TOUGH GUYS REVIEW

TOUGH GUYS
Adrian Cole
June 17, 2016
Parallel Universe Publications
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Do you like adventure stories with a supernatural twist? Then Tough Guys by Adrian Cole might be exactly what you’re after. Cole gives us four stories to enjoy in this volume that show us four very different types of tough guy.

“Wait For The Ricochet” is in a style that reminds me of pulp magazines featuring heroes like The Shadow from the 1930s. Not that the prose itself is dated, but because things happen on so grand a scale in a place where you know right away who the bad guys are. The hero is Nick Stone and the bad guy is one Lucien de Sangreville – a powerful dude who messes with Black Magic and is pretty good at what he does. There is a far-from-helpless female and other iconic good guys who all want to keep de Sangreville from raising the Devil – literally. There’s secret passages, codes, foolish rich folks…It is the stuff that legends are made of! Especially because the ending of this tale is more like, “Until next time…”

Taking a completely opposite direction for the next story “If You Don’t Eat Your Meat,” our tough guy is an incestuous cannibal. Ryan is about as different from Nick Stone as a person could imagine, but so are the times. The world is staggering along in a post-apocalyptic funk and food is rare, as is money. People are either stranded way out in the country and fighting for their lives, or crammed into cities with no money or street smarts. While there are some who are “helping out” the poor, they are also helping themselves. Ryan fights the system the only way he knows how and then eats his opponent. He encourages others to do likewise. It is meat! Is it not?

“A Smell Of Burning” takes us on yet another leg, and we find ourselves in a hospital with a man who has been horribly burned until he is nearly dead. Artificial everything keeps him alive. He eats and excretes through tubes, breathes with assistance…Life is not any too good. Yet, there is something interesting going on. The man is able to leave his body and move about the hospital he’s stuck in. Not only that, but he can hear the thoughts of many of the victims of a horrible fire they’ve all been through. While that is somewhat interesting, what really grabs our tough guy is that he thinks that he is tuning into the fire-bug’s brain. Turns out that the bad guy is in the hospital with the rest of them, but nobody knows that yet. Being immobile and barely able to speak without effort, our hero wonders what he should do. He finally decides to risk visiting the killer’s room in his invisible spirit form so that he will at least be able to point the man out to police when he is in better health. It is a struggle, but he makes it to the killer’s room and finds out something that he’d rather not know…

I am going to be honest regarding the fourth story in this collection, “Not If You Want To Live.” I couldn’t get a grip on it. That doesn’t mean the story isn’t good; it just wasn’t for me and I think that my attempt to interpret this one might be more of a muddying of the waters. I can tell you that it was a complex futuristic world and that the tough guy, Razorjack, is working against his will. After that, I got lost trying to understand everything. Since Adrian Cole has been writing since the 70s, I’m quite sure he knows what he’s doing! I would encourage you to try this collection if only for the first story alone, which I enjoyed immensely!

Buy Little One today!

Little One is available for purchase right now!

Timothy G. Huguenin

Little One is officially released! The trade paperback is $11.95, and the Kindle version is $2.99$0.99 for this week!

If you are a Kindle user, you should take advantage of this price, as it won’t last long. If you have an ereader that only uses ePub, email me and I’ll help you out.

3d-book-white Click here to get LITTLE ONE on Amazon today!

Don’t forget to leave me a review when you’re finished! You should also subscribe to my email list!

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The Sugar Fuck Sensation, A Bitchin Urban Poem

A Bitchin Urban Poem that pervades your senses

The Sanguine Woods

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The Sugar-Fuck Sensation

(A 1-Minute Poem)

I’ve discovered the boobie-doobie
time machine. The glossy
skin-flick magazine. Wet buzz,
effervescent upper. The schplooge
I want to have for supper.
In youth, it was summer fling in
frosty glass on beach-sand, babe-hunting
bikini chicks—midlife finds the chick a
dick—in a lick, the chick with a dick
(you pick). It’s almost better than
S&M. It fucks my stress. It gropes
my sin. An alternative to wank-a-whacking.
And, sometimes, even ass-smacking.
I horde it. Crave it. I misbehave it.
I’ll never live without this—
obsession, possession, this sandpail
confession. Preoccupation,
Sugar-Fuck sensation—I’ve tried but can’t
explain it. But, then, ‘Love is an endless
mystery, for nothing can contain it…’
Talk to Mama,
Baby.

– Mrs. maudlin, 2017

(from Mrs. Maudlin’s Bitchin Urban Poetry)

(C)2017. All Rights Reserved.

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Dark Cities is Awesome!

DARK CITIES – All New Tales Of Urban Terror
Edited by Christopher Golden
Titan Books
Released May 16, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Dark Cities is an excellent collection of 20 brand new short stories of urban terror that’s just been released by Titan Books! Great roster of writers including Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, Cherie Priest, Jonathan Maberry, Paul Tremblay, and Scott Sigler! The legendary Christopher Golden edits and also contributes his short story The Revelers to these 400 pages of greatness.

I really like this collection because everything feels so real and absolutely possible. While terror spans a wide style of approaches, including giant monsters or extremely freak events, these stories hit us where we live. Let’s face it, most cities at night are creepy places with lots of known threats such as muggers, drive-by shootings, sex traffickers, and dark alleys, just to name a few. Sure, the police do the best they can, but we can’t always rely on them to save us. Especially when it comes to the ancient supernatural forces that don’t always look threatening at first glance. They find it easy to hide in the vast populations of cities and under the cover of darkness might even pass as glamorous.

Such is the case in Christopher Golden’s The Revelers in which the main characters attend a huge after hours party in NYC seeking fun and excitement. At first, things are rowdy, sexy, and fun. But soon that morphs into concern and then terror on the narrator’s part when he keeps going into rooms that are way too large for the average city brownstone. Not only that, even the sky looks wrong when he finds a window. Where the hell are they, and why are there people in zoot suits mingling with young hipsters? How come the amount of drugs and alcohol never flags? While Tim is not entirely sure what this place and who the occupants really are, he knows that he and his friends need to get out of there. But it’s not that easy.

While we’re puzzling over strange apartments, let’s check out the one in Dear Diary by Scott Sigler. Sometimes you just find “your” place in the big city. In fact, it seems like maybe a particular place has been waiting just for you. Such is the case for a young man who moves into a place to be closer to his married girlfriend. The results are far from expected. The human romance fizzles as Robert becomes more and more infatuated with his very vintage apartment. He even begins to read and participate in a strange diary that has been left behind by previous tenants, all of whom disappeared one day and were never heard from again. Eventually Robert never leaves his apartment at all, preferring to spend his days wandering around it naked. Until one day, when he literally becomes part of the place. Is it possible for an apartment to be carnivorous?

Kasey and Joe R. Lansdale knock it out of the park with their piece, Dark Hill Run. A fella by the name of Johnny goes to see a psychotherapist because he wants to quit smoking. Little does he know that the pleasant and quirky doctor he goes to is about to dredge up a horrible memory that Johnny has kept hidden in his head. Johnny stops smoking all right, but sleep becomes a nightmare! As a side effect of being hypnotized, his brain has brought forth the miserable school bully who made Johnny into the great runner he is today. That’s bad, but what’s worse is that every time Johnny sleeps, his tormentor becomes stronger and more real. His doctor attempts to help him, but even though he means well, he can’t do much. Eventually, Johnny has to rely on the thing he’s always done. He runs like the Devil himself were after him. But he’s exhausted and his strength falters…Just as it looks like “game over” for Johnny, he gets some help from the bakery delivery truck driver who nearly runs him over every day. Very good punchline at the end! Some personal demons are not so bad when compared to what “cures” can bring out. Bravo!

That’s just a small sampling of the 20 excellent stories you’ll be enjoying when you pick up a copy of Dark Cities from Titan Books. I highly recommend this title! Remember, these are all brand-new stories from popular modern Horror writers in a strikingly handsome book that you will enjoy dipping into for years to come. Just one warning from Tim Lebbon’s In Stone, be careful of examining your city too closely. The city may notice you, and that’s not a good thing.

Snake Oil For Bros

SNAKE OIL SALESMAN OF THE WEEK
Brian Halsey
March 13, 2017
Dark Serpent/Ravenswood Publishing
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Howdy folks! It’s time for another review from yours truly, which I hope will be both informative and encourage people to read more books. I just have a quick announcement to make before we get started. To all the writers and publishers that have entrusted me with your work, I just want to say thank you! I also want to say how much I appreciate it when writers go the extra mile to sign their books and perhaps write something like, “Hope you enjoy reading this. Thanks for the review!” Awesome! That makes my day and usually earns said book a place on the “wall of fame” over my desk. BUT…When a person uses up two pages of the book to annoy me with a bunch of stuff that might have been hilarious when the writer was intoxicated, it doesn’t do a lot to endear them to me. Unfortunately, that’s what I walked into when I opened the cover of Snake Oil Salesman of the Week by Brian Halsey.

Since this novella is basically a “Brotastic” piece of weird fiction, I guess that fits right in. Snake Oil Salesman of the Week is a jumble of confusing events that manages to include the Jersey Devil, drinking, drug use, a lot of profanity, and extreme levels of Bro-ness. You really have to be totally into the last theme, otherwise a lot of the intended humor is not going to strike you as such. That’s just the facts.

The main story is that a semi-successful artist in a small town is tricked into selling his soul to the Devil. He can get his soul back in exchange for two more, but he has only a week to accomplish this feat. What sounds like an easy bit of trickery turns into a strange love story for a small town when the artist realizes that he doesn’t want to steal anyone else’s soul. Said town then backs him up in his fight against the Devil and they win. At least I think that’s what happens. With all the beer drinking, weed smoking, and magic mushroom use, things get kind of garbled.

Yes, the book is supposed to be funny. I got that. But the laughs become predictable too quickly and are aimed at a specific demographic. Soon the reader finds themselves wading through a lot of pointless activities, so much profanity it’s just stupid, and a short cameo by…Cthulu? Really Bro? With all the mysteries and hauntings of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, that’s the best you can grab?

I spent quite a few years of my life living in Lambertville, New Jersey and just over the border in Pennsylvania, so I know a fair bit about the Pine Barrens and the Jersey Devil. Not to mention the Leni Lenape Indians, Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas Eve, and a boatload of other cool stuff that could have been mined to great effect. We had a well- documented ghostly hitchhiker on the bridge between New Hope and Lambertville which could have fit in there nicely, for example.

On the bright side, the artwork for the cover is really cool. Well done, Peter Halsey! I also like the crusty tough old men characters that impart wisdom to Bro-tagonist Andy James. Every small town has these people and they definitely are the glue that holds the world together. They also make decent straight men to the manic James. So the book is not entirely without merit, it just could’ve been so much better with a little extra work.

Recommendation? Halsey doesn’t do justice to all the legends of his chosen setting. There are also a lot of typos and at times, words that don’t make sense. Hopefully for Halsey there are a lot of Uber Bros out there who have enough cash for a 30-pack and a novella. This book was written especially for you guys! If you are not one of them, hold onto your cash and get ready for my upcoming review of Dark Cities, an urban horror anthology edited by the legendary Christopher Golden. Stay tuned!

Less than two weeks!

If you like well written speculative fiction, check this out! You won’t be disappointed! Mystery readers check out “Little One” too!

Timothy G. Huguenin

I hope everyone had a great July 4th celebration. Now that the commotion has died down a bit, I wanted to chime in to remind everyone that Little One will be available in thirteen days! (Lucky number, right?) Remember to check Amazon on the 18th. And if you have an ereader and want to get a head start, click here for a sneak peek (current mailing list subscribers should already have received the free preview. If you are on the mailing list but missed it, shoot me an email – contact@tghuguenin.com).

Little One ebook2

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Horror Anthology: Monsters Exist- Release Day

SHIT! IT’s OUT! THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THE WORLD IS TO BUY ALL THE COPIES IN EXISTENCE! DO IT NOW!

S.E. Casey Author

My story Playing Dead is one of the stories featured in the new horror anthology, Monsters Exist (published by The Deadmans Tome) which has released today (7/1/17). This book features 14 stories all concerning monsters, urban legends, and other cryptozoological mayhem. In truth, Monsters are everywhere as the external representations of things we internally fear: man’s many hobgoblins, strawmen, bugbears, and other bogeymen. Thanks to Mr. Deadman and the Deadman’s Tome, editor Theresa Braun, and all the other contributors who helped write, market, beta-read, and support this independent project.

Excerpt from Playing Dead:

Under the golden eye of Saturn, the only celestial light visible in the pre-night sky, the field vomited up a monstrosity. Rickety poles tilted at odd angles. Slug-like tents squirmed from the ground like nightcrawlers after a downpour. Deflated minarets rose reluctantly, topped with flaccid banners that didn’t look like they could be aroused in…

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Tick tick tick tick tick…

This guy writes some kickass stuff! He’ll lure you into a nice normal scenario and then blow your mind! You are going to want this book!

Timothy G. Huguenin

You hear that? It could be the sound of my countdown until the release of Little One, and if you check it it will say there’s only 20 days until launch!

Or maybe it’s that old grandfather clock that Kelsea Stone found in the back of her deceased parents’ house—but isn’t it supposed to be broken?

Can’t wait to start? Click the image below for a sneak peek!3d-book-white

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