(BOOK REVIEWS) WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE by Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells and THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD by Ed Kurtz

Two for one!

The last two books I finished in December were two of my favorites of the year. Here are my reviews from Goodreads and links to purchase them.

The Rib from Which I Remake the WorldThe Rib from Which I Remake the World by Ed Kurtz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD is one of those special novels in the horror world. For me, that magic is in any story that brings me back to the great Leisure Book Horror days. While Ed Kurtz delivers this horror tale in more of a noir style, the story is pure LB Horror Club.

The protagonist, George “Jojo” Walker, is easily my favorite character in a book this year. The title is also my favorite of the year.

The story takes place during WWII, in a a small Arkansas town. Jojo was a deputy with a beautiful wife and nice life, until he slept with the wrong woman. His world is turned upside down as he finds himself jobless and alone. He takes up a job at the Litchfield Valley Hotel as the hotel cop. He’s got a few people left in town who don’t look at him like he’s a worthless POS- his boss, Charles the bellboy, the woman at the diner, and Georgia. His life isn’t perfect, but he’s living it until he’s not. Smokes, drinks, and does his job, that’s pretty much it. Until the circus comes to town…

Barker Davis and his band of actors show up to take over a three-day stint at the local cinema to show a film they call, “Motherhood Too Soon!” With two showings a day, one for females, one for males, the real show is the invite-only midnight showing.

What is the midnight show? There’s magic involved…and nobody leaves the same.

By the time Jojo Walker gets involved, meeting with the elusive Mr. Davis, the townsfolk are changing. Jojo gets a dose of his forgotten past that turns his world on its head and sets him into a war at home to save his town and the people that gave up on him.

This is a wonderful horror book that had me thinking back to the great works of Bentley Little, Gord Rollo and even a little of last year’s Consumption by Heather Herrman.

I give THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD 5 stars! One of my top favorite 2016 releases.

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Where the Dead Go to DieWhere the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing, heartbreaking, and cut-throat story! Authors Aaron Dries and Mark Allan Gunnells, bring us a new type of zombie fiction. Note- outside of The Rising by Brain Keene and Habeas Corpse by Nikki Hopeman, zombies are my least favorite horror trope. It takes something special to make me push through and read zombie fiction. WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE is just that kind of book.

“I’ll build a bridge from me to you out of corpses”

The story centers around Emily, a woman who lost her husband, and has to try and raise her daughter, Lucette, in a world that has learned to live with the threat of zombies. Emily takes a job at a hospice for zombies. A terrific idea that the authors execute to perfection. When twelve-year-old boy, Robbie, is brought in, Emily connects with him, feeling his pain more than most, being that her daughter is the same age.

Robbie’s story is sad as hell on its own. Watching Emily, then Lucette, connect and empathize with him is touching. Dries and Gunnells nail you time and time again with revelations, stirring every emotional pool within you that they can find.

The zombie hospice isn’t the most accepted business in town. Groups of protesters gather outside the building day after day demanding that the place be shut down. This brings in anther dimension of realism to the story. You could easily see “Trump-ites” casting hate at people trying to do something positive in a world of monsters.

The ending….damn, the ending is great.

I give WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE 5 stars!
Buy now!

BUY THE RIB FROM WHICH I REMAKE THE WORLD

BUY WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE

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(Review) A Mixed Bag of Blood by David Bernstein

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(Review) A Mixed Bag of Blood by David Bernstein

First, let’s begin with a bit about David Bernstein. This guy is one of the busiest, most prolific writers in the horror biz. That could mean that he’s shoveling out every crazy idea he can think of and half-assing his work, or….the guy is just an absolute writing machine. I choose to believe the latter. I’m still acquainting myself with Bernstein’s ever-growing catalog. I’ve read Relic of Death, Apartment 7C, and my favorite thus far, Goblins. All were quality works with Goblins making my top ten of 2015.

He’s got a one of a kind imagination. I mean this guy writes without fear. He tackles anything that his brain conjures up and does so full-on. His characters are instantly real. Their situations, no matter how far-fetched, become our problems.

With his latest release, the short story collection, A Mixed Bag of Blood (Sinister Grin Press, 2016), Bernstein is hitting on all cylinders and ready to take you for the grand tour through his mind of terrors. I’ll give you a rundown on each piece, but whether I give the story a 3 or 5 star rating, know that each and every one had me along for the ride within the first page. That’s a sign of a truly gifted storyteller.

Count me in on the David Bernstein Horror Express!

Next stop: A Mixed Bag of Blood.

If Kristopher Rufty’s forward doesn’t get you psyched up to read these tales, I don’t know what will!

“The Trojan Plushy”

This story has a deep-cutting set-up (not too different from Rufty’s fantastic Desolation), but Bernstein does take it in his own devilish direction. A stuffy that really wolf’s out in an act of revenge.

I liked this one, but it felt a bit rushed and the end came too fast for me. Definitely would’ve had potential as a novella.  3.5 stars

“The Booglin”

Okay, this one is crazy, but… Remember what I said about real characters and far-fetched situations that become our problems? Yeah, this one is that. Bernstein’s descriptions cause me to hold my nose as if the pain was happening to me. I did that several times while reading this one. He also gives us a fun little explanation on how the “Booglin” came into existence.

Loved it. 5 stars.

“Eaten Un-Alive”

“Zombies were the vampires’ cockroach.”

Loved that line. In this tale, we follow Remington, a vampire trying to survive after the zombie apocalypse. Right there! That’s an awesome idea and fantastic set-up. Remington finds his way to a house and he hopes to his first good meal in weeks.  I won’t spoil it for you. It has an ending that reminded me of one of my stories from Slush. This…is a good thing.

Loved this one. 5 stars

“It’s Not Nice to Have to Share”

I figured out what was going on pretty much at the start of this one. How close can two sisters be? You’ll see. Again, Bernstein presents a tale only his mind could fathom.

I thought it was a great character piece. 4 stars.

“Invasion”

This one really centers on a bad seed named, Timmy. He’s not a nice kid. He deserves all that he gets. That’s all I’m saying.

Liked it, but it felt like it should have been bigger. 4 stars.

“Samurai Zombie Killer”

Wow! Can I give it more than 5 stars????  No, but I would. We get Kenji and his evil brother Makito. We get a great Japanese setting. Samurai action and zombies? I’ve never been a zombie fan, but David knows that in order to make this sub-genre work, you have to put in the extra work to keep it fresh and  engaging. This one succeeds in spades.

Loved it. 5 stars.

“Small Town, Big Trouble”

Another fantastic idea executed perfectly. This one involves a town,  its curse, and a heck of an ending! I don’t wanna give anything away.

Loved it. 5 stars.

“Bad Cutlery”

A haunted knife purchased from a yard sale.

This one is short and just okay to me. 3 stars.

“Potty Mouth”

Another one of David’s crazy ideas that he still manages to pull you into. An 18 year-old son’s usage of foul language gets him in the shithouse…..he, he, he. His witch of a mother has a lesson to teach him. Will he learn? Read and find out.

A little too gross for my taste, but great if you don’t mind some nastiness. 3.5 stars

“STD”

A one-night stand leaves a guy with an unexpected gift. You’ve heard and read it a million times, right? Not like this! Loved the beginning, kind of wavered in the middle, but the ending…oh, man. So good!

Really enjoyed it. 4.5 stars

 

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection. It definitely made me want to read more from Bernstein. If he writes another collection, I will be the first in line.

I give A Mixed Bag of Blood 4 very strong stars!

 

david bernstein

 

A Mixed Bag of Blood synopsis

  • Print Length: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2016

From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person’s nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing, and the consequences of one man’s night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

This is a Mixed Bag of Blood.

Biography of David Bernstein

David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. You can reach him on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/david.bernstein.3. Visit him at his website: davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com email dbern77@hotmail.com, or on Twitter at @Bernsteinauthor.

 

Praise for A Mixed Bag of Blood

 

“Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you’ll want to read. With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did.” –Cat After Dark
Praise for David Bernstein

 

“David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…” —Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight

 

“A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

“Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein.”  —Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden

“A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!” —Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift

Add to GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon

Check out Sinister Grin Press

 

Short stories and a super cool cover! Get Slush in Audio and print

First off, thank you all for grabbing copies of my debut, The Haunted Halls, this week while it was on sale.  I moved more copies of any of my works to date in that five day period.  Thanks to everyone who clicked to buy and to anyone who shared, twittered, or commanded their friends to get a copy.

My second release, my short story collection, Slush, is up next in line. Edited by my good friend, Erin Al-Mehairi, and with an old piece of artwork from Jason Lynch (who did all of my Haunted Halls work), Slush is being revamped and made available in Print and Audio formats. Thanks to another good friend, Joe Hempel, for narrating these creepy tales and helping me through the process.

Grab your copy hear….get it?   SLUSH (AUDIO)

The audio edition of my Samhain novella, Boom Town, will also be available in July.

I’ve been wanting to release a Print edition of Slush since day one, but I got busied up with my Samhain Publishing works and had to wait for my bud, Jason, to find some time in his crazy schedule, too.

This week, Jason sent me the brand spankin’ new cover art for the print edition of Slush. Per usual, he blew my mind.

The print edition of Slush should be available by the end of the month.

Stay tuned!

Summer Sin: Samhain Horror Brings the evil

11 Sam Covs

I did it because they deserved it. I did it because I deserved it.

Thomas “Agony” Agonetti: torturer, rapist, serial killer, executed by the state for his crimes. They say his ghost haunts his old stalking grounds, the decaying Twin Lakes Mall. Trevor Westmoreland, a security guard with some imagination, agrees to work the night shift, cruising in circles through vast empty parking lots, warding off trouble. But when a shopper who was Agony’s type disappears, followed by another security guard, the stories of the ghost seem all too real. Now Trevor must do what the police never could: find Agony’s hidden torture chamber and put an end to his killing streak, once and for all.

john

Reboot the apocalypse!

For a while, it looked like the living had won. The war against the walking dead lasted almost a decade, but it’s mostly over. There are only a few straggling zombies left to take care of. Los Angeles has returned to its lattes and long commutes. It’s up to a small Reclamation Crew to clean up the Zoms left behind. But when the undead dry up, their skin turns to dust. Now the hot Santa Ana winds deliver a new threat…because the Zoms were only the beginning of something far worse.

“Dust of the Dead is a pressure cooker of a thriller, a masterwork of world building, and a genuinely and refreshingly unique spin on the zombie genre, but above all, it is a beautiful dance on the line between life and death.” -Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Dead City “There’s never been a zombie book like Dust of the Dead.

“It’s horrifying, blackly funny, rich in pathos, and thoroughly original, and it’s also one of the best L.A.-based horror novels ever written.” -Lisa Morton, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Zombie Apocalypse: Washington Deceased Reboot the apocalypse!

aa tama

The dead are coming back.

Ten naked people walk from a cemetery into artist Sean Casey’s backyard: ten Spore People who used to be dead. One, Mindy, stays with Sean while trying to reclaim her life, but her ex would rather she return to her grave. Sean struggles to protect Mindy and other Spores while battling his recurring—and worsening—nightmares. Meanwhile, the media feeds a panicked frenzy that leads both the hopeful and hateful to Sean’s front door.

As the Spore fungus spreads, so does the fear. When mutilated children match Sean’s nightmares, he realizes his own worst terror may be closer than he thinks.

aa  white-knuckle

There’s a killer on the road…

He’s a big rig truck driver who goes by the CB handle White Knuckle, and he’s Jack the Ripper on eighteen wheels. For thirty years he has murdered hundreds of women in unimaginable ways, imprisoning them in a secret compartment in his truck, abducting them in one state and dumping their dead bodies across the country.

Dedicated FBI agent Sharon Ormsby is on a mission to hunt down and stop White Knuckle. She goes undercover as a truck driver with a helpful long hauler named Rudy in a cross-country pursuit that will ultimately bring her face-to-face with White Knuckle in a pedal-to-the-metal, high-octane climax on a highway to Hell.

Reviews:

“Eric Red is the successor to Richard Matheson and Robert Bloch. And he proves it once again here in WHITE KNUCKLE. Every bit as memorable as Matheson’s DUEL. Literally, no filler – all killer.” – Robin Pierce, Starburst Magazine. (9/10 stars.)

“Absolutely compelling reading. While WHITE KNUCKLE is punctuated by brutal violence and high action, it’s really powered by its characters. You can’t be sure what the future has in store for any character, and you can’t get comfortable with anything or take anyone’s fate for granted.” – The Horror Review.

Grab each of these titles wherever you shop online. You can also grab them for a limited-time discount at SamhainPublishing.com