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.

Advertisements

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 4)

Today’s suggestion is for all of those folks who thought 50 Shades of Grey was the bee’s knees, and oh so sexy. Pssshhh. What a load of garbage.

Before I go off on a tangent and whip out some heavy BDSM references and Knotty Boys suggestions you might want to try, I want to be clear of something:

If you thought any part of the 50 Shades of Grey series were even remotely sexy and are now wading into the wide world of vanilla bondage and sissy spanking, we need to talk. And by talk, I mean really talk. There’s a serious conversation we need to have, and it’s going to be just about as awkward as whatever you think your kids felt like when you tried to tell them about the birds and the bees. Because today’s post is apparently brought to you by bees. So deal with it.

It’s sad when the world’s majority finds this bullshit fluff to be enticing, especially with pornography being so damned available these days. You’d think we’d have learned from our prudish days of yore. You know, really open up. But nooo. We didn’t.

I mean, really?
Is it so hard to tell your significant other to lay a smack down on your rump just that much harder?
To hold you by the throat and squeeze just a little bit tighter? .

No. It’s not, and I find it completely offensive that we, as a culture, can be so damned overt in our sexuality with our reading material, like reading this tripe on the subway, but it’s all blush and “No, I couldn’t possibly…” in the bedroom.

Fuck that noise. That’s a deal-breaker. And rightfully so.

Now, getting back to today’s suggestion, for all of you obviously sexually starved individuals, this shit is about to get reeeeaaaaaal.

NightWhereI’ve gone on the record to name John Everson the KING of erotic horror, and I did so for a reason. He’s the best there is at capturing the emotional and physical aspects of sexuality and the act of sex not only from a literary and visual angle, but also from a deep, philosophical angle as well. Everson knows what his readers yearn, and he delivers on the desires of his readership. There’s so much more I can say about this man and his insights, but we’ll leave that for another day. Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if novels like The 13th, Sacrifice, Covenant, Siren, and his most recent his novel, NightWhere, become cult classics in the BDSM and goth scenes like his predecessors Barker and Brite.

This is an author who can, and will, take you for an erotic thrill ride and leave your breast heaving with excitement and satisfaction.

Mark my word, all of you sex-starved grannies, if Everson’s NightWhere doesn’t get your boat a-rockin’, nothing will.

Dreadful Tales Book Club – October 2013 Edition

Thanks to my Darkness, Mark Brown a.k.a. Dark Mark for the lovely banner

Thanks to my Darkness, Mark Brown a.k.a. Dark Mark for the lovely banner

Happy October, my wonderfully spooky lil Dreadites! I’m sure for all of you, as for all of us here at Dreadful Tales, October is simply the best month of the year. Suddenly, we’re no longer the weirdos. Every man, woman, and child is obsessed with monsters and any marketing exec worth his weight in cufflinks is catering to our every desire. Today is the first day of this blessed month and already I’m drunk off the fumes of pumpkin spiced lattes and candy corn…. Perhaps drunk on a bit of witches brew too.

Because this month is the greatest of all the months, we hope to keep our dreadful cyber pages jam packed with book reviews and whatever other spooky treats we can come up with.  To kick off the month, I have our October Book of the Month announcement.

Whether it’s a book that has collected dust on the shelves for far too long, a celebrated classic that never quite made it into the to-read pile, or a favorite author’s latest release, every Book of the Month is worth getting excited about. Still, I have to say that October’s title has me particularly pumped. So pumped in fact, that I must abandon September’s book Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, despite being an oft favorite among King fans and a title that I have neglected since I can remember. I’ll level with ya, I didn’t even break page 100. Nothing against the King, but work, family, and all that good life stuff has wreaked some serious havoc on my reading time. Normally, I would just keep chugging along, at a snails pace if I have to, until I finish every last word of the book I’m reading. But, after a vicious Dreadful Tales board meeting in which hair was pulled, flesh was clawed, and relationships were damaged beyond repair, the October Book of the Month was chosen!

I’ve kept you waiting long enough, so without further adieu (assuming you didn’t catch it in the banner) – the October Book of the Month is John Everson’s Violet Eyes! John Everson holds a special place on my bookshelves because he was my first taste of modern horror fiction. Several years before Dreadful Tales, Colum sent me 3 modern horror fiction titles, one of which was John Everson’s The 13th. While it sounds hyperbolic, that book changed the course of everything for me. It was horror pulp like I had only experienced in late night B movies. Everson gave me boobs, blood, and beasts. He offered just the right mix of eroticism and gore and it is a delicate balance I’ve loved in his work ever since. I’m sure the sex and blood is rampant in his latest novel Violet Eyes as well, but what I’m most excited about is the sci-fi element. Everson is no stranger to the supernatural, but a straight up sci-fi novel about murderous spiders!? Everson was born to write this! Just take a gander at this synopsis:

The small town near the Everglades was supposed to offer Rachel and her son a fresh start. Instead it offered the start of a nightmare, when an unknown breed of flies migrated through the area, leaving painful bites in their wake. The media warned people to stay inside until the swarm passed. But the flies didn’t leave. And then the radios and TVs went silent.

 

That’s when the spiders came. Spiders that could spin a deadly web large enough to engulf an entire house overnight. Spiders that left stripped bones behind as they multiplied. Spiders that, like the flies, sought hungrily for tender flesh… through Violet Eyes.

I am thrilled to read Violet Eyes with you all, some Everson virgins, some long time fans. While King’s classic vampire tale can wait, my heart will not rest at the promise of a sci-fi pulp yarn spun (haha!) by my favorite, ever romantic, erotic horror author John Everson.

Hopefully my rambling did not scare you off. Please join all us crazies here to discuss John Everson’s Violet Eyes throughout the month of October. Pick up a copy of the book here and for more about Everson and his work visit his website here.

-Meli

Merry Axemas from Meli!

christmas tales wallpaper

Merry Axemas! Well, perhaps I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I’m definitely in the Christmas spirit. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, I think I like it even more than (gasp) Halloween. It’s not just the shiny objects, sparkles, lights, cute little animals in Santa hats, and all the sweets people bring to work that I love; it’s the chance to reconnect with friends and family I haven’t seen all year. Of course, along with all the warm hot chocolate (or more likely eggnog) and cookies comes stress. For those who will be traveling like me, you have the headache of navigating through potentially dangerous weather conditions. Then there is the most nerve-racking part of the whole damn holiday, shopping! What the hell do you get for the mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa that have everything? What about your football loving brother-in-law? Do you get him gear marked by the logo of his favorite team, again? Or some cologne since he kinda smells funny? Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that. What I can do is tip you off to some lil’ goodies you can treat yourself to that will help eliminate some of that shopping stress. Isn’t rewarding yourself for navigating through crowds of evil shoppers to make your family and friends happy part of the fun of Christmas shopping anyway?

I’m going to break this out into a few different categories. While a horror fan is a horror fan, we are complicated people so I tried to include something nice (and maybe even something naughty) for everyone. Enjoy! Continue reading

Dreadful Tales Book Club – August Edition

We’re already 5 days into August and I haven’t told you about this month’s title. But not to worry, the book we have lined up runs at such a break-neck pace I don’t think you’ll need the whole month to finish.

This is a fitting title to welcome home Colum McKnight, one of the creators of Dreadful Tales and a man who was conspicuously absent from the virtual world for the past few months. In case you missed it, he made his resurgence on the site just last week and we couldn’t be happier to have him back.

So, about the book. What makes this particular title so special and why is it befitting of Colum’s homecoming? I’ve mentioned more than a few times that Colum was the one to stoke my interest in modern horror fiction often guiding me to his favorite authors. He was also the person to encourage me to share that enthusiasm with other readers by reviewing books. The path that lead me here (at least in regards to my reading and reviewing) can be traced back to one specific care package from Colum a few years ago which contained three novels. In it were novels by Jeff Povey, Shaun Hutson, and our Book of the Month author of August….

Drum roll please…..

John Everson!

This month we’re reading his latest novel NightWhere (Samhain Publishing 2012) which I reviewed last month and you can see what I had to say about the book here.Banner courtesy of Mark Brown, a.k.a Dark MarkFrom the Samhain website:

She yearned to go beyond… but some curtains should never be opened.

When Rae broached the idea of visiting an underground sex club, Mark didn’t blink. He should have. Because NightWhere is not your usual swingers club. Where it’s held on a given night…only those who receive the red invitations know. Soon Rae is indulging in her lust for pain. And Mark is warned by a beautiful stranger to take his wife away before it’s too late.

But it’s already too late. Because Rae hasn’t come home. Now Mark is in a race against time—to find NightWhere again and save his wife from the mysterious Watchers who run the club. To stop her from taking that last step through the degradations of The Red into the ultimate BDSM promise of The Black. More than just their marriage and her life are at stake: Rae is in danger of losing her soul…

John Everson is one of those authors that hits all the right notes for me. He has a passion for horror, of course, especially the satanic and erotic type, but he also has a love for music that is evident in his writing as well. Every novel has its own unique soundtrack that pulsates along with the action of the story and that’s just one of the many elements I love about his books.

Without further adieu, please give a warm welcome to John Everson and his latest novel of sexual depravity, NightWhere.

You can get a copy from the Samhain Publishing website or Amazon or anywhere else cool books are sold. Join in the discussion as you read at The Mortuary message boards in the August Book of the Month thread.

Be sure to follow John Everson on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, and check out his website.

NightWhere by John Everson

The first John Everson title I ever read was The 13th, more than a few years ago after receiving a copy from Colum McKnight. If not for that horror lit care package I may not have discovered Everson at all and I’m certain I wouldn’t be writing this review today. I’ve devoured every subsequent release from Everson since. His palate of sex, blood, and Satanism had me hooked. He is to erotic horror what Jeff Strand is to comedic horror; a master. Everson paints gruesome imagery in his stories, often involving naked bodies writhing in viscera, but he is also a diehard romantic. Ultimately, it is love driving the plot of every Everson horror story. That’s also the case with his latest Samhain release NightWhere, but with more blood, guts, and torture than I’ve ever read in anything he’s done previously.

Mark and Rae are a happily married couple that enjoy a bit of diversity to their sex life. They frequent elicit sex clubs, swingers parties, and participate in sexual musical chairs, but Rae wants more. Mark just isn’t enough, he never has been. “He was peanut butter… but someone or something else always brought the jelly…” Still, being the understanding, and sexually curious, man that he is, Mark is willing to take their escapades further. When she catches wind of an exclusive, super secret sex club NightWhere, Rae is immediately obsessed. When they get their blood red invitation, Mark finds his wife sinking deeper into this forbidden world. How deep into NightWhere will she sink and how far will Mark be willing to go to save her?

Everson offered up bloody rituals, cult behavior, and pulsating orgies in The 13th, but that novel is like a cute little Disney cartoon compared to NightWhere. You won’t just go to the edge of darkness and desire; you’ll be pushed over into a hell of sexual tortures. This book doesn’t have NBP (you’ll have to google that one because I can’t bring myself to type out the abbreviation), but it’s the closest to being horror lit’s A Serbian Film than anything else I’ve ever read. It’s sick and depraved, the kind of book you feel perverted reading in public. I know they don’t know what I’m reading yet I still blush.

NightWhere is an endless orgy where anything goes. This is more than imaginative erotica though; there are unbelievable sexual kinks, vaguely familiar but horrifically distorted. The reader can share the experience vicariously without concern for safety unlike our unfortunate protagonists Mark and Rae and the never-ending parade of willing victims. Everson eases the reader into it though. He starts out with the obligatory whips and chains, floggers and shackles, careful not to get too kinky too quick.

Everson makes a compelling story for how the couple got into this lifestyle so it doesn’t seem so foreign and unbelievable. If you’re like me, it may be difficult to connect with a swinging S&M couple, but Everson paints relatable characters for the most part. By the time you are beyond your comfort zone it is too late, you truly have been lured deep into the rabbit hole.

He leads us into the initiation with pulsating New Order tracks and synthy beats. This is another aspect I’ve always loved about Everson’s writing; his obsession with music. He always finds an appropriate soundtrack to accompany his novels. This dark, drony post-punk sound is a perfect fit for the gothic underground club scene, but it fades rather quickly into the echoing screams of pain and pleasure in NightWhere.

As I mentioned, Everson is really a romantic at heart. His stories are undeniably horror and deal with subversive subject matter, but it is always centered on love and the vulnerability of those who succumb to its power. Everson doesn’t wrap up his stories with pretty pink bows or anything, and he is exceedingly cruel to his characters, but there is still a sense of hope and innocence despite all that.

Some horror fiction fans might roll their eyes at the romantic elements of NightWhere, or at least Mark’s unflinching dedication to Rae even as she succumbs to the seduction of the underground world. Still, all the in between is so extreme, so perverse that I think even readers with the hardest Teflon hearts will overlook that aspect.

Longtime Everson fans can expect all the ingredients you’ve come to love in an Everson erotic horror novel amped up to 11. He goes further, deeper, darker than anything before. NightWhere is a batshit crazy, hot, wet ride into hell!  

I found the perfect song to accompany this review, Angry Angles “You call it love.” I got the idea from a blog post about spicing up book reviews by Zombies Don’t Cry author Rusty Fischer. The key lyric is “Baby, when you hit me it feels so good.” I imagine this to be Rae’s theme song.

Angry Angles “You Call It Love”

You think you can handle it? Pick up your copy of NightWhere at Samhain Publishing or Amazon currently available in eBook format (paperback will be released in October).