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review 2019-12-22 17:47
RESISTING MADNESS by Wesley Southard
Resisting Madness - Wesley Southard

RESISTING MADNESS is my first experience with Wesley Southard and it was a good one!

 

I've always been a big fan of story collections and anthologies. When I was a teenager, I would search out these types of books from my library, note down the authors I especially enjoyed, and then I would go on to search out novels by them. I will be doing the same with Mr. Southard.

 

The stories that floated my boat the most were:

 

WITH MANY THANKS TO NEWARK This was the first tale and a great way to start off. You've heard of SNAKES ON A PLANE right? Yeah, well these weren't snakes. :)

 

MINOR LEAGUER Even though I feel like I'm no longer a fan of the more extreme horror available these days, this one tickled me just fine.

 

GOD BLESS YOU A fast, direct, punch to the face. Loved it!

 

HOME INVASION (With Nikki McKenzie). A fun story on two fronts and I dug it. I dug it a LOT.

 

LIP SERVICE I don't even know what to say about this. This was more of a weird fiction tale than flat out horror. I sometimes think when authors try too hard to explain something, it ruins the story. The author did not do that here and I found the story more intriguing as a result.

 

BUST TO DUST was just nasty. Funny and disgusting all at once.

 

The final tale was a novella: RESISTING MADNESS. I started reading it last night and had one hell of a time putting it down. This story dug deep into what parenting is really about. It also featured some extraordinarily gory action which somehow reminded me of Bird Box and a Twilight Zone episode all tangled up together in one superb and bloody package. This was my favorite story in the collection.

 

 

I'm happy to report that my introduction to Wesley Southard's work went very well. With a large variety of tales featuring everything from flash fiction to a novella length work, I feel like this was a great way to start with a new to me author and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

 

Recommended!

 

Get your copy here: RESISTING MADNESS

 

*Thanks to Wesley Southard for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!

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review 2019-12-18 18:45
THE HUNGRY ONES by Chris Sorensen
The Hungry Ones - Chris Sorensen

THE HUNGRY ONES is the second book in THE MESSY MAN series. I read it immediately after finishing the first. I'm so glad I did! Reading them back to back kept all the characters fresh in my mind.

 

The action starts at a motel which shut down after a gunman went crazy and killed a bunch of customers. I imagine it must be hard to rent rooms after such a tragedy. New characters are introduced as the motel is sold and then renovated. Not long after though, Peter, Hannah and their son come to stay and all hell breaks loose for them. Again.

 

I admit to being a bit confused at first regarding one of the characters, but as the story progressed, I got the hang of what was going on. It's much more complicated than it first appeared to be in THE NIGHTMARE ROOM. I enjoyed the heck out of the new characters introduced here, most especially Jessie. I was also very happy to see Ellen return from the first book. She's a quirky character and reminds me a bit of Holly from Stephen King's trilogy that started with MR. MERCEDES.

 

I think this book requires a bit more of the reader than the first one did, which was fine with me. There were more characters to deal with and there were a lot more scary scenes and boy, did I enjoy those! I also enjoyed the big cow and couldn't help but chuckle a few times. (You'll see if you read this.)

 

All in all, I enjoyed this tale. It was fast paced and kept me on my toes the entire time. For that reason, I highly recommend it! (I also recommend reading THE NIGHTMARE ROOM first.)

 

Get your copy here: THE HUNGRY ONES

 

*Thanks to the author for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2019-03-29 13:45
THE HATCH by Kelli Owen
The Hatch - Kelli Owen

Spiders! I hate them! Yet I couldn't resist reading this sequel to WAITING OUT WINTER. I'm so glad I finally did!

 

We're following Nick and his band of survivors as the government experiment gone wrong in WINTER, has now morphed into a different problem altogether. As with the best post apocalyptic stories, this tale is more about the survivors than it is about the creatures. And even though there is a metric shit-ton of spiders around, in all of their different shapes, sizes and venomous abilities, we don't see a lot of gory spider action. In fact, we really don't see any-only the after effects. 

 

This is another quiet tale from Kelli Owen that I very much enjoyed and can heartily recommend with two caveats: 1. If you're expecting a lot of creature feature romp & chomp action, you'd probably be happier with something by Hunter Shea, and 2. you probably should read WAITING OUT WINTER first.

 

Heartily recommended!

 

Get your copy here: THE HATCH

 

*I bought my copy directly from Kelli and the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival and she was kind enough to sign it for me. That did not affect the honesty of my review.*

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review 2019-02-24 15:46
BAIT by J. Kent Messum
Bait: A Novel - J. Kent Messum

What can I say about this fast paced novel? Check out the synopsis:

 

 

No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this. Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible—swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights—and their captors’ motives finally begin to emerge.

 

 

How could any horror lover resist that description? Who is watching our plucky group of addicts from that yacht? What possible reason could they have for doing such a thing? You'll have to read BAIT to find out!

 

After reading HUSK by Messum late last year, I became an instant fan. BAIT only solidifies my fandom.

 

I can't say too much about this tale with out being spoiler-y or redundant. I will say that I had a blast with it, and being as fast paced and action packed as it was, (during the second half), it didn't take long for me to blow through it. It was bloody, unpredictable and a few sharks were harmed in the making of the novel.

 

Recommended, especially for fans of SHARK WEEK! 

 

Get your copy here: BAIT

 

*I received a paperback copy of this book with no strings attached, and the author was kind enough to sign it for me.*

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review 2018-05-14 18:52
BAD PENNIES by John Leonard
Bad Pennies - John F Leonard

 

Chris Carlisle's life is going to hell and he's taking us with him! It starts when Chris witnesses an accident wherein a gentleman dies. As good citizens do, he gets out of his car to see if the man is okay, but he's not. On a sudden impulse, Chris takes the dead man's wallet, gives his statement to the police when they arrive, and then goes on his way. He later discovers money inside and agonizes over it all day while working his stressful, low paying job. He decides he's going to go back and leave the wallet at the scene of the crime, but in the end it never happens. Instead, he decides to spend a little money on drinks and cocktails, and once he gets home, he discovers the money he spent has reappeared in the wallet. He still has the same amount he started with! How can this be? Will he do the right thing and return the wallet and/or report what he did? Or will he keep the wallet, (after all he is in dire need of money), and treat himself to a few things he really needs-like new clothes for work or a new car? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

This is a novel of supernatural horror and terrible things occurred on the pages of BAD PENNIES. Every time Chris decided on a course of action, I couldn't help but ask myself what I would have done in the same situation. When his actions lead to the deaths of innocents, animal attacks and doors opening where there previously were none, the situation escalates quickly, and I just hung on for the ride. I really felt for Chris and I could easily understand why he did what he did. Would I have made the same choices? Maybe so and I think that's the main reason I kept reading. That and my fascination with the Scaeth and what he/it might do next. I'm not going to say anything more about it, because that should be related to you by the author, not by me. I loved the imagination and creativity that went into several different scenes, and I truly felt afraid once or twice, which is a rarity.

 

The issues I had with this book were twofold and not too bothersome-the pacing was a bit off and it took a while for the story to really get going. (Once it did, though, it went quickly.) The second problem I had, (and this was probably just me being picky), was that there was too much foreshadowing going on. It seemed like every chapter ended on a sentence foreshadowing a future event. I don't mind a little of that here and there, but it was used a bit too often for my comfort.

 

BAD PENNIES had a lot of interesting and intriguing world-building going on that I need to know more about. Who was that Sammael guy? I want to know more about Brian MacGuire and his club. I want to know more about the Scaeth, what it wants, why it's here, and more about where it lives, (between the walls.) So now I'm left to waiting for Mr. Leonard to fill me in and I can't wait!

 

Strongly recommended for fans of supernatural horror!

 

*I received a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!* You can get a copy, (with it's super-cool new cover) here: BAD PENNIES

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