Category Archives: Dark Fiction

#BookReview: “The Story of Lucius Cane” by Vanya Ferreira #DarkFantasy

vfGenre: Dark fantasy
Length: Short Story
Available: Amazon, Feb. 9, 2016
Source: Author

Synopsis: “London, 1794. Lucius Cane, a peculiar vampire, comes upon an opponent the likes of which he has never seen before – a brute with remarkable abilities. But not all is as it seems as their encounter unfolds in a manner that neither of them expected.”

Review: “The Story of Lucius Cane” is a short that promises to be just the beginning in a series of work by Vanya Ferreira. It introduces the characters of Lucius Cane, a vampire, and Jack Estenborough, a.k.a. “The Hound” who became a “half-kind” werewolf after being targeted and marked by a mysterious wolf. Former farmer, turned pirate turned assassin and hunter, Jack is hired to eliminate the debonair yet deadly blood-drinker, but they’re both in for a surprise when the confrontation begins.

Authors newly launching their work into the evolving market of online publishing often learn quickly, sometimes by trial and error. Enthusiasm is great and very much needed, but also the attention to little details such as sentence structure, word choice and repetition, but those are things that can improve with time and experience. This new characters in the “dark” world of lycans and vampiris will doubtless be welcomed by the many lovers of the genre, and as I understand more ebooks will follow so their backgrounds and stories can expand.

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Coming September 23rd-A Short Story & Novella Collection by Red Haircrow

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From the author of “The Agony of Joy”, winner of the  Global Ebook Awards 2013 in Best LGBT Fiction, Variance is a collection of ten short stories and novellas by Red Haircrow ranging from contemporary to fantasy, the surreal and thought-provoking to the innocently poignant.

Although some see “variance” as suggestive of disharmony, it can be the reality of achieving, understanding, expressing and conveying a variety of emotions, schools of thought, relationships, personalities, and more, without limitation, exhibiting the ranges possible within one’s being.

As a story collection, Variance displays the range of a multi-talented poet and author who has been described as having a “magnificent command of language” and “a gift for descriptive prose.”

  • Publishing first at Smashwords
  • Words: 66,334 (approximate)
  • Language: American English
  • ISBN: 9781301063123
  • Price: $5.99

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contemporary Fiction

Night Shift

The Caravaggio & The Swan

The Coat: Secrets of a Hatcheck Boy

Convenience Store Romance

Fantasy

The Angel of Berlin (Urban)

A Lieutenant’s Love (Historical)

Katrdeshtr’s Redemption (Dark/Vampire)

Surrealism

We, The Dead (Visionary)

Children of Light (Ancient)

The House of Doom, Dreams and Desire (Sensual/Horror)

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Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean

11822933Review: Please see the note below regarding edition, which is primarily the reason why it took me longer to read and review this book than my average: I had an earlier edition that had many editing errors.

That being said, there was an edge to Shadows of a Dead Star, incorporating mystery and darkness, an eeriness that attracts you but creates a sense of anxiety so that you’re reluctant to look full on: for fear of what you might learn. Mood and tension was great, and main character Walken, was both sympathetic and strong, with understandable vulnerabilities. Very well presented, I thought.

It might be considered strange but in conjunction with everything else, what I liked most about this book was its length, approximately 115 pages. There wasn’t pages and pages of superfluous information, slowing pace and progression. The writing was stylish but not trying to overly impress; instead the author used language that was gripping but not pretentious.  Shean used vivid descriptions and imagery that surprised and satisfied, just enough, never over the top. Very much reminding me of Christopher Hinz’s, Paratwa Trilogy, which had a strange beauty but was undeniably shocking and sometimes brutal, Shadows of a Dead Star was a book I was glad I gave another chance.

Note: This novel was listed as being self-published by Michael Shean, June 2011, then assumingly republished by Curiosity Quills Press, December 2011. After completing my review, as usual, I read through others, a number of which used editing and grammar issues as reason to rate the novel lower. Please take this fact into consideration regarding edition, making sure to get the updated, corrected version.

Description: “Seattle, 2078. The future hasn’t been kind to the spirit of humanity; commercial obsession and technological fetishism rules the day, religion and belief has died screaming in the fires of war, and what remains is moral decrepitude. Life in the future is hard on the soul.

As an agent of the Industrial Security Bureau, Thomas Walken knows that better than anyone. His job is to keep the worst kind of black-market technology out of the hands of citizens, technology born out of the shadowy nation nicknamed Wonderland. But the kind of fantasies that come out of that place aren’t for the good people of the world. Wonderland technology is like black magic made real.

Walken’s newest assignment starts out simply: intercept a smuggled shipment of Princess Dolls, little girls turned into sex toys, and bring them into custody. But when the girls are hijacked from federal custody and Walken gives chase, he finds a trail of bodies in their wake. Before he’s through, Walken will find himself confronted revelations that will answer every question that the troubled lawman has ever had about himself and the world he lives in – but his mind and soul may not survive it.

A dark, brooding piece of future noir, SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR will take you down the rabbit hole on a ride you won’t soon forget.”

  • Published December 1st 2011 by Curiosity Quills Press
  • First published June 21st 2011 by Michael Shean
  • ISBN13: 9781620070000
  • Source: Author

Author Profile

Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in his work as a consequence. At the age of 16, Michael began to experience a chain of vivid nightmares that has continued to this day; it is from these aberrant dreams that he draws inspiration.

In 2001 his grandfather, whom he idolized in many ways, died. The event moved him to leave West Virginia to pursue a career in the tech industry, and he settled in the Washington, DC area as a web designer and graphic artist. As a result his writing was put aside and not revisited until five years later. In 2006 he met his current fiancee, who urged him to pick up his writing once more. Though the process was very frustrating at first, in time the process of polishing and experimentation yielded the core of what would become his first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star. In 2009 the first draft of book was finished, though it would be 2011 until he would be satisfied enough with the book to release it.

His work is extensively character-driven, but also focuses on building engaging worlds in which those characters interact. His influences include H.P. Lovecraft, William Gibson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip K. Dick, and Clark Ashton Smith.

Website: http://michael-shean.com/.

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Giveaway: Sept. 21-25, Robert Dunbar’s “MARTYRS & MONSTERS” is Free at Amazon!

The Autumnal Equinox is Saturday, September 22nd.
Celebrate the season of the witch with a free Kindle download of Robert Dunbar’s
“MARTYRS & MONSTERS.”
Horror and Suspense, Science Fiction and Fantasy — a collection of dangerously dark fiction for adults … by the author of THE PINES, THE SHORE and WILLY.

THE PRESS about

MARTYRS & MONSTERS by Robert Dunbar

 

“Completely and utterly engrossing.”

Lambda Literary Foundation

 

“A masterpiece.”

Dark Scribe Magazine

 

“Not a book to read lightly.”

RAINBOW REVIEWS

 

“Brilliantly chilling … searingly erotic.”

The Edge

 

“Substantial amounts of panache and poetic insight.”

Cemetery Dance Magazine

 

“Provocative … vivid and visceral.”

GUD Magazine

 

“Never less than brilliant.”

The Black Abyss

 

“Hauntingly sensual … with a razor’s edge of eroticism.”

Hell Notes

 

 

Love hurts. Explore your darkness.

Find out more about this title and other releases from Uninvited Books at www.UninvitedBooks.com

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The Aberration by Bard Constantine

Review: From the opening scenes, it was clear the author of „The Aberration“ had a powerful vision and direction in which he wished the story to move, and he kept on pace throughout. The tension quickly builds as Guy Mann and a group of co-workers are trapped in the mill factory with the creatures described as “the Others” eagerly awaiting any opportunity to breach the locked security doors.  One moment’s weakness, and those creatures flow inside and the battle for survival begins.

For Guy, however, it is just another outbreak of the phenomenon called The Aberration, which he has been fighting throughout the ages of mankind. We are provided flashbacks into those past times when denizens from the “other side” have broken through to our world, and the type of bizarre, supernatural and/or bestial transformations they can take. Additionally, we are offered brief sketches of some of the people who fought alongside Guy, who were also mysteriously recruited to combat the shifting deadly creatures.

I found the writing quite stylish and distinct, though often I wished for less descriptive details for general things so such phrasing would be more outstanding for the dramatic, horrific parts of the story, of which there were plenty. The problems I had with the work overall were some editing issues, clarity in POV and conflicting or inaccurate descriptions. Sword-fighting and usage is a long-time interest of mine, for example, so naturally that caught my eye.

It’s often important for me to have empathy with or form some kind of connection to the main character, and admittedly I never developed that for Guy Mann, but that took nothing away from the story itself which is fast moving, packed with action and inspires you to imagine the terrible Others as well as what you might do if trapped in such a situation. I felt “The Aberration” could have used some revision in certain areas, but for the most part, I enjoyed this work of quite imaginative horror and feel the author will only continue to gain in ability and skill.

Update: The author has completed revisions to this work since my review was complete. I think its an excellent example of how writers, of which I am one (and have to make such revisions myself believe me), continue to add to the professionalism and growth of independently produced writing that as Mark Coker, the creator of Smashwords, states “can be as good or better than traditionally published book.”

Description: “When a freak storm engulfs a flourmill, the workers learn quickly that there is much more to fear than just heavy rain.

Something else arrives with the storm –macabre creatures that alter their shapes and features with every attack. In order to survive the night, the employees will have to rely on a man whose sanity is questionable. For he claims to have faced the same attacks before, over ages of time. He calls it an Aberration. A doorway that opens to a realm of nameless evils. What lies beyond wants to smother our world in darkness and perverse terror. It grows stronger with every passing moment, and all that stands between it and our world are the workers trapped in the building. Each person will be pushed to the very precipice of madness as reality distorts and the bizarre beings mount their attack. In the end, survival may not be enough to survive the Aberration…

The Aberration is a tale of mounting horror that will leave readers guessing until the very end. Author Bard Constantine blends creature feature horror with psychological terror, creating a story that both haunts and satisfies fans of both.

Prey that you survive the experience…”

  • Paperback, 157 pages, and in e-book
  • Published March 6th 2012 by Knightvision, Ltd (first published March 2nd 2012)
  • ISBN: 1470173913
  • Genre: Horror, Supernatural Fantasy, Dark Fiction
  • Availability: Smashwords, Amazon and other online distributors
  • Source: Author at The LL Book Reviews

Author Profile:

Bard Constantine writes far-flung fantasy, dystopian futures, and gritty YA among other things.

With his widening audience and steadily growing body of work, he is certainly a writer to look out for. Catch up with all his upcoming projects at his personal website: http://bardconstantine.com.

Bard Constantine
Non omnis moriar…

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