Uncomfortably Dark Book Reviews
UPDATE: CLOSED TO ALL NEW REQUESTS UNTIL 1/15/2024.
Books will be scheduled in the order they are requested. Acceptance of a book is NOT a guarantee of a POSTED review. Reviews are still subject to our policy.
We accept all horror, dark fantasy, dark crime, dark poetry, and sci-fi.
*UDH posts limited reviews from Nov. 15 - Jan.15 for personal time for the team.
**We do not read or review romance or erotica of any kind, (except horrorotica). We do not read or review any explicit content depicting graphic child rape and/or sexual abuse.
3 = Good Solid Read
4 = Great Read, Excellent Writing
5 = Superior to most other reads
Reviews by Candace Nola
The Creator of Uncomfortably Dark
THE VAMPIRE OF KOLN
By William Becker
Set in the rubble of World War II Cologne, Germany, this bone-chilling tale follows the American First Army as they uncover an ancient evil lurking in the shadows. Each chapter introduces a new character falling prey to the creature's insatiable thirst, their gruesome deaths described in vivid, stomach-churning detail.
From a young boy to a hardened soldier, no one is safe from the vampire's grasp. As the body count rises, the survivors must band together and find a way to defeat the monster before it's too late. But as the vampire's power grows stronger with each kill, they realize they may be facing an evil beyond their wildest nightmares.
I’m a sucker for a good vampire tale (pun fully intended) and this one was a fantastic ride. Full of well-researched historical facts and imagery from WWII, this story pulls no punches as the horror builds. Right in the middle of war-torn Koln, something more evil than men at war has arrived to partake in the carnage. Becker did a wonderful job of combining military horror with extreme horror elements, and the terror of an unstoppable predator on the hunt. It’s fast-paced, immersive, and delivers a solid story.
DEVIANTS AND DECADENTS
By Lisa Vasquez, Jae Mazer, Megan Stockton, and Dicey Grenor
Deviants and Decadents is a beautifully written collection from the Unsaintly Queen, Lisa Vasquez, and featuring special guests Jae Mazer, Megan Stockton, and Dicey Grenor. Full of dark beauty and raw sensual grace, these ladies have brought their spiciest and most powerful depths of emotional empowerment to this incredible collection. Midsummer Nightmare, Please, and Brimstone Manor were favorites for me, if forced to choose, but every piece in this collection is a delightfully delicious read.
4.5 stars for Deviants and Decadents.
THE DAUGHTERS OF BLOCK ISLAND
by Christa Carmen
Take a classic Victorian gothic, combine it with a modern slasher, sprinkle in a heavy dose of mystery, and you might come close to this story. Christa Carmen nails her take on a gothic horror in The Daughters of Block Island. All the traits of your typical gothic novel are here: the dreadful mansion, decaying and ominous, the heavy sense of oppression, the dreary weather that seems to get worse as the story unfolds. But, spinning it neatly into the future, Carmen adds a meta take to the story which solidifies it nicely in modern times. I loved the storyline itself, the richly detailed characters, and the dialogue. This was my first story by Carmen, but it will not be my last.
A BLEAK REMEDY
By DS LaLonde
A Bleak Remedy is a unique take on vampire lore. Combine an unusual creature with a more unusual human, along with a team of scientists trying to harness and understand what they simply cannot, and you have a recipe for disaster. LaLonde’s story is character driven and structured with short but fast-paced chapters that offer snippets of information as the story unfolds. While not told in my preferred story-telling format, I enjoyed the pacing and the uniqueness of the storyline. I’m curious to see where this series goes as this first one was well worth the read.
POPE LICK MASSACRE 2:
BY ERIC BUTLER
“In this sequel to Pope Lick Massacre, Butler kicks murder and mayhem into high-gear. Character driven and action packed, the blood flows like water straight through to the last page. You’ve never read Butler like this before.”
My blurb above for SILLY RABBITS barely does the full story justice. This sequel to POPE LICK MASSACRE is everything that you could hope for from a sequel, except more. More blood, more gore, more characters, more action. The varying character arcs all come together in a final climatic rush that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The Goatman is glorious in this storyline, creepier, scarier, and bloodier.
Like my blurb says, you’ve never read Butler like this before. 5 stars.
THE GATEWAY IN APARTMENT 8
BY CHISTO HEALY
I went into this story almost blind, having only a vague idea of what it was about. The cover sold me on this one, and I skipped reading the back cover text. I had already read a few great reviews for this one, so I jumped in. First off, the characters are fantastically written. I felt like these were real people that I might know in my own life, great dialogue, relatable scenarios and emotions. Everything that you would expect a person to feel in this situation.
Secondly, the increasing tension kept me interested and the pages turning. The overall feel of the building dread, the need to find out the mystery to this apartment and why these things were happening continued to pull me in long after bedtime. I found myself wanting to know along with the main character.
Very solid read from Chisto Healy. 4 stars.
STRING THEM UP
BY WILLIAM STERLING
I honestly don’t know what to say about this one.
Can I just say “what the fuck?” and “this gave me nightmares” and leave it at that?
No? Fine. Here you go then.
This was nightmare fuel.
Gore-yes, loads of graphic, visceral descriptions that will haunt your dreams.
Mystery and tension? Yup, got that too, by the bucket-loads.
Relatable and human? Yup, checked that box. Grief, fear, despair, sorrow, fury, vengeance. All here.
My first by Sterling. Will NOT be my last. 4.5 stars.
THE HORROR AT PLEASANT BROOK
BY KEVIN LUCIA
What happens when something evil invades a small town, hell-bent on destroying everything in its path? Kevin Lucia may soon be called the Stephen King of the new generation of writers. The Horror at Pleasant Brook is a well-written small-town horror story that will consume the reader within its pages.
Lucia places you squarely in Pleasant Brook, immersing you in the town and the horror as its spreads, not only letting you read the story but making you part of it. I have experienced this feeling with few writers, King, first and foremost. Now, I add Kevin Lucia to that list.
BY MJ MARS
There are few things I love more than a haunted house story and MJ Mars pulls off an epic one within the pages of The Suffering. Centered around a long-forgotten séance gone wrong years ago, the new inhabitants of the house quickly discover that it’s not over.
With perfect gothic elements, a fresh group of characters in modern times and spooky ghosts on a mission, The Suffering will stay with you long after the story is told.
4 glowing stars.
SLEEPING IN THE FIRE
BY JOHN DURGIN
With his collection, Durgin has crafted a perfect blend of campfire tales that mesh perfectly with s’mores, crisp leaves, and a flickering fire casting spooky shadows across the face of your chosen storyteller. Durgin is exactly that, a storyteller that is doing exactly what he was meant to do.
Some writers write because they want to. They take time to learn the craft and master it, which in itself is amazing. Durgin is a rare gem among us because he is a natural storyteller, it’s who he is, and he only gets better with every word put to page. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
4.5 orange embers.
Edited by Tim Meyer and Kenneth Cain.
Never Wake is a brilliantly curated anthology of fever dreams pulled from the deepest voids and the darkest abyss. Nightmares from beyond our realm, hovering just out of reach in the midnight hours.
Those monsters that keep us captive in our beds, too paralyzed to breathe, fear seeping from our pores and cold sweat soaking the sheets. Some will rise screaming in the night while some may never wake. You’ve been warned.
The abyss is waiting. 4.5 stars
WHITE TRASH AND RECYCLED NIGHTMARES
By Rebecca Rowland
I have been a fan of Rebecca Rowland's work for a while now and I am always impressed with her writing. This newest offering from Rebecca Rowland proves the absolute range of her work, from creatures to killers and everything in-between, nothing is off limits. Every story drips with an ever- increasing dread that ushers you into a horrific gut punch of an ending, every single time.
Kudos on a perfectly gruesome collection. 4.5 stars.
*Releases Oct. 10, 2023