Blood Desert

Blood Desert

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

When we first met the wonderful and comedic personality of Penny Miller, one of the strongest main female characters ever to exist in my opinion, it was in a book series titled The Hungry– an intriguing take on the zombie apocalypse. I was thrilled and excited to see what lies ahead for Penny, so I sat anxiously waiting for something new in Penny’s world to come out… I guess you could say that Penny is like a book girlfriend to me; her badass-ness and take charge but no bull attitude makes me eager to see what she has to endure next. Finally, Steven Booth and Harry Shannon gave us what we’re looking for- only, this time we get to experience events that happened before the zombies broke out. I have to say that the times that I went through with Penny in action, the humor and numerous insults and phrase with the zombie apocalypse, I had to question what else she could face that would be on par or even worse than that. Booth and Shannon answered that very question with Blood Desert, a prequel of sorts to The Hungry.

In Blood Desert, we meet Penny Miller in the not too distant past before the zombies ever turned into their undead status and we get to see more of Terrill Lee, the conspiracy freak- or otherwise known as Penny’s ex-husband. It all starts with the theory of a rancher dying suspiciously and the town is introduced to two newcomers, Dorinda McMaster and Cheryl Smith. McMaster and Smith open up shop in Miller’s town, drawing new business from different kinds of places and with that, bringing a completely new type of crowd. With drugs, motorcycle gangs, and an annoying Mayor who is always on her back, Penny is forced to have to trust in her crazed, conspiracy nut ex who is convinced that the mysterious death of the rancher was only the first to transpire amidst the chaos that has come to town.  His theory is that the ruckus is coming from vampires but can she really believe Terrill lee on what is happening in Flat Rock- even if there’s proof? Will it be too late for the residents of Flat Rock (and Penny’s loved ones) to be able to fight the undead bloodsuckers off? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

If you haven’t read The Hungry, you should check it out as I think it gives you more that you need to know to understand a bit more of Penny and Terrill Lee’s relationship. This one digs a bit deeper, than in the first book for The Hungry– although I have yet to read the others in the series (there’s six altogether). What Booth and Shannon bring us in Blood Desert is a new fear in Flat Rock that you will be frightened to come across. Their take on the vampire genre is kind of like The Lost Boys, which excites me more than ever because I thought those type of vampires were long dead- excuse the pun- and forgotten. Booth and Shannon risked it and they did not disappoint with bringing a new type of monster raging around in Blood Desert.

I have to applaud Steven Booth and Harry Shannon yet again for another fascinating novel featuring the kick-ass Ms. Miller. They brought us the same quirky attitude, comedic scenes that we will never forget and the foul mouths that we’ve come to love. They also brought us the inner workings of a new- or would it be old since it’s in the past? – development that will be the next great series of what happened before the flesh eating zombies that we have already been introduced to. Booth and Shannon are a talented writing duo that is a force to be reckoned with, we are never aware of who wrote what, which is exactly how it should be. They made a beautiful and attractive novel that will get the eyes of many readers that will hopefully get those film directors and producers to make the Penny Miller novels into epic films because to see Penny on the big screen would be every guys wet dream come true. Booth and Shannon are masters of their craft as they keep us hooked by reeling us in and shocking us until the end as we suddenly dive off a cliff, waiting for the next installment.

You can pick up more information on where you can get Blood Desert at Genius Book Publishing.

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Nine Till Five

Nine Till Five

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

As human beings, we pride ourselves on being seen as strong- never appearing weak or broken as those are sides of us that are tucked away, hidden beneath the mask (so to speak). We often think about the unknown darkness that surrounds us without fully comprehending what actually lies within that dark. Shadows, dark figures, ghosts- they’re all the same really. Things that our minds are so desperate for a rational reasoning behind sometimes can’t be rationalized, they are images that cannot be explained. Dale Robertson gives us an insight into that unknown in his novella, Nine Till Five.

In Nine Till Five, we follow a man named Damien that works as a computer technician at his regular day job- from nine till five. Damien is fed up with many things and one of those just happen to be his job. He sees abnormal things happening at his place of employment- seeing shadows among other things- leading to proof as it shows with it’s mark on his flesh. It stirs the impossible through the eye of his fellow co-workers. Next, we are introduced to a pair of characters that would love to be the next top ghost hunters, filming their way there when they see similar stuff that Damien has been seeing. Curiosity gets the best of us until the truth unfolds. Do you dare to follow down the path of Damien and the others, to see what lies ahead? If you do, then pick up your copy today here.

This is the first of Dale Robertson’s work that I have read and it was a fun adventure. Though it may be short, the characters are strong; thrills lay in wait in the corners here and there. Robertson took the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ and used it very well, in my opinion; using the novella to produce a very dark and twisted phenomenon to haunt these people. He is very good at twists that makes you succumb to his book- wanting more from this tale. If there’s one thing I could wish for, it would be to have more details. I will be looking out for more by Mr. Robertson very soon.

Tip of the Iceberg

Tip of the Iceberg

Reviewed by Jetana Mutter

*This book was provided for an honest review

The Titanic is arguably one of- if not the– most famous luxury liner ships in history with a tragic ending for most of the passengers that were aboard the ship. Out of the 2,224 women, children and men, only 710 survived… and most of the survivors were first class passengers. The Titanic had the ability to carry 64 life boats which would have been enough at capacity per boat to carry almost four thousand people- more than the ships passenger capacity. White Star Line, the company who owned the most luxurious ship of the time, decided that a total of twenty would be enough… which equates to only about half of the people on board to survive. The Titanic hit an iceberg in the dead of night in the Atlantic Ocean after receiving multiple warnings and not listening. We all know how the story goes… or do we?

Tip of the Iceberg follows the story we all know so well, seeing the Titanic set out on her maiden voyage but with a little known secret that rages aboard the world’s best ocean liner. We start out with Patrick, one of our main characters, playing a card game the night before the ship is due to set sail. In his card game, he ends up winning over his opponent and finds himself the new owner of a tiny monkey, Pandora. Esme Jackson, another main character, dreams of being able to get away from her current life and start anew with her sister Charlotte. As a way to get to America, she accepts a chambermaid job aboard the Titanic hoping to do a good enough job to stay on with the liner to be able to provide her sister and herself their new lives that lie within an arm’s reach. Bridget Grafton, new wife of the socialite Captain William Grafton who is the sole heir of Grafton Steel Co., finds herself stuck aboard the ship while her husband rubs elbows with the who’s who of socialites in both Europe and America. Things are normal aboard until people start mysteriously dying faster than anyone can figure out what’s wrong. Are all of the souls aboard the Titanic doomed before the ship hits the iceberg… could that be the reason for not heeding the warnings of what lies in the Atlantic’s waters ahead of them? How are three strangers lives intertwined with each other? Things are getting deadly aboard the ship, but will there be any survivors… and what about the dead body that bizarrely disappears without a trace?

I’ve never had the pleasure to read any of Ash Hartwell’s work until now, but I wanted this bad boy- I mean, come on, it’s about the Titanic. I remember when the movie with Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio came out I went to see it three times in the theater… which is a lot for a ten-year-old. I knew at the time that the story in the movie was fake but it was based on an actual ship and I was hooked; that obsession faded some over time but not completely. Skip forward many years and enter in Hartwell’s Tip of the Iceberg with a huge twist to the story we think we know- something horrific is going on aboard this ship. There are multiple attacks happening and bodies start disappearing in the middle of the ocean; it’s pretty scary to think about because there’s nowhere for the bodies to go. Hartwell’s take on what happened on the maiden voyage is innovative and is sure to leave you with images that will haunt you, make your insides knot up and keep you wanting more right up until the end.

Psychological Breakdown

Psychological Breakdown

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

I have been wanting to read this book for a while; actually, ever since I read Puckered (which features Mr. Hughes and also Peter Oliver Wonder). It was incredible storytelling that made me wonder what else can come from these two demented minds; I wasn’t let down with this masterpiece by David Owain Hughes. Psychological Breakdown is a masterstroke because it is compiled of a collection of shorts that give you the insight into many different points of the breakdown process. A state of madness dwells within us, capable of reaching anyone at any time. A psychological breakdown. Perhaps the darkness takes over, ushering you to the brink of holding back the abuse or from wanting a taste of revenge. Maybe it’s a fascination of electronics that sends you into a tailspin. Then, there are the kinky needs of sexual desires. You start to wonder if maybe you are precariously balancing that line between ‘normal’ and utter chaos.

You may even wonder, as I did, if David himself was on the edge of tearing everyone to pieces while shouting ‘die, die, die’! When you start reading Psychological Breakdown, it will grab you by the soul while starting out in the wonderfully constructed world that Mr. Hughes has brought to the reader’s by letting you taste the apple in a twist of Adam and Eve. Further into the book, there is a twist of Jack and the Beanstalk in a short called Magic Beans; that one is in the top three of my favorites in this collection. My favorite short in Psychological Breakdown, by far, is Fillial Cannibalism with Caution: Slippery When Wet following in very closely. Both are set around vengeance and you do not know who- or what- is in the darkest pits of someone you royally stabbed in the back.

If you love the disturbing, grotesque, erotic and extreme, then David Owain Hughes is right for you. The start of the mayhem draws you in and never releases you until you reach the end. It will linger with you for a while- there is even a wonderful recipe that you will never forget. Some of what occurs inside will damage your mental state, it could turn into pleasure for some, or it can be very resourceful to others. There will be people who just thought it would be fun to read this book because it has serial killers, skulls and the word KILL all over it. Are you ready to feast your eyes on some pleasurable moments of blood splatter and enough death that would give the Angel of Death a massive hard on? Why are you still reading this review then? Go get a copy and start reading for yourself! I should warn you though it is quite descriptive.

David Owain Hughes, you are one of the best in the horror genre. I want to thank you for your work. Mr. Hughes plants you into the scene right from the first sentence and keeps you ensnared by your gut while you continue to build the relationships with the characters he provides. He will either shock, awe, twist your mind or make you laugh. Psychological Breakdown is the perfect book for anyone who wants a taste of Hughes writing style. You get twenty shorts- eleven of which have been in various anthologies- to experience the different situations Hughes sets for his characters. It was an absolute pleasure to read this and I will be waiting to see more from David in the future. If anyone calls themselves a horror-fanatic, avid extreme horror reader or loves books about death and blood and you are sitting there, staring at your shelves and see that you don’t own a book by David Owain Hughes, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

Postal

Postal

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Many people wait every month for all sorts of things- it could be that they’re waiting for the government to send them money on their overused EBT cards to buy junk food and other useless crap. It could be that they’re waiting to get a Social Security check to pay their bills and other necessities that are needed to maintain their lives. Maybe they, like you, are waiting patiently and nervously six days a week to check the mail; what might you get today? Did that check come from the insurance department? Did your last paycheck from the job you just left with no warning come in? I myself waited patiently for a book called Postal by Matt Shaw and J.R. Park. How ironic it was, waiting for this book to come in the mail when it is about many people waiting to receive a particular letter in their mailboxes. While many in the general population are waiting in line for the next ticket to hit the mega millions, these two authors created the ultimate lottery in the form of violence beyond anything I have ever come across before.

Imagine a world where you get a letter in the mail, waiting for days to see if you are a part of the elite. Thirteen lucky participants will receive a letter a month. The rules are simple: you can only kill one person and the ticket is not transferrable. There is a deadline though, so think quickly and relinquish that person from their mortal life. In the pages of Postal, you will experience anxiety, laughter and pure madness of a new world- think of Purging Day in The Purge. Only Postal is much better as it’s not everyone killing any and every person they can; it’s a limited time offer for only certain ones to obtain. I don’t want to give much away but I will say that Postal is smartly laid out in a different kind of world that Shaw and Park have presented to us. How would you kill someone if you happened to open your mailbox to find the golden letter? See how others choose to do it in the ultimate lottery ride inside this epic creation.

This is the first of Shaw’s and the second of Park’s work that I have had the absolute pleasure of reading. I’m not too sure who wrote what though as the story flows perfect and is connected beautifully together. The detailed writing and the character builds between these two is so creative in many ways but what made it unique and awesome to me was to see names of real people used in the story line. I will be pacing back and forth with anxiety to read more from Shaw and Park’s sick minds. To the many people wondering what you should read next, this is for you- a quick read that will make you think of all sorts of bad things. Oh good, the mail has just arrived. I wonder if I got that letter from the Department for the Postal Execution Center. I have been waiting for a year now and my patience is wearing off…

Upon Waking

Upon Waking

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

Throughout time, we have come to face our fears through the eyes of many legends: Wes Craven, Stephen King, and so many more that the list would probably be the length of the whole review. Fears that lock us down and shown in various ways; however, there is only one female villain that made us fear her the most, Annie in Misery by Stephen King. Not many people stretch the boundaries to bring a top notch performing female lead that is realistic enough to give the most terrifying character in the horror genre. I have to say that Upon Waking by J.R. Park is very imaginative, creative and is probably the only one who had topped Annie Wilkes- making her seem like a friendly guest compared to Cassie (Park’s ultimate character for Upon Waking).

At first, I had no clue what I was reading- I thought that it was people waking up from nightmares- but the more I read on, I began to understand the nightmare was actually happening between each character and Cassie. Cassie is not a lurking monster or some creature; she is what we fear most. The realism that Park provides us causes the pages tear outwards and come to life, making you turn them for more terror as it continues through many unsuspecting souls- deep in the realm of extreme horror. I have had many opportunities to read some creative and deep horror but J.R. imparts the best, tenfold, in this no holds barred read for fans of the extreme. No rules, just as the flesh will not cut itself. Join the best and truly terrifying Cassie as she unlocks the door to bring you into the madness from the mind of J.R. Park.

This was my first read from this particular legend in the horror world. Having said that, I am excited that this was my first as it showed me firsthand what he is truly capable of; it actually made me feel comfortable as a writer and not just a reviewer. Upon Waking fascinated me in a way that I haven’t been since first discovering Clive Barker. Park deserves to be in the highest ranks as he petrified us with the gory descriptions that gives a slap of a twist and folds the end comfortably for a second read. This will not be the only book I read from him, I will read until my shelves are full of books that have J.R. Park on the spine.

Sparks: An Electric Anthology

Sparks

Reviewed by Demetrius Svette

*This book was provided for an honest review

This anthology was put together to help raise money for a very helpful cause, and it’s something that is close to the hearts of many. It intrigued me to see that 100% of the profits of all sales of this anthology go to help with resources for Autism. Though this book was made with absolutely no profits for the authors themselves in mind, the collection of short stories inside are not compromised (meaning that the authors didn’t gyp anyone on the quality of the stories). The pages are filled with some of the craziest, wildest and most detailed stories that I have read inside of an anthology. Some were funny, some were shocking and some can be scary- depending on the person reading it. Each turn of the page, it felt like my hands were being shocked and the pulse of the lightning strikes were filling my eyes. I commend Cash and Dehaney for bringing a great group of authors together for an awesome cause.

Sparks is compiled of fifteen authors that take you on an epic journey through horror, sci-fi, fantasy and the bizarre. There is a little something for everyone. I did not know what to expect when I first started reading Sparks. An incredible experience that started with death and ended with more, this book features Pippa Bailey (hers was one of my favorite stories), David Court, Mark Cassel, Ash Hartwell and many more; including the editors, Matthew Cash and Em Dehaney. Throughout history, we have thought about electric shock and thought Tesla and Ben Franklin mostly but never a book- until now. Do you dare to open Sparks and be shocked or even taken over by the electricity that flows inside? I implore you please do, as you will feel every pulse of the electric rod go through your body.

Are you ready for the horrific tales that lay inside? Are you ready to cut your phone off after you finish with this collection? Remember to check your attics and basements; be sure to cut off all the lights, go-ahead and turn off all your electrical products while you’re at it. Better yet, just rip the cords out of the wall… you will thank me later. From the start, with a short that is not kind and gets straight to the point, you will welcome all the stories inside that do not shy away from horrific and deathly tales of electricity. Just remember that you have been warned and if you follow my directions, you will be safe. Only read this when you are alone and in the daylight with clear skies around. The risks are greater if you read during a storm when you decide to read this. I extend a round of terrifying applause to Burdizzo Books for giving us one of the best anthologies of the year.