top of page

The Mort Report!

Book Reviews by Mort Stone

The Mort Report: Welcome

02/04/2023
TALIA 2

By Daniel Volpe

Look at that KillerBunny on the cover of the latest Daniel Volpe story!


So much lube…um, blood…and smut may make you want to steer clear of this gory, extreme novella. I know your standards are so much higher than that. Just go ahead, feast your eyes on something more worthy.


And then you can go to https://www.djvhorror.com/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email and order this in secret – he won’t tell anyone, you can trust him – and read it when nobody is watching and judging you for enjoying it.


Because Talia is back, and she is about to bring vengeance upon the worthy like she is channeling Samuel L. Jackson motherfuckers!


Who doesn’t like to see the bad guys bleed?


Trigger warnings! Extreme horror! Fantastic!


5 Stars

IMG-1470.JPG
The Mort Report: Text

01/28/2023
Miracles for Masochists

By James Carlson & Michael R. Collins

There’s a little backstory before I get to the review.

Last year, I read a short story by James G. Carlson—my first by this author. What struck me was his writing style, and I thought to myself:
Self, this is the way you would have written this story. Maybe you two are likeminded about more than just the style of writing…
So, I sent him a message and introduced myself, and told him that I liked his writing style, and if he has anything that releases in the future, I would love to review it for him.

To which he replied:
Are you fucking trying to scam me with something here, asshole?
Okay, that’s a lie, just making sure you are still paying attention. He was actually very nice and told me there was something coming out early in 2023.


And this is that product.

Now, it is a very good thing I never added the words “Ooh, you write like me!” because I was way, way off.
Mr. Carlson is waaayyyy more versatile in his writing than I could ever wish to be. And by saying that I am not taking away anything from the other author, Michael R. Collins.


So, these two gents released a very diverse book here. I’m not even sure if I could place them all in the same genre. This, of course, will always be a double-bladed sword, in my opinion. Because not every story resonated with me (I do have a limited taste when it comes to certain things, to which I freely admit), I find it difficult to express how well I thought the writing was. These guys are immensely talented authors, who don’t limit themselves to a single or even double road in their writing. Theirs is a highway of ideas, and I have the greatest respect for that.


And with that out of the way, I have to tell you that, hands down, this has got to contain one of the funniest haunting stories I have ever read. I very rarely claim that anything could be the “best” or “funniest”, because I believe if you use it too often, it kind of loses its meaning. But in this case, I will go out on a limb and plant my metaphorical flag—this book is worth its price for that story alone. Everything else is just a bonus.

I give this collection a rating of 4 Stars, with a very highly recommended sticker…which you have to use your imagination for.  

Miracles for Masochists.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

01/24/2023
This One Door

By Ash Ericmore

Well, yes, there is the fact that you shouldn’t steal. But does anybody truly deserves this?

You know the saying if it looks too good to be true, there might be a reason for it? Or, if it looks like a dog and smells like a dog, and you love dogs, there’s a reason why the owner called it Killer, stupid! Don’t worry, no real animals were hurt in this story.

This one was not my favorite by the author, but it might have something to do with the fact that I like my horror a little more grounded, and this had a very dreamlike quality to it. The writing was solid – as you would expect from this author – and I did like the ending.

So I will give it 3.5 STARS for my personal taste, but highly recommend it to people who like their horror nightmarishly psychedelic.

The Mort Report: Text

01/24/2023
Cult Killing Monsters

By Ash Ericmore

So, my son is eight years old at the moment.
My wife has been threatening, when he turns ten, to get him a picture book of genitals with a venereal disease, just in case the hormones kicks in.

This is the book I am thinking to get him on his tenth birthday.
My wife’s gift will probably give him less issues…

Loved this quote:
“…so I don’t know if he’s dead, unconscious, or has the pain tolerance of a woman.”

4 STARS! 

The Mort Report: Text

01/14/2023
Black Hearts and Red Teeth

By Daniel Volpe

A GIFT OF DEATH by Daniel Volpe was one of the better vampire novels I have read in the last decade. Combining metal and fangs made for a pretty gory picture you could almost headbang to.

So, when I heard there was a follow up coming in 2022, I was looking forward to it as much as I do any new Volpe story…think of it this way, it’s like a beautiful woman telling you she bought this really sexy lingerie that barely covers any of the naughty bits, and she was going to wear it at a later stage.

BLACK HEARTS AND RED TEETH picks up right where AGOD ended, and for those of you who haven’t read the first one, this limits me to what exactly I can tell you about the story without giving anything away, so my advice would be to read them in order to get the most out of it.

What I can tell you is that there are vampires and there are vampire hunters. And, as you would expect, there are victims and victims. But who will you be rooting for by the end of this one?

Solid 4 STARS.

IMG-1369.JPG
The Mort Report: Text

01/07/2023
U-Turns: The Girl In The Cellar

By Matt Shaw & Aron Beauregard

Yes.

This is about as much as I need to say.

I respect both authors, but what Aron Beauregard did with this story in the second part, elevated this bitch into the EPIC fucking stratosphere. 

I LOVED everything about this story.

So, yes.

5 STARS!!!!!

IMG-1340.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

01/07/2023
Food Mise en place

By Jeffrey Caston

Before I begin my review, let me assure you that there are no mice that gets eaten in this story. If you thought there were, I will withhold my comments about proper punctuation and spelling, and just give you the reassurance that you actually helped your uncle Jack TO CLIMB off the horse.


This book is witnessed from two different sides.


On one hand, you have the Royals and their version of running the ‘Utopian’ world through tyranny and fear – think of that one place in GAME OF THRONES where the *** did the *** with the ***.


On the other, you have this loving husband and wife, trying to escape the hell hole they are living in for a future they can only imagine, but the road is full of perils and they could die and disappear in the blink of an eye – think of finding yourself in the middle of Macy’s at Herald’s Square on Black Friday. The odds of survival will never be in your favor!


The FOOD series is not in-your-face horror but make no mistake about it when I tell you that it falls well on the more extreme side – just with a little more sophistication for the foodies out there.


4.5 STARS

IMG-1339.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

12/26/2022
dreamwhispers

By m ennenbach

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”
John Keating – DEAD POETS SOCIETY


There was a time in my life when I read a fair number of non-fiction books. I think I read two about lateral thinking, maybe fifteen to twenty years ago. They have this exercise fairly early, where they give you a square and ask you how you can divide it into four equal pieces.
You can make four smaller squares, four triangles and four rectangles – those are the ones that pop into your head.
But there are no rules given, no restrictions whatsoever, yet most people don’t stop there. But if you take, instead of straight lines, four lightning bolts to break it up, it is still possible to uphold the requirement. And if you let your mind go, there are a million different ways to do actually do it.

Later on, I heard people referring to lateral thinking as ‘thinking outside the box’, a saying I will use but don’t prefer, since it brings to mind an image of a literal box, which just adds a restriction to totally free thought.
Or am I just using suggestion to keep a square image in your mind as you read this review?

Okay, I will come clean – what you just read is a kind of test, only for yourself. If you thought about a square image the entire time – whether it be a cube and four lines on a piece of paper – did you ever think of resting it on a corner and having a diamond-like image in your head this entire time? It is still a square, but if you look at it in a different way, you are not restricted to the ‘box’ image.

And that’s the point I am (finally) getting at – Mike Ennenbach sees the world in a different way than most. While we may be looking at exactly the same thing, we don’t see it the same way. And that’s where this author’s power lies. Whether it be a fairytale or sci-fi, he will show you images you haven’t seen before.
And he is very good with words.

While he has a reputation as a poet, this book has stories, with the occasional poem thrown in, so don’t let that prevent you from having a look. Do not let words like ‘speculative’ or ‘transgressive’ scare you, either – there’s bound to be something for a horror reader in here.

I rated each story and worked out the average, which came to about 4.16, so I am rating this entire book as 4 solid stars.


Recommended to horror fans.

4 STARS

Dreamwhispers Social Media jacket.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

12/17/2022
3:33

By Mark Towse

Mark Towse is a cheeky fella – an Englishman who lives down-under, and who would love to write full time.

I will be the first to admit that the cover got my attention immediately, and as I tend to do a lot these days, I decided to go into this one blind. Not that the blurb gave too much away, in hindsight. Because this is a story about a very exclusive club, where you can only go by invitation and don’t need any money.

That’s right – total fiction for me. I don’t get invited anywhere, because I am totally awkward and anti-social. It is not a complaint – please don’t get me wrong – I might actually be bragging a bit. It saves so much time having to come up with a plausible excuse not to go, you know?

And when I was into the story a little, I thought to myself that this will be story I have read before. While the details might differ, the main idea would be the same.

And then Towse wagged his imaginary finger at me and said tsk, tsk, tsk…

I love this author’s humor (for the Americans), and humour (for the others), and his writing is half decent, too. So, yes, this one is well worth the read for any horror fan.

Oh yes, there might be a bonus short at the end…

5 STARS!

IMG-1229.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

12/10/2022
Earth vs The Star Mummy

By Lucas Mangum

50’s horror movies were so…unique?

The reasons why the children of today can’t really appreciate it are vast, but I think the biggest problem might be that you had to let your imagination go. Back then, it wasn’t about special effects or believable monsters, it was just about fun. If you didn’t get into it and went along with the flaws, it would just be downright silly. Almost like watching pantomime, in a way? Or, without naming names, the powers that be hopes a political rally to be.

But if you take that talents of one Lucas Mangum and test his parental skills by asking him to write a story about a mommy, he might misunderstand you and write something along the lines of a 50’s style horror movie.
Yet, he can be forgiven, because this story was so much fun and, if you add the ads that were equally hilarious and fucking with your mind about the story a little, you have a winner on your hands.

Although this story stands alone, it was a 10-day novella challenge – meaning you start writing day 1 and you publish an already edited story day 10 – with Candace Nola and Judith Sonnet.


You can find their stories here:

Candace Nola

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BN97FPFS

Judith Sonnet

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BNSQZPQD

5 STARS

IMG-1046.PNG
The Mort Report: Image

12/10/2022
Earth vs The Lava Spiders

by Candace Nola

Itsy Bitsy Spider,
Went up the waterspout,
Down came the…
Wait…what’s that?
Hey, Hound Dog, please go over there and have a look.
Is that…Goodness, gracious, Great Balls of Fire!
It’s time to Be-Bop-A-Lula,
To Shake, Rattle and Roll,
To Walk the Line…
And La Bamba?

Okay, I am out. I will just get my coat right now and ask you this:
Don’t be cruel.

50’s Horror movie fun for all the arachnophobes out there.

Although this story stands alone, it was a 10-day novella challenge – meaning you start writing day 1 and you publish an already edited story day 10 – with Lucas Mangum and Judith Sonnet.


You can find their stories here:

Lucas Mangum

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BN8T54WH

Judith Sonnet

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BNSQZPQD

4.5 Stars

LAVA SPIDERS IMG-1057.PNG
The Mort Report: Image

12/04/2022
Return of the Living Elves

by Brian Asman

‘Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the warehouse

Not a thing was stirring

Not even an elf.


Yet when Tommy and Jimmy

Looking for a last minute gift

Unleash something evil

Can they survive their shift?


There will blood

There will be gore

When elf-zombie hybrids

Knock down the door


So be prepared

When you read this rarity

For Asman’s story

Is filled with gory hilarity.


5 STARS!!!!!

IMG-1121.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

12/04/2022
Trapped: A Dark Dozen Anthology

Edited & curated by Candace Nola

In 2021, Candace Nola got a dozen authors together and, along with herself, compiled the Splatterpunk award winning anthology BAKER’S DOZEN.


In 2022, she brought together twelve up-and-coming authors to compile another anthology. Obviously a glutton for punishment, since she learned how much work it will be to compile one of these things, and on top of her editing, reviewing and own writing, she obviously is just too stubborn to give up.


TRAPPED is a high-quality work of fiction that, even though there was a common theme, is so diverse and imaginative, there should be something in there for everyone.


Of the twelve stories, I thought nine were good, but there are two that surpass the others, and I want to highlight them:


STAYCATION by Brian Asman is just so fucking awesome! I am not going to give you any details here, but I will go as far as to say that it planted a seed for a story I hope to be able to write in the future. Once you get it—happened on the first page for me—you will see why I am almost giddy about sharing it with everyone.


AISLE FOUR by Jae Mazer is bleak, dark and utterly fucking brilliant. It blew me away and I want to read more of this author’s work!


4.5 STARS

trapped paperback.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

11/26/2022
Reg. E. Rat

By Frank Edler

Frank Edler, if you haven’t read his work, has got a very unique way of looking at the world. While his stories can be more on the bizzaro side and not always the type of things I like to read, he is a really funny guy who can make me laugh most of the time.


Now, I am not going to beat around the bush with this, REG E. RAT will not fall in some people’s taste. There are elements that might touch on the extreme side in this story, especially since there are kids that will die (I know, I know, how dare thee slaughter thy innocent little heathens and all), but there are elements that is such silly fun, anyone who takes this too seriously can only blame themselves if they take offense. For example, I love animals, but I can still enjoy a Warner Bros cartoon just as much as my kid.


And there is a part of me that wants to say this would have been too silly for my taste in places, but after an extended period of extreme horror and needing something different, this was almost therapeutic in a way. And for that I feel like the author more than did his job, which is why I want to rate this one 4.3141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592 stars.


If you are looking for some silly, violent fun, this will be right up your alley.


4 STARS

The Mort Report: Text

11/20/2022
Playground

By Aron Beauregard

If you don’t know Aron Beauregard’s work, let me sum it up for you:
Hrrupppphhhgghaarrrmmmnnnaaaaheee.

Aron’s work is hard to describe because, yes, it is sick, twisted, brutal and extreme, but he is also a story teller. The fact that he pushes the reader makes it easy for some to think of him as someone who relies on shock and disgust to sell his stories, but if you remove the make-up and look at the bare, naked tale, it is usually a damn good story.

And PLAYGROUND…well…

Years ago, I was going through a movie slump, when I saw the preview for a new movie during a coffee break while doing night shift, which made me sit up and go:
I have to go and watch this the moment it comes out!

I did, and it became one of my top 5 movies ever. The concept, while simple, was utterly brilliant and superbly executed.
I am referring to the first SAW movie.

You will see some parallels with that movie when you read this one, but it is hard to imagine how far the author went with this one. If this was made into a movie, it would never see the light of day. It is SAW on steroids to the AAHHHHH degree.

The characters are well fleshed out, the story makes sense, but deep inside all the gore there is a commentary about parenthood and the ills of the world we live in. Psychologically speaking, this is a study in all that can be done incorrectly to a child.

In my opinion, this is the author’s best work to date. 

Recommended to extreme and Splatterpunk fans only.

5 STARS!

IMG-1038.JPG
The Mort Report: Text

11/19/2022
The Pig

By Ed Lee

My fellow Virgins,

This is not a cookbook, as I had originally thought.
Instead, this is a book where everything gross and rotten gets thrown into a perverted concoction of a sick, twisted broth of disgusting fornication – on camera, I must add – where nothing is off limits. Just take my word for it, I had to read this with a dictionary (real and urban) to find out what most of these terms meant. And then I had to write a stern letter that there are even people who are willing to put this filth in a respected and noble publication that is meant to educate.

I will not go into details. I refuse to lower myself to this level of indecency. But after reading this book, I now know that there are way more positions in which humans do the dirty deed than the three we are all made aware of. Darn it, that just brought up a mental picture and I need a lie down.

Right, I am back to finish this letter. Sorry about that, but I might just need to go and see a professional about these vivid images of abnormality this writer implanted in my brain.

Please, my fellow abstinence soldiers, do not read this vile, disgusting story. It has pushed me to the point where I can’t even look an animal in the eye anymore. This will destroy your fragile little mind. For someone to even think up this filth makes me ashamed to be a human being.

For shame, Mr. Lee, you need electro therapy very badly to make you normal again.

5 STARS

IMG-1033.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

Header

By Ed Lee

What is a Header?

You know when you get really drunk, so much so that you lose all control of your body, and you fall forward in a face-plant, and the dog just so happens to be running in front of you at that very moment, and you meet head to head, cracking each other’s skulls, and the dog retaliates by ripping your throat out as its final act of vengeance, and you both die in what will later be ruled a murder-suicide by the dog, because you couldn’t possibly rip your own throat out with your teeth, and they cremate you but bury the dog, and it comes back to haunt those who so erroneously blamed it for your death?


Yeah, it’s not that.

You know when you jump out of a plane and your parachute won’t open, so you see a river and dry land, and even though you know at the speed at which you are falling the water will probably just as hard as the ground, but you have to try your luck, so you point your head in the direction of the river, and just before you hit the water the crocodile jumps out and snags you, killing you instantly, and since your name is written on the unopened parachute that the crocodile chokes on, your family gets a nature preservation fine for what will be called a botched attempt at illegal crocodile hunting?


Yeah, not that either.

You know when you get drunk at a party and you lose your glasses, and foolishly decide to drive home, and you lose control of your car, and in a last ditch effort to minimize the damage, head toward the cows grazing in the field, realizing too late that there are no fields in the city, and smash into this mural against a building where homeless people take shelter, and the story goes down as a hate-crime in the media and you get sued posthumously by an entire city?

Still no.

You are overthinking it.


Take some hill folk and a drill…and you still can’t imagine what happens. So just read this damn story.


WARNING: Extreme horror warning.


5 STARS 

IMG-1031.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

11/05/2022
God's Leftovers

By Grant Wamack

The desert can do strange things to your head, you know. Some might call it heatstroke, others might call it a mirage or hallucination, but if you look hard enough, you will spot some crazy-ass shit everywhere.


Look east and you will see a man on horseback. You might not know him, but you do know he is a selfish bastard. I mean, who crosses the desert without giving their horse a name?


Look west and you might spot a guy running around with a fedora style hat and a whip, though you can’t be sure if he is running from or toward something.


Look south and you can see a short guy with a big, red moustache, running backwards in front of a camel, calling it a humped-back mule, lifting a gun over his head and warning the animal that when he said whoa, he meant…ouch. Well, that stopped it.


Look to the north and spot the rock. No, not just any rock, but The Rock. And he’s chasing a…no-no, not a heavily bandaged hospital patient, but probably something like a Mummy.

Now, at this point in time, I am going to say that if you didn’t get any of that, you are at least one generation younger than me. Some will enjoy that, while others will ask Google some really random questions shortly.

But this is supposed to be a book review, so let’s get back to this one. Wamack is a very good writer, I will give him that. Within a few pages, it seemed like this story will be a love-letter to THE HILLS HAVE EYES–which happens to be one of my all-time favorite horror movies.


And I am giving an honest opinion here. The story went a way I didn’t expect, and it just wasn’t for my personal taste. The moment it took a supernatural angle, it lost me. That piss-in-your-pants fear got lost—that’s what made the damn movie so great!

I may be biased because of the movie reference, I will readily admit that.
For the writing, it is a very strong four stars, but since the story didn’t work for me I have to bring it down to a 3.5—I will still recommend it to those who happen to like supernatural horror of the brutal kind, especially when it involves cults.

3.5 Stars

gods-leftovers-cover.jpeg
The Mort Report: Text

10/22/2022

The Warrior Retreat

By John Lynch

I am going to start this review by saying that I do not have a single funny thing to say here.
John Lynch wrote a horror story about ex-soldiers with PTSD and while some might consider this an extreme idea of the worst-case scenario, who can say that something like this is not plausible.

It is a heavy story, in my opinion, because the reality is that men who go to war will come back changed. How can they not?
And while this story doesn’t address it as the main issue, how can the people who made them what they are not help them when they don’t need to be those killing machines anymore?

This is the way the world works:
The men who make the decisions to fight are not the men who are doing the fighting. They can throw words like ‘pride’ and ‘honor’ out there all they want; in the end they will destroy all that is honorable by discarding those who enriched their pockets.

I hate war. I stopped believing the good guys will win. But if you look at the situation in Asia at the moment, you have to take a step back and think to yourself that those who were invaded are not fighting for pride and honor, but survival.

Should the world help them? Of course, they have to! If they don’t, it will not stop. The bully will never have enough, and the longer he gets away with it, the more damage he will do. It is not in your backyard, yet, but it will get there.

I have deleted most of what I originally wrote in this review, because this story is not about my views of what goes on in the world. This is a story of why it is important to help those who did what their country asked of them. 

I hope people will be able to look past the horror aspect of the book into the deeper story underneath.

5 Stars!

Warrior Retreat Reveal.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

10/15/2022
The Death House

By Joshua MacMillan

Releasing End of October! 

This is the second thing I’ve read by this author, and I can tell you one thing with certainty:
This guy writes clean.

What do I mean by that?
Well, shit, I have been trying to come up with a way to describe what I am saying, and the best I could come up with is…

Imagine an author standing in front of a curtain, describing what is behind it. Some would say: 
It is a clown.
Everybody in the audience will immediately get a picture in their heads of a clown, but not necessarily the same one. Some might think of IT, some might think of TERRIFIER, some may think of a politician.

Others would tell you:
It is a clown. His hair is this color, his clothes are this color, his shoes are big, his nose is red and he has a smiley face painted on.
Most people will have an idea of what the clown looks like, but the picture in their heads will still come down to personal experiences.

A clean writer, like MacMillan, will say:
It is Ronald MacDonald.
Everybody will know what he is trying to show them, without being over descriptive.

I get the feeling that Joshua has the ability to show the reader a picture of what he has in his head. This is a talent and, if I had it, I probably would not have needed the long description you’ve just read.

In this story, THE DEATH HOUSE, we are dealing with a forbidden, top secret haunted house attraction that is, quite obviously, much more dangerous and sinister than the people who enters it might expect.
And I am not going to say much more than that – read the blurb and then read the story.

However, I just have to go on the record and say that I had this sort of epiphany when I read this book. Something like this will never happen to me.
Why?
Because I am way too paranoid to fall for something like this. If someone invites me anywhere, I immediately become suspicious. 
Why would they do something like that? I’m not interesting enough to want around. Oh, and it’s a secret, you say? A once in a lifetime opportunity to experience what only a lucky few have gone through before…
Right.
So, how many people do you think were hung from a tree with a gimp mask while slowly being eaten by a crocodile and a birthday candle shoved up their ass?
Not many. Damn right! They also had a once in a lifetime opportunity, sir.
You see, what you fail to realize is that the moment I set my feet out my front door, I live my life like I am about to become a victim in a horror story. Expect the unexpected, don’t trust anyone and never, ever relax…


But, enough about me. This book is more brutal than I expected from this author, though not to the extent that it should shock the hardcore horror readers.

Very solid 4.5 STARS

IMG-0781.JPG
The Mort Report: Text
Haunted House

10/08/2022
How To Sell A Haunted House

By Grady Hendrix

When it comes to characterization, a good author can make his characters believable in their actions
and dialogue. A great author can make you wonder if he actually lived their lives. Guess where Hendrix
falls…

Look, I am going to get this out of the way at the start: This is a 400-page novel with a lot of character
development. For those who are looking for a fast, back-to-back action story, this one is going to annoy
you. You become part of these characters’ lives before the horror starts.

Also, while there is still some humor here, it might be little less than the usual Grady Hendrix story.
There might be more of an ‘adult’ feel for those who have judged his previous work as not serious
enough for their taste.

And that’s where I am going to draw my line in the sand:
While this is the longest (and probably slowest) story I have read this year, I thought it was fucking
brilliant. The second half of this novel picks up the pace and action, and it makes the journey with the
characters worthwhile.

So…in this one we have puppets. While some might say it is a lost art form, most people don’t get the appeal in the digital age anymore. Which might make it hard for some people to relate – the relationship between puppet and human, that is – and the magic it can create.

And I have to admit, I am not one who can get swept up in puppet magic. But, for everything you don’t get about art, there are always the exceptions to the rules. 
What’s the point I’m trying to make, you ask? Somewhere, out there, beneath the…oops, getting carried away. 

Okay, let’s take something that is generally considered…well, shit?
Mimes.
Now, you only get three kinds of people in the world.
The first hates mimes.
The seconds don’t hate them, but if their car lost control and they were about to plunge into a crowd of people, they will be aiming for the mime.
The third are mimes themselves, who would fall into the first category because they hate the competition, but they have an intense love of themselves.

However, have you heard of David Armand?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPlSWKIoQig
(For those of you who couldn’t see the link, Google “David Armand Torn”)
What this guy has done with famous songs is beyond hilarious. I have watched this about a thousand times, and it never stopped being funny. Do yourself a favor, watch his other stuff on YouTube too – he is brilliant! In fact, I am willing to bet that most people who have seen him will swerve away from him if they are the second person and aim for James Blunt…okay, bad example, most people will aim for him to start with, but let’s not offend any fans of other celebrities…

So, whether you like mimes (secretly, of course) or not, this guy is entertaining enough to become famous for miming and I think he is brilliant.

And the secret is this; write a story about a mime getting killed and most readers would not care. But write a character like David Armand getting killed and the fans will riot.

Which brings me back to my point (finally) – I don’t care for puppets or puppeteers, really, but I cared about every single one of these characters in this book.
And that’s what Grady Hendrix does so well, especially in this story.

I’m not going to say much more – read the blurb, heed my warning and don’t bitch about this one taking
a while to get going. For the story that was told, I can’t think of anyone being able to do it better.

5 and a half STARS

The Mort Report: Text

10/08/2022
Wounds To Wishes

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing

IMG-0673.jpg
The Mort Report: Image

Many will tell you about the power of love – above all – but hate is not the opposite. Hate still gives you
strength – the power to fight, if you will. Grief is the emotion that will destroy you. Loss, that which is
completely out of your hands, the knowledge that you can never get back what is gone, that part of your
soul that hurts in a way there is just no release from.

People build up walls to prevent themselves from getting hurt like this, but it is not something we can
always control. You might think you are tough and keep everyone at bay, but the day your child gets
born nature gives you a big, fat middle finger. I will be the first to admit that I never thought I would be a
father because I would be awful at it.

The day my son was born was the proudest in my life – it beats the day I got married. I am not good with
kids and I still doubt myself a lot when I am parenting, but he is more important than anybody else in
the world. I can’t even imagine how any parent can go on living after they lose a child – yet it happens
every day. And yes, it scares me more than anything.

Depression, to those who have never experienced it, is beyond understanding. The day someone
decides to end their own life, they are trying to escape the constant pain their soul is in. There is a part
of me that gets upset when I hear people asking the question:
“How could you do this to me?”


They are the people who can’t imagine what that person was going through, what that person felt. If I
were less sensitive, I would point out that the way they are feeling at that very moment was probably
the way that person felt all the time.

If it sounds like I am judging, my apologies. The point I am trying to convey here is that grief, as an
emotion, can overrule all others. I respect each and everyone who manages to work their way through
it, and I can only hope that those who are in the worst part of it finds their way through. I know it
doesn’t help to say that there are people out there who understands and have gone through it before,
but I hope it helps to say that there are people out there who you can talk to and they will not judge you
because they understand.

I am a fan of all three these authors and, if the first part of my review didn’t give you a clue, this is not
your typical “scare the crap out of people” horror book. It deals with heavy subjects and centers on
emotion above all else. So, get ready to feel with this one.

Each story is a five-star story in its own right – it took me a few days to come to this conclusion.
However, I am going to give this one a 4.5 Star rating. The first two stories by Lutzke and Ford gelled so
well together, I expected the third from Boden to do the same. I felt a little disappointed when it didn’t.
It wasn’t bad or worse than the other two, it was just separate.


So, here is my advice:
If this is going to be your next read, treat the stories as separate entities. I would even go so far as to
advise that you read the first, then the third and then the second story – if you are worried about it.

However, highly recommended to those who wants to push their emotions into that raw part.

4.5 STARS

The Mort Report: Text

09/24/2022
The Drive-in

By Joe R. Lansdale

This was totally, completely, utterly different from what I expected – I went into this one on reputation, choosing not to read the blurb beyond the first sentence. What can I say – they had me at “Drive-in”.

What was the last movie you saw at the drive-in?


I can remember mine very well, because I was too young to see it at the movies and I convinced my parents to go on the first feature. It is also the start of my love affair with the King – PET SEMATARY.
Soon after that, all drive-ins in my country would be gone forever.

I feel kind of cheated in a way – I was not old enough to get up to all the kinky stuff I always saw in movies or read about in books – so the entire experience I have of these occasions are seen through very young and innocent eyes. Also, I never went there without my parents (again, the age thing), so it is something that I miss even though I never had the opportunity to experience it firsthand.

But back to the book:
Friday night at the movies, all the characters are there, it can only be great. Right?
Something happens (read the story) and the entire drive-in area becomes a world of their own. There is nothing else. It is just this space and these people, completely unprepared and without any answers.

And that’s when Lansdale goes hard into this post-apocalyptic vision where it is humanity and the breakdown into – well, nothing good can come from human nature when it becomes survival of the fittest, right?
The author does not hold back and, even though it is not close to being the kind of extreme you can get in Splatterpunk these days, he went further than I have read by him before.


What probably surprised me the most was this element which almost touched on bizarro in a way, if you take the evolution of the bad guy(s), but I won’t put it in that genre. At the core, this is fairly hardcore supernatural horror.

I did have some mixed emotions about this one, mostly because I have read other things by this author before and wasn’t expecting the end product, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. The writing is superb, the story is well thought out (be it weird) and I am going to push the rating up to 4.5, because it is only the first in a trilogy.

For now, highly recommended to those who are into supernatural horror that examines the breakdown into chaos of humanity, and those who like light elements of the bizarre.

4.5 STARS

The Mort Report: Text

09/17/2022

Brian's Birthday Bloodbath

By Brian Berry

There once was this kid that came into a guidance counsellor’s office.
GC: What can I do for you, son?
Kid: I don’t know what I want to do with my life.
GC: Well, what are you good at?
Kid: … (blush)
GC: Other than jerking off, I mean.
Kid: I like to be the center of attention.
GC: You’re too shy to act, kid.
Kid: I like to make people laugh.
GC: Really! Tell me more.
Kid: I can tell people the craziest, funniest stories with a straight face.
GC: Okay, okay…go on, a few things are coming up in my head.
Kid: Actually, that’s a lie. Only I find it funny. The other kids are all a little scared of me.
GC: Why is that?
Kid: I like to hurt people. Like…a lot.
GC: What else?
Kid: I will never admit to it. I will deny any wrongdoing until I die.
GC: Got it, kid. Here’s what you need to do. Develop all those skills and then become a politician someday.
Kid: But I don’t like people!
GC: Ex-act-lee!
Kid: Will I still be able to go to MacDonald’s every day?
GC: Oh, you’re one of those. Look, I don’t care how many people you hurt or even kill, but I draw the line at killing livestock.
Kid: But…
GC: No but’s. I want you to leave. You’re just like all the other heartless clowns. Now, fuck off, Ronald.
Kid: So, you’re saying clown, then?


Okay, this exchange has absolutely nothing to do with the book. But haven’t you ever wondered what makes people seek out to become a clown? Don’t get me wrong, you get good clowns too. I’m pretty sure there must be…laws of averages and all…

Anyway, in this book Brian just turned twelve and he is getting his crush as a babysitter. No, no, get your head out of the gutter, dirty birdy – not that kind of story.
It just so happens to be the same night after Bones the Clown has escaped from the asylum.
And their paths are about to cross.

Brian Berry – the writer, not the character – just went balls out, unapologetically hardcore, blood and gore with this one. His most extreme so far.

Recommended to extreme horror fans.

5 Stars

BRIANSBLOODBATH.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

09/10/2022
Something Akin to Revulsion

by Judith Sonnet

Did the name Judith Sonnet really pop up only recently? All of a sudden, it seems like her work is everywhere in the extreme horror community.


Do you think she can steal your heart with her words? Probably. Along with your lungs, kidneys, spleen, eyes and anything else that can be sold on the black market. But that’s not the worst of it!

What can be worse – you wonder – than that?

It’s because she’ll laugh. Yes, not cackle hysterically, but laugh with the air of someone who knows something you don’t. She knows how to delve deep into your psyche to seek out the depravity you dare not even think of.


But enough of that.


There is a story in this collection that addresses something very close to her. And I am not going to address it, even though she discusses it – you can read the story if you want to know more – because it is NOT an issue.

What I do want to say, whether you need to hear it or not, is that in the extreme horror community, we are all a little different than the ‘normal’ people. We have all had our own traumas and hardships to deal with, which is why we seek out the stories that pushes the boundaries. There might be answers to our questions beyond the borders of the norm.

If everyone were to be judged on merit, regardless of personal beliefs and attributes, we might discover that most of our preconceptions are false. And in this community, most of us know just how wrong people are.

If you tolerate what you don’t understand, you might learn things about yourself. And if you find yourself in this community and still want to have prejudices about trivial and unimportant things, you best fuck off because you have overstayed your welcome.


I want to commend Judith for being so open about her life. And I want to congratulate her on developing her writing talents – I think she has found what she is meant to do with her future.


Warning: Extreme content, it will probably offend you.


4.5 Stars

The Mort Report: Text

09/10/2022
A Death at the Office 3

by Frank Edler

This series is hilarious. Just do yourself a favor, get these stories at godless.com for when you have had a stressful day, so you can sit back and relax with some silliness. 

I don’t have much more to say that I haven’t said in my reviews of the previous two parts, but you might be surprised at some of the insightful observations this author makes.

For example:
“Office music needed to be mellow and unassuming. It had to have no artistic quality nor rhythm. Anything that got a toe tapping was a no-no. It had to appeal to everyone and by that very nature, it appealed to absolutely nobody.”

If you’ve ever had thoughts about office politics and how ridiculous some things can get, there will be something in here you will not only be able to relate to, but it might put a smile on your face. 


e.g.
“Mr. Death grew suspicious of Harvey Death defending himself against accusations of stealing from The League when nobody had accused him of anything. Mr. Death decided he was guilty of having a guilty conscience and reassigned Harvey Death to the mailroom.”

Snap it up, have a laugh, enjoy yourself.

5 Stars

The Mort Report: Text

09/10/2022
5 Tales of Tantalizing Terror

by Patrick C. Harrison, III

Patrick C. Harrison III, or PC3 if you will, (just don’t call him Commodore 64), is a writer, editor, publisher and many other things (what, like I was gonna write his entire Bio again?) who has been building a solid reputation and following in the Indie horror community.

If you look at his photo, you may be forgiven if you wonder:
“Didn’t he write that sick book…what was it called…Doom? Groom? Schroom?”

For the record, it’s not.


But he can match Mr. Ralston with depravity and writing talent, making us wonder if this isn’t one of those Michael/Janet Jackson conspiracy theories where you never see the two of them together…hmm. Come on, somebody start that rumor!

I am obviously joking (or am I?), but I will not be opposed to buying a book on which these two have collaborated. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge…

And that was the fun/funny part of this review…brought to you by Sony.

This book contains 5 tales that, at the core, has to do with fear. They are all well written and original, as you would expect from this author, but I must admit that my mind would drift every now and then, thinking about the things I fear.

You know The Rock? Big, strong man who people wouldn’t fuck with if they knew what was good for them?
I’m nothing like him. I’m more like the Kevin Hart of the relationship, only not as funny. Or as good a swimmer. Or as rich. Or as talented. Damn, I am beginning to think this was a bad analogy.

What I’m trying to get at is that I fear a lot of stuff. Some I will readily admit to:
Spiders, dentists, public speaking…
Others I keep inside. And those are the ones these stories let my mind drift toward. The primal fears that most of us don’t like to dwell on.

So, well done, PC3 – it was written well enough to evoke emotion, which is all any author could really ask for, right?

4.5 Stars

IMG-0407.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

09/03/2022

Carnie

by Ash Ericmore

Why do Carnies always get such a bad rep?


They are there to entertain you, to come in and out of your life for a brief moment so you can have memories for the rest of your days. They don’t overstay their welcome and they don’t believe in long, drawn-out goodbyes. That in itself makes them better than half your family at Christmas.


Mia and her friend Sarah are going to the “Fear Factory” with two guys, but the line is so very long, so they have this idea to sneak in. And then things don’t go as planned.


Right, we have so much to discuss here.


Let’s start off with the carnival. You are willing to go to a place that is run by strangers, all disguised so you wouldn’t be able to identify any of them later. You were not born under a rock, so you know how badly Stephen King tried to warn you about these grown-ass people in make-up and costume, with crazy, unkept hair and alcoholic red noses, and shoe sizes that most probably give you a false impression of the family jewels…yet, you just say:

Maybe I will have fun…Bad things will never happen to me…John Wayne Gacy was into boys, so I don’t have the right equipment…


Then, you willingly go into a place they call the “Fear Factory”. And just because these people are not always known for their hygiene, doesn’t mean they are going to give you a cleaning nightmare. Sink full of dishes…oh no, the horror. They literally tell you they are going to try to scare the piss out of you…and who knows – since everything happens behind the scenes – maybe they will make you lick it up like you are Ozzy on a drug binge.


I am not calling you stupid at this point, you fucking idiot, because there’s more.


And then you get the bright idea to do some breaking and entering (you don’t actually have to break anything, I checked) into the lawless land of behind the tent-flap where nobody can see you, hear you, help you. And just for the record, you are probably not as well equipped for this situation as Mad Max would be, Dumb Dick.


I try to be as open minded as possible, people, but maybe you should read the shit that can happen to you when you act like a moron. Believe me, it gets very very bad for them, even worse than having to wash that sink full of dishes.


Ash Ericmore knows how to take you to that place where few others would venture.

Great, fast read – the first of a trilogy – but only recommended to extreme horror fans.


5 STARS

carnie.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

09/03/2022

Burning Down the Night

by Bryan Smith

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Bryan Smith story. Not because I didn’t want to, there are just so many stories I have to get to that some authors just go down in the maelstrom until I find them again. 


I discovered his work very early on in my Kindle journey, and when I read DEPRAVED, it was truly the sickest thing I have come across up to the point in my life.

This story – while it starts on the same day as the death of a grunge rock Icon – is not about the grunge or music industry. Nor is it about said Icon. So straight off the bat, think of it like the Spike Lee movie SUMMER OF SAM, where it doesn’t really have anything to do with the killer at all, it just sets the background.

And then, if you will take one piece of advice from me, just suspend reality and go along for the ride. A case of mistaken identity in the worst possible way for slacker Cole Watson brings about a journey that is often hilarious, scary, unbelievable and over the night many will die.

There are excessive amounts of drinking in this story, and of course, there will be drugs, which will make him question his perceptions of reality, but will it all work out in the end?

I must admit, while this story is violent, it is not nearly as extreme as a lot of Smith’s stories I have read in the past, which shows me the author was more focused on trying to make the reader giggle rather than cringe.

So, if you are in the mood for some violent but lighter entertainment, this one should do you nicely.

4 STARS  

BurningDownTheHouse_BSmith.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

08/27/2022
Freaky Briefs

by Jeff Strand

Everyone who follows my reviews know I am a huge fan of this writer. For me, his combination of humor and horror puts him right at the top of comedy-horror – and he now has a Stoker Award, so I am not the only one who feels that way.


Now, for those of you who has not subscribed to his monthly free newsletter – go ahead, do it right now: http://eepurl.com/bpv5br - he gives you an original short story every month. This is a compilation for those who need to catch up or those who just want to enjoy them all over again.


They are short, often violent, sometimes silly and always entertaining. With titles like THE DOUCHEBAG WHO RENEGED ON THE DEATH PACT; THE NIGHT I REALIZED HALFWAY TO THE PAVEMENT BELOW THAT I WAS NOT, IN FACT, SUPERMAN; THE SOUPVILLE STABBER PRACTICES SOCIAL DISTANCING and THE TRAGIC TALE OF SLAPPY McWANKERVILLE, to name but a few, I can promise you there will be belly laughs in this one.


Now, I am not going to lie and say that all 75 Short Absurdities worked for me, but I can forgive him the 3 that I thought was below par and tell you that, percentage wise, any book that can entertain me for 96% percent of the time is an absolute winner.


And I am going to end with a few quotes from the book:


“The Cavern of Wolves contained only one wolf, but it sounded scarier plural.”


“I’m going to do everything in my power to make my severed head say something creepy. It’ll haunt you forever. I may even cackle. Are you secure enough in your sanity that you can handle a severed head cackling at you?”


“I’m not a monster. I understand that these bugs are just trying to get through the day, like anybody else. They have families. And drowning is a horrific way to die. So, when I stop cackling, I make sure to lower my head in prayer.”


Just get this one and, every time you have to put it down, imagine Jeff Strand standing in the arena in a skirt, screaming:

“Are you not entertained?!”

5 STARS

FreakyBriefs.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

08/27/2022
Den of the Wererats

by Terry Miller

Not since the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES have there been a likable rat character in fiction. Fortunately, this book doesn’t change that. But it does amp up the creepy factor for these dirty rats when they can become Wererats.


So, I know what you are thinking:

If there are Wererats, there will probably be Werecats, owned by Werewitches who wields Werebrooms, trying to protect the Werecheese…


Do not – and let me repeat this – do NOT mistake this subject matter as cartoonish in the least. Terry Miller goes dark with this one, not only with the violence but also with some general ideas about the nature of rats.


And it escalates like a dirty joke to the HR department – before you know it, things are out of control.


I liked this story, it turned out better than I thought it would, and I did discuss the one thing about the writing that bothered me a bit with the author…who assured me there might be more to this story in the future.


4 STARS

Wererats Cover.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

08/20/2022 
Counting Bodies Like Sheep

The Evil Cookie Publishing

COUNTING BODIES LIKE SHEEP is an anthology that brings together some enormous talent in the horror industry and you will not be disappointed when you pick this one up. Cruel, bloody, sadistic and even a little weirdness, makes this the perfect wedding gift for that special person who doesn’t want to marry you…


From Ed Lee and Christine Morgan to Armand Rosamilia and Stephen Kozeniewski, not to mention LaValley and Volpe, and others who are making a name for themselves, there will be something in there for your sick and depraved taste.


All of these stories are entertaining, but there are two I have to put right at the top:

SHITS ‘N GIGGLES by Bridgett Nelson was so terribly dark, yet if you work with doctors long enough, such things don’t always seem as unlikely as you might think.

BODY DROP by Gerard Houarner took me by surprise – in a very good way. I loved the idea and I adored the way it was written.


5 Stars!

IMG-0201.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

08/20/2022
Brady

D. W. Hitz

When it comes to horror, I always tread carefully with animals. That is my line in the sand – I can’t do animal torture. And I can tell you, with great relief, how that is not something you have to worry about in this book.


BRADY is a good dog. Or was.

The book starts right after Karl has buried his beloved pet.


And then this story goes supernatural in a very big way.


This was the first story I have read by D.W. Hitz and it is an absolute joy to see how skilled he is with his craft. He grabs you early on and holds your attention throughout.


The only complaint I have is, toward the end, there was only one possible way this story could end – but it was still a lot of fun getting there.


Well written and recommended to horror readers.


4 STARS

Brady-cover.jpg
The Mort Report: Text

08/06/2022
The Summer I Died

By Ryan C. Thomas

You need three words to describe this book:

BRU-FUCKIN-TAL!


“We had set out to shoot beer cans and smoke weed, just two friends trying to hold onto a childhood that was slowly disintegrating with age.”


Every now and then, every reader gets the urge to just go back to the classics. This is an itch that was long overdue a scratching.

Look up a list about the best extreme books and you will find this one on there – or you should, if the list-maker did their homework. Which brings me to one of the books that has been on my wish list the longest – ever since I learned about extreme and Splatterpunk horror.


And, man, this one deserves its spot in spades. From the 30% mark this story is one, long adrenaline rush. Before 50% you will have lost hope for these characters. They are fucked: There is no way out of this.

Then comes a glimmer of hope…but there is so much more story left to read, so…


The way this author keeps you in suspense throughout is nothing short of brilliant. If you are a fan of this genre and you haven’t read this one yet, you are missing out. For me, this one gave me the same rush as Ketchum’s OFF SEASON – It is that damn good!


5 and a half stars!

The Mort Report: Text

8/06/2022
Your English is Good

by Colt Skinner

If I am not mistaken, this is the first Emerge story published.
Colt Skinner created two very interesting characters here – Melody and Eddy – and the idea is good. I think you’ll benefit from going into this one blind – I don’t want to give any spoilers. What I will say, just to nudge you in the right direction, is that the name F. Paul Wilson popped up in my head. I am not sure how accurate that is, since I haven’t read anything by him in many, many years – but something about the gritty character that is Eddy just made that connection. If I happen to be wrong, please read the story and give me feedback on who this writing style reminds you of.
The good news is that Eddy will be in a new story that will be published next year – I mailed the author and told him I think the character is good enough to develop more, and he assured me that is the plan.

Solid 4 Stars, closer to 4.5

YourEnglishisGoodbyColtSkinner_edited.png
The Mort Report: Text

07/23/2022
House of Perversion 1 & 2

by Carl John Lee

Book One:

I went into this one blind.

I mean totally, completely without any information.


The follow-up to this story has been released (I saw a picture of the cover on FB and one of my friends shared it on his feed) and I wanted to get that, so I got both to make sure I don’t miss anything, just to get the feel for the writer.


“I think you've overstayed your welcome in
So go the fuck away, don't come again
I'll see your face in the fire and burn it out”

LIKE A VILLIAN – Bad Omens


Well, Mr. Lee, you have ruined a night’s sleep for me. Why? Because I could not put this fucking book down. I did not want to stop once I started – it is just a brilliant supernatural revenge story.

I want you to go into this one blind as well – maybe you’ll get the enjoyment I did from it. Just know this – it is based on a screenplay the author wrote in the 70’s for Exploitation cinema. There’s lots of sex and blood and nastiness going on in this one, so don’t think because it was written nearly half a century ago that he holds anything back.

5 STARS

Book 2:

So this was book number 2.

You know, I have other books I need to review, but the first one impressed me so much that I HAD to read this one next.

Are you familiar with Roger Corman and the exploitation films of the 70’s? If you are too young, let’s just say lots of sex, drugs and horror – but better than most people might expect…sometimes.

Carl John Lee was greatly inspired by this man and these films, and he worked in the movie business as a screenwriter from the seventies. Two weeks ago, I have never heard of him. But, DAAAMMMNNN! The two HORROR HOUSE OF PERVERSION books blew me away. And to think they are based on screenplays he wrote more than 40 years ago is almost beyond belief.

The second book includes a band (I got a real Alice Cooper type of concert feeling) and groupies, and a compound in the middle of nowhere, and all types of debauchery happening inside. And then things start going wrong for the groupies, and by the halfway point you think to yourself that these poor girls are all fucked, and how does this fit in with the first one at all?

You know what? A part of me wanted to say: Oh, it was really good, but it was not such a huge surprise as the first one, so like any sequel it couldn’t live up to it…
Then my wife, lying in bed next to me, asked me why I kept scratching. And that’s when it dawned on me that it was a nervous tick, and I was so invested in this story that I actually had a little adrenaline rush going on there.

He just writes the story so damn well – it is so visual, and you feel like you are in some movie theatre watching this play out. There is so much tits and ass, but it stops being sexy when it becomes brutal. Best of all, this one was more extreme than the first one, but the story was totally independent from the first one. 

Carl John Lee, if you ever read this review, please contact me, buddy – I need to read more of your work!

5 Brutal Sexploitation reels!!

The Mort Report: Text

07/16/2022
Dear Meat

By J. Snow

Emerge #7 – to showcase emerging talent in the horror genre, this is the seventh publication this year to feature someone you may not have heard of before but will hear about in the future.


DEAR MEAT by J. Snow is a post-apocalyptic story which paints a bleak picture of the future, where the world is overpopulated and food is scarce, yet it is still run by those who lack the morality to care for others as much as they do themselves. If political figures in the world today is popping up in your head right now, I’m right there with you.


I want to say as little as I can about this one, because there is so much happening, and you should discover it for yourself. It is not a feel-good story by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a story of survival. By any means necessary.


If you are familiar with the Jeffrey Caston FOOD stories, you might have a good idea of the type of atmosphere you are heading into.


I was really impressed with this one and I recommend it for all you fuckers who like their stories on the shaded side of grey.


5 STARS

IMG-7615.jpg
The Mort Report: Text