Things haven’t been going well for Ross Lowry. He’s lost his engineering job and struggled to find a new source of income. His troubles are essentially ignored by members of his family, many of whom had no difficulty accepting his assistance when he was in the position to offer it. All of that begins to change when his cousin, Lita, and her husband, Dave, invite Ross to spend some time at their ranch in the isolated, small town of Magdelena, AZ. There’s something about the peace of being there that makes him feel like he can take them up on their offer of staying for an extended period. It seems like an excellent opportunity. Ross figures that he can sublet his place in California while assisting Dave and Lita around the ranch and continuing his online job search. Everything seems fine at first. But during the New Years’ celebration at Cameron Holtz’s ranch, when the celebrants fire their guns into the sky, something other than spent ammunition comes falling down. From that point on, everything begins to change. Animals begin dying. Those that don’t die, begin undergoing strange and unsettling transformations, both physical and behavioral. It isn’t just the animals, though, as the residents of Magdelena change as well. The status quo shifts in unpredictable manners as fortunes and positions within the community go topsy turvy. Will Ross and his small group of friends and family be able to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late for them to avoid a fate similar to seemingly everyone else? What is the monstrous thing being worshipped on Cameron Holtz’s ranch, and is it something worthy of adoration? While this isn’t the best of Bentley Little’s work, it is as deeply unsettling and imaginative as anything else he’s written. Elements of body horror and psychological horror meld perfectly with supernatural and spiritual elements to create a narrative that demands the reader/listener not turn away. Joe Barrett’s narration captures the confusion and desperation Ross and the others experience as the story grows progressively more disturbing and unreal. The characters are distinctly voiced and three-dimensional.
Una McCormack brings a new voice to the Firefly series of novels. She seamlessly slips into the supplemental literature with Carnival just as effectively as those previously written by James Lovegrove and Tim Lebbon. McCormack’s foray into the Firefly universe introduces us to a future analog of Las Vegas in Neapolis, an oasis of luxury and fortune in the middle of the desolate, desert world of Bethel. Hired for a legitimate security job, Mal and the crew are expected to escort a shipment of valuable minerals to the dock where they’re to be loaded up and shipped off-world. As one should expect, things don’t go according to plan, and the shipment is hijacked. We’re treated to numerous, more intimate stories within the larger tale of Carnival, as small groups of Serenity’s crew experience adventures, both exciting and illuminating. Readers are likely thrilled to learn more about Simon’s life before he rescued River from The Alliance, exploring some of his time studying to be a surgeon. We also witness more of Shepherd Book’s secret talents from the past he prefers to keep shrouded in mystery. There’s high stakes gambling, human trafficking, political and social upheaval, and all the wit and charm you’d expect from the Firefly characters getting mixed up in these things. James Anderson Foster again brings the narrative to life with his excellent grasp of the nuance and cadence of the characters. I’d be hard-pressed to listen to a Firefly audiobook that wasn’t narrated by Foster unless it had the full-cast providing their character narrations, but he’s the next best thing.
Lucy Leitner is proving herself to be an exceptional experimental storyteller. She previously engaged us with an epistolary consisting exclusively of Instagram posts with Get Me Out of This Shimmering Oasis. This time she’s taken it further afield by incorporating everything from multiple-choice web surveys, customer service chats, and email correspondences. Puritea is as amusing as it is horrific. Desperate to solve her problem with adult acne, Andrea hopes to find what she needs through Puritea, a wellness brand discovered through targeted advertisement. After drastically altering her diet based on a food sensitivity test supplied by the company, things initially seem to be improving for Andrea, and she becomes a vocal advocate for the brand. Of course, things don’t continue going so smoothly. In a Kafka-esque nightmare of recursion, Andrea finds herself seeking solutions to new problems caused by Puritea within the company itself. As everything spirals out of control and Andrea suffers progressively greater transformations, one is forced to wonder if maybe the world isn’t run by lizard people.
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Private eye, Sam Merchant’s luck might be about to change if he can stomach the request of the beautiful potential client with a startling and peculiar job offer. All Sam needs to do is kill her husband. Can Sam make the transition from private detective to killer-for-hire? Will the surreal and unbelievable tale spun by the estranged wife be sufficient to nudge him in that direction? What will Sam discover at the palatial manor where a sinister doctor performs unspeakable experiments on his voluntary subjects? If he accepts the job, will he be able to trust his senses long enough to complete the task at hand? Caught between The Doc and The Dame might be the worst place Sam Merchant has found himself. Chris Miller takes readers back to the days of hardboiled detective fiction with a delightfully gritty and horror-themed twist. Blending perverse nightmares with period storytelling, Miller nails the amalgam he’s crafting.
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When Allison Decker is shot and killed in a senseless act of violence, her husband’s life is irrevocably changed. But the true extent of his life’s transformations doesn’t begin until he discovers something seemingly innocuous in a box of his wife’s belongings from work. A receipt from a motel in a small town he’d never heard of, from a trip he didn’t know Allison had taken, is all it takes to send Aaron down a path he’d never have imagined possible. Worried that his wife might have been cheating on him, Aaron begins unraveling the threads of a double-life Allison was leading, and infidelity might have been a relief. Instead, Aaron finds himself stumbling along in the footsteps of the woman he’d married but hardly knew. The truth of Allison’s activities will uncover lies and horrors Aaron could never be prepared to face as he stubbornly and desperately struggles to understand the woman he loved and lost. In the end, we’re forced–along with Aaron–to acknowledge that we might indeed be guilty of haunting ourselves. Malfi crafts a well-orchestrated mystery that leaves the reader guessing right up until the conclusion. As we join Aaron Decker on his journey of discovery, we’re left reeling with each new revelation alongside the protagonist, forced to question how well we ever know someone and how dark the depths of one’s character might be. Joe Hempel’s narration of the audiobook is superb, and he captures the confusion, fear, and frustration Aaron feels as he persists in his fool’s quest to solve a mystery Allison may have already solved before she was tragically unable to fulfill her life’s mission.
This is the third of the releases in D&T Publishing’s emerging authors series in partnership with Godless. There hasn’t been a lackluster piece of writing in the bunch. 1855 is no exception. Victorian-era photography is rife with eerie elements that were commonly in practice. Jacob Steven Mohr, in a flash of brilliance, decided to place “hidden mother photography” at the core of his story, 1855. When the quiet, strange Italian boy winds up in the orphanage, the language barrier makes it all but impossible to determine what’s happened to his family and how he found himself in the care of the sisters and director Timothy Ford. The arrival of a priest who can translate the child’s story leads the characters down a path punctuated with sinister disappearances and evidence that a mother’s love and protection of her child never fades. It’s the story of a father whose grief wouldn’t allow him to bear the sight of his deceased wife, and the consequences that follow. While this is a horror story, it’s also a heartbreaking glimpse of a child lost in the world and unable to recall his own mother’s face. This is a period tale of tragedy and sadness as much as anything else, and it’s brought to life with expert quality with Mohr’s writing.
You can pick up 1855 and the previous Emerge series of stories by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:
Mumma confirms for readers that the Smalls brothers came by their nature honestly; whether nature or nurture was the primary factor in their development, Mumma was sure to be a massive influence. It would be a challenge not to become a hard man with a matriarch like this at the head of the family. We’re introduced to Mumma as she’s performing to the best of her ability–with a less-than-optimum partner–for a pornographic movie. It seems like it might be a boring day for her until it turns out that a friend of Peter’s has gotten her son involved in a predicament with one of Mumma’s peers in the criminal underworld. Unfortunately, sorting everything out with the pimp in question isn’t going to be a smooth and painless process. One should expect nothing less when the Smalls family is involved. Ericmore never fails to satisfy, and that’s especially true where the Smalls are concerned. From weaponized sex toys to feats of athleticism one wouldn’t expect from an older lady, the excitement doesn’t falter.
You can pick this up for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:
Kherson is as poignant as it is painful to read, and it is a distressingly raw narrative. Regina Watts pulls no punches and provides the reader with no reprieve. The depths of human cruelty and depravity are on grim display without any consideration for the reader because that’s the point. One Ukrainian woman’s search for food in a devastated city becomes a nightmare as a group of Russian soldiers decide that only Nazis would oppose them–and where Nazis are concerned, all bets are off. Much like with her previous story, Cleared Away, Watts is showcasing the horrors of war that often get overlooked as body counts and large-scale atrocities steal our attention from the individual cruelties. Cultures around the world already victimize women under normal circumstances, but in war, anything goes. The horrors in this story are all too common wherever there is war. If you think it’s something distant and perpetrated only by monsters from foreign lands, you’re missing a whole lot of what American forces did during World War II and Vietnam. Monstrous acts happen when people convince themselves that they’re the “good guys” no matter what they do. Of course, it doesn’t help that there are people who will eagerly place themselves in positions to be the “good guys” in situations like these. What’s happening in this story isn’t unique to Ukraine, but it’s happening now, and that immediacy means we can do something about it. Regina Watts has graciously provided us with an opportunity to help, and buying a copy of Kherson–even if you don’t read it–will guarantee that money gets to outreach for the victims of the conflict.
The Filthy Marauders are heading down to Delacroix for fun and debauchery. They’re looking for the sort of antics the filthiest and most depraved motorcycle club in existence would be seeking out because that’s precisely what The Filthy Marauders are. As Spunk leads the rest of his crew down the highway, he’s excited about the annual Hilljack Games in Durr City, but when they arrive, the city is unnervingly empty and silent. Something is off, but nothing could prepare them for their run-in with The Cunty Scoundrels or the discovery that they’d attended the Hilljack Games the year before. Not only had they been too wasted to remember it, but they hadn’t made any friends in the process. The Hilljack Games aren’t in the cards for Spunk and the other Filthy Marauders this year. On this trip to Delacroix, they’ll need to survive The Dirty Rooster Fuck-Off! Easy Rider meets Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas as Bob Freville takes his readers on a ride they’ll never forget. Prepare for absurdity, violence that approaches the cartoonishly pornographic, and the most thrillingly horrific set of challenges ever met by man or beast. Delacroix County is Freville’s answer to Burroughs’ Interzone, a place where anything can happen, and one never knows who to trust…or what they might be ingesting. The two additional stories Freville includes are no less perverse than our main course, though unrelated to the trials and tribulations of The Filthy Marauders. Stuffing tells us the story of the most dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner. As Cooter and Nana find that revenge is a dish best served hot and sloppy, the orphanage will never be the same again. Of course, The Pink Sock probably needs little introduction. Savannah lives in a world where everyone aspires to be the biggest slut, but she can’t bring herself to tolerate a certain fluid. All seems hopeless until Savannah discovers a hidden talent.
When the National Health Service rejects a trans femme her request to have a vaginoplasty performed, Daphne’s state of mind takes one hell of a hit. Already prone to self-harm and taking her frustrations out on herself, this blow might be the last straw. But what happens if the offending penis doesn’t want to go without a fight? What follows is both heartbreaking and ridiculously gruesome, as one might expect from the pairing of Simon McHardy and Sean Hawker. In true McHardy and Hawker fashion, these two provide a graphic and absurdly over-the-top argument in favor of gender reassignment surgeries being more readily available to those suffering from gender dysphoria. Of course, this is not for the squeamish. As strange as it might seem, I almost think this should be recommended to anyone with transgender friends or family, or those hoping to understand why it’s important to treat transgender health concerns (both mental and physiological) as seriously as any others.
You can pick this up for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below: