Munchausen by Proxy never looked so disgusting. Harvey Cutter is dependent on his mother for far more than the fulfillment of the usual needs, especially as an adult. Wanda has cultivated an entirely unhealthy relationship between herself and her son, not to mention an unhealthy diet. But a relationship like this can only sustain itself for so long, and when Harvey spitefully decides to show his mother that she needs him just as much as he needs her, the end of their perverse codependence isn’t far behind. The story only gets more disturbing from there. Love and Latham introduce us to what might be the most dysfunctional family any of us will encounter on the page, and thankfully never in real life. A Mother’s Love is a tale of desperation, manipulation, family, and fear of loss taken to grotesque extremes that these two authors seem to relish in displaying for their readers.
You can obtain this title by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:
When the Haskins family moves halfway across the country from their previous lives in Columbus, Ohio, no one would’ve expected the dramatic changes that accompanied their move into the new home. It begins almost immediately, as little things change and strange messages appear, but it gets weirder from there. As the atmosphere becomes increasingly surreal and unsettling, it’s the strained and peculiar relationship dynamics within the Haskins family that accelerate everything. The odd occurrences grow more sinister as the story progresses. In large part, thanks to Damien’s need to torment his mother out of bitterness that she’s always suspected him of being a monster. Hal’s thinking his wife’s losing her mind doesn’t help, either. Sabrina is not a particularly bright woman–in addition to being both scatterbrained and indecisive–but the bizarre apparitions and wish-fulfillment manifestations are not symptoms of insanity. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be too late by the time the rest of the family figures that out. Asman has crafted a wholly unique haunted house story, turning the whole thing on its head and steering readers toward a climax no sane reader would see coming. It’s both amusing and perplexing along the way, and–as one should expect from Asman–the characters are so thoroughly captivating that they draw the reader in just as effectively as the narrative itself. If you want to avoid spoilers, you should probably stop here because I can’t avoid saying things that will ruin some of the surprises. This is indeed a haunted house story–in a whole different sense. A house that’s haunted by the neglect and mistreatment of its former resident in the same way a person can be haunted by their earlier life experiences. Much like a person troubled by trauma, the house seems to go a bit overboard, overcompensating when it thinks it might have found someone who can love it for what it is. With a single-minded, short-sighted fixation on Sabrina and her well-being, the house itself might be acting with questionable judgment. That questionable judgment becomes readily apparent as the house uproots itself and storms through town like the most unlikely kaiju ever, heedless of the damage it causes along the way. The moral of the story is that houses need love too.
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:
Adrian had a spectacular night on a date with Mike, who might be the man of his dreams. His life might be changing, and he’s feeling a sense of optimism when he arrives home to find an unexpected package at his front door. Fearing a basket filled with venomous snakes, Adrian instead discovers that his life is indeed going to change, but in wholly unexpected ways. The gray-skinned, tiny-horned baby with violet and silver eyes is nothing Adrian could have anticipated. Nevertheless, he finds himself immediately in love with the peculiar child and desperate to protect her. As a gay man, he knows precisely how cruel the world can be to those who aren’t like everyone else. Shut away from the outside world, devoted to caring for his unexpected daughter, it still doesn’t take Adrian long to learn that Abigail has a strange effect on people. Deciding it’s time to stop dodging Mike’s calls, Adrian hopes the doctor and potential lover might be able to answer the numerous questions he has regarding this bundle of joy. Daemon Manx manages to surprise readers with a twist that’s so subtle in its build-up that no one is going to see it coming. It’s a challenge to craft such a surprise in so few pages, but Manx pulls it off admirably well. The reader will find themselves wondering how they could have missed something so huge, only to wonder why it’s such a colossal revelation in the first place. For a story that focuses so heavily on preconceived notions, it’s a spectacular feat that Manx forces the reader to evaluate their own preconceived notions by the time they reach the end.
Abigail is a short fiction nominee for the 2022 Splatterpunk Awards taking place at KillerCon Austin 2022 in August.
Is Audrey Tipton plagued by night terrors, those nightmare visions and impressions that remain after she’s opened her eyes? Or are the pale, sinister beings she sees peering in at her and walking the halls of her house at night really there? If it’s not Audrey’s imagination getting the best of her, what could these creatures want with her parents or with her? Terry Miller crafts a surprisingly atmospheric tale for how brief the narrative is. It’s a chilling plunge into the deepest shadows of the night that transform our otherwise familiar homes into strange places populated by stranger creatures. Just as horrific, Miller explores what it means when familiar faces feel like hiding places for foreign entities. We’re left to question every minor inconsistency or out-of-character behavior as potential revelations of sinister life venturing from darkness into the light.
You can obtain this story by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:
It can be difficult living in the shadow of one’s father, especially if that father is particularly successful and celebrated in certain circles…or maybe pentagrams. Time is a quick and brutal story of a son determined to show his father that he’s not only ready to take over the family operation but that he can be both inventive and innovative in doing so. By the time the story reaches its satisfyingly grotesque conclusion, it feels like we’ve been there for a while, but that’s the nature of forever, I suppose. Time loses all meaning when there’s no end to it. Choosing a pedophile as a victim is an excellent choice, as it makes it impossible for the reader to sympathize with his plight. It guarantees that we’ll be in it for the long haul, regardless of how vile and cruel the punishment becomes. We’ll be cheering at the sidelines, hoping to see more suffering. By the time all is said and done, I’d certainly say this son has met or exceeded his father’s lofty expectations. It’s not every day a father and son celebrate by spit roasting a pedophile on their cocks, but in a Todd Love story, one really shouldn’t be surprised.
This title is to be released through http://www.godless.com on January 31st, 2022. You can obtain it for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
At its heart, The Night Parade is a story about a father’s love for his daughter and the risks a parent will take to keep their child safe from what they perceive as harmful. It’s also a story about mortality; it’s about coming to terms with it and recognizing that we won’t always be there for those we love. All of this heavy emotional content Malfi explores within the story is played out against the backdrop of a society in the process of collapsing, as madness consumes both those infected by “Wanderer’s Folly” and those forced to react to something so devastating. Given no time to mourn the loss of his wife, David has no choice but to pack up their eight-year-old daughter, Ellie, and hopefully keep her away from the doctors and scientists he blames for his wife’s death. Immune to the disease ravaging the world, both Ellie and her mother were of great interest to the authorities who hoped to find a cure in their blood. But Ellie is special in a way her mother was not; she has a gift that might make her even more valuable to those who seek to exploit her. Unfortunately, David is not immune. As he races across the steadily decaying husk of the United States in search of somewhere he can shelter Ellie, he’s also racing against time as his mental state declines. The reader’s forced to wonder how much of what he’s experiencing is real. How much is the result of hallucinatory nightmares that will ultimately consume what’s left of his mind? The Night Parade is a horror story, but it’s also a tragically poignant tale. Malfi digs into the reader’s heart and begins systematically tearing away at it piece by piece as the narrative continues. Tom Taylorson’s narration is largely excellent, though his performance of Ellie’s voice falls a bit flat. As a whole, where female voices are concerned, there’s a little left to be desired, but that’s a problem that plagues many male narrators. I certainly couldn’t have done any better.
There is no question why S. A. Cosby’s Razorblade Tears made it to many national publications’ best of 2021 lists. This novel rests near the top of my list of best titles published in 2021 as well, especially when I focus on non-horror titles. 2021 was a good year for crime and suspense literature. Stephen King released Billy Summers, Kristopher Triana released And the Devil Cried, and S. A. Cosby released the absolute masterpiece Razorblade Tears. Neither Ike nor Buddy Lee were great fathers when their sons were alive. Between recurring stints in prison and their prejudices about the fact that the boys were gay, in large part informed by antiquated perspectives on what it meant to be a man, the two men had driven substantial wedges between themselves and the sons they loved with reservations. It was only after the two young men were murdered that either father allowed themselves to embrace the sons they’d shown far too little affection when they were alive. Isiah and Derek, the interracial married sons, are like ghosts at the periphery of the tale Cosby weaves for us. They haunt the two men we come to admire, despite all of their faults, at the core of this novel. Had Ike and Buddy Lee been able to overcome their ingrained bigotry while the boys had been alive, the two would have met years before the funeral, but that was not who the two men were. It turns out that the meeting of these two vastly different–yet strangely similar–men would be a fateful occasion that would lead to more bloodshed than either of the men could anticipate. As the police investigation into Isiah and Derek’s deaths stalls out, Buddy Lee approaches Ike with a proposition that the two of them might have better luck taking matters into their own hands. Unraveling the mystery behind the brutal murder of the boys will force the two ex-cons to confront their pasts, their preconceived notions, and their concepts of love as the trail leads them through Hell and back before bringing them closer to home than they could’ve imagined. The regret and retribution at the core of this book are at turns heartbreaking and viscerally satisfying. Most important, Cosby doesn’t shoehorn in any ersatz redemption for Ike and Buddy Lee because both men are so damaged and broken that redemption, in the sense that many writers would define it, simply wouldn’t make sense. That is not to say there’s no redemption here; there is redemption in these pages, but it’s the hollow sort that arises from the transformations coming far too late for it to make any difference. Witty dialogue, well-crafted characters, and realistic portrayals of race relations, homophobia, and the difficulty associated with escaping a criminal past fill this novel with so much depth and honesty that it would be impossible to convey in a review. All I can say is that anyone delving into this book will come out the other end with an understanding that they didn’t have when going in. Adam Lazarre-White’s narration for the audiobook is phenomenal. The additional character he brings to both Ike and Buddy Lee with his delivery of their dialogue is something that weighs heavily in favor of the audiobook edition of this novel because there’s such life and depth added to the characters with that extra texture.
Tim Eagle’s Walking Free reintroduces us to Sue, sometime after the events of Vasectomus, as she’s about to participate in a peculiar ceremony, presumably something isolated to the town of Stevats. We find her wearing a mask as she takes her turn to publicly share her stories of Sabre. Sue joins in a ritual with other residents who gather together near a bonfire to share these often unflattering and purgative tales that wouldn’t be appropriate at a funeral. Sue’s life before Sabre appears to be one of success and upward mobility, with a bright future ahead of her until she decides that she’s missing only one thing, a family. Unfortunately for Sue, Sabre wasn’t the best choice with that future in mind. We discover that she knew of Sabre’s machinations and that she was pulling strings to get what she wanted long before the events of Vasectomus took place. And though she’s a widow now, is it possible she might just have the family she was searching for, despite Sabre’s protestations? This middle story of the Vasectomus trilogy wasn’t quite as peculiar and captivating as the first installment, but the ending certainly provides a snapshot containing a healthy dose of bizarre and unsettling family.
You can pick up Walking Free and the other two volumes of the Vasectomus Trilogy by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app on your mobile device. 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: