Horror Fiction Book Review Blog-athon – 2016

Horror Fiction Book Review Blog-athon – 2016


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!)


Horror Fiction Book Review Blogathon! Join the fun!


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!




The King in Yellow – book review

the king in yellow book

The King in Yellow
Robert W. Chambers

The King in Yellow is a collection of separate stories that all have a unifying thread, which includes several separate items; the script to a play called The King in Yellow, something called, the yellow sign, and the malevolent entity, the King in Yellow, himself. The King never makes an appearance in any of the stories, he is just hinted at as the demise of those seeing the yellow sign. When people read the King in Yellow manuscript, especially the second half, they either go utterly mad or strange things happen in their lives‘. The first four tales are in the subgenre known as weird tales and the rest of the book borders more on drama and romance. In fact the last few stories drop the King in Yellow tie-in and don’t feel the same as the earlier part of the book. Some versions of the book drop some of the later stories and replace it with the story by Ambrose Bierce that influenced, The King in Yellow stories, referencing places and titles, Carcosa, Hastur, and. Cassilda. Indeed Lovecraft took the King’s references even further and wrote about King-in-Yellow-theCarcosa and August Derleth turned Hastur into one of the Great Old Ones. The play, The King in Yellow, is never actually read in its entirety in any of the stories. Only sections and lines are read and delivered by the characters in the tales, keeping an air of mystery regarding the manuscript. The stories are written in turn of the century (1800s to 1900s) style which may be difficult for some today but I tend to enjoy the flamboyant use of words of that era’s authors.

I was not fully engaged with every story as some of the later tales in the book seemed to drag on without purpose to me. My favorite story however is the second tale, The Mask. Alec arrives at the Parisian home of his good friend Boris to see his friend’s break-through in the field of alchemy. He has found a way to chemically transform anything into stone, pure white marble to be precise. While Boris showcased his magic elixir, proving it could even change living things to stone, Alec grew weary and settled into the library. There he begins to read The King in Yellow. Alex soon discovers there’s only one thing more interesting than the alchemic discovery, and the manuscript, Boris’s fiancé Genevieve. He is enamored with her beauty and elegance. He had once courted her but she had turned to Boris as her life’s mate. It turns out she is also the king in yellow bookdelighted with Alex on this visit, more so than in the past, and confesses her interest in him. Taken aback Alec decides he must leave his friend’s home so as not to betray his friend’s honor. He is called to the home some time later when his friend Boris dies, to help catalogue many of the artifacts in the home. To his supreme horror, there is a full-sized marble statue in the garden of Genevieve. Only Alec knows the truth of its origin. The description of the marble statue let’s you know in no uncertain terms that it is indeed Genevieve and not an artist’s sculpt.

The Repairer of Reputations is a story of extreme paranoia hinged upon the reading of the mysterious King in Yellow manuscript. In The Court of the Dragon and The Yellow Sign, both deal with being followed and haunted by a silent malevolent being. Both are creepy tales. In ‘Court…’ a church organist seems to show up in the main characters path no matter where he goes. In ‘The Yellow Sign’ this dark figure haunts a man’s every waking hours and dreams. From what I understand this collection is not the definitive collection, that depending upon the publisher there may be different tales in each publication. The Prophets Paradise and Rue Barrie are stories more in line with the KIY tales and would have been better inclusions for the collection rather than some of the more romance styled stories in the later part of the book. I imagine the current publisher chose this current set of stories to give an overview of Chambers writing through his years of authorship. So, while this collection is a good starting point for the King in Yellow series of tales, there is more to be read and discovered in the theme.


Suspended in Dusk – book review

suspended in dusk anthologySuspended in Dusk
Edited by Simon Dewar
Anthology – various authors

Suspended in Dusk adheres to a general theme. Dusk can be foreboding, the onset of night. It can mean the end of an era or a life. As expressed in the introduction by Jack Ketchum, it can also be a time of transition. Here we find a collection of high quality horror tales to thrill and chill the discerning horror reader. In Shadows of the Lonely Dead by Alan Baxter we find a benefit for an old age home nurse who has witnessed too much death. Next is the small town horror that emerges from the forest, looking for human sacrifices in, At Dusk They Come by Armand Rosamillia.

A Woman of Disrepute by Icy Sedgwick is written in old style gothic, which is a style I enjoy reading. The Ministry of Outrage is an intelligent socio-political commentary that oozes unfathomable truths about the human race and our penchant for violence. Extra kudos to Chris Limb for this offering.

Reasons to Kill by J. C. Michael is one of my fave stories in the book. It pulls you in and keeps twisting, wringing the tension tighter and tighter. It is a fantastic story of zombie infection and vampire lore that feels organically original. Ramsey Campbell contributes to the anthology with a frightening variation on a buried alive story called, Digging Deep. Reading it imparts the feeling of claustrophobia and the desperation in the man’s pleas for help are unnerving.

There are many other great stories to read here, each with their own unique style and tone. Hats off to editor, Simon Dewar, for choosing tales that are top notch horror entertainment and delivering one of the best horror fiction anthologies I’ve read in some time.

Check it out on Amazon: Suspended in Dusk

dusk pic 2

November is Horror Fiction Month at Parlor of Horror


November is Horror Fiction Month at Parlor of Horror

I’m going to devote much of November to horror fiction, book reviews, authors, biographical sites, inspirational articles, writing horror, and horror fiction to read.

Many of my fellow writers have embarked on NaNoWriMo, which translated means, National Novel Writing Month of November. What they intend to accomplish is writing 50,000 words of their new novel in a months time. That’s approximately 12,500 words a week, or 1670 words a day. In honor of their journey I will post several writing articles for inspiration. Good luck to all who are participating. If you think you would like to participate next year, check out the NaNoWriMo website for info.

There will still be some film reviews, and my usual articles, but horror fiction will be the main focus. I hope you’ll join me in this month long celebration of the written word.

honest Abe

Hour of the Beast – book review

Hour of the Beast – C. Michael Forsyth
Outskirts Press

A good alternate title for this novel could be, An American Werewolf in College. A cross between The Howling and Animal House, we follow the tale of two twin brothers as they enter the college ranks and discover what they are really made of.

Jason and Joshua, freshman at Hallerton College NH, struggle to find their place in campus society. Jason, the perpetual nerd, and Joshua, the rugged jock, both fall for the same college co-ed. Cameron is a young blonde freshman fighting off the affections of several young men but it isn’t long before she is fighting more than the crushes from fellow students. Before either brother can profess their feelings to Cameron, the campus devolves into a killing field as the bodies of missing students are found in the campus bell-tower. The hunt is on for the savage beast that leaves mutilated students across the campus on nights of the full moon.

With the worldly-wise professor Cairo Oldewood, the boy’s Uncle Zeke, and roommate /x-treme sports enthusiast, Dylan – one twin must search the mountainous countryside to find his brother before the next full moon rises and another student meets their untimely death.

Hour of the Beast is a fast-paced horror-thriller with lots of action, suspense, and comedic relief. While it doesn’t necessarily add anything new to the werewolf genre, the story is well-told and makes for enjoyable reading. It is a fun book for the horror fan, a modern werewolf tale with all the mystery, violence and sexual overtones one would expect from the genre.


Long Island Noir – book review

Long Island Noir – Akashic Books

Akashic Books have a novel approach to their ‘Noir’ series books; they are anthologies that all pertain to a certain city or area delegated by the title. This one contains stories from Long Island, NY – edited by Kaylie Jones. While a few of these stories could have taken place anywhere, most are ideas and aspects one would only know about if you had lived on Long Island. They are written by local authors to capture the authenticity of their tales. Ideas touched upon in this anthology include the socio-political border between Mastic Beach and the Hamptons, Political climates in LI religious sects, and the perfect Garden City Homes – facades that often hide less than perfect lives.

These stories are admittedly not traditional noir, no hard-boiled detectives, gangster stories or petty thieves trying to gain notoriety in the seedy life of the underworld. These stories convey the darker side of real citizens – our friends and neighbors. Long Island’s underbelly will reveal, divorce, cheating spouses, out-of-control gamblers, rampant drug use, and people cheating the system and each other in order to ‘one-up’ their neighbors – middle aged and middle-class people in a desperate battle to seem successful in a judgmental environment.

While I originally purchased this book for the casual read and its treatment of familiar territories, most stories mirrored people I know or knew from growing up and living on Long Island. They conveyed a real sense of the area, climate and struggles of Long Islanders. I intend to purchase more of the ‘Noir’ series to absorb the real feel of the other cities and regions that they have covered to date, which include; Miami, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Boston, the Twin Cities, Kansas City, Seattle, Dublin, London, Toronto and Copenhagen, to name a few. Chances are, if you live near a city, you can find a collection in this series. Just put the word ‘Noir’ after your city name and look it up.


20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill – Book Review

20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill
William Morrow/Harper Collins Publishing

I believe this is Hill’s first published book of horror-fiction, short-stories. Because of the title, I had expected actual ghost stories but there is only one traditional ghost story within these pages, which shares the same title as the book. The collection varies from visceral horror, to thriller, to weird fiction. It starts splendidly with the brutal tale, “Best New Horror” where a fiction editor picks a violent tale for inclusion in a year-end anthology despite its rawer writing style. Unable to contact the author, he travels by car to the rural home of the writer, only to find, the story may not have been fiction after-all. Next up is the story, 20th Century Ghost, which is a twist on the traditional ghost story, set in a movie theater of a small town. From there we have strange tales which include a modernized, visceral homage to Kafka’s Metamorphosis, a story involving the descendants of Van Helsing, a train riding Hobo, a plastic balloon shaped like a real boy, and others. Hill often shows a sense of humor within his tales, through the character’s actions and twists of fate that mirror the unexpected ironies in real life. 20th Century Ghosts is an interestingly diverse collection of strange tales that will keep you reading through the night, sometimes with the lights on, sometimes with a smirk, and occasionally with a teary eye and a heavy heart.

The White People… by Arthur Machen – book review

The White People and Other Weird Stories – Arthur Machen
Penguin Classics

This is not the easiest of reads. Some will be turned off by the long expose’, a peeling of layers common to all of Machen’s stories. (*Also common to many of his contemporaries of the time, including H.P. Lovecraft). There is quite a bit of reference to the common knowledge of the times that is not-so-common knowledge now, such as; words and ideas of alchemy, Welsh folklore, Celtic mythology, and word origins both faded with time, and invented for the tale. There is even a glossary of explanations in the back of the book.

In The White People, two educated men are debating the possibilities of the true existence of evil when one unveils a young ladies diary as proof of his argument. The story is then told through the diary, about the young lady’s adventures in the remote countryside of her home. The mystery is unveiled, hinting that the countryside itself is a labyrinth of sorts and that getting through it would lead you to an ancient, occult culture of White People, who engaged in bizarre rituals and pagan witchcraft. Machen leads you to the very edge of this forbidden knowledge, then pulls back never letting you really see the horror that the character has discovered.

The book includes other stories such as, The Inmost Light, where a wealthy man intent on proving the existence of the human spirit, captures his wife’s soul in a crystal rock by means of an ancient ritual. Her soulless body is led around town by her husband and his servants, going through the motions of life with blank expression and disinterest. Several stories cater to the same notions that ancient pagan people, gods, deities, and rituals still survive to this day and can sometimes influence or destroy modern people who seek this knowledge. Additional stories collected here are, The Terror, The Bowmen, and A Fragment of Life, amongst others. The book includes a foreword by Guillermo Del Toro and an introduction by S.T. Joshi.

If you are the type of person that likes a horror mystery to unravel in layers, and are interested in the mindset and notions of an age gone by, this would be a good read for you. Machen’s stories are rich with description, symbolism and enigma.

Dean Koontz – What the Night Knows – book review

Dean Koontz – ‘What the Night Knows’
Bantam Books

This latest novel by the prolific Koontz is a classic page-turner of supernatural horror. In streamline fashion, Koontz delivers just what you need to progress quickly into and through the story. Many years ago, Koontz locked into a writing formula and although his novels never stray too far from his blockbuster-maker plots and techniques, they are nevertheless, enjoyable.

The brief; John Calvino had been a fourteen year old boy when his family was killed by brutal serial killer, Alton Blackwood. He only survived by killing the murderer in self defense. Many years later Calvino is a homicide detective with a family of his own. When he begins to investigate a new rash of ritual family slayings, Calvino is convinced that Blackwood has somehow managed to escape the clutches of death and that his own family is in grave danger.

The story is interspersed with readings from Alton Blackwood’s journal, which unveil an interesting back story, while helping to build the suspense in the present time. The book makes for some quick and intense reading in the first half but then gets sluggish as the story moves away from the Calvino family to other families threatened by the Blackwood entity. Eventually, it does come back to the Calvino’s story. The intensity is ratcheted up until it leads to a not-surprising yet epic finale, a battle of wills, and good vs. evil.