Sunday, October 28, 2018


The concept here is a cool modern haunted house spin that follows a couple recovering from a family tragedy that decides to star on a house swap reality show for a few months and come back to discover that their house isn't quite right.
"Don't you see what she's doing? Don't you see what she did in our house?"
I appreciated the focus on the pain of loss and the effects of ignoring it. But, unfortunately, I found this to be pretty "meh." It was entertaining to read on a surface level but it didn't have much more impact than that for me. I found the writing to be a bit pedestrian and on-the-nose, and because all the horror bits were pretty predictable and filled with things I've seen before, it just felt as if horror-trope boxes were simply being checked off rather than creating something special. I did really enjoy the last act and the way that the truth of the tragedy was revealed. But, this is another recent read that I found pretty forgettable and another one of my opinions that seem to be in the minority.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

WOLF HUNT 2 by Jeff Strand

The same way that Ellen Ripley in the Alien movie series is destined to always do battle with the alien, George and Lou in the Wolf Hunt series will always be forever linked to werewolves for our sadistic entertainment. This sequel picks up soon after the first adventure and George and Lou are on the run after botching the last job, watching telenovelas and trying not to get killed by bounty hunters. But their luck runs out and now their only way to save their butts is to take a job kidnapping another werewolf, this time a young girl, with bloodthirsty parents.

While this sequel doesn't have the novelty or quite the same relentless pace as the first, it still has the same great humor, suspenseful and scary moments, and pretty well-written action scenes. There are twists galore here, and I'm constantly impressed by how well Strand can handle it all juggling the changing tones and keeping it all entertaining.


Sunday, October 7, 2018


I'm really curious to find out whether or not this story was written very early in Curran's career. Because it reads like it. It feels like it was written as a first draft in a college freshman writing class. Not only is the prose messy with too much telling and not enough showing, Curran also doesn't seem to have much of a grasp of his main character Kitty Seevers (Seavers/Seever). He doesn't even keep her name consistent from page to page. There also doesn't seem to be much consistency even in what little personality is there, and she seems to mostly exist solely because of the need to have a protagonist. There's a big jump in the tone of her character halfway through this novella that was so jarring that it distracted me throughout the whole last half.

And this is sad because there's potential here, with the creepy subject of a ventriloquist doll, and the fact that some of Tim Curran's other work is great, such as The Underdwelling. So it seems like I'm in the minority here, but this one really didn't work for me. It really needed a few additional drafts to make it more polished.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

JACK & JILL by Kealan Patrick Burke

Kealan Patrick Burke knows horror. In this novella, he once again shows us that real horror lies in tragedy, and is at it's strongest when it's tied to emotional pain rather than just in the physical. I don't want to say too much about the plot other than we follow a woman still struggling to cope with childhood trauma. Burke pulls the rug out from under us and the ending is as horrifying as you can imagine, immediately making you want to read it over again just to see if you read it right.

But part of the reason why this works so well is how much of a grasp Burke has on the characters and the interactions. Gillian and her husband. The way they interact with their children. Everything is so recognizable that it hurts even more when it all begins to crumble in an epic way. Kealan Patrick Burke is definitely an author you can depend on.