Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson

S.P. Doyle is a banker, and he’s up to some shenanigans when we first meet him. That much should be expected of anyone disreputable enough to become a banker, especially an ex-junkie. An unexpected promotion provides Doyle with an opportunity to set off on a quixotic mission to do some good with his improved access, seeing himself as a hero who can take down the corrupt institution from the inside.
To accomplish his lofty goal, Doyle will need some chemical assistance. Meth, it’s said, is one hell of a drug, but Hex makes meth look positively prosaic by comparison. As Doyle’s consumption becomes increasingly massive, the threads of the conspiracy he believes he’s unraveling within the bank’s records grow more convoluted and seemingly absurd. With Deckard, his pet turtle, as the only voice of reason in Doyle’s life, nothing is stopping the erratic and manic banker from slipping off the rails.
Unfortunately for Doyle, the conspiracy he’s stumbled across is far more sinister and far-reaching than even his feverish, drug-addled imagination could conceive.
Before long, Doyle’s swept up in a dizzying world of occult forces, reality-bending drugs, insane body modifications, corporate assassins, near-immortal doctors performing unspeakable experiments, and giant gorilla-like monstrosities–referred to as Skullcrackers–who speak with the voices of the dead. What possible chance could Doyle and a small band of resistance fighters have when struggling against such insurmountable odds, at least without making sacrifices that test the limits of what it means to be human?
Jeremy Robert Johnson has created a lunatic narrative that defies genre, incorporating elements of horror, science fiction, bizarro, and crime fiction into a captivating melange that’s sure to make any reader feel like they might be on the same drugs as the unlikely hero. The most amazing accomplishment of Johnson’s Skullcrack City is that the diverse threads of this story remain straight and easy to follow, a testament to the author’s extreme skill and attention to detail.

Fucking Scumbags Burn In Hell: Halloween Special by Drew Stepek

The Trap House provides us with a story of squandered potential, pissed away by an inconsiderate jackass. We’ve all known people who peaked in high school–or sooner–who never evolve past that point, and who can’t seem to recognize that the rest of the world has moved on around them. Get ready to see that taken to an extreme.
Lil Snap was seemingly a golden child, with a great future ahead of him, until he tripped over his own ego and shit the bed in a spectacularly public display of ignorance and bigotry. Of course, one can never be too sure just how accurate that recollection is, seeing as how the character is a selfish psychopath with delusions of grandeur.
With everyone turning their backs on him out of self-preservation and dignity, an embarrassing altercation in a check-out lane shatters the last vestiges of humanity in the vile cretin.
Enter Hooper, with a deal that’s too good to be true. For someone accustomed to expecting everything handed to them, there’s no consideration that it can’t be that easy.
The punishment in this installment is one I didn’t see coming until it had already been enacted. It’s become a thrill, trying to figure out from the narrative which direction the comeuppance will take, but this one hit me out of the blue, even though the clues were there.

The Trap House is Drew Stepek’s contribution to the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com, released on his birthday of October 21st. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or downloading the app. The link is below:

Trap House (Fucking Scumbags Burn in Hell: Halloween Special) by Drew Stepek – OCTOBER 21st

Knuckle Supper: Ultimate Gutter Fix Edition by Drew Stepek

If like me, of the two major vampire films released in 1987, you prefer the Kathryn Bigelow directed Near Dark over Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys, Knuckle Supper is the vampire novel for you. The Lost Boys may have had the audience and the soundtrack, but Near Dark had the brutality, originality, and grittiness that befitted the monsters at the heart of the story. Knuckle Supper carries that tradition into 21st-century horror literature.
Stepek writes vampires the way one might expect from someone who wants to take the monsters back from the L. J. Smiths and Stephenie Meyers of the world, restoring them to the darkness and underground where they belong. It’s difficult for me to describe what he’s put together in these pages that race past the reader at a rapid-fire pace. Knuckle Supper is, in effect, Anne Rice meets Irvine Welsh, Near Dark meets Requiem for a Dream, and a little bit The Warriors meets 30 Days of Night. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I honestly don’t know how else I can try to describe it without just reading the book to you, and we know I’m not going to do that.
We meet RJ and Dez as they’re preparing to murder a pimp in the home they’re squatting in, a steadily depreciating house once belonging to a former child star turned heroin addict.
RJ, Dez, and the rest of the Knucklers aren’t your typical Hollywood vampires, even though they live in Los Angeles. Blood isn’t their only addiction. They need heroin to survive. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as spiking a needle into their veins to get their fix. They need blood to carry the high into their starving, desiccated internal organs. Enter the pimp they’re about to have for supper.
The (almost) 13-year-old prostitute carelessly tossed into the bathroom is all but forgotten as RJ and Dez make a mess of the place in their desperate chase for a fix. Against his better judgment, and displaying more humanity than his peers, RJ decides not to kill the young girl. This act of uncharacteristic decency is how Bait becomes part of his family. It’s also how everything begins to spiral out of control, ultimately bringing RJ face-to-face with The Cloth, an organization he’d dismissed as nothing but a vampire’s boogeyman, and the painful truth at the core of what RJ actually is.
Drew Stepek introduces readers to a Los Angeles populated by a different sort of gang, consisting of a wholly different kind of gangster from what we’ve become familiar with from popular culture. The city is divided up between tenuously allied gangs of vampires, each feeding and dealing on their own turf. Brutal, far from immortal, and impulsive, Stepek’s vampires are prone to massive errors in judgment, and it’s only a matter of time before the flimsy alliances fracture and violence ensues.
There’s more to this story than drug addiction and graphic violence, though there’s plenty of both. There’s also a depth and character to this story that underscores the superficial, splattery elements of the narrative.

You can obtain a copy of Knuckle Supper as well as the sequel, Knuckle Balled, by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your preferred mobile device: The link to this title on both Godless and Amazon are below: