Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Try the devil, though I didn’t double cross him. I pledged allegiance. – Billy Wilkes, Kentucky Bestiary
“Hero” is such an odd word. Is a hero only that person who makes the grand and often fatal gesture? Or can a hero be a simple cop, tired, worn by the pain, the depression, the idiocy of humanity? And when do the horrors of life lead to the horrors of madness?
Corporal Pietro Silone was so very tired of Cincinnati. High crime, danger, drugs.
But the change he expected when he moves back to the ‘hollers’ of Eastern Kentucky – calm, peace, a speeding ticket now and again, is not what he finds. Instead, meth-heads and murder are the acts of the day, and reality takes a curve to the depths of despair and revulsion, of mystifying dreams and horrors of the mind and soul.
“Do you know where the cave led before it got blown?” Pete imagined it leading to the adyta where saurian-headed lizard men sacrificed virgins on an alter with bas relief carvings of some Sumerian forebear of Beelzebub sculpted into its stone, the monsters salivating for blood. It had been a long night.
Kentucky Bestiary is an oddity. Beginning as a quite well written police procedural, it blends and flows into a story of horror and myth, of Appalachian life. The horrors of monsters blend seamlessly with the horrors of the history of the mountains, the coal mines and the monstrous men who ran them, who worked children till their fingers bled, their lungs collapsed, their lives lived in the chthonic darkness of the miles and miles of tunnels, filled with not only darkness, but the terrors of cave-ins; of haints and hoodoos, and things that go bump in the night.
In the mines you had to keep your friends alive. In ‘Nam you had to keep your friends alive.
The threads of history flow through the book – Vietnam plays a role in the story of Pete’s uncle, the Veteran. But the history of the superstitions of the immigrants who populate the area is a stronger thread. Cryptozoology to snake handling, Pentecostals to Native American legend. The horrors of modern day meth heads, excruciating poverty and the hand-to-mouth lives of people with no hope living amongst rich tourists and a mysterious billionaire with a mysterious past, and an even more mysterious present.
The carrion’s gray coat stretched above them and gave off a faint animal musk, the beak of the preserved vulture’s head shadowing them like the canopy shrouding a massive dark Yggdrasil tree.
This is a very different sort of book. If you are looking for straight police procedural, you aren’t going to find it here. But if you are looking for something unusual, odd, and very deeply scary, a mind trip far from the usual, this is one to check out. Just don’t do it right before bed . . .
I received this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.
You want to believe that there’s one relationship in life that’s beyond betrayal. A relationship that’s beyond that kind of hurt. And there isn’t. – Caleb Carr
Caitlin Chaisson has been betrayed, in the most horrible ways, all of her life. Her family and her husband have used and abused her since childhood. Her own father tried to pay her best friend to marry her. Well, she may be rich, but being ugly made her a victim of her family’s humiliating treatment since her birth. But when she walks in on her husband having sex with gold-digger in the bathroom during her birthday party, well, what happens next will open the door to an old, old evil. An evil that is determined to give birth.
I haven’t read Christopher Rice before, but after reading The Vines, I will be looking up his other books. This falls easily within the horror genre, with quite creative “monsters” – but as much as the horror-story monsters are scary in their own right, the monstrous humans were actually just as scary. No, scratch that. The human monsters were more scary. Hatred, bigotry, murder, all those human emotions are there, as well as betrayal and humiliation. And deep, deep hatred.
The history of African Slaves in Louisiana is a big part of the story – and that story one of horror that even the most scary of the written genre cannot touch. For all the American preaching about the horrors and despair in other countries, our own history is filled with rivers of blood, pain and death to rival any third-world country’s history of warlords and genocide.
I highly recommend the book. It is odd, quirky, scary and above all beautifully and atmospherically written. Well worth your time.
I receive this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. If you like my review, please choose “This Review Was Helpful” when the book posts to Amazon.com on October 21! Thanks!
The stories that I want to tell, especially as a director, don’t necessarily have a perfect ending because, the older you get, the more you appreciate a good day versus a happy ending. You understand that life continues on the next day; the reality of things is what happens tomorrow. – Drew Barrymore
I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending that haunts our sleep so much as the fear… that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived. – Harold Kushner
I don’t know whether to smile at another great Joanne Walker book by C. E. Murphy, or to cry like a baby because this is the end. The last volume in this amazing series. And amazing it is. Ms. Murphy created in Joanne Walker, born Siobhan Walkingstick, one of the most interesting, strong and non-stupid heroines of all time.
Beginning back in 2005, we first met Joanne, a mechanic for the Seattle Police Department, whose life was suddenly turned on its head. Flying back from Ireland, where she has just buried her mother, Jo looks down from her window – to see a young woman fleeing across the parking lot of a church, and a man with a wicked looking knife. Jumping into a cab with a 70-odd year old cab driver, Gary, Joanne tracks the church, finds the woman – and suddenly finds that she has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers in order to save the world from Cernunnos and the Wild Hunt.
What followed was one of those series that I simply couldn’t put down – that I made a point of re-reading every single volume before the next came out. Well, re-listening, as Gabra Zackman (well, Christine Carroll did the first volume) literally nailed the character and voice of Joann, a smart but often fragile heroine, strong, hardheaded, and more than willing to do the hard things to protect her friends and her city. With her best friend Gary, a 70-odd year old taxi driver, and a diverse group of magical and non-magical friends, the series has held my heart for the last ten years.
In this, the final volume, all the stories of the previous books come together, the warp and weave of an immaculate tapestry, story lines resolved, lives saved and lost, with each character’s part reaching full resolution, whether in joy or in heartrending pain. Characters we have loved throughout the series are brought back to the story line in order to fulfill their destinies and do their part to save a world threatened by their oldest and most vicious enemy, The Master a monster of darkness, death and spite, intent on blackening all goodness in the world. And it is Joanne’s job, with the help of her friends, to stop the blackness descending upon the world.
As the book blurb states, and which means more than I can say:
Lives will be lost as the repercussions of all Joanne’s final transformation into her full Shamanic abilities come to her doorstep. Before the end, she’ll mourn, rejoice—and surrender everything for the hope of the world’s survival. She’ll be a warrior and a healer. Because she is finally a Shaman Rising.
I can’t stress enough how much I will miss Joanne Walker. She has brought me many hours of joy over the last several years. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t go back over and again to read her tale. If you haven’t read the series before, start at the first, and work your way through. If you love stupendous, well-realized character development, meticulous world building, and stories which will make you laugh, cry, suffer, and generally run through the gamut of human emotions with the heroine and her friends, I can’t recommend this series highly enough.
Goodbye, Joanne. I will think of you often, and with great regard.
Note: I received my copy of Shaman Rises from Netgalley in return for an honest review. I have “honestly” loved this series from its inception, and will miss the exploits of Joanne and her friends more than I can say.
“After there is great trouble among mankind, a greater one is prepared. The great mover of the universe will renew time, rain, blood, thirst, famine, steel weapons and disease. In the heavens, a fire seen.” – Michel de Nostredame
Quantum mechanics broke the mold of the previous framework, classical mechanics, by establishing that the predictions of science are necessarily probabilistic. – Brian Greene
Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. – George Bernard Shaw
It starts out simply enough. But then, doesn’t everything? Almost as a joke: “A woman walks in for a psychic reading . . .” The only thing is, the woman gets more than she asked for. And when that woman is crazy, well, interesting things can happen.
But that is another part of the story, isn’t it? For Helen Wilson, a 62-year-old psychic who gives half-hour readings for $25 is much more than she seems, though even she doesn’t realize it. But others soon will.
In another part of town, really bad people are doing what they usually do – really bad things. Luigi Nicolo is one of those people, though he is admittedly more of a yippy little Rat Terrier than a rabid attack dog. But Luigi was part of the pack, a small time thug on the leash of a very big, very vicious and coldly brutal mafia family. A family led by one Anthony Christopher Nicolo – AC for short. And what is about to happen with AC and his “family” could bring about the end of the world. For Luigi and Helen are about to cross paths. And when they do, forces which have been held in abeyance for thousands of years will rise up – and who and what controls those forces may control the world.
“Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river.” – Michel de Nostredame – Latinized to Nostradamus
The thing I most admired about Brian Evans “Horrorscope” is how quirky it is. It should have been trite, with its ubiquitous Evil Mafia Family, Unasumming Psychic, Good But Burned Out Cop tropes. Instead, Evans twists the expected into something entirely new, bringing a fresh aspect to his literary world. The penultimate twist he throws in is one I haven’t noted before in the Horror/Fantasy genre, as he reaches back in time to bring forward an ordinary object, turning it into an item of wonder and power beyond belief. For the table that Helen Wilson uses is not just any table – it is a piece beyond compare – the writing table of Michel de Nostredame. Beautifully carved in the signs of the Zodiac, this table has travelled the world, appearing and then disappearing, apparently at its own whim. And now, it sits in the humble home of a 62-year-old woman who will try to point you to the right path – if you are willing to follow. But AC Nicolo is certainly not looking for the path of good. And where the path he travels leads is what makes this one of the better horror genre books I have read this year.
There are drawbacks. Mr. Evans could use a good editorial staff. The language, especially in the descriptions of the mafia and the happenings surrounding them, needs to be tightened up. There are repetitive phrases and over descriptive areas that could definitely stand to be trimmed. It slows the narrative and causes unnecessary distractions to an “edge-of-the-seat” feeling necessary in the genre. This is more an outcome of inexperience than of incapability, and a sharp red pencil could help a lot of that. However, I was able to overlook that once I truly got into the story and things began to move quickly into the true story line. I hope Mr. Evans will find someone to sharpen his work – it could raise the book from merely good to excellent.
Brian sent me one of his favorite excerpts from the book:
People ran for their lives as they saw what they could not possibly be seeingwalk right by them. The Cancer was on a mission to find something, or someone, and nothing was going to get in its way. Looking from left to right, moving full-steam ahead, the Cancer stopped only when it walked past a restaurant that had a water tank filled with about a hundred crabs piled onto one another as they waited to be dinner for some patron. Looking at the crabs in the tank, the Cancer swiped its claw right through the window of the restaurant, slicing the tank clear in half as the crabs found freedom on the streets of Chinatown, all heading for the sewers. It wasn’t gonna be a beautiful sandy beach, but for the crabs, it sure did beat being next to a salad.
If that doesn’t tweak your fancy, nothing will!
Overall, I will recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the horror genre, but fantasy lovers should enjoy the book also.
This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. Read below for more information on Brian Evans his mother, Helen Marie Bousquet. The book, Horrorscope is currently in negotiations to be a major motion picture, and will also be a comic book series.
Tom Hanks has introduced my mother’s website because he is a nice guy, and to honor her.
I don’t know what is more interesting, the story of Horrorscope came about, or the story of Brian himself. Author, actor, singer, and composer, with a little bit of con-man thrown in. Evans grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and soon became a big-band music fanatic, and a huge fan of crooners like Frank Sinatra. He moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to pursue a career in the entertainment business, landing roles in commercials, then television series such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Full House, as well as the New Line Cinema production of Book of Love.
As an author, he wrote an autobiography, Dreamer, in 1994, and was one of the writers and creators of the potential comic book series Horrorscope. As a singer, he has released several albums, mostly in Canada. In June of 1993 he was convicted of felony theft for impersonating radio personality Casey Kasem and charging nearly $3,000 to a Los Angeles travel agency in Mr. Kasem’s name. Sentenced to six months probation, he violated that probation by leaving the state of California in 1993 to sing the national anthem at an Fenway Park, filming a video with William Shatner playing the umpire, a gambit that landed him in prison for a year.
Tragically, on October 5, 2012, Brian’s beloved mother, Helen Marie Bousquet died after what should have been a simple knee surgery. Evans stated that his mother, who suffered from sleep apnea, was not monitored by hospital staff, did not have her sleep apnea machine, and “was dosed out on morphine” at the time of her death. Her death has led to multiple lawsuits against the system which owned the hospital, the city of Hampton Beach Selectmen and other entities. Now, Evans is fighting for the rights of hospital patients and others in his bid to become a United States Senator for the State of Hawaii.
Horrorscope II is in the writing process as we speak!
This video is from The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF). I will warn you that it is heartrending, both horrifying and hopeful at the same time. At Easter time, we should give a thought to the sacrifice of our military men and women, and how much they suffer for us. And exactly why they are suffering. Is it truly for the safety and security of our people? Or are they simply cogs in the machine that cranks out money for corporations and governments? Are our attacks to protect us, or to assure our oil supplies? Whatever it may be, THANK YOU to The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF) for this amazing commercial.
And more videos about the healing of dogs for returning warriors with PTSD
And finally – the dogs give you drugs and prescriptions – but Service Dogs could do SO MUCH! Tell the VA that you support Service Dogs for Returning Veterans!!!!
The question of afterlife disappears, when we start to recognize the fact that we did not existed before our birth and the same will happen after death. ― Sipendr
I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.― Mark Twain
Joshua Bruns said that the trouble with quotes about death is that 99.999 perent of them are made by people who are still alive. So, I’m part of the 0.001 percent. – Captain Kade “Morph” Harmina, US Army Terminal
If you knew that you were going to die soon, that your death would have no meaning other than pain – your own and that of your loved ones – would you be willing to sacrifice what little comfortable time you might have remaining in order to save the lives of others? Causa moriendi est causa vivendi. Dying for a reason is a good reason to keep living.
But what happens after death occurs? Does religion really have the answers? Or is it both more and less than what the human mind may conceive? If the afterlife is real, does our energy simply sustain what our mind conceives, fading into oblivion as the currants of life expire?
Questions upon questions, with no answers in sight. Well, until you are dead, and then will those questions actually be answered? Or is the concept of an afterlife merely a conceit, a naïve attempt to ease the terrors of the unknown?
Michael F. Stewart has written a horrifying book in The Terminals Episode 1: Spark. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I mean horrifying in the best possible definition of literary excellence. This is a spine-chilling novel, full of disturbing layers of both the physical and metaphysical. The story reached down inside my mind and jerked at the lids of all the mentally hardened boxes it contains, the memories inherent in a mind tormented by PTSD. the dark terrors at the edges of death, only to return, kicking and screaming, into the agony of life once more.
When Lieutenant Colonel Christine Kurzow awakens in a hot, dusty field hospital in the burning desert of Iraq, the first words she hears are those of General F. Aaron: Dying for a reason is a good reason to live, Colonel. A strange comment, and one that opens the door to a perverted, powerful, and deeply disturbing book that reaches into the mind, distorting science, religion, belief, and the basic tenants of the human concept of the afterlife.
Kurzow is crippled by guilt after the loss of eleven of those under her command – a loss that could have been prevented if she had taken one shot – a shot which would have killed a child, but saved her team. A rising star in the Army hierarchy, Kurzow’s misjudgment, and subsequent suicide attempt, is a public relations nightmare for the Army, one that is quickly swept under the rug. No punishment attached, rather a Medal of Honor awarded by the military machine. No punishment from her peers, but a deadly degree of self-punishment in the form of a sharp blade, and a massive number of pills. Now, she is pulled back from the brink and pushed into a secret military unit. A unit that accomplishes the impossible – communication with the dead. The only problem? One must die that many may live.
What is most terrifying about Stewart’s tale is just how clearly I could see in my mind’s eye everything that was happening, in grotesque detail. And how horrific the religious visions of the afterlife really are. For, the method the group uses to track down the killers and terrorists in the afterlife is based on religious beliefs – the sharing of the Terminal’s beliefs with those of the person they seek in the afterlife.
Can Christine gain her redemption by her own death? She will be given the chance – but before she can reach for salvation, she must handle the euthanizing of the Gnostic monk, Charlie. For Charlie is an expert on Hillar the Killer, a psychopathic mass murderer with a minimum of eighty kills under his belt. Charlie not only shares Hillar’s religion, but also understands the depths of Hillar’s psychopathy. Charlie must find Hillar in the afterlife – the lives of eleven kidnapped children depend upon him. And when an incompetent, glory hound cop blunders what should have been a simple shot, killing the killer, Charlie the monk must die in order to save them.
Can Christine convince the monk that he must die in order to save the children? And can Charlie track Hillar through the brutalities of the Gnostic deep – and then pull the needed information from a creature of pure evil? Finally, can Christine, an Atheist, truly work through a system that relies upon meshing the religious beliefs of the Terminal and their prey?
Though one believes in nothing, there are moments in life when one accepts the religion of the temple nearest at hand. ― Victor Hugo
More questions – of religion and faith, of the good of the many over the good of the one. Of honor and pride, patriotism and heroism. And even greater questions of morality and ethics and an even simpler question – are the Terminals really terminal, or is there something truly evil in the works – an evil promulgated upon the innocent by a selfish, sociopathic coward with a god complex?
Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanor. ― Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (The Standard Edition)
Morph says it best. Listen, don’t fixate so much on death. It doesn’t matter. When we are alive, we are not dead, and when we are dead, we are no longer alive. There is no in-between. No dying. It is the dying that most people fear. Of course, when she made that statement, she was already dead.
I received The Terminals Episode 1: Spark from Netgalley.com in return for a realistic review. If I could give the book ten stars, I certainly would. It has nothing to do with whether or not I received the book for free and everything to do with the fact that this one of the best books I have read in recent memory. I can hardly wait for the next Episode and will drop everything to read it to see if it lives up to its stunning début.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before – Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Why was that baleful Creature made, Which seeks our Quiet to invade, And screams ill Omens through the Shade? – Anne Kingsmill Finch, The Owl
Then we’re gonna need a bigger gun. – Roy Scheider
That Thing At The Zoo is the first James R. Tuck book (well, this is a novella) that I have read. The Deacon Chalk series has been being discussed on a couple of my goodreads Urban Fantasy discussion groups, and it sounded interesting. Being the first in the Chalk series, and at .99 for the novella, That Thing At The Zoo seemed the perfect way to get a taste of the series.
I wasn’t wrong. It was a perfect place to start, and of course, I now have yet another series added to my tottering TBR stacks. As if I needed more to read! Deacon Chalk is an Occult Bounty Hunter – he hunts the things that the normal police force of Atlanta either can’t handle, or don’t even know anything about. At 6’4” and round about 300 pounds, Deacon is one big tough guy, tattoos, shaved head and all. However, there is a lot of heart to the guy, as you soon find out. And his reasons for taking down the monsters will break your heart and give you a deeper understanding of the guy, huge-ass semi-redneck or not.
When we meet Deacon, he is standing under a tree in the Atlanta zoo, waiting for Jimmy the zookeeper to push something out of the branches. Something that turns out to be a 500 plus pound lion, skinned, drained, and ripped. What could have possibly drug that lion into the tree – and all without leaving a mark anywhere on the tree, or the ground?
With the remote assistance of his two cohorts, Kat, the manager of Deacon’s strip club Polecats, and a computer whiz, and Father Dominic Boru Mulcahy, a rather unusual Catholic Priest who moonlights as a bartender at the club (and who can shoot like a sniper and knife fight like a convict) Deacon and Jimmy the zookeeper (well, and a load of silver coated weapons) track down the creature decimating the Atlanta zoo.
Full of blood, fighting, and a dry sense of humour, the Deacon Chalk series starts off with a bang, and promises to fulfill its semi-redneck, violent, and creepily horrific opening in the upcoming installments. Part horror, part UF and all guts and glory, I am looking forward to reading the next in the series, Blood and Bullets soon.
Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!
Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!
“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”
Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.
But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.
Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..
Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!
The Shining. Originally published in 1977, The Shining is truly a shining example of vintage Stephen King. We all remember, of course, (or, I would think you would remember) the amazing Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, father of Danny, husband of Wendy. (Heeeerrrrrees Johnny!) If you haven’t watched it, check it out on Amazon. If you like truly well done horror movies, this is a true joy to watch. And of course, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park does an incredible job in it’s role as The Overlook Hotel, that most viciously haunted of Colorado Hotels, and the setting for the story. Click the link above for the real “haunted history” of the Stanley Hotel on their website! The Stanley may not be as haunted as the Overlook, but it still has its stories . . .
There are reviews upon reviews of the book, of course, so I won’t say a lot about the story of the actions within the Overlook Hotel. However, having read it several times over the years I have to say this ‘listen’ drew my attention to something quite different. What truly caused Jack?
Yes, there are the monsters that live in the hotel, that is a given. But really, what caused them to be so easily able to control a “mild mannered professor” like Jack Torrance. Well . . . maybe the fact that he wasn’t really so “mild mannered” after all?
Jack Torrance is a monster, this is true. But, what made him that way? The history of Jack – but also of Wendy, is something I never really groked to (Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land) when I originally read the book (all the times I originally read the book, that is).
Generations. Generations of the history of the hotel. Generations of families, sick and twisted families, passing down their sickness to their own children. Passing on pain and brutality, alcoholism and drug use, obsessions and hatreds. Easy-peasy, massively skeezy. It certainly made me think even more than it ever has. King has a tight grasp on the horrors of child abuse, and how it flows, crushing and destroying the lives of each generation.
The horror of King shines – but even more deeply, the ‘real life’ horror is devastating, drawing me in even more deeply to the story than with any previous reading. Isn’t that odd? I have read it at least a half dozen times over the years. . . but for some reason, it just struck me this time. And I am glad it did.