Honger: A Dark Appetite

MorbidbookS, a publisher of extremely dark fiction, has just released Honger by Terry M. West.

Here is the descriptionhonger cover for Honger (which is the Dutch spelling of Hunger):

Hunger knows no friend but its feeder…

Tarrytown, NY
Winter 1679

Willem Tenner is a God-fearing Dutch wheat farmer. After he and his family take in a half-dead old man that has come to their doorstep, a violent and gory nightmare that will last for an eternity begins. Basilius De Vries is an undying creature. He consumes Willem’s family and curses the wheat farmer with the bite that never heals. De onheilige honger. The eternal hunger.

Piermont, NY
Winter 1997

Willem Tenner works at a video store and has few friends. He has lived many lives since 1679. He doesn’t know what he is. He doesn’t even know the name for it. When the hunger comes, he picks victims who have already given their lives away: Junkies, hookers, criminals. He will soon have to abandon this life and start again before people notice that he doesn’t age. Willem had thought himself the only monster on this endless, ravenous trek through time. But he was wrong.

An enemy has come for him. And the monster plans on tearing Willem’s life, body, and soul apart.

WARNING: This story contains scenes of graphic gore and violence.

Honger is now available in Kindle and paperback. West will be coming out with an audio version sometime this year with frequent collaborators, Bryan and Sonya Anderson.

(Book Review) Night Things: Undead and Kicking

 

Terry M. West tells twisted stories well. His “Night Things Undead and Kicking” is no exception.
In it, Carol, a social worker advocating for the rights of the undead, died and found herself reanimated after a brutal attack on her place of employment, the Children of the Moon Shelter. Dr. Herbert West achieved his greatest success with Carol, whose DNA may hold the secret to controlling zombie herds and overriding the “horde frequency” that inspires bloodlust in the zombies.
Johnny Stucke, self-appointed leader of the Night Things takes Carol under his protection, but his interests may have a sinister purpose. Also, an ancient being going by the name of Edmund Wraight proves ready to explore Carol’s insides to claim her power as his own.
Terry M. West includes nods to greats of literary horror including Lovecraft, Shelley, and Stoker. He reshapes familiar monsters and fleshes them out to suit his “Magic Now” world, a modern world where creatures of myth and nightmare coexist with humans. The undead navigate social dilemmas, civil rights violations, and less-than-human standing.
Enthusiasts of classic horror will recognize a kindred spirit in Terry M. West. Though many are renamed and “modernized,” the horror icons make themselves known through West’s creative interpretation. He introduces new characters, too, and gives them motivations and believability.
“Undead and Kicking” is an installment in the “Magic Now” series, which includes “Dracula versus Frankenstein” and West’s decidedly grittier prequel, “Monsters and the Magic Now,” but this newest novel stands on its own. With the back story established in the earlier books of the series, “Undead and Kicking” uses straight-forward writing, interesting characters, and flashbacks to provide a quick and enjoyable read.

Book Review: Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West

 

Servant of the Red Quill
Servant of the Red Quill

Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West. Published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc. 

Available 01-02-15, but can be ordered now.

Overall Score: 5/5

“It’s funny, don’t you think? The way you ignored your family in life and they now ignore you in death? Some are aware of how your uncle gave his cursed baubles of the black room away. But none know of how you followed suit, in your own grief and anger.”

A broken and haunted man, Baker Johnson is a second generation parapsychologist and trustee of plagued and cursed items during New York’s “Roaring 20’s”. He turns to the drink to fill the void of his lost family and quiet the regret of unleashing his cursed items back into the world.

He is coerced away from his downward spiral in order to help an old acquaintance to his deceased uncle, another collector of plagued objects, who is being plagued by a recent acquisition. The item in question, a cursed tome written in an undecipherable language. But is Baker in any kind of shape to resist the shadows and help an inflicted soul?

“‘Go back to your whores and brandy,’… ‘You are hollow, sir. You are a faithless, immoral drunkard. The world deserves a better champion- one who is not at such odds with the people he defends.'”

The brand of Terry M. West has become synonymous, to me at least, with quality, easy to engage and tough to let go, frights. Populated with damaged heroes, imaginative creatures and real world, believable predicaments. With “Red Quill” Mr. West serves up another tightly knitted yarn. It is a period piece, taking place in 1927 with dialogue and social definitions & interactions feeling true to the era. The narrative cruises along at a brisk pace and before you know it, the last page is turned and you are left aching for more.

And with Baker Johnson, Mr. West has delivered his most gripping character yet, from a long line of memorable dramatis personae. A man working more on science and fact, less on faith, although he uses faith based items in his repertoire of tools, to abolish dark entities. He is damaged goods, but not by his own hand, at least not initially. It’s easy to empathize with Baker, feel his pain, all the while rooting for him to rise from the murk.

There is a touching moment when Baker interprets his own suffering, a  defining moment when we, the readers, feel his shift away from the his self-imprisoned black spiral. And we know, if Baker Survives he’s going to make it.

Servant of the Red Quill is a great, quick read. It’ll stick with you for a bit, the shadows rattling around in your brain pan. The character Baker Johnson has legs, hopefully strong legs, as I am quite curious and excited to see where his adventures will take him after “Red Quill”. Whatever is next, I’m in.

“Something was rotting her from the inside. ‘Use me and be very cruel about it.'”

Z-Dubbz is a big dumb animal!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West

Servant of the Red Quill

by Terry M. West

Giveaway ends February 04, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Book Review: The Last Night of October by Greg Chapman

 

The Last Night of October
The Last Night of October

The Last Night of October written and illustrated by Greg Chapman, 102 pages published by Bad Moon Books.

Overall Score: 5/5
“His existence was one of silent dread; a slow, steady tick of days until that last night of October. It was his every thought, every beat of his tired, old heart.”
Then, two boys disobeying their parents and braving the worst storm in ages to honor a night made for children, to honor an annual tradition.
Now, one wheelchair bound old man, ravaged by emphysema, starring down and dreading the shadows of past tragic choices, on the anniversary of their making. Haunted by the promise of a promised visitor, the only child who will knock on his door this night, and every Halloween night passed, facing his memories cold and alone.
But tonight is different. This night Gerald is not alone and truths need to be revealed.
“‘Oh, God – was that the boy?’
‘Yes – he’s crying’ Gerald said.
‘Crying – why would he be crying?’
Gerald looked right into Kelli’s eyes.  ‘Because he knows how the story ends.'”
“The Last Night of October” is a quick and hypnotizing Halloween yarn. Greg Chapman (author of Torment & The Noctuary) is a talented scribe and he does a fantastic job here. Providing rich imagery, thick tension and heartache throughout. He had me hanging on every word of this tale, illustrating and craftily weaving both the dark sense and youthful spirit of my favorite season. I could see the snow covered ground, I could hear the heavy knocks on the door.
I was invigorated by young Gerald’s youthful sense of invulnerability and I was empathetic to elderly Gerald’s living a lifetime of regret. But then, the shuffle…
Betrayed.
This novella solidifies the fact that I need to delve further into Mr. Chapman’s catalogue as I truly enjoyed every moment of “The Last Night of October”. It’s great anytime read and a perfect addition to my list of annual seasonal reads. Fit snugly between Norman Partridge’s “Dark Harvest” & Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree”. I will definitely be revisiting this. When the nights are murky, the wind is bellowing and the candle’s flame is flickering, I will answer the knock at the door. Check it out.
Zakk is a big dumb animal.

 

Book Review: JOURNALS OF HORROR: Found Fiction

Journals of Horror: Found Fiction
Journals of Horror: Found Fiction

Journals of Horror: Found Fiction is published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment Inc.  It is edited by Terry M. West and features over 20 of the hottest authors in the horror genre.   Journals of Horror: Found Fiction marks the coining of a new genre of horror fiction.  It features stories written in the style of uncovered or unearthed journals, chronicling horrific events.  The Kindle version is available on Halloween and the paperback edition will be ready by Christmas. 

Being a huge fan of Terry M. West’s work for so many years and having reviewed damn near his entire library of works, I was excited to hear he was releasing an anthology under the name of JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION. I was fortunate enough to read this anthology and must say this is easily in my top 5 best anthologies in the horror genre. My list includes the Barnes and Nobles and B Dalton Bookstore offerings. To hell with the big names; give me indie author work any day. There’s more heart and passion in it.

The stories herein are bleak, disturbing and some are depressing and they stick with you long after reading. I found myself at work replaying some of these creepy little tales over and over again. This anthology has a little bit of everything going on. For starters you have your pissed off teenage occultists, smart phones that drive their users insane, vengeful high school ghosties and a father who serves up a tasty way to avenge his dead daughter. There even exists a tad of some Darrin Aronofsky like PI conspiracy theories and toss in one of the freshest found fiction styled tales from markings reminiscent of THE ILLUSTRATED MAN (in sorts) and you have an anthology that rides right alongside Stephen Kings Night Shift. This is one of the best anthologies I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Just make note this is by far one of the coolest anthologies I’ve encountered ever.With entries from some bad motherfudgers such as DS Ullery, Robin Dover, Jeff Ö’Brien , Terry M. West and Christopher Alan Broadstone. I can’t pick a favorite; they’re all just so amazingly well-written and the stories are very vivid. The aspect of this read that impressed me the most was that it was as if all of the stories seemed to be conjoined yet were their own little devilish tales.

Just to highlight a few of the tales offered: Robin Dover’s TURN ME ON, DEAD MAN reminded me of Darren Aranofsky’s movie PI (the conspiracy numbers angle). DS Ullery’s TRUANT just goes to show that DS has a magnificent way of spinning some odd astral projection tales of biblical proportions and Christopher Alan Broadstone’s NOTE-TO-SELF has to be one of the oddest “found Fiction” angles I’ve ever seen and it works perfectly. And as usual you have Stuart Keane and Glenn Rolfe offering up some bedtime baddies. I will say I was highly pleased to see Mr. West’s wife, Regina offering her tale (Self-Consumed, co-written with Terry). I’ve read a snippet of her scribbling and I have always wanted to see more of her work. She did not disappoint, my friends.

As previously stated there are so many great authors involved in this project that if I were to explain in detail their tales it would go on forever. But instead of doing so I leave you by saying that this is the real deal, my friends. I highly recommend this work to any horror reader. Go out and purchase this anthology the second it becomes available. It’s top notch.

Book Review: America’s Most Haunted

 

America's Most Haunted book cover
America’s Most Haunted book cover

AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places by Theresa Argie & Eric Olsen. Penguin books.

I was thrilled to receive a review copy of America’s Most Haunted. It is an extremely informative and detailed travelogue of famous haunts across the USA. It will appeal to both the paranormal enthusiast and dark tourist alike. The cases are recounted in great detail and recent TV paranormal experiences are mentioned (most notably discoveries made by Ghost Hunters and Fact or Faked).

Some of the haunted places mentioned in this book are The Queen Mary, The Stanley Hotel, The Willoughby Coal & Garden Center, The Villisca Ax Murder House and the Knickerbocker Hotel. Nearby accommodations are listed with each haunt. If you are a paranormal researcher or a fan of haunted locations, this should be a dog-eared resource to carry with you on your travels.

The Villisca Ax Murder House
The Villisca Ax Murder House

I haven’t enjoyed a book of this type since the Weird NJ magazine and book series dealing with the strange legends of US cities and states. I devoured America’s Most Haunted in a day and my only complaint was that I wanted more!

I hope this book spawns an entire series. This is a must have for the paranormal fans out there. This book is a brisk read for the armchair investigator or a road map for the more adventurous ghost hunter.

 

I need to mention that the folks behind this book also run a very comprehensive and entertaining website. Be careful because you can waste days there.

Book Review: The Harbinger by Todd Keisling

The Harbinger

The Harbinger by Todd Keisling

Clowns, children, dolls. For many, these are actual phobias; they incite terror within the average human being. Maybe its the make-up and the mystery underneath, the false innocence, or the beady, lifeless eyes. Regardless, most people I know will avoid any media relating to them. Now, as a horror author, I can never resist the urge to use these in a horror story. As a reader though, this always draws me to a tale; I fear none of the above and they always make for terrifying, and often controversial, horror. In short, you know you’re in for a good time.

The Harbinger is no different. In fact, it manages to combine two of those fears (no clowns, sorry) with effortless guile, creating a short, horrific tale of isolation and mind-bending insanity. The plot is simple. Felix is a journalist, visiting the town of Dalton for his latest story. He is to interview Maggie Eloquence, the proprietor of a doll making factory, Dalton Dollworks. When he arrives, he realises things are a little peculiar in Dalton…the residents all seem to be adults, dolls decorate all of the establishments in the town, and why is the smell of pig shit so invasive? As Felix roams the town for a scoop, things start to take a turn into the macabre…and by then, it’s too late.

First of all, this story is phenomenal. It instantly drags you into the soul crushing isolation of the town. We arrive when Felix does and we see everything through his eyes. Jet lagged and tired, irritable and frustrated, he just wants the trip over with. Regardless, he owes a favour to his editor, who managed to see Felix through a tough divorce. Bound by a promise, he goes about his business in the least enthusiastic way possible. It’s a clever touch by the author, instilling a sense of dread and detachment from the get go. Felix doesn’t want to be there, so every little detail is enhanced. When he checks into his hotel, a normal process for most, there’s an underlying sense of menace, one that rumbles beneath the surface of the book until the taut finale. This menace develops as Felix navigates Dalton and it’s weird, spooky residents. It makes for thrilling suspense. 

Now, onto Dalton itself. A dark, brooding, creepy town. Right up there with Desperation and Silent Hill for the maximum creep factor. We’re constantly reminded of the pig shit smell that follows Felix everywhere. It’s a decent plot device, and one with massive relevance, but it doesn’t seem to affect any of the inhabitants. You’ll never forget this simple detail, but it pays off. As Felix investigates his story via a Dalton Dollworks tour (watch out for the gift shop scene, it’s a sublime piece of terror), a trip to the local diner and a mysterious, abandoned church, he starts to realise there’s more to Dalton then meets the eye. As the story rumbles to it’s horrific conclusion, you’ll be hooked until the final word. Some wonderful creativity – when Felix tries to check out, for example –  stops this story from being just another ‘town gone crazy’ story, which sometimes ruins a decent build up. This is original stuff, a story that will scare even the most stubborn minded horror fan, like me; it gave me goosebumps. I can’t remember the last story that did that to me in such a short word span.

VERDICT: The Harbinger is an excellent horror story, one that needs to be read by any true horror fan. Doing for dolls and children what Christine did for Plymouth Fury’s, you’ll never look at either in the same way again. Tense, thrilling and terrifying, Todd Keisling has produced a piece of work that will stick in the memory for some time. I’ve heard this is a part of his Ugly Little Things series. After this, I will be checking out the other stories. Recommended reading. A piece of advice though? If you have any dolls in your house, you might want to move them outside before reading. Trust me…    

Book Review: A Respite for the Dead by Lucy Taylor

A Respite for the Dead cover
A Respite for the Dead cover

A Respite for the Dead by Lucy Taylor

Published by Omnium Gatherum

Guardians

‘…I sniffed the air and caught a faint but sharp scent of burnt weeds. Not the clean, crisp aroma of the autumn leaf burnings I recalled from my childhood back east, but something malodorous, pungent – There were no dates and nothing except the photographs to identify the dead. The only evidence that anyone had been here were a few bunches of flowers, the blooms withered and brown like a pharaoh’s mummified fingers – Guzman gazed into his empty wine glass like a sorcerer looking at entrails, but when he spoke again, I knew he’d had no revelations, divine or otherwise – I turned down the volume, called out “I’m home”, and was greeted by thunderous silence – “Oh.” I nodded like this was normal and fine, but I could smell my own rage, and the earth underfoot looked like baked blood – The distress in her eyes felt as gratifying as a standing ovation on the part of wronged husbands everywhere. I drank it in like a shot of hard whiskey.’

 

Lucy Taylor has once again made it quite evident that her brilliance as a writer is due, to some extent, to something far beyond her exquisite agility with prose. Her courageous exploration into cutting-edge perspectives regarding esteemed subject matter continues to captivate. Being a resident of New Mexico, I personally relate to this dark story. I know the descansos – those unique, roadside relics of remembrance spotlighting the point in space and time where the now deceased drew their last breath – that final moment before meeting with death. These are indicators – signposts directing our next thoughts into images of cemeteries and crypts – into the residual grief that always lives on after death – and into consideration of the various possible causes of these sudden and frequently violent deaths.

In A Respite for the Dead, Lucy Taylor explores outside-of-the-box potential differences between one dying peacefully in your sleep with a standard follow-up burial in the family plot versus being abruptly taken, very often brutally, and that act being immortalized in glory within a roadside memorial that time and again seizes the attention of unwary travelers. She explores our attitudes toward the dead – unseen thoughts we share with the deceased – and things the dead could possibly be sharing with us. We’re reminded of separate realities – realities that some of us more sensitive types, those occasionally in touch with altered states, as well as those of us who flirt with insanity, often chose to push back into the darkness from whence it comes. The frayed edges of these unseen separate realities, sometimes, cross over and manifest before us. We may discover that because we choose to reject what may seem to be so unbelievable, unrealistic and even absurd – by sending away these apparently incomprehensible messages bleeding over from the other side – we may be missing something very important, indeed. You may experience a facsimile of success in avoiding acknowledgment or acceptance of these messages, but inevitably, they return, because often, the message is for you.

In this tight work of fiction, Lucy Taylor lures you into the darkness to consider one additional possibility for what a respite for the dead could entail. It may be something that forms just at the edge of your peripheral vision…

5 STARS

Book Review: Vintage Young Adult Halloween Scares

The Halloween lifestyle stems from what we all experienced as wee goblins. Remember searching for the best decorated house in the neighborhood? This house had full size chocolate bars last year! Who put this apple in my bag? I find myself constantly trying to recreate these memories with my own kids. Sometimes, to no avail.

I lecture my kids with the whole, “I watched this when I was only seven!” routine. Try as I might my 15 year-old says I am too obsessed with the holiday. “Who goes to Halloween events in February, Mom?” My 11 year-old says he is still not ready for Knott’s Scary Farm. My 8 year-old wants to be Sharknado this year. The only hope I have for a protégé is my five year-old daughter. She loves Nightmare Before Christmas, says her face hurts in the sun because she’s a vampire, and she wanted to be Nightmare Moon for Halloween. I can work with this! To keep her looking forward to Halloween all year, I find myself reading my favorite childhood Halloween stories to her.

Vintage is the whats in for the genre now. I cannot say I am complaining. Pop on your Monster Hop LP, grab a lantern, turn off the lights and check out whats on my children’s Halloween book list!

 

Dennison's Bogie Book cover
Dennison’s Bogie Book cover

Dennison’s Bogie Book by Dennison’s manufacturing company, 1920.
Pinterest in the 20’s! I found that this “guide” was written for us future Halloween lovers,  who think about the season all year long. Perfect for little ones to create their own Halloween Party. Your littles do that right?!

 

Georgie's Halloween
Georgie’s Halloween

Georgie’s Halloween by Robert Bright, 1958.

Perfect story for grade school children! A shy ghost returns home from his village’s Halloween party to be awarded a “Best Costume Prize” by the mice in the attic of his home. See boys and girls, ghost have passive personalities too! Theres a series of these vintage treasures published as early as 1944.

 

A Woggle of Witches
A Woggle of Witches

A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams, 1971.

Witches are essential to Halloween Night, but even they get frightened! This story will be followed up with its sequel, “A Halloween Happening”. Being published in 1981, the witches realize there’s nothing to fear and commence the Halloween celebration.!

 

Scary Stories series book covers
Scary Stories series book covers

Scary Stories To Tell in The Dark, More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark,  More Tales To Chill Your Bones  by Alvin Schwartz, 1980, 1984, 1991.
The ultimate must read for every child in the universe. The songs and sillier stories, like “The Big Toe”, are funny bone ticklers for little monsters. Alvin Schwartz’s version of “The Hearse Song” is tons of fun for the little ones to sing. Most of these books can be found at your local library or Etsy, Ebay and Amazon. I recommend that you grab them when you can as they are treasures that can be passed on to countless generations of Halloween lovers.

AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED To Haunt Book Shelves 9-30-14!

America's Most Haunted book cover
America’s Most Haunted book cover

My purpose with Halloween Forevermore was to create a watering hole for different horror animals. Whatever your dark passion, I want you to be able to find it here. One demographic I am definitely interested in appeasing: lovers of the paranormal. I am a fan and a student of documented hauntings (if you have seen my Whaley House Ghost photo video or read my tale, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed, you can see my love for ghost stories).

So I was extremely excited to see that AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places by Theresa Argie & Eric Olsen will be hitting the shelves on 9-30! It is being published by Berkley and it will be available in Kindle and paperback versions!

And if you haven’t visited the America’s Most Haunted site, you are missing out on quite a paranormal feast!

Here is the info I was sent by this wonderful organization:

There are some places in America you simply shouldn’t visit alone. At Waverly Hills Sanatorium, thousands of patients died at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic in the early 1900’s and their spirits never left. In the halls of Mackey’s Music World, demonic possessions were more common than musical performances. Aboard the decks of the Queen Mary in California, echoes of the cries of hundreds of lost sailors ring clear night and day. These are places that no sane person would ever truly explore – until now.

 In AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; September 30, 2014; $16.00), “Haunted Housewife” investigator Theresa Argie and journalist Eric Olsen combine spine-tingling stories, documented evidence and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal investigation, including the stars of television’s Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and others to take readers on a terrifying tour of our nation’s most haunted houses, hospitals and historic places.

 Experience the crawl through the death tunnel, also known as the body chute, where visitors have reported sightings of an inhuman creature that creeps along the walls and ceilings. Get to know the spirits, ghosts and other demons that wait in jails, lounge in mansions, fester in lunatic asylums, and even stay in the stately old hotel that served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.

 The evidence provided with these first-hand accounts, stories and personal testimonies will have readers sleeping with the lights on. Are you brave enough to take a look?

And here is some info about the authors:

Theresa Argie is an experienced paranormal investigator who has worked with some of the field’s most respected experts. Eric Olsen is a leading journalist in the field of paranormal investigation. Together, the two host the internet radio show, America’s Most Haunted. They both live in Ohio.

I am happy to announce that I will be receiving a copy of AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places for review! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! You can pre-order AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places right here!

 

Expect my review before Halloween!