I had shared information on the upcoming third installment of the Hell’s Gates anthology a while back. I am a proud contributor to this book, whose proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a charity benefiting military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
There are a slew of terrific up and coming and established horror authors on the roster for this one, and the list is conveniently posted right on the cover the book below. My short story, “Little Lost Lamb”, has the privilege of being the first story to appear on its pages, which is a tremendous honor.
The Kindle version of the book is being released next Friday, July 31st. Stay tuned for more details on the print version of the book. I would encourage each and every one of you to check out this as well as the other two tomes in this series. If not only for a chance to read some great horror short stories, to also contribute to a very worthy cause.
You can pre-order your kindle copy now by clicking on the cover below. It will take you right to the Amazon page. And do me another favor while you’re at it: post a review after you have the chance to read it. While I have always appreciated receiving reviews of the books I am involved with, I especially hope there are a lot of reviews shared of this work since posted reviews generate more interest, and more interest means more people buying copies…and that means more money will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
To get you even more interested in this great book, I will share the description below. Remember, just click on the cover to go to Amazon and get your copy. And know that while you are giving yourself a well-deserved scare with this book, you are in no small way also helping some of our most needy veterans get the help they deserve. Thanks!
It may be thicker than water, but AT HELL’S GATES the blood will flow like a river…
In the third volume of the #1 Bestselling AT HELL’S GATES series, some of the finest children of the family of horror authors will show you what it means to be BOUND BY BLOOD. Each unique tale of bloodcurdling darkness shows how kith and kin survive the things that go bump in the night…or become them.
All proceeds from this horror anthology series go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a charity benefiting military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The authors, editors, and supporters of this series are pleased to donate their time and effort to our nation’s proudest sons and daughters.
Saint Pain wraps up the Zombie Ascension trilogy by Vincenzo Bilof. The saga is complete, though some of the story threads remain loose, or a bit frayed, by the end of the tale. Digesting it still, I’m not sure if that left me frustrated or content with how the author chose to close things out. Doors are potentially left open for more, though whether they should be shut for good or not is debatable.
The book starts a full year past where Queen of The Dead left off. Vega and Vincent are set up in a neighborhood with an old cop who doesn’t trust the ex-drug dealer. There are quite a few people with them, including Father Joe and an ex-pro football player named Bill. There are rumors of Vincent’s guns still hidden somewhere in the city (though he is not sharing any info) and stories of others in Detroit trading women and children for food and other supplies. While the living have been active, the undead seem to have become lethargic. Still, the harsh existence everyone faces has them questioning whether or not it is worth continuing to fight to survive. In the meantime, Jim Traverse has returned to Detroit, apparently to finish the annihilation of the human race that he started a year before.
When the undead rise back up due to some sort of unknown force driving them to kill once again, everything is stirred up and those that are alive are forced to choose whether to fight or give up. Vega wants another shot at Traverse while Vincent seems to be unsure of whether or not he wants to let go or to continue battling with Vega at his side. Only Bill, the football player, seems willing to fight to the bitter end and save whoever he can, regardless of the consequences. The reason why he is compelled to do so was one of the more poignant elements of this book, once revealed.
With all its supernatural elements and almost surreal quality to this story, where the author brings things home is when the humanity of his characters is revealed and/or demolished. The madness of some, the despair of others, and the resignation of those who know they are about to die but are still willing to fight…plus those who have already died and yet still fight on for some sort of redemption. These components to the story drew me in and kept me intrigued. The supernatural components of this story gives it a unique kink that will entertain those who crave something beyond the traditional zombie tale. There are layers of manipulation and control…by both the living and the dead…over the undead and those who have power over them. It is a twisty pretzel the author has created here and I am not ashamed to admit I was a bit confused in a few spots as to who was manipulating who.
With its heavy dose of introspection, this book did have a few parts that dragged a bit. Vega and Jim Traverse have always been interesting characters to me, with Vincent less so. His melancholia didn’t keep me intrigued every step of the way. I did enjoy the introduction of Bill, who seems like a character who you could root for despite his flaws. He seems the only person capable of holding on to some semblance of hope even when that seems pointless.
Saint Pain is a fitting ending to Vincenzo Bilof’s unique zombie trilogy. Though some of the characters are frustrating and despicable at turns, they were vividly drawn and draw you into their story, despite how dark, dank, and depressing it all becomes.