Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Control by Matt Shaw

This is the story of a group of 12 people who go into a Big Brother style house as part of a brand new televisual experiment. From the beginning it is clear that this will be no ordinary 'confinement' experience. From the first Elimination however, things go decidedly downhill..

There are many Big Brother type stories on the market, but no one has done it quite like Matt. The question posed here is 'How far would a human being go, if pushed to their utter limits.' I was grabbed from the beginning and pulled along at breakneck pace until the final twist at the end. The characters all felt real, and I could identify with them and their horror at the situation they found themselves in. Another blinder by Matt. His genius just never lets up!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Factory Town by Jon Bassoff

This is the story of Russell Carver, he is looking for his daughter Alana, who has gone missing. He ends up in Factory Town, a cesspool of mayhem and depravity, acting on a lead that she may be there. Once he arrives however, things get really strange.

This was a surreal, mad rush from beginning to end. Each of the characters was depraved in some way and that made the story creepy as well as trippy! I enjoyed this once I got into it, but it's not for everyone as it uses Jon's unique style of writing - speech with no speech marks. This alone can take some getting used to! The story itself is a surreal journey with nothing really making sense until the very end. We start off with a man shooting himself and no! I'm not going to spoil it for you, that you are going to have to find out for yourselves!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Elderwood Manor by Christopher Fulbright & Angeline Hawkes

This is the story of Bruce and Cody. Bruce has lost his wife, and is down on his luck. When summoned to visit his old house by his mother he sets off immediately, thinking she will help them out of their hole. His beat up old car just makes it to the outskirts of the grounds of the house and they have to walk the final part. Freezing cold, they enter the house in the hopes of warming up - that's when the real horror starts, however....

I love a haunted house story and this one gripped me from the first page. This is the first book I have read by this team of authors, and they grabbed me with the sense of dread and menace that oozed from every page. The horror started when Bruce arrived at the Manor, and didn't really let up until the end. The pace was relentless and the story flew along - I couldn't put it down. This is totally for fans of haunted house horrors that focus more on suggestion than out and out gore.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ceremony of Flies by Kate Jonez

This is the story of Kitty, a waitress in a casino. In a rash moment after an argument with her boss, she quits and rips off her headdress and shoves it at him. Fearing she has killed him, she teams up with a man she met in the bar, Rex. They set off for Mexico, killing a few people along the way, and picking up a child and his dog. Knowing she has to change as she is responsible for the child now, Kitty tries to calm down but all the while they are seemingly running from something much larger...

This was an interesting concept, told through the eyes of Kitty, or Emily as is her real name. I can't say too much or I shall give the game away but there are little clues popped into the story at different places. I enjoyed reading this, but not as much as some I have read from DarkFuse. The pace was good, keeping me glued to the page, and the characters all suitably damaged. All in all, it was an ok read but not a great one.

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Last Infection by Michael W. Garza

This is the story of Jake and Alicen. They are alone in the world after their parents sacrificed themselves to a zombie horde so they could get away. They are running from 'The Infected' a new strain of zombie that isn't quite dead but has a bloodlust all the same. They need to get to Catalina, where their Aunt and Uncle are, and where they believe they will be safe. On the way they bump into Chris, an ex-junkie, who has only ever cared for himself, and Jenn who has lost her family and is on the way to Vegas to try and find her parents. The four of them team up and make their way across country, meeting up with others at times, always trying to keep one step ahead of the relentless chase of The Infected.

I really enjoyed this. It was nice to see a different slant on the zombie genre. The idea that people are 'infected' and have an insatiable bloodlust and show intelligence, until they die and THEN become traditional zombies is new and refreshing. The pace was relentless and I read the whole book within a couple of sittings. I loved the characters and identified with them totally and was there every step of the way with them on their treacherous journey. Some scenes were quite scary, and I found myself looking behind me a couple of times... The ending was great and seemed to leave it open for a sequel, so I shall keep an eye for that. Now I have to read the prequel! This is the first of Michael's books that I have read, and will certainly be on the look out for more.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Tortured by Matt Shaw

This is the story of Dee and Ryan, and their two children Claire and Jen. Falling on hard times, they find themselves having to move to a new house. Making friends with the people next door, they learn there is a serial killer on the loose, torturing and dismembering his victims. When Ryan's work colleague goes missing things come to a head, and Mike, their neighbour, suggests they break into their other neighbour because he seems a bit weird. It is a decision Ryan will come to regret for the rest of his life...

This one is another of Matt's extreme novels. Starting each chapter with thoughts from the serial killer, this explores the idea of who is a bigger monster, the torturer or the vigilante bent on destroying him. As usual the pace belted along, making me quite unable to put it down. Some parts were definitely not for the faint hearted or squeamish, and I found myself cringing in parts. The characters were solid, and once again there was a nice unexpected twist at the end. I also like the fact that Matt has taken a leaf out of Stephen King's book and planted 'Easter Eggs' throughout the story. Nice to bump into characters from other stories.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Seed by Matt Shaw

This is the story of Mark and Becky. Becky has grown distant over the last couple of weeks and Mark, fearing the worst confronts her about it. Nothing could have prepared him for the awful truth however, and now they must find a way to get on with their lives in the aftermath of what has happened.

This is a typical Matt Shaw extreme horror. There were some horrific moments, but it wasn't out and out in your face gory. It was also a psychological horror. A sort of 'what would you do if....' type of scenario. It was all the more chilling as it was based on the sort of thing that could happen to any couple. The characters were real and it was nice to see Detective Andrews from Art in the thick of things again. The pace belted along and once again I found myself quite unable to put the book down. The twist at the end was unexpected and rounded things off nicely. More please Matt!