Category: Articles

Epeolatry Book Review: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

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Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: The Only Good Indians
Author: Stephen Graham Jones
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
Release Date: 14th July, 2020

Synopsis:

The creeping horror of Paul Tremblay meets Tommy Orange’s There There in a dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

As usual, Stephen Graham Jones knocks it out of the park. Set in the world of modern Native American issues, this episodic novel tells the tale of revenge. Jones gives us a group of longtime Native American friends and the horrors that befall them and their families due to their past transgressions.

With each successive section, the story builds and builds to an ultimate faceoff. Throughout, we find ourselves rooting for both avenger and victims. Jones’s love for his Native culture shines with every chapter. I also love that basketball plays such a huge role in the novel. Jones does an amazing job making the sport and its elements an interesting part of the account.

I will be surprised if I ever find a Stephen Graham Jones book I don’t like.

I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

Epeolatry Book Review: Finch by Jeff VanderMeer

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: Finch
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Genre: Weird/Fungal Noir
Publisher: Underland Press
Release Date: 3rd November, 2009

Synopsis:

In Finch, mysterious underground inhabitants known as the gray caps have reconquered the failed fantasy state Ambergris and put it under martial law. They have disbanded House Hoegbotton and are controlling the human inhabitants with strange addictive drugs, internment in camps, and random acts of terror. The rebel resistance is scattered, and the gray caps are using human labor to build two strange towers. Against this backdrop, John Finch, who lives alone with a cat and a lizard, must solve an impossible double murder for his gray cap masters while trying to make contact with the rebels. Nothing is as it seems as Finch and his disintegrating partner Wyte negotiate their way through a landscape of spies, rebels, and deception. Trapped by his job and the city, Finch is about to come face to face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever.

Before Finch, I’ve only read Vandermeer’s Area X trilogy, of which Annihilation is a must read for modern imaginative fiction. I did try and read Dead Astronauts, but that one wasn’t for me. I only made it a handful of pages in before throwing it in the DNF pile.

Awhile back, a friend of mine recommended Finch to me. But, due to my experience with Dead Astronauts I was reluctant to give it a try. I’m glad I eventually got over my doubt and picked it up. And now I regret taking so long to read it. It was amazing!

Finch is a noir mystery firmly rooted in the New Weird genre alongside authors like China Mieville, Laird Barron, and Nathan Ballingrud. Though this qualifies as horror, it leans more toward the fantastic, becoming the first book I’ve read that could be described as Fungal Noir.

In the story, Finch, a detective for the city of Ambergris, must solve a double murder case. A man and a greycap (a sort of mushroom person) are found dead in an apartment. Half of the greycap’s body is missing. The more Finch digs for clues in this city under the control of the mushroom people, the more trouble he stirs up for himself and his friends.

Finch is filled with insane and unapologetic worldbuilding. I haven’t seen something this imaginative since reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.

I give this fungal fantasy 5 out of 5 stars.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

Epeolatry Book Review: The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time, Book 5)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 15th, 1994

Synopsis: Soon to be an original series starring Rosamund Pike as Moiraine!

Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time®, continues.

The fifth book in Robert Jordan’s internationally bestselling epic fantasy series, THE WHEEL OF TIME, now reissued with a stunning new cover design.

The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free…

Rand al’ Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war. Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe.

Rand has again fulfilled another part of the prophesies, further proving that he is The Dragon Reborn, or, as the Aiel call him, He Who Comes With The Dawn. Plus, through the mechanizations of the Black Ajah (a secret group of Aes Sedai who support the Dark One), Siuan Sanche is deposed from the Amyrlin Seat. This causes civil war in the White Tower as many go into hiding. The bulk of this one follows as Rand tracks down a renegade group of the Aiel who oppose him while wreaking havoc on the innocent. More ominous characters work against him as well, but they do not work well together. The Forsaken plot and plan against each other just as much as they do against Rand.

I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous entries. It didn’t earn its almost 1000 page count this time around. I still liked it and will continue! Only nine more books to go!

This one only gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

Apex Magazine Runs Kickstarter to Fund 2022 after EIC Health Scare

Apex Magazine is running a Kickstarter to raise at least $10K with hopes of reaching their last Kickstarter total of $38K.

The pro-paying magazine went on hiatus eighteen months ago due to Editor-in-Chief, Jason Sizemore’s fight with mandibular cancer. Doctors replaced his entire jaw with his left fibula and a titanium plate. He jokes about it, saying, “I’m the cyborg editor now.”

Sizemore reports that Apex lost over one thousand subscribers when Kindle Periodicals cancelled the Apex account during the hiatus. KP refuses to renew it, saying they’re not open to ‘new’ periodicals. Sizemore argued with them that they aren’t new, but he’s gotten nowhere. If you were one of those subscribers, you can renew directly through the Apex website. Total cost is $24.00 for a year. (more…)

Indie Bookshelf Releases 07/23/21

Click on the book covers for more information. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page – there’s all sorts lurking in the deep.

Got a book to launch, an event to promote or seeking extra work/support as a result of being hit economically by Covid or life in general?

Get in touch and we’ll promote you here. The post is prepared each Thursday for publication on Friday. Contact us via Horror Tree’s contact address or connect via Twitter or Facebook.

Services

Editing: Michael David Wilson, This Is Horror Founder and Editor In Chief, podcaster, and writer (The Girl in the Video) is currently offering his freelance editing services. “Michael David Wilson invented the fine-toothed comb. His attention to detail is second to none, and he has a wonderful understanding of structure. This is a guy who knows how good writing works.”—Ray Cluley, author of WATER FOR DROWNING Michael has over ten years of editing experience and has edited books by Josh Malerman, Pat Cadigan, Stephen Graham Jones, David Moody, and many others. He’s worked with various publishing houses and small presses including Rebellion Publishing and Broken River Books. Prices start from £0.01/word. For further information go here: michaeldavidwilson.co.uk/editing/. Contact Michael: [email protected]

Editing, critiquing, artworkEugene Johnson is a man of many talents, an award-winning editor, filmmaker and artist. He will be will be selling his art, book covers, book art, logo designs, making prints, offering short story critiques/edits, special book projects like a coloring book he’s creating with another author and more for a small fee. Initially to fund desperately needed repairs on his car, once that is complete he hopes to turn his focus towards helping others that need support. Join him in his endeavours in getting this help to those who need it. Contact him via https://plaiddragonpublishing.com/ and he can also be found on https://www.facebook.com/eugene.johnson.14855. If you’d like to help him get his car fixed that bit quicker, please drop in on his Fundraiser set up by friends. (I think another link will be set up in the near future regarding his services and I’ll update it here when that happens.)

EditingElle Turpitt, elleturpittediting.com, is facing redundancy. Help her by considering her as an editor. She is available for all editing work – short story, novella, novel, or chapter extracts. She also has a Ko-Fi (ko-fi.com/elleturpitt), or if you’d rather send a little gift to help her smile at a stressful time, she has a wishlist set up for this month (amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls). All support is appreciated. 

 

Writing and Editing Services from Ben Long. Go to Ben for ‘Killer Copy, Creative Content, and Eye-opening Edits’! Ben is ‘a passionate and engaging freelancer with 2+ years of experience in a variety of writing and editing endeavors. He is also a regular contributor to several online brands in the horror niche.’ You can find out more about him here https://readingvicariously.net/services/.

 

Events

Please send us details of any online panels, conventions, festivals and workshops and we’ll list them here.

Buzz Book Expo 2021 4th – 5th Sept. Showcases horror novels and novellas due for publication Sept 2021 to Dec 2022. Organised by Mary Sangiovanni, Somer Canon, Matt Wildasin and Katie Southard. Click the image for more info.

 

 

Charity Anthologies

 

 Tales Of The Lost Volume Two- A charity anthology for Covid- 19 Relief: Tales To Get Lost In A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY FOR COVID-19 RELIEF by [Gaiman, Neil,, Hill, Joe,, Johnson, Eugene M,]  Flashes of Hope by [Anna Taborska, Dave Jeffery, Amy Grech, Matthew Davis, John Cady, Emma Lee, Gwen Weir, Ken Goldman, Alyson Faye, Theresa Derwin]    

 

Latest Book Launches

Horror Tree Sponsor* and Patreon Releases!

24th June

9th JulyTrembling With Fear: Year 4 by [Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis] Trembling With Fear: More Tales From The Tree: Volume 3 by [Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis, Catherine Kenwell] Trembling With Fear: Serial Killers: Volume 2 by [Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis, Catherine Kenwell]

*All Horror Tree sponsors are able to claim a spot at the top of our listing during the donation of their sponsorship. Please use our contact form for more advertising pricing.
 
 

They Slipped Through the Net!

 Hunger Pangs by [Scott J. Moses, Daniele Serra]     Dark Words: Stories of Urban Legends and Folk Lore by [Dandelion  Publishing, Leonie M. Smith, Steve Clark, Simon  Paul Wilson, Eygló Karlsdóttir, Alexander C. Bailey, Gavin Dillinger, Richard Gerlach, J.C. Walsh, Cassie Daley]

June

9th Spiffing: A Cosmic Horror Novella by [Tim Mendees] 11th Metaphoria14th 15th Ride or Die by [James Newman]

15th Trench Mouth by [Christine Morgan]15th Murmur: Collected Horror16th 17th Far, Far Away Anthology - Ebook

18th 18th 24th  25th Dismal Dreams by [Red Lagoe]

26th The Creeping Void: Terror on the Highlands (AFTER: A POST-APOCALYPTIC SURVIVOR SERIES) by [Tim Mendees]29th Savage Island by [Brian Moreland]29th Apocalypse, Zombie (Guardians of the Apocalypse Book 6) by [Jeff Thomson]29th

30th 30th Side Roads: A Dark Fiction Collection by [Rachel A. Brune]

July

1st 2nd Non-Practicing Cultist (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 75) by [Scott J. Moses]2nd Milk Kisses & Other Stories (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 68) by [Ross Jeffery]4th

6th Lambs Among Wolves by [Russell James] 6th 7th The Samaritan by [Dave Jeffery]8th Dead Men Tell No Tales by [Jeffrey Kosh]

9th 9th After the Fall (Underground Book 5) by [Stephen Herczeg] 12th Brand New Dark by Beau Johnson 14th Demons Never Die: A Collection of Artwork & Flash Fiction by [P.J. Blakey-Novis, David Paul Harris]

14th 15th Immortelle by [Catherine McCarthy]15th 15th

16th Abhorrent Siren by [John Baltisberger] 20th 20th Slattery Falls by [Brennan LaFaro] 20th Only The Stains Remain by [Ross Jeffery]

21st J is for Jack-o'-Lantern (A to Z of Horror Book 10) by [Daniel R. Robichaud, Dona Fox, Sofie Wilkes, Robert P. Ottone, Rob Robson, Ariel Dodson, Donna Cuttress, Tori Danielle Romero, Sarah Jane Huntington, Jack Joseph] 23rd Beyond Human 29th Absolute Unit by [Nick Kolakowski, Crystal Lake Publishing] 30th They Come in the Night by [Lynn-Cee Faulk]

August

3rd The Final Gate by [Wesley Southard, Lucas Mangum] 5th 6th 6th Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by [Maxwell Ian Gold, Crystal Lake Publishing]

17th Below by [Kev Harrison] 26th The Girl in the Attic by [Jon Athan]

September

1st The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales by [Eric LaRocca] 1st Writers Workshop of Horror 2 by [Michael Knost] 6th Picture 7th Grimoire of the Four Impostors by [Coy Hall]

10thFloaters by [Garrett Boatman, Crystal Lake Publishing]21st The House of Little Bones by [Beverley Lee]22nd 28th Midnight From Beyond the Stars by [Gabino Iglesias, James Newman, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tim Curran, Lee Murray, Ronald Kelly, Samantha Kolesnik, William Meikle, Kenneth W. Cain]

30th Kill Kit Killers: Premeditated murder, proved with their kits TBA 

October

1st Gorefest: Extreme Horror Anthology by [Wrath James White, Stephen Kozeniewski, Armand Rosamilia, Wesley Southard, Jay Wilburn, Jonathan Butcher, Jack Bantry, Robert Essig, Patrick C. Harrison, K. Trap Jones] 1st A House At War: House Arrath Book 119th

November

12th With Benefits: What's a bit of fun between friends?

Kickstarters!

MEMENTO MORI – A Horror Noir Graphic Novel MEMENTO MORI – A Horror Noir Graphic Novel. A 64-page full-color story about the serial killer who resurrects Victorian Post-Mortem photography into a modern work of art.

Project image for Fright Unseen Launch Pack

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

 

Epeolatry Book Review: The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft
Author: H.P. Lovecraft
Genre: Horror/Sci-fi
Publisher: Chartwell Books
Release Date: 1st July, 2016 (this edition)

Synopsis:The Complete Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft collects the great horror author’s novel, four novellas, and fifty-three short stories.

Written between the years 1917 and 1935, this collection features Lovecraft’s trademark fantastical creatures and supernatural thrills, as well as many horrific and cautionary science-fiction themes, that have influenced some of today’s important writers and filmmakers, including Stephen King, Alan Moore, F. Paul Wilson, Guillermo del Toro, and Neil Gaiman.

Included in this volume are The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “The Color Out of Space,” “The Dunwich Horror,” and many more hair-raising tales.

As an author who has acted as inspiration to the (now several) generations of horror writers who’ve followed him, and who in many ways is just starting to earn the critical attention he deserves in the realm of literature in general, HP Lovecraft’s works bear frequent re-reading. For those discovering his work for the first time, I offer a mixture of, ‘There’s something special ahead’ and an uncomprehending, ‘Where’ve you been, and why are you so late arriving at the party?’ 

The Cthulhu Mythos was laid out in the world Lovecraft developed in “Dagon”, “The Call of Cthulhu” and other stories. It has been developed by countless other writers since, and adapted into films, roleplaying games, and computer games. 

Authors such as English horror writer Ramsey Campbell have worked within the mythos extensively, in addition to creating their own universes. There appears to be no limit to the fecundity of this fictional world a century after its invention. In the last decade, Campbell’s Great Old Ones Mythos, itself derived from the Cthulhu Mythos, has in turn received homage from a new generation of writers. A mythos that spawns a mythos, which then takes on a weird identity all its own, is something very Lovecraftian in essence, reminding us of the insignificance of one person in the span of cosmic literature in a way that I’m sure would have delighted him. 

Independent publishing houses continue to produce novels, novellas, short story anthologies, and collections of flash fiction set directly in Lovecraft’s world (although copyright restrictions vary across different legal jurisdictions). They also offer open submission calls in related universes and writing opportunities inspired by Lovecraft in a wider sense (perhaps set not within his settings but still utilizing the key features of weird and cosmic horror he honed to perfection). 

This volume is a great place to start with Lovecraft’s work. It features key longer pieces such as “At the Mountains of Madness”, “The Shadow Out of Time” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (to name but a few), and includes shorter stories such as “The Cats of Ulthar”, “The Terrible Old Man” and “Polaris”. The Necronomicon, an invented book on forbidden magic, has entered the lexicon of popular culture. It is referred to throughout this volume, and it has its own “History” here, too. 

Lovecraft’s influence on horror fiction is so pervasive that it is easy for readers and writers to absorb his style and tone via other authors, but there is simply no substitute for reading his works directly. Indeed, to do otherwise is to miss the very best of weird fiction. The shortest stories are bursting with discomfort and oddity, and Lovecraft’s breadth of the universe’s capacity for evil (and how far it is prepared to travel to subject mankind to it) is perpetually unsettling. 

The longer fiction immerses the reader in weird events, gradually ratcheting up the tension until insanity represents a welcome release from the terrible truth about to be uncovered, or a gruesome death acts as merely the beginning of the narrator’s suffering. 

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

Book Review: Before He Wakes by Mark Allan Gunnells

BEFORE HE WAKES BY MARK ALLAN GUNNELLS 

Review by Leeroy Cross James 

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Synopsis: Before I entered Mark Allan Gunnells’s latest thriller, I examined the cover design. At first, I thought the lonely image of a standard house with exposed beams, but upon closer inspection I realised it was actually a steel cage—a hint towards what I was going to experience in this fast-paced claustrophobic tale of isolation and survival. But the cover gave me food for thought, in the respect that we never know what lurks behind closed doors, even in somewhere as safe as a regular house that you probably walk past every day. It was this thought that I came back to after I finished the book. It made it even more terrifying when it became clear that the “monster” in this horror story could very well be someone just as human as you or me.

(more…)

Epeolatry Book Review: The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time, Book 4)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 15th, 1993

Synopsis: Soon to be an original series starring Rosamund Pike as Moiraine!

Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time®, continues.

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.

In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?

In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.

In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.

In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.

Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn….

The Shadow Rising opens with the city of Tear and its citadel under Rand’s control with the help of the Aiel, a tribe of warriors from the great desert to the east. Matt is still trying to escape his destiny as one of the taver’en linked to Rand, The Dragon Reborn, but gets pulled back into the fray with every attempt. Mistakenly, he becomes the leader of a much renowned war party. Perrin returns to the Two Rivers with Faile, a hunter of the horn they drew into their adventures in the last volume, who is falling for Perrin. Back in the Two Rivers he learns the peaceful folks from his home still have the blood of the great country of Manetheren flowing in their veins, a country destroyed long ago in the Trolloc Wars.

This is the book where the main characters really start to shine. They each begin to rise to their destiny, and it is a ton of fun following them as the different opposing forces try to stop them.

This one is a bit longer than any other volume so far at over 1000 pages, but every development is worth it. In this novel we learn more about the world they inhabit, and more about the Forsaken and what makes them tick.

This one took me a bit longer to get through, but I give it another 5 out of 5 stars.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.