Wolves of War is an anthology of werewolf tales with war being the setting. Most of these stories hold to that, though there are a few stray pups that don’t really stick with that as the theme, though each of them have werewolves front and center as the key element to each story.
A brief overview of the different stories found on the pages within this book:
World Were II by A.P. Fuchs: Sergeant Dick Channer is at war. Not only with the enemy, but with himself as he hides out in a bunker with the half-eaten corpse of his father, a General, at his side.
The Devil’s Teardrop by David Dunwoody: A little twist on the traditional werewolf tale where the horror isn’t always manifested in a physical form.
And The Streets Will Run Red with the Blood of Bunnies by Derek J. Goodman: From the world of the author’s novel, “The Apocalypse Shift”, Mr. Goodman gives us a darkly comedic tale of werewolves and were…bunnies. Yep, bunnies.
Adrift: A Werewolf Tale by Anthony Giangregorio: A traditional werewolf tale of a bloodbath, but with the slant of it being at sea, on a ship where there is nowhere to run from the slaughter.
Once We Were…by Grayson Moran: You don’t always know who, or what, the true menace is, even if the creatures at the gate are the ones with the fangs and claws ready to tear your heart out.
The Battle After the Apocalypse by Casey Quinn: As the author states at the beginning of this tale, the enemy of my enemy is my friend…but for how long, in this story of the world after the bombs fall.
Fleeing by Rhiannon Frater: Man is not the only creature that flees the horrors of war and sometimes, it is better not to stick your nose into other people’s business.
Homecoming by Franklin E. Wales: I always thought it would be cool to explore my Italian heritage, but not if I knew what was going on in those Italian hills during WW2.
Under a Civil Moon by John Grover: The question often comes up in transformation tales…can the man ever control the beast, especially when he knows what it does is wrong? This Civil War tale explores that question.
Let Loose the Wolves of War by Timothy W. Long: What if you could become the perfect warrior? One that could travel the space lanes and release your inner-beast to lead your squad to victory time after time?
FUBAR by Alan Mendoza: American G.I.’s come across a German Bunker during WW2 with more than just dead German soldiers in it as they discover a bloodbath and some strange experiments going on.
Simon Midean by T. Patrick Rooney: A fast paced whirlwind of blood and guts tale of a werewolf that seems unstoppable, and yet, it is often times the things you least expect that bring things to a crashing halt.
Overlord by Dylan J. Morgan: Another WW2 tale, but told from the eyes of the werewolves, who care little for the follies of man but use their wars to hide their eternal battle with their arch-nemesis.
The World has Talent…To Kill by John McCuaig: On the game show circuit, the werewolves are the kings of the world when it comes to taking on all supernatural comers and laying waste to them.
Blood and Belief by Thom Brannan and Victorya: The world is at war with the werewolves, and they are killed on sight. But what if one of the soldiers in the cause had a dark secret, and knew of even darker, more dangerous secrets that would impact both human and wolf-kind alike?
Der Wulf by Tim Curran: The siege of Stalingrad turns into an even darker nightmare for a squad of German soldiers as they stumble onto a den of werewolves and face the wrath of the pack-leader.
Genetic Coding by Lee Pletzers: Having the natural instincts of a wolf, as well as its strength and endurance, make for a very tough terrorist in this romp through a jungle filled with strange mutations.
As is the case with every anthology, not all stories hit the mark for me, though overall, this was an entertaining tome of short tales of werewolves doing what werewolves do best: terrifying while tearing the hearts out of their prey. Though there were several really entertaining stories in this book, the one that I would have to say was my favorite was “Der Wulf.” The author takes a scene out of nightmare with the siege of Stalingrad, something horrifying enough on its own, and ups the ante with the addition of creatures out of myth that turn jaded soldiers who have pretty much accepted that they are doomed and fills their hearts with the realization that there are fates far worse than death.
If you are fond of werewolves, this one is well worth checking out.
You can find Wolves of War here: http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-War-Werewolves-Eric-Brown/dp/1449573665/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310327912&sr=8-1
Before I started on Heinous, I assumed it was going to be something like Mr. Moon’s Nightmares, which was a series of short stories and novellas with some intertwined themes to it. Instead, this was a single tale-a tale about Gavin, a somewhat normal teenager that occasionally has dark visions of torture and other disturbing things run through his mind. Still, he seems relatively innocent, and carefree, living his life in a college town hanging out with his best friend and not worrying about much of anything. The story starts out with a hellish dream with visions of people wrapped in barbed wire as they laugh uncontrollably, their agony beyond all reason as they are tortured and odd creations trickle through the visions Gavin is having. We step back into the past after the dream, to the days of Gavin’s youth, before he meets up with, and is subjected to, the creature he later dubs Heinous, though it has had many names since its birth at the dawn of time. Heinous is chaos incarnate, a symbiote with a desire to cause pain and death while it tortures those who it chooses to do its bidding endlessly.
This is a story that pulls no punches and doesn’t apologize for the grim realities it unveils. Gavin resists the creature at first, watching as it uses him to do unspeakable things to those he loves, but then, in time, he embraces the dark cravings of the beast and releases what seems to have been buried inside him from the outset-a lust for the same evil that Heinous spawns. I have said it before in a prior review of Mr. Moon’s work-the man knows how to spin a tale. He is a story teller of the macabre and this story tears and claws at you, much as Heinous tears and claws at Gavin, shattering him both inside his head and throughout his body. I will warn you that Moon doesn’t soften the blow at any point, and kept me wondering what grand new vicious treat was waiting around the corner with every page I turned. It is interesting, because as I read this book, it almost felt as if Heinous was the incarnation of Gavin’s darker self, something he created in his own mind as a justification for his evil actions. At the same time, Heinous seems to have gravitated to the one person with the capacity to embrace his level of wretched depravity. Gavin is that person, and goes along for the ride, able to handle the visions that torture him as he does perpetrates as much evil as Heinous can offer up to the world.
As is the case with most good stories, a lot of what the interpretation of what is truth is left up to the reader to decide for themselves. All I know is the truth that came from this book was filled with a grim darkness that will stick with me for some time to come.
Heinous can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Heinous-Jonathan-Moon/dp/1461096227/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305258398&sr=1-1
I wanted to post the cover of an anthology that I am proud to have a story in. The challenge with the premise of this antho was to use two different monster archetypes and mash them up and make it into a comedy story about them. It is entitled Groanology: Amusing Monster Mash-Ups Unleashed!
My short story, “Hell in the Family” will appear on its pages. Shocking tidbit about it: there are NO zombies in this one! So you see, I can actually write a horror tale without the undead in it. But of course, there have been others I’ve written. But of course, by now, you all know I love writing about the undead buggers, heh.
Anyway, here is the cover, and I think it will give you a great idea of how amusing this book will end up being. More details to come as the book gets closer to release.
I am not a huge poetry aficionado, but on occasion I will check out poetry from a few different sources out there that are related to my interests. From Beyond the Mist is from the Library of Horror, but most of the poems written here are not of traditional horror, at least not of the supernatural, though there are a few poems of that bent. Much of what the author provides us with is tastes of reality, seen through the eyes of someone who has experienced despair in their existence. A poem of something as simple as a leaf growing green and vibrant, only to die in time with no one left interested in the beauty that was once there and others that speak of the death of a loved one, the grief of leaving someone behind, and much more. Tales of abuse, anger, dreams, nightmares…there is much here that dips into the darkness of the soul. As I said, some of this is of a supernatural, or horror bent, with a substantial sprinkling of tales of angels, both those from above and those that have fallen, but I think all of us who have dealt with tragedy and hardships will find at least a few different poems here that will touch you personally.
In some spots, I tried to discern the deeper meanings of certain poems, while with others the meaning seemed more clear to me. I believe there is layers to every one of these tales and each reader has to determine for themselves what meaning they can take from them. While there is sadness and grim, harsh realities spoken of here, there is also light, and a hope that sparkles through on many pages. If you are looking for something that speaks of the darker side of reality, and also of the dreams that we try to hide from, check out this book of poems.
You can find From Beyond The Mist here: http://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Beyond-Mist-Elizabeth-LaFond/dp/1460937465/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301972541&sr=8-1
David Dunwoody has written some fine zombie fiction, and I was curious about this combination novella and short story compendium he’d written, since it steers clear of the rotting folk completely. There isn’t one story about zombies in this book, although the dead do pop up in a couple of different instances. Unbound, which carries the bulk of the pages in this offering, is a story about Emil Sharpe, a man with albino white features dressed entirely in black. He is supposed to be a character in a series of books, but for reasons unknown, he has come to life, and is terrorizing the people who live and drive up and down I-15 out west as he takes his 18 wheeler, the Yankee Rose, and carries cargo for some darkly mysterious people. Several folks are after him, including the author of the novels he appears in, because Sharpe has made their lives nightmares as he has demands that his story, his real story, be told through the author’s pages. The story starts out with a bang, and the intensity doesn’t let up throughout. Emil Sharpe acts like a demon and yet at the same time, there is something distinctly human and vulnerable about him, though he most assuredly is neither. It isn’t until the very end of this tale that we discover the truth, and there will be hell to pay when we do.
The rest of this book is made up of eight short stories, more than one of which ties into Unbound in one form or fashion. They provide the reader with a nice creep factor, with odd characters, dark magic, and other elements of a good, jarring nightmare. I particularly enjoyed “Clowns”, knowing that anyone who has ever been afraid of these painted devils will probably feel at least a tad bit uncomfortable while reading that tale.
It is Unbound that holds sway here, overshadowing the rest of the stories, though I found them enjoyable and certainly devious. It is just that Unbound could be expanded or contracted into a full length novel or be turned short story and would likely leave its taste in your mouth long after you’re done with it. It has the flavor of Peckinpah with just a dash of Lovecraft and larger helpings of Stephen King. There were perhaps echoes of The Dark Half, by Stephen King, in my head as I read this tale, but Dunwoody takes the concept of a character come to life off the pages of a book and molds and shapes it like clay (in more ways than one) to make it his own. Emil Sharpe is just one of those characters that starts out fascinatingly scary and grows on you from there.
Unbound and Other Tales can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/UNBOUND-Other-Tales-David-Dunwoody/dp/1451511582/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297787359&sr=1-1
Black Corners of a Blood-Red Room is a series of brief vignettes, or nightmares, if you will. Each is like a taste of a bitter drink that first warms, then burns, as it travels down your throat, and then is gone, though you can still feel it there, itching in your gut, well after you have finished it. None of these slightly less than fifty tales is more than ten pages long, and most are quite a bit less than that. That the author is able to do much like the creature that adorns the cover and grab you by the throat with the stories that appear here speaks highly of his writing talent. Short fiction can be tricky, and admittedly, not every single story here resonated with me, but again, with a selection as wide as Mr. Rutigliano has offered up here, his hit rate is quite impressive.
The stories on these pages are broken up into five different themes, though the author’s flights of fancy don’t really provide enough restraint that all of these stories can be easily categorized, though they are all horror, and there is a tremendous amount of diversity at work here. Not often do you see a writer willing to plunge into such diverse territory. We travel through history, alternate universes, and surreal environments. This is definitely a dreamscape, and a wide ranging one at that.
I would like to see some longer tales from this author, but my guess is that he often gets the itch to create something short and abrupt, and finds it hard to spend time on larger works. Again, he has done a great job at creating short, strong splashes of imagery that pulls you in and then drop kicks you rather rapidly when the tale is done. So if you have a penchant for short horror fiction that tends to run into the fantastical, you should check out this book. It is well worth the price of admission.
Black Corners of a Blood-Red Room can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Corners-Blood-Red-Patrick-Rutigliano/dp/1453756531/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294715754&sr=1-1
Ladies and Gents,
Tomorrow, my good friend, Mr. Jonathan MoOn, is running a promotion on his book, Mr. MoOn’s Nightmares. I reviewed his book here, https://patrickdorazio.com/2010/07/31/review-of-jonathan-moons-mr-moons-nightmares/.
Check out the Facebook page for Mr. MoOn’s Nightmares Day, All Day: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=170572399623444 and make sure you are attending this event!
And check out his blog to see what goodies he is giving away! http://bit.ly/dUQ9QW
Most importantly, make sure you swing by Amazon and pick up a copy of his book here: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Moons-Nightmares-Jonathan-Moon/dp/1451577249/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287516260&sr=1-1 and then write a review on it after you read it. I am sure he will be happy you did, and my guess is that you’ll be happy you checked out this terrific book as well!