(Review) Splinterlands by John Feffer and Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz

I’ve been a bit behind on my reading in the last six weeks or so, but… I did manage to fit in these two fantastic novels. SPLINTERLANDS by John Feffer and EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz

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Up first, we have one of my surprise finds from the library. John Feffer-SPLINTERLANDS

SplinterlandsSplinterlands by John Feffer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The wolf is at the door. I don’t know why you can’t hear it. But I hear it. And I know how hungry it is.”

Am I glad that I’ve started using the library? Heck yes. Browsing the “New Arrivals” shelf introduces me to works I might otherwise never come across. Such as John Feffers’ SPLINTERLANDS.
Is it horror? Not genre-wise, but it is scary as Hell.

“Water boils fiercely just before it disappears. And so it is, evidently with human affairs.”

Its a short dystopian novel that is eerily tied in with far too many things actually happening right before our eyes in 2017. Hurricane Donald (very apropos), the result of our ignoring climate-change, wipes out Washington DC. The world is in flux under the ever-growing number of countries splintering into separate, self-governed states (see Brexit, or the increasingly popular idea of Cal-Exit), geo-paleontologist and author of “Splinterlands”, Dr. West, sets out to write his follow-up report, and also, to reconnect with his splintered family.
The journey is fantastic. I couldn’t put the book down.

This short novel is freaky with how close we are to following in its “fictitious” future’s footsteps.
I won’t give away any spoilers, but I would suggest anyone out there who loves good fiction, horror or otherwise, to track SPLINTERLANDS down. Hell, I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing this book become “mandatory reading” for high school kids and adults alike.

“Empires, like children, think they’ll live forever.”

I fear the future, especially these past few months of “Hurricane” Donald Drumpf with a too-large number of our country’s citizens eyeing immigrants as enemies. SPLINTERLANDS is scary, and it should be. Anything with an honest message of what-could-be, should be taken seriously and carefully considered. We the people should take a lot more things in our country seriously before they land us in this future.

“I don’t doubt that we still have convictions. We just don’t seem to have the requisite courage to follow them.”

I give SPLINTERLANDS 5 stars!

View all my reviews

And I got the chance to read one of my most-anticipated releases for 2017, Jonathan Janz- EXORCIST FALLS

Exorcist FallsExorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my most anticipated release of 2017, so my expectations were extremely high. EXORCIST FALLS did not fail to entertain.

This book starts with the original novella, EXORCIST ROAD, one of my favorite pieces by Janz. It was great to re-read it here and love it just as much.

That brings us to the follow-up, the short novel, EXORCIST FALLS.
This story was pretty great, overall.
I loved not knowing what was going to happen. Every time I thought (or hoped) I knew where Janz was going, he took my someplace else. He really did an amazing job of keeping you off guard throughout.

Father Crowder is definitely the star of the show, and you’ll be praying for Danny Hartman to get his. There’s a lot of great gore and wildly imaginative action going on that is also well balanced with the internal struggle between Crowder and his curse. Janz’s writing is on point.

There were a few characters that fell flat (Liz) or seemed to be a little inconsistent from start to finish (Father Patterson, for instance). That said, neither character ruined the experience for me.

The ending….I won’t give it away, but it was both REALLY awesome and somewhat disappointing. Sound confusing? Yeah, it’s a frustrating thing. I LOVE where Janz goes here, but I think he should have written about three more chapters and brought the story to an even more amazing conclusion. Oh well. Not everything works the way we, the reader, want it to.

I still give EXORCIST FALLS 4 stars! Entertaining as hell.
I look forward to seeing it on many, many year end lists.

View all my reviews

I should have some new reviews for Hunter Shea, Patrick Lacey, William Meikle, and Jason Arnopp coming up…..

STAY TUNED!

Enter to win Where Nightmares Begin. Also, grab a nice 99 cent Mark Allan Gunnells collection!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Where Nightmares Begin by Glenn Rolfe

Where Nightmares Begin

by Glenn Rolfe

Giveaway ends April 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Enter above to win!

I’ll also have a Blood and Rain giveaway starting next month. Stay tuned!

Also, if you haven’t yet, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this collection from Mark Allan Gunnells- Flowers in the Dumpster.  Click the cover below to get the eBook for 99 cents!

Flowers-in-the-Dumpster-cover-e1443682417848

 

Cheers!

-GR

 

What I read in 2014 –I Aimed for 45 books, but ended up reading 82!

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A few years ago, just as I started writing, I saw Brian Keene blog a list of what he read that year. There were 100 titles. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe that that was possible. I always hoped to read between 12 and and 24….

This yea, I set my goal on Goodreads for 45. A nice, high number (for me). Well, thanks in part to the explosion of novellas, I managed to read 82 books this year! Some were short, some not so short. I started and couldn’t finish 3 books that I thought were awful. They are not listed here.

Here is my “read” list for 2014. I highlighted my favorites. You can check out my reviews here: Glenn’s Reading Challenge

Black-Max Booth III

Black and Orange-Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Professional Detachment or The Eternal-T. Fox Dunham

Gripped  -Jason Donnelly

Punk Rock Dad –Jim Lindberg

Radio Free Nowhere- Todd Keisling

Namesless: The Darkness Comes- Mercedes m. Yardley

A Requiem for Dead Flies- Peter N. Dudar

Bunnicula- James Howe

When Karen Met Her Mountain- Todd Keisling

Netherworld- Lisa Morton

Dust Devils- Jonathan Janz

Galvaston-Nic Pizzolatto

Habeas Corpse- Nikki Hopeman

Saving Granny from the Devil-Todd Keisling

Dead of Winter- Brian Moreland

Piercing the Veil- Mason Bundschuh

If it Bleeds-Darryl Dawson

Federales- Christopher Irwin

The Harbinger-Todd Keisling

The Nightcrawler-Mick Ridgewell

Things Slip Through-Kevin Lucia

The Indie Journey-Scott Nicholson

Three Graves Full-Jamie Mason

The Waiting-Hunter Shea

Throttle-Stephen King and Joe Hill

NOS4A2-Joe Hill

Cradle Lake-Ronald Malfi

Pride-Chantal Noordeloos

To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee

The Stranger-Albert Camus

Dark Vengeance-Russell James

Decoration Day-Vic Kerry

Red-Jack Ketchum

Sinister Entity-Hunter Shea

The Vagrants-Brian Moreland

Hero-Wrath James White and J.F. Gonzales

Toxicity-Max Booth III

Devourer of Souls-Kevin Lucia

Relic of Death-David Bernstein

The Montauk Monster-Hunter Shea

The Sorrows-Jonathan Janz

Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit-Lucy A. Snyder

The Dude Abides-Alex Belth

Fairy-Shane McKenzie

Deep Like the River-Tim Waggoner

Off Season-Jack Ketchum

The Beast House-Richard Laymon

Exorcist Road- Jonathan Janz

Heroin in the Now-Terry M. West

The Summer Job-Adam Cesare

A Beautiful Madness-Lee Thompson

Hot in December-Joe R. Lansdale

Crooked House-Joe McKinney

Pretty Little Dead Girls-Mercedes M. Yardley

The Plasm-William Meikle

Conduits-Jennifer Loring

The Running Man- Stephen King

Last of the Albatwitches-Brian Keene

The Halloween Tree-Ray Bradbury

The Halloween Man-Douglas Clegg

Linden Manor-Catherine Cavendish

Tribesmen-Adam Cesare

The Dark Servant-Matt Manochio

Dark Harvest-Norman Partridge

The Exiled-William Meikle

House of Skin-Jonathan Janz

The Family Tree-John Everson

Apartment 7C- David Bernstein

The Martian-Andy Weir

Exponential-Adam Cesare

Charlotte-Stuart Keane

The Last Cannibals-Jens Bjerre

A Shrill Keening-Ronald Malfi

Legacy-JG Faherty

The Dead Zone-Stephen King

The Howliday Inn-James Howe

Dreamwalker-Russell James

The Black Echo-Michael Connelly

30 Days of Night, Vol. One-Steve Niles

Blood Red Roses-Russell James

The Lost Level-Brian Keene

JONATHAN JANZ FOR 99 CENTS! Get some great horror for cheap!

Okay, it’s no secret that  I have read a bunch of books/authors from Samhain Publishing. So far, one of my favorites is without a doubt Jonathan Janz. This man has the potential to be one of the very best in the business. If you don’t believe me, you need to grab one or (I suggest) all three of his Kindle books that are on sale RIGHT NOW!

His early stuff is decent (The Sorrows, House of Skin), but his latest efforts have jumped him into a whole new level.

My personal three favorites by Janz–Savage Species, Dust Devils, Exorcist Road–are all 99 cents.

Hop on over to his Amazon page to find them HERE 

Dust Devils and Exorcist Road both appear on my TOP TEN of 2014—Check my lists out HERE

JJ DD

exorcist-road

JANZ

And if you fall in love with Janz’s style (harvested from a love and appreciation of Ketchum, King, and McCammon)  be sure to pre-order his next great chunk of delicious death! The Nightmare Girl–Just look at the freakin’ cover!

the-nightmare-girlNot sure how long this sale is going on, so get your asses over there and snatch ’em up while you can!

You can thank me later.

The Mystery of the 5 Star Review: Masterpiece?

 

mas.ter.piece (noun)

1: a work done with extraordinary skill; especially: a supreme intellectual or artistic achievement

 

 I was reviewing books before I started writing them, I continue to review books. I try to give them an honest rating, regardless of who the author is. As a member of Good Reads, I get updates. I see what people are currently reading, what they have marked as to-be-read, and what they have rated/reviewed. It pops up in my email, I check it (shamelessly scanning to see if my works are among the bunch), I glance at the ratings, and…I am finding that there are an awful lot of masterpieces in the Good Reads universe.

Let’s say that my favorite novel of all-time is Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot (which it is). Now, let’s say I give this book I consider to be a masterpiece the vaunted 5 Stars.  I have set the bar.

Walter Sobchak: I’m talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT…

Well, I’m not about to start naming off books, or the reviewers who have rated those books, but I tend to think that maybe not every book I read and enjoy is a sheer work of magnificence. Apparently, even among my Good Read friends, I might be in the minority. I’m seeing stars, lots of them. Am I occasionally guilty of the same crime? Probably, but, hopefully, not to the extent that it tarnishes the great 5 star plateau I have created in my review world. I read a lot of books, and I love a lot of books. Are these loved books as good as ‘Salem’s Lot? No, of course not, but they are up there. We could go on about the great books that are close to that top level, but that’s a slippery slope. I just wanted to point out the maddening amount of good books that are being given top shelf space when, if you put them into perspective, are not worthy. That’s not to say they are not fine pieces of literature, or that you can’t really, really like them, but let’s not cheapen that 5th star.

I have received a few of these knockout visions for my self-published work (a few of them are from my friends–I wish they hadn’t), but I am not blind to the fact that a few of those ratings are from the very type of reviewers I’m talking about–

Trigger happy-top shelvers!

While I appreciate that they enjoyed my work, I am also slightly afraid that people that have read ‘Salem’s Lot will see this and scoff (as they should). If get 3 stars, I feel much better.

We all have authors we love, we all want to show our loyalty and support for those authors, but can we just hold up for a second. Do you really think that each of these works is that brilliant? I don’t know, maybe some readers do. Maybe I’m just sick of feeling like everybody is reading these Mike Tyson knock-out novels. Maybe I’m sick of seeing stars.

So, maybe from here on out, we can come to some kind of agreement on the number of stars we give these works out of said loyalty and support. I am proposing that we tag these really, really good books with 4 stars, and reserve that last beacon of brightness for actual masterpieces. I know, I know, I sound like some crazy asshole, but can we at least put it on the table?

 

 

(You’re probably not, but in case you are wondering, my three favorite novels of all-time are ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining, and A Boy’s Life)