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review 2019-09-19 17:02
Necro Files: Two Decades of Extreme Horror
Necro Files: Two Decades of Extreme Horror - Brian Hodge,J.F. Gonzalez,Graham Masterton,George R.R. Martin,Bentley Little,Cheryl Mullenax,Monica J. O'Rourke,Wrath James White,Randy Chandler,John Everson,Charlee Jacob,Edward Lee,Joe R. Lansdale,Nancy Kilpatrick

  I'm going to use this book for the Diverse Voices square because it features stories by Wrath James White & J F Gonzalez & quite a few ladies of horror fiction. Typically collections of these sorts are filled with old white fellas and this one has a decent balance of diverse voices - all considered.

 

Back in the 90’s I read many of these stories in other extreme anthologies like “Hot Blood” & “Outsiders”, “Little Deaths”, “Still Dead” and a few in Cemetery Dance magazine. I loved them and ate them up like tasty candies and actively looked for more even though they probably weren’t all that good for me! I figured I’d revisit my old extreme love of all things horrible by listening to them on audio and maybe finding some new favorites. That did happen but I also had to come to a painful realization about myself. I am jaded and hard to shock. Either that or a few of these stories just haven’t aged very well.

Do you really need me to talk about all 19 stories? Of course you do! I’ll try to be brief and not too boring but I am a little worn out and despairing about the state of things in this world after listening to all 19 of these back to back. I don’t recommend doing it that way unless you don’t like yourself very much, btw. To be honest, I nearly quit it halfway through because it was making feel like I needed a good brain scrubbing.

George R. R. Martin’s "Meathouse Man" starts things off. I hear it was written in the ‘70’s. I bet back then it would’ve been horrifying but I thought it was a little frustrating. The main character was a sad sack who made me want to kick him in the pants. He was dumped twice and thought love was dead. He then had to go back to the alternative way of finding some sort of satisfaction by screwing animated corpses because what else is a man to do, hmmm? Try a third time, maybe? Nope. This poor, sad sucker goes back to the meat puppet vaginas, all dejected and rejected. This story didn’t make a lot of sense to me. The reader is plopped down into this weird world with little in the way of any explanation. There also seemed to be plenty of women around so WTH man? Stop your crying, grow yourself a backbone and find yourself a new lady love! That’s my advice, anyway. 3 Stars

Joe R. Lansdale’s "Night They Missed the Horror Show" Two numbnuts and a dead dog hit the road and find more trouble than they planned. There’s some classic Lansdale humor here, loads of shocking violence, some rough language and an ending that is well deserved, if you ask me. 4 Stars

Ronald Kelly "Diary" gets 2 stars because I didn’t find it interesting. A serial killer jots down his thoughts and they’re all pretty nasty but clinically dull – like reading his laundry list of dirty deeds. Was it me? Probably.

Elizabeth Massie’s "Abed" deserves 5 stars because it is HORRIFYING even in 2019, even after years of desensitization via The Walking Dead. It’s a haunting take on the horrible life of one very unfortunate young wife whose demented mother-in-law demands a grandchild at all costs in a world seemingly over-run with a zombie plague. I shudder to ponder any of it. If you read nothing else in this collection and want to be disturbed, this one will do it for you.

Randy Chandler & t. Winter-Damon "I Am He That Liveth and Was Dead..." & "Have the Keys of Hell & Death" - I skipped through this one because it didn’t interest me. I haven’t a clue what happens because I am a quitter. It’s an excerpt from a longer story and what I listened to wasn’t thrilling me. Sorry, folks. I am a terrible person.

Edward Lee’s "Xipe" gets 3 stars. I’ve read a bunch of Lee’s work and this one was just okay for me. It’s short and not nearly as nasty as some of his hardcore small press stuff. I suppose I expected something over the top and this one really wasn’t it.

Ray Garton’s "Bait" hurts the heart. I saw where it was leading and I was hoping I was wrong. I wasn’t. 4 Stars

Gerard Houarner’s "Painfreak" - I read this way back when it was originally released. I think it was a chapbook. I remember thinking it was shocking back then but this time around it bored me. The snippets of deviant sex that the main character peeks in on were very clinical and read like a grocery list of somewhat deviant acts. That’s probably more on me than on the story though. It takes place in an underground sex club and features another sad sack, this one is looking for his lost lover. He finds other things instead. This is another dude who needs to grow a dick and get over the fact that his lover no longer digs him. 2.5 Stars

Wayne Allen Sallee’s "Lover Doll" - This was great until that terrible, gut-punch of a final act. WTF, man? Why’d you have to go and do that? What is WRONG WITH YOU? Haha. This one BOTHERED me so I guess I’m not quite dead yet. It’s getting a 4 for everything that came before that last scene.

Charlee Jacob’s "The Spirit Wolves" - A boy wants only to be loved, to be touched with kindness after his mother rejects him time and again. He wants acceptance so badly he’ll do almost anything to get it. What he has to do to find his “pack” is a bit over the top gross but he eventually finds some comfort. I think I would’ve enjoyed this story if it had been a wee little bit longer. 3 stars

Brian Hodge’s "Godflesh" tells the tale of Ellen who is a mild mannered bookstore clerk by day and a sexy, sex fiend named Elle who frequents underground sex clubs by night. Sidenote: What is it with these underground sex clubs in the 90’s?! Were they ever a big thing? Anyhow, Ellen meets a man in a wheelchair giving himself some enthusiastic self-loving right out there in the street for all to see. He later visits her bookstore and she follows him back to his secret sex cult. I mean the nights are long, right, so why not? This one is freaky and harkens back to a certain element found in Dunn’s Geek Love but with some added freaky sex scenes. 3.5 Stars

John Everson’s "Every Last Drop” is about a dude who is no longer getting sexy times from his wife so he answers an ad that promises unspeakable pleasure for FREE! Fella, nothing is for FREE! He learns this lesson the hard way. It ends well with the pervert getting what he deserves. Or at least I thought so. 3.5 stars

Mehitobel Wilson’s "Blind in the House of the Headsman" was very short and very disturbing. I’m not entirely sure what happened because my mind started to go numb after listening to too many of these but whatever it was, it was definitely something terrible and abusive. 3.5 stars

Monica J. O'Rourke’s "An Experiment in Human Nature" Yikes, this one woke me back up. It’s about three privileged rich boys who decide to experiment on a poor student (who is a drain on society – according to these spoiled fucks). This story is extreme (in a not at all sexy way), it is horrifying and it might be one of the best in this book but it is not easy to stomach – even for me. 5 stars for shocking me.

Graham Masterton’s "The Burgers of Calais" This entire collection is narrated by Eric A. Shelman (and I sure hope he is okay after this!). His narration was by far the best in this story and the Lansdale one. The tone was markedly lighter and a much needed relief from the heaviness of the previous stories. This was another of my favorites. There is no extreme sex in this story either and for that I was thankful. It’s a fish out of water tale about a jovial man from Louisiana who gets stuck in Maine and decides to take a job in a restaurant in order to pay for car repairs. He’s the nosy sort and sniffs out something fishy going down with the meat he’s serving up. I’ll just say that I was never more thankful that I gave up eating beef two decades ago because if I hadn’t this book would’ve pushed me over the edge. It’s comical and good humored and the main character is almost charming. I wish more of the stories in this book had been written in this vein. 5 stars

Nancy Kilpatrick’s "Ecstasy" brings us back to the sordid world of strange, underground clubs. A lady goes looking for her sibling and what she finds is harrowing. 3 stars because I was a bit tuckered out by the depraved and strange clubs at this point.

Bentley Little’s "Pop Star in the Ugly Bar" is a Yikes story from beginning to end. This one is ROUGH going. I didn’t like it. It was super mean and cruel and clearly based on a real person making it a little too much AHHHHHH! for me to stomach. 2 stars.

Wrath James White’s "The Sooner They Learn" was another rough one. A man feels that he let his children down by being too lenient of a parent and since both are long past saving, he decides to take the parenting of other people’s brats into his own hands and does so with increasingly violent and sadistically scary methods. I was with him on the time-out nonsense but I simply can’t say I abide by his methods for taming those little beasts, lol. 3 stars.

J.F. Gonzalez’s "Addict"- Dennis tired of his overweight wife long ago and now he’s addicted to porn. His addiction has grown so bad that regular porn doesn’t do the trick and he’s seeking out extreme, rare and pricey films to sate his desire. This one is one of the grossest in a collection filled with grossness. There is decay and there are worm and you will have to use your own imagination because I’m not saying anything else. I think I need my head examined and that brain scrubbing right about now. 2 Stars

Overall the narration here is adequate. There are a few long pauses here and there but, you know, we’re all human. I liked what he did with Lansdale & Masterton tales but some of the others felt a little monotonous and his lady voices made me want to cry a little but there isn’t a lot of lady POV in these stories so that’s a minor nit to pick.

If you’re in need of some desensitization this collection will do the trick.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-08 02:07
The Sadist's Bible by Nicole Cushing
The Sadist's Bible - Nicole Cushing

The Sadist's Bible by Nicole Cushing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lori and Ellie have never met, but they both yearn for the touch of a woman and the sweet release of death. Eager to take their online correspondence to the next level, they strike an agreement and plan a getaway to a remote hotel. Their intentions? To succumb to their desires and finish with a deadly climax.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

There’s nothing like discovering a well-hidden gem, and that’s exactly what happened when I originally spied a review from Morgan K Tanner's blog. The book in question seemed intriguing; a mix of suicidal intentions and grim religion - right up my street. What followed was a quick read, yet despite its short length, its execution was no less impactful. Cushing was able to portray two very mentally ill individuals; their helplessness apparent when they decide the best course of action is a joint suicide. Amongst the fantasies of death, is a very prominent emphasis on homosexuality, whereupon the women visualise their passing as a deeply erotic affair, and thus a statement to society. Certainly morbid, but in that darkly fascinating sort of way that I can appreciate if done well. Of course this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, especially when it comes to Christianity, as the He is painted in a very harsh light - which isn't as far-fetched as one might believe. If anything, I'd consider Him more alike his Old Testament representation, but that’s neither here nor there.

One thing that occurred to me early on was that, whilst Lori’s situation was significantly more dour, Ellie’s was a lot more closer to reality. Unable to express her true self, Ellie was ruled by fear, and to some extent, shame. It was a very genuine example of what a lot of people go through every day of their lives, and I felt that the coupling of real life issues and celestial intervention worked well together. Honestly though, I didn't find these two characters entirely likeable on a personal level, however my sympathy lay more with Lori, as I believed her to be a victim of the most horrendous acts possible. The connection between these two women could've been explored further, although it was easy enough to discern their relationship formed out of desperation.

The plot itself was able to keep up a decent pace, probably because it didn’t have time to add any unnecessary fluff. The last half of the book is where things took a turn, and I guess I didn’t expect things to get so crazy, but they did. The running theme of sex and violence only magnified, and it was unquestionably shoved to the forefront throughout the end. Vivid, graphic scenes delved into totortuous acts of depravity, where Cushing had no qualms about detailing the sadistic pleasures of a heavenly orgy. I use the term "heavenly" very loosely, as those creatures more resembled beings of nightmare.

That's the thing here - this is a bleak story, where a saviour, in the typical sense of the word, doesn't exist.

In conclusion: Torture intermingles with sex in this novella, and those of a religious nature would be likely best to avoid this one altogether. I considered it a very entertaining read, and it certainly put Cushing on my radar.

Notable Quote:

The arc of the universe is long, but bends towards degeneracy.

© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/08/the-sadists-bible-by-nicole-cushing
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review 2018-02-09 23:44
Succulent Prey - Wrath James White
Succulent Prey - Wrath James White

Succulent Prey should come with a warning on the cover: WARNING - Not for the faint of heart, weak stomachs or if your idea of horror is Stephen King and Dean Koontz. If you like your horror to be serial killers, cannabalism, and graphic page after page drenched in blood, Succulent Prey might be for you. This is my first forray into Wrath James White's writing and yes, it's brutal, but White isn't a one-trick pony. The guy can flat out write. In the hands of a less talented author, this story easily gets lost. But White breathes life into it...well...right before he rips open a chest and yanks our a heart and eats it. Okay, I'm regressing. Joey is an 11-year-old kid that gets abducted by a serial killer who gets his kicks by slicing his victims and drinking his blood. Joey was the first victim and for some unknown reason, the killer lets him go. The subsequent victims aren't so lucky. They're brutally sliced apart, blood drank and flesh consumed. The killer, Trent, is finally apprehended and sent away to a mental institution. Flash forward to present day where Joey is a sophomore in college and he's a big boy, and when I say big, I mean football player/body builder big. Top it off that he look like Superman from the comics and you can see why he has no problem picking up women. Unfortunately, the scars of his past have made his sex life and desires slide to the extreme. And when I say extreme, I'm not talking a little light bondage S&M. No, Joey dreams of sinking his teeth into their flesh and consuming them in one bloody bite after another.

 

 

I'll stop here on the story's details and say that this story could've easily went off the rails into the rediculous many times, but Wrath gives us a compelling tale that pulls you in. Joey is a complex character that you can't decide how you feel about him. His victims are the sad sacks with no self esteem that society typically exploits. At times, you think, "who'd do that?", then you realize that yes, there are people out there like that. At times, the story walks the razor's edge of suspension of disbelief, but White delivers a blood-soaked thrill ride with your hair on fire. If you like your stories to extreme splatterpunk, grab your raincoat and try to avoid the splatters.

 

 

 

4 1/2 Chewed-Off Nipples out of 5

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://intothemacabre.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

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

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-07 00:37
Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Dave Benton,Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Rich Hawkins,Duncan Ralston,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,George Daniel,Elizabeth Power

Splatterpunk Fighting Back by MULTIPLE
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The definition of "splatterpunk" should give an idea of what this volume entails: characterised by the explicit description of horrific, violent, or pornographic scenes. With an abundance of monsters, gore, and sexual tones, it stays true to the nature of the sub-genre. My advice? Just be prepared.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I never would've known about this analogy had I not joined the one and only Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, and took part in their January group read with author invite. Being new to the horror sub-genre of splatterpunk, I expected that it would probably involve some disgusting and gruesome "what the hell did I just read?" moments, and I quickly discovered that I was correct. I enjoyed some stories more than others, however as a whole I consider it a great piece of horrifically violent and graphic literature.

Listed below are each individual tale, starting with my most favourite. I also thank the authors for being so pleasant to talk with, and for donating all proceeds of sale to charity.

Check out my blog to see the Q&A with some of the authors.

* * *Hellscape by Rich Hawkins* * *
Even this quick glimpse into this forsaken world left me completely engrossed. A twisted, bloody apocalypse? My cup of tea any day of the week. The Cthulhu-theme fascinated me, as I've actually never read any such thing before (I know, shame on me). Even though it was short, and seemed to drop the reader right in the middle, I was immediately pulled into the maternal desperation of the protagonist, as well as that drive of trying to keep the madness at bay. I loved every gruesome detail and the sheer brutality.

* *Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton* *
Victims fighting back - it's a particular favourite of mine. This one actually began as rather typical, reminding me of the whole Texas Chain Saw Massacre trope, yet it turns into something else entirely. The inclusion of the "Sasquatch" type monsters made my skin crawl, as I suspected the family had a rather... intimate relationship with them. Definitely images I didn't need in my head.

*Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod*
This one made me think a lot, admittedly a bit more in comparison to the others. There's a belief that we all have it inside ourselves - an animal, primitive, left over from our ancestors. What if that gets tapped into? Even good people can do bad things, and we all have unwanted thoughts that seep to the forefront sometimes. I found Spencer's journey to be fascinating, and I couldn't help but want a full-length novel.

Darla's Problem by Kristopher Rufty
A classic, isn't it? The monster in the closet, or beneath the bed. I really liked this one and, sure enough, the monster creeped me out! It made me think about how we so readily dismiss children when they speak of monsters or other such creatures that don't fit into our notion of reality - no wonder it's been the plot of so many books and movies. Also, poor Darla.

They Swim by Night by Adam Millard
If it's one thing I love, it's mythical creatures, especially when an author involves their own personal twist. Ana was portrayed with such raw sexuality, and I loved the hold she had over the men in her midst. This one in particular sparked my imagination; I couldn't help but ponder over Ana's origins. She struck me as an apex predator, but also something more. Ancient. Malevolent. Like at one point in time her kind were respected and feared, yet they faded away into nothing but stories and superstition.

The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston
Well, this one certainly took religion to the extreme, and delved into the sheer insanity of two individuals. Being an atheist myself, I wouldn't want to get on the Robertson's bad side. Really, I think the couple would've been better suited to the good ol' days of when atrocities in the name of religion were the norm. Whilst I enjoyed it for what it was, it lacked in something to really make an impact. The ending was good, though!

Limb Memory by Tim Curran
To think if we lose a part of ourselves, a piece of our soul goes with it. Despite the added humour to the otherwise eerie tone of this one, I didn't favour it as much as the majority of other readers. Disembodied limbs generally don't interest me all that much.

Molly by Glenn Rolfe
My partner has pediophobia and while I often tease and laugh, I admit that there's something unsettling about dolls. It's the uncanny valley, right? I was left with a lot of questions regarding Molly, and I would've liked a bit more information for the events that transpired to make sense. She was able to clean up after her own murders? I felt like there was perhaps too much telling and not enough showing.

Melvin by Matt Shaw
I admit, this one made me laugh, but there was a tinge of discomfort below the absurdity. The detail was disturbing - such as Claudia's skin darkening from her insides being torn apart. It makes me shift in my seat when I think about it even now. The ending? Well, it was a great ending. However, despite my brief flare of enjoyment, I can't say I favoured it highly.

Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lea
I get the impression this was supposed to be intentionally hard to follow - as it was a piece written by the character himself, of whom was a very intense and unstable individual. I had to read it twice, and still I'm not sure exactly what happened. I know he had a procedure done to himself, but it doesn't give details, and I'm left wondering if that's the whole point. Whatever we come up with in our minds might be bad enough, if not worse than what George Daniel Lea intended. Was he getting parts of himself surgically removed? Getting parts of other people stitched onto him? Maybe I just missed it completely, and it's lost within his jumbled rambling!

The Going Rate by John Boden
Honestly, this one was just too short for me to get a real feel of anything. I liked the idea, of a neighbourhood having to give their pound of flesh to appease the demon, but I was left with too many questions. Like a flash, it was just over, offering what I felt like very little. I would've loved this had it been longer.

In conclusion - There's something here for everyone, but be aware of the pushing of limits. It's not pretty!

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/07/splatterpunk-fighting-back-by-multiple
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text 2018-02-01 00:56
January in Review

January in Review

(Read: 5 / Reviewed: 9)

It's certainly been an interesting, if not a long, month! Phew, I thought January would never end! Fortunately I got through some great books and was able to write two reviews each week. This new routine really helped me stay on top of things. Let's take a look at all the bookish goodness, shall we?

Read

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Splatterpunk Fighting Back by (multiple) - This analogy has eleven individual stories written by different authors. Going in, I was only vaguely familiar with Duncan Ralston, having previously finished Woom. I never would've discovered this had it not been for Horror Aficionados on Goodreads, of who appointed it the January group read with author invite. I was lucky enough to ask some of the authors questions whilst trying to gain more insight into their brutal tales, and I had a blast! The best thing, though? All proceeds of this book go to charity! (Rated: 4/5)

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Another one I wouldn't have picked up if not for the Horror Aficionados group. Being the January group read, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! (Rated: 4/5)

The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter - I started this long-running series in 2011, and it's still ongoing. Whilst I really enjoyed it at the beginning, my enjoyment waned several instalments ago, however I can't just give up without finishing it, can I? Ludicrous! (Rated: 2/5)

What Hides Within by Jason Parent - I found this on Netgalley, and I'm glad I did! Bloodshot Books accepted my request, and I promptly read and reviewed it. (Rated: 4/5)

Morium by S.J. Hermann - I was requested to read and review this novel by the author. Being my last read of January, this one takes priority and will be the first review of February. See my request information here. (Rated: 3/5)

 

Reviewed 

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Blood Song by Cat Adams (WORST READ)
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson
Stephen by Amy Cross
The Devil’s Work by Mark Edwards
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds (BEST READ)
Woom by Duncan Ralston
What Hides Within by Jason Parent
Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Other than that, January was a decent month for me personally. I'm enjoying reading more, getting out more, and generally trying to put more effort into my day-to-day life. I thank everyone who made this past month all the better, including the wonderful authors I had the chance to speak to! Here's hoping for a book-tastic February!

Red xx

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/31/january-in-review
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