Category Archives: Horror

Fiction in which events evoke a feeling of dread and sometimes fear in both the characters and the reader. Includes ghosts, monsters, vampires, zombies, supernatural creatures that threaten, the Occult, slasher, survival horror, etc.

Looking for Jake by China Miéville

I think I’m officially in love with China. Every time I read another work I am more astonished by the unfettered creativity brough to it. This is not your normal short story collection – it is deeper and wider and more entertaining than most of the books I’ve read in the last couple years.

Looking For Jake
by China Miéville
read by Jonathan Cowley, Enn Reitel, Gildart Jackson, Peter Altschuler, Robin Sachs, Bruce Mann, Dominic Burgess, Steve West Del Rey & Random House Audio
September 2011

There are 14 short stories here with topics ranging from ghost stories to horror to straight up interdiminensional science fiction and each of them shines in their own way. Some were stronger than others though and stay with you longer. Consider The Tain, a story that turns on its head any ideas about what we really see when we see a reflection in a mirror and asks the haunting question: what if those reflections don’t want to mimic us? The Ball Room is a modern horror story that takes place in an department store children’s play room where something goes horribly wrong.

Others are less profound but enjoyable never the less. The most humorous story in the bunch is
Tis the Season, a story that wonders what would happen in a world where everything related to Christmas(TM) could be copyrighted. Details is a story about a young boy who spends his days sitting outside the door of an elderly woman who cannot leave her home because when she looks on anything with a pattern she seed It coming for her.

Reading this book made me feel like I was a kid in a candy store except I’m not a kid and the store that I’m in just appeared around me unexepectedly and the candy isn’t actually candy but is something I couldn’t ever have imagined but at the same time realized as I partook that I had always wanted it. A gem.

A note about the audio book version: Each story is narrated by a different reader who brings their own charms to the work. None of the readers suffered from over zealously affecting the work and all brought just enough of their own personality to make each story that much more independant. With this many stories it would be easy to have them run together with the same reader. This version, though, suffers from none of those concerns. Well read from top to bottom.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater by Brent Michael Kelley

The story stars our titular character, Chuggie, who is the walking incarnation of Drought. His ability to rapidly pull in moisture from his surroundings, which includes people, causes him to be shunned the world over. Immortal and homeless, he wanders the earth until he comes across the troubled city of Stagwater. Here, it seems fate has decided he has a purpose.

Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater
by Brent Michael Kelley
Omnium Gatherum
November 2011

We’re introduced to Chuggie as he stands just outside the city of Stagwater. From the very beginning you know something is a little strange here since Chuggie has horns and a length of chain with an anchor attached to one end and the other fused to his rib cage. Things actually gets stranger still as we’re introduced to a world of magic fueled by torture, demons, and inter-dimensional monsters.

Unfortunately, the story never really takes off from there. Chuggie is only ever interested in drinking, smoking, and telling stories so outlandish that we’re never quite sure if they’re supposed to be true or just pure fabrication. We’re also introduced to a host of secondary characters, but despite being given brief glimpses into their lives, none of them are ever really fleshed out and ultimately come across as flat cardboard cut-outs that float in and out of the background

The main villains of the story aren’t much better. Kale is the only other character besides Chuggie that is given much focus, and while the inner workings of his mind are initially interesting to behold, his whole “I want to kill everyone” thought process becomes a bit repetitive after a while and makes his role of “bad guy” feel a bit forced.

Instead the story focuses heavily on Chuggie and his lover Shola, a witch whose actions and emotions are so non-sequitur I was hard pressed to see what Chuggie even saw in her (other than that she was female and apparently interested in him).

As for Chuggie, he’s hardly a sympathetic character, but given what all he’s put through, it actually works for him. However, Chuggie’s biggest problem involves staying on track. He seems to be constantly distracted by anything and everything, and his musings go on for pages at a time without actually adding anything to the story or suddenly adding too much as we’re ripped from the action and treated to paragraphs of exposition.

In truth, the work’s biggest flaws come down to pacing and length. The framework is there, but halfway through the story, all the characters seem to be in a rush to collide with one another as if they know there’s only so much screen time left. Crucial plot details feel tacked on last minute while others are glossed over or simply thrust into the story with no explanation, deus-ex-machina style.

The gore and horror are well-written, and certain scenes and descriptions shine with obvious polish and care. But as any movie critic will tell you, good special effects can’t make up for bad acting. And no amount of setting can make up for shaky character development.

That said, I’m honestly interested in seeing what this author comes out with next. There’s obviously some raw talent in this work. It just needs a little more focus and direction to really shine.


Matthew Scott is just another average reader who enjoys sharing his opinion on various books, authors, and whatever else may cross his path.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

WOW! What an amazing scary book. If you are a believer – you will want to recommit. If you are a nonbeliever – you will want to immediately ask for God’s forgiveness and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You certainly don’t want to go to HADES.

Hades
by Alexandra Adornetto
Feiwel & Friends
August 2011

Even the love of her boyfriend,Xavier Woods, and her siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep the angel Bethany Church from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell.

Bethany Church is an angel living on earth in Venus Cove on the Georgia coastline in Sherbrooke County and goes to Bryce Hamilton High School. She lives with her siblings, Sister Ivy, a seraphim and her brother Archangel Gabriel. Yes – you read this right – the one and only mighty Archangel Gabriel. Bethany is not like her siblings in that she has a boyfriend Xavier she loves – not heavenly love but earthy love. Their mission is to visit other cities and towns in the vicinity of Venus Cove to expel any dark forces residing there.

It is Halloween and she and Xavier are going to a party at the old abandon house out in the country. All of their friends will be there – all dressed in costumes. Bethany’s friends want to have a séance using a Ouija Board. Bethany is against this – she knows about the dark arts – but her friends are insistent. Abby starts the incantation calling for the spirits to make a connection. Suddenly everything goes horribly wrong. A spirit materials telling them to stop – leave the place – they are all in danger. Now they have done it – they have broken the circle and trapped the spirit inside. They can feel the evil radiating around them. Bethany must find Xavier and leave. Before she can locate him she learns there has been an accident at the swimming pond – Xavier is hurt – she must go to him. She accepts a ride on Wesley Cowan’s motorcycle and heads for the pond. to find Xavier. Only it isn’t Wesley, but Jake Horn who is driving the cycle. Jake, known as Arakiel, is one of the original eight angels thrown out of heaven with Lucifer. Jake has once again left hell for earth and his goal is to take Bethany back with him. As they roared down the highway a deep, jagged crack appeared in the center – they were heading straight toward a gateway to Hell.

In hell Lucifer is known as Big Daddy and Jake is a Prince of a section of hell and is determined to make Bethany his princess and keep her with him. Bethany is just as determined to return to earth – an angel has never been in hell. She is grief stricken – does anyone know where she is – are her siblings looking for her? Even the mighty Archangel Gabriel will have trouble finding the portal to hell. While looking for ways to free Bethany, Gabriel and Ivy must free Sister Mary Clare from a demon that has taken over her body. and learn where there is a portal.. What Bethany sees and learns about hell makes her more terrified – she has been to the club district, the pits, even the wastelands with the Hellhounds and talked with Lucifer face-to-face. With help of Tucker she has drank from the Lake of Dreams that puts her in a trance like state where she can project her spirit and visit her love ones so she is aware of what is happening with her siblings.

Bethany is running out of time – she will soon lose her powers and her wings if she can’t use them – how can she survive – an angel in hell – an unheard of event. Jake has made a wager with her – he will not harm Xavier if she will make the supreme sacrifice and give herself to him. What choice does she have? In the meantime Gabriel has located the portal to hell in a place called Broken Hill in Alabama. Portals were designed to repel angelic powers – Gabriranel is a high roller in heaven and even he can’t wangle them open – an angel has never broken into hell. They will need some real fire power to accomplish this. Archangel Michael, who runs with the big guns in heaven, to the rescue. The Sword of Michael – it could open the portal.

Will they reach Bethany in time to save her from destruction and possibly themselves as well? Can Jake be trusted to keep his word?

This is one book you will want to read and take to heart. Hell is not a figment of one’s imagination, but a real place where one will be tormented for eternity. Which will you chose – Heaven or Hell?

Highly recommended.


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.”.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.