Tell Me When I’m Dead: Book One, by Steven Ramirez, is a horror thriller about a normal man who risked his life to save his loved ones, all the while learning what it means to be alive. Dave had met the woman of his dreams, and was now in the process of getting his life together. But when an old friend goes missing, Dave is plucked out of his comfortable life and attempts to deal with the unwanted interruption. Things spiral further out of control when a woman by the name of Missy shows up, demanding that he leave his wife for her. As Dave’s slowly starts to unravel, and the body count continues to grow higher through the help of an unknown virus, he is left with a gruesome choice; either to wallow in his sorrows, or say alive. In this thrilling novel, Ramirez details an anti-hero’s struggles for family and love, and to find beauty in a world ruled by the dead. Ramirez seemed like a weak willed man at first. Although he attempted to turn his life around for Holly, it seemed he was only going through the motions of life. He was so desperately trying to [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh “This award-winning, psychological experience is back in print, and includes the exclusive sequel The Sound of his Bones Breaking, a novella that will leave you leave you truly shaken.” Oh my, what an ambitious undertaking this was. House of Sighs dashes the hopes of a happy ending right from the get-go. A story told in reverse you already know how it will end but how they got there is one you’ll never forget. Aaron Dries sets the mood with the very first sentence “Suzie Marten was ten years old when she died.” it all goes downhill from there. The story revolves around Liz Frost, a young woman with many hang-ups and even more secrets. One morning she decided to end it all instead she went to work. Too bad… the town of James Bridge just may have gone on blissfully unaware of the catastrophes that can strike at any time. In what can only be described as a psychotic breakdown Liz has a plan to change the course of her life. Driving a city bus, she goes along her route picking up her passengers unbeknownst to them that they are to be a part of her new [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh Tim Waggoner’s Dark and Distant Voices: A Story Collection is quite the short story collection. Bizarre, weird, and utterly intriguing the stories found here will get under your skin. Included are stories from past publications and one original to this collection. Accompanied by interior illustrations done by Luke Spooner, who by the way also did the cover art, this makes for one totally brilliant read. For She is Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Lover, Come Back to Me Blood and Bone Water’s Edge Cleaning Up Weeper Doozer is a Happy Cancer The Talking Dead This is Not a Horror Story None So Empty The Last Fear In the Silence of the Night Day 12 Sun Hungry Exit Strategy The Goggen What Once Was Flesh Trespasser Sky Watching Waggoner takes ordinary everyday situations and twists them into a mind-bending reality. You know, like when you pass by someone and do a doubletake. Yeah, but rather than stopping you continue on and then begin to obsess was that who you thought it was. Or, how about that guy who can’t let go. Living in the past becomes his reality until the past catches up with him. Sometimes it’s just a [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh Whoa, where to begin? Kind Nepenthe is one effed up read! Talk about a train spiraling out of control, Matthew V. Brockmeyer gives us a story with realistic characters you will either empathize with or despise. Old school hippies, Rebecca and Calendula along with her young daughter Megan think they have found the ideal way to make some money while still staying true to their living off the land beliefs. An acquaintance, Coyote needs someone to watch over his marijuana plants on his compound hidden away in a now-defunct logging camp up in Northern California while away on business. They take him up on his offer, despite the fact rumors abound that the compound is haunted. With Rebecca’s story going on in the foreground we find Diesel’s in the background. Diesel’s a mess. A burnt-out meth dealer who has seen better days he is still stewing over the fact that Coyote’s compound is really his property. Mix in his hothead son who feels that dad hasn’t done enough to get back the property and you just know trouble is brewing. It’s little Megan that first sees the ghosts. At first, Rebecca chalks it off to an [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh If you’re looking for the next great horror story don’t bother reading this. But, if you’re looking for a great crime thriller then this one’s for you. Laird Barron has switched it up a bit with his latest novel. Reading like a pulp fiction paperback Blood Standard (An Isaiah Coleridge Novel) features an anti-hero hitman turned inadvertently good guy. Isaiah Coleridge of Maori/Caucasian descent has done his fair share of killing while working for the mob but when he witnesses big shot mafioso, Vitale shooting walruses for the hell of it in Alaska something in him snaps. Isaiah crosses the line and lashes out at Vitale sending him to the hospital. Now a marked man Isaiah finds himself holed up on a horse farm outside of New York City. Here the story gathers momentum. Ruby, the granddaughter of the couple that runs the farm has gone missing. Not one to sit by Isaiah makes it his mission to find the girl while still trying to maintain a low profile. Mixed up with some petty drug dealing, Ruby’s disappearance may have some involvement with one of the rival gangs that reside in town. Isaiah finds himself peeling [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh Chad Lutzke has given us such a beautifully written story dealing with the most grotesque of events and the saddest of circumstances. Stirring the Sheets deals with grief, loss, and the way one comes to terms with life after the death of a loved one. Our protagonist, Emmett works in a funeral home making the dead presentable for the living to view for one last time. You might think that working daily with death you would be able to handle your own loss when it happens, ah, but that is not the case especially when unexpectedly one is taken away. It’s while working that a body comes in that changes Emmett’s live. The woman on the gurney causes Emmett to do a doubletake. Why… she looks just like his late wife Kate when she was younger! A plan hatches in Emmett’s still grieving mind. Maybe, just maybe he can have his Kate back for at least one night. Lutzke doesn’t just stir the sheets with this novella, he stirs our emotions. All those past feelings that you thought were buried rise up to the surface as you begin to feel Emmett’s raw pain. The hurt, the [...]
Parasite Life, by Vitoria Dalpe, is a dark, gothic novel about the destruction love can bring. The book is separated into four parts. The first part, Ars Moriendi, introduces a girl named Jane, who has to care for her sickly mother. She meets a girl named Sabrina, and while she begins to slowly build up a shadow of happiness, she discovers that she is something not wholly human. In Imago, both Jane and Sabrina must find her father in order to determine how she could coexist with normal society. In Momento Mori, Jane realizes just how deep a mother’s love can really be, as well as what it means to finally let go. Finally, in the Epilogue, Jane finally understands who she is, and accepts herself, despite the death that will come with it. More often than not, I was perplexed by Jane’s mother. She was ruined by Hugh, was considered little more than a plaything to him, and yet, through it all she still decided to have his child. She knew Jane was a half-vampire, and although killing the child would be a kinder fate, in the end, she still chose to care for her. The things she did [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh YIKES!! Who hasn’t seen the 1984 flick, C.H.U.D.?? This is one of those cheesy fun flicks that is great to revisit every now and again. Well, Crystal Lake Publishing has come up with another way to revisit and pay homage to that old classic by putting together an anthology of C.H.U.D. related stories! Yep, that’s right, C.H.U.D. Lives! With an interview from the late film producer Andrew Bonime kicking it off and screenwriter Parnell Hall’s interview wrapping things up, this is one collection of stories you do not want to miss. Compiled by Eric S Brown and edited by Joe Mynhardt this was one huge undertaking that nailed it! Introduction by David Drake Interview with the late Andrew Bonime “Dog Walker” by Robert E Waters “The Dwellers” by Nick Cato “The City Will Eat You Alive” by Ryan C. Thomas “Date Night” by David Robbins “Strange Gods” by Christopher Fulbright and Angeline Hawkes “Lost and Found” by Greg Mitchell “They Are C.H.U.D” by Alex Laybourne “C.H.A.D.” by Michael H. Hanson “Samsa’s Party” by Ben Fisher “The Way to a Man’s Heart” by Tim Waggoner “Dweller Messiah” by Jason White “That’s Entertainment!” by Mort Castle “Toxic Disposal” [...]
Reviewed by Paula Limbaugh Ah, with summer coming this makes the perfect read! Kyle Alexander Romines’ A Sound in the Dark ups the creep factor when it comes to camping. This one will keep you on your toes with its fast-paced action! The story opens with the discovery of carnage wrought upon campers at a state park in Texas. It’s not a sight that will be forgotten anytime soon. Moving ahead 3 years we begin the story in another state park… It has been a year since Zack Allen has lost his ex-girlfriend, Lily. Although they were broken up he blames himself for her suicide. Tired of watching Zack mope his friends decide it’s time to bring Zack back to the living with a camping trip. The five men opt to rough it for the weekend. As the story unfolds we find Zack reflecting on the past and we begin to get the backstory of his relationship with Lily as well as his present-day mindset. What started out as a fun weekend turns ominous that very first night. An intruder has just made his presence known, issuing a threatening challenge to the guys- “If any of you make it beyond [...]
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