Sunday, May 24, 2015

Whore - Matt Shaw

     Whore  - Matt Shaw  4/5

     What can I say about Matt Shaw that hasn't already been said? You could say that he's sick, twisted, and yes even brilliant. Whore is one of the titles in the black cover series and I've begun to notice that more and whore writers are presenting these covers which tells you that Shaw is doing something right. Right off I should warn you that this is not your typical paint by the numbers piece of fiction. Shaw grabs you by the throat and when he's done choking the life out of you he just tosses you in a corner and waves good-bye.

     Whore is a jarring work. This is reality based fiction at its finest and Shaw offers no apologies at all for what he's written and that's how good fiction should be. Even at its darkest point you can't help but feel drawn to the title character. This is a woman who feels justified in what she's doing, but is she? That is the question here. Shaw writes dark brutal fiction but the draw here is the story itself. This is one of those books that takes a multitude of risks and they pay off well. Whore isn't just an extreme novel. It's a story full of twists and turns and an ending that will totally blow your mind.

     I'm a huge fan of splatterpunk, or if you prefer extreme horror, and I'm a huge fan of Shaw's because he has a writing style that transcends the genre. Whore is addicting and shows that even with controversial subject matter he can craft an addicting piece of fiction. These are stories that are filled with violence and sex but running through all of that is a clever pacing that blends in all the extreme elements so that they become an integral part of the story. These bad things happen because of the actions of someone else. This is a look at the dark side of human nature and it's not all unicorns and rainbows. Shaw likes to expose the dark side of the soul and as a reader you have a front seat to everything that the main character feels and was subject too.

     So, as I write this review the question is do you want to read Whore? It's certainly not for the faint of heart or the weak. If you're not a horror fan the obvious question is a resounding no, but for those who like their fiction dark and a bit twisted you'll enjoy this a great deal. This is a gritty, realistic based novel that shows us that monsters do exist. They wear human faces and live among us. You should read this because it transcends the typical extreme horror tag and presents a dark shot of realism.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Salem's Vengeance

Salem's Vengeance - Aaron Galvin  3/5


     I received a free copy of this from Netgalley and I have to be honest and admit that I'm not a fan of historical fiction, but being a horror writer I am intrigued by the Salem Witch Trials and have read countless books regarding the subject both fiction and nonfiction. As I began to read Vengeance I was immediately pulled into the story. Galvin certainly did his research and it shows in his writing. It's a well thought out book that truly captures the era that the story takes place. This is also the first book in a trilogy which usually means a lot of back story so that the next two books have something to hinge upon. The first book is how the author captures your attention and Salem's Vengeance does that.

     As a whole the book is hit or miss. By the second half of the book it begins to falter a bit but Galvin manages to pull you back in through the mysterious journal that Sarah is given. Who wrote the journal? That is the big question and as the story unfolds you begin to see just why Sarah is so important. The main theme here is vengeance and Galvin plots the story in such a way that when he does reveal something it's quite shocking. We begin to see people as they once were, and we see that no matter how much you try to escape your past it's always there. You can't escape it.

     The shadow of Salem looms over these characters and Galvin expertly melds true historical events with fiction. It all blends together seamlessly, but sometimes the book does drag a little in the middle and I found myself skimming a little because there was nothing important happening. The book did keep me guessing and even though I'm not big on historical fiction or even trilogies this was one that was well thought and handled its subject matter well. That alone makes the book worth checking out but for fans expecting a dark tale filled with horror you're not going to find it here.. Overall there is a bit of creepiness but not so much that you'll want to sleep with the lights on. Salem's Vengeance is a novel for people who want an interesting story and enjoy popular fiction.

     I think that's why the book seemed to drag so much for me. It's an ordinary story that will appeal to reader's of by the number fiction. This is the kind of book that some will find edgy, but it's really not. There are tons of books like these being pumped out and I was hoping that Salem's Vengeance would frighten me a little or at least make me think a little. It just didn't do that. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad book at all, and fans of popular fiction will drool all over this but to me it was good, but nothing memorable.


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Mind Is A Razor Blade

   The Mind Is A Razorblade - Max Booth III  5/5

         I got a copy of this from Max himself and in all honesty I can't say that I simply read his latest novel, I devoured the damn thing in two days. Hands down this is easily one of my favorite books and if you've never heard of this guy you should just stop reading for a second and just buy the book. The influences here are too many to name but if you like dark noir fiction, or ever wonder what Dark City would look like if David Lynch directed it you have a pretty good idea of what you're in for. Booth just doesn't write in one genre. He experiments in many and it all flows seamlessly. You have elements of bizarro and splatterpunk making out with science fiction, but it never bogs down the plot. If anything all of these different genres make the overall story that much better, and stronger.

     The strength of Razor Blade is Booth's writing style. You are sucked into the story and truly get a sense of what Bob is feeling. We all know that Bob has no memory but the detail that he puts into it makes you feel the frustration and as he slowly begins to get his memory back you feel the same relief that he does. The action is well placed and as the story gains momentum the pages begin to fly by as Bob begins to discover who was. There are quite a few surprises here and the pieces in which Bob begins to regain his memory you begin to see that Bob isn't a perfect guy, He is a bit flawed but he has a chance to redeem himself and start fresh.

    For the reader this is the perfect novel that we all want to read, It balances the action and while there is a bit of violence it's not enough to detract from the story. If anything if you were Bob you would do the same thing too. It's also a bit dark but that's exactly what you want from a book like this and for those that like bright happy shiny fiction you're going to probably turn your nose up at this and hit the the light fluffy section. This is the perfect beach, or front porch novel and if I had to pick 5 books to take with you on summer vacations this is one that I would recommend. Now that you've read my review go buy the book already.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Ghost

     The Ghost - Andrew Lowe   2/5


      The premise to Andrew Lowe's debut novel sounds pretty exciting. When I saw it on Netgalley I was instantly intrigued and wanted to check it out. The problem is that the premise makes the book sound more exciting than it actually is. This is one of those novels that show a great deal of promise but never gains a great deal of momentum. I've read books with the same themes and they're executed a lot better than this one is. Don't get me wrong. Andrew Lowe is a talented writer, but the book limps along and I really felt obligated to finish it just to see what happens. The book is just boring and the end left me feeling as if I had just wasted three days of my life.

     The main character isn't all that exciting. He's a bit flawed and we watch as his life slowly unravels but it isn't really because of his past. It's because he's such a flawed person. This is a character that really has no depth and you don't really care about him at all. Every other character in the novel is supposed to create this big climax but you don't get to find out what it is until the book's nearly finished. If the book had been set up differently it could have been an exciting novel but Lowe is all about creating the atmosphere and what led up to the current events. This could have been explained a lot sooner and even strengthened the story, but that never happens. The book is called Ghost and when I finally I found out why I just didn't care.

      This is Lowe's  first novel it shows a lot of promise but it's still a first novel and one you can't really classify. Yes, we all know that boys can be cruel, and I can see the need for revenge, but when I'm reading a novel like this I want characters that I can relate to. I want something to excite me, and pull me in. Lowe has the talent to do that, but in Ghost there really is no momentum. If there's a message somewhere I must have missed it, and who knows maybe someone else reading it can tell me what I may have missed.

     Ghost for what it's worth is just an okay novel. You could do worse I guess, but if you're a fan of stories that interweave the past and present this one's for you. I do know that if Lowe releases another novel I'm going to read it just to see if he's improved. I wanted to like Ghost but in the end it just frustrated me.


Monday, May 11, 2015

All Hallow's Eve Review

Richard Laymon - Allhallow's Eve 4/5


    All Hallow's Eve is an interesting novel for a variety of reasons. It's not your typical Laymon novel. By this time people knew what to expect from him so this to me felt as if he were showing the critics that he was capable of creating a novel that was void of its usual mayhem. Eve is Laymon's attempt at a straight horror novel and surprisingly it works. Laymon proves here that he is a great story teller, but there is the usual references to sex, but not as much as say Come Out Tonight. These are still Laymon characters and when I say that I don't mean that to be derogatory at all. Laymon's characters are all a little flawed and show us that everyone has a darkside. All Hallow's Eve is no exception except for the fact that the action is a bit subdued and a lot of the darker, more horrifying aspects are stripped away so you get a chance to see just how good Laymon is without the mayhem.

     A lot of people will tell you that this is by far the weakest Laymon novel and in some regards I disagree. To me it feels as if Laymon was once again trying to tap into mainstream success and in order to do that he had to change his style a little and there's nothing wrong with that. The novel itself is interesting and the house serves as a sort of catalyst for what's to come. There's enough there to keep you guessing and along the way we can see just how much the house actually plays into the overall plot. Laymon knows how to craft a story, and he's able to do this with a minimum amount of gore and sexual overtones.

     If you're just getting into Laymon though this isn't the place to start because it isn't like any of his other novels. Another thing that keeps this from being a perfect novel is the ending. You finally get to the moment and then Laymon unleashes hell. This is a classic set up but the ending is just weak. It felt as if it were an afterthought or something Laymon came up with simply because the deadline was approaching, I have no idea how or why this was able to slide past the publishers but it did. It was the only dull spot in an engaging novel.

     In terms of Laymon this is a decent four star effort that proves that he has enough talent to pull of a classic horror novel. The pacing is perfect and the characters are the kinds of people we expect to see in a Laymon novel. While he may have written this to silence the critics All Hallow's Eve is one of my favorite Laymon novels even if the ending was a bit weak. Once you finally get inside The Sherwood House Laymon lets loose and then we get to see what he's known for. Those last few pages are what made me a Laymon fan. He should have been huge but for some reason he never was and that is something I will never understand, He was a huge influence on my writing and All Hallow's Eve is a great novel that Laymon fans and non fans should read.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vampire Strippers From Saturn

      Vampire Strippers From Saturn 5/5


     I know what you're thinking. Another vampire novel? This isn't you're ordinary run of the mill vampire tale though. Bilof's has a knack for invading other genre's and blending them all together into something unique. With Strippers you have horror, sci-fi, and bizarro melding together with excellent results. As a writer you just need to take risks and Strippers is the kind of book that will at times seem to make no sense at all, but as the story progresses you begin to see pieces fall into place and the story overall is like an B-movie from the fifties force fed a bunch of really good drugs and allowed to run amok. 

     I loved the overall idea of the novel. The strippers are here to destroy earth but nothing is ever easy and this is where the book really shines. We encounter a variety of characters that give it a nice bizarro edge and I should point out that it has a kick ass sound track that you can cue up as you read the novel. Strippers is original and while the strippers may be called vampires we find out that they don't act like your traditional vampires and use a strip club for their coven. 

     If you like your novels quick paced and gory then this is the book for you, but if you like your stories to follow a clear cut path then you may not like this. What made this novel so enjoyable was the fact that you truly have to pay attention. It's a complexly written novel that requires patience. Bilof has written a novel that ushers in a great deal of chaos while being truly original. There isn't just one genre that this fits into, but that's why I'm a fan, I know that when I read one of his books all the rules simply disappear and you're given something that doesn't pander to just one type of reader. 

     Simply put Vampire Strippers From Saturn is a great novel when it's in the right hands. People will either love it or hate it and there are some that will get it while others simply won't. How much you enjoy this novel depends on what's sitting on your bookshelf. If you only read the latest best sellers odds are you're going to dislike this which is unfortunate because Strippers is a great novel. Bilof doesn't pander to styles or trends. He walks in and makes them his own. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Time Of Grace Review

      Time Of Grace - Catt Dahman   5/5


      I have to be honest and say that this is the first time I've read one of Catt's books and I can assure you that this won't be the last. This is a well written novel that isn't exactly a straight up horror novel but it does contain some supernatural elements that add a bite to the story. The thing I loved about Time Of Grace was Catt's writing style. Written in the first person but you feel as if you know these characters and as the story unfolds the key elements feel almost real and I was shocked as the story progressed, Anytime I read a book that starts of strong I always expect it all to fall apart at some point, but this never did. 

      Catt's a talented writer that knows how to hook her readers and this one has big giant meaty hooks. Sometimes a book doesn't have to be overly detailed with romance, or gore to be effective. All you really need is a good story . Time Of  Grace is not just a good story, It's a great story and I will even go as far as saying the book is simply amazing. 

     For fans of great books this one is one you simply have to pick up. David's story is one of loss, obsession, and the realization that something dark exists, but everyone else is oblivious to what it is.  Time Of Grace starts of as a normal tale and then halfway through Catt stomps on the gas and takes a left turn. The ending at first seemed a bit sudden and it really pissed me off but as I read it again it truly fit the overall theme of the book.  There was no other way that it could end any other way and have the same impact. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. You'll thank me later.