Category Archives: Horror Fiction Review

Worlds Between My Teeth – Tim Meyer

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Another short story collection from a new-to-me author, Tim Meyer. Let’s jump right in and break each story down one by one.

The Dream Eaters – It’s all a dream. Nothing can hurt you in a dream, right? Some familiar elements with a twist or two.

3 out of 5 stars

The Lemures – A brother and sister running from a crime boss who made a deal with the devil and can summon dead spirits. The story has a nice voice, if not the most satisfying ending.

4 out of 5 stars

The Cherry Collectors – Being a player can come back and haunt you.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Worlds Between My Teeth – The night just keeps getting stranger and stranger for a mall security guard. Shades of King’s The Drawing of Three and The Twilight Zone. Good stuff.

5 out of 5 stars
Gingerbread Death Machine – Revenge doesn’t always taste sweet. A macabre Christmas tale that seems familiar but doesn’t work as well as it could.

3 out of 5 stars
Under New Skies – A high school boy writes about love and the world becoming Jurassic Park overnight. I liked the uneasiness in this one.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

The Ice King – Emmett is sure that his wife, Gertie, is slipping him an extra pill in his daily stash, trying to kill him. When he sees something humongous under the ice while fishing, he becomes convinced. Lovecraft meets Grumpy Old Men. This was a fun one.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Box Game – Yikes! That’s some game!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Armala’s Hunt – Armala’s sister has been abducted by an unknown assailant. She recruits her world’s best tracker for hire. They follow their trail to a cave where the grisly realization of why he kidnapped Armala’s sister unveils itself. A nice tale of fantasy that feels like it’s the start of a story rather than the whole tale.

4 out of 5 stars

 

The Old Church – Umm?!? Am I missing something here? What seems like a fragment of a setup to a story.

1 out of 5 stars

 

The Pumpkin Tree Giveth, The Pumpkin Tree Taketh Away – The pumpkin tree has been rumored to grant wishes. For 10-year-old Jeffie, he better watch what he wishes for. Again, it feels like a scene instead of a story.

3 out of 5 stars

 

The Man Who Never Frowned – A used car salesman, who is down on his luck, is about to have a really bad day.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

The Organ Harvest (An October John novella) – In 2052, a plague has hit the world and decimated 95% of the population. Detective Callahan is breaking in a rookie partner while investigating a strange case of murders. The victims bodies are barely recognizable save for one distinguishing feature, a tattoo of a white rabbit on their ass cheek. Every clue runs into a dead end and with nowhere else to turn, Detective Callahan is forced to turn Johnny Webster (aka October John), a down-on-his-luck bum that has a knack for this kind of work. You see, 12 years ago, Johnny used to be Callahan’s partner.

A fun novella that introduces us to some interesting characters with October John being right up at the top. Think of Riggs from Lethal Weapon.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

All in all, a very solid collection of shorts and a novella. Meyer has an easy writing style with some good characters and plots. There were a couple that were too short for me to really get into, but that’s my preference and not necessarily a dig on Meyer’s writing. Definitely worthy of space on any horror fan’s bookcase. Meyer looks like he has the chops to make a real name for himself in the horror community.

 

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

 

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Wrath of the Ancients – Catherine Cavendish

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Adeline Ogilvy, a young widow from Wimbledon, has accepted a job in Vienna. Her assignment is to employ her skills as a typist and transcribe the memoirs of the late Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, an archeologist with a most peculiar hidden history. When she begins her recording the doctor’s notes, she learns that, five years earlier, he claims to discover the tomb of Cleopatra. Even more astonishing, it seems that he has brought more than secrets back from Egypt. Strange occurrences begin to happen at the mansion. Is what Adeline seeing before her eyes real or a hallucination?

This is my first read of Cavendish and I love the slow burn in this Gothic chiller. I also like how blends an archelogical curiosity and characters with her own original take on what happened all those thousands of years ago. As the story unfurls, I can’t help be reminded of the quiet horror writing style of Charles L. Grant. The characters are interesting and I’m drawn to keep turning the pages to see where they go in the story. If I have any criticism it’s that there are parts where the pacing seems off. In one instance, things are doing a nice slow burn and then it closes in way too much of a flurry. But, it’s a small blemish in an overall fun story. If you haven’t had the pleasure to stumble upon Cavendish, Wrath of the Ancients is a great one to introduce yourself.

4 1/2 Green Glowing Apparations out of 5

 

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Corpse Rider – Tim Curran

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Christina was visiting her mother’s grave when a nearby headstone surrounded by weeds caught her eye. It saddened her that it wasn’t taken care of and kept up like all the others. She decided to clear the weeds and tidy it up. It all seemed so innocent. A good deed, really. But there was more to that grave site than the surname of CHARLES SLICK overgrown by foliage. The Slick family isn’t known in these parts by many anymore. Except Frank, the cemetary’s custodian. He knows about the family and the dirty secrets they harbor, even after all these years. Poor Christina. All she was doing was a good deed for a family she didn’t know. Too bad that good deed would unleash the Slick’s family secret on her and her life would never be the same.

Corpse Rider is a fun, fast-paced tale that keeps the pages turning at a blinding speed. Curran weaves a bit of gothic horror mixed with 1980’s B-horror movie fun. The obvious comparisons to the early 80’s movie, Basket Case, permeate the story. However, it is not a soulless derivative. Curran constructs a great story mixed with some memorable characters that breathes new life into an old classic. Very much worth your time.

 

5 Belials out of 5

 

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Fungoid – William Meikle

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There’s a fungus among us. When the oily rain starts pouring down, what follow brings mankind to it’s knees. A fast growing fungus starts spreading and wiping out the vast majority of the population. Is it from outer space? Was it an experiment gone wrong? Does it really matter? The speed at which these deadly spores wreak havoc on the world is astonishing and it’s decimating everything in it’s path. We’re left with only a few characters that have hung onto life by the skin of their teeth. One is a scientist that specializes in fungus and stumbles onto a possible solution. Will it work and, if it does, will it work in time or is this Mother Nature’s answer to it’s human problem?

Meikle’s Fungoid is a fast-paced read that will have you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what will happen next and how will our heroes get out of this predicament. The characters are realistic. The situation is plausible. The suspense can be cut with a knife. I really don’t have much for criticism for this one. Meikle was a scientist in a previous life and you can tell he knows his way around the fungus. What’s amazing to me is that he makes it interesting. Funguses aren’t that exciting to the vast majority of the population and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t make me eat my words. Good show, Willie!

 

4 1/2 Blue Hills out of 5

 

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We Are Always Watching – Hunter Shea

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Hunter Shea has to be the hardest working author in the horror genre right now. It seems as if, in the past year, he’s releasing a new offering every month or two. That’s quite the pace considering the turmoil the industry is in currently. They say during hard times that the cream rises to the top. We Are Always Watching is Shea on the top. I dove into this baby during a group read and it knocked my socks off.

West and his family have stumbled upon hard times. His dad was involved in a bad car accident and is now struggling with a crippling case of vertigo. Its so bad that he has lost his job and can’t work. With their money drying up and the bills becoming insurmountable, they are forced to move in with West’s crabby and contentious Grandpa Abraham in his old and spooky house in rural Pennsylvania. Upon arrival, things get weird for West right away. Mysterious and ominous messages begin appearing including one that says, We Are Always Watching. Grandpa Abraham takes them all in stride without shedding much light on them, only saying that he has it all under control. Does Grandpa really know what’s going on or doesn’t he care because he spends most of the day getting drunk down and the VFW? With West’s mom working all day in the city, his dad a mess from his vertigo, and with no cell phone or internet access to the outside world, he has no one to turn to until one day he meets the beautiful neighbor’s daughter. She seems just as mysterious as Grandpa Abraham. Is there really someone (or some thing) that has been writing these messages or is the house really haunted?

We Are Always Watching is a tension-filled pot-boiler with some great characters that transcend the story from being a good one to being a great one. Shea really has done something here and I hope he continues to flex this new found muscle he has.

 

5 Spinning Ghosts out of 5

 

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Where Wolves Run – Jason Parent

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Jason Parent is kicking out some very impressive material here lately and Where Wolves Run is absolutely phenomenal. Set in the old country, young Konrad watches from the hiding place under the Bavarian cottage floor as his mother is torn apart by unknown hairy beasts. Trapped and unable to see exactly what happened, his father rescues and enlightens him about the events that unfolded. Werewolves. Unknown to Konrad, his father has been hunting them for years and it’s time to train his son to help avenge his dead mother.

Where Wolves Run has the feel of the Lon Chaney Jr classics from the Universal Days. I loved the setting of old Bavaria and I didn’t want the story to end. Parent does a great job at taking something old and giving us something new. Grab this quick read and experience it for yourself.

 

5 Silver Daggers out of 5

 

This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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With Fury in Hand – Lee Thompson

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The mean streets of Flint, Michigan have been known to chew up many an innocent soul and spit it out. For five individuals, change is in the air like a breeze of desperation. Unknown to them, their lives will intertwine in a chaotic storm of death.

With Fury in Hand is a gritty tale that oozes with despair and locks it’s icy grip onto your throat taking your breath away. No matter how much you struggle, you can’t change what’s unfolding in front of you. This is my first story by Thompson and I’m impressed at his realistic characters and his ability to ratchet up the dread. You can see what’s happening, but you’re helpless to do anything about it. My only criticism, and it’s a small one, is that the story felt a little too convenient in how it wraps around full circle.

4 Bullet Holes out of 5

 

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