The Die-Fi Experiment (Horror Novella)

Title: The Die-Fi Experiment | Author: M.R. Tapia | Publisher: Hindered Souls Press | Pub. Date: 07/21/2017 | ASIN: B0737QZT2D | Genre: Horror/Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Torture, suicide | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for an honest review

“I would like to welcome the world to The Die-Fi Experiment. Please join us in the fun that is the deterioration of the world by means of social media.”

(Contains excerpt from M.R. Tapia forthcoming novel, ‘Sugar Skulls’. – Goodreads


The Die-Fi Experiment Review

I’m a little torn on this book. The writing was decent and very professional. There were no typos and no weird formatting issues. I think that the author does have writing skill hence the two stars.

Maybe it’s an issue with this style not clicking with me but I didn’t really enjoy the story. The pacing was choppy and uneven. It would go back and forth between the narrator meeting his wife and their life up until they end up on “The Die-Fi Experiment”. Then it would jump to their current situation and the various ‘games’ they’re put through. Interspersed with these are chunks of commentary on social media.

I really enjoyed the parts that were about the narrator and his wife. The writer was very skilled at making me like them. Well, until it gets to the part on how they get lured into The Die-Fi Experiment. It was very unbelievable and makes them look really naive and trusting which they don’t seem to be so it really stretches the credibility.

The points on social media were thought out and laid out well but they’re not exactly unique and ground-breaking. Terror and torture as entertainment has been around for a very, very long time. Social media did not inspire the trend. It does make it more internationally accessible but so did Faces of Death.  I also found it just a wee ironic that after all of the things the author had to say about social media platforms at the end there’s a page of acknowledgements to the writer’s Twitter writing family, along with their handles.

Also, the ending seemed to be a little bizarre. I don’t want to give it away but it seemed a bit weird that he chose to do that instead of notifying the police. Also, I have to wonder why it’s set in Japan. For the isolation or some other reason? Because you could isolate a couple just about anywhere for the Die-Fi Experiment. So I have to wonder why Japan was chosen. There’s also an incident at the airport on their arrival that seemed out of place and I’m not sure what point they were trying to make. That every American who travels overseas is an ass? I’m not really sure.

So, to wrap-up, I’d hate to tank it to much because maybe I just didn’t click with it. 


2 Skulls out of 5


Sunspot Review (Cli-Fi Thriller)

Title: Sunspot | Author: Rob Leininger | Pub. Date: 2014-12-13 | Pages: 281 | ASIN: B00QZKR93A | Genre: Apocalyptic Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Sexual assault | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited


The sunspot was huge. Nothing like it had ever been seen before—a twenty-billion square mile blot on the surface of the sun, and growing. Dr. Morris Tyler at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff has a theory that might explain what’s happening, and the news isn’t good. Which is why he’s under surveillance after having been told to keep his theory to himself. Keeping his theory under wraps isn’t easy, not when a gorgeous reporter for Parsec magazine, Gail Dionne, has him in her sights, out to get a story. Tyler’s well-ordered world spins out of control when all these forces converge on him, and the world begins to grow colder as the sun . . . goes . . . out. – Goodreads


Continue reading “Sunspot Review (Cli-Fi Thriller)”

The Red Room (Thriller)

Title: The Red Room | Author: Chris Thomas | Publisher: Sentinel Media UK Ltd. | Pub. Date: 02/28/2017 | Pages: 520 | ISBN13: 9780995714601 | Genre: Thriller | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Triggers: Sex slavery, child death (occurs offsides but it’s described later), domestic abuse, torture Source: Received from the author for review consideration

The Red Room

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Red Room.”

An anonymous website, a few clicks, and Joe Henderson’s dull little life changed forever.
‘The Red Room’; an underground show streaming live from the depths of the dark web of the internet. The only place where the inadequacies of a weak justice system are still righted, where the line between good and evil becomes blurred. When the Host puts on his mask and the lights go up, viewers bid, criminals are punished, and the Brotherhood of the Righteous broadcasts a show like no other.
The room has remained hidden until now, when a video arrives in the inbox of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit: the torture and killing of a notorious criminal. But outclassed, outplayed, and torn apart by corruption, is there anything Detective Pete Harris and his team can do except watch?
Their only lead may be the room’s latest bidder, dull Joe Henderson. Because when Joe found the Red Room, it found him too, and now the Brotherhood are watching through the wires, willing to do evil for a righteous cause, to become the men that even monsters are scared of.
As they pull Joe deeper into the dark web, will he find any mercy, any way out? Or will he be the Red Room’s next volunteer? – Goodreads

First off, I love the cover of The Red Room (except for the clipboard). I was a bit intrigued by the synopsis but honestly? I wasn’t expecting much. I was expecting maybe torture porn type writing and bland as hell characters. I was very wrong. I can see why it might look like it from my trigger warnings at the top but the acts are written well and with no apparent urge to lengthen them out for sensationalism. The Red Room acts are drawn out a bit more but in this book context really does matter. The characters were great and while I can’t say I loved the characters of Joe and Ellie they were average people and fit well into the plot perfectly.

There were a few parts that were a bit predictable. Two separate characters whose stories follow along with the main one but you know that eventually both roads will lead to The Brotherhood and when it does, it’s great. Thrillers are a bit hard to review because of potential plot spoilers, so I won’t go into as much detail as I’d like to.

I honestly can’t say I liked the characters of Joe and Ellie much. I think Joe was kind of an idiot. Ellie wasn’t in the picture much and when she was she was just annoying. Their characters were pretty realistic though. The dialogue flowed smoothly which was especially noticeable with The Brotherhood. A lot of times when you have a group of the uber-rich in a conspiracy setting they all talk like Bond villains, super fancy. There was a little bit of that but for the most part they were pretty casual with each other which was a nice change. As much as I do like The Brotherhood my favorite characters were Daisy and Grace. Daisy’s journey and character was a great one and I loved her ending. Grace, well, she doesn’t have a lot of page time but I like her for…reasons (beyond the obvious). You’ll just have to read the book, I guess.

The pacing flowed smoothly with no real lags or stops. the action builds nicely towards the finish. I was a bit bummed out near the end because a character dies that I liked. That’s all I’m saying about the end. The plot was laid out well with no missteps or illogical weirdness. Chris Thomas did a great job of laying it out in order.

The one thing The Red Room does well is raise questions about the concept of vigilante justice. I think the reasons books like this and Dexter and all of the cop shows is that people want to believe. People want to believe that there are cops out there who are unbiased. Who will go the extra mile to solve your case. And if the law fails, then maybe there are people willing to mete out the justice deserved. But the downside to it is that too often people make up their minds on little to no actual evidence. To me, it’s only justice if it’s 100% that that person did the crime they’re being accused of. And the average citizen does not have the resources for that.

The Red Room circumvents this by having The Brotherhood be conveniently rich so that they can hire people to mete out punishment. (Which would be the only way to have the resources necessary to do what they do). It does also raise the question of the ‘innocence’ of the bidders. The Brotherhood says that the bidders would never turn them in because they’re just as guilty by watching and bidding. Now maybe a lawyer could try to get a conspiracy charge on the bidders but good luck with that. They can always say they thought it was fake. It’s obviously not but in court it would make for a good defense. I’m probably getting off on a tangent here but bear with me. Even if they’re legally innocent what about morally? Even if they’re not taking part in the murders they are watching them with no attempt to stop it. And how does the guilt of the “victims” relate to the moral guilt of the viewers? To me they’re interesting questions with no easy answers.

As far as the ending goes I think it ends perfectly with a nice little twist that I didn’t see coming.

Update: The Red Rom has now been re-released as Enter the Dark by the author.

5 Skulls out of 5


The Fourth Monkey (Thriller)

Title: The Fourth Monkey | Author: J.D. Barker | Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Pub. Date: 06/27/17 | Pages: 416 | ISBN13: 9780544968844 | Genre: Thriller | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Triggers: Torture, death | Source: Received from the publisher for an honest review

Continue reading “The Fourth Monkey (Thriller)”

Blog Tour: Russell, the Author of Gavin on the Setting for His New Book

Gavin Banner

Why I Chose Chicago as a Setting


From the opening scene to the very end, my new book, GAVIN, transports the reader to the heart of Chicago. Because of this, Gavin’s apartment is situated amongst the towering cityscape and activity of life. Indeed, Chicago was a just a natural choice as a setting. Primarily, Chicago has a rich and somewhat dark history. Between its historic landmarks and buildings, the hauntings of yesteryear can whisper about the great Chicago Fire, the infamous gangsters, the 1893 World’s Fair, and the fated Chicago Stockyards and even more. One can only imagine the streets of the burgeoning city in the Industrial Era, changing landscapes as buildings rose to the heavens in midcentury and the modern expanse circumventing the city to spiral out in the neighborhoods. In addition, Chicago becomes a tertiary character in my book. Echoing New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago’s bustling city life does not cease. The fluidity of its people from the very center of the city to the far-reaches of the suburbs are on a constant move. Within the subtle shadows of GAVIN, Chicago can be seen as constant moving mechanism as it always stirs at any given point of the day. Even more, I attempt to encapsulate the very sounds and smells of Chicago as the story unfolds. Finally, and rather humbly, I lived in Chicago for nearly two decades. Having been born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, I did not know of anything larger but through books and pictures. When I was eleven, my older sister and I travelled to Chicago, which had such a profound effect on me. The grandeur and beauty of the city stole my imagination, and then, I was immediately smitten with the city. Fifteen years later, an opportunity rose up to relocate to Chicago. With much excitement and trepidation, I soon grew to love the city and became immersed by touring and visiting as many sites, locations, museums and neighborhoods throughout the area. Even though I currently live in Up State New York, I often go back to my pseudo-hometown and admire the beautiful glass and steel scenery. Thus, Chicago was only fitting for GAVIN to take place.

By Russell
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, LGBT

Book cover for GavinThe Chicago summer is heating up…
In a luxurious hotel off Michigan Avenue, Detective Gavin Nolan arrives on a grisly scene. Two men have been brutally murdered, and one of the victims has a familiar face. The twisted display is like nothing Gavin has ever seen, but it’s the message scrawled in blood on the bathroom mirror that leaves him reeling: Gavin, you could have saved me.
Other men have been viciously slain as well over the last few weeks. As he dives further into the victims’ lives, Gavin and his partner, Derrick, discover that each of the men have a common thread—one that Gavin shares. It’s a reality he has suppressed for years.
On top of Gavin’s personal chaos, the killer is displaying the bodies in a series of specific designs to depict a long ago memory. Recognizing the pattern, Gavin soon is forced to recall the dark event. In order to catch the killer, Gavin must reconcile his past.
Before he becomes the final victim himself.
GAVIN is a sexual thriller that will leave you breathless…


WARNING: This book contains graphic scenes, explicit language, and violent, sexual situations.

About the Author
For nearly two decades, Russell was an executive chef in the restaurant industry, in which he created succulent entrees and managed various types of kitchen operations. In the last seven years, he began to teach future culinarians how to achieve their professional goals in hands-on classroom and lecture settings. With his recent graduate work in the field of sociology, his interests center on organizational behaviorism, social theory, and food insecurity.
Russell has been writing for the majority of his life. Last year, he published a second edition of his freshman novel, The Tale of Old Man Fischer. Slipping into alternative universes allows Russell to enjoy the process of creativity from the novel’s conception to its final draft. Most importantly, inspiration is a continuous piece of his work and results from the world around him. Currently, he lives in Up State New York with his wife, two children, and several cats.
Please visit Russell on these social media platforms:
Facebook: Russell (The Author)

Twitter: @Russell_Writer
Instagram: @Russell_Writer

Interested in purchasing Gavin? You can find it at the links below.

Barnes and Noble




The author is hosting a HUGE giveaway!

Horrors! 365/7 – A Full Year of Horror Week 5

Horrors!  365/7 – A Full Year of Horror     #5

01/28/17 – 02/03/17

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.

I will be reading one story each day and a weekly wrap-up review of the seven stories that I’ve read over the week.

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

Let’s see what is around the next page. You never know what may be lurking between the covers…of a book or your bed…

Continue reading “Horrors! 365/7 – A Full Year of Horror Week 5”

Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

Twilight Zone Tuesday: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine


Barbara Jean Trenton – Ida Lupino
Danny Weiss – Martin Balsam
Jerry Hearndan – Jerome Cowan
Marty Sall – Ted de Corsia
Sally – Alice Frost
Narrator – Rod Serling

We pan down from the intro stars to what seems to be a romance set in a combination of World War 1 and…Robin Hood? It’s definitely a war but the hat screams Robin Hood.

Continue reading “Twilight Zone Tuesday – The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine”

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

Continue reading “A Review of Hell Holes by Donald Firesmith”

A Review of Larvae by Robert Forrester

What’s it about?

A short story of creature horror ….

A group of scientists searching for new species in the Brazilian rain forest are delighted when they find an erstwhile undiscovered larva. But their delight soon turns to terror when they realise the deadly potential of their new find.

The larvae have a secret weapon …Us.

-Goodreads Synopsis

My Review of Larvae

 Larvae was an interesting, fast-paced horror/thriller that caught my attention right away. Its the perfect dash of creepy that you want in a short story, and even though it was satisfying, you could definitely see the story being easily expanded a bit.

Now, I’m normally a bit grouchy about finding lots of spelling and punctuation mistakes in the stories that I read, but especially so when I’m reading short stories. If what is written is less than 50 pages long, especially, there is no excuse whatsoever for multiple mistakes.  Larvae needs another round of editing.

Overall, its worth the read, especially considering its completely free on Amazon right now (or at least it was at the time of this posting.

3 Star Rating

Click here to find Larvae now on

Title: Larvae | Author: Robert Forrester (site) | Publisher: Best of Both Worlds (Hybrid Publishing) | Pub. Date: 2013-6-7 | Pages: 23 | ASIN: B00D9V3AMC | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Date Read: 2015-12-27 | Source: Kindle Unlimited

Looking for something with a similar feel, but maybe a tad bit longer? Try:

A Review of Cliche by Aaron Patterson & Nora Robb

Book Cover and Synopsis for Cliche by Aaron Patterson & Nora Robb

Continue reading “A Review of Cliche by Aaron Patterson & Nora Robb”