Dreams of Lake Drukka and Exhumation explore the unearthing of horrific, long-buried family secrets. Journeying into the darkest recesses of the past, these stories depict the dire consequences of discovering the truth.
Writing about Dreams Of Lake Drukka and Exhumation, author Mike Thorn said: “It was only in retrospect that I could see the connections between these two stories. When I revisited them for publication, it struck me that they work well as companion pieces. Both plots depict unfulfilled pacts with supernatural undercurrents, both include journeys to uncover unresolved familial trauma, and both pivot around the revelation of repressed memories. I wanted to explore the relationship between setting and atmosphere in these pieces, and to depict horror within internal and physical ‘sites of trauma.’ The characters are grappling with painful memories / experiences that have held them back, consciously or unconsciously. One story focuses on a character who is the agent of her own revelations, whereas the other story sees someone whose agency is quickly and brutally taken away.”
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Dreams Of Lake Drukka:
For a while, I was wondering when the horror would begin in Dreams Of Lake Drukka. For a couple dozen or so pages, it was mostly sisterly squabbles. Basically, arguments many siblings have or had partaken in a time or two (or more). It wasn’t until Jeannette and Sharla crossed over the fence leading to Lake Drukka when things finally started to look up. Well, for us horror readers it did…not so much for these two gals or their daddy.
The terror-filled moments starring the phantom were spooky in written form. However, it would downright terrify viewers in 2 or 3D. This would be one of those movies you’ll be screaming at the screen, “Run, chick, run!!!!”
Since my mind tends to operate like a movie projector, I can visualize it in 2D.
First ½ of the Dreams Of Lake Drukka: 2 hearts (stars)
Last ½ of the story: 4 and1/2 hearts (stars)
Overall score: 3 and 1/2 hearts (stars)
Exhumation started off creepy, progressed to F***ed up and stayed firmly in that position until the very end.
From the start, Norm proved to be a strange character but I had no idea how quickly things would go from strange to I WANT TO HURL!
If you like creepy, weird, and/or grotesque scenes then you must read Exhumation.
Mike Thorn is the author of Darkest Hoursand Dreams of Lake Drukka & Exhumation. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Turn to Ash and Tales to Terrify. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, The Seventh Row, Bright Lights Film Journal and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. Visit his WEBSITE, connect with him on TWITTER and follow him on GOODREADS.
A normal day in the Deep South turns into a nightmare, as Chantal discovers that beauty and terror trace the fault lines between life and death. She fights to understand why a good woman, her friend Aida is stricken with a debilitating illness that steals her mind and reason. When Aida’s terrifying visions are revealed, what price does it have when it’s shared with Chantal?
Take a walk on the dark side, where existence is fragile and knowledge of the after-life can cross over and become frighteningly real and physically dangerous to anyone who knows the truth. Make it a summer to remember with a fantastic new story from Black Calyx Books!
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Dementia is a scary illness. It weakens the mind and body. People with the affliction are aware their time is limited, and there’s no cure. Loss of motor function, loss of memory, and hallucinations are just a few symptoms a person faces with this terrible illness. Again, it’s a sad and frightening illness.
Bibiana wrote about the fears and heartache of having Dementia from a sufferer’s point of view and a friend’s as well.
She focused a lot of time on hallucinations. Were the three people Aida saw real or the result of her disease? To avoid spoilers, I won’t say either way.
I will say this…
When you sense evil or death breathing down your neck, real or imaginary, it’s a real mind F—K. You can’t help but live in constant fear. And fear, as we discover, is like food for vile creatures.
After I finished this short story, I read the “Afterword.” In my opinion, I think Bibiana Krall should’ve put the “Author’s Note” before the actual story. Knowing this story was loosely based on real-life events increased my score. Before the “Afterword,” Troika was a solid three stars. After I read the “Author’s Note,” my score jumped a point.
Also, before the story began, Bibiana had an “Epilogue.” An epilogue goes at the end of a story.
Other than those two things, I wouldn’t have changed anything else. It was a quick, to the point, read and had just the right amount of spookiness to keep me engaged. No gore, only a story that embraced the word FEAR.
Bibiana Krall is the author of seventeen titles on Amazon, a former international travel expert and luxury insider, she has lived the adventurous life she writes about. Her novels and short stories highlight kickass, female protagonists in character driven stories that utilize social narratives.
Winner of a ‘Pay It Forward Scholarship’ from Wilkes University CW, Bibiana Krall has been called a, “Lyrical maven and literary wordsmith.” @Goodreads Learn more about Bibiana’s books, watch cinematic book trailers.
NOTE: A story which incorporates similar themes to major motion pictures such as these – JURASSIC PARK, ALIENS, ALIEN RESURRECTION, STARGATE, THE LOST CITY OF Z.
From the sworn oath of an ancient curse a cult rises. She is the ocean vast, its deadly rake, and primal power. Her first ones commune from across the great divide and make their new hive in the emptiness of men. A secret project, born from the ambitions of a young nobleman, transcends the passage of time and reaches through the veil of life and death for her reawakening. Deep beneath a mountain, inside a secure facility at the heart of a covert black op called Nexilexicon, a team of scientists, the military and the CIA are about to punch a hole through to another dimension. What could possibly go wrong?
What begins in the wilds of the Amazon jungle in 1847 culminates in a threat to mankind’s very existence.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
This story takes part in different time periods, so I’ve broken up my review into sections to discuss each area. Beware, there are spoilers!
The story begins with Sander van Straten embarking on a voyage. It’s not long before feelings of excitement turn to feelings of dread.
First, a mighty storm struck and they lost a young sailor.
Next, a swarm of insects descended on their ship and the crew had to hunker down below deck.
Then, there were the strange markings on the barrels and several stolen items.
Was the cook correct in saying this voyage was cursed? Even though I found Keith Anthony Baird (the author) long-winded at times, and the story seemed to teeter on the dull side, I was curious about the crew’s fate.
The crew’s trek through the Amazon jungle was quite adventurous, but I’d expect no less. They crossed paths with many exotic creatures, came face to face with a spider the size of a man’s head, and were ambushed by the natives. I wished they’d stayed in the jungle longer. I was thoroughly enjoying their time there, even though they weren’t at the least.
When they went back on the Eva, trouble again struck hard and fast. Rhames overtook their ship, and Eva’s crew members were held captive for two weeks, starved before released onto a small island. No drinkable water, no food, nothing but the clothes on their backs. The men turned into savages. They ate one of their own, had to if they wanted to survive. Sander couldn’t allow himself to partake of human flesh. I’m not sure I could’ve either.
Life on the sea was hard, but life on land was no picnic either.
Chapters 9 -11
We jump forward in time to 1964. For over a century, Eva’s treasure has been lost to the sea but no longer. Wreck hunters have found the bounty and, with it, the curse that accompanies it. These chapters were laced with mystery, intrigue, suspense, death, and left me wondering what the hell was going on.
It’s 1973, and an international team has been in the Al-Hajar Mountains for five weeks. Five weeks before the discovery of a chamber’s entrance. What they did find there is an archaeologist’s wet dream: mummified creatures, crystals, and a civilization that thrived and appeared highly evolved and intelligent. Unfortunately, their good fortune didn’t last long. Nobody’s luck remains good for long in this story.
Chapters 13 – 15
2012 – Project Nexilexicon was underway, and things were finally getting really good. Using DNA discovered at a dig site 40 years ago, scientists have reanimated/resurrected the creature Sander van Straten saw during his time in the Amazon jungle. The animals had six limbs, around 650 pounds, and had a presumed bite force that would resemble a crocodile’s.
I knew these creatures would escape their enclosure, but I didn’t realize how they would. They were extremely organized and intelligent in their escape. I won’t go into detail, but you’ll be amazed by what these creatures could and did accomplish.
Humans versus beasts… I knew it would be a bloodbath, and I was right. Keith Anthony Baird had the creatures biting heads off and separating limbs from bodies. Soldiers did everything to stop them, even sacrificing themselves for the civilians.
This set of chapters were my favorite out of the entire book. I actually could’ve used more action like this. In my opinion, I would’ve edited out much of the beginning time spent in 1847 and devoted more paragraphs to Project Nexilexicon. What the scientists and government were doing underneath a Nevada mountain range was the only reason why my score became a solid three stars.
The first eight chapters were mostly bland. Chapters 9-11 were okay. Chapter twelve had great potential but fell flat overall. However, Chapter 13-15 had me on the edge of my seat! I also enjoyed the epilogue because Keith ended with a nice twist. It’ll make you wonder what’s going to happen next for Project Nexilexicon.
Keith Anthony Baird lives in rural Cumbria, England, with his partner Ann, a mad spaniel, two cats and two goldfish. He’s also inherited two daughters and a grandson. He’s had a varied career, having been a journalist for ten years, and also a designer and a retail manager in his time. The Jesus Man is his first novel, written throughout 2016 and based on an idea he devised just under thirty years ago.
Inspired by such luminaries as H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. G. Wells, his aim has been to deliver stories in a classic vein, but with a contemporary slant in both style and content. He aims to remain entirely independent, producing his works his own way, without interference from traditional publishing houses.
In his spare time, he and Ann indulge their shared love of the mountains by scaling the many peaks of the inspirational Lake District National Park.
(Cover by Adrian Baldwin; original artwork by Roberto Segate)
The end is hear…
A mutant strain of meningitis has wiped out most of mankind. The few who have survived the fever are now deaf.
Bitter with loss and terrified to leave the city known as Cathedral, the inhabitants rely on The Samaritans, search teams sent out into the surrounding countryside. Their purpose, to hunt down and enslave the greatest commodity on Earth, an even smaller group of people immune to the virus, people who can still hear.
People like me.
My name is Chris.
This is my story.
“A Quiet Apocalypse is told from the perspective of ex-schoolteacher Chris, a hearing survivor. He has lost everything, including his freedom, and through his eyes we learn of what it is like to live as a slave in this terrible new world of fear and loss. I was keen to write a piece that preyed upon people’s traditional misconceptions of deafness as an illness, and the imposition of ‘hearing’ norms. It is a story that has poignancy in any understanding of the struggles of minority groups.” – Author, Dave Jeffery
We’re ten miles out when we come across the body. Until this point my first hours of freedom have been uneventful. The road we walk upon is the A38, the main tributary to Birmingham, which is currently twelve miles behind us, and now known as Cathedral.
The re-christening of Birmingham is based on the nature of its rebirth, though it has about as much to do with righteousness as Margaret Atwood’s Gilead. In the city’s cathedral the last survivors of MNG-U took consensus and decided to overwhelm the few hearing people amongst their number and place them under the yoke. Thus, the emasculation of the hearing began, but it also gave rise to something equality as sinister.
Social order at a price.
The body hanging from a nearby lamppost has been there some time. It bears the usual vestiges of retribution, hands tied together above a head covered by a hood of sackcloth, the legs and torso cocooned in swathes of fabric, bound together with electrical tape. The material is gouged in places where the crows have become too impatient to wait for the wrists to flay under the weight and allow gravity to do the rest.
There is a wooden plaque about the effigy’s neck and the single word scrawled across it is both statement and crime.
I wink out and there is no longer a streetlight with a body hanging from it. Instead I am back in my classroom and standing by the media wall watching as a small boy sits at a desk as he robustly colours a circle with a bright, orange crayon on stark white card. Concentration has turned his face to stone, his mouth is an inclined hyphen, but the tip of his tongue emerges from the corner of his lips, a red strawberry that almost matches the colour of his hair.
Tim Muller has been in my class for over nine months and it is during this time that I have learned the intricacies of British Sign Language, or BSL to use the vernacular. I have managed Stage 2 and can pretty much communicate enough with the boy to be able to understand him without an interpreter, although there is always one present to make sure he is not disadvantaged in his learning. I’m destined to be his form tutor for another three years before he moves on, and during that time I will become fluent, with frequent visits to Deaf Club where I enjoy a pint and sign away the evenings as I become infused with Deaf Culture.
I wonder where Tim is now, and my heart feels heavy as I think of the effigies hanging from their lampposts, and those in trees leading up the Cathedral. Harbingers come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, but the mode of disposal is always the same. Retribution is as indiscriminate as the disease that turned mankind into monsters poisoned by hate.
Dave Jeffery is author of 14 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories. His Necropolis Rising series and yeti adventure Frostbite have both featured on the Amazon #1 bestseller list. His YA work features critically acclaimed Beatrice Beecham supernatural mystery series and Finding Jericho, a contemporary mental health novel that was featured on the BBC Health and the Independent Schools Entrance Examination Board’s recommended reading lists.
Jeffery is a member of the Society of Authors, British Fantasy Society (where he is a regular book reviewer), and the Horror Writers Association. He is also a registered mental health professional with a BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Health Studies.
Jeffery is married with two children and lives in Worcestershire, UK.
Unimaginable monsters to take your breath away.
What you can’t see will horrify you.
You’ll be squirming in sheer terror.
Real and unseen-evil awaits. Watching. Lurking.
When you least expect, it will pounce and consume you!
Safety warnings: May induce a rise in blood pressure.
Don’t read alone.
Keep the lights on.
When Sue tried to wriggle out of its grip, she could feel her hair being pulled from the roots. A surge of pain filled her skull and ran down her spine to the very bottom of her feet. Right at that moment she felt like she had been electrocuted. The creature yanked on a section of her hair so hard and fast, that she’d been left with a large bald patch and more searing hot liquid ran down her back. Sue let out a fox like scream before gritting her teeth in excruciating pain.
Each time the beast pulled and ripped sections of her hair out, she felt like she was the ocean floor being repeatedly pounded by an anchor. The weight she felt pushing her into the floor made her feel as though her ribs were going to be crushed at any moment.
K.Z., Amazon Customer, 5⭐: Death O Death is definitely not a collection of bed time stories. Ellie Douglas new anthology can scare the socks off the tin man! You’re not in Kansas any more, Toto! Leave the lights on. Every story reaches just a little farther into the terrifying world of madness and gore, each tale unique and graphically written to send a new shiver down the spine with every turn of the page. Any fan of bloody horror stories will love this new collection!
Mark, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: This is not simply another collection of horror stories. There is nothing simple about them AT ALL! Ellie’s imagination is unparalleled as she weaves shock upon shock, like an overcharged Electroshock Therapy treatment. Each story doubles the voltage and is liable to cause massive brain seizures!! Be scared. Be VERY scared. Five ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars for the Mistress of Murder & Mayhem.
Andrea, Goodreads Contributor, 4⭐: An impeccable anthology!
I don’t call Ellie Douglas ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason. She is a phenomenal writer. Anthologies might be tricky. There’s always one or another story that you might prefer that weren’t in the book. That’s not the case here. The author presents us ten impeccable short stories that will scare you to death.
In the description of the book, Douglas tells us what to expect. And she defies us – “Are you brave enough?” Believe me when I tell you, and I’m entitled to tell you because I’ve read horror a lot, you must be really brave. From the first story on you can already see that she’s right to warn us. And I dare you not be scratching your head reading ‘Infested’.
For me, what makes Douglas’ stories so good is the fact that she can turn ordinary facts into something so frightening and/or create stories which have already been told so many times into something totally new making us surprised and, of course, terrified.
I loved all ten stories, but, of course, I have my favorites: ‘Junkyard’, ‘Can You Imagine’, and ‘Point Of No Return’. All three of them leave us in ‘tense mode’ and it’s hard to see what is coming. Brilliant!
There is something really cool in this book – ‘Trick Or Treat’ and ‘Junkyard’ were starred by two real life people. And don’t think the author went easy with the characters because of it, because she didn’t.
I’ve already read a few books by this author and will certainly read all of Ellie Douglas’ books. As I said, I don’t call her ‘Horror Queen’ for no reason.