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review 2017-09-24 18:30
The Devil's Woods - Brian Moreland
The Devil's Woods - Brian Moreland

Brian Moreland is simply money in the bank. I have yet to read anything of his that I didn't love and The Devil's Woods is his best yet. Kyle and his brother and sister, Eric and Shawna, grew up on the Cree reservation until their mother divorced their father. Eric and Shawna have grown distant from their father, a university archeology professor and an alcoholic, but Kyle has still kept in touch with him through the years. When the siblings receive a call from their uncle Ray inviting them back to the reservation for a visit, Kyle thinks this may be a good way for all of them to reconnect after all these years. Unfortunately, when they arrive, they learn that their father is missing. Kyle attempts to piece together his father's last whereabouts with what he was investigating. What he learns is that their idyllic Canadian hideaway in the woods has an evil buried deep within where things are not as they would seem.

 

 

You can tell that Moreland did his research for The Devil's Woods. Its all in the details and his writing is spot on. You get invested in the siblings. Kyle is still mourning from the loss of his wife and you root for him to find happiness. Shawna is the free spirit rebellious type that shows her immaturity from time to time. Eric is the obnoxious womanizer that you want to see get what he has coming to him, yet there are times when he shows his human side and you almost sympathize with him. All of Moreland's characters have depth, no two dimensional cardboard stereotypes here. He also brings the Canadian woods to your doorstep. It feels like you're crunching over leaves, swatting the occasional mosquito and seeing that shadow disappear behind a tree trunk out of the corner of your eye. He really immerses you in his story. He also has done his homework to get the Cree culture and Canadian landscape just right. Moreland delivers another fantastic read and I can't wait for the next one.

 

 

5 Float Planes out of 5

 

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-01-07 04:04
The Girl From The Blood Coven
The Girl from the Blood Coven - Brian Moreland

A prequel to The Witching House, this story also sort of works as a standalone.
Abigail walks into the local bar covered in blood and claiming her entire commune family have been slaughtered. Sheriff Travis Keagan goes out to investigate and wishes he hadn't.
Nicely paced read with engaging characters and a disturbingly gory storyline. It is the perfect prelude to The Witching House and has me eager to get to the novel.

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review 2016-04-29 18:55
Review: Blood Sacrifices by Brian Moreland
Blood Sacrifices - Brian Moreland

 

 

 

I received a free copy of Blood Sacrifices from Erin at Oh, for the Hook of a Book in return for an honest review and as part of the Hook of a Book Blood Sacrifices blog tour of which my blog Scarlet's Web is taking part.

 

Blood Sacrifices is comprised of a short story and three novellas. The short story, The Girl From The Blood Coven, being a short prequel to The Witching House, followed by two independent novellas, Darkness Rising and The Vagrants.

 

I particularly enjoyed The Girl from the Blood Coven and was pleased to see that The Witching House continued on with this story. I was left curious to learn more about the house and what led up to the events, and The Witching Hour was exactly what I was looking for. These two were my favourites from the collection.

 

Darkness Rising was a bittersweet story, the main character of Marty is very appealing and easy to care for, this makes his horrific story all the more heartbreaking and poignant. I enjoyed this as much as the above but in a different way. The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House caters more to my personal preference where horror is concerned but Darkness Rising really stood out as it's particularly haunting and poignant. Bad things happened to good people.

 

The final story, The Vagrants was yet another great story but was the one I have to say I enjoyed least of all. It wasn't that it didn't draw me in, it just felt like it went on a bit in places.

 

Moreland writes in a way that draws you in instantly. The opening paragraphs of each story get their claws into you and you just have to read on. All of the stories stand out in their own way and there is something for everyone here.

 

Blood Sacrifices is one that I would highly recommend reading, it's full of tension, atmosphere and moves at pace that will have you on the edge of your seat.

 

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2016-04-14 04:25
Blood Sacrifices - Brian Moreland
Blood Sacrifices - Brian Moreland

Blood Sacrifices is my first introduction to Moreland's work and what an introduction it was. Plain and simple, Blood Sacrifices is the best read I've read in years. It's that good. Influences of McCammon and King drip from the pages. Moreland's style is so easy and smooth to get immersed in. The characterization is impeccable. The dialogue is completely believable. The settings are layed out so vividly, you'd swear you were looking over the characters shoulders. Blood Sacrifices is comprised of a short story and three novellas. The short story, The Girl From The Blood Coven is actually a prelude into his novella The Witching House. Here's my synopsis of each one:

 

 

The Girl From The Blood Coven -

 

The Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to Moreland's excellent The Witching House and, in my opinion, should be read as such. Sure, you can read it on it's own, but then you'd be missing out on a fantastic continuation that The Girl from the Blood Coven started. Why have just the appetizer when you can have the 7 course meal??

In 1972, a girl walks into a East Texas roadhouse bar covered in blood claiming that everyone in the hippy commune she was living in has been slaughtered. What the sheriff and his deputies find at the Blevins House is more horrific than they could ever have imagined.

 

Taste the hors d'oeurves and don't stop there.

 

 

4 Blood-stained Tie Dyes out of 5

 

 


The Witching House -

 

Sarah has been dating Dean for 9 months now and it's been nothing but one adventure after another. Dean and his friends are adrenaline junkies. This is all new to Sarah, but so far she's been able to keep up. Now Dean and is friends are taking her on another action-packed weekend in the middle of nowhere East Texas. She learns that their latest adventure will be exploring the boarded up Blevins House. In 1972, the Blevins House was a hippy commune where a massacre occurred one night, killing almost thirty people under strange circumstances. The murders were never solved and the house has been vacant ever since. Dean has hooked up with a local named Ronnie online who has set the expedition up for them. The Blevins House is rumored to be haunted. But what lurks behind the walls isn't what you would see on Ghost Hunters. Not even close.

 

Moreland creates a pulse-pounding read without falling into the old trappings of so many other stories that have young people in peril while being in an old house. The characters are three-dimensional and never feel cliched. The Witching House delivers the goods. Highly recommended.


5 Hanging Corpses out of 5

 

 


Darkness Rising -

 

Marty has been abused and ridiculed his whole life. His father murdered his mother when he was young. As a result, Marty was bounced around from foster home to foster home. Abused at each stop, Marty is a wreck emotionally and unable to share his true feelings. His only solace is in the poetry he composes in his journal, a present from his mother long ago. Working as a custodian at the local college, Marty meets Jennifer in one of the dorms that he cleans and offers his assistance when he discovers that she is struggling in Poetry and Literature. A friendship blossoms but Marty is too afraid to share his true feelings for Jennifer. Instead, he writes poems and goes to a desolate shore of one of the nearby lakes where he has pleasant memories of his mother bringing him there when he was a child. This becomes his special place where he can truly express his feelings and read his poems outloud to the empty lake. Then one day, he is attacked by three assailants who have gruesome plans for him. What they don't know is that Marty has something special in store for them too.

 

Another great tale by Moreland who has quickly become my favorite discovery of 2016. He does a really nice job developing Marty into being a likable character without drifting into making him appear pathetic. The setting is vividly laid out so that you feel like you can see the lake, smell the air, and hear the screams. Highly recommended.

 

 

4 1/2 Snuff Films out of 5

 

 


The Vagrants -

 

I have quickly become a believer in Brian Moreland. The Vagrants is the final novella in his excellent collection, Blood Sacrifices. I'll review The Vagrant's here on it's own merit and then in Blood Sacrifices as a whole with the other stories.

 

Daniel is a recent journalism grad from Dartmouth who wants to make a difference in the world. He assimilates himself among a camp of homeless underneath a bridge in Boston. With aspirations to understand them better and gather source material to write a book, Daniel is with them for six months. When a stranger named Mordecai enters the other side of the camp with tattoos all over his head and body preaching about the end being near, many in the camp are recruited to be his followers by what appears some sort of brainwashing. Mordecai attempts to "recruit" Daniel into his following and Daniel is only able to resist at the last second. He returns to his normal life, writes his book, and puts his past behind him. But his past isn't done with Daniel. They have other plans for him.

Moreland writes a gripping tale that uses unique and seedy locations in Boston along with wonderfully lifelike characters that you care about to pull you in completely. The Vagrants is wildly imaginative with shades of Lovecraft that enhance an already wonderful story. Highly recommended reading.

 

 

5 All-Seeing Pineal Glands out of 5

 

 


All in all, pound for pound, you won't find a better collection of tales out there. I rank this one right up there in the same hallowed ground as The Night Shift. Run, don't walk, and get Blood Sacrifices now!


** This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review

 

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 


http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 


https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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text 2016-04-11 02:20
The Witching House - Brian Moreland
The Witching House - Brian Moreland

Sarah has been dating Dean for 9 months now and it's been nothing but one adventure after another. Dean and his friends are adrenaline junkies. This is all new to Sarah, but so far she's been able to keep up. Now Dean and is friends are taking her on another action-packed weekend in the middle of nowhere East Texas. She learns that their latest adventure will be exploring the boarded up Blevins House. In 1972, the Blevins House was a hippy commune where a massacre occurred one night, killing almost thirty people under strange circumstances. The murders were never solved and the house has been vacant ever since. Dean has hooked up with a local named Ronnie online who has set the expedition up for them. The Blevins House is rumored to be haunted. But what lurks behind the walls isn't what you would see on Ghost Hunters. Not even close.

 

 

Moreland creates a pulse-pounding read without falling into the old trappings of so many other stories that have young people in peril while being in an old house. The characters are three-dimensional and never feel cliched. The Witching House delivers the goods. Highly recommended.

 

 


5 Hanging Corpses out of 5

 


** This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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