Monday, 3 June 2019
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
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
You can now read my review of Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See by Kev Harrison over at Aphotic Realm!
Thursday, 25 April 2019
"Dacie returns to Romania where she's ready to coax her invisible childhood playmate to reveal himself to her. Tension and passion fire up between them. Dacie's mother spouts cautionary advice regarding the supernatural; however, Dacie shirks the warning as nonsense born from local legends. A lost letter lands in Dacie's hands, suggesting the powers of the undead might have a grip on the family lineage. When her mother dies, so do the answers. And, Dacie needs the comfort of her unseen companion more than ever..."
I've read a few tales by Theresa Braun now, the author of Fountain Dead, Dead over Heels and have realised that one of the many things she is really good with her writing is characterisation. These always feel like real people to me. Within a few paragraphs she'll have you really emotionally invested in them caring deeply about what happens to them.
Like with her other works I've read I find once I start reading it is hard to stop. It's less than 50 pages so you can easily digest this in one sitting. Of course there's vampires in this, but this isn't your run of the mill vampire tale. It's not about the blood frenzy but what the vampire needs to sustain their dark soul.
I loved the setting of Transylvania, superstitions, old castles and an ancient family full of secrets and heartbreak spanning centuries. There was a great atmosphere to this creepy tale and it moves at a quick pace.
Dacie has a big choice to make, to follow the protective superstitions of her culture and escape back to the modern world, or follow her heart and stay in her homeland.
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Aphotic Realm are back with their sixth issue which also marks their two year anniversary! I've been reading this magazine right form the beginning and each time they really deliver!
I'm a huge fan of this magazine, no matter what the theme is, I've enjoyed everyone of them. So far there's been; Apparitions, Banished, Classified, Dystopia, Eldritch and now Fangs! (The next issue, which I'm particularly looking forward to, will be Gruesome!)
In this issue there's a really great interview with the undisputed king of horror; Adam Nevill. A really cool feature article by Toni Miller from the amazing Ladies of Horror Fiction Team. Also featured is a fang inspired comic called Black Dog, and some great work by Russell Dongjun Lu.
You won't find tales of Vampires inside here but you will find creepy animals and critters waiting to jump out at you! I have to say as usual all the stories in here are brilliant, there's something in here to scare everyone, I loved them all.
Fangs is out now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I really loved The Waiting Game by Kev Harrison this was a really dark tale that I loved from beginning to end. A really original choice for a fanged creature! Liam's pissed off his girlfriend and he's going to really regret it. Really well written with a really cool ending, gory and fun!
Then there's my story, Mother's Ruin by S.J.Budd. Trey and Damon think they have found a easy prey in the new boy at school who's just a little bit weird. But don't they know it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
Infestation by Chris Martin builds up the fear straight away by setting his story in the middle of nowhere. A farm is devastated by an unusual infestation. Soon its not just the farm David Chapman has to worry about but the survival of him and his family.
It's been a really long time since I read something as original and WTF as Her Special Sauce by Joanna Koch. It pulls you in from the very first sentence and doesn't let you go. Beth's come up with a novel money making idea and nothing is going to stand in her way.
A monastery set high on mountain deep in jungle is a place of great pilgrimage but it hides a dark secret. Taranto by Michael Carter explores how far people will go to protect their secrets in a really creepy way of course!
If A Murmur of Shadows by Tom Over doesn't strike fear in your heart at the thought of nature taking revenge against us for climate change then nothing will, unless there's a real life apocalypse. A brilliant tale with a very powerful ending.
And lastly, Two Weeks to Wolf by Christopher Stanley. Not even powerful weapons like guns can save us from the wild creatures that stalk us. Some things are best left undisturbed.