Book Review—Dust

Like “Mr. Dark” in Something Wicked This Way Comes, a pale, desiccated stranger appears in the region, and immediately, bad things start to happen.

Dust Cover

When I first began reading Dust by Arthur Slade, I didn’t realize it was a YA novel. To me, the writing was cold and hypnotic, and it unfolded the way that darker, more severe, stories about serial killers and children do. Nevertheless, this is most assuredly a young adult dark fantasy.

Like “Mr. Dark” in Something Wicked This Way Comes, a pale, desiccated stranger appears in the region, and immediately, bad things start to happen. Unaware of the danger, the local farmers and the town’s banker fall under his spell and buy into his scheme to save them from the drought. Good luck with that.

As we follow an eleven-year-old boy named Robert, who is desperately searching for his younger brother, Matthew, we come to learn that not only has Matthew disappeared but many other children have as well. And the grownups don’t seem to notice—or care. When we come to know Robert, we can see why he believes it is up to him to find his brother.

One of my favorite things about this novel is the world-building. It takes place in Horshoe, a small town in Saskatchewan during a terrible drought. In the US, the drought occurred in the early 1930s and led to the Dust Bowl. Farmers are barely able to grow any crops due to a lack of rain. It’s always hot, and there’s dust everywhere—grit that blows into peoples’ homes, clings to their clothes, and invades their food. It’s this kind of detail that makes Dust such a compelling read.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description
The children were disappearing.
And the worst thing about it?
No one noticed

A rainmaker brings rain to a drought-stricken town. The stranger amazes the townspeople with magic mirrors and bewitches the children with his beautiful butterfly.

First, one child vanishes. Then another. And another.

Only one young man sees through the lies and decides to act.

You’ll love this dark, mysterious young adult novel. Winner of the Governor General’s Award.

Get it now.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Amazon IN

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.

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?

You can find this review at Amazon US.

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.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other Amazon reviews here.

STRANGE DARKNESS—Enjoy the Ride!

By Danielle DeVor

[Danielle DeVor]Why does horror lend itself to the short story format so easily? I think it really does because, with horror, you can jump in right at the moment of action. Through setting, smell, visuals, and sound, you can put someone right into a situation where their heart pounds and they are waiting for the monster to strike.

That’s why I decided to put out a collection of stories. While I like drawing a reader into a world and leading them up to the impact, I like the instantaneous shock too. The moment the werewolf’s teeth bite into your leg. The moment when you know you might die. So, welcome to Strange Darkness. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

About the Author
Named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors you Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a Mocha Frappuccino.

You can find Danielle on Twitter, on Facebook and on her blog, danielledevor.wordpress.com, as well as on her Amazon author page.

“The Shadow Box” Cover Art—We Need Your Vote!

Photo Courtesy of Theresa Thompson via Creative Commons
[Vote]I am so excited—I’m telling you, I am about to plotz! I have been invited to join nine other extraordinary authors of horror and dark fantasy in a new box set called The Shadow Box. In it—among other fine examples of the horror genre—you will find Book One of THE DEAD SERIES, Tell Me When I’m Dead.

But first …

We need your vote. Seriously. We cannot choose the final cover—you have to. So scroll down, take a look at the five proposed book covers and cast your vote. Do it now!

That is all.

Danielle DeVor Reviews ‘Tusk’

[Danielle DeVor]

By Danielle DeVor

In honor of my new book release, The Devil’s Liege, I thought that since it contains some oddness about vampires starving to death and being locked away, writing a review about Kevin Smith’s new movie, ‘Tusk,’ would be a great idea.

[‘Tusk’ Poster]

Firstly, the film is billed as a horror/comedy. It is not. I would consider it “Theatre of the Bizarre” or something to that effect. Were there some funny parts? Sure. But, the weirdness and the connection to horror really pulled it away from the comedic factor. I would put it in the same category as ‘May’ or ‘House of 1000 Corpses.’

If you haven’t read anything about the film, it is about a guy who cohosts a podcast about the weird crap people do. He intends to go to Canada to interview one of these oddities only to find that the guy has died. So, he visits a bar and discovers a note in the bathroom offering free room and board if willing to listen to a lifetime of stories. Too bad, this dude is a serial killer with a bizarre fetish.

Besides the fact that what happens is medically impossible the way it is presented, the film is entertaining to watch. Because I would watch it again, but probably not purchase a copy for my library, I would give it 3.5 stars.

[The Devil’s Liege Cover]

Blurb
Being a vampire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- in fact, it kind of sucks.

After surviving his duel with Lilith, Mathias thought that he could relax. That is until he discovers that, Nossy, the new king, has been kidnapped.

When the investigating vampires seem to have no clue how to rescue Nosferatu, Mathias must step in. Everything is peachy until Mathias is named the next new king in order to stop the man behind Nossy’s kidnapping from taking over the throne.

Suddenly, his life is not his own again, and Mathias must make a choice: risk his life to find his friend, or sit back and watch disaster unfold.

Buy Links
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble US

About the Author
Named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors You Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching ‘Salem’s Lot’ way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha Frappuccino. Visit her at danielledevor.wordpress.com.

“Dead Is All You Get” Press Release

Steven Ramirez releases the sequel to his zombie thriller, delving deeper into the plague ravaging the town of Tres Marias.

Antihero Dave Pulaski returns as a man struggling to protect his wife, Holly, while attempting to stop the dark forces intent on furthering their sinister agenda.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — September 15, 2014 — In Dead Is All You Get (Book Two of THE DEAD SERIES), antihero Dave Pulaski and a small group of survivors find themselves deep in a Northern California forest, pursued by a shrieking, hellish horde that threatens to devour them. Then a miracle—Black Dragon Security helicopters appear overhead as more armed soldiers on ATVs ride over a ridge to destroy the attackers and rescue the group.

But the horror isn’t over. Not even close. Although Black Dragon has managed to make the town of Tres Marias safer, a new, more sinister reality emerges. The virus is mutating—and someone is to blame. Now Dave has a choice. He and his wife, Holly, can leave the safe zone and fend for themselves. Or they can join Black Dragon and try to discover the truth about what really happened. All Dave wants is to protect those closest to him—especially Holly. He must decide, and time is short. The people responsible for the outbreak may be planning something worse—something whose dark consequences will reach far beyond Tres Marias and will push Dave beyond the limits of faith and reason.

Dead Is All You Get combines the best elements of horror, dark fantasy and sci-fi, taking the reader on a relentless, tortured journey of survival and revenge that tests the strength of a man’s character and delves into the role faith plays when one is confronted by the worst kind of evil—the evil in humans.

“This story is not just about horror. It explores the need for Faith when confronted by events that test our ability to survive.” –Steven Ramirez

Dead Is All You Get by Steven Ramirez is the second book of THE DEAD SERIES, published by the author in 2014 and available in these formats: Kindle (ISBN 978-0-9898718-3-9), ePub (ISBN 978-0-9898718-4-6) and PDF (ISBN 978-0-9898718-5-3). More information at stevenramirez.com.

Dead Is All You Get goes beyond the realm of horror and dark fantasy, deftly weaving science fiction into the present and compelling the reader to ask such disturbing questions as …

… how many are we willing to sacrifice in order to achieve a major scientific breakthrough?

… is it morally wrong to kill the “undead”?

… how far can a person be pushed before his faith in God is destroyed?

Steven Ramirez is the author of Books One and Two of THE DEAD SERIES, Tell Me When I’m Dead and Dead Is All You Get. He has also published a number of short stories, as well as a children’s book, and he wrote the screenplay for the horror-thriller film, ‘Killers.’ To hear about new releases, visit stevenramirez.com. Steven lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters.

“The antihero doesn’t often make the right choices, but he is always active and forces those around him to react.” –Steven Ramirez

Get your copy of Dead Is All You Get now. Read it with the lights on. And keep telling yourself, “This can’t happen here.”

Dead Is All You Get—Cover Reveal

Well, this is it, folks—the cover for Book Two of THE DEAD SERIES, Dead Is All You Get. I feel so fortunate to have reconnected with artist Kevin Asmus, who created the gorgeous artwork for Book One, Tell Me When I’m Dead. But unlike Book One, where the artwork existed before I even wrote my book, Kevin created this new one exclusively for me. Feeling special, people.

If you’d like to be notified about the publication date for Dead Is All You Get, please sign up for my newsletter. In the meantime, enjoy!

[Dead Is All You Get Cover]

Dead Is All You Get Synopsis
It wasn’t over. Not even close. After months of fighting the undead ravaging the town of Tres Marias, Dave Pulaski is tired—bone tired. Somehow, he and his wife Holly and their friends have managed to survive the contagion only to find themselves deep in a Northern California forest, pursued by a shrieking, hellish horde that threatens to devour them.

Then a miracle—Black Dragon Security helicopters ascend over a mist-shrouded ridge as more armed soldiers on ATVs come to destroy the attackers by the scores. They are saved! As the helicopter lifts off, Dave meets Evie Champagne, the intrepid television reporter who covered the tragedy until she mysteriously disappeared in the chaos and the violence. Like him, she is tired and afraid. But there’s something else.

Evie knows a secret.

Black Dragon has retaken Tres Marias from the Red Militia—a human scourge they battled along with the undead—and has again secured the command center. Survivors are getting medical attention and, bit by bit, the town is returning to normal. Or so Dave thinks. Things are about to get worse. The virus is mutating. And Evie knows who is to blame. The truth stretches far beyond Robbin-Sear, the mysterious biotech company with a secret lab located somewhere in the forest. The mayor may be involved, along with another even more sinister government agency.

Dave has a choice. He and Holly can leave the safe zone and fend for themselves. Or they can join Black Dragon and try to discover the truth about what really happened. All Dave wants is to protect those closest to him—especially Holly. He must decide, and time is short. The people responsible for the outbreak may be planning something worse—something whose dark consequences will reach far beyond Tres Marias and will push Dave beyond the limits of faith and reason.

Read Dead Is All You Get with the lights on. And keep telling yourself, “This can’t happen here.”

It’s Spring—Time to Kill Some Zombies!

[TMWID Axe Detail]Wow, I thought this day would never come! Sorry, it’s just that I’ve been slaving away since last fall, trying to cook up a killer sequel to my zombie novel, Tell Me When I’m Dead. When I started on this journey over a year ago, along with Dave, Holly, Warnick and the others, I imagined that a story about an antihero forced to confront a plague of flesh-eating “draggers” in his little town of Tres Marias would essentially be a one-off—a roller coaster to hell that would explode into a fireball. Let the poor guy suffer, save his wife, kill the bad guys who, in the midst of the terror and the mayhem, want to take over the world. Then send him home.

The problem was, once I got through the craziness of twenty-seven chapters of running, fighting and killing, I realized that there was still so much to tell. How did the outbreak begin? Would those responsible ever be brought to justice? I just had to start a second book. Well, now that it’s finished, I can assure you, it’s going to be even darker and more hellish.

In the meantime, I wanted to give you the chance to read the first book—and save money, too. So from May 2nd through 6th, I am offering Tell Me When I’m Dead for 99 cents. (The normal price is $3.99.) So far, the book has received many four- and five-star reviews. Go ahead, have a look.

[Tell Me When I’m Dead Book Cover]

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Amazon Reviews
“There’s a difference between reading a book and watching a movie. I can get scared with either, but there are scenes in books that I can picture vividly for a long long time afterward, and this book has plenty of those.”

“Holy cow, what a great page turner this was. I thoroughly enjoyed a hero that had issues, and was working through problems—definitely someone I could relate to. All the other character in the book- well written and also fun to read and learn about. Until you lost one. Then it’s “NO!! NOT HIM!” I tell you, Steven Ramirez kills more people than all the Whedon brothers combined!!”

“This is one helluva zombie book! Steven Ramirez takes us on a bloody, terrifying ride through this hell on Earth he’s created, giving us plenty of backstory to skillfully develop his awesome characters.”

“One word of advice: I don’t often yell at my eReader but I did after reading the last line of this book. I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t read this yet but I will tell you it left me a hot, angry mess. Why, oh why, isn’t there a sequel yet? Get on that, would you, Steven!”

“So fasten your seatbelts and take a wild slay ride into hell in North California where if you are lucky dinner will not be served on a splatter. A FIVE STAR gorefest and a must read for all zombie fans looking for something fresh and still warm.”

Blurb
If the zombies don’t kill you, people will.

Lucky to have made it to his early twenties, Dave Pulaski wandered through life lost and drunk with his best friend Jim. Then came Holly. She made it her mission to clean him up. And he finally did it. Two years sober, Dave has plans for a family, a steady job and college.

One night Jim disappears, leaving a grisly trail of animal carcasses and murdered bodies. Now Missy, the woman Dave cheated with, threatens to destroy not only his marriage but his sobriety. Between Missy’s jealous demands for attention and the police investigation focused on Jim’s disappearance, Dave’s neatly ordered world quickly spirals out of control.

Amid the wreckage of Dave’s personal life, a contagion brings chaos to his hometown of Tres Marias. The condition, known as “the jimmies,” infects hundreds and kills quickly. But the dead find no rest. They rise as ravenous flesh-eaters.

Dave soon learns that “not all draggers want to eat your flesh, some want revenge.” And Jim and Missy, both infected, each want something from Dave.

The quarantine of Tres Marias creates hell on Earth. Badly outnumbered security forces are no match for the growing hordes of undead.

Follow Dave, Holly and a small band of heavily armed soldiers and civilians as they fight to survive looters, paramilitary nut jobs and the zombie apocalypse.

If the zombies don’t kill them, the wackos surely will. Nowhere is safe.

Enhanced by Zemanta