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On the Lips of Children

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Meet Macon. Tattoo artist. Athlete. Family man. He's planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible. During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel. They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn't imagine: skinning unexpecting victims for food and money. And Macon, and his ...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by Books of the Dead (first published June 4th 2013)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  504 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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despite being someone well-trained in the art of readers' advisory, sometimes it can be difficult to place the right book in the hands of the right reader, because people tend to be vague about what kind of book they are looking for. it is very infrequent indeed that someone will specifically ask for a book about "tattoos, feral children, cannibals, twins, marathon runners, bath salts, and the fierceness of motherhood."

but when that day comes, i will be ready.

kids, stay offa bath salts.

Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Creepy good!

The author contacted me and I received a copy of the book in exchange of a honest review.


A page-turner story featuring the horrors of real human nature.


The first thing that captured me was that amazing cover!

There's a saying that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but certainly the cover is a key factor to provoke an eagerness to read an unknown book. I mean, if you are looking already a specific book, you won't care too much about the cover. Howev
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Mark Matthews is freaking brilliant! Read his books! Okay, there we go, review done. Yet again, I had the pants scared off me.

No, seriously I am a new avid fan of Mark's writing because it's just so darn good. This book chilled me to the bone, had me holding my breath, yelling at characters and telling them what to do, on the edge of my seat, heart beating wildly. The works. Mark knows how to take everyday life situations and inject a whopper dose of urban horror into them. These situations may,
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the Lips of Children was not what I expected at all.

Since reading one of Mr. Matthew's previous books, (Stray), way back when I first got my Kindle, I've been meaning to read more of his work. When he offered a free copy of this one, in exchange for an honest review, I said yes. I'm glad I did! "Stray" was a good read but this novella (short novel?) is more up my alley as I am a horror-lovin' gal.

The story begins with a couple (Macon and Erin) staying at a hotel with their daughter, Lyric.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A simple run in an unfamiliar place takes a turn for the very worst when a young family is dropped into the pit of hell.

Or at least what I imagine might be happening in the pit of hell.

Macon decides to take a leisurely run the day before his first marathon but he’s on unfamiliar turf. Before long he’s bugged by a group of homeless folk but that’s nothing compared to the terror that’s about to hit him when his lover decides to take their child along the same unfamiliar path to catch up to him .
Mark Matthews
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Oh, that author dilemma of reviewing their own book.
Aaaaa! C.H.U.D.s!!!

Well, okay, more like C.H.U.M.s - Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Meth-heads.

There's nothing particularly new here, and the writing won't win any awards, BUT it's a good, solid page-turner, so dig in.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite non king horror novels
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of dark fiction
Recommended to Katy by: Mark Matthews
Shelves: ebook
Book Info: Genre: Literary Dark Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of dark fiction
Trigger Warnings: murder, mutilation, cannibalization, cutting (self-injury), reported death of a child, danger to babies, kidnapping

My Thoughts: This is a very twisted book. Dante's behavior due to the excessive drug use and his constant talk about needing to take people's faces off to see who they really are made me think of that movie Face-Off. I also have to wonder why, after seeing what meth and
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Although I won a copy in this book in a Goodreads giveaway, I had already purchased a copy for my kindle before the contest ended. This is definitely a story that captured my attention right from the synopsis itself!

Macon is a tattoo artist, in town for an upcoming marathon. When he goes out for a practice run, his girlfriend and six year-old daughter decide to head out after him. What entails is a nightmare enough to cause any parents lack of sleep! In a drug-smuggling tunnel near where Macon t
Maxine Marsh
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a novel I enjoyed the way this book messed with my emotions: tension, concern for the characters and a sort of visceral disgust with the bad guys (some of whom the reader would feel pity for, a hard thing to pull off). I really wanted the protagonists to get away. Matthews created a couple who had their problems but you really wanted them to triumph over evil and be together. It was almost too realistic how an evil place existed on the margins of the normal world, and how easily it would be t ...more
Andi Rawson
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This being the third book I've read by Mark Matthews, I can only venture to say that his head must be a very, very frightening place. It is obviously a place where people live in caves, want to you eat you, and have incredibly creepy children. It's a place where your greatest fears become reality and everything you love can be taken from you.

In movies and real life, joggers are always getting attacked and/or killed on running trails, which is disconcerting enough. I have never wanted to be a run
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Yikes boys and girls..step away from the bath salts. This book is not for the fair of heart..or runners who like to venture out on their own. Needless to say I will never do that or offer help to someone when I am by myself. Good read though. Once I started I couldn't put it down cuz I had to know what happened next. Good job Mark!
11811 (Eleven)
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another solid read from Mark Matthews. This one didn't completely blow me over the way Milk-Blood did but it was still a dark and gritty experience and well worth reading. Love the title too. Recommended.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Starting with the less-good, I was a little disappointed that On the Lips of Children was not as disturbing as other reviews had led me to believe. For me, it also became a little bogged down in some of the details it was conveying, as certain elements of one character's back-story added little to proceedings.

However, I most definitely found there to be something incredibly compelling about Mark Matthews' story of a small family in peril as they venture into the wrong part of San Diego and fall
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
Book – On the Lips of Children
Author – Mark Matthews
Publication Date – June 4, 2013
Type – Stand Alone
Genre – Horror/Dark
Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars

Ummmm? Why?  Right now Mr. Matthews, I am very upset with you – all day I have been trying to figure out if you seriously left me hanging like that….Really? I would really like another book - *tapping my foot – and like SOON! Can you please clean up the missing pieces?  I know there is enough story to squeeze out another book – so how about it?

Liz Barnsley
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the author for the copy of this book to review.

Right first of all, if you are faint of heart or have a nervous disposition I would probably not read this novella- although you will be missing out if you don't. It took me under two hours to complete, that was how enthralled I was. Incidentally, reading this novel AND going to see Elysium at the cinema on the same day is probably not conducive to your health. Elysium has exploding people...this novel has exploding lives....

So, Macon,
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mark Matthews, I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ! ! !

So this was really creepy, and disturbing, and icky and horrific. It doesn't happen to me often when reading, as I am older, and jaded, but there were episodes in this book that made my heart pound. Hard. I could feel throbbing in more than one pulse point.

This book is well worth the read if you like to be scared out of your mind. But there are other aspects explored as well like family and relationships and love and trust, that might appeal to readers
Ms. Nikki
Macon's planning to run a marathon and his girlfriend, Erin, is critical yet supportive, always giving him tips and warnings of over-doing it.

Macon's got something to prove though. He wants to be the best man he can possibly be for his future wife and his daughter Lyric. He feels this marathon is the best way to show that he can go the distance.

Macon, on his practice run, daydreams of his proposal, of being a real family, of having a happy life, but his musings are interrupted by a family of can
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in one sitting which should tell you something about how powerful it is. I have made the best and worst decisions of my life in an attempt to protect my children. This is the story of two women, both mothers, who meet on a field of battle with one goal in mind--to save their children. One comes from a place of fetid, rancid darkness, the other from a world of searing, cutting light. While the men who surround them fight, maim and torture each other, these two mothers plot, with ...more
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mark-matthew
I enjoyed this book. It was good to read about a family of cannibals and how they survived. It was set in San Diego, and they lived in some tunnels and this dark.

There were 2 small children and I was thinking if they survive would they be like Hannibal. The family they captured were likeable, two marathon runners and their daughter.

I found the story to move along at a fast pace, it was gruesome as it was very graphic in its telling of what was happening. Even at the end it kept you guessing. Did
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In On the Lips of Children, tattoo artist Macon has been training for his first marathon, a feat he hopes will convince his girlfriend and accomplished runner Erin that he is a worthy suitor. Little does he know that a routine jog will bring he and his young family face to face a group of depraved and bloodthirsty creatures.

Any regular urban runner can attest to the flighty,nervous feeling one gets when running under an "occupied" underpass or down a poorly lit trail. Author Mark Matthews does a
Ken B
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matthews does a great job of keeping the reader off balance in this novella. There is not a character in the book in which he allows you to develop a sense of trust. The reader is left guessing at this result or hoping for another. But, rarely what you expected or wanted is given.

siobhan Quinlan
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Might not have been a good idea to read this while on holidays surrounded by woods but after milk blood i had to pick this up right away.
This book had me so scared and unable to put it down. read in one sitting and i barely slept that night
Caroline Barker
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Mark Matthews
On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews is absolutely terrifying and chilling to the bone, quite literally within the first few pages of the prologue. Certainly not for the younger reader, On the Lips of Children is an over 18yrs read due to the horror and gore, not to mention the emotional scar it leaves behind. This is definitely a must-read for all horror fans that like a book to leave a profound impact on them.

Macon is a tattoo artist and an avid marathon runner. These two interests of his
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Macon and Erin are building a life together. With their past in the rear view mirror, they need to find a way to survive a harrowing ordeal and make their dreams together come true, for themselves, for their daughter Lyric and for those that have been lost. They will need to dig deep to find the courage to keep running forward toward freedom.

Q and T never had a chance - Weaned on blood and flesh, living in underground tunnels and sewers, struggling to survive and find their way in the dark with
Mandy DeGeit
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I do most of my reading during daily exercise on the treadmill. As I got into the story, I realized that the main characters are also runners. There are a few minor differences however, they run outside, where I prefer the indoors, and they run, where I’m more along the lines of jogging/walking. (It’s difficult to read when you’re running.)

The book was interesting and opened up a world of horror in the underground tunnels below San Diego. Unsuspecting tourists and helpless people are taken as h
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deborah by: Mark Matthews
Shelves: own, audiobooks
3.5 stars

On the Lips of Children was a quick and very creepy read. Reviewer Charlene referred to "the building sense of dread and tension," and I agree that the gradually ratcheting tension was one of the strengths of the book. As a mother, I particularly identified with Erin's thoughts as she struggled not only to save her own life, but to protect her daughter.

The horror stories which speak to me most are those in which I start talking to the characters as the plot develops: "No, don't go there
David Eccles
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance review copy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I know that this book has both male and female leads who are marathon runners, but it has the pace of a world-class sprinter!
The opening epilogue is something I read quite a while ago, and it sickened me to the point where I thought "Wow! I need to read all of this book!"
Macon and Erin have travelled to San Diego with their 6 year-old daughter, Lyric, so that the girls can watch Macon run his first maratho
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I want to start by thanking the author, Mark Matthews, for giving me a copy of his book in audiobook format.

I love horror, I love to be shocked, I LOVE creepy. This book delivered. On The Lips of Children is a wonderfully disturbing, original, horror story. Mark Matthews knows how to tell a story. The delivery was fast paced and kept me interested and engaged throughout. The only thing I wish was that I had a chance to feel a little more attached to the main characters and was actually a little
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Mark Matthews is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a licensed professional counselor who has worked in behavioral health for over 20 years. He is the author of On the Lips of Children, All Smoke Rises, and Milk-Blood, as well as the editor of Lullabies for Suffering and Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror. Matthews has run 13 marathons, and has two running based books, The Jade ...more

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  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
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