THE REST STOP
BY ERIC BUTLER
Eric Butler and I have a history… a history of me wanting to take out a kneecap. Think back to 2021 if you follow any of my insanity and you will remember how pissed I was about POPE LICK MASSACRE (iykyk). Well, he did it again! He has done pissed off me in 2023. Great job, Cargo Shorts.
Kylie, Sara, and their Uncle Jack are just trying to get to their destination in one piece, but one rest stop break makes that a fight for their lives.
TRS had me reading so damn fast so I could see what was going to happen next and I was on the edge of my bed the whole time. Butler crafts a world that not only is scary but is too real to not be unnerving. The twists and turns do not stop coming until the very end. I know I’m going to get flak for this, but it is his best work so far. A not at all surprising, HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
HOT IRON AND COLD BLOOD
AN ANTHOLOGY OF THE WEIRD WEST
Edited by Patrick McDonough
I love anthologies. I also love westerns. So, when I saw a western horror anthology I was like, uh … yes. And friends, I need you to understand this is the best anthology I have read so far this year and maybe since I have been in this community. There are sixteen stories, but I will only be talking about the ones I gave 10/5 stars to. Now, I want to explain that there is only 1 - 4 star in this group. I will repeat that - out of sixteen stories only ONE is a four star. The rest are 5/5 or higher. That is absolute insanity. Anyway, let’s get into the super stars of the collection:
Ruthless by Jill Girardi - When a long believed, dead daughter is spotted, old wounds are felt by those affected by the disappearance. (One of my favorites.)
Holes by Brennan LaFaro - What happens to souls that just can’t quit you. The imagery and hopelessness in this story is phenomenally written.
Soiled Doves by Vivian Kasley - How many whorehouses are too many? Sometimes the competition can kill you. This one is bananas.
The Deviltry of Elemental Valence by Edward Lee - Don’t be nosy when digging up bodies. Things can get very time confused. Classic Lee and some of my favorite Easter eggs in this one.
Old World Birds by Drew E. Huff - Differences make you stand out but not always in a good way. Even if it can bring you love unknown. Bizarre, stunning, and brilliant.
Rope and Limb by Jeff Strand - Darius is sentenced to death by hanging for something he technically didn’t do. For his final words, he has some suggestions on improving in the future. I cackled throughout this whole story. It’s perfect.
It Calls by Patrick McDonough - Don’t wish upon a star, don’t assume everything you see is real, and don’t trust anything with tendrils. A creature feature with a whole lot of sadness.
Hungry by Jesse Allen Chapman - Chinese railroad workers must choose between their food or their lives while learning the horrible truth about their camp site.
Seeking a Grave in Canaan by Wile E. Young - A Gun and his owner walk into a bar… this is biblical, familial, and 100% unnerving.
Friends, you need this anthology. Not a want, a need. McDonough went above and beyond bringing it together and I promise you will not be disappointed. An absolute DOUBLE OFF THE CHARTS 20/5.
NO GUILT OF BLOODSHED
BY JOHN BALTISBERGER
Baltisberger… I tell you what, this guy consistently rocks my socks off. How he etches each line in the words of hate into every one of his stories leaves me in awe. You feel everything and NGFB is no different.
Mal and his trusty golem dog Misphat are out to right some wrongs and collect a bad guy penis or two. (Trust me, it makes sense when you read the story.) As Mal and Misphat are encouraged to perform side quests to get to collect the treasures (penises) to battle the final boss, the reader is taken on a bloodbath that just well… rocks.
Baltisberger shocked me with some of the on page kills. I gasped, said, “Holy shit!” more than once, and found myself rooting for Mal even though he refuses to apologize for the blood and carnage left in his wake. This one ranks in the Top 5 of the Splatterwesterns from DHP for me. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend 10/5.
THEY COME FROM WITHIN
By Jason Nickey
Well, Jason does it again! THEY COME FROM WITHIN has nine, NINE, bangers of stories. Let’s get into them.
Late-Term - by far, one of the most thought-provoking short stories I have read in 2023. This will definitely hit harder for parents.
Documentary - Dissociation at its finest. (This is such a clever and inventive spin for a story.)
Self-checkout - Always remember, no good deed goes unpunished.
A Shared Experience - Roadside bathrooms will never be the same after reading this.
Polly’s Cracker - A woman being nosy and jumping to conclusions, a tale as old as time.
Danny’s Dilemma - Things aren’t always what they seem even to a young child.
Firebug - Fire can be cleansing, but sometimes too much.
Safe Travels - When your trip has a few hiccups…
Prank - What’s funny to one person, may end up deadly for another.
My favorites are Late-Term and Prank but they are all amazing. Sometimes, I read collections and there are a few I’m like, meh, obvious filler. But Nickey doesn’t do that. He gives up great in every one of them. An easy HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend. 10/5.
Simon McHardy & Sean Hawker
These guys… again. They got me with this one. Old people sex is gross but when you add in prolapsed vaginas (DO NOT for the love of God google that, use me as a cautionary tale. Let’s just leave it at that), you get even more insanity.
Granny or Princess Cunt likes to get her cougar prowl on. Unfortunately, for those she encounters, they come away with more than just a few scratches. When two gritty, not too trusting police officers ask questions, fur will fly… but who’s?
GRANNY is offensive (possibly one of their most to date), gross, kinda hot at times and as always hilariously perfect. If you don’t like animal deaths, I would pass on this one (you whiny babies). Not a shock at all a HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend, 10/5.
By Audrey Rush
I found a call for horror erotica readers on Tiktok and thought, hey, I love both of those! Sign me up, and by golly, I’m glad I did.
Theodore is a stuffer of things: dead animals, people, whatever is lying around. When a Mother brings her Daughter to Teddy to get … stuffed, things aren’t what they seem. Theodore is a perfectionist and he doesn’t like things half-assed.
SKIN a short story of pure insanity! From the first line, “I crush the head of my dick a like a stress ball as the video zooms in closer to the woman’s face”, the reader knows they are in for a good time… well, at least an interesting time. For jaded extreme horror/splatterpunk readers, this is a breath of fresh air. It’s creative, kinda hot, and well, bloody. Rush definitely needs to come into the extreme horror/splatterpunk realm and hang out with us. What’s a little necrophilia between friends?
An absolute HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
COUNTING BODIES LIKE SHEEP
Edited by K. Trap Jones
Is there anything Trap releases that isn’t gold?! Because if there is, I need to know about it immediately. Because friends, this is an anthology for the ages.
My Chopping List (Stephen Kozeniewski) - When happens when you try to outsmart a savvy list maker.
Rats in Sheep’s Clothing (Lucas Milliron) - I stand by my opinion that furries are freaking weird and this story just re-confirms that.
The Steak Eating Freak (M.J. Davis) - I will never eat steak or go to a restaurant again.
Payback’s a Bitch (Edward Lee and Roman Neznayu) When Hank only saw one set of hoof prints it was because Satan was carrying him.
Sausage (Jeremy Megaree) - Now I don’t trust speaker boxes… or recycling.
Blood Expectations (Robert Essig) - Poor Sasquatch. And for the love of God, keep your weirdo fantasies to yourself.
Body Drop (Gerard Houarner) - A behind the scenes look at body clean up, kinda.
Slop (Armand Rosamilia) - Pigs like meat. Lots of meat. Bad guy meat especially.
Dance, Bitch (Christine Morgan) - Snow White is understanding, even on her wedding day and requests the evil witch to dance at it.
Club Rules (Sarah Budd) - Old friends aren’t to be trusted and dream jobs aren’t always that great.
Bit hit/Near Miss (Dustin LaValley and Daniel Volpe) - Don’t have a gambling addiction or take on unknown favors.
Paper Cut (Josh Davis) - Paper cuts are now a gateway kink. This story had me so uncomfortable but kinda hot.
Garden Club (Trevor Newton) - Some titles in life are hard to give up.
The Taste of it Fresh (Richard Dansky) - Self-disgust can be downright delectable to some.
Shits ‘N Giggles (Bridgett Nelson) - A doctor lends one of his nurses a hand and enjoys his Spotify list with some co-workers.
A Mishap in the Garden of Eden (K Trap Jones) - Jesus had a drinking problem and a problem with nuts.
Just Lee/Neznayu’s and Davis’s stories were worth the price of admission and most of them keep you reading. I see why this was nominated and is a heavy contender in my opinion. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 5/5.
BOUQUET OF VISCERA
By Bridgett Nelson
We have all seen this one floating around our Facebook groups the past year, so let’s get into it.
Auras - Blaire starts seeing things that others can’t and learns a family secret or two too many.
Political Suicide - How far would you go to avenge your child’s death? Dr. Jennifer Perry finds that out the hard way.
Spores - Being alone on a mountain top is no fun, especially when you are a little too curious as a scientist.
Invaders - Olivia finds out her friends aren’t as faithful as she once thought. One beach, four ex-friends, and a dozen huge problems.
Cooked! - Flanna is a tour guide for the White House in the future. When a new microchip comes out that can stop viruses, the bad comes with the good.
Reflections - Does killing bad guys make you a bad guy eventually?
Jinx - Jimmy is having a rough go of it and when she believes she has moved on from her past, she realizes it isn’t through with her.
The Show Must Go On - Lana had it rough but fifty years later, she has a chance at redemption.
BoV is a solid debut collection. The cover attracts readers immediately and the indie authors blurbing it are impressive. I have read more from Nelson and have found a few I really, really enjoyed. But this one rates at a 3/5.
ALWAYS LISTEN TO HER HURT
By Kezie Jennings
I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting but this collection knocked my socks off!
Wreckers - Sometimes those we trust the most with our children, we shouldn’t.
It’s the Little Things - Eleanor is bored with her colleagues and students so she spices things up until a mistake comes back to haunt her.
Paper Dolls - A cute beginning of the year project for individual art projects gives glimpses into their futures.
The Gentle Art of Nominication - Loni is the Queen bitch at the office and choices must be made.
AMA One … AMA Two… - Jason returns to a previous destination years after meeting Cari. Jellyfish aren’t the only ones that hold secrets.
Peelings - Beth’s family aren’t her biggest fans and on a Disney type trip, everything comes to a head.
Just a Local Thing - Kat and Del are on a vacation with their daughter whine they are treated to local shenanigans.
#TheVacationers - Vacations can be killer…
This House - When a house turns out to be more than where the heart is.
The Shakes - Revenge is best served when you are in your right mind.
The Hot Box - Sometimes the known is scarier than the unknown.
Single, Middle-Aged Cat Lady Seeks… - Don’t go home with cat ladies… ever.
A stellar collection with a wide variety of insanity for all tastes. A must read 4.5/5.
By Axl Barnes
Well, I have another author to stalk. Let’s get into this amazing collection:
Numbskull - This story will ruin onions, watermelon, and potatoes for you.
Closing Shift - Poor Mandip. Between exhaustion, Catherine, the main character, and an escalator, you would think she would have stayed home.
Night Soil - Dejected by her flavor of the week, Tanya finds the voices may be back and all too late.
The Playground with Crosses - Nope. Nooooope. One of my biggest fears in this one.
Natasha Suicide - If overkill was a story.
Florica, the Legend - Not everyone should be idolized and Florica is one of them.
A Perfect Day - if you loved E.A. Robinson’s Richard Cory poem, you will love this short story.
Sunday Evil - What happens when two suicidal ex-lovers come back together after years apart?
Dead Seed - End of the world checklist 1) don’t have cancer 2) don’t fuck zombie necks. … that’s about it.
Axl interweaves his theme seamlessly in this collection and I’m not sure why this isn’t talked about more. Each story is flawless, and you can tell the emotions that are on display. An absolute treat! A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
ALL THE RAGE
By David Hardy
Do you know the easiest way to get me to read your story? Say zombies and I’m done. (Or demons, or hell, or angels/demons, or smut, …) I had had my eyes on this one since I had seen the cover and friends, I am not disappointed at all.
Nathan is in the pokey for a murder that was 100% needed but you know the legal system. And Ashlee, well, she just has had a bad life. When circumstances put these two unlikely road trip buddies together, things go from bad to worse. No one can be trusted and sickness is running amuck.
David Hardy, you have been holding out on us! AtR has so much happening but everything is so cohesive. Dual POV (a favorite), zombies, and complete mayhem are throughout this novel. The gut punches come one right after the other to the very last page. I’m so impressed by this novel and cannot wait to see what he has in store for us next.
An easy HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
By Rowland Bercy, Jr.
I don’t want to review this. I really don’t. Not because it’s poorly written or the characters are flat, not even because the book was terrible. No, not for any of that. It’s because this is the most disgusting, unnerving, and close to vomiting I have been with a book all year. I walked away from this book three times! I don’t put books down. Rowland got me though. He got me good.
Jacob… ugh. Jacob. He likes to do science stuff and not the cool make volcanoes erupt kind. But the kind that makes people sick and whatnot. When he teams up with Andrew things get really spicy and messy.
That’s it. That’s all you get. I can’t talk about it anymore! Rowland writes so damn well that you can smell, taste, feel, hear, and see the things he describes… and it’s not a good thing with this book, ha.
I’m calling this in now, this will be my #1 most repulsive read of the year. *shivers*
An off the charts SUPER DUPER RECOMMEND 20/5. I need everyone to be as grossed out as I am.
COME HITHER NO MALICE
By J. D. Buffington
What if… Medusa wasn’t as bad as the myth says? I always felt she got the short end of the stick (no pun of Zeus’s penis intended). What if Perseus was a greater hero than we learned in school?
This reimagining of one of my absolute favorite Greek myths is something spectacular. In 50+ pages, Buffington forces the reader to question so many what if’s. And Buffington maintains Medusa’s innocence and what was taken from her in such a thoughtful and cautious manner.
While a shorter novella, it isn’t short on commentary and need for introspection. Truly, the best reimagining I have ever read.
Another one off the charts, a HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 20/5.
WE THE BROKEN
By Simon McHardy & Sean Hawker
I want to preface this review with, WTB is not like anything you have read from Mchardy and Hawker. I didn’t laugh once, I didn’t smile or think, “these crazy kids”. WTB is 100% dark and I’m not going to lie, I kinda like this side of them.
Alison has had a bad run (no pun intended) in the luck department. A tragic accident has left her minus a parent, one parent with a new addiction, an oblivious brother, and her in a wheelchair. When a mean girls prank goes too far, every life will be altered.
WTB is heavy and I mean hurt your heart heavy. When you strip away the duos typical insane shenanigans, you have a morality tale. Normally I would be cackling and talking about the trigger warnings these two are known for but this one, the triggers are more somber.
I need (and want) more like WE THE BROKEN from Hawker and McHardy. Fans are going to be surprised but impressed by this new side of their voices. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
HER TEETH, LIKE WAVES
By Nikki R. Leigh
Ooooh you like sea tales? Unknown creatures? Sirens? Well, I got the novella for you, friends.
Mitch is an adventurous type of guy. Especially when he finds the exact location of unexplored underwater caves. He brings his camera and some friends along. But… you know, shenanigans happen. Then his twin sister, Kat, and her girlfriend, Jules, set off to with Pauline, their boat and guide to find out what is taking that rascal so long. Town legends are told and bodies wash up… will they be next?
Holy Toledo in a bean and cheese burrito! This was a banger. I mean, from beginning to end I was glued to this story to find out what happened next. Leigh’s story telling is freaking superb. A rollercoaster of emotions and questions, I couldn’t get enough. There is blood and gore enough for my extreme friends and a tight, perfectly told story for all of us. I can’t find a single flipping thing wrong with this book so it gets an off the chart HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 20/5.
THE FILTHY MARAUDERS
By Bob Freville
I loved this one so much last year that the second Bob asked if I wanted to listen on audio, I jumped at the chance and everything from my original review stands.
Spunk just wants to get his band of merry misfit bikers and head to get some extra… D.A.R.E. Not approved items. What starts off as a potentially fun little getaway, turns into a death dodging extravaganza. Will Moe, Spunk, Foxie, Scalps, Bones, Brainiac and Gary survive the getaway or will they take their big bikes to the other side?
Look, that synopsis is like Mister Rodgers in comparison to this novella. Let me make something clear, this is an action packed, gorefest of awesome. Freville has such a distinct but genre bucking voice that no one is really in the same level of writing that he is. Also, there is a giant cock in a woman’s vagina… not that kind you bunch of perverts.
With a mix of Splatterpunk, bizarro, and even elements of suspense, this needs to be at the top of your to buy list this month.
It was so much fun to revisit this insanity on Audible (which I recommend highly as well) and it’s still a 5/5 from this Freville loving gal.
By Josh Davis
I had had my eyes on this one for a while and finally snagged the audiobook so I could get through it a bit faster and friends, I am glad I did.
Margo is a single mom to Tika, her 10 month old daughter. He friend, Rachel, asked her to housesit in a not so nice neighborhood, what could possibly go wrong? Not heeding the three omens she experienced on the way to Rachel’s will come back to haunt her… if she survives.
This gave me WARRIOR vibes for some reason and I loved it so much. Not to the extent of the movie but you will get it when you read it. Davis takes us on a splatter-y, human trafficking, gang turf drawing, vengeance fueled rollercoaster and holy shit was I all about it. Also, I’m a firm believer in omens so I was like, “Margo, you dumb bitch…”
A quick paced, bloody, stress filled read just waiting to be enjoyed. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 5/5.
ON HER HEELS
By Eve L. Fell
Oh, Eve, is there anything that isn’t amazing coming from you lately!? Three freaking bangers from this gal and I am a stan for sure.
Ashton has a type, (don’t we all). He pays their bills, visits them at work, and keeps them safe from the bad guys… except him. When Irina becomes his next potential victim, previous loves of Ashton’s life come back to haunt him. Will Irina be his happily ever after?
Fell has a way of sucking the readers in and not letting go. She gives us a story each time that is not only going to knock our socks off but give us whiplash from the twists and turns she hands out like candy on Halloween. This one is no exception. Each story she writes is better than the last and that is so hard to do. She’s an autobuy for me and she should be for you too.
An easy peasy HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
Ohhhhh, buddy. Buckle up. This is going to get crazy.
Janie wants to go to a new art gallery and Andrew is not keen on it. Who wants to go around some fancy scmancy gallery, not Andrew. When the owner, Hampton, takes a likely to Andrew’s wife, things get weird but the exhibits Andrew sees are weirder. Hampton wants to “do” Janie and Andrew isn’t excited about a threesome. Can he save her from what’s in store?
I’m in shock with this one. It’s not even close to what we are used to with an Ericmore and I’m kinda in love with it. The humor is there but turned down to a 2, which works perfectly. The gore is at a 3 so we still get a wee bit of gross. But it’s surrealism in writing. I would go as far as to say Neo-gothic surrealism. You literally feel trapped in a painting and it is the damnedest thing! This one is hard to explain but I know I need more like BLACK GALLERY.
Give me Rene Margritte, Mark Ryden, and/or Salvador Dali vibes any day with literature and I will show up with bells on (and clothes because no one wants to see that). A DOUBLE OFF THE CHARTS RECOMMEND from me with a 20/5.
ADDICTED TO VENGEANCE
By Stephen Cooper
*glares at Stephen Cooper*
Barrett has a bit of a kink, well, maybe it’s not a kink per se but he kinda enjoys getting the shit beat out of him and then exacting revenge. But when he meets the perfect woman and has the perfect daughter, all of that goes away. Right? RIGHT?!
*sigh* I cussed Stephen for something in this novella. Look, you will too so let’s not judge me just yet. Cooper’s ability to write emotional devastation mixed with brutal carnage is going to be his signature. I just know it.
His ability to evoke these feelings and reactions shock me every time I read something new from him (at this writing, I have read four by him and see no signs of stopping). He is going to be someone to watch very closely and side eye the entire time. Definitely the rising star of the year in my opinion. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
Have you ever heard The Aristocrats joke before? If not, please pause reading and go YouTube it. Because you are going to read it in eleven different ways in eleven different authors imitating other authors writing voices and it … is… insanity. Let’s just jump in.
Tom Bradley writing as Marquis De Sade - Sade is in an insane asylum telling the Director of his production ideas that include other patients and those who have wronged him.
KD Porch writing as HP Lovecraft - Lovecraft, turned away at the Palace, sneaks back to watch Pertwee’s family’s “performance” but granny accidentally summons Asstomouth.
Mike Ennenbach writing as Stanislaw Len - Ivan wants to go to Hawaii. His government job says different. This makes you want McDonald’s and Wendy’s. Fucking Diedrich.
Dav Crabes writing as William S. Burroughs - Hmmm. I can 100% say I have no clue what happened besides the foundation joke. But I would definitely read more from Dave.
Regina Watts writing as Vladimir Nabokov - Frank Kempler just wants to go to his office but must share a can with two ladies who will make his night unforgettable.
Kevin Sweeney writing as Lewis Carroll - I will NEVER fall asleep during a play. Absolutely horrific … and hilarious.
Benzo Monroe writing as Hunter S. Thompson - Dear God. Definitely NOT for the USO. Absolute depravity.
Gary Shipley writing as Jean Baudrillard - What the fuck did I just read? Space/time, family infused after gernades explodes, self cloning. It is something else.
Sean Kilpatrick writing as Thomas Griffith Wainewright - A whole bunch of nonsensical perfection. Weird, Carroll-sequel, and provocative.
Ben Arzate writing as James Ellroy - Holy shit. Pretty dead on with Ellroy’s style. Brutal and 100% offensive.
Justin Isis writing as Damon Runyon - Dildo Darren and Maurice the Mauritianian fo in search of a film they need to find the name to.
This is probably one of the most offensive collections I have ever read and that’s saying something. Each author has the same foundation but builds such a shithouse of insanity that the reader is left shaking their head. The five standouts are: Ennenbach, Sweeney, Watts, Monroe, and Arzate.
A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND for anyone that can take a freaking joke. 10/5.
By Roni Stinger
I have never read anything like this and I have to have more!
Jamie is a forest/park ranger who just wants to preserve the hot springs in the park. Aaron is her assistant and resident handyman. When bodies start piling up from the pool inside the cave, more than one secret is at risk of being exposed.
Guys, guys. Stop reading this and go get it, read it, THEN finish this review. (I know you won’t, you little scamps, but you should). I hate the water to begin with and stories like this just solidify why I refuse to even dip my toes in. It’s an ecological, body, botanical, organic horror. I’m saying all four. And there’s gore and a body count. And secrets. And oh my God. It’s perfect!
I need more from Roni. I’m about to go on a binge so go pick this one up. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
Edited by Merrill David
What a well-known anthology! Seriously, this is grade A selection of some of our more well-known authors and some new ones that I will start stalking… Let’s look at allllll 17.
The Passengers by Jason Nickey - Ugly neighbors lust for hot ones, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
More by Ruthann Jagge - More money, more problems. Laura’s life goes from bad to worse before she knows it.
Y2K by D.W. Hitz - Don’t do drugs, kids, especially at the end of the world.
Envy the Earth by Heather Miller - A good man is hard to… grow? Brandy makes a mistake but gets kind of a second chance.
A Sad Song by B.L. Blankenship - Revenge is best served with a side of arrows and breast pouches.
Fluffy by C. Derick Miller - Always feed the cat… and oh, don’t rape or kill people.
I’m Your Bogeyman by Ben Chadwick - Always check your closet for monsters. They may not be happy that you ignore them.
The Elephant in the Room by Merrill David - Deformed people have feelings too — and they can get people pregnant.
Drunk Girls and Ouija Boards by Kayla Krantz - Don’t get drunk and try to summon spirits. They suck.
The Tearing of the Veil by Chris Miller - If you speak from the Necronomicon, you deal with the weird things that come out of your wife’s vagina.
A Raging Heart On by Chase Will - Once Jane’s heart was broken by Chad, she gains confidence for revenge from an unlikely helper.
Call Me Auntie Betty by Bruce Cuttman - Lucifer has bad taste in demons. They like making minions and whatnot.
Children of the Porn by Matt Micheli - Want to stay relevant and hot? Get an Only Fans and listen to the highest tipper.
Temple by Megan Stockton - When a one-night stand’s possible STD becomes much, much more.
The Fixer Upper by Eric Butler - Joanie can’t catch a break. Out of the fire, into the pan as they say.
Brother Francis by Jay Bower - Brother Francis wants atonement for sin and will get it anyway possible.
Kafka and the Fly by Mike Ennenbach - Insurance companies are the devil. This story is absolute perfection.
Top 5: Ennenbach, Nickey, Butler, Jagge, and David. This will be a top anthology for me this year without a doubt. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
BRO TOMAHAWK - various
I love Drew and his Xtreme label but this one may be the one. The one that raises some ruckus. Let’s just jump into it:
Angry, Armed, and Bleeding from the Anus by Terry Musalata - Ma Kelly lost her daughter and grand baby to ban outlaw gang led by Otis Travesty. Will she get her revenge or die trying?
The Ballad of Dickfingers McGee by Scabs McDumpster - Dickfingers McGee and the Coitus Kid must battle his foe Mollywop Jenkins and her posse. Both have secret weapon but will secrets from their past be the end of them both?
Cowboys of Extinction by A. Cunt - Jesus Christ. I have no idea what happened in this story. It’s like JABBERWOCKY but on acid, crack, and LSD. Um… yeehaw?
Prematurejacushowdown at Dusty Pisshole’s Saloon by Marty St. Hubbins and Vagina Steve - Philetus ain’t too fond of Leaky-eyed Jesper filthy mouth and demands a showdown. When the whole town comes for the excitement, will they stay for the climax?
Billy the Mong by Raw Dog and Henry Wankstein - This story alone will get this book cancelled. Holy shit. DO NOT read this is you have any politically charged triggers. You’ve been warned.
Bukkake Hoedown by Fanny Hertz - Lucille is feeling her age; wrinkles, gray hair, and a hairy mole. Even she finds a cure for aging, will she be the belle of the ball like Cinderella or end up an ugly stepsister?
The Cuntslingers by Armitage Shanks - Some fights are settled with guns, others with fists. The fight between Billi the Clit and Clamitchy Jane is a bit different; fashionable and wet.
A Crippling at Shit Fucker Creek by Thrash Frankenstein - What does a werewolf, Wendigo, and a pretty boy who is not a cowboy have in common? Read this story and find out.
Cholera Goldrush by Freddy Fatberg - When Doctor Ryder comes to town, everyone will do anything to avoid him and his shit stirring.
An absolute insane read from the first page to the last. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one. 10/5.
By Lucas Mangum
It needs to be said again, I am a Lucas Mangum fangirl. I love his works and his ability to show difference author voices but… I especially love when he writes about wrestling (see PANDEMONIUM co-authored by Ryan Harding for more awesomeness).
Brian “Bad Guy” Hearns just finished a twenty-five-year stent in prison, during which he lost his wife and daughter because of something he didn’t do. Now, he has been given a chance to restart those years, will he or will it all be for nothing?
When I say this book has it all, I mean it. Wrestling, occult, dual timelines, family, loyalty, regret, creature feature, sex… everything. It has a Christmas Carol feel to it and I’m not sure if it’s intentional but I freaking loved it. There’s a bunch of gore too. Like a ton. Mangum really has us down for the count for this one. It’s phenomenal and I am obsessed with it.
A HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend. 10/5.
ENHANCED: A HOLLYWOOD MYSTERY
By Ryan Hyatt
Dave is on a mission to find out the truth behind a murder. Who does he have help him? Marilyn Monroe and Easy Z, of course! When technology can be manipulated and questions answered to an old murder, is there a downside that isn’t being seen?
Hyatt rocks my socks off with his newest story. One with commentary on technology, what should be considered cold cases, and even the effect such technology has on children, this fifty-three pager packs a punch. Heavy on intrigue and suspense, Hyatt delivers a winner (again).
A HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 5/5.
RESIDENTS OF HONEYSUCKLE COTTAGE
Laura and Monique want a quiet life in the rural countryside after a situation in their previous city. What begins as an idyllic setting turns sinister when their neighbor Dougal tells a local tale of Wiley, another name for Death. While Laura has cause to believe Dougal is telling the truth while his seemingly hateful wants to keep secrets, everything comes to a head at the town fair.
Holy Toledo, friends. Talk about oppressive, eerie, and unnerving literature. It’s like THE YELLOW WALLPAPER mixed with don’t trust anyone… including yourself. The prose is stunning and the imagery of the countryside is phenomenal. I’m stunned by how freaked out I am after reading it. I don’t get scared often with books but this one did it for me. There is little gore and no on page kills and I’m still side eyeing every little sound in my house.
If you are looking for something spooky and unnerving with very little gore, this is the one to pick up immediately.
A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
THE BALLAD OF HARLEY HECK
By Stuart Bray
Oh, Stuart (pronounced like Roald does in Letterkenny)…
Harley Heck is a scamp. A terrible, murderous, raping, scamp. As he has found himself in a no-win situation being jailed, the Sheriff has asked if he would like to tell his story before his hanging. The stories unfold and the body counts rise. What will Heck’s finally words be?
Bray does it again! His ability to make the reader feel complicit in the story’s events astounds me. I don’t want to witness these shenanigans! I don’t want to be a voyeur to depravity! But I’ll be damned if I’m not. The characters are so fleshed out and somehow relatable (not Harley), even at the darkest of times. BALLAD also has quite a bit of humor and I found myself laughing at more than I should have.
Another absolute must read from Bray. A HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
JASPER AND THE APPALACHIAN ZOMBIES
By Jason Nickey
This asshole messed with my emotions too many times.
Trent needed to get away from the big city and moved out to Ghost Holler. When he meets his neighbor, Jasper, an instant friendship is started. Through tweakers, cults, Florida living, and actual zombies, their friendship stands the test of time… (s). (You will get that when you read it.) A fast paced, cackle fest that will take you on an emotion rollercoaster more times than you want.
Nickey can suck an egg because of the emotions he had me feeling. I even sent a few hateful DMs because I was upset. UPSET! The relationship between Jasper and Trent was endearing and relatable. We all want that one person who just gets us and will give us shit when we need it.
What is most interesting about this book though is that it feels like three different books, but it works. We feel like a part of the journey, that we are Trent and have to see Jasper naked half the time.
An absolute must read! A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
DEVIL WON'T LET ME BE
By Chad Farmer
This book… just…
Herman and Amanda Masterson have had the short end of the stick. Abandoned by their addict parents, they moved from foster home to foster home and the abuses followed them too. When their high school janitor uncle adopts them, life gets better, right? Right? Nooooope. So, so much worse. Just … gotdamn, so much worse. With bullying that forces one sibling into silence while the other makes a bargain they do not completely understand, the blood will flow as will hidden truths decades unknown.
Gotdamn. That was my thought and I said out loud at least fifteen times. DWLMB is brutal. And it’s relentless. I can handle a lot of sexual assault in my books, but I had to walk away from it a few times. But what Farmer does is write in such a way that you HAVE to know what happens next, even if it the most depraved, repulsive, uncomfortable scene yet. (And friends, there are plenty of them).
I don’t know what I expected with it. I didn’t expect such a well written story with characters that pull on every heart string you have. It’s an absolute must read if you can stomach it. I would rank this as one of the top three hardest novels for me to get through. I’m interested to see how he will top DWLMB and I’m a bit scared. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
By Elton Skelter
Have you ever had a book that changed your life, but you don’t want to revisit it because it hurts too much? The characters become best friends, the love between characters make you remember what it’s like to feel, and for a minute faith is restored? But when the last sentence of the story leaves you sobbing uncontrollably for so many reasons explaining yourself would be a feat that is unattainable? Well, read this fucking book then.
Derek Steadman goes to a form of AA. It’s for people with uncommon afflictions; alien hand syndrome, cyclic vomiting syndrome, persistent sexual arousal syndrome, and so on. When members start disappearing or worse, Derek and his merry band of misfits must find out what is going on. But who is to be trusted? Who will figure it out and will it be too late?
I have not been able to shake this book and it’s hold over me for over a month. Skeltor is not only someone to watch but someone to put stock in. Characters alone, Elton surpasses many well-known authors celebrated right now. Add in the plot, pacing, world building and you have almost literal perfection. Why not complete perfection? Read it and you will find out. He ripped my soul out, stomped on it, put it in the blender, hit purée, and made me watch. And I BEGGED FOR MORE! It’s number four for the 2023 for me. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
By Eve L. Fell
Eve is … I’m telling you, she’s one to keep our eyes on.
Paul Ramsey paid a bunch of money to remove an obstacle in his path to his perceived promotion. When the day comes, he’s left with more than wounded pride.
She got me! You know when you are in deep in a story and all of a sudden your brain literally puts the last puzzle in? That happens in this story and it’s oh so satisfying. The gore is insane, the story is quick yet completely immersible, and somehow the characters are somehow relatable. (When you read it, you will understand that statement.
Like DOLLS, GAME OVER is something special. I cannot wait until her next story comes out. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
COMING SOON !!
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF TOM NERO
By TJ Price
Tom Nero is a bit down on his luck. No home, no job, no stability. When a chance encounter at his favorite bar finds him back in the arms of Asa, his former fling, things get a bit weird. …. Then Tom meets Silas, the one that will save him… but Tom disappears! A commonality binds them all together but is that the only similarity?
Um… Hi. TJ is it? Yeah, um where have you been and how can you take all of my money with your future works? Is there a prepay option because I’m not OK with only having read this. I need more. So much more from you. And I’m annoying. Ask any author I have reviewed. I come with references.
Friends, this is a breath of fresh freaking air. From the story to the characters, the formatting to the flow of the narrative. I am shook in the best way. And there is no rape, no torture, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t even blood!
Welcome to my Top Ten of 2023, TJ. Friends, you need to pick this up. It’s about 80 pages and I promise you will be in my DMs telling me I was right. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND 20/10. (It had to be doubled.)
By Kaaron Warren
McNubbins is a carrier of dead bodies. Up the stairs he goes day in and day out to provide generations after him with bitters. He throws them in the open mouth of the Man and continues on. When McNubbins finds the truth about the bodies, a childhood friend and professor uses that information for evil. His co-workers, Clive and Swain, and McNubbins wife, Wanda, will all have to come to terms with what is happening. The bitters may help with sickness but does it help with the evil in men?
uuuuhhhhh… this one has given me heavy boots. The book is upsetting, depressing, and well a heavy read and I loved it. BITTERS is something like I have never read before and with every twist and turn, I needed more. While a short novella, don’t be fooled. We are pulled into a world that is built around us as we move through it with the characters. It’s rich in commentary and heart.
BITTERS is a book I needed in my life and didn’t know it. If you are looking for literary fiction that will make you fall in love with the written word again, look no further, friends. Warren has us covered. A HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 10/5.
THE NIGHT SILVER RIVER RAN RED
By Christine Morgan
Only Christine Morgan could make me sympathize with a rapist named Horsecock…
The Carnival is in town (well, outside of town anyway) and four kids sneak out to see the attractions. They meet three others and when caught run to the nearest house… well, there is no help there, only death. Enter The Red Wolves with their bloodlust. On the other side of town, The Nasty Bastard gang is up to no good and are going to have a good time at the expense of others. And there’s Horsecock. The people are unprepared, but the outlaws are outnumbered. Who will make Silver River run red?
I’m used to smut from Morgan, but you know, I didn’t miss it in this one. The on-page kills were brutal, and the story was a slow burn (I LOVE those!) DO NOT LET THAT DETER YOU! TNSRRR is insane and blood soaked. A perfect addition to the Splatterwestern series and I can’t get enough of it. A definite recommend 4.5/5.
A SAVAGE BREED
By Patrick C. Harrison, III
I was not prepared to love this as much as I did. Like at all. Let’s get into it.
The Tate Gang is some of the luckiest sidewinders in the west. Elizabeth is a smart ass that just wants to see California. James Haggard is on the trail of those he thinks is responsible for ruining the loves of his life. When all three stories converge with the Night Tribe in the mix, some will live to tell tales, others… not so much.
Stop reading this review. Seriously. Go buy this one. I can wait.
… done? OK, good. PC3 went all out in this one and because of that, unseated Chandler Morrison as my favorite Splatterwestern. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Not because I didn’t believe PC3 had it in him, I just… Shook. That’s what I am. And how I fell head over hells in literary heaven with Liz is beyond me. She is fucked uuuuuuuuup. So much so that I was like… this child is not OK but I dig her so much. Every character was like that though. Even the most repulsive and terrible were a favorite.
I am currently on a Harrison binge and I’m not seeing any end in sight. He has a unique writing voice that I’m finding I love.
One of my most HIGHLY recommended so far. 20/5. (Yes. Double my normal off the charts.)
THE UPSIDE-DOWN VOICE THAT SPEAKS BACKWARDS
By R.J. Benetti
I was lucky enough to check out the first 10,000 words a long time ago (like six months or so, maybe more I forget time exists most days). What he completed was a twenty-two short story extravaganza of amazing! I can’t go over all of them because most of us have the attention span of Dory from FINDING NEMO so let’s look at my Top Five.
Gather Your Stones - A condemned man takes a few extra people with him.
Sweets and Treats - Keep your pervy old man hands off the little kids or bad things could happen.
The Breadcrumb Trail - This story is what happens when something seems too good to be true and how sheep should always question.
International Death Day - The main character craves death but Death doesn’t crave him.
And my absolute favorite! The Tale of Reginald Cleaver - Don’t screw with nature or a horticulturist.
Every story will leave you satisfied and wanting more, it will make sense when you read them. Benetti thrives in the short story form and this collection is no different.
Such an easy 10/5 from this Benetti loving gal.
UGLY AS SIN
By James Newman
Nick, The Widowmaker, Bullman has had a run of bad luck in recent years. Kidnapped. Tortured. Broke. You know, normal stuff. But when his estranged daughter calls, begging for his help finding her daughter, his life gets a lot more hectic. Can he find her before the final count?
I’m going to be even more honest in this review than I normally am. I was not expecting to love this one as I have not seemed to mesh with Newman’s works previously but friends, I have never been so happy to be wrong. This book hooked me from the first line to the last! I found myself excited to continue the story, I wanted to find out what happened next to Nick.
Some may say the ending was rushed but don’t be fooled. It was perfect. Everything comes together and I had a “holy shit” moment (I love those so much). UGLY AS SIN has wrestling, friendship, family dysfunction, heart, forgiveness, torture… it really has it all. (It also has a fun little homage that I grinned ear to ear on so it gets a bit extra love for that.)
You need this. Not want. Need. A HIGLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 11/5 (extra point for the homage).
By Wrath James White
This is, by far, my favorite from Wrath that I have read.
Joseph is in prison for well, eating people as we continue from SUCCULENT PREY. Selene, a crazy asf fangirl will do anything to be cursed by Joseph and Cindy, the Correctional Officer who falls in love, and his cousin Dirk, make up a core cast of characters that will be with him until the end… or his/their ends. Sexually thrilling, face paced, and on the edge of your seat drama, makes this a must read!
Wrath has a way of making me hate characters and Selene was no different. I thought it would be Joesph but I ended up liking him so much more in the sequel. The depth of the characters, even the more minor ones, felt rich and fleshed out (pun intended). There are so many hot, slip and slide inducing moments and even more bile inducing ones.
This is my seventh of Wrath’s and I am not sure how he can top it. Everything in it was so methodical and well, perfect. Sequels are usually hit or miss with me, but PREY DRIVE beat out the original. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 10/5.
WHEN THE MOCKINGBIRD SINGS
By Stuart Bray & Jason Nickey
These two… I tell you what…
Johnny is a bit of a hot head. When he and his partner are supposed to pick up a piece of precious cargo for his boss, things get a little … messy when he goes to blow of some sexual steam and well, it doesn’t go as planned. And it just get worse from there. So, so much worse.
I typically am not speechless after reading a story. I mean, ffs, I have read what, over 600 or so stories/books at this point. I thought I had read almost everything until these two assholes (said in a very loving way) show up in my inbox each time. It seems as though with every story (together or solo) they keep thinking, “Will Christina send us a hateful message at the end of this?”, then they cackle as they write it.
This short novella is a lot. I mean, a loooooot. Mentally and emotionally you are brutalized through the whole damn story. And friends, I can’t get enough. A HIGHLY RECOMMEND (for those with the stomach, that is) 10/5.
EATEN BY EVIL
By Ash Ericmore
Sally loves Trevor, Trevor loves power. When he gets Sally addicted to heroin at 14 years old, her life completely falls apart. She subjects herself to desperate acts and is manipulated into trusting the wrong people for the high. When she is forced into fight or flight, everything will come down to how much she wants to live for that next high.
EATEN BY EVIL is completely different than what I am used to reading from Ericmore. Gone is the dark humor we see in the Alex Cole series and can I be brutally honest? I love this side of Ericmore’s writing with the more realistic, gritty, and raw storytelling that he is showing he can excel at. I love his humor, I mean, I’m a bit in love with Alex Cole but the depth of desperation and depressing characters are stunning to read.
A HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
By Aaron Weese
I love debut novellas or novels, they can give me a new author to keep my eyes on and friends, Aaron is one to watch.
Neil is hired at Madame Pinault’s wax museum to help restore some of the not so well done wax statues. When Neil notices the most breath-taking man he has ever seen, he begins to follow him. Neil uses the Adonis as his muse for creating a bygone killer, things start to get complicated. Will the legend come to life or is it all a 50+ year old rumor?
Guys, WAX FIGURES… wowzer. It’s a thriller, vampiric, m/m romance that feels like an older slasher movie. And I loved it all! There’s something special about this that I can’t exactly nail down for some reason but I will be thinking about this in the coming months. It’s like a The Picture of Dorian Gray mixed with some vampires. Maybe that’s why I love it so much. It’s very Oscar Wilde in style and feel.
A HIGHLY RECOMMEND from this new Weese loving gal. 10/5.
HUNGERS AS OLD AS THIS LAND
By Zachary Rosenberg
HUNGERS AS OLD AS THIS LAND by Zach Rosenberg
Splatterwesterns have fast become one of my favorite new genres and HUNGERS is at the top of my recommends.
The novella starts on the battle field with Abraham saving Cyril’s life. Nineteen years later, Abraham’s daughter, Ester and her the love of her life, Siobhan, must make the difficult trek to another town with the help of the Hungers. But when Cyril comes back into Abraham’s life as a mercenary sent to destroy anything in his way, old debts are collected and hungers will be satisfied.
Um… first off, WHO IS THIS AUTHOR!? I was on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last. There is so much happening but it all ties in so beautifully. Anti-semitism, greed, racism, gay representation, and theft of land are all predominant commentary in this story along with a strong cast of characters and even stronger story line. I’m so impressed by this author! I can’t wait to check out more from him in the future.
And there’s so much blood! So don’t think there isn’t any because Rosenberg gets pretty damn creative and refuses to allow the reader to walk away unscathed from gore. An absolute must read for Splatterwestern fans. A HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
TWO MINUTES WITH THE DEVIL
By Matt Micheli
Matt is an instant buy author for me after reading his short story (novella?) WHITE. So when he was asked if I wanted to check this one out, I tried to be professional but it ended up being a “fuck yeah”.
Kids are missing and no one knows why. Is it the devil? Is it a serial killer? Max, Fred, Michael, Alice, and Phillip become a part of the evil happenings in the town whether they want to or not.
Matt did it again. He made me a part of this universe with his writing and I was not prepared for the journey. Also, can I talk about something. I don’t give two shits about animals in books. Normally, they are used as a manipulation device and guess what, this bitch can’t be manipulated… until this story. While I didn’t cry, I did say out loud, “you dickbag”. That’s what Micheli does, he makes you forget you are in a story and just watching the events.
I don’t like it one bit. I like it lots of bits, the dickbag. Playing on nostalgia from the 80s, urban legends, and monsters that are not always made up, he has a winner with this one. Fast paced, edge of your seat suspense, and twist after twist makes this a HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 10/5.
SIRENS AND SEAWEED
By Candace Nola
Captain Black Hammer (nicknamed for his weapon of choice) is in charge of the Silent Seaweed. When a violent storm partially destroys the ship and leaves the Captain with a bonk on the head, the crew is veered off course but near land. Old memories come back to haunt ol’ Black Hammer and the Sirens are there to remind him.
53 pages. That’s how long this story is and Nola writes as though it’s 300 (I wish it was). The story starts off with Pip, the 11 year old cabin boy being seasick and ends with absolute depravity. The dreary, oppressive atmosphere that she weaves with the beauty of the Sirens is astounding. And all within 10 days!
A historical throwback to some land loving pirates, add in some vengeful Sirens, and you have a short read packed with blood, guts, and so much more. I have loved everything I have read of hers but this shows her talent in so many different ways. Although, I will never forgive her for Davey. NEVER! But I still HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one… even if it’s out of spite. 10/5.
THE WORLD BENEATH
By Chisto Healy
This is my first by Chisto and I can promise it won’t be the last.
Taylor and Sarah go missing after they dive down into a black hole in the sea. When Sarah’s dad, Mom, fiancé, and a friend go in search for them, the sea holds more than secrets. In a fight for their lives, creatures, caves, and the dark unknown will make it difficult to reach the surface.
This story was all over the place… but stay with me, friends. Imagine a fish - zip, zip, zip, and your eyes are ping ponging back and forth to keep up, that’s WORLD BENEATH and it freaking worked! It worked perfectly. Healy masterfully keeps the reader in the action while simultaneously making you question every dark spot and every corner in the story.
Creepy, unnerving, and claustrophobic. HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
HOW THE SKIN SHEDS
By Chad Lutzke
Let’s just get into it.
Garrett visits his sister, Diane and niece, Nadine but unfortunately Garrett walks into a bloodbath. While on the trail for his sister’s killer, he enlists Franklin, a recently freed slave and his revenge seeking, albino niece. Will the trio find the killer or will they be added to the victim count?
Lutzke knocks this out of the gotdamn park. Writing characters with depth, relatable flaws, and a vengeance unlike many others I read, this is top in the Splatterwestern series. There wasn’t a lull in the story and the reader is intent on finding out the resolution as much as the characters are. I have read a few by Chad and this is, by far, his best.
I do have to point out my favorite character, Franklin. I mean, the man obtains his freedom from being a slave only to become a slave to an insane fate. Always having a witty or positive comment, Franklin is this story even though he’s meant to be a supporting character.
Definitely a must read and a HIGHLY RECOMMEND from this Splatterwestern loving fangirl. 10/5
By Eve L. Fell
I’m calling it now, Eve is going to be the new IT girl. Mark it on your calendars so you can remind yourself I was right. Do it now. I will wait.
Sarah and Lindsey think a night on the town is just what the doctor ordered. But the roofie is the least of their worries as they wake up in a warehouse where the game is to survive, by any means possible. Secrets are revealed and blood is spilled in this insane debut.
OK. Look. I devoured this book so damn fast. The suspense is top freaking notch, characters perfection, and the plot is so quick you get whiplash because of all the twists and turns (and not just from the maze). Fell ain’t playing with us or holding back and I’m here for anything this woman has in store for us.
As a Top Ten for 2023 (oh, yeah, it’s that flipping good), it’s a no-brainer that’s it’s a HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 10/5.
TO STARE DEATH IN THE EYES
By Eric Butler
Another Splatterwestern! I’m as shook as you are.
Irving Fountaine feels guilty about leaving seven settlers on their own but comes back to only six… dead. Someone has taken his love, Sarah, and he is on a war path for her. When he meets Annabelle they go in search of her sister too. Old ghosts come back to haunt Irving and not everyone will get their happy ending.
Butler rocked my socks off with this one! Full on brutality and blood everywhere plus a bit of body horror and creature banging, makes this one a must read.
I really hope to see more like this from Eric because this was amazing! RECOMMEND. 5/5.
Bleeding Rainbows and Other Broken Spectrums
By Maxwell I. Gold
I love poetry (I know, it’s a shock to most) and one with a cover like that? Please, stick in literary fork in me, I’m done.
Gold intertwines his soul with the reader's for journeys through forbidden love, interstellar truths, and erotic impulses while bewitching our senses with BLEEDING RAINBOWS AND OTHER BROKEN SPECTRUMS. And my God, was I ready for it.
Below are some of the lines I HAVE to share, I mean come on with these!
“I lost my body, destroyed/Myself in a bed that became my grave…”
“… this ancient sensation drenched in guttural pleasures, moaning with erotic blasphemies as stars made love with daemons in the dark.”
(HOLY SHIT, RIGHT?!)
“Nothing is ever what it seems, though through the rose-colored nights and cheap, blended colognes, I felt the warmth of someday caress the welts on my shoulders, black eyes, and bruised dreams of self-worth.”
(MAKE ME WEEP, WHY DON’T YOU?)
Each poem is a kaleidoscope of emotion and eventual redemption that will leave the reader breathless. And I would be remiss to not mention the stunning formatting. The full color artwork is beautiful AND erotic (penises galore!) and the page edging is spectacular.
You can tell there was thought, love, and many tears involved in something so perfect. I am 100% obsessed with this book and I know you will be too. HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
Shop Til You Drop
By Kelvin V. A. Allison
When I saw in February that Allison was writing this, I squealed. I LOVE retail store stories (see my obsession with THE NIGHT STOCKERS by Triana and Harding). So I was ready… then he took his sweet freaking time writing. But never fear!, I promise it was worth the wait.
Neve, Scooter, and David have some customers that just make life miserable in their retail jobs. When a chance meeting gives them the golden ticket for some pay back, it’s not at all what they expected. With a cast of depraved and sinister misfits ready to dole out karma, no one is safe from their comeuppance.
Well, well, well, Mr. Allison you know how to build a rollercoaster of insanity! This is a wild ride, friends. Just when you think you have it figured out… nope. And kills are so fucking brutal. Meat cleavers, cheese graters (uggggh), and meat slicers are utilized in nefarious ways.
But what really got me was how the reader latches on to certain characters. Did I send a hateful message after one particular scene? Yes. Do I regret it? Never.
SHOP TIL YOU DROP is such a fun and quick story. SUPER DUPER RECOMMEND 10/5.
Last Of The Ravagers
By Bryan Smith
Oh, Mr. Smith, you got me with this one. This is my third by Bryan and by far my favorite to date (ignore my recent bias tendencies.)
Snakebite is just a classic western town until it becomes ground zero for a showdown with an inter-dimensional necromancer. Well, then all bets are off.
Guys, this one rocked my socks off! It was sci-fi, western, SMUT (I will get back to that because this man can write some of the hottest sex scenes), splatter, and a bit of romance. And somehow, some way, it all works and works perfectly. I have read almost all of the available Splatterwesterns and I would put this in my Top 2 of the series.
Let’s get back to the smut. Here’s all I will say: zombie/human lesbian finger play. You’re welcome. Now go buy it.
I can see why this is up for a Splatterpunk Award this year. And while the competition is fierce in the novel category, I can see this one coming out on top. We shall all see come August! HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
By Wrath James White
Oh look, it’s a character I absolutely loathe… Fucking Dale.
Dale has a gift. He thinks it’s from God but anyone else knows it’s from Satan. When Dale becomes obsessed with his neighbor, things get rape-y. Real rape-y. Can Sarah and Josh prove that Dale is not the wimp he pretends to be or will they end up falling apart?
I don’t know how Wrath does it. He makes me hate a character so much that I beg the literary Gods to kill them off. THE RESURRECTIONIST is fucking intense and stress causing. There are so many twists and turns you have to hold on for dear life not to get thrown off.
Did I love this book? Yes. Did I cuss Wrath? Yes, and I’ll do it again, ha.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 4.5/5.
By Glenn Rolfe
Glenn posted about this 2014 collection of short stories and I’m like, “Yes, yes I give this bad boy a whirl.” And I’m so damn glad I did! Let’s look at each story individually.
Skull of Snakes - A cursed coin makes one young boy’s life very difficult… and lonely. (Emotional damage alert.)
Sweet 16 - This boyfriend may be older but he ain’t wiser. Also, if he can’t have her, well, there isn’t another choice.
Jackie Boy - Jackie has a hankering for something not so common and no one is going to narc him out.
The Curse - Coaches aren’t always looking out for the best interest of their athletes but the past will always find them.
The Delicious Death of Parker Stevens - Creepy, crawly, and dark this one is a mindfreak and a half. Also, I hate the woods, just saying.
I’m in Here - Two words: emotional damage.
Henry - Sometimes our idea of self-beauty isn’t worth the pain. (This one stings the ol’ emotions.)
Something Lost - sometimes we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.
Ballad of the Best-Selling Author - What happens when your disdain of zombie literature goes too far.
Candle Magic - a writer’s ritual explained.
Flaws - Dennis realizes he has a flaw. Unfortunately, so do some others but too late. (My favorite of the collection.)
Halloween Worm - What happens when your bully actually needs your help to defeat an evil? This story will tell you.
I don’t care this collection is almost ten years old. What I do care about is that you read them. Rolfe has a way of pulling you in and not letting go. I went through this collection in one sitting; I couldn’t stop reading! This is my first but I have others by him so prepare for an author binge!
I suggest picking SLUSH up immediately. A HIGHLY recommend. 10/5.
By DE McCluskey
Friends, this is going to be a top novel for many in the community, I just know it. From the opening chapter to the last, McCluskey keeps us on the edge and anxious as hell.
Lisa has the perfect boyfriend, Sean. Her parents love him, she loves him and she’s ready to give him something that can be given once. But sadly, things do not go as she expected.
THE BOYFRIEND is not for the faint of heart. It’s a difficult book to read because it’s every parent’s worst nightmare. McCluskey takes that fear and forces the reader to not only face it but to face it brutally. And I have to mention the whiplash it causes. Just when you think you have figured it out, you don’t.
I have read a lot by DE from his children’s novels and graphic novels, to his splatter books and I’m here just going to say it, it’s his best to date. I cannot recommend it enough so… HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 5/5.
1000 SEVERED DICKS
By Matt Shaw & Ryan Harding
Full transparency: I was not a complete fan of this one the first time I read it. (Insert collective gasp here.) BUT! I’m a bigger fan of it the second time around. Let’s chitchat.
A man has had a rough go of life, especially from his wife, Eloisa and his best friend, Tommy. After some unsuccessful mediation that Eloisa and Tommy do not want to take part in, the man intends to set the rest of the world right or bad things will happen. When his plan hits a small kink on his last example, things get a bit confusing.
I’m not sure why this one didn’t hit the same way the first time but sweet summer children, it did this read. The pizza cutter scene is classic Harding. It’s so uncomfortable yet you can’t stop reading. 1000 SEVERED DICKS is brutal as hell so be prepared. Though I really don’t feel like I should have to warn since, you know, the title… but I will. Shaw and Harding co-author but their writing voices are so distinct you can pick out who wrote what very easily. Usually that would be a bad thing but this one just works.
An obvious HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 5/5.
THEY HIDE: Short Stories To Tell In The Dark
By Francesca Maria
Well, Francesca is now officially on my radar with this collection. Like, damn. I want to chat about my four favorites (even though there are thirteen).
The Wysterfield Murders - Goody Sarah keeps losing friends in a horrific way. When she sets out to find the cause — she finds more than she bargains for. (This has some of the most disturbing non-splatter imagery I have read in years.)
My Brother Andy - What evil wants, evil gets. Possession, loyalty, and ignorance are all prevalent in this short story. The story is complete and phenomenal, but selfishly I wanted 150 pages more. (Can I whine for a novella maybe?)
The Perfect Partner - a spicy telepathic, body suspended sex scene. Friends, you know I love smut and this one is hooooooooooot. (I didn’t reread this story in particular. *wink*)
A Game of Ghosts - A card game that plays for keeps. Maria uses journal entries and interviews for this story and it is my favorite out of the whole collection. It is creepy and oppressive. I couldn’t get enough.
Usually I go through each story but I wanted to talk about this collection as whole a bit more. The title is literal perfection. Now, I don’t want to say it took me until the sixth story for it to dawn on me the point of THEY HIDE but… it did. Sometimes I have to be hit over the head to get things (you guys will get it earlier). Francesca’s ability to scare the hell out of me and make me squirm without being splatterpunk is remarkable. Somehow, there isn’t a bad story in the collection and that fascinates me.
I could see this collection being on the Stokers ballot easily. It’s as close to perfect as a collection can get. DOUBLE HIGHLY RECOMMEND 10/5.
By Carver Pike
Carver Pike, this fucking guy…
On a military base, in Anchorage, AK, Sikes and Chapman are tasked with making sure Milo Redgrave stays locked in his cell. No way out for the two watchers as they are locked in for the night. Will the night go as every other night or will there be uninvited guests?
Carver. Every single time, this man gets me. REDGRAVE has suspense, thriller elements, some hot, HOT smut, gore, and so much more. In 80+ pages, Pike shows (again) what a powerhouse author he is.
It’s a brutal, uncomfortable story. With the characters locked in, the claustrophobia is almost immediate add on the darkness, cold, and depressing Anchorage winters (I can confirm as I live there) it makes it so much worse. It gets a bit warmer with a couple spicy scenes and then he ruins your reading life with the rest.
Am I threatening violence again? Yes. But it’s out of love. Honestly. The perfect quick read with so much more than expected.
By Mark Zirbel
Mark, I’m so sorry it took me so long to get to SHITHOLE USA. It is something else.
Zombies are fucking each other to death while the rest of the USA is eating poop. That’s right, poop. Lives converge, well, some lives and some mind projections converge to try to end the terror that is happening. Will there be a stay on poop or will shit run in the streets?
Why did I love this books so damn much?! I’m confused by it. The characters have depth and the reader becomes attached, social commentary is astounding, and the story is extremely well written. I listened to the audiobook and it was amazing. But what I loved most about this book is that Zirbel mixes writing styles. We have your typical novel, then a play section, and a video game cheat style. It all works and I’m kinda in need of more like this.
I’m officially a Zirbel fangirl and I think you will be too. Don’t let the poop scare you away. I know this is the craziest thing I have said this year (and I say some crazy stuff) but this is a top 10 read for me this year. I’m not going to try to figure it out, I’m just going to let it happen.
An obvious 10/5 for me. I HIGHLY recommend.
ENSURING YOUR PLACE IN HELL
By Otis Bateman, Stuart Bray, and Stephen Cooper
I was excited about this collection as I have become a bit obsessed with Stuart Bray and had yet to read anything from Bateman or Cooper. Let’s get into it.
Home Movies from Hell by Otis Bateman - two young men, Eric and Dylan, find that trying to make money can be fun and bloody.
Kidney Stones: An American delicacy by Stuart Bray - Mikey develops a taste for kidney stones after his curiosity get the better of him but the lengths he will go to are anything but normal.
The Golden Cumpuss by Stephen Cooper - Josie works for The Golden Cumpuss where the rich dine on… well… you will find out when you read it. When Royce finds out a specific delicacy will not be his, he begins planning an escape. But things do not go according to plan… at all.
Stephen Cooper, sir. Yes. Yes to all of your story. I was (am) completely blown away by his contribution to the collection. It was absolutely disgusting and a semi-love story and terrible diets, it really has everything. Stuart Bray yet again proves he is to be taken seriously in this community as he is amazing at knowing how to turn a stomach or two. Bateman, unfortunately missed the mark for me with his story but some may absolutely love it.
Hillbillies & Homicidal Maniacs
By Stuart Bray & Jason Nickey
I am a Nickey and Bray stan. Separately these two can do no wrong in my eyes but together, wowzer! There are six stories in their first collaboration and I hope for our sake this isn’t the only one they do.
Pond Scum (Nickey) - Merle just wants to hunt… but not for anyone —- or anything else. Sadly, to make his life easier, he must.
Fucking. Redneck. Trash (Bray) - Curtis thinks he can hide from his past in a podunk town and treat people as he chooses. Neither are true and he will suffer the consequences. (Favorite of Bray’s in the collection).
Did You Pay The Power Bill (Nickey) - A bit of compassion and understanding can go a long way… from you dying. (Nickey’s best to date.)
Tree Meat (Bray) - Marshal likes backyard brawls until Jeb and Desmond show up and cause a problem or two.
Be Kind Rewind (Nickey) - Be nice to people - especially strangers and old school friends or they may just seek out justice. Maybe even a woman to build an army.
Disjointed (Bray) - A journey through Spencer’s troubled childhood.
A quick, insane read from the first story to the last. Absolutely stellar and a must read. 10/5.
Kin of the Fallen
By Carver Pike
I want to start this review out that I adore Carver, he’s a kind soul in a sometimes dark community BUT that does not save him from my wrath and friends, he deserves it for this one.
Bailey and her fellow motorcycle club members are a rare breed, they have all been personally affected by a loved one’s murder. Banding together, they find solace in each other and begin to heal. Until one day, they begin to get picked off one by one. Who is out for blood and who will survive?
OK. Now it’s time for my wrath. KotF solidified my love for slashers but with slashers, no one is safe, right? Especially, it would seem, the characters I become attached too. Pike did one of them dirty. And I mean dirrrrrrttttyyyy. Will I sucker punch him in the left kneecap when/if I ever meet him? Yes. Then I will tell him it’s for <redacted> death. He will know and he will rue the day he wrote it.
But… on the other hand, it was so damn well written! The whole book is from beginning to end perfection. (Plus, he references a few of my personal favorite authors in the story.) Oh! And there’s hot sex scenes. One scene in particular had me in a group chat saying how spicy it was. There’s a lot of goodness in this novel and I’m here for it.
Welcome to the Top Ten of 2023, Carver. You deserve it, my friend!
(Still pissed, btw.)
Seriously, check this one out ASAP. 10/5.
By Kenzie Jennings
Ansley is not having a good time. And even worse, she’s in rehab but gets sprung for the weekend to attend her sister’s wedding. The problem is the menu is a bit more… meaty than expected. Blood will be spilled and lives lost, which side will Ansley and her family be on?
The beginning of this novel had me. I read some reviews that the first half was boring and I’m going to call bull shit. The first half was my favorite and you guys know I love my gore mixed with violence. But that first 100 pages, perfection. Then we get into the gore and debauchery. Still with you, still loving it.
I have to be honest, the ending did not work for me. At all. BUT! It does work for some. Many I talked to loved the ending so maybe it’s me.
Would I still recommend this story? Absolutely!
Jennings masterfully tells us a story that has us on the edge of our seat and the body count alone is worth the price of admission. 4/5.
The Magpie Coffin
By Wile E. Young
I went into this one blind as it was a recommendation. Being from the Splatterwestern series with Death’s Head Press, I was cautiously optimistic.
Salem is on the war path, literally. Someone has killed his mentor and he ain’t having it. With a couple of sidewinders, Jake and Ruby, tracking down the low down rascals will be anything but easy.
I was not prepared for how much I enjoyed this book! The story was perfect, the characters rich and had depth, and the gore scenes were horribly wonderful. The bison stomach scene… will live rent free in my head for life. Seriously, if you know you know.
AND the sequel is coming out in a few weeks! So I don’t have to wait long for the next installment.
(Bonus: Sean Duregger narrates this one and really brings it to life.) An easy 4.5/5.
ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES
By Jeff Strand
I am about to spoil the shit out of this book. …
… it’s about killer tomatoes. Cherry. Roma. Better boy. Campari. Big beef. All of them. It’s also about politics, the power of terrible music, and stupidity.
I will preface this review with I have not seen the movie. I thought, “You know, that doesn’t look like a movie I would be interested in. But the book, may be more my speed” and it was. Strand’s known humor is seen throughout the novel. (And fun fact: there are movie photos at the end of the ebook and I’m assuming the print copy too).
It’s insane, hysterical, and perfect. The characters are mostly throw away and I loved that for some reason. With all the tomato shenanigans, one doesn’t want to fall in love with a character just for them to be eaten.
The audiobook needs to be mentioned as well because Joe Hempel went above and beyond for it. He was super impressive and really brought the characters and action to life.
I can’t lie, I was not expecting much from a book about killer tomatoes. But I was pleasantly knocked off my fancy tomato pedestal of snobbery. Unless something REALLY amazing comes along, this will get the funniest book of the year for me.
Maybe. Probably. *wink*
You need this in your life. I’m going to tell my kids if they don’t eat tomatoes, the tomatoes will eat them. That should get me a Mom of the Year award this year. Thanks, Jeff Strand!
Bishop: Man vs Monster
Candace Nola & M Ennenbach
This is the literary mash up we needed and didn’t even know! Let’s just get into it.
Troy, Bishop, and Casey are back again this time hunting down bad guys and monsters. When a threat from the days of yore re-animates, things get messy. Can the trio stop the blood shed or will they be the next victims?
Holy Toledo in a cheese and bean burrito, friends have these two got a banger on their hands. (In their hands? Anyway…) How this works is so surprising. They mix a werebear, with classic literary characters, a character from a previous novel of Ennenbach’s, throw in some epistolary shenanigans and blended together is a page turner. The classic literature nerds (like me) will have a field day with this novel.
And the writing is seamless. If you go into BISHOP 2 not knowing the individual writer, you would never know who wrote what and that shows this collaboration is stellar.
Bloody, emotional, and suspenseful, BISHOP 2 gives us everything and a little bit more.
VIOLENCE ON THE MEEK
By Stuart Bray
I’m a tough bitch to crack in this genre. I really am. I can read about snuff films, babies in blenders, people who gangbang roadkill, you name it, I can read it but…
Stuart Bray figured out how to make me walk away from a book not once, not twice, but three times. And that’s what we will be chit chatting about.
Paul ain’t a fan of life. Like at all. And he wants everyone to suffer as much as he does, if not more. And friends, he makes it EVERYONE’S problem. As he finds a kindred soul (?), they double team the carnage.
I think what got me the most, from the beginning, is that Paul was so easy at manipulation. From the way he did it to his dad, Mom, and Franny, it just makes the reader feel ick. And that’s not a word I use often because I don’t typically need to. But… iccccccckkkkkkk. The sexual abuse, absolute degradation of the characters (minus Paul) and oppressive literary atmosphere just cause the reader so much mental discomfort.
Do I recommend this?
By R.J. Benetti
I was lucky to get to beta read this one and I have, on occasion, been told I have recency bias and maybe I do… (it’s kinda true but I will never fully admit it). That aside, this is the strongest work by Benetti to date.
Larry lives in a world not of our own. When it rains, it’s beer. Booze is the only nourishment available. Water is prohibited and laws are strictly enforced. When Larry goes to a bar, a mysterious man shows him salvation. But will it come with a price?
Riddled with Benetti humor and insanity (a wee bit o’ incest), he refuses to take prisoners with this story. The commentary is brazen without being overdone. Alcoholism, the sacrifices we will make for our children, and generational dependency abuse of any kind shows Benetti is more than hamster fucking. (I mean, in his personal life I cannot attest to it but…)
While a short read, it packs a punch so you might want to have that shot ready. 5/5.
Like Porno For Psychos
By Wrath James White
Wrath brings it again with this short story collection that is spicy AND possibly your new kink Bible. Let’s get into it.
Sex and Slaughter (poem) - she is his even in death. <3
Like Peyote for Pimps - God is NOT in a vagina, don’t believe the hype.
Joy - female genital mutilation, revenge, and so much catharsis.
Kids - Jeff just wants to be respected like a real man.
Feeding Time - um… lions… sex… a possible new kink unlocked. (My favorite of the bunch).
Rottweiler - Old pedo babysitters are the worst.
Nothing Better to Do - Torturing animals is like torturing demons… and then you put splinters up your ass.
House Cleaning - sometimes the secrets leave nasty stains.
Fatter - this one is just sad. Get ready to be uncomfortable.
The Strange Lusts of Hypocrites - Politicians are all the same.
After the Cure - would you take a miracle drug without knowing the side effects?
Make Love to Me (poem) - the perfect ending to this collection.
LPfP has something for everyone. And the best part is, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch. That in itself is impressive, not to mention the actual storytelling and well… sex.
Shadow Puppets: Scarecrows of Minnow Ranch
By Carver Pike
Don’t let that title fool you, it should really be titled, “Scarecrow Sluts 87: A Vagina in a Haystack” but I was not consulted before it was published, which is just disappointing.
Dawn and her sister, Daisy, inherit the old family farm when her crazy Mom kicks the proverbial bucket. When a sexy stranger claims to be the caretaker of the farm, shenanigans of the Cinemax after dark variety begin.
I love Carver, have since I began in this community but it wasn’t until recently I started reading him (judge me, I deserve it.) But this one is a banger… in more ways than one. Scarecrows baling hot chicks? How could you NOT love something like this? Sex, gore, and suspense make this one of the hotter smut books out there. And… it’s a short one so no filler, all killer.
The God Of Wanking
By Peter Caffrey
From the reviews this week, I’ve been reading a bunch of smut and THE GOD OF WANKING is no different. Corn, masturbation, and a God, make Caffrey one of my favorites.
Diego is a young man who does what most men do and that’s masturbate. It’s OK, we can talk about it. Now, what most young men don’t do is summon a God with their spilt seed but what do I know? I’m a woman. When the God uses Diego’s seed to impregnate the local old hags, things get a bit messy. Will anyone escape the Corn God?
From beginning to end, this book is pure insanity and I loved every second of it. The characters are hysterical and so well written. Caffrey shines in anything he writes and this one is one of his best.
The Dunbar Effect
By Jason Taverner
If you know me (like at all), you know my love for the slasher duology REINCARNAGE and REINCURSION by Ryan Harding and Jason Taverner. I mean, my love for it goes as far as having a quote permanently inked into my skin. It doesn’t really get more serious than that. So when Jason contacted me with an ARC for his newest novel in the Agent Orange universe, to say I was willing to sacrifice one of my children to AO would not have been far from the truth. Luckily, Jason just sent it to me.
THE DUNBAR EFFECT picks up almost immediately after the ending of REINCARNAGE with the only survivor and what happens next. Look, I know some of the uncool kids haven’t read this so I can’t tell who it is but if you know, you know. Through the novel, the reader goes back and forth in time to interweave characters, storylines, and situations.
OK. So that really doesn’t tell you much but I don’t want to! I want you to go in as blind as possible. I will do a warning, Agent Orange does not make an appearance BUT! We do learn more about the behind the scenes of the Prowlers and the business end of the Kill Zone. Taverner takes his time revealing events and characters to make you savor the time in this universe again.
I can’t get enough of this fictional universe and I never will. At least we can all visit it again in TDE and friends, it’s a wild ass ride from start to finish. And I can’t even talk about all of the Easter Eggs in it and YOU KNOW I am all about the Easter Eggs.
Absolutely recommend this. Plus, it has a love story! So for the freaks like me who love violence and gore with a bit of love sprinkled in, Taverner has us with this novel.
Gone to See the River Man
Triana is a known gent in this community and GONE TO SEE THE RIVER MAN was recommended to me (plus, it’s every gotdamn where on Tiktok) so I figured now is the time to check it out.
Lori has a lady boner for a convicted serial killer, Edmund. Between their correspondence and meeting in person, a love has developed… or maybe more of an obsession. When sent on a task for Edmund, she brings her disabled sister, Abby, along for the adventure. It’s a Triana book so it’s not a fun adventure.
Listening to the audiobook was a wild ride! What Dani George did with the story ranks up there with John Wayne Comunale, RJ Bayley, and Sean Duregger.
As usual, Triana pulls his readers in with such force that we have to go along for the ride and hope we make it out alive … or at least as little torture as possible.
A definite must read if you love Triana. 4/5.
Megan Stockton & Joshua MacMillan
I’m jumping in, so hold on friends.
Jamie and Ronnie are trick or treating like normal kids do when they are stalked by The Other and it’s vessel. When a night of fun and teenage shenanigans end in a bloodbath of epic proportions, there won’t be many spared.
This novella is INSANE! Just when you think you have it figured out, nope, that’s just whiplash. My love of slashers is growing and this just adds to it. A Halloween vibe for all those Michael Myers loving movie buffs, a wee bit of sex, and a whole lot of blood.
I really hope there is more from these two in the near future because I’m all about this literary tag team. 5/5.
No. No to water. No to small spaces. No to all of it.
Clayton is a fancy pants, smart guy that just happens to be studying some nature nectar in the Mariana Trench. When his brother, Luke, receives an urgent request to join him, he ventures down to the bottom of the sea. What he finds isn’t found in a kid’s science kit and not everyone will survive.
THE DEEP was so uncomfortable from beginning to end. Body horror mixed with psychological breakdowns plus some unreliable narrators… perfection. One HUGE appreciation I have for this novel is that somehow Cutter didn’t use any filler. There was nothing frivolous about the story. He also made me care about a fictional animal… that never happens. So bonus points awarded. 5/5.
By Harvey Basterd & Candle Phillips
Let’s just get into this one so grab that rosary and join me.
Maelstorm by Harvey Bastard begins with Sister Mary helping a possessed nineteen year old girl. Sister Mary tells her story of trials and tribulations to get to where she is now. But things aren’t exactly what they seem for Sister Mary. Some of her past demons refuse to leave and she tries to impart that wisdom to Nancy. Also, there is some anal fisting… so, extra bonus?
Penance by Candle Phillips … this is so gotdamn brutal. Father Cordell has a wee bit of a demon hisself and he enjoys reliving it over and over again. When someone from his past comes back to haunt him, things get… Christ-y. This has some of the most disturbing imagery and I was here for it.
This double whammy of Jesus loving tales is insane. I thought they had set the bar with their last collaboration STRANGE CORRIDORS, well friends, I was wrong. TWISTED SISTERS is even better.
Available 3/27. You want this one, especially if you like revenge, clergy getting fucked up, with a side of Hail Mary.
By Christine Morgan
I have been DYING to talk about this one. Little Miss Christine has been holding out on us and friends, I’m disappointed I waited so long to check this one out. I’m jumping in!
The Witch of Preacher’s Hollow - Salem Witch Trials. Moral: The devil can bang me anytime.
In The Pumpkin Patch - new kink unlocked? Ask me on Halloween.
The Gut-Fuckers - The Norsemen would fuck anything. (Some of the most brutal rape scenes I have ever read.)
Unholy Corruption - Incest, lesbianism, beastility, angel/demon erotica, everyone is banging everyone in this story. (Feels like Victorian erotica.)
Temple of the Bat God - possible sacrifices with a side of Batman like erotica? OK, I needed that in my life and didn’t know it.
Bad Girls Swallow - you think your one night stand was bad? James would beg to differ.
Mythic Lust - the dirty, dirrrrrrrrty behind the story we all needed of the Minotaur and Ariadne.
Christine, I NEEEEEED a follow up to this! It’s not even a want at this point. Pure need. While writing some of the most … Niagara Fall inducing stories, she also shows her phenomenal ability of storytelling. If you like smut and I mean SMMMMMMMMUUUUUTTTTTT this should be your next read.
10/5 you naughty girl
Faces of Beth
By Carver Pike
I will admit something that is shameful, this is my first by Carver Pike. Am I about to binge his backlist? … don’t judge me.
Andrew has a beautiful wife that he loves and adores. Beth has some… baggage. When secrets come out about Beth’s past, will they survive it, literally.
I read this one as a buddy read and the theories were flying! Carver turns a possible unreliable character into the reader questioning themselves. When something was revealed, we had fifteen more theories or questions and it continued until the very last page. What a fucking talent! I can see why this is up for a Splatterpunk Award this year and for damn good reason. You fall in love with these characters (my personal favorite was Olivia) and then have to watch helplessly as events happen.
Absolutely brilliant and such a great start if you want to get into Carver’s works.
5/5 burn books
The Unicorn Killer
By Candace Nola
Frank Franklin is having a midlife crisis… but for serial killers. The killing ain’t fulfilling, as the kids would say. (They can’t because he would kill them but anyway…) When doom scrolling TV channels, he finds what he has been missing and his life takes a turn for the better. He even throws a party! What a guy!
Let me start with this, previous works by Candace I have read are serious, brutal, and raw. This is such a different voice for her and I LOVE IT! It had me cackling from being to end. And Frank loves musicals! I mean, a show tune loving serial killer with a sense of humor and an obsession with the methods of Vlad the Impaler? Please. I’m in without a thought. Also, Arnie was a favorite. He reminded me of Dewey from Scream… (is that right? Someone correct me if I’m wrong.)
Horrific, gory, and dark humor by the confetti meat pocket full, Nola gives us something we didn’t even know we needed, a unicorn killer.
5/5 Lady Marmalades
The Bleak Season
By Lucas Mangum
Lucas, Lucas, Lucas. You never fail me, friend. And this collection is one of the many reasons why. Let’s chat about each story.
Bone Cider - Would you drink the bone cider of a loved one to see them one last time even if that meant reliving their death? This story will hit you in the feels and crying into your own cider.
Danielle’s Last Dance - Moral: boys are the devil. When Erika’s pregnant friend disappears from the school dance with an unknown boy, she goes on a quest for answers and gets more than she bargained for.
The One and Only Part 1, 2, and 3 - Marybeth dies and Mason uses just a weeeee bit of necromancy to try to bring her back but his Dad finds him. Classic Dad. Mangum mixes storylines seamlessly in this three part story and he does it masterfully.
The Bleak Season - a few friends get together and it turns into a trip down memory lane and some haunted shit. Can curses be transferred to others?
Mangum can write anything; short stories like THE BLEAK SEASON, novellas like SAINT SADIST, or even co-author novels such as PANDEMONIUM (with Ryan Harding) and the result is the same….
10/5 I will recommend this man all day long.
400 Days of Oppression
By Wrath James White
Natasha is a naive, overweight white woman who means tall, dark and handsome, Kenyatta. She immediately falls in love. To prove she deserves to marry him, she must go through 400 days of oppression at the hand of her boyfriend. There’s a safe word… but she must scream it with her whole chest to end the experiment. Can she prove herself before he gets tired of the game, or will she be another has been in his life?
This book has the most infuriatingly, monumental sack of human farts for characters and I couldn’t get enough. There were parts in it that I had to calm myself because I became so pissed I wanted to yeet my IPad across the room. But fuck all if it wasn’t a great book. Seriously, one of the better books I have read in a long time. The visceral reactions to the characters, situations, and choices speaks to White’s talent. I know many already know him and his abilities as a writer but holy shit, friends, wowzer. Kenyatta has zero and I mean ZERO redeeming qualities. I think he may be my top villain of all the years I have been reading.
I buddy read 400 DAYS OF OPPRESSION with an amazing group (Wrath included) and emotions were high and on display. Racism is front and center as well as the BDSM culture. (Speaking of which, this one has some steamy scenes that you may get you pregnant. You’ve been warned.)
I can’t recommend 400 DAYS OF OPPRESSION enough. 10/5 stars.
By Ash Ericmore
I have very few fictional crushes; Alex Cole (Ericmore), Von and Greg (Harding), and Bob. I like them sadistic with a splash of dark humor. And friends, Bob will finger gun you into oblivion.
Cunt in a Coffeeshop - Bob starts this tale banging the waitress named Aimar… or Maria, because he’s you know… banging her while looking in a mirror. Anyway… there is a robbery happening and he develops a need to impress these chaps. And um… well… there’s a blender involved.
Baby Fight Club - On a plane ride, Bob meets some weirdo who won’t stop talking about soap. Together they come up with the idea of fighting babies — I mean fighting with babies… as weapons. Ever read about a baby becoming a nunchuck? Read this story.
Instant Gratification Monkey - Bob just wants to get laid. So he sets out to find a lady to sausage and runs into Steve (short for Cassidy) literally. On the run from some bad fellas, Bob does what only a true gentleman would do, he rescues her so she can bang him. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned.
Each story is absolute insanity. Ericmore can deliver so easily writing characters like this. And every time he will make you cackle while thinking, “I’m going to hell for laughing at this.”
Well, friends, I will see you there. 10/5.
Edited by Rebecca Rowland
I love anthologies. Always have and always will. They are a great way for readers to sample authors and find new favorites. And friends, AMERICAN CANNIBAL rocked my ever-loving socks off.
There are twenty stories so I will only focus on the absolute standouts.
Lost Diary by Candace Nola - suspicion with a side of stew.
Wendigo Dreams by Owl Goingback - Wendi-no. No thank you. Absolute depravity and brutality and I loved it.
And The Window Was Boarded Shut by Elizabeth Masse - Women’s suffrage, you mean women suffering… (That’s a great joke.)
The Hungry Wives of Bleak Street by Gwendolyn Kiste - Wives can only give so much of themselves before it has to end. (Only complaint — I wish it was longer…)
Tender Farm by C.V. Hunt - Never trust naked hippies living in a commune.
Flesh Communion by Holly Rae Garcia - An insider’s look at the Waco siege and some possible revelations.
I gotta be honest; there were a few that just didn’t work for me and felt off in the collection.
But overall, this is an impressive anthology, and I can absolutely see this as a Splatterpunk Award nomination for 2023. 4.5/5.
Ryan Harding & Jason Taverner
I thought maybe rereading this would make me not so pissed off but it didn’t. I’m even more pissed because the #2 most upsetting kill I have ever read still affects me.
Agent Orange is back with a whole new set of potential victims. Two prowler groups go into the Kill Zone for vastly different reasons: one for sport and one to save a life. Bloodier and more torturous kills really put this one over the top… (I don’t like that pun. Iykyk.)
What sets REINCURSION apart from REINCARNAGE is the fucked up humor of Agent Orange and the hope that the reader is given. Both are tragic and I will not be taking questions on why. Harding and Taverner seamlessly mix the most brutal kills with some of the more relatable characters I have read. Look, one kill is rough on me and I will never, in the history of my life, forgive them for what they did. Ever.
I have heard through rumors that there is a third book in the works, possibly at the very moment you read this. Will they redeem themselves in the next installment from my never ending bitching? Highly doubtful but they can try.
Still my favorite slasher novel. 5/5.
Mistakes I Made During The Zombie Apocalypse
By Michelle Kilmer
Oh look, Michelle Butcher is causing emotional damage again. Classic Michelle. (Full transparency: I love Michelle and her writing and will take out kneecaps if anyone hurts that woman.)
Ian is going through some stuff… during the zombie apocalypse… and it’s not pretty. With his best friend Grant, the apocalypse wasn’t looking so bad. Told from the end to the beginning, emotions will be had, people will die, and more importantly Ian’s story will be told.
Michelle can write some of the most stunningly heartfelt and at the same time the most heartbreaking stories I have read. She makes characters so relatable and the depth she writes them at … stick a fork in me. The friendship of Ian and Grant make you smile… until it doesn’t. And as much as I love zombie stories, this is such a breath of fresh air with what she does with it! She’s such a force and I really hope more readers check her work out.
Enjoy the emotional damage, friends. 5/5.