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Uncomfortably Dark Book Reviews

Now taking review requests for Aug-Nov.15. Books will be scheduled in the order they are requested.  Acceptance of a book is NOT a guarantee of a review. Reviews are still subject to our policy.

*UDH posts limited reviews from Nov. 15 - Jan.15 for personal time for the team. 

We do not read or review romance or erotica of any kind.  We do not read or review any explicit content depicting graphic child rape and/or sexual abuse. 

Email requests to cnola.author@gmail.com.

Rating System:

3 = Good Solid Read

4 = Great Read, Excellent Writing

5 = Superior to most other reads

 

Godless Book Reviews

Short Reviews for Shocking Tales

This section will contain our short reviews for the many short but shocking stories on Godless.com. They will not show book covers or contain links for each one. The direct link to Godless.com is below.

 

08/27/2022
Sermon One

by The Reverend

You’ve never heard the bible story quite like this. Sensual, lustful, passionate, erotic, animalistic. Just read it. All Hail The Reverend.

4.5 stars.

8/27/2022
The Seams

by Christopher Besonen

Disturbingly creepy short story about two young children awakening in a house made of flesh and parts, eager to absorb them. Nightmare fuel-this is not a bedtime story.

4 creepy green eyeballs.

09/24/2022
Dead Heat

Published by Crimson Pinnacle Press

Dead Heat is one more excellent example of the work that Crimson Pinnacle Press puts consistently puts out, with a superb list of authors and a theme just in time for fall reads, this is one of my favorite reads so far of spooky season.  Author such as Mark Towse, Micah Castle, Mike Ennenbach, Ruthann Jagge, Megan Stockton, RJ Roles, Jae Mazer, and more truly delivered their best stories for this anthology.  

These are campfire tales. Roaring fire in the cabin tales.  Electric blanket, and hot chocolate night on the couch tales.  They are creepy, chilling, unnerving, and fun.  Several had me looking over my shoulder more than once and jumping at random noises in the dark. There are bad men, and camping trips gone wrong, there are cryptids and creatures of all kinds, and more darkness than one book should be allowed to hold.

Personal favorites for me were “Red Moon over Red River Station” by M Ennenbach, “Wentworth Pond” by Jason Myers, “Paper Creek” by Ruthann Jagge, and “Cherish the Time You Had” by Micah Castle.  

More than 400 pages worth of dark and disturbing, perfect for fall reads. Get it today. Highly recommended. 
4.5 stars. 


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09/24/2022
Old Scratch: Demon Tales & Devil Hells

Published by Crimson Pinnacle Press

Another anthology by Crimson Pinnacle Press that is a must-read is Old Scratch: Demon Tales & Devil Hells. It is exactly that: demons, devils, and darkness. Fifteen stories all about Old Scratch, Satan, Beelzebub, etc. etc.  The authors are superb, and these tales deserved to be applauded.  Chris McAuley, Steve Stred, Pamela Morris, HP Newquist, Thomas Stewart and more penned the dark delights within these pages.  

Each one reeking of sulfur and burning with the flames of Hell, you can practically hear the demons roaring as you open the pages.

Some of my personal favorites were “Shallow Be Thy Name” by M Ennenbach, “Deep and Dark” by HP Newquist, and “Dracula’s Devil” by Chris McAuley.

Please know that each story in here is worthy of applause, they are well-written, highly engaging, and dark, just how I love them. 
4.5 Stars. 


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09/24/2022
DISTANCED

By Bob Gunner

Distanced is a collection of twelve short stories with a central focus on alien and paranormal themes. Each story is short and to the point, with a brief overview of the situation followed by the event that is the crux of the story, with a minimal ending.  

These can be read quickly, while waiting in the doctor’s office or on hold with customer service.  An even blend of humor, creepy situations, and disturbing scenes paired with well-written characters that come across just as human as you or I.

Two favorites for me were Pryor's Pond and All Roads End Here. Recommended for those that like light to mild horror.    
3.5 stars. 

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09/17/2022
May Cause Unexplained Ocular Bleeding.

By Nikolas P. Robinson

There’s so much to say about this collection, the only question is, where to begin? Robinson delivers a proverbial smorgasbord of surreal, worst-case scenarios artfully penned to evoke a wide variety of emotions including horror, shock, incredulity, and revulsion.

Drive Me Home is the first story, and it immediately pulls you in and captivates you as the story unfolds to reveal an earth shattering and tragic end. Hell is for Rabbits. The title alone should be just bizarre enough to clue you in. The story is one of the most bizarre fever dreams to have ever been written…in my opinion. I read it twice to make sure that I was not hallucinating.
It’s Fine…Everything is Fine. I found this one to be hilarious as I know many couples that could fit the main characters. The husband’s sheer denial of what was going on was only matched by the wife’s utter weariness with him. The dialogue was perfect as was the ending…just beautiful.

These are just some of my favorites in this incredible collection. The writing is flawless in both style and execution, pacing is on point for each story, and every page leaves you wanting more.


4.5 Stars 

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09/10/2022
The Obituaries

by Aron Beauregard, Kristopher Triana, and Daniel Volpe

Three of the industry’s most brutal and prolific authors on the market today have come together to create a trifecta of the most extreme caliber. Beauregard pens a horrific tale of meme glee gone wrong in The Unbecoming as an internet troll gets her due. 


Triana’s Bloody Mattress Blues delivers blood, fluid, sex, and gore in copious amounts as a lonely military wife seeks her ultimate high.


Closing out the unholy trinity is Volpe’s The Art of Trash in which the stench of the big city is one garbage man’s purest delight. Vomit inducing scenes, filth oozing from every word, Trash artfully delivers an epic close to The Obituaries.


This is extreme horror at its finest, no holds barred filth and depravity at the lowest level, and I am here for it. 
5 stars.  

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09/10/2022
Last One Alive

by Kristopher Rufty


In Last One Alive, Rufty delivers a full-on action-packed horror story that could hold its own against any of the Wrong Turn or The Hills Have Eyes movies. Full of mountains, marijuana, and more hillbillies than you might imagine, this is one epic romp through the woods with a machete-wielding mutant hot on your heels. Toss in a sassy ranger, a dash of the supernatural, and you get one fucked up fever dream that will get your heart rate and your anxiety up. Take a hint folks, don’t go up in them mountains.


4.5 stars.

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06/25/2022
Tribunal

by Dave Jeffery

Summary:
It is one of the most devastating events in human history, a deadly virus that killed most of the world and deafened the few who survived. In the chaos of the aftermath, the city of Cathedral emerged, and with it, a brutal regime of oppression and violence.

Now, years later, the city is in ruins, and the scene is set for a reckoning. A tribunal seeks to make sense of what happened behind Cathedral’s walls, so it can exact justice on those who fostered atrocity. Imprisonment or a noose await those found guilty.

But things are not as they were before this quiet apocalypse. Testimony and statement will make clear that the lines between good and evil are no longer clear. Against a backdrop of ambiguity, a verdict must be reached, and justice served.

Yet this decision will affect more than the lives of those on trial. It is to be the defining moment in humanity’s willingness to learn lessons from its own near extinction. With all the evidence in place, there is no avoiding what must be done.

It’s time to choose …


Review:
Dave Jeffery has penned a wonderful conclusion to his “Quiet Apocalypse” series in the most logical and just way possible. Written in the form of an actual Tribunal, it takes an up-close and personal look at the crimes committed within the city of Cathedral and showcases the perspectives of those who lived it and endured it. Tribunal is every bit as devastating and emotional as the books that preceded it. Jeffery has penned a powerful series set so closely in the realm of possibility that it will leave you disturbed long after you finish turning the pages. 

5 stars for this book and for the entire series. 


Below are quotes from my prior reviews of the series:
“A Quiet Apocalypse” follows the journey of the two men as they head towards ‘The Refuge,’ discussing some of their past lives along the way, while avoiding capture and conflicts with the Samaritans. It’s an emotional and shocking story that will leave you wanting more and will leave you wide awake at night, imagining the possibilities and the atrocities that Dave Jeffrey puts before us.” - Candace Nola, Uncomfortably Dark Horror.

“Cathedral is a screaming example of what could happen when life as we know it, is gone and mankind breaks down to their most primal instincts. When humans succumb to fear, and base survival instincts, this shows what civilization might look like. “ - Candace Nola, Uncomfortably Dark Horror.

From “The Samaritan” review:
“The emotion is raw, the grief is a tangible thing, almost a character in its own right and the sense of loss is more profound than anything I have experienced in a book in recent years.  Tears fell from my eyes as I closed my Kindle and I just sat, very quietly, lost in my thoughts, for a very long time. This is the apocalypse, and it will shatter you.” - Candace Nola, Uncomfortably Dark Horror.

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06/04/2022
M. Ennenbach-Review Recap

Notches Book Review

Notches is an excellent collection of short stories penned by M. Ennenbach. There is something here for every taste or personality. A bit of horror, a touch of tragedy and loss, the bleak despair of the human condition, the doldrums of just being caught up in our existence and finding the humor or will power to keep going.

The opening story “Blue” is a desperate tale full of love and longing, and an unfolding mystery that grows more horrifying with every passing night. There are two more tales of loss and sadness, “Chances” and “Noises” that will have you remembering and grieving those time when you also faced such pain and loss.


There is a gorgeous epic-length poem that is a beautiful telling of the tale of Persephone. I do not have words appropriate enough to describe this tale, you must read Notches for yourself and discover it with the same complete awe and wonder that I did. Several other tales are more surreal and bizarre, such as “T-rex and the Baby Doll,” “Coffee Machine” and “Customer Service” will make you chuckle and cringe as each situation unfolds with endings that are perfectly penned. “Customer Service" made me laugh out loud, several times, as did its follow-up story, “Interview.” Each story reads like a full-length novel so rich and relatable are the characters and emotions found within, regardless of the story they tell.


Ennenbach is more than an author, more than a poet. He is the personification of the human condition. His ability to draw you in and hold you there, deep inside each story, to feel the pain, the grief, the despair, and desolation within, is almost unparalleled by authors today.
He is truly an expert storyteller, no matter how he chooses to tell his story. Get to know him. Remember his name because you will be hearing it again, again, and again.

Five Gold Stars for “Notches”.

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Hunger on the Chisholm Trail

This is not your typical horror story! Nor would it qualify as your Grandaddy’s western.

Welcome to the Splatter Western!

I’m talking gore, murder, mayhem, fear and more fun than a bucket of rattler’s in an outhouse! This is an excellent tale woven around a small group of cattle drivers and the simple folk of a town in Texas, along the Chisholm Trail. There is intrigue, a bit of romance, a whole lot of action and a horrifying bid for survival. 

In this tale, a group of cattle drivers run into a bit of bad luck out on the Chisholm Trail. When the weary men stumble across a gory scene not too far from the trail, they can’t begin to fathom what type of beast could have left such a mess of death and decay in its wake.


Tensions ramp up as they settle in for the night and before too long, a brawl breaks out between two cattle hands. Chaos ensues, Wild West style, but something more is waiting up the trail.


Meanwhile, in the little town of Duncan, the people have welcomed a stranger that has made quite a stir with his talk of strange tales, and evil among men. The sheriff and the stranger form an unlikely friendship while they wait for the new sheriff and the cattle drivers to make it to town.


The saloon girls and shop owners are excited for the cattle drivers to get there and are looking forward to a few days of new men and fresh money. But something vile and evil has other plans for these simple folks.


Something older than the Wild West, something they’ve never seen before, and it’s hungry!

Step right up and try your luck on the Chisholm Trail! It’s sure to please your twisted senses.

Five out of Five stars for this excellent read.

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05/28/2022
Stopping Power

by Eric Red

Synopsis:

A desperate mother. Her abducted daughter. A ruthless kidnapper. An impossible ransom.

Devoted mother Stephanie Power is on a road trip in Houston, Texas with her teenage daughter, Libby. They stop at a gas station to refuel, and when Stephanie comes back from paying, she finds her daughter and their RV have suddenly vanished. Ilsa Bakke, a dangerous female bank robber on the run, just pulled an armored car heist that netted 60 million dollars in bearer bonds. She murdered her own gang, escaping in a getaway car with the Texas cops hot on her tail. She switched out her car with the RV at the gas station and kidnapped Libby, leaving her getaway car with the keys in it. Stephanie gets a call from Ilsa on her cell, ordering her to get into the bank robber’s getaway car and drive on the highway at high speed and keep driving or Ilsa will kill Libby - if Stephanie stops or gets caught by the cops, her daughter is dead – if she stays alive and uncaptured for one hour, Ilsa promises to release Libby safely.

The desperate mother has no choice, jumping in the getaway car and leading police on a high-speed chase, the female bank robber using her as a decoy for the cops while she makes her escape in the opposite direction with Libby and the stolen loot. The game of automotive cat-and-mouse shifts into high gear as Stephanie Power drives for her daughter’s life, struggling to stay alive and elude the cops, knowing she must somehow catch up to the RV with Libby and Ilsa so she can rescue her kid and take down the real perpetrator the police are after.

Book Review:
Eric Red pens an action-packed thriller in his new story, Stopping Power.” This high-octane thriller has all the makings of a blockbuster movie. Dynamic characters, power plays, gun fights, and car chases with the emotional gauntlet of a mother up against all odds to save her daughter. 

The storyline is expertly woven amongst the deeply intense action. Tension is created and layered with each new scene. All of this comes together for an explosive climax worthy of a theater.

5 stars for an action-packed thrill ride.  

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05/28/2022
CITY OF MADNESS

Jason Wolfgang Gehlert

City of Madness is a collection of highly descriptive short stories and poems. Great for a rainy night or to entertain friends and family around a campfire, you will find creature features, revenge stories, haunting poetry, and intense imagery.  Gehlert does a great job of inserting the reader into his stories with his vivid descriptions. While the stories are short, they are jam-packed with action and fear.  A unique aspect of his stories is that he uses several differently abled characters within them, which I loved his use of inclusion of representation. 
Overall, a fun collection full of bite-sized terror. 
4 stars. 

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5/28/2022
Dreaded Tales Collection I & II

by Eddie Morales

The Dreaded Tales collections by Eddie Morales contain a plethora of short stories filled with a wide range of topics, everything from zombies, ghosts, ghouls, guardian angels, and organized crime.  They are entertaining, only contain mild violence and gore, and have some surprising outcomes that are hard to predict. He uses several narrative styles through the collections which keeps the voice original and each story unique. While each story is a standalone read, there are several that are connected so the continuation of the characters and overall storyline is a nice bonus, for those that like a longer tale. If you are looking for a new voice in quiet horror with a wide range, Dreaded Tales might be for you. 


Overall, 4 stars for both volumes in the collection. 

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05/21/2022
Wicked Appalachia

by Tony Evans

Tony Evans offers up 8 bone-chilling folk horror stories from the dense Appalachia Mountains. Each story is full of rich depictions, authentic characters, and a healthy serving of country folk horror. He gives you just enough to get into the story and find something to relate to before ripping the mountains and valleys out from under the once stable ground to reveal the darkness beneath. I read these in one night, enthralled by each story and the folk horror within the pages.

Many of the legends that linger here, I had not heard of, and for me, that was refreshing. I love the standard horror fare, monsters, vampires, and werewolves, but Tony brings a whole host of new horrors to the surface.  While there is not a bad story in the bunch, a few favorites of mine were “Your Notches Are Like My Tattoos”, “Darkness”, and “The Bone Lady.”

4 stars for a fun collection full of darkness.

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05/07/2022
Do Not Weep For Me

By Tony Tremblay

Brief Overview:

Goffstown, New Hampshire has seen its share of supernatural mayhem, murder, and monsters. With the banishment of the demon James Moore, some in the town believed their bloody past was behind them. The devil knows better.

Review:
Do Not Weep For Me is one of those stories that keeps you on the edge of your seat, rocketing through emotions, as Tremblay pulls you into an abyss of terror so deep, you’ll be lost there for days. There is a war being waged in these pages, a bid for the destruction of humanity by demonic forces beyond comprehension.  

Horror, fear, grief, shock, dismay, and bone-chilling terror wait for these characters as they are pulled into a quest for power that is beyond their control. It’s an emotional read, as the author keeps you rooted, fully invested in the story, and its incredible cast of unique characters.

The visuals in this book will haunt you every bit as much as the outcome will astound you. This has one of the most original plot twists that I have seen done in a story of this nature. I’ve been a huge fan of demonic stories for most of my life and Do Not Weep For Me is the best one that I’ve read in recent years.

5 Demonic stars.

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4/30/2022
9 Horror Stories: The Sequel

By Josh Darling

9 Horror Stories contains exactly that; 9 gruesome, gory, and shocking stories meant to put a bit of darkness in your sunshine filled world. Death, decay, gore and more await you between the covers of this excellent collection from Josh Darling.  


Do not assume gentle or cozy horror with Darling as his last name; this author is serious about his craft and the words fired off on each page will make you flinch. He pulls no punches as he unleashes his horrors onto the world. Some of the stories are raw and brutal, clearly in your face horror, while others are more subtle and psychological, but they all bring the pain. 


A few favorites are:
Cake Eats Dog-absolutely not what the clever title implies. This tale is horrific and gruesome. 


Best Vacation Ever-I enjoyed this one a great deal, wonderful twist, and wryly amusing. 


Entry of the Gladiators-again, not at all what you might think.  I had to read this one twice as the first time, I was amused by the overall concept but the second time, I was more intrigued by the underlying storyline. This one was the most multi-layered story in my opinion and showcases Darling’s impeccable range. 


4 solid stars for this collection. It’s well worth space on your shelf. 

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4/30/2022
The Clown Hunt

by Judith Sonnet

The Clown Hunt is a violent gore-filled romp through urbanite paranoia and insanity. A group of neighbors have taken it upon to themselves to form a neighborhood watch group of sorts and decide to take matters into their own hands after a series of weird attacks happen by people dressed as clowns. 


One evening the group rounds up several people, all of whom are dressed as clowns, and take them to a wooded area. Given only a brief head start, the clown hunt begins. What follows next is a hellish chase through the trees as clowns and crazed urbanite villains hunt them down. The array of violent deaths in this book is astounding and brutal, each scene more visceral than the last. 


This book is not just blood and gore, there is a solid and tragic storyline, and the events play out perfectly, bringing the story to a satisfying but sad close. I only wish the hunted clowns could say the same! 


This was a solid 4 star read for me and I look forward to more from Judith. 

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4/16/2022
Try Again

By Wesley Southard

Book Synopsis:
After an exhausting day at work and a run-in with an obnoxious loudmouth at the gym, all Robin Bellamy wants is to go home and unwind with her father. But when she reaches their house, she discovers something is very wrong. Several armed men appear to be waiting inside, and they’re threatening her father’s life. However, there’s a bigger problem:

The house itself won’t let her in.

After trying numerous times, Robin realizes there may only be one right way into her own home. Can she uncover the correct route in and through the house before the trespassers even know she’s there? Or will she be doomed to repeat the tedious process over and over and over again…

Review:
Wesley Southard offers up a new twist in this highly original tale. For me, this read like an adult “choose your doom” book, only you don’t get to make the choice.  The main character is Robin Bellamy and after a long and frustrating day, all she wants to do is get home and make dinner for herself and her ailing father. But when she arrives, she knows something is wrong; there are men inside yelling at her father. Scared for him and pissed off, she tries to get inside, but the house will not let her. Every attempt lands her back in her car, still driving home.

 
As she struggles to understand what is going on while still outside the house, her father’s situation is becoming more desperate inside.  I loved the fast pace and tension that drove this book. Wesley pulls you right into chaos and slowly lets you unravel the clues along with Robin.  


This was very well-written, a quick read with a lot of action. 
It was great to read a strong female character willing to risk all for her father while not backing down from any danger.  Kudos to Wesley for such a strong and fun story. 

4 Solid Stars

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4/09/2022
Hacked in Two

by Daemon Manx & James Carlson
Published by Gloom House Publishing

I am going to start this by saying that I know both James Carlson and Daemon Manx very well. I consider them both friends, not just my peers; I find them to be highly talented authors. I say all of this, only to say that no matter how well you know someone, or think you do, or how familiar you believe yourself to be with their work, art, or skill, there comes a time when they prove you wrong.

Hacked In Two showcases just how strong these two authors truly are. Their writing is clean, the pacing is superb, and the twists are unbelievable. I could never have predicted the ending to either story in this book.

Carlson’s Red Falls takes us on a pleasant weekend trip to a Wine Tasting festival in small town USA. June and Ezra are a lovely couple, aware of their environment, vegans, eco-friendly; just trying to be the best people they can be. Upon arriving in Red Falls, they are disappointed to learn that the wine festival no longer exists, but they decide to make the best of it. While at dinner that night, they meet another couple, also there for the defunct festival, Marcus, and Nigel. They decide together to make the most of the weekend and agree to join Marcus and Nigel for a hike the next morning. What unfolds after this is one very unexpected journey to hell for our wayward travelers.

The twist just blindsides you.  4.5 stars for this story alone.

Manx’s offering of Deacon, is another superb story with a twist. This is unlike anything I have ever read by Daemon. I hesitate to reveal too much of this story as I want you to experience it for yourself, fully. Deacon is one hell of a badass character that wreaks havoc with a purpose. Saying more will ruin the many delights hidden in this story. Please read it for yourselves.  Again, 4.5 stars for Deacon.

Together, this book is worth adding to your collection and reading more than once just for the sheer joy of being exposed to these stories once again.  I am beyond surprised and proud of both authors for expanding their range, and their voice, so far beyond what I was used to.

Together, 5 stars for raising their own bars to new levels.

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04/09/2022
Soup

by Kate DeJonge

Kate reached out to me recently and offered me an ARC for her new novella, SOUP. I quickly accepted as the cover, and the title alone, intrigued me. I am very happy that I accepted the offer.

Soup follows a trauma-ridden young woman as she carries out her now-content life as a morgue assistant. Ashley had a very abusive father, which led to a nightmarish childhood and teen existence, as you might imagine. However, she quickly discovers her gift for art and uses it as a means of escape, both literally and figuratively.  After college, she lands a job as a morgue assistant with dreams of opening her own funeral parlor. As you might imagine, Ashley is a bit obsessed with death, or rather, the death of abusers.  The morgue she works for is near a prison, which keeps her well-supplied with the men she despises.

The story unfolds at a solid pace, revealing Ashley’s childhood, her obsession, and how a simple online activity puts Ashley right in the middle of a dubious plan, that could help her or quite possibly, hurt her. I will leave the rest for you to read and savor as I did.

Soup is a delight for anyone that loves a good revenge story or may need some gleeful cathartic reading.

4.5 Stars.

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03/26/2022
Under Her Skin

Published by Black Spot Books

Edited by Lindy Ryan & Toni Miller

Releases April 5!

Overview:

Edited by Lindy Ryan and Toni Miller, Under Her Skin celebrates women in horror from cover to cover. In addition to poems contributed by seventy poets, the collection also features a foreword penned by Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) Grand Master and recipient of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) Lifetime Achievement Award, Linda D. Addison; interior illustrations by Science Fiction & Fantasy (SF&F) Poetry Association Grand Master and recipient of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) Lifetime Achievement Award, Marge Simon; and cover art by noted horror artist Lynne Hansen.


The collection has been selected by distributor IPG as a Spring 2022 Top Shelf Pick and is the first in an annual women-in-horror poetry series from Black Spot Books. The second installment, planned for October 2023, will focus on domestic horror, with proceeds donated to The Pixel Project, a global nonprofit that works to end violence against women worldwide.


Review:

Under Her Skin is an astounding collection of poetry written by a stellar line-up of authors. The poems are haunting, dark, deeply layered, and emotional. Rage, fury, sadness, hurt, devastation, and rejection fill the pages with the highly personal scars of the authors that bled across every page within. I have never read a more intense collection of words, clawed from the depths of raw emotion, than this one.

I cannot choose a favorite as each one resonated somewhere in my soul, as my scars were made just a little lighter with each shared within. I have felt all these things, and I carry my pain deep in my heart like many of these authors. You will have many favorites here, as each one finds one of your scars and makes it ache just a little less.

Besides the poetry within, the book is beautifully designed, both inside and out. This is one for the shelves, to be read, and read again, to be shared and to be admired.  

5 Stars.

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03/26/2022
The Eater of Gods

by Dan Franklin

Brief Synopsis:

In the dying village of Al Tarfuk, long among the war-stained dunes of eastern Libya, Professor Norman Haas learns the location of the tomb that had been his wife’s life pursuit. The final resting place of Kiya, the lost queen of Akhenaten, whose history had been etched from the stone analogues of history for her heresies against the long absent pantheon of Egyptian Gods.

Dan Franklin’s debut supernatural thriller is a tale of grief, of loneliness, and of an ageless, hungry fury that waits with ready tooth and claw beneath the sand.


Review:

I loved everything about this story. I was fascinated with ancient Egypt when I was a child, so the history and the details in this book really struck a chord with me. This read like a thrilling treasure hunt adventure dipped in darkness. The trip to the village is woven with hints of tension, glimpses of danger at every turn but once they discover the tomb, the pace and the adrenaline ramps up as you are taken through an underground maze of terror.

Franklin penned an intricate story with heavy layers of intrigue, history, danger, fear, and loss. I will be re-reading this at some point, just to experience it all over again.

4.5 stars.

Releases May 2022!

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03/26/2022
Cracked Sky

by Ben Eads

Brief Synopsis:

Reeling from the loss of their only child, Stephen and Shelley Morrison take a harrowing journey through a world beyond the crack in the sky, where their daughter's spirit is trapped with The Lost Ones. They must stop her murderer before it fulfills its goals: Terrorize. Consume. Destroy.


Review:

I went into this story blind and I’m so glad I did.  Ben Eads takes you on a journey through the dark side of grief and recovery, the dark place you find yourself in, the toll it can take on a marriage, on your spirit. When Stephen realizes his little girl is trapped somewhere in a world beyond this one, with the one that took her, he risks everything to free her. This is a short but devastatingly emotional read, have tissues ready.

4 solid stars.

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2/26/2022
Sadness of the Siren

by Samantha Underhill

Sadness of the Siren is a beautiful book of poetry that conveys the deepest emotions that lie buried inside the heart of the siren that wrote them.

Poems of love and loss, lyrical verses of passion and heartbreak, myth and lore, honor and duty, and sadness, and betrayal. The range pulls from all ends of the emotional spectrum as the author shares her pain across the pages, allowing the ink to weep for her as tears run freely down her cheeks.

The beauty between these pages lies in the pure simple truth of the heartache that is being shared, the raw hurt and pain pouring from within, nothing held back or hidden. The siren is there, vulnerable, and naked, on every page.

4.5 stars.

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2/26/2022
Beyond the Creek

by Nico Bell

Nico Bell penned a dark and disturbing tale for her debut novel, Beyond the Creek. Alex Foster is alone, tired, scared, and pregnant. Running from past bad decisions, she is hoping to find a new start in a small town, somewhere safe to raise her baby.

She seeks employment at the Nox estate as a caretaker for Mr. Nox, who is recovering from a stroke. His wife Dottie is a stern woman that runs a strict household and is also raising her granddaughter, Callie. Alex is hired, much to her relief, but she is also given a warning to never venture outside beyond the creek.

Alex is befriended by Helen, the real estate agent who shows Alex the house that she has chosen to rent. Helen and her wife quickly welcome Alex to the small town with open arms and friendship. Things seem perfect until events at the Nox house begin to spiral into madness.

Soon, Alex finds herself caught up in a web of secrets and danger as the story unfolds to its disturbing end.

This story was very well-written and easily captures the attention of the reader. I found myself thoroughly intrigued as I read, hoping to learn the secrets of the Nox house for myself. Once I reached the conclusion, I almost wished I hadn’t as this book involves one of my biggest fears! This was a great read and a solid debut by Nico Bell.

Four Solid Stars.

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2/26/2022
Milk Teeth

by Andrew Post

Despite the synopsis, I had no real idea what I was getting into with this book. I was surprised with a fun read about a backwoods family who faces some struggles in obtaining the milk of their choice.
Add in a prolonged pregnancy, a domineering mother, a grandmother that knows things she shouldn’t and a weird God of some unknown lore and you’re in for a disturbing ride into the unknown.
This story was equal parts amusing and disturbing while being stuffed full of horrific details. Milk Teeth is not a story about baby teeth…or is it?

3.5 Curious Stars.

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02/12/2022
Winterset Hollow

by Jonathan Edward Durham

Impeccable is the first word that comes to mind when I try to put this story into words. Instant classic is another phrase that I want to use. Beautifully written, like any other fairy tale full of wonder and awe, but this fairy tale is NOT for your children.  It is a deeply complex tale that beckons the reader right back to their own childhood and a beloved book. It invites you to remember what you most loved about your favorite story, what troubles did it help you escape, what courage did it give you, what adventures did you have in-between those pages.  


The story reads like a classic fairytale, but the horror is disturbing and dark, savage in its unfolding. It feels like childhood, and home; like reading in a sunbeam, until page after page darkens along with your sunbeam as the weather turns gray, and bleak as the rain begins to pour. This story pulls you from reality and transports you directly into the journey of Eamon and his friends as they travel to pay homage to their favorite author or rather to visit his estate, where he wrote their beloved book, Winterset Hollow. 


This is an astonishing debut novel by Jonathan Edward Durham and he has set the bar for his next book extremely high. I cannot wait to see what he brings to the table next.

5 stars.

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02/12/2022
Drawn & Quartered

Daemon Manx & Diana Olney

Daemon Manx and Diana Olney have created a remarkable collection with their offering of 4 short stories sure to delight and disturb you.

The first story was my favorite one by Manx, titled “The Party” as it had a twist that I did not predict and quite thoroughly pleased me. I also liked that it was set on Halloween, because, well, Halloween.


His second story, “The World Turned Red” was also a disturbing tale that I enjoyed due to the nature of the strong female character and her will to survive horrors that women should not need to endure. I enjoyed the set-up of this story and action-movie type scenes that unfolded.


Olney’s first story, “Maneater” is beautifully written and will speak to the heart of any woman that has been left broken-hearted. It’s sad, emotional, and viciously amusing.


“She Devil” is the second story by Olney and I adored it. A bit sexy, a bit disturbing, and very dark, it checked all the boxes for me to be a good short story with just the right amount of horror.


Four Dark Stars for Drawn and Quartered.

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01/22/2022
Serial

by Justin Boote

Serial will grab you by the balls and yank you along by the short and curly’s on an adrenaline-fueled psychotic roller coaster of death, mayhem, and murder.
Robert Mackenzie and Jeremy Gomez are scientists investigating what triggers psychotic behavior and if they can cause the same behavior in a “normal person“ using a drug cocktail they created.  They are testing their compound on humans to time and study their reactions, and then would apply an a