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Horror

The Colony – F. G. Cottam

The Colony (The Colony, #1)“It is, alas, chiefly the evil emotions that are able to leave their photographs on surrounding scenes and objects and whoever heard of a place haunted by a noble deed, or of beautiful and lovely ghosts revisiting the glimpses of the moon?” – Algernon H. Blackwood

“Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door of a cottage on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.” – Sir Walter Scott

The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds

 The island is known as “New Hope.” Hard. Unyielding. A tiny speck of rock in the Outer Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland, it was an odd place to begin a religious colony. Especially as a colony of crofters. And odder than that? Their religious leader simply walked away from his lucrative business as a slave ship captain known for his murderous treatment of the slaves in his hold, embracing a desperate sort of religious fervor incomprehensible to those who knew him.

But the colonists arrived, and for a while, they thrived through sheer hard work and determination. Until, that is, they simply vanished from the face of the earth. No bodies. No graves. Food still on plates with chairs pushed back, boots and shoes left at the door. Gone.

Fast forward to modern time. Alexander McIntyre is a media mogul, determined to prove that paper and print are not a lost art – that the internet will not destroy the business he loves. And Alexander McIntire has a secret. A secret, he hopes, that will help him to do so. Alexander’s pet private eye has found a snippet of film from the 1930’s. A snippet which may well help solve one of the foremost mysteries of a century ago. What really happened to the 150 settlers who landed on New Hope Island, only to disappear into the ether?

His sturdy band of specialists includes everything from virology and forensic archaeology to a lecturer on alien abductions. Throw in a well-respected medium and a Catholic exorcist, and surely the mystery will be solved after all these years. And, of course, McIntyre’s paper will be saved.

So, off the intrepid team sails, to a land not only cold and inhospitable, but very, very deadly.

“A God capable of creating the universe would not wish to be worshiped by man, says Captain Ballantyne. Vanity is a human failing. Why would an omnipotent being crave our fear or flattery or even be sincerely interested in our gratitude?”

I don’t often read horror, but the premise and setting of The Colony caught my attention. And of course, a good cover always helps. For some reason, this stark, black-and-white image kept drawing my eye until I had to see what it was about. And then I was hooked. And the story itself didn’t let me down. As bleak as the shores which it portrays, the story strips its characters bare, touching the worst, and yes, the best, in the human soul.

The second book is The Colony: Dark Resurrection.

Yes. Humans never learn.

This book is free with Kindle Unlimited. So, what are you waiting for? It needs a solid Scottish editor, but it is highly atmospheric and readable.

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Review: By Darkness Revealed by Kevin O. McLaughlin

12416486“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.”
― Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron

Recruit Ryan Blackwell’s father was determined that he not follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, and used his power and lawyerly clout to make sure it didn’t happen. No West Point. No Valley Forge or Citadel. Ryan would, come hell or high water, bend to his father’s will. But there wasn’t much he could do about it when Ryan was recruited to Northshield University – the same military college his grandfather attended – with a full scholarship. No, Ryan simply packed a small bag and boarded a bus.

At first, Northshield was everything he expected. Reveille at oh’ dark thirty each morning. Grueling PT, strict regulations, and screaming Drill Sergeant Upper Classmen with quick tempers and a tendency to make life on campus utterly miserable if they wished. Just what he expected, just what he wanted from his experience as an ROTC college student.

But then? Things got bad. It started simply at first. Magical motes, like tiny bits of fairy dust, dive bombing him as he ran through a creek, attempting to stay ahead off the pack of his fellow freshmen out for a grueling PT run. But then the motes attacked, and one of his fellow classmen went down. And as much as Recruit Blackwell wanted to hide who he was, and what he could do, he couldn’t let his fellow freshman drown. So, he stepped in.

His secret laid bare to two of the upperclassmen, the story begins to grow and evolve into something horrific. For something is trapped on the grounds of Northshield University. And when a twisted recruit pulls part of the darkness out of its prison below ground, people begin to die in horrific ways. And though Ryan is just a freshman with a bit of magic and no training, it seems he is the only one with any sort of knowledge that might trap the darkness back into its prison – and ascertain that the true monstrosity trapped so very long ago isn’t released upon the world.

In a lot of ways, this could have been just some YA story of a young man gaining amazing magical powers and riding in to save the day. Luckily, it turned out to be a much better book than that. Ryan knows he isn’t strong, he isn’t trained or knowledgeable. But he is ready to go all out, to give his own life if necessary, to stop what is happening. He has a good heart, a good soul, and a strong link to the strength his grandfather displayed in the Second World War. He isn’t cocky, he doesn’t suddenly gain super powers. He is just a college freshman with a bit of talent, a will to learn, and some quirky abilities he has had to learn to control in order to keep himself sane – and make sure others think he is as well. Of course, on a campus where weird things happen, and two or three students a year die under ‘unusual’ circumstances, there are those who watch out for anyone who appears who seems a bit odd, a bit like they are there for less than your bog standard military school reasons. So Ryan finds a friend or two. But when push comes to shove? Yeah. It’s all pretty much on him.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from By Darkness Revealed. I just felt like something a bit magic, a bit horror, and this is the first thing that popped up on my reader that fit the bill. I dove in, and from the first page I was hooked. I added it to my collection from a ‘Freebie’ email (it is Free on Amazon) – probably because I liked the cover, to tell the truth – I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up from reading that it was a “coming of age” book – that isn’t my thing normally. But it kept me riveted from page one, so I am very glad I did. The only thing I can really fault it on is lack of backstory for Ryan – that would have helped me understand him more.

Is it feasible to build a wall between the US and Mexico as Donald Trump claims he would do?

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dennis Copeland, a Systems Engineer for various Federal Agencies, shared a brilliant post on Quora.com, and it is well worth a read.

“A structural engineer did an analysis of what it would take to build Trump’s wall.”

  An Engineer Explains Why Trump’s Wall Is So Implausible in The National Memo (Wednesday, March 16, 2016) wrote the article, and Copeland explains his findings in understandable language just what it would take to build Trump’s “Great Wall.”

Ya know, Trump, in the words of the brilliant comedian Lewis Black, “They’re so broke that they’ve actually cut essential services. In many places, they’ve cut policemen, because, who the fuck needs them? Or firemen, son of a bitch, it’s much more fun watching something burn down.”
Lewis Black

Every American should read both articles – they are brilliant!

Review: Abandon by Blake Crouch #Horror

“All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” – Dante Alighieri

“He, who had done more than any human being to draw her out of the caves of her secret, folded life, now threw her down into deeper recesses of fear and doubt. The fall was greater than she had ever known, because she had ventured so far into emotion and had abandoned herself to it.” ― Anaïs Nin

A day and a half. A few hours, cold and weary. Lost. Afraid.

“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” ― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Hell truly is dark. And it opens up in the mountains above Durango Colorado, in a ghost town forgotten for one hundred seven years. Abandon. Abandon all hope, for Abandon is the home of death. The home of the darkness which fills the human soul.

Twisting. Twisting.

Abandon was once a thriving gold mining town, filled with people, light and laughter. “The whores, the opium, the fun”, but hey, it was the gold rush, and everything goes. But then, the gold vein faded out, people wandered away. And by the time Christmas day of 1893 arrived, and only a small number of people remain.

Jocelyn Maddox, the barkeep and black widow, waiting for the snows to pass in the spring when she will be transported to Arizona to hang for her crimes. Ezekiel and Gloria Curtice, the local lawman and his wife. A preacher, a deputy, a few families. Abandon is dying. Dying.

Dead.

Now, six people return to Abandon. Scott Sawyer and Jerrod Spicer, mountain guides. Emmett and June Tozer, paranormal photographers. Lawrence Kendall, university professor and specialist on everything Abandon. And Abigail Foster, New Yorker, outdoor magazine journalist, and estranged daughter of Lawrence. They have climbed to 13,000 feet, then dropped 2,000 to the ghost town of Abandon. And then, they too begin to die.

Moving through the abandoned Abandon, you can almost see the town itself, in all its disintegration. Gasping in the thin, high-altitude air. The scent of firs and snow, the cordite scent of landslides. Dry rot and age. And then? Fear. Blood. Desperation. Death.

Blake Crouch is a master of edge-of-your-seat suspense. Horror on a human scale. Breathtaking terror so thick in the air the reader gasps, feeling the cold upon the skin, the terror deep in the heart and mind.

“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain; through me you go amongst the lost people” ― Dante Alighieri, The Inferno

Enter at your own risk.

I received Abandon from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Demon’s Daughter by Amy Braun – A Must Read!

Demon's Daughter: A Cursed Book“I had seen horrible things in my life. Men spread-eagled on a table, slowly being skinned alive with rusted knives. Women bound to chairs, beaten with brass knuckles until their attackers chose to rape them. A knife sawing roughly through a screaming man’s neck until his head was severed from his body. A traitor whose knees were shot out, leaving him unable to run to his family when they were set on fire.” – Constance, Demon’s Daughter

These are the things that humans do. Even the demons, as debauched as they are – and Constance knows all about demons – aren’t this depraved. No, it takes humans to commit these atrocities. But Connie will protect her sister, Andromeda, no matter the cost. Even if the cost is working as an enforcer for the Espanis de Sangre – The Blood Thorns – the most brutal, vicious cartel to ever ooze out of Mexico. But now Connie and Dro are on the run, not only from The Blood Thorns, but from the demons who are Ddetermined to have Dro, no matter the price.

Constance was four, the daughter of destitute Mexican immigrants who fled across the border with a price on their heads – a price set by the Blood Thorns – when she found Andromeda as a tiny baby, abandoned by a stream. Connie gained a sister, and someone to care for. Pale, white-blond Dro, who grows more beautiful every day, is Connie’s life, and she will protect her no matter the cost. Even if it means their life is lived poor, starving and on the run, stealing and fighting for survival. Connie is a weapon. Hard, harsh, untrusting, and absolutely brutal in the protection of her sister. The demons are coming from every direction, and there is no one to turn to. Until they meet Mannie and Max, and a picture begins to appear. Will the dusty town of Amarillo, Texas be their final stand?

The atrocities, savagery and utter evil of humankind, the brutality of demons, the utter soulless disregard for anyone but themselves of the angels – sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, mid-Victorian era Fops, refusing to get their lily-white fingers dirty – unless someone can be twisted to their advantage.

“The archangels would be saving your world. Collateral damage is irrelevant.”

God is love”. Yea, right. In what universe? Certainly not this one.

“Why do demons want to kill her and angels want to protect her? It can’t simply be because of what she is. The angels never cared enough to stop any demons from chasing us.”

But they are more than willing to slaughter innocents if it means they get what they want. Amy Braun doesn’t wield a pen, so much as a microscopic laser scalpel, slicing away the shroud of what humanity would like to be seen as, to reveal the rotting essence of blackness, the vile intent inherent in every entity from the church’s beliefs in what constitutes ‘goodness’, who would damn a child to the pits of hell for doing everything she could to save the life of an innocent, to the actions of humans who would put the most vile of christian ‘demons’ to shame.

http://www.jmdarhower.com/extinguish.htm
Art courtesy of J.M. Darhour, from her book “Extinguish“. All rights reserved. Click the art to go to her site.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” – Blaise Pascal

I first ‘met’ Amy when I was asked to read Path of the Horseman and absolutely fell in LOVE with her writing.

“Amazing inventions, colossal failures, and countless wars. We watched it behind the scenes. Watched the monkeys from beyond the glass. We were intrigued, Hell was amused, and Heaven was losing patience.
Finally, the monkeys threw too much shit on the windows. They sparked a third World War, one that the Big Boss upstairs knew would obliterate the world.
So he sent us instead. We were much more effective. We were much more eager.” –
Avery, The Rider Pestilence

Only the Second Coming never came, and the Four Horsemen were stuck there with a few demons, the Plagued, the Soulless, and devastation all around. A wonderful analogy for so many things wrong with this world, and religion in particular. Amy has done it again with Demon’s Daughter. She rips the shields off of faith, humanity, and reality and shows the pus and rot within. It. Was. AWESOME. For until we lance he boils, the wounds can’t heal. And walking blindly will never allow any of us to see the light of the real truth – the truth that says, until we grow beyond our greed, hatred, and superstitions we have no hope of avoiding total destruction of not only humanity, but the Earth and all her beauty.

“The difference between a saint and a hypocrite is that one lies for his religion, the other by it.” –   Minna Antrim

Amy Braun doesn’t write for the foppish, the blindly religious, or the weak of heart. She rips apart sanctimony and blind faith, setting sunlight to darkness. She is one brave author, who can go toe-to-toe with the greats of both modern and ancient literature. She shines the light of truth, and blast the consequences – and I love her for it.

I received Amy Braun’s Demon’s Daughter in exchange for a realistic review.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HER WORK. I can’t speak highly enough of her writing, and I can’t WAIT for the next.

Amy BraunAbout the Author:

Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, is an active member of the Writing GIAM community, participates in NaNoWriMo, and is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery.” When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

Coming Soon:

Short story SURVIVALISM to be featured in THE DEAD WALK VOLUME 2 from FoF Publishing.

Short story DISMANTLE to be published in THE STEAM CHRONICLES from Zimbell House Publishing.

Short story HELL TO PAY to be published in LEGENDS OF SLEEPY HOLLOW from Myth Ink Books.

Published! Night Without Stars: Supergirls 2

Henrietta can choose when to remember and when to forget, when to feel, and when to let go. To survive, you must become.

 25460423After Jenn escapes the Pig’s house of horrors, she wanders the countryside with May, her dead sister’s ghost, until a rogue priest finds her and tucks her away in his uncle’s deserted cabin.

Jenn cares for Tina and Tony, children rescued from the sex trade. Together they find the peace she and May had always dreamed of. But her dark past catches up with her, and it has a helluva big knife.

She turns to the priest for help, but he has a dark past of his own, and even darker enemies. Together they have a decision to make. Fight or run?

“I’m just asking you to accept that there are some people who will go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the facts that they are abusing children.
What words are there to describe what happened to me, what was done to me? Some call it ritual abuse, others call it organised abuse. There are those that call it satanic. I’ve heard all the phrases, not just in relation to me, but also with regard to those I work with and try to help. Do you know what I think? It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it doesn’t matter what label you put on it. It is abuse, pure and simple. It is adults abusing children. It is adults deciding – actually making a conscious decision, a conscious choices that what they want, what they convince themselves they need, is more important than anything else; certainly more important than the safety or feelings or sanity of a child.” – Laurie Matthew, Groomed: An Uncle Who Went Too Far, a Mother Who Didn’t Care, a Little Girl Who Waited for Justice


 

22742696October 31 of last year I reviewed Supergirls by Mav Skye. You can click the title to read the review.

At that time, I quoted the following:

Jason Michel, in Pulp Metal Magazine said of Mav Skye’s Supergirls: . . . (It) is grounded in the mundane reality of poverty, yet as it unfolds becomes an increasingly surreal and cinematic experience; as if Sam Peckinpah or Tarantino had directed the girls from Scooby Doo, who were all grown up and had taken some real bad life choices.

This second installment ramps up the surreal, cinematic experience to eleven, then breaks off the dial.

Can you handle the pain?  If you read and loved Supergirls, number two cranks up the story to 80’s GG Allin levels.
Prepare for the REAL, Baby!

Review: Darker Shadows Lie Below

23401246“Hesse’s Journey to the East (1951) in the fifties anticipated the occult revival of the late sixties. But who will interpret for us the amazing success of Rosemary’s Baby and 2001? I am merely asking the question.” ― Mircea Eliade, Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions: Essays in Comparative Religion

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” ― H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

What happened here? I occasionally like a good horror book, and this one sounded right. A doctor takes a new job at Umber Gardens, an extremely prestigious mental hospital which can make his career. Moving from the big city to a small southern town is hard, but soon Ben begins to realize that the possibilities of his new position are becoming a nightmare of monstrous proportions – in more way than one.

I had hopes, but I they just never really focused for me. It isn’t a ‘bad’ book per se. I just had a feeling of “been there, done that, didn’t enjoy it all that much the first time.” For those readers who haven’t read any of the older horror stories, such as Rosemary’s Baby (1968) or Don’t Look In The Basement (1973), you should find this more enjoyable than I did. The bones are there – the body just needed more fleshing out.

I will leave it to your discretion to decide if you like the book or not. For me, three stars for a book that was readable, but took me longer to read than most as it didn’t keep my attention long enough not to be easily distracted.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Get “Beneath The Veil” by William McNally Free

17838087I reviewed this book back on July 21, 2013 and found it truly unusual. Now, it is on for free. 

Here is my review. Read, then check out the link to pick the book up for free.

Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much, but that’s how life is.
― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

I never realized before there were so many ways to die. So many ways to kill people. Why are there so many deadly weapons?”

Clapp rubbed his lip and looked down at her. “Listen, Miss Gilbert. I’ve come to figure that man is the only deadly weapon. Take a gun. It’s an absolutely harmless thing—even makes a good honest paperweight—until some man gets his hands around it. You can strip a gun down to its basic parts and it’s lost its power. You can reduce a man to his chemical elements, but you’ve always got the spirit of whatever you call it left. And that spirit will find some damned way to do evil.

― Wade Miller, Deadly weapon

There are secrets. Secrets hidden between the darkness of the world and the darkness of the human soul. Secrets wander amongst the lost, where only the dead are truly free. Secrets live within the darkness, sucking away the human soul, leaving a shell of nothing but horror.

Barry Ryan is learning about secrets. His personal secret, that he is dying of an inherited disease. The bigger secret, hidden under layers of history, that there is something strange, very strange, about his family and where he came from. An adopted child, Barry has done well in his life. A famous sculptor, Barry has friends, a career, and an adoptive family that loves him. But with only a familial match capable of giving him the marrow transplant he needs to survive, Barry must return to his roots, return to the shadows of the past – the shadows and secrets of a place called Auraria.

With his sister, and her boyfriend, Barry begins his trip to Auraria. And thus begins a trip to Hell. But a Hell of whose creation? Layers of lies and superstition and death fill the pages of “Beneath the Veil.” I was immediately drawn into the story, as reality becomes merely a memory. As truth and physics and geography twist and turn upon themselves, into a horror no longer dreamed, but lived.

The story itself was well written and convincingly frightening. The characters themselves are believable, though they could have been a bit better ‘fleshed out’ in my opinion, though some would say that doing so would cause the story to drag a bit. To each their own. The author doesn’t lead you by the hand through the book, you must come to some of your own conclusions, and this is not a book tied up in a tidy little bow at the end. It is, however, extremely creative, and, for a horror novel, ended in a deeply thoughtful manner. Overall, I found there were some small missteps, but I am quite comfortable with my rating. If you are a lover of horror, mystery, or thrilling ghost stories, this is most certainly going to interest you.

Recommended.


 

Beneath the Veil: A Novel
William McNally
4.3 Stars (45 Reviews)
Genre: Horror | Mystery, Thriller & Suspense | Fantasy

FREE for a limited time

The Residents of this Town Eat Zombies for Breakfast. Grab your copy and visit a town where the dead have never left.

Successful sculptor Barry Ryan is in search of a blood relative for his bone marrow transplant; being adopted, he must travel to the town of Auraria where a genealogist has traced his ancestry. His adoptive sister Jen and her boyfriend Jackson join Barry on the trip, but what they find is a town abandoned. Except for the dead who never really left.

By day, the creatures that inhabit this town are but ghostly remnants of their former selves. At night, however, they transform into a physical and lethal form.

There’s no escaping Auraria with all roads leading back to where they started, and Barry, Jen, and Jackson know that joining a band of survivors is their only hope. Struggling against his own dark urges, Barry flees to an old, abandoned plantation.

It is at this plantation, Barry’s familial home, that he discovers his own tragic heritage. That his family is under the control of an evil entity called Evangeline due to a series of events initiated over a hundred years earlier by Ezra Rhodes, Barry’s distant relative.

Mixing science fiction with horror, and the real with the supernatural, William McNally brings to life a world where the past maintains a firm grip on the present, and man’s own fatal desires are brought disturbingly to light. Readers of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will delight in this chillingly oppressive tale.

Click here to get this book for FREE

Review: A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice

23082546From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate. – Socrates

Expectations. I think that is always my problem when I read “name” authors. With their fancy publishers, fancy marketing and ‘names’ I expect their work to be bigger, more well written, deeper. And, honestly, after The Vines I had expected more just because that book was better. It had deeper structure, a better story line

I understand Christopher’s thought processes, and I honor them. This time, however, I feel he is trying too hard, pushing instead of leading if that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong. There are good things about the book, things that are important. But the overall issues meant the book simply didn’t work for me. I look forward to seeing what others find to love about it.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Should you appreciate my reviews please don’t hesitate to click “Yes” for “Was this review helpful to you?” Thanks!

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