Sunday, 28 February 2016

Review: Necrosaurus Rex

Sometimes you ask yourself, "What the fuck did I just read?" I liked it. I did. But I'm still not sure what the fuck I just read...

Necrosaurus Rex tells the tale of Martin, a simple janitor, who takes an unfortunate trip through time, becomes a violent mutant, and the father of us all. There’s 14 billion years crushed inside these pages, and most of them are pretty nasty. This book is a jet black rumination on the concept of miracles and the creation of the universe, a narrative whose lineage exists somewhere between Moravagine, Maldoror, and David Copperfield. Genesis, the Crucifixion, and Revelations reimagined as a transgressive nightmare. This is Necrosaurus Rex.

Okay, I'd sum the book up more, but I can't for not wanting to spoil it.

I'll be upfront. The synopsis above states: and most of them are pretty nasty. Now I have an unfathomably strong stomach for both food and horror. I love me some fucked up horror. And fried chicken. I did however struggle with the opening gambit of this. No, not the first 'chapter'. The second one. The one you can't read on Amazon Look Inside. 

You see, it's brutally violent. I've read brutally violent before. Doesn't bother me. But well written, brutally violent? That's another thing.

I actually considered not finishing the book at that point. 

But the quality of the writing kept me coming back. I actually ended up reading most of it twice for that reason.

So, the review:

The editing is sharp. The book doesn't list an editor, so one assumes this is all author, Nicholas Day's work. Good job. Really. Reading so much Indie, I read some pretty poorly edited material.

The writing, as I have said is strong. It's deft. It's a well written story, and of a quality I expect to see in a larger press (not taking anything away from Bizarro Pulp - they put this out after all. Good move, people). No. I'm bobbing on big six (five, whatever).

The story is interesting. It's different, and touches on topics I don't see tackled in fiction often, and I have read far and wide. It also tackles subject matter that can be...tough. People with disabilities in one sentence. Sickos in the next. And it's clean. At no point was I distracted from the story because I though Day had blown a character.


It emotes. I felt sickened by the actions of some. It certainly did it's job there. I felt for people. 

So in summation?

It's sick, depraved, nasty, demented, sick, weird, bizarre and sick. But bloody well written sick, depraved, nasty, demented, sick, weird, bizarre and sick. The story is strange, but strong and tight, the characters are great, and presentation is excellent. 

You just need a strong stomach.

You can buy it here:

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Five High School Dialogues Blog Tour

High School, a rite of passage for all American teenagers, can be a daunting experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little help along the way? George Tecce, known as The Chief, takes a hiatus from his collegiate adventures to help students navigate through the often daunting labyrinth with his signature oft-kilter enlightening comedy. No topic is off limits as The Chief breaks down high school for students and parents discussing such topics as bullying, prom, and the dreaded group project. Refreshingly unique and accessible, Five High School Dialogues is the perfect all-inclusive guide to high school.


Amber, a sophomore from George’s English class, comes to the Chief to ask for an extension on her essay. George notices her reserved demeanor and asks why she needs an extension. After a brief explanation, George deduces that Amber was unable to do her work over the weekend because she was hungover. The two have a conversation on the risks associated with underage drinking and its effect on one’s work.

Chief: Why don’t you tell me why you need this extension and then I can maybe turn that maybe into the answer you desire?

Amber: Well, it’s due on Wednesday so I figured I’d ask today since I didn’t think you would be too forgiving if I asked you the day before.

Chief: A smart assumption. Why don’t you tell me why you need this extension?

Amber: Well, I have basketball practice for two hours tonight and there’s a game tomorrow. It’s an away game so I won’t get back until pretty late. Plus I have a math test tomorrow that I’m behind on. I guess I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Chief: Naturally. That sounds quite overwhelming.

Amber: It is. I usually manage. I’m not that great at basketball, but it’s fun and I really like the team.

Chief: I just have one question. Today is Monday, which means you had the whole weekend to prepare for this stuff. I assume the away game wasn’t a spur of the moment type of event?

Amber: Nope. It’s been on the schedule all season.

Chief: A test and essay is rough, especially when you’ve probably got other homework to take care of as well.

Amber: Yeah, there’s also science and history. I wasn’t expecting those to be much of a burden, but we got assigned a lot of work today. I’ve moved a little bit of it around, but there’s just so much of it that I wanted to see if I could have an extra day or two to get it all under control.

Chief: It’s good of you to come and ask for help when you need it. Plenty of other people would have just done a poor job and not gone through the effort to talk to the teacher.

Amber: My grades are important to me. I know I’m only a sophomore, but I’ve heard that colleges like to see consistency and I want them to see that I’ve been a good student all four years.

Chief: Very true. You seem to have a good attitude. Can I ask what you were up to yesterday?

Amber: Yesterday?

Chief: Yes, also known as Sunday. Did you have practice?

Amber: No, we usually have Sundays off.

Chief: Did you do any work yesterday?

Amber: I tried to.

Chief: Did Netflix get in the way?

Amber: Not quite. I wasn’t really feeling well at all. My head was killing me.

Chief: Were you sick on Saturday?

Amber: No.

Chief: You don’t seem sick today either.

Amber: No, I feel better. Must have been one of those twenty-four hour bugs or something like that. 

Chief: Headaches aren’t usually the primary symptom of twenty-four hour bugs. Unless this was caused by something else.

Amber: Something else?

Chief: When I was in college, I knew quite a few people who had these mysterious illnesses on Sundays. You know what tended to cause it?

Amber: Partying?

Chief: More specifically?

Amber: Alcohol?

Chief: Right. 


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About the Author

Ian Thomas Malone is an author and a yogi from Greenwich, CT. He is a graduate of Boston College, where he founded The Rock at Boston College. He is the grandson of noted Sherlockian scholar Colonel John Linsenmeyer. Ian has published thousands of articles on diverse subjects such as popular culture, baseball, and social commentary.

His favorite things to post on social media are pictures of his golden retriever Georgie and his collection of stuffed animals. Ian believes firmly that “there’s more to life than books you know,
but not much more,” a quote from his hero Morrissey. When he’s not reading, writing, or teaching yoga, he can probably be found in a pool playing water polo. He aspires to move to the Hundred Acre

Wood someday, though he hopes it has wi-fi by then.

Purchase Link

Monday, 15 February 2016

Review: Driftwood from the Specific

A genre-hopping collection...indeed.

Direct from the mind of A. P. Gilbert, 'Driftwood from the Specific' is a fantastically diverse collection of short stories and poems. Serial killers, through mysterious illnesses and all the way to 'The Wall', this collection is sure to grip, amuse and entertain. From a simple ditty to a short tale, it will soon become a favourite accompaniment to your moments of idle.

Okay, so this collection is diverse in a big way. As with all collections, some hit, some miss. So let's delve into specifics.

The poems:

Both Bonfire Boy and Spiders were entertaining enough. I thought that they purveyed 'poem' well (not being a master of the style). How to write a poem, while I understood it, I was left a little bemused. Mostly down to the formatting. But I'll come to that later.

Highlights of the shorts:

Warm Wishes, and Blink are by far my favorite entries in the collection. Blink, probably my most. Blink is, undeniably a work of creepy art. It emotes a realism in/from the writing and you can feel yourself within the story, particularly the ending.

The Daily Grind was a miss for me. I expected it to do something. I actually have a short myself that is of a similar vein, and I turned page after page expecting something to happen. And it didn't. I wanted some grand gesture from it, which never came, which is a true shame because the acerbic wit and style in the piece is actually great.

The Wall is strange. I can say nothing bad about it.

And then there is Dick.

Dick left me cold, sadly. Dick is what I would consider a traditional 'Sam Spade' type story. Gum-shoe, if you will. And it did that fairly much as I would expect. But I found the story a little...boring? It's well enough written. It follows what I assume is a traditional format for the style...but it just, sort of, happened.

Now that in itself is not a problem for a collection. However, the story fills half the book. The second half, in fact. Which brings the whole experience down for me.

My conclusion for the stories, is that calling a collection "Genre-hopping" and "Diverse" doesn't make up for the complete flip-flop the book goes through. It's style-hopping. It leaps from modern horror to forties noir, and as a collection there should be something defining "the collection". Sadly it reads as if the author had some shorts that he didn't know what to do with so lumped them together.

Which is a shame.

Me? I'd like to see the likes of Warm Wishes and Blink in a collection with other similar stories by the same author. I'd buy that. Happily. Put Dick in a collection of Dick stories, and sell that separately.

Don't get me wrong, I take nothing away from Gilbert. The writing is solid throughout.

But I must discuss the formatting.

I purchased the book on Kindle, so I speak solely for that, not the paperback.

Okay. Firstly, I was missing a TOC. I like a TOC on an ebook. Secondly, the author's name on the second page is broken in font size and positioning. Then the formatting...

The first story has indented first lines (as I would expect a fiction piece to have) however (by experience) they look like default Word indents which are way too large for Kindle. Then after the first poem, the indentation disappears entirely in favor of block text. Until the next poem (which starts two lines after the story before it finishes...)

I'm not going on. It's not professionally laid out.


I really wanted to like this. Some of the stories are truly great.

You can buy Driftwood From the Specific on Amazon UK, here:

On Amazon US, here:

Monday, 1 February 2016

Review: All Roads Lead to Terror

You know what? Sometimes books make you want to wave your fist.

The horrors of the past meet the brutality of the present. 

Four boys strengthen the bonds of their friendship, while taking their first hesitant steps into adulthood as they face the brutality of an old, new, world. They will be tested at every step in their journey, as they travel through a blasted land where the only hope was for a swift death followed by an endless sleep. 

In Richmond they will be confronted by a savage cult of children who worship a creature of the night. A frightening being that feeds upon the fear of its victims, delving into their nightmares, revealing half forgotten secrets that lay like a rotting carcass at the heart of their souls. 

These creatures, once considered nightmare imaginings, are now awake in a world where the population that once served as their food source has been severely reduced. 

Awake and very, very, hungry.

Do you know how much I wanted to give this book five stars? Do you?

Richard Schiver is not an author I had read before. But I will again. All Roads is frankly Stephen King's Stand By Me, with zombies. But not too many. To call this a zombie novel would be  a misnomer. First and foremost this is a coming-of-age drama, written by a man with a deft hand for characterization, set within a dystopian backdrop.

And it's good. Like, really good.

I don't generally read books that have little gore, scares, and general horror (but I am expanding my horizons) however, I couldn't put the book down.

The way Schiver emotes the characters, the fact that they are all well defined, different, people, even though still young, was refreshing. I believed in them. I wanted them to live. I wanted them to fight. And when it came down to it, I rooted for them. Their motives. I wanted the group to resolve their internal conflicts.

And when the big bads did turn up? It was scary. Because they weren't around every corner. Hell, the other people are scary in this.

When I'm using terms like deft, well defined, internal conflict, and motive, you know it's a good book. When I liken it to King. Damn it's good.

So why not five stars?

The editing, I'm afraid. It's badly edited, and for me to say that, it must be noticeable.  Writing this, I don't have the book with me so I glanced down the preview on Amazon to pull out an example: the end of the line of speech the quotes don't close. It's just niggling little things like that, and there are too many of them.

Which is a shame, because as I said: Really good

You can purchase Richard Schiver's excellent All Roads Lead to Terror here:

And meet Richard Schiver here: