Wednesday, 26 October 2011

That Which Should Not Be!

That Which Should Not BeThat Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been reviewing a few indie books lately. So far, they've all gotten four to five stars from me. Am I being easy on these writers, sympathizing with their independent ventures? Hell no. Of all the indie books I've read thus far, none have let me down. I'm sure that there is crap out there, crap meaning unedited writing that should is not, and perhaps never was ready for publishing, of which was the fear for small and/or self-published press before eBooks exploded onto the scene.

The latest one I've read is That Which Should Not Be, by Brett J. Talley. Let me tell you, this book is a brilliant mix of not just the Cthulhu Mythos, but many other myths and legends, religions and cults. While reading, I thought of Talley's book as an onion. You keep peeling back layers and layers of detailed, rich stories that's both fascinating and frightening. Yet the onion is one whole story. Talley obviously has a strong grasp upon the things he writes about, with the Cthulhu Mythos taking center stage, and it was a lot of fun to pick out all the Lovecraftian references, such as a boat named "Kadath".

We start the story with Carter (another reference), who is studying at Miskatonic University, of course. One of his professors has an important job for him. He must travel to an old port town called Anchorhead to retrieve a book called The Witch's Fire. This book, like the Necronomicon, is a dangerous tome, to be handled only by the most experienced of sorcerer. This leads Carter into an adventure where he is told tales of wonder and violent death at the hands of the Wengido, a cult, and an alternate universe on the sea. Each story brings us closer to the main story, and when it all comes together, it's like an explosion of tentacles and black, leathery wings.

If you enjoy the old classics by authors like Lovecraft and Blackwood, you will have no problem sinking into this one. It is, in the end, a terribly fun ride.

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Friday, 7 October 2011

The Hungry by Steven W. Booth and Harry Shannon

The HungryThe Hungry by Steven W. Booth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What makes this book a fun read is just that: It’s fun. It’s also full of action. Steve Hockensmith says in the first paragraph of the afterward: “What you hold in your hands is an adrenaline-fueled sprint through an obstacle course of horrors, and if you weren’t totally spent by the time you reached the last page of the story, you have stronger nerves than I.”

I cannot agree more.

I finished reading The Hungry a few days ago or more, but I had to wait to write my opinions of this story. At first I was a little disappointed, because the story is an expanded version of a short story found in Harry Shannon’s marvelous collection “A Host of Shadows”, so it felt like I was reading familiar material. Yet, once we got past the original short story, things blew up.


And it never stopped.

The Hungry is like a punch in the face. It’s as though Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead got married and had a baby and named it 28 Days Later. The story, in fact, was one of the most fun zombie stories I have ever read. I do not say this lightly.

Does it Involve a bad ass woman wearing a wedding dress as the cover suggests? Why, yes it does! Not only that, it is very interesting and somewhat comical as to why this woman, the story's protagonist, is wearing a wedding dress, and why she continues to have to wear the thing. Not only is the action jaw-dropping and terribly fun to read, the banter between characters makes this crazy ride even more fun.

This is my third book that I've read by Harry Shannon, and I am quickly becoming a fan. If this book is any indication of Steve Booth’s writing as well, I can’t wait to see what he can do on his own.

So, really, just get this book and read it. If you like fun and fast and action-packed, you will not be disappointed!

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