Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Have Gun, Will Play by Camille LaGuire

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

I pride myself on being someone who will read – and enjoy – anything that comes my way. So when “Have Gun, Will Play” came up on my TBR list, I was struck by the awareness that, outside the Lone Ranger adventures my mother would read to me as a wee lad, I have never read a western. Ever. Not that I’ve been actively avoiding them – “Blood Meridian” has intrigued me, given my adoration of Cormac McCarthy – they just haven’t come my way, and I haven’t searched them out. Consider westerns my “lost genre”.

So into my realm of personal unawareness comes this quaint and fun little book by Camille LaGuire. “Have Gun, Will Play” is the story of Mick and Casey, a pair of young gunslingers traipsing through the old west after having severed ties with a famous lawman. They come upon the small ramshackle mining town of Newton and are immediately thrust into a gunfight with invading outlaws. In the aftermath of this conflict, they meet up with a banker named Montel Addley, whose brother is a paranoid land owner who basically runs the town and its surrounding area. Mick and Casey are hired to usher the more important Addley’s daughter, Laurie, and her aunt Clara, to a safe haven, far away from the range war that is being waged.

Along the way there are numerous betrayals, schemes, a couple kidnappings, and a mysterious bag of toys. The story is told through Mick’s eyes, and we are held in mystery as to what’s going on because Mick, in his own adorable and earnest way, is a bit clueless. The tale twists and turns and captures the reader’s imagination by never lingering too long on any single plot point. This is done pretty expertly, and with Mick being such an endearing character, we don’t mind looking at the world through his point of view. In fact, there are many instances of comedy that come about simply through his tendency towards self abasement.

The background information of both Mick and Casey is a slow development. When we meet them at the beginning, they are simply thrown into our laps. Their history is presented to us in a slow trickle throughout the novel, so much so that even in the last paragraph we are given tidbits that let us greater understand their character. This was skillfully executed, and flaunts the author’s impressive mastery of character development.

It is within these characters that some of the more interesting aspects of the novel are uncovered. Along with the mystery and intrigue of the plot, this same mystery and intrigue surrounds them, as well…especially Casey. She is portrayed as a precocious yet troubled young (VERY young – it’s in question whether she is even 17 years old, which to us modern-day Americans is a bit disturbing) girl who married Mick the day they met. She is grumpy and damaged, a scowling mess of a young woman, who, despite the hardships of her past, is not yet jaded enough to turn her back on the world or the people who inhabit it. In many ways, despite her rough exterior, she is still an innocent. She struggles with the mores of right and wrong. She wants compassion and love yet often rejects it. She’ll act the mature lady one moment and the young girl she is the next – which completely fits with a girl her age. She constantly questions the motives of others, and even her own, and it isn’t until she meets a like soul in the character of Laurie that she starts to lower her walls and come out of her shell.

The whole of the novel kept this reviewer captivated throughout, and it is a really fun read. The structure is sound, the characters are sufficiently likeable (and contemptible), and there is enough action to keep me feeling eager to turn the page. It really is very good, and despite my earlier stated lack of knowledge of the genre, I found myself not thinking at all about the setting. It felt as if these dilapidated towns, dusty settings, and men and women on horseback were the most natural things in the world. That, in itself, is an accomplishment.

Every part of me wanted to give this book a four-star rating. Initially, that’s what I’d placed in the header. However, after going back and reviewing what I’d written, I realized that I can’t justify knocking off a star. There is really nothing wrong with the book. It’s highly entertaining and a nice little mystery. Add to that the fact it kept me intrigued and entertained, and I realized that the urge came about simply because I feel I’ve given too many books that ultimate honor…and it’s time I understood there is no shame in that. I’ve been lucky, and I’ve chosen well when picking books to review.

This book is just another one of those good choices. It gets a hearty recommendation from me.

Buy Have Gun, Will Play for the Amazon Kindle

Plot - 10

Characters - 10

Voice - 9

Execution - 10

Personal Enjoyment - 10

Overall - 49/50 (4.9/5)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review: The Cost of Betrayal by David Dalglish

Rating: 5 out of 5

Let me preface this by saying that normally I like to sit on a book a few days before I review it. This allows me time to ponder the meaning of the story in greater detail, to mull over the finer aspects of the storytelling and decide whether my initial, guttural reaction was indeed true, or if I was simply caught up in the moment. Sometimes a book I loved will appear lesser after time, sometimes one I loathed will be struck with new meaning. This balance is what I seek and what this practice is for, to come from an objective place. However, as with most things of an objective nature, sometimes the emotion can be wrung from my explanation of it, due to both the time and that pondering.

So now I sit here, an hour past finishing “The Cost of Betrayal”, the second of the Half-Orc series by David Dalglish, and I want nothing more than to get my thoughts down on paper now. This is a work that is demanding of a highly emotional state, and it’s in my own, right now, that I honor it.

The story picks up where “The Weight of Blood” left off, in the aftermath of master necromancer Velixar’s failed attempt to destroy Woodhaven. The three partners-in-convoluted-crime – Harruq and Qurrah, the half-orc brothers, and Aurelia, an elven sorceress – are on their way back to Veldaren, the city in which the brothers grew up, on the streets and all alone. Upon reentering the city, they are immediately attacked, by a group called the Eschaton, a militia who protects the city for coin and favor. The way Dalglish pours you right into the action is admirable. He does it without missing a beat and without a ton of setup, which is appreciated.

The small group joins up with the Eschaton, and wackiness ensues. They encounter a plot by the local thieves’ guild and the battle scenes are epic. In fact, ALL the battle scenes are epic, extremely graphic, and skillfully presented, just as in the first book. You don’t get lost in the action and you actually care about what’s about to happen to the characters.

The funny thing about these battles, however grand they might be, is that they are overshadowed by the emotional threads that run through the novel. The relationship between Harruq and Aurelia grows by leaps and bounds, and Qurrah becomes obsessed with a strange and tweaked-out girl named Tessanna, who is possessed of power that not even she knows the depths. It is with these two relationships, mirrored against each other, that the bulk of the story grows and flourishes. More than in book one, the differences between Harruq and Qurrah are made that much more apparent by the way they relate to their loved ones. Harruq, though a big lunk, is thoughtful and caring. He listens and is willing to change. Qurrah, on the other hand, is fanatical, cynical, and unbending. He thinks he knows his place in the world and is not willing to alter his mindset…or his actions.

Though a work of fantasy – and a graphic, cringe-inducing work at that – it is this heart that sets this book apart from others I’ve read. The emotional and social threads that run through it cast it above the realm of high fantasy and into highly literary. There are so many issues presented, from racism (how well an individual can “pass” when partially of a lineage deemed unsavory) to the difference between love and fixation (how far will one go, how much will one sacrifice, to help out someone they care about) to the simple act of forgiveness (an example of which I will not give away, as it is the most powerful and gut-wrenching part of the book).

Yet despite all this, there is one theme that rises above all others: family. What does it mean to be family? Can there be family without blood relation? Can that family overcome the faults of its members, even if those faults endanger them? These were stunning revelations to read, and some of the more prophetic words and ideas presented left me with a gigantic lump in my throat. By the end of the book I was a quivering mess. I cried. I couldn’t help but look at my own family, pull them in, and tell them how much I loved them. I thought of the actions of those involved in this yarn and wondered if I would be able to be as forgiving as they were. That is what I found surprising. Almost every character in these novels is a highly flawed individual. They perpetuate horrible acts and seek no clemency. They murder and maim because it’s their job, and they refuse to apologize because that is the state of the world they live in. And yet, through each of them runs a deeply emotional center, a potential to love and be loved that they wish to feed and encourage. There is change, and as I said before, there is forgiveness, and we the readers forgive right along with them. We do this because we recognize the power they hold, the love they are capable of, and when one treads off that path, we shake our heads in pity. We want them to succeed, to overcome whatever demons have befallen them, and it actually HURTS when they fail.

This is a deeply sad book. And it is poignant. I couldn’t put it down. It is painful, at times, to take in, and yet you can’t stop. It makes you FEEL and THINK, and that is, besides pure entertainment, the reason most of us read in the first place. For this, David Dalglish should be commended. I do not speak in hyperbole to say that this is one of the four or five best novels I have read IN MY LIFETIME. It has everything one would want in a book. It takes you through the roller coaster of sensations – from hopeful to despaired to overjoyed to, finally, broken – and spits you out on the other side shaken and thankful for what you have. You laugh, you cry, you ponder. This is truly an accomplishment, and one that should not be overlooked.

Yes, “The Cost of Betrayal” is that good. I dare anyone to read it, to take it in, to relish it. The mistakes in the writing from the first book (which weren’t that noticeable to begin with) have been remedied. What remains is a tale of such power that you have no choice but listen. Carnage and conflict aside, as some might not welcome them, there is too much here to not appreciate it.

This needs to be read. It needs to be out there.

And with that, for the emotions I feel, I give the author two simple words that I think say everything.

Thank you.

Buy The Cost of Betrayal in paperback or for the Amazon Kindle

Plot - 10

Characters - 10

Voice - 10

Execution - 10

Personal Enjoyment - 10

Overall - 50/50 (5.o/5)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: The Quest for Nobility, Book 1 (The Rule of Otharia series) by Debra L Martin and David W. Small

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Sometimes, when reading a series, the first installment is all about the buildup, of setting the tone and the world in which the rest of the tale can take place. I know this, because when writing my own series, The Rift, I realized that the first book had almost nothing to do with the next three. Often times, the writing is poles apart from what you find later, as the author grows into his or her (or, in this case, both) style. I say this not meaning the story or the method is bad by any means. But it can be a little irritating.

Thus mentioned, I bring you The Quest for Nobility, book one of The Rule of Otharia series by the writing team of Debra L. Martin and David W. Small.

This is purported to be a science fiction novel. It is, in a way, seeing as much of the action takes place on the aforementioned planet of Otharia. The people on this planet, however, look and act very similarly to you or I (with a couple important differences), and their culture is fashioned after what one might find in sixteenth-century Europe, what with barons, dukes, duchies, a lack of many of the technologies we see everyday, and whatnot. In this way, the book steers far away from science fiction and enters the realm of fantasy. If not for portals opening up to modern-day Earth, one could forget they were on another planet at all.

Most people on this planet are gifted with the three major classifications of psychic abilities: empathy, telekinesis, and telepathy. The society’s royals hone their gifts at institutions, while the layfolk are resigned to letting theirs stagnate. This is typical of caste societies – those in power are afforded every opportunity imaginable, while those on the lower end of the spectrum are not.

Despite their reliance on a ruling class, on Otharia it seems that there has not been a king in many, many years. Now, the ruling dukes have formed what they call The Grand Council, a parliament of sorts. It is this council that votes on all the major decisions that affect the different duchies. It is because of this voting system that there has not been a king in such a long time, which is something that Grand Duke Vodgor is intent on changing. He plots various nefarious schemes, forming an underground political entity, fixing competitions, and clandestinely killing off any rival dukes and duchesses who oppose him (with the help of his deliciously evil psychic assassin Nils), in hopes of somehow convincing the council to appoint him king.

It is during the time these plots are taking place that we meet the three main characters of the story – Dyla and Darius Telkur, twins set to rule after the murder of their parents, and Eclasius Jortac, son of a rival duke. These three, after some problems early on in their relationships, bind themselves together to win the Grand Competition, a yearly competition, in hopes that the money won will save the Telkur duchy.

Things go wrong, very wrong, when they win. A rival team is murdered and Vogdo’s underground group is set to blame the twins for their deaths. Because of this, they are forced to flee, and they decided to go to – you guessed it – Earth. Here they have a few misadventures, meet up with an expert on Stonehenge, and figure out that there seems to be a connection between Otharia and Earth that they hadn’t expected.

All right, enough about the plot. It’s time for some exposition on my part.

I honestly found this book maddening at times, even though it interested me throughout. The dialogue is choppy and robotic, the characters seem too perfect to root for, and there are some seemingly major holes in the timeline. Also, as some might note, it is written in third person omniscient, my disdain of which I have been quite open about. I feel like I must explain this, however. It’s not like I oppose to the use of this point of view; on the contrary, I find it quite entertaining, when done right. There is a quaint beauty to it. The problem is it’s one of the hardest viewpoints to construct correctly in the first place. The writer needs to handle segues between different characters’ thoughts with a certain delicacy that difficult to both explain and execute. I’ve read some that are done well and loved them. If I’m gong to be truthful here, these authors don’t.

As for the timeline gaps: I say this because the order of events seems skewed. When Darius, Dyla, and Eclasius head off to Earth, they are there for four days, five max. However, back on Otharia, it seems as if weeks or even months have passed. This might just have been me missing something, but it still riled me.

I don’t want to be all negative, and I won’t be, because there were many good things about the book, as well. It’s set up in a quirky and fun way, with a segment from various informative texts preceding each chapter as a way of explaining how the rules of this world work. I found these to be among the most interesting components of the book, as they disclose their information in a just-the-facts way. It is a departure from the style of the rest of the book, and it makes these sections stand out, which is a very good thing. The dissimilarities between the Otharians and Earthlings are intriguing, as well. They are painted as superior, in a way, and humans as paranoid deviants. However, we can plainly see through the way the people of Otharia are constantly (and easily) misled that there is something to be said for the paranoia we, as a people, possess. I don’t know if this was an intended statement by the authors, but I very much appreciated it.

Also, the storyline itself is intriguing. I don’t want to give too much away here, but there are links between the planet Otharia and Arthurian legend that make me say, “Yes, please, more.” The end is fantastic, when all the threads that run through the tale are uncovered, and this makes the whole journey – even the irksome parts – worth it. There is potential for the stories down the line that could make this a special experience, and it is with this fact in mind that I say the following…

When thinking about what to rate this book, I gave it two-and-a-half stars. However, I didn’t stop reading until the book was done, and it did stay with me for long after I put it down. That, in itself, is a feat. So I decided to download the sample of book two, titled The Crystal Façade. I’m glad I did. The writing in the second book is ramped up more than a few notches. The story flows much easier. In other words, it looks to be very well constructed. Based on this fact, I say no one should give up on this series. After all, as I said in the beginning, this is an introductory novel. Even Harry Potter was a bit below par in the first couple books, but by the end of the series, it was all made worthwhile.

I have a feeling this particular chain of books could be, as well.

The Quest for Nobility - Kindle edition

Plot - 8

Characters - 5

Voice - 4

Execution - 4

Personal Enjoyment - 4

Overall - 25/50 (2.5/5)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review: 33 A.D. by David McAfee

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

If one were to take the story of the crucifixion and combine it with vampires, you would most likely get one of the most clichéd stories imaginable. I’ve read quite a few tales regarding this very setup – all in short story format, mind you – and they all were variations on a few different plots. Either Jesus himself is a vampire, hence his rising from the dead, or he becomes Jesus Christ Action Star, staking those pesky vamps left and right. These are unimaginative stories. They either don’t do anything new with the characters or they pervert them to where they’re no longer viable. And also, there tends to be a trend towards using these stories as a promotion or criticism of Christianity. Never have I seen a story that took the setting of Christ’s last days and used them as a framework. In other words, taking the setting and telling a story around that setting to create a complete, comprehensive, and entertaining work.

Never, that is, until I read 33 A.D. This was a book that I loved so much that I can come to only one conclusion about its author:

I have seen the new face of horror, and it resides beneath the glossy, waxed dome of David McAfee.

Mr. McAfee has done the (virtually) impossible. He’s taken an iconic figure and backdrop, stayed true to their roots in legend, and layered a very human tale that deals with the supernatural over it. This book is bloody, brutal, depressing, and also moral…however, that morality doesn’t overwhelm the reader, as ethical writing is wont to do. Instead it makes us think, both about what we feel about our own past misdeeds and the power each of us holds within us to forgive ourselves.

The two most important characters in 33 A.D. are Theron, a vampire assassin who’s lived for more than nine-hundred years, and Taras, a golden-haired Roman Legionary (think a primitive version of the Secret Service) whose greatest desire is to skip out of Jerusalem with Mary, his forbidden Jewish lover, and start a family. Although there are many other characters (including Marcus, the Centurion, whose nobility and strength are measured against his weak willpower, making him a fantastic creation), this is ostensibly their story.

Theron, after killing a renegade vampire at the beginning of the novel, is saddled with the task of executing Jesus, as the Nazarene and his ability to heighten the faith of those around him is dangerous to the Bachiyr (Vampiric) Council of 13. This proves to be an arduous undertaking becaue Theron, as a vampire, cannot get close enough to a man with such strong beliefs. Because of this, he goes about framing the supposed prophet, for all intents and purposes setting in motion the events that lead to Jesus’ demise.

Taras, on the other hand, is a loyal and capable soldier. He is strong, both in beliefs and in physicality. He, as well as every other Roman, is turned against the Nazarene due to Theron’s actions.

And this is where the meat of the novel lies. Theron and Taras are different characters, and yet they are virtual mirror images of each other. One could imagine that Theron, when he was still human oh so long ago, might have been virtually identical to the Roman he now calls adversary. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, and I think the similarity of their names is meant for the reader to realize that, when you cut down to the core, they aren’t as different as they think they are. In this way, the entire book is about the choices and the aforementioned need to forgive oneself. Theron cannot. He’s been around too long, deviated too much, to will a change, even though he can. No matter how much strength he possesses, he will always be weak. Likewise Taras, towards the end, when confronted with a decision that will define the rest of his life, is similarly frail. This speaks to the humanity in both of them. Even Theron, though immortal, is inexorably human, and it is that human frailty that leads to his ultimate descent into madness. And when Jesus “rises” from the grave, that event is mirrored by the rebirths, in different ways, of the two main characters. In other words, you can draw a parallel between all three, the monster, the hero, and the prophet, and come out on the other side thinking they’re all quite analogous. In writing it this way, the author is telling us that at our core we’re all the same, all fallible, and it’s up to us – and ONLY us – to change.

The subject of religion, when used in fiction, is a slippery slope to climb. It can come off as preachy or ostentatious, and while a core Christian might find that intriguing, my guess is that the majority of readers in no way want to be sermonized to. This is yet another way that McAfee did an unbelievable job. He succeeded in taking the base values of the sermons of Jesus – his theories of love, forgiveness, and togetherness – and took away the devout fanaticism that can curtail lesser works. In this novel Jesus is a loveable, though ethereally strong, hippie. The scenes in which he is involved are tastefully done, subtle, and sublime. He is not a man of action, but one of introspection, tenderness, and amnesty. He never gives up hope for those he runs across, and in the reflection of that faith in others lays the refraction of his words. It causes those not ready to hear them to back away.

I’m sure some, especially those who aren’t Christian, may look upon this book and think it distasteful. It is not. I, myself, am strictly anti-religious. Whereas I do have faith, I understand the dangers of dogmatic belief and have no desire to pursue it. However, and this is important, McAfee does NOT preach. He uses the beliefs of New Testament Christianity as a tool, not a be-all-end-all, because I think most would admit that the idea of love, community, and mercy are something to strive for. In other words, much like in AA, he takes what works and leaves the rest. You will find no heavy-handedness here.

Okay, one last thing. Because I’m anal and certain facts never escape my attention, I have to mention the only problem I had with this book. In one scene, a character is described as “short, only five-and-a-half feet tall.” The problem is, the average height of a Roman at that time was barely five feet even. Not a huge gaffe, but one that I noticed, and I wouldn’t be pretentious old me if I didn’t point it out.

That being said, it’s a tiny little issue that doesn’t take away the fact that this is a fantastic and beautifully written novel. There is death and rebirth, betrayal and loyalty, hope and despair, and ultimately sorrow. We see where the characters end up, and we feel sorry for them. It’s well worth the read, and I have to admit that I did cry more than once while sitting on the beach reading it. For me, it is the best vampire novel to come out since “The Vampire Lestat” hit the shelves a quarter century ago. And I LOVED that book.

You get a heartfelt recommendation from me, people. Go get it. Make David McAfee a success. We should all want to read more of what he has to offer.

Available at Amazon in



Amazon Kindle

Plot - 10

Characters - 7

Voice - 10

Execution - 8

Personal Enjoyment - 10

Overall - 45/50 (4.5/5)

Review: Shock Totem #2

Rating: 5 out of 5

In July of 2009 a new twice-yearly magazine came out that excited me. It was called Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted. I purchased that little digest-sized publication, dove in, and loved the experience of reading the wicked stories within. In every way this new venture excited me; for too long, dark fiction has been under represented in the literary print market. This was a shining beacon in the perpetual darkness.

Months passed. Then a year. Finally, this past July, the second issue of Shock Totem came out. Sure, that’s a long time between issues, but let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.

Issue two of Shock Totem just might be the best magazine I’ve ever had the opportunity to read. Unlike the first issue, in which I found there to be a couple duds, there were none such here. Every story tipped the scales upward towards fantastic. For my review of the first issue, I simply pointed out my favorite two stories, seeing as I didn’t want to expose the ones I didn’t like. For this issue, seeing as all were fantastic, I will give my quick-hit thoughts on each.

The Rat Burner by Ricardo Bare – A creepy tale of city slums, hidden doorways, and the price upon one’s soul. The tone brought me in and wouldn’t let me leave. Loved it.

Sole Survivor by Kurt Newton – A dark and strangely hilarious take on extreme game shows. In a way, it reminded me of a more concise version of Running Man’s concept.

Sweepers by Leslianne Wilder – Wow. This one grabbed me. A short piece about the waters of the world rising. I’ll never look down from a skyscraper the same way again.

The Rainbow Serpent by Vincent Pendergast – The tale of a man on a bus ride and an ancient creature who’s adapted to the times. Definitely my favorite of all the entries. The tone and themes enclosed within are fantastic.

Hide the Sickness by Mercedes M. Yardley – This is a nonfiction essay by one of the magazine’s editors, but it is such a brave and heartfelt piece of writing that I feel I must include it here. Ever wonder about juvenile sex offenders? Let’s just say that the story of Mrs. Yardley’s experience is one you won’t soon forget.

Pretty Little Ghouls by Cate Gardner – Another quirky and fun little tale. I won’t explain much, because the plot hinges on every word, which takes talent. It’s quite good.

Messages from Valerie Polichar by Gra Linnaea and Sarah Dunn – This, for a while, was my least favorite story. The inclusion of technology and technological terms in a work of fiction has a tendency to turn me off because it can date the tale horribly. However, this one, by the end, I grew to appreciate, and it became my second-favorite. It’s the story of a woman who obsesses with the dead and Facebook. Sound like an odd plot? It is. And it works.

Return from Dust by Nicholas D. Bronson – A man is blown to bits and is reconstructed. A good exploration what it means to be human and the point when we lose touch with that humanity.

Leave Me the Way I was Found by Christian A. Dumais – This short tale is very Ringu-like and eerie, about a video that causes sickness in the masses. There’s a melancholy sense of doom that hangs over it like a cloud of acid.

Upon My Return by David Jack Bell – What would happen if a Christ figure were to appear in the present day? This depressing little story of a misunderstood carnival worker says it all.

That’s it for stories. There is also a review section inside, an interview with James Newman, and Howling Through the Keyhole, a Shock Totem staple, where the authors give their thoughts on the creation of their stories. The editors, led by K. Allen Wood, have put together a master collection of the macabre. All in all, it is a rewarding literary experience.

I highly recommend this magazine, and those to come. The only problem I see with it is this: With the quality found within, the bar has been set, and set HIGH. It’s a lot to live up to for issue #3, which I will be waiting for with bated breath.

Shock Totem at Amazon.com

Shock Totem Website

Review: Nectrotic Tissue #11

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

When the first issue of a certain magazine arrived on my doorstep, my wife looked at it, squinted, and said, “I never thought I’d marry a man who read something called Necrotic Tissue.”

Oh, but darling, you did.

As a writer who tends to dip towards horror, I’ve been following this particular magazine for quite some time. I’ve had the opportunity to have a few email conversations with R. Scott McCoy, the editor-in-chief of the publication, and a review of his novella, “Feast”, can be found a few sections down in the Journal. However, I never bought the magazine. Why? Most likely because I can be cheap.

Well, that was remedied when I ordered a subscription, and here I am reviewing the latest issue.

This magazine is chock-full of horror goodness – as well it should be, because it’s subtitled “The Horror Writers’ Magazine”. Inside are 116 pages of terror, more than I would’ve expected from an independent publication. But, independent though it may be, it’s one of the more professional-looking mags I’ve seen.

There are fifteen stories inside, as well as another seven one-hundred word bites. The stories range from tales of monsters and inter-dimensional travel to ones of the little things real people might do to each other in the name of love. There seems to be a theme running through many of the stories, as well, and that is of nature coming alive and turning against us. I’m not sure if this is on purpose, but it works.

Not every single story worked for me – there were three that I found bland – but even those I finished, which says something. However, I would like to point out my two favorites, as these two I can’t get out of my mind.

The first and my most desired is Mr. Klein’s Cancer by T.L. Barrett. It’s the story of an old teacher whose students drive him insane, and the physical manifestation of that hatred that grows inside him. The story is disturbing and funny at the same time, which takes skill. A definite diamond there.

The second is Bodily Harm by William Vitka. It tells the tale of renegade organs and the actions they take against their host, who has neglected them for far too long.

Honorable mention goes out to Meltdown by Matthew Fryer, Adaptation by Eric Hermanson, and Chums by Doug Murano. And to the rest of the authors who contributed their work, as well. They did a great job, even those I wasn’t fond of, for that is a matter of taste. All of them were well-written, well constructed, and consistent in their tone and themes. All deserved to be published, and there they were.

Necrotic Tissue #11 is a fantastic little magazine, folks. And in this market, where lovers of horror have to search high and low to find a periodical that matches their interests, it deserves – no, needs – to be supported.

Buy the magazine. Get a subscription. Read away. Support the writers and the editors who put their own time, effort, and money into creating something wonderful that all of us can enjoy.

Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

Necrotic Tissue Website