Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #48

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

12/09/2017 – 12/15/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

The end of the year approaches and Horrors will be winding down. Although I am looking forward to doing something new with you guys I will also miss reviewing this book with you. It’s been very fun and I’ve loved chatting with you guys (and sometimes the authors!) about the stories.

 


Voices in the DarkSteve Resnic Tem

Synopsis:
Brian keeps hearing voices in the night. Ever since he was little. Voices that keep asking him “Where is it? Why is it? What is it? Who is it?” Brian finds out who it is…it’s him.

Review:
I have no idea what in the heck this story was about. seriously. It was the voices and Brian seeing himself in bed. Was he dead? Out of body experience? I have no idea.


Waiting Up for FatherGreg van Eekhout

Synopsis:
A creation of his Father/Master he strives to be perfect but is always disappointing. Father/Master creates a new child. A female, flawless and beautiful. As quoted in the book “It takes Father decades to create his children. It takes a mere second to become a monster.”

Review:
An interesting take on the Frankenstein tale (although that name is never strictly mentioned) the creation is jealous and destroys the ‘perfect’ replacement. And waits for Father to come home. It’s unclear whether or not he is waiting to kill him or for his punishment.


Wall ArtShikhar Dixit

Synopsis:
They watch from the walls. Watch as you love, argue, hate and eventually kill. then they make room for you.

Review:
I’m not crazy about the title because it doesn’t seem to fit but the story is creepy as all get out. It gives a new spin on haunted/possessed houses.


Welcome HomeJuleen Brantingham

Synopsis:
While caring for her ailing mother the narrator takes this opportunity to get a writing career going. Her mother suggests speaking with the elderly woman who gives dolls for charities. An elderly woman whom the children used to be terrified of and as she steps into her parlor vague memories start to surface. The dolls may not be what they seem.

Review:
Lesson learned – do not mess with older ladies or they’ll turn you into something unnatural. Although, as the narrator recounts her misdeeds she didn’t seem very nice.


The WellAdam Troy-Castro

Synopsis:
As a man lives his comfortable, law-abiding life of contentment the spectre of the murder he committed as a child. He doesn’t know what drove him to push his best friend down, nor step on Jackie’s clutching hand. However, he feels fairly comfortable in his life. But he will pay. And it will be Jackie’s turn.

Review:
A very powerful beginning and ending. Very good.


Western MovesMichael Scott Bricker

Synopsis:
Ricky is unsure whether to be a ‘cowboy’ or an ‘indian’. He doesn’t know how to use a bow and arrow and Dad’s gun is so much realer than his.

Review:
The story would have been horrifying enough without the bizarre “ghost Indian” interjections. They really don’t fit.


White BeautyCynthia Ward

Synopsis:
The unicorn approaches the maiden, knowing that the mortal men are nearby. Little do they know that the beautiful beast is not a cow to be led to slaughter, nor whom it serves.

Review:
I love unicorns and an evil unicorn story is awesome. I will fully admit to geeking out at the unicorn in Cabin in the Woods. It’s definitely original. If I read more fantasy I might see more of them but, although I love dragons and unicorns, fantasy holds little interest.


Favourite of the Week:
Definitely White Beauty by Cynthia Ward. I told you, I love a good unicorn story. Generally they’re amoral at worst, vain and silly. Not usually literally from the depths of Hell.


Join us again next week as we count down the last two weeks of Horrors!

This is Horror, Issue 25: Nightmare on Elm Street, The Invasive, and The Ghost Club

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Horror post on Sci-Fi & Scary

This is Horror, Issue 25 is a sampling of Horror News, including book and movie releases, and more. A little bit of everything to make the horror hound in you feel all fuzzy and warm. Or tingle with anticipation. Whatever works for you.

This is Horror’s Weekly Quote

“I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge, or lustre, or name.” 
― H.P. LovecraftNemesis

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Horror Movies

Let’s face it, it’s the last two weeks of the year. Horror is squelched right now.  So, instead, I present four of my favorite scenes from the Nightmare on Elm Street films. These films are single-handedly responsible for most of my night terrors as a child. (And yes, I had actual night terrors, to the point they medicated me.)

Nightmare on Elm Street - Suspended by Veins
This one is perhaps the least scary – it never gave me any nightmares, but it just deeply disturbed me. The look on the guys face, the fact that its his – what – arteries? No thanks!
Nightmare on Elm Street - Claw in the Bathtub
Y’all, I still can’t keep my eyes closed for very long in the bath tub. Seriously.
Nightmare on Elm Street - Pushing Wall
The only reason this one doesn’t still creep me out is we no longer live in a place that has wallpaper. And yes, that’s the way my mind works. Freddy can push through wallpaper, but not actual walls.
Nightmare on Elm Street - Waterbed
After I watched this movie, I went to spend the night at a friend’s house, and she had a waterbed. It took every speck of bravery I had in me not to call my mom and ask for her to come pick me up.

Oh, in case you missed it, if you’re interested in how the Nightmare on Elm Street movies did, you can check it out in our handy little infographic.

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Horror Books

Featured New Release

Book cover for The Ghost club

The Ghost Club – William Meikle – December 9th, 2017

Writers never really die; their stories live on, to be found again, to be told again, to scare again.

In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.

These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you’ll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.

Come, join us for dinner and a story:

Robert Louis Stevenson – Wee Davie Makes a Friend Rudyard Kipling – The High Bungalow Leo Tolstoy – The Immortal Memory Bram Stoker – The House of the Dead Mark Twain – Once a Jackass Herbert George Wells – Farside Margaret Oliphant – To the Manor Born Oscar Wilde – The Angry Ghost Henry Rider Haggard – The Black Ziggurat Helena P Blavatsky – Born of Ether Henry James – The Scrimshaw Set Anton Checkov – At the Molenzki Junction Jules Verne – To the Moon and Beyond Arthur Conan Doyle – The Curious Affair on the Embankment

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths

Gracie’s review.

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Goodreads Horror Giveaways

Book cover for The Invasive Book cover for Horror Everywhere Book cover for The Zee Brothers, Zombie Exterminators

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Horrorific Trivia

Going with Lilyn’s Nightmare on Elm Street scenes I was going to drop in my favorite ludicrous deaths. But then, I remembered that the eighties was the birth of tie-in merchandise and A Nightmare on Elm Street was not exempt from this madness for merch. So, my friends and fellow horror lovers, I present to you some of the weirdest, most ridiculous movie tie-ins for A Nightmare on Elm Street:

The Freddy Toaster: What better way to start your day than with a famed murderer! That’s right, you can now, literally, eat Freddy. I guess that serves him right for eating the People Pizza.

 

Call 1-900-Freddy: Feeling lonely? Wanna talk to someone you can really spill your guts to? Never fear, while you’re staying awake, chugging your coffee and No-Doz you can always call 1-900-909-FRED and for two dollars a minute you can have a pre-recorded heart to heart with Freddy himself.

Freddy Krueger’s Tales of Terror: A book tie-in to a movie isn’t so strange. In fact, I have a Freddy book myself. I feel like the concept for this series went a little something like this: “Let’s see, R.L. Stine is having a lot of success with his Fear Street series why don’t we do a series? We’ll aim it at teenagers and get the crappiest Fred Krueger make-up we can find and slap it on the cover. Gold!” Honestly, I don’t know if they’re good or not (and I’d love to find one to see) but the covers are so Nineties Neon I can’t help but giggle.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Nintendo Game: Freddy has been popping up here and there as a special guest in various horror games lately. However, once upon a time Freddy had his very own Nintendo game. It started out as you being able to play as Freddy but that was scrapped, presumably for fear of backlash. This was before Manhunt and GTA, after all. In concept it sounds at least somewhat close to how a real Freddy movie would play out. You play as a teen with up to three other players (using the NES Four Score). Your goal is to collect Freddy’s bones scattered around. It also had a Sleep Meter that would go down and when it ran out you would be warped to the Dream World where you could get killed by Freddy that much the quicker. Despite some…odd choices of enemies (like minotaurs) and weapons. Apparently shurikens became very popular in Springwood.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010): Why?? Just why?? I know, I know. It’s not a tie-in but, I ask again, why was this necessary?

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Horror on the Web

Check out this very interesting article on how horror movies can help anxiety and why on Broadly.

While we couldn’t score an interview with William Meikle on his new book The Ghost Club gingernutsofhorror.com did

Well, this sounds interesting…and terrifying. Insidious: The Last Key will be trying something a little more high-tech with it’s new movie. Check it out at Bloody Disgusting

Have a happy Ash-filled holiday (with or without chainsaw)

The Schoharie #BookReview

Title: The Schoharie | Author: Diane M. Johnson | Publisher: BookBaby | Pub. Date: 08/30/2017 | Pages: 222 | ASIN: B0758BHKR5 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Domestic Abuse, rape | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration


The Schoharie

Thirty years ago a major Thruway bridge was built across a small creek near the town of Fort Hunter, New York. It had its problems with construction delays and local protests, but it was built and it was strong. 

Thirty years later the bridge collapses when spring floods transform the meager creek into a raging torrent. The collapse takes several lives and almost includes the life of Aaron Bonner, volunteer firefighter, who swears he saw a vengeful Indian spirit take the bridge down. He just needs to convince Sheriff Ben Harrigan that the same Indian spirit seeks more vengeance. But the sheriff knows that Aaron is just like his father, who tried to sabotage the bridge when it was first built, while in the throes of a mental breakdown. Has Aaron gone crazy? Or does the sheriff have something to hide? 

A near death experience triggers Aaron’s sensitivity to supernatural forces at work in the town of Fort Hunter. But his father’s history of mental instability makes Aaron doubt his own sanity. He confides in Sheriff Harrigan, the father of his girlfriend, in a moment of desperation– but memories are long in small towns like Fort Hunter, and the sheriff remembers well Joe Bonner’s attempt to sabotage the original construction of the bridge. He was there. And it was his fault. 

Harrigan knows the town isn’t being attacked by an Indian spirit seeking revenge. He knows Aaron is suffering from the same mental illness as his father. But when other things begin to happen– things that can’t be explained by a man experiencing a nervous breakdown– the sheriff must come to terms with his own role in Joe Bonner’s mental collapse in order to save himself, his daughter’s boyfriend and the rest of the town.

The Schoharie Review

The prologue starts out with a dedication to the actual Schoharie Bridge that collapsed and assures us that the story itself is fictional.

First, the good. The book itself flows pretty well (action-wise, narrative speaking is another story) and only lags here and there. The people in The Schoharie, for the most part are fairly well done. I say fairly because at times I had to ask myself how old Sara is. Her attitudes and reactions make her sound like a petulant seventeen year old half the time. For as much as the narration and Sara try to make the sheriff sound like an intolerant hard-headed jerk it never really struck me that way. It probably would have helped if it had been more consistent with what he disapproved of, exactly. On one page he disapproves of the main character, Aaron Bonner, implying it’s because he’s Native American. But in the next paragraph we find out that the sheriff was “friends since kindergarten” with Aaron’s father. Again, in another chapter he’s upset because his daughter is divorcing her husband. Two pages later it says he didn’t want her to marry that guy in the first place. And then he’s ‘judgmental’ about her seeing another guy before divorcing her husband. It was very uneven. The side characters are there to either give background, fill out the cast or be the villain. That’s about it. And it’s pretty easy to figure out who/what is behind the happenings.

Most of The Schoharie centers on the supernatural forces at work, waffling on whether it’s true or not and a lot of people looking accusingly at Aaron because of his father’s history and because he’s Native American. The rest is filler on what really happened in the past and a few action pieces. The writing is stilted and overly dramatic at times. Too many thesaurus words and apparently witnessing someone get shot can make things defy the law of physics. Example: “The fresh coffee in her hand slipped away in slow motion before it hit the floor…” It may be a nitpicky but that’s just one example of where the wavering narration just sounds weird. At times we’re in one head or another and then it will flip to an omniscient third-person and back again, often in the same paragraph. Action pieces are broken up by meanderings of “If so and so knew this…” and then eventually find it’s way back to the original point.

There were two other points in The Schoharie that really stuck out to me and not in a good way. Even though the book avoided the literal ‘evil Indian’ it was still “Indian sorcery” behind it all. Domestic abuse and rape also seemed to be treated in a way that somewhat made it sound acceptable. “he’s sick” “he’s possessed”, it’s the war. All of these are brought forward and they are used as actual excuses. To say I lost my patience with it would be an understatement.

I gave The Schoharie a two because the author does show some promise and with a better editor to help trim out the extraneous sentences and thesaurus words this might be a pretty decent book. On the plus side The Schoharie is formatted well and there are no typos.

Interview with Katie Slivensky for the #17DABash

2017 Debut Authors Bash Banner

 

Author Katie Slivensky

Katie Slivensky is an educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does presentations with alligators and liquid nitrogen (not usually at the same time), and runs the rooftop observatory program. Katie lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin, and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Find her online at www.katieslivensky.com, and follow her on Twitter at @paleopaws.

 

 

 

 

Before we get to the interview, let me start by saying that I absolutely loved The Countdown Conspiracy. It was a fast-paced, interesting book with a great premise and enough action that I couldn’t look away from it! There are times when you read a MG book, and you just think “Yes, this is going to be big” and that’s the feeling I had about The Countdown Conspiracy. I highly recommend it to everyone reading this! And if you want to win a copy, look for the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!

Talking with Katie Slivensky

Sci-Fi & Scary: What do you love most about science fiction?

Katie Slivensky: I like that it gives people a chance to explore what could be possible. It takes where we’re at now in society and technology, and imagines where that could go—for good or for ill. And well done sci-fi remembers that people are at the heart of the story, no matter how exciting the setting or plot might be.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What are your three most favorite science fiction books?

Katie Slivensky: This is such a difficult question! I think I have to include A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, since that book influenced me so much as an elementary school student. My other strong sci-fi influence as a kid was Star Wars, so for my 2nd choice I’ll pick the X-Wing series by Michael A. Stackpole, which I read over and over through middle school. And finally, I’ll pick one of my favorite sci-fi reads of 2017—Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski. Such an incredibly fun and imaginative read!

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: You’re a science educator at the Museum of Science. I can only imagine how neat that job is. What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Katie Slivensky: My favorite part of my job is getting people of all ages excited about something in science that they may have never encountered or considered before. I teach with things ranging from tiny adorable tree frogs to massive digital, fly-through models of the entire universe. And through all of that, I get to witness the spark of curiosity occur daily. I consider myself truly lucky.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: On your site, you have a weekly science video. How do you choose them?

Katie Slivensky: It’s completely by whim! It might be something featured in the news recently, like a new discovery about a planet, or it might be something that I’d been thinking about through the week, like how amazing superconductors are. Sometimes I get a little silly with it, like when I posted a video featuring nightjars because I got that animal as my Patronus on Pottermore. Lately, I’ve been featuring videos from a YouTube channel I adore: Science with Sophie (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOJz0IhQZOH07fNIdVqWx1Q). It’s science + comedy for kids, and it’s so clever and fun I wish everyone would watch it!

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: Your profile mentions that you got interested in astronomy when you started working in the museum. Do you remember what exactly it was that hooked you?

Katie Slivensky: I’ve always enjoyed looking up at the night sky. When I started at the Museum and had the opportunity to actually learn the science behind what I was seeing at night, I jumped at it. It was an entirely new realm of knowledge to learn, and I love learning so I soaked it all up like a sponge. I felt so empowered the first time I stepped outside and could point out the location of Jupiter and Mars to my friends. It feels like secret knowledge, but in reality is knowledge anyone can gain! I highly recommend getting into amateur astronomy.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: You mentioned in your research that you’ve got to meet a few people involved with NASA, as well as get to have a ‘blast-off’ experience. This all sounds amazing! I have to ask – would you jump at the chance to ride the Vomit Comet if you could?

Katie Slivensky: Absolutely! I’d probably vomit, but it’d be worth it.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: When did you first get the idea for The Countdown Conspiracy?

Katie Slivensky: It came from a group of kids who got incredibly excited during one of my astronomy lessons about the idea that their generation would likely be the generation to go to Mars. That got me thinking…could I write a story that captures that excitement?

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: How long did The Countdown Conspiracy take to write (from start to finish) one you got your first outline and/or draft done?

Katie Slivensky: First draft took just under a year to really come together. From start to finish, the entire process took about 4 years of work before I submitted the final manuscript in 2016. I think it was 12 or 13 full drafts to get to the final version!

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: How much of you is in The Countdown Conspiracy’s main character Miranda Regent?

Katie Slivensky: Miranda worries that she wasn’t meant to be in this special astronaut program. That she isn’t good enough. I was always pegged as a “smart” kid and put into advanced and honors classes growing up. However, my classmates all seemed to naturally “get it” when it came to our school work, while I didn’t. So I had to work super hard to keep up and constantly felt like I was an idiot and didn’t belong. But in the end, the fact that I was a hard worker is what has gotten me to where I am in life more than anything else, so I wanted to emphasize that with Miranda…and hopefully demonstrate it to other young overachievers.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: Where you connected with Curiosity, I fell in love with Spirit and Opportunity. I loved Ruby.  Ruby feels like an ode to all of them. I have to admit that her part in the story (I don’t want to say more in case people haven’t read the book!) made me tear up.  Did you know from early on that she was going to end up playing such an important role, or did her part take on a life of its own?

Katie Slivensky: To avoid spoilers, I’ll simply say Spirit and Opportunity did indeed inspire a lot of Ruby’s story arc in addition to Curiosity. I love those rovers, too—seeing as I first got into astronomy in the 2009-2010 era, their influence is undeniable. 😉 However, when I first started writing this book in 2012, Miranda didn’t have a robot. Then, a couple weeks before Curiosity landed on Mars, I woke up one day and it all just hit me out of the blue: Miranda is a roboticist. She has a robot she built named Ruby. And I knew right then and there what role Ruby would play. So even though Ruby wasn’t originally in the story, the moment she was conceived her whole arc burst into existence with her.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: I have to ask – with the way The Countdown Conspiracy ended – are you planning on writing a follow-up to it at some point?

Katie Slivensky: Never say never! But at this moment, there are no plans for sequels. It’s all in the hands of my readers now to decide what happens next.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: On Goodreads, there’s another book listed from you – The Seismic Seven  – with a release date of June 2018. The synopsis of it is up on your website, but not Goodreads yet. Will this be similar in general feel to The Countdown Conspiracy? (emphasis on teamwork, not giving up, etc)

Katie Slivensky: In many ways, yes! The themes of working together and not giving up despite facing incredible odds are strong throughout THE SEISMIC SEVEN, as is the purposeful weaving of factual science throughout the story. There are some differences in other parts, though. I think SEISMIC focuses more on taking responsibility and wrestling with faith in humanity to a higher degree than COUNTDOWN. It’s also, in general, more unapologetically an action-adventure movie in the form of a book. 🙂 After all, the tagline is: Seven kids. One supervolcano. One chance to save the world.         

Thank you so much for hosting me on Sci-Fi and Scary! I hope everyone has a great holiday season!

 


Books

Book cover for The Countdown ConspiracyTitle: THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s

Release date: August 1st, 2017

Blurb: Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars. But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target. Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

****A Junior Library Guild Selection: Fall 2017****

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26102519-the-countdown-conspiracy

Indiebound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062462558

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Countdown-Conspiracy-Katie-Slivensky/dp/0062462555

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-countdown-conspiracy-katie-slivensky/1124860410

 

 

Book cover for Seismic SevenTitle: THE SEISMIC SEVEN

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s

Release date: June 5th, 2018

Blurb: Brianna Dobson didn’t plan to spend her summer saving the planet from total destruction. But what starts as an educational experience shadowing geologist Dr. Samantha Grier in Yellowstone National Park quickly becomes a race to stop a massive volcanic eruption the likes of which the humanity has never seen.

Seven kids. One supervolcano. One chance to save the world.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35230414-the-seismic-seven

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seismic-Seven-Katie-Slivensky/dp/0062463187

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-seismic-seven-katie-slivensky/1126439901

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Ghost Club #BookReview

Title: The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror | Author: William Meikle | Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing | Pub. Date: 12/09/2017 | Pages: 189 | ASIN: B077SWFLZM | Genre: Horror, Classic Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Child death | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received from Crystal Lake Publishing for review consideration


The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror

Writers never really die; their stories live on, to be found again, to be told again, to scare again.

In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.

These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you’ll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.

Come, join us for dinner and a story:

Robert Louis Stevenson – Wee Davie Makes a Friend | Rudyard Kipling – The High Bungalow | Leo Tolstoy – The Immortal Memory | Bram Stoker – The House of the Dead | Mark Twain – Once a Jackass | Herbert George Wells – Farside | Margaret Oliphant – To the Manor Born | Oscar Wilde – The Angry Ghost | Henry Rider Haggard – The Black Ziggurat | Helena P Blavatsky – Born of Ether | Henry James – The Scrimshaw Set | Anton Checkov – At the Molenzki Junction | Jules Verne – To the Moon and Beyond | Arthur Conan Doyle – The Curious Affair on the Embankment

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror

Saturday is generally Kid’s Day around here but the regular programming will be interrupted to bring you the launch day review of The Ghost Club. And since we do like working with Crystal Lake Publishing (and because they have fantastic anthologies and collections) we were happy to oblige. While this might not be classic horror, per se, classic horror is a great place for kids to start since the language is clean (and helps build vocabulary skills as my son will attest) and sex rarely rears it’s head (or other parts). So I hope you won’t mind the interruption too much. Next week it will be back to normal (or, as normal as it gets around here, anyways).

I love classic horror. Sometimes it can give me the creepy crawlies much more than a modern book will. I think it’s partly the restraint of them. Not restraint in the amount of words they used (some of them can be a bit…wordy) but in their topics and what they were and were not allowed to say. Modern authors can be as graphic as they please and it can take away a bit from the terror at times.

So you can imagine how quick to grab this book and run. I may not have been so eager if I hadn’t known the author was William Meikle. As anyone who has read his “Carnacki” books can attest, Mr. Meikle is very comfortable with writing in period language. From the very intro I was sucked in and, for the most part, I can say he does a fantastic job of recreating several different author’s voices. The only ones that I’m not 100% sure on were the authors whose works I am not very familiar with such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling. I always had trouble getting into his stories. I have liked a few but they just don’t grab me and say, “Read me!”

I also loved the forewords to the book and the stories themselves. The foreword at the beginning has a cleverly worded paragraph about the dubious authenticity of the “find” that I thought was amusing. The forewords to the stories were great. They evoked each writer very clearly and were a nice way to shift the ‘mood’ between stories so the style changes were less jarring.

That being said, let’s check out the stories, shall we?

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Wee Davie Makes a FriendRobert Louis Stevenson
I very much liked it. It was a bit sad but you could kind of tell where it was going to go. I also loved how William Meikle worked in Louis’ own childhood experiences in ‘The Land of Counterpane’.


The High Bungalow‘Rudyard Kipling’
An enjoyable tale that centers around an interrupted rendezvous and an unexpected encounter with something rather unusual beneath a bungalow. It also ends, dare I say it? A bit clearer than some of Kipling’s own tales did.


The Immortal Memory‘Leo Tolstoy’
The Empress has summoned Captain Marsh for one reason…and one reason only. He must find her a Scotsman to repeat the works of Robert Burns into perfectly translated Russian. Should be a snap…I’m not familiar with Tolstoy’s works so I’m not sure how faithfully the story is to his writing style but the story itself is a good one. It is true that an author can have immortality like no other


In the House of the Dead ‘Bram Stoker’
Bram Stokers shorter works have always been either/or with me. I loved ‘The Judge’s House’. This story evokes his writing style very well, including the epistolary style that Dracula is well-famed for. The story itself is quite beautiful. A story of love, loss, hope and, perhaps, reuniting.


Once a Jackass‘Mark Twain’
It certainly has the dry wit and terseness of any story I’ve read of Twain’s. He always seemed to me to write merely for the fun of a ghost story, not really trying to get down to the emotional depths that others plumbed. The concluding lines are funny in their own way and also, in their own way, could be applied to anyone at anytime.


Farside‘Herbert George Wells’
I have never read much by H.G. Wells (no, not even War of the Worlds) so I’m not sure on how close the style is. A machine in which your aura is shown seems to be the crux of this tale and I won’t say anymore as the ending is great. As is the rest of the story. Is it ghostly vengeance? Or something more?


To the Manor Born – ‘Margaret Oliphant’
I thought this story was excellent and could have come from the pen of Ms. Oliphant herself. The more I read on the more I am impressed. Mr. Meikle is not just talented at pastiching writers, he can create stories in their voices. It might seem like mere imitation to be able to do that but I assure you, it is not. It takes a talent all its own and the ability to not just imitate another writer but to get within their mindset as well. I loved this story and although it’s sad it kept me captivated until the end.


The Angry Ghost‘Oscar Wilde’
I did think Oscar Wilde a bit of an odd choice. As far as I am aware the only supernatural writing he had ever done was ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (if I’m wrong please point some out to me, new stories are always welcome!). Which, I have to admit, the first time I read it I didn’t get past the first couple of chapters. I may give it a go again one of these days. The Angry Ghost is darkly funny and a brisk, to the point tale.


The Black Ziggurat‘Henry Rider Haggard’
I have to be honest. I wasn’t that enthused with this tale. I’ve never been one for adventure stories and I’ve read one or two of Haggard’s work. Enough to know they’re just not for me. Someone else might like this story a lot more because from the admittedly limited exposure I’ve had to his stories they do imitate his style quite well.


Born of EtherHelena P. Blavatsky
A very good story taking a more unusual subject and blending it with a good ghost story. As far as I can tell the style seems somewhat consistent with what I’ve read of her Theosophy writings.


The Scrimshaw Set‘Henry James’
What is it about chess sets? You wouldn’t think something so prosaic and commonplace (and, some people might add, boring) would be able to summon up dread or horror but yet there are quite a few tales of chess sets – haunted, cursed or otherwise disagreeable. Meikle, with a superb rendition of James’ sometimes prolix writing conjures up a tale of a haunted chess set with a most unusual apparition. Definitely not to miss.


At the Molenzki JunctionAnton Checkov
I’m not really sure if I have ever read anything by Anton Checkov so I can’t speak to style but if this story is representative of his real stories I am certainly going to be looking him up.


To the Moon and Beyond‘Jules Verne’
This story was a bit more of a mix of fantasy and sci-fi (to me at least) and although it was interesting I did catch myself skimming certain parts. Not high on my list of favorites from the book but someone else may like it much better than I.


The Curious Affair on the Embankment ‘Arthur Conan Doyle’
The book winds up its tales with a story from Arthur Conan Doyle, the same writer who has been providing the introductions to the tales. With Lestrade at its center (we all know Mr. Holmes would sneer at the thought of magic) it’s a very good Holmesian tale of magic. And it’s nice to see Lestrade not presented as the bumbling ijit so many modern Holmes writers portray him as.


To wrap it up, these are some very fine stories and William Meikle does a very good job of trying to create the voices of each author. As I said, no small feat. I do have to question the inclusion of Blavatsky and Wilde as there were many other lady Victorian writers who I think would have been great to see represented here. In fact, it would be interesting to see what Mr. Meikle could do sticking strictly to writers such as Mary Wilkins Freeman, Edith Nesbit and so on. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get another Ghost Club anthology.

Shadow Weaver by Marcykate Connolly #BookReview

Title: Shadow Weaver | Series: Shadow Weaver #1 | Author: MarcyKate Connolly | Publisher:  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | Pub. Date: 2018-1-1 | Pages: 320 | ISBN13: 9781492649953 | Genre: Middle-Grade Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration


Shadow Weaver

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

The first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology, MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale filled with shadows, danger, and magic that has the feel of a new classic.

Book cover for Shadow Weaver

Shadow Weaver Review

Shadow Weaver is an atmospheric, haunting story that immediately ensnares the reader. This may be written for a middle grade audience, but it begs for adult readership as well. MarcyKate Connolly weaves a tale that keeps you trapped in her world until the very end.

Emmeline is a child that’s easy to like and want to protect. Also, like most children she’s also easy to manipulate and scare. Throughout the story I continually wanted to step into the pages and mother her. To whisper in her ear the truths that she needed to hear. To watch her story unfold, knowing that she had to discover things for herself, was almost painful. But her Shadow Weaver journey was exquisitely told.

Shadow Weaver is a book that will draw me back to it for more than one read. And when the second book comes out (for this is part one of a duology), I’ll be reading it as well. Emmeline and Lucas could be extremely powerful together and seeing these two kids take on the evil introduced in this first book will be well worth the wait.

One of the other things I liked about Shadow Weaver (not that there was anything I didn’t like) was the resolution with Dar. I’m not going to say what it was, but the author handled it very nicely. She could have went a few typical routes but she didn’t. And while I’m almost positive the solution will come back and bite them in the butt, I’m still happy things ended the way they did.

Well-written, with believable dialogue, nicely paced action, and fantasy kept on a level easy for middle-grade readers to understand, Shadow Weaver is an exquisite example of how to write darker fantasy for kids. MarcyKate Connolly did a phenomenal job, and I will be shocked if Shadow Weaver doesn’t make it onto the best seller lists for middle grade fiction. I loved it!

 

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #47

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror 

12/02/2017 – 12/08/2017

 

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

The one upside to that nasty white stuff falling outside my door is that no one questions it when you curl up with a book. In fact, I truly believe that is what winter was invented for just that purpose. So let the snow fall (or the sun shine, lucky) and let’s get to some wintry horror…or whatever comes our way this week!


UpstairsLawrence Watt-Evans

Synopsis:
All the couple upstairs do is fight and yell. They are also very inconsiderate about leaving the tap running and something is stinking the place up. Jack says he’ll go talk to them…now something else is leaking through the ceiling. It’s not water though.

Review:
An ok story. I’m assuming the upstairs neighbors are probably serial killers hence all of the thumping and stink. However, they are usually smart enough to not kill their neighbors unless he literally walked in on them killing someone.


The Valley of the ShadowFrancis Amery

Synopsis:
A reading of the Bible leads one man to the conclusion that God smiles on industry…and industry requires sacrifice.

Review:
I don’t mind a little Biblical horror every now and then (which is different than horror or thrillers geared to Christians) but this was just weird. I almost think that they might have gotten inspiration from Centralia, perhaps.


Vampire NationThomas M. Sipos

Synopsis:
Count Farkas has awakened to a nation and a time of apathy. No one believes in the old superstitions anymore. What better climate for a vampire to exist in? But apathy can be contagious.

Review:
A good story about contagious indifference and boy, is it ever! It made me want to curl up and go to sleep!


The Vampire’s BurdenTippi N. Blevins

Synopsis:
While hunting among the vampire pretenders at the club Teddy finds the perfect victim. He thinks she’s all too human. He’s mostly right.

Review:
A little on the eh side. Miranda doesn’t really give Teddy an actual chance to change and she seems to be a forerunner of “Oooh, pretty vampires!”.


The Vampire’s CaravanIlona Ouspenskaya

Synopsis:
One enchanted evening a peasant girl watches the majesty of the Vampire’s Caravan and is offered a place in it. What will her choice be?

Review:
Very beautifully described and it makes me curious which path she is trying to take.


Vengeance is MeTom Piccirilli

Synopsis:
A woman sleeps, imagining her husband’s death, over and over while he lies awake amidst hallucinations born of his guilt. Or are they?

Review:
I did not like this one. It had a good guilt theme to it but there are two refrains repeated over and over that are just gross and unnecessarily repeated.


VocabularyAdam Troy-Castro

Synopsis:
Trying to find that word that’s on the tip of our tongue can be frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that you might try checking other people’s tongues. And you’ll let them go, of course. They just need to figure out the word.

Review:
A rather gruesome story. Not torture porn descriptive but your imagination does the work for you.


Favorite of the Week:
Hmm. While not a terrible week it was sort of blah, wasn’t it? It would have to be Vampire Caravan by Ilona Ouspenskaya for the sheer loveliness of the prose and description.


Thank you for joining us this week and come back next week for another seven days of Horrors!

Darkest Hours by Mike Thorn #BookReview

Title: Darkest Hours | Author: Mike Thorn | Publisher: Unnerving Magazine | Pub. Date: 2017-11-21 | Pages: 252 | ISBN13: 9780995975354 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Er… read at your own risk. | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy from the publisher for review consideration


Darkest Hours

In the bleak landscape of Darkest Hours, people make decisions that lead them into extreme scenarios – sometimes bizarre, often horrific, always unexpected. Between this book’s covers you will find academics in distress; monsters abused by people; people terrorized by demons; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, brutal, but always empathetic.

Book cover for Darkest Hours

Darkest Hours Review

I rarely do short story collections, but Unnerving approached me about one they were getting ready to publish soon, and it looked just interesting enough that I decided to give it a try. (To be honest, I was also counting on the fact that I could foist it off on my short-story loving co-host if it failed to thrill me. ) Happily, the stories in Darkest Hours kept me engaged the majority of the time.

The writing style is consistent, actually overly consistent at times as certain phrases were used a little too regularly across the stories. The ‘type’ of horror is not, however. The author appears to enjoy turning his attention to different ways to disgust or disturb. There is everything from the mundane fetish (Hair) to the supernatural night visitor (Long Man), and from the ridiculous satirical (Satanic Panic) to the not easily classifiable (Party Time) in Darkest Hours.

There are 15 stories in the collection. My favorites were Sabbatical, Long Man, and Hair. (Hair makes the list just because it utterly disgusted me. I admire any story that can make me have to resist the urge to gag when reading OR talking about it.) Most of the stories received a three or four star rating.  There was only one story that I outright didn’t like, which was Fear and Grace.  One, Economy These Days, was interesting because although I could see how it could be labeled as a certain type of horror short, I found it to be simply thought-provoking.

Although the stories vary dramatically in chosen subject, by the end of the collection, certain things make themselves known time and again. Specifically, smoking, heavy metal, and – oddly enough – academics.  I’m sure people who are more into the literary dissection side of things will have fun picking apart the stories contained in Darkest Hours. I’m not one for doing that, though.

Mike Thorn’s Darkest Hours is contains the most diverse selection of stories that I’ve ever read from a single author.  The story order was well chosen, providing a whirlwind of an experience. You could never really be sure what you were going to read next.  Overall, if you’re a fan of horror short stories, you need to give Darkest Hours a try. You might very well just be missing out if you don’t.

Buy Link: Amazon

10 Bookish Sci-Fi & Horror Locations We Want to Visit

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.For this Top Ten Tuesday, we were supposed to talk about bookish locations that we wanted to visit. This one made us happy! When it comes to places I want to visit, my mind instantly goes to science fiction. I know Gracie’s half of this list (at the bottom) will be very different. These locations are all ones that shine in my mind. When I do get a chance to daydream, these drift through my head. Science fiction gives you such a full range of choices. It was hard to narrow it down to just five, but these are an awesome five!

As usual this Top Ten Tuesday topic is brought to you by Broke & Bookish.

*Titles will link you to our reviews of the books.

2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson

The book cover for 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Terminator, Mercury from Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312.  He describes it so beautifully that I want to be there. I want to walk on Mercury, with the sunlight chasing me. Even though it’s dangerous, and stark, it’s gorgeous. And I need to be there.


Aaru – David Meredith

Book cover for Aaru

Aaru from David Meredith’s Aaru. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the book, the idea of Aaru has stayed with me. I don’t know that I would want to spend my ‘afterlife’ there, but the idea of having it as a vacation spot sounds absolutely lovely.


The Stark Divide – J. Scott Coatsworth

Book cover for The Stark Divide

Forever from J. Scott Coatsworth’s The Stark Divide. O’Neill cylinders fascinate me. Forever is a new take on the O’Neill cylinder concept that seems absolutely fascinating. I want to be there by that tree. To watch the dawning with the golden sap coursing through everything. I need to strap on a pack and  sail the air currents to the poles.


The Last Machine in the Solar System – Matthew Isaac Sobin

Book cover for The Last Machine in the SOlar System by Matthew Isaac Sobin

The sun from Matthew Isaac Sobin’s The Last Machine in the Solar System. Specifically, I want to be there at the end, walking on the surface of the sun with The Last Machine. There was something so impactful about reading that last scene that I think I could sit, look out, and I could cry. Just cry for everyone, and everything, and then, I think, I could lay down and die peacefully.


The Chronicles of St. Mary’s Series – Jodi Taylor

Book cover for Just One Damned Thing After Another

St Mary’s from Jodi Taylor’s The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. Oh sweet baby Cthulhu, how could I have not remembered this until the last line on my list? St. Mary’s is a place I don’t just want to visit, I need to visit it. At pretty much any time from any book. The insanity that goes on there would be an instant lift to my spirits. I wouldn’t even necessarily want to time travel. I just want to be there. With that group of nutballs.

There’s a reason everyone tells me that I’d most likely be the first to die in a horror movie. Or be the ijit who gets everyone cursed and/or trapped in the haunted mansion. And not the Disneyland one. I’d watch the cursed videocassette/YouTube Channel, visit the website just to see if it’s really an urban legend or not…and go to these places where my imminent (and most likely gruesome) death awaits.

Stone Cold Bastards – Jake Bible

Book cover for Stone Cold Bastards

Yeah, it’s a little unlikely that the Gates of Hell get opened (maybe) but if that were to ever happen there’s nowhere I’d want to be other than inside the Cathedral with the Grotesques. Like Lilyn said above, I just want to hang out with them, especially Scythia and Roan.


Hell House – Richard Matheson

If I really want to see a ghost (or anything else on the long list of Hell House’s psychical shenanigans) how could I refuse an invitation to the Belasco Mansion? It would be a good idea to pack lightly. You probably won’t be staying long…I would love to live in the quintessential English mansion. I know, it’s in America but, c’mon, there’s a reason they decided to make it an English movie.


Silent Hill: The Novel – Sadamu Yamashita

Ok, I am cheating a teensy bit with this one, but it is a book! I would love to go to Silent Hill. You get three trips in one! If you’re a reasonably well-balanced person it’s a great tourist town. There’s a lake, a nice hotel, an amusement park, and, oh yeah, a *ahem* gentleman’s club. If you get tired of that there’s always foggy Silent Hill which is peaceful and quiet. There are a few odd people about (who have a nasty spitting habit) but they’re easy to avoid. And if you’re feeling adventurous, guilty or just in the wrong place at the really wrong time, there’s always The Otherworld. I’d never be bored!

(By the way, if anyone knows where I could find an English-translated version of this book I will be so grateful that I’ll…I’ll, well, I’ll just say thank you but I’ll really, really mean it!)


The Red Tree – Caitlin R. Kiernan

Book cover for The Red Tree

I love Caitlin R. Kiernan’s writing. It’s lush, lavish and also spare, in a way. Unfortunately her stories have a tendency to get lost in the words and it’s like being led down a gorgeous path only to be ditched in the middle of it. The scenes in this book whether dream or real are described so wonderfully that I want to see them. The quarry where she would find fossils, the underground caves with the oddly beautiful fungi (and I don’t normally find fungus ‘beautiful’) and The Red Tree itself. I would love to sit underneath it and enjoy it’s luxurious, unsettling, shade.


House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Although spending much time with Johnny might be a tad uncomfortable I’d love to wander the Navidson house. To watch as the Five-Minute Hallway lengthen and perhaps discover what’s lurking in the dark…


Thanks for coming with us on a visit to some of our favorite places. Please, tell us what magical (or otherwise) land, house or country that you would love to live in…whether it’s just a short visit or you’re moving in! Let us know down below!

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #46

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

11/25/2017 – 12/01/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

We’re getting to the end of the year. While I have enjoyed sharing these wonderful stories with you guys, I’m also very excited to get a new project started that I hope you’re going to love! I’m also flattered and so happy you all have been following along with me for this long. It’s made me very happy. Ok, ok, enough with the gushiness, my fellow ghouls. Let’s get on with the gore-fests!


Trigger MomentYvonne Navarro

Synopsis:
After decorating for her Halloween party Ellen wants nothing more than a brain-numbing, seasonally appropriate movie. Afterwards, though, began the dream. A dream where a creature is stalking her with a deadly implacability. But it’s just a dream, right? And she’s sure the young man her mother introduces her to is only in costume. They can’t be real claws, right?

Review:
A good story with a slasher movie feel. I was wondering about the strange doors she can reach over. I thought for sure it was going to be a movie screen and she was in a horror movie.


TunnelAnne Bishop

Synopsis:
She doesn’t like driving through tunnels. They’re dark and she gets panicky. At least he can see the light up ahead. Until the tunnel starts to close in on the car. And then her.

Review:
A very good, claustrophobia inducing story. Tunnels freak me out a bit, too. Bridges even more.


Twelve All HallowsLou Kemp

Synopsis:
For twelve All Hallows Margaret has been meeting Glenna. For twelve All Hallows her father doesn’t know. On this twelfth All Hallows, Glenna will have her revenge.

Review:
I love a good ghostly revenge story. It puts me in mind of the traditional murder ballads.


Two Shades, Hearts in ShadowsMichael Scott Bricker

Synopsis:
A knight, dusted down to bone searches endlessly for Eldorado. In his quest he meets his creator, Poe. And they ride, boldly ride, together. Forever.

Review:
I liked it but I was confused as to why Poe was referenced. Did he do a story about a knight? I will admit to not having read every single story of his so if there is one please let me know!


Unfinished JourneyHugh B. Cave

Synopsis:
The next-door neighbor, Henry keeps having the same dream. A dark alley, a long walk through the street where dark shapes lurk in doorways. But Henry always wakes up before the dream ends. So when the doctor gives him a prescription to help him sleep, enabling to finish the dream and leave the alley Henry decides to try it. What could go wrong?

Review:
Somewhat peculiar and I was a bit disappointed in the more mundane monsters. And I wasn’t sure how to read the doctor, exactly. It seemed he was complicit in the dreams but how?


Until the Next TrainBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Jourgenson has been battling an unseen tagger. Every morning Jourgenson awakes to the name ‘Malo’ tagged on his shop and every day he washes it away. On this day Jourgenson realizes that the paint is still wet, ‘Malo’ is nearby. He’ll soon wish he weren’t.

Review:
This had a way creepier ending than I was expecting. The ‘Malo’ and his brethren is described as…I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s freaking creepy.


Up Our BlockBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Jenny wakes up, unhappy to be alive again. She now has an indent in the back of her skull. Blunt force trauma, perhaps. Perhaps she was a nurse…before. Now she’s just a zombie slave. And the family likes it just fine.

Review:
Another by Benjamin Adams. I have to say, he writes in a subtly creepy way that sneaks up on you. Or makes everything normal until the horror slaps you in the face.


Favorite of the Week:
So many good ones this week! It’s hard to decide. The two by Benjamin Adams (Up Our Block and Until the Next Train) have a creepy neighborhood horror that creeps up your spine. Twelve All Hallows by Lou Kemp was a great ghostly revenge story.


Thanks for joining us again this week and be sure to come back next week for more Horrors!