In Cerberus Exploitation: A Grindhouse Triple Feature, Patrick C. Harrison III, Mike Ennenbach, and Chris Miller nail the storytelling aesthetic of grindhouse exploitation cinema with a Troma flair. It’s particularly appropriate that I mention Troma since this book begins with an introduction provided by none other than Lloyd Kaufman. Like proper triple-feature experiences, the book contains trailers, film credits (with dream casting choices from the authors), and everything a fan could hope for…aside from the popcorn. Electro-Satan Comes To Wolfe City introduces us to a group of kids hoping to enjoy a summer camping trip, only to have everything disrupted by mutant hillbillies. Ennenbach’s contribution to this collection gets the reader/listener’s attention almost immediately with a musical performance that should have anyone in stitches. From there, it’s a barrage of violence, humor, and all the splattery goodness fans of the genre adore. Patrick C Harrison III then hits us with his twisted take on the women in prison genre with Vampire Nuns Behind Bars. Replete with lesbianism, sadism/torture, scientific experimentation, rebel uprisings/prison riots, and–of course–vampires. Terrible things are taking place at this women’s prison, where political dissidents and troublemakers–and a handful of nuns–are swept under the rug and channeled into one of two secret chambers where horrors await. When a prison break’s attempted, the balancing act that kept the facility functional gets disrupted hugely, and the halls and cell blocks become a slaughterhouse. And finally, we arrive at Chris Miller’s Sons of Thunder, focused on a military recovery mission in the dystopian Hellscape outside of the “safely” bubbled cities owned and operated by corporations. Escape From New York and Assault on Precinct 13 come together, producing a malformed and grim, action-packed adventure. Mutants, terrorists, and doomsday cultists stand in the way of an elite team and one man bent on revenge at any cost. There’s no point in trying to describe the escapades these authors have assembled. It’s something one just has to experience for themself…and I recommend doing so as soon as possible. Daniel Caravetta’s narration is spot-on, capturing the lunacy and low-budget mayhem of grindhouse cinema in a way only a fan of the films could manage.
The Fires of Heaven picks up where The Shadow Rising left off, largely leaving behind the events in the Two Rivers where Perrin has become the de facto ruler of a small kingdom. There are references to what’s going on there, but that’s not the focus of this book. Rand’s expansion into the world beyond the Aiel Wastes is the primary focus of this novel, as he walks a delicate balance between the diverse and often dissenting factions he’s ruling over as both The Dragon Reborn and Car’a’carn. Wanting nothing to do with the trappings of fate, Mat attempts to escape on multiple occasions, only to find himself more firmly entrenched in the wheel’s design and–much like Rand–dizzied by memories not his own. At the same time, Nynaeve and Elayne are on a collision course with the remnants of the White Tower in hiding, where Siuan, Leane, and Min are also heading. Little do Nynaeve, Elayne, Thom, and Juilin realize that they’ll soon be sharing their journey with an unexpected face from the past. Robert Jordan spends a large portion of this book familiarizing readers with the politics of the various kingdoms, as well as the machinations between individual Forsaken. We also learn more about the world of dreams and the dangers associated with that realm, and we discover some of the previously unknown danger of magic when Rand uses Balefire. This installment in the series provides readers with a lot of action and warfare, both close-up and distant, which keeps the story flowing. Additionally, it showcases the stakes, and reveals that even those we consider pivotal to the narrative are not shielded by plot armor, at least not permanently. As with the previous four volumes in the series, the narration provided by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer is fantastic, fully bringing the narrative to life and fleshing out the characters in the way the best audiobooks do.
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.
Bel, The Last Dragon begins in the Land East-of-Nod, a dizzying and unreal metropolis populated by beings that defy easy description. Not altogether dissimilar from Barker’s Midian–though the nature and scope of this story is far more grand than Cabal–there’s a certain flair and beauty from which one definitely feels a Barker-ish flourish as Bel wanders the streets of this hidden city. Bel, long believed dead, believed himself to be deceased as well. During the American Civil War, he’d sacrificed himself in the centuries-long War of Dictates between the Sheydim and the Watchers (fallen angels bent on molding the human world to their twisted whims). Following that sacrifice, Bel’s fellow dragons sacrificed themselves in retaliation, each falling in turn, though the tide of the long war only marginally swayed in the direction of the Sheydim. No longer solely the first, Bel awakens outside the Land East-of-Nod as the last dragon. Enraged and distraught by the loss of his brethren and the minimal benefit gained by their sacrifices, Bel wants revenge. Advances and knowledge gleaned during his centuries of restorative slumber have provided Bel with a chance to obtain the revenge he seeks. A series of islands existing in a strange tangential space separate from the human world is ruled over by Watchers who seek dominion, independent of their brethren. Here, the Sheydim and their allies have a chance to strike profound blows against the power of the fallen angels, to gain strength and the expertise necessary to ultimately assault the Watchers divying up the human world. In this place, Bel will mete out the bloody, fiery vengeance that drives him as he learns to work with those who have fought this war while he slumbered in near-death. The first target is the jungle island ruled over by Habbiel and his forces. Whether you’ve read the epic poem, War of Dictates, you’ll benefit from diving into this tale of cosmic horror and fantasy crafted by Baltisberger. If you’ve had the pleasure of reading War of Dictates, you’ll be pleased to see familiar faces in a format more conducive to truly getting to know them. If you haven’t read the poem, this can be your introduction into the realm of War of Dictates and a primer of sorts that can make your journey through that twisted and violent epic all the more complete.
This title comes out in May of 2022. A link will be added once it becomes available.
Immediately after Nazi scum kidnapped his romantic interest, Esther, John Stabberger sets out on a recovery mission that’s sure to produce copious amounts of blood and carnage. This is John Stabberger we’re talking about, after all. With the assistance of a celestial entity of indescribable appearance, Stabberger’s quest for vengeance and rescue leads him straight to the Texas Governor’s mansion–as one might suspect, when there are Nazis involved. The Governor isn’t the only familiar face readers will encounter on Stabberger’s bloody rampage. He’s hardly the only bigot involved with Texas politics. Stabberger as well will come up against some familiar faces from his past on his way to retrieve Esther from the clutches of the Nazi menace. Stabberger has faced challenging odds in the past, but will his rage and seemingly inexhaustible surplus of murderous implements be enough to take him through the countless guards, Nazis, and Nazi guards standing between him and his target? Will there be a surplus of long pig for carnitas in Hell after everything is over? Will you just read the damn story for yourself to find out?
This and the other Godless League titles are available from http://www.godless.com or through the Godless app on your mobile device. The link is below:
Following the events of Concrete Christmas, Slaughterdozer is out of commission and transported to a secret Globoshame facility where he can be studied and held securely captive. All of that will change when a wannabe actor and two-bit criminal, Chance McAlister, is forced to take a job with one of Charles Busk’s companies to pay penance for attempting to rob his distant in-law. Chance never anticipated he’d be coming face-to-face with a monster of living concrete or that his coworkers would be grade-A douchebags, but life works out that way for him. Seeing The Doze from a different perspective, that of a relatively innocent bystander with no love lost for Globoshame or its CEO, Charles Busk, Stepek provides readers with a glimpse of just how inhuman Slaughterdozer appears from the outside–and how human he can still be. Will The Doze escape from his confinement? Will McAlister work off his debt to Globoshame? Will you just read the damn story and find out for yourself?
You can pick up Stalk of Shame and the other Godless League titles by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
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.
If you’ve been following my reviews at all, you know how much I adore Ash Ericmore’s writing and especially the sordid tales associated with the Smalls Family. To say I was pleased when Ericmore indicated there would be more to come after he’d concluded the stories of the seven Smalls brothers with Candyboy’s agricultural escapades would be an extreme understatement. With Valentine, we’re fully introduced to their cousin Marian. Babysitting Backy for Adam (Bliss) becomes quite the adventure when a group of Scottish criminals force their way into the house and leave with Valentine’s charge, hoping to take something of importance to Adam. Unfortunately for them, Valentine is no less prone to violence and impulsive behavior than the other Smalls we’ve met. Physical torture, superhero antics, excessive violence, a reptile ruckus, and a big rig brouhaha ensues as Valentine tracks down the twice-stolen baby, hoping to return him home before Adam is any the wiser. As with Ericmore’s other criminal capers, this story is non-stop, full-tilt excitement from the first line to the conclusion. You can’t be disappointed when you’re delving into the world of the Smalls clan, it’s simply not an option.
You can purchase this title as well as the other Smalls Family stories from http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Michael is the final Smalls brother to make our acquaintance in Ash Ericmore’s Smalls Family series, and he’s the core around which this whole sequence of events has orbited. It’s Candyboy’s thriving drug enterprise that rubbed the Eastern Europeans the wrong way. Coming together after what happened to Bod in the previous installment, the Smalls brothers could have ventured out en masse to take their bloody and brutal revenge on the Eastern Europeans; but Candyboy feels responsible for what’s already happened, and it’s up to him to set things right in a truly Smalls fashion. Michael Smalls will torture, degrade, and dice up anyone and everyone who stands in his way as he searches for the man calling the shots. Ericmore, perhaps recognizing how profoundly Backy has wormed his little baby way into our black hearts, delivers more baby action with this volume. And, while there is no baby armor this time around, the little ones find a way to fly into the midst of the action just the same. As we reach our agrarian climax, Ericmore pulls out all the stops with Candyboy destroying everyone and everything in his path, using whatever he has at his disposal, including farm implements. This story is a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to what will hopefully be one of many Smalls Family series. Not that there should have been any doubt.
You can find this title as well as the other Smalls Family stories at http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:
Like most Americans, my first exposure to Geralt of Rivia and the wider world of The Witcher was through video games. It wasn’t until a short while later that I opted to check out the books upon which the video games were adapted. The Last Wish, a collection of seven short stories, was the first I’d read from Andrzej Sapkowski, and the tales were enthralling. Sardonic humor, entertaining dialogue, fast-paced action, captivating characters, and off-beat references to well-known fairy tales made famous through Disney bastardization produced a wholly original fantasy realm in which Geralt plied his trade. Nested within the framing story of Geralt recovering from the injuries sustained in the first of the stories collected in The Last Wish, the stories primarily serve as flashbacks to earlier events in the titular Witcher’s life. The first of those stories, and the source for the injuries, is a tale titled simply The Witcher. A king’s daughter, cursed at birth as a striga from the king’s incestuous union with his sister, has been preying on the population of Temeria. Many had tried to either lift the curse or kill the monster to no avail. Geralt offers his assistance and the assurance that he believes he can end the curse, but Geralt might have more difficulty doing so than he expects. A Grain of Truth finds Geralt wandering off the beaten path, where he discovers two corpses with peculiar wounds. He soon discovers a large manor with an unexpected beast as a host. An interesting riff on the Beauty and the Beast narrative, A Grain of Truth provides the reader with a glimpse of the strange shapes love can take in Sapkowski’s writing. It’s the third story, The Lesser Evil, that provides readers with the explanation for how Geralt obtained the pejorative nickname, the Butcher of Blaviken. Additionally, this story provides readers with a unique twist on the Snow White fairy tale, with a distinctly dark and sinister damsel at its heart. A Question of Price introduces readers to “The Law of Surprise” and Queen Calanthe of Cintra. Another story with a curse at the core of it, we learn the power of destiny within the world of The Witcher, and we witness that love can be both blind and without judgment even in a realm brimming with cynicism like Sapkowski’s creation. The Edge of The World shares with readers the first adventure featuring Geralt and the bard, Dandelion. Tasked with ridding the farmland of Lower Posada of a devil while restricted by a wise woman to inflict no harm on the creature, Geralt and Dandelion discover that there is more going on than the peasant farmers suspect. In the story, The Last Wish, we meet Yennefer of Vengerberg after Dandelion and Geralt accidentally release a genie from its captivity, resulting in Dandelion being grievously injured. Seeking assistance from the sorceress, Yennefer, Geralt finds himself a pawn in a game he knew nothing about. He must find a way to restore control if he hopes to save Dandelion’s life as well as that of the duplicitous sorceress. The framing story, The Voice of Reason, culminates in Geralt and Dandelion leaving the temple only to be waylaid by a company of soldiers who challenge Geralt to a duel. We also receive a glimpse into the fate the surrounds Geralt, one of blood and violence. These stories are in no way chronologically lined up, and many of them will be familiar to those who have watched the Netflix series adapted from Sapkowski’s writing. Similarly, the strangely fluid chronological delivery will feel quite familiar to fans of the series. There are, of course, deviations in the adapted material for the series, but the core elements of the stories are present, which makes what Netflix has done quite spectacular.