Monday, 19 August 2019

Lego Lasts Forever on The NoSleep Podcast




It's with great pleasure to announce that my latest tale will be appearing on the legendary horror podcast that is The No Sleep Podcast!

You can listen to my tale, which appears first here

Happy listening!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Forest Is Hungry by Christopher Stanley



A sick daughter, a father’s race against time to find the one thing that might save her and a mysterious tree growing through the kitchen floor… 

Author Christopher Stanley on writing ‘The Forest Is Hungry’: “Quite often my stories come from several different places. In this one, the walk at the beginning, where the parents are separated from their child, is a walk I’ve done a number of times with my own family. My sister moved into a big new house and she told me about some of the conversations she had had with the site foreman. And we have a family friend who cuts our trees for us. All of these things happened around the same time and – bang! – there’s the story!” 


This is the third offering I've read in Demain Publishing's Short Sharp Shocks and now I'm hooked. This time I've read, The Forest is Hungry by Christopher Stanley. It's a really vicious folk horror tale of a family torn apart through separation trying to survive

The story starts with every parents worst nightmare, a child goes missing in the woods. for centuries we've been told the dark folk tales that warn about the perils of babes in the woods and this modern version is no different.

After taking his only child, Becca, to the woods, outside his home, Richard realises something is amiss. Afterwards she speaks only in strange riddles and then the trees start moving in. It's not just him and his family that is being targeted it's everyone in his street.

The Forest is hungry.

I loved this tale, it starts off with a bang and just keeps gathering pace. It's hard to say much without giving spoilers  only that its a really creepy story that won't fail to disapoint even the most hardened horror fan. 

I like to think that this story exists in the same forest as Kev Harrison's Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See, also released by Demain Publishing.  Both stories are set around an ancient woodland that has stood for centuries and will stand for centuries after the last human has walked the earth. Maybe its the powerful forces within that keep this forest untouched.

Tales From the Shadow Booth Vol 3 edited by Dan Coxon







"Jared can feel the tower blocks looming overhead, three concrete sentinels watching as he runs. He knows he has less than a minute before his pursuers are on him, but as he rounds the corner into the alley he stops, dead. There's a strange canvas structure propped against the wall, a hand-made sign scrawled on a scrap of cardboard.Enter the Shadow Booth, it says, and you will never be the same again."


This is the third offering from The Shadow Booth. I loved the two previous volumes and was really excited to get my hands on this.

In the Shadow Booth you'll find a collection of 11 strange and twisted tales. These aren't horror or dystopian but somewhere between the two. These are those wonderfully "out there" hard to classify stories that stay with you long after you have finished reading them.

On the whole I really enjoyed most of the stories here, I have to admit there were a few that didn't quite do it for me, but that's to be expected with an anthology. I believe there's a something for everyone in here.

In my opinion the stand out tale for me was The Cherry Cactus of Corsica by Verity Holloway. This tale was a remarkable feat of imagination and execution. I just loved it. It follows the tale of Kurt who feels drawn to one of his students who shows great talent and promise but is deeply troubled. He only wants to help but is unable to resist being drawn in to a dire situation he cannot escape from.

Also up there in my favourites was Cousin Grace by Jill Hand. I've read quite a few of her stories over the years and they are always superb. I loved the opening paragraph which was both charming and sinister!

"Cousin Grace liked marzipan, standard poodles, and the actor Jean Reno. Three years ago her house ate her."

This was a really original tale and Jill Hand delivers an emotional punch. I really cared about these two girls who only had each other in life and when Cousin Grace disappears into the Dream Room only the narrator seems to care.

Meat By Judy Birkbeck was another really great tale of Fenella who moves to a new town with her daughter Saskia in search of a new life. I loved the vivid descriptions used throughout and the brooding creepy atmosphere which really felt like the calm before a storm. It definitely felt like there was something strange about this town!

Hermit Island's Hermit by Armel Dagorn was a really short but creepy tale about a young man's expedition to a remote island revered by local folklore. Will he be able to return once he sets off in his canoe?

I Have a Secret by Raquel Castro was a brutal tale of family loss told through the voice of a child, Milo . Haunting it depicts the tale of a very sick mother coming home from hospital, things will never be the same again. Milo suspects something is underfoot but no one will listen.





The Town that Feared Dusk by Calvin Demmer

Sylvia Bernstein doesn't want to end up on a dead-end path like a former journalism colleague. She begins searching the tabloid's archives for a story that can get her career back on track. A strange bridge, with an abnormally high rate of suicides, seems like the perfect place to start. She journeys to the little town, eager to investigate, but encounters a tale far more sinister than she ever expected...





Calvin Demmer's latest release is part of a new venture, Demain Publishing that have kicked off to a great start by releasing a series of short sinister fiction which cost less than a pound/dollar. I've previously read Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See by Kev Harrison and absolutely loved it.

I've read a lot of Calvin Demmer's work over the years and  had high hopes for this. I wasn't disappointed. This is a tale long enough for you to feel really involved in, it felt more like a mini novel rather than just a short story. I easily devoured this is one go so it's perfect for reading on the train whilst commuting to work.

The tale follows a young reporter, Sylvia, eager to make something of herself and not follow in the footsteps of her predecessor who wasted his life before his untimely departure. She's a hunter looking for that big story that's going to earn her name in print and she'll do anything for her fame.

Sylvia ends up in a small town just like any other except for its exceptionally high suicide rate which seems to garner no questions or outcry from the locals. They accept it just as they accept the bridge just outside town which people can't help hurling themselves off.

Even when danger presents itself she keeps on. Nothing, not even the supernatural is going to stop her from finding answers.

This is a tale of intrigue that moves quickly with a plot that quickly progresses, it is part horror part thriller conducted on a wild goose chase.

OUT NOW!








Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Monday, 3 June 2019

Appalachian Horror Edited by Bo Chappell


I just love reading horror anthologies, especially themed ones. I'd just finished with Crystal Lake's Welcome to the Show, themed around a legendary music venue in San Francisco which blew me away. Appalachian Horror from Bo Chapell and Aphotic which followed next had a lot to live up to.

Appalachian Horror is themed around well, Appalachian Horror. For those of you who don't know, Appalachia is a region stretching from New York to Georgia. It's famed for the Appalachian trail which people hike across.

The area has long been a source of myths and legends which have been passed down the generations from the early settlers. It's home to Bigfoot, eerie lights, moon-eyed people, witches, monsters and many many ghosts. A perfect setting for horror to take place. (click here for more info)

This anthology is comprised of 8 tales with a lot of recognisable names from the indie horror scene. Whilst reading this, I was really reminded of The Ritual by Adam Nevill. A brilliant book I urge you to read at once.It's based around four old friends hiking in the Swedish forests where they ultimately get lost and find themselves becoming hunted.

I really enjoyed this anthology, there wasn't even one story in here that I didn't care for and ended up reading this in one go as it was so good. Bo Chappell, Aphotic Realm and all the featured authors  have really out done themselves

Enjoy!

End Trails by John Morgan

Hands down this was my favourite tale and was such a powerful opener for the anthology. It was really creepy and told in such a powerful way. In fact I reads this twice straightaway as I loved it so much. Two friends Merlin and Nugget get lost on the Appalachian Trail when they realise they are being followed...

The Ghost Sang by Jeffery X Martin

Robin, a free lance photographer  arrives in Chamlett to document the poverty in Appalachia hoping to make a quick buck. There she meets a farmer whop is somehow thriving whilst the town around him falls to ruin. A really well written creepy tale. The plot is really original which builds up to a surprising ending.

Blood is Always Thicker by Tony Evans

Two friends embark on a hunting mission. Having no luck out in the open they decide to go into the forest near Stepp Branch which was once home to a notorious witch who once plagued the land. However it was all a long time ago there's no way she could still be alive.

This is one of those tales where you want to scream at the main characters to stop and turn around but of course it's  no use. This was a super dark folk horror tale with a wicked ending.

The Town of Afurisit by Charity Langley

I had no idea where this tale was going to go making it a really thrilling read. Can't wait to read more by this author.

Summer Price has been selected by her tutor to a free mini break deep in Appalachia. She has a paper due on the history of the region and she has no idea how she is going to pass it. She's hoping a break there will provide her with some much needed answers.

The Bend by C.W.Blackwell

A father living out in the wild with his daughter knows trouble is ahead when he starts finding dead bodies on his farm. Trouble is they won't stay still.

There's a great sense of foreboding danger to this tale which just gets darker and darker as the tale progresses. It will pull at your hear strings as much as it will scare you.

Brains, Like Roots by Damascus Mincemeyer

The events of what took place many years ago are finally recounted by a son trying to explain what happened to his family one fateful summer. Another one of my faves the events all weave together perfectly and the ending is amazing.

Trespasser by Renee Miller

I've read a lot by Renee and was really excited to see she had a story in here. Like with her longer tales Eat the Rich and Church her dark dark sense of humour is present, making her stories really creepy and plausible.

Carly takes a break in Appalachia after a bad break-up. She's broken-hearted but she's not going to spend her vacation lying in bed and feeling sorry for herself. She wants to explore the reportedly cursed ghost town nearby despite the warnings.

Hemlock Winds by Shawn Lachance

Friends and family of Alan thought it would do him the world of good to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail after the death of his beloved wife, Julia. They hope he'll find himself and come back to them as he once was...

Before he embarks, Alan's brother gifts him with a journal to take with him so that they can read through it together upon his return. Little did he know that reading that journal will be the hardest thing he's ever had to do, but he needs to if he's ever to know what really happened out there.



Saturday, 25 May 2019