Friday, 13 September 2019
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
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
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.