Book Review

JG Ballard spares no detail of the human fascination with sex, violence, and death in his novel Crash. Navigating the crowded technological highway of civilization, Ballard graphically implores the emphasis of technology and it’s replacing of human interaction. Desperate for emotional and physical connections, Ballard’s characters neurotically obsess over the pain and scars that car collisions leave on their flesh, as well as the sexual symmetry of the event itself.

CW LaSart’s horror collection is very accurately named, Ad Nauseam, as it harbors thirteen tales of intensely stomach churning horror. LaSart is a pro at spinning a driving story with characters who often live on the fringe of society’s idea of convention and do not warrant much pity for their decisions in the direction of their lives. However unconventional LaSart’s characters may be, the terror that awaits them in her stories are nothing less than gut wrenching.

Solid anthologies are usually hard to come by. All too often collections are littered with great, enrapturing stories as well as the few you’d really rather skip through. However, this is definitely not the case with RK Kombrinck’s These Lonely Places, which is a complete ensemble of unnerving stories that dredge up the unconscious fear in everyday life.

Take a quick glance at the cover and synopsis of “Breed,” by Chase Novak, and you’ll instantly think of Ira Levin’s “Rosemary’s Baby.” It’s an easy comparison, both are horror novels involving pregnancy and children. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll see other connections--both novels are set in upscale Manhattan and involve characters who are all elite and well-to-do. And just like Levin, Novak seems to use his novel to make statements about the wealthy just as much as scare the reader.

Dan Dillard's How To Eat a Human Being, is a collection of both poetry and short stories. Per usual with his writings, Dillard leads wild ride through the darker side of human nature and introduces seven unforgettable characters and their demons.

The pains of adolescence are well known by everyone. The struggle to find one’s self and be accepted by their peers is usually one of the most harrowing events in growing up. JG Faherty’s, The Cold Spot, illustrates the vulnerability of youth and the manipulation of death with unnerving detail and motivation.

Left on the roadside by their wayward and absconding mother, Delphine Dodd realizes this time is not like the others. She and her little sister, Olive, have been discarded on the side of the road like trash, only to find themselves floating aimlessly into the care of their unfamiliar grandmother. Set in the early settlement years before the First World War, S.P Miskowski weaves Delphine’s vivid recollections of her adolescence into a haunting dreamscape.

The 1980’s were a time of decadence and opportunity; two things with which Bill Turk is quite acquainted. On the lam from his ex-con past, he seizes a lucrative position within the oil industry and is determined to make as much money as possible. Driven by greed and desire, Turk embarks on constructing the largest mansion the Texan Mourning Bay has ever seen. Once completed, it is soon understood that the manor’s nickname, Mourning Mansion, doesn’t just come from the property on which it is located.

Dan Dillard’s short story Pig Man is the prime example of that tin platitude, a little bit goes a long way. Clocking in at only eleven pages, Pig Man, successfully delivers the chilling creeps that loiter well past the fifteen or so minutes it takes to read it the story.

Written in 1910 by Algernon Blackwood, The Wendigo popularizes an evil creature of legend from the Algonquian people of Native American Indians. The wendigo is a cannibalistic spirit that can either possess humans or is the creature in which humans can transform. Often described as extremely gaunt, skeletal gray in color and smelling of decaying flesh; the wendigo is associated with freezing winters, extreme famine but also gluttony.