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!

Check Out New Fears! Jam Packed with 19 Brand New Stories Guaranteed To Warp Your Mind!

New Fears
Edited by Mark Morris
Titan Books
September 19, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

I really like short story collections because of the variety involved. Even if all the stories are by the same author, there will be different settings and characters to stimulate your brain and keep the reading experience feeling fresh. Plus, in today’s fast-moving world, it can be hard to finish a novel fast enough to keep the story straight in your head. But most people can zip through twenty pages a night and feel satisfied. Another great thing about collections is that they make great gifts for the speculative fiction fan on your list. New Fears is especially good because it contains 19 NEW stories, so the recipient won’t have read these stories elsewhere. Most importantly, this book kicks butt in a serious way. Let’s dig in!

My absolutely favorite story in New Fears is The Abduction Door by Christopher Golden. Unless you have a phobia, you’ve probably ridden in numerous elevators by this point in your life. You’ve probably also noticed that most of them have what appears to be a funky little door on one side. Sure, it could be for maintenance-if the hotel has some munchkins on staff. Otherwise, what’s the deal with that thing? The narrator of Christopher Golden’s chilling tale give us the scoop and it’s enough to make you want to take the stairs for the rest of your life! The sole purpose of that door is the abduction of children when no one is looking. Just, zip! Gone! You can try and get your child back. But if you do, then you’ll be stuck in the strange place behind the abduction door until you steal enough children to be set free. Best plan? Hold onto your children with both hands and keep them away from The Abduction Door!

Speaking of being stuck in funky places, Brian Keene’s story Sheltered In Place puts us into an airport that’s the scene of a mass shooting. Police are shouting at everyone to get down and waving their guns at those who don’t comply. Even after everybody is down, the police are near panic. Possibly too near, but they can’t find the perp on what appears to be the work of a highly organized criminal. Civilians nearly end up getting shot for trying to answer their cellphones and others are bleeding to death because help isn’t there yet. Police are stumped! Where is the bad guy? Turns out he’s lying on the floor with everyone else and just walks on out the door after stashing his gun under a dead body. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

There are also tales of the uncanny in New Fears such as Eumenides (The Benevolent Ladies) by Adam L.G. Nevill. Regular guy Jason is smitten with one of his female co-workers, an interesting girl in an otherwise blah kind of town. He knows that his chances are about as good as that of a goldfish fighting off a hungry cat. But hell, he’s got to try! So he sucks up his courage and asks Electra out. Amazingly enough, she says yes! After the angels stop singing and Jason can focus enough to speak, he asks her where she’d like to go. That’s when things take a decidedly weird turn. Electra wants to go an old ruin of a zoo that’s been closed after some nasty business involving three women who killed all the animals. Even though Jason is quickly creeped out by the shadowy zoo that seems to be inhabited, Electra offers him the good stuff if he’ll go along with her. He almost takes her up on that offer until an enormous crazed creature attempts to join them along with two of the whack job poisoners that are supposed to be dead. Too late he realizes that Electra is the third poisoner who was a beauty queen before joining the other side. He makes a run for it, but you know things are not going to end well…

On the lighter side, is there ever a time when death can be darkly hilarious? Yes there is, and Sarah Lotz shows it to us in The Embarrassment of Dead Grandmothers.  Steven has been saddled with the care of his not-very-convenient gran and this night at the theater has been about as fun as a public prostate exam. Gran leaves her dentures in the ladies room, makes a racket, and offers strangers chocolates out of the box she snuck into the theater. Steven doesn’t think things could get any worse, but they do when Gran dies before the intermission. What the hell is he supposed to do about THAT? Just as he is cursing his luck and wondering if he should ring the coroner, the lovely girl from the office pops by to say hello. Steven knows that saying his gran is dead isn’t going to wow the ladies. Instead he does his best to casually leave her at the theater and dashes out for drinks with Liz. Dating is hard enough without adding those kinds of extra challenges!

Those are just four of the nineteen excellent stories that await you in this collection and I hope you are getting my enthusiasm about them. If not, let me say this: I absolutely encourage you to buy this book RIGHT NOW! All kidding aside, New Fears is a great book. I really dig all the flies on the cover and you will dig all the hours of great reading inside!

Jordan Anderson’s “The Things That Grow With Us” is Today’s Thursday Throwback Thriller!

Things that grow w us cover shot

Happy Holidays Everyone! I wanted to feature this awesome book that I reviewed about a year ago for a couple reasons. Number one is that it is a fantastic read for lovers of deep horror with Lovecraftian detail and darkness. The other reason is that Jordan is getting ready to release a new collection very soon and it is going to be great! The details are TBA but get ready and know that you will want to get your hands on it!

Meanwhile, get warmed up and ready by snagging a copy of The Things That Grow With Us. You will see a powerful shape shifter emerge into a crowd of bullies, a miserable man find love again on a very special night, and evil creatures do a good deed for a girl who has no other options. You’ll also enjoy The Further We Soar Into Madness a tale of a man who will stop at nothing to make contact with the ancient ones deep in outer space. Overall, we’re talking about a book that is well worth the price of admission! It’s only $7.99 on Amazon for 184 pages of awesome!

Remember, as independent writers, artists, and musicians, it’s up to us to support the same so we can all keep rolling. The greatest holiday gifts are the unique ones! Or if you are lucky enough to get an Amazon gift card, consider purchasing this fine book. Let’s make 2018 a great year!

Here’s My Office Assistant, Moon!

Moon helping out in office

This is my pal, Moon. His big, official name is Moonbeam Lewis when we go to the vet. Moon came to live with us about a year ago. He started out by living under my truck, then in a box house I set up for him under the eaves, and then finally one rainy November night I just scooped him up and brought him into the house. Moon has eye problems and his back is messed up, just like mine, so we make a pretty good pair. He requires at least one daily hug or else he gets sad. When we got him, his hair was nasty-very dry and had some oil in it from the truck. Now he’s looking good and never lets me out of his sight! When I’m up late at night and writing, Moon is right with me.

Want Some Kick Ass, Real World Horror? Then You Need To Read This!

Double BH v2 w bb

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2
Edited by Matthew Weber
Pint Bottle Press
July 20, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

What this collection offers to readers is absolutely impressive stories that will both freak you out and educate you. It sounds impossible, but its true! Pint Bottle Press has what you need!

Before I dig into the review of this fine piece of literature, I’d like to give props to the folks at Pint Bottle Press for letting conservative readers know that this book is not for them or their children. There is a parental advisory stamp on the font cover and to quote from page 2, “The tales presented here are intended to disturb.” Got that? Although I felt a gleeful surge of adrenalin when I read that sentence, not everyone will. That’s why they kindly provided me with a barf bag in case the going got too rough. Readers, you have been warned-So from here on out, NO WHINING!

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 delivers the goods and then some! Grab a fresh pair of shorts and let’s hit the street for Blinky by M.B. Vujacic. Ever had somebody tailgate you so damn hard that they’re practically in your back seat? Rod and Emily have. Not only that, but the guy is an ancient creep who has the balls to accost Rod at a stoplight. The problem? “I seen some blinkies in my time, but gosh darn it, you take the cake.” The what, what, now? The old man is very upset that Rod forgot to shut off his left hand turn signal. Rod responds by telling the creepy geezer to get a life and roars off. But Blinky isn’t done. In fact, Rod’s use of profanity when he yelled back at him makes the old man even madder. By the time Blinky catches up to “brats” Rod and Emily, he decides to silence Rod forever. A huge gun makes short work of Rod’s head and Blinky goes on a shooting spree while attempting to end Emily’s life. That’s pretty wild, but wait until you read the twisted end of this story. It’s gonna blow you away! M.B. Vujacic also delivers the chilling tale The Midnight Show. I’m no spoiler, but I will tell you this, it’s even scarier than Blinky!

For story number three, we have Punk Rock Re-animator by Chad Lutzke. It’s a weird horror blast about a professor who likes to frequent the dark, mosh pit infested punk rock club that the narrator has been dragged to by his buddy. The only problem is that he’s carrying a syringe. What’s in that thing? The other story by Lutzke, Holes, has us hanging out with the neighborhood watchman, who enjoys keeping track of the neighborhood with his telescope. Today is just another day, until he sees something unique happening. A person is in danger! No, wait-He’s being tortured! But the “victim” is the local loser who’s spent his days ruining life for everyone in the neighborhood. In fact, the guy even killed the watchman’s beloved dog, Quincy. Should he call the cops or join the party?

John Boden contributes the bittersweet horror of There Will Be Angels about a child held captive by a pervert who accidentally died and the kid isn’t long for this world either. Marlene The Magnificent is a portrait of a very unique magician who pulls some amazing things out of her “hat” You may laugh, you may cry, but you won’t be able to forget her.

Simon Dewar’s and Patrick Freivald’s characters have something in common. They’re all on the move. Dewar’s characters are teenagers riding bikes in The Perfect Figure 8 who show us that having just one chance to do things right is enough if you do it perfectly. There’s a Lovecraftian flair to the Black Rock Boys who become one with an ancient totem and unleash lethal force against their enemies. Freivald takes us from ecstasy to horror in Roadkill and gives our blood to one hellion of a little girl. While The Getaway turns into anything but. Sometimes it’s monsters against criminals and when that happens, the criminals do NOT win. All I gotta say is that those guys jacked the wrong BMW! Check it out!

Last, but definitely not least are two stories by Karen Runge, a quickly rising force in the horror world. Her first novel, Seeing Double is currently available from Grey Matter Press. Shellfish is a powerful whirlpool of emotions and ethereal memories. Is the narrator evil, or is it just how she seems? Only she escapes the seaside resort unscathed. Exile is hard to describe. It is a flood of sensations. A woman escapes the city and into madness in a setting that should be a peaceful but is horrifying. Slowly she destroys herself mentally and physically until her spirit travels.

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 is an awesome collection featuring a wide variety of flavors for mature readers. Great job of editing, Matthew Weber! Highly recommended! Do yourself a favor and grab a copy today!

December of Darkness: Unnerving, Year 1 Giveaway

Hey follower friends! Check out this great giveaway and this enormous site of grooviness!

Deviant Dolls

We’re offering all kinds of goodies in December, but the best of all might just be the super fantastic horror lover’s colossal giveaway awesome prize package Eddie Generous, from Unnerving Magazine, has generously offered to one lucky reader.

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This prize pack includes:

Unnerving Magazine Issues 1 – 4

ALLIGATORS IN THE SEWERS

BREATHE, BREATHE by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

BONESPIN SLIPSPACE by Leo X. Robertson

CHURCH by Renee Miller

DARKEST HOURS by Mike Thorn

FESTIVAL by Aaron French

That’s 10 e-books for one very lucky reader.

Readers will have a chance to enter to win from December 1st to 24th.  Entries (comments/shares) made BEFORE December 1st will NOT be counted.

What do you have to do to be entered to win? Just two steps. First, share this post via the Twitter and/or Facebook buttons on this page. Second, comment on this post with your email OR your Twitter handle. (So…

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How To Know The Horror Collection You are Reading Is Heavy Duty

Double BH v2 w bb

See that white thing next to Double Barrel Horror volume 2? That, my friends, is a barf bag! You are now officially pre-warned about this book. There is also a “parental advisory” and another warning inside the book before you get to the good stuff. The contributing writers are not fooling around here! They intend to scare the hell out of you and make you use that bag. Pint Bottle Press has featured some really intense stuff in Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 and I heartily encourage you to check them out! Review coming soon!