Ava DeSantis is a plain, unpopular college student when she is approached by a good looking man named Wesley who wants her to tutor him in a subject he struggles with. He invites her to a party and alcohol leads to her brutal rape by Wesley and two other men named David and Sebastian. She’s paid off by one man’s mother, in exchange for her silence. Although that should have been the end of it, Ava spends years plotting her revenge on the men who, after the rape, went on to lead very successful, happy lives as Ava continued to wrestle with her demons.
Och, no, he thought before the end, not ma brain... not ma brain... anything but ma brain...please don't slice ma brain... no, no... not the brain...och, no...'
Garth Marenghi. Author. Dream weaver. Plus actor.
Some of you hereabouts may have heard me wax enthusiastic about the likes of Clive Barker and Poppy Z. Brite; how their work has shaped and informed my own, not to mention aspects of myself that I consider sacred.
None of them; not one, resonates quite as profoundly (or traumatically) as Garth Marenghi.
My experience of the man's work is fairly typical: a chance discovery at some little, second hand bookshop; the man's name catching my eye on a creased and cracked spine. The proprietor expressed surprise that there were any of his works left on the shelves (quote: “...I thought we'd gotten rid of all of those...”).
The war has begun...
I am so pleased, excited, and honoured to be able to bring you, cherished Ginger Nuts readers, an exclusive first look at the final book in the High Moor trilogy: High Moor 3: Blood Moon. As far as I’m concerned, this is the most anticipated book of 2015, and we are bringing it to you first.
Please note: If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, there will be spoilers for those, but as always, I will refrain from giving you any spoilers for Blood Moon.
Blood Moon picks up where Moonstruck left off. If you recall, Connie Hamilton set off on a killing spree, hunting down anyone who may have had something to do with her daughter’s death. Blood Moon sees Steven Wilkinson waking up in a military hospital, recovering from Connie’s attack. He meets Dr. Rose Fisher and Colonel Brian Richards, both of whom claim they want to help him.
Marie and John are holed up in an isolated cottage awaiting their new roommate, Daniel. Michael is in the hands of the military and with Daniel’s help, Marie and John try to find a way to rescue their alpha.
Although the military works under the pretense of helping the werewolves, it quickly becomes obvious that some members have another agenda. Things begin to deteriorate and soon, the werewolves find themselves in a war to prevent their population from becoming extinct.
What first attracted me to High Moor was its characters. It’s one thing to have a bunch of werewolves running around eviscerating people, but it is another thing entirely to have characters so well fleshed out and realistic that you care about them, even when they are in their werewolf form. We watched many of these characters grow up and have continued to follow them throughout their lives, cheering their successes and mourning their failures. If you’ve loved these characters as I have, you will be happy to know that you will continue to love them throughout Blood Moon. I was a little concerned that because so much time had passed between books, Reynolds would have a hard time getting back into the heads of his characters. That was not the case. These characters are just as vivid and lovable as ever.
Another thing I love about the High Moor trilogy is the way the author describes the settings. The story takes place in different locations around Europe and in Russia. Reynolds is a master at making you feel like you’re right there, in each and every scene. You can almost feel the cold wind against your face and smell the same scents each character experiences. He describes silence in a way that makes it terrifying and when a wolf bares its teeth and snarls, you experience every bit of the terror the characters feel.
Blood Moon is darker and bloodier than the previous books in the series. The werewolves are more vicious than ever, and Reynolds does not hold back the violence in this book, so if that kind of thing bothers you, beware. However, there is a bit of humour thrown in to break up the violence and tension, and Reynolds demonstrates that he can write more than gore and brutal death scenes. One of my favourite lines from the book comes when Reynolds describes the fog. “Ethereal and wraith-like, forming indistinct yet vaguely recognisable shapes in its dance, before dissipating back into the impenetrable white blanket shrouding the trees.”
Okay, I know some of you are wondering about the end of the book and I won’t keep you waiting any longer. How does it all end? Without giving you any spoilers, I will tell you that although I finished the book last night, as I type this review, I feel a lump rising in my throat as I think about the way it ended. I am sad that it’s over. I will miss the characters whom I have grown to love and the stories they brought with them, but I truly think there was no better way to end the series. Reynolds provides his readers with a completely satisfying conclusion to the High Moor trilogy. And the epilogue? Perfect. Although the series may have come to an end, I take tremendous comfort in knowing that Chris Barnes will be narrating the audio book and through him, I can experience this book all over again in a new and exciting way. This makes me ridiculously happy.
Oh, and one other thing, Blood Moon has hyphens, but only a few.
Look for High Moor 3: Blood Moon on October 27, the night of the full moon.
UK customers can pre-order this fantastic book here. If you’re in the U.S., pre-order it right here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a little something in my eye.
Calling Occupants of......
One of the great things about the horror genre is its blatant refusal to be pigeonholed by the restraints of genre categorisation. From the quiet horror of MR James, via the supernatural crime of John Connolly all the way up to the extreme horror of the bizzarro crowd, it is a genre that welcomes all and has something for everyone.
Neil Spring's historical novel is based around the UK's very own Bermuda Triangle. In 1977 the Welsh costal village was the epicentre of a series of unexplained events involving close encounters and mysterious lights in the sky. While it never reached the same heights of public interest as its more exotic cousin, the events of that year was enough to capture the imagination of Neil Spring, who is quickly becoming a major force in neo-British Gothic horror. Following on from his debut novel The Ghost Hunters, The Watchers cements his place in the ranks of writers you should be paying attention to.
The dead rule the world
One of the first things that I did after reading The Black Room Manuscripts was to go out and buy “Class Three” by Duncan Bradshaw. I just found his writing in “Time for Tea” to have this gleeful kind of undertow to the carnage he wrought on his tea drinkers and wanted to see what his writing was like in a longer format. And it didn’t disappoint. “Class Three” was a refreshing take on the almost done to death zombie apocalypse. Equal parts offbeat humour and splatter, it chronicled two brothers attempts to escape the dawn of the dead using their in depth knowledge of zombie films, almost slapstick humour and plenty of the old ultra violence. Throw in a religious cult, their henchmen, numerous other characters including an ex-girlfriend and a security guard called Francis and it made for an exuberant riot of a book that had me grinning like an idiot and reading in a couple of days.
As plots go, it's a deceptively basic one. In the summer of 1995, at a church 'revival' meeting in North Devon (though I was picturing Glasgow for some reason), an un-named young man separates himself from the congregation to approach the minister. It quickly becomes apparent - in fact, this is the purpose of the opening chapter - that this young man is very, very angry, and the source of his anger is that he wants God to appear before him, in order to prove himself. As an incentive, the young man has rigged himself a vest of explosives and states that if God does not prove himself, he'll detonate and kill everyone in the building. What follows is seen from the perspective of a diverse group of characters who have their own varying approaches to faith.
So far, so intense.
First off, a very brief recap; I very much enjoyed reading The Last Plague. It was a compelling piece of post-apocalyptic fiction, with a nice smattering of cosmic horror. It was bleak, gross and disturbing - though never gratuitously so - and had a nice line of fatal inevitability running through it. I did have a few minor issues with it, namely that the characters all felt interchangeable, and there was the odd awkward sentence here and there. But it was a solid debut and made me curious about what Rich would do next. The question is, does The Last Outpost improve upon its predecessor?
"Something is Lurking Under the Lake…
Before I begin this review, let me say that I’m not usually a fan of ghost stories. I’ve found myself in the mindset that if you’ve read one, you’ve pretty much read them all. That said, having read other stories by Duncan Ralston, and enjoying them immensely, I couldn’t wait to dig into Salvage.
Salvage is Ralston’s first full-length novel. It opens with Owen and Lori, a brother and sister going to the lake with their parents. They share the same mother, but Gerald is Owen’s stepfather, and they have a rocky relationship since Owen never recovered from his father abandoning him when Owen was only 5 years old. Owen’s mother never forced religion on her children – in fact, she shied away from any kind of religious discussion and her kids never understood why. The family never even celebrated Christmas because it was a religious holiday.