This new anthology contains 20 original horror stories, 16 of which have been commissioned from some of the top names in the genre, and 4 of which have been selected from the 100s of stories sent to Flame Tree during a 2-week open submissions window. It is the first of what will hopefully become an annual, non-themed horror anthology of entirely original stories, showcasing the very best short fiction that the genre has to offer.
BUTTERFLY ISLAND by C.J. Tudor
RESEARCH by Tim Lebbon
SWANSKIN by Alison Littlewood
THAT’S THE SPIRIT by Sarah Lotz
GAVE by Michael Bailey
WHEREVER YOU LOOK by Ramsey Campbell
SAME TIME NEXT YEAR by Angela Slatter
MINE SEVEN by Elana Gomel
IT DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT by Michael Marshall Smith
CREEPING IVY by Laura Purcell
LAST RITES FOR THE FOURTH WORLD by Rick Cross
WE ALL COME HOME by Simon Bestwick
THE IMPORTANCE OF ORAL HYGIENE by Robert Shearman
BOKEH by Thana Niveau
MURDER BOARD by Grady Hendrix
ALICE’S REBELLION by John Langan
THE MIRROR HOUSE by Jonathan Robbins Leon
THE NAUGHTY STEP by Stephen Volk
A HOTEL IN GERMANY by Catriona Ward
BRANCH LINE by Paul Finch
I want to thank Flame Tree Press for my copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
After Sundown is a fantastic collection of short stories from established authors and new talent.
Each story was gripping in their own unique way, no story felt the same or was on the same theme. I was really kept on my toes while reading these stories!
There were, of course, a few standouts:
Swanskin by Alison Littlewood. A tale in which swans have their skins stolen and they have to stay in human form, serving their husbands. There was just something so ethereal about this story, and the imagery the author used was so vivid.
Creeping Ivy by Laura Purcell. A historical piece of fiction about a diary unearthed at a dig site and the intriguing story within its pages. This was just a brilliant atmospheric read, I’m definitely putting Laura Purcell’s book on my tbr list.
The Naughty Step by Stephen Volk. A story about a social worker called to a house after a little boy witnesses his mother’s death. Goodness, this pulled at my heartstrings and was creepy at the same time.
Branch Line by Paul Finch. A cold case interview about a young boy who went missing in the 1970s and the unbelievable tale of the survivor. I love a ghost story, and this one was both realistic and creepy.
I had an issue with the fact I felt some stories could have been longer, particularly CJ Tudor’s Butterfly Island, I would have read an entire book about that story!
I would recommend this collection, not only for horror lovers, but if you enjoy stories that really pull you in and keep you enthralled.
About The Publisher:
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Title: Diabolica Britannica: A Dark Isles Horror Compendium
Date Published: 13th July 2020
Genre: Horror Anthology
Diabolica Britannica is a collection of 14 dark tales from the dark isles. It features contributions from the following authors: Adam L G Nevill, Tim Lebbon, Keith Anthony Baird, John F Leonard, Morgan K Tanner, Arthur M Harper, Christopher Henderson, Beverley Lee, Sarah E England, Catherine McCarthy, Stephanie Ellis, Janine Pipe, Sarah J Budd and Alyson Faye.
I want to thank Yvonne at Insidious book tours for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love short stories and I don’t read them often enough, particularly horror, and I saw that Diabolica Britannica was all for a good cause, with all profits going to fund the NHS’ efforts COVID-19 research, so I thought why not.
What I loved was the variety of British horror that was in Diabolica Britannica, from monsters to folklore inspired tales to psychological horror and so much more. Another thing I loved was I now have a whole host of new authors I want to read.
Each story may have only been short but they were creepy, chilling and utterly captivating! Of course there were a few stand outs for me:
Tourist Traps by Christopher Henderson, is a story about a boy who is obsessed with ghost hunting, so much so he takes a ghost tour of London and gets more than he’s bargained for.
The Secret of Westport Fell by Beverley Lee, was an atmospheric historical story about a young woman sent to look after her ailing aunt and ends up taking in a young girl she finds wandering in the cold.
Scripted in Shadows by Morgan K Tanner, is a blood soaked story about a mysterious and murderous book.
The Coven by Sarah E England is about a woman who returns to the town she was born in to find out why her family was forced to flee the country.
I could go on but I’d think I’d be boring you with this review soon!
Diabolica Britannica is packed to the brim with talented authors and a must if you love horror.
About The Authors:
Catherine McCarthy is a spinner of dark tales, often set in the wilder regions of her native Wales, U.K.
She has published two novels and a collection of short stories, and is currently querying a dark fantasy novel,The Wolf and the Favour, which is entwined with ethereal elements and Celtic lore.
Several of her stories have been published in anthologies such as Graveyard Smash, Dead Alive, and Diabolica Britannica, and earlier this year she won the Aberystwyth University Imagining Utopias prize for creative writing.
She lives in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse with her illustrator husband and its ghosts, and when she is not writing she may be found hiking the rugged coast-path or squirrelling among ancient churchyards for story inspiration.
Keith Anthony Baird is the author of The Jesus Man: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Horror (Novel), Nexilexicon (Novel), And a Dark Horse Dreamt of Nightmares (Book of Shorts) and This Will Break Every Bone In Your Heart (Novelette). His works can be found on Amazon and Audible. He is currently working on a dystopian novel titled SIN:THETICA.
Diabolica Britannica is his brainchild and was developed in response to 2020’s global pandemic. A collective of British talent seemed the obvious vehicle to bring further horror to the masses, but ensuring some relief in the process by donating all profits to help fight COVID-19.
When not at his desk writing, you might find him up a mountain, snorkelling on a coral reef with his partner Ann, or having fun with his grandson. Failing that, it’s a good bet he’ll be on Twitter.
Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre as a child reading ‘Salem’s Lot – and she hasn’t looked back since. She is inspired by Stephen King and cites Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz as her favourite current writers. She likes to shock with her writing, there is usually a lot of gore and plenty of swearing … She is very thankful to her biggest cheerleaders, her husband and daughter and her mentor, Graeme Reynolds. She chews the fat with fellow authors on her blog – Janine’s Ghost Stories and reviews for Scream Magazine and Nightworms.
You can find her work at Tales to Terrify, Ghost Stories the Podcast and The Horror Tree. Several of her short stories have been published, including an all female anthology with Kandisha Press.She is currently writing a splatterpunk novella about a teenage vampire hunter. .
Christopher Henderson was born in Streatham, south London (UK), a few months after the first human beings landed on the Moon. At the same time, only a few miles away on the other side of that city, other human beings were preparing to hunt and stake a supposedly genuine vampire in its lair in Highgate Cemetery. It was the beginning of 1970, the overture to a very weird decade.
Throughout Christopher’s childhood, popular culture was steeped in the eerie, the macabre, and the uncanny. The supernatural, it seemed, was only ever a half-heard whisper away – and it never stopped talking to him.
Half a century later, Christopher continues to haunt south London. In a parallel life, he was for many years involved with the scientific and open-mindedly sceptical study of paranormal and fortean phenomena, and he is the author under a different name of several non-fiction books specializing largely in folklore and ghost stories. In this incarnation, however, he writes horror fiction, and especially supernatural horror fiction, as he attempts to escape the deeper horrors that plague the real world.
He is the author of Artemis One-Zero-Five (a horror/SF novel set in the near future, partly in London and partly on a remote asteroid) and The Horror at Lavender Edge (a supernatural horror novel set in 1970s London). Currently, he is working on a sequel to The Horror at Lavender Edge.
Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her latest work includes the novella, Bottled, published by Silver Shamrock, who will also be publishing her novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel in October. She has recently been published in Flame Tree Press’ A Dying Planet anthology with “Milking Time” and is included in Silver Shamrock’s upcoming Midnight in the Pentagram anthology with “Family Reunion”. Her poetry can be sampled in the Horror Writer Association’s Poetry Showcase Volume 6 and in the upcoming Volume 7. She has collected a number of her published, and some unpublished, short stories in The Reckoning, her dark verse in Dark is my Playground, and flash in The Dark Bites, all available on amazon. She is co-editor of Trembling With Fear, HorrorTree.com’s online magazine. She is an affiliate member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on twitter at @el_stevie.
Alyson lives in West Yorkshire, UK with her husband, teen son and four rescue animals. Her fiction has been published widely in print anthologies – DeadCades, Women in Horror Annual 2, Trembling with Fear 1 &2, Coffin Bell Journal 1, Stories from Stone, Ellipsis, Rejected ed. Erin Crocker)and in many ezines, but most often on the Horror Tree site, in Siren’s Call and The Casketof Fictional Delights.
In May 2019 Night of the Rider, was published by Demain in their Short Sharp Shocks! E book series and later that year Demain published her 1940’s crime novella – Maggie Of My Heart.
Currently she has stories appearing in the Strange Girls anthology (ed. Azzurra Nox), two charity anthologies, Burning Love from Things in the Well, and Amongst Friends (Gypsum Sound Tales); another Gypsum anthology, Colp: Black and Grey and by Emerald Bay Books, Horror for Hire: First Shift.
Her work has been read on BBC Radio, local radio, on several podcasts (e.g. Ladies of Horror), posted on YouTube and placed in competitions.
She performs at open mics, teaches, edits for an indie publisher and hangs out with her dog on the moors – in all weathers.
A full list of her publications can be found via her author page on amazon:-
John F Leonard
John messes around with words for a living. He was born in England and grew up in the industrial Midlands. That was where he learned to love scrawny cats, the sound of scrapyard dogs and the rattle and clank of passing trains.
His official education mostly involved English, Art and History. Everything else came later. The employment record is somewhat difficult to summarise. Chequered is probably a good word for it. Shop worker and office boy, sculptor and odd-job man, fraud investigator and thief. It’s all the same, when you boil it down. Pay your way and try to have a good day.
He enjoys apocalyptic stuff, horror, comedy and football (not necessarily together). A family man, John now lives a few miles from the old Victorian house in which he was born. Scribbling scary stories seems to keep him vaguely sane (accurate at time of writing). Current projects include more tales from the Dead Boxes Archive, another everyday cosmic horror novel from the Scaeth Mythos, and new books set in the post-apocalyptic world of Collapse.
Beverley Lee is the bestselling author of the Gabriel Davenport vampire suspense series (The Making of Gabriel Davenport, A Shining in the Shadows and The Purity of Crimson) and the gothic horror, The Ruin of Delicate Things. In thrall to the written word from an early age, especially the darker side of fiction, she believes that the very best story is the one you have to tell. Supporting fellow authors is also her passion and she is actively involved in social media and writers’ groups.
You can visit her online at www.beverleylee.com (where you’ll find a free dark and twisted short story download) or on Instagram (@theconstantvoice) and Twitter (@constantvoice).
Morgan K Tanner
Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.
When not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.
He is the author of An Army of Skin, The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality, The Unbeliever & The Intruder; a Short Sharp Shocks! Book, and The Snuggle Zombies; his attempt at a horror book for kids.
You can praise or indeed abuse him by visiting www.morganktanner.com or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666 and Instagram @morganktanner
S.J.Budd is a dark fiction author from Cornwall. Her work has appeared in The NoSleep Podcast, Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome and many others.
When not writing she is mostly reading, tending to her huge collection of cactus plants and going for long walks in the country-side..She spends far too much time on twitter @sjbuddj. You can find out more about her stories at www.sjbudd.co.uk
Faceless shadows, a night that will never be the same, and a sinister force. If you go down to the woods tonight, you’re in for a sinister surprise.
When a stag party decides to camp in the woods, they soon discover that a malevolent force has them in their sights. As the unknown creeps ever closer, Joe and his friends must survive. To survive, Joe must learn to fight. If he fights, he could lose it all.
A rollercoaster ride of blood, sweat and tears, Shadows of the Woods will keep you hooked, all whilst throwing nostalgic homage to slashers of the late seventies and early eighties.
A Night Terror that you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
I want to thank Emma at Damppebbles blog tours for inviting me on this tour and Panther Publishing for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Joe and his friends decide to go camping for his stag do but instead of a nice lad’s night out, they find something sinister and end up fighting for their lives. Who will survive?
Shadows of The Woods is a short sharp shock filled book!
There was plenty of fast paced action, adventure and horrifying scenes for any horror fan to get their teeth into.
This very much a monster driven story and my goodness the monsters were a little terrifying! I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I’m very wary of shadows now.
The book did contain the old camping in the woods trope but I feel the author made it their own and took a fresh spin on it.
There was quite a large cast of characters and with this being a novella, I felt we didn’t get to know the characters quite as well as I’d liked.
Shadows of The Woods is at times a gruesome and adventure packed novel that I genuinely couldn’t predict when I was reading it.
About The Author:
Duncan has spent most of his life in a small market town in West Yorkshire — the same town in which most of his stories are set under the guise of Ravenfield. Duncan has been writing works of fiction since the age of seven. In those early days, his stories often involved himself and his friends being transported to fantasy worlds. However, as a teenager, Duncan fell in love with horror movies and his writing took a whole new direction.
Duncan still lives in West Yorkshire with his partner and their two young children. He also has slight obsession with Spider-Man and the actor Bruce Campbell, as well as having an addiction to vinyl records, coffee and Lego.
From #1 best-selling author: Stewart Giles comes a bone-chilling horror story that will keep you up at night. THE DIVIDE – Some things are best left buried. Five teenagers head into Dartmoor’s bleak National Park for a final adventure together before they all go their separate ways after the summer. These lifelong friends have no idea what terrible secrets this place holds.
One by one they start to realise something is not quite right about this moor.
Something is lurking there – some malevolent and ominously primeval force is buried deep beneath this ground waiting to emerge.
The locals know the truth about what lies beneath this land but the five friends are met with a sinister silence everywhere they turn.
Then the Divide is split in two.
What is unleashed is hell itself and the friends know they need to find a way out before it’s too late. Lured into an ancient forest that appears on no maps, the friends’ fight for survival begins.
But who is the little girl in the white dress? With her hideously disfigured face and transfixing voice, why has she suddenly taken a keen interest in these teenagers?
The Divide is the chilling tale of five friends’ fight for survival against forces none of them could have imagined. BOOKS BY STEWART GILES DS JASON SMITH SERIES Book 0.5-Phobia Book 1-Smith Book 2-Boomerang Book 3-Ladybird Book 4-Occam’s Razor Book 5-Harlequin Book 6-Selene Book 7-Horsemen Book 8-Unworthy Book 9 – Venom Book 10 – Severed Book 11 – Demons Book 12 – Deadeye DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES Book 1-The Beekeeper Book 2-The Perfect Murder Book 3-The Backpacker DS JASON SMITH & DC HARRIET TAYLOR SERIES Book 1 – The Enigma Book 2 – Dropzone Book 3 – The Raven Girl (coming soon) PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS Miranda Mistress
I want to thank Jill at Books ‘n’ all promotions for inviting me on this tour and Stewart Giles for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So I’ve pretty much read all of Stewart’s police procedurals and when I found out he was writing a horror novel, a genre which I enjoy, I was intrigued.
The Divide is a place that hasn’t been disturbed for hundreds of years until the owners of the land, overcome by greed decide to develop it. Five teenage friends, Quinn, Steve, Jack, Hannah and Louise stumble across it and find themselves in a fight for their lives.
The Divide is a nightmarish and imaginative read. I won’t deny, it gave me a few bad dreams after I read it.
This book still had Stewart Giles trademark fast pace and action, although it is a little more gruesome than his usual books.
I really enjoyed the atmospheric setting of Dartmoor, which in itself is a fascinating place, with the inclusion of some folklore, it just made it all the more sinister.
I have to be honest the second half of the book got a little bit head trippy weird but as it’s horror you’ve got to expect that a bit.
The Divide is an eerie read that will both entertain and horrify you in equal measure.
About The Author:
After reading English at 3 Universities and graduating from none of them, I set off travelling around the world with my wife, Ann, finally settling in South Africa, where we still live.
In 2014 Ann dropped a rather large speaker on my head and I came up with the idea for a detective series. DS Jason Smith was born. Smith, the first in the series was finished a few months later.
3 years and 8 DS Smith books later, Joffe Books wondered if I would be interested in working with them. As a self-published author, I agreed. However, we decided on a new series – the DC Harriet Taylor: Cornwall series.
The Beekeeper was published and soon hit the number one spot in Australia. The second in the series, The Perfect Murder did just as well.
I continued to self-publish the Smith series and Unworthy hit the shelves in 2018 with amazing results. I therefore made the decision to self-publish The Backpacker which is book 3 in the Detective Harriet Taylor series which was published in July 2018.
After The Backpacker I had an idea for a totally new start to a series – a collaboration between the Smith and Harriet thrillers and The Enigma was born. It brings together the broody, enigmatic Jason Smith and the more level-headed Harriet Taylor.
Miranda is something totally different. A stand-alone psychological thriller, it is a real departure from anything else I’ve written before. This was followed by the sequel Mistress in 2019.
The Detective Jason Smith series continues to grow and there are now 13 books including the introduction: Phobia. Book 12: Deadeye will be published in February 2020.
Title: The patience of a dead man by Michael Clark
Date Published: 22nd April 2019
Genre: Horror/Ghost Story
He just spent everything on a house in disrepair, but he didn’t know someone was waiting inside. Tim Russell just put his last dollar on a handyman’s dream; a quaint but dilapidated farmhouse in New Hampshire. Newly single after a messy divorce, his plan is to live in the house as he restores it for resale. To his horror, as soon as the papers are signed and his work starts, ghosts begin to appear. A bone-white little boy. A woman covered in flies. Tim can’t afford to leave and lose it all, so he turns to his real estate agent Holly Burns to help him decide whether he has any shot at solving his haunted problem. Can they solve the mystery before he loses his investment…or maybe his life?
I want to thank Emma at Damppebbles blog tours for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The patience of a dead man was a fantastically spooky and enthralling read! It has the right balance of scary and creepy with that air of mystery too.
I love a haunted house story and I really enjoyed reading Micheal Clark’s different slant on the old horror trope.
The majority of the story is set in 1971 and we follow Tim who after a messy divorce that leaves him almost broke, he decides to buy a fixer-upper to try and make some money. From the very beginning there’s something not right about the property and the strange happenings grow ever more dangerous. He asks Holly, the estate agent who sold him the property to help him solve the mystery and before his investment goes down the drain.
The other parts of the story are told through journal extracts and spooky visions (I can’t say too much about these in case I give away spoilers!) and were expertly weaved throughout the story.
There were a few sudden changes of POV during the chapters which threw me off a little and I would have liked there to be a few more seventies references as parts of the story are meant to be set in the 1970’s but of course they’re just minor things.
While it does wrap up most of the story in this book, it does leave it open for a sequel which I personally can’t wait to read!
The patience of a dead man is a spine tingling ghost story that will both spook and entertain you in equal measure.
About the author:
Michael Clark was raised in New Hampshire and lived in the house The Patience of a Dead Man is based on. The bats of the barn really circled the rafters all day and there actually was a man-made grove hidden in the forest. He now lives in Massachusetts with his wife Josi and his dog Bubba.
The Patience of a Dead Man is his first novel. Dead Woman Scorned is his second. More to come.
Hello lovelies! Today I’ve got some short reviews for you of some books which have been gathering dust on my NetGalley shelf for a while now. I’ve made a resolution to try and clear my NetGalley shelf or at least get my feedback ratio up to 80% and I’m determined to do that this year! Without further ado, here are the reviews:
Title: A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley 2) by Helen Cox
Date Published: 31st October 2019
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Genre: cosy mystery
A PAGE-TURNING COSY MYSTERY SET IN THE PICTURESQUE CITY OF YORK. PERFECT FOR FANS OF BETTY ROWLANDS, LJ ROSS AND FAITH MARTIN.
It’s nearly Christmas in York, but it seems the season of goodwill hasn’t touched everyone…
When DS Charlotte Banks is suspended from the police on suspicion of assaulting a suspect in the burglary of a local bookshop, librarian Kitt Harley and her friend Evie Bowes refuse to believe she is guilty. But why is she being framed?
With Charlotte’s boss DI Malcolm Halloran unable to help, Evie decides to take matters into her own hands. Kitt takes little persuading to get involved too – after all, as well as Charlotte’s career to save, there are missing books to be found!
From the tight knit community of York’s booksellers, to the most gossipy bus route in the country, Kitt and Evie leave no stone unturned to get at the truth behind the burglary.
Then the discovery of a body raises the stakes even higher. For Evie, and now Kitt, this case is as personal as it gets. Can they catch the murderer in time to turn a bleak midwinter into something merry and bright?
So this is the second in the Kitt Hartley series which I didn’t realise until I started reading it (I really need to start reading synopsis more closely) but it’s easily read as a standalone.
I was drawn to this novel as it’s set in York, one of my favourite cities in Britain and I do love a cosy mystery.
This novel is billed as a cosy mystery but I think it’s a little bit more of a mystery with a side of romance as there were a few steamy scenes scattered throughout.
The cast of characters was likeable if a little eccentric and there were some nice twists and turns through the story.
Again like a few books in this genre, I think it could have done with being a little shorter as it dragged slightly near the end, although it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment of the book.
A Body In The Bookshop is a solid mystery with great characters. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.
Title: Emma Ever After by Brigid Coady
Date Published: 30th January 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Emma Woodhouse knows the world loves nothing more than a celebrity romance. And, as a rising star at Mega! Management, she match-makes some of the biggest names in the business. Who cares if it’s all for show? For Emma, fauxmance beats the real thing any day!
But Emma has a huge task ahead. She needs to find fake girlfriends for every member of Breach of the Peace, the world’s hottest new boy band. Rich, talented heart-throbs, they should have their pick of the ladies – but, with band mates Will and Ed determined to undermine her every move, and her best mate Gee voicing disapproval about her chosen profession, Emma’s carefully ordered world begins to fall apart.
Is it possible that Emma doesn’t know best after all?
So this is the oldest book from my NetGalley shelf! It’s been gathering dust on there for about two years, oops!
Truthfully I don’t remember what drew me to this book, I think at the time I was looking for something a bit fun and light hearted.
So I’m going to admit I didn’t realise that this was an Emma retelling, you’re probably thinking but it’s got Emma in the title you dope but again I didn’t make the connection until I started reading it.
I usually do enjoy a Jane Austen retelling but this one fell a little bit flat for me. Maybe it’s because my favourite retelling of Emma is the nineties movie Clueless and the subsequent TV series or maybe it’s because Emma is my least favourite of all of Austen’s books, I can’t exactly pinpoint it.
Overall not my cup of tea but I think if you enjoyed the original Austen novel then you may like this a bit more than I did.
Title: Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk
Date Published: 14th March 2019
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
You don’t read the book. It reads you.
Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler–former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead–was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.
The legend is real–and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.
By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.
The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end. That’s when the evil comes for you.
I have to say the blurb for this book intrigued me, so having not read anything else by this author I thought I’d give it a go.
The writing was wonderfully vivid and creepy and the story really drew me in but then the story became something I wasn’t expecting; weird. I mean it got really, head tripping, weird. I know some people like weird horror but I have to admit I’m not a fan.
Overall not my cup of tea but I would still be open to reading something by this author again.
Title: The Vicarage Murder (Monica Noble 1) by Faith Martin
Publisher: Joffe Books
Date Published: 30th August 2019
Genre: Cosy Mystery
IN A QUIET COTSWOLD VILLAGE ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE
Monica Noble is throwing a party to welcome the village’s new residents. The guests include Margaret and her cheating husband Sean. Also on the list are a celebrity chef, an Oxford university professor, a 40-something divorcee, and the owner of a chain of gyms.
Then as the drinks are flowing, a shotgun blast rings out. One of the guests is found dead.
DCI Dury and Sergeant Jim Greer are soon on the scene and discover that the victim had many enemies. Almost all the guests harbour secrets and motives for murder. Even Monica’s daughter comes under suspicion.
When another villager is strangled to death nearly a week later, the stakes are raised.
Can Monica help the local detectives save her daughter and solve the murders before anyone else pays the ultimate price?
This is the first of a series of enjoyable murder mysteries with great characters and baffling crimes which will keep you gripped till the final page.
Perfect for fans of classic whodunits by authors like Agatha Christie, LJ Ross, TE Kinsey, and J.R. Ellis.
MONICA NOBLE was widowed young, leaving her to raise her feisty daughter on her own. That is, until she met and fell in love with Graham Noble, a country vicar (pastor), who enticed her to leave her high-flying job in advertising in the city and move to the Cotswold countryside. There she found bucolic life very pleasant indeed — until murder started to rear its ugly head. And she discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that she had a flair for solving the most unholy of crimes.
Please note this book was first published as “AN UNHOLY MESS” under Faith Martin’s pen name JOYCE CATO.
So I’ve read a couple of Faith Martin’s series now and I always enjoy reading new series.
The Vicarage Murder was what I’ve come to expect from Faith Martin, an entertaining cosy mystery.
I liked Monica, she’s bold, confident and not your typical vicar’s wife, especially as she’s been married before and has a teenage daughter.
My problem was that it took a long time to get into the real nitty gritty of the novel and there were a lot of characters and their points of view to keep track of. I would still recommend this if you love a summery cosy mystery set in the British countryside.
Thank you for reading and I hope you’re all keeping safe and staying home if you can xx
Sometimes the dead come back. And sometimes all they want is to hurt you.
When residents on an east London housing estate start dying in gruesome ways, housing manager Ada begins to worry that her past is coming back to haunt her.
Once a powerful medium, able to talk to the dead with amazing ease, she became more comfortable with the afterlife than real life, and with that openness she attracted something dark from the other side. Terrified by the experience she swore she would never communicate with the dead again.
Ten years later at the scene of an apparent suicide, her long closed-down connection to the dead is reopened, and she begins to receive information she shouldn’t know about the victims’ final moments.
Stalked in her dreams and in waking life by an angry male presence, Ada begins to relive the dark days when something from the other side wanted her to end her life.
But as the bodies stack up and the visions intensify, Ada realises that in order to stop more people from dying she has to let the dead back in to find out the truth of what is driving her residents to violent acts – and face up to her own ghosts.
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on this tour and providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ada was once a medium. She closed her connection to the dead but after the suicide of one of the residents in a tower block she manages, communications from the dead come back more powerful than ever. One in particular wants nothing more than to harm her and those around her. Can she stop him before he hurts anyone else?
The Tower is a gritty and dark ghostly thriller which I found quite moving at times.
Ada was a flawed and realistic character. She’s had such an unhappy life that I couldn’t help but feel bad for her, and I just wanted her to be happy with DI Harman. Of course it’s never that simple, especially when you’ve got a ghostly stalker like Michael.
Michael was so cruel and diabolical, genuinely one of those characters you’ll love to hate!
I will say this is not the most cheery read, there’s suicide, self harm and mentions of abuse, so if you’re looking for something light hearted you may have to find another book!
The Tower is a haunting and at times poignant read that will stay with you after you’ve finished the last page.
About The Author:
On a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost.
Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both.
She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school after reading the book The October Country by Ray Bradbury. He was and still is her favourite author and the reason she decided at age 9 that she too would be a writer someday.
In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens. In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel and wrote one by the age of 20 that she then put away, fearing it was too weird for publication.
She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but again kept it aside after several rejections from publishers. Luckily for her, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books.
Her favourite authors include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. She also takes great inspiration from music and movies, her favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher.
After ten years living in London, Anne-Marie moved to Margate where she lives with her husband and their daughter.
Title: Daylight’s Deadly Kiss – Blood Riders Book Two by Jay Raven
Date Published: 3rd April 2020
In 19th century Europe the most deadly vampire-killing weapon ever devised is up for grabs – and both the Undead and the living will stop at nothing to possess it…
It’s a legend, a fairy story parents tell frightened children to make them sleep. Basium Lucis – Daylight’s Kiss – the fabled compound that recreates sunlight in a bottle, and incinerates bloodsucking monsters on contact.
Vampire hunter Anton Yoska doesn’t believe in its existence or the whispered rumours of its creation by Leonardo Da Vinci 250 years before.
But when a mysterious Hungarian arts dealer claims to have uncovered the long-lost formula, Anton’s cynicism is shaken to the core as he is tasked to procure the pyrotechnic marvel for the Vatican’s centuries-old battle with the vampire sect known as the Brethren.
In a desperate race to beat nosferatu forces intent on destroying the wonder weapon, and cold-blooded gangsters who desire the Alchemist’s most prized invention for their own aggrandisement and riches, Anton is caught in a maelstrom of double dealing and lies..
Traps loom at every turn, and nothing is what it appears, but acquiring the Basium Lucis is the least of the his problems – for the ferocious Modjeski vampire family want retribution for his slaughter of their clan chief a year before. And old flame and rival slayer, Nadia, has her own devious plans to thwart Anton’s quest.
As time runs out and predators circle, the beleaguered hunter realises he’s been tricked into a suicide mission. But Anton Yoska won’t go down without a fight – and he doesn’t care who he takes to Hell with him.
I want to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources tour for inviting me on this tour and providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So I read the first in this series, Crimson Siege, and enjoyed it so I was eager to read the second in the series.
Former lawman Anton Yoska is roaming the countryside, along with his crew of dwarf Quintz, his young helper Toby and of course their bear Samson. They are eking out a living getting rid of vampires until they get an offer from crown prince Leopold to track down the formula for Basium Lucis, Daylight’s Kiss, which has resurfed. It has the ability to create artificial sunlight and destroys vampires on contact.
Anton is cynical, Daylight’s Kiss has always been a myth but it’s an offer he can’t refuse. Things get even tougher when old enemies resurface hellbent on his destruction.
Daylight’s Deadly Kiss is a fast paced mix of historical and supernatural adventure.
At the moment I’m finding it a little hard to concentrate on reading but I still managed to race through this book!
I really enjoyed that we got to know both Anton and Quintz a little better in this book. I feel like Quintz really can into his own in this novel. I liked him in the first book but now even more in the second and learning some of his history made my heart break a little for him.
Again like the first book, it’s not overly gory or scary but it may contain a few scenes that may be a little upsetting.
The ending dropped a bombshell, leaving me anxious for the next book!
Daylight’s Deadly Kiss is a well written Gothic adventure that will leave you breathless at times.
About The Author:
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it. If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveaways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at http://www.jayraven.com
She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.
Except for his mobile phone.
Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.
That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain.
And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .
Jason Arnopp – author of The Last Days of Jack Sparks, a Radio 2 Bookclub pick – returns with a razor-sharp thriller for a social-media obsessed world. Prepare to never look at your phone the same way again . . .
I want to thank Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting me on this blog tour and Orbit for providing me with a free copy of Ghoster in exchange for an honest review.
Kate Collins thinks she’s found her perfect man in Scott but a few days before she is supposed to move in with him, he ghosts her, leaving behind only his mobile phone.
She wants to find out what happened to him, so she hacks his phone. Her life starts to spiral of control, can she stop what’s happening before it’s too late?
Ghoster is one of those novels that you go in expecting one thing only for it to twist around and become something so unexpected and shocking that you find it hard to put down.
It starts out as a little domestic noir but the creepiness is really amped up as you go along, turning the book into more of a horror by the time you reach the end. As a lover of both horror and thrillers I really appreciated this.
I didn’t find Kate all that likeable, a little abrasive, a little obsessive but I think that works well in the story.
Truthfully, the first half of the novel is a little slow burn, it took me a little longer to get through it than usual but the second half had me racing along to find out what happened at the end.
Ghoster is a skillful mix of the supernatural and mystery that makes an intriguing and original thriller.
About The Author:
Jason Arnopp is the author of the new Orbit Books novel Ghoster, which Barnes & Noble’s SFF blog has said, “just might qualify as the first true horror novel of the 21st Century.” The Three author Sarah Lotz calls it, “a fiendishly smart exploration of obsession and social media addiction”, while Cross Her Heat author Sarah Pinborough reckons it’s, “twisty, creepy and utterly absorbing.”
Arnopp’s previous novel was The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (2016), which has been described as “a magnificent millennial nightmare” (Alan Moore), “scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum” (Sarah Lotz) and “The Omen for the social media age” (Christopher Brookmyre). Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code) optioned the film rights shortly after the book’s 2016 release.
Arnopp co-wrote the official behind-the-scenes book Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.
Arnopp previously wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate feature film Stormhouse and script-edited the Peter Mullan feature The Man Inside. He has also written for the worlds of Doctor Who (BBC), The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC) and Friday The 13th (New Line Cinema).
In his past life as a rock journalist, he interviewed the likes of Bon Jovi, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N’ Roses. He was once surrounded by angry guards holding semi-automatic weapons at The Vatican. His Slipknot biography, Slipknot: Inside The Sickness, Behind The Masks, was released in 2001 and is now available as a Kindle Edition. Arnopp has also written a guide to journalistic interviewing, entitled How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else, which is also out on Kindle.
Arnopp’s latest non-fiction book is From The Front Lines Of Rock. Available in the Kindle Store now, it gathers 30 of his favourite nterviews he wrote as a rock journalist, with the likes of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Korn, Kiss, Faith No More, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day.
When you sign up for Arnopp’s free newsletter at JasonArnopp.com, you can also download his short story American Hoarder for free. You might also want to check out his YouTube channel by searching for his name there. What a wonderful world.
Hi lovelies! Today I’m re-sharing my review of Crimson Siege to celebrate its re-launch.
Title: Crimson Siege by Jay Raven
Date Re-published: 30th April 2019
In the godless badlands of Transylvania the fragile truce between mankind and monsters is about to explode…
When bounty hunters target one of 19th century Europe’s most feared vampire clans, the last place any lawman wants to be is caught in the middle…
But for Anton Yoska, Lord Marshal of the Imperial lands south of the Carpathian Mountains, fate has trapped him in a supernatural stand-off that can end only in a bloodbath.
A gang of mercenaries led by Anton’s former army comrade Milosh Drubrick have captured vampire aristocrat Stefan Modjeski, wanted for a string of frenzied murders, and have come to Anton to claim the reward. And as Stefan’s predatory undead kin lay siege to the jailhouse, Anton is faced with an agonising choice – hand over his prisoner and abandon the bounty hunters to their unspeakable fate, or stand and fight.
The jailhouse defenders are outnumbered and out of options. It’s a battle that can’t be won, certain slaughter for them all, and Anton can’t trust his scheming allies. But Lord Marshal Yoska isn’t about to surrender.
For he’s an experienced vampire hunter, a dangerous man when cornered, and a single minded warrior who knows there are worse things to fear than death…
Anton Yoska survived the savage vampire wars and now is Lord Marshal of a small town. He leads a quiet life until his old army comrade Milosh Drubrick, with his ragtag band of bounty hunters, drag a vampire into the sleepy village. The vampire is none other than aristocrat, Stephan Modjeski and his family especially his ‘mother’ Kristina will stop at nothing to get him back. Who will survive?
This is beautifully written, Gothic and a little disturbing at times. Personally I wouldn’t class it as horror, just mainly because I think horror should have me terrified and shivering under a cover, but I did think it was a good fast paced action story.
I loved the character of Anton, he’s devoted to his wife even though she is dying from fever, and determined to uphold the law even if it costs him his life. Apart from Pavel, his young deputy, Anton seemed to be surrounded by horrible people. Twisted Count Kravnik, who had been sent to over see the execution of two poachers, Nickru his other deputy who wanted his job and finally the bounty hunters who frankly seemed worse than the vampires!
I wouldn’t say this book is overly gory but I will warn you there are some really brutal themes in the book, rape is one of them, though thankfully it’s not actually shown within the pages, just referred to.
If I had one issue it would be the language was a little too modern (the use of the word ‘hot’ when describing a woman springs to mind), I kept having to remind myself it was meant to be set in the 19th century.
Overall a good start to the series and I’m interested to see what the author does next!
About The Author:
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it. If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveaways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at www.jayraven.com