‘Hollow’ by Rhonda Parrish – YA Horror Review

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*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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“Running helps.

It’s a soothing, strenuous sort of relaxation that clears my mind until all that’s left is sound. My feet hitting the pavement, my breathing loud in my ears, and an occasional bird. The sound of traffic is a dull hum in the background but I haven’t seen a moving vehicle the whole time I’ve been running laps. It’s getting late. The sky is bruising and the streetlights are coming on, but their light is dim.

I can smell autumn’s bite in the air. I’m too warmed up from my workout to feel it, and my hoodie is tied around my waits, its hem slapping against the back of my knees as I run.

Left-right, left-right, one-two, one-two. I focus on those numbers like I never do in math class, letting each one grow to fill my mind and push everything else out.

As I round the northwest corner of the decrepit hospital grounds a voice slips through the barrier I’ve erected around my thoughts. A very specific voice.

Keith’s voice.

“Shit.” I glance one way and then the other. Sound is weird around my neighbourhood, the old hospital and its outbuildings grab noises and toss them around like finger bones in a witchdoctor’s spell.

Then I catch sight of him, him and his friends. They’ve turned the corner across the street and are walking toward me.

If you’ve gotta go down, go down fighting. That’s what my Mom used to say.

Willing myself to ignore them, I fasten my eyes on a distant light pole and keep running. My jaw is clenched so tight each step jars my teeth, and the block, which is only doubly long on this side of the hospital, has never felt so huge before. I just want to go home.

The chant begins in my brain, replacing the counting, the left-right of my feet. I want to go home. Go home. Go home.

The boys’ conversation stops and, after a brief, is replaced by whistles and cat calls. Keith, Darian and Simon are hooting and whistling like a crew of construction workers. Assholes.

“Lookin’ good, Morgan,” one of them – Darian – hollers.

I feel the heat of embarrassment flood my face and force myself not to look down. Not to let them see how much they are getting to me.

“Run, run, run,” Keith shouts. And though the words are benign, it is him saying them, and the tone he uses colours them and turns them into something dirty. Something shameful.

I should have run that day. But I didn’t. Maybe this is my penance.”

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Synopsis –

A car accident shattered sixteen-year-old Morgan’s family. Now her brother’s dead, her mom’s paralyzed in more ways than one, her dad lives at work and her seven-year-old sister Amy tries too freaking hard to salvage everything. What’s more, high school is its own special kind of hell, where her ex-boyfriend delights in spreading rumors that shred her reputation and make her feel like a loser. When she finds an old camera in a creepy abandoned hospital, it seems like her luck is finally changing. And it is changing–from bad to worse. Because of course it is. Each time Morgan photographs one of her classmates they become corrupted versions of themselves. It’s like the camera steals their goodness, their essence, and leaves them hollow.

Then her sister uses the camera to take a selfie.

No matter what the cost, Morgan will find a way to reverse the effects of the cursed camera and save Amy, before her already-fractured family completely self-destructs

 

Thoughts –

A sensitive YA novel that follows a teenage girl in the aftermath of a car accident that is tearing her family apart, Hollow deals with themes of grief, sexual assault, family, and the darker side of the human psyche. For Morgan dealing with bullying and slut shaming she is looking for a way out of the difficult times she is in, trying desperately to claw her way back to normalcy and take care of her younger sister as her parents wallow in their own grief. Dealing with school life and a best friend feeling neglected, our protagonist has a lot on her plate and the heavy burden, much like the burden of a camera capable of bringing out the worst in her family and friends, Morgan proves a believable and strong protagonist that young readers can relate to.

An engaging story that shows the teenage characters in a realistic and emotional light, Hollow has achieved what it set out to do. For a YA audience this book is well-paced though more explanation could have been given for some of the more surreal scenes, however this did not detract from the overall impression of Hollow.

 

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A short yet impactful read, Hollow leaves the reader with the hope that unfortunate circumstances can be made better by the choices we make.

About the Author –

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Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She founded and ran Niteblade Magazine, is an Assistant Editor at World Weaver Press and is the editor of several anthologies including, most recently, Earth: Giants, Golems and Gargoyles, and Grimm, Grit and Gasoline. In addition, Rhonda is an award-winning writer whose short work has been in publications such as the Rhysling Anthology and Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012 & 2015). Her YA Thriller, Hollow and her paranormal non-fiction title, Eerie Edmonton are both coming in 2020.

Her website, updated regularly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com

 

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What’s your favourite YA horror novel? Do you think YA should stay away from heavy themes such as sexual assault? Let me know down below!

‘Periphery: A Tale of Cosmic Horror’ by Michael Winter – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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“What?” Andrew was teetering over a precipice he had been approaching for twenty years, ever since the day his father had returned from the police station still caked inn dried blood and announced to his wife and son that he was moving out, that it was the only way to ensure their safety, although they had nothing to fear from him. All the scary stuff was out there, out in the light. Out in the open. It always had been. 

“That’s what your old man calls them. Quintalochs.”

Andrew wanted to look away, but a feeling of inevitability had taken hold. In his mind, things were clicking and snapping, falling into a terrible alignment nothing could stop. The palm frond held his gaze. There was something unnerving about its size, about the way each long blade bent, then bent again, tapering to a barbed point. They jutted from the central stem like angled spokes that thickened every time he blinked. There were well over a dozen veins, running in twos all the way to the ground before curving toward the bin. 

Andrew saw with a start that the frond wasn’t connected to the tree at all. It was simply propped against the fence. What had made him think otherwise? And what about those discolorations on the pavement? O dd the way they continued up the side of the trash bin, as if the two marks were actually part of the same thing, a sweeping curve of antenna for instance.   

 

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Synopsis –

John Tate has always been at the periphery of his son’s life, but he’s had good reason for it. Now however, as Andrew is drawn into a hostage situation by a man claiming his father filled his head with monster, Andrew starts to see shadows on the edge of his vision, creatures that surely can’t be real, but they are. Andrew’s life, already cracking, is starting to crumble away as the city of Tampa rages with fire and voices in the minds of it’s residents but only a handful know the truth – an alien race that humans have evolved not to be aware of, is on their way to annihilate them all. Now, despite his efforts, John cannot hide the truth from his son anymore and both must embark on the final journey to try and save their people.

 

Thoughts –

In Periphery, Michael Winters tell a horrifying tale of cosmic creatures that live amongst us, beside us, and at the edges of our vision, our own ability to be blissfully unaware of them being the only defence we have against them. Led by rich and engaging characters struggling with their own inner turmoil and now bombarded by the telepathic terrorists hell-bent on invading their community and minds, Periphery is a modern cosmic horror with a classic feel to it.

Following Andrew on his discovery that his absent father’s rantings about shadowy creatures was nothing but the truth and the eventual merging of the community to fight a singular threat that can no longer be ignored, this story will leave you wondering at the shadows in your peripherals, at the flicker of movement in the corner of your vision. Where is your eye drawn? Will you follow the urge to look and know, or is ignorance more than bliss, but mortal safety?

 

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Periphery is a novel that pulls the reader in through believable characters, unsettling possibilities, and the hope that can be found in community. With strong, skillful writing, and a common enemy to fight, Winter spins a tale of darkness that will leave you cautious of every shadow.

 

About the Author –

Michael Winter is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Florida’s MFA program, with a degree in creative writing. He worked for “The Tampa Tribune” for twenty-eight years as a copy editor, page designer, feature writer and columnist.

His short fiction has appeared in the “Fiction Quarterly section” of “The Tampa Tribune”, “Modern Short Stories”, “The Tampa Review”, “Other Voices”, “Fourteen Hills”, and “Natural Bridge”. His non-fiction has been published in the “Private Lives” section of “The St. Petersburg Times”, “The Tampa Tribune” and 2 Bridges Review.

He lives in Florida with his wife, daughter and assorted creatures of the canine and feline variety.

 

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What’s your favourite cosmic/sci-fi horror? Do you prefer them to be set on earth on in space? Let me know down below!

 

 

 

 

‘True Crime’ by Samantha Kolesnik – Review

If you’d like to take a look at my Booktube video review, you can find it here.

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I pulled up the piece of loose siding and slid out my best copy of True Crime. The pages, thin as newspaper, were gritty with dirt. I flipped to my favorite photo of a blonde murder victim from a few decades ago. The black ink had worn gray from my repeated touch. My obsessive fingers threatened to wipe away the entire page if given enough time. 

The blonde in the photo had been babysitting when a man broke into the house and strangled her with an appliance cord. The photo left little to imagination and aroused an excitement in me – something similar, I imagined, to a young boy seeing his first centerfold. The blonde’s lip was busted and her face was swollen. Her cheeks bulged unnaturally. The only living part was her hair, which fanned out around her head in a wild mess of blonde tangle. 

My brother, Lim, said I was sick. He said only sick people look at magazines like the one I held in my hands. I knew he was right; it wasn’t normal. 

The babysitter photo was the first time I’d seen a dead woman in the full. Usually True Crime cropped out the details. It’s show a pair of clogs and white socks drawn up over pale calves. It’s show legs splayed apart with just a tease of blood. There might be a hand flung out from behind the couch with a few bullet casings in the foreground. 

There was no propriety with the babysitter, though. She was gold. 

I didn’t get a sexual thrill from looking at her. There was nothing climactic or conclusive about my obsession with her corpse. It just felt good. 

When I had first seen the photo, I hadn’t been able to look away for a long while. I had strained to scan every last detail of her into my memory. Th recollection of it had become a prayer I could recount at times when my mind strained to escape Mama’s very real and present hands. 

Sometimes it helped if I imagined the scene in the photo from the man’s point of view. I would try to feel the relief the man must have felt as he pulled on that cord around the blonde’s tender neck. I imagined it must’ve been quite a bit of work to take away a woman’s youth like that. 

I put True Crime down and started across the street.

 

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Synopsis –

Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in a town where the stars don’t shine at night. Once the abuse becomes too much to handle, the two siblings embark on a sordid cross-country murder spree beginning with their mom. As the murder tally rises, Suzy’s mental state spirals into irredeemable madness.

 

Thoughts –

Taken on the journey of a traumatized young girl and her protective brother as they attempt to navigate through a world that wants to continue to victimize them, any reader will find this a tense read to get through. With strong themes of misogyny, abuse, and violence, True Crime is a brutal look at the mind of a young girl trying and failing to come to grips with the trauma that she has endured at the hands of her mother. Brutalized from a young age, Suzy struggles to bring together her desire to do good and treat people better, and her natural reflexes of violence and defensiveness. A story for women written by a woman, True Crime takes a closer look at the self-shame and self-hatred of a victim of sexual abuse, and the conflicting emotions that come with being mistreated by those tasked with taking care of you.

The violence of the story is inexcusable and yet it is impossible to feel for Suzy and even her brother, impossible not to root for their salvaged futures and hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. A grimy, gritty, and unforgettable novel, True Crime is a story that needed to be told.

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For a debut novel, True Crime is a stunning horror debut from Kolesnik, an already seasoned story teller. With writing that creeps under the skin and sticks in the mind, this is a novel that is unique in it’s perspective and delivery and one that holds you until the very last word.

 

 

About the Author –

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Samantha Kolesnik is an award-winning writer and film director living in central Pennsylvania. Her screenplays and short films have been recognized at top genre film festivals and her fiction has appeared in notable literary magazines including The Bitter Oleander, The William and Mary Review, and Barnstorm. She is one of the co-founders of the Women in Horror Film Festival. True Crime is her first novel.

 

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What is your favourite debut novel? Do you have to like an authors first novel to even consider picking up the second? What do you think about teen murderers in fiction?

 

‘Savage Days’ by Kyle Van Dongen – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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The others said it came after dark, but Maisie wasn’t taking any chances. She carried a machete in a sheath strapped to her leg. The sound of its handle clicking against her belt should’ve empowered her, but instead it taunted. She’d never handled a weapon like this before, nor was she confident she’d be capable if the time came. 

It was a dreary, late autumn evening in Essex County. Distant rain clouds added a modicum of diversity to an otherwise colourless sky. A rolling field of dried corn stalks separated Maisie’s ramshackle farmhouse from the edge of a dark forest. 

Through narrowed eyes, she surveyed the motionless tree line. Shade from the canopy made it difficult to see farther than a few meters inside. For all she knew that damned beast hid just out of sight, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. 

Maisie cradled a heft wicker basket under her arm, supporting its curved brim against her hip as she tugged at the squeaky clothesline. Like everything else on the farm, it needed replacing. 

“Mommy, come push me,” a child’s voice called. 

Adelyn wore a frilly white dress embroidered with flowers. The spotless fabric flapped in the wind as she swung on a rickety swing set. She looked like she’d traveled here from another time, from a world Maisie never knew. 

“I’ll be right there,” she responded. 

The swing set stood next to the house, no more than six meters from the back door. Maisie felt certain that if the creature attacked, she could but her daughter enough time to get inside. Whether the dilapidated building would offer much protection however, was another story. 

It wasn’t that Maisie hadn’t tried to re-enforce the place. She’d boarded every window and installed makeshift crossbar brackets on both doors. Her handiwork wasn’t the problem so much as a lack of suitable materials. The old picnic table in the backyard became the first sacrifice, and since then she’d taken to prying up her bedroom floor. Unfortunately, most of these planks, regardless of their source, were already rotting long before she nailed them into place. 

 

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Synopsis –

Residents of a small farming community, already struggling to survive in the aftermath of nuclear war, are faced with a new threat when a terrifying creature emerges from the woods and snatches a child from her bed. A trio of broken people, including the missing girl’s grief-stricken mother, an aging scavenger, and a surly hunter, must learn to work together and utilize their limited resources to slay the beast and return peace to the community.

 

Thoughts –

Savage Days is a post-apocalyptic novel that explores the inherent human need for community and companionship struggling with the basic need to survive. Our trio of characters are well rounded, individually motivated, and fighters to the end. Young Maisie staying alive for her daughter, Benjamin and his love of music working for the community that shunned him to protect themselves, and the skilled hunter Caleb finding his place after the death of his ‘doomsday prepper’ father. A mis-matched team with their own agendas, all secretly wishing to find a friend but in the open, defensive for the sake of survival, leads to an unpredictable and often twisting hunt that threatens to get them all killed at every turn. The question is, is community more important than individual survival? And is survival for survivals sake, worth the effort?

Savage Days is a novel carried by the strength of the characters within it. Set in an America ravaged by looters, mutated humans and animals alike, and small farming communities struggling to return to a sense of normalcy for the sake of their children. Opening with their worst fears coming true – the thieving of a child in the night by a monster no one has seen – a harrowing journey is undertaken to stop this monster and keep the fearful community together. Van Dongen writes with skill and the careful treatment of his characters brings their stories to life. Using a well worn trope and breathing new life into radiated lungs, Savage Days is a novel waiting for a second or even a third reading.

 

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Savage Days is a story that will have you hooked from the very first page, and keep you hooked long after you’ve turned the last. Van Dongen will surely be a name to watch.

 

About the Author –

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Kyle Van Dongen is a dark fiction writer from Canada. Savage Days is his first published novel and you can find him on Twitter here.

 

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Are you a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction? What’s your favourite type of global destruction? Is setting or character more important when dealing with this genre? Let me know down below!

‘The Cult Called Freedom House’ by Stephanie Evelyn – Review

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*

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If you’d like to see my Booktube video review of ‘The Cult Called Freedom House’ you can find it here.

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“We need you inside us. It’s the only way. You’ll live on through us. All of Freedom House will breathe you and reach enlightenment because of you.” Cyrus said.

Wearing only a white apron and white panties, Penelope sat next to Cyrus as he spoke to Finn.

“You’ll taste so good for our souls,” said Penelope.

“You know I’ll do anything for Freedom House for our Journey to Freedom,” Finn said, his eyes glazed over with an admiration that no one could snap out of him. It was an anxious, wide-eyed stare full of glee; twinkling stars against a dark sky where blackholes lurked.

Cyrus stared into those twinkling eyes and smiled ever so slightly.

“Penelope, get your cutlery. We will need Finn served to Freedom House for dinner,” Cyrus said.

“Sounds delicious,” said Penelope.

“Cyrus, I just want to say thank you for letting me be part of something so important. I was never noticed on the outside, but here, I’m someone with meaning,” Finn said.

“My dear Finn, your importance is going to live forever,” Cyrus said. “Our pain meditations have prepared you for this moment. The pain you endure today is getting us all closer to enlightenment.”

Penelope walked back into Cyrus’ room and stood at the doorway entrance, her lanky arms at her side with her long fingers gripping a knife. The tip of her tongue stuck out just enough to hug her bottom lip, caressing it with excitement.

“Lie down and relax Finn,” Cyrus said. “You will now be set free too.”

Finn lay down on the long rug that led from the entrance way to where he and Cyrus sat. Cyrus sat in cross-legged position in a meditative posture, as he watched Finn.

“Penelope, he’s all yours.”

Barefoot, Penelope skipped down the long rug to Cyrus and Finn. With her boney, pale legs, she straddled Finn, moved her face down to his and licked his cheek. She lifted herself back up and brought the knife up to her neck. Finn closed his eyes as Cyrus sat and watched.

 


Synopsis (from Goodreads)-

Everyone but Sophia and Cyrus were going to die. They were all goners well before they knew it. And they certainly thought whatever was happening, they were helping others and saving the world doing it.

Samantha was only fourteen and looking for what every fourteen-year-old looks for – freedom. She wanted to be as far away from her substance-riddled mother and abusive home as possible, but she never asked for anything like this. It always starts with just one person and one fucked up idea. This is the story about Samantha and the cult called Freedom House.

A psychological horror thriller, this book will frustrate you, scare you, disturb you, and at times, it will make you want to be ill. Are you ready to learn what’s going on behind the doors of Freedom House?
Thoughts –

The Cult Called Freedom House unfortunately fails to deliver on its promise of a cult horror story. There are certainly many horrific things that happen to our main characters Samantha and Sophia, however the Freedom House is less a cult and rather a group of odd people with little direction and even less character motivation. For such a slim volume it’s easy to see why an in depth look at the inner workings of the cult couldn’t be achieved, yet even a cursory explanation of the cult’s core beliefs and values was overlooked in favour of shocking scenes of vomit eating, vandalism, and sexual exploitation.

A big issue with the story is that our protagonist, Samantha, is said to be fourteen years old yet acts and is treated more like a nineteen year old. Again this read more like a shock tactic than anything else. To have a fourteen year old wrapped up in the goings on of a cult, one wants to see the story through their unique perspective and experience the horror through the eyes of a child, yet this is not what you get with The Cult Called Freedom House.

The ‘spoilers’ at the beginning of the book, namely the statements that only Detective Rey and Cyrus would survive this story and the prologue clearing showing cannibalism, left little to the imagination for this story. Any fan of cult studies or psychology will be disappointed in this novel and the seemingly senseless actions of the characters. Cannibalism is not an everyday occurrence and for there to be no explanation as to why they partake in it, or why no one even thinks to object, is jarring for the reading.

 

 

The Cult Called Freedom House is a short novel of the harrowing decline of a new age cult. You won’t get a deeper look at cult experiences but you will certainly be horrified.
About the Author (from Amazon)-

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Stephanie Evelyn Briggs was born in San Jose, CA. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Film & Digital Media. Her film, Love of my Life, was showcased in the Santa Cruz Film Festival in 2010. She wrote her first novel, The Cult Called Freedom House, at age 32.
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What’s your favourite cult horror story? Do you need more from a cult description than just the fact that they’re a cult? Let me know down below!

‘Dreams of Lake Drukka & Exhumation’ (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 31) by Mike Thorn – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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Sharla didn’t need to glance at the passenger seat to know what Jeannette was doing – mouthing patronizing words, gazing out the window with an expression of exaggerated defeat. Siblings have a special intuition for these things. 

She clutched the wheel tighter. 

When Sharla had first called to propose the trip, Jeannette had shouted a familiar routine – “Just in case you forgot about the coroner’s report, the newspaper articles, and the goddamn funeral, let me spell it out for you again: Mom drank too much, made the boozey choice to go swimming alone at night, and straight-up drowned. There’s no mystery about it. Dad told us all about Mom’s problem – the bottles of vodka hidden under her socks in the bedside table drawer, how she used to sneak out to the garage in the middle of the night while she thought he was asleep…” 

Sharla had listened quietly and patiently, even as her body tensed with the urge to hurl her phone at the nearest wall. 

When Jeannette had finally finished rattling off, Sharla said it again: “If you refuse to join, I’ll make the trip alone. I just thought you should know either way.”

 

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Synopsis (from Goodreads) –

“Dreams of Lake Drukka” and “Exhumation” explore the unearthing of horrific, long-buried family secrets. Journeying into the darkest recesses of the past, these stories depict the dire consequences of discovering the truth.

 

Thoughts –

This is a duo of brutal stories from writer Mike Thorn. Tied together by the theme of fulfilling a debt to a supernatural creature, the stories differ on their endings between hope for the future and dread. Dreams of Lake Drukka leans heavily on the relationship between sisters Sharla and Jeanette and the struggles they’ve faced in their family since the untimely death of their mother. One thinks it was a tragic accident that happened to a struggling alcoholic, the other thinks their father murdered her. After Sharla has a vivid dream replaying her mother’s death, Jeanette agrees to take one last trip with her to the lake where their mother died in the hopes that her sister can finally get the closure she needs and mend their relationship with their father. Thorn handles the relationship between these women in a wholesome and realistic way, but he also creates great action in the climax of this short story that packs a punch at the end.

Exhumation is the story of a man attending the funeral of a cousin he once played with when he was young. After attracting the attention of another attendee who he does not recognise, but insists they know each other, he tries to leave and is accosted and forced to remember what really happened between him, his cousin, and the insisting man. Again utilising action in this story, Thorn draws the reader in with a hint of mystery and insufficient memories to end the story with a brutal realisation – you can never escape your past.

 

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A duo of stories that are short enough to enjoy on your lunch break but rich enough to revisit, Dreams of Lake Drukka and Exhumation make Mike Thorn a name to watch in the future.

 

About the Author (from Goodreads)-

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Mike Thorn is the author of Darkest Hours and Dreams of Lake Drukka & Exhumation. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Dark Moon DigestThe NoSleep PodcastTurn to Ash and Tales to Terrify. His film criticism has been published in MUBI NotebookThe Film StageThe Seventh RowBright Lights Film Journal and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. Visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

 

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How do you feel about duel stories? Would you prefer more bitesize outside of novels and novellas? Let me know down below!

‘The Third Corona Book of Horror’ Edited by Lewis Williams – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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-Curious, If Anything-

Cold linoleum under his feet, Babafemi stood there. Not frightened but curious, if anything. Pale light of early morning crept through the awning window over the bathtub and chased away the last of the bathroom’s shadows, and it was there in that room of grimy and green chequered tile that, rather than run, Babafemi raised a hand to the tuft of his greying beard, stroking it in contemplation. 

Ghost.

Really?

The dark-skinned body in the bathtub lay there, sightless – and had it been a real dead body, Babafemi most likely would have run. Not because he was scared of dead bodies, but more because he;d be scared that someone had left a dead body in his home, and as a result, it would make sense to leave before the killer came back. Assuming, of course, that the killer had left. All of these thoughts fluttered through Babafemi’s mind in moments, bringing him back to the present. 

The body lying in the bathtub, one leg handing over the side, the head resting against the side of the hot water tap. A body tat he could see through, and despite the darkness of its skin – or at least what would pass for skin – he could still see through it: see the outline of the bathtub, the tiling above the rub. 

Babafemi already knew it was a ghost since the body was see-through. Unlike many other who may have claimed that they had seen a ghost, or at least felt a ghostly presence, Babafemi was sure that he had encountered supernatural phenomena throughout his years. Early childhood long ago in Nigeria had shown him the ugly side of human nature and desensitised him to death. Later life in London led him to flirt with the supernatural, or certainly with those things that would make others uncomfortable. Time spent in a cemetery at night – back when cemeteries were unlocked and desecration was unheard of – yielded shivers from nothing except freezing cold temperatures among the headstones. Nothing went bump in the night then. Later life (and residences) in London, back when life had left him to adapt to the challenges of marriage, children, divorce and more, had provided more encounters: the sense of being watched by someone or something. Certainly nothing malevolent, but more in the way a curious family pet will watch its human masters before going its own way. And likewise, there was nothing to fear. 

But a ghost?

 

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Synopsis –

The Third Corona collection of horror stories picked from over eight hundred submissions. From ghosts to killers, monsters to curses – this collection has a wide variety of horror to disturb, disgust, and delight any horror reader.

 

Thoughts –

This is an independent collection that was picked from over eight hundred submissions, and you can see that in the quality of the writing and the stories held within. Not every one of them is a hit – there are one or two misses – however the overall quality of the collection is a pleasure to read. Stories in particular that stand out are ‘Curious, If Anything’ where the quote from above is taken, the story of a man who finds a ghost in his bathtub but rather than be afraid is curious to find out who the ghost is only to find that he doesn’t like the answer. There also ‘The Haunting of April Heights’ a modern gothic that takes place in a block of English flats, and ‘Murderabilia’ a collector who finds himself with the opportunity to buy evidence from the much to recent murders of an active serial killer.
The perspectives of this collection are unique, they take familiar tales and look at them from an angle not expected, interesting point of views and an array of material from ghosts to curses to AI. Would recommend for new and seasoned readers of horror.

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About the Editor (from Goodreads) –

They say to be a successful author you should pick one genre and stick to it. Lewis Williams hasn’t exactly followed that advice: having written his first book on the singer Scott Walker, he followed that with a serious academic work on social policy, which he then followed with a trilogy of limerick books that were absolutely, categorically nothing remotely like his earlier books. His latest book projects include a revised and updated edition of Scott Walker: The Rhymes of Goodbye (published Plexus, London 2019) and editing all three volumes of the Corona Book of Horror Stories book series, including 2019’s The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories with stories selected from over 800 submissions.

Lewis has two degrees in philosophy (which number might be considered two too many) and worked for a number of years in a number of different roles for Oxford University before his ignominious departure from its employ. You can find out more about him by visiting his website www.lewiswilliams.com

Links to Buy and Review – 

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads.com

 

 

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