Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Project 26 (4) and (5) - Essel Pratt

Essel Pratt continues to dominate Project 26 with the next two books up for review featuring the letters X and L.

Xperimental Genocide is a shocking, provocative and possibly even, some might say,  controversial tale of a clinical psychologist who takes a job at an old mansion investigating the curious case of a young girl who refuses to speak.
The psychologist is given a script that he is made to read out loud to her to gauge her reactions and try and provoke her into getting angry and breaking her silence, but the further he progresses, the more he begins to suspect there is something deeper and darker going on...

This was a good read that had me hooked to the end wanting to know the secrets behind what exactly was going on. 
The subject matter may be a little sensitive to some, especially during these times of enforced political correctness when there are certain subjects people would prefer you didn't talk about, but I enjoyed this and thought it a brilliant short, sharp, shocking read.

Pratt's second offering is a case file from the files of his fictional detective, Detective Mansfield.

What starts off with a shocking blast of extreme, dark, erotic horror soon settles down into a mysterious tale with Lovecraftian overtones that nonetheless, still remains not for the faint hearted.
I had read part of this book before as a shot story, so went in to this knowing a little what to expect, but the opening is quite graphic with heavy sexual overtones so if that's not your thing - avoid!

I didn't enjoy this as much as Xperimental Genocide, but it's still a cracking story and a great introduction to what promises to be one of Pratt's most recognised characters in the future. 

The difference between these two books, and his previous book - Backwoods Bonfire - go to show just how multi-faceted a writer Essel Pratt is, and it is interesting to see how he can write in different styles and yet still somehow maintain the same distinctive writing voice.

As usual, both books are available on Amazon now....

Monday, 21 August 2017

Project 26 (3): B is for Bonfire...

The third entry in JEA's massive Project 26 is Essel Pratt's short collection, Backwards Bonfire.

This book takes the traditional theme of a group of young teens, camping in the woods, telling each other scary stories as each one does their best to outdo the last and is a highly entertaining read with several simply enthralling and thrilling tales that will keep readers on tender hooks throughout, whilst also attempting to explore through the characters what it is that makes a story scary.

I really enjoyed this and every story featured here brings something different to the table. It is a fine example of Essel Pratt's writing and a very neat and clever collection that works on several levels. 

If you're looking for a short, sharp read to kill some time, and that leaves you questioning your own thoughts on what you think might make a good horror story, then this collection is for you...

But don't forget to leave the lights on...

Friday, 11 August 2017

Project 26: 2) Jurassic Jackeroo

To anyone who read Roma Gray's Hunted Tribe last year and is disappointed that no sequel has so far been forthcoming, I have some good news and some bad news - firstly, as part of JEA's massive summer release of titles under the banner of Project 26, Miss Gray has finally decided to bless readers with a return back to the world of the Grishla. 
Unfortunately, now for the bad news - what we get is not a sequel to her first book, but instead a prequel that ultimately leaves readers with just as many questions as it does answers, despite revealing more of the background behind the series of events that lead up to what happens in The Hunted Tribe.

But that is not to say this is a bad thing, because what we get in Jurassic Jackeroo is a fun, riotous read that takes you on a real roller coaster and once again leaves the reader wanting more...

Set in the Wild West, Jurassic Jackeroo tells the story of a world weary gunslinger who thinks he has seen it all and is about ready to finally hang up his guns for good, when a chance encounter with a Native American, who is part of the Hunted Tribe, reveals the story of the Grishla to him and offers him a new challenge in which to sink his teeth.
Determined to take down this angry, vengeful animal spirit that appears in the form of an ancient beast, the gunslinger decides to set up a little competition in order to recruit the best of the best among his peers -  to help him in what he sees as the ultimate hunt and a chance to once again give his life some meaning, but in the competition that follows, only the smartest will survive...

Jurassic Jackeroo, like I say, is lots of fun.
It is a great little story that builds upon the legend and the world that Miss Gray first created with The Hunted Tribe, but if you come here expecting any answers - think again!
Once again, Miss Gray leaves us with a killer cliffhanger ending, just as she did with Hunted Tribe, leaving the reader once again kicking and screaming and quite literally begging to know what comes next...

With this latest instalment in her series, Roma once again proves just what a great writer she is - for Jurassic Jackeroo is quite simply amazing, just as you might expect. It is wholly original, nail-biting with lots of unexpected twists and what's more - fun! 
Too many writers nowadays, I think, forget to put the fun back in their books but this is something Roma Gray excels at - I just wish she'd stop doing this to me and finally give me some answers!!!!

Jurassic Jackeroo is, of course, available from Amazon now...and look out for my review of the next P26 book coming soon, Backwoods Bonfire from Essel Pratt.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Project 26: 1) V is for vendetta...

Vampz: Vendetta is the first anthology to be released as part of JEA's massive P26 launch set to feature 26 different books, each with a different horror inspired theme based on the letters f the alphabet.
Of course it would be too easy to just go A-Z, so instead JEA have decided to mix things up instead and release each letter randomly and just for fun so readers are left never quite knowing what next to expect.

Vampz: Vendetta features a collection of vampire stories all written by various different authors and thus offering all different perspectives on the Vampire myth.
The only thing all these stories share, other than the theme and the quality of the writing, is you can practically guarantee none of the vampires feature here are ever likely to sparkle.
Stand out mentions must go out to veteran JEA authors, Sharon.L.Higa and Roma Gray whose stories feature here, along with other great names such as Toneye Black and Essel Pratt, Justin Hunter and Ash Hartwell, not to mention Roy.C.Booth, William Tucker, Dona Fox, Dani Brown and Sebastian Crow.
All their stories offer something uniquely different to the point where it is impossible to name my favourite 

There are even a couple of pieces of poetry here, though not being a big fan of poetry it is difficult for me to know quite how best to describe how I feel about them.

Whatever your taste, there is something here for everyone except maybe fans of Twilight-style sparkly vampire fiction, and this promises a good start to what looks to be the most exciting and thrilling  journey through the alphabet you're ever likely to have.

Well done John Ledger for starting this off with a bang, and congratulations on picking some excellent stories to begin with....

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Something big is stirring...

I haven't been active on here for a while.
I keep saying I'm going to be and then something happens, something comes up.
It's called life - and mine, it seems, is constantly hectic.

But something big is coming, and I can't stay silent any longer...

For over a year now, I've been working alongside several other of my J.Ellington.Ashton Press authors on a project that has proven to be a massive undertaking.

We call it Project 26.

I have 3 books coming out as part of Project 26, and have short stories in about as many anthologies. 

More on this soon...but for now, know this...

Project 26 is coming.

And once you start reading some of the stories that are just about to be released, your life will never be the same again....

Friday, 27 January 2017

A tangled web by M.L.Sparrow - a review

 to be released on February 1st, I was lucky enough to be given a preview copy of this interesting and intriguing short little novella by M.L.Sparrow recently in exchange for an honest review. 
This was the first thing I've read by this author and I have to say, it was an absolute delight to read.

Set just before, during and after the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan a few years back, the book follows the life of young teenager, Taiyo, who becomes caught up in a web of lies when she finds herself torn between two boys - twin brothers with whom she has been friends with for most of her life.

As Taiyo finds her lies becoming ever and ever more involved in her bid to avoid hurting anyone's feelings, her world is quite literally rocked by one of the biggest natural disasters in all Japan's history as Taiyo finds herself coming close to losing everything she loves...

This was a short read but one that was nonetheless highly intense. The characters were highly believable, memorable and well crafted, and it is a testament to Miss Sparrow's writing that after only a few pages, I almost felt like I knew them - so quickly was I absorbed into their world.

If I had one complaint, it was that I thought the book was too short and I thought that at some points, M.L Sparrow could have gone into more detail about the tsunami and it's after effects considering they play such a crucial role in the story, but this was a small aside. Also, I would have liked to know about what happened to the characters after the story ended, but the truth is, Miss Sparrow here has managed to do what so many authors spend their whole career trying to do and then miserably failing - leaving her audience craving more.

Like I say, this was the first thing I had read by Miss Sparrow - who describes herself as an author who refuses to restrict herself to one specific genre, instead choosing to write whatever she feels like at the time - but you know what, I'd happily read her again and in the end, who can ask for a better recommendation than that?

A Tangled Web is available from Amazon on February 1st.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about her, here are her links...

Monday, 3 October 2016

31 days of horror part 2

October 2nd 2016 
Internet problems at home are meaning I'm a bit behind on Blog posts at mo, but hopefully it should all  get fixed soon and I should be able to catch up.
Meanwhile, I thought I'd kick off today's post with a few recommendations for films to watch over the Halloween period - starting with a couple of favourites of mine.

1) Contracted - I've talked about this film before, but this is a great gross-out film to start off your 31 days of horror viewing. A young girl is date-raped at a party, only to wake up next morning to realise she has contracted a sexually transmitted disease that slowly causes necrosis. 
Over the next three days, we, the viewer, witness as her health rapidly starts to decline - leading to all sorts of nasty moments that to describe here, would only spoil your viewing pleasure.
A sequel that followed is not so good, but this film stood out for me and I loved every minute of it!
For a full review featured earlier, simply search Contracted in the search bar at the top of this Blog.

2) + 3) {rec} and {rec} Genesis - Again, I have talked about these films before, but Spanish horrors {rec}and {rec} 3 remain two of my favourite horror films of all time. There are 4 films in total in the series, but of them, these two, in my mind, are the strongest so far.
In {rec}, a film crew documenting the lives of people working the night shift find themselves at a local fire station recording all that goes on there. All is fairly boring and mundane until the point when they are called out to help an old lady, trapped in her apartment.
The film crew go with them, but shortly after arriving, the whole apartment complex is put under quarantine and it soon becomes clear that something is very, very wrong. 
The old lady is sick, and the sickness is spreading - infecting anyone and everyone she comes into contact with and turning them into violent and deranged killers who simply refuse to be stopped.
With nowhere to go, the film crew desperately try to uncover the cause of the virus before it is too late!
{rec} is a brilliant film - at 90 minutes, it is intense, claustrophobic, and shocking to the extreme with plenty of shocks and thrills to keep the adrenaline pumping. 
The contrast between the slow start, and what follows afterwards, is simply sublime and everything happens so quickly, you are sure to be left by the end credits with your heart pumping as this is certainly a film that leaves nothing to the imagination.
{rec} 3, or {rec} Genesis as it is better known, occurs at the same time as {rec}, but outside the city and instead based at a wedding. It receives mixed reviews because unlike the previous two films, it is more light-hearted in tone and the found footage style is quickly abandoned but you know what, I love it simply because it is so different.
It starts like a wedding video, with shots of the happy couple getting ready for their big day, but before the end of the night, everything has all gone to hell. 
One of the guests at the wedding is a vet, bitten by a dog owned by a family who live in the original apartment building, and it isn't long before he begins running amok and infecting everyone else.
I love this film, and not just because it features a chainsaw wielding bride, but also because of the unique twists and turns the story takes.
There are plenty of surprises here and those who dismiss this film as being too different from the others are simply missing the point.
Like the sorbet course in a meal, this film is almost like an interlude, a little break or refresher, before things go back to being serious for the fourth and final chapter.

For me, these three films are a perfect start to Halloween and your 31 days of horror movie viewing.

Look out for more recommendations soon...