Here are some of my recent reviews of books that I've read by friends and colleagues. The reviews are all published on Goodreads and Amazon. The links below will take you to Amazon.
Beat to a Pulp: Round 1, edited by David Cranmer and Elaine Ash.
It would be virtually impossible to do a review that does justice to all the richness to be found in this collection. We're talking a whopping 380 pages of pulse pounding, gut wrenching pulp fiction. Not for the faint of heart, but maybe it's perfect for the faint of pulse. It should certainly get the heart rate up and the blood pressure rising.
I hesitate to mention specific stories for fear readers, and the writers, will think I didn't care for the others in the collection. I can honestly say that I didn't find a clinker in the bunch. They each had something interesting to offer. In looking back through the table of contents, however, a few stories do particularly linger in my mind.
"Heliotrope" by James Reasoner has some great atmospheric horror.
The monkey in "Hard Bite" by Anonymous-9 will linger a long time in my head.
"The Unreal Jesse James" by Chap O'Keefe had some great SF elements that I loved. Plus that title is just a winner.
"A Native Problem" by Chris F. Holm put me in mind of "Heart of Darkness."
"Hoosier Daddy" by Jedidiah Ayres wins my "I just threw up in my mouth a little bit" award. And that's not a bad thing.
"Acting Out" by Frank Bill had perhaps the most unique style to the story.
There are many other memorable stories, including works by Patricia Abbott, Evan Lewis, Edward A. Grainger, and Scott D. Parker, and there's an Ed Gorman story, which is always a plus.
Overall, I highly recommend it.
Storlandia Issue 3:, Containing the Novella "Dead Girl, Live Boy" by Michelle Brooks.
Issue 3 of Storylandia consists of a novella by Michelle Brooks called "Dead Girl, Live Boy." Brooks is a Detroit writer and the work is set in Detroit. It features a young woman named Josette and her brother Josh, both severely wounded by childhood, who live together as roommates and try to survive in a world full of bad relationships, a world where almost every decision has to be made between something bad and something worse. The story is told from Josette’s point of view, and begins: “The night my brother Josh took a razor and carved a grin underneath his mouth…”
Although this book would generally be classified as literary fiction, it certainly has elements of psychological horror in it. The writing is superb, the characterization top notch. At times, the combination of Josette’s insight into her world, and yet her inability to rescue either herself or her brother is heart-wrenching. And their parents? Simply chilling, in an understated way. I won’t spoil the ending by saying anything specific, but if you read and appreciate literary fiction you’ll probably have a rough idea of how things will end. Even if you don’t typically read literary fiction, this might make a good foray into that field.
I highly recommend it.
Archangel, by Bernard Lee DeLeo
Well, you will never look at Archangels, Lucifer, and nuns the same way again. The story concerns two Archangels, Raphael and Abaddon, the Archangel of the Abyss, in an alliance with two Catholic nuns to destroy demons that are possessing important human figures on earth and wreaking havoc with human lives and world affairs. There's a lot of action and a whole lot of humor. A fun book.