Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #9

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

02/25/2017 – 03/03/2017

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.

Each day I’ll be reading one story per day with a weekly wrap-up on Fridays. If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

So let’s turn down the lights, curl up with your favorite blanky and let’s get started!


Collector’s FeverGary Jonas

Synopsis:
A collector describes his collection of ‘friends’. When his house is full he’ll move again. And start over.

Review:
A nice, short little serial killer story.


Contract IceMarion Cepican

Synopsis:
Sam loves skating on the ice when it’s pure and clean. She loves the ice. And the ice loves her as well.

Review:
A very nicely written story and very creepy. I want to know if it’s the ice itself that loves her or something within the ice.


A Convenient ArrangementMichael Marshall Smith

Synopsis:
When the lights go out at two separate parties a group of friends realizes that one of their number is a murderer. Rather than try to figure out which friend it is or lose a good friend because of their homicidal proclivities they make a most convenient party arrangement.

Review:
I loved the story and it’s practicality of how to solve their little problem. I also love that the ending doesn’t tell which friend it is.


The CoughSteve Resnic Tem

Synopsis:
A man who is coughing out nasty chunks cannot for the life of him remember where his wife went.

Review:
Having a pretty nasty cold at the moment it rather grossed me out.


Cower Before BoboTom Piccirilli

Synopsis:
A killing in a circus just might usher in a new age for the Goddess Kali.

Review:
I might be thick but I just didn’t get it at all. So, yeah, I wasn’t too crazy about it.


CrashingLawrence Greenberg

Synopsis:
An incident in a subway.

Review:
I honestly can’t give you more of a synopsis because I had no clue what it was about. It just seemed like a random collection of images.


Crisis Line Del Stone Jr.

Synopsis:
A Crisis Line call to Hell.

Review:
A really good story. For some reason I’ve always liked reverse Crisis calls. Ted Bundy worked a Suicide Hotline for a while as a volunteer. It always made me wonder what he said to callers when there wasn’t anybody else in the room.


Favorite of the Week:
My favorite for his week is A Convenient Arrangement by Michael Marshall Smith. Followed very closely by Crisis Line by Del Stone Jr. I loved the playfulness of A Convenient Arrangement and the pure evil of Crisis Line.


Here we are, at the end of another month already. Since the repeat authors are getting a little numerous to link I’m going to start doing a monthly tally of the repeats with the stories they have.


Linda J. Dunn:
A Huntin’ We Will Go, Best Friends, The Collector

Steve Rasnic Tem:
After Work, The Cough

Tim Waggoner:
Along for the Ride, Catharsis

Del Stone Jr. :
And Baby Makes 13, Crisis Line

Don Webb:
And the Woman Said, The Bone Garden

Brian McNaughton:
Another Night, Business Image, Changes

David Niall Wilson:
Are You the One?, Be Careful What You Say

Don D’Ammassa:
Bad Feelings, Candid Camera, The Chindi

Lisa Lepovetsky:
The Big One, Carnival Wishing

Adam Niswander:
Billy, The Bookseller, Change of Life

Phyllis Eisenstein:
Boxes, The Cat

Trading with Death – Short Story Review

Book cover for Trading with Death by Ann GirdharryTrading with Death:

What terrible sacrifices might we make for those we love?
Will we be selfless or selfish?

Taka is tortured by her younger sister’s terminal illness. Then one dark day, in the middle of the forest, she is faced with an opportunity to change fate. As the two sisters grapple with the approach of Death, one of them will attempt to bargain for a life. What final choices will be made?


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A Review of Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith

What’s it about?

Book Cover for Hell Holes: What lurks belowA geologist, his climatologist wife, two graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist travel to one of dozens of huge holes that have mysteriously appeared in the tundra of the North Slope of Alaska. Their mission is to research these strange craters that threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should they open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipe lines that feed it. Unfortunately, a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it finally emerges. Some will live and some will die on Hell Day and the day after as the team flees south towards Fairbanks.

-Goodreads Synopsis

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Awaken by Zach Bohannon #BookReview

Title: Awaken | Author: Zach Bohannon | Publisher: Self-published | Pub Date: 2015-8-29 | Pages: 20 | ASIN: B014OKNPZ8 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Date Read: 2016-1-14 | Source: Kindle Promo


Awaken

Where am I?

Andy awakes with no recollection of where he is, how he got there, or how long he’s been there. All he knows is that it’s cold, it’s dark, and he’s alone.

When he finally escapes, he encounters strange, supernatural creatures. Terrifying monsters of the night.

Thinking of his daughter, Emma, his only goal is to get home and make sure she’s okay.

And he has only one choice…

…Run. – Goodreads

Book cover for Awaken

Awaken Review

Awaken: A Vampire Horror story is a quick, surprisingly tension-filled, read that is perfect for reading over  your lunch break. Andy wakes up, and he can tell from his surroundings that something is definitely not right. As any parent would do, though, he doesn’t care about that. The only thing he really cares about is getting to his daughter to make sure she’s safe.

While it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on pretty much immediately, Bohannon does a great job of spinning an entertaining thread for the reader in an easy-to-read, instantly enthralling fashion. Given that it’s only 3000 words, each word of Awaken has to be placed perfectly for maximum effect. There’s a couple areas where it could be improved on, but it’s still fun nonetheless. It’s enough to give you a taste of the writer’s talent/style, and make you curious to see more from him.

This is a well-done story of a love that overcomes monstrosity, and one that is (if you’ve ever been a parent) not unbelievable. Plus, the vampires don’t sparkle.  A quick, classic type of tale, Awaken by Zach Bohannon is definitely worth the few minutes of your time it would take to read it. It’s interesting enough to stay in your mind even a couple months later.

Click here to find Awaken: A Horror Short Story now on Amazon.com

The Thing That Knocks Review (Supernatural Horror)

The Thing That KnocksThe Thing That Knocks Synopsis: When the human mind begins to experience a certain level of media, fiction, or other forms of prevarication, they slowly lose their ability to reason and sort through the information correctly. Such events will take place throughout a person’s life where they won’t be able to tell if something is real or not; this is thanks to our desire to consume and experience things that remove us from our everyday lives. The unworldly is an addiction, and like every addict, people build up a tolerance to said addiction, and soon, they might not be able to separate a fantasy from reality. In a rather twisted way, this story takes a look into exactly what this could mean when a young boy named Francis finds himself in his room one night after years of reading high thrilling and chilling novels, and isn’t sure what to make of a certain experience that follows only minutes after hearing three knocks on his bedroom door. – Goodreads


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Experiment 26: Science Meets Madness Review

Experiment 26: Science Meets Madness –  Meet DR Albert Strom, he enjoys long walks on the beach, deep and meaningful discussion’s, and he also likes the idea of taking an average human being and turning them into a vicious killing machine. After twenty five attempts at creating a murder machine, the good doctor decides to give it one last try and with a set of fresh subjects, he is determined to make his dream a reality. There is no such thing as madness when in pursuit of a scientific goal now, is there?-Goodreads Synopsis


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Valentine’s Oops Review (Kids Fantasy)

What’s it about?

When Donovan finds out his best friend’s little sister wants to cast a love potion on him, he knows he has to escape a fate worse than death.

A 1,200-word fantasy short story that is full of silliness.

-Goodreads Synopsis

Valentine's Oops

My Review of Valentine’s Oops 

This was a cute short story that was obviously released at the perfect time to capitalize on the title.  It had just enough of an edge of fantasy to it to keep a young mind wondering and possibly expounding on the story themselves. Its a bit hard to place exactly what age range the story is aimed at, though. Its simple for the most part, but there are words like “surreptitiously” which you really can’t expect a kid under the age of 9 or so to know.

The only issue I had with it was the fact that every time one of the characters in the book is mentioned, his weight is mentioned derisively. “The fatso” “the fat kid”, etc. I’m just getting to the point where I’m really intolerant of fostering that type of jeering/derision over somebody’s weight. Kids are impressionable, and a kid reading this is going to assume that that is ‘okay’ to say, and lets face it… a lot of kids don’t have parents that care enough to really set them straight and tell them otherwise.

My six year old thoroughly approved of the story, and laughed at the execution of the Valentine’s Oops. We both give the author points for a silly story that had just the perfect injection of fun uniqueness to it.

Side note: Something that’s bothering me. Is “Valentine’s Oops” correct? Or should it be “Valentines’ Oops”??

4 Star Rating

Click here to find Valentine’s Oops now on Amazon.com

Title: Valentine’s Oops | Author: Emily Martha Sorensen | Publisher: Self-published | Pub. Date: 2016-1-26 | Pages: 12 | ASIN: B01B5BVFT2 | Genre: Children’s Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Date Read: 2016-1-30 | Source: Received a copy free from the author in exchange for an honest review. | Available on Kindle Unlimited? No.

 

 

A Review of Dead Again by Robert Gatto

What’s it about?

The body of a murder victim is discovered to be carrying a communicable zombie virus. The doctor of the public health department realizes he has 48 hours to track down the original zombie who has escaped a “dead farm” in this post-apocalyptic world. If he cannot find the zombie, the disease will become virulent and a large-scale epidemic will once again result.

-Goodreads Synopsis

Dead Again

My Review of Dead Again

Oh, how I love a well-written zombie story! This was definitely well-written. Unfortunately, at 24 pages, it was also almost too short for the idea that the author introduced into it. Not because the author didn’t give us enough to the story (because he did) but because I just wasn’t ready for it to end. The idea of the virus evolving – or of people being at least partially immune and being ‘there’ with the disease – is something that needs to be explored a lot more than it has. Even weeks after reading it, the image of the zombie easily comes to mind. Its not quite as creepy as The Girl with All the Gifts, but it is close.

While not the best zombie story I’ve ever read, Robert Gatto does a great job, and I would definitely read more from him (in this same ‘verse, perhaps?). Great job, solid (sadly short) story, would definitely recommend it!

SCwords4Twitter

Click here to find Dead Again now on Amazon.com

Title: Dead Again | Author: Robert Gatto | Publisher: Self-published | Pub Date: 2015-11-13 | Pages: 24 | ASIN: B017YK04TK | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Date Read: 2016-1-4 | Source: Kindle Unlimited

Looking for something that explores what I mentioned earlier in a little bit more detail? There are really only two that pop to mind for me:

Straitjacket Review (Horror Short)

Book Cover for Straitjacket by Terry KingStraitjacket: Detective Todd Richards is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of Father O’Malley, a priest who committed suicide in an abandoned convent. A routine investigation takes a turn for the strange, however, as Richards finds out that the convent is rumored to be “demon possessed” and a mysterious nun appears whenever the detective comes into the decrepit old building. Richards is a skeptic of the supernatural and denies all of the strange goings on in the convent but he soon realizes that the devil is not mocked in his horror thriller.Goodreads Synopsis


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A Review of The Quantum Brain & Oh Hell No by John Freitas

PLEASE NOTE: There will be a brief review of both stories individually, and then a review of them together as part of a series. 

The Quantum Brain

What’s it about? A very smart man is planning to do a very bad thing at a time when the Earth is getting pounded by a gravity wave. He’s got an infallible plan, but…so does IT.

What did I think of it? The premise was fun. The descriptions were good.  In just a few pages, John Freitas managed to bring a character to life that I really, really detested. So, yeah, the ending was surprisingly satisfying, but overall it felt almost too short. Not having any of the background that I’m assuming is explained in Pulse #1, it felt like it wasn’t quite capable of standing 100% alone.

3 Star Rated The Quantum Brain Review

Title: The Quantum Brain | Author: John Freitas | ISBN: 9781310193774 | Genre: Science Fiction | Date Read: 2015-11-5 | Source: Received a copy free from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Oh, Hell No!

 Descendants of modern humans travel back in time to try to prevent an infestation that has almost destroyed them all.

What did I think of it? Whereas the Quantum Brain was mildly interesting, in a fire-and-forget sort of way, Oh Hell No was much better, and actually provoked a physical response of disgust early on from me due to the author’s descriptions of something the main character is dealing with. As with QB, the premise is interesting, the descriptions are good, and he swiftly creates characters that come alive in your head.

4 Star Rated Ohe Hell NoReview

Title: Oh Hell No | Author: John Freitas | ASIN: B016QIY6AO | Genre: Science Fiction | Date Read: 2015-11-5 | Source: Received a copy free from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Overall

John Freitas definitely has talent.He is, though, not doing himself any favors by putting the Pulse series out in short story serial form, especially as Pulse #2 (The Quantum Brain) isn’t nearly as good as Pulse #3 (Oh Hell No). If he had not sent me both stories at the same time, I would not have sought out the third one in his series. However, Oh Hell No is very good, very interesting, and one I would want to read more about.  Very interesting take on the little grey men. So, as much as collections in general tend to not perform well for me, I think it would be best all gathered into one book.

3 Star Rated Review

The true rating here would honestly be a 3.5, but as I only rate in ‘wholes’, I felt 3 was a better fit for an overall rating than a 4.


Click here to be directed to the author’s Amazon page where you may browse all his books for sale.