Book Review: “The Red Church” by Scott Nicholson

Haven’t been posting as many of my reviews here on the blog, but here’s one for a novel I thought was quite unique. Definitely worth checking out.

red church.jpgThe Red Church is a book that’s been on my radar for years, finally had the chance to dig into it, and glad I did. Instead of just uncovering a quick treasure that’s been buried underground and has maybe lost some of it’s shine, this was like unearthing a fossil only to realize that you’re standing not over a single specimen but an entire burial ground that could fill museums. Reminiscent of early King, Nicholson is a master wordsmith, and his imagery is as haunting as it is poignant. At times the religious aspects of the book felt a little heavy handed, but the final picture painted is worth every stroke of the artist’s brush.

Far from your run-of-the-mill supernatural horror story, this is one that will sit with you long after you’ve digested it. Will be looking into more of Nicholson’s work for sure.

“When you have one of those waking nightmares, when you think bad things in the dark and can’t go to sleep, you think happy thoughts. Cartoon dogs, fat clowns, things like that. Except sometimes the cartoon dogs bite and the fat clowns grow sharp smiles.”

 

When the Police Show Up at YOUR House

It’s always a little disconcerting when you’re driving up your neighborhood to five patrol cars parked haphazardly in the streets and a helicopter circling overhead. Even more concerning when you realize the cops are coming out of your home.

I arrived home after work today to the aftermath of what could have been one of the most frightening scenarios for a father. My wife had taken one of our daughters to a dance class, leaving my oldest to watch her brother for an hour. On her way home she got a call from my daughter saying, “Someone’s in the house.”

 

Evil clown Santa covered in blood.
What I imagine this “home invader” looked like ….

Allegedly they heard the front door slam and someone walking through the house. My wife, being the good mother she is, told them to immediately run to the neighbors, then promptly dialed 911. Fortunately nothing was taken, no one was hurt, except maybe my wife’s pride for making a call when she wasn’t 100% certain of the situation. But the police were amazingly understanding and told her again and again she made the right call. Better to be safe, in a situation like that, than sorry.

The false alarm — if indeed it was — got me thinking about how quickly our lives can change. We think we’re running down a stream, steering clear of the sides or any obstacle in our path, but no matter how safe you play it you can’t predict the potential disasters that can strike at any second. Physical or mental illness; the death of a loved one; the loss of employment, or faith, or love; utterly freak accidents … They come when they want, never arriving according to our schedules or desires. It’s all part of this experience we call life, and it’s how we pick ourselves up afterward that’s what makes humanity so great.

So in light of all the political upheavals and daily struggles we all entertain, be grateful today that the police didn’t show up at your house with news that your life will never again be the same.

I know I am.


 

 

Book Review: Happiness is a Commodity by The Behrg

Always appreciate those who take the time to review my work. Much appreciated Mike –

Lurking In The Shadows

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Description:

In the future, Happiness can no longer be achieved through natural means, but must be purchased from the government for brief 20-minute increments.

And the price is going up.

One man documents his experience as he uncovers a conspiracy by the governing elite. Those who are ALWAYS happy. But he will soon discover that the cost of real Happiness may be far worse than living perpetually in the dark.

Told through blog-post entries, this non-traditional novella explores a world where darkness and misery are the norm. An allegory for living with depression, this story will open your eyes to the millions lost in darkness around you, and may prepare you for a future that is all too likely to come.

Review:

Brilliant!

And I have no idea what I just read.  Happiness is a Commodity is one of those books you just have to read for yourself.  I can’t…

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Book Review: “Fingerprints of the Gods” by Graham Hancock

I’m pretty behind w/ my book reviews folks, and sort of wondering if I’ll continue to review the books I read quite as regularly. Time is sadly a commodity that’s becoming increasingly difficult to find, and I’ve got to make some hard choices here with where my investments are spent.

That being said, here’s my thoughts on one I finished last month, Graham Hancock’s Fingerprints of the Gods:

fingerprints.jpgAlternate histories … lost civilizations … ancient prophecies and doomsday predictions … what’s not to love about a man’s journey researching possibilities?

What I enjoyed most about this book was that it’s focus wasn’t on convincing you of Hancock’s theories but rather encouraging people to ask questions. To consider new ideas. To expand our thoughts and beliefs of what we think we might know. Some of his findings and conclusions were admittedly far-reaching, but that’s not the point of the book.

Are there mysteries in our past that we still, in our age, are unable to solve or answer or even begin to understand? Absolutely. And Hancock’s conversationally-toned exploration is a great place to discover some of those provocations. It’s the mysteries of life, the unanswered questions, that keep a sense of magic moving through this world, opening our eyes to look beyond ourselves. The most powerful question anyone has ever asked is: What if?

Book Review: “The Halloween Children” by Brian James Freeman & Norman Prentiss

“The Halloween Children are watching me. They’re watching us all …”

halloween childrenThis novella reminded me a bit of a Jack Ketchum story. The first 2/3 of the book is spent exploring the characters – in this case a quite dysfunctional family. A constant sense of dread continues to build as questions are strung throughout the narrative like carefully placed decorations, until you reach the end which comes screaming at you like a freight train lifted from its tracks.

The narrative point of views, in flipping from Lynn and Harris’s perspectives, worked extremely well as you couldn’t fully trust either of the two narrators. The savvy reader begins to get the real picture of what’s going on by what’s NOT being said. I’ve always enjoyed the unreliable narrator motif, and it’s used here in quite a unique way that’s not fully understood until you reach the end.

But the ending — I’ll admit, a few times I grew a little weary of the bickering between the two parents, but this has one of the best endings for a book I’ve ever read. The thematic metaphors woven throughout one of the most tragic and shocking finales you’ll find … as I was reading I felt as if my jaw kept dropping lower and lower. Beautifully crafted, this is horror that will affect even the most jaded of horror fans.

A fantastic collaboration between two amazing authors, this is a book that will stay with you long after you close the final page.

“You’re all guilty. You’re all the Halloween Children.”

NOTE: This book will be released June 7th, by Random House and their Hydra imprint. You can pre-order a copy here.

** I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **

Book Review: “Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

hex.jpgA present-day witch story that cleverly combines new horror with old-school horror, Hex is a novel that is quite unique. Part “Cabin in the Woods,” part “Under the Dome,” the reader is brought into a town under self-quarantine, and the slow-burn suspense builds like watching a spark travel down the wick towards a stick of dynamite. In this instance, that wick may be a little long, but when it reaches the blasting cap, you better believe it explodes.

The last quarter of this novel is incredible, and the way Heuvelt underscores the action and horror with underlying thematic elements only adds to its mastery. Definitely a novel deserving of the praise its received and a great example of how to cull from the horror greats who have come before you while simultaneously cementing your own unique vision on a work. One of my favorite reads so far from this year.

See you in Doodle Town.

Because Who Doesn’t Love a Free Book?

Sadly the word FREE, as it goes with offering a product, often assigns a “value-less” attachment to whatever is being offered. Ebooks are no different, and with the desperation many authors face in trying to attract readers, it’s no surprise that this trend has affected — and disrupted — the wonderful world of reading.

There are, however, times when great books are offered at heavily discounted prices.

Recently, Amazon has introduced a new program called Prime Reading, in which Amazon Prime members can “borrow” up to ten ebooks at a time for absolutely no cost to the reader. Thousands of books are plugged into their rotating carousel of available books each month and, much like borrowing a book from a library, readers can check one out but WITHOUT accruing late charges.

My novel, HOUSEBROKEN, was a part of the introductory Prime Reading program when it first launched, and it was a great way to introduce my work to new readers during that time frame. Well, as the carousel continues its rotations, I thought I’d make you lovely readers aware of a few books you can download today for free that are part of this program, books you won’t want to miss.

Books You Can Download for FREE w/ Amazon’s Prime Reading:

1984First, do yourself a favor and pick up George Orwell’s fantastic dystopian novel, 1984. If you haven’t read this one yet, you’re in for a treat. In today’s world this little classic is looking more and more prophetic, and not in a good way.

 
Unpaved SurfacesFor a chilling character-driven suspense read, make sure you grab Joseph Souza’s award winning novel, Unpaved Surfaces. About the deconstruction and reconstruction of a family who has a child go missing, it’s a fantastic read.

 

melophobiaAnother dystopian novel that’s near and dear to my heart is Melophobia by James Morris. About a world where music is banned and musicians are fugitives, this one takes some surprising turns. Definitely one of my top reads for 2016.

 

twistedAuthor Andrew Kaufman has a dark thriller in the vein of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island that’s available. While I preferred Lehane’s execution, Twisted is still a great psychological thriller definitely worth checking out.

 

freelancer.jpgOff the beaten path from my normal dark reading, for fans of YA & sci-fi, I found Freelancer by Jake Lingwall a particularly clever novel. He’s created a futuristic world with hackers and drones and a protagonist you want to root for.

 

lewisAnother genre-blending novel is Forever by Linda Cassidy Lewis, who combines a gripping love story with a dark tale of possession. This definitely went in directions I wasn’t expecting and is an extremely memorable read.

 

Support an Author and (Potentially) Receive a Free Book!

Haunted HouseOutside of the Prime Reading program you’ve got an opportunity to help a fantastic author win a contract through the Kindle Scout program. Norman Prentiss’s novel, Life In a Haunted House, has been on the Hot & Trending list since it debuted on Kindle Scout and his campaign is up in a matter of days. By taking a moment to nominate his book, if it wins you’ll pick up a free advanced copy (and I’d be earth-shatteringly shocked if this one doesn’t win). Plus it’s just fun to help a deserving author along their road to success.

Check out his campaign and click nominate here. And if you dig what he’s doing with this release, he’s also offering three shorter tie-in novelizations which are also currently available for free. Check them out below:

* “The Lake Monster” — https://instafreebie.com/free/PMtEs

* “The Dungeon of Count Verlock,” — https://instafreebie.com/free/bu1p9

* “The Space Visitor,” — https://instafreebie.com/free/bu1p9 

My Own Free Offerings

Lastly, (if you aren’t sick of free stuff by now — I did warn you!!) if you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, I’m currently offering 3 free eBooks as a Thank You for subscribing. The First Book in The Creation Series, The Creation: In The Beginning; my short story The Lines (The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title); and an exclusive story that’s only available through my newsletter, entitled “Patterns.”

I only send out the occasional update through the newsletter to announce new releases, contests or sales. Subscribe here and I’ll get your free books on their way.

See? Whoever said free wasn’t a good thing?

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