They Kill – Book Review – Flame Tree Press

Flame Tree Press are really putting out some great reads. They Kill from Tim Waggoner is a crazy trip through the inner workings of the psyche.

I’m always afraid of saying too much and giving the story away, so I think for this particular book I won’t say anything more than READ IT! It’s a lunatic ride… Tim Waggoner really takes his readers on a journey through madness. The underbelly of civilised society, it’s a dark perspective of our deepest desires, that which we hide and tuck away in a corner never to be seen. We see ‘regular’ people turning to their reverse selfs, doing the things they never would think then would or they could.

This is a gore filled tale, very graphic but I never felt once that it was out of place.

It’s a fun read, one that will hook you in and keep you guessing.

Check it out here:

They Kill (Fiction Without Frontiers) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1787582566/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_LvacDbECCNSSS

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House of Skin – Jonathan Janz

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I’m quite annoyed at myself that I couldn’t get into ‘House of Skin’ as much as I would have like. I have become quite the fan of Janz’s work lately, but sadly this isn’t one of my favorites.

I like the premise: Nephew inherits estranged dead uncles creepy estate. Town tarnishes nephew with the same brush as his not so nice uncle. Murder and ghostly goings-on ensue.

It has a really good start to with the despicable Ted Brand getting his comeuppance after the cheating philanderer messes with the wrong women.

I think, well for me, I believe this it where it went wrong. I was loving the Ted Brand/Julia arc, but I was a lot more interested in that than in the Paul Carver arc, who of course is our main character. I couldn’t really attach myself to the character of Paul the way I like in a book. For me to really, and I mean REALLY enjoy a story, I need to be 100% behind the characters. Without this I have a habit of losing interest rather quickly.

This is by no means a shot at the story or the author himself. I firmly believe Janz is a wonderful story teller, and this story is not completely terrible. It just wasn’t for me is all.

I am looking forward to my next Janz read, ‘Nightmare Girl’.

The Bledbrooke Works

The Bledbrooke Works

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John F. Leonard

5/5

A new story from the Scaeth Mythos, The Bledbrooke Works does not disappoint.

I love reading these stories, John F. Leonard has a talent for subtle horror yet disturbing all the same. The Bledbrooke Works I feel is one of the subtlest yet. I was engaged with the two characters from the onset. Donald Hobdike, a cranky older gentleman who resents youth, yet at the same time he resents getting old. He is tasked with wayward youth Michael Bassey, ‘Mikey B’, who is sent to Hobdike to work of his debt to society.

Hobdike takes Mikey down under Bledbrooke, into the sewage system to search for what could be a ‘fatberg’ – A fatberg is a congealed mass in a sewer system formed by the combination of non-biodegradable solid matter, such as wet wipes, and congealed grease or cooking fat. –Thank you Wikipedia for that definition. As they work their way through the darkness and stench of the towns waste Mikey begins to get nervous. He thinks he feels something touch him in the water. He sees shadows and movement. Things that cannot be real, that cannot exist. Hobdike tells him it’s just the darkness; being so far below the surface can have an effect on people – A plausible explanation. Mixed with being soaking wet after a tumble into the sewage, and too hot from the unnatural humidity down there, Mikey could almost accept that he was just being paranoid, almost.

The truth of the matter is far worse. It’s no fatberg at the end of the tunnel.

This book goes from ‘normal’ to creepy in one giant monster leap. The twist, the payoff, I have to admit I had no idea. The best way of course is when you are taken completely by surprise. The Bledbrooke Works reeled me in good. Hooking me from the start with believable characters, a musty old sewage works and some dark and smelly tunnels (and of course my favourite, a mention of rats).

It is such a simple yet effective setting, old factories and ageing buildings are ready-made for horror stories. They have unlimited potential, as John shows in his writing, with an atmosphere of suspense and horror built into them from their creation.

The sights, sounds and smells were all but palpable. John really has a knack for descriptiveness. You can almost envision yourself there, walking though the ripe narrow passages behind Hobdike and Mikey, as well as suffering the claustrophobia and paranoia that Mikey feels.

I felt there were undertones of the harsh realities of ageing within the story. Hobdike, not the young whippersnapper he used to be, being somewhat resentful of Mikey’s youth. He recognises himself in Mikey, something I feel we all do as we get older, we see the younger generation making the same mistakes as we did, yet we still hold contempt and criticise in what becomes an infinite loop. He isn’t ready to grow old and retire. He doesn’t want to die. Who does of course? But some things are meant to be. The symmetry between young Mikey and old Hobdike at the end I feel validated my thoughts on this with a somewhat ‘passing the torch’ moment.

“Michael Bassey, a blundering boy, crippled by circumstance. Packed with potential and denied opportunity. A horrible reality for the vast majority of the underprivileged in the modern era. This vicious circle that kept the underclass confined to poverty. Wedged and forever stuck at the bottom of the pile.”

The Bledbrooke Works is yet another fantastic story from The Scaeth Mythos. John F. Leonard just keeps coming back with all things subtle and scary; I swear they get better and better.

5/5

Ghost Mine – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Many thanks first of all to Flame Tree Press for the copy of Ghost Mine by Hunter Shea. This is part of the Flame Tree Press May releases.

Ghost Mine is a cowboy/gold rush/Djinn mash up which does work really well for the most part.

Teddy Roosevelt wants the gold from the mining town of Hecla, the problem… well Hecla seems to swallow men whole. He decides his man from the Rough Rider days, Nat, now an NYC cop is the man for the job and sends him in to see what exactly is going on there. Taking is long time friend and fellow adopted Rough Rider, Teta, with him they head out to the unknown.

My favourite thing about this book is Teta, he is a fantastic character. You can feel his sassy energy bouncing of the page and his little digs and quips really worked for me. I hate to say that Nat on the other hand, felt a little, robotic (if thats the right term). For me this let the book down a bit. It’s a great story, and the Wild West setting is wonderful – I love a good western. Sadly the majority of the characters just took the shine off. Selma too, I found her quite irksome for the most part.

The story itself is rather good, opening in Hecla with the naughty kid Billy killing rats in the mines. It seems that something down there did not want to be disturbed and it definitely made itself known. I enjoyed the subtlety of the opening chapter, setting the story up whilst being very tight-lipped about the while ‘what’s down there’.

Ghost Mine is definitely worth a read. As always it’s a very subjective matter. Yes, I couldn’t quite get there with it, but all the same it’s a well set up plot, and Teta who I’ve already gushed over is great!!

Released May 30th 2019 from Flame Tree Press

Ghost Mine (Fiction Without Frontiers) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1787582078/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_gWs2CbE6KQ2GQ

Some light reading….

Thank you to The Bold Mom for this one.., Master of Pain is a very very violent BDSM filled tale based on the true story of America’s first online serial killer.

I’m about 10% in and god yes it tough going. It’s very graphic. I do like it though…. let’s see if I can make it too the end shall we.

Violet Eyes – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

Violet Eyes

John Everson

This is the book to read if you want to be completely freaked out and lose some sleep. It is horrifying.

I don’t particularly care for spiders anyways, along with wood chippers they are my biggest fear, but the levels ‘Violet Eyes’ took my phobia too was way above and beyond.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads: “

Their bites are more than deadly…
The small town near the Everglades was supposed to offer Rachel and her son a fresh start. Instead it offered the start of a nightmare, when an unknown breed of flies migrated through the area, leaving painful bites in their wake. The media warned people to stay inside until the swarm passed. But the flies didn’t leave. And then the radios and TVs went silent. That’s when the spiders came. Spiders that could spin a deadly web large enough to engulf an entire house overnight. Spiders that left stripped bones behind as they multiplied. Spiders that, like the flies, sought hungrily for tender flesh…through Violet Eyes.”

Rachel and her son Eric have moved out to the Everglades for a fresh start. Rachel is moving on from Eric’s father, Anders, and trying to re-build her life, and a life for her son out in the small town of Passanattee. Rachel endures the usual difficulties involved with juggling work and parenthood. She then meets Terry, a man who she could happily bring into her sons life without worry.

It’s what has followed her neighbor Billy, a student whom she meets living across the street from her, home from his terrifying trip to Sheila Key. A swarm of deadly flies, and the spiders that will literally eat you alive.

This is truly terrifying read, I was incredibly itchy during and after with all the descriptive imagery of the murderous spiders and the swarms of flies. I really am not a fan of our eight-legged friends (sorry spiders, it’s me not you). The author has done a wonderful job, I feel, of making this story into two things. One being a great creature feature. It has it all, scary flies and spiders swarming, web covered houses, people being eaten alive, and even spiders popping out of eyeballs – as well as other places (let’s just say if I was male, I would be wincing). The second, it’s a story of family, of new beginnings, of love and of walking away from a bad situation. It really is a wonderful read.

“The best things in life were usually killed by ignorance, ambivalence, age, wisdom and sometimes, outright malevolence. Whatever the reasons, the things you loved most always seemed to die long before you were ready to let them go.”

Chapter 32 ‘Violet Eyes’ by John Everson

If you are subscriber to Kindle Unlimited then you download and read a copy here for free:

Violet Eyes is a book worth your time. It’s terrifying, creepy, nightmare educing, all the things the horror fan could wish for.

4/5

Lesley-Ann

The Dark Game – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

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The Dark Game

Jonathan Janz

What can I say, the five star reviews just keep coming where Jonathan Janz is concerned.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

“Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation.”

I am ever developing a deep love for the style of Janz’s writing. I adore his characters, they are as always, full of depth and horrific delights. His stories are inventive and unique, and he has a wonderful penchant for all things gory.

The Dark Game did not disappoint.

Ten writers of varying ability are taken to the secluded home estate of Roderick Wells, the worlds most famous author. They are promised a great lesson in writing, with the winner taking home not only a healthy pot, but they will also receive the book deal of a lifetime. Of course, things are not always as they seem. What they have fallen prey to is a twisted game, a brutal fight for survival. And in true horror fashion, there are some particularly gruesome ends.

Janz does an impeccable job of creating so many full characters in this novel. They all have their darkness; each character has their own sin to bare. Each character is well thought out and written so flawlessly that you can almost touch them. The back story of the individuals, the sins, they are woven in throughout the novel, intertwining in a perfect harmony with the events occurring at Roderick’s estate.

One of my favorite parts:

“Well’s entered with his wife. Lucy stared at the man, stunned at the change in his appearance. She supposed it was a matter of simple grooming: he’d shaven and the hair around his ears had been trimmed. Yet there was something more at work, something subtler yet more profound. His eyes shone with a vitality that hadn’t been there the first night. The deep grooves in his forehead were less pronounced.”

 

This is a very intense and immersive read. Thank you so much to Flame Tree Press, and to Jonathan Janz for a copy to read.

Highly recommended – this one you won’t want to put down.

5/5

Lesley-Ann

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