Writer of Horror Fiction

Archive for June, 2011

Review of Ben Langinrichs’ “Savage Fire”

The best way I can describe this portfolio of short tales is to say that it is an eclectic blend of genres, themes, and ideas. Don’t expect to be granted a full explanation of some of the stories. You will be required to come up with your idea of any meaning that can be interpreted from some of them, while others are written in a more traditional manner than makes the purpose of the author more clear. Being challenged is a good thing here, with stories that maybe don’t go down a straight path.

There are definitely some horror tales in this one, including the first story that this collection takes its name from, Savage Fire, as well as An Island Never Cries, but there is also some bizarro tossed in for good measure, an old fashion detective tale, a western, a modern variant on the story of Medusa, a gut wrenching tale of suicide, a twist on the tale of The Little Mermaid that I found to be an amusing deviation from the norm, and even a couple of more or less traditional werewolf tales that were entertaining as well.

This anthology is probably best described as a compilation of the author’s work, with no running theme that ties the stories together, except for the author’s natural ability to craft a interesting tale. Not every story resonated with me, as is typically the case of such a diverse compendium. I felt that a few stories could have been fleshed out a bit more and turned into something more intriguing, but overall, this anthology shows some impressive range. This is an easy read and brought a smile to my face in more than one instance…sometimes one of pleasure, sometimes a smile that cropped up because I appreciated the author’s devious nature.

A good anthology, and a worthwhile read.

Savage Fire can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Savage-Fire-ebook/dp/B0053IX52O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308418967&sr=8-1

Another Review! Sonar 4 Reviews Beyond The Dark

I must be missing a step here or there.  I hadn’t seen the review of Beyond The Dark from Sonar 4 Landing Dock when it was first posted, so I am bringing attention to it now.  My apologies for being a slow poke, but it is another one that really gave the most kudos to the third book in the trilogy.  I know it sounds like a broken record, but please feel free to check it out for yourself…and if you need more encouragement to do so, here ya go:  http://sonar4landingdockreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/beyond-dark-by-patrick-dorazio-review.html

Buy Zombie reviews “Beyond The Dark”

Buy Zombie, which has been so kind as to review the first two books of The Dark Trilogy, has reviewed Beyond The Dark and the verdict was quite positive.  The reviewer, who has some criticisms of my first two books (criticisms that I took well in stride, and appreciated his candor about his view of the books), really appears to be blown away by the third installment of the trilogy.  Pretty much everyone who has read this book has declared it the best of the three, and as I have mentioned, I would toss my vote in with the rest.  So without further ado, check out the review here:  http://www.buyzombie.com/2011/06/13/reviews-of-zombie-related-things/beyond-the-dark-review/

Review of S.A. Gambino’s “Twisted Tales of Terror”

Sheri Gambino has put together an assortment of tales that spring from her dark and vivid imagination for Twisted Tales of Terror.  This anthology has several zombie apocalypse tales, but the author mixes things up with an assortment of other stories to stir the pot.  Included in this book are a few twisty, surprise entries that were unexpected, including one about a mad scientist, a vampire waging a war against evil, a truly killer clown, and the author’s own slant on “Kiss of the Spider Woman”.  She includes a dash of voodoo and a couple of tales of menace from space along with her zombie stories, most of which are traditional survival tales, but with an assortment of demonic invaders thrown in for good measure.

The author creates some solid characters along with a few throw away ones that come with the typical short story.  I grew attached to a few of the characters that I felt like could have been delved into deeper, with grander tales crafted around them.  They drew me in and kept me intrigued.  As for the “throw away” characters, I don’t mean that in a negative way-but when you are dealing with the apocalypse, you tend to need a lot of grist for the mill, and Sheri carves up the bodies here quite nicely.

Overall, this was a brisk, easy read that entertained me and was done far more quickly than expected.  The editing is sharp and I could see making a commitment to a full sized novel by this author with one, or several of her more intriguing characters that she has to offer.

Twisted Tales of Terror can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Tales-of-Terror-ebook/dp/B004YQVOXS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308014835&sr=8-1

Review of Richard Marsden’s “The Traveling Tyrant”

The Traveling Tyrant tells the tale of what amounts to corporate espionage disguised as dark science fiction comedy. Or is it a science fiction tale disguised as a corporate thriller? Not quite sure, since it handles the influence of more than one genre with relative ease. The basic overview of this tale is that a representative of Galactic Hotels has presented to the board of directors the discovery of a pristine, paradise world relatively untouched by human hands, named, conveniently enough, Paradisa. It will make the perfect vacation hot spot for the ultra-wealthy, except for one minor, niggling detail: a group of religious zealots claimed the world as their own years before. So, to cleanse the place of these annoying pests, the Traveling Tyrant is called in to do what he and his fleet of mercenaries do best, which is to make niggling details disappear. The only problem is that there is trouble afoot, with more than one member of the Tyrant’s command staff attempting to work their way into the Tyrant’s position of power through a variety of twisted machinations. So with religious zealots below and the danger of mutiny in the fleet above, you can rest assured that everyone involved is in for a bumpy ride and a mission that more than likely isn’t going to go all that smoothly.

This is definitely a dark comedy at its heartless best. Death and deception go hand and hand here, with virtually every character having more than one agenda, though their desires and goals for advancement and power seem to be quite clear, even if their routes to achieving those goals are often cloudy. This story could easily pave the way for a series of books about the Tyrant and his fleet, plus a client base that has a tendency to be fairly amoral in their desire for conquest and dominance. The writing is solid and the wit sharp, with plenty of deception to entertain and amuse those of us who like a little hemlock with our wine every now and then. While the Tyrant is not a likable fellow, with his lecherous ways and Napoleonic complex, he is only one member of a cast of equally twisted characters, each with their own twisted perspectives and peccadilloes that enhance the story and keep you guessing as to what might happen next and who might deceive who. For some, the darkness of this tale might be a bit much, given that it is fairly relentless, with no apologies offered for the vicious, almost offhand casual way lives are destroyed, but that is also a part of the story’s devious allure. For those who can handle such diabolical tactics in the stories they read, this one should be quite an entertaining addition to their collection.

The Traveling Tyrant can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Tyrant-Richard-Marsden/dp/1456401254/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307932753&sr=1-1

Review of Ian Woodhead’s “The Unwashed Dead”

The Unwashed Dead tells the tale of a zombie uprising on an English Estate. I have to note that as an American, my interpretation of the term “estate” is something along the lines of a village, or at least a close facsimile. Several residents complain of severe migraines one night, and not long after, they transform into flesh eaters, tearing apart everyone around them. As their neighbors are devoured and others are left trying to grasp what’s happening, the army, or some mysterious government agency, moves in to clean up the mess they apparently created, which translates into making sure no one is left around to tell the tale. The story moves at a rapid pace, with plenty of guts and gore carrying the story forward as many of the characters are slaughtered until only a handful remain.
The Unwashed Dead was a quick, simple zombie read. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table as far as the undead are concerned-they are traditional Romero shamblers, but for me, there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps the breakneck pace made it hard for me to grow attached or intrigued by any of the characters, but it was clear that the author plans on a sequel due to the sudden and abrupt ending to the book.
The story was a fun bloodbath with plenty of zombie action and gore. It could have perhaps done with another editing run by the author. There are a few instances of misplaced identity, in particular early on in the story-by which I mean that I thought one character was doing or saying something because of pronoun usage, but it was actually another character and I had to reread a few passages here and there. There were some other typos, though my philosophy on that is that I can tolerate them as long as I get the gist of what the author is saying, which I did, but it deserves to be mentioned here as a fair and honest critique. Despite those quibbles, I did enjoy this story for what it was-a fast paced, gory tale of a traditional zombie uprising. It will be interesting to see where the author takes the story with his sequel.

The Unwashed Dead can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/Unwashed-Dead-Zombie-Armageddon-ebook/dp/B004U34WXE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1307414173&sr=1-1

Cover of “A Glitch In The Continuum”, a new time travel anthology coming out soon!

I am pretty excited about this one.  I wrote a time travel story a while back entitled “Intervention”, which Wayne Goodchild was gracious enough to accept into his time travel anthology.  But this isn’t just stories about time travel, but stories about when time travel goes wonky and things get screwed up, both now and then, or is that then and now?  I’m not quite sure, but it was certainly fun thinking up the consequences behind manipulating the time streams.  I was pretty proud of my little story and was thrilled to find out that it would appear in the book, and first in the table of contents no less.  The cover has just been revealed and the book should probably be released later this summer.  It is a bit of a departure from my traditional horror story M.O., I know, but I was excited to stretch myself a bit with a twisty little tale of the present and future colliding.

Without further ado, here is the wrap around cover!

More details to follow.  I hope plenty of you will be interested in checking this one out.