‘The Edgewood Nightmare’ by Conor Metz – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

***

Jumping up onto her bed, she made a second leap onto her brother’s. His bed wasn’t quite a bunk bed on top of hers – it was adjacent, but elevated about two feet above hers to allow a small fort space underneath where they could hang out and hide stuff. Of course, the benefits of it were mostly lost on Kurt who was plagued by nightmares in his younger years that a troll or some such creature lurked below while he slept, just waiting for the right time to strike and gobble him up.

Maddie thought such stuff was ridiculous. She was never afraid of much, mainly because she knew monsters didn’t exist. She was more scared of things that seemed possible to her like ghosts, witches, and serial killers. The last was something her parents were always warning her about. Don’t take candy from strangers, don’t get into vans with older men, don’t wander off while in public places. When she was younger, most of these warnings were lost on her, but she was smart enough these days to take their advice. There were too many kids that seemed to disappear and this sort of thing did manage to put some fear in her, but for the most part their neighborhood was safe. The one thing she did need to watch out for was the other kids nearby.

They had problems.

Synopsis –

Maddie Durant is trying to enjoy a snow day in December when she finds herself suddenly trapped in a world of endless, inescapable nightmares. Unfortunately for the small community of Edgewood, she’s not the only one. As four other young girls go missing in the span of a few hours, the Wakefield Police have their hands full trying to find out who took them.

And things aren’t looking good.

The lone detective on the police force has few clues and little hope of locating the girls, but Maddie’s brother thinks he may know where she’s hidden. With the help of her best friend, the pair aren’t going to let their parents or the police stop them from finding the missing girls.

Meanwhile, the girls will have to work together and summon their courage if they hope to escape a horrible fate. But without any answers to who took them and why, it’s anyone’s guess who will make their way out of the Edgewood nightmare.

Thoughts –

The Edgewood Nightmare is the latest YA story from Conor Metz. In this alluring and mysterious tale, a small town is afflicted with young girls disappearing within hours of each other. As their families and the local police detective scramble to find any clue as to where they may be or who may have taken them, the girls wake up in a living nightmare. A dreamscape that seems to look into the darkest corners of their minds and recreates their worst nightmares. Only be learning to harness their imaginations and master their fears will they ever manage to escape this hellscape and discover who did this to them.

The Edgewood Nightmare will have you on the edge of your seat, rooting for this rag tag group of young girls using their knowledge of movies and video games to save each other. Not to mention their family and friends on the outside who are not about to give up looking for them. Metz gives the reader an undeniable feeling of camaraderie and reflects the strength and bonds of such young friends perfectly. As the adults deal with the real world logic and rules, the kids fight fear itself and create their own logic and rules to do it. The Edgewood Nightmare is dark, mysterious, and an entertaining read. With a 90’s nostalgic feel and reminiscent at times of the haunting Freddie Krueger and his Nightmare on Elm Street, this is a great one to read if you’re having trouble sleeping…

About the Author –

CONOR METZ was born in Renton, Washington in 1984. His early years exposed him to a variety of outlandish films, novels, and comics books, which have shaped him into the writer he is today. He currently lives in Bellevue, Washington.

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‘Nocturnal Salvation’ by Villimey Mist – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

***

The crooked cabin bathroom mirror presents me a nightmare. The rhythmic hums of a heartbeat echo in my ears and they serenade my hunger. My breathing is ragged and fast, yet my heartbeat doesn’t rise. My teeth ache.

My long, sharp, canine teeth.

“This can’t be happening,” I mutter to myself over and over again. “It’s a dream. It must be.”

I cover my face with trembling hands, refusing to look at my reflection. Shuddering breaths escape my lips. I don’t feel warm. Not cold, either. I’m somewhere in between, and it terrifies me. I sway to the side. It’s like there’s a rock in my throat; no matter how many times I gulp, nothing comes out.

“I’m afraid it’s pretty real.”

I freeze. It’s a voice I’ve yearned to hear for almost a year. A voce that shouldn’t be here.

I spread my fingers and peek through. My heart finally beats faster and replaces the rock in my throat.

“You’re dead.” My voice is a hoarse whisper as I look at my late sister, Sophie, sitting on the bathroom counter.

“Am I?” she teases.

I grip the glass pendant around my neck. “This is made from your ashes. I watched you die. How are you here?”

Sophie shrugs. “Dunno.”

In the mirror, Sophie grins at me. Bile rises in my throat. I grip the side of the sink as my legs don’t feel sturdy anymore.

“You can’t be a ghost. They’re not real.”

“Ah, you thought the same with vampires, though.” Sophie wags a finger.

“So, are you a ghost?”

Sophie shrugs again. “Dunno.”

Synopsis –

Leia Walker has become the monster she feared.
Turned into a vampire against her will, she struggles to adjust while protecting her younger brother.

Across the world, humans and vampires are becoming bloodthirsty—feral beasts spawned by Adam Levant, a dangerous, sun-immune vampire. The people of Europe don’t know their fate hinges on a young woman and her group of vampires and vampire hunters. Time is ticking, and Leia must find a cure for Adam’s deadly blood. Her search leads to a reluctant alliance between her vampire guardians and the Owls, the hunters. Together, they venture to Atlanta to find a toxicologist from Adam’s past.

Caught between chasing a cure and holding on to her sanity, can Leia find a way to control her Hunger and stop Adam for good… or will she doom her fellow vampires and the rest of the world?

Thoughts –

The third instalment in the Nocturnal series from Villimey Mist, Nocturnal Salvation sees our protagonist Leia Walker becoming the thing she hates the most. Turned into a vampire after narrowly saving her brother, she now has to use her new found powers to defeat Adam – the rogue experiment gone wrong who is hell-bent on destroying humanity and vampires alike. His plan to infect the world with his own blood, which causes anyone exposed to it, to become a mindless and violent ghoul, must be stopped at all costs. Once again Leia’s vampire friends and the vampire hunters must team up to put an end to this global threat.

Throughout the story Leia is plagued not only by the hunger that she can barely control, afraid even to hurt the brother that she just saved, but also by the ghost of her dead sister who pulled her into this world of blood thirsty beasts in the first place. Finding the courage and self-discipline to use her new strengths for good, is complicated even further by the ever feuding vampires and vampire hunters. This third book shows Leia’s progression and growth as a young woman from the naïve and anxiety riddled girl in the first book, to the a confident leader and compassionate fighter willing to do what it takes to keep others safe. She is a protagonist that it is impossible not to root for.

As the book moves from Europe, back to America, we are introduced to even more vampire sects, alliances and grudges, and just how deep the rabbit hole of vampiric reach goes. A well-paced and action packed novel, this is a vampire series for those readers who are looking for more than just romance. With the Nocturnal series you will get strong familial and platonic bonds, deep friendships, conflicting motives, and of course – plenty of blood shed.

And what’s more – I thought this would be the end of the series, and despite the author themselves assuming this on starting the book, it looks like there may be another part to Leia’s story. So, stay tuned for that.

About the Author –

Villimey has always been fascinated by vampires and horror, ever since she watched Bram Stoker’s Dracula when she was a little, curious girl.
She loves to read and create stories that pop into her head unannounced.
She lives in Iceland with her husband and two cats, Skuggi and RoboCop, and is often busy drawing or watching the latest shows on Netflix.

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‘The Haunted Halls’ by Glenn Rolfe – Review

***

Walking up the pool steps he sensed a presence. Something else was here, and he had the goosebumps to prove it; the room was freezing. Not normally a man so easily spooked, Edward grabbed a towel from the plastic chair he’d left it on, and made for the door.

Stepping into the long empty corridor he could see his own breath. The icy presence had followed him. Even the maroon carpet which ran all the way down to the inns lobby was cool beneath his bare feet. The immense chill permeated every available space around him, freezing every door handle in sight and sparking to light and intense fear in him. He broke into a run looking for the nearest restroom.

Edward reached for the silver lever, his mind two steps away from setting his axis permanently out of whack, and despite the icy cold beneath his palm, shoved the door open. He spun around to the other side, shutting out the cooling hallway of the Bruton Inn. Something followed me. Standing in the men’s room clad in nothing but men’s swim trunks and a tiny pool towel that wouldn’t fit a child, he waited.

He was shivering, his teeth chattering, heart pounding. He could feel the wooden door at his back growing colder by the second. The small pool of water puddled beneath his feet began to freeze before his eyes. He stepped out of the slick space his wet body had created and stood before the mirror face to face with himself, intent on talking some sense into the man looking back at him.

“This isn’t happening. This isn’t fucking happening. Get a hold of yourself you stupid asshole!” he sad through quivering blue lips. A series of cracking noises stole his attention. He gazed back at the door. The floor beneath it began freezing over, the ice reaching out into where he stood.

Synopsis –

The Bruton Inn, located outside of the small Maine city of Hollis Oaks, is home to something special. An icy presence has made its way from a dark past to the present day. Cold spots, shadows, and whispers permeate the halls, and guests are beginning to change.

For two front desk employees, Rhiannon and Jeff, the dark rumors are about to come to light. They call upon Lee Buhl, the urban shaman, and his connection with the spirit world to dig up the truth.

Will they be able to stand against this malevolent force? Or will they come face to face with something beyond even your most frightful dreams. Welcome to the Bruton Inn. The Ice Queen has arrived.

Thoughts –

The Haunted Halls by Glenn Rolfe is a paranormal story set in a terrifying hotel with a dark past. Strange and unexplained things have been happening for some time; dead bodies found floating in the pool, voices and shadows in the empty hallways, and cold spots that can make your bones ache. Rhiannon is a relatively fresh recruit at the Bruton Inn and isn’t yet sure if she believes rumours going around, but she’d about to find out they are more true than she could ever imagine, and her coworker Jeff can’t escape them either.

A smorgasbord of messed up characters, bad decisions, evil intentions, and violence, The Haunted Halls has as many layers as there are rooms at the inn. The only real set back of the novel is the large cast of characters. Between hotel employees, blow in guests, regulars, and those from the haunting past that created it, it was a slippery task trying to keep them all straight in my head. Fortunately, a lot of them do end up shuffling off this mortal coil by the end, so it gets easier as it goes along. But Rolfe still handled the challenge well and the core character have their own time in the spotlight to keep the story going.

A classic haunted hotel story, from a fresh perspective, The Haunted Halls boasts physical and emotional turmoil, somewhat immoral characters redeeming themselves, and definitely immoral characters getting what they deserve. And a few unfortunate people who get caught up in the chaos and mayhem in between.

An exciting read that will keep you on your toes to the very end, this novel is another great read from Glenn Rolfe.

About the Author –

Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood and Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

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‘For Rye’ by Gavin Gardiner – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

***

Everywhere, knives; everywhere eyes.

She plunged trembling fingers into her worn leather satchel. Damned thing must be in here somewhere, she thought in the moment before her bag fell to the concrete flooring of Stonemount Central. The ticket collector’s eyes converged with her own upon the sacred square slip, tangled amongst the only other occupant of the fallen satchel: a coil of hemp rope.

They stared at the noose.

The moment lingered like an uninvited ghost. The woman fumbled the rope back into the bag and sprang to her feet, before shoving the ticket into his hand, grabbing her small suitcase, and lurching into the knives, into the eyes.

The crowd knocked past. A flickering departure board passed overhead as she wrestled through the profusion of faces, every eye a poised blade. The stare of a school uniformed boy trailing by his mother’s hand fell upon her, boiling water on her skin. She jerked back, failing to contact a shriek of pain. Swarms of eyes turned to look. The boy sniggered. She pulled her duffle coat tight and pushed onward.

The hordes obscured her line of sight; the exit had to be nearby somewhere through these eyes of agony. She prayed the detective – no, no more praying – she hoped the detective would be waiting outside to drive her, as promised. One last leg of the journey, out of the city of Stonemount and back to her childhood home after nearly thirty years.

Back to Millbury Peak.

Synopsis –

Renata Wakefield, a traumatised novelist on the brink of suicide, is drawn back to her childhood hometown following her mother’s ritualistic murder. Before long, she becomes ensnared in the mysteries of Millbury Peak as one question lies heavy: who killed Sylvia Wakefield?

As the answer draws nearer, as madness continues to envelop the quaint country town, Renata will come to realise that the key to all this insanity lies with one man—the world’s leading writer of horror fiction. His name is Quentin C. Rye, and he will guide her to the revelation that true madness lies within.

Discovering that the darkness of her family’s history runs deeper than she ever could have imagined, Renata Wakefield’s eyes will finally be opened to one single, hideous truth, which will awaken a long-dormant evil.

Thoughts –

For Rye is a dark and twisting mystery story involving a reclusive romance writer, her mother’s bloody and brutal murder, and a famed horror writer whose words were found at the scene of the crime. With layers of secrets and darkness, revenge and avenging, this is not a predictable story. Our protagonist Renata Wakefield, foiled in her attempt to take her own life as her careers wanes, is now staying to fulfil a long held promise to her dear mother; to care for her abusive father on his death bed no matter what. But the appearance of the mysterious writer Rye, the forbidden writer that may just have sparked her love of story writing in first place, may have just given her a new reason to keep living – to find out just what this mysterious romance thing is all about.

Rye himself, the boisterous American among the reserved English, is fascinated with the death of Renata’s mother, staged to look like a scene from one of his own horrifying books. He wants to get to know Renata, to help her find her mother’s killer, to give her new life. Little does he know that Renata’s life is a lot more complicated than he knows, her past darker even than a mind like his could imagine. And when his adult daughter Sandie shows up unannounced and determined to bring Renata’s works to the big screen as her leading lady, the danger surrounding Renata hits a little too close to home.

For Rye pulls you in with shocking events and complicated characters, and holds you within it’s pages with superb writing, a mix of genres, and twist after twist. By the end of this story you will not know who to trust, who to feel sorry for, and just how Gardiner managed it in the first place.

A darkly enjoyable read for any mystery lover’s out there.

About the Author –

Gavin Gardiner’s lifelong love of horror didn’t manifest into his debut horror novel, FOR RYE, until his early thirties. Between its completion and publication, he wrote a novella, several short stories, and a selection of non-fiction articles and analysis pieces. These can be found in various online publications and in print via:

www.gavingardinerhorror.com

Before he threw himself into the writing game, Gavin dedicated much of his teen years and twenties to the pursuit of music. Although the nightmares he’s since committed to the page have garnered more attention than his songs ever did, he hopes to one day return to music. The writing of horror, however, is here to stay.

He’s currently working on his second novel, Witchcraft on Rücken Ridge, and has grand plans for the future of his unique brand of horror. He very much hopes you’ll join him for the ride.

He lives in Glasgow, Scotland with his ever-patient girlfriend and ever-demanding kitten.

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‘The Thing in The Lake’ by Conor Metz – Review

*Disclaimer – I received free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

***

The fog on the windshield expanded with every passing second, leaving the defroster locked in a losing battle. Murphy started to wonder if Evans could even see where he was driving. The storm that night was one for the books. The past few months had been relatively dry for Puget Sound and now all that buildup had unleased the wrath of the clouds. Rain splashed against the truck with such fury that Murphy might have thought Evans had wandered through a car wash, had he not known better. He did wonder why they had been ordered to travel so far from the freeway. There was the fact that it provided a lot of visibility and therefore increased chance of exposure, but taking the scenic route presented its own set of problems – especially in the current weather conditions. Some roads were already starting to flood as water built up along the sides and spilled over onto the pavement.

Murphy was bothered less by the weather and more by their cargo, yet he tried to keep his mind focused on the road ahead and off what was safely secured in the back of the truck. Things had been quiet since they left the facility and that’s the way he liked it. Quiet meant safe, safe meant he didn’t need to worry about what could happen if it escaped.

What could happen to him.

Synopsis –

Billy McGregor just wants to enjoy his summer before high school, but a creature lurks within his lake and seems to be picking off the residents one at a time. As a horror-buff, he’s quick to pick up on this and with nobody else seeming to notice, it’s up to him and his friends to take matters into their own hands.

But they aren’t the only ones after the creature.

A local cop realizes the several deaths are linked and an organization called SID is trying to cover it up. They have their own plans for the creature, but if they don’t capture it quickly, things could spiral out of control due to a potential for infection. A single bite or scratch will turn any person it injures into another one of its kind.

It’s a race for who can deal with the creature first, but will any of them be successful against a genetically engineered killing machine?

Thoughts –

The Thing In The Lake is exactly what you expect – it’s about a thing, in a lake. With a nostalgic feel of spending summers watching movies with friends and imagining yourself as the hero that saves the day, this is a novel that really puts it’s characters to the test. When a genetically engineered government experiment is let loose on a small lakeside town, four teenage boys and horror film addicts, take it upon themselves to first prove that the monster is real and stop the feds from covering it up, and to kill the monster themselves. These characters are written well and easily distinguishable, they have a great group dynamic and for the most part are realistic teenage boys.

The novel deals with multiple failed attempts from all side to capture or kill the monster. At times this did seem a little repetitive for the reader and there were certainly some ill advised decisions made, not just by the naive adolescents, but also by the more experienced and trained adults. There’s a familiar feel to the story with the trope of small town against big government and federal agents having terrible plans for a monster they created, but there is a certain unique aspect to the amalgamation of the creature and it’s many impossible traits and characteristics.

The Thing In The Lake is a monster story that delves into what happens when things don’t go to plan, the casualties that can happen when secrecy is more important than innocent lives, and the strength and determination of a group of teenage boys who think they’ve seen it all.

The Thing In The Lake is a monster story that pits a killing machine against the hearts and courage of a town and a group of four, determined, teenagers.

About the Author –

CONOR METZ was born in Renton, Washington in 1984. His early years exposed him to a variety of outlandish films, novels, and comics books, which have shaped him into the writer he is today. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

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