Train of Blood by Richard Rumple

What can I say about Train of Blood by R.C. Rumple but WOW! I have read and enjoyed Rumple’s shorter works. Gabriella: Tales of a Demon Cat and the Deranged Minds, the collection he collaborated on with Charles Lynne, both excellent reads. But Train of Blood may be his best I have read to date.
No spoilers, but the story follows Grant, a wagon master leading what he hopes is his last wagon train west, and a rather large one at that. Wagon Trains were always perilous. If the wildlife didn’t get you, the natives would. Or maybe mother nature would take you or even the land itself. Now add paranormal beasties and all those dangers are shadowed by this new danger, yet still lurk about ready to show you that they would not be outdone. With all of these dangers on his mind, Grant is charged with getting these people to their homes and lives in one piece. Easier said, then done. Add to all of this the unrest of the travelers, the worry over dwindling supplies, and those who would lead a mutiny against him, and Grant had his hands full.
This was one wild and well-written ride of terror in the Old West that I promise you do not want to miss. Five stars, Mr. Rumple, on a job well done.

Better You Believe by Tony Evans

I first Tony Evans at Scarefest in 2019. We shared a table with authors Chris Miller and Richard Rumple. Tony is a down to earth guy with a great sense of humor. The type of person you make friends with instantly. We made a book swap, one copy of my novel THEM for a copy of his collection of short stories BETTER YOU BELIEVE. And I must say, I was far from disappointed. Tony has compiled a collection of scary tales he had heard growing up from others or were passed down to him. Putting his own talented spin on each, and leaving notes of origin after each story he penned, Evans has showcased his ability to tell one hell of a creepy story. These are the kind of stories that will make you jump at shadows and question every little noise you hear after the sun goes down and the lights go out. I promise you will be checking under your bed and in your closet after reading this masterful collection of the macabre. So, go on, pick up a copy, and dive in. If you like a more traditional spooky yarn, one pulled from the folklore of our ancestors, the kind you may have heard from your grandparents, you are going to love Better You Believe by Tony Evans.

Deranged Minds by Richard Rumple and Charles Lynne

Review for Deranged Minds
By R.C. Rumple and Charles Lynne
First, I would like to say that I am familiar with Rumple’s work and have always enjoyed his prose. After reading Gabriela: Tales from a Demon Cat, I was more than a little intrigued by his talent. Reading through Deranged Minds, and the title is quite on the money, I was able to get a feel of Charles Lynne’s prose. Both of these men have an exceptional imagination and I was not left wondering what the hell I had just read, but with a depraved satisfaction of each tale consumed. There is a lot of Karma in these pages for you to feast upon, with those getting their just desserts in some of the most gruesome and chilling ways. Overall, this is a great collection of tales for any avid fan of horror. You will find a little suspense, a little gore, some paranormal gems, and a completely new reason to sleep with the lights on. Do not pass this one up horror fans.
5 Stars
James Watts
Author of THEM.

The Hodges Trilogy

Before I get into this review, I need to explain how I view King novels. Or how I manage to never be truly disappointed. For one, I never enter into a King novel expecting a clone of “THE STAND” or “‘SALEM’S LOT”. I never have any expectations at all of it reading as any of his previous works. True there are some I like more than others, but that could be the same with any author. And I never look at it like, this is not good as his classic works. As an author grows, their style will grow and adjust with them.
With the Bill Hodges trilogy, and that is apt as the story basically is about Bill, there was no classic King-feel to me at all, but still very well-written and enjoyable. Granted there was a hint of the King of yore scattered here and there, but this had its own unique feel. You follow Bill, Holly, and Jerome through 3 volumes of suspense with a peppering of sci-fi at the end.
Without spoiling this, retired police detective Kermit William Hodges is contacted by the person responsible for mass deaths and injuries from his last case. The weapon was a Mercedes, the dead and injured a group of people gathered for a job fair. This leads to, not an obsession, but rather a determination to stop his adversary that leads through three books. Although the second book is a story of a different kind of crook Bill must takedown, it sets up book three with the original villain ready to enter stage left.
Would I recommend the Hodges trilogy? I sure as hell would. It is King doing what he does best. Tell a character driven story that will not bore you. You may have a few leaking eyes toward the end, though.

Poisonous by Tommy B. Smith

The idea for this story is awesome, and the character Lilac devious, yet conflicted. Considering her origins, it is not hard to see why. My only issues with the story were the pacing and POV hopping. While the author did a wonderful job, it felt rushed and there was no time to really understand the full nature of the pain and other issues weighing on the characters. Smith is a very talented writer, you can see his gift in his prose, but this book I believe would have benefited from about another hundred or more pages. Enough to let Smith’s skills shine.
The other, the POV hopping. While in some instances head-hopping in the same scene without a scene break can work, as long as it is light. Generally, a scene where something major is being witnessed in different places. Otherwise, it can get confusing.
Overall, I found this a fun read with an interesting plot and would to see what Mr. Smith can do when he really hammers down. I will be following his work to what else he has lined up for us.

Gabriela: Tales From A Demon Cat by R.C. Rumple

Way to nail it Mr. Rumple! This probably one of the best collections I have read in awhile. Being a cat person, I thought this to be handled in just the right fashion and Gabriella to be the perfect feline storyteller. Well written with each tale carrying a different feel and holding its own charm, I was curious to see where the author would take me. Some were a bit of suspense, while all were creepy little nightmares that had me reliving my childhood on stormy nights reading by candlelight or a handy flashlight if we had lost power. 
      Mr. Rumple has a classic style to his prose that I enjoyed and was refreshed to see. Not dated, mind you, but classic.  The kind of tales that always piqued my curiosity. The kind of tales that at times had me peeking from under my blankets with one eye if a tree branch slapped the side of the house while I was sleeping. Among my favorites in this collection are Snake, Rattle, and Role; Help Me; Big Feet Minus expensive Shoes; and Text Me. 
     While not every story in this collection is horror, exactly, which the majority does fit that bill, they all have a certain level of dark and creepy to any reader of the macabre entertained. I advise you not to pass this one up. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on this gem.

A Murder Of Saints by Chris Miller

In the town of Longview, a secret is kept. A secret that would split the church if ever its sickening deeds came to light. And from those deeds, the actions that would follow, a monster is born.
Chris Miller has penned an amazing, fast-paced story that will have you turning pages faster than your fingers can move. A Murder of Saints is part revenge, part darkness versus light. It truly does give the reader a lesser of two evils choice. 
Charlton Fields(little Charlie) lost everything with the death of his sister, all to those under the guise of saints. Police detective Harry Fletcher lost his faith due to the mess that caused the death of Sophie Fields. The chain of events set forth by one sick, twisted man gives way one of the most disturbing vengeance tales I have read in a very long time. And Miller hit his mark perfectly. Strong characterization, dialogue, imagery, he nails it, keeping the suspense high and the mind wondering how this rollercoaster ride from hell will end. He has also highlighted, quite well, the evils that lurk in those we seek guidance from, those that we put our trust into, reminding us that nothing is at it seems, and that is always going to be wolves in sheep’s clothing preying on us. And that there will always be someone behind them sweeping their crumbs under the rug. 
Certain times while reading this novel, I felt how Harry felt and could see where Charlton was coming from, even if it was a little insane. Miller crafted the story so well, that it was difficult not too. All the pain and heartache of the characters was well written and gave this story life. And there is a lesson to be learned and wisdom to be gained, but I’d rather all of you to read it to what I am babbling about. 
Overall, this was a terrific read and I look forward to reading all of Chris Miller’s work. 

Woolgathering by R.E. Wood

I generally do not read collections, as novels always draw me in more. There is, however, those rare exceptions that prove their worth and present you with just as satisfying a reading experience as any novel out there. Woolgathering by R.E. Wood is one of those experiences. Although I will say this collection is not strictly horror as some of the stories are more suspense and paranormal. Each tale is a page-turner, daring you to walk away. The prose is spot on and is penned with us readers in mind. I personally enjoyed how the majority of the stories deal with a touch of karma. or that is how I see it. Woolgathering is an excellent read that I recommend to anyone.

The Order by Richard Raven

A thought-provoking collection of human and inhuman horrors delving into mortal madness and paranormal malignance.

The Order by Richard raven is a well-written collection of stories that will have you reading late into the night and jumping at shadows. With a skilled hand and powerful imagination, Richard has given us a look at human depravity, obsession, redemption, karma, and the deeply rooted evil that stalks us all, inside and out. Each of these stories, for me, had an inner meaning, some moral hidden beneath the horror. I felt like I was able to take away something from each tale, something that made me think. This is due to the gift of writing, for creating, that Richard Raven has, the way he weaves his stories together, the way he brings his characters to life. You know these people, you feel for them, you want to reach out for them to take your hand and pull them from their plight. Vivid imagery, realistic dialogue, unrelenting horror, The Order delivers without hesitation. One thing I loved was that with each story, I was unable to stop midway before finishing one and moving on to another; the pull was that strong. Each of these shorts could be expanded into longer works, but are amazing as they are. I am looking forward to reading more work from the author in the future.

Frostbite by Dave Jefferies

What can I say about Frostbite by Dave Jefferies other than it was a good read? Well, I can tell you that and more, but not so much as to spoil the book for future readers. I can say it was also a unique read, the unique being the twist on the traditional bigfoot/Yeti tale.
The story starts with the mysterious and beautiful Grace Appleby as she visits the S’OAK pub searching for ex-black ops commander Grant Hastings. Grant, after speaking with Grace’s father, accepts the job of locating a missing person very close to the professor and rounds up his old unit for one last mission in Nepal. Things quickly turn sour for Grant and his comrades once reaching their destination, betrayal rears its ugly head as mystic beings, and otherworldly happenings begin to intervene in this turbulent rescue mission. To tell you any more would spoil the tale Mr. Jeffery has given us and deprive you of such well-honed writing.
I found the twist in this tale refreshing and found Jeffery’s writing to be solid. If you enjoy stories with about Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman, with an unpredictable ending that leaves the story open for more adventure to come, I suggest you pick up a copy of Frostbite. You will not be disappointed.