Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Fifteen

Halloween’s here and with it the end of our journey together. It’s been fun sharing my gruesome finds with all of you and I hope you’ve found at least one new book or author to enjoy as the nights grow longer and the dark grows deeper. I have one more find to share with you today, plus a few comments to make about two of my own tales, before we close the book on our little adventure together.

Most of us have something we fear. Something that sets off that primal warning system deep in our psyche, that starts shouting as us to run even before we’ve managed to get a grip on the situation. Hospitals do that to me. Just setting foot inside one sends my pulse racing and my head darting from side to side as I subconsciously searching for a way back out. Fear might be too strong a word, but there’s no doubt that I’m experiencing some severe mental discomfort.

Which is why the Edie Spence novels by Cassie Alexander made my list of “horrifying” reads. The main character’s a trauma nurse in the secret wing of a hospital that handles paranormal patients, from vampire servants to moon-crazed werewolves to the zombie next door. Horrifying is right! They’re dark, gruesome, and rather fun in their own way…

NIGHTSHIFTED
Cassie Alexander

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

Book two in the series, MOONSHIFTED, is due out next month.

Throughout this series several of you have written in asking what I would recommend as Halloween reads from my own modest body of work. If you’re inclined to seek it out, I’d suggest the following:

THE HERETIC
Joseph Nassise

Boston SWAT officer Cade Williams doesn’t believe in the supernatural until a chance meeting with a fallen angel leaves his wife dead and him holding on to life by the thinnest of margins. When he is discharged from the hospital, scarred body and soul, he discovers the encounter has left him with a few otherworldly talents of his own.

Several years later, Knight Commander Cade Williams runs the elite Templar combat unit known as the Echo Team, which puts him in the perfect position to search for the creature he’s come to know as the Adversary. His efforts yield little success, however, until a cabal of necromancers attempts to seize an ancient Templar artifact for their own nefarious purposes and gives him the first real lead he’s had in ages. Now it’s time for Cade to face his demons – human and otherwise.

THE HERETIC is book one in the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series that also includes A SCREAM OF ANGELS and A TEAR IN THE SKY.

If modern day Templars battling the supernatural doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you’d have more fun with an old-fashioned zombie apocalypse – particularly one set in the midst of a steampunked World War I.

BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES
Joseph Nassise

At the tail end of 1917, the Germans introduced a new type of gas to the battlefield, T-Leiche, or “corpse gas,” and changed the face of the war by resurrecting the bodies of the dead, giving the enemy an almost unlimited source of fresh troops.

When the American ace Major Jack Freeman-poster boy for the war against the Kaiser’s undead army of shamblers-is downed over enemy lines and taken captive, veteran Captain Michael “Madman” Burke is the only man brave and foolish enough to accept the mission to recover Freeman. Burke assembles a team of disparate members, from his right-hand man, Sergeant Moore, to big-game-hunter-turned-soldier Clayton Manning, who funds the mission for an opportunity to confront this most dangerous zombie game, to professor Dan Richards, one of Tesla’s top men and the resident authority on all things supernatural. With the help of a highly advanced British dirigible war machine to infiltrate enemy territory, the team faces incredible danger as it struggles to reach the prison camp and strike at the heart of the enemy.

But they are pitted against the most deadly enemy of all: Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. Having risen from the dead with his abilities enhanced but his mind on the brink of madness, Richthofen has plans for victory that give no quarter to soldiers or civilians.

Thanks for joining me and Kobo on this moonlight tour of the dark corners of the literary landscape. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip and wish you all a very happy Halloween!

All the best,
Joe Nassise

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Fourteen

It’s Day Fourteen of our fifteen day journey and I’ve got a real treat for you today. Two new books – and when I say new, I mean new, as both of these volumes have just come out in the last couple of weeks! One is a young adult tale from the acclaimed author of the Generation Dead series, Daniel Waters, that is also perfect for adults. The other is a supernatural western from newcomer Rob DeBorde that will satisfy fans of horror and dark fantasy alike.

BREAK MY HEART 1,000 TIMES
Daniel Waters

Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren’t disappearing—they’re gaining power.

When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica’s high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he’s haunted by the possibility that she’s waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he’s wrong, what’s the harm in creating one more ghost?

When the Event kills more than two million people in a single moment, life is forever changed for those still among the living. Losing that many people at once is a tragedy, but even that is easier to cope with that the fact that the ghosts of the dead begin to return to the living in the aftermath of the catastrophe. Just a few at first and then more and more, until a person can hardly turn a corner without running into another one. It is into this setting that Waters drops his protagonist, Veronica, and the chills and thrills don’t let up until the very last page. A creepy little thriller that’s perfect for the Halloween season.

 

PORTLANDTOWN
Rob DeBorde

Welcome to Portlandtown, where no secret is safe—not even those buried beneath six feet of Oregon mud.

Joseph Wylde isn’t afraid of the past, but he knows some truths are better left unspoken. When his father-in-law’s grave-digging awakens more than just ghosts, Joseph invites him into their home hoping that a booming metropolis and two curious grandtwins will be enough to keep the former marshal out of trouble. Unfortunately, the old man’s past soon follows, unleashing a terrible storm on a city already knee deep in floodwaters. As the dead mysteriously begin to rise, the Wyldes must find the truth before an unspeakable evil can spread across the West and beyond.

I love supernatural westerns and in the last couple of years there have been some really terrific ones. HALLOWED GROUND by David Niall Wilson comes to mind, as does Cherie Priest’s terrific western-zombie-steampunk series The Clockwork Century, especially DREADNOUGHT.

I’m happy to say that I’d add PORTLANDTOWN to that list. I picked up the day it came out, enticed by the terrific cover art, and finished it up pretty quickly. For a supernatural western, this one had it all – cursed guns, books of black magic, necromancy and the zombies it spawns, Native American spirit totems, you name it. The story moved along at a good clip and there were a few plotlines that were left hanging, hopefully to be deal with in later books. I’ll be looking for more from Rob DeBorde in the future!

 

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Thirteen

Halloween is just around the corner and I can’t think of a better time to dive into Al Sarrantonio’s Orangefield trilogy, which is why you are getting three books today instead of the usual two. While each of the three books can stand well enough on their own, the common setting and familiar characters make them a real treat to read one after another, especially in the midst of the Halloween season.

Sarrantonio has long been praised as a master of the atmospheric tale in a style similar to that of Charlie Grant and these three books certainly capture the flavor of Halloween in the northeastern U.S.

Horrorween
Al Sarrantonio

For untold ages a dark presence has shrouded the small town of Orangefield. In addition to the plentiful pumpkins that gave the town its name. Orangefield is home to the dreaded Lord of Death himself, Samhain. Despite the rumors of his existance,and rare, brief sightings Samhain has long been content to leave the local inhabitants alone. But that is about to change…. When a boy from the town disappears, detective Bill Grant is convinced Samhain is responsible. But even Grant cannot imagine the horrific extent of the Lord of Death’s grand scheme. As what may prove to be the last Halloween approaches, the fate of the world will depend on the survival of a small group of people pawns in a terrifying game of cosmic proportions.

Hallows Eve
Al Sarrantonio

After twelve years, Corrie Phaeder is returning home to Orangefield—the last place in the world he wants to be. Orangefield is a town of nightmares, a town where the impossible and the horrific happen all too often, where ghosts rise screaming from their graves, and where trick-or-treating goblins have no need for scary costumes. Something is waiting patiently for Corrie’s homecoming. This Halloween, a messenger from a realm of shadows, with the body of a scarecrow and the head of a pumpkin, will usher Corrie into what might prove to be his last nightmare, a battle to the death with the ultimate darkness.

Halloweenland
Al Sarrantonio

In Orangefield, Halloween is never normal—and this year will be no exception. For Orangefield is now the home of Halloweenland, a bizarre carnival run by the mysterious Mr. Dickens. No one who sees the carnival doubts that it’s a very strange place, but its real secrets can hardly be imagined. Orangefield is also the home of Detective Bill Grant, who thinks he’s seen it all. He’s on the trail of an odd little girl, a girl who could hold the end of the universe in her hand. The trail will lead Grant to Ireland, the ancient home of the Lord of the Dead, then back to Orangefield, where, on what may be the last Halloween, the ultimate battle between Life and Death will take place.

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Twelve

I’m a sucker for a well-written debut novel.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was walking into a bookstore and searching the shelves for my first published work. I remember what an emotional roller coaster that was and just how badly I wanted that first book to find an audience that loved it as much as I did.

More often than not it is simple word of mouth that takes a book from middle-of-the-road sales to sales that makes the publisher sit up and take notice. In today’s installment of Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads, I wanted to do my part to pass the word on a couple of debut novels that deserve to have people talking about them.

THE INQUISITOR
Mark Allen Smith

Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And in his business—called “information retrieval” by its practitioners—that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market.

Geiger’s clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Unlike most of his competitors, Geiger rarely sheds blood, but he does use a variety of techniques—some physical, many psychological—to push his subjects to a point where pain takes a backseat to fear. Because only then will they finally stop lying.

One of Geiger’s rules is that he never works with children. So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, unwittingly brings in a client who demands that Geiger interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively. He rescues the boy from his captor, removes him to the safety of his New York City loft, and promises to protect him from further harm. But if Geiger and Harry cannot quickly discover why the client is so desperate to learn the boy’s secret, they themselves will become the victims of an utterly ruthless adversary.

Some might look at the description above and think “thriller” rather than horror. I would counter that by pointing out that the main character, Geiger, tortures people, often quite brutally, for a living. Even worse, halfway into the story we find ourselves not only routing for this man, but in some ways actually liking him. That’s horror, my friends, and I suggest you give THE INQUISITOR a read to see what I’m talking about.

Fast-paced, well-plotted, with enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most discerning reader (and of course there’s that thing about the likable torturer!), THE INQUISITOR really delivers.

We move from the streets of New York to those of London for our second selection for today…

THE ROOK
Daniel O’Malley

“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

With an opening line like “The body you are wearing used to be mine,” do I really need to say anything more? THE ROOK opens with a bombshell like that and doesn’t let up. The central character, Myfanwy, discovers that she is an middle executive of the Checguy, a kind of paranormal MI6. The agents, Pawns, are run by those higher up the food chain, notably the Rooks (like Myfanwy), Bishops, and Lords. Myfanway takes up her usual place in the Checguy hierarchy while desperately trying to understand her role in it all and, perhaps more importantly, who in the organization is trying to kill her. Along the way she ends up protecting England from an antler cult, a villain manifesting as a roomful of flesh, and the ancient Grafters of Belgium.

With the first Myfanway leading the second along with letters left in her care, we’re treated to both the present and the past like a braided cord, drawing us along with each twist and turn. The sly humor and self-deprecating irony is simply the icing on a well-baked cake.

 

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Eleven

When I was first starting out in my writing career, one of the classic pieces of advice I’d hear was the recommendation to start with short fiction and then gradually make your way up to writing a novel. Sometimes I still hear that advice given to your writers today and I have to admit that it puzzles me now as much as it did back then.

Writing a quality piece of short fiction is no easy task; I’d rather tackle a novel length work any day of the week then try to shoehorn all I have to say on a particular topic into a couple dozen pages or less. Thankfully, there are others out there with far more skill than I in this particular area and I wanted to use today’s entry to introduce you to two of them.

PENTACLE – A SELF COLLECTION
Tom Piccirilli

PENTACLE collects the classic tales of an unnamed Necromancer and his demonic familiar “Self” as they wander the spectral highways of America incurring the wrath of both heaven and hell.

I was first introduced to Piccirilli’s unnamed necromancer and his wise-cracking remorseless familiar Self in the pages of DEEP IN THE DARKNESS PEERING, a limited edition collection of tales published back in 1999 by Terminal Frights Press. Piccirilli’s raw talent shown through like a searchlight in the darkness and I was fascinated with the play between these two characters as they wandered modern-day America dealing with various types of evil.

As Tom himself explains, ” I wanted to create my own kind of mythos, which I could return to over the years. True historical accounts of the Inquisition and the hysteria surrounding the witch trials are fascinating and shocking, with descriptions of some of the most terrible and savage periods in world history. So the challenge was to use realand realisticaccounts from history, along with ceremonies, ritual, legends and superstitions in order to weave them into a cohesive body of work. With each new Self tale I try to play with elements of a different legend, religious practice, or piece of folklore while allowing the reader to learn more about the dual identities of Self and the necromancer.”

This digital collection brings together many of the Self tales that Piccirilli has written over the years and illustrates quite clearly that Tom is a master at the short fiction art form.

PICKING THE BONES
Brian Hodge

A hardened photojournalist’s glimpses the face behind the atrocities of war. A report on the arcane origins and tragic premier of the flipside version of Mel Gibson’s most infamous movie. The seeding of Lovecraftian terrors in the unlikely realms of vintage psychedelia and cinematic sound design. The chapter in the life of Dracula’s Van Helsing that reunited Hodge with editor Jeanne Cavelos, mastermind of the Dell/Abyss series. A trip inside one of the Middle Ages’ seven towers of darkest iniquity, now thriving in modern-day Los Angeles. Dying is easy. Living is hard. And forces beyond your control have a bone to pick with you…

Just as with his previous collection LIES & UGLINESS, Brian Hodge doesn’t shy away from digging down deep into the depths of the human soul and shining a light on what might be lurking there. His fiction is always both thought-provoking and emotionally visceral and PICKING THE BONES is no exception.

The seventeen stories included in the collection present a powerful thematic punch as they explore the the nature of man’s deepest fears and darkest longings. At its current $2.99 price, this is an incredible steal!

 

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Ten

For every monster there is a hunter. Someone who puts their life on the line to protect the innocent and the unwary. Someone who stands in the gap and says this much and no farther. Someone who draws a line in the sand and declares that the killing ends here and now.

Today’s Horrifying Hallowe’en selections highlight two such hunters. In each case they are young, resourceful women who find themselves suddenly on their own in a world that is far more dangerous than they ever suspected or believed and who must rise to the occasion to protect not only themselves but the uninitiated around them.

STRANGE ANGELS
Lili St. Crow

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.) Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

Lilith Saintcrow has become one of my favorite urban fantasy writers in recent years. I ripped through her two adult series – books featuring the kickass heroines Dante Valentine and Jill Kismet – and was lamenting the end of both when I discovered she also wrote young adult fiction under the name Lili St. Crow. I dove into them immediately and didn’t come up for air until I had read all five.

STRANGE ANGELS opens with a bang and doesn’t let up until the very end. In a way it is a coming of age novel, as Dru is forced to step into her missing father’s shoes and take on the role of hunter while trying to learn what happened to him. It is a fresh take on a popular YA genre and showcases a heroine who is gutsy and tough but still stuck with all the trials of your typical teenager.

Highly recommended!

 

THE DEMON TRAPPER’S DAUGHTER
Jana Oliver

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

It’s 2018 and Riley Blackthorne’s only dream is to become a demon trapper like her father. When he is killed at the hands of a grade five demon, Riley finds herself thrust into what has traditionally been a man’s world, forced to prove herself not just against the demons that hunt her but her father’s former comrades in the demon trapper’s guild.

With the help of her father’s former partner, Riley is more determined than ever to become a full-fledged trapper. Balancing school, watching over her father’s grave so a necromancer doesn’t claim him as a servant, and apprenticing with one of the roughest masters would keep most people’s hands full. But Riley is special, and Heaven has an important job for her should she choose to accept her calling.

Oliver presents a very unique version of Atlanta and populates it with interesting supernatural creatures. Her characters are strong and well-defined – though the teen-agey angst coming off Riley was occasionally a bit overdone for me – and populate a story that goes in very interesting directions. The series fourth and final volume is due out in December.

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Please note: The Demon Trapper’s Daughter is known as The Demon Trappers: Forsaken in the UK and Australia. You’ll find both versions on the full list of Joseph’s picks!

Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Nine

Good versus evil. Light versus Darkness. Heaven versus Hell.

The never-ending battle for control of our world has always been a staple in horror fiction. So much so, in fact, that it has almost become a cliché. Then, right about the time you start to feel as if this age-old conflict just isn’t scary anymore, a writer comes along – two, in this case – who reminds you that it isn’t the darkness that is so troublesome, but rather what lurks within it.

LONDON MACABRE
Steve Savile

A man walks confidently through the night time streets. He is Nathaniel Seth, is one of the Brethren, a shadow society of occult dabblers and black magickers who hide away in the darkest parts of the city, in corners where they could not be seen by polite society. Little did Seth know that his own life was only hours from ending, his flesh to be taken as host for a daemonic entity clawed all the way out of hell’s pit in the centre of the hollow earth because Seth himself breached the Catamine Stair.

Now things are afoot. Strange things. The lions of Traflagar have fulfilled their prophecy, climbing down from the plinths around Lord Nelson’s column to defend the city. The daemon is out, stalking tender prey through the gaslit streets, meat markets, fish stalls and slaughter houses of Whitechapel. He has a taste for women, though not ordinary women. These women are different. Special. They may look like whores but they have the blood of angels flowing in their veins. If he can kill enough of them, bathing in their innocent blood, then the daemonic Seth believes he can open the ancient Ald Gate–one of the seven great gates of London–the last gate to Eden, and go home, even if it means tearing London herself apart.

The gates are guarded by The Seven, bloodsucking angelkind put there to guard a very special prisoner. A prisoner who cannot be allowed to escape. Satanial. The Devil by another name. Cast down and trapped in a hell on earth, watched over by Uriel, the mad Archangel. Can the men of Greyfriars stop the daemonic Seth from opening the gates and all hell breaking loose?

Savile is a writer who has been quietly making a name for himself in the horror and fantasy genres for some time now. He has written for major franchises such as Star Wars, Stargate, Primeval, and Slaine, while at the same time producing terrifically dark thrillers such as Silver. In LONDON MACABRE, he turns his attention to the eternal battle as it plays out on the streets of London.

The Greyfriar’s Gentlemen’s Club is a collection of practitioners of the Art; a well-heeled, pipe smoking, brandy-quaffing set of brave adventurers who soon realize they are in far over their heads. Utilizing their skills, as well as their endlessly resourceful retainer Mason, the group find themselves in a desperate battle for survival as they protect the City from the dark and devious designs of their Arch-enemies, the Brethren.

The story itself is a grand epic, a heart-in-throat battle for reality itself that is a solid mix of Victoriana, magic and fantasy, with the divine struggle playing out in the background. One of the great strengths of the story is Savile’s familiarity with the city itself and he makes it come alive in ways that adds depth and realism to his tale that were greatly appreciated by this U.S. based reader.

If you are looking for an introduction to this terrific writer, LONDON MACABRE is certainly a great place to start.

 

SANDMAN SLIM
Richard Kadrey

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.

Now Stark’s back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you’d expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

Kadrey’s anti-hero Stark is one of the coolest characters to come around in years. Betrayed by the group of mages he considered his friends, Stark’s living body is sent to Hell – affectionately known as Downtown in the series – and spends the next eleven years fighting to survive as an arena combatant. He picks up a bit more magic while there as well, making him a damn bit harder to kill.

Stark escapes and returns to Los Angeles, gunning for the leader of the group that sent him Downtown. His adversary has grown rather powerful in his absence, however, and may prove harder to handle than Stark expects.

Kadrey’s prose is lean and mean and filled with ironically self-aware commentary that can be absolutely hilarious. Don’t let that humor fool you, though, because this first installment in a new urban fantasy series is just as gruesome and dark as the other books we’ve discussed to date, perhaps even more so. One thing is certain – you won’t want to miss SANDMAN SLIM.

 

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Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

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