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review 2020-06-12 18:30
DEVIL'S CREEK by Todd Keisling
Devil's Creek - Todd Keisling

If there were travel guides for places NOT to visit, the town of Stauford, Kentucky would top that list! Devil's Creek is about 15 miles away from Stauford, but that's not far enough to keep the town safe.

 

Devil's Creek was the site of a religious cult back in the early 80's, a site which burned to the ground in 1983. Those that survived suffer nightmares all the time, even though they've blocked a lot of their actual memories. The head of the cult, Jacob Masters, was a charismatic man who persuaded members of his "church" to give up their children to him, for whatever dark acts he wished to perform. One of them rebelled though, (Imogene), and was able to save six of the children. Unfortunately, Imogene has now passed on and her grandson has to return to the town he hates to settle her affairs. But something else has started happening since his return. The nightmares suffered by the survivors get even more vivid and scary, and soon after? They're facing something even worse: something that wants to make up for lost time and all it's asking for? Is their suffering. Will these survivors be able to get to the bottom of things before it's too late? Will the town of Stauford even survive? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'm struggling to keep this review short, because DEVIL'S CREEK was so epic. Packed with scenes from both the past and the present, there was a lot going on. The author took his time introducing the characters and giving each a thorough history. Which, of course, made it that much more difficult to take when these characters were then put through the wringer and tortured in ways you never thought possible.

 

Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes. I couldn't help but be thinking of Salem's Lot, or even Needful Things, where the author did the same kind of storytelling: introducing us to a town full of characters and then subjecting them to all kinds of terrors, both human and supernatural.

 

The level of writing here was excellent and the plotting well done. Any seasoned horror reader is familiar with these types of tropes, (evil in a small town, Satanic cults, etc...), so it's up to the author to pull something original and enticing out them. Keisling did that here, in spades!

 

The only issue I had with this book, (and it's a small one), was that it became a little repetitious in some places as events were sometimes told from different points of view. As I said, it was a small thing, but for that, I deducted half a star.

 

DEVIL'S CREEK is going to have a special spot in my memory, along with the corrupted town of Stauford. Give us that old-time religion, baby. Yes, sir!

 

Highly recommended!

 

Available June 16th, but you can pre-order here: DEVIL'S CREEK

 

*Thanks to the author and to Silver Shamrock publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2020-03-19 22:00
COLERIDGE by Tom Deady
Coleridge - Kathleen W. Deady

COLERIDGE is a gothic story as beautifully written as the cover is beautiful to look at!

 

Zadie and Delia meet at an auction of an old, dilapidated home. They get to talking and before they know it, they've formed a partnership and decided to rehab the place. Somewhere along the way they fall in love.  As their work came to a close, however, Zadie seemed more and more preoccupied and Delia worried that Zadie had found someone else. That's not what was wrong, though. On top of that, Zadie didn't live to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Soon thereafter, a stranger shows up at Delia's shop claiming to be Zadie's father. Is he really Zadie's dad? What does he want with Delia? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The characters of Delia and Zadie were wonderful. Their fondness soon turned to something more as their work on the house continued and all of that seemed to progress naturally. I could feel Delia's grief and pain later on because this portion was so well written.

 

I can't talk more about the mystery involved here with Coleridge, (the house), without giving too much away. I was fascinated with the history of it and by the time the tale of the house unfolded, I wanted, no - I NEEDED...more. More about the house, more about Coleridge, (also the name of the original owner/builder), more about...pretty much everything! I'm not sure if this was meant to be a series or a trilogy or something? I really hope it is, because as I said, I need MORE!

 

I loved this tale overall, I just felt a little let down by how it all wrapped up. 

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing and Tom Deady for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. Also, I've met Tom Deady a few times and he's the nicest guy ever, and his wife is a sweetheart too.*

 

 

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review 2020-02-17 17:27
THE PRISONERS OF STEWARTVILLE by Shannon Felton
The Prisoners of Stewartville - Shannon Felton

Bravo to Shannon Felton on this, her debut novella! After reading her short story in MIDNIGHT AT THE GRAVEYARD, I was super excited to read more from this author and she did not disappoint!

 

Beneath a dying town, whose only means of support is the prison, a young man and his friend discover hidden tunnels one night when a brick fell out of the basement wall. From that point on, something seems to spread throughout this already bleak place. Were these tunnels used by escaped prisoners? What's causing the noises in the walls townsfolk are now hearing? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Stewartville as a town rang true to me. There are several places here in the northeast that have dwindled to nothing as manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas. Just driving through some of these places you feel suffocated with despair. There is also a severe opioid crisis going on in several of these towns as well. In this manner, Stewartville became an all too well known character in this tale. The despair....the grayness...it became an entity of its own.

 

Ms. Felton has demonstrated a command of language and characterization that, I'm sure, will hold her in good stead as she, (hopefully?), continues her career in dark fiction. As far as I'm concerned? You can sign me up right now for anything she writes in the future!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2019-12-31 07:38
The Corruption of Alston House by John Quick
The Corruption of Alston House - John Quick

Seeking to turn the page after a devastating personal tragedy, Katherine Ransom impulsively purchases Alston House, a partially restored Victorian, on the outskirts of the small town of Poplar Bend, Tennessee.
Although it was obvious the old pile still needed a lot of work, Katherine remains unfazed....after all, she'd gotten it for a song. And she could work on her art while the contractors handled whatever was required.
But her new beginning isn't as bright as she'd hoped.

Old houses have histories, a mix of life's joys and sorrows.

Alston House's history is one of human depravity.....and it's still festering after all these years.

A few people in town know exactly what Katherine has walked into....and are willing to let her face the consequences.

She won't be the first, or the last.

John Quick has written a solid, slow burn of a haunted house tale, exploring the depths of human evil, and the dark secrets that, once the whispering begins, lead from denial to other forms of human evil.








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review 2019-12-01 01:28
Midnight in the Graveyard edited by Kenneth W. Cain
Midnight in the Graveyard - Jeremy Hepler,Chad Lutzke,Kenneth W. Cain,Jonathan Janz,Kealan Patrick Burke,John Everson,Elizabeth Massie,William Meikle,Thomas F. Monteleone,Robert R. McCammon

Every once in a while, and those whiles seem to be getting longer, there are anthologies that simply blow you away. You know the ones....DARK FORCES edited by Kirby McCauley, and Charles L. Grant's SHADOWS series being two that are close to my heart. Collections of stories that defy the odds, not a misstep in the bunch.....the ones that offer you unforgettable tales by authors you know, and tales by authors new to you, authors whose work you will seek out in the future.

MIDNIGHT IN THE GRAVEYARD, the premiere anthology from Silver Shamrock Publishing, is one of those books.

25 stories by authors who are household names (in decent, literate households), a few actual legends, the best of the crew that have taken over the reins, and some new voices you simply must hear.....because each one is that damn good.

Some personal favorites (because your mileage may vary) include:

DEVIL'S DIP by Shannon Felton

TUG O' WAR by Chad Lutzke

DROWN by Hunter Shea

THOSE WHO ARE TERRIFIED by Elizabeth Massie

COOL FOR CATS by William Meikle

SAWMILL ROAD by Ronald Kelly

THE GLIMMER GIRLS by Kenneth McKinley

THE RING OF TRUTH by Thomas F. Monteleone

THE GRAVEDIGGER'S STORY by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

THE PUTPOCKET by Alan M. Clark

SWAMP VENGEANCE by Brian Moreland

This book resets the bar for horror anthologies, and is a must have/must read for every fan of the ghostly and horror in general.

Highest possible recommendation.

*I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. Well, here it is.*





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