Category Archives: horror

Poe’s Shadow

In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914
Leslie S. Klinger, ed.
Pegasus Books
Hardcover $24.95, Paperback $15.95, Digital $15.95

Here’s a little something for the horror aficionado, although I suspect most horror fans will have read many of the stories in this volume.

While Poe himself has no story in the volume (and why not, I want to know), his influence is seen in most of the selections, if for no other reason than Poe’s reputation has eclipsed most other writers of the supernatural from the Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries in the minds of the general public.  The horror fan will recognize most of the names, if not all.  The tales Mr. Klinger has chosen are not always the best known works by the better known authors such as M. R. James, E. T. A. Hoffman, or Arthur Conan Doyle.  I do wonder why W. W. Jacobs was not included in this volume; probably because his career extended to far past the period the anthology covers. Continue reading

Road Kill, Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 2 Now Available

Road Kill, Texas Horror by Texas Writers Vol. 2
E. R. Bills and Bret McCormick, eds.
Eakin Press
Trade paper $19.95
ebook $7.95

Texas is a big place, and it can be pretty scary.  Last year, the first volume of Road Kill made that pretty clear.  You can see my review here.  That volume was 226 pages long.  This year you get 344 pages, a 52% increase in thrills and chills.

I’m honored to be included in this volume.  Here’s what the email sent to authors had to say about events over the next few months:

In the meanwhile, we’ve also already set up several RK2 appearances/signings at some of the best book venues in the state:
October 21 (BOOK LAUNCH): Fleur Fine Books, Port Neches
October 28: Burrowing Owl Bookshop, Canyon
October 29: Book People, Austin
November 4: Fort Worth Restaurant of the Mind
January 23: Brazos Books, Houston
If you’re in the area for one of the launches, please try to stop by and say hello.  I’ll be attending the launch in Canyon, and I’m looking forward to it.
And if you happen to pick up a copy, please leave a review.  It will be much appreciated.

Dark Screams 6 Releases Tomorrow

Dark Screams 6
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
Hydra
ebook $3.99

The Dark Screams series of ebook anthologies is back, and that’s something to scream about, joyfully of course.

This one has half a dozen selections, unlike its predecessors, which had only five.

Here’s what you get: Continue reading

A Sampling of Texas Horrors

road killRoad Kill
E. R. Bills & Bret McCormick, eds.
Eakin Press
Paperback $16.95
ebook $5.99

I’d like to thank Bret McCormick for sending me a review copy of Road Kill.  Most anthologies have two or three (or more) stories that aren’t my flagon of ale.  There was only one story in this one that fits that description.  All of the others I liked, some a lot.  And not just because of the Texas theme.

The variety in Road Kill is impressive.  The type of horror ranges from quiet to grisly to Lovecraftian to science fictional.  Here were a few of my favorites. Continue reading

Dark Screams 3: The Screaming Continues

Dark Screams 3Dark Screams 3
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
Hydra
ebook only, $2.99

The screaming in this case being more screams of enthusiasm. It’s starting to look like editors Freeman and Chizmar have a solid anthology series on their hands. I’d like to thank Mr. Freeman for putting me on the list to receive review copies.

Dark Screams Volume 3 hit digital shelves a week ago, but with final exams to grade and other end of the semester tasks, I only finished it this evening. It’s another solid installment in this series. Here’s what you get. Continue reading

Dark Screams Volume 2 is a Solid Horror Anthology

Dark Screams Volume 2Dark Screams Volume 2
Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
Hydra
ebook only, $2.99
release date March 3, 2015

I’d like to thank Brian James Freeman for providing the review copy of Dark Screams Volume 2. He and Richard Chizmar set themselves a high standard with the first volume, and it’s good to see that they have maintained that level of excellence.

The Dark Screams series is an ebook-only horror anthology series in which each volume contains five stories by five of the best practitioners of horror fiction working today. I’d only read one author, Richard Christian Matheson, prior to reading this book, although I was familiar with the names of all but one contributor.  Here’s what you get in the second volume. Continue reading

Dark Screams is Something to Scream About

Dark Screams v1Dark Screams Vol. 1
Brain James Freeman and Richard Chizmar, ed.
Hydra
ebook only, $2.99
publication date December 9, 2014 preorder

I’d like to start off this review by thanking Brian James Freeman and Hydra/Random House for the review copy of Dark Screams Vol. 1. I had originally intended to review the book closer to the release date. I finished the first story while waiting for my son to get back from All Region Band tryouts and kept going. It turned out there were almost twice as many students trying out than were expected, so after 2 1/2 hours of waiting past the time they were supposed to be back, I had finished the book. I decided to write and post the review while the stories were fresh on my mind.

As you can tell from the title, this is the inaugural volume in a series.  There are currently five volumes planned, with more to come if sales and reader response are positive.

If the first volume is any indication, this should be a long-running series.  The editors have stated that each volume will have a variety of different types of horror from some of the top names in the business. Continue reading

A Visit to Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show

something wicked this way comesSomething Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury
Avon, 304 pgs.
mass market paperback $7.99
ebook $3.99 Kindle Nook

I first read this book something like 35 years ago, give or take, probably in 5th grade. I reasonably certain it had to have been before spring break of my 6th grade year, because that was the year of the tornado. After we rebuilt the house, I got to have a room of my own. This is relevant because I envisioned the room I shared with my brother as Will’s room as I read the book.  (Assuming my memory isn’t playing tricks on me.)

There’s a risk when you return to a beloved novel from your youth. Will it live up to the memory? Often it doesn’t.

The advantage here is that after so many years, I didn’t remember more than a few scenes from the book, primarily the Dust Witch coming after the boys in the balloon in the middle of the night. Other than a few general things, I didn’t recall much.

I’m pleased to say that the novel held up quite well. It was better than I remembered. Continue reading

Invoking Dark Gods

Dark GodsDark Gods
T. E. D. Klein
mmpb, Bantam, $3.95, 1986, 263 p.

One of the top practitioners of horror fiction in the latter half of the previous century is also one of the most frustrating.  T. E. D. Klein has published very little after making a name for himself in the 1970s and 80s.

His first collection, Dark Gods, is a perfect example of what an author can accomplish in an understated manner.  The four novellas in this volume are strong examples of that type of horror.  Perfect reading for Halloween. Continue reading

A Review of Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo

Bad MojoBad Mojo
Shane Berryhill
Ragnarok Publications
Paper $13.95
ebook $3.99

If you like your supernatural thrillers with a strong Southern ambience, then Shane Berryhill’s Bad Mojo might be just your glass of tea (sweet tea, of course).

Ash Owens (short for Ashley, but don’t you dare call him that) is a veteran who came home from the Middle East with a monster. Literally. He keeps it in check with help from a conjure woman named Zora Banks. They now work together, solving problems for the residents of Chattanooga. Of course most of their clients are from the supernatural community, which lends their cases an added element of risk.

Ash is approached by a Senator of his acquaintance to help find the missing wife of a Congressman who is running for governor. She’s disappeared into the supernatural community and is hooked on drugs. Oh, and if Ash can find the missing woman’s diary, well then, all the better.

You can see where this is going to go. Of course it isn’t going to be that simple… Continue reading