Sizzling Summer Series
September crawls around with Creature Features and foggy nights.
Welcome to the Summer Series here at Uncomfortably Dark! The next four months will bring the authors straight to you with their reasons why you need to be reading their new novels, each one chosen to meet the theme for the month!
Book Reviews will be posted for some selections but this page is for you, the reader, to discover some fun favorites and to hear it from the authors point of view.
October takes over this space with Extreme Horror features! Not for the squeamish.
September crawls around with
As summer winds down and nights become longer, darker, and creepier,
say hello to some new creatures that go bump in the night.
The Pope Lick Massacre
by Eric Butler
Sea Caummisar - This story captures the area and Goat Man legend very vividly.
Daniel Volpe - This had the feel of an old school slasher movie: basic characters, sex and violence. The gore is abundant and the author isn't afraid to kill your favorite character
Lee Franklin - Butler knows how to entertain and doesn't hesitate to drench it in blood.
Half Man. Half Goat. All Ax.
There are two types of people in Jefferson County: those who know the legend of the Pope Lick Monster and those who believe it. Before the night is over, Sam will have no choice but to join the believers.
Since their mother’s death, Sam’s sole focus has been taking care of her younger brother, Kenny. Now Kenny’s Scout troop is missing, having never returned from the woods around Pope Lick. Sam gathers a group of friends to search for the boys and their Scoutmaster. With each step, they get closer to discovering the scouts aren’t the only ones in the woods this night.
From the Author:
My mother lives in Kentucky. She mentioned there were some interesting legends in the area and when I finished my first novel, I started looking. There are goatman legends throughout the US, but the one in Kentucky fit best with my style. I wrote it in a way that leaves the reader a bit dazed and confused, as I expect the characters are throughout the whole story. It’s a fun and bloody romp in the woods, caves, and parks of Pope Lick. In the end I guess I wrote it because I wanted to read a story about a Goat-man who murders people…a lot.
A Review of Pope Lick
Jefferson County has a legend, some believe it, some only know the legend.
Since the death of their mom, Sam has been the sole caretaker of her brother, Kenny. Kenny and his scout troop are now missing somewhere in the woods around Pope Lick. Now Sam, Officer Tom Keene and several others gather to search the woods around Pope Lick, hoping to find the boys before nightfall.
As the rescue party sets out, someone else is also interested in what is going on in the woods that surround the small town. Someone that is more than what they appear to be and someone that has been betting on the local legend to keep people away from the woods and its secrets, real or imagined.
But something wicked also lives in the woods around Pope Lick, something few ever live to tell about. Sam and her rescue group are about to find out that some small town tales are true.
This story was one intense ride, pure fun, unexpected twists, complex characters and a great blend of small town drama, local lore and one savage creature stalking the woods. My only complaint is that I would have liked it to be a bit longer, with some more backstory about the creature in the woods, more of its origin story. Overall, fun read and gruesomely gory. I am giving this 4.5 stars.
by Kevin Kennedy
"With apoc-wolves, giant crabs, and new-world carnage, Screechers is a bloody ripper of a tale." - Lee Murray, two-time Bram Stoker Award nominee and author of Into the Mist.
Book Synopsis: In the apocalyptic fallout of the burned world, the screecher is a massive beast evolved to kill and built for survival. One screecher abandons its home among the crushed remnants of a city and moves to explore the wider world. Unbeknownst to it, one of its surviving nephews decides to tag along.
In the scorched remains, everything struggles to survive. The end of the world produced mutated monsters beyond imagination. When worlds collide, when man meets monster, who will survive in this new world?
From the Author: Christina and I had known each other for a while and wanted to write something together. We decided on post-Apocalyptic fiction and then threw some ideas around. Christina tackled the human characters in the book, and I dealt with the monsters. We then tweaked each other’s parts. It was a blast writing together and being able to knock ideas back and forth. This remains one of my favourite stories.
by Lee Franklin
“Berserker: Green Hell is one of the best Military Horror novels I’ve ever read.”
The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviewer
Something lurks in the northern shadows of Vietnam.
Known as the Reapers, Pinny and his special group of soldiers are sent to collect dog tags from their fallen comrades only to uncover the sinister underbelly of the Vietnam War, and a monstrous secret beyond comprehension.
Pinny might survive the war, but can he save his humanity?
From the Author:
Initially inspired by an anthology call, Berserker was a short story that ran into an odd length novella finally into the short novel before you. The entire process was a massive learning curve, and still a helluva lot of fun. They say to write the books you want to read, so that is what I did. Realistic, high action with an actual story and characters that you can grow to love or hate. Do not read this book expecting a white, American hero, you will be disappointed. I loved writing the battle and hand to hand fight scenes, my experience both in the Australian Army and in martial arts coming particularly handy. If you love movies like Predator, Overlord and The Odd Angry Shot, you will definitely love Berserker: Green Hell.
A Review of Berserker: Green Hell
Berserker Green Hell is a roller coaster ride through extreme horror as seen through the eyes of a young Aussie soldier in the stifling green hell of Viet Nam. The heat, humidity, and overpowering menace of the jungle and its natural inhabitants are not the only things hiding in this landscape. Pinny and his squadron are sent in after skirmishes to bring back tags and to report on their findings, not quite a clean-up crew and not meant as first contact with the enemy Viet Cong either.
All hell breaks loose as Pinny, Taz, Doc, Snowy, Hammo, Cam, Chook and Wog-boy delve deeper into the jungle, coming upon one small village that shows them nothing but blood and gore, it becomes apparent that something much more than a gunfight happened here. Pinny, a trained tracker, notices footprints in the mud leading the opposite direction, much larger footprints than most soldiers have. They are attacked several times by men much larger than they should have been, only lending more confusion to the chaos.
Fleeing deeper into the jungle, their sense of unease ever growing, they try to make their rendezvous point for extraction but another attack from something overwhelms them, something huge, that stands upright, with massive claws. Soon after, they encounter a squad of US soldiers and a mysterious American base, hidden deep in the jungle, where it should not have been. Rescue at last, or was it? Pinny and his remaining guys have no choice but to follow the American’s into the mysterious base, where they hope to recover and regroup with a new plan for extraction. Things go from bad to worse as new discoveries are made in the depths of that hidden base, things that may cost them not only their humanity but their souls. This novel plays out like a military movie with some of the most horrific scenarios I have ever read. Four gory gold stars for Berserker: Green Hell.
by Drew Starling
"He's making waves! Horror fans, Drew Starling should be at the top of your author-to-watch list." ~Daniel Willcocks, Best-Selling Horror Author
"What instantly stands out in “Sentinel” is the author's ability to take the reader on a journey. He masterfully evokes emotions through beautifully penned characters and scene building. This is a dark, unsettling story that the author successfully sprinkles with generous doses of mystery and creepy scenes, enough to keep you glued to your reading spot until the very end. Well written, beautiful and haunting." ~PAN's Book Reviews
A monster. A Missing Boy. And a town built on lies.
From Eerie River Publishing and horror author Drew Starling comes the new character driven, supernatural horror novel, Sentinel. Set in the fictional town of Bensalem, Virginia, Sentinel weaves together a sleepy little town, a terrified family, a creepy cult, a centuries old demonic secret, and one terrifying monster in the woods... ending with a twist that will leave you stunned.
Something is lurking in the woods just beyond Aaron and Ellen Dreyer's new country home, and an evil that has been hiding in plain sight is about to emerge. A neighbor is brutally murdered, their 4-year old son goes missing in broad daylight, and the local town of Bensalem devolves into a cesspool of finger-pointing and chaos. With nowhere left to turn, Aaron and Ellen are forced to venture into the woods to find their son... and the truth. But in the process, they uncover a force larger and more sinister than they ever could have imagined.
From the Author:
The Story behind Sentinel.
Every year, my friends and I rent a cabin in the foothills of Shenandoah National Park. It’s really out there. No people, no towns, just trees and grass and hills. Three years ago, I arrived at the cabin straight from a trip I took to India, and I had the WORST jet lag I’ve ever had. I’d sleep all day and be awake all night.
Anyway, one night when I was lying awake, I rolled over to my side and gazed out the big front window of the bedroom I was staying in. The view overlooked a gloriously vast meadow filled with pine trees and wheatgrass, and right around 4am, when everyone else was asleep and a new dawn mist was forming in the distance, I saw this large shadowy thing slowly move across the land. I got up to look at what the thing was, but I couldn’t make it out, only to see that it was absolutely huge. It didn’t do anything crazy, it just moved – almost hovered – from one side of the meadow to the other.
After I was done being completely terrified and the sun came up, my mind ran wild with story possibilities. I scribbled an idea down on a piece of paper and recounted it to my friends that very day. Turn it into a short story! Turn it into a screenplay! I was shocked they actually thought it was… good. So I did, and it started a little thing I was just going to post online until some fellow indie authors encouraged me to do more with it. I spent the next two years writing, and rewriting, and editing, and rewriting, and RE-rewriting, and just last week, it finally saw the light of day in the form of my first full-length novel, Sentinel.
A-Z of Horror: Beasts
Published by Red Cape Publishing
“These stories will shatter your nerves and cost you an uncomfortable amount of sleep in the weeks and months to come.” – Goodreads Review
B is for Beasts in the second in a series of horror anthologies and features 13 creature tales from a range of authors. From snakes to birds, giant insects to mythological creatures, B is for Beasts contains a diverse range of tales perfect for fans of creature features.
From the Publishers:
The great thing about anthologies is the variety contained within, and the opportunity to discover new authors. We received a huge number of submissions for this book and are extremely proud of the mix that made it to the final selection – Peter Blakey-Novis, Red Cape Publishing.
August Heats up with Frightening Fairs & Funhouses!
Scroll down to see frightfully good tales of carnivals, funhouses, and fairs gone wrong! Featuring books by Kevin Kennedy, Greg Chapman, Jeff Strand, Macabre Ladies and more.
Clowns Vs Spiders
by Jeff Strand
“It’s absurd and hilarious and gross and a delightful adventure in the best possible way.” – Horror DNA
Book Synopsis: Jaunty the Clown just wants to entertain families with lighthearted slapstick antics, but people think of clowns as terrifying, nightmarish creatures who hide in closets or under beds. When Jaunty, along with his fellow performers Guffaw, Wagon, Reginald The Pleasant Clown, and Bluehead are fired from the circus, they’re told that the world just doesn’t like clowns anymore.
Still, clowns have to eat. And since these clowns don’t eat children, to make ends meet they’re eventually forced to take a job in a popular haunted attraction, the Mountain of Terror. Instead of charming entertainers, they’re now scary clowns. A zombie clown. A demon clown. A creepy doll clown. But the town is about to discover something more frightening than clowns. Because on opening night, millions of oversized spiders emerge from a cave and begin their deadly invasion…
From the Author: As somebody primarily known for horror/comedy, you’d better believe I’m into scary clowns! My second short story collection was called Dead Clown Barbecue, a clown plays a key role in Blister, I wrote the point-of-view scenes of Benny the Clown in Draculas, and Stinky the Clown wreaks havoc in The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. But I’d never written a full-on clown-themed novel.
I’d read an article about real-life clowns who were upset about the whole “scary clown” thing, which was messing with their livelihood. This was at a time when there was a whole epidemic of spooky clown sightings. I did a joke about this when I emceed the Bram Stoker Awards (punchline: “Oh no, we’ve angered the clowns!”) but I did think about the idea that these poor bastards who just wanted to bring joy to children were perceived as terrifying creatures. And I decided to write a novel where the clowns were the good guys.
Then I added the oversized spiders. Clowns Vs. Spiders. Primal fear vs. primal fear. Literary gold, right?
by Kevin Kennedy
"Part Bradbury, part Laymon, Halloween Land is something straight off the paperback horror rack! Classic horror fans need to check this out."
— Glenn Rolfe, author of August's Eyes
and Until Summer Comes Around
An action-packed, coming of age horror tale, full of twists, turns and unexpected adventures. Zak and Wendy are a couple of horror buffs who love Halloween. In their sleepy, run-down little town, an exciting attraction promises to inject some life into the place for one special night only. A travelling carnival, making its debut on Halloween.
From the Author:
I am a massive fan of Carnival horror and when I wrote the initial 8K of this book it was for an anthology. It got mentioned in a lot of the reviews and people always said they would like to know what happened next so over time I turned it into a 24K novella. Now that I have released it, it sees people still want more so this will likely grow into a series through time.
A Review of Halloween Land
What’s not to love about Halloween in a small town? Is there anything better than a Halloween carnival? The games, the food, the smells, the funhouse! This book has everything that makes up a perfect Halloween night. Wendy and Zac are best friends, joined at the hip and do everything together. Halloween night is no different and this year, a special carnival is coming to town! One awesome night only, at the pier, it’s Halloween Land!
The pair sets out, costumes on, money in hand and nothing but the night to enjoy! The carnival is exceptional, beyond their wildest dreams, appearing like magic out of the night. The old pier has been transformed to a fall landscape of music, food booths and games. Hundreds of people are there, out for a good time. The decorations are excellent, creepy, cheesy, corny and perhaps a little bit too on point. The carnie freaks are amazing, no expense spared at some incredibly creepy costumes. The clown is especially striking, beautifully made up and incredibly sad as she welcomes them to the funhouse.
The funhouse is everything a funhouse is meant to be, but perhaps cornier and a bit more childish than the pair of 13 year-olds had hoped for, maybe they are getting too old, but it was still fun. When they exit, the pier is weirdly silent, and the hundreds of people are missing. The clown greets them in her sad way and tries to help them understand that the funhouse is not as innocent as it seems. It decides who lives and dies or rather who stays and who goes. She tells them they will not be safe until they make it off the pier completely. All hell breaks loose as the kids try to make their way back to safety.
I don’t want to say anymore for spoiler reasons, so I’ll just say this, if you enjoyed Halloween at all as a child, you’ll love this book. It’s a lot of fun, a nice quick read, creepy creatures abound, and the storyline becomes more complex as the story goes on. Nice 4 stars for this entertaining novella.
by Greg Chapman
"Greg Chapman is a new voice in horror and brings fresh angles to our genre, which too often recycles unoriginal stories. There is a cinematic quality to his storytelling, which lodges itself in your imagination, deepening the bold and disturbing tales he delivers. Approach Vaudeville and Other Nightmares with care and whatever you do, leave the lights on!" - Rocky Wood, Bram Stoker Award (R) winning author of Stephen King: A Literary Companion.
“The greatest hook with Vaudeville is probably its cavalcade feel—that sense of carnival tied with innocence whose roots are to be found in tales like Bradbury’s Something
Wicked This Way Comes.” —Hellnotes
Young Anthony Moore is desperate to discover the truth about his father's death. In Keaton Woods, the truth is waiting for him, held by vengeful demons. "The All-American Traveling Troubadours" have a dark story to perform—all they need is an audience of four young souls. Anthony is about to discover just what he is willing to sacrifice in order to seek answers.
From the Author:
This story was sort of in memoriam for a high school friend who died suddenly at the tender age of 15. I named the main character in this story after my late friend. I wrote Vaudeville to try and understand the nature of grief. The monsters in the story serve to illustrate grief too – and loss. The loss of potential and how rage and evil can linger in the soul. Many people have claimed the ending is too soft, but I see it as fitting. But then I am biased because I wrote it and I know why I wrote it.
A Review of Vaudeville
Young Anthony adored his father and his father adored his mother. Their home was full of love, laughter, and understanding. A good strong family built by a good strong man, a former soldier now toiling in the mines to provide for his family. A very well-respected man, both by his fellow miners and the town. When he was found hanging from a big tree in the woods, his death rocked the small town, impacting everyone, but most of all, his family.
Anthony’s mom, Madeline, would never be the same. Grief has stolen her joy, her youth, her heart. Anthony, left alone to deal with his grief, becomes a regular visitor to the tree where his father took his life. He finds himself drawn there, seeking answers and solace however he can.
One afternoon, he is startled by a group of performers that suddenly appear out of the woods. They invite him to stay to watch their show, but he grows wary and begins to run, only for their next words to stop him cold. This sets off a series of chilling events that the small town may never recover from, or will it?
Chapman sets up the beginning of this haunting tale in a few short pages and effectively pulls you into a nostalgic but heartbreaking story that you won’t be able to put down until the last page. Four solid stars for this beautiful tale of healing and redemption.
Carnival of Horror
published by Kevin Kennedy
Welcome to the carnival!
Enjoy the sweet smells of the cotton candy and candy apples. Listen to the calliope music as you wander among the many stalls, to the screams of children enjoying the various rides. It’s all been designed to take your money, but you already know that.
What you are not aware of, however, are the strange goings-on of the carnival world after dark. Do the carnies want more than your money? Does the fortune teller know more than she tells you? Are some of the games more dangerous than others?
Explore your worst fears, and perhaps gain some new ones, in these twisted tales of what really goes on at the carnival after dark!
From the Author:
I put this book together due to my love of Carnival horror. I knew a lot of authors who would be interested and discussed the idea with them then opened a short open call so I could get some new authors involved. There was a lot of interest, and the book is the best of the submissions I received. It’s had great feedback in reviews and as time passes by, I may do a second Carnival of Horror anthology.
A Review of Carnival of Horror
I’ve read several anthologies published by Kevin Kennedy and this one did not disappoint. While each story includes a carnival theme, that is where their similarities stop. There is something for everyone in this collection. Murder, mayhem, chaos, clowns and carnies run amuck on every page of this anthology. I thoroughly enjoyed every one but I did find a few favorites amongst the carnage.
What a Price to Pay for a F*&^&ing Teddy Bear by J.C. Michael. This story follows the local town troublemakers as they prepare to teach the carnies in town a lesson about principles. It’s not about the teddy bear, as the title says, but it is about the wounded pride of one local as he sets out to prove that this carnie messed with the wrong local. Lessons are learned that night, but not the ones they are expecting. I loved everything about this story.
In Frimby’s Big Day by John Dover, Frimby the clown and his friends are ready to perform to a sold-out show but the Ringmaster points out the weird crowd in attendance. More than just local folks have shown up in droves for the show and they do not look the least bit amused. As if on cue, all hell breaks loose as this carnival falls prey to a cult seeking to redeem their heathen souls. There is more carnage than carnie in this tale of cult followers seeking to redeem.
The Pinch by Ike Hamill takes the coming of age approach, and involves a young boy and his quest to buy a new bike. As his parents take off with his sick sister for another round of hospital treatments, young Connor is left with his less than doting aunt for three weeks just as he was close to earning the money he needed to buy his new bike. With his Dad’s wallet far away, and no chores to do for extra cash, Connor finds himself wandering around the local carnival, hoping to find his friend so he can at least give him the money he already has, so he doesn’t miss out on buying the bike altogether. Connor stumbles into a new way to make money and soon has what he needs but carnie tradition dictates that Connor gives something back. I loved this story, the visuals were on point and I could fully relate to Connor and his situation and I really liked the bit of original carnival lore that was woven into this tale.
Too many great tales to list them all but this is more than worth a read and a spot on your shelf. Four great big gold stars for Carnival of Horror.
by Tommy Smith
From Kitty Bullard of Great Minds Think Aloud: “This book features great writing, edge of your seat drama, and the kind of gothic horror you can really sink your teeth into. A huge adrenaline rush for serious horror junkies!”
Following the Quake of ’79, a terrible force came to the city of St. Charles—the Living Poison. In Lilac Chambers, it may have found the perfect host. She finds herself changing, becoming increasingly dangerous to everyone around her, and becoming a prime vehicle for the Living Poison’s destructive swath through the streets of St. Charles.
Detective Brandt McCullough has seen the Living Poison’s brutality. John Sutterfield, ringmaster of Sutterfield’s Circus of the Fantastic, is discovering its malignancy festering within the very circus he founded. These two are the only ones who might stand in the way of a force which threatens to wash the streets in red and swallow the city into chaos, but the stakes may be higher than either of them can imagine. St. Charles—indeed, the world—may tremble.
From the Author:
I wrote Poisonous as the answer to a question posed by a short story of mine published in an independent magazine back in 2007, “Living Poison.” I found it interesting that readers took different meanings from that story, and set out to expand upon the concept of the Living Poison. The novella Poisonous introduced Lilac Chambers, a girl infused with the destructive force of the Living Poison and delivering a vicious strike against everything that is human.
I enjoyed the direct, no-fluff approach to the novella form. It suits horror well, I’ve discovered.
Poisonous is unapologetically horror. It’s the most violent tale I’ve written to date, the kind of story that stabs you twenty times in a back alleyway and leaves you bleeding in the street. Think of slashers such as Halloween or the Friday the 13th franchise and you should find yourself at home here.
Did I mention there’s a circus?
A Review of Poisonous
Something evil has come to town and is slowly infecting the people, moving from host to host until it finds the perfect one.
Lilac is a special girl with a troubled past. She was raised by her aunt until she suddenly passes away and is taken back in by her biological father , who has been suffering from his own heartbreak, a heartbreak that has left him bitter and angry.
Lilac’s presence proves to be too much for her father and the situation goes from bad to worse, setting off a chain of events that will leave their small town reeling for years to come.
Oh, and there’s a circus.
I found this story to be tragic, and riveting. A sad situation only becomes worse as time passes for Lilac, who is more than what she seems. Something evil is consuming her and it has only just begun. This is a short read, with intense situations, deep emotion and a sense of anticipation that keeps you turning the pages. Four solid stars for this short novella.
by Macabre Ladies Publishing
"I could practically smell the buttered popcorn and cotton candy and was excited with anticipation of what was to come. The authors who contributed all did an amazing job creating that sense of wonder and excitement of a carnival but with a macabre twist."
Step right up, folks, to a show, unlike anything you've ever seen before. Circus terrors and frights, sure to delight. Here at Dark Carnival, we've got it all.
Freaks and clowns, screams and laughter and always, a healthy side of the macabre.
So, come one, come all and join us, if you dare
Welcome to the Show.
A collection from thirteen authors of dark circus and carnival theme stories.
From the Publisher:
As the anthologist putting this collection together I didn't really have a specific feel of what I wanted, just that it was dark in some way and fit the theme of dark carnival. As I read through the dozens upon dozens of submissions, there were some that stood out above the rest for completely different reasons. These thirteen macabre tales are some of the most varied, unique, and incredible stories I've had the pleasure of reading and I don't doubt there's something in here for everyone.
The Night Carnival
by John Urbanick
“Currently reading an advance copy of John Urbancik’s The Night Carnival, and as always, I am in awe of his wordplay and language. It's like if Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and Henry Kuttner wrote a novella together.”
—Brian Keene, bestselling author of The Rising and End of the Road.
Come on in, be my guest, and I’ll personally guide you through the wonders our carnival has on offer. The kiddie area, the clowns, the midway—it’s all there. Perhaps you’ll get a chance to meet the red witch and she’ll tell you your future. There’s a freak show and a carnivale and a corn maze, so you’re sure to have a good time.
Don’t mind the bodies or the blood or the screaming. Don’t mind the ghost wrangler. I’m sure you’ll be safe. After all, you have me as a guide. Everything ought to be fine. But we only have until sunrise.
From the Author:
After writing several books focused on death, I needed a break. I needed something lighter. Something fun. While out for a walk one night, in a dark corner of the town where I was living at the time, the silhouette of a tree against the sky reminded me of a Ferris wheel. The story practically fell out of me after that.
It’s still filled with darkness and shadows. I’ve always been fascinated with carnivals. They’re a recurring image in my work. While it seems like good old-fashioned fun, there are and have always been innumerable opportunities for shenanigans, for sketchy and nefarious individuals to operate secretly yet out in the open. Under all the makeup and sawdust, there’s magic, but it’s often dark magic.
I wrote the first draft in a rush, and I think it’s a quick, raucous, and imaginative read.
A Review of
The Night Carnival
“Step right up, come on in! Right this way, step lively now! I’ll be your guide.” You hear the old carnie say as you pay your admission fee and follow the old man's insistent calls to “Follow me, right this way.”
He guides you right down the fairway, showing you the kiddie rides, the petting zoo, the teacups and the Tilt a Whirl. What’s that he said just now, “Feed the carousel horses.” Well, that can’t be right, they’re not real. You follow him, barely able to comprehend the constant stream of carnival lore that he is spewing. “Ain’t lost too many in the bumper car pit, at least, not yet. Most come back.”
Your brain stutters a step as it tries to process the things he says, some more tainted than others, hints of evil, of danger, lick at your mind, but “careful, now, don’t fall behind.” He’s your guide, you see, there is something here you need. A task you must do, a trivial quest to complete. “Yes, by sunrise, he agrees, or you’ll be lost to me.”
Another quick grin, something slimy within and he races over his words again, not letting you hear the danger it hides.
This is The Night Carnival, chock full of carnies, kiddie rides, games of chance and the funhouse. But look deeper, back in the shadows, beyond the Corn Maze, where something darker waits. Follow your guide, to the very end, you have no choice now.
Urbanick pulls you in from the first page, right into the carnival, with all of its sites and sounds, and fun foods frying in the air. He gives you a guide to help you along, an old carnie, who is all too eager to guide your way, as he offers up bits of carnie legend and lore, but keep your ears peeled, as he often hints at something more sinister behind the gaudy lights and sounds.
Enjoy your stay. Four stars for The Night Carnival and it’s sinister scenes within.
July Brings Hot Haunted Horrors to those Uncomfortably Dark Nights!
Scroll down for the chosen selections for July, sure to bring you many hot horrifying nights! Featuring books by Alistair Cross, Tamara Thorne, Thorne & Cross, Sue Rovens and L. Marie Wood!
More to come!
by Mark Allan Gunnells
“324 Abercorn is a thrill ride of story, with a sweet love story hidden in the middle.”–Susie Moloney, author of A Dry Spell, The Dwelling, and The Thirteen
Brad Storm doesn’t believe in ghosts, but moving into the house at 324 Abercorn just may change his mind.
Best-selling author Bradley Storm finally has enough money to buy and restore his dream home. Despite 324 Abercorn’s reputation as one of the most haunted houses in America, Bradley isn’t worried. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Then strange things begin to happen. Objects no longer where he left them. Phantom noises heard from empty rooms. Shadows glimpsed from the corner of his eye.
Is his house truly haunted, or is there something more sinister happening on the property?
With the help of Bradley’s new boyfriend and a few friends who are just as intrigued with the seemingly inexplicable occurrences surrounding the infamous house, they set out to find the truth of what stalks the halls at 324 Abercorn.
by William Gorman
“Blackwater Val is a contemporary horror novel that pays homage to the best work by the masters of the genre. The novel is rich in characterization, plot development, and the action is explosive. With one of the best endings in a horror novel that I’ve read in ages, Blackwater Val has leapt to the top spot in my favorite reads in 2016.” – Tony Tremblay, Horror World.
Something isn’t quite right in the Val.
Richard Franklin has left his Midwestern roots behind to live on the coast of Maine with his family. But in the autumn of the year 2000, he must return to his Illinois birthplace on a sorrowful journey. His wife Michelle has been killed in New England by a hit-and-run driver who is never found, so back home he comes with her cremated remains, to fulfill a final wish and on her birthday scatter her ashes in the park along the river in Blackwater Valley—simply Blackwater Val to locals—the small town where they both grew up and fell in love.
With him he brings his six-year-old daughter Katie who still grieves for her lost mother: Katie, who can sometimes guess who’s going to be on the phone before it rings. Who can stop all the clocks in the house, and break up clouds in the sky with her mind, and heal sicknesses, and who sometimes sees things that aren’t there…people who are no longer alive. All gifts she inherited from her mother.
Only something isn’t quite right in the Val.
Sinkholes are opening up, revealing the plague pits the sleepy hamlet was built over in the 1830s, when malaria and cholera outbreaks ran riot. Mysterious bird and fish die-offs begin to occur, and Katie can see ghosts of the dead gathering all around.
But what she can’t see is the charred, centuries-old malevolence which has been waiting for her, and wants her for its very own. Or the pale Sallow Man who haunts the town’s nighttime streets…or the river witch—another Blackwater Val, of sorts—each of whom will be drawn one by one into the nightmarish bloodletting about to take place.
by C.S. Alleyne
“I am blown away” by Belle Vue and “am hugely impressed by this novel – it’s ambitious and daring and amazingly imaginative”. – Jonathan Myerson, Oscar nominated, Bafta and 4 Time Emmy winner.
Jealousy. Betrayal. Murder. And a hunger for vengeance that spans the centuries…
History student Alex Palmer is thrilled when his girlfriend, Claire Ryan, buys an apartment in Belle Vue Manor, formerly a Victorian lunatic asylum.
But as Alex begins to discover the dark truth about the asylum’s past, he, Claire, and their friend Marianne find themselves on a nightmarish journey. Each will face the deadly consequences of the evil that began with the construction of the first Belle Vue Manor by an aristocratic French émigré in 1789, as well as the cruelty and satanic practices that continued when it became an asylum for the insane.
As the two strands—past and present—unfold, Alex uncovers a supernatural mystery where revenge is paramount and innocence irrelevant—without being aware of the price he, and those around him, will pay.
A Review of Belle Vue
Welcome to Belle Vue manor, a former Victorian lunatic asylum. Claire Ryan, still grieving the loss of her parents, is desperate to find someplace of her own to call home. Her boyfriend, Alex Palmer, is thrilled when she chooses the newly renovated Belle Vue manor, a former asylum. While her best friend Marianne has bad feelings about the place, Claire loves it from the first sight. As Alex sets his sights on discovering the history behind the asylum, he has no idea of the price he and the people around him are about to pay.
The back story is woven alongside the current story unfolding and it's seamlessly done. The characters are so well developed you can see them drifting through the rooms as you read. The chills build up to the point where you start to feel cold and begin looking over your own shoulder, the more you read.
This gothic horror pleased me on several levels. I’m a huge fan of gothic horror, old mansions and Victorian era anything. Add in a healthy dose of the supernatural and I’m hooked. This story is a slow burn, easing the reader into ever increasing horror as the story builds along its parallel story lines.
The disturbingly violent and satanic history of the Belle Vue asylum is told with exquisite details, historical accuracy and bone-chilling visuals while the story unfolds in front of you, in real time.
This is a story that blends jealousy, rage, and betrayal into a haunting story centuries in the making. Four stars for Belle Vue.
The Ghost Club
by William Meikle
Meikle playfully manipulates multiple styles, has sly references to real stories and has created a work which comes across as genuinely authentic. – GINGER NUTS OF HORROR.
These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day.
Here you’ll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.
Come, join us for dinner and a story:
Robert Louis Stevenson – Wee Davie Makes a Friend/
Rudyard Kipling – The High Bungalow/ Leo Tolstoy – The Immortal Memory/
Bram Stoker – The House of the Dead/ Mark Twain – Once a Jackass
Herbert George Wells – Farside/ Margaret Oliphant – To the Manor Born
Oscar Wilde – The Angry Ghost/ Henry Rider Haggard – The Black Ziggurat
Helena P Blavatsky – Born of Ether/ Henry James – The Scrimshaw Set
Anton Checkov – At the Molenzki Junction/ Jules Verne – To the Moon and Beyond
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Curious Affair on the Embankment
by Sue Rovens
About Track 9:
After a catastrophic railway accident leaves a trail of carnage and devastation in its wake, the small train station in Rain, Germany is shuttered. Six months later, Gary and Grace Wolf, returning home after their belated honeymoon, find themselves trapped inside the now defunct terminal. What they discover within its walls leads them to make harrowing decisions. What they learn about each other pushes them to the brink of disaster.
Back in Bloomington, Illinois, their best friends, Mike and Sarah Waverly, await their return. A few hours before the plane is scheduled to land, Mike becomes tormented by troubling premonitions concerning Gary and Grace. Driven to find out the truth, Mike finds himself battling mysterious and inexplicable obstacles that plunge him into his own personal hell.
Everyone’s fate hangs in a precarious balance as the clock runs out.
What the author says:
Track 9 is a tightly written tale of suspense which is woven with horror. When I was in Germany (for 8 days, years ago), I was impressed with the enormity of the train stations. The size, the overwhelming feeling - it gave me a real sense of the possibility of a ghostly, haunted presence. Track 9 is a ghost story, a thriller, and a tale about flawed people who are pushed to their limits. While there isn't excessive gore or splatter, the violence which does exist is there for a reason. I believe readers who like psychological horror, quick reads, and/or spooky stories are going to dig this one.
Review of Track 9
by Sue Rovens
“Track 9” is a hauntingly good story that takes place in Rain, Germany. The aftermath of a tragic train accident causes nothing but problems for the small town of Rain. All efforts to repair, reopen or memorialize the small train station have failed and it sits abandoned and shut off while the town decides what to do.
Gary and Grace Wolf are on a belated honeymoon when they mistakenly find themselves at the closed down station housing Track 9. Not realizing the building is closed down, Gary forces his way inside believing they are late for their train. His wife follows close behind with a nagging feeling of dread in her stomach the whole time. They are supposed to be catching their flight home where Gary’s best friend, Mike and his Sarah, are to pick them up from the airport
Further investigation of the train station reveals no other way out and their original way in is now tightly shut. It is at this point that they realize the station is completely empty and covered in dirt and dust. No open shops, no tourists, no workers. Just them and the train. In a panic, they begin looking for alternative ways out while trying to maintain their tempers.
Meanwhile, Mike is becoming increasingly upset as he begins to experience disturbing visions and hallucinations. He begins to become more agitated and concerned for his friend Gary. As the next 24 hours unfold, both couples find their sanity and their lives unraveling.
This is a long, immersive read with a simplistic approach. I loved the haunting atmosphere and I found the setting of an abandoned train station greatly appealing. Four solid stars for Track 9.
The Ravencrest Saga
by Thorne & Cross
"The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!" -Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead books
DARKNESS NEVER DIES...
Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.
DARE TO CROSS THE THRESHOLD...
Ravencrest is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own - from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants - the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …
WELCOME TO RAVENCREST...
Who is the man digging in the garden below Belinda’s bedroom window? Who - or what - is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams, and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …
ABOUT THE RAVENCREST SAGA
The Ravencrest Saga was inspired by our love of all things gothic, in particular, Dark Shadows, and Daphne du Maurier’s brilliant novel, Rebecca. We wanted to write a series; not just any old series, but one that would allow us to revel in mysterious ghosts, secret passages, witches, nature spirits, and the demonic -- not to mention murder and romance.
We wanted a heroine who would evolve in ways she never expected. In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Belinda learns she can see spirits. In The Witches of Ravencrest, she uses her growing powers to deal with the evil spirit of long-dead Rebecca Dane Manning as a group of local witches goes to war with one of Ravencrest’s residents. In Book 3, Exorcism, Ravencrest is under siege by the spirit of a murderous Manning who turns the estate’s indoor pool into a terrifying Jazz Age nightmare of demonic proportions. Shadowland, Book 4, appears this summer. Here, Belinda will come up against a dark elemental that threatens the lives of everyone at Ravencrest.
The residents of Ravencrest share their home with all who have lived and died there over the centuries. A few of the living know the secrets of the manor, but they will never tell … unless the dead compel them.
by Tamara Thorne
"Tamara Thorne is the Mistress of Malignant Mansions, the Go-to Gal of the Grand Guignol; and her latest, BRIMSTONE, solidifies her place in the pantheon of modern Gothic storytellers. With a kaleidoscopic cast of characters, a rich sense of place, and ever mounting suspense, BRIMSTONE brims with chills and thrills. Highly entertaining and highly recommended!" - Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD series
The Brimstone Grand Hotel, owned by reclusive former movie star, Delilah Devine, looms high on Hospital Hill, harboring long-buried family secrets that whisper of unimaginable horrors. Horrors that will echo down through generations.
Growing Up with Ghosts:
When Delilah’s granddaughter, Holly Tremayne, who has seen ghosts for most of her eleven years, first comes to live in the Brimstone Grand in the summer of 1968, she’s delighted by its majestic western beauty - and its chilling history. But as she settles in, making friends and enemies alike, the nightmares begin.
Within the walls of the Brimstone Grand, the past has come back to life, and Holly and Delilah are faced with an ancient familial evil that rages just below the old hotel’s serene facade. An evil that won’t rest until it possesses Holly - body, mind, and soul.
What the author says:
I love coming-of-age stories, and wanted to write one centered on a young girl. In preparation, I spent lots of time soaking up atmosphere in Jerome, Arizona, an old copper mining town known for its ghost stories. Staying at a haunted hotel that was once a hospital proved inspirational and I even mention a few of its real haunts within my tale. Brimstone centers on Holly, an independent eleven-year-old who’s been neglected by her porn star mom, and her arrival at her reclusive grandmother’s hotel. When I first conceived of the idea, my tagline was “Sunset Blvd. Meets the Shining,” but the relationship between Holly and her grandmother grew to become the heart of the book as the two find one another and fight evil familial spirits that stalk the halls of the Brimstone Grand. I love these characters and I love the ghost story.
Sleep Savannah Sleep
by Alistair Cross
“Alistair Cross shows that he is a master storyteller by giving us memorable characters and a twist ending that you’ll never see coming.” – HorrorAddicts
Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own - and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.
When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder - and he becomes a likely suspect. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.
Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem - and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.
What the author says:
I’m a sucker for spooky little towns, ghost stories, and shocking murder mysteries, so for Sleep Savannah Sleep, I combined all three. I wanted to show the dynamics of a family shattered by tragedy, while exposing the dark underbelly of small-town life. To do this, I moved recent widower, Jason Crandall, and his two children into a creepy old Victorian in the even creepier community of Shadow Springs, California, where he finds himself enmeshed in a deadly scandal that threatens the lives of his family. He soon learns that in Shadow Springs, no one can keep a secret … not even the dead.
Book Review for
Sleep Savannah Sleep
By Alistair Cross
This is a gorgeously penned story about a beautiful girl with a tragic past from a small town and the newcomer that befriends her. Recently widowed, Jason Crandall, is new to Shadow Springs. He has brought his two children in the hopes of a fresh start in a new place. Having bought an old Victorian in town, he begins to set up shop as a massage therapist and sets about coping with the loss of his wife and helping his kids adjust to the same.
Savannah Sturgess is a beautiful young girl with half the town eating out of her hands but there is more to her than meets the eye. Shadow Springs seems to be a nice little town, but it comes with its own set of small-town problems, including jealous husbands, nosy neighbors and more secrets than bodies in the town crypt.
As the story unfolds, Jason becomes hopelessly entangled in a mystery that will rock the town to its core. Savannah herself becomes the key to the mystery that surrounds him, and she will not let him rest in peace until he unravels the web, a single thread at a time.
I loved every moment of this book. The prose is elegant, and the mystery is deep. Alistair has crafted a perfect blend of mystery, thriller and supernatural all in one book. This was my first book by Alistair and I am very happy to say that it will not be my last.
There is something for everyone in this book, regardless of what genre you read. There is a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, a dose of the supernatural and more drama than you’ll see on a Lifetime movie and all of it elegantly done in Alistair’s superbly poetic style. You will absolutely want to get this book or the audiobook and then make sure to follow Alistair on Amazon, so you don’t miss any of his new releases.
Five out of Five Stars!!
by Tamara Thorne
“Tamara Thorne has become one of those must-read horror writers. From her strong characters to her unique use of the supernatural, anything she writes entertains as much as it chills.” -Horror World
The infamous Victorian mansion, Baudey House, stands sentinel on California’s rocky coast, casting its long shadow over the sleepy village of Red Cay. Veiled in fog and sinister gloom, Baudey House draws bestselling author David Masters, and his daughter, Amber, into its deadly embrace. Within its walls, David plans to write his ultimate masterpiece of horror.
Scandal and Darkness:
The mansion’s bloody history is David’s inspiration. During its days as a house of ill repute, mass murders and unspeakable acts of torture and depravities were visited upon the inhabitants and their guests by the deranged Christabel Baudey.
Baudey House is home to many ghosts, including Christabel, who still maintains her tight, torturous hold over the spirits of her victims. It is said that when the sweet scent of night blooming jasmine awakens you and phantom kisses follow, you should run for your life.
But David Masters doesn’t believe in ghosts. And that’s his first mistake.
What the authors say:
From the first, I wanted to write a haunted house novel that paid homage to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Richard Matheson’s Hell House, and some of the other haunted house novels and movies I grew up loving.
My editor suggested I add some evil dolls -- at that time, they were hot in the horror market. While I initially cringed at the idea, I did as he suggested, and took it several steps further, pulling out all the tropes; if I had to have evil dolls, I reasoned, why not include all my favorite cliches? As a result, I had an absolute blast writing this book. It’s one of my most successful to this day and has just come out in a 25th anniversary edition that includes an introduction as well as a spanking new foreword by Alistair Cross.
by L. Marie Wood
A man, haunted by a family curse, is taken beyond the limits of his sanity to a realm where he has no control over his actions or his fear. James Adams lived a normal life in a New York suburb before the demons dwelling within him awoke from their slumber to reveal unspeakable horror and prophesize his future – his destiny.
Crescendo is a novel about fate and the lengths we will travel to avoid the inevitable. Set in tranquil Rockland County, New York, this tale of suspense and horror will take listeners on an emotional roller coaster of anger, anxiety, compassion, and indelible fear.
June-Sultry Sirens & Vengeful Villains
Scroll down for the June Selections for the Sizzling Summer Series! Make sure to check back as reviews will be added for these as summer flies by!
by Thorne & Cross
"A great combination of strong characters that remind me of my V.C. Andrews characters, wonderful creepy twists, and a plot that will recall Mommie Dearest in an original take that shocks and delights at the same time. This is a full blown psychological thriller worth the investment of time and money." - Andrew Neiderman, Author of The Devil's Advocate and the V.C. Andrews novels
A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother ...
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.
Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever ...
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.
The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember. Sometimes it’s Worse ...
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger - and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”
What the Authors Say:
You think you know people, and then you find out -- not so much. That idea was what brought Mother to life. We’ve all heard so many stories about creepy mothers, from Norman Bates’ mom in fiction to Joan Crawford and her hatred of wire hangers in real life, and we love them. A few years ago, we met someone who was not only a hoarder of everything from old cans of soup to the latest fashions from the seventies, but she truly was obsessed with her adult son in extremely unhealthy ways. She was also the kind of woman who liked to watch her guests as they slept … just like the mother in our novel, Mother. The twists and turns in our book only got darker and darker from there. Mother reminds us that the real monsters are human - and sometimes, they’re very, very close to you. We had an absolute blast writing this book and found ourselves cringing regularly throughout.
The Crimson Corset
by Alastair Cross
“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you'll be glad you did. - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the Saint-Germain Cycle
Welcome to Crimson Cove:
Sheltered by ancient redwoods, nestled in mountains overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, a beautiful lake, and a notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset. It seems like a perfect place to relax and get close to nature. But not everything in Crimson Cove is natural.
When Cade Colter moves to town to live with his older brother, he expects it to be peaceful to the point of boredom. But he quickly learns that after the sun sets and the fog rolls in, the little tourist town takes on a whole new kind of life - and death.
Darkness at the Edge of Town
Renowned for its wild parties and history of debauchery, The Crimson Corset looms on the edge of town, inviting patrons to sate their most depraved desires and slake their darkest thirsts. Proprietor Gretchen VanTreese has waited centuries to annihilate the Old World vampires on the other side of town and create a new race - a race that she alone will rule. When she realizes Cade Colter has the key that will unlock her plan, she begins laying an elaborate trap that will put everyone around him in mortal danger.
The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.
What the Author had to say:
The idea of terror existing in beautiful places is part of what inspired this novel. Having grown up in a bucolic little town myself, I know that under the polished surface, dark things lurk, and that even the most innocent have their secrets. But what lurks in the shadows of the cozy village of Crimson Cove is something not quite natural - and it wants blood. Though ideal for tourists and residents by day, this quaint mountain getaway turns murderous when the sun goes down. The Crimson Corset reminds us that sometimes the darkness inside you is the only thing that can save you.
by Tamara Thorne
“Tamara Thorne has an uncanny knack for combining the outrageous with the shuddery, making for wonderful, scary romps and fun reading.” - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of The Saint-Germain Cycle
Moonfall, the picturesque community nestled in the mountains of Southern California, is a quaint hamlet of antique stores and craft shops run by the dedicated nuns of St. Gertrude’s Home for girls. As autumn fills the air, the townspeople prepare for the festive Halloween Haunt, Moonfall’s most popular tourist attraction. Even a series of unsolved murders over the years hasn’t dimmed Moonfall’s renown. Maybe because anyone who knew anything about them has disappeared.
Now, Sara Hawthorne returns to her hometown… and enters the hallowed halls of St. Gertrude’s where, twelve years before, another woman died a horrible death. In Sara’s old room, distant voices echo in the dark, and the tormented cries of children shatter the moon-kissed night.
But that’s just the beginning, for Sara Hawthorne is about to uncover St. Gertrude’s hellish secret…a secret she’ll carry with her to the grave …
What the Author says: If you like Halloween, hot apple pie, and creepy old orphanages run by even creepier old nuns, Moonfall is the place for you. It was inspired by an editor who hoped I might give him a little payback on the nasty sisters who tortured him in elementary school. I loved that idea, so I set the orphanage in a place based on a mountain village that I visit every fall. Like Moonfall, it knows how to celebrate Halloween with plays, apple pie, and pumpkins. But Moonfall has it beat in the evil nun department. Watch out for the flying gargoyles, too -- they’re almost as deadly as the nuns.
by Alastair Cross
“Dream Reaper is as lush and ethereal as it is visceral and unholy. A demonic horde seeks to swallow up the citizens of Prominence made vulnerable by their weaknesses. Those who take a stand against the evil are emotionally damaged as well; particularly a sheriff who battles his personal demons in a bottle. The author had me rooting for each of them in spite of, or maybe because of their flaws. With masterful pacing, Cross brings a small mystery to a raging boil that threatens every soul in Prominence. His exquisite prose drew me into the story as if I were living it. Highly recommended.”
- QL Pearce, author of the Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs series, and Spine Chillers: Hair-Raising Tales
Angel or Demon?
Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro, and Madison O’Riley has no clue what to do with him. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes the mysterious man who saved her life harbors deep, otherworldly secrets that will put her in grave danger.
The Devil is in the Details
Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a price, he’s willing to make a deal. Walking the streets in top hat and trench coat, he tempts the citizens with mysterious wares from his shiny black briefcase. But buyer beware: All sales are final - and fatal.
A Scorching New Terror Has Come to Town
The townspeople are changing in appalling ways and it's up to Madison - with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police - to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence ... and costs them their very souls …
What the Author Says:
It all started with a guy I saw walking down the street near my house one day. He was dressed to the nines, with slicked-back dark hair, and carried a shiny black briefcase in one hand, and a cigarette in a long ebony holder in the other. As I watched him cross the street, I turned to my friend and said, “There goes my next bad guy.” And Gremory Jones, the Reaper of Dreams, was born.
I gave him six demonic acolytes, put him in a little California village near the historic ghost town of Bodie, threw in a cop, a priest, a psychic, and an amnesiac, added a dollop of romance, a pinch of gothic, and shook it well … and so it was that Dream Reaper emerged from the pits of Hell …
Dream Reaper by Alistair Cross
What an outstanding novel! Alistair Cross continues to shine as one of my new favorite authors. His poetic writing style is full of beautiful imagery and descriptions, full of well-rounded characters of all types that make you love them and hate them and shudder with glee and glory at their deeds, their lives, their sins and their victories. Dream Reaper is a beautifully written tale of terror that leaves you wanting more, even before the story itself is truly over. It pulls you in to its small town and makes you a part of the story. You begin to feel like a neighbor peeking over the fence and asking yourself “just what in the holy hell is going on over there?” I asked myself that very question several times as I peeked over the fence and into the lives that Alistair lays bare for our entertainment.
The story centers around Madison O’Riley and a gorgeously handsome man who calls himself “Alejandro” clearly suffering from amnesia of some sort. He rescues her during a torrential rainstorm which sends Madison falling from her roof, into her new Koi pond below, only to be saved by the very handsome and very naked stranger. After she recovers, she sets about trying to help the mysterious stranger recover his identity.
Within days of his sudden appearance, a new stranger comes to town by the way of Gremory Jones, and he’s something of a wheeler and dealer, selling his wares to tempted townsfolk, but all things come with a price and his price is deadly. New police chief, Nicholas Grayson, arrives in town hoping for a fresh start in a quiet place but little does he know this small town is about to burst at the seams, with blood and terror, on levels that he is quite unable to comprehend. The small town of Prominence is about to become unhinged, darker than night and more depraved than most of the sinners in Hell.
I feel like there is much more to be explored in the small town of Prominence and I cannot wait to explore more stories by Alistair Cross. This story kept my full attention from start to finish, whisked me away to place that I could clearly see in my mind and fully immersed me in the tale.
Five Stars for Dream Reaper.
Click the link below to buy your copy today!
by Daniel Volpe
Favorite quote from a reviewer.
Reviewer: Trina Urso-Piccolo
Daniel J. Volpe has outdone himself with Talia. This novel is deeper and darker than Billy Silver and getting to know these characters layer by layer is like peeling an onion.... a dirty, blood-soaked onion.
Synopsis of Talia, by the author
Talia is a brutal, extreme horror story about a young woman trying to make it big for herself in New York City during the early 1990s. Talia finds herself in a small production off-Broadway and is wrapped up with the wrong people. The worst of those ‘wrong’ people, is a sleazy mobster named Mike.
Mike, using intimidation and coercion, pushes Talia into a world of underground pornography. Talia is soon swept up in the life, along with her normal co-star, Simone. Some of the movies are fairly tame, others can be gross, with Mike’s business model focusing on fetish videos. The movies soon turn from gross, to violent, prompting Simone to re-think her role in the industry.
Talia, seeing her friend’s exit from the life, decides she might follow suit, but treachery and betrayal await her.
Left with no other options, Talia turns to a mysterious stranger and his dog to help her. A mysterious stranger with red, glowing eyes.
Why you should read this violent, sexual filth
Talia is hardcore. Plain and simple. This book pulls no punches and that’s quite evident from the beginning. Yes, there’s sex and violence in this book…a lot of if, but not just randomly. The graphic nature of this book is for a reason and each fluid-covered scene moves the story. Also, if you love a good, bloody revenge tale, this is for you. This book deals with a lot of taboo subjects: exploitation, sex work, drug abuse, violent fetishes, necrophilia, and rape. If any of these may upset you, please avoid this book. If you want to take a journey down a dark path…take my hand.
Daniel J. Volpe is an author of extreme horror and splatterpunk. His love for horror started at a young age when his grandfather unwittingly rented him A Nightmare on Elm Street. His novella, Billy Silver has received praise from many readers and authors alike, including Edward Lee and Dustin LaValley. He can be found on Facebook @ Daniel J. Volpe, Instagram
Talia by Daniel Volpe
Daniel Volpe has outdone himself with Talia and simultaneously set the bar even higher for those in his league. The story of Talia, the iconic character from Volpe’s “Billy Silver”, is crafted with the surgical precision of a neurosurgeon wielding his sharpest blade. This origin story, of a young woman with big dreams, a young woman that becomes something more than even she would realize, delivers a twisted tale of gruesome gore, and greed, with absolutely no punches pulled.
Like a champion boxer, dancing around the ring, Volpe delivers Talia’s story through carefully planned uppercuts, gut punches and a jaw-dropping TKO, that will leave readers shook and weak in the knees. I loved every round, every word, every earth-shattering blow.
I honestly don’t know if I’m to be more impressed with the author or the editor, seeing as how the editing was every bit as precise as the story was. Zero filler words exist in this story, zero fluff, just grit, grime, and gore in a sublime tail that pulled me right in and kept me, enthralled and cringing, until the very end.
Talia, is beyond uncomfortably dark, she is a work of art. Five seriously sick stars.