Like a Brother by Shane McKenzie

Setting the stage and whetting the appetite for his upcoming novel, Addicted To the Dead, Shane McKenzie’s Like A Brother provides readers with a tantalizing glimpse of a world where the dead don’t stay dead and organized crime is going strong–perhaps stronger than ever before.
We join Donnie, a member of Sal’s crew, just after another crime family interrupted a funeral and spirited away Calico and the object of the funeral, Beauty. Sal is planning to attack, and take back the people who were taken from him. But his enemies aren’t done yet. Barely surviving the bloodbath that ensues, Donnie struggles to reach his family and the families of the others who’d just been murdered, but he might be too late.
Will Donnie have the strength to take revenge and perform the rescue that Sal’s crew had intended before they were all but wiped out?
Will he ever see his friend–his almost brother–Calico again?
McKenzie introduces us to a world of casual, excessive violence and a thriving black market built on the nourishment provided by an unsavory meat supply with unique characteristics.
After reading this story, you’ll surely be addicted as well.

You can pick this up 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:

Splatterpunk Awards and More

After attending my first two KillerCon Austin events virtually, I’m looking forward to participating in my first in-person event in August. Unlike 2020 and 2021, this time I’ll be there as a Splatterpunk Award nominee for my single-author collection, May Cause Unexplained Ocular Bleeding. First and foremost, of course, I’ll be there as a fan of the splatterpunk and extreme horror genres, but just as in 2021, I’m also there to represent Madness Heart Press, Godless, and myself. I’m proud to be a part of the constantly growing community of transgressive horror writers, publishers, and distributors. There’s more warmth and acceptance in this community than in the maggot-filled and bloated stomach of a week-old corpse left in the sun.
The imposter syndrome kicked in almost immediately, forcing me to wonder how or why I’d even be on the same shortlist with authors like Chris Miller, Aron Beauregard, Jasper Bark, and others far more deserving. I’ve read and reviewed multiple titles in various categories for the upcoming Splatterpunk Awards, so I’m well aware of just how good these other writers are. While I don’t expect to win against such steep competition, I’m satisfied to be included.
It’s been an amazing year for me since this time in 2021. First, I signed with Madness Heart Press to publish my novella, You Will Be Consumed, while simultaneously becoming part of the small family John Baltisberger has assembled there. A few months later, I took the plunge and joined the Godless community with my short story, Horseplay, discovering another family of perverse, depraved, and intensely supportive individuals. In August of 2021, I released my new collection of short fiction, May Cause Unexplained Ocular Bleeding, for which I am now a Splatterpunk Award-nominated author. As the end of the year approached, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my stories published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing for the 45th issue of Dark Moon Digest. And now, I’m a nominee for a Splatterpunk Award.
The coming year has some great things in store too, and I’m not even sure if there’s a way to top what I already have behind me, but I’m damn sure going to try.
I’m looking forward to being more intimately involved in the Godless community in the relatively near future, with new releases that I hope will shock and surprise, not only because of the content but for the range that I’m hoping to put on display. I’ve also got my next novel, Beneath the Unspoiled Wilderness, coming from Madness Heart Press later this year. The rest is more vague and nebulous, but there’s more coming, and I hope I manage to find new readers and make new friends along the way.
It’s strange, but I don’t know if any of this would have happened if I hadn’t opted to attend the virtual KillerCon Austin in 2020. The people I met during that virtual convention have been some of the kindest, most interesting, entertaining, supportive and encouraging folks I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and they’ve been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today, whether they know it or not.

https://www.briankeene.com/home/2022-splatterpunk-award-nominees

The Crimes & Passions of John Stabberger: Volume 3 The Stabshank Redemption by John Baltisberger

John Stabberger is back, and of course, he’s back with a vengeance.
That’s pretty much his thing.
After thoroughly laying waste to a former punk bar turned neo-Nazi cesspool, Stabberger patiently waits for the police to arrive on the scene. Sure, he could break into prison just as effectively as he could break out of one, but when there’s a chance to slaughter a bar full of neo-Nazis along the way, why wouldn’t he choose that path?
Why does he want to get into a prison, you might ask?
I’ll answer your question with a question.
Why haven’t you been paying attention or reading the previous Godless League titles?
If you’d read Antiva, the second volume in the Stabberger saga, you’d know that his next big target is presumably safe and sound behind bars where Stabberger can’t reach him, or so he thinks.
The Aryan Nation better watch out when John Stabberger joins them on the cell block because he means business, and he has no pity.
Baltisberger fills the pages with so much satisfying Nazi-killing action that it’s a veritable joyride for the reader. Vicarious satisfaction through fiction is probably safer and less legally problematic than going out to slaughter Nazis and alt-right scumbags for ourselves, but damn it if John Baltisberger doesn’t cause a bit of an itch for a bit of the old ultraviolence in his readers.
We have the pleasure of learning a bit more about Stabberger’s history in this installment and Baltisberger sets the stage for the subsequent volume in such a way that it’ll have readers chomping at the bit and wishing it was available now.

The third volume in the saga of John Stabberger was released as the first drop of the new year through http://www.godless.com and you can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Trench Mouth by Christine Morgan

Trench Mouth begins with a series of vignettes.
It begins with human intrusion into the ocean depths upsetting a balance that existed in an alien world on our own planet, drawing a cruel and vicious attention to our existence–our delicious flavor–and ultimately to the surface waters where unsuspecting prey is in abundance.
It begins with eight people who have nothing left to lose signing up for a chance to become something more, something new, something better than they are. In the dark depths of the ocean, where Fathom-5 illuminates a tiny patch of ocean floor just beyond a seemingly bottomless trench that carves down into the crust of the Earth, experiments are being conducted.
Will Dr. Yale and her colleagues advance the next stage of human evolution, preparing us to venture into a massive new realm largely off limits until now? Will monsters, both man-made and ancient, tear everything apart before we even have a chance to find out for ourselves?
We know how it begins. I guess you’ll have to read past the beginning to discover how it ends for yourself.
It’s appropriate to talk about how it all begins, because Trench Mouth feels like a beginning, the origin story of some larger tale that might unfold over years to come. I, for one, would gladly join Christine Morgan in the depths again if she chooses to tell us more of this world she’s created.
Reminiscent of my favorite underwater science fiction/horror novel, Starfish by Peter Watts (the beginning of his Rifters series), Morgan has done something fantastic with Trench Mouth in telling a story that stands up next to a novel written by a man with a Ph.D and a long history of working as a marine biologist. Nothing feels out of place or poorly researched within these pages, and it makes the whole experience feel that much more immersive.
Perhaps my favorite element is the Morgan makes the denizens of the deep feel like fleshed out characters in and of themselves, by sharing perspectives that are at once alien and strangely familiar.

You can obtain this book for yourself wherever books are sold. I will include a couple of links below:

Trenchmouth by Christine Morgan

Son Of the Right Hand: Book of Ze’ev 2 by John Baltisberger

John Baltisberger takes everything great from Treif Magic and amplifies it with this sequel. As a result, Son of the Right Hand feels simultaneously more intimate and far more epic than the earlier installment in the story of Ze’ev.
Months after the intense conclusion of Treif Magic, Son of the Right Hand picks up after Ze’ev has had time to recuperate. With remnants of the cult scattered into the wind at the end of Treif Magic, Ze’ev has been hunting them down and bringing them to justice. As we follow Ze’ev into what he believes to be the hideout of the final members of the cult, he discovers something far more hideous and terrible than simply a couple of cultists.
Just when Ze’ev thinks he’s earned a well-deserved break from the darkness, an old friend reaches out with terrible news of a gruesome tragedy. Time is running out as another girl has gone missing, and Ze’ev doesn’t know if he can bear the weight of another failure. His struggle to do the right thing and bring his friend some closure brings him face-to-face with a monster from deep in the history of serial killer lore.
If that’s not enough, the past isn’t through with Ze’ev, as his superiors present him with what might be the greatest challenge he’s faced so far. Sandy, the young woman he saved in the previous book–kicking off the events that nearly ended his life–is to be taken into his care. Her brief encounter with the darkness coexisting within our world has tainted her in the same way Ze’ev was tainted as a young man. Now, it’s up to him to teach her how to navigate the world as she now recognizes it.
As everything collides in a tumultuous–and possibly fatal–climax, Ze’ev makes a deal that has consequences he may not be able to live with.
Fans of John’s religious horror masterpiece, War of Dictates, will be pleased to see some crossover from characters in that epic poem as Ze’ev crosses the boundaries that separate our world from the worlds of the things that live in the shadows. That scene alone is worth the price of admission. If you haven’t already read the Splatterpunk Award-nominated War of Dictates, then you need to address that shortcoming post haste.
Notable, within the narrative, we get to act as stand-in students as Ze’ev ruminates on what and how he will teach Sandy. This is brought to greater fruition as we experience her first lesson. The expositionary dialogue is fascinating and internally justified within the story, at no point detracting from the flow of the story.
It’s a damn shame that the next book isn’t already out because this one absolutely leaves the reader wanting more, and impatient too.

This title is also available through http://www.godless.com or via the Godless app on your favorite Apple and Android platforms. I recommend checking Godless out at the earliest convenience. It’s the new home for indie horror. The link is below:

The Crimes & Passions of John Stabberger by John Baltisberger

If you’ve ever seen Green Room–a fantastic flick–you’ll recall the thrill you probably felt as the fictional band, The Ain’t Rights, begins performing “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” (covering the epic Dead Kennedys track) from the stage of a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. You’re going to feel the same sort of thrill reading the scene at the trailer park as John Stabberger carves his way through a crowd of skinhead punks. Unlike Green Room, the story doesn’t go sideways for the protagonists, and Stabberger keeps on ramping up the violence until he’s–literally–ramping a motorcycle up a crane to board a fucking dirigible to slaughter more Nazi pricks.
Like a golem fashioned from flesh and blades, Stabberger is single-minded and fueled by rage, not to be deterred from his bloody business.
As the first installment of the Godless League series of stories, this one hits it out of the park in a big way. This story is full tilt, no holds barred, unrelenting violence perpetrated against the most deserving victims.

You can pick up your own copy from www.godless.com at the link below. I absolutely recommend that you do so.

A Baptism for the Dead by Charles R. Bernard

Charles R. Bernard has crafted an immersive piece of historical fiction with A Baptism for the Dead. Spanning the decades between the 1840s and the 1870s, we experience snapshots of the expansive fields of unsettled Nebraska on the approach to the South Pass through the Continental Divide in what would become Wyoming, raging blizzards in Northern Michigan, and the early years of Salt Lake City…and those snapshots feel three dimensional.
Throughout the story, we occasionally follow Left Hand, an indigenous woman who has the unfortunate path in life of hunting monsters. The introduction to her character is a fascinating glimpse of a forest haunted by ghosts and a cavern of sickness and monstrous residents.
The bulk of the story begins as we witness Leonidas Pyburn and his two sons–following the fateful path previously taken by the Donner-Reed Party–headed West to embrace the call of Manifest Destiny in the form of the emerging gold rush in California. Encountering a frantic, haunted sexton along the way, their own journey takes a turn not altogether better than that experienced by the previously mentioned Donner Party.
The survivors of that grisly, horrific encounter go drastically separate directions, both in life and in a cartographic sense. While Leonidas continues West to seek fortune and power, his son determines that his fate awaits him to the North, with the Mormons who passed through the region previously.
As secrets and magic bring the father and son together again, two decades later, we learn that there are more than carrion-eating ghouls to be afraid of in this vision of the American West.
Bernard succeeds in blending occultism, conventional spirituality, social commentary, history, and family drama into a captivating novel that contains more than enough gore and Western aesthetic to appeal to fans of the Splatter Westerns being published by Death’s Head Press.

Room 138 by Jay Wilburn & Armand Rosamilia

Wilburn and Rosamilia together weave a disorienting tale. The individual narrative threads that make up Room 138 are as difficult to follow and keep straight for the reader as they are for our confused, terrified, and often paranoid protagonist, Hank Smith.
It’s hard to blame Hank for feeling paranoid, though. Waking up in a recently vacated hotel/motel room in a new year and a new city from where you’d gone to sleep would do that to a person. Just trying to imagine that life, where the month and date on the calendar keeps marching forward, while the year dances around to a tune you can’t quite hear…it’s enough to give someone a headache. With no recollection of who he really is, no concept of how long he’s been doing this same thing, and without the foggiest notion of why he’s even doing it…Hank keeps searching for abstract clues that he hopes will lead him to the next Room 138 and some illumination for the regions of his memory that remain in shadows.
If that sounds confusing to you, you’re in precisely the right state of mind to begin reading Room 138.
It’s a book that is equal parts a thriller, a science fiction fantasy, and a feverish, internalized mystery…but it’s so much more than those individual components.
It’s probably a good time to climb aboard and allow Mr. Train to guide you down the rails at breakneck speeds until the view beyond the window becomes nothing more than a peculiar blur of familiar objects twisted into alien shapes. Maybe you’ll be the next in line to join Hank and Savannah on their mission to save the world, one day at a time.

You Will Be Consumed…by This Riveting Tale

Ignore, if you can, the “For Rectal Use Only” sticker I’ve affixed to the cover of this proof copy of my novella, You Will Be Consumed.

I know it’s difficult.

Some of you might find yourselves asking whether that’s a reference to the contents being best suited for use as toilet paper. I can assure you the paper utilized in printing this book is definitely inferior to most toilet paper on the market. You may find yourself wondering if I’m implying that you should attempt to roll the book into a tube of sorts for rectal insertion. I don’t recommend that. You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife. You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?” If those things are true, you’re probably somehow existing within the amazing song Once In a Lifetime by Talking Heads.

At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell this post is all about. You’re not alone. I think I might have forgotten that salient detail as well.

Of course, I’m joking.

I just wanted to remind you that it’s time to pick up your own copies of You Will Be Consumed…and the amazing publisher I worked with on this title, Madness Heart Press, has guaranteed that there are outlets available for anyone.

Amazon, of course, is available as an option:

You can also purchase the book in either physical or digital copy directly from the Madness Heart Press website at the link below:

However, if you’re interested in a digital copy of the novella, and you really don’t want to support Amazon…but you do want to show support for indie authors and small press publishers of horror titles…there’s another place you can go.

Drew Stepek, a fantastic author and an avid supporter of the indie horror literature scene, has assembled something amazing.

Check out Godless at the following link:

While you’re there…please spend some time perusing the available titles. This is a great distribution option for small presses, self-published horror authors, and fans to come together without Amazon lining their already bulging pockets in the process.

That’s all.

I wanted to peddle my new novella some more, and I really wanted to encourage everyone to visit Godless.

You Will Be Consumed Preorder

There’s less than a month to go until my novella, You Will Be Consumed, is released by Madness Heart Press.

This bizarro/splatterpunk novella will serve as an introduction for many of you to a shared world for a handful of upcoming novels, novellas, and short stories…the world of The Hungering Void. Welcome to a world where gods are not what we’ve long believed them to be, where demons might not be the bad guys, and where the very fabric of reality appears to be deteriorating. Elements of cosmic horror and splatterpunk meld together to create a phantasmagoric tale of nightmare becoming our reality.

In this novella, you’ll be introduced to detectives Lauren (Ren) Thomas and Martin Garcia as they investigate a surge of strange homicides taking place in and around Denver, Colorado. You’ll also meet Stephen Lee, the medical examiner who unfortunately has to help them unravel the mystery surrounding these peculiar and gruesome murders. These flawed and all-too-human characters are faced with reality-defying crimes that might just push them beyond the edge of sanity.

The novella is presently available to preorder in Kindle format through Amazon. You can’t help but love that cover artwork designed by John Baltisberger of MHP. He did a fantastic job of designing not only the cover art, but also the interior layout.

You can also preorder either digital or paperback editions of the novella directly through the Madness Heart Press website linked below.

This will not be the end of the story. You can expect to see Ren and Martin in future releases as they continue what could be an impossible battle to restore some amount of sanity to the world they find themselves struggling to understand.

Additionally, my short story, Yeshua and Adonai is available in Kindle format, providing a different sort of introduction to the world of The Hungering Void.