Month: June 2022
Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham, Narrated by Jonathan Edward Durham
Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind In The Willows collide with The Most Dangerous Game and Animal Farm in Durham’s Winterset Hollow. Exciting, surreal, and defying all expectations, the author has crafted something both somber and thought-provoking.
John Eamon Buckley and his two closest friends join a group of fellow fans of Winterset Hollow to embark on a pilgrimage to the isolated island home of the children’s poem’s author, E. B. Addington. The crowd of friends and strangers couldn’t have prepared for–and never imagined–how intimate their glimpse into Addington’s life would be.
What follows is a dizzying upheaval of everything they thought they knew and understood about the world around them. Awaiting the fans is a dark and scathing denunciation of the history they assumed to be true and a personal journey for Eamon as he discovers his connection to the beloved childhood story is deeper and more horrible than he’d suspected.
The poem at the heart of Winterset Hollow is something I could imagine published on its own, and I could understand how the fictional characters might have cherished its captivating story.
It’s the larger narrative, beautifully written and complete with its damning subtext of the evils associated with colonization and Westward expansion in early America that I adore, though. It’s so well-written and ingenious in its acknowledgment that Manifest Destiny and the American Dream were constructed on a substrate of nightmares levied against all those unfortunate enough to be in the path.
The audiobook narrated by Jonathan Edward Durham himself was a spectacular way to experience this story, and he managed to capture both the tarnished innocence of Eamon and the bitterness combined with the sadness of the residents of Addington Isle.
Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry, Narrated by Ray Porter
Jonathan Maberry brings his fast-paced, high-intensity blend of grit, well-drawn characters, action, and wry humor to the realm of fantasy literature with one hell of a splash. Kagen the Damned is everything readers have loved about the Joe Ledger and Pine Deep novels but transferred to a world of swords and sorcery, complete with an homage to Chambers, Lovecraft, Bloch, and Derleth.
Kagen Vale is a broken man, devastated and demoralized by his failure to protect the imperial family he’d been charged with protecting. Possibly the last surviving member of the Vale family, Kagen is driven solely by his need for revenge, forced to wander alone as the gods he’d worshipped have abandoned him. Walking a tightrope between drunkenness and violence, Kagen is hunted by those he hunts, and unless he can find some allies in his quest for vengeance, he’s doomed to fail.
As long-forbidden magic and old gods return to the realm of the Silver Empire, the world Kagen was familiar with becomes increasingly strange and threatening, as an unexpected enemy with enigmatic and sinister plans seeks to take a throne that Kagen will die to defend.
Fans of Richard K. Morgan and George R.R. Martin are sure to love Maberry’s foray into horror-tinged fantasy, but there’s nothing not to love about this introduction to a must-read trilogy.
Ray Porter perfectly captures the character of Kagen in his narration, while bringing the cast of additional characters to life with a blend of accents that are at times both familiar and alien to the listener. Porter was quite likely the best possible choice for the audiobook narration of this novel, and I trust that he’s contracted to provide his services for the remaining two books as well.
Last Day by Todd Love
Todd Love finds a new way to surprise his readers, both in the pure dialogue construction of this narrative and in the shockingly sad twist revealed at the conclusion. But this isn’t one of those twists shoehorned in for the sake of taking the reader by surprise, the hints are there throughout the story, if only we knew to pay attention.
A conversation takes place between two old friends as a former detective, Lloyd Andrews, evaluates his life and the mistakes he’s made. Reflecting on the events that transpired when he successfully ended the killing spree of The Barrhaven Cannibal, he needs to unburden himself to the only person he knows will understand.
If you’re looking for something different, I can assure you that Last Day should make your list. I can imagine this performed on a stage, a contrast between stark shadows and light, and I’d love to see that happen. Imagine it for yourself when you check out Last Day.
You can pick this up by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device. The link is below:
The Buried King by Thomas KS Wake
Thomas KS Wake deftly combines cosmic horror, folk horror, and kaiju with environmental consciousness in a captivating tale with The Buried King. Raymond, an unscrupulous building developer visits the site of an out-of-the-way vacation resort that should have never existed, at least not where it’s been erected. Unfortunately, his arrival coincides with the consequences of his predatory and deceptive business practices coming to fruition, and it’s a price we all have to pay.
Beneath the construction, buried for centuries, a malevolent force of nature awakens. As those tasked with containing the monster give up hope and give in to righteous anger, the results will be catastrophic and undeniable. Nature will take its revenge.
Reaching the final page of this story inevitably causes the reader to immediately hope that Wake is working on a follow-up to this title. The disaster porn addict within us wants nothing more than to see just how far the devastation will go and how long humanity will manage to survive.
This title was released as part of the Emerge series, focused on providing a platform for emerging authors. This was brought to us by a partnership between D&T Publishing and Godless. You can obtain a copy of this story by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app on your mobile device. The link is below: