The House of a Hundred Whispers by Graham Masterton- Book Review

The House of a Hundred Whispers                                          
Graham Masterton
Head of Zeus; 1st Edition (October 1, 2020)
eBook/ Trade Paperback/ 400 pp

“On a windswept moor, an old house guards its secrets…”

Alright, folks. Just when we all thought we couldn’t handle yet another supernatural/haunted house story because the use of this trope has literally been beaten into the ground time and time again (pun very much intended here). Graham Masterton, master of his craft and Horror/Suspense/Supernatural Thriller author extraordinaire somehow manages to prove us as the reader wrong with another timeless tale of that same old classic haunted house story we all know and love, but in this strikingly fresh, modern, and unique way. Master of his flavor of horrorcraft yet again and ode to the supernatural horror stories of yesteryear, this time around the ghastly mysteries abound are in the shape of an old mansion (All Hallows Hall) with a rare priest’s hide hidden within its legendary walls, but that’s not it. There’s something far more sinister and demonic lurking within the house on the eerily misty Dartmoor (and if you figure it out be sure that you don’t speak its name because it will know and it will only make things much worse for everybody involved) and the legends may or may not have all the secrets uncovered just yet, with more than just a recently found hammer used in a family murder buried within its past here at All Hallows Hall. ‘The House of a Hundred Whispers’ is a powerful retelling of the classic haunted house story with the right amount of modern flair, engaging plot twists, and whimsical dark humor for horror fans of all shapes and sizes without any exceptions in quality written almost cinematically by a true master of his craft.

“Do you know what? This crucifix isn’t a crucifix at all. It’s a handle. It’s probably attached to a lever, and when you lift it up, it must activate some arrangement of strings and pulleys and weights under the floorboards, and the dado opens up.”

“Dartmoor, with its mists, bleak winter weather and overwhelming sense of isolation, is the perfect place to build a prison. It’s not a place many would choose to live—yet the Governor of Dartmoor Prison did just that. When Herbert Russell retired, he bought All Hallow’s Hall—a rambling Tudor mansion on the edge of the moor and lived there all his life. Now he’s dead, and his estranged family are set to inherit his estate. But when the dead man’s family come to stay, the atmosphere of the moors seems to drift into every room. Floorboards creak, secret passageways echo, and wind whistles in the house’s famous priest hole. And then, on the morning the family decide to leave All Hallow’s Hall once and for all, their young son Timmy goes missing.”

“From what I’ve read, an alchemist will have mixed various elements into the plaster so that after the plaster dried the room was kept suspended in time. If you entered the room and somebody recited a particular incantation, that incantation would trigger a metaphysical reaction from the walls, and you would become trapped in the moment that it was spoken to you, forever…”

The mixture of the metaphysical, paranormal investigation, parallel dimensions, and heavy religious background found within the setting, magic, and history of the old house and its mysteriously rare ‘priest’s hide’ made this a very fun atmosphere for the entire setting of the overall story. As the Russell family reunites at the old, creepy mansion members of the family (Timmy and Martin), as well as a paranormal investigator by the name of, Ada Grey, soon wind up missing as if they just vanished into the walls without a trace. But, if you listen very closely at night it’s almost as if you can hear them whispering out to you from within the walls. We as the reader eventually come to the realization that a large hidden room used to hide religious figures from the past was built in this very home. The plot unfolds as a group of paranormal investigators begins to uncover the origin and mysteries of the room, as the cops and their extensive search and rescue team continue looking for any evidence of their missing family members or belongings to no avail. One of the things I really liked about this book was the author’s use of that same old haunted house trope, but somehow managing to just tread enough water from that same old story that we all know and love, whilst creating something new and unique and timeless. It’s like we as the reader thought we knew what was going to happen, but the author was only toying with us, throwing twists and turns at almost every turn of the page as the story unfolded before our very eyes.

Portia turned round from the painting and said, “Just look at this picture. It’s like everything that’s been happening in this house. If you ask me, it’s all the Devil’s work.”

Dark, suspenseful, eerie, often thought-provoking and down right out of this world magical this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and lurking in the shadows at all times. Check it out!

The Bad Box by Carlton Mellick III- Book Review

The Bad Box                                                                                
Carlton Mellick
Eraserhead Press (September 1, 2020)
eBook/ Trade Paperback/ 152 pp

I think we can all admit that the year 2020 has been a public display of one never-ending shit-show after another. But let’s try really hard to keep it positive here because the great godfather of Bizarro Fiction has dropped a new book on us back in September, and it’s quite honestly more than a lot of fun. It’s tons of fun and then some really if we’re going to be completely honest here. It’s a long walk in the park with hairy white goat legs. It’s x-ray vision. It’s kind of like shooting rainbows from out of your fingertips. It’s weird looming googly, ball-bearing eyes. It’s learning how to instantly speak Cantonese out of the deep blue. It’s also body moles, A.D.D., and wiggly wretched brown banana slug fingers. Like I said, TONS of fun and then some because it’s the bee’s $#@&!#% knees, folks.
 
“Little Benny isn’t very good at taking tests. It’s not that he’s a stupid kid or doesn’t pay attention in class. It’s just that he’s absolutely terrified of failure. It doesn’t matter how hard he studies. He gets so nervous that he freezes up and his mind goes blank, rarely even answering a single question before the time is up. This is especially difficult now that he’s in Mrs. Gustafson’s fifth grade class, where the punishment for failure is to draw a curse from the bad box—a magical device that permanently mutates children into horrific monsters.”

Benny Paulsen hates taking tests more than anything in the world and just can’t seem to pass any of them to save his life. He keeps having to reach his hands into that godforsaken bad box made of black steel, wrapped in barbed wire and chains, accompanied by a set of long drooling monstrous teeth. It hisses and growls in the Mrs. Gustafson’s hands, oozing a thick, dark fluid that smells like dead fish. It’s filled to the brim with dread and unease. It’s a very, very evil box. Benny just received his fifteenth punishment, and it might be worse than all the others, but, at this rate, only time will really tell. After hooking up with and becoming friends with Mika, a translucent blue slimeball (thanks to Mrs. Gustafson’s Bad Box) the two of them are now known as the Super Villains. So, what better time than now to team up and plot a devious bad box heist. But you will have to read the rest of the book to find out what really happens for yourself. This book is a lot of fun. The author manages to keep the reader heavily engaged in the storyline as the loveable (and well not-so-lovable) characters continue to keep getting weirder and weirder by the turn of every page, and the payoff in the end is exactly what we as the reader always wanted or needed. It’s also kinda/sorta like this overly cute, cuddly fun body horror story. Imagine a group of kids playing Candyland on the set of Hellraiser. Or, something like all hands on deck the Ouija planchette on a colorful playset with the Teletubbies.

Check it out!

Sabbath of the Fox-Devils by Sam Richard- Book Review

Sabbath of the Fox-Devils
Sam Richard
Weirdpunk Books (May 15, 2020)
eBook/Trade Paperback/ 158 pp

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“This sin that we have let infect every single aspect of society will not stop until it has claimed each and every child in this room until it has dismantled and destroyed the lives of their entire generation.”

Listen up, folks. I’m going to say two words. Well, two names… rather. A first name and a last name and I want you to shut the lights off as you whisper them into the closest mirror in the dark. Do this three times with your eyes closed and then go ahead and slowly open them while staring deep into the mirror to reveal some of the darkest secrets buried in your mind’s eye. Repeat after me, “Sam Richard.” Do you see it? Can you feel it? The looming shadows of weird fiction, bizarro author extraordinaire, who after the recent release of his debut collection, ‘To Wallow in Ash and Other Sorrows’ continues to shock and torment and amaze us as the reader by melting brainwaves with his highly unique and original prose. This time with a Bizarro Fiction story that pays dark homage to the small creature horror films of the 80s, jam-packed with the time’s darker bits of nostalgia. So, throw away the black and white checkered slap bracelets and the radical hot pink and fluorescent, lime green skateboards and say hello to the Satanic Panic of yesteryear with style and grace.

“I am my own undoing and try as I might, I cannot yet spit you from my mouth. Neither hot nor cold, you are lukewarm and useless to me. I have searched your Word for freedom from subjugation my entire life and found only more chains.”

“After learning about the existence of a powerful grimoire through a cartoon, 12-year-old Joe is determined to find it and change his lot in life. But in doing so, he’ll also uncover a local priest’s dark secret and how it may be connected to Joe’s brother abruptly leaving town five years ago. Part homage to the small-creature horror films of the 80s (GhouliesGremlinsThe Gate) and part Splatterpunk take on a Goosebumps book, Sabbath of the Fox-Devils is a weird, diabolical coming-of-age horror story of self-liberation in an oppressive religious environment set during the Satanic Panic. Prepare your soul to revel in the darkness.”

The author hits a dark and creative homerun on the turn of every page with this bizarre Splatterpunk tribute to the above-mentioned themes and imagery of yesteryear. With a dark and evil preacher lurking, hideously ferocious and violent but also somehow extremely loveable fox-like creatures wreaking havoc on an oppressed and abusive religious setting, chock full of enough satanic magic and occult ritual panic for days and days and days. This is one sure to leave more than the mark of the beast on your technicolored and tormented soul…. Hail Satan! 666.

Check it out!