Michael R. Collins
January 9 2022
Gloom House Publishing
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis

Hello horror fans! It’s your old pal Skull with a cool new read by Michael R. Collins that goes by the title Verum Malum. This is just one new selection from growing independent press Gloom House Publishing run by none other than James G. Carlson who is a fine author whose work has been nominated for multiple awards. Be sure to check him out at: gloomhouse@yahoo.com As an extra bonus, Gloom House is currently having a half press sale this month! That means you can sample a lot of cool writing for less or get more books on a budget. Nice! And now back to the subject of this review…

Venum Malum looks absolutely terrifying if you go by cover art alone, but this is a complex story that’ll have you feeling much more than just fear. Ben and Noah are a married couple who not only have to deal with negative vibes about their love, but also about their skin color. This leads to police not taking their complaints seriously and people treating them as “less than.” However, they do have some solid friends who are their chosen family. Jackie is one of those friends. Noah is upset that his husband hasn’t informed him about the cancer returning to his body and there is an argument. Turns out that many things aren’t as they seem and after an uninvited guest sparks things off, Ben tells Noah and Jackie about his secret dark past in which he belonged to a satanic cult. While that is scary, the worst part is that the group wants Ben back and is willing to stop at nothing in their pursuit of him. They’ve opened a portal to a demonic world called the Venum Malum that makes going to hell look like a Caribbean cruise. Group leader Marius believes that this will bring him unlimited evil powers, but will it really? Noah becomes a lion to save his man, but will that be enough to protect them? Will the police finally protect them without discrimination? Skull recommends you get a copy and find out. You won’t be disappointed!

Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer rates Michael R. Collins’ Venum Malum a hearty FIVE STARS! There is a lot going on in these pages to keep readers riveted with the bonus of being very contemporary. Horror is often a great vehicle for social commentary and Michael R. Collins does a great job weaving his message into the pages of his work without having it feel preachy or unnatural. This book is a great read about the power of love, friendship, and how even a seemingly evil satanic rock band can turn out to be solid citizens. Always look beyond a book’s cover before making judgement. Get yours at: gloomhouse@yahoo.com and visit Michael R. Collins at: www.michaelrcollins.wordpress.com Thanks for stopping by the Skullcave! Stay tuned for more interesting news and reviews coming soon at: www.damagedskullwriterandreviewer.com   

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