Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire

March 23, 2013

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire
Abigail Gibbs
Morrow, Mar 5 2013. $14.99
ISBN: 9780062248732

Seventeen year old Violet Lee knows being alone at one in the morning in Trafalgar Square is not a smart move, but clubbing with her BFF Ruby felt wrong after Joel. Violet soon knows there is something worse than being alone at one in the morning in Trafalgar Square when over thirty males with sharpened canes and something else arrive. Prince Kasper Karn kills Claude Pierre, the leader of the thirty men; he and five other teens slaughter the rest of Clan Pierre’s hunters in a flash. Though in the shadows and at a distance beyond normal hearing, Kasper hears Violet whisper jerk; he takes her prisoner though he cannot fathom why he abducts this human Girly instead of either killing or ignoring her.

Kasper gives Girly a choice to either convert from Human to vampire or remain his guest indefinitely until they kill her as her kind can never go back. However complicating matters for His Highness is when he learns who her powerful father is; as murdering Violet is no longer an option if a cross-species war is to be avoided as her dad knows of the existence of his kind.

This is an exhilarating young adult paranormal romance in which the vampire brood is closer to Stoker’s vision than that of Meyer’s. Violet seems insensitive as her stomach never reacts to the blood and gore, and too strong as she never soils her panties upon learning what kidnapped her. Still readers will root for her to come out on top especially against the prince of abusive arrogance.

Harriet Klausner


The Dark Hunger-Joelle Sterling

January 8, 2013

The Dark Hunger
Joelle Sterling
Strebor, Jan 22 2013, $15.00
ISBN: 9781593094911

The cursed zombie Jonas LaRoche left his beloved teen witch Holland Manning in America to return to Port-au-Prince to protect his mother and sisters from the money lenders who demand payment for providing the cash for his ill-fated journey to the States. Meanwhile Holland becomes a new student at exclusive Stoneham Academy and becomes friends of Tami, Sierra and Giselle while concealing her only power, vampire killing blood.

While she goes to classes, back in her hometown of Frumbleton, Georgia, vampire Elson Chandler tells his flock that he will replace the missing Constable Sullivan and introduce a power hierarchical change with vampires on top and humans as their blood bank slaves. Former football star receiver Jarrett Sloan becomes enslaved to Elson’s vampiric follower Isene.

At a tea party thrown by Kate Leighton, the hostess bites a guest. In a nearby onion field, the foreman chews on a migrant worker. Soon afterward at the hospital the worker attacks a nurse and a patron in Dunkin Donuts. Hell has arrived in rural Georgia while Holland’s new buddies see her birthmark that affirms she is a first order witch; she proves this further by helping Sierra take back her stolen power from her thieving Aunt Jocelyn while all she wants is her forbidden lover back into her life.

The second Eternal Dead young adult rural fantasy (see Midnight Cravings) is a great entry with several strong subplots (perhaps too many) that anchor the Sterling mythology that make witches, zombies, and vampires seem genuine. Action-packed throughout, the star-crossed taboo romance between the Haitian zombie and the young witch is just one part of a terrific rotating teen horror thriller as Joelle Sterling moves her series forward on numerous fabulous fronts.

Harriet Klausner

The Miracle Inspector-Helen Smith

August 30, 2012

The Miracle Inspector

Helen Smith

Tyger Books, Sep 4 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9780956517050


In London, Lucas and Angela are a twentyish couple in love.  However, while he works for the government Ministry the Inspector of Miracles (he has not found any so far); she due to her gender must stay at home at all times with few exceptions.  Angela is discontented with the ennui of her existence, but knows the all-male government rules makers will kill or incarcerate female rule-breakers.  The one exception that matters to women is the allowance to visit other family females, which Angela and others claim a wide pool of relatives.


Lucas’ godfather Jesmond gives Angela a journal written before the government crackdown.  She cherishes the love letters and romantic poetry and pleads with her spouse for them to relocate to the freer Cornwell.  He considers her request, but Lucas is busy investigating whether little Christina is his first miracle.  Increasingly desperate, Angela plans to travel top Cornwell with or without her spouse.


The Miracle Inspector is a timely dark horror satire that uses hyperbole as men protect women from their weaker nature.  The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as she wants more than just his loving protection and he is clueless as to why she wants more.  Though British in writing style, Helen Smith’s jocular dystopian seems apropos to America where small government advocates legislate laws to control a woman’s body. 


Harriet Klausner



Breed-Chase Novak

August 30, 2012


Chase Novak

Mulholland Books/Little Brown, Sep 4 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780316198561


In Manhattan affluent Alex and Leslie Twisden want children, but so far failed to have any.  Leslie suggests adoption, but Alex prefers their DNA.  Researching what is available, Alex learns of the success of fertility specialist Dr. Kis in Slovenia.  Though reluctant, Leslie travels to the European nation with her spouse.  Using animal extractions on the Americans, Dr. Kis manages a miracle when Leslie births twins, Adam and Alice though the two parents suffer horrible side effects.


A decade later, the mutant siblings, frightened by the behavior of their cannibalistic parents, run away from home.  Alice and Adam seek Dr. Kis to learn what happened to their parents.  Alex and Leslie follow their children.


Over the top of Mount Triglav and with a much darker and gorier nod to the movie Splice and the Wells’ novel Dr. Moreau, Breed is an exciting thriller.  Though Alex’s obsession is never understood, fans who enjoy a fast-paced horror tale will relish this entry; while those with squeamish demeanors will either need to pass or diet.


Harriet Klausner

Devil’s Gate-F.J. Lennon

August 3, 2012


Devil’s Gate


F.J. Lennon



Atria, Aug 7 2012, $15.00


ISBN 9781439186602




Kane Pryce burned out after years exorcising spirits though he is only twenty-eight years old.  Suffering from PTSD, Kane left his day job as a paranormal Soul Trapper to focus on music as a band guitarist.




Although he vowed to never use his late dad’s soul trap to enable spirits to leave earth (willingly or not), Kane realizes that something malevolent entices people to commit kill themselves at Pasadena’s Suicide Bridge; these unfortunates remain trapped underneath the edifice.  Reluctantly he decides to liberate the captive souls.  However, to achieve his lofty objective, Kane must first learn what incarcerates them at the Devil’s Gate before he goes after the evil with the Soul Trap.




The second Kane Pryce paranormal thriller is an exhilarating urban fantasy starring an anti-Ghostbusters reluctant hero.  Ironically his walk on the wild side of Hollywood music and even crazier trysts seem as dangerous to Kane (self-inflicted) as the wicked monster who haunts Suicide Bridge.  Readers will appreciate his latest battle with supernatural and natural psychopaths.




Harriet Klausner




Trucker Ghost Stories: And Other True Tales of Haunted Highways, Weird Encounters, and Legends of the Road

August 3, 2012

Trucker Ghost Stories: And Other True Tales of Haunted Highways, Weird Encounters, and Legends of the Road

Annie Wilder (editor)

Tor, Aug 7 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9780765330352


This is a fun collection (unless you are the authors) of short shorts written by people who insist they met unnatural phenomena while on the road.  The true encounters are divided into four chapters: Just Plain Weird, Messages and Assistance from the Spirit World, Haunted Highways: Legends and Lore of the Road, and Time Slips.  In some cases, the entry reads like a campfire ghost story and in others like the driver entered the “Turnpike to the Twilight Zone” as R. Dustin Mercer discusses about a trip in the Pittsburgh area he has done many times but this time is eerily different.  The first entry George Stern, Jr. “Demon In Texas” sets the tone as no one will sleep near an Indian burial ground.  Matt McFadden’s firsthand account of the “Girl in the Window” staring at him as he drives.  Stacy Eldrige discusses Uncle Jim’s “Uninvited Passenger” who faded into thin air.  When Lee Honawu was fourteen he drove his grandma’s truck with his younger brother as a passenger only they saw a “Skinwalker in Arizona.”  If you are looking for tight editing and perfect grammar you need take a detour away from this anthology; as a major part of what makes these stories fascinating are the observers’ writings on roads like “Old Highway 666 in New Mexico” by Susan Miller and “Ghost Rider on Highway 666” by Carl Smith.


Harriet Klausner


Redwine Hill: The Secrets At Primevil Asylum-L.L. Stolmeier

August 2, 2012

Redwine Hill: The Secrets At Primevil Asylum

L.L. Stolmeier

CreateSpace, Jun 17 2012, $13.99

ISBN: 9781477679883


When one turns sixteen, one turns insane.  Collectors stalk teens to rob them of any values they have and take them to the nearest asylum.  Teen orphan Charlotte C. Carrion knows she may turn crazy, but plans to elude being caught and locked up.  When she turns sixteen while inside a Boston bakery, a Collector quickly catches Charlotte and with his gang escorts her to the nearest asylum Redwine Hill;, known by teens as ‘Primevil’ where torture and death await the incarcerated.


At Primevil, after a three month adjustment in solitary, Charlotte finds conditions at best nightmarish, but makes friends with Serenity and former inmate turned guard Jared.  Charlotte realizes many of the inmates die and wonders why when Serenity disappears.  Fearing the worst, a resolute Charlotte plans to find what happened to her new BFF and will risk her life to rescue Serinity if she still lives; while Jared tries to keep the brave teen safe.


Using the premise that almost all teens go crazy at sixteen so they need a lockup, Redwine Hill is a dark exciting horror thriller.  Ye who enter Primevil Asylum to learn its evil secrets will find the place gory and deadly.  Atmospherically gloomy with the only light coming from resilient intrepid teens like courageous Charlotte “Cantankerous” Carrion (adults are one dimensional losers) who are struggling to survive in a sort of like Lord of the Flies hellish prison with sadistic adult former inmates violently ruling the roost.


Harriet Klausner

Sour Lake Or, The Beast-Bruce McCandless

July 21, 2012

Sour Lake Or, The Beast

Bruce McCandless

Ninth Planet Press, Dec 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780615544861


In 1911, East Texans live in fear as a monster is viciously ripping people apart while draining the victims of their blood.  Ochiltree County Sheriff Reeves Duncan knows he must end this reign of terror, but realizes all the advantages belong to the unknown malevolence who owns the night in this depressed area called Big Thicket for an obvious reason.


While the good citizens of Acheson and other towns blame Sheriff Duncan in spite of his almost two decades of dedicated law enforcement, he puts together a posse of undesirables and second class misfits (as the good citizens refuse to help).  The team of unacceptable pariahs methodically searches the slough of Big Thicket seeking to end the gruesome beast’s horror unaware that this monster has quisling allies and that there is an even greater danger to mankind.


This is an exhilarating gory early twentieth century horror thriller in which the taut storyline is enhanced with short backstories re the posse and the victims.  Fast-paced with a sense of doom on every page, fans will appreciate this dark tale as 1911 East Texas comes to depressing light through grisly deaths and the eyes of a team suffering from PTSD with every mutilated body they find.


Harriet Klausner


The Donors-Jeffrey Wilson

July 15, 2012

The Donors

Jeffrey Wilson

JournalStone, Jun 29 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9781936564460


Steve was already in a near rage when his woman had not returned home from work to watch over her brat.  When he sees almost six years old Nathan cooking spaghetti O’s in the kitchen he goes berserk.  Steve breaks the child’s arm and grabs Nathan’s hand screaming he will teach him what a stove does; he burns the kid’s fingers.  Nathan refused to cry because he didn’t want his mommy sad and alone.  Hysterical; Sherry takes her “little man” to the ER where Dr. Gelman tells her the burns are full thickness which means Nathan will need the dead skin replaced by a skin graft.  Sherry wants her now ex-boyfriend arrested, but he insists Nathan hurt himself. 


Two lizards from another dimension garbed as humans Mr. Clarke and Mr. Smith work the hospital where they use suffering to harvest organs though they rationalize that they only punish abusers deserving torture.  The pair fear little kids who can see what they are, but also know adults assume children have wild imaginations.  A doctor Jason, whom never moved on from believing he failed his late mom when he was a kid, tries to prevent them from using a nurse he loves, and the mom and child as a tool to get at Steve though his gut screams the SOB deserves the same punishment he gave Nathan. 


This is a powerful horror thriller in which readers will root for the vigilante justice of the lizard men to rip Steve one organ at a time while rooting for intrepid Nathan to not fall under their dark “spell”.  Fast-paced throughout and a strong cast, fans will appreciate The Donor, which questions what evil and heroism truly are.


Harriet Klausner

Odd Apocalypse-Dean Koontz

July 5, 2012

Odd Apocalypse

Dean Koontz

Bantam, Jul 31 2012, $28.00

ISBN: 9780553807745


Odd Thomas communicates with ghosts and has visions including seeing before meeting Annamaria who talks in an odd cryptic vernacular.  They recently met (see Odd Hours) and soon after accept an invitation to spend time as guests at Roseland where they are placed in a stone tower and warned not to leave at night.  Also with the pair is breathing Raphael the Golden Retriever and Boo the German shepherd ghost dog.


Odd encounters a despondent woman on a horse who using pantomime to tell him that her son who is at Roseland is in trouble.  After the ghost leaves, Odd continues his walk where he sees weird copper lazy eights all over the compound while also meeting the odd residents who tell him to flee immediately.  Heeding the pleas of the ghostly mother and Annamaria, Odd knows he faces evil if he is to save the offspring.


The latest Odd paranormal thriller is an enjoyable entry as wherever the hero goes trouble follows.  The storyline has a gothic feel to it especially Roseland, which in many ways is the prime support “character”.  Though there are too many external references (Psycho ghost Mr. Hitchcock excluded) that slow down the latest encounter with evil, fans of the series will appreciate the adventures of Odd, Annamaria, the canines and Tiny Tim with a late twisting pregnant pause that seems will have shocking future revelations.


Harriet Klausner