Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: What Hides Within - by Jason Parent

5 of 5 Stars     Review copy

What Hides Within takes off at a torrid pace and barely lets up for a minute before it's exciting conclusion.

Clive stared under the bridge, intending to view the travel conditions beyond it. What he beheld was as magnificent as it was unnerving. His mouth dropped open in awe of the animalistic artistry. In the cool, damp darkness, an intricate mass of webbing sheathed the bridge’s undercarriage like a drape woven in silk by the most skilled of weavers. Its beautiful yet ominous patterns served as a warning to weary travelers who dared attempt passage. This is no place for humankind.

Of course, Clive is not deterred and he'll certainly live to regret his boldness.  When his kayak overturns in the murky water, his ear is left waterlogged, and as if that isn't bad enough, he soon begins to hear a lone voice in his head.

Jason Parent masterfully lays on layer after layer of intricate storytelling, weaving a masterful web and an entertaining tale.  A tenacious page-turner which only requires the reader to check their disbelief at the door and enjoy.  I found What Hides Within to be clever, at times comedic, and at times very dark.

Ultimately recommended.

What Hides Within is currently available in both paperback and Kindle formats from Bloodshot Books.  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 - In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home.  The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them.  He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator.  When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble.  The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta.  But that's another story.

When he's not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody's head off - he misses the appeal).  And read and write, of course.  He does that too sometimes.

Guest post: Resurrected - by Jason Parent on his relaunch of What Hides Within


Several people have asked me why I am re-releasing What Hides Within, especially those who liked the story and didn’t want to see it altered. I like the story too, but its former presentation did not live up to its full potential. It’s no secret I never liked the original cover. Beyond that, every work I have released since has been meticulously edited. What Hides Within was years in the making, and the final product looked as though I rushed to publication. The truth was that I had spent a fortune in editing from editors I shouldn’t have been using, and my own knowledge of both writing and publishing were not where they needed to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy for the opportunity my first publisher gave me. It was an invaluable learning experience essential to my growth as an author. Maybe you’ve seen an original copy of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. It’s a beautiful book, but it’s riddled with errors. In later editions, these errors disappear. And why not? If you have an opportunity to fix something, you’d be a fool not to.

Now, I’m no Stephen King. I know that. But I’d like to think I strive for his same high standards. So when my contract was up, I pulled the book from market and signed on with Bloodshot Books, where I believed What Hides Within could see a brighter future, knowing what I now and should’ve known back then.

The cover isn’t all that has changed (though it’s everything I hoped it could be). The book has gone
through additional edits from both myself and people I trust. I kept the voice of the novel – the sarcasm and the humor – the same but streamlined some of the action and cut out the excess.

Overall, I was happy with the response to the first edition and always believed What Hides Within to
be a rather unique story, but I was never 100% happy with the original product. Now, the book has the
cover and the story I intended. Sure, even with the new version, Bloodshot and I hit a few stumbling blocks on the road to publication as is the story with every book. But we overcame those quickly and produced a stand-alone novel I’m proud to have my name on.

And now that I am happy with the story, I am ready to continue it. Expect a spinoff this year.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Welcome to Paradise - A short Story of Brutal Love by Glenn Rolfe

5 of 5 Stars      Review copy

This story from Glenn Rolfe may be short on words, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in violence.

She loved damage.  She loved scars.  She loved anything beautiful and broken.  The Lucky Lounge Motel served as the feeding ground for her biggest passion...murder.

Welcome to Paradise - A short Story of Brutal Love is lurid, vicious fun with a wonderful twist.  Don't miss it.

Welcome to Paradise - A short Story of Brutal Love is a self-published short story and is currently 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 - Glenn Rolfe is an author/singer/songwriter from the haunted woods of New England.  He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Ronald Malfi, Brian Moreland and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Goblin - by Josh Malerman

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Goblin: A Novel In Six Novellas is the thirteenth book in Earthling Publication’s annual Halloween Series.  Featuring an introduction by James A. Moore, Cover artwork by Allison Laakko, and Interior artwork by Glenn Chadbourne, Goblin is indeed a very special book.

From the Earthling Publication's website...

Welcome to the town of Goblin. May your night there be wet with rain, breathless with adventure, and filled with fright…

I know I said the story was told in six novellas, but we mustn't forget the Prologue - And a very important delivery to Dean Crawford in Goblin, MI. A delivery that must take place between Midnight and 12:30.  The prologue was just a tease of things to come, albeit a pulse-pounding one.  What follows is a series of compelling tales of life in Goblin.

A Man In Slices - A story where we learn quite a bit about the strange history of Goblin, including how the people of the town are buried standing up  And then there's Charles Ridnour...a man whom women avoided on sight, on instinct, despite his not having spoken to them at all.  A young man who wants to prove to his long-distance girlfriend that they have “legendary love,” better than Vincent van Gogh, so he sends her more than just his ear.

Kamp - Walter Kamp is scared of being scared to death by a ghost and sets up a series of “ghost traps” all over his apartment, desperate to catch one before it can sneak up on him.

Happy Birthday Hunter! - Big game hunter Neal Nash throws a lavish sixtieth birthday party for himself but leaves when he becomes obsessed with killing a Great Owl, a protected species in Goblin.  But the North Woods are anything but friendly.

Presto - In the pages of Presto magazine, a young boy reads that his favorite magician, Roman Emperor, is coming to town. She knew all about how magicians had their secrets, secrets they don't share, but there was something different about this show.  Something terrible. Something scary.

A Mix-Up At the Zoo - Dirk Rogers works full-time at the Hardy Carrol Goblin Zoo, as a tour guide, and he also works part-time at the Goblin Slaughterhouse.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Hedges - When young Margot solves the mystery of the Hedges there's a chase between the Goblin police and the owner of the Hedges which leads directly to the terrible North Woods.

The book ends with a satisfying conclusion to what began in the prologue.

Goblin was fun, unexpected, and filled with the sort of prose that makes one want to slow down and savor every word.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the interior illustrations from artist Glenn Chadbourne.

Currently, Goblin is only available from Earthling publications in the following formats...

 500 numbered, smyth sewn, offset printed hardcovers, illustrated endsheets, silk ribbon page marker, signed by Josh Malerman; $50

15 lettered, smyth sewn, offset printed, traycased hardcovers, both book and traycase completely hand made using the finest materials, signed by all contributors; $ price TBD

For more information, visit

From the author's bio...Josh Malerman is an American author of novels and short stories.  Before publishing his debut novel Bird Box with ECCO/HarperCollins, he wrote fourteen novels, never having shopped one of them.

Being the singer/songwriter of the Detroit rock band The High Strung, Malerman toured the country for six years, as the band played an average of 250 shows a year, and Malerman wrote many of the rough drafts for these novels in the passenger seat between cities on tour. He says this about those days: “I never saw the books with dollar signs in my eyes. It was no hobby, that’s for sure, it was the real thing and always has been, but I was happy, then, simply writing, and while I blindly assumed they’d be published one day, I had no idea how something like that occurred.”

Bird Box was released in 2014 and many short stories and novellas have followed.