this day in crime history: may 18, 1927

I don’t like school tax increases either, but seriously? I just vote no and leave it at that!

Nobody Move!


On this date in 1927, Bath, MI became the scene of the largest school mass-murder in U.S. history. The massacre began when school board member Andrew Kehoe became upset over an increase in the school tax that he blamed for his financial ruination.

Kehoe began by killing his wife and detonating fire bombs in his farm buildings. While firefighters worked to put out the fires on Kehoe’s property, Kehoe went to the Bath Consolidated School, where he detonated bombs he had previously planted in the school.

Kehoe left the scene after the explosion, but returned a short while later. He saw the school superintendent standing outside the school watching rescue and recovery efforts and called to him. As the superintendent approached the car, Kehoe detonated a bomb inside the car. The blast killed Kehoe, the superintendent, two local men, and an 8 year old boy who had managed to escape…

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Black Lung Hay Fever- Short Story published at Aphotic Realm online

Check out this awesome story by S.E. Casey on Aphotic Realm!

S.E. Casey Author

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My latest short story “Black Lung Hay Fever” (click title to read) is now online at Aphotic Realm.  A scarecrow and a small town engage in a silent, passive-aggressive chess match in a race to determine who is more evil.  Who wins the battle of quiet villany?

Aphotic Realm is a fairly new website whose motto is “Home for the strange and sinister”.  That really says it all and I am happy to place this particular story here as it fits their slogan.  Aphotic Realm has also featured me in an author spotlight on their homepage interviewing me about my story and writing background.  The interview can be read here ⇒ Aphotic Realm Author Interview – S.E. Casey.

Happy reading!

BlackLung_Color_update.png BLACK LUNG HAY FEVER – S.E. Casey story on Aphotic Realm

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It’s No Fun Writing a Bad Review

 

Burning Skull w flashing eyes

Yesterday, I finally turned in a review on a book that had been sent to me for that purpose. I’d been dragging my feet for a bit because frankly who wants to be the bearer of bad news, or “that asshole who gave me a bad review?” Not me! I really want to help the authors that I’m reviewing by offering a credible voice and showing people that are afraid to stray from the major publishing houses, how damn good Independent and Self published books are. Honestly, I often think the books I get to read are fresher, sharper, and Hey! Let’s just say it! BETTER than the books from the big three or four publishing companies.

Alright then. The bad review (which was pretty gentle) was for a book that violated what I think most of us hold up as the writer’s/artist’s/musician’s code. When we write books or stories or songs or create art, we spend a LOT of fucking time doing it. We want that thing which we are going to share with the world be the best possible representation of US. For writers, we do a million re-writes, have our friends read it, read it out loud to our pets. Basically, even if it’s a funny book, we don’t want to throw any old piece of trash out there. It has to be right and we drive ourselves nearly insane to make it so.

Enter The Unnamed Book (TUB). This is not the author of TUB’s first book, so we can’t blame it on that. TUB violated all that stuff. Tenses were wrong, spellings were wrong, and there was this odd deal of throwing random elements into the mix that was wrong. In Stephen King’s book, “On Writing” he talks about this stuff a lot and how it really pisses him off when he has to endure it. He talks about starting books that do these things, closing them and dropping them into the nearest bin. I remember reading his book and thinking, “C’mon man! Loosen up a little! Everybody can’t be as great as you!”

Until TUB came along. Then it was my turn to be annoyed. Obviously I do not hold the same stature in the literary world as Stephen King and I did agree to do the review. Usually reviews are fun for me and there’s lots of cool stuff to talk about. I want to interest the public in making a purchase without being a spoiler and I think I do a pretty good job at it. As a writer, I’ve certainly had plenty of hard rejections. I think my favorite so far had to be a note in red ink on my returned cover page that read, “We’re DEFINITELY NOT publishing this !!!” Well okay then! Message received!

Everybody hits a book they don’t like, but when you get a book that says to you, “Hey dude! I um…didn’t really feel like proofing this…BUT, it’s great! So here you go!” Plop! To those few people, my answer is: If it wasn’t worth the trouble for you to make your book worth reading to the rest of the world, then it’s not my responsibility to give it a good review! This isn’t a high school term paper, it’s the real world and if you don’t give a fuck about how your writing reads, then neither do I! There are way too many people writing awesome stuff that would appreciate a boost. So in the future, unless my editor insists there must be a review of a TUB, I will handle them in the same way Mr. King does.

Review of Mechanisms of Despair by Gary Buller

Mechanisms Of Despair cover shot

Mechanisms Of Despair
Gary Buller
March 31, 2017
Dead Man’s Tome
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

 

There are a lot of cool things about Gary Buller’s new short story collection Mechanisms of Despair. So let’s plunge right in and check it out! Something very generous and kind hearted of all the people involved in this project is the fact that all the proceeds from sales of this very fine book or e-book are being donated to The Alzheimer’s Foundation USA and The Sarcoma Foundation UK. This means that every book you purchase is going to help people out. Both those who are fighting against bone and soft tissue cancer and those trying to stop the loss of people’s memories to the point of constant confusion and being unable to connect with their loved ones. These guys are using their dark fiction and art to help those who live a horror story every day but don’t have the option of just shutting a book and walking away from it. Big Hearts-Gary Buller-Jesse Dedman-Shawn Langley-Calvin Demmer and company. We and your families salute you!

The stunning cover art is the work of Shawn Langley and while it prepares you a bit for the contents inside Mechanisms Of Despair you still get a shock with story number one. The Way Out sets the tone with how this collection of stories is going to scare us readers and screw with our heads. A gent by the name of Dan is stuck in some kind of freaky hotel and is trapped in his room. He tries to appeal to other guests and passersby for help, but-they’re all scary freaks doing stuff like blowing their own heads off with shotguns and razor-blading their wrists. What the Devil is going on in this joint? Read on and you will find how Dan trapped his own despair filled self in a room with no way out!

Another story, Time To End It, seems to be cut from the same cloth as the first. Or is it? A young woman commits suicide again and again and…too many ways to count. Amazingly, every time she fails and rises again to try another method. Jumping from bridges, jumping in front of cars…Is this woman unbreakable? No. All the doctors need to cure her is the flick of a switch. Speaking of female people, the last story in this collection is Dog of The Dead by special guest author, Holly Buller. This young lady writes a fine story and I think we’ll be looking forward to more great writing from her in the future. Thanks for encouraging her, Gary! Here’s a great example to show the world that we writers of dark fiction are kind, warm hearted people who love our families. Just don’t let it get around. We don’t want people to think we’re too nice!

However, to get to Holly’s story, we still have to travel through some truly frightening territory. Into The Fire is going to make you scream! Not just because your face has been severely burned by hot fryer grease either, like the main villain-victim, but that certainly contributes. Is there a place that you used to go as a kid with your family? A favorite place with warm memories? Wouldn’t you just love to go back there as a grown adult and say hello to all the nice folks? Have your favorite meal of fish and chips? NO. No you wouldn’t want to do that because things have changed a LOT. Instead of a friendly handshake, you’re grabbed by a huge behemoth wearing a mask made of human skin over a ruined face while your car is destroyed so you don’t rush off too quickly. It’s Play Time! Well, not for you. No, you’ve become a toy for this imbecilic giant to destroy. He tortures you by ripping pieces off of your screaming body until you die. Then he throws you away for a new toy. “Daddy?”

If that didn’t make you lose it, then it’s time for Gary to give you The Present, a tale about Christmas and gifts. Except that one of the presents is going to make you lose your bleeping mind! Soon everyone in a nice happy family is figuring out unique ways to off themselves. All thanks to a simple looking box that “doesn’t do anything.” Hmm…For more details, get yourself a copy of Mechanisms Of Despair. Happy Holidays!

You won’t believe it, but this is Gary Buller’s first book and it is powerful stuff! While it is very important to know that buying this book will help people who really need it, I want to make sure that the actual writing and art is recognized. Gary and his crew of evil henchmen (and one young lady) have created something darkly beautiful. Let’s all encourage them to do it again real soon! I highly recommend this book and that cover, man it is awesome! You can feel the hours of care that went into this project. I warn you that these stories will haunt you, no matter how hard you try to forget them!  For sale on Amazon.com in both e-book and paperback versions, pick up a copy today and tell them that the Damaged Skull Writer sent ya!

 

“Little One” by Timothy G. Huguenin is an AWESOME read!

Little One
Timothy G. Huguenin
March 19, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

When you read a really great first novel from a young writer, you wonder what will be next and how it’s going to measure up. Well friends, you can relax and rejoice, because Little One is even better than When The Watcher Shakes. Wait, both books are great, but with Little One, Timothy G. Huguenin shows us how much he’s progressed in a short time. The writing has more maturity and the story line is super strong. There are no extraneous characters or lengthy descriptions, just a perfect balance that makes this book feel unnervingly real.

Little One begins with a grim and chilling couple of pages from the little girl on the front cover. She is angry, very angry and wants vengeance for the bad deeds done to her as a child…

Then we are on a plane with Kelsea Stone, a modern young woman who works and lives in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, California. She’s flying to what should have been her old home place in West Virginia to take care of things after her parents passed away. But since she’d been fostered out at a very young age, Kelsea doesn’t feel very connected. Since there’s no other living heirs, everything is being handled by a local lawyer by the name of James Pendleton. He seems to be a real nice fella and Kelsea can’t help but notice that he’s quite handsome. “Gentleman” James drives Kelsea where she needs to go in town, gets the funky old house semi-liveable, and the big one. He loans her his truck. Talk about romantic!

So what’s the problem? It starts as unease on Kelsea’s part, but gradually keeps creeping up to higher levels until the dynamic conclusion of the book. A local old timer tries approaching Kelsea to warn her about Jimmy’s agenda, but she thinks the old hick is creepy and won’t listen. Even when Jimmy gets downright weird, she still thinks he’s a right guy because he matches up to what she’s used to, slick fast-talking fakes. However, she finally becomes convinced by some special characters you will meet in the book, but not before some people die.

Turns out that Kelsea and the little girl in the yellow dress share a lot of things, much to Kelsea’s amazement. Canaan Valley, West Virginia is a unique place. Not only do most of the means of communication that we take for granted not work there, but some of its citizens are highly spiritual folks if you get my drift. This creates a special environment that for some is bone-chillingly creepy and for others, just home. Maybe with all that technology out of the way, souls can exist on a deeper and stronger level that is both freaky and wonderful at the same time. Once everything is revealed at the end of a pulse-pounding downhill run, you will be blown away!

Little One is both a murder mystery and a horror novel in one. That one-two punch that fans of Stephen King and many other famous writers have been sold on for years, because it delivers. Your curiosity gets going, you chase it, then crap your pants in fear. It’s the sign of a talented writer to make you keep repeating that cycle faithfully until the end of the story. I predict that Timothy G. Huguenin is one of those special writers and that someday we’ll be reading his 20th book and it will be even better than the 19th! While I like to encourage all the writers I review, there is something special about this guy. Not only does he have a passion for the craft of writing, but he’s also really into the place he’s writing about. He lives there and loves it. That’s the difference in what makes a writer great. We’re not just any old place, we’re right where he puts us. As you can guess, I highly encourage everyone to read Little One. It will chill your bones and warm your heart!

The Silent Congregation of St. George’s Church…

That is brilliant and unique! Yet it is also thoughtful at the same time. Well done!

The Gothic Tower

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If you just happen to stumble upon the dilapidated St. George’s Church in the Czech Republic, passing through the crumbling entrance to glance around at the shadowy interior, you might just be in for the most terrifying moment of your life. Abandoned since the 1960s, the church has long since been devoid of human worshippers, but that doesn’t mean it’s empty. Ghostly shrouded figures line its pews, some hovering in doorways and in the aisles.

Located in the northwestern Bohemia town of Luková, the ‘Church of Nine Ghosts’ first fell into disrepair after the ceiling caved in during a funeral service in 1968. Locals took that as a bad omen, and boarded up the 14th century structure, holding services outside instead. But many residents saw the church as an important part of the town’s history, and wanted to see it restored.

“The figures represent the ghosts of Sudeten Germans who…

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