Haven’t had a good review write up in a while due to my other writing obligations and projects, but, I read so many great books in April that I got to share the wealth. This month I have a double dose, no, a quarto dose of horror fiction review madness!!!
This time around I give my reviews of four great reads; THE CAGE by Brian Keene, UP AND OUT OF CITIES THAT BLOW HOT AND COLD by terror queen Charlee Jacob, JUST LIKE HELL by Nate Southard and GENITAL GRINDER by a guy who grosses out even the great Edward Lee… His name? Ryan Harding .
On with the show…
He only needs six. At least that’s what the man in all black, wielding the shotgun, keeps saying to the closing employees of Big Bills home electronics. What does he mean? Who is he? All they know for sure is that this intruder means business and everyone’s night is about to get worse… a lot worse.
This short novella was hard to come by until Deadite press and Brian made it available to the general public once again. First published as a Keene limited edition hard cover, released by Cemetery dance publications and then later included in the now out of print story collection A CONSPIRACY OF ONE, this new edition also has three bonus short stories included and they were a welcome surprise when I was done reading The Cage.
The Cage is ultra violet and quick but there is more going on than just the poor employees getting locked into the back storage locker cage. They are getting lead out, one by one, into the main sales floor and presumably, never to be heard from again. There is an intense foreboding that flows throughout the whole novella. I never knew what was going to happen and it kept me turning the pages, as any story worth its salt should. Keene’s characters are solid and well written and I was invested and engaged in the story from start to finish. I can’t say what happens in the end but if you read Keene then you know that his Labyrinth mythos permeates all he creates and let’s just say that we find out precisely how a certain god of the mythos’s fabled thirteen gets launched into our mortal world to wreak havoc and death upon mankind!
And here you were thinking it was just about an appliance store closing crew and a lone nutter with a shotgun.
I am sure you will have a good time reading THE CAGE even if you are not a fan of Brian’s work.
The rest of the three stories are: MARRIGE CAUSES CANCER IN RATS, LEAST YE BECOME and WAITING FOR THE DARKNESS. All good reads and an entertaining bonus to boot. That’s what I love about these Deadite press releases. Value for the money. Mostly all the Deadite press releases have bonus material. Keep up the good work Jeff Burk! This reader / fan is satisfied. And of course the bonus material could not be possible if it weren’t for the Authors themselves. A big thanks goes out to all of them, as well.
THE CAGE is currently available from Deadite Press. It’s cheap (7.95) and vastly entertaining, what else can I say about it?
Pick it up while you can.
This one is for the gore fiends out there.
While I prefer my books more Richard Laymon style, I occasionally venture towards the hardcore stuff and this one takes the cake. It’s not shock for shock sake (Which Edward Lee explains in the opening intro of Genital Grinder) but is, in fact, a well crafted gore fest, an exposé of carnal delights and disgusting prose.
This book is a collection of Ryan Harding’s short pieces, published over the years and collected for us by Deadite Press.
Genital Grinder is a menagerie of illicit, debauched sex rape acts… but don’t get me wrong, It doesn’t mean I hated it. It actually entertained me.
Let me explain.
Ryan Harding has a masterful grasp of the English language. Can’t deny this statement, once you (and if you dare to) adventure in to this chilling, nefariously sick book. Like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away. The writing style is poetic and the characters are very strong and believable, albeit vile, necrophilia pigs. At times, I felt myself having to read it in (excuse the pun) short swallows because it made me want to gag but in the end I survived the Ryan Harding express and If you feel so inclined, you too can sacrifice yourself to the torture literati machine that is Mr. Harding and experience the goriest pleasures for yourself.
Genital Grinder is available from Deadite Press and is $9.95.
Nate Southards short novella, called Just Like Hell, is a very moving piece of fiction. It is about a star football player named Dillon and his gay lover Randy. There life is torn apart one dreadful night by three guys whom play on Dillon’s team. They find out Dillon’s secret and they just don’t like it. Throughout the story, the three villains; Kevin, Toby and a guy named Slug, enact a bitter torrent of homophobic rage, hate and torture the likes of which this writer has ever seen. The two lovers are in for a struggle for their very lives as they enter a world Just… Like… Hell!!!
Southards writing is like poetic brutality. The story is powerful on many levels and I really felt for Dillon and his lover Randy. Southard writes them as normal kids; You root for them, you feel the bigotry and hate against them, you understand them. The villains are fleshed out solid as well and as I was reading, I wanted them to get there comeuppance in the end for the hate and senseless horrors they brought upon Dillon and Randy.
You will just have to buy the book and find out for yourself.
I highly recommend this book and it might just be the best damn story I have read all year. In addition to the novella Just Like Hell, Deadite Press has included a couple of Southards shorter works of fiction. They, as was the whole collection, are well crafted and great reads!
Do yourself a favor and pick it up from Deadite press. Price is right at $8.95 and you won’t regret it.
If you have never heard of Charlee Jacobs, this book is a collection of her finest short stories and is a fantastic way to experience one of the horror genres greatest writers. This collection has fifteen stories that are seriously ethereal and exciting. Jacobs is a master of the macabre and the horrifying. Her prose grabs you like one of Cthulhu’s tentacles and absolutely drips with magic, terror and fear. Once you start reading her work it becomes very clear why Charlee Jacobs is a multi- Bram Stoker Award winner.
I’ll be honest, I loved every single story in Up And Out Of Cities That Blow Hot And Cold. Each story was a unique and exciting adventure into Jacobs world.
She really is a master of her craft and I recommend getting anything and everything this woman writes. My other favorite Charlee Jacob titles are Dread in the Beast (Best hardcore novel ever written!) and Vestal.
The book Up & Out Of Cities That Blow Hot & Cold is available through darkfuse.com and is only in ebook formats for $6.99.
Until next time, Keep reading & keep writing.