shorDream of the Serpent is one of the most gut-wrenching stories I've ever read. This says a lot to the writing powers Alan Ryker has developed in a short amount of time. If you're familiar at all with his work, then you know that Ryker is a very talented story teller with a literary spin on the way he chooses to present his story to his readers.
The book starts off with our introduction to Cody and Maddy and the type of relationship they have along with where they both are in life at this moment before disaster strikes. While talking to his girlfriend, Maddy, over his cell phone while cleaning out the deep frier at work, Cody suffers serious burns. The first part of the novel is about these burns and how it destroys Cody's professional aspirations and his relationship with Maddy.
Let me tell you, tons of research went into this part of the story that made it feel more than authentic. The things that Cody goes through just to heal is like something from a torture movie. You feel as though you’ve experienced, in some small way, what burn victims have gone through. And, personally, I don't think I'd come out the other end with flying colors.
About half-way through, the story changes from this hardcore suffering to something strange and, I think, brilliant on the author's part. The change is drastic, but works so well within this world. It does so because Ryker took the time to prepare us for the change and even wonder, as Cody investigates, at its details.
Throughout the story, themes of guilt, of fire and burning, the Greek mythology of the phoenix gone horribly wrong, of death, and most importantly, love-devotion-and sacrifice play throughout. What we get is a story that is just as heart-wrenching as anything by Joe Hill or Greg F. Gifune.
Don’t read this book if you don’t want to be changed or and effected deeply. If this story doesn’t haunt you and effect you in some way, then you’re probably a different kind of person than I am....more