HYPED FOR 2020: Most Anticipated Reads

2019 is over (almost), so I thought I’d follow in the footsteps of some of my writer and reviewer buds, and give you my most anticipated books of 2020!

We’ll do top 5, since I’m sure there are plenty of books by writers I love that I am not yet aware of for the upcoming year.

AND AS ALWAYS.click on the covers below to pre-order.

(DEVIL’S CREEK isn’t up yet)

 

 

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Stephen Graham Jones is an outstanding writer. His coming of age werewolf novel, MONGRELS, is one of my favorite books of all-time. His collection, AFTER THE PEOPLE LIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF, is also one of my top collections ever. It is with baited breath that I await THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jonathan Janz is one of the most dedicated horror writers around. His two newest FLAME TREE PRESS books, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, and the amazing, THE DARK GAME, serve as proof that he is only getting better. There’s no reason to not think THE RAVEN isn’t a hit just waiting to be unleashed!

 

 

 

 

 

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Todd Keisling is best known for his novellas and the fantastic UGLY LITTLE THINGS set of horror stories. I’ve been patiently waiting for this man and his piles of endless talent to deliver an epic horror novel…and the wait is nearly over! Thanks to SILVER SHAMROCK, we will be given Keisling’s next horror offering, the novel, DEVIL’S CREEK.

 

 

 

 

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Adam Cesare is one of the most driven forces in the horror writing world that I’ve ever run into. His books, TRIBESMEN, THE SUMMER JOB, and VIDEO NIGHT rocked my horror loving heart. In terms of “new releases”, he’s been missing the last year or two.  I figured he was up to something big, and I was right.

CLOWN IN A CORNFIELD will mark Cesare’s debut within the realm of Young Adult Horror, and I think he’s going to nail the heck out of it.  Also, it’s coming from HARPER COLLINS, so expect a great push. And peep that rad cover!

 

 

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Brian Moreland is one of my favorite writers of he last decade. His books, SHADOWS IN THE MIST and DEAD OF WINTER are amazing, and his novella, DARKNESS RISING, is a true horror gem.

Watching how well Moreland has worked historical periods within some of his stories, I cannot wait to see what he does with Ancient Egypt. TOMB OF GODS marks his first full-length release in a couple years, and I feel like I’ve been starved. Easily my MOST anticipated book of 2020.

 

 

 

 

I’m curious to see what we get in way of new releases from Patrick Lacey, Gwendolyn Kiste,  and Ronald Malfi, too.  Hopefully, we get something from each of them!

I left off the new King book, IF IT BLEEDS. I think that one goes without saying (even though I kind of just said it).

 

Anyways, I also have a new book on the way (May 21st from Flame Tree Press), if you dig love stories, coming of age, vampires, Old Orchard Beach, and all things 1980s, you’ll probably want to check out UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND.

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When fifteen year old Rocky Zukas meets a mysterious dark-haired girl named November, his world is forever changed. The young couple falls under the spell of summer love, but not everyone approves. November’s brother, Gabriel, is the keeper of the family’s secret, and big brother is always watching, growing more sinister as his bloodlust gets the best of him. Directing his attention to Rocky’s family, Gabriel aims to make sure little sister knows who is in charge.

 

 

 

 

 

Officially signed with FLAME TREE PRESS!

It’s been a while…

Happy to announce that I have signed with FLAME TREE PRESS for my vampire novel, UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND.

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UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND

It’s Old Orchard Beach, Maine in the summer of 1986. The pier, the fries, the tourists, and the sunshine blazing high above the Atlantic. For fifteen year old Rocky Zukas, it’s when he sees the beach side town he calls home come to life. Gone are the long, cold, quiet nights of the off season, and here, like magic, returns the beauty and wonder of the city’s heartbeat.

This summer brings her.

When a mysterious, dark-haired girl named November walks into his world, Rocky’s life is forever changed.

A story of love, loss, betrayal, and the undead, ends in explosive fashion after sundown.

In the tradition of such modern horror classics as The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon and Ghoul by Brian Keene, Until Summer Comes Around proves once and for all…the monsters are real.

Look for UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND to be released in mid-2020.

And I am so happy to be back with family like this.

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Stoker Con Providence, RI 2018 (Left to right: -JH Moncreiff, me, JG Faherty, and Don D’Auria)

From my first viewing of THE LOST BOYS to reading Anne Rice’s THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, ‘SALEM’S LOT by King, THE NARROWS by Ronald Mafi, and LIVE GIRLS by Ray Garton, this  one has been percolating for some time.

See the below video from my old band, THE NEW 45- “I Wanna Suck Your Blood”

(Interview) Share the Horror Prepares to Play the Dark Game with Jonathan Janz

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I set out to become a writer the same year Samhain Publishing launched. When I saw the Leisure Horror Books head acquisition man, Don D’Auria, was at the head of this new horror line, I knew good things were on the horizon. And I was right. Don, introduced us to Kristopher Rufty, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and  a guy named, Jonathan Janz.

The books from Janz came one after another–The Sorrows, The Darkest Lullaby, The House of Skin, Savage Species, Castle of Sorrows, Dust Devils, The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, and Exorcist Road before we all got the news that Samhain was a sinking ship.

Janz put out the excellent and much acclaimed, Children of the Dark, and also the much anticipated, Exorcist Falls with Sinister Grin Press before Don D’Auria landed with Flame Tree Press and called one of his favorite sons home. The-Siren-and-The-Specter-ISBN-9781787580053.0

Following Janz’s recent release with Flame Tree Press, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER from this past September, we prepare for his next new release, THE DARK GAME (Catch my brief review of this awesome book after the interview).

I called on Janz to join us here at Share the Horror and he obliged.

Share the Horror: Let’s go back a few years. You were one of the first Samhain authors and had built quite a catalog in a relative short amount of time. When the news that Samhain had a) fired Don D’Auria and then shortly afterwards 2) folding up shop, what were your thoughts and emotions at hearing those two things?

Jonathan Janz: The news about Don was really a shock. He’s a great editor and a great person, so mainly I just felt really bad for him. After that, the news of the publisher going under wasn’t too shocking. I figured if they were letting Don go, they were probably hurting for money, so while it was sad for the employees—many of whom remain my friends—that second piece of news wasn’t as surprising.
As far as emotions go, in addition to feeling terrible for those more directly impacted, I did experience a lot of uncertainty about the future. Everything has worked out really well, but at the time it was a giant unknown.

STHWhat did you do in the space between Samhain and then the start up of Flame Tree Press?

JJ: This sounds simplistic, but I just wrote. Even though I didn’t know where the books I was working on would end up, I knew I needed to keep writing. Fretting about events out of my control wasn’t going to be productive, so I threw myself into my work. So in the years between Samhain and Flame Tree, I wrote THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, NIGHTMARE WORLD, THE DARK GAME, THE DISMEMBERED, and I began CHILDREN OF THE DARK 2.

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STH: Let’s talk Children of the Dark for a second. This was a very well received book. It’s a part of your Savage Species (one of my personal favorites) world. I know your King influence bleeds through with this one, especially with Will Burgess. Whereas with Savage Species there was gore galore like a dark Ketchum novel or something from Richard Laymon, with COTD I get a lot of that THE BODY vibe. More about the characters and the heart of this kid rather than the all-out blitz style of its predecessor. Would you say that’s an accurate take? If so, was that intentional or did it just come out that way?
JJ: I’d say that’s very accurate. With SAVAGE SPECIES, I wanted a no-holds-barred, bloody, grueling epic. With CHILDREN OF THE DARK, the story was largely, as you allude to with your reference to THE BODY, about the pain of growing up and the difficulties this kid was experiencing. So like you said, even though the stories are in the same universe, they’re very different animals. I realized this when writing the sequel to COTD. My initial idea was to combine the worlds of SAVAGE SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE DARK, but that changed as I wrote the sequel. So while there are some intersections, the story really remained a COTD story and true to the tone of the first book.81hj+mlkx0l
STH: So, Don and Flame Tree Press happens. Did he come to you, or were you guys in constant contact and it sort of just happened?
JJ: We kept in contact. Not constantly, but I’d say every couple of months we’d email, and a few times we spoke by phone. The one thing we knew was that, wherever we landed, we wanted to work on more projects together. I got the news about Flame Tree when my family and I were in Virginia for Scares That Care in 2017. We were walking from a beach on the James River to our van when I checked my email and found out about Don’s new gig. I think I emailed him within a half hour or so, and we started talking about THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Since that story was set in Virginia, and I’d just wrapped it up, it was fresh in my mind and a natural first project to do with Don and Flame Tree.

STH: THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, like COTD, feels like another step forward in your writing. As someone that has read almost all your published works, I feel like your growing more and more comfortable with each release, and with that becoming even more fearless as a writer. Does it feel that way to you?
JJ: Thank you so much, Glenn! I truly appreciate that. Yes, it does feel like I’m progressing, but it’s an incredibly subtle and gradual progress. I’m fond of all my books, but I really noticed it a couple months ago when reading through HOUSE OF SKIN, which is the first novel I wrote (and the second one published). I really like the story, but I’m a very different writer now than I was then. It feels good, but I know I’m nowhere near a finished product and will never be finished in my writerly walk. I have to constantly strive to improve, to grow, and to learn. I’m too self-critical to ever be satisfied.
STHSIREN is landing on a lot of Top 10 lists right now, I know that’s gratifying. Do you let that good feeling linger and use it going  forward, or are you more the type that is focused on that next release and coming at it with the need to prove yourself again?

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JJ: Like you say, it is gratifying, and it feels wonderful to have one’s work acknowledged, but I don’t bask in that glow for too long. That need to create is too strong. And I also always want to make my next book better than my last. Hopefully, I did that with THE DARK GAME, and I hope to do it again with the titles coming in late 2019 and 2020.
STHTHE DARK GAME comes out in April. I’m reading an ARC now, and I believe this is my favorite book of yours so far. How much fun did you have crafting the antagonist in this one? Without giving anything away, what were your favorite aspects of Roderick Wells to create and play around with?
JJ: That’s so great to hear! I worked very hard on THE DARK GAME, so it’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying it. I had a lot of fun with it. The Roderick Wells character was at the center of the story, so I needed him to be all sorts of things: strong, elusive…incisive yet cryptic. He had to represent both writers and critics, both nurturing teachers and cruel taskmasters. Plus (and here, like you said, I’m trying not to give anything away), there are elements of his character that aren’t revealed until later. That means I have to play fair with the reader by hinting at those unexpressed character elements without completely revealing the character’s secrets. Walking that tightrope was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one. I think the aspect of Wells’s character I enjoyed the most was his love of power and how he reacted when that supremacy was threatened. There are some exchanges between him and a character named Sherilyn that were a blast to write.
STH: There’s a lot of writers in here. I’m imagining that there are aspects of your own strengths and self-perceived weaknesses in each of these characters. At this stage in your career, with regards to your writing skills, what do you see as your best assets and what areas are your constantly targeting to improve upon?
JJ: Wow, that’s extremely insightful! Yes, you do get some of that in the novel. Rick Forrester, for example, is a lot like me before I got anything published. He’s been rejected, told he’s not good enough, and basically dismissed. Like Rick, I once received a very chilly reaction from the head of a collegiate writing program, so that experience made its way directly into the novel.
Regarding the second part of your question, this doesn’t sound sexy, but I think my best assets as a writer are my support network, my willingness to learn, and my work ethic. My wife and kids always provide me with a bedrock, so I know that when a story isn’t going well or I face some other kind of adversity, what really matters—my family—will remain intact. I’ve been teaching for twenty-three years and teaching Creative Writing for seventeen of those, and I believe these experiences help me to remain grounded and focused on growing. Just as I’m helping my students evolve, I’m evolving too. I also never quit. Because that option is never on the table, I concentrate on ways to solve problems rather than allowing them to defeat me.
With regard to areas of improvement, I want to keep getting better at blazing new trails. Horror is a vast realm, and there are many untouched or rarely-trod areas in the genre. Therefore, I want to constantly aim to examine those and maximize their potential.

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STHOne last thing, before we go. Looking back on THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, which has remained one of my very favorite stories you wrote, what are your thoughts and memories on that story and its release?
JJ: I’m so glad you liked that one! That story was a major moment of growth for me because it forced me to use dialogue to carry a story. Yes, there’s description; yes, there are the other essentials of storytelling. But it’s the dialogue that reveals character, that unveils plot twists, that adds mystery and depth. I had to develop my dialogue-writing skills in “The Clearing of Travis Coble,” and looking back, I view that exercise as a moment of profound growth for me. Thanks again for mentioning it! 

STH:I love it and THE DARK GAME, so I will keep praising them from the mountains! Thanks for taking the time, good sir.

JJ: Thank you, Glenn. I had a blast!

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Don’t let our smiling faces fool you…
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Flame Tree Press is re-releasing Jonathan Janz’s entire Samhain Publishing catalog.
This month sees the re-release of SAVAGE SPECIES. You can also grab his debut novel,
THE SORROWS.
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MY REVIEW of THE DARK GAME

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quite possibly Janz’s best work yet. His skills continue to sharpen, and it really feels like he’s comfortable as hell behind that keyboard now. There’s a piece about fearlessness in this book, and I think it’s safe to say Janz is feeling just that-fearless. This was by far my favorite cast of characters in any of his books, and the story read like something straight out of the Leisure Books Horror Club heyday!
THE DARK GAME is a horror gem.

 

2018 halfway point review and things to come.

 

You guys probably know me well enough by now to know that I only include books published this year to include in my best of list.

While I haven’t read as many as I would have liked in this first half, here are six that stood out. Some will make it to the Year End list, some will not, but all are fun reads.

In no particular order:

BROKEN SHELLS by Michael Patrick Hicks

THE GOAT PARADE by Peter N. Dudar

BONE SAW by Patrick Lacey (Note* I’m halfway through this one now and already know it’s a heck of a read)

VIETNAM BLACK by Brad Harmer-Barnes

THE SWITCH HOUSE by Tim Meyer

THE OUTSIDER by Stephen King

The Switch House and Broken Shells are quick reads with really fun concepts.

Bone Saw and Vietnam Black are b-movie horror fun

The Goat Parade and The Outsider are a bit bigger with a lot of character driven bits. 

For the second half of the year, I’ll be trying my best to get to these babies:

THE FEED by Jason Parent

THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER by Jonathan Janz

CREATURE by Hunter Shea

PRACTITIONERS by Matt Hayward and Patrick Lacey

KILL HILL CARNAGE by Tim Meyer

THE NIGHTMARE ROOM by Chris Sorensen

ANATHEMA by Kristopher Rufty

DOG DAYS o’SUMMER by Mark Allan Gunnells and James Newman

STIRRING THE SHEETS by Chad Lutzke

HALCYON by Rio Youers

I’m sure there’s more not on here that I’ll add.  Feel free to share what you guys have loved and look forward to.

#Indieswhereitsat  #horrorFiction #Sharethehorror

 

 

 

OCTOBER HOUSE: Some of my Favorite Halloween Reads

 

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There’s nothing us horror writers enjoy more than sharing the horror. We write because we fell in love with reading. We fell in love with stories that moved us, frightened us, aroused us, and made us say, “What the fuck?” Horror has it all. Good horror especially. Heart and soul, ghouls that take hearts and souls, love stories, lust stories, blood and rain (he, he, he) and all the guts, perseverance, and monsters and heroes you could ever want, or want to see bested.

Here’s a few of my favorite October reads ever, and a few other suggested titles, too.

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Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize that something sinister is at work—in fact, his hometown is under siege from forces of darkness far beyond his imagination. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.

With this, his second novel, Stephen King established himself as an indisputable master of American horror, able to transform the old conceits of the genre into something fresh and all the more frightening for taking place in a familiar, idyllic locale.

It all has to start somewhere…. My favorite book of all-time, STEPHEN KING’s ‘SALEM’s LOT.  I’ve read this four times (all in October).  You can do no better than this one.

Purchase here: ‘SALEM’S LOT

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The town of Stillwater has a very unwelcome resident. 

The town of Stillwater has been dying – the long and painful death of a town ravaged by floods and haunted by the ghosts of all who had lived there. Yet this most recent flood has brought something with it – a creature that nests among the good folks of Stillwater…and feeds off them. The children who haven’t disappeared whisper the same word – “vampire”. But they’re wrong. What has come to Stillwater is something much more horrific. 

Easily one of my other all-time favorites, Ronald Malfi delivers the perfect October concoction with his novel, THE NARROWS. If you’ve enjoyed his recent hits (BONE WHITE, LITTLE GIRLS, THE NIGHT PARADE), try this one for your next October read.

Purchase here: THE NARROWS

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“Hell House is the scariest haunted house novel ever written. It looms over the rest the way the mountains loom over the foothills.” — Stephen King

Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death.

Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townsfolk refer to it as the Hell House.

Okay, definitely one of the scariest books I’ve ever read. HELL HOUSE reads like a highbrow literature version of a Bentley Little book. Twisted, scary, and wonderfully written, Richard Matheson reset the true standard for haunted house tales.

Purchase here: HELL HOUSE

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The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

My wife is currently reading this one for the first time. Jackson set the original standard for haunted house novels with this beauty. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE has a creeping death type of vibe. By which I mean, it crawls under your skin and slowly pulls you down. Jackson succeeds without the gore and gruesome revelations of say, HELL HOUSE or THE SHINING, but hits with just as much impact.

Purchase here: THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE

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There are all kinds of legends about the forests of Central Pennsylvania, and in this sequel to DARK HOLLOW, the truth about those legends is finally revealed.

Halloween is coming, and a new haunted attraction is open for business in LeHorn’s Hollow. Folks will come from miles around to walk down the spooky trail and get scared witless. But there’s one thing the owners of the ghost walk haven’t counted on. There really is something waiting in the woods-a vast, ancient evil whose hunger threatens to consume all life on Earth. Soon, the unsuspecting customers will pay their money and get in line… to die. And only one man, occult detective Levi Stoltzfus, can save them and stop the evil before it is unleashed.

What’s better than a book set around a Halloween attraction?  Brina Keene’s GHOST WALK is a fun October ride with one of his best characters, Levi Stoltzfus.

Side rant here…. I am probably in the minority, but I prefer his Leisure book covers over the newer Deadite ones.  To me, the LB covers look more professional. The newer ones would actually deter me from picking up the books. A little too nasty for my taste. BUT each and every one of Keene’s novels are worthy of your time. Pick one up today!

Purchase here: GHOST WALK

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During the great depression, a small backwoods community in Iowa face even more difficult times than most, having to endure the slowly fading sanity of their leader, Reverend Joshua Miller. When it’s clear the man has slipped beyond the edge of reason and perhaps signed a deal with the devil, the citizens unite to stop him any way they can, breaking into the church to lash the reverend to his wooden alter cross then boarding up the windows and doors to leave him to fate and God’s judgment. The people of Oak Valley then abandoned their town to the cornfields and woods; ending the madness for what they hoped was forever.

They were wrong!

Seventy-four years later, the corn and trees have taken back the area and not much is left of the once thriving little community but Joshua Miller’s desecrated church still stands, and within its boarded up and sun-baked walls something that used to be a holy man waits for whoever is unfortunate enough to release him from his cross…

THE SCARECROW WILL WALK AT MIDNIGHT

One of my favorite books by Gord Rollo. This one is guaranteed to scratch your Halloween horror itch. Also, if you’re a fan of King’s IT, check out Rollo’s other offering, CRIMSON.

Purchase here: VALLEY OF THE SCARECROW 

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THE PAST NOT ONLY HAUNTS. IT HUNTS.

In a small, rural Arkansas town in the midst of World War II, hotel house detective George “Jojo” Walker wearily maintains the status quo in the wake of personal devastation. That status quo is disrupted when a hygiene picture roadshow rolls into town with a controversial program on display and curious motives in mind. What begins with a gruesome and impossible murder soon spirals into hallucinatory waking nightmares for Jojo—nightmares that converge with his reality and dredge up his painful, secret past. Black magic and a terrifying Luciferian carnival boil up to a surreal finale for the town of Litchfield, when truth itself unfurls and Jojo Walker is forced to face his own identity in ways he could never have expected.

Ed Kurtz delivered in last year’s THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD. Fans of the classic Leisure Books Horror stories will mLOVE this one. If that’s you, make this your next buy.

Purchase here: THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD 

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Another recent scare, DREAM WOODS, from author, Patrick Lacey, offers some great characters set in a Little-esque world. AND it’s just 99 cents!

Terror abounds!  A theme park setting is the perfect horror ride.

Purchase here: DREAM WOODS

 

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And  if you’ve read all these already, check out Sinister Grin Press for more. ALL of their eBook titles are on sale for $2.99 or less!

Check them out here: SINISTER GRIN PRESS 

 

Lastly, check out any of books here: GLENN ROLFE

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Happy reading!!!!\

 

It’s my birthday! Have a book on me.

It’s my 40th birthday, and I want YOU to get the presents…
These titles are all on KU, but today only, you can get Blood and Rain and The Haunted Halls for just 99 cents each, or grab copies of Becoming, Slush, and Out of Range for FREE!
Here are the link to each title:
Thanks for downloading and reading.  And reviewing, if you feel compelled to do so.
#ShareTheHorror #ScarySaturdays #HorrorFiction

Welcome to THE HAUNTED HALLS: Matt Shaw re-releases my debut novel today exclusively for the Kindle!

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“More than just a King knock-off, this is a truly gruesome and fun ode to the splatterpunk days that are long since gone. This is fantastic storytelling with copious amounts of sex and violence. Rolfe’s novel means more to me than just a King inspired horror yarn, this is a book that will proudly be displayed between John Skipp and Craig Spector’s seminal novel The Light at the End, and Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game. The Haunted Halls is a tremendous read that is hard to put down.” – David Sharp, Beneath the Underground

“The Bruton Inn is the scariest hotel I have read about since the Overlook…
Glenn Rolfe runs at the front of the pack with the best of today’s emerging horror authors.” – Terry M. West, Author of Heroin in the Now and the Night Things series

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“The Haunted Halls is a terrifying novel that is full of blood and guts but most importantly – a very engaging plot. Rolfe has definitely come out of the gates swinging on his debut and has established himself as one of many excellent up and coming horror writers.” – The Horror Bookshelf

“The Haunted Halls is a fantastically creepy ghost story. The setting of the Bruton Inn works very well. For me, old hotels always seem to have a sense of history and impersonal menace. Although the ghosts you find at the Bruton are anything but impersonal. They are straight up evil and out for blood.” – Horror Maiden Reviews

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“Creepy, darkly humorous, and absolutely terrifying – yet smart and intelligent, not to mention character driven, there’s a lot going on here that will appeal to the masses. Part Laymon, part King, complete Rolfe, this is a book that any horror fan needs to read. Essential.” – Stuart Keane, Author of Grin and Charlotte

GET YOU COPY HERE:  AMAZON US      AMAZON UK     AMAZON AU   AMAZON CA

Much thanks to Matt Shaw for taking this  novel under his dark cloak and bringing it back to the light!

Any reviews are greatly appreciated. Hope this one bleeds your horror heart and scares the shit out of each and every one of you.

Stay tuned!

GR

 

(Interview) Somer Canon Stops by To Discuss the Ingredients of her Delectable Debut Novella, Vicki Beautiful

Somer Canon is one of the fresh crop of authors who was set to make a big splash with Samhain Publishing over the next year and a half. She had a number of pieces contracted and scheduled for release and was on cloud nine gearing up for her dream come true.

2016, however, had other plans. Samhain announced that it was closing its doors and all of these contracts were evaporating. Overnight, the Somer’s sunshine was murdered by a cold, hard rain.

In the bleakness, Samhain did deliver on at least one of those contracts. Somer’s debut, a novella titled, Vicki Beautiful, managed to make it in line for the companies final releases.

For this rabid horror fan, seeing at least one of her babies hit the eBook scene was better than nothing. The novella about an interesting dinner party (I’ll say no more) among a  group of close friends (you can read my full review HERE) has been getting positive reviews and doing its part in sharing the promise of an up and coming talent in the horror world.

I got to chat with Ms. Canon about Vicki Beautiful, her influences, and the world of a girl that smiles while she dabbles in blood and mayhem..

Somer Canon

 

Glenn Rolfe: Hey, Somer!
First off, congratulations on getting Vicki Beautiful published! I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to give anything away, but damn, after the first quarter of the book, it totally becomes this dread-filled read. What in the world happened to you to make you write a piece like this?
Somer Canon: Thanks a bunch, Glenn! I’m still sort of stunned that I got this crazy little story published. This story came about because of this really messed up dream that I had about a fancy dinner party (you can guess what was on the menu). It sort of stuck in my head and I finally started trying to come up with how in the world a dinner party like that would happen. I sat down and wrote Vicki’s letter, her final letter, and the rest of the story filled out around that. I wanted to mess around with who actually gets victimized in this story and it’s not the umm…honored person, but rather the guests.

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GR: I could easily see this being made into an interesting movie. Any thoughts of trying to bring it to that medium?
SC: I’m actually hearing this a lot. I can see it. I’d love to see it made into a movie as long as the visuals are done in detail. Intricate detail. I have no idea how to go about getting it done, in all honesty. I’m just riding this roller coaster and trying to enjoy myself. It’s obviously so fleeting.

GR: Who are your early horror influences, and who are the authors who push you now?
SC: My mom and my grandma are big horror fans and I was never kept away from watching or reading horror as a kid. In today’s society they would be deemed horrible at child rearing, but I really got exposed to a lot of different things. My family were very low income and I had to rely on libraries and yard sale books to get my reading. I read a lot of horror paperbacks by so many authors, but really, Stephen King stuck with me not only because I loved his stories but he was also so available that it was impossible NOT to run into his stuff. I read a lot of Dean Koontz stuff as well, but I read a lot of books by authors I never ran into again and I really got a sense of different styles and tempo from that.
Who pushes me now? I love Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison because they have really written characters that stick with me. I fucking love their heroines for their flaws and self-doubt as well as the worlds that they build. Also, Damien Angelica Walters and Jonathan Janz are killing it right now. I find myself hoping that I never actually meet those two because I would dork out to such embarrassing depths that I’d never show my face in public again!

GR: My wife is afraid to read my stuff. She doesn’t want to see that far into my mind. Does your husband read your work?
SC: My husband does read my stuff, but he will sort of silently hand the manuscript back to me and not say anything for a while. He’s not the huge horror fan that I am, but he is still a fan. I think I just freak him out every now and then.

GR: You guys live in Pennsylvania. A lot of my horror friends seem to be lurking around there. Obviously, you have Brian Keene, but also guys like Todd Keisling, T.Fox Dunham, and Adam Cesare. That’s some great company. What’s going on there? Any great back road stories you want to share?
SC: First of all, I’m a hermit! I literally go weeks without leaving my house. I’d love to meet up with some of these people and talk shop! I go in to Philly a couple of times a year and I always secretly hope I’ll spot Adam around, and then I could be a creep and approach him, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. I actually might track down Keene on his book tour this summer, he’s swinging right by me. But really, I’m not native to this state. I’m West Virginian and although I haven’t lived there in about a decade and I have no desire to ever move back, I will always be a West Virginian. That, my friend, is a state that is deserving of a mythical horror reputation. It’s actually the setting of most of my writing.

GR: Unfortunately, you and I are guests on the Samhain Titanic. I know you had two more pieces signed with them. Have you received any word on those? Have you gotten your rights back yet? And has it affected your writing? I know some writers are pretty down, while others with us (like Mr. Patrick Lacey) seem to be on fire with new work. Where do you sit with all of it?
SC: I had a solid two week period of moping after we got the bad news of the publisher closing. 2015 was such a fantastic year for me because I had three book contracts signed and 2016 was full of the promise of a great start to a writing career. *cue sad trombone music* Not so much now. I got the rights back to my two unpublished contracted works and I’m tentatively asking around about getting them a new home.
I’d say my writing has been negatively impacted by this. Before, when there was more promise, I was much more motivated to sit and get the words out. Now, with all of the waiting required of us in the submission process, I have my days where I’m a little defeated. I try to fight it and carry on and I AM still writing, I’m just slower at it right now.

GR: I just bought my wife two new Jamie Oliver cook books for Mother’s Day. We both love his stuff. It seems appropriate, so I have to ask….do you cook? If so, what’s one of your favorite meals to make?
SC: I do cook! I actually used to have a food blog where I would share recipes and my new creations. This is hilarious to me now, considering this novella of mine. I love risotto and I roast a couple of chickens every month. I love to eat, so I had to learn to cook so that we could eat well while money was tight. I have a pretty sizable collection of cookbooks and recipes and I love trying new things as well as comforting myself with the good old standbys like my mom’s lasagna.

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GR: Mother of two boys? How the hell do you potty train these guys? I have two daughters and they seemed eager to want to use the potty. My son is a completely different story. Any tips?
SC: With my boys, I waited until they were three years-old before I started really training them. I know the books and super achievers say to start earlier, but I waited until they could hold a small but real conversation with me before I could expect them to understand what potty training entails. It’s messy, oh God it’s messy, but you’ll get there. And try not to blush too much when you have to show him how to do the shake-shake!

GR: Lastly, let’s do some rapid fire:

Beer or Wine?   Beer                                                             
Movie Night: Jaws or The Thing    Jaws

Jaws-anniversary-shark-paBetter Music: ‘80’s or ‘90’s    That’s terrible to ask me to choose! 

Better King adaptation: Christine or Misery?      Misery!

Somer’s Favorites:
Rock song: The House of the Rising Sun
Love song: The Very Thought of You
Rom-Com: I love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pairings.
Horror (you can list three on this one): House, Fright Night, and Friday the 13th.
Movie you love that no one in your house wants to watch: Alien: Resurrection. I’ve had actual fights over this movie, but I can’t help it. I love me some cheese.

GR: Thanks for taking the time to do this. Best of luck with Vicki Beautiful and the future!
SC: Thank you so much, Glenn!

Vicki Beautiful tour graphic

 

Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #VickiBeautiful #WhatsYourLastWish #OneLastTaste

What would you do for a friend? Check out Somer Canon’s debut work! Follow along the tour!

Vicki Beautiful, Synopsis

 

    • Publication Date: April 26, 2016

 

    • Publisher: Samhain
  • Novella

 

One last taste of perfection…

Sasha and Brynn descend upon the showplace home of their girlhood friend, Vicki, planning to celebrate her surviving cancer to reach her fortieth birthday. As they gather around Vicki’s perfectly set dinner table, though, her husband shares devastating news. The cancer is back, and she doesn’t have long to live.

Her life is cut even shorter than Sasha and Brynn expect—the next morning, their friend is found dead, her flawless skin slit at the wrists. But a tub full of blood is only the beginning. Before the weekend is through, they are forced to question how far they’re willing to go to fulfill Vicki’s last wish.

A very specific, very detailed recipe that only the truest of friends could stomach…

Biography

Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of
being found out as a weirdo.  When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.

Vicki Beautiful is her debut novella.

Find out more about Somer and her upcoming works at her websitehttp://www.somercanon.com. You can also connect with Somer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SomerM.

Praise for Vicki Beautiful

“ I read this at one gripping session and I shall read more by this author. Excellent, original and worth every one of my five stars.” –Catherine Cavendish, Author of The Devil’s Serenade

“At times it reminded me of the cult classic “Eating Raoul” and others “The Big Chill”. Suffice to say, Canon has created an intriguing tale that will not only have you caring about characters put into an awkward, unsettling situation but also wondering how they’ll react to it every step of the way. I highly recommend this unique and entertaining story.”
–Matthew Franks, Author The Monster Underneath

“This is not the normal type of book that I would read, but the cover sold it to me, and I like reading new authors and genres. This book is beautifully written, the writing flows and you feel you really understand what the character’s are feeling…” Rebecca, GoodReads Reviewer

“The ending of this story was truly horrific. I am an old school horror fan, and have been indulging in the genre since I was old enough to hold a book. I also adore and enjoy the sub-genre splatterpunk, I read Jack Ketchum as a bedside book all the time. It takes a lot to phase me, but even I was turning my head in repulsion at the end. What a wonderful debut story for Somer Canon.”
–Badseedgirl, GoodReads Reviewer

“A simple story, but all the more powerful for its simplicity. Four stars. The author has guts and skill.” –Outlaw Poet

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

Want to Feature Somer Canon?

If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Somer Canon, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media:hookofabook@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

(Review) BLOOD SACRIFICES by Brian Moreland

(Review) Brian Moreland- Blood Sacrifices (Samhain Publishing, 2016)

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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

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!

Darkness Rising

“…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!

Brian Moreland photo

Blood Sacrifices tour graphic

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…

Darkness Rising

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.

The Vagrants

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.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

 

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 MistDead 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.

Brian lives in Dallas, Texas. You can communicate with him online at www.brianmoreland.comTwitter, or Facebook.

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: hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Bag of Bones is Another Reminder of Stephen King’s Magic

 

 

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Bag of Bones is one of King’s bigger books (just over 700 pages). As with another of his larger novels that I read and loved recently (The Tommyknockers), this one veers off maybe a tick too long here and there, but here, the off-trail jaunts accomplish what they should-they draw you deeper into the story. And what a deep tale it is.

“Then I got back to the house, and all I worried about was my story and the people in it–bags of bones which were putting on flesh daily.”
As a writer, I fell into this novel more so than some of the others I’ve read (even King’s). We have Mike Noonan, a writer who is facing an entire Walmart of problems. Besides ghosts, small town mysteries, what his since-deceased wife was doing in the months before she died, how he could help a young girl defeat and evil, rich, scaly old SOB and keep her daughter safe, author, Mike Noonan, was struggling with a severe case of writer’s block. I felt like King was giving us a look behind the curtain. He noted in the afterward that he was also writing or set to write On Writing at the time, as well. I’m sure those thoughts were floating in his brain at the time and seeped into this larger piece. I found the writer’s side of Mike Noonan’s adventure (or misadventure) just as captivating as the rest of the amazing story (until I hit the last couple hundred pages…then it was full-on holy hell-what’s going to happen!) But prior to the last quarter or so of the book, I was pulling for Mike to write again, I was excited for him when he did, I wanted so bad to see him get to write THE END with his new story. Once he does start writing again,King talks a lot about getting “in the zone”, and for us writers, that’s where we dive in and swim until we’ve got no choice but to come up for air. And when we do break the surface, it’s the sweetest air.

Which brings us to a fine piece of horror in this book that has Mike coming up for air….

The scariest scene in the entire book for me was definitely when Mike gets cornered by Max Devore and his aid, Rogette, on The Street. If you’ve read it, you know exactly what I mean, if you haven’t-you will (picture that being said in Yoda’s voice when he’s telling Luke he will be afraid! I think Yoda actually says “you will be”, but whatever, you get the point). We hadn’t seen Max up until that point and man, King delivers a horror home run. Rogette turns out to be just as scary (with her softball rock throwing skills on full display!).

“Her lips were painted so brightly red she seemed to be bleeding from the mouth.”
The heartbreak and magic of the book centers around young widow, Mattie Devore, her 3-year-old daughter, Kyra, and Mike. When I tell you there’s some hard hitting stuff in this novel, I’m not kidding. I usually see things from a mile away, but what goes on in this novel caught me by surprise and flipped me on my head. I thought I knew what was around the bend….and each time I got that line of thinking King walloped me, leveling me and leaving me needing to come up for air. Only problem was, the story burns like gasoline in the last two hundred-plus pages….finally finished, I am exhausted.

“It was as if the heart had been burned out of her and the sadness that remained was just another ghost , the memory of love haunting the bones of hate.”
King packs punch after punch of pure heart and soul in these pages. It is a thing of beauty and awe. He has that intangible that all of us are striving for- the honesty and emotion- and does it so effortlessly. He’s mastered that chi of writing that makes characters completely real and these worlds of fiction take form around us making everything else fade into the background. Pure magic.

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Bag of Bones is definitely one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever read. A brilliant and completely engaging work by my favorite writer.

I give Bag of Bones 5 stars!