The Beasts of Vissaria County is not what you expect. It doesn’t matter what your expectations might be as you approach this narrative; I can guarantee that you’ll probably find yourself shocked and surprised. The nature of Douglas Ford’s book is as ephemeral and challenging to nail down as the narrative itself, but you’ll find yourself propelled along as if you were in a dream, with Ford as the feverish and abstract architect. Maggie McKenzie escapes the nightmare of her marriage and, along with her son, seeks a transient sort of safety and solace with her disagreeable father in the backwoods of Florida. She’s a damaged woman–bitter and unhappy–but stronger than she knows. Cursed with an unquenchable curiosity, she’ll soon find herself at the heart of a mystery that becomes more convoluted the deeper she digs. Any sense of normalcy gets disrupted when she encounters her elusive and peculiar neighbor, WD. The lines that separate reality from fiction, dreams from waking, and myth from fact become increasingly blurred as the story continues from there. While I wasn’t a big fan of Jack Williamson’s Darker Than You Think, I can’t help but feel that Ford has crafted a sort of spiritual successor to that 1940s novel. The Beasts of Vissaria County takes that same dreamlike, blurry quality and improves upon it in almost every way. In its strange and surreal storytelling, we capture hints and fleeting glimpses of beasts that may or may not be there–or may not be fully there. The narration provided by Jenn Lee fully brought Maggie to life, embodying her indomitable spirit and the blend of skepticism and curiosity that drives her along the meandering paths she follows.
This title is also available on Godless. You can find it by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
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:
Waking up can be a bit disorienting. Waking up to a large room full of people attending your funeral would be vastly more confusing and horrific. For Gregory Laine (Gory), this is how it all begins. It’s only natural for a zombie to eat, but Engkent goes one step further and offers both a motivation and a purpose behind that constant drive to consume. With a mouthful of his girlfriend’s breast, Gory is captured by agents working for iASK, the Institute for Abnormal Scientific Knowledge, before he’s carted off to a secret facility where the institute hopes to study the properties that have resurrected him. In this miraculously undead specimen, the keys to various scientific and metaphysical mysteries could be revealed–if only the dead man would cooperate. Can anyone be prepared for the changes Gory is undergoing? What surprising revelations does he have in store for those hoping to monitor him, his former friends, and himself? Garry Engkent provides readers with an often-overlooked perspective within zombie fiction–the perspective of the dead–and he does so in a way that sets itself apart from the work of David Wellington, George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus, and others who ventured into this territory.
You can obtain this story as well as the other Emerge titles by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
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:
Homeland is a small town in the center of America, or the middle of nowhere, depending on how one chooses to look at it. Either way, it’s a bad place for one’s car to break down, but that’s precisely what happens to Daniel on his journey to distance himself from the scandal and ignominy on the campus where his lascivious behavior got him into trouble. What initially seems like a quaint dose of old-fashioned Americana grows increasingly offputting, and Daniel is eager to be on his way, but the residents of Homeland and the mysterious, filth-shrouded figure known only as Garbagehead have other plans. There is evil simmering beneath the surface, but there’s no need to worry because all sins are purified in the fires of Garbagehead. Tim O’Neal captures the often eerie sensation of rural small-town dynamics as experienced through those who are only passing through in truly spectacular fashion. He manages to develop such a viscerally tainted and claustrophobic atmosphere within the first few pages that the arrival of Garbagehead and the revelation of the town’s awful secret feels natural when it comes. I would greedily consume more tales of Homeland and those who reside there, under the watchful eyes of Garbagehead.
This title was released as the second Emerging Authors volume brought to us by the partnership of Godless and D&T Publishing. You can obtain this 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:
Beyond the Creek tells us the story of Alex Foster, a young woman who finally discovered the strength to escape from an abusive relationship when she learned she was pregnant. Starting over with nothing in a small forested town, Alex is desperate to provide a better life for her unborn child. She takes a job as a caregiver for Peter Nox, a recent stroke victim undergoing physical and speech therapy, and it seems like she might be on track to make a go of life away from her abusive ex. Shrouded in mystery and the subject of rumors and superstitious whispers around town, the Nox family and their sprawling estate might be something more than Alex signed up for. Is it possible that she escaped from one monster in her life only to fall into the web of something far more terrifying? The answer to that question–and many others–may only be discovered beyond the creek on the property. Or are there answers to be found in the secret room beneath the Nox house? Nico Bell spins a dizzying tale of survival, family, and motherhood that keeps the reader breathless as they follow Alex on her journey into the darkness. Drawing from Greek mythology, Bell provides us with something captivating and unpredictable as she guides us along with Alex to unravel the threads that threaten to bind her to a fate worse than anything we imagined as the story began.
You can purchase this for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The links are below:
After the unexpected loss of her mother, Jamie gets a fresh start in a different home and a new job. Things are going well for her. She’s studied and worked hard, moving up and working in an elderly care facility where she’s hoping to build a career for herself in nursing, daydreaming of leaving town someday. Until then, things seem good. She’s made new friends with a couple of her coworkers, and Jamie built a rapport with some of the people she provides care for at the facility. One patient, in particular, means a lot to her, and it’s a sad reality of her occupation when Elizabeth passes away. It’s a gift her patient leaves behind for Jamie that could be the cause of the misfortune about to befall her and her two girlfriends, but that same gift might be her salvation as well. Jagge’s writing draws the reader in as she first spins the tale of Jamie’s childhood and her life before the loss of the final member of her family before introducing us to the new life she’s found in the nursing field. A protagonist who seems like a genuinely sweet and kind young woman, it’s almost heartbreaking to know that this story will take a dark turn at any moment. In that, Jagge does not disappoint. Jamie’s almost tranquil life takes a sudden turn as one night as she’s leaving work, she’s swept up in a nightmare of drugs, greed, brutality, and murder. Only by coming to terms with a different sort of nightmare will Jamie make it through the night, and she has the tools available to her in the strangest form one might imagine.
You can find this title 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:
Colt Skinner’s debut, brought to us by the unholy alliance of D&T Publishing and Godless, is one hell of a ride. Your English Is Good introduces us to Eddy, a biker hired as protection for Grace as she entertains clients for the night. On the surface, Grace appears to be a prostitute or dominatrix, but appearances can be deceiving. We learn a great deal about Eddy–both his past and aspirations within the Dead Mariachis Motorcycle Club–as he finds himself drifting through reminiscence and reflection in the strangest way upon first meeting Grace. She seems to have a peculiar effect on him, but it’s nothing compared to the influence she has on her clients, but that’s what they’re paying her for. While short, this story succeeds in blending elements of cosmic and body horror with a meditation on morality and sacrifice. In the end, we’re forced to consider that it may be that the most inhuman among us who display the most compassion and decency and that it’s all-too-human to exhibit a total lack of humanity. Skinner leaves the reader wanting, hoping there’s more to the story of Grace and Eddy than what we’ve been exposed to. More than that, we’re left hoping there’s a lot more on the horizon from this emerging author because his English is good, but his writing is excellent.
You can obtain this story from http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Joshua MacMillan knows how to craft a suspenseful and heartbreaking narrative. The Best Of Intentions exemplifies those skills carried over from short fiction to a larger work without any apparent difficulty on the part of the author. Corey Loflin is a combat veteran still struggling to adjust to civilian life after years away from the military. He and his wife had hoped he was past the night terrors and emotional struggles associated with PTSD and survivor’s guilt, but when the nightmares return, focused on his wife and young son rather than his experience during the final deployment, Corey seems ill-suited to handle things on his own. When seemingly sinister and threatening messages begin to appear, Corey’s insomnia and alcoholism combine with his insecurity in seeking help from those around him, leading him down a path of paranoia and latent violence. As we helplessly watch events unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that Corey is on a dangerous trajectory that can lead nowhere good. Missed opportunities, poor communication, and untreated mental health issues snowball out of control until we’re standing beside Corey as an avalanche bears down on us as he looks in the other direction. As readers, we’re stuck asking questions for which we suspect we know the answers. Is someone threatening Corey and his family, or is he reading more into innocuous events than a more level head might interpret? Who is coming for him, and what do they have planned? Will Corey piece together the clues in time to avoid a catastrophic conclusion? MacMillan leaves you wondering how everything will play out as the climax approaches, and he forces you to hope that things are not as they seem because if you’re right, you may not want to subject yourself to what those final pages contain. You know you won’t be able to turn away, though, regardless of how it all might end.
As with other D&T Publishing titles, you can obtain this in digital format from http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Robert Sinclair is a good kid who has a lot on his plate, but he pushes through it all and remains good-natured and hard-working. Working multiple jobs, struggling to remain afloat while caring for a mother suffering the end-stage of cancer, Robert doesn’t have much room in his life for anything else. While working a dead-end job at L-Mart, Robert has developed a friendship with an elderly gentleman, Josef Lazerowitz. A former theology professor in Poland, Mr. Lazer is burdened by an unbelievable history, plagued with unspeakable secrets that will soon become Robert’s burden to bear. Both of these men, Robert and Josef, are decent and sympathetic characters forced to experience their individual, horrific torments separated by more than half a century. In the end, what they’ll share is a terrible and shameful confidence that could destroy both of them and anything they hold dear. Daniel Volpe constructs a captivating, mysterious tale that’s so thick with atmosphere and depth that the reader can hardly keep from being immersed in the experiences brought to life on the page. His detailed exploration of Josef’s life in 1940s Poland is gripping and profoundly vivid, almost painfully so. The author’s unique portrait of the supernatural world and how it interacts with our own was fascinating. As the story delves into those things only near the latter half of the book, it still doesn’t feel like the reader is short-changed or left wanting. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially to those who enjoy a bit of historical fiction with their horror. I will suggest that one scene in this book troubled me, and it involves a bit of a spoiler, but I’ll do my best to dance around that by explaining a little bit about my own life, hopefully framing why I found it disturbing without telling you about the scene itself. I had a dog named Molly. She was a terrific, atypical chihuahua who was perpetually thrilled to meet new people. When she was seven years old, she was taken from me by cancer in her blood. That little girl died in my arms, in what I can only describe as a traumatic experience without going into detail. I now have a dog who is half golden retriever and half German shepherd and husky–funny enough, named Talia–who is two years old. She’s been with me since December of 2019. Fans of Volpe’s work might find that last bit to be a strangely serendipitous thing. Having a personal connection with both a golden retriever and a dog named Molly, there’s a particular scene that I found difficult.
I picked this title up as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com in October of 2021. You can obtain a copy for yourself by going to the website or downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below: