The Method by Duncan Ralston

The Method is an unconventional couples therapy retreat that Frank and Linda hear about from some friends who attended. The treatment saved their relationship. Frank and Linda decide this might be what they need to reconnect and save their marriage. The treatment is expensive and as it turns out, not just financially so. The setting is a remote lodge in the middle of the Montana wilderness. Surrounded by forests and a lake, it’s isolated and picturesque. Phones and other distractions are taken away for the weekend so they can focus on themselves and each other. A walk in the woods changes everything for them. A murder and the arrival of a local militia put them in a desperate battle for survival, and they are forced to trust and rely on each other. Much of the book focuses on the failing relationship of Frank and Linda, so we get to know […]

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Woom by Duncan Ralston

Woom takes place in the aptly named Lonely Motel. Angel has returned to the motel, to a particular room, room 6. It was the site of a traumatic experience for him. He calls for an escort to accompany him, one of a very particular body type. He proceeds to tell her some stories all related to the room, and so begins an anthology of tales all linked together with a common theme. Some of the tales of note that are not spoilery: Jenny and Johnny get into heroin trouble with a dealer. They have to act as drug mules and that means putting a lot of baggies inside their bodies; Mary uses the room to give herself a late abortion following her rape and abandonment; A man is born again following a claustrophobic experience. Through the stories we learn about the pain that both Angel and Shyla have experienced over […]

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Gristle & Bone by Duncan Ralston

Hi everybody! I’m Janice, otherwise known as Scarina from scarina.wordpress.com. I responded to Andrew’s call for reviewers and he agreed to let me review. I normally write about movies but I’m always looking for a good spooky book to read so this feels like a good fit. My first review at The Books of Blood is Gristle and Bone by Duncan Ralston, a collection of seven short and novella-length stories. Ralston writes about modern trends and issues like veterans returning from war, the nature of viral videos, ultra-realistic violent porn, browser-history paranoia, foodies, and freegans, with an often sarcastic, spooky eye. “Baby Teeth” deals with an infertile couple and the power of wishes. The story features body horror that wouldn’t be out of place in a Cronenberg film. “Beware of Dog” is one of my favorites from the collection and could stand to be a full-length novel. It’s a page-turning […]

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How to Kill a Celebrity by Duncan Ralston

How to Kill a Celebrity (great title) is a novelette that follows Annie on the first job of her media career. She’s fresh out of school, and excited to be hired by a New Orleans TV station as a video editor. The job isn’t exactly what she expected. The preemptive video obituaries she prepares are immediately followed by the death of the subject. As an adopted Louisianian and former New Orleanian, I loved the setting and local references of which there were plenty. There was talk of streets and neighborhoods, Raising Canes chicken, and Sazerac cocktails. This author has to be familiar with the city or he’s a damned good researcher. It’s an enjoyable twisted tale. As a short story/ novelette,  I don’t think it’s appropriate to try and score it out of 10. If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone or Tales of the Unexpected, you’ll especially enjoy […]

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