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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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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 2018-02-05 23:30
Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror - Robert Mighall,Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde has been eyeing me from my TBR pile for quite some time now. It's been patiently waiting for me to choose it over the stacks and stacks of other choices. The reason it's always been the bride's maid and never the bride is because it falls into that unsavory category - classical literature. And for me, classical literature can be about as appetizing as swallowing a handful of broken glass. Oh, I've had a few triumphant moments with literature. Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, HP Lovecraft tomes, even Twain, Fitzgerald and Golding. But for every Catcher in the Rye, there's Moby Dick and The Tale of Two Cities. I try. I really do. I want to love literature, but I don't think it loves me back. Alas, I periodically go back to the well and try again. This time, it was Stevenson's tale's turn to suit up...and I'm glad it did.

 

 

We all know the basic premise of Jeckyll & Hyde. The lovable Dr. Jeckyll explores a way to rid himself of his dark urges by attempting to concoct an elixir that will dispel his dark side. Instead, it transforms him into the evil and wretched Mr. Hyde. Stevenson had me hooked with his storytelling from beginning to end. The tale is intriguing in the exploration of Jeckyll's alter ego and the imbalance of chemicals that brings him out. In man's search for purity by tinkering with Mother Nature, we discover that there is something so vile and impure lying beneath the surface waiting to escape. Is every human capable of evil? Do we all have evil within us, lying in the weeds waiting for it's chance to surface? If so, what keeps the lid on the boiling pot, preventing it from spilling over into the outside world while others cannot keep the same lid securely fastened? It's an interesting question, the duality of man, and one that Stevenson not only makes into an entertaining read, but also a thought-provoking one.

 

 

 

4 Tainted Salts out of 5

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

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

 

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