(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!

(Review) THE EIGHTH by Stephanie Wytovich

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“Paimon scanned the roads, looking for any hint of light, but the swathe of black that painted the night remained solid. Even the stars seemed to have dimmed, casting haze through the trees that bled out onto the forest floor like smoke.”

Stephanie Wytovich’s debut novel, THE EIGHTH, is littered with fantastic prose, the majority of which stand up next to any author I’ve read.  Better known for her horror poetry, it doesn’t surprise me that she’s this good.  I thoroughly enjoyed her vision of Hell, the Devil, and many of those who the Devil has in his troop.

The Devil sends one of his collectors, Paimon, to fetch the soul of Rhea. Things don’t go as smooth as they’re supposed to, and we find ourselves thrown into the story of multiple evils each seemingly with their own agendas.  The story does a great job keeping you in as you try to figure out what is going on.

“…their leaves shriveling and falling off forgotten appendages that collected on the ground like dead bodies after war. “

Character-wise, I never really liked Paimon or Rhea (who was pretty interesting in the front part of the story, but lost points with me shortly thereafter).   The Devil, The Seven, and especially, Arazel stole the show.  Toward the end, I finally began rooting on Paimon  (finally!). I’d say the ending isn’t what I hoped or thought it would be, but it was good.

Overall, this is a pretty amazing creation of Hell and its story, dressed up in a lot of beautiful writing and some epic bloody scenes. Definitely, definitely worth a read.

“Paimon watched as a man reached for the lock, and within seconds, the sinner’s limbs were torn off and he was skinned alive, eaten from the feet up.”

 

I give THE EIGHTH 4 stars!

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THE EIGHTH

Rhea Harmon is a living target for the Devil as she possesses the power to detect one’s deadliest sin at first glance. Intended to be used as a weapon of war, the Devil sends Paimon, his right-hand man and top collector, to claim her soul and bring her to him in Hell.

But the Devil isn’t the only one who is interested in Rhea.

When Paimon arrives to collect his payment, he’s immediately taken with her and the resemblance she bears to his late-wife, Marissa. He falls in love with the mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, and instead vows to protect her, thereby severing his allegiance to the Devil and sealing his fate as a traitor.

Consumed by rage and fear, Paimon and Arazel, the Devil’s blood slave and ring leader to the circle of Lust, flee Hell in an attempt to save Rhea, but are instead forced to confront their pasts and their presents as they reevaluate the definition of sin and punishment. So what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when Paimon has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help?

After centuries of living in exile, banned from their home and their right to rule, The Seven, the keepers of the deadly sins, are only too happy to answer his call, and if Paimon thought it was dangerous to make a deal with the Devil, then he had no idea what it meant to be blessed by the creators of sin.

Stephanie M. Wytovich, Biography

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an instructor by day and a horror writer by night.headshot-2-2

She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, and a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction.

Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness,Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Brothel earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, is simmering in sin with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich on her website and on twitter @JustAfterSunset.

Praise for Stephanie Wytovich

“Stephanie Wytovich’s The Eighth is a savage tale of betrayal, regret, and the dark side of love in its many forms. The poetic imagery she sprinkles throughout balances the brutality with beauty.”  Chris Marrs, author of Wildwoman and Everything Leads Back to Alice

“A fierce and emotionally intense debut.”- Craig DiLouie, author of Suffer the Children

“A brilliant debut from a major new talent, full of darkness, fire, and devilry. Indeed, the sins in this novel are so well realized that I fear just a little for Ms. Wytovich’s soul.”- Rio Youers, author of Westlake Soul and Point Hollow

The Eighth is a stellar horror debut from Stephanie Wytovich. An intimate, painful map of personal and literal hells that would make Clive Barker proud.”-Christopher Golden, New York Times best-selling author

Get your copy HERE

Simple but So Damn Cool! A Tweet from Jack Ketchum

Friday afternoon my friend Max Booth III (I cal him MB3) messaged me…. I clicked the link

And this popped up:

 

: Glenn Rolfe’s THINGS WE FEAR, summer fun and psychopaths…

It’s no Glenn Rolfe is amazing and makes me want to be a better writer…but it’s pretty damn cool!

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I met Jack Ketchum in 2014 at the World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon. He was super cool and we actually had a pretty great conversation earlier in the day. He was excited to find that I was working with Don D’Auria and had nothing but nice things to say about Mr. D and wished me well with my then first novella (Abram’s Bridge).

Fast forward a little less than two years and BAM!  I get that Tweet!

Ketchum’s influence is apparent in my latest piece, Things We Fear. We all know about his ability to scare the shit out of us with a group of creepy people living in a cave down by the water…but the stories that really get to me out the ones where Ketchum paints monsters out of the people we run into every day. In Red, he gave us a family of assholes. In Cover, we get a vet who slips too far over the edge, in The Girl Next Door…well, that one takes the cake, doesn’t it? The horrible woman who puts innocence in harm’s way without a glint of remorse.

In TWF, I made a monster out of the gym teacher from high school with the perfect smile and pile of muscles. Mr. Too Good to be True. I take our Perfect Smile and turn him into a cold, sadistic killer. A trick I learned from one of the masters.

At the end of the day, I am uber-plussed by this shout-out from one of my heroes. I hope to continue busting my butt, challenging myself to writer better, and trying to follow in his massive footsteps.

Thank you, sir!

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I also learned how to NOT look at the camera from him….

Pick up an eBook copy of THINGS WE FEAR today at any of the following links:

AMAZON     Barnes and Noble  Google Play    Samhain Horror

If you prefer reading Print, TWF also appears in my new novella collection, WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN alongside ABRAM’S BRIDGE and BOOM TOWN, available in print edition at the following links:

AMAZON     SAMHAIN HORROR

 

 

BLOOD AND RAIN is HERE! AAAARRRROOOOOOOO! Get Your Werewolf Fix Today.


The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.

Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend?

One night can—and will—change everything.

PRAISE FOR BLOOD AND RAIN

“With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Glenn Rolfe’s novel will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos and proof that we’re in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!”
–Ronald Malfi, author of December Park

Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.”– Horror Underground

“Rolfe has managed to take the werewolf to a-whole-nother level…for those of you that are fans of the classic monster stories of old, this is one to read. Glenn has brought the werewolf into the modern day!”– Horror Novel Reviews

“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!”–Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

“Many authors nowadays get lauded for writing ‘throwback’ horror fiction, but none of them quite goes the distance like Rolfe does in Blood and Rain. Werewolves, silver samurai swords, and small New England towns: it all makes you wish this was twenty years ago so you can take the paperback off a supermarket spinner-rack and huff the yellowed pages.” – Adam Cesare, author of Mercy House and Exponential

” Brutal, tension-fueled and captivating…Blood and Rain is the best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt.” — Horror After Dark

“Wow! Easily one of the best werewolf books I’ve ever read.”– Hunter Shea, author The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon

” Rolfe tells a tale that captures your attention like King without all of the wordiness. He also spills the red stuff like Laymon…I’m now a fan.”–Into the Macabre

“(Drawing) on the work of Stephen King…Rolfe hits the mark.” – Publishers Weekly

Blood and Rain is definitely a contender to be the best horror novel of the year.”–The Examiner.com

FACEBOOK RELEASES PARTY! TONIGHT 8-11 PM HERE

BUY YOUR COPY:
SAMHAIN PUBLISHING

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AMAZON US,

AMAZON UK

AMAZON AU

AMAZON CA

NOVEMBER FIRE: New Releases coming from Samhain Horror (Nov. 4th)

In case you missed it, Samhain Publishing has a sleek new website. (Check out the Coming Soon section: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/books/coming-soon

As we near the end of the month, I just thought I’d share November’s new horror releases from Samhain Horror.

the-unhinged

David Bernstein’s latest Samhain piece: The Unhinged.

the-bingo-hallShane McKenzie’s second Samhain novella, The Bingo Hall.

b-movie-warAlan Spencer’s latest in the B-Movie series, B-Movie War

the-dark-servantAnd Matt Manochio’s debut, The Dark Servant

Click on over to the new site (or just click on the covers) to pre-order some  (or all) of these! I got a sneak peek at the Dark Servant (good stuff!). Stay tuned for my review on November 5th.

Summer in Montauk–Now with Death and Disease!: My review of Hunter Shea’s The Montauk Monster

montauk monster

Hunter Shea’s The Montauk Monster is pretty freaking rad. The vacation hotspot, Montauk, New York, is invaded by a bunch of vicious dog-like creatures. Local animals and residents are attacked and mauled to death. Those that don’t die by the teeth suffer a far worse fate. These creatures carry a deadly contagion that burns its victims from the inside out. The local police force is sent from one call to another chasing these beasts and losing some of their own officers in the process.
The truth is revealed when one officer recognizes the beasts. She knows the answers to these things can be found on Plum Island, home to a special facility.

I absolutely LOVE the beginning of this story. I was caught up in the characters and the need to know what these things were so bad that I took my time, savoring each chapter. I wanted it to last the whole summer. But alas, I had promised my review by late July…so here it is.

There’s so much to love here. Hunter tells a story like a seasoned pro. The horror and suspense is top notch. The deaths are scary as hell, and the dialogue is terrific. You feel like you’re in one of those great TV series that have been rocking cable and network television over the last couple of years. The majority of Hunter’s characters drive this story as much as the need-to-know just what in the hell is happening in this beach town. To me, that’s just as vital in a great novel as anything else. If I don’t give a shit about the people in the book, what’s the point? Hunter nails it.

On the negative side, I felt like there were two sets of characters that didn’t need to be in here. Following their parts of the story seemed unnecessary to me and made the book longer than it needed to be (which is odd seeing’s how I just said I never wanted it to end!) The other part that bugged me was all of the action movie type stuff (reminded me of the Crazies re-make) in the final quarter of the book. I’m not a big blow ‘em up guy when it comes to novels. I don’t think it translates as well as it does on the big screen. That said, if this gets optioned for a movie….Hunter will be in for a huge payday!

All in all, it was a fun read and absolutely perfect for the summer.
Go Hunter!
Go Grab your copy here:
HUNTER SHEA- THE MONTAUK MONSTER

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