(Review) Brian Moreland- Blood Sacrifices (Samhain Publishing, 2016)
There are some writers out there who we look to for reliable work time in and time out: King, Malfi, McCammon, Ketchum…. The list isn’t super long, but I added this name after reading one book (Shadows in the Mist)—Brian Moreland. And in the subsequent years, I have yet to be let down.
Like the King’s and Malfi’s, Moreland’s writing grabs you instantly. His characters are so real and vivid right from the get-go. His stories never veer off into over-written sessions of author masturbation. No, Moreland knows his story and knows how to keep you glued to the pages without any fancy tricks or unnecessary flourishes. He’s the kind of writer that I aspire to be.
In this collection of novellas, his skills are on full display. Whether it’s the witchy woman who will raise the hairs on your neck in The Witching House, or the mesmerizing journey of a journalist getting involved in the wrong story in Vagrants, these works will hook you and have you coming back for more.
The stand-out pieces in here are The Girl from the Blood Coven and Darkness Rising. Here are my reviews for each piece:
The Girl from the Blood Coven
This is a short story that serves as a precursor to The Witching House, but oh man does it pack a wallop! We get creeps, setting, and character in a short but perfectly executed blast of I’m-all-in horror.
“Then he heard the singing. Only it was coming from he backseat. A lilting song in a language Big Mike had never heard before. He whirled in his seat. Abigail sat up suddenly. Her eyes were rolled back to whites.”
I re-read this one prior to this review and was just as blown away the second time around.
Short story, but I’ll give it 5 stars anyway!
The Witching House
This was a quick and fun read. Who can resist an evil house haunted by a witch! After reading the lead-up to this one, Moreland’s even quicker, The Girl from the Blood Coven, I was expecting a little more. That’s not to say this one isn’t good or even a disappointment. It has more to do with how much I loved the other story (short as it was). What I got in The Witching House was great fun, but what held the promise of an absolute work of horrific brilliance may have overshadowed this one. That said, The Witching House is a nice addition to the Samhain collection, and another great slice of horror from Mr. Moreland. I would recommend this one to any horror fan.
I give it 4 stars!
Vagrants is another great piece of horror from Brian Moreland. I’ll read anything this guy puts out. Vagrants is the story of a writer who decides to live as a homeless person for half a year to better understand their way of life. His heart is in the right place as he plans to bring to light one of the biggest issues plaguing our country today, but it might not be that easy. At the end of his time on the streets, Daniel stumbles across a crazed homeless cult leader and the adventure really begins.
Moreland can proudly hang this one next to Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist.
I give it 4 stars!
“…a wise man once told her, Poetry has an invisible power that transcends the soul.”
Far and away the best new piece of fiction I’ve read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he’s one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum…etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I’m a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it.
Darkness Rising goes so many places; it’s hard to get across just how awesome this novella is. It is dark and gritty in places and beautiful and poetic in others. It is completely vicious in spots, but counters that with moments of uplifting magic.
I connected instantly with the main character, Marty Weaver, the same way I did with Laymon’s Ed Logan in Night in the Lonesome October (my favorite Richard Laymon book). That alone speaks volumes for me. And much like that Laymon novel, Moreland’s ability to balance the light and dark sides in a romantic waltz over a floor made from dead flesh and macabre visions is nothing short of inspiring.
Add in a soundtrack featuring the Stones, The Doors, and possibly some Alice Cooper…and you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker.
Darkness Rising is a perfect example of how amazingly good novellas can be. This is a Moreland masterpiece.
5 stars. Easy.
This collection needs to be on your shelf. Worth every penny!
I give Blood Sacrifices a total and overall rating of 5 stars!
Blood Sacrifices houses four tales of terror by one of the masters of horror, Brian Moreland. Previously only available in digital format, these stories are compiled into one book and can now be ordered in print!
Follow along the tour with the hashtags: #BloodSacrifices #4TalesofTerror #BrianMoreland
Synopsis for Blood Sacrifices: Four Tales of Terror
- Publication Date: April 5, 2016
- Publisher: Samhain
- Publication Length: 282 pages
Some evils require sacrifices.
From the author of Dead of Winter and The Devil’s Woods come four tales of blood-tingling horror:
The Girl from the Blood Coven
In this short prequel to The Witching House, when Abigail Blackwood claims her hippy commune family has been massacred, Sheriff Travis Keagan and his deputies investigate. They discover there’s more than weed smoking going on at Blevins House. Much more.
The Witching House
Sarah Donovan is scared of just about everything, but she helps her adventurous boyfriend investigate the old, abandoned Blevins House, scene of a forty-year-old unsolved massacre. Little do they know the house is hungry for fresh prey…
When Marty Weaver encounters three killers who like to play sadistic games with their victims, his own scarred past is unearthed. And when his pain is triggered, blood will flow…and hell will rise.
Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering. While living under a bridge with the homeless, journalist Daniel Finley witnessed something that nearly cost him his sanity. Now, with a book published about the experience, he’s caught between the Irish mafia and a deranged cult preparing to shed blood on the street.
This is a collection of books previously published in digital format.
Brian Moreland, Biography
Brian Moreland is a best-selling and award-winning author of novels and short stories in the horror and supernatural suspense genre. In 2007, his novel Shadows in the Mist, a Nazi occult thriller set during World War II, won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest. The novel went on to be published in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger.
Shadows in the Mist, Dead of Winter, and The Devil’s Woods are his currently available novels, as well as his Kindle short-story The Girl from the Blood Coven and the novella it led into called The Witching House. Now, he has released the full-length The Devil’s Woods. His novella, The Vagrants, was released in 2014, and another, Darkness Rising, in 2015.
He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and making guacamole. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. When not working on his books or books for other writers, Brian edits documentaries and TV commercials around the globe. He produced a World War II documentary in Normandy, France, and worked at two military bases in Iraq with a film crew.
Praise for Brian Moreland
“For horror fans wanting a healthy dose of the small-town stuff a la Stephen King, be sure to pick up a copy of this (The Girl from the Blood Coven) memorable and frightening short story, a wonderful teaser that will whet your appetite for the main course, The Witching House, where the twisted story continues.” -DarkEva/Hellnotes
” Very much in the tradition of HELL HOUSE, THE WITCHING HOUSE is a creepy, modern turn on the haunted house story.” -Tim Potter
“Far and away the best new piece of fiction I’ve read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he’s one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum…etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I’m a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it.” -Glenn Rolfe, author of Blood and Rain, on Darkness Rising
“Brian Moreland writes a blend of survival horror and occult mystery that I find impossible to resist. I know, when I’ve got one of his books in my hands, that I’m going to be lost to the world for hours on end. He’s just that good.” -Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Flesh Eaters
“A thrilling, wholly-engrossing read that masterfully crosses multiple genres and leaves the reader breathless. Moreland weaves one hell of a history lesson, rich with brilliant characters and incredible plot twists. Highly recommended!” -Brian Keene, bestselling author of The Last Zombie and Ghoul, on Dead of Winter
“Dead of Winter is an exceptionally well crafted horror novel that tells a gripping story of dark religious doings, a horrific serial killer, and a sympathetic Inspector, in a dark and fascinating historical setting of 19th century Canada. The atmospherics are outstanding and the story offers plenty of surprises right up to its shocking and violent conclusion. Highly recommended.”
– Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Monster of Florence and Cold Vengeance
“Brian Moreland’s fiction is taut and spellbinding, often blending varied themes to form a dark genre very much his own. From his WWII occult thriller Shadows in the Mist, to the haunting chiller The Devil’s Woods, Brian’s work is at once versatile, original, and deeply engaging.” – Greg F. Gifune, author of The Bleeding Season
“The Devil’s Woods is an awesome horror novel, filled with nerve-wracking suspense and thrilling action!” – Jeff Strand, author of Wolf Hunt
Want to Feature Brian Moreland?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Brian Moreland, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.