Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks

hiddenhorrorWhile certainly well-intentioned, the idea behind HIDDEN HORROR: A CELEBRATION OF 101 UNDERRATED AND OVERLOOKED FRIGHT FLICKS is hardly new. For example, I immediately was reminded of a book that’s now 10 years old: FANGORIA’S 101 BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU’VE NEVER SEEN: A CELEBRATION OF THE WORLD’S MOST UNHERALDED FRIGHT FLICKS. Hell, the titles are almost the same!

Yet that’s not a complaint. At least not when so little overlap exists, when so many more movies have yet to get their due, and when the results are as finely polished as editor Aaron Christensen’s trade paperback is. Pay no mind to it being print-on-demand; this book exudes professionalism on all levels without sacrificing its pure indie spirit.

Read more »

Annihilation

annihilationThe narrator of Jeff VanderMeer’s unsettling, gorgeous ANNIHILATION is part of a four-person team sent into the maw of Area X. Years ago, something happened: A huge swath of seaboard territory (the Southern Reach) was invaded or transformed, all human inhabitants lost or out of contact, a pervasive and perverse strangeness altering the ecology of the place.

The government over the decades since has sent in expedition after expedition. Some of these surveyors disappear. Some return, but are stricken by a strange amnesia, uncertain of what happened or even who they are. The latest team knows some of what came before, although information about prior surveys is restricted — so they know that something happened, something undefinably awful (or awe-ful).

Read more »

Graveland

gravelandAlan Glynn’s GRAVELAND is not what it seems. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, providing it means the thriller surprisingly extends its intentions and appeals to more than its intended audience.

Unfortunately, in this case, it means that the Irish-born author’s latest leads us in one direction, veers off into another, and never determines which is its true focus.

Read more »

Nothing In Her Way / River Girl

nothinginherwayA few years can mean a world of difference. That is totally the case with Stark House Press’ collection of 1951’s RIVER GIRL and 1953’s NOTHING IN HER WAY, both by Charles Williams. The difference in years between them is just two, but in that time, you can see the growth of a writer leap off the page. The later title comes first, but what a way to kick off the book!

NOTHING IN HER WAY is filled with con artists, schemes and double-crosses until the very end. While stories like THE STING or THE GRIFTERS show the con game in their own worlds, where everything is in a gray market, this one you know from the start that everyone is a crook, out for themselves.

Read more »

A Necessary End

anecessaryendIt’s the end of the world as we know it and I’ll blame the flies. A NECESSARY END, a slim novel from co-writers Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson, brings us a new kind of apocalypse.

When is a plague not a plague? When it’s not actually a disease, but a reaction to some deadly African flies that have gone global. We follow investigative reporter Nigel as he comes home from digging into this deadly epidemic. Once he arrives, he has to deal with his wife, who believes that it’s the reckoning and she is ready for her destiny.

Read more »

The Red Pole of Macau

redpolemacauTHE RED POLE OF MACAU, the third title in Ian Hamilton’s series featuring the beautiful and ultra-resourceful Ava Lee, presents the forensic accountant with her most personal and physically challenging case to date.
 
Ava Lee met her businessman half-brother, Michael, for the first time during the events of her last case (in Hamilton’s previous novel, THE WILD BEASTS OF WUHAN). That she has spent most of life never knowing Michael is not surprising, considering the often complex structure of traditional Chinese families. Now Michael asks for Ava’s help.

Read more »

The Honky Tonk Big Hoss Boogie

honkytonkbigYou’re always in for a treat when you get the chance to read something new from Robert J. Randisi, be it in the Western genre under his own name, the GUNSMITH series he writes under a pseudonym or, as in this case, his foray into crime and mysteries.

THE HONKY TONK BIG HOSS BOOGIE seems to be the start of a new mystery series with the backdrop of Nashville — not just the city itself, but its music scene; as the cover states, this is a “Session Man Mystery” starring session guitarist Auggie Velez, a man who has made a career being part of the backbone of Music City, USA. He’s worked in the studio as a gun for hire, so to speak, taking the jobs as they come.

Read more »

Dracula’s Army: The Dead Travel Fast

draculasarmyThis latest graphic novel from illustrator and author Andy Fish (WEREWOLVES OF WISCONSIN) is not what it originally intended to be (more on that later) and has a slightly misleading title. DRACULA’S ARMY: THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST is, bottom-line, an illustrated retelling of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel with a few extensions suggested, Fish insists, by the original story.

We have Jonathan Harker traveling to meet Count Dracula in the count’s huge, secluded castle high atop the Transylvania mountains. Harker makes arrangements for the count to travel to London and live on property the count recently acquired. Then Harker discovers that Dracula is a vampire and tries to prevent his leaving the castle.

Read more »

Phantom

phantomIt was very instructive for me to read Jo Nesbø’s PHANTOM after having failed to complete Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis’ INVISIBLE MURDER. Both books have similarities. They both tend to have deep, involved descriptions that include tiny, telling details; they both have that curious Scandinavian trait of constantly mentioning street and place names; and they both have short chapters that tell stories about a vast number of disparate characters, all of which will almost certainly coalesce later in the book.

But there’s a difference.

Read more »

The Good Boy

goodboyIf you didn’t know Theresa Schwegel was the author of four intriguing and often hard-boiled crime novels, you might easily ignore her latest works thanks to its innocuous title. The fact that it involves a boy and his dog — as depicted on the cover — doesn’t help either.
 
But don’t let any of that fool you. THE GOOD BOY is, in fact, the author’s most probing, complex and affecting crime novel to date.

Read more »

Next Page »