DOUBLE BARREL HORROR VOL. 3 FROM PINT BOTTLE PRESS IS HERE TO BLOW YOUR SHUT-IN BLUES AWAY!

DBH 3 cover shot

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 3
Edited by Matthew Weber
Pint Bottle Press
March 31, 2020
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Howdy Horror Fans! I bet you’re looking for something really kickass to read right about now. You’ve watched movies, maybe read a novel or two, but now you want quick excitement that you don’t have to wait for. Well friends, the fine folks at Pint Bottle Press heard your cries of distress and have brought forth what you need! Double Barrel Horror Vol. 3 is jam packed with scary goodness and coming at you like the force of nature that it is! We’re talking 6 great authors menacing you with two stories each for a grand total of 12 Double Barrel Blasts to the Brain!  Roll call: Christine Morgan, Mark Matthews, Glenn Rolfe, Theresa Braun, Calvin Demmer, and Robert Essig. If you’re ready for a preview of all the greatness that awaits, let’s GO!

Christine Morgan chills us with Eye See You, a story that makes us wonder if Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth and what is it about a Magic 8-Ball that turns a party into a swirling hell of hurt and bad blood?

Robert Essig comes on strong with two heavy hitters, but the one that really blew my mind is Fuel For The King of Death! Scottie deals with a cheating girlfriend by going to a unique museum and by the next day he’s a completely different man! New life, horror, and the sweet taste of revenge. Yowza!

Let’s head to the carnival with Mark Matthews! On the outside, those places look like so much fun. There are rides, treats, and the chance to win a prize at one of the many games. But a closer look exposes dark things that prey on the young, taking something precious in hopes of creating a Wicked Smart Carnie. “Step right up! Or maybe “Run for your life!”

Theresa Braun brings her unique style of horror and mythology to the party with her tale Homecoming which features a Scottish castle and a shapeshifting woman named Melanie. She’s a beautiful opera star, but also something else that needs to be “home.” Her boyfriend of many years thinks they’re going on a romantic vacation to Scotland to rekindle the fire, but Melanie has other plans. As things get increasingly weird, the boyfriend zips them back home for safety’s sake. Did he make a wise choice? May-be!

My favorite two stories in Double Barrel Horror Vol. 3 are by Calvin Demmer. Highway Hunger has this great realistic feeling that makes it all the more scary when things fall apart. Dudley is stuck on community service for drunk driving. His job? Scraping dead animals off the road. That’s bad enough, but it gets even worse when the “Road Demon” makes the scene. Some things might not make any practical sense, but that doesn’t mean they can’t destroy you. Motel Madness puts Tallulah in a room that constantly changes. Door handles disappear, corpses enter without knocking, and she gets a special visit from the manager. White pills and wine can make for one very hot time.

Glenn Rolfe closes down the show with two powerful pieces The Guide, which is a home run all the way, and The House On Mayflower Street. Every neighborhood has a haunted house with a creepy owner, but this one takes the cake. When Davis and Bethany break into The House On Mayflower Street, they get a lot more than they bargained for. Their attackers may be tiny, but “Alice” plays hardball and he doesn’t EVER lose!

The Double Barrel Horror series from Pint Bottle Press are all great, but volume 3 ratchets things up a few notches. This is truly a FIVE STAR reading experience! Perfect length on the stories, top notch authors, and some seriously badass cover art by Brian Burks! Editor Matthew Weber has done it again, but even BETTER! Don’t sit around with the shut-in blues. Order yourself a copy of Double Barrel Horror Volume 3 TODAY! Just go to www.pintbottlepress.com for more information or hit up your favorite bookstore. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for visiting Damaged Skull Writer! We look forward to seeing you soon. Until then, “Keep Your Knives Sharp and Hide In The Dark.” Or maybe just read more books!

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! KICKING IT OFF WITH A REVIEW OF DONNA LYNCH “CHOKING BACK THE DEVIL” FROM RAW DOG SCREAMING PRESS!

Choking Back The Devil cover shot

Choking Back The Devil
Poems by Donna Lynch
Raw Dog Screaming Press
July 17, 2019
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Hey, it’s National Poetry Month! So what better time to review some seriously powerful books? Today’s topic is Bram Stoker Award Finalist, Donna Lynch and her excellent poetry collection Choking Back The Devil. This book is not easy to categorize as just one type of poetry. There’s horror, of course, but many other things weave their way through this complex web. Mental illness, trespasses of the soul, and a discovery of one’s darker self. Everyone has a dark side, but many try to hide it away and ignore it. But is that wise?

David E. Cowen’s foreword does a great job of prepping us for the fiery world we are about to enter. He points out that Lynch “Is the shadow in the night…That leads us to the line between horror and mental illness. There is a streetwise wisdom here. Lynch has lived this pain…and stops to tell us her story.” Basically, nobody is talking about tea and crumpets here. The beautiful brilliance of the sun is quickly forgotten as we plunge into dangerous darkness, afraid of what we might find. So onward!

The first selection in Donna Lynch’s Choking Back The Devil is Legend, a powerful prayer for victims of abuse. Those that victimize and hurt you may leave their mark, but will receive all they’ve given you, multifold in return. They’ll fall to their knees screaming while your shadow laughs triumphantly.

Sacrifice reminds us that maybe we’re not all in this together. Well, not at the same level, anyway. A witch is stealing children and doing who knows what with them. But one person offers to protect, gather, and save the little ones. She helps the children make a plan to stay safe. Little do they know that the devil is hiding in their midst.

I like Honey, how about you? It’s important for you to know where your honey is produced. Between allergies, tolerance to certain pollens, possible contaminants…But don’t you worry. The sisters in this poem have special methods to produce their very special brand of Honey. There is a satisfying flavor of retribution, mixed with the sweet taste of decay. And as long as you stay in their village, everything will be fine.

Hopefully you enjoyed this taste of Choking Back The Devil by Donna Lynch! This is FIVE STAR reading that you can enjoy many times, like an incantation to change and harness the darkness deep inside. While this fine book may be available from your bookseller of choice, they might not be willing to ship it for a long time. So, Raw Dog Screaming Press is currently doing something special on their website during the pandemic. You can shop and buy directly from the company who will ship your order right to your lonely little hands in this time of need. Just go to www.rawdogscreaming.com for more info! This is an independent publisher who cares a LOT about the speculative writing community and wants to do the most good by offering you the chance to support writers. So it’s a win for everyone! Need some tunes? Donna Lynch and husband Steven Archer also have a dark, electro-rock band, Ego Likeness. Check them out at www.egolikeness.com for more info!

Thanks for visiting Damaged Skull Writer! See you soon!