Free Fiction Friday

Well, October is over and I’m sure you are all feeling that post Halloween hangover (I know I am!).  What better way to turn that frown upside down than with some amazing free fiction?  We have some really great links for you in this weeks FFF so get to clickin’ and before you know it, you won’t be stressing that you have to wait another 361 days before you can don that Cropsie costume and terrorize those pint sized Trick r’ Treaters!

As many of our faithful readers know, the Dreadful Tales staff loves us some Mike Oliveri. His werewolf noir thriller, Winter Kill, routinely gets mentioned on these pages so imagine our excitement when Indie Pulp offered up a free comic which is a prequel to the events of Winter Kill.  The comic is called Big Bad Wolves and is  available now so get on over to Indie Pulp to check it out.

I love Jeremy Shipp’s whimsical brand of bizarro.  It invokes the innocence of youth while still managing to conjure up some of the frightening images that you’re likely to find this side of a Carlton Mellick III story.  The man has a knock for making you laugh and cringe at a very primal level.  Dog, the piece that Jeremy did for 3:AM Magazine is a wonderful example of his talent.  Take a moment to check it out and then head over to his website and find out what all of the clowns are up to in the attic!

To Fight With Monsters by Michael Oliveri and Brian Keene

A one-shot comic based on a short story that appeared in 4×4 by Mike Oliveri and Brian Keene? Drawn by American Manga artist Ben Dunn?

YES PLEASE!

When humanity rapidly devolves into a monstrous state, teenager Rick Donovan joins his fellow townspeople in makeshift trenches to defend their homes. However, the monsters may already be among them…

This story reeks of modern horror in its themes and intense, unbridled sense of… wrongness… if I may use that word. The subject matter at hand is brutal, and so far from what one would automatically thing this little story is about. It is, in fact, about monsters – but who and what the monsters are is left completely to the reader to find out. In fact, I’d say that that there are more monsters present in this than the average reader would admit. It’s just a matter of opinion as to how you would define the word.

As for the storytelling aspect of this comic, the line is completely blurred as to who wrote what part, and whose idea was whose. Oliveri and Keene are both experts in the field of spinning an intense yarn, and yet both have their own immediate voice. These differences are blended brilliantly in the short story, and even more fully realized in the comic book format.

As stated above, the subject matter in quite strong. Even I had to take a moment to wonder how these two authors could bring themselves to “go there”. It’s no wonder that these two are so well respected in the horror genre. They’re ballsy, daring, and unafraid to bring the story to a level that will make the reader uncomfortable, if only to make him look inside his mind, and try to figure out where exactly he stands.

The art in this issue is incredible. Ben Dunn really does a killer job with the inks, bringing every squirm worthy moment to the front. The reader absolutely no choice but to confront the horrors within, right there on the page. In all, I’m really impressed with the whole thing.

As for where to get it, you can grab yourself a copy from Antarctic Press, online retailers like Things From Another World, and your local comic book store. Or, y’know, you could just ask me. I have 3 extra copies.

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So here’s how we’re going to do this. There are two ways to win:

- First, I want you to go grab yourself a copy of Mike Oliveri’s The Pack: Winter Kill at Amazon. Do that, and I’ll send you a copy of To Fight With Monsters for free! (You’re going to have to email me proof of purchase in the form of a receipt or Screenshot of your finalized purchase). Remember, there are only 3 copies… so act fast.

- Second, well… you’re going to have to fight it out with the Facebook fiends. That’s right. “like” our facebook pages, and you could win a copy of this badass comic.

Again, there are only 3 copies to give away. So act fast. The first choice will automatically get you a copy. The second…we’ll, like I said, you’ll have to fight it out.

Winners will be announced when the copies are gone. The entire Dreadful Tales Staff will be gone until August 3rd, so hold tight. Send us an email, and we’ll get back to you when we return.

C.

The Pack: Winter Kill by Michael Oliveri

Anyone who’s followed me over from Paperback Horror will remember when I said this:

You have to be dead not to dig this book. That’s right. Dead.

It still rings true to me. You have to be dead, insane, or have no taste at all to not dig this book. After reading, re-reading, and basically worshipping this novel as one of the best werewolf stories to be offered up in modern genre fiction, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no better paced story about werewolves out there. Hell, this one sits high on my list for “best book ever”.

I’ve stopped my search for the best of fur themed fiction. This book is my werewolf mecca. So, in honor of one of my favorite books, I’m re-posting my review of The Pack: Winter Kill from Paperback Horror, with some touch ups and modifications.

What you see before you is one of the most incredible mixes of crime, action, and the supernatural that you can ever lay claim to reading. To say that this is the best example of how cross genre writing should be done would be an understatement. Between Greg Lamberson and Mike Oliveri – the bar has been set.

When tourists are murdered in a resort town in the Northern mountain range in Minnesota, FBI Special Agent Angela Wallace is called in to investigate. But what she finds tests her training and sanity, for what she discovers should not exist.

The above synopsis does not do justice to this book whatsoever. It doesn’t even hint at the intensity that Oliveri has produced throughout this story. Every action sequence and plot point in the story, where we find the characters planning their next move, is coated in massive amounts of tension and suspense. It’s this style that drives the book along, making it something of a quick and exciting read, but also supremely satisfying in the end.

The characters in this novel are tight and more or less not people that you can identify with. That being said, I’m going to go further out there and say that they’re more like those that you wish you could be (assuming that everyone has an action filled fantasy or two in their head). Every single one of the characters is written in a larger than life way that is reminiscent of the greatest comic book styles. This was a welcome break, for me, in that they’re not something I had to get too attached to – giving me more time to focus on the masterful storytelling that was taking place. The characters blended into the scenes so well that everything – the whole plot, characters, dialogue and settings – all kind of melded into one another, creating one giant, adventurous, literary version of an excited whoop, that you’ll ever read.

It should also be said that The Pack: Winter Kill has crime novel written all over it, but the reader would be mistaken to judge it on that alone. When the book reaches it rollicking crescendo, the author brings out the gore like nobody’s business. Oliveri has an incredible talent for setting up scenes that are not only satisfying, but are also emotionally charged, in that you’re sitting at the edge of your seat waiting for everything to play out. It’s then that he brings out the big guns and gives you exactly what you came for – be it a terrific scene featuring police and procedure, the supernatural eeriness of a winter landscape, or an all-out gorefest at the hands of a terrifyingly powerful werewolf. Whatever your want, I’m pretty sure that this book has you covered.

Make sure you check this book out. It is one of the most satifying reads I’ve ever had.

You can pick it up at Amazon in Kindle and trade paperback formats.

Also, look more news about The Pack and the impending series of graphic novels and prose novels to come, at Mike Oliveri’s website – The Malice Engine. You can also contact him on Twitter and on his message board which is hosted at The Keenedom (registration required).

Stay tuned tomorrow for not only a look at the comic book adaptation of the short story – To Fight With Monsters – by Mike Oliveri and Brian Keene, but also a chance to get your hands on one of three copies.

C.