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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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...]

Creepy Presents Alex Toth – Book Review

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Creepy Presents Alex Toth Art by Alex Toth Dark Horse Books July 21, 2015 Reviewed by Tim Potter Reprinted in the original beautiful black and white, Creepy Presents Alex Toth collects all of the iconic artist’s horror stories from Warren comic books between 1965 and 1982. There are twenty stories that first appeared in the pages of Creepy and Eerie and one rare tale from Blazing Combat. The stories feature a variety of different writers, most common and notable among them Archie Goodwin, and four great stories written by Toth himself. Like any collection of this type some stories are better than others, but on the whole the work here is quite consistent and entertaining. Douglas Wolk provides a brief but very informative foreword in which he discusses Alex Toth’s career and his specific contributions to Warren comics. He outlines a key piece of information when reading Toth’s work: his seemingly changing style of art. One would be hard pressed to identify all of the stories from this volume as having been drawn by the same hand and Wolk does a great job explaining why that is. “Grave Undertaking” is the first story in this collection and kicks things off with a tale … [Read more...]

Terra Insanus – Book Review

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Terra Insanus Edward Lee Deadite Press June 12, 2015 Reviewed by Marvin P. Vernon Horror is often divided into camps. There is the mainstream camp, the hardcore camp, there are lots of sub-genres and marketing divisions: vampire, zombie, body horror, psychological, cyber-punk. You name your poison and horror has a label for it. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that if it sparkles, it isn’t horror. Then there is Edward Lee. He is often described as a hardcore horror writer. That is like saying death metal is grumpy music. Lee writes prose that begs to be kicked out of class then burns the school down with the teachers and students still in it. He’s the party guy who turns the volume up to 11 when you asked him to turn it down to 7. If there is a taboo Lee hasn’t written about I haven’t heard of it yet. Lee isn’t just his own camp. He is his own wilderness. Terra Insanus from Deadite Press is a good example. It is a collection of four pieces of short fiction. The title is just a hint of the madness between the pages. Three stories were originally published in the 90s while one, “The Sea-Slop Thing,” is published in this book for the first time. If you have … [Read more...]

Finders Keepers – Book Review

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Finders Keepers Stephen King Scribner June 2, 2015 Reviewed by Tim Potter Finders Keepers, the latest from Stephen King, is a follow-up to last year’s Edgar Award winning Mr. Mercedes. The book has some real highlights and, unfortunately, some real problems and ends up being a very good example of what King does best and what he does worst. A novel with a huge deal of promise at the outset ends up being nothing more than an average, entertaining book by one of the masters that falls short of any greatness. The first third or so of the book is relentlessly compelling, introducing new characters and mysteries that will have readers turning pages as fast as they can. The narrative ranges from 1978 to 2014 as the story of Morris Bellamy and his unhealthy obsession with reclusive American author John Rothstein unfolds. As this story unfolds, the reader is also introduced to young Pete Saubers and his family, a family that was damaged horribly by the Mercedes Killer’s act of violence that kicked off Mr. Mercedes. This is the only connection to the previous novel until quite a ways into the book. A reclusive genius, an obsessed fan and buried treasure make for an explosive … [Read more...]

SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest – Book Review

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SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest Edited by Amanda J. Spedding & Geoff Brown Cohesion Press August 21, 2015 Reviewed by Jess Landry Having read some fictional war novels and having watched an ass-load of war movies, there are certain things one comes to expect from this particular genre. These things include (but are not limited to): -Michael Bay-esque explosions -An over-use of “ooh rah” -Intricate hand signals and call signs -Testosterone. A lot of testosterone -Big-ass guns that can decimate bacteria These things grow tiresome after a while (except for the big-ass guns. No one tires of them), so it was quite the pleasant surprise to dig into the entertaining pages of SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest. Sure, some of the stories have a few of the aforementioned things but this anthology takes what’s expected from the genre and turns it into the strangest, most bad-ass mix of military horror stories in the best way possible. The ten individual tales that make up the fourth entry in the SNAFU series vary in their war times. Some happen during real conflicts like in Vietnam and Afghanistan, while others are of their own devices. And there’s plenty of variety as far … [Read more...]

Mr. Nasty – Book Review

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Mr. Nasty Leo Darke Samhain Publishing September 1, 2015 Reviewed by Tim Potter Mr. Nasty, by Leo Darke, is a new novel from Samhain Horror that is equal parts entertaining and tiresome. As the title indicates, the book revolves around a killer who has an obsession with the notorious Video Nasties, 39 films banned in the U.K. in the early ‘80s. The killer does his best to recreate some of the most provocative death scenes from the Nasties. The result is a number of very fun, elaborate scenes of extreme gore that will be of special interest to fans of the banned films. Unfortunately, there is a lot of filler between Video Nasties scenes and the story slows down regularly. The novel is decidedly British, which is fitting considering that the Video Nasties list was a specifically British occurrence. The prose is sharp and fun, especially to American eyes that may be unfamiliar with English slang and swearing. And, man, can the Brits swear. The story is set primarily on movie and television sets, ranging from the interesting World War One epic, to the tedious Professor What show. The later is an obvious nod to Doctor Who that spends entirely too much time establishing a show … [Read more...]