#Review Two Storm Wood by Philip Gray

Recently featured on BBC2’s Between The Covers, this is a fantastic read!

About the Author

Philip studied modern history at Cambridge University, and went on to work as a journalist in Madrid, Rome and Lisbon. He has tutored in crime writing at City University in London and serves as a director at an award-winning documentary film company, specialising in science and history.

Philip’s grandfather was a captain in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought through the First World War from start to finish, losing his closest friends along the way. Years after his death, Philip came across a cache of trench maps and military documents that his grandfather had kept, and in which he had recorded the events that befell his unit. Philip was inspired to write his thriller Two Storm Wood when the pull of his grandfather’s legacy felt too strong to ignore. Follow @PhilipGrayBooks on Twitter, Visit philipgraybooks.com

About the book

1919. On the desolate battlefields of northern France, the guns of the Great War are silent. Special battalions now face the dangerous task of gathering up the dead for mass burial.

Amy Vanneck’s fiancé is one soldier lost amongst many, but she is not ready to accept that his body may never be found. Defying convention, hardship and impossible odds, she heads to France, determined to discover what became of the man she loved.

Captain Mackenzie is a survivor of the war, but still its prisoner. He cannot return home until his fallen comrades are recovered and laid to rest. His task is upended when a gruesome discovery is made beneath the ruins of a of a German strongpoint.

It soon becomes clear that what Mackenzie has uncovered is a war crime of inhuman savagery. As the dark truth leaches, both he and Amy are drawn into hunt for a psychopath, one for whom the atrocity at Two Storm Wood is not an end, but a beginning.

Review

Amy is in limbo. Like many others who receive a MIA notification there is no closure and always an element of hope, despite the fact they know that their loved one is dead. Amy doesn’t want to accept the inevitable truth and sets out on a dangerous journey to find the truth – one way or the other.

In the ruins of human misery she finds more than she bargained for and Captain Mackenzie, a man who is unable to let go of this deeply ingrained sense of duty towards his fallen comrades. The two of them uncover a layer of depravity neither of them are prepared for. 

Leaving aside the main premise of this book, I want to take a moment to give the author credit for the aspect of the war he uses to frame the essence of the story. I have read many books on the war, both the Great War and WW2, and they tend to concentrate on the combat, pre-war and post-war, but post-war as life unfolds afterwards. Not many focus on the aftermath and the actual reality of death and the dead, the fields and land strewn with the remains of the dead.

Rotting corpses, pieces of human beings, sometimes not even that. Often the only link to identity would be an item that hadn’t decomposed and become part of the fabric of the land forever. There is hardly a mention of the soldiers and civilians tasked with ensuring as many victims of the war were identified. This aspect of the story is exceptional – just saying.

I wouldn’t hesitate to return to this author. I really enjoyed the style, the scene setting, and the ability to create this level of magical realism drenched in horror and built upon a layer of factual reality. You can feel the fear, the pain and the sorrow – and that’s without even venturing into the core of the plot.

Buy Two Storm Wood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Harvill Secker pub date 13 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Harvill Secker.

#Blogtour Adonias Low by D.A. Watson

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Adonias Low by D A Watson.

About the Author

D.A. Watson is the author of four horror novels and the fiction and poetry collection, Tales of the What the Fuck. 

His stories, verse and articles have appeared in several anthologies and collections and have won gongs and acclaim from Greenock to Dunedin, including nominations for a Pushcart Prize in the US and the UK People’s Book Prize. An occasional poetry performer, he also appeared on the main stage of the Burnsfest Festival in 2018 as the warm up act for the one and only Chesney Hawkes, a personal milestone and career highlight. 

He lives with his family on the west coast of Scotland and is still telling stories. Follow @davewatsonbooks on Twitter, on Facebook  or visit dawatsonwriter.com

About the book

Murder. Robbery. Kidnapping. – Welcome to Napa Valley, California, 1891. – To lawmen and bad men alike, The Low Man is a ghost story. The most feared bounty hunter to ever walk the territories. Whispered to be a Native American shapeshifter, a renegade Pinkerton detective, or the Bible quoting son of a mad preacher. No one knows for sure. He’s a spectre outlaws scare each other with around campfires.

Adonias Low lives in the highlands of Napa Valley with his children, scratching a hard living as a farmer and occasional wagon guard. When a wealthy gin baron hires him to see a valuable shipment safely to San Francisco, the opportunity comes just in time to keep the family afloat.

But when the job turns into a massacre and his daughter is abducted by a deviant killer, Adonias is forced into a violent reckoning that will awaken a darkness he’s long tried to bury.

As the corpses mount up, a dying sheriff tries to make sense of the madness, scalp hunters saddle up and ride for blood, fame.

Review

It’s as if someone took the energy and volatility of an urban crime setting, or a one-man Bronson Death Wish vibe, and pulled it back into a Western era, then wove folklore and horror into the fabric. You get the lawlessness, isolation, desperation of the era, and of course the brutality that went with it.

I liked the concept, perhaps because ultimately it comes down to the simple man protects family by any means possible, and that will attract a multitude of readers. I do think it can be done without gratuitous violence towards women and children, because it brings down the tone of the entire story, which is then detrimental to the cleverly interwoven subplot of man becomes legend. Legend becomes fused with folklore, fear and the elements we cannot begin to understand. And although it is part and parcel of said era I would also be cautious when to comes to the gratuitous use of descriptive language in regard to certain people referenced in the story.

Saying that, I can imagine this is definitely the right cup of tea for many readers. Justice, vengeance and guilt become intermingled, when punishing the bad puts you on an equal setting to those people. Where do you draw the line? Do you push before you’re shoved, wait until it’s too late and accept your fate or do you listen to the devil sitting firmly on your shoulder? 

Buy Adonias Low at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Next Chapter; pub date 17 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Mestiza Blood by V. Castro

It is an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Mestiza Blood by V. Castro.

About the Author

Violet Castro is a Mexican American writer originally from Texas now residing in the UK with her family. When not caring for her three children, she dedicates her time to writing. Follow @vlatinalondon on Twitter, @vlatinalondon on Instagram

About the book

From the lauded author of The Queen of the Cicadas (which picked up starred reviews from PW, Kirkus and Booklist who called her “a dynamic and innovative voice”) comes a short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desire and visions focused on the Chicana experience. 

V.Castro weaves urban legend, folklore, life experience and heartache in this personal journey beginning in south Texas: a bar where a devil dances the night away; a street fight in a neighborhood that may not have been a fight after all; a vengeful chola at the beginning of the apocalypse; mind swapping in the not so far future; satan who falls and finds herself in a brothel in Amsterdam; the keys to Mictlan given to a woman after she dies during a pandemic. 

The collection finishes with two longer tales: The Final Porn Star is a twist on the final girl trope and slasher, with a creature from Mexican folklore; and Truck Stop is an erotic horror romance with two hearts: a video store and a truck stop.

Review

I find with short stories that it is often quite hard to pick a few to review, especially when they are all equally compelling. These are all stories that stand out from the crowd – each one of them thought provoking.

From the dead with a hunger for vengeance, the world of flesh reduced to commodity, the devil and a simple night out on the town.

Castro is bold, brash and a force to be reckoned with. Her inner rage, although one could argue that it is less inner and more in your face, and emotions collide with her creative energy to create powerful stories. Stories born from fact, truth, folklore, myth, fiction and the dark recesses of her imagination. 

Her novel Queen of the Cicidas is slightly tempered in comparison to the often brutally frank, crude ventures into the world of death, vengeance, reflection and a violence on a variety of levels, in these stories.

This an author to watch, a scribe with a unique style of storytelling, and said stories are infused with the pain and reality of life. The cruelty of humanity laid bare for all to experience. No secrets, just a following of absolute truth, which can be tumultuous and deadly at times. 

Buy Mestiza Blood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. At Flame Tree Press.

#BlogTour Recursion by David J Harrison

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Recursion by David J Harrison.

‘The persistent drumbeat of pervading horror infiltrates the Lake District in David J Harrison’s thoughtful thriller full of mystery and intrigue.’

About the Author

David J Harrison only realised that Lord of the Rings had been read out to him as a sleeping child when as a teenager he sought an explanation for its familiarity. On a more conscious level, he was brought up on a diet of classic science fiction and fantasy, most notably the stories of Robert E Howard, Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp.

Little wonder that he chose psychology as his degree subject. He works in biotechnology, specialising in medical devices and is excited to have contributed towards several important new medicines. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and children who he stops reading to when they fall asleep. David says, “My inspiration was to explore memory, personality, and the effects of time on the human mind. I was influenced by the works of the psychologist Carl Jung whilst painting a picture of a return to the Lake District, the place of my fondly remembered childhood. The dark lens of adulthood changes things and irretrievably subverts the happiest of memories, and I use the emotional tensions of everyday life to fuel my writing.”

If you love works by Haruki Murakami and Steven King, you’ll love Recursion by David J Harrison.

Follow @Harrison55 on Twitter, Visit davidjharrisonauthor.com

About the book

Everything that is going to happen already has. – During a disruption in the timeline of a sleepy Lake District village the erratic and strung-out artist Haruki Kensagi cannot help but feel that he’s been here before, either in his past, or in his future. Haruki, struggling with both his painting and his mental health, disappears. His long-suffering wife Jane Kensagi, herself a brilliant musician, interrupts her career to look for him unaware that a malignant and ageless entity awaits them both under the dark fells of the Lake District.

The estranged couple become caught up in a dangerously recursive series of events surrounding a dormant cosmic force. They encounter a cabal of enigmatic characters who may hinder or help in equal measure. And over all this madness, the monstrous but charismatic Captain presides; part faith-healer, part cult-leader, all saviour. Haruki and Jane are taken to the limits of sanity and beyond in their attempt to escape from the evil that has been unleashed.

Review

The story of Haruki Kensagi wanders in time in a way that makes it harder to discern what past, present and future are, where they are and by whom they are being experienced at any given time. Haruki feels as if déjà vu has become a constant voice in his inner ear. 

It begins with the following of orders without question, regardless of possible consequence. Gut instinct is eradicated by higher powers of persuasion and evil intent, and perhaps it ends in exactly the same way?

What’s at the core of the horror and the premise – the conundrum of whether the alien presence is evil or does the external presence just exaggerate the evil in mankind? Is the concept of an alien being inserting itself and seeping into the very fabric of people merely a projection of base nature. Is it easier to live with the idea of other than confront the reality of our actions. The megalomania and ego that drives cult structure and behaviour. Or is it all of the above and something evil this way comes?

It’s an interesting combination of horror, speculative and sci-fi fiction, perhaps more so because the author navigates all of the different genre elements without any of them overshadowing the other ones.

Buy Recursion at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎The Book Guild Ltd; pub date 28 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Sadeiest by Austrian Spencer

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Sadeiest by Austrian Spencer.

About the Author

Austrian had an unfortunate trauma aged eight, when a truck drove over him and his ‘Grifter’ bike. This made him bedridden and a captive of books for too many years. The habit persisted throughout his life (reading books, not staying in bed), to the extent that his daughter’s first painting was of him holding a book, rather than her hand. He has the picture framed in the upstairs toilet, to look at whilst feeling vulnerable.

He is the ‘glass-half-full’, an eternal optimist and believes passionately in you. You are doing exactly what you need to be doing at this moment in your life. He often thinks this, while staring at his daughter’s first painting.

Austrian does not watch horror films, though enjoys horror books.  His influences include Alan Moore, Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, The family King, Iain M.Banks, from whom he wishes to learn. Be inspired. He owes them everything, despite their beards. The Sadeiest is Austrian’s debut novel.

Follow @SpencerAustrian on Twitteron Instagramon Facebookon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit austrianspencer.comBuy The Sadeiest

About the book

Is today a good day to die? Death – a walking skeleton armed with a scythe, a rider of the apocalypse, it has always been assumed – is a man that brings the souls of the dead to wherever they are destined to go.

But what if we got that wrong? What if he were a ghost that, instead of moving your soul on silently after you had died, actually did the hard part for you? Death has to die, again and again, to pay for his sins, and to free trapped souls before their bodies perish – only to replace those souls, to die for them.

A Death whose existence is a curse, where the other riders of the Apocalypse are not his allies, but his enemies.

Armed only with his morals, his memories and the advice of a child teacher, Williams, a Sadeiest, travels through the deaths of other people, on his way to becoming something greater. Something that will re-define the Grim Reaper.

Death just came to life, in time to fight for a child hunted by the other horsemen of the Apocalypse. How do you want to die today?

Review

The read is intermittently broken up with graphic novel illustrations and helps to cement the feeling of violence and uncertainty, whereas the words drive a wedge between what we think we know and an alternate reality. It’s a dark hole that might make you feel uncomfortable, because what if all the other theories about death and souls are just an attempt to gloss over the horrific truth. Death becomes the victim, the sufferer instead of the looming figure everyone fears.

‘Passionately believes you don’t have to lead the reader by the nose. Let them think, dammit.’

Hmm good point and I agree to a certain extent, however it depends on what the reader is looking for in a read and perhaps even the genre. When it comes to a read like this one, which I would put in the Speculative Fiction or Speculative Horror genre, often the aspect of speculative may not allow for the reader to do the above.

Trying to outsmart the reader may not let them interpret the premise in the way the author thinks they will. Case in point – the blurb reflects an interesting idea, however the story itself reflects a different one entirely. At least it does for me, which is of course the crux of a reading experience – it’s subjective one. Maybe a little more leading and a little less assumption about interpretation or that the reader will walk the intended path. 

I like a walk along the speculative road. It crosses boundaries, it’s a way to experience creativity on another level and it opens up new worlds and ideas for readers. Spencer does that and I look forward to experiencing more of his ideas.

Buy The Sadeiest at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: darkstroke / crooked cat, pub date 27 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Boy in the Box Marc E. Fitch

Boy in the Box BT Poster

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Boy in the Box by Marc E. Fitch.

About the Author

Marc E. Fitch is the author of the novels Old Boone Blood, Paradise Burns and Dirty Water,as well as the books Paranormal Nation: Why America Needs Ghosts, UFOs and Bigfoot and Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science. His short fiction has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including Best Horror of the Year vol 10.

Marc received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University and has worked as a bartender, psychiatric technician for inpatient behavioral health hospitals, and most recently as an investigative reporter for a public-policy organization. He was the recipient of the 2014

Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship and the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize. He is the father of four children and lives and works in Connecticut.

About the book

Ten years ago a mysterious and tragic hunting accident deep in the Adirondack Mountains left a boy buried in a storied piece of land known as Coombs’ Gulch and four friends with a terrible secret.

Now, Jonathan Hollis and brothers Michael and Conner Braddick must return to the place that changed their lives forever in order to keep their secret buried. What they don’t realize is that they are walking into a trap — one set decades earlier by a supernatural being who is not confined by time or place:a demon that demands a sacrifice.

Review

When Gene, Jonathan, Conner and his brother Michael travel up to an isolated cabin in the Adirondack Mountains to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of one of them, the plan is to hunt and spend his last moments of single freedom with his mates and doing manly things without any distractions.

Things don’t go exactly as planned and the four of them leave with the kind of secret that burdens the soul and psyche. Killing a child and burying him in the forest isn’t really something you can just get over, right? Well, some of them seem to deal with it better than others.

It becomes necessary to return to the forest to remove the clues of their crime, which thrusts the men back into the nightmare that has been following them around for years.

It’s a tense horror read that creeps and swirls like a malignant fog.

Fitch lets the more sinister side of this story seep in gradually, as if the demon were playing a game of distraction. Is this a story about a murder, about deviants trying to kidnap children or something more nefarious? The misdirection is actually what makes the story so compelling, because you don’t actually put all of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together until the end.

Talking of the end – it throws up this horrific moral dilemma, which gives the book and the reader this last hefty slap of evil. It’s an interesting walk on a very fine line between the instability of minds burdened by guilt, the supernatural and a darkness that exists all around us.

Buy Boy in the Box at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; pub date 23 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz. It’s a western and horror combined with paranormal fantasy.

About the Author

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.”The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin,” reminiscent of ShirleyJackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”

Since then Jonathan’s work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Bryan Smith,and Ronald Kelly. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species,and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, Jonathan Janz’s Shadow Side.

His novel Children of the Dark received a starred review in Booklistand was chosen by their board as one of the Top Ten Horror Books of the Year (August 2015-September 2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German and has been championed by the Library Journal, the School

Library Journal,and Cemetery Dance. In early 2017, his novel Exorcist Falls was released to critical acclaim.

Jonathan’s primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children,and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true.

Follow @JonathanJanz and @flametreepress on Twitter, Follow Janz On Instagram, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit jonathanjanz.com

Buy Dust DevilsAbout the book

It is 1885 in the wilds of New Mexico and Cody Wilson and Willet Black are bent on revenge after their loved ones are slaughtered by a group of traveling actors, but neither of them suspects what they’re really up against.

For the actors are vampires. Their thirst for human blood is insatiable. The two must battle the vampires—alone—or die trying.

Review

Janz has been making a name for himself in the horror genre. It’s fair to say he tries to mix it up and redefine it by combining old favourites and modern ideas. This time it’s a western meets paranormal fantasy extravaganza.

The relationship between Cody and Willet is one of the highlights of the book. The two of them bond over the fact the vampires have taken loved ones from them. Cody becomes almost paternal towards Willet, perhaps the boy represents the future he has lost.

Some of the scenes are quite graphic, especially the violent and sexual ones. Janz can be a bit of a shock jock at times. A bit of a ‘let me lull you with the intricately woven relationships and my writing, then when you least expect it a wet kipper will whack you round the face’ kind of storyteller. The violence or the more graphic details creates a sense of unease and keeps the reader on their toes, which I think is intentional. Janz doesn’t want his readers getting too comfortable.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think readers who know Janz are aware of his style and hey the genre is known for being extreme and bending the boundaries. I think there has to be a nice balance, so it doesn’t appear to be gratuitous. Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to the sexual element.

It’s a western and horror combined with paranormal fantasy. Cowboys vs Vampires, which is far more politically correct and results in some interesting scenarios. It’s a blood-drenched read.

What I can say without a doubt is that Janz enjoys evoking a strong emotional response in readers, regardless of whether they are feeling sympathy, disgust or anger.

Buy Dust Devils at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; pub date 27 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Flame Tree.

Read my review of The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz.

#BlogTour Severed by Peter Laws

Today it is an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Severed by Peter Laws. I have no idea why I haven’t come across this author before, but I will be making a point to do so in future. It’s an eclectic mixture of theology, faith, thriller and horror.

About the Author

Peter Laws is an ordained Baptist minister with a taste for the macabre. He regularly speaks and preaches at churches and events. He lives with his family in Bedfordshire.

Follow @revpeterlaws @AllisonandBusby,Visit peterlaws.co.uk

Buy Severed

About the book

During a communion service at a village church, the teenage son of a vicar brutally attacks his father with an axe. The horrified congregation watch the son escape and during a frantic police search rumours arise that the boy was involved in devil worship.

Professor Matt Hunter, an atheist ex-minister and expert on religion, is brought in to advise, yet he quickly suspects the church attack may have a far more complex cause. Meanwhile, a ten-year-old boy called Ever grows up in a small Christian cult. The group believe they are the only true humans left and that the world is filled with demons called Hollows, but they’re working on a bizarre ritual that will bring peace and paradise to the world. Soon, the worlds of Matt and Ever will collide in one awful, terrifying night where Matt is thrown into the frightening and murderous world of religious mania.

Review

I have no idea why I haven’t come across this author before, but I will be making a point to do so in future. 

Matt Hunter is a one-time man of God, who now likes to dabble in atheism instead. Now he spends his time dissecting his own feelings of faith and his knowledge of theology. He is also the go-to man for all things macabre and faintly godly or devilish in any way, which is how he ends up in the middle of an unusual attempted murder in an old church.

A teenage boy attacks the local vicar during a service all whilst mumbling a strange language. At the same time the reader is introduced to a young boy called Ever, who lives in a seemingly idyllic, albeit odd, small community of very religious people. His family. The question is what is their connection to the events in the church?

I think one of the most interesting aspects of Severed is the way the author unfurls the complexity of cult mentality. How is easy it is to be sucked into a theoretical concept, which to the objective outsider may seem completely absurd. I mean how many people, including really intelligent people I might add, do you think would fall for a money making oppressive religion based on the failed sci-fi stories of an ego-maniacal author who envisioned himself as a leader of the ‘enlightened’ members of the human race. Oh wait, yeh, my bad. Loads of people already have and are paying through the nose for the privilege.

A cult environment is bit like creating the perfect growth habitat for delusional thought fungi. They absorb the vulnerable, the rejected and the lost of our society, whilst the sharks at the top feed on their insecurities, fears and traumas.

This eclectic mixture of theology, faith, thriller and horror makes for a spectacular read. It bandies around the concepts of Christianity, religion, cults and atheism in a way that engages the reader in the narrative like a literary novel, despite the fact it is an action-packed horror read. 

When you’ve read this book take a moment to read the author’s note of acknowledgement – emotional and honest words on the thought process behind the story. In a way it says so much more about the story, the author and society, perhaps more than a mere read may.

Buy Severed at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Allison and Busby; pub date 24 Jan. 2019

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

This isn’t just your run of the mill psychological thriller. Why not? Well it’s a book by Tudor and she likes to mix her thriller and mysteries with an element of the inexplicable, which in turn often wanders into the genre of horror.

Joe is drawn back to his hometown when he starts receiving emails that reference the disappearance of his sister many years ago when they were both children. It reminds him of the fact that he has scores to settle and perhaps he will finally find out what happened to Annie. Then again maybe he has a fair idea about what happened and just doesn’t want anyone else to come to the same conclusion.

He starts working at his old school as a teacher, which throws him straight into the same kind of debilitating oppressive atmosphere of bullying and intimidation he had to put up with as a kid. History is repeating itself, but this time he isn’t going to sit by and watch it happen.

It also brings back memories of a traumatic event in his life and the disappearance of a second child under similar circumstances makes people start to ask uncomfortable questions again. Is it just a coincidence or is there a bigger plan at stake?

I really enjoyed The Chalk Man by Tudor and highly recommend it if you haven’t read anything by this particular author yet. The story of Annie Thorne may just leave you with nightmares or at the very least a healthy fear of entering underground caves. You just never know what might be waiting there for you. 

It’s so much more than just a psychological thriller. The whole essence of the story is infused with a feeling of menace, a silent threat just waiting to welcome the reader into its inner folds. It surrounds the characters like a soft blanket of mist and even manages to penetrate the pages and draw the reader inside its nefarious web.

Buy The Taking of Annie Thorne at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Michael Joseph; pub date 21 Feb. 2019

Follow @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

Read my review of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor.

#BlogTour The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour for The Sorows by Jonathan Janz. Janz has a penchant for the unpredictable and the macabre. A perfect combination for a connoisseur and writer of horror.About the Author

Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories.

His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal.

His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter Shadow World, and you can follow him on:

Follow @JonathanJanz @flametreepress on Twitter, On Instagram

Visit jonathanjanz.com

Buy The Sorrows

About the book

The Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. But its owner needs money, so he allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their female friends to stay a month in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain a haunted castle is just the setting Ben needs to find inspiration for a horror film.

But what they find is more horrific than any movie. Something is waiting for them in the castle. A malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century. And he’s ready to feed.

Review

You get a fair idea of what to expect within the first chapter or so. Okay that’s a lie, Janz loves to spring the unexpected on his readers and his poor characters.

I like the idea of the odd codependent relationship between Ben and Eddie. The whole deal with the devil to achieve ultimate success and wealth. The way Eddie is willing to go to such extreme measures to get Ben motivated or rather to get his creative juices flowing, well it borders on negligence. What he perceives to be amusing others would consider to be reckless and dangerous. Not exactly what I would call a great friend.

I’m not sure the group really understands the stress and pain Chris is going through. Life as he knows it is in tatters, and having to deal with a vindictive ex-wife who is alienating their young son from him, is destroying him physically and mentally. It makes Chris a liability and someone who is willing to take a big risk, Not exactly unusual for a gambler, which is how and why he ends up letting the risk craving group enter Castle Blackwood.

If you have read anything by Janz then you will probably be aware that he has a talent for the darkest depths of hell and horror. The Sorrows represents the beginning of his journey, and also shows much he has honed his craft since then.

Low level male chauvinism and misogyny is alive and well in the men, and the women are objectified. Well, except for evil ex-wife perhaps. The sexual escapades seem more like gratuitous fillers and the horror is on the other end of the extreme.

Saying all that, the talent doesn’t go unnoticed and is clearly evident in this first novel. What I really liked, especially at the beginning of the book, was the way Ben and Eddie reacted to each other and the events. It was almost as if Janz wrote each part without either character knowing what the other was going to do, and that surprise comes through bold as brass.

Janz has a penchant for the unpredictable and the macabre. A perfect combination for a connoisseur and writer of horror.

Buy The Sorrows by Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Flame Tree Press, (New edition – 30 Nov. 2018)