Verses From A Deeply Darkened Mind – Book Review

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Verses From A Deeply Darkened Mind

by Mary Genevieve Fortier
JWK Fiction

I have to confess, I’m not a big fan of traditional poetry. Reason being is most of the symbolism and metaphors are missed by me and in the end, I’m usually left with a bunch of nice sounding words that don’t make much sense (did you ever try reading Milton’s Paradise Lost? Ugh!). That is why I have always liked Edgar Allan Poe. His poems were stories that I could easily digest and understand. Now I can add Mary G Fortier to my ‘poets I love’ list. This collection contains dark, visceral tales of terror with accentuating rhyme, cadence and word crafting, allowing me to truly enjoy the terror spilling from its pages.  

Mystical doorways in the woods, creepy church goers, and macabre figures knocking at your entrance in the deep, dark hours of the night, are reasons to keep me awake and to keep on reading. I chose to read a few each night in order to quench my thirst for the macabre and fulfill my own dark passions. There are several B&W art pieces accompanying select poems throughout the book by a host of fantastic artists. If you’re in need of a haunting experience into the ethereal world of the dead and those left behind to ponder, then “Verses…” is an excellent collection. Those with a proclivity for creepy horror will be thrilled by these rhythmic tales of terror. Read them by firelight or lamplight and enter the oblique nightmare world of this modern poet, a definitive horror poet’s omnibus to add to your reading repertoire.

Traditional Paperback only: https://www.amazon.com/Verses-Deeply-Darkened-Genevieve-Fortier/dp/9492558025

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Grim Rhymes & Scary Tales – By Sebastian Crow – Book review

 sebastian-crow-grim-rhymes-and-scary-talesGrim Rhymes and Scary Tales

by Sebastian Crow

 

Grim Rhymes and Scary Tales contains just what the title advertises. The tales are in some instances written with a poetic cadence, and the rhymes often tell a tale more straightforward than your usual poetry.

In Coffin Sam we are introduced to an interesting character, Samuel Coffin. He is a bone man, one that collects and repurposes bones both animal and human. Despite his morbid trade, he considers himself a cut above his brethren, as he travels the countryside in his horse drawn wagon collecting the best bones from every village. He meets some interesting characters in his travels, especially on the night in question when he picks up a set of perfect skeletons from frequent trading acquaintance, Maggie. These bones have a lot to say about their death and their probable future. Yes, Sam can hear their gripes. They convince ol’ Sam to bring them up the road to the druid ruins so they can avenge for their deaths. It’s a fabulous horror tale with genuine interesting characterization and an engaging plot. One of my fave lines from the tale is “Lies pass his lips as easily as dung from a horse’s ass.”

Company Men sets up an apocalyptic future with poetic descriptions. It’s a world where an incurable outbreak leads to these massive body burning factories and we follow the short but poignant tale through the eyes of one of the plant workers.

The Legend of the Crying Woman leads into the story, Cry Baby, which is genuinely scary if you read them back to back. It drives home the local legend angle with great tension and atmosphere. Loving the Dead begins so disgusting and horrible; I had to catch the vomit at the back of my throat after the first few paragraphs. Of all the vile, repugnant, disparaging words I’ve ever read, this is by far the most disgusting… Of course, I had to keep reading.

In The Worm of Mysteries, we get a full blown Lovecraftian tale set in modern times. The Watcher in the Dark was even more Lovecraftian as Crow’s writing style adapts to Lovecraft’s, sebastian-crowpermeating the Elderitch Tale with a verbose texture as yet unforeseen, describing a hideous coming of ill-gotten fate. (See what I did there?). It gets even better for the Lovecraft fan as Procession of the Dhole tells about the aftermath of the Lovecraftian apocalypse as the Great Old Ones reclaim their dominance in this little corner of the Universe and the remnants of mankind struggle to eke out an existence.

Sebastian sure knows how to weave a creepy yarn. One aspect I like about the book is the amount of diversity in the stories. Some are tightly wound tales with deep character voice, some are set in days gone by, others are modern tales of a grand scale in nature. Added to the melee are short and entertaining rhymes that add disquiet to the collection. It’s a fun read with quality horror stories that will charm as well as thrill you.

Available on Amazon.com kindle or paperback

Grim Rhymes and Scary Tales

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Horror Fiction Book Review Blog-athon – 2016

Horror Fiction Book Review Blog-athon – 2016

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Check out the reviews for these great horror fiction books:
(click on links to see reviews)

carrie-stephen-king dracula-vs-frankenstien stephen-king-it

chad-lutzke-of-foster-homes-and-flies the-bazaar-of-bad-dreams-book lovecrafts-monsters-ellen-datlow

traps-joseph-f-parda 100-jolts the-haunted-book

df-lewis-the-best-of  ecstatic-inferno  mr-fox-helen-oyeyemi
darker-tales-from-the-den-dona-fox toys-in-the-attic world-on-fire-sheldon-woodbury

Many Thanks to the bloggers that participated and allowed me to add their links/reviews to this page 🙂

Have you reviewed any horror books this year on your blog?
Put your link in the comments and I’ll post a pic and link on this page. (sci-fi books too!)

 

The Best of DF Lewis – by DF Lewis – book review

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The Best of DF Lewis – by DF Lewis

TAL Publications 1993

 

I first discovered DF Lewis in the small-press horror magazines of the 1980s. He was an unknown author at the time, appearing in home grown magazines amongst other unknowns. I didn’t know what flash fiction was, but I was learning quickly. His stories were little more than a page long and left more of an impression than the featured stories in the publications. Often I reread his stories because they almost seemed like a magic trick. How could it be that the shortest story in the publication is the one that haunts me for the rest of the night?

 

I recently found this chapbook of DF Lewis stories, a limited edition, signed used copy from TAL Publications. There’s 15 stories, but it barely reaches 55 pages. Having not read any of his stories in many years, it was clear from the start I was in for a treat.df-lewis

 

In Jack the Ratter, Jack is hunting rats. Only his concept of a rat and everyone else’s is quite disturbingly different. The barely 300 word Dreamaholic twists in upon itself in demented splendor until the final treat is revealed. The 1k word, Bloodbone effectively creeped me out when an unnamed protagonist travels to the ‘dark side’ of the city for life’s answers. The chap book ends with its longest story, The Weirdmonger, which seems to insinuate that a stranger can completely tear your life apart by imparting a few words upon you.

 

Most of his stories would be considered weird tales or weird fiction but they also have a strong horror element, so much so they are undeniably horror tales, perhaps with a Lewis Carroll undercurrent. Here I am trying to label the unclassifiable. The stories break all boundaries, making perfect sense in their abstract nature, delivering twists that are unfathomable, and leaving the reader mortified yet satisfied. DF Lewis is a mad genius, like Dr. Seuss with ill intent and sinister motives. The collection includes an introduction by Ramsey Campbell.

 

Currently Mr. Lewis is active in the underground press reviewing fiction and publishing anthologies by authors who align with his fiction mantra. He has published over 1,500 stories in his lifetime. He has won the Karl Edward Wagner Award from the British Fantasy Society for his accomplishments and also been nominated for his Gestalt Real-Time Reviewing of fiction books. For more info about DF Lewis check out his blog:

https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/

For a bibliography, click here:

https://www.fantasticfiction.com/l/d-f-lewis/

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parlor of horror’s books and book reviews

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Horror Fiction Book Review Blogathon! Join the fun!

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November is Horror fiction month here at Parlor of Horror

 

And we’re going to celebrate with the
Horror Fiction Book Review Blogathon!

Want to join the blogathon? It’s simple. If you have reviewed a horror book recently or plan to review a book, post it at your blog and leave the link in the comments on this page. Then post the Horror Fiction Blogathon logo banner (above) on the page with the review. I will reblog your reviews (for those on wordpress) all month long and then post a master list near the end of the month (for those that I cannot reblog, (ei. for those on Blogger, Wix, or other blogger sites).

If you need to contact me with any questions about the blogathon, my email address is on the “contact” page

 


 

In the meanwhile, I will continue offering posts pertaining to readers and writers all month long. From book reviews to fiction links to interesting articles for writers and authors, it will be a month full of great horror fiction.

I’ll also do a post or two featuring book cover artists.

Look forward to hearing from y’all, Happy gruesome Tales!

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My short story, “Dead Song” in Moon Books Presents, Horror Anthology 2016

Some of my long awaited submissions, are finally coming to fruition this fall. The 1st of them is this anthology where I share  the TOC with some horror greats including, Joe R Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, and Jim Goforth…

Moon Books Presents – Horror Anthology 2016

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featuring:

Jonathan Maberry – Mystic
Joe R Lansdale – Incident On and Off a Mountain Road
Thomas M Malafarina – Foreword and The Path
D.F. Holland – Gathering of Souls
Tim Marquitz – The Err Apparent
Jim Goforth – Dead Tree Creepers
Michael Thomas-Knight – Dead Song
Ken Goldman – Road Kill

Check it out here:
https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Anthology-2016-Books-Presents-ebook/dp/B01M8IIMII

Last call for SKIN JOB – and can you give me some advice/opinion?

if any blogger wants a copy of my novelette SKIN JOB for review, let me know…
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Last call for SKIN JOB

I’ve gotten some great support from the blogger community for my first stand alone ebook in the horror fiction genre. I really want to thank you all for your enthusiasm and help (especially those from the Long Time Bloggers Club). I asked the bloggers that I felt closest to and bloggers I knew the longest (only 5 – ones that I felt a bit of kinship and friendship with) if they would like to review my release. Then a few more expressed interest and I sent some more off into the blogger community for reviews.
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If any blogger that I haven’t asked, wants to review the book, I’ll be happy to send one over to you. You can leave a comment here or go to my contact page and email me.
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And now, on to the next….
I think that the novelette or novella is the way for me to move forward.

Can I get your opinion on these?

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Let me know which book sounds most appealing. Let me know which one you would want to read, which you think should be me next release. They are all written and would have to go through the next six months of editing processes. I’d love if you guys could help me make this decision…
Here are my choices for my next book release:
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Renfield’s Carnival (style: modern/monsters)
Julie, a young woman on the run from her abusive boyfriend collides with a rogue band of carnival of freaks. Led by the deformed snake-charmer, Renfield, the carny folk are attempting to resurrect an historical carnival in the Arizona desert despite opposition from the nearby townsfolk. The town had burnt down the carnival forty years ago when a local girl had gone missing. Now Julie has to fight her abuser while navigating her way through the age-old melee, and rebirth of Renfield’s Carnival.
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Shroud of the Crimson Queen (style: era late 1800’s/Hammer Films style)
London in 1885 is once again the scene for a string of horrific murders, but this time evidence points to a wild animal as the culprit. Doctor Edwin McKee, a pioneer in forensic investigation, teams up with Detective White, Scottland Yard’s top cop to hunt down clues and solve the mystery of these grisly murders as rumors and sightings of a gray lion within the city confines mount. Is it a man or a wild cat, or something even more sinister? This tale combines the crytozoology of Great Britain’s legendary gray lion and the detective partnership reminiscent of Holmes and Watson in the Hound of the Baskervilles to bring readers on a thrilling ride combining horror, mystery and action.
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Three Witches – (style: era late 1800’s) this would be three different olden tales about Witches, however the main novelette is about a cursed sea vessel, The Angel Witch, so it’s not actually a witch. The Angel-Witch – Set in the early 20th Century, Captain Ryan and his crew find themselves stuck in the windless doldrums after capturing a mythological fish for their client, the Countess Bisselle. To make matters worse, they spot a man on a raft who sleeps by day and walks at night. As his raft inches closer to the ship Captain Ryan decides to bring the man aboard to save him, but soon realizes he may be the one in need of saving as his crew plans a mutiny, and a larger evil looms.
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Stormbringer – (style: modern/monster) The novelette Stormbringer and two other tales. Lovecraftian.
As Hurricane Jehovah devastates the east coast, Matt Hoffman works to secure his family’s Connecticut mansion and keep it from ripping apart at the seams. However he will soon have to fight for his life and save his loved ones from a hidden danger. Under cover of the storm something has slithered out of the ocean and made claim to the ancient land where the mansion sits.
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So, vote below for the story you find most interesting:

Of Foster Homes and Flies – Chad Lutzke – book review

Quiet horror in this coming of age story…

 Chad Lutzke - of foster homes and flies

Of Foster Homes and Flies – Chad Lutzke

We have a genuine masterpiece here and I’m so glad I’ve had the pleasure to read the work of this very talented author.

(There are slight spoilers though this whole review, but I have to convince you why you should read this book)

If you want to be blessed by an emotional moving story, you have to read the tale of a young boy whose hopes and dreams are about to be dashed by a non-loving, alcoholic mother and the intervening finger of fate. The 12-year-old boy, Denny, lost his father several years ago, left to be raised by his neglectful and perpetually boozed up mother. Denny’s dad had one time won a ‘spelling bee’ at his hometown school and Denny cherished thspelling bee postere ribbon award as a great memory from his father. Denny had never entered the spelling bee because of lack of confidence and drive. However, this year was supposed to be different. Denny had studied since the beginning of the school year, practicing, rehearsing the spellings, and preparing himself to do good in his father’s eyes and follow in his footsteps. With the Spelling Bee fast approaching there was nothing that was going to stop him from paying this ultimate homage to his dad. Then a few days before the big event, his mother dies overnight on the living room couch. In the first few minutes of this event, Denny makes a big decision. He is not going to miss the spelling bee. His mom was dead; calling the police now or at the end of the week was not going to change that. Now Denny just has to bluff his way through a few days, foiling his neighbors, ducking friends, and keeping his dog out of trouble. Throughout the tale young Denny comes to terms with the strained relationship he had with his alcoholic mother, bringing tears to my eyes several times.

It’s not straight up horror but shades of King abound with the dead body of Denny’s mom doing what dead bodies do best, being creepy.

(spoilers ahead)

To show you how the depth of a story affects the variant of horror, the scariest part of the book is the night before the spelling bee, when Denny has made it almost to his goal. His mother’s boozer, card playing girlfriends come by for their weekly card game ringing the bell and twisting the door knob ready to expose his mother’s rotting maggot infested body to the world. Only seconds before this Denny had caught sight of hundreds of squirming maggots devouring her forehead. He threw up on himself and had to answer the door that way, covered in puke. It probably doesn’t sound like much here but in context, this scene really made me tense.

(end of spoilers)

of flies

The story built such density that it made the spelling bee seem as exciting as being chased by velociraptors or being in a car chase and gun fight with a serial killer. The outcome is fantastic.

The final few pages when Denny calls the police and they arrive to the scene of the ‘crime’ are incredibly written and pulled on my heart-strings the way few stories have in a long time. It was gut-wrenching sadness and happiness at once; a strange combination. My chest was tight and I felt for Denny like a real person would feel for a neighbor or friend.

You may ask why a story such as this would make me feel so good? Because life is a struggle and not always a nice place, but we have to move through our darkest days to find better ones ahead. That is what Denny did in this story and against all odds found those brighter days on the other side of death.  I want to tell everyone that reads to get a copy of this; I want to yell from a mountain top with a bull horn, it’s just that damn good!

Get it now@ Of Foster Homes and Flies – Chad Lutzke on Amazon.com

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recommended if you like:

Stephen King’ s The Body/ Stand by Me, Robert McCammons’s Boys Life, William Goldman’s Temple of Gold, James Newman’s Midnight Rain, and movies such as The Rivers Edge, Bottle Rocket, and Ghost World. Also a touch of them old classics; Tom Sawyer, Catcher in the Rye, and even Stephen King’s, Silver Bullet (movie).


Chad Lutzke

 

Darker Tales from the Den – Dona Fox – Book review

Darker Tales from the Den - Dona Fox

Darker Tales from the Den – Dona Fox – Book review

JWK Fiction

Dona Fox has a certain style to her stories that can catch you by surprise. There comes a point when you realize what is going on, but it’s too late to brace yourself or to look away. These are dark, macabre stories about people in bad situations that only seem to get worse as the night goes on. The top tales in the collection leave a lasting sting or dull thud of heartache, either way a welcome experience for the horror reader. I picked a few of my favorite tales here to say a few words about.

Something bad crawls out of the dark attic in The Chill and Willey Snake dragging long forgotten family secrets in tow.

Bruised Cardamom begins with a poignant description on the death watch of a woman, Mrs. Macy, true in its words and gut wrenching to anyone that has watched a loved one die.  The description of the woman shredding tissues and curling them into little balls as she’s waiting in fear for death is unsettling. A line that struck me… “How many boxes of tissue does it take to die? How meaningless are paper tears?” The volunteer stays with her into the night learning a deep dark secret in this outstanding tale.

In One Historic Night, one friend invites another into his twisted Nazi fanatic world and drags him down to the depths of madness.

Shypoke’s Tears, which I had read before in the anthology, Ghosts Revenge, (JWK Fiction) is a short piece with a big punch. From the first paragraph a transgressiodona foxn is taking place in the characters and it’s a thrill to see the outcome.

In The Calais Curse, we visit the French Resistance of the German occupancy. This tale is a haunting centerpiece of the collection as a young woman begins a process too free her grandmother from her nightmares. The story started out a little loose and all over the place but stick with it and it settles into streamline tale where a tragic, moving ending is revealed.

Li Gran Toy Zombi is a creepy tale I first read in the Toys in the Attic anthology and was happy to revisit here. It takes place in New Orleans, 1977, and if you’re thinking Voodoo Curses you are correct and in for a devilish treat.

Crystal Bones on Gossamer Wings is a fitting finale for the collection as the tale is written in deep first-person as were the earlier stories in the book. Dona’ s greatest storytelling aspect is when she immerses the reader in that strong character voice. Those stories are distinctly superior to the more standard narrated tales. There are shades of Joe R. Lansdale in those stories where the reader shares each thought, vision, and reaction as it happens in the character’s head. When she combines that voice with her astute perception of life, death, and human suffering, she delivers haunting horror fiction.

Darker Tales From The Den – Dona Fox – Paperback and Kindle

 

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