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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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