GET READY FOR HAUNTED NIGHTS

HAUNTED NIGHTS: A Horror Writers Association Anthology
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton
To Be Released October 3, 2017
A Blumhouse/Anchor Books Original
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

I don’t know about you, but I find life a bit more bearable when I have something to look forward to. Especially when that thing is going to be terrifying! I don’t want a teddy bear or a hug. No, what I want is to have my warped brain pushed even farther out of the normal zone! Does this sound like you as well? Well good! Because we’ve got just what you’re looking for!

Haunted Nights is coming to bend your mind and terrify you with stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, murderous urban legends, vengeful ghosts, and parties gone very, very wrong. Here are sixteen brand-new, fresh-from-the-grave stories that are going to rock your world! This anthology will be available on October 3rd in celebration of all things Halloween and its cousins, Devil’s Night, All Souls’ Day, and Dia de los Muertos aka Day of The Dead. Who better to edit and collect these tales than award-winning editor Ellen Datlow and one of the world’s leading Halloween experts, Lisa Morton? Combined with a stellar cast of HWA writers, this witches’ brew practically guarantees bad dreams. You might wake up on the floor curled into the fetal position and whimpering, or you might laugh out loud. Either way, it’s going to be one Hell of a ride!

With so much talent in one place, it is hard to pick which stories to preview for you wonderful people, but here’s what I came up with.  For amazingly intricate detail that I could see in my head, Eric J. Guignard’s story, A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds,just blew my mind! This tale of love, magic, and possible redemption is beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. A young man carves the wrong name into his sugar skull, contacting an entity named Saint instead of his dead friend Santi, and gets some much-needed schooling about standing strong and following your heart. It is important to do the right thing on the Day of The Dead!

For a different taste of Horror, S.P. Miskowski’s story We’re Never Inviting Amber Againstarts on an entertaining note. The man of the house is sick and tired of his wife’s sister because she always ruins every get-together, romantic moment, and just has crazy misadventures. He’s also sick of her because she’s his ex. That’s a little creepy in itself, but Drew is a self-righteous dude who claims that everything was Amber’s fault. Even when it turns out that he’s an uncaring jerk who can’t even honor Amber’s simple request that he and his wife keep the backyard lit by jack-o’-lanterns. He dismisses her request as silly – until he finds himself staring up at a giant with a werewolf mask stuck on its head in his backyard. The party goes down the toilet, as everyone does a mass exodus and blames Drew for all the shenanigans, not Amber. Even after seeing the truth, he won’t admit it.

Paul Kane’s chilling tale The Turn takes us on a baffling journey of twists and turns. There is something following people on Halloween night and making them turn and look. Once they look, the rules say that it’s okay for the evil thing to kill them. The thing rationalizes this by saying that he is helping people over to the other side. On this same night, there is another man also following the rules. These rules are required to protect oneself from evil spirits and things that may do him in. Unlike the roaming killer, this man is confined to his home by the rules. To step outdoors could be lethal! But they meet when the man is forced to run to the hospital because his Gran is dying. The thing catches up and makes the man turn and see him for who he really is. Then he kills the man, which turns out to be a boon for the dead man. But not for the killer, because something is coming up behind him and what happens next is not going to be good.

To round things out, how about a nice story about an old baker man who knows how to make things just like, A Small Taste of the Old Country? What could be scary about that? Don’t you worry, Jonathan Maberry will have you spellbound with his delicious tale of culinary revenge! No natives of Argentina in the year 1948 should be so familiar with old school German cooking as to be able to call it by name, unless they’re not telling the truth. Josef Becker finds such men and lets them identify themselves by offering them his wares. It just so happens to be All Souls Week, which for Herr Becker is a very important time because all of his family members are dead thanks to the evils of war. During the week, the souls are encouraged to visit and share the world of the living. But what about those who are still living? The people that caused so many deaths? Perhaps the souls of the dead would like a visit with them as well?

My best recommendation to find out the specifics of these and twelve other fine stories, is to make sure to be at your local bookseller on October 3rd! Or, if you don’t wish to take chances, pre-order Haunted Nights today! This is a crazy awesome anthology that, honestly, I’m kind of in love with. Get it! You will enjoy it!

 

About Brian J. Lewis

Big Thank You John W. Dennehy!

 

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I got a special package in the mail this week from author John W. Dennehy! I was fortunate enough to review John’s first novel, CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE which is an awesome Steampunk Thriller that I highly recommend! This week I was honored to receive a brand new copy of his latest novel, PACIFIC RISING which I cannot wait to dig my teeth into. That is great itself, but what’s REALLY GREAT is when a person you respect for many reasons takes time out of their busy life to write you an actual handwritten thank you note! Wow! That means a LOT. Not only that, but he signed my copy of PACIFIC RISING! 

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This could not have come at a better time for me. I’ve had a tough couple of weeks dealing with my disabilities and some other boogery stuff, when HEY! This really cool thing happens! Just goes to show you that there is always something to look forward to in life and cool people who care enough to reach out and encourage you! Thanks for making my week, John! YOU ROCK!

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TOUGH GUYS REVIEW

TOUGH GUYS
Adrian Cole
June 17, 2016
Parallel Universe Publications
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Do you like adventure stories with a supernatural twist? Then Tough Guys by Adrian Cole might be exactly what you’re after. Cole gives us four stories to enjoy in this volume that show us four very different types of tough guy.

“Wait For The Ricochet” is in a style that reminds me of pulp magazines featuring heroes like The Shadow from the 1930s. Not that the prose itself is dated, but because things happen on so grand a scale in a place where you know right away who the bad guys are. The hero is Nick Stone and the bad guy is one Lucien de Sangreville – a powerful dude who messes with Black Magic and is pretty good at what he does. There is a far-from-helpless female and other iconic good guys who all want to keep de Sangreville from raising the Devil – literally. There’s secret passages, codes, foolish rich folks…It is the stuff that legends are made of! Especially because the ending of this tale is more like, “Until next time…”

Taking a completely opposite direction for the next story “If You Don’t Eat Your Meat,” our tough guy is an incestuous cannibal. Ryan is about as different from Nick Stone as a person could imagine, but so are the times. The world is staggering along in a post-apocalyptic funk and food is rare, as is money. People are either stranded way out in the country and fighting for their lives, or crammed into cities with no money or street smarts. While there are some who are “helping out” the poor, they are also helping themselves. Ryan fights the system the only way he knows how and then eats his opponent. He encourages others to do likewise. It is meat! Is it not?

“A Smell Of Burning” takes us on yet another leg, and we find ourselves in a hospital with a man who has been horribly burned until he is nearly dead. Artificial everything keeps him alive. He eats and excretes through tubes, breathes with assistance…Life is not any too good. Yet, there is something interesting going on. The man is able to leave his body and move about the hospital he’s stuck in. Not only that, but he can hear the thoughts of many of the victims of a horrible fire they’ve all been through. While that is somewhat interesting, what really grabs our tough guy is that he thinks that he is tuning into the fire-bug’s brain. Turns out that the bad guy is in the hospital with the rest of them, but nobody knows that yet. Being immobile and barely able to speak without effort, our hero wonders what he should do. He finally decides to risk visiting the killer’s room in his invisible spirit form so that he will at least be able to point the man out to police when he is in better health. It is a struggle, but he makes it to the killer’s room and finds out something that he’d rather not know…

I am going to be honest regarding the fourth story in this collection, “Not If You Want To Live.” I couldn’t get a grip on it. That doesn’t mean the story isn’t good; it just wasn’t for me and I think that my attempt to interpret this one might be more of a muddying of the waters. I can tell you that it was a complex futuristic world and that the tough guy, Razorjack, is working against his will. After that, I got lost trying to understand everything. Since Adrian Cole has been writing since the 70s, I’m quite sure he knows what he’s doing! I would encourage you to try this collection if only for the first story alone, which I enjoyed immensely!

Buy Little One today!

Little One is available for purchase right now!

Timothy G. Huguenin

Little One is officially released! The trade paperback is $11.95, and the Kindle version is $2.99$0.99 for this week!

If you are a Kindle user, you should take advantage of this price, as it won’t last long. If you have an ereader that only uses ePub, email me and I’ll help you out.

3d-book-white Click here to get LITTLE ONE on Amazon today!

Don’t forget to leave me a review when you’re finished! You should also subscribe to my email list!

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Dark Cities is Awesome!

DARK CITIES – All New Tales Of Urban Terror
Edited by Christopher Golden
Titan Books
Released May 16, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Dark Cities is an excellent collection of 20 brand new short stories of urban terror that’s just been released by Titan Books! Great roster of writers including Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, Cherie Priest, Jonathan Maberry, Paul Tremblay, and Scott Sigler! The legendary Christopher Golden edits and also contributes his short story The Revelers to these 400 pages of greatness.

I really like this collection because everything feels so real and absolutely possible. While terror spans a wide style of approaches, including giant monsters or extremely freak events, these stories hit us where we live. Let’s face it, most cities at night are creepy places with lots of known threats such as muggers, drive-by shootings, sex traffickers, and dark alleys, just to name a few. Sure, the police do the best they can, but we can’t always rely on them to save us. Especially when it comes to the ancient supernatural forces that don’t always look threatening at first glance. They find it easy to hide in the vast populations of cities and under the cover of darkness might even pass as glamorous.

Such is the case in Christopher Golden’s The Revelers in which the main characters attend a huge after hours party in NYC seeking fun and excitement. At first, things are rowdy, sexy, and fun. But soon that morphs into concern and then terror on the narrator’s part when he keeps going into rooms that are way too large for the average city brownstone. Not only that, even the sky looks wrong when he finds a window. Where the hell are they, and why are there people in zoot suits mingling with young hipsters? How come the amount of drugs and alcohol never flags? While Tim is not entirely sure what this place and who the occupants really are, he knows that he and his friends need to get out of there. But it’s not that easy.

While we’re puzzling over strange apartments, let’s check out the one in Dear Diary by Scott Sigler. Sometimes you just find “your” place in the big city. In fact, it seems like maybe a particular place has been waiting just for you. Such is the case for a young man who moves into a place to be closer to his married girlfriend. The results are far from expected. The human romance fizzles as Robert becomes more and more infatuated with his very vintage apartment. He even begins to read and participate in a strange diary that has been left behind by previous tenants, all of whom disappeared one day and were never heard from again. Eventually Robert never leaves his apartment at all, preferring to spend his days wandering around it naked. Until one day, when he literally becomes part of the place. Is it possible for an apartment to be carnivorous?

Kasey and Joe R. Lansdale knock it out of the park with their piece, Dark Hill Run. A fella by the name of Johnny goes to see a psychotherapist because he wants to quit smoking. Little does he know that the pleasant and quirky doctor he goes to is about to dredge up a horrible memory that Johnny has kept hidden in his head. Johnny stops smoking all right, but sleep becomes a nightmare! As a side effect of being hypnotized, his brain has brought forth the miserable school bully who made Johnny into the great runner he is today. That’s bad, but what’s worse is that every time Johnny sleeps, his tormentor becomes stronger and more real. His doctor attempts to help him, but even though he means well, he can’t do much. Eventually, Johnny has to rely on the thing he’s always done. He runs like the Devil himself were after him. But he’s exhausted and his strength falters…Just as it looks like “game over” for Johnny, he gets some help from the bakery delivery truck driver who nearly runs him over every day. Very good punchline at the end! Some personal demons are not so bad when compared to what “cures” can bring out. Bravo!

That’s just a small sampling of the 20 excellent stories you’ll be enjoying when you pick up a copy of Dark Cities from Titan Books. I highly recommend this title! Remember, these are all brand-new stories from popular modern Horror writers in a strikingly handsome book that you will enjoy dipping into for years to come. Just one warning from Tim Lebbon’s In Stone, be careful of examining your city too closely. The city may notice you, and that’s not a good thing.