Friday, June 10, 2016

Somer Canon's #VickiBeautiful - Review


My thoughts
I don't think I've ever been quite this astounded by a horror story. Being a long time horror fan, and a fan of shows such as Hannibal, you would think that I have seen it all, and nothing would shock me. Well, it turns out that's not the case. Vicki Beautiful left me gobsmacked.

I can't go into much detail about the story itself without spoiling it for others so I'll just say that this short novella kept me reading from page one. The reason. Well, when a horror story starts out all sunshine and flowers, you know you're in for it. Now don't get me wrong...it's not a scary read. However, it does question human nature and what we would be willing to do for those we love. And, of course, the big question at the end that everyone will be asking themselves...that's what stayed in the back of my mind the entire time.

Vicki Beautiful is definitely a must-read if you can stomach some, shall I say, grossness. Luckily, I'm brave when it comes to horror. Otherwise, I might have missed this one. I can't wait to read what Canon publishes next!

About the book
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Samhain
Novella

One last taste of perfection…

Sasha and Brynn descend upon the showplace home of their girlhood friend, Vicki, planning to celebrate her surviving cancer to reach her fortieth birthday. As they gather around Vicki’s perfectly set dinner table, though, her husband shares devastating news. The cancer is back, and she doesn’t have long to live.

Her life is cut even shorter than Sasha and Brynn expect—the next morning, their friend is found dead, her flawless skin slit at the wrists. But a tub full of blood is only the beginning. Before the weekend is through, they are forced to question how far they’re willing to go to fulfill Vicki’s last wish.

A very specific, very detailed recipe that only the truest of friends could stomach…


About the author
Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of
being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.

Vicki Beautiful is her debut novella.

Find out more about Somer and her upcoming works at her website http://www.somercanon.com. You can also connect with Somer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SomerM.

Praise for Vicki Beautiful
“ I read this at one gripping session and I shall read more by this author. Excellent, original and worth every one of my five stars.” –Catherine Cavendish, Author of The Devil’s Serenade

“At times it reminded me of the cult classic "Eating Raoul" and others "The Big Chill". Suffice to say, Canon has created an intriguing tale that will not only have you caring about characters put into an awkward, unsettling situation but also wondering how they'll react to it every step of the way. I highly recommend this unique and entertaining story.”
–Matthew Franks, Author The Monster Underneath

“This is not the normal type of book that I would read, but the cover sold it to me, and I like reading new authors and genres. This book is beautifully written, the writing flows and you feel you really understand what the character’s are feeling…” Rebecca, GoodReads Reviewer

“The ending of this story was truly horrific. I am an old school horror fan, and have been indulging in the genre since I was old enough to hold a book. I also adore and enjoy the sub-genre splatterpunk, I read Jack Ketchum as a bedside book all the time. It takes a lot to phase me, but even I was turning my head in repulsion at the end. What a wonderful debut story for Somer Canon.”
–Badseedgirl, GoodReads Reviewer

“A simple story, but all the more powerful for its simplicity. Four stars. The author has guts and skill.” –Outlaw Poet

Buy the book
Samhain

Want to Feature Somer Canon?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Somer Canon, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com.



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Monday, May 16, 2016

Blood Sacrifices - Review #BrianMoreland


My thoughts
First of all, the book as a whole. One of the best collections I've read to date...seriously!

As I was reading The Girl from the Blood Coven, the short prequel to The Witching House, I was thinking, "This is really something." I was seriously creeped out. That's a good thing. What can I say about The Witching House that can even describe its brilliance? It almost had me as scared as I was when I read my favorite horror novel of all time, Hell House by Richard Matheson. The legends surrounding the Blevins House, the urban explorers, the house itself--the perfect set-up for what is, in my eyes, a classic horror tale. This tale does not rely on horror cliches to get the scares. It is genuine, bare bones horror that reaches out and grabs you by the throat. 

Darkness Rising is more realistically scary, meaning it's scary because the murder/torture and filming of the acts could actually happen, speaking strictly in a non-supernatural instance. I'm sitting there thinking, "Damn it, Marty, when you saw that there was another vehicle at the lake, why didn't you just leave?" But then, there wouldn't be a story. This tale was more about the cruelties in the world...the murders, the bullying...and what might happen to one guilty of these cruelties. And, strangely enough, it's also a love story which also made it a heartbreaking read.

The Vagrants held more of a message for me. Messages about our ever growing homeless problem in this country, and about cultism. At least, that's what I felt as I was reading. What if the hopeless in this world were made to rise up by a charismatic leader and destroy the world as we know it? Pretty scary stuff. It's testament to how easily people can be led to believe something when they feel there is nothing left. 

Moreland is a hell of a horror writer. This is my first read of his work and it will not be my last. You should read this book now!

*********

Blood Sacrifices houses four tales of terror by one of the masters of horror, Brian Moreland. Previously only available in digital format, these stories are compiled into one book and can now be ordered in print!

Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Samhain
Publication Length: 282 pages


Some evils require sacrifices.

From the author of Dead of Winter and The Devil’s Woods come four tales of blood-tingling horror:

The Girl from the Blood Coven
In this short prequel to The Witching House, when Abigail Blackwood claims her hippy commune family has been massacred, Sheriff Travis Keagan and his deputies investigate. They discover there’s more than weed smoking going on at Blevins House. Much more.

The Witching House
Sarah Donovan is scared of just about everything, but she helps her adventurous boyfriend investigate the old, abandoned Blevins House, scene of a forty-year-old unsolved massacre. Little do they know the house is hungry for fresh prey…

Darkness Rising
When Marty Weaver encounters three killers who like to play sadistic games with their victims, his own scarred past is unearthed. And when his pain is triggered, blood will flow…and hell will rise.

The Vagrants
Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering. While living under a bridge with the homeless, journalist Daniel Finley witnessed something that nearly cost him his sanity. Now, with a book published about the experience, he’s caught between the Irish mafia and a deranged cult preparing to shed blood on the street.

This is a collection of books previously published in digital format.

Purchase Links

About the author
Brian Moreland is a best-selling and award-winning author of novels and short stories in the horror and supernatural suspense genre. In 2007, his novel Shadows in the Mist, a Nazi occult thriller set during World War II, won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest. The novel went on to be published in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger.
Shadows in the Mist, Dead of Winter, and The Devil's Woods are his currently available novels, as well as his Kindle short-story The Girl from the Blood Coven and the novella it led into called The Witching House. Now, he has released the full-length The Devil’s Woods. His novella, The Vagrants, was released in 2014, and another, Darkness Rising, in 2015.

He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and making guacamole. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. When not working on his books or books for other writers, Brian edits documentaries and TV commercials around the globe. He produced a World War II documentary in Normandy, France, and worked at two military bases in Iraq with a film crew.

Brian lives in Dallas, Texas. You can communicate with him online at www.brianmoreland.com, his Dark Lucidity blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

Praise for Brian Moreland
"For horror fans wanting a healthy dose of the small-town stuff a la Stephen King, be sure to pick up a copy of this (The Girl from the Blood Coven) memorable and frightening short story, a wonderful teaser that will whet your appetite for the main course, The Witching House, where the twisted story continues." -DarkEva/Hellnotes
" Very much in the tradition of HELL HOUSE, THE WITCHING HOUSE is a creepy, modern turn on the haunted house story." -Tim Potter

"Far and away the best new piece of fiction I've read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he's one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum...etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I'm a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it." -Glenn Rolfe, author of Blood and Rain, on Darkness Rising

"Brian Moreland writes a blend of survival horror and occult mystery that I find impossible to resist. I know, when I've got one of his books in my hands, that I'm going to be lost to the world for hours on end. He's just that good." -Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Flesh Eaters

"A thrilling, wholly-engrossing read that masterfully crosses multiple genres and leaves the reader breathless. Moreland weaves one hell of a history lesson, rich with brilliant characters and incredible plot twists. Highly recommended!" -Brian Keene, bestselling author of The Last Zombie and Ghoul, on Dead of Winter

“Dead of Winter is an exceptionally well crafted horror novel that tells a gripping story of dark religious doings, a horrific serial killer, and a sympathetic Inspector, in a dark and fascinating historical setting of 19th century Canada. The atmospherics are outstanding and the story offers plenty of surprises right up to its shocking and violent conclusion. Highly recommended.”
- Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Monster of Florence and Cold Vengeance

“Brian Moreland’s fiction is taut and spellbinding, often blending varied themes to form a dark genre very much his own. From his WWII occult thriller Shadows in the Mist, to the haunting chiller The Devil’s Woods, Brian’s work is at once versatile, original, and deeply engaging.” - Greg F. Gifune, author of The Bleeding Season

"The Devil's Woods is an awesome horror novel, filled with nerve-wracking suspense and thrilling action!” - Jeff Strand, author of Wolf Hunt


Want to Feature Brian Moreland?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Brian Moreland, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com

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Friday, May 6, 2016

I Kill in Peace - Review #HunterShea


My thoughts
This short little novella tells quite a story. What would you do if someone anonymously started texting you to kill people? Yeah, sure...the murders seem justifiable, if that's how you think, but would you do it? Well, in this case, Peter doesn't have much of a choice. At the very first, I thought I knew where this was leading. A bit later, I started realizing where this was going. The sudden widespread epidemics and everything else going on...I thought "Apocalypse."

I read in someone's review on Goodreads that it was too heavy on the religious overtones. I didn't really get that on my end. I'm not sure what the author's religious leanings are, but I'm not a religious person. I mean, I believe in some type of higher power, but I don't really hold with the Bible and the religious establishment. And the Book of Revelation really pisses me off. In my case, it was because of an experience I had at a church when I was a teen where they're teaching it to us and it scared the shit out of me. My teens years were smack dab in the middle of the threat of nuclear Armageddon so teaching me about the end of the world was not good. I just don't think that's something churches should be teaching kids, or even teens, but that's my opinion. Anyway, my take was that the higher power didn't care whose life is ruined by the "second coming" or if, in the midst of some righteous killing (so to speak), innocents must die as well. The importance is to get the ball rolling, i.e. break the seals, the four horsemen, and all that jazz.

So, yes, I Kill in Peace is a good read because it makes you think. You might interpret things entirely different than I did, but it still packs a lot of meaning in just over 100 pages, whatever that meaning is for each reader.

About the book
Publication Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Samhain
Publication Length: 104 pages


Killing gets easier…with practice.
Peter Blades is, in every sense of the word, an ordinary man. Hard worker, father, husband, a man content with small-town life. Except for one small fact—he’s slowly being turned into a ruthless killer.

Compelled by mysterious texts to murder, he’s provided a fiery red Mustang and an ancient sword to carry out an ever-growing hit list. His jerkoff boss is victim number one. You always remember your first.

By the time his sword sings through the air to dispatch a would-be school shooter, taking lives is as easy as breathing. And if the world is going to hell around him, all the better. No one wants to burn alone.


About the author
Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel,Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned – “A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!”

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, crytid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Praise for Hunter Shea
“This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley.” — Publishers Weekly — Voted one of the best reads of summer, on The Montauk Monster

“Bloody good read! This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre

“Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

Purchase LinksAmazon
Barnes & Noble
Samhain

Want to Feature Hunter Shea?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Hunter Shea, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com




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Monday, May 2, 2016

Children of the Dark - Review #JonathanJanz


My thoughts
In a recent blog post, Jonathan Janz spoke of Stephen King being his favorite author. Not only that, he credited King with making him a reader. Well, all that reading paid off because Janz is showing his stuff as an author, and in this book, I was very much reminded of Stephen King's work. Now mind you, I'm not saying that this book is a copycat of anything King has written. Far from it. This is a unique, page turner of a book. What reminds me of King in this book is the small town feel, the camaraderie between Will and his friends, the palpable feeling of being bullied, and the underlying feeling of dread. I'm reminded of King's The Body (off which the film, Stand By Me was based). I could easily see this book being made into a movie. It's that good.

Janz thoroughly impressed me with his werewolf novel, Wolf Land (review). He has gone even further with Children of the Dark. The prose is smart and engaging. The real winner though...the characters. These are characters we really care about. Even the supporting characters are written so we care what happens to them as well. Throw in some pretty scary monsters and quite an interesting plot twist and we have one hell of a horror novel here. Hell, even non-horror fans can get something from this book. Because it's not just about the horrors of what might be lurking in the dark. It's about growing up and learning the hard lesson that the world is not always a very nice place, whether it may be because of cruel, ignorant people, sadistic murderers, or primeval monsters.

If you have not read Jonathan Janz yet, I suggest you get busy reading. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next.

About the book
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.

Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.

And very few of them will escape with their lives.


About the author
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a
way, that explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”

2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, “Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish.” Jonathan’s Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a “Rousing-good weird western,” and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014’s top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan “Horror’s Next Big Thing.” 2015 also saw the release of Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathanjanz.com. You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.

Praise for Children of the Dark
“Jonathan Janz brings us a vicious tale of terror with the innocence of youth in a coming of age tale that should surely make Stephen King smile.” – Dave, Beneath the Underground

“Jonathan Janz has written the next definitive coming-of-age horror novel that is sure to be mentioned alongside those that came before it. Be on the right side of history and read it now, before it becomes a classic.” –Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to be Paid

Praise for Jonathan Janz
“Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won’t be disappointed.”
-Pod of Horror

“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene, best-selling author

“It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it 'The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.' You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!”
-Author Edward Lee on House of Skin

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.” –Tim Waggoner, multi-published author

"Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror--Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows--will find much to relish." - Publishers Weekly on Savage Species

Purchase Links
Amazon

Also, check out Sinister Grin Press Website



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Friday, April 22, 2016

David Bernstein's A Mixed Bag of Blood - Review #AMixedBagofBlood



My thoughts
I have to admit that I'm not a big reader of short stories. I prefer stories that require more of a time investment. In other words, novels. However, the exception to that are horror short stories. I love them. I read my first scary short stories as a child. Remember those anthologies of ghost stories you could order from the Scholastic book flyer? I later graduated to Stephen King's short stories and many of his are among my favorites. I think horror works for me in short story format (unlike other genres) because horror can be such a fast paced medium. For instance, horror films are usually no more than 2 hours long, but they still pack a punch. Did I mention that horror films are my favorite? But I digress. What I'm getting at here is that I love horror short stories, especially those that are as good as the stories in A Mixed Bag of Blood.

I love horror that pulls no punches and this author knows his stuff when it comes to that. Some of the stories are a play on our fears of foreign invasion, whether it be in our world, or our bodies. Others bring forth the monsters we're terrified of...zombies, vampires, Bigfoot (we lived in a house surrounded by woods when I was growing up, and yes, I was terrified of Bigfoot. Don't laugh). Some are very gross, yet funny in their message while still being horrific. I'm not going to go into detail because short stories are very easy to spoil for others. Suffice it to say that each story has something to offer.

This slim volume of 125 pages contains 10 stories. I enjoyed every one of them. This "Mixed Bag of Blood" is a must read for any horror fan. I mean it.

About the book
  • Print Length: 125 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2016
From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person’s nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing, and the consequences of one man’s night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

This is a Mixed Bag of Blood.

Praise for A Mixed Bag of Blood 
“Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you'll want to read. With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did.” –Cat After Dark

Praise for David Bernstein 
"David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, 'Be careful what you wish for.' Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…" —Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight

"A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!" —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

“Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein.” —Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden

"A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!" —Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift

Add to GoodReads

Purchase Links
Amazon

Check out Sinister Grin Press


About the author
David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. You can reach him on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/david.bernstein.3. Visit him at his website: davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com email dbern77@hotmail.com, or on Twitter at @Bernsteinauthor.



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Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Monster Underneath by Matthew Franks - Review #TheMonsterUnderneath


My thoughts
What if someone could enter someone's mind in their dream state and get them to realize their wrongdoing? That's exactly what Max Crawford can do in The Monster Underneath. He works with prison inmates by psychically entering their dream states as a means of rehabilitation. By seeing the error of their ways and feeling remorse for their crimes, the inmates are able to move on with reentering society no longer criminals. Max has quite a record of success in his methods.

When he is approached by an FBI agent to use his methods on a suspected serial killer, Max has his doubts, but soon is committed to bringing the man to justice. Unfortunately, there are some who just don't feel remorse, or that what they're doing is wrong.

The Monster Underneath is quite thought provoking and at times terrifying. To say it was a page turner is an understatement. The author has explored the ethical question of "How much should we really know about a person? It raises the question, "If you had the ability to enter someone's thoughts/dreams (perhaps a friend or family member), would you do it? Perhaps it's better to not know. Also, there's the realization...some people really are monsters.

This is an outstanding debut novel. I look forward to his future works.

About the book
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Samhain
Publication Length: 219 pages

Reality can be the difference between a dream and a nightmare…

Max Crawford isn’t a typical prison therapist. He uses his unusual psychic ability to walk with convicts through their dreams, reliving their unspeakable crimes alongside them to show them the error of their ways.

Max always has to be on his toes to keep himself grounded, but the FBI agent waiting for him in his private office immediately puts him on edge. The bureau wants Max to go way outside his comfort zone to enter the dreams of suspected serial killer William Knox.

To get a confession and secure the future of his prison program, Max must gain Knox’s trust by any means necessary—and survive the minefield of secrets waiting inside a murderer’s mind. Secrets that could turn Max’s reality into a living nightmare.


About the author
Matthew Franks lives in Arlington, Texas with his beautiful wife and children. He studied
psychology and creative writing at Louisiana State University then obtained a Master’s Degree in counseling from Texas State University. When he’s not working on his next story, he’s counseling adolescents or trying to keep up with his three highly energetic daughters. You can connect with Matthew at: authormatthewfranks.com.

Praise for The Monster Underneath 
“An assured, gripping, totally engaging debut, Matthew Franks will have you burning through the pages of this taut supernatural thriller at breakneck speed. If Christopher Nolan and Stephen King ever teamed up to write a novel, this would be it. Highly recommended!”
–Ronald Malfi, author of Little Girls

“What if you could see inside the dreams of anyone you came in contact with? Would you dare to look? Could you handle the things you’d find within? The Monster Underneath is a real nail-biter – one of those ever-spiraling stories that you just can’t put down until you reach the surprising end!”
–John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant and The Family Tree

“The Monster Underneath is an intense and clever debut in which reality is more terrifying than the nightmares and twisted dreamscapes of a madman. Author Matthew Franks is a name to remember, his stories you won’t soon forget.”
–Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls

“Matthew Franks’ debut novel takes you through the darkest, twisted alleys of a killer’s mind and then drags you several steps further, beyond the status of observer and into the disturbing realm of accomplice. A harrowing tale of murder and delusion and moral ambiguity.”
–Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Damnable, Diabolical, and the dark thriller collection, American Nocturne

Purchase Links 
Samhain

Want to Feature Matthew Franks? If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Matthew Franks, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: hookofabook@hotmail.com 



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Friday, April 15, 2016

#Friday56 & #BookBeginnings - The Troop by Nick Cutter



I decided to do my Friday memes here at Castle Macabre today since I'm featuring a horror novel. So, to avoid confusion to those who visited me last week at True Book Addict...this is my sister blog. Welcome!

Since I'll be reading this for my Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon next week, I thought it would be a good one to feature.

Headline from The Weird News Network, online edition, October 19:

THE HUNGRY MAN OF PRINCE COUNTY
BY Huntington Mulvaney

Fearsome news, dear readers, from one of our loneliest outposts--the tiny fishing community of Lower Montgague, Prince Edward Island. A forlorn, foreboding spike of rock projecting into the Atlantic Ocean.

     The perfect location for devilry, methinks? Thankfully for you, we have eyes and ears everywhere. We see all, we hear all.
     Sadie Adkins, waitress at the Diplomat Diner in Lower Montague, had her late-model Chevrolet truck stolen from the restaurant's lot last night by an unnaturally emaciated thief. Adkins placed a call to our toll-free tip line after her entreaties to local deputy dawgs were cruelly and maliciously rebuffed, deemed--and we quote--"ludicrous" and "insane."
     "I know who stole my damn truck," Adkins told us. "Starvin; Marvin."
     An unidentified male, with close-cropped hair and baggy clothing, entered the Diplomat at 9 p.m. According to Adkins, the man was in a severe state of malnourishment.
     "Skinny! You wouldn't believe," Adkins told our intrepid truth-gathers. "Never in my life have I seen a man so wasted away. But hungry."
     Adkins reports that the unidentified male consumed five Hungry Man Breakfast platters--each consisting of four eggs, three buttermilk pancakes, five rashers of bacon, sausage links, and toast.
     "He ate us out of eggs," Adkins said. "Just kept shoveling it in and asking for more. His belly must have swelled up tight as a drum. He...well, he...when I came back with his third platter, or maybe it was his fourth, I caught him eating the napkins. Ripping them out of the dispenser, chewing and swallowing them."
     The unidentified man paid his bill and left. Shortly thereafter Adkins went outside to find her truck stolen--yet another malicious indignity!
     "I can't say I was too surprised," she said. "The man seemed desperate in every way a man can possibly be desperate."
     She fell silent again before adding one final grisly detail:
     "I could hear something coming from inside him--I'm saying, under his skin. I know that sounds silly."
     
For Friday 56:
We could die--this thought cleaved Ephraim's mind like a guillotine blade. One of us could start to fall, and someone will try to help--Scout Law number two: A Scout is ever loyal to his fellows; he must stick to them through thick and thin--then another and another until everyone gets pulled down like a string of paper dolls.

The Troop by Nick Cutter
Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected...and one another.

***********

This book has been well-liked by people I respect in the horror, and general reading, communities. And Stephen King said this, "The Troop scared the hell out of me, and I couldn’t put it down. This is old-school horror at its best." Enough said!

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