Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Horror Anthology Explores Human Fears


Stories That Bite You by William Wilde - A short story collection that explores the most disturbing human fears:

19 chilling stories of Horror and Suspense that sink their teeth into you and don't let go. A murderous vending machine ... A marathon race that never ends ... Junk mail that kills ... A gigantic parking lot with no exit. These stories leave their marks long after you finish reading them.

"These 19 stories will leave you feeling haunted and sufficiently frightened by the most ordinary of things." - Nights and

"FOUR STARS! Highly Recommended!" - Huntress Reviews

Now Available at Amazon Kindle:

Also Available at:  Barnes and Noble Nook

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Best Mystery and Crime Novels of 2013

The past year was a good one for new Mystery and Crime novels. Here are the best ones reviewed by this Blog, including two titles by the same author:

Police by Jo Nesbo - Latest in the series to feature Oslo police detective Harry Hole. A serial killer is targeting cops in grisly murders. Harry and his team hunt the killer, but there's a shocker in store as a key character is cut down. A top notch crime thriller by the best writer in the genre.

The Bat by Jo Nesbo - First novel in the Harry Hole series, first published in the U.S. this year. Here we see a younger Harry early in his career as he is sent to Australia to assist in a murder case. We also learn that Harry's last name is pronounced "Hoo-leh" in Norwegian. Nice to have that cleared up. The novel is a can't-miss treat for fans of this outstanding crime series.

Light of the World by James Lee Burke - This one has Louisiana cop Dave Robicheaux on a trip to Montana and facing a volatile mix of dangerous characters. This toxic brew inevitably explodes into an almost Biblical battle and serves as a meditation about ultimate evil within the human character. The novel is one the author's strongest in this fine, long running series.

Standing in Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin - The author brings back his formerly retired iconic character, Inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh, Scotland police. Here Rebus looks into the disappearances of a series of women along the same stretch of empty country highway. The cranky Rebus is back with his trademark cynicism and rude demeanor. A dark, gripping crime read.

The Double by George Pelecanos - Spero Lucas returns as a tough Iraq War veteran working as a recovery specialist in Washington D.C. He recovers lost or stolen property for clients. He's hired to get back a stolen painting, but comes up against a vicious sociopath in his way. Hard boiled crime fiction written in tight, stripped down style.

Friday, November 22, 2013

POLICE by Jo Nesbo Another Top Notch Crime Thriller

Police by Jo Nesbo is the latest in the outstanding crime novel series that features Oslo police detective Harry Hole.

This time, Harry is no longer active on the police force after being seriously wounded in a prior case. He now works as an expert criminology instructor at the police academy.

Meanwhile, a series of police officers are being murdered in gruesome fashion at former crime scenes that they worked. A diabolical serial killer is behind the string of deaths.

A team of Harry's police colleagues pursues the killer in Harry's absence. The character cast is familiar from earlier novels in the series. Forensic expert Beate Lonn. Detectives Katrine Bratt and Bjorn Holm. Criminal psychologist Stale Aune.

But in a shocking plot twist, one of the team members becomes a target of the vicious killer. That event brings Harry Hole himself into the hunt for the cold blooded butcher of policemen.

Police is another great read for fans of the Harry Hole series and reaffirms Jo Nesbo's place as one of the best crime novelists in the genre.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Best Horror Novels of 2013

This year saw the release of two outstanding Horror novels, one by a long famous name in the genre and the other by a younger writer who may be the famous author's heir, in more ways than one.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill - An epic struggle of Good vs. Evil, filled with dark, disturbing imagery and original characters who stay in your mind. Nosferatu is the German word for vampire. The vampire here is the inhuman fiend Charlie Manx, who abducts children, then feeds off their lives in order to keep himself young.

The hideous alternate world called Christmasland where Manx takes the captive children is a unique horror creation. Equally grotesque is the ancient Rolls Royce model called The Wraith, a car with its own malevolent powers, which is used to trap the trusting children inside it.

Beyond its scary story, the novel is also a profound metaphor for the real life crimes of abducted. abused, or exploited children worldwide.

NOS4A2 is a remarkable and unforgettable read for Horror fiction fans.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King - A semi-sequel to The Shining, one of King's early and most popular supernatural Horror classics. Here the boy Danny Torrance is now an adult man, but he still possesses the paranormal psychic sense called the Shining.

Dan comes to the aid of a young girl named Abra, who has an even more powerful shining ability. Abra is the target of the True Knot, a ramshackle crew of psychic vampires, who feed off the vital essence of human psychics as they are tortured to death.

Stephen King has always excelled at the depiction of the existence of pure evil. His creation of the grisly, business-like malevolence of the True Knot is as chilling as any he has produced in his writing work.

Doctor Sleep is a compelling read and a new portrayal of a long time King interest in paranormal abilities. It also marks the author's return to the mainstream Horror genre, which his fans should be well pleased with.

Friday, October 4, 2013

DOCTOR SLEEP a New Stephen King Classic

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King marks the author's return to the supernatural Horror genre where many of his early classic novels appeared -- in a great run of titles from Carrie up through It.

Doctor Sleep is a quasi-sequel to one of those early classics, The Shining, and as such, does not disappoint. In this new novel, the boy Danny Torrance is now an adult man, but he still possesses the paranormal psychic sense called the Shining. He comes into contact with a young girl named Abra, who has an even more powerful Shining ability.

Danger arrives from the True Knot, a ramshackle crew of psychic vampires, who travel the country in an RV caravan, looking to feed off the vital essences of human psychic captives as they are painfully murdered by the True Knot. In their grisly search, they zero in on young Abra.

Stephen King has always excelled at depicting the existence of pure evil. His creation of the methodical malevolence of the True Knot is as chilling as any he has produced in his writing work. When Dan helps Abra to protect her against the attack of the True Knot, it evokes a favorite King theme: friends standing together against a force of evil.

Doctor Sleep is a compelling read and a new portrayal of a long-time King interest in paranormal abilities in novels such as Carrie, The Dead Zone, The Shining, and The Green Mile. Fans of the author's straight Horror fiction should be well pleased with this creepy, unsettling new work.

Highly recommended.

BEACH RATING:  4 Palm Trees

Friday, September 6, 2013

James Lee Burke Novel a Violent Picture of Evil

James Lee Burke's new crime novel, The Light of the World, is a violence-filled meditation on the existence of absolute evil in the the malignant swamp of the criminal mind.

The novel is the latest in the series that features Louisiana cop Dave Robicheaux. This story takes place in Montana and is filled with a volatile mix of characters: Dave's hair-triggered former cop partner, Clete Purcell; Clete's angry daughter, Gretchen, herself at one time a contract killer; a psychotic former rodeo clown and his equally unbalanced girlfriend; and a vicious sociopath and escaped serial killer named Asa Surrette.

This toxic brew inevitably explodes into a chain of violent encounters and dead bodies, culminating in an almost Biblical final battle with ultimate human evil in the person of the demonic Surrette.

Light of the World is a continuing portrayal of the series' long running theme of Robicheaux's sour cynicism toward the rancid nature of humanity which he sees in his police work. The novel is one of James Lee Burke's strongest and will surely be on the list of this year's best works of crime fiction.

BEACH RATING:  4 Palm Trees

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BREAKING BAD and the End of Walter White

Breaking Bad returns for its final episodes August 11 on AMC Cable. After all that has taken place in this violent, addictive series, one truth is certain: Walter White cannot simply walk away from it all free and clear at the end.

We've watched Walter's corrosive transformation from high school chemistry teacher to meth lab cook to ruthless drug kingpin. Early on, Walter learned there are only two basic values in the brutal world of the meth business: Power and Survival. Walter began only wanting to survive, soon making ever harsher moral choices in order to do so. He has finally achieved a position of power himself, a role which he sadististically relishes. But by now he has descended into such a swamp of criminal corruption that there seems no way back for him at the series end.

Walter's ultimate fate is similar to that faced by another ruthless criminal character, Tony Soprano at the end of the great Sopranos series. For all of his past violent deeds, Tony got a suitable payback: a sudden bullet to the back of the head in a Jersey dinner booth. The abrupt black-out ending was a shocker, but a brilliant metaphor for Tony's own end in the amoral blackness he existed in.

That stunning series finale set a high bar for Breaking Bad to follow. Whatever is waiting for Walter White could be the result of his own new found arrogance, an innocuous error that he makes, or a sheer, random disastrous event. But whatever happens to Walter must be an inevitable outgrowth from this contradictory character and the moral complexities of this outstanding crime series.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

WORLD WAR Z An Outstanding Horror Movie

The movie version of World War Z is everything a great Horror movie should be: smart, fast moving, and frightening. Although much of the political and military detail in the earlier novel had to be left out, the movie retains the scary core story.

The movie opens like a bullet with a mass panic scene on the traffic-jammed streets of downtown Philadelphia. From there, it charges immediately into an emergency situation of a spreading pandemic of undead human predators.

What makes World War Z distinctive is its portrayal of the zombie threat on a massive, worldwide scale. These zombies are fast, aggressive, and can work together like an insect colony to overrun everything. The mass attack scenes in Philadelphia and at the walled fortress of Jerusalem are truly epic and thrilling.

This movie is a perfect combination of two latent modern fears: fear of human overpopulation, and fear of a sudden pandemic disease that will sweep through society and across the planet. The looming threat comes from too many other people crowding around us ever more densely all the time.

World War Z is an example of the disturbing exploration of our subconscious fears that the Horror genre can offer. We need more outstanding Horror movies like this one.

BEACH RATING:  4 Palm Trees

Friday, June 14, 2013

NOS4A2 By Joe Hill a New Horror Classic

Joe Hill has written a classic work of Fantasy and Horror with his new novel NOS4A2. The novel is an epic battle of Good vs. Evil, filled with dark, disturbing imagery and original characters who stay in your mind.

NOS4A2 is the license plate on an ancient Rolls Royce with the model name of The Wraith. Nosferatu is also the German word for vampire. The Wraith is driven by a diabolical, inhuman fiend named Charles Manx, who abducts children in the car, then feeds off their souls to keep himself young. Manx takes them to his hideous alternate world called Christmasland, which none of the undead children will ever leave.

Working to stop Manx is Vic McQueen, first as a young girl, then later as an adult woman. Trying to aid Vic is the touching figure of Maggie Leigh, a troubled, stammering girl librarian and offbeat psychic.

The conception of Christmasland is a nightmarish, original invention. So too are the garrulous, malevolent Charles Manx and his childish, sadistic henchman Bing Partridge. The most grotesque character of all is the car itself, NOS4A2, a unique horror creation in its own right.

NOS4A2 is a remarkable work of dark imagination. But the novel is also a profound metaphor for the real life crimes of child abduction, abuse, and exploitation worldwide.

It took Joe Hill two years to write this huge work. He put a lot into it and it shows. NOS4A2 is highly recommended.

BEACH RATING:  4 Palm Trees

Saturday, April 20, 2013

WORLD WAR Z a Documentary Horror Novel

World War Z by Max Brooks is a horror novel about a worldwide plague that turns the infected into living dead predators. The novel is written in documentary fashion, from first hand personal reports, giving it a credible, immediate realism. If Michael Crichton ever wrote a science-based zombie novel, this would be it.

World War Z stands apart from other typical zombie tales in the way it explores scientific issues, government actions, and the military program to exterminate the infected hordes. Another difference is that these predators are fast moving, tenacious, and work together in cooperative masses to overrun everything. This is a big canvas portrayal of how the plague sweeps around the world, doing massive damage to human society. The novel recalls other pandemic thrillers like Contagion and 28 Days Later.

The movie version of World war Z is scheduled to be released this June and could be a summer box office hit. Read the chilling, addictive novel first to get a sneak preview.

BEACH RATING:  4 Palm Trees

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Inspector Rebus Is Back in New Ian Rankin Mystery

Author Ian Rankin brings back his iconic character, Inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh Police, in the chilling new mystery Standing in Another Man's Grave.

Rebus officially retired several years ago, but he's back working as a civilian consultant on a police cold case team. Here, he is drawn into the disappearances of a series of women along the same stretch of isolated country highway.

Rebus begins to suspect that a serial killer is at work. But as he digs deeper into the case, he runs up against the resentment of police force members who may not want him to solve a mystery that they could not. Rebus plunges ahead anyway with his usual tactless attitude, like a rude bulldozer that won't be stopped.

The plot is gripping, but the real pleasure of the novel is watching the character of Rebus himself, with his deep cynicism and his sardonic remarks. John Rebus is one of the most entertaining continuing characters in a crime series, along with Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch and Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole.

Standing in Another Man's Grave is a first rate read for mystery fans.

BEACH RATING:  4 Palm Trees