Book Reviews of (fairly) recent publications. Each of the following books may be purchased through any large book store or online through www.amazon.com.
REVIEWED: Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane
EDITED BY: John Skipp
PUBLISHED: September, 2012
It’s hard to say that new John Skipp anthologies are better than the ones before it, because each of his books are a treasure of fiction stories. So with that being said, if you were a fan of his earlier anthologies, “ZOMBIES” or “WEREWOLVES” or “DEMONS,” this latest, “PSYCHOS,” meets the same level of quality horror and depth of genre you may have found before. It’s another immense collection, clocking in at about 600 pages, oversize trim, and 38 stories, plus introduction and various appendices. As before, the book also covers historic fiction, famous reprints, and plenty of new works by some of the best names in dark fiction, such as Neil Gaimon, Jack Ketchum, Joe R. Lansdale, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Bentley Little. Some of my personal favorite stories in this book include the Stoker-nominated tale, “Righteous,” by Weston Ochse, the seminal “Lucy Comes To Stay,” by Robert Bloch, “The Shallow End of the Pool,” by Adam-Troy Castro, “Damaged Goods,” by Elizabeth Massie, and “The Small Assassin” by Ray Bradbury.
Five out of Five stars
REVIEWED: SEAL Team 666
WRITTEN BY: Weston Ochse
PUBLISHED: November, 2012
This is the second full-length Ochse novel I’ve read (after SCARECROW GODS) and thus also the second full-length Ochse novel that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Each book is written in a distinctive voice, but SEAL TEAM 666 may be the more appealing to me only because of the subject matter: American SEAL Team special operations that fight against the country’s “Supernatural Enemies.” That’s right… good ol’ American weaponry, firepower, and kickass attitude against demons, monsters, golems, possession, and a whole slew of other unhuman forces. The book is fast-paced, gripping, and filled with action as well as a full range of emotions from empathetic sorrow to rapid-fire joking. Great book.
Five out of Five stars
REVIEWED: John Dies at the End
WRITTEN BY: David Wong
PUBLISHED: December, 2012 (original limited release August, 2007)
I was looking for something “different” to read and I found it. John Dies at the End is a hilarious and fascinating take on two slackers who must save the world amidst a backdrop of drugs, aliens, monsters, demons, girls, minimum-wage bosses, and an unbelieving reporter. Totally inappropriate and sometimes immature jokes, but very funny for those with a warped sense of humor. I loved the originality of the book and the voice of the characters. The plot was awesome – just crazy and fast-paced – until about half way through. Then, it began to lull. That was my only problem with the book, is that it just seemed to go on for too long. It didn’t drag, per se – the plot was always moving – but I just had a sense of a story which would never end; just one madcap adventure after the other. It’s like sitting in front of a stand-up comedian hour after hour: for awhile, it’s great and you’re enjoying yourself. But chalk up five or six hours of the same guy’s routine and you just want it to end. So, overall, good book and I recommend it, though it cut have been cut shorter.
Four out of Five stars
Eric J. Guignard is MCM’s horror genre correspondent, and writes dark and speculative fiction from his office in Los Angeles. His stories and articles may be found in magazines, journals, anthologies, and any other media that will print him. He’s a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society, and is also the Horror Genre Correspondent for Men’s Confidence Magazine. In addition, he’s an anthology editor, including: Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (2012, Dark Moon Books), which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award®, and this year’s critically acclaimed release, After Death… (2013, Dark Moon Books). Read his novella, Baggage of Eternal Night (2013, JournalStone Publishing), and watch for many more forthcoming books. Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, or at his blog: www.ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ericjguignard.