“DEVOURING DARK is an urban horror novel about a man plagued
since childhood by a malevolent darkness that threatens to consume him. After a
lifetime spent wrestling for control over this onslaught, Matt McLeod has
learned to wield his mysterious paranormal skill to achieve an odious goal:
retribution as a supernatural vigilante.
When one such hit goes bad, McLeod finds himself ensnared in
a multi-tentacled criminal enterprise caught between a corrupt cop and a brutal
mobster. His only promise of salvation may be a bewitching woman who shares his
dark talent but has murderous designs of her own.”
To start, I
would like to thank Grey Matter Press for a copy of Devouring Dark to read in
exchange for an honest review.
enjoyed this book. It’s a wonderful mix of horror, the supernatural and some
crime drama. Three things I enjoy.
Matt McLeod, he
is a great character. He has this crazy ability to literally devour people with
darkness, as the title says. The book gets into the action straight away with
Matt devouring a paedophile in an alleyway. Unfortunately, in this wondrous age
of digital devices, he is caught on camera by a criminal, who decides his
abilities should be put to good use for a criminal organisation as an assassin.
Of course Matt isn’t exactly sold on this idea.
has similar powers to Matt. They both thought they were alone with their
abilities. When their paths finally cross they end up in the fight of their
lives, finding out just the true extend of their powers.
of both Amy and Matt are solid. They are wonderfully written; they come across so
well throughout the book. This is the second work I have read of Alan Baxter, I
love his work. He writes brilliant multi-layered characters that you can
develop a real relationship with. He has a real talent and I am looking forward
to reading more from him.
is a brilliant noir supernatural horror mash which will have you hooked from
the start and all the way through. I loved it.
“This book is a short selection of 20 years of
writing of the Croatian “Queen of the Horror” as she’s called back
home. It contains short stories of horror and SF/horror theme.
IT’S HARD TO BE A VAMPIRE – A humorous story about a girl who
wants to become a vampire, but cannot because she’s too fat
GALLERY OF HORRORS – An unsuccessful young painter will go a
bit too far in sacrifice for his art when he starts sacrificing his models
THE PAINTING STRIKES BACK – A sequel of the Gallery
of Horrors, telling us the story about what happened with one of the
remaining paintings, many years after painter died
DO THE VAMPIRES DREAM OF SLAUGHTERED SHEEP? – A story about a
vampire hunter who falls in love with the vampire
NARCISSUS – A story about a girl who kills a man because she
is in love with herself and does not accept the competition
QUIETLY THEY RISE FROM THE FOG – A story about a man whose
wife and daughter have disappeared and he decides to follow them into the
BEHIND THE DOOR – SF story of an attack on a fort where you
never know what lies behind a door, aggressor or victim
THE INVISIBLE INK – A story told from the perspective of
a sister of missing writer who still keeps all her handwritten pages
THAT BLOODY USELESS BLOODLESS BODY! – Horror author
will meet his big fan who turns out not to be human”
This is nice quick read, a
short collection of stories centralized around vampires and the supernatural.
It’s a fun read, it’s not very thrilling, and there isn’t much in the way of
horror within the stories.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the first story, ‘It’s Hard to be a Vampire’, I felt it was a touch insensitive with the ‘fat-shaming’ that was apparent. A vampire doesn’t want a fat girl. So she goes on a diet to become sexy. It sends, even in humor, it sends a bad message to the reader, especially teenage readers. I felt that it was in very poor taste.
That being said, some of the other stories are not too bad. The final tale, ‘That Bloody Useless Bloodless Body’ is quite entertaining. A horror writer, who isn’t very big on people, accidentally meets and lets in, one of his biggest fans. It’s bit trite, but still has a certain edge to it.
Not all the stories are vampire
related. I felt that the title and the cover of the book lead us to believe that
they are all about vampires was a bit misleading, but that’s only a small
Overall, it has its good
points. Some of it is really well written, some not so much. Would I recommend it?
Yes, but only if you are not really in the mood to think about what you are
reading, and you have an hour or so to kill.
Wolfhaven – ground zero – none in this town will
survive the wrath of the pack. The first slaughter sparks the beginning of the
end for humanity as the Wolfhaven pack descends upon the unsuspecting townsfolk
to exact revenge for the killing of one of our own – Pharo, the mother of the
pack, once feared and respected by our kind throughout the region, is no
Claude’s plan is bold yet carefully thought out;
to spread from Wolfhaven, town by town, village by village, city by city; to
rid the world of the human plague and put an end to the desecration of this
wondrous planet. It all begins here.
As the ranks swell, the surrounding packs
forming alliances and consolidating, select humans spared annihilation to be
turned and assimilated as the moon casts her influence. Will our beloved
Alpha’s grand plan come to fruition? Or, will pettiness, arrogance, and
territorial pissing end this war before it begins?
I am Shona, first daughter of Pharo, and here my
I really loved this novella, it was
an intense and inspiring read, an exquisitely beautiful and savage tale centred
I was pulled into the story from
the outset. The townsfolk of Wolfhaven have killed the pack mother, Pharo, and
the pack has planned their glorious revenge. The Wolfhaven pack, led by Claude,
has come up with an astoundingly vicious plan. They are going to decimate the town
of Wolfhaven, killing most of the human infestation, and turning the stronger
among them, those with potential, to
increase their numbers. They also plan to form alliances with neighbouring
packs and to continue this killing spree and recruitment drive through other
towns. One town at a time, they plan to take the planet for themselves, ridding
it of the human scourge.
This is a very visceral descriptive
story, from the POV of Shona. She has lost her mother, ripped away from her in
a savage way. This is her story; this is Shona’s journey of revenge and to some
extent, her coming of age.
“Agitation sets into my bones. Soon, we will be
in human skin once again, which I never look forward to. I long for that day…
when Claude’s plan comes to fruition and we never have to hide our true form
The writing, the imagery, the sheer
feeling that is evoked when reading this, this is what led me to rating this
five stars. It is a journey for both Shona and the reader. There is a delicate
intensity about Wolvz: Whispers of War. It is savage, yet beautiful. It is
haunting, the purity of the rage from the pack. The writing is outstanding,
really getting inside the head of the reader.
I would highly recommend this
novella to anyone and everyone. It’s not a long read, this is very good lunch
break or bedtime material. If werewolf stories aren’t normally your thing, you
won’t lose too much of your day reading it. I think if you give it a go though,
you will be more than impressed.
always walked there. Now they’re not alone…
In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released.
Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their
visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales
of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who
is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in
the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?
The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The
Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.”
I knew I was going to adore this book before I read it, I
just had that feeling. I was right. This was my first time reading Catherine
Cavendish and not my last. This book hit all the right notes for me. I have so
many happy memories of Edinburgh, including Old Town, Royal Mile, and of
course, the infamous ghost walks through the old closes of the city.
Hannah has started her new job as a tour guide at one of
Edinburgh’s famous closes. Henderson Close. She has left her old life, and
moved up to Edinburgh for a fresh start. This is her ideal job, she loves drama
and acting, and this is just perfect for her. The idea of these ghost tours is
to gently scare the customers, while also giving them a peek into the dark
history of Edinburgh’s Old Town. What Hannah didn’t expect of course, was to
come face to face with actual ghosts, and an evil that has been following her
for her entire life.
Catherine Cavendish does an amazing job within this book of
giving you the feeling of being there, in Edinburgh’s Old Town, surrounded by
the stench, the claustrophobic closeness of the buildings, the noise and the
nervous uncertainty. She takes us on a journey though time, and into the midst
of a murder mystery. Just who was Miss Carmichael’s killer?
This is what Hannah, George and Mairead must find out. A once
sealed evil has now been released into their world. Their only way to stop it,
find the killer, the one who got away, before it’s too late.
Everything about this book spoke to me. The characters are very real, with their distinct personalities shining through the pages, giving them life. The setting, the atmosphere of Edinburgh past and present is tangible. You can almost smell the manure, the human waste. You can hear the whinnying of the horses, the clatter of people. She brings Henderson Close to life.
Having been on a couple of the walking ghost tours while in
Edinburgh last year, this was like going on a third. It was exactly like I was
there again, gripping onto Andy as we stumbled through the closes, being
treated to jump scares from our tour guides and nervously wondering if a ghost
was actually there, watching me. I love how real it felt, Hannah and her co
workers getting into character. Taking on the roles of people from the past,
engaging the customers and taking them on a fun history tour with a few good
scares thrown in for good measure.
The mix in the story between the late 1800’s and the present
day was perfect. There was no confusion, I never once felt like I was getting
lost with the story. The pace and flow are spot on. I particularly enjoyed the
time-slips, Hannah and Mairead appearing to slip back into Henderson Close’s
past. It was very exciting to read and the ending, my god, the ending was
unexpected. I loved it.
If you have read Catherine Cavendish before, then I need say
no more, you are of course going to be reading this book. If you have not, like
me, then all I can say is that you are missing out greatly. This is a wonderful
story, beautifully written, with real characters and a perfect setting. Plenty
of scares and creepiness included. This is definitely going in my re-read pile.
I loved it.
“CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve won a role
on LET’S SWITCH HOUSES! Your life is going to change. We promise. Your dreams
will come true. Everything you’ve ever wanted, we have it. This is a chance of
a lifetime. Come inside. Switch with us.
Angela and Terry return home after several grueling months of filming the
popular television show, LET’S SWITCH HOUSES!, only to find their residence in
ruin. Sure, the décor and framed photographs are the same; the color of the
walls hasn’t changed; the furniture sits unmoved. But something is off. Their
quiet New Jersey home feels tainted. Angela can sense it. Crawling inside her.
Infecting her mind. Poisoning her thoughts.
Then the nightmares begin. Awful, lucid visions that cause her to question her
own reality. What happened at 44 Trenton Road while she was gone? Just what did
she do, that bizarre woman who claims she can communicate with the beyond? Who
is she exactly? Angela aims to find out, but the further she investigates, the
deeper into madness she descends. How far will she travel before she loses the
trail of clues? Or worse—before she loses her mind.
THE SWITCH HOUSE is a short novel for fans of supernatural thrillers with a
I wasn’t too sure what too make of this one at first, I found the
premise interesting, a reality TV show called ‘Let’s Switch Houses’. I am happy
to say that I stuck with it and rather enjoyed it.
Angela and Terry have had some problems, a terrible tragedy has
driven a wedge between them and they hope that the distraction of the reality
show that they have been signed up for will help them move on with their lives.
After it’s over and they finally return home, things seem to be better, they
seem to be getting back to their marriage. Sadly though, it doesn’t last long.
Angela is having bad dreams, hallucinations, nightmarish visions that are disturbing
her life, making her question her own sanity. She doesn’t know who she can
trust, even her husband Terry is at question. She heads out to investigate
these visions, determined to find the answers. She is desperate to know if what
she hopes to be true might be or if she really is just losing her last grip on
reality. Angela was most definitely not expecting what she found.
Let’s Switch Houses is an imaginative delve into the blackness of tragedy,
enveloping the reader in the harrowing life of a married couple who have lost their
only child. It’s a sad vision of the developing madness within as the couple
just cannot come to terms with their loss, and it’s an insight in to the lengths
that we will go to in convincing ourselves of what we want to be true.
This is a great short story, both moving in places and frightening
in others. The characters are both interesting and engaging, with great pacing
throughout so we are not learning the gritty details too quick.
“He is close. So close now. He Feels it. He feels everything”
Thank you to Grey Matter Press for this copy of Little Black Spots, a short story collection from John F. D. Taff.
The Immolation Scene is up first. This is a very intense story of loneliness and helplessness, emphasizing just how far people are willing to go to feel, to feel anything.
Corey is besotted with Amy, his ex and also his colleague. They engaged in a 6 month passionate affair before Amy abruptly ended it, claiming love wasn’t enough.
Both Corey and Amy have a special, yet dangerous, ability. They can ‘burn’; they both have the ability of spontaneous combustion. They can ignite their flesh, sometimes without realizing. Neither knew of the others ability, until a chance meeting when they cross paths during work. Amy is clearly more comfortable with their ability than Corey, he can’t bear the pain, the burnt flesh, the scars it leaves. The smell of the burning flesh is overwhelming. It’s too much to see, to deal with and to cope with, Amy wants them to be together completely, to burn bright as one, but he cannot commit to that, breaking Amy’s heart.
“How far are you willing to go this time”
“How much are you willing to feel”
Corey returns to his mundane existence, ‘numb’ from losing Amy again. He is lonely, the emptiness eating away at him.
I loved this opening to Little Black Spots, it’s a perfect story examining the human condition and how we are afraid of what we don’t totally understand. We are willing to sacrifice our own happiness, willing to miss out on what could be a pivotal life changing moment, because of fear, fear of the unknown and our innate resistance to change.
I’m looking forward to the next story very much after this one, ‘The Bunny Suit’.
Little Black Spots – https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9781940658841&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20
“We have never been alone. Humanity has always had small glimpses into other worlds since the beginning of time, but in the 1600’s a catastrophe tore the veil off, and Earth has never been the same since. Humankind has had centuries now to adapt to a life where the creatures from our many cultural myths and legends are very real. Alive. Living in the same apartment complexes with us. It’s taken a while but everyone has managed to come to terms with it. Well, almost everyone…
Rumor has spread of an ancient, magical weapon resurfacing in the black market. A weapon blessed by an organization of zealots who call themselves The Pillars and owned by their prophet and hero Sir Asmir, a Knight of their order. Lost to time it was all but forgotten until one day a mysterious treasure pops up in a museum. Suddenly they are not the only ones interested.
A mysterious woman appears wherever the relic goes, and when it reaches the Dark Fey city of Arrana, tragedy strikes. Every day another woman goes missing. Baffled, police are struggling to catch a killer, reaching out to anyone who could help. When their best mages fail to make progress it seems once again, it’s time to call on the city’s resident expert on all things dark and evil.”
I can’t say I enjoyed this, I really didn’t. I wanted too, it looked to have so much promise, even the cover looked amazing, I though I was going to be in for a wild ride of a story. I thought wrong. I love all things supernatural, paranormal, fantasy, all that, I feel I had my expectations set far too high with this one.
I had my issues with it from the start. I hated the what seemed to be over bearing, over controlling lead character, Zelena. She seemed more like a psychotic stalker than a woman with a crush. The relationship between Cyrene and Zelena was what really put me off I think. It was very, how can I put this, unpleasant to read. Zelena constantly turning up where she knew Cyrene was going to be, the way she she was always so cocky about Cyrene ‘wanting her’, it just was too creepy and controlling for me. This really put me off from the get-go and I fear that may have distorted my view of the book. I really couldn’t get into it properly, this relationship was far too much of an unpleasant distraction.
I gave up before the end, I just couldn’t read anymore as it was making me very irritated. I gave it a fair go, I took a long break from it, cam back to it with fresh eyes, but still, no. This book was not for me.
It felt that the Fey, the magical weapon, the mystery involving the missing women and all the other supernatural stuff was just the filler. The author seemed far more interested in this very unhealthy relationship than anything else. It should be marketed as a dodgy romance rather than a supernatural fantasy novel.
Anyways, yes, I hated it, but everything is subjective and I know there are those out there that love it. My hatred of this book is my own and does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of anyone else.
Thanks for reading,
If you are interested, you find it via Amazon (UK) here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lividum-Apothecary-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07FNMYMXX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541953256&sr=8-1&keywords=merciella+heartstorm
Bad Pennies: A Supernatural Horror Novel (The Scaeth Mythos #1)
John F. Leonard
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
“DARK FORCES SWIM BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE WORLD…
THEY CHANGE THEIR SHAPE BUT NEVER GO AWAY…
THEY FIND A WAY THROUGH…THEY ONLY NEED A TINY GAP
Chris Carlisle is about to experience an everyday horror. A morning that starts out bad is going to get infinitely worse. It’s gonna go to hell.
Wrong place at the wrong time and life takes a wrong turn.
But even the blackest clouds have silver linings. He’s going to get a little slice of luck to balance out the horror.
Just goes to show, bad often comes bundled with good.
Sometimes, they bleed into each other until you can’t tell them apart.
That’s where the strangeness begins, when the miraculous starts to rub shoulders with the mundane and monstrous.
It is only the beginning…
Chris has stepped onto a long road that leads to a hideous and horrifying destination. Dark and dangerous stops are dotted along the way. The pavement is crumbling and craziness shining through the cracks.
Enough for him to question his sanity and come to the conclusion that madness may be the easiest way out.
Sometimes need and greed get mixed into a deadly and deceptive cocktail.
He’s going to discover that dark and dreadful things lurk within spitting distance of the ordinary and routine.
That there are levels of horror and layers of knowledge which defy any rational explanation.
Impossible creatures crawl along the shady seams of the world.
Monsters wait in the shadows.
The walls of reality are thinner than we know. In places, they’ve been hollowed to a hazy veil that struggles to hold back the horror of what lies on the other side.
Chris is going to get a glimpse of an eternal darkness.
Become acquainted with a supernatural hunger that has endured aeons and echoes down the ages.
HE’S GOING TO ENCOUNTER THE SCAETH. A CREATURE THAT IS OLDER THAN TIME AND TWICE AS MERCILESS.
Chris thought life was grim. He has no idea.
He thought he was hard up. He doesn’t know what debt is.
They say that money is the root of all evil. They also say that the bad penny always turns up. That’s so true. Those crappy coins have a nasty habit of coming back.
BAD PENNIES is the first book of the SCAETH MYTHOS, a terrifying vision of horror that will haunt your dreams.”
The first thing that really grabbed my attention with this book was Chris Carlisle. A guy, just trying to make it through life, struggling the same way we all do. Mundane job, living payday to payday, debating with himself over the now regular winter ‘heating or eating’ dilemma. This is a great story, a supernatural horror story encompassing not only the horrors of the supernatural world, but also the horrors of our own everyday existence. I felt his internal struggle, his guilt, and his overwhelming need. He needed the money, he knew he was wrong, but it was going to help him more than the dead guy wasn’t it? Or so he thought. I really loved the undertones about our general money worries, and the depths we can be driven to in desperation. For me personally, it felt like John F. Leonard was getting right into the nitty gritty of our materialistic society. The rich get richer and the poor get squashed. Our ‘need’ as it were, for the things we don’t really need, take over our senses and cause us to do things completely out of character, ruining our lives and those of our loved ones. Those of us who are desperate enough can be completely blinded by obsession and greed. To me, this was a story examining just how far one is willing to go, and how much is one prepared to turn a blind eye to, just to get on in this mundane existence we have created for ourselves.
A particular quote I loved “I might have no time for Fleecebook and Twitter-Tattle, Snapshat or Instawhatever, but it loves them like naughty sons. The more noise the better as long it keeps a few real truths quiet.”
I felt this partly summed it up, our materialistic obsession. We love sharing so much with friends via social media. We lose ourselves in the moment, rather than enjoying what is in front of us right now, we sacrifice it for a few likes and retweets. We are missing so much. I am as guilty as the rest for this. There is a pressure here too, the ‘keeping up with the Jones’’, the need to acquire things just to show we have them. We don’t like the idea of people knowing we are struggling, we don’t always ask for help when we should. It’s like this ‘shame’ has been bred into us. There is no shame in needing help. To me anyways, it felt like this was one of the points of the books. Speak to people, ask for help if you need it. Don’t leave it so the ‘help’ seeks you out. Evil is attracted to the most vulnerable among us.
My favourite character has to be Ronald Hodge. My god that guy is a creep. I felt like I needed a shower each time he was in a chapter. He is one horrendously bad man, in every possible way. I absolutely loved the development of his story. The way it just kept getting worse and worse (in a very good way), he is awful. Reading about Steph in his house gave me chills. It was so bad yet so good. I really don’t want to say too much on Ronald as I don’t want to totally ruin it for people. This is must read, for this character if nothing else.
Bad Pennies is brilliantly thought out and written, it flows so easily from one chapter to the next. The switch up in characters is obvious without being confusing. The fluidity of the story and realness of all the characters made this a truly horrifying pleasure to read.
I am very much excited to delve deeper into The Scaeth Mythos, it’s fascinating. The other realm, the manipulations of our reality and the descriptions of the, do I call them familiars? I’m not sure. King Ratty was a definite favourite. When he became spider-rat, oh god, I was itching all over. I hate spiders! I really can’t wait to read the next instalment.
Anyway, that is more than enough from me raving about how much I loved this book.
Go buy it, go on, you can get it right here on Amazon (UK):
“A SUPERNATURAL CRIME THRILLER FROM THE AWARD-WINNING MASTER OF DARK FANTASY
Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, and in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed, the duo find themselves in a struggle for survival when they unravel a mystery that pits them against the most dangerous forces in their lives.
A contemporary southern gothic thriller with frightening supernatural overtones, Alan Baxter’s Manifest Recall explores the tragic life of a hitman who finds himself on the wrong side of his criminal syndicate. Baxter’s adrenaline-fueled approach to storytelling draws readers into Eli Carver’s downward spiral of psychosis and through the darkest realms of lost memories, human guilt and the insurmountable quest for personal redemption.”
Manifest Recall, The Sopranos meets Sons of Anarchy, and gets all kind of twisted. This is a great read, a brilliant novella from Alan Baxter. May I just say a huge thank you to the author and to Grey Matter Press for sending me a copy of Manifest Recall in exchange for a review.
Eli Carver is having the worst day of his life. Who is he? What has he done? What or who is he running from? And who is the girl tied up in his trunk? He has no memory. He knows that something bad has happened to him, he just doesn’t know how bad. To make matters worse, he has the ghosts of the dead talking to him, mocking him, tormenting him. What has he gotten himself into? And how is he going to get himself out of this?
This is one of those books. You know the ones, the ones you cannot physically put down after you start them. You just have to keep going, keep turning the pages to see what comes next. The desire to put all the pieces together, to figure out what is happening right now and what happened before, it’s too strong. Before you know it you have finished the entire book and you just don’t know what to do with the rest of your day. This is one of those books.
I really don’t want to say too much about it, I don’t want to give too much away. This is a must-read, it’s a real edge-of-seat job, a proper page turner.
The writing style is excellent, the first person prose, it does its job of dragging you deep into the story. There is a brilliant claustrophobic element here; you are sucked in so deep you need to finish the story to climb back out again.
It’s excellent. Very stylish and very fast paced. Thrilling.