Tag Archives: Horror Review

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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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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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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The Translators – Gord Rollo

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When John Taylor was a boy, he and his father were out riding a motorcycle when they were abducted by aliens. John was returned with a fuzzy memory of what happened and strange voices in his head that tell him things. His father wasn’t so lucky. He disappeared without a trace. Left to grow up without a father and the constant chatter inside his brain that the doctors think is schizophrenia, which John is able to keep at bay by taking psych meds. That is, except for once a month when he uses the voices to tell him the winning numbers at the roulette table in Atlantic City. He thinks that no one is the wiser, until his wife is trying to get a promotion at the local radio station and uses John to come on and tell his story of the Translators in his head. Little did John know that the government has been watching him and his special abilities and now they need to cash in on his expertise to be able to translate any language through the voices in his head. You see, the end of the world is coming and it’s not going to be from global warming, nuclear war, or genocide. It’s going to be coming from outer space and the aliens that abducted John when he was little and the government needs his help. Will it be too late to save man kind?

The Translator is a unique Apocalyptic tale from Gord Rollo, the man that brought us the gems, The Jigsaw Man and Valley of the Scarecrow. He uses his imaginative vision to carve out the approaching end of the world using everything from Area 51 and Roswell, NM to the Loch Ness Monster, Machu Pichu, and his take on the Bible’s Revelations. John is a three-dimensional character that you soon feel for and I love the take on the whole Area 51 and Mayan end of the world calendars. However, I wasn’t crazy with the biblical battle at the end. It seemed a tad hokey and had the “what’s the point?”factor going on. But, that’s a small complaint for great characters and crisp writing. Rollo has been MIA the past couple of years and that’s sad to see. He is definitely a talent that I have come to know and love and hope that he’s able to get back into kicking out more works of his imagination on a more regular basis.

4 Horseman of the Apocolypse out of 5 (or was it 4?)

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Exorcist Falls – Jonathan Janz

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Janz has done it again. I’ve been crowing about how great Exorcist Road was ever since I turned the last page two years ago. Much to my delight, Janz is continuing where he left off with Father Jason Crowder exercising young Casey Hartman’s demon from his teenage body. Unfortuanately, the demon didn’t go away. Neither did the Sweet Sixteen Killer. Now it’s up to Father Crowder to finish what he started and bring the killer to justice and dispose of the demon once and for all.

Exorcist Falls also contains the first story, Exorcist Road, between it’s covers. This makes it convenient for those that haven’t read it yet or who would like to reacquaint themselves with it since it’s original publisher, Samhain Publishing, closed it’s horror doors earlier this year. Janz’s writing is superb and you’ll find yourself amazed at the vocabulary this guy has. I’m not too proud to admit that I used the DEFINE feature on Kindle many times and I’d like to think of myself as well read. Not only is his word choices spot on, but his characters really make the story come to life. Danny Hartman is as despicable as they come and the demon, Malephar, is no cherub. I also enjoyed how the story had me guessing the whole way as it’s evolution was revealed one page at a time. And lets not forget the red stuff because Janz sure didn’t. There are definitely some scenes that will make even the strongest constitution weaken and cringe. All in all, an absolute blast to read and I’m happy to find out from the man himself that there will be a third installment in the Exorcist series. I’m all ready to hit the pre-order button just as soon as it pops up on Amazon.

5 Demons Controlling a Razor Blade out of 5
This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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Take The Long Way Home – Brian Keene

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During rush hour traffic, a loud trumpet sound blats across the landscape with ear-deafening volume. Auto accidents, plane crashes, and fires ensue. For a carpooling foursome, they end up as one of the casualties and after the dust settles, they find their driver with half his head missing due to a length of pipe from the truck ahead of them poking through the windshield and shearing off his cranium. Now Steve, Charlie, and Frank are trying to shake off the shock of what happened and make their way home. They discover that, when the trumpet sounded, people all across the world disappeared. Where they went, no one knows, but many different rumors are being circulated. As the trio attempts to stumble home, they learn about the duality of man’s behavior during a crisis in an up front and personal way.

Take The Long Way Home is Keene’s version of a what might happen on Judgement Day. It blends King’s The Long Walk with the Bible and makes for an enjoyable read. As always with Keene, it’s about the characters, and he drafts very personable ones. The journey is worth the price of admission here and the unsettling feeling of nervousness of what is lurking around the next mile marker is thick, making this a real pager turner.

4 Guardian Angels out of 5
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