Friday, July 27, 2018

THE ZOMBIE WHO CRIED HUMAN by Brian James Freeman and Glenn Chadbourne

THE ZOMBIE WHO CRIED HUMAN

Story by Brian James Freeman

Pictures by Glenn Chadbourne

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I received this in the mail today from Cemetery Dance and wanted to take a few minutes to talk about it. I know it is not my usual kind of book to review, but I read through this very quickly and just really enjoyed it.

Based on the old fable of "The boy who cried wolf", this retelling takes place in a world where Zombies are the norm and humans are either wild or kept as livestock. Yes, I know this doesn't really sound like a kids book, but it is. 

Brian's interpretation of the story will appeal to kids and adults alike. The family, consisting of Papa Zombie, Mama Zombie and Boy Zombie live on the outskirts of Romero Town and raise humans to be sold at market. One day when Papa and Mama Zombie shamble to another town, Boy Zombie is left to tend the herd with his trusty Zombie Dog Rex. As the classic fable plays out, Boy Zombie tricks the local town zombies by yelling "humans, humans are here". But what happens when wild humans really show up? Will Zombie Boy ever learn his lesson?

What really brings this story to life, or should I say undead life, is the amazing artwork of Glenn Chadbourne. Glenn has done art for many CD books in the past. The art tells a tale all its own. Each page will jump out at you with detail, always slightly askew, mixing the grays and whites of the Zombie family with more vibrant colors for clothing, scenery and the humans, of course. 

Here is a little sample


This book is stated as being the first book in the "Friendly Little Monsters" series. 


It will be interesting to see which fable Cemetery Dance takes on next.

This is definitely a fun book to read to your kids, and will bring the "kid" out of any adult who reads it.

THE ZOMBIE WHO CRIED HUMAN has been printed in three editions.

The softcover paperback can be purchased on AMAZON.

A trade hardcover and a signed/slipcased hardcover can be ordered HERE.

To learn more about CEMETERY DANCE PUBLICATIONS visit their WEBSITE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Matt Hayward and Doug Murano


WELCOME TO THE SHOW - 17 Horror Stories -- One Legendary Venue

 Compiled by Matt Hayward 

Edited by Doug Murano

Publish Date: August 3rd 2018

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing

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(from the book description)

We all know the cliche Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable. This is the story of the (fictional) San Francisco music venue, The Shantyman.
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I have read several anthologies so far this year, and hands down WELCOME TO THE SHOW has been the best. Matt Hayward and Doug Murano have pulled together a who's-who of the top writers around today to weave an unforgettable narrative around the fictional showroom, The Shantyman.

This collection of 17 unique stories has something for everyone. Ghosts, demons, time travel, vampires, curses, rips in the fabric of space,,,it is all here. You might think, "how can all these types of stories fit together?". Well they do, and terrifically at that. Each story seems to build off the one before it. Every story either begins or ends at The Shantyman, a venue that has hosted many of Rock n Roll's elite through the years. A place that has a notorious history for strange events, starting in the early parts of our century and into the near future.

Let's take a look at the stories that are on stage at The Shantyman.

What Sort of Rube by Alan M. Clark
One of the earliest tales of The Shantyman. A warning is given to a musician, but will he heed it in time to save his life?

Night and Day and In Between by Jonathan Janz
A private eye gets more than he bargained for when he tracks a missing girl to The Shantyman.

In The Winter of No Love by John Skipp
1969 in San Fransisco. One girl's journey is about to change in ways she never expected.

Wolf with Diamond Eyes by Patrick Lacey
What happened at Harpie's last show, and how does it tie into their last album, a soundtrack to The Wolf with Diamond Eyes.

Pilgrimage by Bryan Smith
Three friends learn that time and space work differently in the shadow of The Shantyman.

A Tongue Like Fire by Rachel Autumn Deering
Hexx, a singer with a dark message, gets more from an interview than she expected.

Master of Beyond by Glenn Rolfe
Ouiji boards are never a good idea, especially at The Shantyman.

Dark Stage by Matt Hayward
Fred is ready to retire from The Shantyman. That is, until he encounters a man in black on open-mic night.

Open Mic Night by Kelli Owens
Can the legendary "27 club" be true. Some of  the biggest rockers in history all died at age 27. One visitor to The Shantyman may be involved.

Beat The Past by Matt Serafini
Moira and Pete at at The Shantyman to see Brainpan, a band that disappeared after their last concert 10 years ago. Pete's perception of the world around him is about to change.

True Starmen by Max Booth III
A strange podcast with an even stranger audience is about to take place at The Shantyman.

Just To Be Seen by Somer Canon
A girl, a musician, and a kiss. A young fan would do anything for the artist she loves.

Parody by Jeff Strand
Zany Chester longed for his chance to make it big. The stage of The Shantyman was just the place.

Ascending by Robert Ford
Nazir thought he would be meeting the girl of his dreams in San Francisco. Sometimes a promise of love is hard to keep.

The Southern Thing by Adam Cesare
A super fan of the Southern Rock band The Truckers wishes he was a more "authentic" fan. An encounter at The Shantyman just might give him that chance.

Running Free by Brian Keene
A Made Man is dying from cancer, but that is not the way he wants to go out. A visit to The Shantyman might be what the doctor ordered.

Just a quick word about this story. If you are a fan of Brian Keene this story will be a stand out for you. Brian brings his own mythology into that of The Shantyman. A key character from Brian's mythos makes an appearance and several other works are referenced. Also several characters from earlier stories in this anthology pop in to say hi.

and last, but definitely not least....

We Sang In Darkness by Mary SanGiovanni
Mary SanGiovanni closes out this anthology with a tale about what would happen if music broke the world. Some friends visit The Shantyman one last time and find a frightening surprise.

You can read through this entire book and not think that you are reading a collection of various stories. Each one builds off the last. Events carry over and are mentioned in other stories.  The Shantyman is not just a building, it is a living, breathing entity that pulls all these tales together.

My hat is off to Matt Hayward and Doug Murano for putting together this amazing collection of work and to Crystal Lake Publishing who is quickly becoming the go-to publisher for top-notch anthologies. (Lost Highways, C.H.U.D. Lives, Behold and more)

So pull on your leather jacket, grab a beer and push your way through the crowd. The show at The Shantyman is about to begin and you will want to be in the front row.

You can pre-order WELCOME TO THE SHOW on AMAZON.

To learn more about Crystal Lake Publishing and their other fine books, make sure to check them out HERE.







Thursday, July 19, 2018

MANIFEST RECALL by Alan Baxter


MANIFEST RECALL by Alan Baxter

Published June 26th 2018

Published by Grey Matter Press

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(from the book description)

Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, and in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed, the duo find themselves in a struggle for survival when they unravel a mystery that pits them against the most dangerous forces in their lives.
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Eli Carver is a very troubled man. He knows he is not a good man, but his memory if fragmented and he cannot quite remember where he is or who he is with. This is the beginning of MANIFEST RECALL.

 To keep with my non-spoiler reviews promise, I cannot get to much into explaining the story for fear of accidentally revealing a story element. Just know that this is a gritty crime thriller with equal parts Goodfellows and Momento. It is a story of one mans battle with memory, grief, regret, self-deception and revenge. A man literally "haunted" by his past.

The cast of characters is kept small. Even though Eli is a bad man. you cannot help rooting for him as the story progresses. A true anti-hero who will do what needs to be done by any means necessary. The story is well paced and will keep the reader guessing on what could possibly be reveled next.

Alan Baxter has pulled no punches as he delivers a riveting story that unravels in a somewhat non-linear style, leading to a violent and bloody end.

MANIFEST RECALL is a top-notch crime thriller with a touch of the supernatural and a whole lot of bullets.

You can purchase MANIFEST RECALL in ebook and print on AMAZON.

To learn more about Alan Baxter and his other works visit HERE.

To see more release from GREY MATTER PRESS visit HERE.


Monday, July 16, 2018

THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER is coming soon!




THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER by Jonathan Janz is a pulse-pounding tale of supernatural horror, destined to be on everyone's top 10 lists this year.

Full review and an interview with the author himself coming next month.

Releasing this September from Flame Tree Press.

You can pre-order THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER on AMAZON.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING 2018 SAMPLER


ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING 2018 SAMPLER

ebook published July 4th 2018

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Featuring short stories from Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason, Somer Canon, Glenn Rolfe, Mick Ridgewell, and David Bernstein.
Also contains a round-table interview with the authors and sample chapters from the latest Alien Agenda Publishing titles.
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A sampler. Oh that word brings back memories. Being a child of the 70s/80s, I remember going to the record store (yes a whole store that only sold records) and buying the samplers that would line the shelves. Sometime with covers that looked like someone had drawn them with crayon and printed on a back room xerox machine, but some of the best music could be found on them. Many an album was bought and many a fan was created from listening to the tracks contained on that piece of pressed vinyl. 

Glenn Rolfe has given us the same feeling, but instead of music he has given us a collection of stories by some of the top writers in the business today. 

The sampler contains the following:

5 short stories 

BEAST OF EQUAL BEARING by Somer Canon
A tale of subjugation and the path taken to be free.

THE EYES OF PHOBERTOR by Michelle Garza & Melissa Larson (Sisters of Slaughter)
Life, Death and what lingers between.

IN THE BASEMENT OF THE AMAZING ALEX CUCUMBER by Glenn Rolfe
Two friends attend a party at the home of a mysterious classmate.

MARGARET by David Bernstein
How far would you go to be head of the class?

BLACK CHAOS by Mick Ridgewell
What would happen if one morning the sun didn't rise.


A round table interview with Glenn Rolfe, Somer Canon, The Sisters of Slaughter. Jackson R. Thomas and Mick Ridewell.


Excerpts from upcoming Alien Agenda titles.


THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS by Jackson R. Thomas
The beast will howl!
(see my review of this title for more info)

THE NIGHTCRAWLER by Mick Ridgewell
Wherever you run...he's waiting for you
(Finally a reissue of Mick's 2012 "out of print" debut novel)

 THE SKINNER by David Bernstein
Eternal life...just bring them to me.


Also includes a small teaser for the upcoming novel 
THE WINDOW by Glenn Rolfe.

  There is not a bad story in this bunch and the excerpts give you a nice look at the upcoming novels. Just enough to hook you in and leave you wanting more. I really hope that this "sampler" trend continues in the coming years.

ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING has set themselves up as a force to be reckoned with in the Indie Publishing scene.

You can order THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS by Jackson R. Thomas HERE

You can pre-order THE NIGHTCRAWLER by Mick Ridgewell HERE

You can pre-order THE SKINNER by David Bernstein HERE

You can pre-order THE WINDOW by Glenn Rolfe HERE

Learn more about ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING on FACEBOOK 






Tuesday, July 10, 2018

TRAIN THOUGHTS by Jay Sigler



                                                     TRAIN THOUGHTS by Jay Sigler

Published April 12th 2018

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(from the book description)

 The brutal murder of his wife plunged his life into isolation. His only connection to humanity is observing the same people day after day on the train to work. He’s even started to feel like most of them are his friends, the exception being the ominous man dressed all in black. One by one his friends begin to disappear from the train and he has reason to believe the man in black is viciously slaughtering them. If he can understand how the sadistic killer’s mind works, he will be able to anticipate his next move and prevent any future bloodshed. Descending into the twisted thoughts of madness plagues him with visions of unspeakable horror and pushes him to the brink of insanity. But the body count continues to rise. How far will one man go before shattering his own reality?
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 It's always a little strange when you read a book and there is something in the main character you can relate with. One of the main story elements in the book is that the main character rides the train every day to work. In these long rides he has what he refers to as his "train friends".  People he does not really know, but makes up names and stories for them since he is with them and watches them everyday. I have to admit that I kinda did this same thing. I rode the train everyday 1 hour and some change into Chicago for 3 years. In those rides you get to know people who ride with you. Maybe not by name, but by where they sit, when they get on or how they behave. It was just something to help pass the time. And you often find yourself wondering about them if they don't show up one day.

(quick note, to avoid any spoilers I will not be using the main characters name)
  
 TRAIN THOUGHTS is a fast-paced psychological thriller that pulls the reader into a world of paranoia and spiraling madness.

The book opens with our main character reeling from the violent death of his wife from an unknown attacker. His world slowly starts to fall apart as he falls into a pattern of grief and drink. His only daily refuge being the time he spends riding the train to work and seeing his "train friends". But even that starts to crumble as a mysterious figure enters his life and turns his world and that of his "train friends" upside down. Could this mysterious newcomer be a danger to them all, and could he somehow be connected to the death of his wife?

Jay Sigler delivers a very impressive debut novel. I do have to say that if you are in a down mood, do not read this book. There is no happiness to be found here. The author gives us a main character that is suffering a tremendous loss and does not know how to deal with it. Alcohol becomes a escape method and begins to help unravel his life. Jay does a wonderful job of conveying the anguish of the main character, and later as the story progresses, how that changes to anger and violence. There are some horror elements to the story, and mostly appear in some very descriptive dream sequence. If you are a gore fan, these parts of the story will make you very happy.

There is very solid writing, and the pacing is well thought out. This is a very character driven story. You cannot help but feel sorry for the main character. The story moves along quickly and comes off delivering a truly surprising and shocking end.

You can purchase TRAIN THOUGHTS in print and ebook on AMAZON.

You can learn more about JAY SIGLER and his work HERE.



Monday, July 2, 2018

THE SWITCH HOUSE by Tim Meyer


THE SWITCH HOUSE (A SHORT NOVEL) by Tim Meyer

Publish date July 31st 2018

Published by Evil Epoch Press

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(from the book description)

CONGRATULATIONS! You've won a role on LET"S SWITCH HOUSES! Your life is going to change. We promise. Your dreams will come true. Everything you've ever wanted, we have it. This is a chance of a lifetime. Come Inside. Switch with us.

Angela and Terry return home after several grueling months of filming the popular television show LET"S SWITCH HOUSES!, only to find their residence in ruin. Sure, the decor and framed photographs are the same; the color of the walls hasn't changed; the furniture sits unmoved. But something is off. Their quiet New Jersey home feels tainted. Angela can sense it. Crawling inside her. Infecting her mind. Poisoning her thoughts.

Then the nightmares begin. Awful, lucid visions that cause her to question her own reality. What happened at 44 Trenton Road while she was gone? Just what did she do, that bizarre woman who claims she can communicate with the beyond? Who is she exactly? Angela aims to find out, but the further she investigates, the deeper into madness she descends. How far will she travel before she
loses the trail of clues? Or worse -- before she loses her mind.
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Angela and Terry are a couple still reeling from a "tragedy" that occurred in their lives. In hopes to help their failing  marriage they agree to go on a reality show where they "switch houses" with another person. After the show is over they return to their home, but to Angela it does not feel right. She is already seeing a psychiatrist , and she cannot tell if what is happening at her home is real or the result of mental issues. What's really happening in the home, and what occurred there while they were away living in another house. And how does it all tie into the "tragedy" that they refuse to talk about.

Tim Meyer's is no stranger to horror. I have read a few of his past books, but somehow this story just feels more personal. The story has a small cast of characters and keeps itself centered around the couple and their home. It is the tale of a marriage on the rocks, loss, terror and the uncertainty of someone with possible mental illness. The story is quick and well paced out. The character of Angela is very believable. She is not sure what is going on and what might happen with her and her husband. The dreams or hallucinations she has range from the small, somewhat childlike, to horror on a Barkeresque level. It also touches on the "reality show" world we all live in now. What could really happen if someone else lived in your house for a month. Do you really know what goes on.

Another aspect of the story is the mentioned "tragedy" that occurred. Slowly through the story more and more is revealed.  (But not here)

I do have to admit I had a hard time at the end of this story. Not because I didn't enjoy the story, no quiet the opposite. The story flows and is pretty much non-stop from beginning to end. The problem for me was one single act that occurs toward the end that will just tear your heart out. It is a act that is so horrible that you just have to stop and let it soak in, especially if you are a parent. I sat for a few minutes after reading it and then continued on. I was not disappointed with how the author tied it all up in the end.

THE SWITCH HOUSE gives us a story of horror mixed with a very tight psychological thriller that will keep you guessing till the end.

You will not want to miss this one.

As a bonus there are 3 short stories included in this edition. My favorite being "How to Kill a Bear with a Bow and Arrow".

You can preorder THE SWITCH HOUSE in print and ebook on AMAZON.

You can learn more about Tim Meyer and his other works HERE.