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review 2017-06-02 22:15
Ascent by Luke Walker
Ascent - Luke Walker

 

A handful of people are stuck in the hell that has become Greenham Place, after what they think is an explosion that may have ended the outside world. But that's not the worst of it. Something has been unleashed inside this tall office building, and it's after them. Will they survive? You'll have to read Ascent to find out!

 

Rod, Alex, Simon, Kelly and Dao were all strangers to each other before the explosion. Now, they may be all that's left of humanity. What I liked most about this story was how the characters were each introduced and how they got to know one another. Unfortunately, whatever was released into Greenham Place got to know them too, and it used that knowledge to torture them all.

 

I thought this story was beautifully told-the author took the time to develop each character and then tailored the horror to each one. Everybody has secrets, whether they be something that happened to them, or something they did to someone else. Now imagine a creature that could use all that and twist it around-using it to insert wedges between people, to make people hallucinate, or even just to guilt them to death-how can you defeat that? Maybe you can't?

 

I LOVED the ending of this book, but I imagine it might be a problem for some. As an American, in light of our current political problems, and the problems that other...unstable countries present not only to us, but to the world, it was easy for me to fill in the blanks. I think that helped the story become more personal to me and I liked it that much more as a result.

 

My only complaint was that I thought the term "legging it" was a bit overused, but hey, if this stuff was going down anywhere near me, I would be legging it the hell out of there too.

 

More of a psychological horror story than anything else, (don't worry-there's plenty of bloody gore to go around too), Ascent was an impressive and imaginative story and I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: Ascent

*I was provided an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-04-18 18:30
Nightmare of the Dead by Vincenzo Bilof
Nightmare Of The Dead - Vincenzo Bilof

 

Nightmare of the Dead was a different kind of zombie/cannibal novel and I'm torn over it.

 

On the one hand, I enjoyed the creativity and imagination that went into this story. We have the Union and the Confederacy battling it out, with one side using medical experimentation to create the perfect type of soldier. And somehow this was done with a horror/western type feel to it-kudos to the author for that.

 

On the other hand, the writing felt disjointed. At times there seemed to be parts that were rewritten and inserted without regard for the paragraphs before and after. There were also a lot of missing words. These issues did bother me and took me out of the flow of the story more than once.

 

The author's descriptive skills were excellent and believe you me, there is a lot of blood, gore, torture, and rape here to describe. In that vein, Mr. Bilof's writing put me in mind of Tim Curran, whose imagination is beyond compare.

 

This was a quick reading, short novel and I did enjoy it, it's just that the writing could have been better. I would read more of this author's work in the future, in the hopes that he's honing his craft. If that's the case, then we certainly have not seen the last of Vincenzo Bilof.

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review 2017-03-28 18:35
Drop Dead Gorgeous by Donald Allen Kirch
Drop Dead Gorgeous - Donald Allen Kirch

Drop Dead Gorgeous is a bizarre and erotic horror story that resonated with me.

 

U.S. Only Audiobook Giveaway at Horror After Dark! Click here to enter.

 

Ray wakes up duct taped to a chair and soon realizes that he is being held captive by the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. She wants to tell him a story, and he wants to stay alive. So begins this wicked tale of revenge, sex, lies, genetic modifications, lust, and, perhaps a bit of social commentary. These are the reasons I say it was bizarre, but bizarre in a good way!

 

 

(Click here to see the Drop Dead Gorgeous book trailer! )

 

I had no idea where this tale was going, so I just hung on for the ride. I'm not going to get further into the plot, because most of the other reviews already do that. I will say that Mr. Kirch deftly strings the reader along until the perfect ending quickly arrives, leaving said reader in a daze. I was worried he would chicken out and shy away from the denouement this story so richly deserved, but he didn't.

 

Steve, Eve, Wells and even the evil Annabelle were well drawn, realistic characters. Not one of them was a cardboard cutout, they each had depth; both good points and bad. Sometimes I found myself feeling sorry for the villains and hating the "good" guy.

 

There's a lot to be learned here too, at least there is to my mind. How society treats women, (and men, really), based on their bodies and their looks. Many women would kill to have the body of Eve, but she would kill to get rid of it. That got me to thinking that I should probably be careful about what I wish for. Also, there are some scary experiments going on with genetic modifications, nanos and science-y stuff, which brought many ethical questions to the forefront of my mind. We all know that scientists are working on ways to make us immortal and while most of us would probably like to live forever, is that actually a good thing? The world is overpopulated as it is. It's rare that an erotic horror story bring up questions of such import, but this one did.

 

All in all, Drop Dead Gorgeous adds up to more than the sum of its parts,  and it delivers over and above what you would expect from the cover. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it and look forward to reading more from Mr. Kirch in the future!

 

*Mr. Kirch provided Horror After Dark a review copy free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-03-23 22:33
To Die For by Alice Clark-Platts
To Die For - Alice Clark-Platts,Penguin Audiobooks,Rachel Bavidge

 

To Die For seemed more like part of a story, than a full one.

 

That said, a couple of the characters were very well drawn, (if hateful), and I would have liked to have read more about them. But by then, this "story" was over.

 

Thanks to Audible for the free download. I may try a full book from the author in the future.

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review 2017-03-06 15:36
The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett

 

The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!

 

Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.

 

After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":

 

"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."

 

I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.

 

"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."

 

They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.

 

If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.

 

Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism

(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)

 

Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.

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