Dreadful Tales Book Club – September 2014 Edition

BotM Sept 2014

I’m not even going to play with you this month – books about Exorcisms and any religious horror happenings scare the all of the fluids out of me. I love them, but they don’t love me. They hate me. They keep me up at night and whisper sickly sweet nothings in my ear… about my eventual evisceration…

Enter Jonathan Janz – one of the new breed of authors who is making waves in the genre today, and the man who brings old-school scares with a splatterpunk flair. (Am I rhyming too much here?)

With Exorcist Road, Janz ushers in a new era of thrills and violence, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the old school paperback days. I would gladly stand this novella alongside lurid horror gems like Ketchum’s Off Season for its shock factor; the unbridled aggression of Laymon’s One Rainy Night; and the sexually charged nastiness of Tessier’s Rapture.

Here’s the synopsis:

Possessed by a demon…or by the urge to kill?

Chicago is gripped by terror. “The Sweet Sixteen Killer” is brutally murdering sixteen-year-old girls, and the authorities are baffled.

A seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his entire family and had to be chained to his bed. His uncle, police officer Danny Hartman, is convinced his nephew is possessed by a demon. Danny has sent his partner, Jack, to fetch the only priest in Chicago who has ever performed an exorcism.

But Jack has other plans tonight. He believes the boy isn’t possessed by a demon, but instead by an insatiable homicidal urge. Jack believes the boy is the Sweet Sixteen Killer. And he aims to end the reign of terror before another girl dies.

You can pick up a copy at Samhain, on Amazon, and discuss it here and at The Mortuary.

- C

Dreadful Tales Book Club – August 2014 Edition

10450684_946587348701242_5616265362125021328_n

After checking out some of Rhoads’ work in Feb 2012’s WiHM, we decided to give her another look-see. The book of the month for August is As Above, So Below by Loren Rhoads and Brian Thomas.

When the succubus Lorelei sees the angel Azaziel from across the bar, she knows he’s been cast out of Heaven, but is not yet Fallen. In the service of Hell, she resolves to do whatever it takes to bring the angel down. When she trails him back to his lair in the warehouses outside of downtown Los Angeles, they both are seduced by each other.

Together on the streets of L.A., they encounter Ashleigh Johnson, one of Azaziel’s mortal charges, dying of hepatitis in the street, and the angel rescues her soul from two harpies poised to devour it and causes Lorelei to be possessed by Ashleigh’s soul. Other angels don’t foresee any positive outcomes to any of this. In their eyes, their brother has endangered a mortal soul and compromised his own standing in Heaven.

When they intrude, Lorelei flees — taking Ashleigh Johnson along for the ride. In the process, Lorelei discovers that she has developed a soul of her own, a soul which is most certainly damned. Before long, her sister Floria tracks down a defrocked priest willing to exorcise Ashleigh’s mortal soul from Lorelei’s infernal flesh, and the intimate little ritual swells into a virtual Who’s Who of Hell’s presence in L.A.!

You can pick up a copy at Amazon, and discuss it here and at The Mortuary.

- C

Dreadful Tales Book Club – July 2014 Edition

NOS4A2The book of the month for July is Carnies by Perth based Australian author Martin Livings. First published in 2006 it is now published again in ebook and print from Cohesion Press and available from Amazon.

“The small town of Tillbrook has a secret. One that has been kept for over a hundred years.
Journalist David Hampden needs a good story to resurrect his flagging career.
His damaged brother, Paul, just needs to find some meaning for his life.
When David is alerted to a century-old carnival, the idea of a feature story is too good to pass up, so he drags Paul along to Tillbrook to act as his photographer.
What they find is darker than they could ever imagine.
Paul becomes part of the exotic world of the Dervish Carnival, est. 1899, and David must risk everything to save his brother.
Even though Paul might not want to be saved.
Come on in, and enjoy the show.
No photos allowed.”

Discuss it here and at The Mortuary

- Dark Mark

Dreadful Tales Book Club – June 2014 Edition

Ugly As Sin BannerSometimes we take this Book of the Month thing for granted, man. Flo Realz. I mean, for those of us who partake in it every month, it’s just another book to add to the pile, and another notch on our bedposts… when we’re vanilla enough to read in bed, that is. *wink*

Rawr.

But every once in a while, something insane happens to remind us of just how special this thing really is, and just how far authors will go to gain the coveted “Book of the Month” title.

What kind of stuff happens, you ask? Well, shit… take a look at this: Now, we featured this author back in July 2012 with his nostalgic throwback/homage to the killer 80’s paperback horror novel, The Wicked, and had a blast doing so. And, while I’m not saying James went out of his way to get our attention or anything, but looking at recent news, it was either James, J.R.R.R.R.R.R.R. Tolkien, or Mother Nature…

Because, you know, the universe revolves around this Book Club…

Naturally.

Anyway, if you’ve been living in a cave without internet (first, you need to find a better cave…), you need to know that your literary boyfriend and mine, James Newman, was severely accosted by a vicious Ent. Why? We don’t know. He won’t say. Maybe James  made that “Make like a tree and leave” joke again. Regardless of what transpired, it caught our attention, and convinced us to choose Ugly As Sin the June 2014 selection for the Dreadful Tales Book of the Month Club.

In addition to this high honour, the Horror Community banded together and set up a Telethon*, a Marathon*, and a celebratory Python*.

*None of this actually happened. 

Ronald Kelly, one of my favourite authors evah, went so far as to set up an eBay auction called Helping The Hoss: An Auction for James Newman. He is truly an inspiration to all, and should be clapped on the back, or kissed by a bevy of beautiful swedish swimsuit models. Whichever.

That said, you can join us in discussing the book (and vicious, author hating Ents) here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

Available in paperback and ebook formats at Amazon, and wherever good books are sold.

- C

*Note: For the detractors, we don’t actually take James’ injuries so lightly, and wish him a speedy recovery. 

Dreadful Tales Book Club – May 2014 Edition

NOS4A2The astute amongst you will have noticed that there was no Book of the Month for April but have fear because we are back with a vengeance with Wolf Creek: Origin for the murderous month of May.

With the release of Wolf Creek 2 on North American screens this month we thought it might be timely to discover what made outback legend Mick Taylor the monster he is today?

“Nature vs nurture turns out to be a bloodbath
The wide open outback offers plenty of space for someone to hide. Or to hide a body.
When wiry youngster Mick Taylor starts as a jackaroo at a remote Western Australian sheep station, he tries to keep his head down among the rough company of the farmhands. But he can’t keep the devils inside him hidden for long.
It turns out he’s not the only one with the killer impulse – and the other psychopaths don’t appreciate competition. Is Cutter, the station’s surly shooter, on to him? And what are the cops really up to as they follow the trail of the dead?
In the first of a blood-soaked series of Wolf Creek prequel novels, the cult film’s writer/director Greg Mclean and horror writer Aaron Sterns take us back to the beginning, when Mick was a scrawny boy, the only witness to the grisly death of his little sister. Origin provides an unforgettably bloody answer to the question of nature vs nurture. What made Mick Taylor Australian horror’s most terrifying psycho killer?”

Discuss the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

Available in paperback and ebook formats wherever good books are sold.

- Dark Mark

Dreadful Tales Book Club – February 2014 Edition

Hello, you delicious and dreadfully dangerous Dreadites! I hope you enjoyed last month’s read and are ready for some more!

Now, I’m not your familiar emcee for these monthly little shindigs, but Meli and I did have a wee little chat,  and we ultimately decided we should do something special, not only for Women in Horror Month, but also to celebrate our 2014 Bram Stoker Award Challenge!

I’ve been brutalizing my eyeballs for a few days now, reading everything on the Prelim Ballot and wondering why the hell I do things like this to myself all the time. Now it’s YOUR TURN to join me! And, lookie lookie, what do we have here? What ditty have I chosen for y’all to dance to? Why it’s A Necessary End by Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson.Ness_zps3a6b12c2

Yeah… I know – Wilson is the opposite of a Woman in Horror, but Pinborough ain’t. And honestly, it’s worth it to read anything by these two stellar authors, regardless of what month it is.

Make sure you shimmy on by and chat with about the book here at The Mortuary, the official meeting place for the Dreadful Tales Book Club.

We’ve never had a chance to look at a Maelstrom title for the Book Club before, so this is an exciting first for us! If you’ve ever read the above two authors, you should already know what you’re in for. If not, take a look at the synopsis:

LIFE CAME OUT OF AFRICA…

But now it’s death’s turn….

It spreads like a plague but it’s not a disease. Medical science is helpless against the deadly autoimmune reaction caused by the bite of the swarming African flies. Billions are dead, more are dying. Across the world, governments are falling, civilization is crumbling, and everywhere those still alive fear the death carried in the skies.

Some say the flies are a freak mutation, others say they’re man made, but as hope of beating them fades, most turn to the only comfort left and see the plague as God’s will. He sent a deadly deluge the last time He was upset with mankind. This time He has darkened the sky with deadly flies. And perhaps that is true, for so many of the afflicted speak with their dying breaths of seeing God coming for them.

But not everyone dies. A very few seem immune. They call themselves mungus and preach acceptance of the plague, encouraging people to allow themselves to be bitten by “the flies of the Lord” so that they may join Him in the afterlife.

Nigel, an investigative reporter, searches the apocalyptic landscape of plague-ravaged England in search of Bandora, a kidnapped African boy. On a quest for personal redemption as well as the truth, his search takes him away from the troubles he can no longer face at home, and into the world of the head mungu, a man who speaks truth in riddles and has no fear of the African flies.

A Necessary End is about apocalypse, about love, about the fragile bonds that hold marriages and civilizations together. But mostly it’s about truth – how we find it, how we embrace or reject it, and how we must face the truths within ourselves.

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed award-winning author of horror, crime and YA fiction. She has also written for ‘New Tricks’ on the BBC, and has a horror film and an original TV series in development. She lives in London.

F. Paul Wilson is an award-winning, NY Times bestselling author of over 50 novels in many genres and numerous short stories translated into twenty-four languages. He is best known as creator of the urban mercenary Repairman Jack.

You can pick up a copy of A Necessary End in paperback format or for Kindle then come on over to The Mortuary to chat with us about the book! In the past, we have had a lot of success engaging the authors on the message board in discussions of their stories, so it should be a good time.

Find out more about Maelstrom and keep up with all things Thunderstorm Books at their website here.

-Colum

Violet Eyes by John Everson

The theme of nature attacking has long been a staple of horror literature and the idea that often seemingly innocuous creatures may become ravenously lethal nightmares has been used countless times but Bram Stoker Award winning author John Everson shows with his novel Violet Eyes that the theme still has legs.

A hideous abomination lies in wait on the island of Sheila Key, but it’s contained by geography until hapless tourists explore the idyll and discover unspeakable terror and death.

Moving forwards Rachel Riordan and her ten year old son Eric relocate to the isolated Florida town Passanaette to flee an abusive ex-husband and begin a new life together. Their new neighbour Billy is a survivor of the attack on Sheila Key and has brought back with him a virulent new species which is unleashed upon the unsuspecting town. Before long family pets begin to go missing and a swarm of biting flies and viciously aggressive spiders descend upon the burg. These creatures are hideous and insidious by design and by the time Passanaette wakes up to the peril it may be already be too late…

Everson has created a wonderfully nasty creature with a lifecycle and feeding habits that are voracious and terrifying all of which he describes with unflinching glee. This novel will cause even the hardened fan of horror literature to be filled with skin crawling dread but the real strength of this tale is the believable characters whose actions and motivation ring true. It is the human element which sells a story of this nature and no amount of wonderfully described horror and gruesome slaughter mean much unless the characters are well drawn. Thankfully Everson has crafted a convincing cast and environment upon which he unleashes a truly abhorrent plague.

Evoking old school horror from the 80’s and 90’s Everson’s novel is also refreshingly creative and suffused throughout with palpable dread and gruesome carnage which will have hardcore horror fans squirming and arachnophobes looking for a chair to stand on assuming they survive the first chapter.