Tag Archives: Horror

A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau

A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau

 A God in the Shed
by J-F Dubeau

The village of Saint-Ferdinand has all the trappings of a quiet life: farmhouses stretching from one main street, a small police precinct, a few diners and cafés, and a grocery store. Though if an out-of-towner stopped in, they would notice one unusual thing—a cemetery far too large and much too full for such a small town, lined with the victims of the Saint-Ferdinand Killer, who has eluded police for nearly two decades. It’s not until after Inspector Stephen Crowley finally catches the killer that the town discovers even darker forces are at play.

When a dark spirit reveals itself to Venus McKenzie, one of Saint-Ferdinand’s teenage residents, she learns that this creature’s power has a long history with her town—and that the serial murders merely scratch the surface of a past burdened by evil secrets.

Rated: 
Publisher: Inkshares
Publication: June 13, 2017
Genre: Horror
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

amazon | b&n | book depo

A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau

A fan of gothic stories set in small towns with worldly terrors, I went into A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau with giddy excitement. While it started strong, ultimately it left me bored.

The prologue started with such promise. It was truly terrifying, well written, and hooked me straightaway. I wondered what would happen now with this cave dwelling god. How will this small town endure?

The answer? Pretty easily. The majority of the book consists of alternating points of view from everyone in this small town all wondering how they can use the god to further their own agendas. There is never any sense of fear or worry until the very end, and even then, it fizzles. We hear that suddenly, the god is finally going to make his move, but nothing happens. The end. Literally, the town is no better or worse than they were at the start. I don’t understand what the purpose was, the driving force of the book because we start at point A, walk around aimlessly, and end at point A.

So, why the two stars? Because it wasn’t necessarily bad, it just didn’t capture me. It simply existed. It was like going on a car ride around the block. Sure, you got out of the house, but did you really accomplish anything in the end? I don’t know, I’ve struggled with writing the review for A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau for weeks now simply because I don’t know what to say. With books I’ve disliked, I try to be constructive and break down what didn’t work, what was problematic. With books I’ve liked, I talk about what worked, what made it stand out from others. With this, I just have nothing.

Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

 Greener Pastures
by Michael Wehunt

In his striking debut collection, Greener Pastures, Michael Wehunt shows why he is a powerful new voice in horror and literary weird fiction.

From the round-robin, found-footage nightmare of “October Film Haunt: Under the House” (selected for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror) to the jazz-soaked “The Devil Under the Maison Blue” (selected for both The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror and Year’s Best Weird Fiction), these beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant stories speak of the unknown encroaching upon the familiar, the inscrutable power of grief and desire, and the thinness between all our layers. Where nature rubs against small towns, in mountains and woods and bedrooms, here is strangeness seen through a poet’s eye.

They say there are always greener pastures. These stories consider the cost of that promise.

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Apex Book Company
Publication: March 4, 2017
Genre: Horror, New Weird, Southern Gothic
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

amazon | b&n | book depo

Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

This book hit all of my buttons, in the best way possible! Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt is a wonderful collection of short stories that creep their way out of the horror genre and into Southern Gothic and New Weird. Every single story creates and maintains its own sense of unease, while also building upon and blending into the overarching feeling that ties everything together, the visceral and oppressing wilderness.

The very first paragraph from the very first story sets the mood for the remainder of the book. The constant feel of ache and weariness contrasted against the savagery of the environment. From a technical standpoint, it’s amazing how Wehunt manages to construct sentences that are both simple, yet impactful. To go from a character holding a jug of milk, to feeling devoured by the unending vastness of night, Wehunt juxtaposes common day occurrences with a dread and terror that fit seamlessly in. You’re left with a feeling that at any moment, you could find yourself in that very position, that very place. Whether intended or not, Greener Pastures oozes Southern Gothic charm. From unstable characters, the undertone of rebellion and overbearing small-town religion, to the sublime, yet grotesque depictions of nature.

Though themes do seem to be threaded through each story, they are each standalones and different, all in varying degrees of weird. From love lost and its consequences, to a quartet of child stories that are interesting to make sense of as a collection of its own, to life in places better left untouched, each story confronts the inevitable differently, makes use of the environment in its own way. Beside Me Singing in the Wilderness, one of my favorites, has a mountain demanding its return. Greener Pastures, another favorite, a darkness that consumes and demands more.

Whenever it comes to a book of collections, readers are naturally wary; I sure am most of the time. Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt, however, is what short story collections should be. Every story accomplishes its goal of disturbing the reader, inducing horror and unease. Out of the eleven, there are only one or two that I personally didn’t enjoy as much as the others, and yet, they were still good. Definitely pick this up!

Quotes & Excerpts

I’ve come home to this nameless mountain pouring blood from its bowel.
Beside Me Singing in the Wilderness

Eyes black as their feathers, as holes. I stand on the porch. A gallon milk jug sweats against my hand. The crows or ravens are quiet and there are only the bugs dying out in the fall. My arm begins to ache and the night opens its jaws, slow and cool.
Inconsolable

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

 Little Heaven
by Nick Cutter

An all-new epic tale of terror and redemption set in the hinterlands of midcentury New Mexico from the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down…old-school horror at its best.”

From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and Stephen King’s It, in which a trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers…and it wants them all.

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication: January 10, 2017
Genre: Horror
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

amazon | b&n | book depo 

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter is an AMAZING horror book and I will tell you right now, if you want to be creeped out and chilled to the bone, go buy the book immediately. It is amazingly written with tremendous characters and descriptions of horror that burn in your brain for hours after reading so that you’re afraid to close your eyes and see these creatures again.

While the pacing might be slow at the start, this slow start is necessary because it lays the character work down for the rest of the novel. We see how these characters tick and then we get to travel back to see what caused these abrupt transformations. Once we go back in time to the original incident, the pacing steadily increases, as does the horror.

Cutter does a tremendous job of evoking unease and fear through every word choice. The descriptions he gives are so vivid that you can picture clearly these horrific creatures and acts, and then have those images cemented with the accompanying drawings included. It is nightmare fuel. Then, just when you think things can’t get any scarier, they do in such a twisted way that simply makes sense and yet, is so profoundly disturbing, you don’t know how to move on. The ending is the most terrifying part of the book.

This is such a hard review to write because there’s so much I want to say, yet so much I can’t because readers deserve to feel the horror and unease firsthand without anyone spoiling them. I hope I’ve made it clear enough that Little Heaven by Nick Cutter is a phenomenal horror story full of suspense, a bit of gore, and genuinely frightening. Calling it as one of my favorite books already for 2017.

Nightmares a New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares A New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares A New Decade of Modern Horror
edited by Ellen Datlow

Unlucky thieves invade a house where Home Alone seems like a playground romp. An antique bookseller and a mob enforcer join forces to retrieve the Atlas of Hell. Postapocalyptic survivors cannot decide which is worse: demon women haunting the skies or maddened extremists patrolling the earth.

In this chilling twenty-first-century companion to the cult classic Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, Ellen Datlow again proves herself the most masterful editor of the genre. She has mined the breadth and depth of ten years of terror, collecting superlative works of established masters and scene-stealing newcomers alike.

Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication: November 1st, 2016
Genre: Horror
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.
Purchase: amazon | b&n | book depo
Rated: ★ / DNF

Nightmares A New Decade of Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

Sad to say, but I just could not get through Nightmares a New Decade of Horror to the end. I got to around 40% and was just bored out of my brain. The stories did not scare me a bit. I think every single creepypasta I’ve read has gotten more of a rise out of me than all of the short stories I read in this collection. Most of the stories in the collection were just talk and descriptions with nothing happening. No building up of suspense. No thought that this could happen to me. It all fell flat, especially compared to other horror collections and stories I’ve read. The scariest thing to me was the cover.

The Seer by Grant Palmquist

The Seer by Grant Palmquist

The Seer
by Grant Palmquist

The first time Nick Northfield saw a demon was the summer of 1988 in Houston, Texas, when he was nine years old. It wouldn’t be the last. . . .

On the outside, Nick has everything a kid could want: a Nintendo with plenty of games, two good friends, and an unrequited crush whose interest in him might be growing. His mom always told him, “Count your friends on one hand and call yourself lucky,” and Nick always listened. But something is wrong on the inside, for he’s having haunting visions, nightmares that cause him to wake up screaming, and thoughts that he’s different than other kids and very much alone. And not long after his first sighting of a demon, he sees another. . . .

On the opposite side of town, Sal Burke helps operate his family’s candy store by day, and by night embarks upon a vicious killing spree, eager to watch his fame around town grow. And it does, as the town soon grows wary of the vicious murderer known only as the Pied Piper. Now Sal is opening a new candy store in Nick’s part of town . . . and horror will soon follow.

Beware, the Pied Piper is coming to town, and he’s bringing his lust for murder and mayhem with him.

Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication: Feb 2014
Genre: Horror, Coming of Age
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: amazon | b&n | book depo
Rated: ★★★½

The Seer by Grant Palmquist

I don’t usually read horror novels. Partly because I’m a chicken, but mostly because it’s so hard to find one that is actually any good. The few I have tried focused on suspense that built up but was never justified by the reveal, or spend their time on describing gore and violence just for the sake of being able to. That said, I went into The Seer by Grant Palmquist a bit hesitantly, wondering if this was going to be another letdown. The first page alone let me know that no, it wasn’t going to disappoint. In fact, it was brilliant.

What makes The Seer amazing isn’t the fact that it’s an extremely well written horror story, which it is, but that Grant Palmquist manages to balance out the creep factor with a touching coming-of-age story about an awkward kid who just wants to fit in and, if not necessarily make friends, but be left alone from their daily ridicule. The Seer has such fantastic character development. You can feel for Nick and want to tell him hey, the world sucks, but you’ll be okay, just stick with it. You want to tell Wayne the same thing. And Sal? Well, you just want to tell Sal to get help cuz he is fucked up beyond belief.

Speaking of Sal, he is the main villain. A man in his late 20s forced to move back in with his parents. There is nothing remarkable about his appearance, and yet everyone who comes in contact with him feels uneasy, wary. Even reading about him, you feel creepy and slimy and in need of a shower. That’s before you find out that he has a thing for killing kids, describing it as the only time he’s ever really felt happy and at peace. Throughout the novel, we see Sal’s transformation into a demon spawn, one of the demons that Nick can see. This isn’t what makes Sal horrific. What makes Sal an extremely effective villain that leaves you feeling terrified is how normal he is, how easy it is to imagine there being a Sal in your own neighborhood, how many times there has been a Sal in your city. Jumping into his mind is the most unsettling experience that leaves all the descriptive images of demons and hell paling in comparison.

The Seer by Grant Palmquist is an amazing feat of horror that manages to not only be scary with a creepily convincing villain, but also has moments of levity and tenderness as you see Nick growing up in the midst of all the killings and demons around him. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. 

Quotes & Excerpts

It was amazing to see how the old man could change at a moment’s notice, but it taught Sal a valuable lesson: you wear the mask society requires at any given time.
– Chapter 2

“You know, Nick,” he said, “it’s pretty obvious Jake started that fight.”
“Why’d I get suspended, then?”
“Because you fought back. It takes a stronger man to walk away from a fight.”
– Chapter 16 (ugh so angry because this sounds so typical of the education system)

“It doesn’t even matter,” Mark said. “If you start changing because she likes you, if she likes you, then she won’t like you anymore.”
– Chapter 31

He felt empty inside, like he’d freed himself from a ghost that had been caged within his chest and finally released.
And it was good.
He’d stood up to what the world called beautiful and declared it ugly.
– Chapter 34

What Others Are Saying

  • Have a review? Drop a comment to be added on

*Roadside Reader is not affiliated with any of the websites listed above*

The Three Sarah Lotz

The Three by Sarah Lotz

Synopsis

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists “The Three” are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

The world is stunned when four planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. There doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters, a single child is the sole survivor. Dubbed “the three” by the press, these “miracle children” achieve international celebrity. Things take a dark turn when a fanatical preacher starts insisting that the young survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse.

As the children’s behavior grows increasingly disturbing, even their loved ones start to suspect there could be some truth behind the conspiracy theory. And when a survivor from the fourth accident is found, deadly alliances are formed and it becomes ever more difficult- and dangerous -to decipher the truth.

The Three
Sarah Lotz
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication: May 2014
Genre: Dystopian, Mystery, Speculative Fiction, “Horror” 
Personally purchased title
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★★½

READ MORE

Amity, by Micol Ostow

Amity by Micol Ostow

Synopsis

Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance.
Here is where I live, not living.
Here is always mine.

When Connor’s family moves to Amity, a secluded house on the peaceful banks of New England’s Concord River, his nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons. destruction, and revenge. Dreams he kind of likes. Dreams he could make real, with Amity’s help.

Ten years later, Gwen’s family moves to Amity for a fresh start. Instead, she’s haunted by lurid visions, disturbing voices, and questions about her own sanity. But with her history, who would ever believe her? And what could be done if they did?

Because Amity isn’t just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a violent end as she’s done before. As she’ll do again. And again. And again.

Inspired by a true-crime story, Amity spans generations to weave an overlapping, interconnected tale of terror, insanity. danger, and death.

Amity
Micol Ostow
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication: August 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Retelling
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: 

READ MORE

Darkness, by Erin Eveland

Darkness by Erin Eveland

Synopsis

One Girl. One Boy. And the Masters of Darkness. See the Shadow Creatures. They are everywhere. But you can’t run from the shadows. Or the Masters who control them.

At the age of sixteen, Catherine lives with an alcoholic mother and impoverished welfare. While searching for a way to tell her only friend Nathan of her desire for him, a hidden world starts to unfold with the coincidental meeting of a man in black, Jorgen. With this encounter, questions arise and unexplained events start to occur, causing Catherine to confront her past and an uncertain future.

Upon graduating High School, Nathan cooks at a local bar wondering how he can leave town with the girl he’s fallen in love with, Catherine. All seems hopeless until a man in black, Artros, introduces himself offering power greater than all the money that drives the world.

Ancient enemies with the power to control the Darkness and its Shadow Creatures, two Masters will fight to the death for what one girl may hold – the ultimate power of Light.

Darkness
Erin Eveland
Publisher: Selladore Press
Publication: July 2014
Genre: Supernatural, Horror
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★★★★ (high 3½)

READ MORE