Book Reviews Fiction Horror

THE SUMMER I DIED by Ryan C. Thomas

The cult slasher novel is back in this all new edition which features the original text as it was meant to be published! Dubbed one of “The Most Intense Horror Novels” ever written by many horror review sites, The Summer I Died is the first book in the Roger Huntington saga.

When Roger Huntington comes home from college for the summer and is met by his best friend, Tooth, he knows they’re going to have a good time. A summer full of beer, comic books, movies, laughs, and maybe even girls. The sun is high and the sky is clear as Roger and Tooth set out to shoot beer cans at Bobcat Mountain. Just two friends catching up on lost time, two friends thinking about their futures. . . two friends suddenly thrust into the middle of a nightmare. Forced to fight for their life against a sadistic killer with an arsenal of razor sharp blades and a hungry dog by his side. If they are to survive, they must decide: are heroes born, or are they made? Or is something more powerful happening to them? And more importantly, how do you survive when all roads lead to death?

The description sets this one up pretty well, and there isn’t a whole lot I can get into without spoiling the story. I’ll touch on what I can, but be warned…
Roger is home from college, spending time with his life-long best friend, Tooth, and both of their families. We bond with the characters without it feeling too padded or fluffed up. We get to read about a couple events that helped shape them, and their friendship, into what it is today. I think that bond is important, because without feeling how close they are – some things wouldn’t be *quite* as disturbing.
Their lives are beginning to go in different directions, so this is an important time for them. We’ve all had friendships deteriorate, slowly dwindle away until the person becomes just another unused entry in your cell phone. This is the summer that separates those two phases of friendship.
They head up to their ‘spot’ on Bobcat Mountain, the place where so many important childhood memories were made, to hang out, chill, and do some target shooting with Tooth’s guns. They hear what sounds like a woman screaming. They try to attribute the screams to anything else – anything other than what it is, it IS Bobcat Mountain! The screams form into ‘helpmehelpmehelpme‘, but from their vantage point, it is almost impossible to tell where the screams are coming from. Tooth wants to go search for the source, but Roger is hesitant. After some convincing, Roger relents, Tooth re-loads his gun, and they head off on foot. They hike further and further away from their car in search of the noises origin, until they finally see a house in the distance. What they find is something worse than they’ve ever imagined, even they’re late-night horror movie marathons couldn’t have prepared them for this!

I think I’ve ended that sufficiently, piqued your interest enough to have to read this story. DON’T RUIN IT!

**********SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!!**********
The first thing they see are the Rottweilers, random holes dug in the yard, and bloody paw prints on the back storm door. As they’re contemplating those prints, two people come busting out, a naked, bloody, and gagged woman followed closely by a mad-man with an axe, running straight towards them.
Roger and Tooth end up chained in the basement, with the body of the (almost dead) woman on the floor near their feet. The man with the axe, well, to be fair… the ax is now in the woman’s skull, so… The man that has them captive proceeds to torture the boys in such graphic & horrific detail, down to the smells, that you feel like you’re in that basement with them.
The depravity shown in this book is kept from being mere ‘torture porn’ by the characters. The pain they feel from seeing what happens to each-other is almost as bad as the pain inflicted on them. The game that the man plays as he’s choosing who to hurt, and how to do it, is maddening. A pair of dice that was taken from Rogers pocket is what chooses the recipient of each round of torment. A game of chance. If you were in that situation… what would you hope for? ‘Please don’t hurt me anymore’ is essentially wishing that your best friend gets hurt.
Now, when you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse for these two, the author throws a twist in that takes things to a whole new level. It goes from a level of physical violence that is hard to handle, to a level of mental torture that tries to split your mind in half. The switch from witnessing the torture to having to imagine what is happening in the next room – just by listening to the tools & screams of someone you love – is painful. The author describes things in such excruciating detail, you’ll remember this story forever. Even though I’ve warned of spoilers, I’m not giving away the end.

BORN TO BLEED – The Sequel

Born to Bleed is the exciting sequel to the cult classic, The Summer I Died! It’s been ten years since Roger Huntington suffered through the bloody events in Skinny Man’s basement. Ten years since the game of chance, the dismemberment, the torture, and the grisly deaths. Roger has moved to California where he now works as a painter and pines after his co-worker, Victoria. It’s a seemingly bland life, which is how he likes it. But just as he can’t forget his past, he is about to discover that his future may hold far more terrifying events than anything he could possibly imagine.

The official home page of Ryan C. Thomas
Visit his Amazon author page

If I don’t get BORN TO BLEED soon, I have SCRAPS AND CHUM queued up and ready to read, so watch for my discussions on both!!
P, L, & N

Book Reviews Fiction Horror Short Story

SHORTS by Matt Shaw

A collection of short stories from the twisted mind of Matt Shaw

Please be aware that whilst ‘Insomnia’ and ‘I Lay Still’ are brand new stories – ‘The Review’, ‘The Food Critic’ (Parts one and two) and ‘The Mystery Shopper’ are from the now deleted title “Reviews, Critics and Mystery Shoppers”

A collection of short stories from the twisted mind of Matt Shaw

THE REVIEW is a story about an author, Alan Daleton, who is trying to cope with a ‘one star’ review that someone left on Amazon. This review, along with a few snarky comments made my some guy named “Matt Shaw”, is really starting to bother Alan. He can’t let this go, so he decides to take this reviewer up on his ‘challenge’. By the time he is through, Matt is wishing he’d kept his narrow minded opinion to himself!
This story had me all giggly, then the moment of OMFG! No effing way!! And I wanted to call someone & talk about it… but it was brand new..only released mere hours before I started reading. I couldn’t stand it! So, I emailed Matt. Got my initial reaction out of my system. Now…Dear Reader… I’m just waiting on you. Hurry up, already! I wanna talk!

Jamie Mitchell, THE FOOD CRITIC, used to be a chef at one of the city’s greatest restaurants. The stress of his job was getting to him, bad for his nerves and his mind, so a career change was in order. Now, for his health, he’s on the other side of the table – eating and reviewing the meals, instead of preparing them. You can tell by the size of his ever increasing belly that he loves what he does.
He’s been seeing some great reviews for this new place, and he cannot wait to try it out for himself. The restaurant itself is nothing to write home about, so he is betting that the food must be to die for. It has to be, for people to forget about the state of the dining area. Things are not off to a good start, though. He’s had to wait ages to place his order, his waitress is a little bitchy, and his water is room temperature. Let’s hope things get better..
We’ll find out about his dining pleasure in part two…


Does your work ever test you by sending in Secret Shoppers? We have a promotion going on right now, from the Coca-Cola people as well as my employers. We had someone come in just two days ago, asking some odd questions. Thankfully, Nikki was helping him. She answered all his annoying questions correctly, and with a smile. The Coke people gave her a $25.00 gift card, they gave the shift manager a$50.00 gift card (for training her properly, I guess), and they also gave everyone working that shift a code to download free music. That’s a lot of stuff for a ten dollar order! I wonder what the Secret Shopper got.
The Secret Shopper in this story, well… The Mystery Shopper, is Tom Peterson. He apparently doesn’t make enough from the companies that send him out, because he found an inventive way to supplement his income. If the people he ‘tests’ don’t score so well in his reports, then Tom might be persuaded to fudge his report. He has found that most employees don’t want their bosses to know what kind of piss poor service they provide. One poor guy took it so hard… well, why don’t you get to reading the story, instead of this review.
Make sure you let Matt know that I’m doing a good job…


When we left Jamie, he had just gotten his pitcher of warm drinking water, and ordered his meal. Let’s see if his dining experience has gotten any better, shall we?
He is seated next to Matt and Alan – who are there celebrating the simultaneous release of their books. They’re not to excited to join in any conversation with Jamie, who is seated in the corner, being fat. The stage is set… on to the end of our story…

Jamie is brought his main dish, his stew, and he thinks it looks perfect. Beautiful veggies, perfect hunks of meat, and it smells divine! He devoured it quickly, tasting as perfect as it looked. His dining experience had improved dramatically, and he tells the waitress. She shows concern, finally, that his experience wasn’t favorable from Jump Street, and asks Jamie if he would like to speak to the owner, her father. Which he does. He has a very interesting conversation with the owner, and gets a tour of the entire restaurant. He also gets to find out why the reviews for this place are to die for.


He wakes up, sore & fuzzy headed. Trying to shake it off, to figure out where he is and why.
Faces coming into view above him. Talking. OK… he realizes he’s in the hospital, his family & friends surrounding him.
They’re acting kind of strange. He had wrecked the car driving drunk, they should me madder than this. Lie here in bed with him, as he tries to figure out why everyone is acting so odd.


This is the Matt Shaw take on Alfred Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW. In this story, the main character has insomnia (hence the story’s title), which is why he sits up nights watching out the window. Some interesting things to be seen, when people don’t realize that they’re being watched! Even more interesting things to be seen when people suspect they’re being watched… or just don’t care.
A story of voyeurism, exhibitionism, and intrigue.


Hands down, THE REVIEW was my favorite SS in this collection.
But, it would be hard to rate the rest in order! But… INSOMNIA does stand out, because… I finally made it into one of Matt’s stories!! All that time of hinting, pestering, begging, bribing, stalking & threatening finally paid off! I must say, I made out pretty easy, considering the conversation I had with eee brother and his mum! I thought I would be tortured slowly for that.

I made it! I’m a somebody!

Mandy Hartley got a shout out in the book, too.
If there were others, I missed the references…Sorry.

I LAY STILL, the other new one in this collection, is really good, too. I hate to admit this, but, when I read it the first time… I didn’t get the very end correctly. In my defense, I first read it while on break at work. When I re-read it… I had one of those *face-palm* moments, and when I realized where we just went… it became much cooler!

So, even if you’ve already read the first few stories, you need to pick this up to read the 2 new ones! If you’d like a personal autograph from me right on the INSOMNIA title page, private message me… I’m sure we can come to a monetary agreement! Hahaha!
Since we’re on the subject, don’t forget that you can get Matt to AuthorGraph many of his titles to you personally!

Since I’m plugging… have you read my interview – LOW TEA WITH MATT SHAW?

Anthologies Book Reviews Fiction Horror


Fables For The Sick And Twisted
by Jeremiah Cress


This review was originally posted on 4/02/13

Scoop up your own copy of 7S³ for FREE on Amazon! Then pop over to his author page and tell him we’re waiting for more…

WARNING: Stories contain scenes of violence that may shock or disturb some readers.

With a mixture of dark humor and creepy storytelling, this collection of bloody and disturbing tales is both entertaining and downright chilling. Each story, with its creepy tone and terrifying set of events, exposes a real and terrifying fact; that no one is ever safe.


• Right now, she’s being hunted. It all happened so fast! One minute, she’s celebrating at her annual birthday party with her besties, some drinks, some laughs… good tiimes. A minute later- she’s hiding from the man who destroyed everything, and left pieces of her friends in his wake! This ss is tense & uncomfortable. I’m kinda pissed at Katy Perry, too.

• Do you realize just how much personal information you put online? For this stalker, social media has made finding his prey almost effortless. This story will make you think about deleting your entire networking persona!

“If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. “
Having to surpress your deepest desires, for [lietrally] as long as you can remember, is not only futile – but it’s also dangerous. When that dam bursts open & the first drop of blood trickles out … nothing will be able to stop the impending tidal wave that is to come.
This one gives a whole new visual to the phrase ‘hold your tongue’! :p

• Waking up bound & gagged in an unfamiliar place, with no memory of how she ended up here… Janice is terrified. Once she calms down, she realizes that the reason it’s hard to breathe is because of the duct tape on her mouth. And, she cannot see because her eyes have been sealed shut. How long do you fight against your restraints, how much pain do you put yourself through, how much silence can you take before you give up? Just give in & accept your fate?

• Keeping a journal is therapeutic, I’ve had one readily available for as long as I can remember – even if my most recent entries have been sporadic, at best. Serial killers need an outlet, too. That’s what this short story is about. Short, but to the point. It has a particularly gruesome murder detailed within its pages, too

• Haven’t finished this story yet – but had to stop to say OHMIGAWD!!! Wait till you see!!!
Ok. I finished … I could have waited, it was only a little more – but… on the Kindle, you’re never really sure. I can’t say too much. I’ll just stick with what everyone tells me. “Smoking is going to kill you.” AbFab story! Please comment – I want to talk ♥

• You’ve heard me say it before – (‘Holiday Horror’ anthologies & Genital Grinder reviews etc.), I love when the shorts give a little nod to each other. Especially if they’re from different authors. This is the same author, but – this final story, ZEN, ties together with the first story, HIDE & SEEK. So so good. It gives the whole collection a nice feel of closure. This time around, told from the killers POV instead of the victims, we get a little deeper into the story… the birthday party, the friends, the killings!

I’m so pleased with this book. I loved each & every SS, and that’s pretty rare. With a lot of anthologies, you’ll get a couple really good ones, and a few ‘meh’ stories. (If you’re lucky – none of em suck). I wished they were longer, I just didn’t want to stop reading. The stories live up to the title! Slightly sadistic stories, written for the sick & twisted! I am going to go on Amazon right now to see what other work is available from Jeremiah Cress!

As always, leave comments – I can’t wait to see how you like it ♥ ~P, L &N~ sg

links: Goodreads, Amazon

Book Reviews Fiction Horror Series Short Story


Killers Anonymous by Rhonda Kachur
A free ebook download from

Killers Anonymous, by Rhonda Kachur, (aka Rhonny Reaper) is a fictional series of short e-stories that follow murderers, psychopaths, and serial killers on their road to recovery. In each volume, you will meet a new member of the support group as they tell their stories and share their personal struggles with the demons within.

Volume One introduces us to Bobby.
He learned to kill at a young age, it was one of the only ways he could be close with his father. The story takes you through the highlights of his murderous career, to the exact moment he decided that this wasn’t the way he wanted to live his life anymore.
This is the first in a series that I cannot wait for more of!
There are so many possibilities, the only limit being the authors imagination. Personally, I’m hoping for the series to cover at least five different serial killers, culminating in a final novel length story – incorporating each killer highlighted in the series.

Visit Rhonda on her Rhonny Reaper Blog

Find & Friend her on Facebook

And, be sure to check out the other amazing authors, and their work, at Zilyon Publishing

Book Reviews Fiction Horror


By Matt Shaw
Possible spoiler alert for part one.
Don’t read this if you haven’t read THE CABIN.
You know I always try my hardest to not give anything away – but, I’m warning you JUST IN CASE.

We start this story right where we left off in part one,
in the cabin with Craig.
It’s morning.
He’s hoping it’s over.
Praying it’s over.
Ghosts only show up at night, right?
He hears the footsteps on the front porch again – coming right for the front door!
Not again. He won’t be tormented like this! No more!
He raises the gun…

While being evaluated for his competency hearing, we’re with Craig as he is trying to put the pieces together for himself, in the very asylum that led to his decent into madness. Leaving his padded cell only to endure the torments & questionable treatments from the staff, Craig isn’t sure if he is getting better or losing his mind all together. As he searches for answers, will he discover the key to his freedom or the one that will lock him in forever?

Book Reviews Fiction Horror Short Story


By Alan Gandy
Did you ever wonder about Dracula’s childhood? His parents? Do you think you know how he became Vampire, better yet – do you think you know how any Vampire came to be?

The Fable of Dracula & Lulu is a ‘children’s book for adults’, that takes us on the journey of how a sad & lonely little boy became the infamous blood sucker we know today. Alan Gandy has rewritten Dracula’s history, good vs evil, Heaven vs Hell, and even Epic Battles have rules!

It’s greatly written, beautifully illustrated, and includes an afterward from the author that show how much time, effort, and research went into this book.

I really enjoyed this story, and it has me thinking about the childhood lives of other monsters! Was The Creature From The Black Lagoon bullied in school because of the way he looked? Did the Warewolf have to seek therapy because of body issues? What if The Mummy was claustrophobic? Do you think The Invisable Man got lonley?

Book Reviews Fiction Horror

THE CABIN By Matt Shaw

The Cabin
Matt Shaw

The Cabin

This is one of the scariest titles I’ve read from Matt Shaw. I could feel that something big was going to happen, and it had me on edge throughout the whole story. I have never jumped from a book, until ‘The Cabin’, and I was hesitant to get out of bed after I finished. I only wish I had ‘The Cabin: Asylum’ ready and waiting for me when I finished. Read this with the lights down low, your feet under the covers, and – trust me – close the curtains!

When Craig was a child, he used to travel to the cabin with his father, a writer, to get away from everything for a bit. These are some of his favorite memories. Now, all grown up and an author himself, he thinks that some time at the cabin is just what he needs to finish his newest book. Unfortunately, his wife, Susan, thinks some time at the cabin with the kids sounds like a perfect family vacation. Not much quiet time for writing now. With his publisher already pushing him about his deadline, and his peaceful getaway turned into an outing, Craig is already on edge. The traffic, whining kids, and smart ass comments from his wife, are pushing him closer every minute – and they’re just barely on the road to Brattleboro. He passes the time telling his family stories his father told him as a child. Tales of the local asylum, insane patients, and suicides, all setting the tone for their arrival. What they find when they get there is not the quaint and peaceful retreat they were expecting. Vandalism, locals, and something sinister await them. And then, the night comes…