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review 2020-05-27 19:00
THE TAINT AND OTHER NOVELLAS by Brian Lumley, narrated by Joshua Saxon
The Taint and Other Novellas - Brian Lumley,Joshua Saxon

Welcoming the chance to get my Lovcraftian horror on via the excellent narration of Joshua Saxon, I tore into THE TAINT AND OTHER NOVELLAS. What fun!

 

A collection of 5 novellas which were written back in the mid to late 1900s, these tales do not have the polish of Lumley's later works, like the Necroscope series. These stories are more the work of a writer starting out, (while serving in the military), a writer bewitched by Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. The fun parts of the mythos are here, but they lack the racism and other issues of Lovecraft's work.

 

My favorites of the 5 were: LORD OF THE WORMS This tale featured Titus Crow, a name I remember from back in the day, though I can't quite remember the tales in which he featured. In this story, he's invited to a home under the pretense of cataloging a large book collection at an old estate. Of course nothing is as it appears. Throw in some mesmerizing hypnotism, (see what I did there?!), some maggots and some spiked wine and you have yourself a great time!

 

THE TAINT was a fun tale involving fish-men. That's right, fish-men. With all the creepiness inherent in that phrase. It's not as much a pulp tale as one would think, with just the right mix of horror and perhaps a bit of social commentary, (but that's just my take.)

 

Finally, the last story THE TEMPLE HOUSE takes the form of a man inheriting an old estate from his uncle. He takes a friend and goes to Scotland to inspect his inheritance, and soon finds a letter from his uncle asking him to destroy the place. Why? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Regarding the narrator, Joshua Saxon-I've only listened to one other performance of his, which was the excellent THE CIPHER by Kathe Koja. In that book he was voicing only one character while in this collection, he voices all kinds of people and he does it quite well. English, American, Scottish, he does them all and never for a moment did I doubt the origins of any of the characters. Well done, sir!

 

This was a collection full of fun Lovecraftian monsters, fish people, maggots and worms. If these are the things that delight you, then you'll enjoy the hell out of this volume!

 

Recommended!

 

You can get your audio here: THE TAINT AND OTHER NOVELLAS

 

*I received this audio download free from the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-05-15 17:00
DOUBLE BARREL HORROR: VOLUME 3 edited by Matt Weber
Double Barrel Horror Volume 3 - Matthew Weber

 

The Double Barrel series features two stories by each author, and these collected volumes put them all together in one handy paperback. Volume 3 features 6 authors, most of whom I've read before.

 

From Christine Morgan, (whose novel WHITE DEATH I've previously read and enjoyed), we have EYE SEE YOU, and it knocked my socks off. What a great way to kick off a collection!

 

From Robert Essig, (an author I have not had the pleasure of reading prior to this), we have FROM UNCLEAN SPELLS. I always have enjoyed tales about calling up ancient beings and/or casting spells and this one is a doozy.

 

Mark Matthews is an author I've followed for years now and his two stories were very different from each other, but GOODWIN wrecked me. It seems like it's easy for Mark to rip my heart out and it happened yet again with this tale of guilt, motherhood and death.

 

Theresa Braun is an author I've followed on social media for a while, but I believe this is my first exposure to her work. Both of her tales were AH-MAZING, but STILLBORN-wow. Just... WOW.

 

Calvin Demmer's short stories are nearly works of art. He's wonderful at toying with the feelings of the reader. Both of his tales here were great, but HIGHWAY HUNGER is one that's going to stay with me for a long, long time.

 

I'm familiar with and have even read some of Glenn Rolfe's work in the past, but it seems to me that he has grown as a writer since that time. THE HOUSE ON MAYFLOWER STREET was fun and creepy and makes me want to read some of Glenn's more recent work, and soon!

 

I liked the About the Author sections after their stories, and I liked that the covers from the previous individual issues were featured before each author's tales. The artwork on them is kind of cool and has something to do with the tales within.

 

Overall I had great fun with DOUBLE BARREL HORROR VOLUME 3 and I recommend it, especially to those readers looking for new authors. Collections such as these let you discover new voices in the genre without spending an arm and a leg, or investing lots of time buying and/or reading novels only to discover that a certain author isn't right for you. I know that I'll be adding novels, (if they've written them) from a couple of these authors, (Robert Essig & Theresa Braun, I'm looking at you!!), to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I look forward to reading more from all of these writers!

 

Get your copy here: DOUBLE BARREL HORROR VOLUME 3

 

*Thanks to Calvin Demmer and Pint Bottle Press for the paperback copy with no strings attached. I freely chose to review it and I'm glad I did!*

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review 2020-03-22 19:26
FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION by Doug Rinaldi
Fear of Free Standing Objects: A Collection - Doug Rinaldi

FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION is an impressive and imaginative group of stories that swept through me like a slow moving storm and left me like jello, shivering on the floor.

 

I can't list my thoughts on all of them here, but the ones that blew me away were:

 

AN INCIDENT IN CENTRAL VILLAGE- Pond monsters!

 

THE YATTERING-A haunted bookstore. Already, with the title and subject alone, it screams my name.

 

THE SICKENING-At this point in time, what with COVID19 and its effects, this tale was even scarier than it otherwise would have been.

 

At least COVID19 doesn't make us kill each other. At least not yet.

 

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING -A "tables are turned" type of story.

 

LOTUS PETALS: LIMINAL PERSONAE-Body Horror that put me in mind of Geek Love or some of Michael Blumlein's work.

 

SYBARITES (OR THE ENMITY OF PERVERSE EXISTENCE) I don't even know what to say about this other than that this was the tale that cemented my thoughts about how great this collection really was.

 

To be honest, this was a collection where every story worked for me on some level or another. That's a rare occurrence, so I took my time savoring these tales and surrendered myself to whatever it was Mr. Rinaldi wanted to show me. I'm so glad I did!

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION 

 

*Thanks to Doug Rinaldi for the paperback arc in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2019-12-26 22:00
URNTOLD TALES OF HORROR AND DREAD by JB Lovet
UrnTold Tales of Horror and Dread: A Scary Short Story Collection - Felton Lovet

Seldom at a loss for words, here I sit, trying to figure out what to say about this collection.

 

In July, I was contacted by the author asking if I was interested in reading this book. Even though I was currently closed to new requests, I accepted with the provision that I wouldn't be able to read it until at least the end of the year. Well, here we are, December 26th, I've read it and I LOVED it and I'm sorry I had to wait so long before I could fit in to my schedule.

 

There were several stories here that were pure perfection, such as:

 

THE TOOTH FAIRY AND ITS FORMS ACROSS THE WORLD: Is there anything scarier than the dentist? How 'bout the Tooth Fairy?

 

I DON'T LIKE DOLLS: Nor do I but this story ROCKED!

 

MR. SPINS GAMES AND THINGS: OMG, still at a loss for words over this one!

 

ALONE IN THE SNOW: Have you ever been outside in the snow for a lengthy bit of time? The silence is scary. But the voices and the giggling are even worse.

 

RAMSGATE HOUSE: Picture an Air B&B rental with the only restriction being that you don't enter the basement. Would you then enter the basement?

 

THERE'S PIRATE TREASURE IN THE LAKE: A poignant tale that almost brought a tear to my eye.

 

There are bonus tales at the end of my paperback copy, ones that are not listed on the table of contents. I liked those too, most especially HOME AT LAST.

 

So, I have this book here-I absolutely adored it. (I just emailed the author about how much I adore it.) I find it strange that I cannot find this author on Twitter or on Goodreads or on the Facebooks. I don't even know this author's gender, age or anything else for that matter.

 

What I do know is that this book of tales is phenomenal! It's been a long, long time since a self-published work has stirred me up this much. The prose is polished, the book is excellently edited, (better than some from the big 6, to be honest), and I feel lost not being able to get in touch with this author RIGHT NOW to tell them how honored I am to have been chosen to read URNTOLD TALES.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: URNTOLD TALES OF HORROR AND DREAD 

 

*I received a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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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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