Friday, 12 June 2015

Tormentor by William Meikle

This is the story of Jim, he has recently lost his wife Beth so he decides to pack up and move to the wilds of Scotland. He moves into a house that is steeped in mystery and before long strange things begin to happen in the house. When he tries to find out what is going on, however, his enquiries are met with stony silence by many of the villagers. This only seems to deepen the mystery...

I love haunted house mysteries, and this was no exception. Willie took us on a tension filled ride, while Jim tried to come to terms with the loss of his wife, and the strange things going on in the house. The tension built up to fever pitch until the end when it all came together in a fantastic finish. The characters were great, Jim especially so, mourning the loss of his wife, drinking too much and just trying to get to the bottom of what was happening in his new house. The pace was relentless, and I found myself reading the story in two sittings. I love Willies work, and eagerly await his new releases, so far I haven't been disappointed!

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Hallow by Keith Deininger

This is the story of James. He lives with his best friend Vance and has a beautiful girlfriend, Allie. One day James sees a woman in the park, then she turns up at their house on their sofa. She gets up, and walks to James' bedroom, lays down and dies. Soon after, Allie takes him to a massive tree she calls The Hallow. From then on Vance stays in his room most of the time, making odd shuffling noises, and things around James start to get really odd....

This is another trippy, mind F@@k type story that this author is becoming famous for. I found myself thinking a lot about it for quite a while after I had finished it, and the more I thought about it, the more I understood what the author was trying to portray. The characters were ok, but I found it hard to care at all about Vance, he seemed so self-absorbed! The pace was cracking, I read this in two sittings. I think I will keep an eye out for more of this authors work, as I am enjoying his style more and more.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Within by Keith Deininger

This is the story of a town gone bad, the house at the centre of it all and four people who band together to try and stop the rot from spreading and to make things right again. For a long time the Upshaw Mansion has lain empty and abandoned, now a mysterious stranger has moved in and things are going rapidly wrong in Mesa Rapids. Could it have something to do with the painting the owner has commissioned?....

This is very much a trippy, blow your mind, is it real or not type of story, I have come to expect from this author. I will admit to being thoroughly confused in places, and now thinking on it again, I am not entirely sure what I was reading, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. The characters gelled well and the pace of the story kept me glued until the last page. Another fine novel from this author and DarkFuse.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

After Midnight by Allan Leverone

This is the follow-up to Mr Midnight. Cait Connelly is recovering from the events of  months ago when she confronted her psychopathic twin brother at her birth mothers house. A confrontation that left her with both mental and physical scars, and her brother Milo in a secure hospital paralysed from the neck down thanks to a bullet in the face from Cait. Now Milo has developed terrible psychic powers and once again Cait's life is in danger.

This was a great follow-up to Mr Midnight. We are plunged straight into the action, and the tension is ramped up from the beginning. The action centres around Milo's relentless urge to do away with his twin sister, and whilst reading I was totally pulled into the action, as if I was alongside the characters while they went through their trauma's. This was completely unputdownable and I recommend it.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Dunfield Terror by William Meikle

This is the story of Dunfield. A town that has a huge secret. During a huge snowstorm, an ancient evil returns. An evil that will try to take over the town with as much death and destruction as it can wreak. Frank is in charge of overseeing the town, and keeping everyone safe from the strange creeping fog. What he encounters in the fog will haunt him forever....

Told in three threads, two in flashback and then the present day - this is pure Willie at his best. A creeping fog and a Lovecraftian B-Movie type monster make for a fantastic story. Lots of suspense and gore and horror had me glued to every page. The slow unwind in the flashbacks revealed the secret, but it wasn't what I was expecting! I thought I knew where things were heading but in the last quarter Willie took me round a sharp corner and I threw away any ideas I thought I had! I totally recommend this one, with spades!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Oasis of the Damned by Greg F. Gifune

This is the story of Richter. She survives a helicopter crash in the middle of the Sahara. She finds herself at an old WW2 outpost. She is not alone however, she meets up with another crash survivor, Owens. He tells her that the outpost is built on an oasis, and they need to keep their wits about them once night falls. Soon she will find herself fighting for her very life.....

This started off quite slowly but once night began to fall, Greg's typically descriptive prose started to shine through and I was hooked on every word. With a principle cast of just two, the tension was ramped up to the max. About 3/4 of the way through I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and I thought I could see where the story was going. I wasn't disappointed! Another fine novella from Greg and once again from DarkFuse.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Facial by Jeff Strand

This is the story of Greg. He has hired a hitman to kill the man his wife is having an affair with. Now he has a dead body in his office. That's ok though, as Carlton, his brother, needs a fresh dead body to feed to the face in his basement floor....

Intrigued? I was, and found myself headlong into the funniest, goriest novella I have read in a long time. Its premise centres on the totally bizarre and for a moment things will not make sense. Stick with it though and you will not be disappointed. This start off and get progressively weirder from there! At some points I even laughed out loud, it was so funny. Jeff Strand has somewhat cornered the market in hilarious horror stories. I am SO glad he is part of the DarkFuse stable.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Doll Face by Tim Curran

This is the story of five friends who are on the way home from a night out. Deciding to take a shortcut, the find themselves in a town called Stokes. Only Stokes doesn't exist anymore as it was burned to the ground in 1960. Suddenly the find themselves in an epic struggle for their very lives with no way to get out of town....

This was a real head trip but an absorbing story all the same. It built up nicely, and then smacked me in the face with a wallop of an ending. There were a couple of niggles though, one or two character seemed one dimensional and I couldn't really 'gel' with them. That being said they were minor characters so it wasn't too much of a problem. The other niggle was the author's insistence on ramming the insanity down our throats. Every five minutes it seemed we were being told that a character was on the edge of their insanity. These niggles aside it was a great book, that raced along and kept me hooked on every page.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Shrill Keening by Ronald Malfi

This is the story of Carl Thompson. During the day he is locked up in a psychiatric hospital for the horrific murder of his girlfriend, which he has no memory of. At night though, he patrols a stretch of beach, without knowing why. Soon however the two realities begin to converge. What is real and what isn't and what is the secret of the lizards, the silver key and the secret code?

This was a great story. It consisted of many layers that converged together at the end. It was interesting trying to work out which reality was the real one. Carl's confusion came through the page and I felt compelled to follow his path as he tried to work out what was going on. This is a novella that makes you think and question everything you have read, and that kept me guessing til the end.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

In the Shadows of Children by Alan Ryker

This is the story of Aaron. He lost his brother in mysterious circumstances 15 years previously. Seven years later his father died and now his mother has passed away from an accidental fall down the stairs. For the first time since he left for college and his brother disappeared he needs to confront what is hiding in his bedroom cupboard. It will take all his courage as he struggles to regain his memories....

This was totally absorbing and very very creepy. Playing expertly on our fears of the boogeyman, this novella had me looking over my shoulder and checking my cupboards were shut before I went to sleep! The pace was relentless and I had finished it almost before I realised it. My only criticism is I wish it were a bit longer, that aside, a fantastic quick read for a scare jolt.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Lazarus Contagion by Jacob Rayne

This is the story of Mark. He lives in Taunton where nothing much happens at all. That is until one day when he finds himself trapped in a shopping mall with masked gunmen indiscriminately shooting people dead. Suddenly he finds himself in a race against time to escape before he is caught or becomes one of the zombie-like super strong people that have begun to appear in town.

This was a fantastic story. Scifi fused with horror and gore dripping on almost every page, and some parts of it were genuinely scary. With aliens and zombies and one gigantic cover up, it was racy, pacy and impossible to put down. The characters shone and stepped of the page at me. Once I got into the book, I had to find out what happened next. It was a long book, but the chapters were nice and short so my attention was grabbed and held. The ending was left wide open for a sequel, and I cant wait!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Masters of Blood and Bone by Craig Saunders

This is the story of Holland and Ank, father and daughter. Holland is an ex-detective who sees dead people, and Ank is seventeen, and, well, special! When Holland brings home a mysterious book, and Ank reads it and disappears, Holland will stop at nothing to get her back. Even if it sparks off a war between good and evil itself.

This was funny, horrific and confusing all at the same time. It read very much like a Terry Pratchett novel at times and I loved it for just that quirkiness. The pace was spot on and the characters shone off the page. Holland was just right in his eccentricities, and Ank was his stabling force, the relationship between them was fantastic. Fantasy horror is a relatively new one on me, but I'm glad I stepped in, because now I want more!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Surrogate by David Bernstein

This is the story of Tom and Rebecca. Rebecca is shot one day whilst out gardening and the resulting surgery reveals cancerous ovaries. Left unable to have children, she battles with depression until her therapist offers her a solution in the form of cloning. They are blessed with a daughter, and life seems rosy. Fast forward five years and we meet Jane. Pregnant and stuck in an abusive relationship, she kills her husband and is killed herself in a car accident. Jane, however has more in common with Tom and Rebecca than they will ever know...

This captivated me from the very beginning. It started with a bang and just kept on going, the pace rocketing along. About half way through however things took a horrific and menacing twist and things ramped up a notch. I literally couldn't take my eyes of the page and read the entire novella in two sittings. Despite the small cast, they kept the story going and I believed in them. Another fine release from both David and DarkFuse.

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Last Mile by Tim Waggoner

This is the story of Dan. He has been made a thrall in a post-apocalyptic world, destroyed by entities known as the Masters. His job is to procure sacrifices for his Master. Along the way he has to negotiate a long road fraught with many pitfalls, and predators. Can he make it to the Master before his latest sacrifice escapes, like the last one?

This was really good. I read it in one sitting and was utterly hooked. The action was just enough to keep me reading and I was rooting for Dan to make it. His sacrifice, Alice was feisty, without being over the top. The pace was spot on, and the characters were strong. There were a couple of heart stopping moments, when I was on the edge of my seat. The descriptions were amazing, Tim must have a very vivid imagination! Another fantastic release from DarkFuse, I hope this trend continues.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

It's Only Death by Lee Thompson

This is the story of Elmore, also known as James. When he was younger, he held up a bank and shot and killed his policeman father. He has been on the run for ten years when he gets an email from his sister saying his mother is dying from cancer. Despite the bad feeling towards him, he knows he needs to see his mum before she dies, and decides return to see her one last time. On arriving in town, he realises that he has MANY enemies, not least of which is his dad's ex-partner and best friend, Don, who is out for his blood. Can Elmore get everything sorted, and see his mother before Don catches up with him?

This was a slow burner, but once it got going I really enjoyed it. It was dark and gritty and utterly absorbing. The characters resonated with me and I felt for Elmore's plight. A couple of things didn't make sense, like how would his sister know where he was to email him if he was on the run, and if he was on the run would he come back anyway?? Once I had put those niggles aside however, the story unfolded nicely and I was taken in. A great story with a satisfying ending, but don't expect happy ever afters with this one!

Monday, 16 February 2015

SickER B*stards by Matt Shaw

This picks up exactly where Sick B*stards finished. Brother is back home and is having conflicting feelings about everything owing to his memories resurfacing. Eventually, after Father insists they leave to find other survivors, he tells the Family what really happened. This does not go down well, and Father storms off. Can Brother find a happy ending with his real family or is he destined to live the life he has been for the last few months.

This is typical of a Matt Shaw book, he has the ability to drop you in the middle of the action, make you feel about the characters and then whack you round the chops with a twister of an ending! This was full of gore, and sex and I loved it! If this sort of thing is not for you, then I advise you walk away now. If you DO like that sort of thing, and you like Matt Shaw's books in general then come in, you will not be disappointed!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Conduits by Jennifer Loring

This is the story of Mara. She is a Japanese American still haunted by the death of her sister. She cuts herself to bring release and was checked into a psychiatric hospital at the time. Now the death of her boyfriend has pushed her already fragile mind to its limit, and when she is unable to discern dreams from reality, her roommate decides to check her into hospital to get some help. Can she unravel the mystery before it's too late and she is committed again?

This was an eerie look into Maras soul. Jennifer's writing caught me from the beginning and I read most of the book in one sitting. The narrative flowed and was so beautifully descriptive I felt I was there. The interjection of Japanese folklore made the reading interesting and gave Mara a good background. I ached for her as she tried to find out what was real and what was not while still holding onto her sanity! This is definitely my favourite read of the year so far, well done Jennifer and DarkFuse!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Bloodeye by Craig Saunders

This is the story of Keane. He is called to what he thinks is a routine plumbing job, until he turns round and see a woman pinned to the wall. She has a third eye carved into her forehead, and it sends chills down his spine as he has seen the symbol once before, on his late wife's face after she was killed in suspicious circumstances. Suddenly Keane has a fight on his hands, a fight between good and evil, between light and dark.

This was a confusing book, but an enjoyable book. It flicked from past to present, and much of the story is set in the days leading up to Keane's wife's death. I found it difficult in places to keep the threads together but once I had everything straight I was zipping through. This is not a quick read, more a read that needs to be savoured and thought about. Once again DarkFuse has served up a blinder!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Blockbuster by Lisa von Biela

This is the story of two pharmaceutical companies, tasked by the President, to battle it out to find a cure for the next generation MRSA. Known as MRSA-II, it is the next superbug, resistant to all forms of medical intervention. One team finds a cure and all looks to be good, until the other team try and make another cure and things begin to get out of hand. Can they find a cure before the epidemic turns into a pandemic?

Set 10 years in the future, the story details the efforts made, and failed by the two companies to find a cure. This was another awesome read by Lisa. I was taken from the first page and swept along, only to come out hours later! The characters resonated with me, and the storyline was top notch. Lisa specialises in stories that give you that 'what if?' feeling when you have read them. I could totally see this happening, with the hospitals closing because of MRSA. This is another top class release from DarkFuse.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Travel Agent by Sean Sweeney

This is Jaclyn Johnson's (codename Snapshot) 6th outing. This time around she is taking a well earned rest with Tom and Tasha in Australia. Next thing she knows, she is being accused of trying to assassinate the Israeli PM who is in Australia for a conference. His bodyguard just happens to be their old friend from Mossad. Can Jaclyn find out who framed her, and put them down before anyone else dies, in a country with a 'no gun' law?

This was the usual no holds barred actionfest I have come to expect from Jaclyn. This time Tom and Jaclyn's relationship moved onto the next level and Tasha has a secret that may or may not please Jaclyn. The story built slowly with the action reserved for the last quarter or so of the book. The new characters were great, with the bad guy skating on the thin edge of sanity before totally losing his marbles in a spectacular way. There are also some moving moments, so have some tissues ready!