Saturday, August 13, 2011

Watch out for The Accident People

Charlie Hardie, ex-police consultant and current proffesional house sitter, takes a job on the west coast, watching a home in the Hollywood Hills. It should be a few weeks of drinking, watching old movies, and trying to forget the past. But, when Hardie arrives at the gig, he finds actress Lane Madden hiding in the house, raving about The Accident People, a mysterious group of killers who have Lane in their sights. What follows is a twisting, turning ride, filled with noir sensibilities and James Bond gadgets.

Duane Swierczynski should be a household name, no matter how difficult that name is to spell. Fun & Games is a thriller that earns the label on every page. This is a classic in the making; a "right man in the wrong place" story that easily stands up to the best in the field.

Swierczynski writes crisp prose that keeps the plot moving, yet he doesn't skimp on the character developement. Charlie Hardie is a well fleshed out, which is good, with Fun & Gams being the first in a trilogy. Lane Madden also has plenty of history, as do The Accident People themselves. Even the throwaway characters have depth.

I read this book in one day. It would have been in one sitting, but I haven't perfected the couch/toilet yet. The Accident People are a fascinating group, and it's nice to know that Swierczynski isn't finished with them. And They aren't finished with Charlie Hardie. I can't wait for the next in the series, Hell & Gone, which will be followed by the final book, Point & Shoot. If the last two books are even half as good as Fun & Games, they will still be twice as good as alot of what passes for thrillers nowadays.

If you are looking for a great story, with great characters, and fantastic writing, you can't go wrong with Fun & Games.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

'Nids: Visiting The Drive-in, Without Leaving The Couch

Got your popcorn? Speaker hanging from the window? (This here is an old fashioned drive-in.) Girlfriend, or boyfriend, snuggled up close? Get ready, the movie is about to begin.

Ray Garton's 'Nids evokes all the great feelings of going to the drive-in and watching the latest creature feature to come out of La La Land. (Well, not ALL of the feelings, unless you can makeout and read a book at the same time.) Teenagers at Lovers' Lookout, explosions at a secret research facility, and giant spiders ripping through the population like a machete through a camp counselor, all scream "Let's go to the movies!"

I'm a huge fan of "animals killing/eating people" stories. And if it's GIANT animals, well, that's even better. And giant SPIDERS! I'd better have a sock handy. (Too much? Suck it up, this is my blog, and I'll be gross if I wanna.)

Garton is a great writer, who takes time to develop his characters, without slowing down the story. Too bad most of those characters ain't gonna make it. Still, Garton makes them real people, so that their deaths are real tragedies.

This is a bloodier, more sexual take on the great movies of a bygone day, like Earth vs The Spider and THEM!, a great romp of a story that should be read in 3D! The kind with the red and blue cardboard glasses, not the new-fangled plastic ones.

What I'm trying to say is, it's fun, it's gorey, it's a great read! Just make sure to wipe your fngers, after eating your popcorn; you don't want to get butter on the pages.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Delamorte's Dungeon Of Deadly Delights

Time for a little self-promotion.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to be a co-host on Delemorte's Dungeon Of Deadly Delights, a weekly radio show on Hosted by Rob Delamorte (a HUGE horror fan. Like Godzilla standing on the shoulders of Mecha-Godzilla huge. Like Jason Vorhees body count huge. Like big.), with co-hosts Barb Breese, Jessica Dwyer, and yours truly, we chat with folks from all over the horror movie industry, great and small.

My first show we had Lance Henrickson (Near Dark, Aliens, Pumpkinhead). I was able to ask Lance one question before getting dropped from the call. What a great start.

Next up, Linnea Quigley (Return Of The Living Dead, Night Of The Demons). She was a blast, and asked me if I had sour balls. Watch Night Of The Demons to find out why.

My third show we were joined by William Sadler (Die Hard 2, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, The Shawshank Redemption). I did enough research that I knew the name of his High School band, and askd if they would ever play a reunion show. I DIDN'T do enough research, or I would have known that every member exept the drummer (and William, of course) died in a car crash. Oops.

And, just a couple of days ago, we spoke with Robert Kurtzman (KNB FX, Precinct 13, Creature Corps.), James Zahn (Too many things to mention. This guy does EVERYTHING.), and Geno Rathbone (Guitarist for Product Of Hate). They have made a ten minute music video; a mini horror movie (within a movie, within a video). Great guys. And, once again, I stick my foot in my mouth.

So, if you are a fan of horror movies, or just want to hear me make a fool of myself, please check out Delamorte's Dungeon Of Deadly Delights, Thursdays at 8:00 pm, EST, on (and archived on Fridays).

End self-promotion. For now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Resurrection by Tim Curran: This ain't your daddy's zombie novel.

I have read a few books by Tim Curran. Skin Medicine was a great horror western, one of my favorites in the sub-genre. Biohazard was ok, but I found it a bit repetitive, overall. Moments ago I finished Resurrection, and all I can say is WOW!

If you want to read about slow, shambling, groaning zombies, look somewhere else. Curran's undead are wet, bloated, smart(ish), and a bullet to the head won't stop them. And it's not just flesh-munching corpses you have to worry about. Curran throws in everything but the kitchen sink. Non-stop rain, flooding, ex-cons, the army, worms, bugs, a pedophile clown, literal acid rain, and, now that I think about it, I believe the kitchen sink is in there, too.

A huge cast of diverse characters populates this waterlogged world. You have the usual douchebags, whom you can't wait to see tortured and killed (I'm looking at you, Jacky Kripp.), as well as people you will fall in love with. But don't get too attached. Everyone is in danger, and every page is filled with tension. This is literally a "white knuckle" novel.

Scenes of over-the-top gore are mixed with scenes of creepiness and dread. If Curran has no problem describing eviserations, melting bodies, exploding heads, etc., what is so horrible that he can't tell us? (I know that he can show us, it's just a literary device. I'm trying to go with the flow here). Curran has great style and can go from subtle to 60 in two sentences flat.

As usual, I don't want to give away any of the story. I want you to go in fresh. Whether you are looking for oceans of blood or a shudder up your spine, I can't recommend Resurrection enough.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dewey's Read-A-Thon 2011

Participating in the Read-A-Thon is, well, not much different than most of my weekends. But, I set aside the book I have been reading, Resurrection by Tim Curran, to plow through a few novellas. So, having finished four, all published by Deirium Books, I thought this might be a good time to talk about what I have read, so far.

First up was Immun3 by Michael McBride. Uhm, I'm not sure what to say, for fear of giving too much away. The 3 in the title refers to a certain percent of the population. (It's called Immun[e]. I think you can figure out what I'm talking about.) This is another great story, with great style, from Mr. McBride. Do I really need to say any more?

Next we have The Separation by Ronald Malfi. A story of loss and obssession. A creepy tale with a great ending. Oh, and a scene with a horse that is just...I'm at a loss for words. (Get your minds out of the gutter! It's not that kind of scene!)

Sandy DeLuca's Darkness Conjured reminded me of Rosemary's Baby. A home for pregnant girls, ghosts with dire warnings and cries for help, and pacts made in shadowy rooms makes for an atmospheric tale. Easily the spookiest of the four book I have ead, so far, today, this one is a definite winner.

Finally, It Drinks Blood by J.F. Gonzalez. I was very much looking forward to this one, for it's pulp fiction roots an it's connection to the torso murders in Cleveland, Ohio. BUT...while the story was pretty good, I found this to be rather poorly written, and there were far too many mistakes for my liking. (See my previous blog concerning proofreaders, or, rather, a seeming lack of proofreaders.) I guess three out of four isn't too bad.

So, that is what I've read for the beginning of Dewey's Read-A-Thon 2011. Now, back to the books!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where Have All The Proofreaders Gone?

I have just finished reading a beautifully packaged limited edition book. It has a slipcase, gold stamping on the cover, nicely creepy artwork in the front, and very cool end papers. All of that is fine. The story was ok. There were some very cool scenes, but, overall, I didn't think it was anything spectacular.

The problem is that the book was FULL of mistakes. Continuity errors, two characters called the wrong names, and a sentance that actually said the OPPOSITE of what it meant to say. (If it meant what it said, then it made absolutely no sense.) Now, I don't expect perfection. Typos slip through, punctuation, well, that's not my strong suite, so there could be many mistakes there that I wouldn't notice.


C'mon. I was reading for enjoyment, not using a critical eye, and I noticed all of these problems. Isn't there someone who should have looked over the manuscript, and caught at least a few of these? And this book isn't the only one with issues. I read a limited edition short story collection that had the same problem. (Three days is 36 hours?!) Is no one checking for these things? How are so many mistakes making it into the final product?

At the beginning of this, I described some of the physical aspects of the book I just read. And I have heard a number of publishers talking about how beautiful their books are. Has style finally won out over substance? Is the LOOK of a book now more important than the story within the fancy covers?

Maybe it's just me. I don't mind these misakes so much, in a cheap paperback (although they still bother me), but when I shell out big bucks for a limited edition, and the story is just "meh", and the whole thing is riddled with errors, well, that kinda ticks me off. I'd rather have a great, well written story, in a cheap(ish) package, then pay more for a nice package that's full of crap.

So, where have all the proofreaders gone?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chainsaw Sally

February is Women In Horror Recognition Month, so I would like to talk about one of my favorite women in horror: Chainsaw Sally.
Ten year old Sally Diamon witnesses the murder of her parents and must raise her younger brother, Ruby, all by herself. Sally grows up and works every weekday as a librarian. But at night, she is CHAINSAW SALLY! Bringing justice to the down trodden people of Porterville, Sally prowls the dark shadows, with her chainsaw, a machete, and...sparklers? If you are a good person, you should be safe, but heaven help you if you have an overdue library book, or yu deliver the wrong cookies. And don't even THINK about parking in a handicap parking spot, unless you have a handicap sticker.
Chainsaw Sally is played with sexy savagery by April Monique Burril, and is the brainchild of April and writer/director JimmyO Burril. Encompassing Chainsaw Sally (the movie), The Chainsaw Sally Show (an original internet series), and It's Groundhog Day, Chainsaw Sally, (All available on DVD at the Chainsaw Sally Store, found at, The legend of Sally continues to grow. Season two of The Chainsaw Sally Show is in production, and JimmyO is currently writing The Chainsaw Sally Stories.
I could go on and on (too late!), and talk about Sally's wonderful relationship with her brother, one of the finest pair of siblings ever caught on film. Or I could discuss the cannibal diet of our beautiful anti-hero. I could tell you about my short meeting with April, at Cinema Wasteland, and what a friendly person she is. Or...well, you get the idea. Instead, I will close with:
This is low budget filmaking at it's best, filled with bad (and good) acting, some rough film work, and all the love and dedication the creators could cram in. For fans of independent horror, along the lines of Evil Dead and The Toxic Avenger, look no further than Chainsaw Sally!