From Matt Shaw – the author behind the black cover books – comes a terrifying story of lost love and mental illness. Expect twists and turns as he takes you on a dark journey into the depths of a broken mind.
“He understood why she did it. She had lost her own baby – one conceived by the unwanted advances of a sexual predator – and hated thinking of them out there in the cemetery, alone and cold. She had to bring them into the warm. She had to give them the life they’d otherwise never live. It was her mission. But with each new doll brought home, her yearning for a living child of her own continued to grow. Yes, he knew why she did it but – even so – he wasn’t able to stand by her and he knew she was going to get a lot worse before she got better. But how do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped? And how do you turn your back on your own sister?”
IDK what stopped me from reading this title earlier, (published February 2, 2016), but I’m happy that I finally did read it! DOLLS feels like one of Matt‘s older titles – it’s not a black cover, not an extreme extreme horror, and the story totally sucked me in. I was 100% invested in the story right from the beginning. Now, as embarrassing as this might be, I gotta tell ya… I didn’t see the ‘oh holy shit’ moment until about 5 words before it was revealed to us! I love that Matt can still do that after all these years, and all these books.
I’m trying to catch up on a lot of Matt‘s titles that I haven’t’ read and/or reviewed before now, so stay tuned for a couple more ‘not-too-extreme’ extreme story reviews, and for some with the buckets of blood & gore that I expect to be dumped on me very soon ::winks::
This is A SHORT STORY. It is intended for KU members who have been requesting short, sick, bedtime stories. As part of KU they are able to download this title for free. If you wish for a longer story to read, do not purchase any of the F*cked-Up Shorts titles. A good place to start would be The Black Cover Books (for lovers of extreme horror).
* What doesn’t kill you fucks you up mentally. *
The Funeral deals with grief, loss and redemption.
“You can expect twists & turns – be ready to feel a wide range of emotion.”
Never has a truer sentence been written.
Jason is a character that I can relate to.
He’s going through a bad time in his life right now. He is consumed with destructive thoughts, and wrestling with personal demons. Throughout the entire story I found myself laughing at one sentence, close to tears in the next sentence, and nodding my head in agreement at another.
Jason answers a late night phone call that gives him an ‘unexpected distraction’ from his self destructive thoughts, and it’s time for our second ride on that roller coaster!
It is so easy to see parts of myself in Jason, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will feel this way.
I often find myself wondering if parts of certain stories are based on real events in the author’s life. I did that a lot in this book, especially when Jason thought about moments of happiness that the he shared with his mom. (Matt – go hug your mom!) Not every memory is a great one, there are regrets – just like real life.
The ending was a very unexpected script twist! Trust me… this is one that you wont see coming.
*BONUS POINTS for the ‘failed gas oven suicide attempt’!!
(Depression + OCD = hilarity!)
*EVEN MORE BONUS POINTS for Jason’s reasons to pass on each method on the internet’s ‘top ten’ list.
Warning: This book contains – A sadistic mortician, demonic teddies, murderous sparrows, sentient robots, scenes of the apocalypse, feeders, lycanthropes, serial-killers, war, jealous housewives, cannibalism, creepy-ass neighbours, suicide, flesh-eating parasites, zombies, cowboys, mothmen, Nyogtha, Appalachian folklore, cancer, asteroids, invisible crocodiles, and voodoo. A collection of previously published and brand new macabre and weird tales from bestselling British author, Adam Millard.
Putting warning labels on books can be better than recommendations. (rawr!)
This anthology contains a wide variety of horrors told in 25 short stories. Some shorts are new to this collection, with additional shorts having been seen previously in different publications. (They were all new to me this time. Bonus.)
Cuddly & creepy stuffed animals, ancient legends re-imagined, and even some disturbing stories of love. In Can You Read That Asteroid from Here? I learned some important tips to follow if I ever get my interstellar drivers license, (‘lefty brakey, righty speedy.’) When I started reading Hair, I thought that Joy Killar had secretly gotten to Adam and had him write about the horrors of finding my stray hairs EVERYWHERE, and about them secretly plotting her imminent demise. But, it was a story about a serial killer who might have appreciated my shedding. Stories like Bug Boy, and 7:17 From Suicide Station didn’t hold back on the ‘bum me out’ vibes, but there were plenty of giggles to even things out. When Gladys confronted her husband about his mistress, her question was ‘What’s She Got That I Haven’t?’, you can imagine the multiple replies that could have fit. But, in the end, there was only one answer. If you’ve read Adam Millard before, you know to expect some dark humor peppered throughout his work. What surprised, (and delighted), me were the Easter Eggs hidden within. I love when authors slyly reference their other works, or revisit characters from other stories. I’m sure that if I had read more of the Adam’s work prior to reading this – I’d have found more. But, that just makes me look forward to reading this again in the future.
I can’t tell you, for sure, when I first got my hands on this. I can remember getting one of the first three ‘issues’, mailing away for it to some unknown P.O. Box after a buddy sent me info about it. He said, “Hey, you like fucked up shit, check out this (forgive me…) ‘zine!” It was perfect – full of dirt, grime, and grainy pictures. Jim & Debbie Goad were a pissed off couple who hated everything, except each-other, and I was obsessed. I got a letter some time later. Something personal was happening, so they were putting ANSWER ME! The First Three together in one issue, with a glossy cover and a bit of supplemental material, to raise some dough. I sent for it the same day! I’ve read this cover to cover HUNDREDS of times. The pages still leave ink stains on my fingers, it’s beat up and worn. I still sometimes worry about the person who finds it after I die… Serial killers, suicides, Dr. Kevorkian – (he was very much alive and in business when they called him. And since the good doctor was dealing death [practicality] right around the corner from me, it was that much cooler!). It still feels wrong, and dirty. I wouldn’t sell it for anything!
I always wanted ANSWER ME! Issue 4, the RAPE issue, and everything else advertised in the back of my copy. I never sent for anything after finding out that the ‘something personal’ that was going on came to a sad end. I didn’t know if address were changed, if people moved around, then it would slip my mind until the next time I picked it up again. I’m going to stop writing this now, so I can read up on what Jim Goad & Goad To Hell have posted on… Goodreads!? Really?! I’m smirking at this, but… hey – freaks of the world, UNITE! Why not there?
Cosette Hugo is living in a world of terror. She’s being stalked and tortured by a vicious enemy, while the world leaders turn a blind eye to the daily atrocities. You guessed it, Cosette is in high-school!
Cozy has been going through a lot of emotional turmoil – her parents have divorced, her brother Victor was killed shortly after returning home from Iraq, and on top of it all – she’s being bullied at school, but has no idea why. She just wants to get through this last week of school so she can enjoy her bully free winter break. Outside of school, the town is in a panic over the Poser Gang, who’s list of victims is growing at an alarming rate, and hitting closer to home than she is comfortable with. Like the title suggests, her emotions lead her to a very final decision… suicide. When Cosette makes the decision to end her life, she is worried about the people she’s leaving behind. Instead of leaving them with the questions, guilt, or shame that her suicide may bring, she believes that getting herself killed might be a better way to go. She chooses to try and become one of The Poser’s victims – but this decision brings out a darker side of her that she never knew existed. A side that excites and terrifies her at the same time.
(view spoiler)[Cosette Hugo’s nemisis is Hilda Dyson. Hilda sucks as much as the vacuum, she’s a rotten bitch – and she is Cozy’s Kriptonite. When Cozy stumbles onto the scene of a Poser attack in progress, something inside her rises up. Anger is drowning out the fear she should be feeling – she cannot let this continue while she stands by and does nothing! As she steps in, she is shocked to see that the victim is none other than Hilda Dyson! Hilda’s attacker is killed in the confrontation, and Cozy cannot be tied into this! Not in any way, shape or form! She makes sure there is nothing on scene that could expose any part of her involvement, makes sure Hilda gets help, then hauls ass. The idea of these guys in the Poser gang doing this to anyone else makes her blood boil, and this is how she decides to become their next victim. It would take the pain of her suicide off of her family & friends, and if she could take the gang down with her… bonus! Too bad nothing is ever as easy as we imagine. The problem? Each time she tries to make herself the victim, she ends up killing her attacker! This is where the book takes a wonderfully unexpected and dark turn. Each time Cozy tries to put herself in harm’s way with someone, it awakens something within her – a darker part of herself that enjoys inflicting pain on those who deserve it. She comes down off that high each time like she is sobering up from the effects of a drug. But, just like with a drug, that part of her that is sickened by her actions is quieted each time the high is presented again. During all this, Cosette is trying to live a normal life. She is trying to make her final days with her mom drama-free, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Her mom meets a new friend while on duty at the hospital as a nurse, you’ll see how that impacts their life. Cozy starts to spend more time with Chris during Winter Break, and they eventually become a couple. Chris has some secrets of his own & they begin a Bonnie and Clyde type relationship. There is one outing in particular that blew my mind! (An even darker side of Cozy is shown, and I hope that this will be a part of any future stories from Atty Eve in this series – In whatever direction the series will end up going.) Her dad and his new wife (and new life) are the cause of some emotional events after Christmas – Events that will strain the Father/Daughter dynamic. You’ll find out if their bonds are strong enough, or if they break completely. Her friends are around, too. All these things are included and make the story even better. It may sound like it adds up to a lot, but it ended before I was ready to leave their world! It’s very well balanced. I could keep going & going until I revealed every single detail of this – but then you wouldn’t read My Beautiful Suicide and I cannot let that happen! So, PLEASE, hurry up and read it so you can come back and talk about it with me!! (hide spoiler)]
I received an early copy of GIVING UP THE GHOST from Dan in February. Right when I started it, my dad died. I read it on the plane, going to the funeral. I know this might sound strange to most of you, but, this story helped me get through the next few days! I took much comfort in it. Odd place to find peace, in a horror novel, but I did! The story is excellent! I cried, I laughed out loud, I got angry… I fell in love with these characters.
Gerry Sheffield is a real piece of work. Can’t keep a job, can’t stay any sort of sober, and he has always relied on his parents to bail him out of the trouble he can’t seem to keep himself out of. A grown man who won’t take responsibility.
After a particularly nasty bender, and a run-in with his landlord, Gerry is calling his parents, again – not asking for help as much as demanding their help. After all, they are his parents. It’s their job to look out for their son.
His parents, Margo & Bill, are at the end of their rope.
They’d always tried to help their son. The college tuition that was wasted, the car repairs, the down payment on his now ex-wife’s house, everything. They’re out of patience, and they’re almost out of means. After 27 years, they decide – no more. Clean up your self, clean up your act, put on your big-boy pants & cowboy the fuck up.
The following morning, Gerry gets two checks.
One is for his rent & a thousand bucks for the month.
The second… a great big really check from his dad.
This is it. No more. Sink or swim.
Gerry actually makes a whole-hearted attempt, one last shot to make something of his life, to make his father proud! But, within a day, any chance of walking the straight & narrow is blown. He’s actually made things far worse!
Self righteousness mixed with self pity doesn’t make a good combination. So, once again convincing himself that his problems are all because of someone else, Gerry’s anger helps propel him into calling his parents, to blame Bill & Margo for every single thing that has ever gone wrong in his entire miserable existence. It is bad. He finally says the things that make his parents turn their backs, close their hearts and lock him out. He’s gone too far this time. Realizing what he has done, Gerry’ s hurt eventually gives itself over to hate. And, Gerry lands himself in jail. Again.
Read GIVING UP THE GHOST to find out how far Bill & Margo willing to go to get Gerry to change his ways.
After death, is there anything they won’t do?
GIVING UP THE GHOST by Dan Dillard will be available June 1’st