Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Mirrors - by Nicole Cushing - A strange collection of speculative fiction

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Nicole Cushing is a Shirley Jackson Award finalist who's written a number of stand-alone novellas and dozens of short stories. Nicole has been referred to as the literary equivalent of the love child between Jack Ketchum and Poppy Z. Bright.  Raised in rural Maryland and now living in southern Indiana, Nicole counts master storyteller Edgar Allen Poe as having had a big influence on her as a writer.

A few weeks ago, I read Nicole's debut novel, Mr. Suicide. a book filled with richly demented and deformed characters.  This was one of my favorite reads so far in 2015.  Highly recommended.

The Mirrors is a collection of twenty works of speculative fiction which, for the most part, have been published elsewhere, but appear together for the first time in this volume.

As I read story after story, each a bit stranger than the last, the words from Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken came to my mind. "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by..."  These are NOT the typical stories one expects to find in a collection from a horror writer. Sure, they're twisted, demented, and at times unsettling, but there's more to it than that.  Have you ever walked through a Hall of Mirrors at a carnival, the kind that present you with reflections that are misshaped and often leave you lost? Yeah, reading these tales was a bit like that.

There are stories told from the Point Of View of a bottle of morphine, of suicide, hell, amnesia, a homeless time traveler.  There's even a story with a hermaphrodite.

One of my favorites is THE LAST KID SCARED BY LUGOSI where a film buff brings the actor back to life on the 100th anniversary of the release of the iconic Dracula film.

I also loved EULOGY TO BE GIVEN BY WHOEVER'S STILL SOBER about a zombie writer attending his own funeral, planning to drink himself to death.

I often think it might be fun to get inside a writers mind to see just what makes them tick,   After reading this collection by Nicole Cushing, I'm not so sure I'd want to make that trip.  At least, not without adequate protection.

The Mirrors is available now in softcover, with e-book coming soon, from Cycatrix Press.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Incurables - by Jon Bassoff - Whether you put your faith on God or science, there is little hope of redemption

4 of 5 Stars      Review copy

Jon Bassoff was born in 1974 in New York City and currently lives with his family in a ghost town somewhere in Colorado. His mountain gothic novel, Corrosion, was called "startlingly original and unsettling" by Tom Piccirilli, a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, and won the DarkFuse Reader's Choice Award for best novel. His surrealistic follow-up, Factory Town, was called "A hallucinatory descent into an urban hell" by Bram Stoker award-winning author Ramsey Campbell. For his day job, Bassoff teaches high school English where he is known by students and faculty alike as the deranged writer guy.

Bassoff's third novel is filled with characters with few, if any, socially redeeming qualities.   The Incurables is set in the early 1950s, and Dr. Walter Freeman's nearly thirty years at the same mental institution are about to come to an end. Despite his many successes in treating the most insane of patients through a process he developed called a transorbital lobotomy, the times are changing and the institution's board is eager to move on to more humane treatments using modern medications to modify the behaviors of the asylum's residents.

Instead to changing his ways, Dr. Freeman sets out on his own with his most recent success and travels the country preaching his cure for many mental conditions. At the same time there is a father and son team of a preacher who is convinced his son is the Messiah.

If you like your horror dark and violent, The Incurables is most definitely for you.  It's a book where once you start reading, you won't want to put it down.  There are no heroes in this tale filled with delightfully despicable characters.  Personally, I found the work to be a criticism of both science and religion, and whichever you put your faith in, there is no redemption to be found.

The Incurables is published by Darkfuse and is available in both paperback and e-book formats.  If you subscribe to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited you can read this work at no additional charge.  Plus, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read this book for FREE as your monthly selection from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914 - edited by Leslie S. Klinger - A solid collection of stories from Poe's contemporaries

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Leslie S. Klinger is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on both Sherlock Holmes and Dracula. He is the editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical Work and nominated for every other major award in the mystery genre. He is also the editor of The New Annotated Dracula which possesses a similar in-depth examination of Bram Stoker’s haunting classic and its historical context.

In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914 Leslie presents twenty tales of horror from a diverse group of Edgar Allan Poe's contemporaries.  From Ernst T. W. Hoffmann, who wrote The Nutcracker and the Mouse King which became the basis for Tschaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker, to Bram Stoker who gave us the iconic Dracula.

While a few of the names in this collection were already familiar to me, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ambrose Bierce, and of course, Bram Stoker, the vast majority of the names and stories were new to me.  Although the reading was not always easy, I find the way people spoke more than a century ago to be a bit off-putting at times.  The stories themselves were as varied as their authors, with a strong showing for ghost stories.  Some of the best ghost stories I've ever read are included in this volume. Among those tales are THE UPPER BERTH by F. Marion Crawford, written 130-years ago and as effective as any story I'm likely to read this year.  Also in that category was A NIGHT OF HORROR by Dick Donovan and THE WOMAN WITH THE HOOD by L.T. Meade.

Of course there are more than ghost stories in this collection, just as Edgar Allan Poe was more than a horror writer, Leslie S. Klinger has collected a wide range of tales for this book. Mysteries, Mummies, tales of courage and revenge, of prejudice and even a companion piece to THE KING IN YELLOW by Robert W. Chambers, called THE YELLOW SIGN.  Dare I say there is something for everyone.

If you can get past the old-time writing style, I think you're likely to find some reading to keep you up at night in the pages of In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914.

Available in a wide variety of formats, In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914, is published by Pegasus Books.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Man Made Murder (Blood Road Trilogy Book 1) - by Z. Rider - Well written horror

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Z. Rider grew up in New Hampshire watching Creature Double Feature every Saturday afternoon on Channel 56. She now lives in the mountains of northeast Tennessee with her husband, two dogs, and a skeleton named Knuckles.

Her new book, Man Made Murder, starts with a compelling synopsis of the story...

When police can't track down the man Carl Delacroix believes murdered his sister, Carl takes matters into his own hands. After a two year search, he finds himself broke, desperate, and--finally--hot on the trail of the man who killed Sophie.  But the road is dark and full of monsters, and the one he's chasing has a deadly bite.

Rock band, Man Made Murder, wants nothing more than to get out of their deal with High Class records, but instead, they find their new single climbing the charts as they prepare to head out on the road again, beginning with a show in NYC.

Author, Z. Rider, deftly weaves the band's story with that of Carl Delacroix's search for his sister's killer, into a compelling story which reveals its secrets slowly.  Man Made Murder is well-written and believable, despite the subject matter.  Rider has a writing style that's visual and tight, with spurts of pulse-pounding action and presents a twist that keeps the story going just when you think you've got it all figured out.

Because Man Made Murder is the first book in a trilogy, there are numerous loose ends and a bit of a cliff-hanger to leave the reader wanting more.

From Dark Ride Publishing Man Made Murder is available now in Hardback, Paperback and e-book formats.  If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can read this title at no additional charge, or if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE as your monthly selection from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Flux - by Ferrett Steinmetz - The absurd, yet totally enjoyable sequel to Flex

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

After twenty years of wandering desolate as a writer, Ferrett Steinmetz attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop in 2008 and was rejuvenated. Since then, he's sold stories to numerous publications and in March of 2014, Ferrett saw his first novel, Flex, released by Angry Robot Books.  He lives in Cleveland with his wife, and a friendly ghost.

First a bit of background.  Flex is distilled magic in crystallized form, gifted to ordinary people by 'mancers.  Along with Flex, and the powers it bestows, comes The Flux. Think Newton's Third Law, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

In this worthy sequel, Paul Tsabo is now the chief of the New York Task Force For 'Mancer Control. No one on the team knows Paul is a 'mancer himself, a bureaucromancer, which means he's adept at manipulating paperwork to perform his unique brand of magic.  Both his daughter, Aliyah, and best friend, Valentine, are  videogamemancer's.

The world Ferrett Steinmetz has created is wildly imaginative and his writing style is somewhat reminiscent of Richard Kadrey's Butcher Bird and Sandman Slim novels. Needless to say, both Flex and The Flux are wild rides which take the reader to places they've never been before, and beyond.

All of the characters are fully developed, the banter is clever, and the writing is filled with pop-culture references.  If you've already read Flex, (and I do recommend that, even though The Flux reads well as a stand alone novel), The Flux is somewhat darker overall.

If you're a gamer, you're going to love the ending to this book and good news, there are plans for a third and final book in the series.

Both Flex and The Flux are available in a wide array of formats from Angry Robot Books.

If you like your reads to be "out there", this series may be just what you're looking for. Recommended.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Leper Window - by Frazer Lee - A mix of mystery and the occult

3 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Frazer Lee's first novel, The Lamplighters, was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for 'superior achievement in a first novel.'  He's also a screenwriter and filmmaker who resides with his family in Buckinghamshire, England.

The Leper Window starts with one of the better openings I've read in recent memory.  "Daniel Gates's last assignment involving a rare demonic book left him plagued by hideous nightmares, which are about to get even worse."

Here's what we have in The Leper Window.  The story is that of a rare, mysterious book, Choronzon's Grimoire, which has been vandalized.  A page has been torn from the book and Daniel Gates has been brought in to locate the missing page and the person responsible.

I'm not certain where this story went wrong for me.  The writing seems capable, but the tale itself seemed to be missing something.  I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, I didn't even care about the book, and I'm a bit fanatical about the care of my personal collection.

Of course your reading experience may vary.  The Leper Window is available now as an e-book from Samhain Publishing.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blood and Rain - by Glenn Rolfe - A throwback to a pure werewolf story

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Glenn Rolfe is still a relative newcomer to writing horror, but he's definitely a name worthy of your attention.  In addition to a number of short stories, Glenn has already had a couple of novella's published, the ghost story Abram's Bridge and a tale of alien slime called, Boom Town.

In Blood and Rain he turns his attention to the classic werewolf story.  Rolfe is not breaking any new ground with this story and that's OK, what he does give us is a pure tale of terror in an otherwise quiet Maine town.

The opening for the book sets the readers expectations and then Glenn does a very good job of delivering the goods.

"The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.

Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend?

One night can—and will—change everything."

There are a number of well-developed characters in Blood and Rain.   One of my favorites is Nick Bruce who works for a rag similar in concept to the old Weekly World News and listens to Art Bell reruns on a local AM radio station.  Any horror story that mentions Art Bell automatically scores points with me.

And there are plenty of visceral images, too.  For example.

"Crimson covered the dashboard and the police detector gadget attached to it, the stereo console, the steering wheel and the seats.  Even the cup holders were filled with pools of dark fluid.  The bodies were worse.  Only the lower halves of the two people remained inside of the vehicle.  The lap bands of the seat belts were engaged, securely holding the bottoms of both bodies in place."

Blood and Rain gives the reader exactly what you would expect from a solid werewolf story and is available now in both paperback and e-book formats from  Samhain Horror.


Friday, October 9, 2015

wilted lilies - by Kelli Owen - A lovely little ghost story novella

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Kelli Owen was born and raised in Wisconsin and now resides in Pennsylvania where she's written a number of novellas and a few of my favorite books, including Live Specimens, Six Days, and White Picket Prisons.

Kelli's newest novella, wilted lilies, originally appeared as a four-part story in the quarterly magazine, lamplight and is now available in both paperback and e-book formats.

wilted lilies is a well-told little story about Lily May, a teen-aged girl with a gift.  Her mamma always said she had the shine.  She knew when people were gonna pass.  Later she could hear what they were thinking .  Later still she could speak to the dead. It's this last gift I found to be the most compelling. as wilted lilies evolved into a charming little ghost story.

It's challenging to say much more about this novella without giving it all away.  Let's just say there is a lot to like in this story, with elements of suspense, the paranormal, and the pacing of a good thriller.

Although self contained, I like the way the door was left open for more of Lily May's tale.  As a matter of fact, the author even thanks Lily May in her acknowledgements, "for coming to life, and speaking to me like no other character...don't worry honey, we're not done."

I can easily recommend this new book from Kelli Owen, just as I do all of her work.  If you're not reading her stuff you should get on that right away.

For links to the book in various formats, just go here

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Girl In the Maze - by R. K. Jackson - A genre-crushing story that's a truly great read

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

R. K. Jackson is a former CNN Journalist who now works at Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  He lives with his family in the Los Padres National Forest and is at work on a second Martha Covington novel, The Kiss of the Sun.

The Girl In the Maze is a genre-crushing story that's part mystery, part thriller, with elements of horror.  The result is is a terribly entertaining novel about Martha Covington, a schizophrenic, who with treatment, is making her way back into the workplace.

Martha has taken an internship with the Historical Society of Amberleen, Georgia.  The work is to put together interviews, with the residents of Shell Heap Island, into a cohesive form to publish a book about the Geeches who are native to the island and direct descendants of slaves who were freed after the Civil War.  They've lived in isolation, maintaining a truly distinct culture and belief system. Still believing in magic, ghosts, those kinds of things.

There is an eerie vibe to the story and there are times when the reader is left wondering how much of Martha's voices are due to her medical condition and how much of it might be something else.

One of the things I liked most about the author's writing was his way with words.  Early on there's a conversation where a character's husband was trying to make ice cream and  he says, "Can't find the rock salt nowheres." and his wife comments, "That'd be my husband, Horace.  That man could lose a white rabbit in a coal chute."  Stuff like that just makes me smile.  Another example, "But once Mistah Clyde made up his mind about somethin', trying to talk him in the other direction was like tryin' to teach a mule to dance."

Although The Girl In the Maze is not full-on horror, it is one of the best books I've read in 2015. When we learn the real story of Amberleen, it all comes together in a very satisfying way.

Published by Alibi, a division of Random House, LLC, The Girl In the Maze is currently available only in e-book format.

100% recommended.

The Silent End - by Samuel Sattin - A YA horror story complete with monsters

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Samuel Sattin makes his home in Oakland, California and has been writing for some time now.  His prior novel was titled League of Somebodies which boldly combines comic book storytelling into a traditional novel format.  The Silent End is his first novel with Ragnarok Publications and if I had to pigeonhole this work I would call it YA Horror.

Three seniors at Myer's high school, Nathaniel Eberstark, Gus Mustus, and Lexi Navarro are drawn into a mystery that will threaten their lives and the lives of everyone in the otherwise quiet town of Mossglow.

The story starts with the disappearance of Eberstark's mother and the impact that has on his home life "After Mother disappeared, Father disappeared in a sense as well.  Apart from roaming the outskirts of town like a madman, when home, he ranted on and on about the evil living beneath our city having been exposed, that it intended to claim our innards as its own"

Sattin builds a solid foundation with our three intrepid heroes overcoming their fears and working together to do the impossible.  The result is a very imaginative horror story for all ages and a monster that exists because someone figured out how to make it exist.

I do have to say this was not a perfect read for me.  It seemed to get bogged down a bit about half-way through, particularly as the kids unraveled the story of Edwina Hailee Myers, the wife of the man who started all of the troubles.  Fortunately for the story it wasn't long before things got back on track.

The Silent End is not the best tale I've read this year, far too many non-sensical things are happening for my liking, but at the same time the story is entertaining and one I can certainly recommend for younger readers in middle school and above.   Be aware, there are a few F-bombs and sex does come up, but certainly nothing more than the average teen will be exposed to in the hallways of many schools today.

Published by Ragnarok publications, The Silent End is currently available in both paperback and ebook formats.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mr. Suicide - by Nicole Cushing - One of the best books I've read in 2015

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Nicole Cushing is a Shirley Jackson Award finalist who's written a number of stand-alone novellas and dozens of short stories. Nicole has been referred to as the literary equivalent of the love child between Jack Ketchum and Poppy Z. Bright.  Raised in rural Maryland and now living in southern Indiana, Nicole counts master storyteller Edgar Allen Poe as having had a big influence on her as a writer.

In recent weeks, I'd noticed a bit of a buzz about her debut novel and knew I had to check it out.  I'm so glad I did.  When I opened the book I right away noticed some very positive blurbs from authors I respect a great deal, including Ray Garton and the aforementioned Jack Ketchum.

After finishing Mr. Suicide, it's difficult to believe this is her first published novel.  The kind words from so many of her contemporaries are certainly not mere hyperbole. Nicole Cushing delivers the goods in a compelling story told completely in the second person.  A bit of an unusual style, but it works so well in this case as we hear the story of a boy who's had thoughts of suicide from the time he was ten until he leaves home at eighteen, and beyond.

Growing up in a mentally abusive family, with no real friends, bullied by kids at school, it's no wonder he's the way he is.  Despite all this, the boy manages to deny Mr. Suicide over the years, until his brother introduces him to a low-budget pornographic magazine called Perfect Monsters.  The cover features a geriatric, female amputee, naked, heavily wrinkled and doing unspeakable things with her detached artificial leg. That's when things take a marked turn, as Mr. Suicide takes a backseat to a new entity, Great Dark Mouth, who offers something more.

The protagonist in the story is definitely depraved, there are some very disturbing images here, but it's all right at home, in the context of the tale.  Filled with richly demented and deformed characters, Mr. Suicide is dark storytelling at it's finest.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any better (worse), it does.  I loved the use of the Looney Tunes and other cartoon character voices at the end of the book.

By the way, kudos to Zack Mccain for his stunning artwork on the cover.

Mr. Suicide is available in both paperback and e-book formats from Word Horde Publishers.

I can't recommend this book enough.  One of the best I've read this year.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

nEvermore: Tales Of Murder, Mystery & The Macabre - Neo-Gothic Fiction Inspired By The Imagination Of Edgar Allan Poe - ed. by Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles - If you enjoy the work of Poe or good story-telling, pick up this anthology

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Nancy Kilpatrick is a writer and editor. She has published 18 novels, 1 non-fiction book, over 200 short stories, 5 collections of stories, and has edited more than a dozen anthologies.

Caro Soles is a writer who also does manuscript evaluations and editing and teaches Writing the Novel 1 and 2 at George Brown College in Toronto.

Nancy and Caro are the editors of Nevermore! Tales of Murder, Mystery and the Macabre an homage to the great American writer, the incomparable Edgar Allan Poe, and a must-have for every fan of his work. Even if you're not all that familiar with Poe's work, this book is filled with dark stories from a long list of today's horror writers. There were even a few names that were new to me and I read a lot of horror.

As a reader, I often find anthologies can be hit or miss, but I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 22 stories of the macabre in this collection.

The book starts off with "A Scholarly View of Edgar Allan Poe, Genre Crosser" by the enigmatic Uwe Sommerland. Uwe has zero online presence or none that I could find, but writes an interesting treatise on the work of the legendary writer to get things started.

THE GOLD BUG CONUNDRUM by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro who has been an award-winning professional writer for nearly fifty years across a number of genres. The story was inspired by The Gold Bug and features a massive, luxurious Caribbean home that has fallen into extreme disrepair and a search for a treasure chest in the middle of a hurricane. A strong way to start the anthology and one of my favorite stories within.

STREET OF THE DEAD HOUSE by Robert Lopresti who is a librarian from the Pacific Northwest. He's written two novels and numerous short stories. I really liked his retelling of Poe's The Murders in the Rue Morgue from the POV of the ape. You just have to read this one.

NAOMI by Christopher Rice. Christopher is a NYT bestselling author whose supernatural thrillers The Heavens Rise and The Vines were both finalists for a Bram Stoker Award. This is a totally engaging, modern take on The Tell Tale Heart, featuring a young transvestite driven to suicide by her ringtone.

FINDING ULALUME by Lisa Morton, the presiding President of the Horror Writer's Association and world renowned expert on all things Halloween. According to Lisa, she chose to base her story on Poe's poem Ulalume because it's the only piece that comes close to mentioning Halloween and gives us a tale that is spooky, creepy, and delightful.

OBSESSION WITH THE BLOODSTAINED DOOR by Rick Chiantaretto who is the author of the Crossing Death series and Facade of Shadows. I love discovering new authors, especially when they write like Rick, it was if he was actually channeling Poe.

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Barbara Fradkin. Barbara is a retired psychologist with a fascination for why we turn bad. Her tale is that of a young writer manning a Newfoundland lighthouse during WWII who is struggling to find his muse, when a young German soldier appears at his door seeking refuge. Is he real? Is this his muse?

THE MASQUES OF AMANDA LLADO by Thomas S. Roche, a longtime short story writer whose first novel, The Panama Laugh, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. This story is a modern take on The Cask of Amontillado. I found it to be chilling and it was nice to see a hipster get his comeuppance.

ATARGATIS by Robert Bose. Robert is working on a novel about an all to real Ragnarök (Google it). For this collection he gives a a charming story filled with romance, fantasy, and a Syrian sea goddess.

THE RAVENS OF CONSEQUENCE by Carol Weekes and Michael Kelly. Carol has been writing and publishing fiction, mainly in the horror field, for 20 years. Michael is the series editor for the Year's Best Weird Fiction and has been a finalist for both the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Society Award. Their story for this anthology features both Ravens and a study in madness.

ANNABEL LEE by Nancy Holder who has written more than 80 novels and has five Bram Stoker Awards to her credit. For her contribution, Nancy decided to tell the story of Annabel Lee from Annabel's POV. The result is inspired.

DINNER WITH MAMALOU by J. Madison Davis. Madison is the former president of the International Association of Crime Writers. His first novel, The Murder of Frau Schutz, was nominated for the "Best First" Edgar. This is another of my favorites from this book. A very up to date story with a definite Poe-like slant, as a crooked energy company CEO has dinner with a Louisiana legend known simply as Mamalou.

THE DEAVE LANE by Michael Jecks who has been writing for twenty years, with 35 novels published. This tale was set in the moors of Dartmoor, England and confronts the fear of being buried alive.

133 by Richard Christian Matheson, an acclaimed bestselling author and screenwriter/executive producer for television and film. On a side note, he's also an accomplished drummer who studied with legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker. 133 is the shortest story in the anthology, but boy does it pack a punch.

AFTERLIFE by William F. Nolan, Jason V. Brock, and Sunni K. Brock. Among his many accolades, Nolan a was recently named a World Horror Society Grand Master. Jason V. Brock himself is a double Bram Stoker Award nominee and his wife Sunni is a published poet, writer, and talented vegetarian cook. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of Poe's ghost.

THE DROWNING CITY by Loren Rhoads who discovered the works of Edgar Allan Poe in a most unusual way, picking up a copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination thanks to the Alan Parsons Project album of the same name. Her story involves an ancient curse and a siren in modern day Venice, Italy.

THE ORANGE CAT by Kelley Armstrong. Kelley is the author of the Cainsville modern Gothic series and has created a number of other well-known and popular series. There are so many entertaining stories in this collection. Here, Armstrong combines a story set in her popular Cainsville universe with a tale inspired by Poe's The Black Cat. Loved it.

THE INHERITANCE by Jane Petersen Burfield who has had three careers over the years, in journalism, teaching, and business. Her story, inspired by Poe's The Raven is yet another well-told tale.

SYMPATHETIC INFLUENCES by David McDonald. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Davis is a mild mannered reporter and editor by day, and a wild-eyed writer by night. His story in nEvermore takes place during the time of the inquisition only it's an inquisition where sorcery is being used on both sides.

ASYLUM by Colleen Anderson who has more than 200 published pieces of fiction to her credit and has twice been nominated for Canada's Aurora Awards. I never knew the phrase "The inmates are running the asylum," could be attributed to Edgar Allan Poe. It's from his work, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, which serves as inspiration for this enjoyable tale.

THE RETURN OF BERENICE by Tanith Lee who began writing at the age of nine and contributed more than 100 novels to genre fiction and was named a Grand Master of Horror and given the Lifetime Achievement Award. She passed away on May 24, 2015. In Ms. Lee's retelling of Poe's Berenice, she adds a bit of a vampiric element to the story.

THE EYE OF HEAVEN by Margaret Atwood. Margaret is the author of more than forty books, including The Handmaid's Tale which won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted for the cinema, radio, opera, and stage. Her story for this anthology was written when she was a sixteen year old high school student and captures the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe quite remarkably.

THE OPIUM-EATER by David Morrell. David gave us Rambo, that's right, it was his novel, First Blood that introduced us to a character Sylvester Stallone would bring to life on the big screen. Here he tells the story of Thomas De Quincey who became known as the Opium-Eater.

Whether you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, or not, there's a good deal of great writing to be found in this new anthology from Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles.

nEvrmeore is published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing and is available in both paperback and e-book formats. Also, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book at no additional cost and if you are an Amazon Prime member you can read it for FREE as your monthly selection from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

Really recommended.