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review 2018-05-14 19:43
They Feed - Jason Parent

This monster romp was populated with mostly despicable people whose gruesome deaths were so much fun to witness. We all need a little of this sort of thing in our lives right about now, am I right?

 

Deep in the woods lurks a nightmare that doles out death to those foolish enough to venture into the woods looking for some rapey, murdery, torture-filled times and to a few innocents as well (but no worries, you won’t be crying about any of these deaths).

 

Tyler, newly released from a long stint in prison, revisits the woods that landed him in jail to try to make sense of his past but unbeknownst to him, he is being tailed by someone with revenge in their little black bitter heart. Also headed into these woods are a couple who really should NOT be together but their psychologist thought it would be good for them to spend some time in the outdoors (I think these people must share the same doctor of bad advice as the man in The Bird Eater). And then there’s the group of toxically stupid frat boys doing what they do.

 

“Things lived in the woods. Things with sharp teeth.”

 

Oh yesssss, come on in vile people! Come on in and get eaten! The sooner the better for me. The fun starts up soon enough and doesn’t really let go until the last page is turned. It’s gory and nasty and gleefully fun if you’re in the mood for a creature feature starring shit pancakes and tiny tentacled beasties.

 

Thank you Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, author Jason Parent & publisher Sinister Grin Press for sharing an ARC with me!

 

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review 2018-04-27 19:06
CIRCE REDISCOVERED
Circe - Madeline Miller

A few minutes ago, I finished reading this book. (It is 1:11 PM EST as I write this.) I feel a deep reluctance to have to take leave of what was truly a wondrous, fantastic, and engaging story. "CIRCE" had become more than a story rooted in myth; it became real in my consciousness.

Before reading this novel, what little I knew about Circe came from the Edith Hamilton book 'Mythology' I had read in high school. That book conveyed to me a vengeful and capricious enchantress (somehow the word 'witch' never entered my consciousness, perhaps because I always imagined Circe to be alluring and beautiful - as well as powerful) who took a dim view to mortals coming to her island. So much so, that many a marooned sailor upon meeting Circe was transformed by her into a snorting pig.

But through reading this fantastic novel, I came to learn so much more about Circe and her origins. Daughter of Helios the Titan god of the Sun and the nymph Perses, she grew up in a family that thought little of her and didn't expect much from her. Yet, unlike her immortal siblings, Circe had some humility and compassion about her that showed that she had a heart. With the passage of time, Circe went on to do something that, as an immortal, she shouldn't have done. It probably would've been to her benefit to lie or simply not speak to anyone of what she had done. But one of the things I found remarkable about Circe was her willingness to speak truth to power (in her case, her father, who had never hid his disdain for her), and to bear the punishment imposed on her by Zeus. That meant eternal exile on the deserted island of Aiaia. And there is where Circe - through the centuries - came truly into her own, honing "her occult craft" and "tam[ing] wild beasts."

Madeline Miller has an amazing skill in crafting prose that breathes life -in all its richness and complexity - into this novel. She relates in compelling detail the varied adventures Circe had, as well as the encounters she had with a number of the gods and mortals (including Odysseus with whom Circe would eventually enter into an intimate relationship) who ventured to her island. There were also some unexpected surprises that I'll leave to the reader of this review to discover for him/herself. (No spoilers here.)

This is a novel that once read you'll want to read again. IT IS AMAZING.

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review 2018-04-17 18:49
Afterage by Yvonne Navarro
Afterage - Yvonne Navarro

This is a book I had kicking around since the 90’s but just got around to reading when my horror loving friend Char created a buddy read at Goodreads.

 

A vampire apocalypse has occurred. Navarro starts things off after it has happened. The few remaining humans must struggle to survive in a wasteland ravaged by monsters both vampiric and human. And, as usual, the human monsters are always the worst! Only the suicidal dare venture out after dark because the vampires are fast, ravenous and deadly.

 

The book follows a rather large cast of survivors, most of them eking out a life by themselves but eventually they come together to save a group of humans being kept hostage by a vampire called Anyelet for reasons that are gross, disturbing and so, so awful!

 

I loved the fact that the Big Bad was a woman! She was vicious and selfish and so perfectly evil and so much better a villain than Anne Rice’s whiny creatures. I don’t think she had even one “poor me” moment. She was lonely so she changed her situation. It created an apocalypse but thems the breaks! Her human henchman was a vile man and she surrounded herself with lesser vampires that she could easily boss around. There’s some nasty stuff insinuated within these pages!

 

The survivors are all pretty well fleshed out and, despite the high number of them, I miraculously didn’t find myself terribly confused which is usually the case. I think it’s because the chapters were short and I tried to read big chunks of the book at each sitting so it was easier to remember who was who and what they had done a few chapters earlier.

 

This reads like old school horror because, well, it is! It reminds me of those long lost days when I was able to spend an entire day under a tree reading King and McCammon until the sun went down. It’s not quite at the emotional level of those two but it comes close at times and it isn’t overly wordy as some books of that time were. These characters were in peril from start to finish but they find time to love and help each other. The baddies are BAD but there are a few who haven’t totally lost their humanity and I appreciated that.

 

If you’re into nasty vampires that aren’t romanticized you should give this one a try.

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review 2018-04-05 20:05
Everything That's Underneath by Kristi DeMeester
Everything That's Underneath: A Collection of Weird and Horror Tales - Kristi DeMeester

First off I want to thank my generous friend Kimberly for sharing this book with me!

All of the stories in this collection are infected with a darkness that creeps under your skin. All of them. This review would become a book in itself if I were to break down every story as I usually do with collections so I’m not going to do it this time. The other reason is the fact that many of the stories contain very similar themes and I’m lazy. Some of the stories are only two pages long but they all pack a punch. I absolutely cannot wait to read more of this writers work. Every single story, yep, even the two-pagers, is darkly atmospheric and has a beautiful earthy grit that I just loved.

I took copious notes but I’m going to ignore them for the most part and just spotlight a few stories so you can get the gist of the content. You really should read this yourself and not have it all spoilered for you anyway.

Everything That’s Underneath starts things off with a man named Benjamin who is creating something for his wife. Something solid. Something good. Something that allows something to creep in. That something knows her name . . . 

This is a hell of a creepy story. I was sitting in a mechanic’s shop waiting for the inevitable bad news but was able to tune out all my worries once I started this strange little tale. Reading these stories feels like you've stepping into another world. 

This quote from one of my favorite childhood shows, Tales from the Darkside, sums it up perfectly:

“...there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit...a dark side.”

All of the stories reveal a dark side, an underbelly of fear, decay, dirt, blood. The writing is lush, morbid, darkly dreamy and haunting and the scenes are often raw and messy. 

The Fleshtival 

A flyer promises “Pussy for miles” and it is coming to a town near two perverts. For $1000 bucks these two fools head off into the woods to get what’s coming to them. I had an inkling what was coming to Paul and I couldn’t wait for it to happen!

From Like Feather, Like Bone

“I try to ignore her, but she is crunching its bones, and the sound is like the ground cracking open.”

Wow, so much creepy despair in only 3 pages!

Daughters of Hecate

This is a tale of abuse, terrible mothers and the damage they inflict all wrapped in a bleak horrific tale. Mother/daughter relationships are a huge theme in this collection.

Towards the end I will admit that I was starting to fatigue from this collection because many of themes are so similar and dealing with loss and desperation and messed up relationships. I would suggest doling these out one story at a time in between other reads as opposed to gobbling them all up at once as I tried to do. 

Highly recommend for dark fiction fans!

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review 2018-03-01 20:14
The Devil's Colony - Bill Schweigart
The Devil's Colony - Bill Schweigart

In a trilogy pertaining to cryptid monsters, I find it fitting that the final book in the series centers around the most horrible monster of all - man. The evil that man has inflicted on each other is astounding to think about. Hatred and bigotry come front and center in Schweigart's The Devil's Colony. Ben and Lindsay are once again called on by billionaire cryptozoologist, Richard Severance. This time, it's to infiltrate the compound of neo-nazi Henry Drexler. Henry is the son of a former Nazi SS officer and scientist who was assigned by Hitler to find proof of the dominance and superiority of the Aryan race throughout history. Now Henry is using his family's fortune and remote camp location in the Pine Barrens Woods of New Jersey to welcome all neo-Nazis and white supremacists who want to join him in continuing his father's dream. But what else has Henry unearthed in his research of his father's past?

 

The Devil's Colony is different than the previous two entries in the trilogy. The first two, The Beast of Barcroft and Northwoods centers around the cryptid monsters that are unleashed and causing havoc. In The Devil's Colony, the story focuses mainly on the horror's of man and the cryptid monster is a side dish to come in during the last act. According to some reviews I've read, this difference may have tripped up a reader or two. However, it didn't spoil the story for me. I enjoyed Schweigart's tale and thought it hit many of the right notes. Perhaps, the cryptid portion of the story could've been sprinkled a little more throughout so that it didn't seem like two different stories trying to be mashed together. All in all, I enjoyed the trilogy and look forward to more from Bill.

 

 


4 Nazi SS Swords 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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