Friday, 13 September 2019

Appalachian Undead edited by Eugene Johnson and Jason Sizemore




Almost Heaven...

Or is it? The culture of the Appalachians is steeped with folktales, legends, and deep-rooted religion. There is much to love in the beauty of the rolling hills and friendly rural families, but something malicious hides just beneath the surface. Something dreadful. Something hungry... Can the people of the region stand up against the hordes of the Dead?

Appalachian Undead takes a look at the dark side of Appalachia, where the undead walk, driven by old magic and their hunger for us. Can Appalachia stand against and army that never tires and is always hungry? With new intriguing tales of the undead, by some of the best names in horror, including Jonathan Maberry, Gary A. Braunbeck, Tim Lebbon, Elizabeth Massie, Lucy Snyder, Bev Vincent, Tim Waggoner, John Skipp and many more.


Table of Contents:

When Granny Comes Marchin' Home Again - Elizabeth Massie
Calling Death - Jonathan Maberry
Hide and Seek - Tim Waggoner
Twilight of the Zombie Game Preserve... - S. Clayton Rhodes
Being in Shadow - Maurice Broaddus
Sitting up with the Dead- Bev Vincent
The Girl and the Guardian - Simon McCaffery
Repent, Jessie Shimmer! -Lucy Snyder
Almost Heaven -Michael Paul Gonzalez
On Stagger - G. Cameron Fuller
We Take Care of Our Own - John Everson
Sleeper - Tim Lebbon
Reckless - Eliot Parker
Company's Coming - Ronald Kelly
Black Friday - Karin Fuller
Spoiled - Paul Moore
Miranda Jo's Girl - Steve Rasnic Tem
Times Is Tough in Musky Holler - John Skipp & Dori Miller
Long Days to Come - K. Allen Wood
Hell's Hollow - Michael West
Brother Hollis Gives His Final Sermon from a Rickety Make-Shift Pulpit in the Remains of a Smokehouse that now Serves as His Church - Gary A. Braunbeck



I'd recently read Appalachian themed anthology, Appalachian Horror edited by Bo Chappell and loved it, so this one with its really impressive line up caught my eye. 

I have to admit, I didn't like every story in this anthology, to be really honest, Zombies aren't really my thing but this anthology has a really impressive line-up of horror authors I love. Just recently I read The House by the Cemetery by John Everson . He's one of the authors in here, I was eager to read more of his work.

























In this anthology there are 21 stories, and although I didn't like every one of them, the ones I did like I really liked. Overall the quality of writing is really high and very entertaining. There's a really wide range of zombie tales that elevate the genre past over done cliches.

My favourite tale from Appalachian Undead has to be When Granny Comes Marching Home Again by  Elisabeth Massie. Her writing really brought the place to life with vivid characters and dialogue unique to the region. I really loved bad ass but terrifying Granny! These were one of the stories you don't want to end. Legend has it that when this was released in 2012 the response to this story was so overwhelming that Elisabeth Massie has continued the tale in her novel also available from Apex, Desper Hollow.




Other tales I really like was the Super fun and thrilling tale, Repent Jessie Shimmer by Lucy Snyder. This tale had it all witches, familiars, voodoo and Zombies! Great fun from beginning to end.

The most terrifying and poignant story of the collection is Calling Death by Jonathan Maberry. The tale of a young man coming back to his homeland to visit an ancient relative and finding the past is as buried as it should be. This had such a deep brooding atmosphere that kept building as the tale progressed.

Offering a really different take on the classic zombie tale was Company's Coming by Ronald Kelly. This moving tale will have you seeing zombies in a very different light.

I also really enjoyed Time is Tough in Musky Holler by John Skipp and Dori Miller. This was a great horror tale of how survivors of a zombie apocalypse adapt to a new way of life. Grisly and lots of fun.

Overall this is a great anthology, something in there for everyone and if Zombie tales are your cup of tea, you'll love this!


Saturday, 7 September 2019

Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See by Kevin Harrison


Kev Harrison first appeared of my radar when I read his brilliant story, The Waiting Game, featured in Aphotic Realm's latest issue - Fangs. A man visits his girlfriend's place of work with disastrous results!

So when I saw that another of his stories, Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See, was being released by Demain Publishing I jumped right in.



Cinders of A Blind Man Who Could See is an excellent serving of folk horror, a sub-genre I've been obsessed with ever since I saw The Wicker Man late one night on the telly.

Like with The Wicker Man, this tale has a great atmospheric build up. The story is really unsettling, no one is who they seem and there are many secrets in one little town who don't approve of outsiders. It's set in a small community in Northern England where Owen lives almost as a recluse after a terrible accident from which he's never truly recovered.

He's woken late one night, to witness a miracle, his son's sight has returned after 21 years. Everyone in the community is delighted but Owen has no faith. He senses danger underfoot.

David his son, says his eyesight was returned to him when he encountered strange markings on a majestic Yew tree dating back 1500 years residing deep in Leonard Woods. He is overjoyed to have his vision restored but yet it is not enough to convince him that the ancient woods should be saved from a development project bulldozing the woods.

I really liked the character of Owen, a man of few words outwardly he appears cold and tough, but he knows what is right and wrong, good and evil, and will go to any lengths to protect the ones he loves.

Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See is a great British horror story. Sometimes its best to leave the old pagan ways alone lest you find yourself at war with ancient powers you can't begin to comprehend.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

House of Skin by Jonathan Janz





Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles's wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she's not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again...and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key. Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere's. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate--and Annabel--have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere? FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.


I imagine most of you horror fans have already heard of this guy, for me he appears to have popped out of nowhere becoming an overnight sensation. He's quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. I've read a few of his books now from Flame Tree Publishing, who are reprinting all his previous novels, and with each read I like him more and more.

House of Skin shares a lot of similarities with his previous book I've recently read ,The Siren and the Specter. The books both feature a remote haunted house, a main character who is trying to escape his past and a young beautiful girl full of secrets. Jonathan has come across a great formula and it works each time without the plots feeling similar.

In House if Skin there are two story lines. We have Paul who is a bit of a loser, he's reached his mid thirties and has done nothing with his life, other than amass a beer gut and angry unsatisfied girlfriend.  His life is about to change in a big way when he inherits a huge sprawling mansion, Watermere from his Uncle Myles. A relative he's never met as his family hate him and refuse to ever talk about him.

Amazed at his luck, he quits his dead end job, his flat and his nagging girlfriend and leaves for Watermere in the dead of night thinking that when he wakes up after a long car journey he'll land into a much happier life.  He's wrong of course, this is a horror tale, literally the whole town hates him and he doesn't know why.

We also follow the stories of Myles Carver during the 1950's, Paul's recently deceased Uncle. Myles is desperately in love with the beautiful and mysterious Annabel who unfortunately happens to be his brother's wife. Myles and his brother David both live in Watermere and its status in the small town is legendary.  The brothers lead a wild life of privilege, excess and throw debauched parties laced with liquor and sex.

One of the things I really like about Janz's writing is his ability in creating these very believable characters and then change them seamlessly throughout the course of the book. The ending is brilliant and really satisfying, can't say much about it without giving spoilers but every loose end is very neatly tied up. I'd love to see a sequel to this.




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

Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See by Kev Harrison

You can now read my review of Cinders of a Blind Man Who Could See by Kev Harrison over at Aphotic Realm!


The Town that Feared Dusk by Calvin Demmer

You can read my review for The Town that Feared Dusk by Calvin Demmer over at Aphotic Realm!


You can read it here at Aphotic Realm

Tales From the Shadow Booth Vol 3

You can read my new review of Tales From the Shadow Booth via Aphotic Realm



You can reads the review in full here at Aphotic Realm

The Forest is Hungry by Christopher Stanley

My new review of The Forest is Hungry by Christopher Stanley is out now via Aphotic Realm.


You can read all about here at Aphotic Realm

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Dying for an Invitation by Theresa Braun






"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

Review: Fangs by Aphotic Realm




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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Black Fur, Red Fangs by Kenneth Tilford kicks off this excellent anthology with a great American horror flavour. I really enjoyed this tale there was a great atmosphere of dread and foreboding terror in this tale where night time creatures take aim at an isolated community.

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.


Stoker's Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

"Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde join forces to face a vampire cult determined to open the gates of hell."

Now this book had me intrigued with only the byline on the cover. I'm a huge fan of the gothic classic Stoker's Dracula and Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray and if you are too, you will love this tale.



Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will. With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality. The action will take them to dark forests in Ireland, through the upper-class London theater world and culminates in an exciting showdown at Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell.

I absolutely loved this book and upon writing this review I can't think of anything bad to say about it. Stoker's Wilde is a brilliant book, its clear the authors really know their subject matter. The characters of Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde are really believable and their opposing natures compliment each other really well. There's some great comic moments between these two. I really liked both characters but Wilde was by far my favourite.

This book felt so real as I read it and I felt like I had come into a secret knowledge over how the two great books of Stoker and Wilde came to be written. The references to their works and lives are very clever.

In the same spirit of Dracula, this novel is written through letters of correspondence, journal entries and recordings carefully put together in one collection by the mysterious White Worm society. The tale of Stoker's Wilde starts off in Dublin when Stoker and Wilde are forced to unite against a werewolf wreaking havoc in Ireland. It was meant to be the adventure of a lifetime but for them it is only the beginning. Soon they are drawn into the affairs of a secret vampire cult in London and must work through their differences if they and their loved ones, and also the whole world, are to survive the Black Bishop.

This book is great fun and doesn't take itself seriously, it will appeal to anyone who loves adventure stories, secret societies Victorians, vampires such as Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, supernatural creatures, things that go bump in the night and the wit of Oscar Wilde.

I'm itching to re-read Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Gray but the dilemma is which one to read first.





Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Night Shift by Robin Triggs

"Antartica. A mining base at the edge of the world. Anders Norvelt, last minute replacement as head of security, has no time to integrate himself into the crew before an act of sabotage threatens the project. He must untangle a complex web of relationships from his position as prime suspect.

Then a body is found int he ice. Systems fail as the long night falls. Now Anders must do more than find a murderer. He must find a way to survive.
Will anyone endure the night shift or will ice and frozen corpses be all that remains."



I was given this book by Flame Tree publishing in exchange for an honest review. I've loved each book they've sent me which are all horror/supernatural which is absolutely my thang!  But when I realised this book was science fiction I was instantly put off.

However I really loved this book, it only took me a day to read it. I would actually classify this as a dystopian thriller with a thin element of science fiction.

Robin Triggs does a great job of writing a book full of mystery and intrigue. I love a great "whodunnit" and had a great time trying to figure out who the saboteur was before Anders did. The plots moves rapidly, I couldn't put it down. I'd love to see this made into a film.

I really liked the writing style and I think fans of Harlan Coben will love this book. I would have liked to have seen a bit more back story but the author has stated that he has planned this to be the first in a trilogy and if that happens this is a great first book in the series.


Sunday, 10 March 2019

Fangs By Aphotic Realm


It's with great pleasure to announce that my short story, Mother's Ruin, will be appearing in Fangs by Aphotic Realm.


There's a stellar line up for this edition featuring Marcello Bondi, me!, Michael Carter, Kev Harrison, Joanna Koch, Chris Martin, Toni Miller, Christopher Stanley, Kenneth Tilford and Tom Over. It also features an interview with the absolute horror legend who needs no introduction, Adam Nevill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's such an honour to grace the same publication as him.

Fangs is out 15th March 2019

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Sanitarium Magazine Issue 1

I was beyond excited to see last year that Sanitarium Magazine was being revived. I loved the magazine in its first life. It has a special place in my heart as this was the magazine to give me my first story acceptance at a time where I was beginning to lose all confidence in my writing.

I was first published in Issue 28. I'd bought 5 copies! I was nervous as I had never read it before but immediately loved it and continued to buy every issue afterwards until it stopped at issue 51. I was devastated. Its always so sad to see such a great magazine go but like with most indie horror presses they are run on love for horror not for profits.



And amazingly I got another story acceptance from the new version of Sanitarium I was thrilled beyond words and after reading the first issue I am also very proud to be featured alongside such talented writers.

To call this a magazine is a huge understatement. This is a great and vast tome of horror. Seriously there wasn't one tale I didn't enjoy in this.

This magazine/tome has really reignited my love for horror. For me I much prefer short horror fiction. I feel in this format there are less rules and restrictions in creating tales. You can push it as far as you want. You can be really mean to your characters as readers don't expect a big pay off at the end. In horror novels there tends to be a sense of hope and salvation at the end, but in short fiction that dream is decimated.

With this I was genuinely excited each time I started a new tale as each one before it had been so good!. There's 20 tales in here, some touch upon poetry, science fiction, history, folklore and just plain weird!

This was a very hard choice to make but my two favourite tales, (couldn't pick just one) were The Slaughterman's Tale by Dan Soule. I just loved this, so creepy from the get go and really chilling from beginning to end. I also loved The Mouth that Opens by Logan Noble it really reminded me of American Horror Story at it's best. Two writers I'll be keeping a look out for in the future. I hope to see a lot more of their work.

Also up there is The Alchemical Wedding by Max D.Stanton. I've never read anything like that before! Mad and brilliant!

This is a superb debut and if the second issue is anything like the first this will soon be a huge name in horror once more.

The only downside is the wait for issue 2!

Creature by Hunter Shea

This is the first book I've read by Hunter Shea. I was slightly apprehensive about reading it as I had been aware of all the hype and praise surrounding this book. I was worried it wouldn't live up to my high expectations of a creepy horror tale.



But it did.

I had great fun.

From my point of view I would describe Creature as two books fused into one. The first book is a body-horror tale that felt a little too real for me. It details the lows and lows of a passionate married couple, (with a great sense of humour) fighting against the wife's auto-immune disease which completely dominates their lives.

This section terrified me, like everyone else, I have a terrible fear of falling ill in such a way. I guess it will happen to us all in the end but to see it so up close is truly monstrous. Parts of this book were so hard to read as we've all had someone close to our hearts suffer in such a way. I really felt for Andrew, he'd do anything for Kate but he's powerless against such as disease.

It was only after finishing this book that  I found out that the the author's wife suffers from a illness which made it all the more raw, heart wrenching and real.

Most horror stories are outlandish separated from our everyday lives, usually set in circumstances you know would never happen to you in real life, but this one is very different. This could be you the illness creeps up on. It could so easily be your marriage, your family, that is tested to its limits.

The second half of the book is much different. This is where the much anticipated creature makes an appearance. Where the fun begins.

I have to admit the first half of the book is a slow burner, so much so that I hate to admit it now, but I did abandon the book to read something else. Eventually I came back to this, and am so glad I did as my investment of time was truly rewarded.

So when they arrive at the cottage deep in the woods of Maine, (my favourite horror setting!)  I was really excited for the fun/murder/destruction/bloodshed to start.

I do love these sort of books where you know there's a big terrible monster and its going to come in and kill everyone. What a lot of people don't appreciate is that to slay this much overdone trope, you have to write it really well and bring something new to the table.

Hunter Shea has done just that.

From this point the book accelerates really quickly, it's really hard to put the book down and I was hooked. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it!

Whilst I've still got your attention, if you liked this books then may I also recommend The Ritual by Adam Neville and  The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn, both great books!






Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Army of Skin by Morgan K.Tanner



After losing his mother to a brain tumour, Trevor King feels totally alone in the world. Someone needs to pay for her death and Dr Mellick, Trevor's work colleague and family GP, is the man he holds responsible. Trevor's yearning for vengeance leads him to concoct a vicious plot to frame the doctor for multiple murders. Trevor skins the corpses, turning them into elaborate art pieces after being inspired by a mysterious textbook. But as the skins of the flayed victims come to life and continue the killings for him, Trevor wonders whether he is in too deep.When Dr Mellick goes missing Trevor becomes convinced the doctor is planning a similar scheme to bring him down.But as Trevor discovers the truth of his mother's death and his own life, this murderous path becomes more of a calling.

Morgan K.Tanner first came on my radar after reading Tales From the Realm Vol 1 by Aphotic Realm which featured his amazing story, The Almost Cannibal.  That story really stuck out for me despite being in an anthology of really superb stories. His writing blended perfectly dark horror with comedy, I've read a few of his interviews and he's a really funny guy. So when I saw that he had released his debut novella, Army of Skin, I couldn't wait to take a look.

I think its worth mentioning the cover, designed by M.R. Tapia. It's amazing! It's really representative of the care and artistry that's gone into making this outstanding book.

This book is an example of why I love novellas! From the very first page I was hooked and knew I was in for a fun ride. I read this in one day and was completely enthralled throughout. There's no boring back story just action. The plot moves really quickly in ways you can't anticipate.

This is the tale of Trevor King who is seeking revenge against his late mother's doctor. He delves deeper and deeper into hell in his attempts to bring Dr Mellick to justice. The weird thing about Trevor King is that he comes off as a nice guy, but he does these terrible things which at times makes for uncomfortable reading. The characterisation is brilliant as you watch Trevor descend into utter madness.  In this book, no one is as they seem. Its hard to talk too much about the plot without giving away spoilers but it's exhilarating. 

The ending is truly amazing, everything really comes together in one almighty final chapter! Whilst reading this book I had many questions but they were all answered in the very brutal ending. Morgan K.Tanner shows that he can make people laugh with one hand and completely terrify them with the other.

This is an awesome debut and I can't wait to see what he writes next!


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Bad Pennies by John.F.Leonard




I chose Bad Pennies after reading Call Drops also by John F.Leonard, a short horror story which was really creepy, imaginative and highly enjoyable. Bad Pennies is set in the same world and does not disappoint!

Seeing a stranger die is the worst thing that Chris has ever witnessed. Picking up the dead man’s wallet is a mistake, a moment of weakness.
That’s all it takes, one impulsive act, for reality to unravel.
Because pocketing the wallet is only the beginning.


Dark forces swim below the surface of the world...
They change their shape but never go away...
They find a way through... 



Chris Carlisle is just an ordinary guy, always suffering from too much month at the end of his money. He's flat broke, his job is a dead end and his boss hates him. He's one warning away from getting fired. The only thing that is goo din his life is his beautiful Becca and for her he would do anything.

He doesn't think his life can get any worse, but it can.

One morning, late for work he witnesses something extraordinary. He thinks his luck is finally changing when he finds a wallet full of cash. He almost doesn't pick it up but he's so poor he has little choice in taking it.

This book starts off a little slow but its worth it as once it gets going, events move quickly. There's a great foreboding atmosphere and a real treat for those who like their horror extra dark! I loved The Thin White Man, he was genuinely scary and if you don't have a great tolerance for creepy crawlies you may find this book a little extreme!

Beware of the Scaeth!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Just To Keep You Close

I'm so excited to kick off 2019 with my short story, Just to Keep You Close, appearing in the first issue of the resurrected horror fiction magazine Sanitarium. Like many horror fans I was devastated when it was forced to go on hiatus and now, fast forward a few years, it's back!





This is a magazine I quickly fell in love with and it introduced me to a lot of horror authors who have now gone on to make a big name for themselves. The first issue is available now on Amazon in e format and should be available in paperback in a few days.


5.0 out of 5 starsWell worth your time if dark fiction is your thing.
19 January 2019 - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

By Year's End: A Year 47 Anthology




Oooh my first book review of 2019! Here goes. By Year's End: A Year 47 Anthology is  a companion to Bo Chappell's Year 47 novel set in a post apocalyptic New West. I have to admit, I've yet to delve into that tale, but you can go straight ahead and read By Year's End without having any prior knowledge of that.

This anthology features nine tales that will take you through the horror of how the New West was created and what's left for the few remaining survivors.

I really enjoyed reading these and not having a clue about the events of Year 47 which added extra intrigue to my read. What really struck me was the quality of these stories and how they blend so well together.  I really wanted them to last longer as you get so caught up in the tales. There's a real eclectic mix of authors here, each with their own unique voice but they all flow so effortlessly to create an anthology that feels more like a novel. Usually with anthologies I mention my favourite tales but with this I actually can't pick favourites as they're all so good.

The stories all contain characters that you really care about which adds to the tension and each one packs a powerful emotional punch. And of course there's a palpable feeling of cold dread building up in each tale. Something really bad has happened here and no one knows what it is or why it's happened.

This is an anthology I would definitely recommend!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Itch by S.J.Budd

My most goriest creepiest tale to date is now available for just 99cents via Infinite Realms Bookstore. It's about a guy who messes with the wrong witch! It even comes with a warning and is called The Itch!



Also on this site you can purchase the incredible Sounds of the Night anthology,  published by Alban Lake. It features my first novelette, What the Eyes Cannot See.