HARDENED HEARTS Is Here To Change Your Concept of Love FOREVER!

Hardened Hearts cover shot

Hardened Hearts
Edited by Eddie Generous
Unnerving Publications
December 3, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Hello friendly readers! It’s almost Valentine’s Day and you know what that means. It’s time to celebrate love. For many of us that also means it’s time to spend a shit ton of cash on our significant other. The majority of advertisements feature young men and women giving candy, flowers, and cell phones to each other as tokens of their undying love. Awww! Sunny skies, birds twittering in the trees…It’s just so…so…INCORRECT!

Move over syrupy garbage! It’s time for Hardened Hearts! From Eddie Generous and company at Unnerving Publications comes a whole new approach to love. Quick Note: If you are an ultra- conservative individual who only believes there is one kind of love in the world, please run away screaming now. This is NOT the book for you! Hardened Hearts celebrates and depicts ALL kinds of relationships. While there are a wide variety of human couplings, there are also monster-human, living-dead, and a highly memorable woman-arachnid combo. Yeah, in Sarah L. Johnson’s story Meeting The Parents, the hot boyfriend just happens to be a giant spider. Grab some smelling salts, for the folks!

What about relationships that can alter time, or where a person can live in multiple worlds if they are given special talismans and portals? Glad you asked! You’ll want to check out Theresa Braun’s story Heirloom, it’s quite the trip. I want to tell you about it, but it’s complicated. By that, I mean impossible to explain. What you see in the beginning is not what you get at the end at all. Let’s just say, that not all of those cool headed, perfect professional women are ice cubes. Especially not when they have access to another, almost Hell-like world via an antique mirror inherited from their mother. Intrigued? You should be. However, to find out more you’ll need to grab a copy of Hardened Hearts.

The collection is also crammed full of short shockers, such as Consumed by Madhvi Ramani.  Is there a connection between lawnmowers and love? It may not make you hot under the collar, but the narrator begins the story as a man who loves lawnmowers and everything they stand for with a deep passion. I mean this dude is practically getting off as he drives his lawnmower around! Then, something changes his desire for suburban perfection. The grass is greener elsewhere and he’ll do whatever’s required to make that change.

You might think for just a minute that you’re done with creepy clown stories, but we’re not. That twisted symbol of merriment and circus entertainment is just painted up to hide all the darkness inside. In The Pink Balloon by Tom Deady, most of the characters say that the clown wasn’t even there! But we know better, and so does Grace’s miserable Dad. He didn’t take her to the carnival and pays the ultimate price for his mistake. Why does it always seem like the worst things happen when nobody is watching? Take the boring blah of a cubicle-filled office in The Recluse by John Boden. At first, we look upon the scene with pity. Some nerdy computer geek is unable to get the nerve up to say hello to a pretty girl in office. Awww! Poor little dude! C’mon bud, you can do this! Finally, he steps up to her and…WHOA! What the hell was THAT?

I hope that I’ve made your heart beat a little faster, maybe even excited you to the point where…You just have to get a copy of Hardened Hearts!  It can be enjoyed by yourself or with others. That choice is up to you. Buy chocolates, buy roses, buy a bottle of cheap wine, but don’t forget the book! Recommended.

Widow’s Point By Richard and Billy Chizmar TBR February 28th! Check Out This non-spoiler preview!

Widow's Point cover shot

Widow’s Point
Richard & Billy Chizmar
Cemetery Dance Publications
TBR February 28, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

When you are invited to review a book that’s already been reviewed by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Kealan Patrick Burke, it gives you pause. Obviously if these people like the book and have given it the stamp of approval, what am I doing here? Is there really anything I can add to their expert opinions? The answer is yes. What I’m adding is the “person on the street” review for everyone who waits on tables or fixes cars for a living and wants to know if this book is worth their hard earned cash. Regular Joes and Janes, this review is for YOU! Ready to read? Okay! Buckle up and let’s roll.

If you don’t make time this year to read Widow’s Point by Richard and Billy Chizmar this year, you are doing yourself a severe disservice. Yep, this book is really that good! Anyone who digs speculative fiction is going to love this book. As will anyone who enjoys a story well told. Widow’s Point is perfectly paced and the tension just keeps building until you are as frightened as the narrator is. For the writer-readers among us, we all know how difficult that is to do. But the Chizmars make it happen and man, are we glad they did! I was hooked by the end of the first page and unable to stop reading until the horrible end, which isn’t an absolute final conclusion. Widow’s Point ends in a way that leaves room for continuation of adventures and mishaps should the authors wish it. Especially given the elasticity of time that seems to exist in the dark world of the Widow’s Point Lighthouse.

The story begins at 6:09 p.m. on Friday July 11, 2017 in the small town of Harper’s Cove, located on the northernmost point of Nova Scotia-Where supernatural nonfiction writer Thomas Livingston has arranged to have Mr. Ronald Parker, the current owner of the Widow’s Point Lighthouse, open its door after 30 years. Then Livingston is locked inside the spooky old joint with just the bare necessities until 8 a.m. Monday morning. Besides the essentials, he also brings a video camera, audio recorder, pens, and notebooks to document his stay. Livingston’s plan is to write another bestseller by combining his experience at the lighthouse with its murky history. He is also hoping to edit his footage of Widow’s Point into a movie. But the video feed on the camera stops working the minute he crosses the threshold of the lighthouse, turning him into a narrator instead.

Something is very wrong with the Widow’s Point Lighthouse. The locals say that it is cursed, haunted, and contains dangerously dark powers that are not human. History shows that the problems started right from the day its construction started, until 1988 when it was shuttered forever and surrounded by a tall security fence for the safety of the village. Not only is the Widow’s Point lighthouse a beacon of evil, but the grounds surrounding it are contaminated too. At least two dozen deaths, disappearances, and grisly murders have happened there. Everything from movie stars committing suicide, to satanic rituals and the disappearance of two little girls. We’re talking major bad mojo, folks!  Initially, Livingston feels himself immune to the forces within the lighthouse and spends his first night in a rather celebratory mood, but it doesn’t take long for it to get under his skin. First, it’s just little things. His flashlight goes missing, his food and water go stale and he finds a terrifying journal written by Delaney Collins about all the activities before her murder. By then, the lighthouse gets to work on Livingston and before long, his sanity is crumbling. Since he can’t get away or run for help, Livingston becomes overwhelmed. In desperation, he tries to escape. But there is no way out for him.

A friend of mine asked if I liked Widow’s Point. Do kids like chocolate milk? Do old men like smoking evil smelling cigars? Do dogs like fire hydrants? Hell yeah! I love this seriously boss book! It is very modern, yet ancient and all the pieces fit together flawlessly. Without reservation, I encourage you to buy a copy of Widow’s Point! This is a book you will probably read once a year for the rest of your life. It offers that perfect combination of homey comfort and chilling thrills. Soon to be released on February 28th, so get ready to hit your favorite bookseller or pre-order a copy of Widow’s Point. It’ll be one of the best choices you make this year!