Here’s some of my special favorites, nestled together, a little golden box of four rich dark truffles, my suggestions for your immediate consumption, and, just like in the candy store, I’ve included an extra delicacy at the end, a fifth morsel with a peculiar filling which I’ve attempted to describe but really, in the case of the esteemed author Crow, you must experience him yourself … if you dare.   [I’ll tell you right now so you don’t get frustrated with me, I can’t seem to put links to the books in here. Promise to work on it.]

James Reborn by Terry DelCampo is truly frightening.

This book will shake you to your core. Terri DelCampo is a fabulous writer with a diabolical mind. In James Reborn each new revelation, each unveiling of another, darker level to which the human species is capable of sinking, brought a fresh shock of wonder at the genius behind the relentless evil unfolding on the page. So painful, so physically emotive; I had to set the book aside to breathe. Visceral and truly frightening, though I had to pause for sanity’s sake, I could not stop until the end. If you want a well-written book that will shake you to your core, this is it.

The Meaning of Hell by T.S. Woolard is riveting!

This is it, the escape, the door. The evil in The Meaning of Hell will stun you, transport you out of here …. Step into the terror, touch the blood… clear your mind. Woolard’s horror is that engrossing; he provides a clean escape. Take the door he offers to you, I’m glad I did

Blood Kiss by J Daniel Stone is a must read!

If paper could bleed, Stone would bring it. Blood Kiss will … become a scar upon your mind, to paraphrase the author. This tale will toss you onto the frigid streets of New York with the certain knowledge that you are young, destined to live forever, and that you can own the night, with the right friends and the right connections.

The author states it well, though he did not mean to be speaking of himself, “He writes the dark prose of the future.” Blood Kiss easily crosses the border from gritty reality to the surreal and back. I confess, washed in waves of prose so perfect I read half the book aloud, I not only lost track of what was real, I no longer cared whether or not paintings can float in the air or if they move and stare or if you should fear a work of art. I no longer cared if there could be a scream so loud it killed a rat and exploded insects into ash or if words could become smoke. As Blood Kiss ended, I held my breath, bit my lip, and appropriately, a drop of blood fell on the page. Don’t miss this one

Makami by Alex S. Johnson is an amazing, magical, beautifully written, dark fairy tale.

The two manga in this volume provide our first glimpses into the fantastic world of Makami and are sure to capture and delight a passionate fan base. An American student researching Japanese folk tales and mythology in relation to horror cinema arrives in Tokyo only to find a mysterious CD waiting on her pillow inscribed with a single word “Makami”. . . and so begins her fascinating journey of twists and turns against swords and blades amongst evil trickster spirits, doubles and demons, bloated cadavers, ghosts and shapeshifting vampires. I was especially on the edge of my chair when she met up with Kagemusha—the dark, demon lord, for fear that he would prove to be more than she could overcome if she could not find her place in this modern myth.

And the extra treat: Grim Rhymes & Scary Tales by the awesome Sebastian Crow.

Grim Rhymes and Scary Tales seized my heart at the beginning, then delighted, entertained, shocked, and horrified me to the point of physical reactions—what more could I ask? Sebastian pulled me in with a warm whisper and told me delightful secrets. I leaned back in comfort as I chuckled at the antics of his well-drawn characters, their brilliant dialog, and the clever twists in the stories–then he horrified me. Shivers of terrified delight rippled across my skin. That was the feeling I was searching for, wasn’t it? Sebastian Crow moved me. Dry tendrils of fear crept up and closed my throat. Sebastian never flinches from describing the monsters, or from turning up the heat.

I read the opening poem aloud several times. It absolutely must be read aloud so that Ferlinghetti can hear you for he will nod and smile. The opening story, Coffin Sam, is about a bone man (he collects human bones) and it’s a classic doozy of a story perfect for a dark night around the campfire.

Here are some of my other favorites: The poems, especially Gentleman Jack and Sideshow, are silver slivers of horror that will slide into your mind. Morrighan of the Stars is beautiful and sad. The Servant of God, another short story, is vivid and chilling, a glimpse into the twisted mind of a serial killer. Company Men is a brilliant science fiction horror story set in a dystopian future overrun with a plague. At every turn, you must offer up your arm for a blood draw. A positive test results in … well, you must read it. It’s very Huxley. The Room at the Top of the Stairs – I immediately fell into this story of a haunted house, twisted love, and revenge. Sebastian turned up the heat for this one—this story has the hottest scene in the book. The poem Justine was a lush follow-up to the story. The Way Station – Talk about a scary clown! This one kept me on the edge of my seat.

Leading into the Lovecraftian tales, all of which I loved, is the poem, The Magician, a richly woven tapestry of words. The first tale, The Worm of Mysteries, is about a magician who comes into possession of a mind-expanding drug created by HPL himself. The second tale, The Watcher in the Dark, left me stunned. The third tale, Procession of the Dhӧle, was a wild adventure—ala Burroughs (one of my first loves) writes Lovecraft.

Finally, I must warn you — Loving the Dead is a story you cannot unread. You want to look away; you want to wash your mind. You cannot. It is ghastly. It is horror. Proceed with caution.


featured image copyright 2018 by Mar G-A

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