A Fine Evening In Hell by Kristopher Triana

Kristopher Triana conceives of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he takes it to an extreme most of us would never imagine possible. A Fine Evening In Hell is a tense, character-driven thriller that explores the lengths we’ll go to survive when life has taken a detour down a dark road into real-life terror.
Heather and Evan couldn’t have dreamt just how awful their night would be when they snuck away to the parking lot of an abandoned warehouse for sex. Not only was the sex itself disappointing, but they soon find themselves caught in the middle of a dispute between criminals and the dirty cops hunting them down. Their attempt to find a secluded place for intimacy will lead them down a path with disastrous and deadly consequences.
Triana does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life, fleshing each out, and making them feel as human as anyone. There are no two-dimensional throwaway characters and no bland ciphers onto whom the reader can project themselves. We’re meant to know these people, to love and hate them as the story dictates, and to feel an empathetic connection with them–even when we may not want to.
Kristopher Triana displays a versatility of style that is astounding, bringing his understanding of horror and visceral human terror to the all-too-real conditions of this story, and forcing us to feel the chill of that Northeastern climate as we’re transported along with Heather.

Horrorgasm by Nikki Noir

Molly Massacre’s HorrorGasm page on FANdom is successfully drawing subscribers with her horror-themed camgirl antics. She’s generating income at a rate most girls on FANdom would probably kill for, but everything is far from perfect. Molly wants out of the life she’s living with her narcissistic, domineering, drug-dealing boyfriend, Chad.
With the assistance of her best friend (and business manager), Selena, Molly has a plan to escape from her boyfriend and to start a new life. For her final HorrorGasm performance, with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-inspired vibrator, Molly raffles off the chance to go on a date with her, and the plan seems to be wildly successful.
Unfortunately, Chad’s increasingly erratic behavior and the white knight fantasy of a HorrorGasm subscriber, Dylan, send the plan off the rails. Will Molly Massacre’s HorrorGasm ultimately lead to true horror? You’ll have to read the story to find out.
Unlike a lot of Noir’s fiction I’ve read, there is no supernatural/paranormal element to this tale. Horrorgasm is a straightforward thriller with a heavy erotic component. Don’t dismiss this story for the lack of surreal horror. Nikki Noir is no one-trick pony, and she’ll have you speeding through the pages, desperate to see where she leads you.

Horrorgasm is a Godless Exclusive title and you can obtain it for yourself at http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app on your smartphone, tablet, or Kindle device. The link is below:

Lost River (2014)

This review was originally written in July of 2015

On the surface Lost River is a devastating portrait of urban decay after the housing collapse, delving into the virtually empty remnants of what were once thriving Detroit neighborhoods…but it ends up being so much more than that.
Ryan Gosling proves himself to be perhaps more talented as a writer and director than as an actor, which is an impressive feat considering just how good he really is as an actor.
As grim and heartbreaking as the story is, there is a sense of stubborn hope and refusal to give up threaded throughout the narrative. In the desolate and unsettling environment and conditions in which the movie takes place we find Gosling displaying intense imagination and creativity as he weaves a story that is as much dark fantasy as it is drama.
Matt Smith (yes, that Matt Smith, The Doctor) portraying a deeply unstable and psychotic antagonist taking control of the neighborhood is fantastic opposite Iain De Caestecker (probably best known for his role in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) in his role as a son desperate to help his family survive by stealing copper from the abandoned buildings around where they live.
Christina Hendricks (Saffron from Firefly) is amazing as the mother driven to extremes trying to keep her home and her family together.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything I disliked about this movie and I am damn glad that I took the time to watch it. Gosling’s writing and directing are about perfect, the acting is superb, the filming locations manage to get under the viewers’ skin and create an atmosphere that truly works with the beautiful score to enhance every aspect of the story that’s being told, and the cinematography is so well done that it really draws you in.

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.

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer

My first exposure to Jeff VanderMeer was my purchase of City of Saints and Madmen in May of 2006. I was in my mid-20s and exploring more surreal literature; strange fantasies and bizarro being the two genres I was most greedily diving into. Upon reading that peculiar assortment of strange tales and explorations of the fantastic city of Ambergris, I could hardly wait to read more of his work.
I’ve been a fan since that time 15 years ago, and VanderMeer has not disappointed me since.
Hummingbird Salamander is a bit different from his other works, taking place neither in a feverish land of nebulous division between dreams and waking life nor in a future version of our world, transformed by otherworldly forces. Instead, this novel takes place in the here and now, though perhaps not quite the way you or I would recognize it in subtle ways.
We are first introduced to a mildly paranoid digital security consultant who serves as our unreliable guide through the events that unfold as she begins her journey to unravel a mystery that remains at least somewhat unclear as you reach the final page. It should be said, that if you go into one of this author’s books expecting clarity and a tidy resolution, you’re probably in the wrong place.
Elements of mystery and layered narratives are far from uncommon within VanderMeer’s work, but this particular story showcases the excellence of the suspense form when lovingly crafted by his mind and hands.
Familiar themes from his work are on vivid display within this narrative, ecological concerns, curious uncertainties relating to identity and the self, and suggestions that what is real might not be quite so clear as we commonly understand it to be.