The Monstruous – Book Review


The Monstrous Edited by Ellen Datlow Tachyon October 13, 2015 Reviewed by Tim Potter The Monstrous is the latest anthology of horror and dark fantasy from editor Ellen Datlow. While there are some stories that are terrifically entertaining, the collection is uneven in terms quality, but the good certainly outweighs the bad. There is only one piece of fiction original to this book, the closing story “Corpsemouth” by John Langan and it fails to do more than serve as an uneven anchor to an uneven anthology. Datlow kicks off the book with an introduction that has an etymological look at the word “monster” and continues with a description of the theme of the collection. It’s not so much the monsters, Datlow wants readers to know, but “ the humans react to the monstrosities they encounter.” The first fiction work in the book is “A Natural History of Autumn” by Jeffrey Ford. It’s an interesting and unique story that blurs the line between human and animal and features a unique monster with a mysterious origins. There are also a few twists as the story comes to it’s conclusion that work rather nicely and that the reader likely won’t see coming. The story unfolds at a slow … [Read more...]

Donate To Danai Gurira’s Almasi Arts Alliance Benefit and Win The Ultimate ‘The Walking Dead’ Fan Experience


Danai Gurira, who plays “Michonne” on “The Walking Dead,” has teamed up with CrowdRise to offer fans a chance to attend the exclusive event and win the ultimate fan package. By donating as little as $10 at, fans will be entered to win a trip for two to New York, including flights and hotel. The winner and a guest will attend the season 6 premiere at Madison Square Garden, where they’ll get a chance to go backstage with Gurira. Additionally, the winner will be flown to Atlanta, GA, to tour some of the famous sites from the show as well as have lunch with Gurira. “The Walking Dead” experience will continue with a weapons training session, where the winner will learn to shoot a crossbow, get made up as a Zombie and receive a “Go Bag” full of disaster survival gear. All proceeds will benefit the Almasi Arts Alliance, an organization which Gurira co-founded. Almasi Arts Alliance’s mission is to create professional opportunities within the dramatic arts industry in Zimbabwe, where Gurira was raised. The contest is open now and ends on September 24, 2015 at 11:59:59am ET. Gurira made an exclusive video to announce the contest and you can view it on … [Read more...]

Tales of the Bastard Drunk – Book Review


Tales of the Bastard Drunk D. M. Woon Mystery and Horror, LLC May 23, 2015 Reviewed by Tim Potter Tales of the Bastard Drunk, by D.M. Woon, is an intricately and interestingly structured horror story that defies any easy classification. It is and isn’t a novel or novella, just as it is and isn’t an anthology or collection. It’s an amalgamation of all of those forms of literature, there’s even some poetic verse hiding in it, and it makes for great reading. The pacing does have peaks and valleys, with some great stories and some rather forgettable ones, but the book is so full of great ideas that they more than make up for any lulls in the plot. The general structure of the book is something rarely seen in modern literature. Four people come together at a deserted tavern and, due to coincidence, have about eight hours to spend together. The booming voice in the dark of the bar is its resident mascot and best customer, the titular Bastard Drunk. At the recommendation of the barkeep, Riley, the two men passing through (or trying to pass through) can stay the night if they drink. He also tells the travellers, Fitz and Paul, that if they buy the Bastard Drunk a glass of rum … [Read more...]

The Fifth House of the Heart – Book Review


The Fifth House of the Heart Ben Tripp Gallery Books July 28, 2015 Reviewed by Marvin P. Vernon Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang is an aging antiques dealer who just outbid a woman on an over-priced antique clock in an auction. Later that night the clock is stolen and the watchman for Sax’s warehouse is murdered. Sax knows who wanted the clock and who would be willing to kill for it. Vampires! For Sax has tangled with them before. What he doesn’t know is why nor does he know that the particular vampire who would have a motive to steal it is the one who almost killed him before. Now Sax, despite his age and what he sees as having a natural cowardice tendency which is only beaten by his greed, will assemble a team and reclaim his prize even though he knows it may be the last thing he will do. That is the starting premise of The Fifth House of the Heart which may be one of best vampire novels in years. It is certainly a trifle different than the recent horde of undead fiction. Tripp has already had his fling recasting zombies in the unconventional Rise Again novels and he seems to want to do the same thing with vampires. The author‘s vampires are close enough to be familiar but … [Read more...]

Fuckin’ Lie Down Already – Book Review


Fuckin’ Lie Down Already Tom Piccirilli Crossroad Press & Macabre Ink 2010 Reviewed by Tim Potter Tom Piccirilli’s stunning novella Fuckin’ Lie Down Already is a book that will leave readers thinking that it’s possible to hold one’s breath for the better part of 100 pages. The story is firmly rooted in revenge justice and includes strong elements of noir and horror. The prose is beautiful and vulgar, the dialogue is rapid-fire and rings authentic and the action is full of down-and-dirty violence and viscera. The characters are relatable, and, without a doubt, brutal in thought and action. Clay, the protagonist of the tale is obsessed with revenge and extracting violent retribution from the men responsible for his family’s death and his being gut-shot. There is no doubt from the outset that Clay has received a mortal wound. It is clear he is going to die and it’s one of the strengths of the book that the reader knows where things will ultimately end but is still kept on the edge of their seat. The unknown element is whether or not Clay will get the revenge he seeks before his painful, festering wound kills him. It’s a situation that leaves the reader cheering for … [Read more...]

Hex Publishers Lines Up Award-Winning and Bestselling Authors For First Anthology

Nightmares Unhinged slider

Hex Publishers, a new publishing house focused on speculative fiction, will release its first horror anthology, NIGHTMARES UNHINGED, in September. The book will feature 20 tales of dark and twisted fiction written by a roster of award-winning and bestselling authors. Synopsis: Nightmares come in many forms. Some rend the veil of sleep with heart-stopping madness. Others defy sanity to leave a helpless corner of your mind twitching for release. Sometimes, hours after waking, a nightmare drifts across your memory, tainting your day with wisps of discomfort. NIGHTMARES UNHINGED reveals horror in all its mutable forms—abject to absurd—through twenty tales of terror. Contributors include, among others: Award-winning writer Stephen Graham Jones; Hugo Award winner Jason Heller; Bram Stoker Award winner Steve Rasnic Tem; Nebula Award winner Edward Bryant; Bestselling author of the “Felix Gomez” vampire series, Mario Acevedo; foreword by New York Times bestseller Steve Alten; edited by USA Best Book Award winner Joshua Viola Additionally, the cover art for Nightmares Unhinged was recently selected for inclusion in Spectrum 22. Spectrum is a best-selling, annual printed … [Read more...]

July JournalStone Hellnotes Newsletter


Let's go ahead and get this out of the way. The newsletter is late. I know it, you know it, so I won't quibble about it. The good news is that you're still going to get to see what great books JournalStone has for you this month. Gary A. Braunbeck's Keepers is out this month, and you won't want to miss it. We have been excited from the very first day that we signed Gary, and this book will let you know why. You really will want to order this one today. You'll also want to get the latest issue of Dark Discoveries Magazine. If you have ever looked to the future with a touch of fear because of the dizzying pace of scientific progress, this is the issue for you. I haven't really mentioned this before, but I hope you've noticed the links provided in the newsletter that take you to book and magazine reviews posted on the Hellnotes website. We have a group of reviewers who work hard to find the latest in horror fiction and let you know what books are worth your hard earned money. Before you buy any horror book, take a look and see if we have reviewed it. You may find that it keeps you from making a mistake, or it could make you look forward even more to buying that book you've … [Read more...]

60 Seconds! – Game Review


60 Seconds! Robot Gentleman Available on PC May 25, 2015 Reviewed by Jess Landry Ever wondered if you have the ability to survive a nuclear apocalypse? Would you know what supplies to grab? Would you know what to avoid? How long do you think you’d last? The fine folks over at Robot Gentleman have no doubt asked themselves these same questions. But instead of waiting for the nuclear fallout to hit, they decided to be proactive and create 60 Seconds!, a fun little post-apocalyptic survival game. 60 Seconds! sees the player assume the role of Ted, the typical 1960s family man complete with sweater vest and slicked Dippity-Do hair. Your goal (depending on what mode you choose) is to gather as many helpful items around the house as possible in sixty seconds, and to throw them into your very own fallout shelter. Whether the items include weapons, food, water or even some of your family members is completely up to you. Have enough room for an axe but not your son? Godspeed, little Timmy. Once the bombs go off and you make it to your fallout shelter, the goal is then to ration supplies and see how long you can make it with the items you collected. There are three types of … [Read more...]

ClownFellas – Book Review


ClownFellas Carlton Mellick III Hydra, an imprint of Random House July 14, 2015 Reviewed by Tim Potter ClownFellas by Carlton Mellick III is a singularly fantastic reading experience. It's a rare book that succeeds on all levels, which is saying something, considering how many levels this book has. More than I could ever identify or explain, that's for sure. The premise is as simple as it is crazy. Crime families are made up of clowns. Actual circus and birthday party clowns. Clowns named Don Bozo, head of the Bozo crime family, and Bingo Ballbreaker, the unwackable clown mafia buttonman. Pies are weaponized, balloon animals come to life, as many people fit in a clown car as needed physics be damned and clowns are a racial minority. The novel is obviously bizarre, and a fine example of bizarro literature at its best, but it's also a great mob novel. Strip away all of the outrageous clown action and this is still a great mafia story that could stand on its own. The prose is likewise excellent and the author shows a deft touch with dialogue. The characters are almost all clowns, yet still come to life as real people in three dimensions, their clownness just a facet of … [Read more...]

Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories – Book Review


Peripheral Visions: The Collected Ghost Stories Robert Hood IFWG Publishing Australia April 6, 2015 Reviewed by Mario Guslandi First of all, two warnings: Robert Hood, a prolific Australian writer, is alive and well. This volume collects his stories published between 1986 and 2015, but we expect many more to follow in the near and not-so-near future. Second: the term “ghost” must be used in a very broad way. There are certainly actual ghosts throughout the collection, but this book includes stories that would more aptly be defined as "quiet horror," or simply, "dark fiction." But never mind labels. Here we have a massive body of work by an author who has been devoted to the task of penning scary tales for thirty years or so, and that I had encountered just a few times in the past as a reader and a reviewer. Hood is certainly a fine writer and a skilled craftsman in the dark genre, and it was time that his stories should be assembled under one cover. To express an overall opinion about his fiction is a difficult task due to the extremely uneven quality of the stories. Truth be told, the way the book is divided (assembling the stories according to their subject and not … [Read more...]