This was a nice collection and variety of short stories for any fan of the horror genre! I normally don't read too many short stories because I hardly ever get that feeling of satisfaction that I get when reading a full length story but I read these in between work projects and I found they were just what I needed and the perfect length for the amount of time I had to spare. I really came away with a deeper appreciation of short stories and how useful they can be in certain situations. I know I won't shy away from them now like I use too.
My favorite stories in this collection were- Not in Kansas Anymore, Avenging Kitten, Welcome to Paradise, The Fixer, The Rooster, and Too Much of a Dead Thing.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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
I read 18 books during the month of December!
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan
Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo
The Devil's Own Work by Alan Judd (actually read in August, but forgot to add!)
Slade House by David Mitchell
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
Alive in Shape and Color: 17 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired
The Ghost Club by William Meikle
Artemis by Andy Weir
The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien
Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers
Green by Sam Graham-Felsen
Cemetery Dance Select: Michael Marshall Smith
Reads for Review
Chasing Ghosts by Glenn Rolfe
Wrestle Maniacs (anthology)
The Walking Dead (Book 13) by Robert Kirkman
March Book One: by John Lewis
The Wicked + The Divine Book One: The Faust Act
Scrooge and Marley by Kurt Hollenbach
Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:
(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)
Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017
January Count: 1
February Count: 2
March and April Count: 0
May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)
June & July: 0
August: 1 The Talented Mr. Ripley
September: 1 Carter & Lovecraft
October: 0 (But had LOTS of fun with Halloween Bingo!)
Running Count: 7
As you can see this was a massive fail! I've challenged myself to the same number of books I already own in 2018. Hopefully I'll be more successful this time around!
Graphic Novel Challenge:
(Paced Reading Group on GR)
Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017
January count: 5
February count: 2
March count: 5
April count: 5
May count: 3
June count: 4
July count: 4
August count: 5
Final Count: 38!
I plan to read a TON of graphic novels in 2018 but I'm not formalizing it with a challenge.
Thanks to Booklikes for creating this place which it makes it so easy to make friends with fellow readers! Happy Reading in 2018 everyone!
Have you ever read Jack Ketchum's OFF SEASON? If you did and you enjoyed it I recommend you give CHASING GHOSTS a go!
This novella flies by with the usual type of horror happenings. A gathering at a cabin with a bunch of hipsters ends up turning out to be something of a snack bar for your local hillbilly cannibals. With people disappearing, (mostly) one by one, and then the same happening to those who go out to look for them, this is not exactly original fare for horror lovers.
What I think made this novella more fun than most, was its fast pace, the new and unique ways of captivity and death, and the likable, (mostly), characters.
CHASING GHOSTS is not perfect, there were just a few punctuation and grammar errors, but not enough to bother me. I've read a few stories from Mr. Rolfe now, and it's my position that he keeps getting better and better.
Enthusiastically recommended, especially for those horror fans that love the work of Jack Ketchum, or love the whole redneck cannibal trope. This one's for you!
You can pick up a copy here: Chasing Ghosts
*I received a free e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*