Painted by Kirsten McKenzie

Anita is an inexperienced, young art appraiser who jumps at the opportunity to catalog an artist’s collection following his death. The reclusive artist painted abundantly. He left such an extensive collection that Anita has to spend several days at his remote coastal home. There is no phone service or WiFi. It’s a daunting task to stay in the portrait filled old house alone. The author brings us a classic haunted house vibe. The aging building is all creaks and groans. To begin with, mysterious little things happen as the tension and the notion that all is not right builds. The atmosphere is fueled by the portraits and their sadness as presented in oils. Anita cannot feel relaxed for a moment, as she has the feeling that the eyes in the portraits are watching. You feel the sense of isolation in the house, with just Anita and the paintings and the […]

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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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Edging by Michael Schutz

A new designer drug, Intenze, is on the market. The experience of taking it is called Edging. Unlike any other drugs, Edging gives you a brief but terrifying reality-bending experience, along with an adrenaline rush that can’t be beaten. Taking Intenze is like a watching a horror film while riding a roller coaster. It’s also highly addictive. There is more to the drug though. The fear it induces opens a doorway for a dark creature, known as The Thirst, to worm its way into the world. The darkness that is The Thirst manipulates an addict to spread Intenze across the small town of New London to all of the unsuspecting public. The members of the town are a varied bunch and we get to know them before the whole place starts going to hell. I liked the natural way the different members of the community cross paths. It gives it […]

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Feral by James DeMonaco & Brian Evenson

Blumhouse has been leading the way in horror production lately with big box office successes like The Conjuring, Split, and Get Out. I hadn’t realized that they were lending their name to novels too now. James DeMonaco, the writer/director of the hit, The Purge, gives us Feral, a horror book from the Blumhouse Books stable. All signs point to it not being a typical school day for Allie. A drama-filled day begins when a sex tape of her best friend is widely circulated. Little does she realize that it will be the last day of school. Things get progressively stranger as the school day continues. Male students are distracted in the classroom and perform incredible feats of strength on the sports field. Slowly, all the male students begin showing strange symptoms, excreting a pus-like mucus substance, and running a high fever. This is the how the end of civilization begins. […]

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Demons by WD Jackson

Demons is the first book in a new series surrounding a detective. With his move to the London Metropolitan Police, Detective Inspector Daniel Graves is unfortunately getting more familiar with seeing dead bodies. A particularly gruesome late night murder falls to him and his partner to investigate. Catherine is a freelance demonologist, assisted by Marcus. When she sees a local news report about a family who appears to have an evil presence in their midst, she offers her services to remove the demon. Things don’t exactly go according to plan as the bodies begin to mount up and the paths of the demonologist and Inspector Graves come together. Our main character, Graves, is likeable enough, as are the ensemble of others in the story. None of the others had remarkable personalities except for Catherine, who has more depth than it first appears. I did like the tie-in to the satanic […]

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Jackals by Stuart  R. Brogan

It’s a late night in a sleepy English town’s police station when all hell breaks loose. Jackals begins when three individuals enter the police station and brutally murder and then behead everyone inside. A unique sigil is painted in blood on the police station wall as a calling card and message. This sets the tone for the rest of the story. Visceral violence with sharp instruments, knives, axes, and nailed baseball bats are the order of the day. We find out our killers work for The Order, a secret society. The Order is an Illuminati that believes in embracing the primitive urges and killing indiscriminately without remorse. The Jackals are small units who carry these tactics out. The thrill of the kill and the hunt leads us to the main plot of the story. Jesse and her husband are out for their anniversary and are in the wrong place at […]

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Burning Down Paradise by Eric Kapitan

In Burning Down Paradise, Eric Kapitan brings us something pretty unique. The text is delivered entirely as a poem, and this was not a style I’d come across before. Before reading further, put away any preconceptions you have about poetry, because this is not what you might expect. This story about evil, begins with the beginning of evil – with Lucifer cast out of heaven. There is a truce between Heaven and Hell, but the world of humans is fair game. We then follow the life, death, and beyond, of a wretched man named Timothy. He was born out of the worst possible circumstances and full of vengeance. His only pleasure comes from inflicting pain and killing, haunted by visions of his ideal victim. He is a serial killer, so as you would expect, there is plenty of brutal gore and sadism inflicted on his part. It will certainly make […]

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