Category: Reviews

Epeolatry Book Review: The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Title: The House Guest
Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan
Publisher: Tor
Genre: Mystery
Release date: 7th February, 2023
Synopsis: The House Guest is another diabolical cat-and-mouse thriller from USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan—but which character is the cat, and which character is the mouse?

 After every divorce, one spouse gets all the friends. What does the other one get? If they’re smart, they get the benefits. Alyssa Macallan is terrified when she’s dumped by her wealthy and powerful husband. With a devastating divorce looming, she begins to suspect her toxic and manipulative soon-to-be-ex is scheming to ruin her—leaving her alone and penniless. And when the FBI shows up at her door, Alyssa knows she really needs a friend.

 And then she gets one. A seductive new friend, one who’s running from a dangerous relationship of her own. Alyssa offers Bree Lorrance the safety of her guest house, and the two become confidantes. Then Bree makes a heart-stoppingly tempting offer. Maybe Alyssa and Bree can solve each other’s problems.

 But no one is what they seem. And the fates and fortunes of these two women twist and turn until the shocking truth emerges: You can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you get what you deserve.

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Epeolatry Book Review: Les Femmes Grotesques by Victoria Dalpe

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Title: Les Femmes Grotesques
Author: Victoria Dalpe
Publisher: CLASH Books
Genre: Horror, Weird
Release date: 1st November, 2022
Synopsis: In each of these stories, the reader is lured into a sinister shadow space, one both familiar and uncanny.

Life is strange, beautiful, and terrible in the world of Victoria Dalpe’s debut short story collection. Her characters run the gamut from nosy neighbors to boomtown prostitutes, sentient moss to ghouls with a taste for artist’s flesh. The stories contain chance encounters with truck stop mystics, haunted reality show renovations, and cat people roaming the western plains. In Dalpe’s writing, horror mixes with humor, and the ordinary with the macabre. Les Femmes Grotesques is a unique and lush reading experience. Tragic and transformative—an unabashed exploration of the dark feminine.

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Epeolatry Book Review: The Branding Ax by Justin Fulkerson

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Title: The Branding Ax
Author: Justin Fulkerson
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre: Horror
Release date: 12th August, 2022
Synopsis: For Dominic, the annual fishing trips with his grandfather Earl were usually uneventful. Now at eighteen, he knows this will be the last trip they take together because Earl has recently been diagnosed with dementia and his lucid time is running out.

Clearcutting has resumed in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska and, unbeknownst to Dominic, Earl has decided to sabotage the logging equipment nearby. When Earl returns to camp in a panic, raving about being attacked by something evil in the woods, Dominic fears his dementia has caused Earl’s delusion and as he tries in vain to calm him down, an explosion erupts in the distance clarifying to him what Earl has done.

Back in their tent, Earl succumbs to a heart attack. Dominic, afraid and alone, covers him and tries to figure out how he is going to get home. But Earl’s body does not remain dead very long. In the darkness of the tent, Dominic hears his corpse moving and realizes the nightmare has only just begun.

Pursued through the forest by his undead grandpa, Dominic struggles for survival as the wildfire rages. He will soon find out that an ancient evil has been stirred up by the activity and it is determined to protect its forest sanctuary at all costs.

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Epeolatry Book Review: The Hollows by Daniel Church

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Title: The Hollows
Author: Daniel Church
Publisher: Angry Robot
Genre: urban fantasy / folk horror
Release date: 8 November 2022
Synopsis: Folk horror meets ancient gods in a remote snowbound Peak District town where several murders take place…

 

In a lonely village in the Peak District, during the onset of a once-in-a-lifetime snow storm, Constable Ellie Cheetham finds a body. The man, a local ne’er-do-well, appears to have died in a tragic accident: he drank too much and froze to death.  

 

But the facts don’t add up: the dead man is clutching a knife in one hand, and there’s evidence he was hiding from someone. Someone who watched him die. Stranger still, an odd mark has been drawn onto a stone beside his body. 

 

The next victims are two families on the outskirts of town. As the storm rises and the body count grows, Ellie realises she has a terrifying problem on her hands: someone – or some thing – is killing indiscriminately, attacking in the darkness and using the storm for cover. 

 

The killer is circling ever closer to the village. The storm’s getting worse… and the power’s just gone out.

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Epeolatry Book Review: The Warden by Daniel M. Ford

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Title: The Warden
Author: Daniel M. Ford
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, LGBTQ+
Release Date: 18th, April, 2023
Synopsis: There was a plan.

She had the money, the connections, even the brains. It was simple: become one of the only female necromancers, pass as many certifications as she could, get a post near the capital, then… profit. The funny thing about plans is that they are seldom under your control.

Now Aelis, a daughter of a noble house and a trained Magister of the Lyceum, finds herself in the far-removed village of Lone Pine. Mending fences and delivering baby goats, serving people who want nothing to do with her. But, not all is well in Lone Pine, and as the villagers Aelis is reluctantly getting to know start to behave strangely, Aelis begins to suspect that there is far greater need for a warden of her talents than she previously thought.

Old magics are restless, and an insignificant village on the furthest border of the kingdom might hold secrets far beyond what anyone expected. Aelis might be the only person standing between one of the greatest evils ever known and the rest of the free world.

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Epeolatry Book Review: The Horror Collection: Sapphire Edition Edited by Natasha Sinclair

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Title: The Horror Collection: Sapphire Edition
Author: Natasha Sinclair
Publisher: KJK Publishing
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 14th, December, 2022
Synopsis: The bloodthirsty master of terror, Kevin J. Kennedy, once again brings insatiable horror readers a tremendous variety of original fiction from some of the best in the business.

Thirteen is unlucky for some — KJK Publishing has put together a memorable Horror feast for the mammoth thirteenth book in this series. It’s perhaps our favourite number!

From rising indie talent to authors who have been in the industry for decades. Your appetite is guaranteed a veritable smorgasbord of styles and subgenres to feed the pallet. Join us between the pages of this bestselling horror series for the thirteenth time.

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Epeolatry Book Review: A Blackness Absolute by Caitlin Marceau

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Title: A Blackness Absolute
Author: Caitlin Marceau
Publisher: Ghost Orchid Press
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 21st, February, 2023
Synopsis: A Blackness Absolute is a collection of short horror stories by up-and-coming Canadian author Caitlin Marceau. The collection takes in uncertainties of perception, feelings of vulnerability—to the weather, the natural world, the tenuousness of sanity—and mixes these elements with a strong sense of history and folklore. From the title piece, which evokes the pure claustrophobic terror of becoming lost and disoriented in a cave-system, to the final tale, Doireann, where a woman performs unusual funeral rites in a starving community, each story layers ambiguities to create an unnerving effect that will get under your skin.

If you love great storytelling, creepy atmospherics, and stories that instil a sense of dread that will return to you in the dead of night, then you’re sure to find something to enjoy in this masterful collection. These stories will linger long after you close the book.

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Epeolatry Book Review: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

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Title: The Man in the High Castle
Author: Philip K. Dick
Publisher: Mariner Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: October 1962
Synopsis: It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In this world, we meet characters like Frank Frink, a dealer of counterfeit Americana who is himself hiding his Jewish ancestry; Nobusuke Tagomi, the Japanese trade minister in San Francisco, unsure of his standing within the bureaucracy and Japan’s with Germany; and Juliana Frink, Frank’s ex-wife, who may be more important than she realizes.

These seemingly disparate characters gradually realize their connections to each other just as they realize that something is not quite right about their world. And it seems as though the answers might lie with Hawthorne Abendsen, a mysterious and reclusive author, whose best-selling novel describes a world in which the US won the War… The Man in the High Castle is Dick at his best, giving readers a harrowing vision of the world that almost was.

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