Tagged: Book Review

Epeolatry Book Review: October Nights by Kevin Lucia

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Title: October Nights
Author: Kevin Lucia
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Release Date: 22nd October, 2021

Synopsis: This Halloween…
On a night when anything seems possible…
We dare you to spend an evening in the small town of Clifton Heights.
October nights here are long and strange, filled with both dread and transformation, and in these four shared-world tales of small-town Halloween horror, you’ll encounter things both wondrous and terrifying, in equal measure:

– A priest hears a ghostly confession on Halloween night which will mark him forever.
– A young man is offered a supernatural chance to remake his fortune, at the risk of losing everything.
– A pastor fleeing the death of his daughter comes to Clifton Heights to face his fears, but finds himself living a nightmare instead.
– Two people with supernatural talents face-off with an engine of darkness and pain on Halloween night.

Four connected Halloween tales, evoking echoes of Ray Bradbury and Charles L. Grant, taking place in a town where every day is All Hallow’s Eve.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

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Epeolatry Book Review: The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

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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 Wind Through the Keyhole
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror, Sci Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Scribner
Release Date: April 2012

Synopsis: Stephen King returns to the rich landscape of Mid-World, the spectacular territory of the Dark Tower fantasy saga that stands as his most beguiling achievement.

Roland Deschain and his ka-tetJake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, the billy-bumbler—encounter a ferocious storm just after crossing the River Whye on their way to the Outer Baronies. As they shelter from the howling gale, Roland tells his friends not just one strange story but two . . . and in so doing, casts new light on his own troubled past.

In his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death, Roland is sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man” preying upon the population around Debaria. Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, the brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Only a teenager himself, Roland calms the boy and prepares him for the following day’s trials by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother often read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” Roland says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.” And indeed, the tale that Roland unfolds, the legend of Tim Stoutheart, is a timeless treasure for all ages, a story that lives for us.

King began the Dark Tower series in 1974; it gained momentum in the 1980s; and he brought it to a thrilling conclusion when the last three novels were published in 2003 and 2004. The Wind Through the Keyhole is sure to fascinate avid fans of the Dark Tower epic. But this novel also stands on its own for all readers, an enchanting and haunting journey to Roland’s world and testimony to the power of Stephen King’s storytelling magic.

~from first edition jacket

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Epeolatry Book Review: Reunion Special by Carson Winter

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Title: Reunion Special
Author: Carson Winter
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: 14th October, 2020

Synopsis: No one’s ever seen “Deserted”. But people talk about it.

The “reality television event that never was” crashed before it ever took off. Now, all that survives is snippets—images of contestants staring off into space, the heads of snakes peering out from the backs of their throats. Eighteen years later, host Edgar Reyes invites them back to the island for a reunion special. But as the truth begins to slither out, the host and contestants question who’s really pulling their strings.

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Epeolatry Book Review: Below by Kev Harrison

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Title: Below
Author: Kev Harrison
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release Date: 17th August, 2021

Synopsis: Nick has revered his grandfather his entire life. The absent hero, his namesake, buried alive in his final act of courage an ocean and thousands of miles away. Jess has outgrown her status as an all-action social media celebrity and the endless demands that come with it.

Adventure Travel TV has thrown this unlikely duo together, promising Jess the launchpad she craves and Nick the chance to tell his grandfather’s story first-hand, in the newly uncovered mine that still holds his remains from the twilight days of the gold rush. Is it a dream come true or a nightmare as someone or something stirs…BELOW.

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Epeolatry Book Review: Splinter and Other Stories by Alex Wolfgang

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Title: Splinter and Other Stories
Author: Alex Wolfgang
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: 31st May, 2020

Synopsis: Splinter and Other Stories, the debut horror collection by Alex Wolfgang, follows the surreal struggles and fractured hopes of its ill-fated characters.

Two lovestruck travelers form a sinister bond. A man is given the power to liberate prisoners from their mysterious captors. A woman is plagued by visions of her childhood trauma. An alien entity discovers its true nature – to the detriment of a small community.

These ten short stories will horrify, devastate, and haunt you as they untangle their twisted realities.

There’s nothing like reading a complete story in one sitting from start to end that leaves me feeling dread, disgust, shock, and/or amazement. And so, I think horror works best in short form, and I’ve had many agree.

Alex Wolfgang does a stupendous job delivering on all of these feelings throughout Splinter and Other Stories. Whether you’re looking for a gross out (‘Mandibles’), or a sci-fi thriller (‘God of the Complex’), or even something in the vein of Weird fiction (‘Vegetation’, ‘Splinter’, ‘Travel Bug’), it’s all here.

Based on the range of Alex’s freshman collection, I know he has an awesome career in horror ahead of him. I’ll purchase anything he puts out in the future.

 out of 5 ravens.

Available from Amazon.

Epeolatry Book Review: Jedi Summer by John Boden

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Title: Jedi Summer
Author: John Boden
Genre: Coming of Age Horror
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release Date: 31st August, 2021

Synopsis: A boy and his little brother wander through the loosely stitched summer of 1983. It was a magical one. Full of sun and surrealism, of lessons and loss, and of growing up and figuring it out.

Nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania is a small town unlike any other. Things are strange here, always have been. People die but hang around, pets too. Everyone knows your name, and sometimes, a thing as simple as a movie coming to the local theatre is all it takes to keep you going.

Jedi Summer follows a pair of brothers one summer as they await the release of the year’s biggest blockbuster movie. Jedi Summer falls into the coming-of-age horror category, a sub-genre that I personally enjoy. According to the author, this work is at least semi-autobiographical. 

Boden does a great job establishing atmosphere. His setting provides a definite sense of time and place, and capitalizes on nostalgic vibes. 

Where the book falls short for this reader is on organization and presentation. Jedi Summer reads like a collection of loosely connected short stories or vignettes. No overarching element connects individual chapters, and certain seemingly interesting and important plot points fade into the background never to resurface again. 

The novel’s emotional climax centers around the passing of the main characters’ father, which lacked strong emotional resonance, since the majority of the story circled the siblings’ relationship to their mother and the difficulties of being raised by a single parent. The father only appears in a few scenes, and the reader never gets a chance to know him. 

The book is a quick and enjoyable read. Disjointedness of the chapters and lack of a central narrative holds it back from receiving a “5”. Despite those minor complaints, I recommend this if you enjoy coming-of-age horror and/or stories that capitalize on nostalgia.

out of 5 ravens.

Available from Amazon.

Epeolatry Book Review: Lambs Among Wolves by Russell James

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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: Lambs Among Wolves
Author: Russell James
Genre: Catholic Horror/Thriller
Publisher: Silver Shamrock Publishing
Release Date: 6th July, 2021

Synopsis: Evil may soon consume mankind, if the demons have their way.

After the death of her father, young Cyndi Fisher travels to Paris to meet the grandfather she never knew. That man turns out to be Father Jack Cahill, a renegade exorcist who was unaware he’d fathered a child before taking his vows.

Cyndi is soon drawn into Father Jack’s world, where demons from Hell are possessing humans and robbing Europe’s churches of sacred relics. From the cathedrals of Paris, through the graveyards of France, and into the sewers of Rome, they confront the possessed, battle risen corpses, and fight gang members sent to stop them.

They uncover a plot to set Satan free upon the Earth, but stopping it seems impossible. Demons are always one step ahead of them, and each manifestation is more powerful than the last. Stopping Satan’s return will take courage and faith. Will an aged priest and an agnostic teen have enough of either?

I know this is a strange thing to say about a horror novel, but Lambs Among Wolves was a nice cozy read. You know, like something you’d spend an afternoon reading in a folding chair next to the lake.

Years ago, I read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Sucked in by the history and religious intrigue mixed with a heavy dose of suspense, I absolutely loved it (don’t judge me!). Russell James’s Lambs Among Wolves tickled those same corners of my brain.

But there’s a taste of something extra here that Brown didn’t include—imagine if The DaVinci Code and The Exorcist had a baby. This would be it! Lambs Among Wolves combines two of my guilty pleasures: the pseudo history of National Treasure (that fun movie with Nic Cage) and Catholic/Possession based thriller.

I would’ve loved for the author to ramp up the horror aspects a touch more. Much of the story seemed fairly tame with only a hint of the absolute dread and shock that I look for in my favorite horror reading. But the heavily researched locations and Church history made up for this. James truly has a love for the milieu of the novel.

Overall, Lambs Among Wolves is fun ride that with a steady pace. Definitely check this one out.

out of 5 ravens.

Available from Amazon.

Epeolatry Book Review: Have You Seen Me? by Alexandrea Weis

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Title: Have You Seen Me?
Author: Alexandrea Weis
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Release Date: 17th August, 2021

Synopsis: SOME SECRETS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE … FOREVER.

Lindsey Gillett is missing.

And she’s not the first girl at Waverly Prep to vanish without a trace.

To help cope with the tragedy, new history teacher Aubrey LeRoux organizes a small student investigation team. But when the members start turning up dead across campus, Aubrey suspects there’s more going on than anyone is willing to admit.

The murdered students all had something in common with Lindsey. They shared a secret. And what they uncovered could threaten the future of the historic school.

At Waverly Prep, someone wants to keep the past buried—along with anyone who gets in their way.

A killer stalks the grounds of Waverly Prep, murdering students and anyone who get in the way. This novel is an excellent horror/slasher. The deaths are creative and just gruesome enough without being over the top. If you’re looking for classic horror/slasher movie fun, but in a novel, this is a good pick.

Unlike a typical slasher flick, none of the characters become throwaway victims. Each one shows motivation, personality, and complete rounding. Their deaths hit harder even though I saw their end coming—and I kept hoping for a last-minute rescue of my favourites.

However, as a mystery novel, this book falls short. The aforementioned creative murders often require characters to make illogical and reckless mistakes in order to establish isolation. I found it frustrating at several points, and almost amusing at others. I also felt the resolution to the mystery, while it made sense, wasn’t as creative as I would have liked.

Overall, the writing and pacing is well done, and I enjoyed this book.

 out of 5 ravens.

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.