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Category Archives: Horror

Widowmaker by Elena Gray

WidowmakerWidowmaker by Elena Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I read the unique summary for this story, I just had to read the book. I am a horror movie buff which I’m sure does not surprise anyone who reads my reviews. Not only was this story promising the horror I love, it also combined the two mediums I use to get my horror fix; books and movies. What could possibly go wrong?

Well not much did go really wrong, the story read well and was fast paced; it did indeed provide a unique plot that had me wondering what the hell was going on and had copious amounts of gore. Gore!

Before I go further, here is the summary from the book; Terror in the Trees, the latest uber-low budget slasher flick is slaying people… literally. But is it all hype or is there an evil force behind the supposed deaths? Special Agent Bolder had best find out before the President attends the Hollywood premiere…

We start the story in line to see Terror in the Trees. The line is long and the first group of movie-goers are already down in the theater watching. Three friends waiting for their turn are listening to the screams from the audience and bouncing with excitement while exchanging horror movie tidbits and trivia when suddenly hell breaks loose in the theater. People are busting out the windows, bleeding and screaming. Chaos erupts as police and medics arrive and try to help. A great beginning as far as I’m concerned. It speaks to the creepy side of my personality that enjoys unexpected chaos and doom in my entertainment.

Enter our main characters. The FBI agent who chose white collar crime after a horrific experience as an undercover agent. The woman who left him at the alter years ago who is now the chief PR agent with the movie studio that bought the rights to Terror in the Trees and a college student working on his Masters in cinema who has a theory as to why this movie has caused so much bloodshed.

They become unlikely allies as they try to stop the movie from premiering with an audience of celebs and even the President.

As I hinted earlier, I did enjoy much of the read but found I only connected/liked one character, I also found the underlying ’cause’ of the violence to be way over-the-top and a few scenes were just ridiculous. Even for horror.

All in all I will recommend this to horror buffs. It is bloody fun. I also really like Elena Gray and other works from her. This was a bit different from her usual but i appreciated it.

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Horror

 

The Boat by Christine Dougherty

The BoatThe Boat by Christine Dougherty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Boat by Christine Dougherty is definitely not your average zombie story, although it has zombies. It isn’t your average Post-Apocalyptic story, yet there is a plague that causes death and zombies, creating a Post-Apocalyptic environment. Which also makes a great setting for a Survivalist story, though not your……wait for it….average Survivalist story.
See, Christine just doesn’t do average, ever, and decided to write a fast-moving, horrific, nail-biting, zombie plague story of survival set two months after the aforementioned apocalyptic event. With a twist.
A really bad twist.
I am not surprised. I met Christine last year when she asked if I would review her novel The Devil Stood Up. As most of you know, I love me some good Horror and was thrilled to accept a copy for review. I eat Horror and Suspense for breakfast, one awesome reviewer on GoodReads, Stephen, http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/…, asked me in a round about way, what kind of book would actually scare me. I really didn’t have an answer, until Christine Dougherty. Turns out I couldn’t finish The Devil Stood Up. It disturbed the hell out of me and I had to put it down. For the first time ever I had to write an author and humbly apologize for being a wimp and not finishing their book. The writing was excellent but you couldn’t make me pick it up again.
Instead of throwing rocks and laughing at me, Christine apologized and even asked for another review on her Urban Fantasy novel
Born Lucky (The JD Chronicles). I loved it.
I love the versatility Christine brings to the table. The Boat isn’t overwhelmingly scary but it is very good and original and I urge lovers of Horror, Suspense and Urban Fantasy to check out this exciting author!

Book Summary:At the end of the world, the undead aren’t the greatest threat to those who have survived.

A deadly plague brought on by an experimental AIDS drug called Lazarus sweeps the country. Lazarus, named so because it brings patients back from the brink of death, has the unfortunate side effect of bringing the dead back to life. A handful of survivors have made their way to water where the walking dead–called ‘sinkers’–are less of a threat. These battered and traumatized survivors have colonized a super yacht (Flyboy), a tugboat (Big Daddy), and a weekender yacht (Barbra’s Bay Breeze). As they wait for more survivors and organize a voyage south to a warm climate, they unintentionally bring aboard a monster who might be the end to them all.

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Blood Tells True (Vampires of the Plains) by Alan Ryker

Blood Tells True by Alan Ryker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alan Ryker has become one of my all time favorite authors. His characters are some of the more ‘realistic’ people I’ve ever read. The people he writes about make sense to me given the circumstances they are faced with, as well as the type of life they have lived.
The fact that Alan Ryker writes Horror, Speculative Fiction and Urban Fantasy adds to my enjoyment all the more.

Blood Tells True is the continuing story of Jessica Harris, first introduced to us in Burden Kansas, a most brilliant “Vampire-Western” that propelled Alan into my “Authors Are Rock Stars Hall of Fame”.
Jessica has lost her entire family to vampires. At just seventeen she has assumed the role of avenger and protector to a community which shuns her and is unaware that vampires exist. She has become hard, as hard as her uncle had been when he confronted these creatures. As hard as he had been in life. A loner with a brittle disposition that kept the small community at arms length and just as suspicious of him as they now are of Jessica.

Positive that Jessica was in some way involved with the tragedy that befell her family, even the seedy element in town are speculating. When a drug dealer with a grudge comes to town he vows to eliminate Jessica as a possible threat to him and his dealings.

What follows is a series of actions taken by this dealer and Jessica herself that threatens even more lives and Jessica knows that she is the only one that can stop the inevitable carnage.

The vampires are ugly, animalistic, and brutal. They are unorganized and avoid other vampires. They do not seek out high school girls to seduce nor do they ‘blend’ in with society to amass wealth and be thought of as handsome, beautiful and mysterious. They are freaks, monsters and without conscience.

Jessica is not a cute and curvacious coed who finds herself developing super strength and paranormal powers in which to fulfill a romantic destiny. Instead she is angry, guilt-ridden and obsessed with the slaughter of these creatures and is becoming sadistic as she begins to enjoy the challenge and thrill of the kill.

Blood Tells True is an all out showdown at sundown between a girl and a pack of remorseless monsters. Clint Eastwood with a ponytail versus vamps who do not shop at Old Navy, unless the salesgirl smells good.

Book Summary: One year ago, vampires killed Jessica Harris’s entire family, compelling her to become a vampire hunter in order to protect the small farming community that hates her.

Six months ago, a meth dealer put a price on Jessica’s head.

Two days ago, a hit-gone-wrong released a vampire more powerful than Jessica has ever known. A vampire she created.

Today, in pursuing her monster across the Kansas prairie, Jessica uncovered a conspiracy that threatens to wipe an entire town out of existence.

Tonight, she fights.

In his gritty Vampires of the Plains series, Alan Ryker takes vampires out of the cities and places them on the sun-bleached western prairie. Blood Tells True continues the Harris family saga begun in Burden Kansas, but is a complete tale that can be enjoyed on its own.

Review for Burden Kansas: http://novelopinion.org/2011/06/18/burde…

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Horror, Speculative Fiction

 

Bitten (A Lauren Westlake Mystery) by Dan O’Brien

BittenBitten by Dan O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lauren Westlake is an F.B.I. agent who becomes enthralled by a cold case she discovers. Dating back a century there have been several violent murders in different places of the country. What ties them together with an impossible timeline is the fact that all the victims are torn and shredded in the same manner by, seemingly, the same weapon.

It had been speculated that these were some sort of animal attack but as Lauren reviews the cases she is intrigued by the hints of a supernatural cause.

Using a vacation as an excuse to investigate on her own she travels to Locke, Minnesota where the latest victim has been found.

Here is the book summary:A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

This did not turn out to be your typical werewolf story. Elements of horror, police procedural and Urban Fantasy give Bitten a wide appeal.

I enjoyed the relationship Lauren strikes up with the small-town Sheriff and his officers. As the story progressed I was unsure of how things were going to turn out and, indeed, I was surprised by the turn of events.

I had a hard time reconciling the smart and savvy F.B.I. agent Lauren with the scattered Lauren that meets Dominic, a mysterious new-comer to Locke. Though it is most likely meant to portray an attraction between Lauren and Dominic and her feeling that there was something off about him, it was unclear and stood out for me. I also wanted a bit more character development. More meat on the secondary characters as well. (No pun intended.) Other than that I did enjoy the story and I see a huge potential for future Lauren Westlake novels.

I am looking forward to more from Dan O’Brien in this series.

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Born Lucky, The JD Chronicles by Christine Dougherty

Born Lucky (The JD Chronicles) Born Lucky (The JD Chronicles) by Christine Dougherty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christine Dougherty was born to write.

In previous works Christine has tackled Horror, Speculative Fiction, and Mystery. In Born Lucky, Urban Fantasy and Suspense . She does each one of these very, very well. Her writing easily pulls her reader in to the story she is weaving and compells us to continue to turn page after page until the story is told.

In Born Lucky the author introduces us to a unique and likeable character; JD.

As a young boy, JD receives a gift and a curse in the form of psychic abilities.

One form that manifests is the ability to hold a newspaper article and receive a vision of the events described in the article. This also poses a risk in that JD suffers physically some of what the subject of the article suffers. This can injure or kill him and it, as well as other abilities, causes him to retreat from society at a very young age.

His choice of refuge? A secluded mental hospital.

Nora, an administrator in the hospital who understands why JD is really there just cant help slipping these articles to JD when she thinks he can help. This is how his adventures in Born Lucky begin.

Here is th book summary from the author: At three days old, JD was blown clear of the explosion that killed his mysterious parents and set him on a path of uneasy discovery. A reluctant psychic, JD chooses to live in the safe world of a mental institution, unable to control the things he ‘sees’…sometimes with unwelcome, and even dangerous, consequences.

Join JD as he tries to help find a young couple who go missing in the forbidding Pine Barrens of South Jersey.

I liked JD a lot. He is unsure of himself and afraid of the world outside of the institution. Cynical yet vulnerable, he starts off somewhat cowardly once he is pressured in to helping find two missing teens but starts to feel things differently as he connects to a park ranger and starts to see the small world he has created for himself. You still like him but even better, you like how his character grows. By the end of Born Lucky, I loved JD and as a bonus found the secondary characters in the story just as likeable.

I truly hope Christine publishes another JD book soon. The combined elements of suspense, horror, humor and realistic human emotion really hooked me. I foresee a successful, enjoyable series that will draw the attention of readers who enjoy many types of genres.

I recommend this to Horror, Suspense, and Urban Fantasy lovers!

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Getting Thin: A Ghost Story by Kaiya Hart

Getting Thin : A Ghost StoryGetting Thin : A Ghost Story by Kaiya Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is nothing like a good ghost story. Spooky and atmospheric, you find yourself listening to every sound in the house and looking over your shoulder. Sitting around a campfire, gleefully awaiting to be scared to death by a spooky tale. Footsteps in the hall when you are alone in the house. Most of us just love to be creeped out by a ghost story. Yah, well, this just aint that story.

This particular story starts out as a charming yet bittersweet tale of a lonely, socially awkward and overweight teenager who longs for a friend. This young girl, Eva, gets a new neighbor and in the process, a new friend.

Roxy is the girl every social misfit wants to be. Athletic, vivacious, passionate and funny. The girl who can be captain of the cheerleading squad and dates the team quarterback. So when Eva sees Roxy moving in next door, she knows that Roxy is out of her league for friend material.

Roxy surprises her and over the summer they become as close as any two friends can be. Roxy introduces her love of running to Eva and before long Eva is no longer overweight but full of energy and happiness. Her happiness has nothing to do with her body but everything to do with Roxy. Their friendship is a delight to read about. Eva’s change is heartwarming and as I read it felt like Getting Thin was shaping up to be a good YA read. Yup, sure. Until the darkness falls. Until Roxy is brutalized and murdered. Until Eva’s world is torn apart by Roxy’s death and she starts seeing glimpses of Roxy, who in spite of the lovely girl she was when she was alive, is a frightening and evil vision. Even to her best friend who still loves her.

Eva vows to avenge Roxy’s death. In time she realizes who the killers are and is convinced Roxy wants her to make them all suffer a death as horrific as Roxy’s was.

Followed and hounded by a police Detective, haunted by an evil and twisted version of her best friend, Eva is losing her grip on sanity. Eva is becoming an avenging angel and her targets are catching on.

Here is the book summary:

When Roxy was alive, she was the perfect friend. When Roxy was alive, she was the girl everyone wanted to know. When Roxy was alive, she was the girl everyone fell in love with. The trouble is, Roxy isn’t alive anymore and now she is looking for payback. Even if it means destroying her best friend in the process. This is a tale of Eva, one girl haunted by something more than just her best friend’s tortured spirit. Her sanity is Getting Thin and she is starting to become the one person she never wanted to be. For Eva, Roxy is the key to finding herself and sometimes discovering who you really are isn’t a good thing.

This is not a YA. This is not a spooky ghost story. There is no gentle, otherworldly-atmosphere of restless ghosts who can’t find peace and pass over. Instead, this story is gritty. It is hard. It is heart-breaking and frightening and it causes you to pass in to the mind of vengeance and become hopelessly taken for a ride that can’t possibly end well.

I freaken’ loved this book! This type of story, one in which can surprise and shock me, is why I read so much. The storytelling is brilliant! Kaiya Hart smoothly escorts her readers willingly in to hell on earth and smiles politely as we thank her profusely.

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Ghost story, Horror, Look at this!

 

Prophet Shorn by Thomas Keir

Prophet ShornProphet Shorn by Thomas Kier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Prophet Shorn took me by surprise. When I started reading it, all I knew was it was a Horror novel. I didn’t have access to the book summary at the time I began and decided to skip reading it. I looked back on the summary when I had finished Prophet Shorn and I still would have been shocked by the actual story.

Let me start by saying that the book is well written. I was pulled into the story from the start and had to finish it. I have to be honest, I didn’t want to finish it. I saw where it was going and really wanted to put it down, but I could not.

Here is the book summary: Straddling the line between horror and paranormal thriller, Prophet Shorn details the last few days for a town started by a powerful and charismatic mayor and leader of his people. But the town has dark secrets and Edgar Shorn has even darker ones.

Jo Rondel and her daughter Candy arrive in town in a car that will go no farther. Jo is convinced this is where her hope of a better life has been leading her, but things which at first seem slightly strange quickly escalate into a terrifying trap that no one gets out of alive. Jo falls under the hypnotic spell of the mayor and Prophet, and Candy finds that her only hope lies in Elijah, the mild-mannered and seemingly Alzheimer’s-bound librarian.

As the people fall victim, one by one, to their leader’s depravities, Jo realizes she will never see the larger world again. Edgar Shorn’s evil secrets force her into accepting her fate, but though her forgotten past finally catches up with her, she never stops trying to save her daughter. Candy is learning in just a few days what it means to grow up hard and fast.

The final showdown between Shorn and Elijah, protecting Candy, proves that good is stronger in this world, but there is a price to be paid. Candy’s life is changed forever, and the future doesn’t look bright for a four-year-old who didn’t ask for any of this.

When Jo and her 4 year old daughter end up in Terra’s Hope you realize right away that something isn’t right with the place. The mechanics checking out Jo’s car seem nervous and clueless. The waitress at the empty diner can’t make change and the cook doesn’t know how to make a hamburger. It doesn’t help that there aren’t any hamburger patties, or any other food in the kitchen to begin with.

Jo and Candy remain unaware of the problems the townspeople are having with ordinary tasks and Jo is becoming increasingly frustrated and angry, until Mayor Shorn shows up to welcome the towns visitors. Mayor Shorn is handsome and compelling. He radiates good will and competence as the towns protector. He expounds the virtues of an eco-friendly town to Jo and hints that this is the place she has been looking for to raise Candy.

While resistant at first, Jo falls under the spell of Shorn in record time and when he invites her and Candy to the ‘town meeting’ later that evening, she accepts.

The town meeting turns out to be a sort of worship service geared toward protecting the planet, at least that is what Prophet Shorn leads the town to believe. Maybe persuades is a better word because Shorn has powers and one of those powers allow him to see into the minds of people and to control them.

Candy doesn’t like Prophet/Mayor Shorn. She can see his lips move but cannot hear anything he is saying and she is scared of him. Prophet Shorn doesn’t like Candy either, he can’t see her mind but he dismisses her just like he dismisses the crazy librarian. The librarian isn’t who he seem either.

Things progress quickly. The town meets every night and eats dinner from the bounty Prophet Shorn provides. A lot of people seem to be getting sick but nothing is said. Shorn gains control of Jo’s mind, convincing her she is in love with him and married to him. Then he eventually brutalizes her in every way possible.

The town librarian takes Candy under his wing and tells her she is very important and God will use her to fight the evil Shorn has brought in to the world. He teaches her the Bible and about God and how she must be strong.

My thoughts on the story are this; Candy is only four and it was very hard for me to swallow her role in the story. The scenes of brutality and evil are intense most especially compared to the scenes where the librarian talks about God’s love and deliverance. I have read Christian Fiction and even though I see no evidence that Prophet Shorn is a Christian Fiction novel, it was disturbingly close enough to make me feel uncomfortable when I read the dark scenes. These feelings are, of course, entirely my opinion only and I cannot discredit the book in any way but felt it important enough to put in a word of caution to those who may feel the way I do about the Christian faith portrayed in horror. Having said that, I must say that Thomas Kier exercised the upmost respect for the Christian faith and it’s basic beliefs.

All in all this Horror novel was entirely diabolical. It creeped me out and that is saying a lot. Horror fans will not be disappointed and may be a bit surprised to see exactly how far Prophet Shorn will go to torture mankind.

BTW: I have to give kudos for the cover art. Very, very appropriately spooky!

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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Horror

 

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