Saturday, 26 September 2015

Book review - Devils Day - Kyle M Scott


Right, where do I start with this? Its not often that I'm stuck for something to say, but this book left me speechless!!

Welcome to Halloween 1984, Blackhaven, A sleepy little town where nothing exciting really happens. However the town has a dark secret. A secret that one of the old time residents, Mr Winslow is more than happy to share with anyone that will listen.

Our story follows the Somerville family. Teenager Emma, her younger brother Timmy, and their mom and dad. Timmy loves Halloween, the whole town is getting ready for the festivities when it is hit my a storm, its also hit by a series of unwelcome newcomers.

I don't want to say too much and give anything away with this book as its a fantastic and entirely gripping story. As the plot unfolds, so does the carnage right up to a fantastic climax that will leave you open mouthed.

Two things struck me about this story; How well the scene is set. It really manages to capture and pull you into that feeling of an 80s retro style scary movie, and the non-linear story line. Just as you think you have it sussed, it throws off into a different direction  and someone you think may be safe cops it in the most horrible manner.

I have read other pieces by this author but as Devils Day is his first full length novel, I thought that this would be the best place to start. With that in mind, I will be 100% pursuing this writers work. His intense and accurate descriptions stand out, no, leap out and jump down your throat.

In summary, an absolutely fantastic book. Brilliant character build up, compelling story line and in parts, truly horrifying. Any true horror fan should have this in their collection.

Don't take my word for it, go read it.



Thursday, 24 September 2015

Book review - Pride. Even Hell Has Standards. Chantal Noorderloos


This was the first delve into this particular author's work as I wanted to reduce the backlog of reading material I had before adding to it.

I started with Pride as it was a fairly short book and i wanted to get a  flavour for her style of writing and perspective. 

Adolf Zakerny has been a bad bad man in life. He is a serial killer of children nicknamed the baby butcher. Although he didn't quite get to his target figure of a 1000. He certainly did enough to guarantee himself a place in hell.

This is where things get interesting in the story, as Chantal takes us through a potentially different look and set of circumstances that everyone believes to be Hell. Adolf believes his evil and depravity in life will secure him a place in service of Lucifer in Hell. Sure he is evil, but Lucifer is not as he seems. The upshot being that Adolf must make the ultimate decision between retribution and his own Hell. Will he choose wisely?

This is a great book. I really enjoyed the writing. It was descriptive and dark, and the story was a good mixture of scary, quirky and disturbing. I will be checking our more of Chantal's work.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Book review - The Summer I Died - Ryan C Thomas


This was the first book that I have read by this particular author. It was recommended by a friend.

The story is about two friends, Roger Huntington and his friend 'Tooth.' They have been friends for years, most of their life experiences together so far they have shared together.

The two friends decide one day to go shooting, practice with a few tin cans and drink a few beers. Headed for the remote woodlands, they are alerted by the desperate screams of a woman.

Running to investigate they are attacked by dogs, Tooth is led to kill one in self defence. The story takes an enormous twist as Roger, Tooth and the unknown woman are locked in the basement of a dangerous and deluded individual plastered in tattoo's that is simply referred to as 'Skinny Man.' A man hell bent on revenge for the death of his dog and torture on his mind.

As Roger's sister Jamie makes a surprise entrance, the torture becomes increasingly brutal as it becomes a fight between superheroes and villains. Who will the dice favour?

I really enjoyed this book, the first half of the book held such nostalgia as stories such as Stand By Me or Sleepers. It transcends into depravity for a period that I have rarely seen sustained in a book without losing interest or plot.

Sweet, horrible and compelling all within one set of covers. I will be checking out further work by Ryan C Thomas.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

New release coming soon


Coming soon. Hexad - A collaborative release with Andrew Lennon. Six terrifying tales that are guaranteed to send a chill down your spine.

Bonus material - also contains a sneak peek of our forthcoming release, Bound.

Book review - Lab Rat - Matt Shaw


Becky and Kevin were happily married. They had no children, their family was made up with their three cats and two dogs in their home in Sellersburg. 

They had a home, a home that Becky loved, which is why it came as such a surprise when Kevin decided that he wanted to apply for another mortgage for another house.

At the price thats its up for sale for, Kevin thinks its a steal. He thinks that they could move in and rent out their second property. Becky is still unsure, even as the bank approve the second mortgage. Especially as she is a little creeped out by some of the remaining items in the house. Some creepy photographs, tatty old hospital beds and a grand piano.

When Kevin manages to persuade her to sleep over in the house he wakes up strapped to a bed, no sign of his wife. Only a Doctor in a filthy lab coat. Another woman is wheeled in on a bed. A woman he recognises as missing from the news. A woman with three children and a fiancé.

There are some real creepy and unsettling moments in this book. The doctor who's deluded search for cures leads to unnecessary experimentation. Look out for the unique cure for stomach bugs and the special face cream

Book review - Glory Hole - Matt Shaw


Kelly is going through a bad patch. She has recently found out that her soon to be - ex husband has been cheating on her for the past three years!

She doesn't really have anyone she can turn to. Her Mom and Dad live in Cyprus and she rarely sees her Brother and Sister. 

Her friend Emma and her boyfriend Sam offer to put her up for a while. Whilst living there she discovers Emma's promiscuous and adventurous lifestyle.

Emma tells her to forget about her ex husband and invites her to join her and Sam to one of their 'nightclubs.' Kelly is unsure, she is fairly shy has never slept with anyone that she has never had feelings for.

Thinking back to her ex husbands comments about their boring sex life, Kelly tries on her latex costume and begins to grow in confidence. Emma and Sam offer to set her up with a mutual friend - Nick.

An entertaining if not slightly twisted story with a really funny twist.



Sunday, 13 September 2015

Book review - Cine - Stuart Keane


For Stuart Keane's latest release - Cine, we return to Lake Whisper, a place that has seen its fair share of horror.

The town has a new cinema - A state of the art business, with its choice of eleven screens it is by far the most established cinema within the county (at least).

The book is written in a day by day format, starting with the Cinema opening on Thursday – Day Zero and following through to its finale on the following Friday. 

The hustle and bustle of the lobby, a mix up over the payment of their tickets sees a couple of cinema goers exchanging words with a rude girl in the queue after sniping at them from beneath her beanie hat and hoodie. A cinema worker observes the altercation from a distance whilst standing on his pedestal surveying his domain - Enter Keeley and Jordan. We cut to a scene where the same woman is forced to make a decision that could result in life or death. From a distance, an observer watches.

The next section sees the introduction of the main characters, Huey and Leonard, Gemma a girl with a traumatic childhood, her friend Louise and her older sister Michelle. Michelle and Leonard are unofficially an item, he has tickets for the brand new cinema and has offered to take the group. We also get introduced to Alex - a local business man and Huey's employer. His main source of business - protection and racketeering, he is decided on shaking down Robert Benton, the cinema owner, something that doesn’t quite go to plan.

Saturday morning and the friends meet up at the cinema to watch the film, it starts at 10am. Michelle and Leonard couple up leaving the remaining member of the group to chat between themselves. After the film, Huey offers to treat the group to a McDonalds, The only problem - One of them is missing. None of them can recall seeing them since during the film. The group begin to get concerned when they don't turn up after 30 minutes.

They report the disappearance to the police, DI James Sutton advises that there is nothing that the police can do officially for another six hours but promises to stop by at the cinema later that evening to look around – a decision that he will severely regret making, he finds the missing person, but at his own personal cost.

Invitations go out to the entire town, offering free tickets to a movie showing on Friday. The lure of a freebie leads half of the town to attend the showing as Robert Benton unveils his surprise – screen nine. A vast, six hundred seated auditorium where he is to put on a show that people have never seen the likes of. 

This book has cemented Keane as a true kingpin of English horror writers in my mind, he portrays situations that are believable yet truly terrifying. As a reader you get the feeling that you are caught up in a Wes Craven movie. The background of each character is laid out perfectly, not a single detail is left out. It is fast paced, and although the story has many layers it flows seamlessly. There are several brutal scenes in various stages of the book and the tension builds day by day right up until the climax – total depravity, a blood bath that will leave even the most extreme horror fan in a state of shock. Look out for the cameo parts in the latter part of the book, and a couple of references to other stories by the author, superb work.

Book review - Andrew Lennon - Twisted Shorts

 
 
 
This new release by Andrew Lennon is a collection of short stories. The stories are pretty much as explained in the title. There are a mixture of titles that have already been previously released and totally new material. Whatever your taste in horror and thrills, there is sure to be something in this collection that will float your boat;
 
Nightmares - The demented tale of a man struggling with sleep. Arriving home one evening from work he retires to bed after dinner and a  few beers. When his wife Tess returns home after an evening out with friends, she disturbs an intruder and carnage ensues.
 
Daddy's Girl - Scott's girlfriend Jane is killed one evening after he crashed his car. Scott was drunk, he blames himself for her death. So does her father - Dr Harrison. See the result of a surgeon with revenge in mind. A dark and brutal story.
 
Slayer - Russell and Greg are friends. Russell is athletic, sporty and a hit with the girls. Gregg is always one step behind his friend, which is probably fortunate for him when Russell gets mowed down by a truck. Gregg cries himself to sleep for weeks after the accident until one day he gets a phone call.. From Russell. Great story with underlying dark humour.
 
The Externals - A first person suspense story about a man struggling to deal with the visitors around him, talking, mocking. he cannot see them, or touch them but they are there. Great atmospheric writing.
 
Family Man - One of my favourites. A dark, twisted tale about a man that finds his family dead. He killed them, he knows he did it, he just doesn't understand why. Sometimes there just isn't an explanation. Two friends are talking about the rumours surrounding the incident. Gavin's father is a dead beat, drunk and violent towards him and his mother. Paul's father was the perfect family man. Look out for the shocking twist.
 
Tears Of A Clown - Billy grew up without a real place in life, school was a struggle. He had a weak immune system leading to constant illness. See how the tale unfolds where we see a clown with a collection of tricks involving a claw hammer, knives, a mallet and a button hole flower that sprays acid...
 
Time - A heart warming story about Bill, a man who comes home to a meal cooked by his wife, it seems that she has something to celebrate. She isn't sharing the wine with dinner, what is her news? Bill goes to work on his science fiction book, before long the story takes an unexpected turn.
 
Devourer - Pete and his family are on holiday in Malta. A jet skiing accident leads to a strange incident as he is dragged below the surface of the water. He disappears,  a search and rescue team fail to locate his body, only his life jacket. Totally unique story.
 
Throw A Punch - Being fifteen years old and being bullied sucks. Joe is bullied on a daily basis by Kevin and his two thugs. Despite his friend Stephen's advice, he never fights back until one day when circumstances force his hand.
 
The Swings - Emily and Rose enjoy playing in the park. They love the slides and especially the swings. When approached by a strange, elderly man he explains that he lost his daughter in a tragic accident in the park. That evening in a sleepover, the girls exchange ghost stories - with interesting results.
 
I enjoyed each of these stories, they were all totally different and effortless to read. A great eclectic collection from a promising writer.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Book review - Matt Shaw - The Penthouse




Duncan had it all. Wealth, power, influence. He was the type of man who didnt need to check his bank balance if he felt like buying a new car - something that he very often did.

A succesful business man, business is a gamble. Something that Duncan is about to discover. As his debts mount and his luck continues to run out. He is left with only a small amount of money left in his back account, his luxury home - the penthouse in the luxury Watch Tower apartment complex and his laptop computer.

Duncan has a brainwave about setting up his own reality TV show. He has seen it so many times before, all of these shows were set up - fake. His would be real. Using the last of his money he buys the necessary equipment and presses record.

As things begin to unfold, Duncans deluded plan falls flat on its face and he has to desperately think of ways to bring viewers to his site.

A dark story with some great dialogue. Watch out for the unique, hilarious twist.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Book review - Iain Rob Wright - The Gates



 
 
I got to read this release early as being part of the authors advance reader programme. The gates is a novel by Iain that sees a series of mysterious stones appearing throughout the UK and the rest of the world.

Nobody knows where the stones came from, or their purpose. In the opening chapter of the book we see Elizabeth Creasey meeting her grizzly demise at the hands of one of the mysterious objects whilst out walking her dog one morning.

We are introduced to several main characters each written from a different perspective and location from around the world;

Rick Bastion. An ex pop star living a recluse lifestyle off the back of his one hit wonder 'cross to bear.' Rick gets a surprise visit from someone who he hasn't seen in a while. His brother, Keith. Devon, UK.

Mina Magar and David Davids. Investigative reporter and photographer from the Slough Echo. London, UK.

Tony Cross. A soldier in the English army, currently serving in the border between Iraq and Syria.

Guy Granger. Captain of the USCG Hatchet. Lower Bay, New York.

The story cuts to the perspective of Samantha Smart, Central Park. One of the stones has opened up, revealing a gateway - the scene transcends into carnage as evil creatures and demons attack the earth in their hundreds, killing anyone that stands in their way. Literally creating hell on earth.

From here on in we follow the stories from the different aspects of the main characters. Each one a different scenario played out with developing twists. Each character have their own agendas. Sacrifices are made, unlikely alliances are formed and people are drafted in from across the globe to make a stand against this common threat.

Anyone who knows Iains work would tell this was his writing without being told. It has his signature stamped all over it. Take aspects from The Final Winter, Savage, and Soft Target and you will have an idea of the scale of an apocalypse portrayed in the gates.

Anyone unfamiliar with Iains work, think Hellraiser meets Independence Day.

Effortless to read , well written and scary as Hell (on Earth)



Book Review - Trapped - Matt Shaw & Michael Bray



Trey and Simone have been happily married for sixteen years. They have a good marriage and a healthy sex life. Which is why it came as such a surprise to Simone when she came home one day to find Trey in bed with another woman - Sharon, the office bike.

After the affair, the seeds of doubt were sewn in Simone's mind, the man she married, once the man of her dreams was a cheat, she struggled to trust him after he admits that the affair had been going on a couple of months.

Being a proud woman, Simone never told anyone of her husband's betrayal, not even her family and closest friends. 

She finds herself completely paranoid about his every action. She suspects every single phone call or text message that he receives. She threatens to leave, she starts to have hallucinations about Trey and his lover. It begins to affect her sleep and her health.

Trey lays it on the line and suggests that they both take a holiday - A road trip together, to essentially make or break their marriage. She begrudgingly agrees. 

Following a random run in with a racist thug at a petrol station, Simone runs to Trey's office for a shoulder to cry on, only to find that his car isn't there. He isn't at work and neither is Sharon.

Betrayal and hurt turns to anger and thoughts of revenge as the story takes a much darker path. 

Enter Nathan Tyson, the well educated man with his own agenda. A man who believes that fear is the ultimate motivation. 

I can't give too much away as it is essentially the plot of the story but i will say expect the unexpected with several clever plot twists along the way. There will be violence, sex, and depravity. The finale of this book will leave you stunned.

Shaw and Bray really take us to a dark place in this book. Gritty, shocking and superb. Be warned, its not for the faint hearted.


Book review - Kill For A Copy - Various

 



This new collection of short stories is from a series of fairly new or unknown writers. Please do not let this deter you!! Setting aside Jack Rollins and Stuart Keane, I have never read of of the work from any of the other authors in this anthology.

From the offset Rollins and Keane catch our attention immediately by grabbing us around the literary scruffs of our necks with their tales Home Sweet, Home and Bon Appetite respectively. Both of which are well written and examples of authors understanding the truest concept of horror.

I wont mention all of the stories, but the collection continues and shoots off in many different angles and introduces sub genres. Each story told with a unique spin and delivery. Here is my pick of my favourite five;

Be Careful What You Wish For by Sharon Higa - A short but punchy tale of an ill fated hitch hiker.

Bovine Rule by SL Dixon - Horror meets dark humour as the cows start to go wild.

Tactile Living by Audrey EL Coots - This clever story brings us a woman living her dream lifestyle with the help of a state of the art virtual reality game. What could possibly go wrong?

The Herald Of Our Times by Matthew Teah - An extremely well written story about an apocalypse scenario, written from a totally unique perspective.

Towards the end of the collection we see the intensity being increased until it explodes into the final story in the book, a story which i found a particularly uncomfortable read - And trust me, I do not scare easily!

Hell awaits by Feind Gottes - A story that just about nailed my entire worst fears in the most horrible way possible.

In summary, a great release from a fairly new press that really showcases the talents of some great undiscovered writers.



New title coming soon - Behind Closed Doors



Coming soon - Behind Closed Doors : Tales of murder, passion, suspense and horror!

Featuring stories from Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Andrew Lennon, Shaun Hupp, Stuart Keane, Matt Hickman, Craig Saunders, Ian Woodhead, Paul Flewitt and Mr E.Jones








Pre order your copy at Amazon here:
Behind Closed Doors

Introduction


Hi,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Matthew Hickman, I live in a small town called Tipton in the West Midlands with my partner - Helen and our two children, Millie and Jake.

Over the past few months, I've tried my hand at writing and have been pleasantly surprised that some of the stories that I've submitted for collections have been accepted into various publications.

For many years I've been an avid reader. I enjoy books from any genre. I grew up reading brilliant books by;

Roald Dahl.

CS Lewis.

Hugh Lofting.

Mary Norton.

Herge.

As I grew, so did my love for reading and I lapped up many of the classics such as

Bram Stoker's - Dracula.

William Golding's - Lord Of The Flies.

Mark Twain's - Huckleberry Finn Adventures.

Mary Shelly's - Frankenstein

Fyodor Dostoyevski's - Crime And Punishment.

As long as it was entertaining, I would read it.

Over the past few years I've developed a taste for the horror and thriller genres. I've read anything as far back as classic horror books by Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker and William Hope Hodgson through to the more traditional horror writers such as Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and Clive Barker.

Along came digitally published books and with it came a whole new host of authors that I started to persue. Writers included Alex Kava, JA Konrath, Bryan Smith, Matt Shaw, Michael Bray, Iain Rob Wright, Graeme Reynolds, Tim Miller and Ian Woodhead right the way through to new writers who are currently starting out. I've found some great up and coming writers like Stuart Keane, Jack Rollins, Kyle M Scott, Andrew Lennon and Shaun Hupp.

It is my intention to use this blog to keep you updated with any reviews of books that I believe that you may be interested in and general news from various authors. Including dates and details of releases including pieces by myself.

Watch this space..

Thanks for reading

Matt