Widow’s Point / Richard & Billy Chizmar / 4.5 Stars
The Twilight Pariah / Jeffrey Ford / 5 Stars
Sick House / Jeff Strand / 3.5 Stars
Bird Box / Josh Malerman / 4 Stars
The Devil Crept In / Ania Ahlborn / 4 Stars
Sour Candy / Kealan Patrick Burke / 5 Stars
The Tent / Kealan Patrick Burke / 5 Stars
Tribesman / Adam Cesare / 3.5 Stars
Prisoner 489 / Joe Lansdale / 2 Stars
Peekers / Kealan Patrick Burke / 4.5 Stars
Carnival Freak / Billie Sue Mossiman / 3.5 Stars
The Bird Eater / Ania Ahlborn / 4 Stars
Flypaper / C.K. Vile / 5 Stars
The Complex / Brian Keene / 3.5 Stars
Children of the Dark / Jonathan Janz / 4 Stars
Witch Island / David Bernstein / 3.5 Stars
An Absence of Natural Light / F.G. Cottam / 3 Stars
Psychosomatic / Anthony Neil Smith / 3 Stars
They Are Among Us / C. Bryan Brown / 4 Stars – This one will keep you turning the page long after you should have turned off the light and gone to bed. Thrilling, visceral and mysterious. Everything you’d want from a vampire novel. And while the two part format is unorthodox, it works, showing us both sides of the upcoming war between humans and vampires. Highly recommended.
The Narrows / Ronald Malfi / 4 Stars – Typical Malfi. A solid story and interesting characters that keep you guessing just where the hell this thing is heading. Great prose and a really interesting story. Highly recommended.
Psychosomatic / Anthony Neil Smith / 3 Stars – Decent read, but fairly run of the mill. I’ve read better by this guy. Pick up To The Devil, My Regards.
The Boy in the Lot / Ronald Malfi / 5 Stars – Creepy prequel to The Narrows. It’s short, so it doesn’t give you much, but it was enough to pique my interest. I downloaded The Narrows as soon as I finished it.
The Nightrunners / Joe R. Lansdale / 4 Stars – This early offering from one of my favorite authors is a mess. The problems with this book are too many to even begin to list. By his own admission, Mr. Lansdale himself says he’d love to go back and redo some of it, one of his first books. It definitely needs some heavy-handed editing, but you know what? In the end it is what it is: an entertaining as hell story from one of America’s greatest storytellers. And what more can you ask for?
In a Dark, Dark Wood / Ruth Ware / 3 Stars – Quite a bit of rambling in this one. The 300+ page novel could have been edited down to a more streamlined and suspenseful novella. But as it is, the pace suffers from way too much exposition. Decent story though.
Orchard / Ambrose Ibsen / 1 Star – Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Gone Again / Doug Johnstone / 4 Stars – I love the way this guy writes. The pacing is perfect, the descriptions are just right. The only problem I had with this one was the ending. Actually, the last third of the book. As things are unfolding, it is all as you expect. Obvious. I kept thinking there was going to be a twist somewhere, a revelation. But it never happened, and at the end I was left thinking, ‘that was way too simple.’ Looking forward to reading others from Mr. Johnstone though.
The Architecture of Snow / David Morrell / 4-1/2 Stars
Borealis / Ronald Malfi / 4 Stars – Loved this one right up until the ending. Great setting and a very intriguing premise and plot. Does leave you with more questions than answers, though.
They / David Morrell / 4 Stars
Dust Devils / Jonathan Janz / 4 Stars
Night Crawlers / Robert McCammon / 5 Stars
The Clearing of Travis Coble / Jonathan Janz / 4 Stars
Necromancer / C. Bryan Brown / 4 Stars
Exorcist Road / Jonathan Janz / 3 Stars – Almost 2/3 the way through this short novella, and I’m really digging it so far. I love William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, so if you took that story, threw in an angry cop and gave everyone in the story a big skeleton in their closet, you would have Exorcist Road. And what’s not to like about that? Did I also mention it’s a dark and stormy night and a serial killer is on the loose?
Update: Turns out, this one didn’t quite measure up to most of Janz’s other works. It just seemed very rushed, like the publisher was just in a hurry to get it out. If you’re new to this author, start with The Sorrows or The Darkest Lullabye. Both very good books.
Red Hill / Jamie McGuire / 3-1/2 Stars – I’m only about 1/3 of the way through this one, and I would already recommend it. Very fast paced look at the zombie apocalypse through three different points of view. UPDATE: This one started to lose its way about 2/3 the way through, but I still enjoyed it overalll.
Don’t Need No Water / Evans Light / 3 Stars – Graphic, fast-paced short story about revenge. A little frenetic and could use some editing, but otherwise an entertaining story if you like your revenge served blood chillingly cold.
Mooner by Selah Janel
Creepy cool story about loggers in the 1800s and the things that go bump in the night. Cool idea, creative setting. Really liked this one. 4 out of 5 stars
Tidal Grave by H.E. Goodhue
Cool cover. That’s where the positives stop. 1 out of 5 stars
Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye
Started out really interesting. Each chapter is narrated by a different person and jumps back and forth. Taken individually, each chapter is interesting. As a whole, it didn’t quite work for me and failed to deliver on its promises. The ending was underwhelming and wrapped up a little too quick. 2-1/2 out of 5 stars
Apartment 7C by David Bernstein
Good short story really. Great premise. Definitely on the graphic side, so know that going in. 3 out of 5 stars
The Rain Dancers by Greg F. Gifune
Not sure what I think about this one. I liked it, and the writing was good, but I’m not sure I understand it fully. If anyone wants to read it and message me your thoughts, I’d love to discuss it. 4 out of 5 stars
The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
Interesting book. Takes place in 1930s Texas. Anyone into mysteries or historical fiction about early America should check it out. I really enjoyed this one. I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars due to the fact I didn’t quite buy some of the dialogue between the adults and the narrator. Some of the things they discussed with the kid seemed odd to be discussing with a kid. Especially back then. 4 out of 5 stars.
The Hand of God by Tony Acree
5 out of 5 stars – Absolutely loved this book by an author that I’ve just recently discovered. Flawless execution regarding the characterizations, plot and just the right amount of description to put you in the story, but not slow it down. This one has a sequel, and I will be reading it very soon…
The Pistol Poets by Victor Gischler
3 out of 5 stars – Love this guy, but this was not one of my favorites.