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Review – Dark Seduction July 4, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy, Horror.
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Title: Dark Seduction

Author: Shaun Jeffrey

Publisher:  Deshca Press

Publication Date: April 14, 2012

ASIN: B007UILHAW

Available at: Amazon

From Goodreads:

Forced into accepting a bet by a group of mysterious card players, Zen Barker soon discovers that there is a world beyond ours. A place of nightmare where the monsters are real: The Shadowland.

The rules of the wager? Kill or be killed. The target? A woman named Melantha who wields a sinister power called the Glamour that allows her to bewitch anyone she meets. She intends using it to take vengeance against the descendents of those who have persecuted her gypsy clan through the ages. But in doing so she risks creating a disturbance in the infrastructure, and if that happens, then the monsters that reside in the Shadowland will be released.

Now the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of a disgruntled anarchist. God help us.

Review:

This novella was a little discombobulating at first as it jumped from Zen to Verity’s points of views. It gained more cohesiveness towards the end though as the two joined forces to end Melantha’s vendetta against the gadje, those who wronged her gypsy tribe.

Nonetheless, the character development was still good. Zen was an inveterate gambler who got in too deep and made a desperate gamble to get out of debt.  He learns the price is too high in the end. Verity was an estranged daughter who wanted to mend fences with her father only to find she was too late. Their paths cross when she goes on a search for the woman who may have caused the death of her father.

The Shadowland Zen learns of is inventive and horrific. At times I wondered if this book was more horror novel then fantasy. I think it was a combination of the two.

The end was very abrupt and unsatisfying. It felt like the story got chopped off at the knees. Maybe there will be more stories about Zen, maybe there won’t. It kind of felt like this was a teaser. Then again maybe it wasn’t. It was very bewildering.

Despite the fast-paced, inventive plot I can’t be completely happy with this story. Even though it left me unsettled like a good horror story should, I can’t be satisfied with the way the story ended or started off.

 *This story does contain some steamy sexual content.

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Review: Dark Steps June 13, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Horror, Thriller.
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Title: Dark Steps

Author: Martin Pond

Genre: Thriller/Horror

Publisher:  Martin Pond

Publish Date: August 11, 2011

ASIN:  B005GQ84CE

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Amazon:

A collection of short stories, a series of twist endings, and one author’s dark steps back into writing…

A teenage boy waits to take a sinister test he may or may not pass; a new father hears a strange voice on his daughter’s baby monitor; a poisoner’s best-laid plans go terribly astray; an enigmatic man gets as close to death as he can; a young boy wonders why Christmas just doesn’t feel right this year; after the year from hell, a man is driven to extreme measures; a dying man reveals a black secret to his son; and, after four years in limbo, a man’s life starts to unravel…

Review:

All seven of these short stories are rather disturbing as implied by the title and description, but they’re all well written.  I particularly liked the story “Near-Death Experience”. It’s about a man who chooses to get as close to death as he can. I also liked the story “The Inheritance”, which was about a death-bed confession.

The stories were all very compelling and they drew me in so that I nearly read the book in one sitting. I would have read the book in one, but life got in the way. It’s not a very long book. It’s only 54 pages, but it’s very intense. There’s a lot to take in in such a short time frame.

At the end of the book there’s an excerpt from the author’s upcoming novel, “Drawn to the Deep End“.  I have to admit I enjoyed this the least of all. Maybe I’d enjoy more of the book if there were more to read.

A lot of the resolutions of the stories were a little too predictable, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying them. I’m not normally a short story person, but this collection of short stories were a great read.

*I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

Review: Last Man Standing May 20, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Horror.
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Title: Last Man Standing

Author: Keith Taylor

Genre: Horror / Short Story

Publisher: Keith Taylor

Publish Date: May 1, 2012

Available at: Amazon

I received a free copy of this story for an honest review.

Summary:

Paul McQueen is the sole survivor of a zombie outbreak that happened in Bangkok. He is now a global celebrity. Now he’s telling the real story about what happened when the zombies attacked.

Review:

This is a brutally vivid story about how one man survives a zombie outbreak in Bangkok.  It’s a deeply evocative look at survival and  what we’ll do to survive. It’s also about the consequences of those actions.

These zombies are unlike your stereotypical zombies. They can run, they use their fists, and sometimes their hearts beat. Of course they have supernatural strength. Life wouldn’t be fair if they didn’t have supernatural strength.

This story may only be 15 pages but it certainly packs a punch. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I went into it with an open mind. The zombies were scary. Paul McQueen wasn’t pathetic for all his boozing ways. He made my heartache. It wasn’t a cheesy zombie story and it had a rather tragic end.

This story was an unexpected delight, if you could call it that. I enjoyed it a lot for all its brevity.

Review – Scratch March 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Horror.
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Scratch

by Wayne Wise

From Amazon:

Like all small rural towns, Canaan, West Virginia has its secrets: lies, infidelities, and even murder are kept hidden in the minds of the residents there. But there is one secret they will go to any lengths to protect.

A little girl named Gabrielle, believed to be an angel, has been kept chained in the church basement for over a century now, prisoner of an ancient pact. Unaging and unearthly beautiful, Gabrielle has the power to heal.

A madman pursues outsiders Adam and Holly Mansfield to Canaan, intent on kidnapping their daughter. Once there they discover there is one other secret in Canaan.

Chained deep in the heart of the mountain is another being, a demon called Scratch. If Gabrielle is freed, Scratch will be as well, and his vengeance and evil will consume the town.

Not only does this story have an angel and a demon, it has a homicidal maniac chasing the protagonists deep into the country.  You know what though? It all works!

The story elements were seamlessly meshed together for an incredibly easy read. Adam and Holly Mansfield were very easy to relate to and sympathize with. The whole concept of the chained angel and demon was intriguing and unique.

For most of the book, it was more of a drama then a fantasy/horror. It was still an entertaining read as I was entirely caught up in the lives of the Mansfields. They were characters I wanted to see succeed and to be happy.

The villainous madmen that chased after them was very three-dimensional and was fully fleshed out. He was a very believable character. Wise did a very thorough job on every aspect of this novel.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I think it will surprise you too.