Welcome my bloody readers!  It’s getting cooler out and the days are getting shorter.  
Halloween is around the corner and just before that is Blood Fest 15.  Between those two events,
there needs to be some down time to curl up in a chair or bed and read some good books.  Well I
have two of them that fit the mood of the season.  The first is about a woman and daughter
looking for a simple life that gets complicated really quickly.  The second is a collection of stories
that will give you the chills.  So enjoy and Happy Halloween!
                                                                                                                                                           D.W. Jones

Kind Nepenthe by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
      When I was shown this book and read the synopsis, I was very curious
how this fit into the horror genre of the books we usually review.  It seemed
more like a drama/thriller.  Then I started reading it and it was a slow burn that
built up to a frenetic ending.  Brockmeyer does a great job with telling a story
that keeps you interested until the final words.
      The story is about Rebecca who moved with her daughter to a hippie re-
treat with her boyfriend Calendula, who shares her love of living off the land
naturally.  Unfortunately before they can live their dream, they need to grow
weed for Coyote to make enough money to buy their own land.  They live in an
abandoned camp site surrounded by a depressed area while they prepare the
crop to eventually sell.
      But since moving there, Rebecca’s daughter Megan hasn’t been the same,
acting strangely, talking to an imaginary friend and not the same happy kid be-
fore they moved.  Also Calendula has been more obsessed with the weed and withdrawing more and
more.  As time passes and things get harder, the strain of meeting deadlines from a demanding Coyote in
an isolated area starts taking its toll on Rebecca, Megan and Calendula.  Will it be too much where
something will give?
      Brockmeyer does a great job with taking an everyday issue of drugs, addiction, and isolation to push
the real horror of what it can do to normal people.  While there are supernatural elements to this story, the
real horror of this story shows the degradation of people put into a bad situation.  It sort of reminds me of
the movie ‘The Shinning.  The characters are intricate and fleshed out where you really care what happens
and hate the things they do.  The surrounding characters add to the surrounding feeling of hopelessness
and horrors of real life.  
      I recommend this book for those looking for a book in the vein of a ghost story with a slow burn until the
final pages where the action is revealed.   

Darker Daze – The Storms Within by A.L Mabry
      The collection of stories appealed to me right away, mainly because of
the title.  The second thing that caught my attention was Mabry’s introduction.  
I won’t give anything away but it sets up the feeling that is carried throughout
the collection that won’t quite leave you.  
      One of the stories that I liked is Beneath Salem.  It’s about a woman
named Moll accused of being a witch and sent to be burned at the stake.  
While at the stake, she recalls the events that lead up to the present events.  
This is a great story not for the twist or being scary but for the slow torturous
death and pain that the main character goes through to the end.  Mabry excel-
lent writing makes you feel in the moment and looking for a savior to release
Moll from her situation.  
      Another story I liked was Belladonna.  It’s a story about Peter who gets an
invitation to the auction of a lifetime.  A select few men are invited to a remote
place to bid on a woman rumored to be amongst the most beautiful and pleasing in the world.  But once he
arrives there nothing is what he thinks it is and he wonders if the price is worth it.  This story does a great
job with pulling you along to the end which is worth the wait.
      Mabry has done a great job with this collection of stories with a mixture of fantasy horror to real life
horror that will make your skin crawl.  Each have a touch of reality that tends to draw the reader in. The
collection has a variety of real quick reads and some longer more involved stories that makes it easy to
read.  I recommend this book for anyone who wants some spooky stories for a late night read.
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