October 2013 Book of the Month Violet Eyes by John Everson Extends to November

Banner by Mark Brown, aka Dark Mark

Banner by Mark Brown, aka Dark Mark

Many of the Dreadful readers were too busy eating Halloween candy, drinking witch’s brew, and dressing ghoulish in October to get much reading done, including myself, so we are extending October’s Book of the Month, Violet Eyes by John Everson, into November.

We all read at our own pace and comment on The Mortuary message board thread when we feel like it, so this is just as fine a time to start as any. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up with the group and join the discussion too.

In case you missed last month’s official Book of the Month announcement, Violet Eyes is about mutant spiders that terrorize a small town. If you like killer bug stories and enjoy being creeped out, and I mean seriously creeped out, this book is for you. This story reminds me a lot of Edward Lee’s Slither but with spiders.

You can pick up a copy of Violet Eyes here in paperback or digital format.

I hope to “see” you on the message boards for the discussion as well. Join ussssssssss!

-Meli

All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 21) – Johnny Gruesome

JohnnyGruesomeCoverMedallion

I have an excellent, must-have, can’t miss FREEBIE! for you Dreadites today. It’s the perfect tale for heavy metal zombie heads in varying stages of decomposition, Gregory Lamberson’s Johnny Gruesome. We have quite a bit of virtual space reserved for Lamberson here at Dreadful Tales and I think the majority of his work has been reviewed here, including Johnny Gruesome a couple years back which you can read in full here. But the reason I’m resurrecting this “headbanger from hell” today is, as I mentioned above, the eBook version for both Kindle and Nook is available for a limited time for FREE! FREE! FREE! Sorry, I don’t mean to “yell,” but this is worth getting excited for. 

Johnny Gruesome is a leather jacket wearing bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, returned from the dead to give his enemies the what for in often creative and always nasty ways. This is the ghoul I envisioned when I heard the old 60’s cut “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels. The biggest difference is there is some kinda sweetness to “My Boyfriend’s Back.” He’s coming back to save his lady from what we can only assume is a stalker. Did I interpret that wrong? Anyway, there is no sweetheart tale in Johnny Gruesome, as much as I love a romantic story; this is a rebel yell revenge tale.

johnny gruesome

I go into quite a bit of detail regarding the basic plot (sans spoilers) and characters in my review (again, you can check that out here), so I won’t rehash all the gory specifics again, but here a couple highlights of note: Johnny Gruesome is a back-from-the-dead revenge slasher story as opposed to the survivors vs. zombies ilk. Lamberson puts his filmmaking skills to work with his cinematic prose so the imagery comes easily keeping the pacing steady. Johnny Gruesome reads more like a comic book than a novel, without the pictures of course. There are some excellent illustrations by Zach McCain included in the hardcover edition from Bad Moon Books which you can try to track down here, but it will be for a pretty penny. I have my own copy and think it’s worth every cent, but if that’s not in your budget, you can pick up the free version. Just follow the links below and hurry because it’ll only be free for a limited time!

Kindle users can pick up their free copy here. Nook users go here for your free copy.

Check out the trailer for Johnny Gruesome here. And for more about the author visit his website at slimeguy.com.       

-Meli

All Hallow’s Read (Day 9) – Lucifer’s Lottery

I could have picked any Edward Lee book for an All Hallows Read. Really. It’s all good. As far as Hell goes, I could recommend any of the City Infernal series. I could choo-choo-choose Black Train (a.k.a. Gast) for a creepy earth-bound tale. Monstrosity is another great one for budding crypto-zoologists. There is always The Bighead but that is getting enough press at the moment and really, I get to pick my favorite here.

Enter: Lucifer’s Lottery.

What more could a horror-hound want than a trip through Lee’s Hell with Howard Phillips Lovecraft as your guide? The amount of gore and perversion found in Lee’s work is more than enough to tickle your gag-reflex, should you still have one, and this one doles it out in spades. His books that feature Hell read like a Cenobite’s nightmare version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But, you ought to see what they do to the Muggles there! Oh Mylanta!

This is one for the sicko. The perv. The blasphemer. The reader who delights in illustrated pathology texts or Gnostic tomes but spends as much time watching Saturday morning cartoons. You know, for the anvil drops.

It’s not all mutilated pubic mounds, effluent troughs, and burning bibles either. There are stories here. Even characters you meet for a flash are sketched so clear with intricate wording, you can’t help but adore even the most repulsive. And the bestiary! Well, that sort of crosses into the human and human-type characters too, depending. Fantasy for freaks. Science Fiction for sociopaths. If you are looking for something deeply disturbing with no holds barred page after page, this is your golden ticket.

All Hallow’s Read (Day 7) – Joyland

Have you read Stephen King before? I am amazed every time the answer is ‘no’. On the other hand, shouldn’t I be amazed every time someone who used to read every book he had has given up? I’m not. To each his or her own. There is always a watershed book that had a King fan fall off. I took a break after Wizard and Glass. Some people have not read a thing since It. I’m not sure why readers would draw a hard line against an author with so much to offer. Romance, crime, mystery, science fiction, coming of age, and horror can be found across his entire body of work. There really is a Stephen King book for everyone.

One of his latest books, Joyland, is an All Hallows Read for those who had given up on their favorite author. It is also for those who have never picked up a Stephen King book before. Now, I could recommend old standbys like Pet Semetery. I could go balls out and say read The Shining, but no. You had, what, an entire lifetime to read those? Let’s go with something new It’s short. As in, not 1000 pages. It’s catchy like a really good pop tune. Carnivals and ghosts… you can’t go wrong with that combination in Kingland! 

I’d buy this book for anyone who has not read Stephen King before. I would counter any former-fan argument with this book too. Not into his writing on women’s issues? This one is nice and balanced. Not into his brand of horror? Joyland is a spook story, a mystery. Not into romance? Well, this guy listens to a hell of a lot of breakup music. Not into aliens? No surprise greys here, folks. Not into the Dark Tower? Okay, I’d love to see where this one crosses over. Not into long fiction? Bam! Joyland.

Those who are not horror fans need not be alarmed. It’s not gory or something that will keep you up at night. His talent for getting under your skin is kicked down a notch. This is fun King. This is King chilling out on a long weekend. This is King Light.

For those who enjoyed creepy carnival horror like Laymon’s Funland, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury or It, this is for you. Jam packed with old and new carnival references, it’s as fun to read as it is to recall your first candy-floss enhanced trip through the spook show . 

One of us will be reviewing Joyland on Dreadful Tales eventually as two of us have read it. With all the Doctor Sleep buzz and books coming out for Halloween I wanted to talk about this one today so it doesn’t go in one door of this haunted house and never get out.

 

All Hallow’s Read (Day 6) – Goth: A Novel of Horror

Goth: A Novel of Horror, by Otsuichi (Hirotaka Adachi) is an All Hallows Read for goths. Or not. You see, it talks about death, murder, decay and longing… from the perspective of two teens with very dark hearts, but it’s not really about the subculture at all. A good thing too, since according to the Encyclopedia Gothica, a sure sign of being goth is that you claim to be not goth at all. Ergo; Goth is so totally not goth.

I’d buy this book for any of my horror loving friends who also love rainy overcast days and deserted cafes. Have you ever followed the news of a serial murder in the paper? Perhaps in high school you spent more time studying Jack the Ripper and Zodiac than you did, say, Harper Lee. If so, this one is for you.

Those who are not horror fans but enjoy literary slice-of-life works that delve into the psychology of awkward or dysfunctional relationships will enjoy Goth as well. It is about a serial murderer, after all.

Well, it is really more about the two high school students following the murders. One fits the modus operandi far too well, as a girl. Fits like a future victim. The other fits all too well into the lives of each – the girl and the murderer – due to his narrative.

For those who enjoy quiet horror told from a very calm and realistic point of view, any Otsuichi would fit, but Goth was my gateway drug. Told as a kind of serial anthology, each chapter is a story in and of itself. A novel digestible as brown leaves to a worm, you may find it sticking with you after. I did. And that, to me, is what good horror is all about. It crawls under your skin and whispers to you for days or weeks after. Not that it makes the shadows any darker, but this book sheds pale moonlight. Recall that scene in Fight Club where Tyler takes the ID of a young man and threatens his life, then has him run away? “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted”? Well, that is how you will feel after reading Goth. You step into the shoes of Raymond K. Hessel without even knowing it. That is something few horror novels can make you feel – to feel like you survived, like you made it out alive. If it takes a lot to scare you, if the hatchet barely makes a dent and no amount of blood could drown you, try this one for Halloween.

I fangirl hard for this book, as seen on youtube. Find more on this book at Goodreads.