Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

The story begins at S.Q.U.I.D, a subaquatic research facility that's located in international waters for a reason.  What they're up to isn't exactly work they want to be scrutinized by any government.

It's not long before things go horribly wrong...

A man wearing a shredded lab coat sprinted toward the elevator, spurts of red gushing from where his arm had previously been. His appendage had been ripped raggedly at the elbow. The scientist was panting like a dog on a hot summer day, struggling to keep his lungs full of air. He kicked up splashes of ocean water as he made for the elevator. 

Jill McCourty is on the date from hell when she gets a disturbing phone call from an old professor she once had a fling with.  Next thing you know she's being forced to confront her past and is living out a nightmare of humongous proportions.

What follows isn't exactly a spoiler, after all, both the cover and the title of Tim's new book give this much away.

The size of the tooth took up both palms. “Big-ass shark? Is that a new species or something?”“Didn’t come from a Great White. Their teeth are much smaller.”“No kidding.” A Great White tooth was three inches maximum. This was almost four times that. “If this thing is real, we’re talking Megalodon territory.”

This is the second novel this month with a part of the story from the POV of intelligent sea creatures, the other being J.H. Moncrieff's Monsters In Our Wake.  It's a fun aspect of the story and adds another dimension to what is happening and why.

The encounters with the super shark are everything you could want them to be with more than one "Oh wow!" moment.

Sharkwater Beach is pure B-movie madness.  Lots of blood.  Loads of fun. And wonderful B-Movie dialog...

“Okay, bozo. I’m done. Take me back. I’m getting out of here. You have more drama in your life than my grandmother’s soap operas.”

Sharkwater Beach is published by Severed Press and is available in both paperback and e-book formats.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

From the author's bio - Tim Meyer dwells in a dark cave near the Jersey Shore. He’s an author, husband, father, podcast host, blogger, coffee connoisseur, beer enthusiast, and explorer of worlds. He writes horror, mysteries, science fiction, and thrillers, although he prefers to blur genres and let the stories fall where they may. Among other titles, he’s previously published the short story collection, Worlds Between My Teeth.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Guest post from Tim Meyer, the author of Sharkwater Beach

Today's guest post is from Tim Meyer, the author of Sharkiwater Beach.  Think Jaws on steroids.  Watch for my review tomorrow, but for now, here's Tim...

TEETH

All right, I admit it. When I was younger, I was afraid of sharks. Okay, scratch that – I still am. Why? Well, because they're sharks. They're 100 million-year-old killing machines. They're enormous, some of them. They have teeth. Great whites have about 300. Did you know that? Scary. Imagine a person with 300 teeth? That's scary, too. But back to sharks. They're terrifying. The worst part? You never see them gliding up on you from the murky bottom, gaping maw ready to bite, rip, and feed.

I can trace my fear back quite easily – JAWS. I watched the movie on television when I was about eight, and even though it had been edited for content (probably), Quint's death scene still managed to warp my fragile little mind. The sheer terror of that scene shook me, sank its teeth into me. I can still vividly remember watching the gouts of blood spilling from that beloved character's mouth as the massive white shark chomped down on him. The scene spawned many nightmares, and in a way, it's responsible for prompting me to write a novel about a giant shark terrorizing a small group of people.

I read the book Jaws a few years later, then discovered all of Peter Benchley's novels. I read his works before I became obsessed with King, McCammon, Barker; my other heroes. Benchley's books were plain fun, the perfect “beach read,” and as someone who grew up on the Jersey Shore, you can imagine how much time was spent with my butt in the sand, catching some sun with a book in my lap.

Jaws influenced my new novel Sharkwater Beach, but so did other Benchley classics like Beast and White Shark. White Shark, while probably not his most known or best written novel, was a big one for me. The summer when I was twelve, I must have checked it out of the library every other week. Don't know why, but that one stuck with me and it gets a big nod in Sharkwater Beach.

But Sharkwater Beach isn't like a Benchley novel. Not really. A big shark, fishermen, and a few marine biologists are where the similarities end. It's unlike anything I've written before. A beta reader told me it was like “Jaws meets Aliens,” and I couldn't have said it better myself.

So, sharks. Yes, these ancient sea beasts are terrifying. But that's also what makes them fun. It's the teeth, I think. And we all know books that bite are the most fun.
                                                                                                                                                     
From the author's bio - Tim Meyer dwells in a dark cave near the Jersey Shore. He’s an author, husband, father, podcast host, blogger, coffee connoisseur, beer enthusiast, and explorer of worlds. He writes horror, mysteries, science fiction, and thrillers, although he prefers to blur genres and let the stories fall where they may. Among other titles, he’s previously published the short story collection, Worlds Between My Teeth.

You can follow Tim at https://timmeyerwrites.com where he has great content and features author interviews and you can sign-up for his newsletter!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine - Edited by David Price

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

With an introduction from Holly Newstein, Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine embraces the weird from the northernmost of the 48 contiguous United States.  Wait, I just googled a map of the US to verify that and it's not true, but it is up there and it is a place where weird things tend to happen.

Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine features twenty-two stories that are captivating, intriguing, scary, and above all, entertaining.

The Old Guide's Tale Peter N. Dudar

A trio of loading dock postal workers, regular guys, and the story, or rather, the legend of Sebago Lake.

For John, the bigger his audience, the bigger the stories would get. I suppose with age comes the license to embellish. After all, when you're old enough to start forgetting things that happened in your life, you may as well make the stuff you do remember as unforgettable as possible.

A wonderful start to the anthology. I was immediately drawn in by the excellent story-telling.

Giant Wompstah April Hawks

I guess you could say this is the story of genetics gone bad.  The real victim being Larry the Lobster.

Purgatory Junction Jeremy Flagg

A well-told ghost story of the hazing of a teen-aged girl made to spend the night in an abandoned railroad station so she can sit at the cool kid's table.

I read this lying in bed preparing for sleep. Not recommended as it made me afraid to turn off the light.

Catharine Hill Leslie J Linder

A new author for me and a great take on the hitch-hiking ghost trope.

Often, she would thumb a ride from some traveler. She didn't really plan to go anywhere. She just wanted to check out the latest fashions and listen in on modern trends. She always asked them to turn on the radio. But if that failed, people who picked up hitchers were generally prone to nervous chatter. When she'd had her fill, she simply disappeared from the vehicle.

The Bad Trip Thomas Washburn, Jr.

The title says it all.  A bad trip (as in 'shroom trip) that led to a horrible conclusion.  Another new writer I enjoyed immensely.

Teacher's Pet John McIlveen

A student/teacher taboo that's too good to be true.  John is one of my favorite new writers. His debut novel Hannahwhere is well worth your time, as is this delightful short.

Screaming Through Sea Glass Juss Stinson

A ghost story of sorts and a damn fine one at that.

Mira's Shop of Peculiarities Harold Hull

A truly terrify tale. One of the best shorts I've ever read.

Slowly, an eye opened on one of the tiny heads. A quiet, scratchy voice uttered, "Help me." Then the eyes of the head beside it opened and the same words came out. The third shrunken head soon joined in and now there was a harmony of desperate voices begging James for help.

Seeing Is Believing Wicker Stone

An effective tale of an inherited horror.

The Wait Holly Newstein

I don't get to read nearly enough of Holly Newstein's writing

The Janitors Come Out at Night Martin Campbell

The janitors at this High School are not recruited as much as they are made.  A fun little tale.

Agony Chamber Morgan Sylvia

When you worship at the altars of the gods of pain the rewards can be great, but so are the costs.

In my dreams, they tell me to kill, and they promise me that, if I serve them well, one day I, too, can become a god. All I have to do is kill. Not rapists or murderers or child molesters, but innocents.

Window of Darkness Duane E. Coffill

The creature's face was revolting. Slimy green mucus dripped from its ghastly jaw as it gazed at Mark and Marie with mesmerizing red eyes.

Needs rimshot to accompany the story's ending

Death Lights (A Lee Buhl Story) Glenn Rolfe

From the same world as Glenn's novel The Haunted Halls

Death Lights. Evil spirits that promised to take the living in exchange for bringing back the dead. They were tricksters, but far from your average poltergeist. They were not to be f*cked with. Fools thought they could control the conjured spirits, thought they could wield the power. It never worked that way.

Rare Birds Katherine Silva

Cool ending to a story about an amateur ornithologist.

In the Woods Dale T. Phillips

One of my favorite stories in a collection full of great tales

Noseeum Road, didn't ya?" "Yes, I did. By the way, I was curious. What's that road name mean? Some Native American name? I heard you've got some of those folks around still." The storekeeper chuckled. "The name's from some damn little bugs we get up this way. We call 'em no-see-ums because they'll bite ya, and you won't even see that they're there."

Cool dialog, too.

"You ain't telling me you're a Yankees fan, are ya?" "No, I don't follow baseball." The man rolled his eyes again. "Well, better that than loving the Yankees. Then we'd have to shoot ya for sure."

Sleep Tight E.J. Fechenda

The Ricci family purchases a house with a history.  A history unknown to them.  Their young son Ethan is continually awakened by a man a the foot of his bed.  A great ghost story from another author I get to read for the first time.

The Black Beast of Andover Joshua Goudreau

Another new author for me and a killer monster tale to boot.

Lovely Little Nash Leon Roy

A disturbing story of a fun trip gone dreadfully awry for friends Dorothy, Jackie, Frances, and Ruby who have their day interrupted by their love of a classic car and a signed contract.  No one ever reads the fine print.

Liars and Lies Angi Shearstone

A man is suspected of witchcraft, but the truth is so much darker and so much better.

Confession James Graham

A confession leaves a Priest with a crisis of conscience.  Another well-told tale with a great kicker.

The Phippsburg Screecher Lynda Styles

"If you're staying in the Basin, watch out the Screecher don't get ya."  A really good monster yarn.
.
In the Root Cellar GD Dearborn

A wonderful way to close the anthology with a tale of alien invaders.

With an anthology this large, there are bound to be some stories you love and almost alway there are a few clunkers.  I happy to say, while I didn't love every story, there were none I didn't like and overall Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine was a terrific reading experience.

Northern Frights: An Anthology by the Horror Writers of Maine is published by Grinning Skull Press and is available in both paperback and e-book formats.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Scallywag - by Stuart R. Brogan

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Harry Davant made a poor decision taking the alley shortcut in the rain.  Two-bit criminal Callum Benson saw the old man's choice as an opportunity, but what happens next surprises everybody, including this reader.

To tell you more would be to give too much away. It's best if the readers get to discover all of the twists and turns for themselves.  I will say this Scallywag is a joyride filled with real characters and believable situations.  Stuart R. Brogan is a master at raising a reader's blood pressure.

If you've already read Stuart's debut novel Jackals and you're looking for another quick fix of his fast-paced, high-energy, writing style, you should pick up Scallywag right away.  BTW, if you haven't read Jackals, do yourself a favor and pick it up today.  It's the best debut horror novel I've read this year.

As for Scallywag, it's a wild and twisted ride which I whole-heartedly recommend.

Scallywag is published by Midgard Books and is available in both paperback and e-book formats.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

From the author's bio - Stuart R. Brogan is a former nightclub bouncer and proud Heathen who loves nothing more than expanding people's minds with Pagan related Non-Fiction or blowing people's brains out with fast-paced, gut-wrenching Horror and Thrillers.

Stuart currently resides in Glastonbury, UK with his long-suffering wife and man eating Shih-Poo dog "Poppy" where he co-owns a kick-ass Viking/Asatru shop, fiercely named "Shield Maiden."


Friday, May 12, 2017

Reset: The Dowland Cases - One by Kirk Dougal

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Richard Jefferson Dowland, Jr., 39. Divorced, no children. Goes by Rick but a whole generation of people know him as RJ. Graduated from UCLA with an undergrad in Computer Science at the age of twenty. Co-inventor of the first fully-immersed computer game, The Kindred. He personally registered twenty-nine patents related to computer- human interfaces and games. 

Rick is now retired from the gaming industry and finds himself working homicide.  When a serial killer starts killing immersive gamers his boss and the FBI ask him to go back in and become a deep sleeper again.  Something he swore he'd never do.  It's an addiction, a habit he managed to kick once and has no desire to revisit.

Deep sleepers, the guys that stay inside for weeks or months, they pay someone to take care of their body while they are buried inside. Gamers call them peepers, or peeps for short.

For a reader, Reset: The Dowland Cases - One provides instant gratification.  The in-game action was fast paced and believable.  The story itself was as immersive as a good video game. With Rick having to go into more than one game it gave the author a chance to experiment with various writing styles in the same novel, including crime noir in the game called The City.

Examples...

The plug-in air freshener tried but there wasn’t enough potpourri in the world to cover up the smell rising from the body on the bed.

I took a drink of the gin and wondered immediately if the bathtub had been clean when it was made. 

The canary on the mic had a color of blonde hair not found in nature and a dress slit almost high enough to see Cleveland. A few flat notes into the next song and I understood why the dress needed to be so distracting.

She stood close enough for me to hear the whisper of her blouse against skin as she breathed. Her perfume wafted into my nose and threatened to cloud my thinking.

So much fun.  Of course there are many red herrings along the way, but in the end it all makes perfect sense and the set up is there for book two in the series.  In the end Reset: The Dowland Cases - One is a tale that left me wanting more in the best possible way.  Highly recommended.

Reset: The Dowland Cases - One is available for the Kindle.   If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

From the author's bio - Kirk Dougal has had fiction works appear in multiple anthologies and released his debut novel, Dreams of Ivory and Gold, in May of 2014.  His YA dystopian novel, Jacked, was published in 2016.  He's currently at work completing the sequel to Dreams, Valleys of the Earth.

Kirk is currently working in a corporate position with a group of newspapers after serving as a group publisher and editor-in-chief. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Monsters In Our Wake - by J.H. Moncrieff

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

The cover and title of J.H. Moncrieff's latest novel Monsters In Our Wake gives the reader a good idea of what they're in for, but this work is far from your typical sea creature trope.

When the novel you're reading begins from the perspective of a giant sea creature who's home is being threatened by oil drilling you know you're on to something different.

When the creature takes action to protect its territory, the result is a disabled ship and a stranded crew.  I always enjoy stories with a limited cast of characters, cut off from the rest of the world, with something out there.

“Nah,” George said, pointing at Flora, “I think she’s crazy. But I’ve seen horror movies. I know how this goes. You crackers always make the black man go first. I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to fix any generator, I’m not going to investigate the scary noise, and I’m definitely not going in the water.”

Monsters In Our Wake is not my first creature from the deep book, but it certainly is the most original and a helluva lot of fun.  It does require readers to check their disbelief at the door, but if you can do that I think you'll enjoy where this deep sea adventure takes you. Recommended.

Monsters In Our Wake is available from Severed Press in paperback, e-book, and Audible formats.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it at no additional charge.  Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE using the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

From the author's bio - J.H. Moncrieff writes psychological and supernatural suspense novels that let her readers safely explore the dark corners of the world.   Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.

The first two novels of her new GhostWriters series, City of Ghosts and The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts, will be officially released on May 16, 2017.

When not writing, J.H. loves visiting the world's most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Guest post from J.H. Moncrieff

Author J.H. Moncrieff takes over my blog today to talk about her unusual  sea creature novel Monsters In Our Wake.  I'll have my review tomorrow.

Never in a million years did I expect to write about sea creatures.

Not that I don’t have an affinity for them. I’ve always wanted to spend a day sitting alongside Loch Ness, hoping Nessie will make an appearance. And I love the legends of the nøkken and other creatures from my Scandinavian heritage.

Still, writing about monsters was never something I considered until Severed Press told me they were looking for a sea creature story. It was a challenge I couldn’t resist.

However, telling the same old story—where a bunch of macho dudes and maybe one female scientist (who happens to be supermodel gorgeous) blast the monsters into infinity—didn’t interest me in the slightest. If I were going to write a sea monster story, it would have to be something completely different than people were used to seeing.

Since I have a huge sympathy and love for animals, I thought, “Why not tell the story from the creatures’ point of view?” So I did. And I had a lot of fun with it. Yes, there is violence and gore and dark themes, but Nøkken in Monsters in Our Wake is also sarcastic, witty, and urbane. I’d hoped that bringing his side of the story to life would help provide a new perspective. Whenever an animal attacks, we talk about the people affected, but rarely do we discuss how the animal’s territory is dwindling, its food supplies dying, and the part we play in these tragedies.

The result was a very different book. Different from anything I’d ever written before, and certainly different from your typical sea monster saga. So much so, I was afraid Severed wouldn’t want it. But they did, and I figured they understood their audience well enough to know what would be accepted and what wouldn’t. I also hoped the people who loved more mainstream monster stories wouldn’t notice mine—that it would be a mere ripple in an ocean of books.

Then Monsters became an Amazon horror bestseller. Suddenly, a lot of people were finding my book, and not all of them were happy about it. The backlash began, and it focused on one thing—the creature’s point of view. Either readers loved this unique aspect or they hated it. And when they hated it, they really hated it. One woman didn’t make it past page two. A man advised others not to read anything else I’d ever written, even though Monsters is unlike the rest of my work.

I knew I was taking a risk by swimming against the current, and that not everyone would appreciate it. What I didn’t anticipate was how angry they’d be, or what a polarizing book Monsters would become. Knowing this, was it still worth trying something new and smashing a time-honored genre convention? Definitely.

At the end of the day, I’m not writing for people who want the same old, same old. I don’t like remakes, and I have no interest in writing one. It’s important to have a variety of books and voices available. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was the same! I get why diverging from a trope irritates some people; I have my comfort food for the brain too. That’s what series are for—you know exactly what you’re going to get with each and every book.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to seek out readers who appreciate the unexpected, the ones who complain there’s never anything new under the sea.

J.H. Moncrieff writes psychological and supernatural suspense novels that let her readers safely
explore the dark corners of the world. She won Harlequin's search for the next Gillian Flynn in 2016.

Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.

The first two novels of her new GhostWriters series, City of Ghosts and The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts, will be officially released on May 16, 2017.

When not writing, J.H. loves visiting the world's most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.

To get free e-books and a new spooky story every week, check out her Hidden Library.

Connect with J.H.: Website | Twitter | Facebook