Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dead World Resurrection

It's odd, but despite how many zombie stories I've read over the years, the only Joe McKinney zombie story I'd read was the one in The Living Dead 2, until I got a review copy of Dead World Resurrection.This is obviously going to have to change, as I enjoyed the collection and will now have to get the novels in his Dead World series.

There are some really good stories in this anthology, but there were also some things I didn't care for all that much. There were a couple of short essay-ish pieces, namely "Zombies and Their Haunts" and "Suburbia of the Dead," which would have been better off excluded as they were kind of boring and were reused in the lengthy "A Reader's Guide to Dead World" at the end of the book.

The actual short stories were pretty good, and reasonably diverse for zombie stories. Many of the stories feature the viral zombies of the Dead World series, but despite the title, not all of the stories are do. "Sabbatical in the Ohio Methlands" has zombies that are zombies in a more metaphorical sense.The zombies of "Starvation Army" seem to be more like hungry ghosts. "Jimmy Finder" has zombie-fighting robots. There are even stories where people become zombies from ODing on psychedelic mushrooms or from cuts caused by strange clams.

This is a really good collection of zombies stories  that's far better than the formulaic crap that seems to have flooded the market in recent years.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dark Screams

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the forthcoming horror anthology Dark Screams: Volume One. It's a really good (short) collection. It's only got five stories, but they're all from fairly well known authors, and they're all good.

The book starts off with its only reprint, "Weeds," by Stephen King. Even if, like me, you haven't read this story before, you still probably know it, because it was used in Creepshow as "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill."  Even if you're familiar with the story from the film, it's still a great read.

The second story is "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong. It seems to start off as a standard horror trope about two women who get kidnapped and tortured by a psychopath, but it quickly moves into a different direction. I think it might have been my favorite story in the collection.

Story number three is "Magic Eyes," by Bill Pronzini. It's about a man in a mental hospital who claims he's not insane, he didn't murder his wife, and some sort of magic eyes are really responsible. Once again this story starts off seeming like a standard horror trope, but eventually proves to be something different.

The fourth story is Simon Clark's "Murder in Chains," which is about a man who wakes up to find himself chained to a murderous lunatic. Wackiness ensues (and by wackiness, I mean lots of blood and gore).

The final story is Ramsey Campbell's "The Watched," which is about a policeman who seeks revenge against the drug dealers he holds responsible for his daughter's death. Not surprisingly, there is a supernatural twist.

This is a really good anthology, and since it's only available in ebook form, it's cheap, too.



Monday, September 15, 2014

The Falcoln Throne

It's rare that I read a book and don't really know what to think about it, but that's the case with The Falcon Throne. I've enjoyed other books by Karen Miller, and I certainly didn't dislike this book. It just seems like this book was written to cash in on the popularity of Game of Thrones.

Both works have Throne in the title. Both books are fantasies set in pseudo-medieval kingdoms. Both works are about politics with lots of treachery and backstabbing and power-hungry lunatics who want to seize a throne at all costs. Both works have large numbers of major characters. Both works keep magic more or less in the background. Both works tell fairly dark stories.

I'm not saying that Falcon is a copy of Game, because it clearly isn't. It is, however, very much the same sort of story. If you enjoy Game of Thrones, the books or the TV show, you'll probably enjoy this. Unfortunately, its also long, fairly depressing, and you will see bad things happen to characters you like.

Personally, I will probably pick up the rest of the series when it's written.