SORROW’S POINT—Once a Priest, Always a Priest

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of The Exorcist—both the novel and the movie. Also, I am Catholic which, I suppose, is why stories about exorcism resonate so well with me. Now, I’ve read Danielle DeVor’s work before and, when I began Sorrow’s Point, I was pretty sure she wouldn’t be telling me a story I already knew. While The Exorcist concerns a Catholic priest suffering serious doubts about his faith, her novel is about a priest who had been “laicized”—that is, he returned to the laity (“defrocked” has no meaning in the Catholic Church, by the way).

“Once a priest, always a priest” is a universal truth. In Jimmy Holiday’s case, it’s especially important, because a friend is pleading with him to help his young daughter, Lucy, who may be exhibiting signs of being possessed. I won’t provide any spoilers, but I will tell you that the house where Lucy lives is not nice. In fact, it is downright hellish. I mean, seriously. Would you live in a place called “Blackmoor”? Yeah, me neither.

Teaming up with an old girlfriend, Jimmy will be calling on supernatural powers other than those found in the Rite of Exorcism to help Lucy. And in doing so, he will discover a frightening, life-changing truth about himself. If you enjoy supernatural stories of the demonic variety, you will love this book.

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Book Blurb

[Sorrow's Point Cover]

Not All Exorcists are Equal….One is Marked

When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend with his sick daughter, he doesn’t expect the horrors that await him. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, rests upon the outskirts of the town of Sorrow’s Point. The mansion’s history of magic, mayhem, and death makes it almost a living thing – a haunted mansion straight out of a Stephen King novel. Jimmy must decide if the young girl, Lucy, is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession are real.

After the house appears to affect him as well with colors of magic dancing before his eyes, rooms warded by a witch, and a ring of power in his voice, Jimmy is met by a transient who tells him he has “the Mark”. Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. All he wants to do is help Lucy. But, helping Lucy means performing an exorcism.

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Shaun of the Dead Meets a Tarantino Movie

[ETDWB 3D Cover (Small)]by Elisabeth Scherer

There is a fantastic book from my favorite reads shelf that hit movie theaters this weekend, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. If you liked that book, or if you like face-paced zombie thriller/horror novels you might very well like the Steven Ramirez’s Even the Dead Will Bleed.

My Initial Thoughts:
When I was given this book as an option to review I was hesitant at first because it is the third book in the Tell Me When I’m Dead Collection by Ramirez. I worried that I would be put into the middle of the story and have no idea what was going on. The back of the book blurb intrigued me so much I thought I would go ahead and see if the book could be picked up and read without reading the other two books first. It does not disappoint and can definitely stand on its own without its predecessors.

Quick Plot Summary:
Dave is a man on a mission to kill the man responsible for the deaths of his wife, friends, and many others. He has lost everything and believes he has nothing else to do but take the bad guy down with him if it comes down to it. He has prepared to carry out his suicide mission, and yet the undercurrent of something coming. Things don’t always work out the way you imagine, hope, or plan. Dave finds this out first hand and finds himself thrust into the role of bodyguard for a Russian girl who escapes the very person who Dave is hunting. The hunter becomes the hunted and Dave finds him mission changes. Will Dave find something to live for after losing everything? Will the Russian girl evade those that are hunting her? Can faith and determination help you survive genetically modified super zombies? You’ll have to read Even the Dead Will Bleed to find out.

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STRANGE DARKNESS—From the Curious to the Fearful

Danielle DeVor is one of my favorite horror authors. As a writer I need to remind myself every day not to be afraid to go where my muse takes me. Well, folks, this girl isn’t afraid, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t need to be reminded either. I can almost hear her laughing as she gambols in the direction her muse is pointing.

DeVor’s stories take the reader from the curious to the uncomfortable to the fearful. And she doesn’t limit her imagination to vampires. How about some flesh-eating hermit crabs to start your day? After reading that one, you’ll think twice about taking your family to Red Lobster.

If you’ve never read this author’s work, I suggest you pick up Strange Darkness and get introduced to writing that is as original as it is scary. And pay particular attention to the imagery. Something in these pages just might awaken a dark longing deep in your own unconscious. Something that resembles, I don’t know, hermit crabs?

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Book Blurb

[Strange Darkness Cover]

Pull up a spot around the campfire and join us in this collection of 8 spooky short stories.

A deadly, dangerous man is caught between
the paranormal and his evil, hungry dreams.

A study on urban legends becomes all too real
for one student.

Time waits for no man and a horrible vampiric
legacy is in need of an heir.

Puppies are sweet and cute, but this little girl’s
Hellhound is loyal.

There’s nothing like an alien war.
Frog isn’t what he appears. And Boyd?
He’ll be thankful.

Running away will solve all your problems.
Or not. One girl will wish she stayed home.

There’s nothing like a few brain eating
hermit crabs to turn your world on its axis.

Sometimes the one who saves you from the
monsters is one person you’d least expect.

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THE DOLAN GIRLS—Thundering off the Page Like a Cattle Stampede

Though I am not normally a reader of historical fiction, I do enjoy movies about the Old West. Films like ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales,’ ‘Unforgiven’ and ‘True Grit’ (the Coen Brothers’ version, not the original). There’s something very appealing about these desperate, iconic characters struggling to survive in a desolate setting, with the promise of Progress—usually in the form of a new railroad—looming somewhere on the horizon. When I read The Dolan Girls, I found many of the things I love—strong women, villains cut from the cloth of a harsh adherence to tradition, and some other pretty colorful characters, both real and fictional.

The Dolan Girls is western fiction as you’ve never read it. S.R. Mallery’s words thunder off the page like a cattle stampede. And her sharply written characters demonstrate that truly it was women who tamed the American West.

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Book Blurb

[The Dolan Girls Cover]

The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Added to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course, romance. Two, in fact!

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THE DEMONOLOGIST—Do Not Pull Back the Curtain!

As a writer, I am always looking to expand my knowledge of things real and unreal, which is why I read on a wide variety of subjects. Also, I like to watch movies and television. When I saw ‘The Conjuring,’ I was introduced to Ed and Lorraine Warren. In real life they were a married couple (Ed has since passed on) who spent the majority of their adult lives helping people plagued by demons. The movie was, in fact, based on one of their cases. After watching it, I decided to read The Demonologist to learn more about their lives and their work.

This book is terrifying. In it, the author interviews the Warrens and provides a sobering, detailed account of what happens when people—knowingly or unknowingly—invite an inhuman spirit, or demonic, into their home. I’ve always believed there are things out there that should not be disturbed. This book has helped me to understand that these dark entities are worse than I ever could have imagined.

If you are someone who is curious about the spirit world, I encourage you to read this book. And if, like me, you are a writer of horror, this title should be on your bookshelf, right next to the Bible. It’s filled with fact-based stories and transcripts about spirits and hauntings, and it compares and contrasts demonology with science and parapsychology. It’s a fascinating read and an invaluable research tool. And remember, “Doors must be opened before spirits can enter.” Do not pull back the curtain—ever!

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Book Blurb

[The Demonologist Cover]

If you think ghosts are only responsible for hauntings, think again. The Demonologist reveals the grave religious process behind supernatural events and how it can happen to you. Used as a text in seminaries and classrooms, this is one book you can’t put down. Illustrated with photos of phenomena in progress from the Warrens’ private collection.

For over five decades Ed and Lorraine Warren have been known as the world’s most renowned paranormal investigators. Lorraine is a gifted clairvoyant, while Ed is the only non-ordained demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church. Together they have investigated thousands of hauntings in their career.

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THE GHOST FILES—Taking on the Dead with Style

[The Ghost Files Cover]I can see why this book is popular—and why it’s headed for the big screen. (Supposedly, it went into production this past summer.) I’m sure with the right cast, the movie could be a lot of fun. Oh, how I wish Roddy McDowall were still alive to play Dr. Olivet! Never mind. Maybe Brian Cox is available.

I only had a couple of quibbles with the story. Mattie sure has a lot of guys in her life who she thinks are “the one.” Hey, maybe that’s sixteen-year-old girls. Who am I to judge? That, and the ending is a little convoluted. No spoilers here, but I thought the reveal was a bit messy. These are minor points, though, so please don’t let them stop you from reading this very entertaining book.

Book Blurb

[The Ghost Files Cover]

Cherry blossom lipstick: check
Smokey eyes: check
Skinny jeans: check
Dead kid in the mirror: check

For sixteen year old Mattie Hathaway, this is her normal everyday routine. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to murder her when she was five years old. No way does she want anyone to know she can talk to spooks. Being a foster kid is hard enough without being labeled a freak too.

Normally, she just ignores the ghosts and they go away. That is until she see’s the ghost of her foster sister … Sally.

Everyone thinks Sally’s just another runaway, but Mattie knows the truth—she’s dead. Murdered. Mattie feels like she has to help Sally, but she can’t do it alone. Against her better judgment, she teams up with a young policeman, Officer Dan, and together they set out to discover the real truth behind Sally’s disappearance.

Only to find out she’s dealing with a much bigger problem, a serial killer, and she may be the next victim …

Will Mattie be able to find out the truth before the killer finds her?

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HELL HOUSE—Raw, Vicious and Primal

Though I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, I feel like I grew up with Richard Matheson. As a kid, I enjoyed the television episodes he wrote for shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ‘The Outer Limits’ and the lesser Rod Serling effort, ‘Night Gallery.’ Then there was the 1957 film ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man.’ Matheson wrote both the screenplay and the novel. A couple of years ago, I finally read his excellent vampire book I Am Legend—mainly because I had enjoyed both ‘The Last Man on Earth,’ starring Vincent Price and ‘I Am Legend,’ starring Will Smith. Somewhere along the line I saw the entertaining ‘The Legend of Hell House.’ Matheson wrote the screenplay based on his novel Hell House. Which brings me to this review.

Great Caesar’s ghost! Though I felt that the film was pretty dark and scary and hinted at some very unpleasant things in the area of sexual excess to the point of gruesome death, the book really blew me away with is cold, scientific logic pitted against the reality of one soul-killing haunting. I will tell you right now that this book is not for readers who enjoy a nice cozy ghost story with their hot cocoa. It is raw, vicious and primal. And it’s way nasty—the kind of nasty you might picture going on in the nether regions of Hell on any given Tuesday. Normally I enjoy horror with little to no after-effects. But this thing disturbed me on a very deep level—especially when the author gets around to talking about the tarn just outside Hell House. This is a powerful story, and for horror fans who like their scares hands-on and visual, a really great read.

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Book Blurb

[Hell House Cover]

Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death.

Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townfolks refer to it as the Hell House.

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