‘Screaming Creatures’ by Sean M. Thompson – Review

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

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You put the key in, and the lock catches a bit. You’d forgotten about this quirk with the door, but there are many little things to get used to as a house sitter. You have to use a good amount of force to fully engage the mechanism, but you manage it, even one-handed, with the Jensen’s mail balanced against your side.

The heat is the first thing to hit you: stifling, cloying humidity, which seeps right into your lungs. The smells of potpourri left in the blazing sun, of no doubt thirsty begonias in a crystal vase, mix with the smell of the chemically-treated water in the fish tank. You’re surprised the mauve wallpaper hasn’t just peeled off the wall like a snake’s skin.

Maggie Jensen hired you primarily to feed her fish while she takes some much needed R and R at Acadia National park in the good old state of Maine, where life is slower. Being from Rhode Island this has a certain appeal. And who knows, maybe you’ll take some time off in September to go yourself.

Sunny Village

Synopsis –

Enter a world where nowhere is safe. These 14 stories take our everyday lives and turn them upside down. Encounter wendigos and succubi, demons and beings from beyond the stars, travel from the forests of New England to the wasted plains of the old west, succumb to haunted media and plagues of madness. Screaming Creatures is a fast ride to surreal landscapes full of hard decisions and frayed sanity.

Thoughts –

Screaming Creatures is the latest collection from Sean M. Thompson and Nictitating Books. From unsettling naked strangers in ‘Sunny Village’ to a world lost to insanity in the titular story ‘Screaming Creatures’, Thompson takes you on a journey through creeps, chills, horrors, and unbelievable terror.

Thompson’s writing is swift and engaging, a style that you can trust to keep you locked in with characters and events at all times. The tones of the stories are wide ranging but always with an undercurrent of tension that is enough to turn your stomach. The thrill of a secretarial job for a blood thirsty employer, the cold yearning for a connection with strangers – you’ll find a story that hits a nerve.

The final story of the collection ‘Screaming Creatures’ is a tale of a world infected by madness, and one that reflects all too much our current situation. Seemingly a virus with unknown origins infects the world, though they never find out how it is spread, but instead of physical sickness here it is insanity, irrationality, and violence that push our world over the edge, turning us all into nothing but screaming creatures… or maybe we already are.

A powerfully written collection to dive into, Screaming Creatures is sure to echo in the mind long after the last page.

About the Author –

Thompson grew up in a suburb of central Massachusetts. He is, in no particular order:
A weirdo. An angry ghost. A redhead. An asshat. A soda-swilling, sarcastic son of a bitch who loves cats and gallows humor.

He is a transplant to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he’s doing his best to become a desert-dwelling surrealist

Sean M. Thompson is the author of the collection TOO LATE, TH3 D3M0N, the novella HATE FROM THE SKY from Eraserhead Press, and FARMINGTON CORRECTIONAL from Planet X Publications. His work has been featured in TEST PATTERNS, TERROR IN 16-BITS, VASTARIEN, and UNNERVING.

Read and Review –

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‘Double Barrel Horror Vol. 3’ Edited by Matthew Weber – Review

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

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“Someone would always be ‘keeping an eye on you,’ and I suppose it was meant to be reassuring but it always struck me as a threat.” (Eye See You by Christine Morgan)

 

Synopsis –

Brace yourself for another two-barrel blast of unrelenting horror and suspense. Volume 3 of the ‘Double Barrel Horror’ anthology series delivers two chilling tales from each of six talented authors for a 12-story onslaught that will blow you out of your sneakers.

 

“These images filled Scottie’s mind, tattoed there by the baritone drawl of the man sitting behind him. It must have been two hours of video, but felt like two minutes. When it was over, the man sitting behind Scottie – the narrator made flesh – stood before the coffin. He ejected the video and pushed another into the VCR.” (Fuel for the King of Death by Robert Essig)

 

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“She smiled deep into him, gazing into his insides until she could read his secret thoughts. He needed to pull away but couldn’t.” (Wicked Smart Carnie by Mark Matthews)

 

Thoughts –

Brought to you by six adept horror writers, Double Barrel Volume 3 has the reader enthralled by prose, captivated by the visceral horror described, and yet still hopeful for the unlucky characters behind the words.

From the otherworldly revenge of ‘The House on Mayflower Street‘ by Glenn Rolfe to the run of the mill ravenous ethereal monsters of ‘Highway Hunger‘ by Calvin Demmer, this collection spans a wide range of concepts and horrifying events, yet each author manages to capture the essence of their characters, the anchor to any story. Not without a hint of humour you also have ‘From Unclean Spells‘ by Robert Essig which turns childhood giggles into mortal fear. Or if you are looking for a story that makes you thoroughly nauseous, uncomfortable yet unable to look away, might I suggest ‘Wicked Smart Carnie‘ by Mark Matthews – a story that will be lodged in my brain for years to come I fear. The reader is also treated to the folkloric horror of ‘Homecoming‘ by Theresa Braun and ancient terror from ‘Sharp Obsidian‘ by Christine Morgan.

Double Barrel Horror Volume 3 is a collection for the strong stomached, the empathetic, and any horror fans looking for a story to keep them up at night.

 

“Her distorted legs restrain me with superhuman strength, while I try to conjure a desperate notion to roll away or break free. But that time never comes.” (Homecoming by Theresa Braun)

 

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“Dudley, transfixed, couldn’t move. He couldn’t even turn to face his coworker, as his head felt stuck in place. The guilt ate at him, severing his ability to move. He needed to escape the feeling’s claim for control. He wasn’t the driver, but even if he had been, there as nothing that could’ve altered the accident. It had gone down too fast.” (Highway Hunger by Calvin Demmer)

 

This collection will leave your insides cold, make your skin crawl, and give a new weight to those shadows in the corner of your bedroom.

 

“Davis stood on his good foot, tasting the blood from his lip mashing against the wall. 

‘This isn’t fucking funny. Who’s up there?'” (The House on Mayflower Street by Glenn Rolfe)

 

About the Editor –

Edited by Mark Weber who can be found on Goodreads.

 

Contributing Authors –

Christine Morgan (Eye See You, Sharp Obsidian)

Robert Essig (From Unclean Spells, Fuel for the King of Death)

Mark Matthews (Wicked Smart Carnie, Goodwin)

Theresa Braun (Stillborn, Homecoming)

Calvin Demmer (Highway Hunger, Motel Madness)

Glenn Rolfe (The Guide, The House on Mayflower Street)

 

Read and Review –

Goodreads.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

‘The Last Book You’ll Ever Read’ by Scott Hughes – Review

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

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Contents-

The Last Book You’ll Ever Read is a collection of 5 short stories from writer Scott Hughes. Ranging from the psychological horror of a tortured mind to the grotesque body horror of a man and some questionable cement, these five stories are fresh, modern, and oh so dreadful.

 

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The Last Book You’ll Ever Read is probably the shortest collection I’ve reviewed so far, but man does it pack a punch. The collection is well written, explores new and creative ideas rather than the usual horror tropes, and has a connecting thread that sandwiches the stories that really made me smile and genuinely creeped me out a little bit.

The beginning and ending portions are in second person point of view, as in ‘you get up, you see’, which is rarely used I find but in the right context can be very effective and in The Last Book You’ll Ever Read it is used to perfection. And the real meat of the sandwich explores psychological horror, body horror, and like any great anthology type series reminded me at times of The Twilight Zone or even Black Mirror in the way a couple of stories played out.

One particular story called ‘eXhaurio Inc.’ has stuck with me since I read the collection. It follows the story of a man seeing a ‘free’ computer advertised on television but when it arrives it isn’t like any computer he’s ever heard of, and soon he begins to pour his life into this computer, forgetting to eat and sleep. I was enthralled from the get go by this story and am not likely to forget it any time soon. I think we need more horror centered around technology and the devices that we use every day and how they mess us up sometimes more than the fictional monsters we all fear so much.

This is a short and sweet collection that is not one to be missed. If you are looking for well written and intriguing dark fiction stories to disturb you before bedtime, I would make The Last Book You’ll Ever Read, the last book you read before bedtime at the very least. I only wish there were more than five stories and I’ll be looking out for Scott Hughes name in the future.

 

About the Author –

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Scott Hughes is a writer from Georgia, USA. His fiction, poetry, and essays have been published in Crazyhorse, Carbon Culture Review, Strange Horizons and many, many more. Currently teaching English at Central Georgia Technical College, he lives with his two dogs Bacon and Pip, and is finishing up a YA novel called Red TwinYou can find Scott on Amazon, Goodreads, and learn more about his work over on his website here.

 

Links to Buy and Review

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads.com

 

What’s your favourite horror story collection? Do we need to incorporate more technology into our horror fiction? What do you want the last book you ever read to be?