Upcoming: BURN THE NEGATIVE by Josh Winning (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)

WinningJ-BurnTheNegativeUSHCNext year, G. P. Putnam’s Sons are due to publish the second novel by Josh Winning: Burn the Negative. I haven’t got around to reading the author’s first novel, yet (The Shadow Glass), but his new novel sounds really interesting. Long-time readers will know that I enjoy novels that are about or linked to Hollywood and the entertainment industries, and Burn the Negative looks like it’s going to be a pretty cool mash-up of Hollywood and slasher-movie style horror/suspense. Here’s the synopsis:

Thirty years hiding from her past.
Eight deaths still unexplained.
One haunted horror film.
Nowhere left to run.

Journalist Laura Warren is mid-flight to LA when she learns that the streaming series she’s about to report on is a remake of a ‘90s horror flick. A cursed ’90s horror flick. The one she starred in—and has been running from her whole life.

As a child star, Laura was cast as the lead in The Guesthouse. She played Tammy Manners, the little girl with the terrifying gift to tell people how the Needle Man would kill them. But her big break was her last, as eight of her cast and crew mates died in mysterious ways, and the film became infamous—a cult classic of fictional horror that somehow summoned the real thing. Hoping to move on, Laura changed her name and her accent, dyed her hair, and moved across the Atlantic Ocean.

But some scripts don’t want to stay buried.

After landing, Laura finds a yellow dress like the one she wore in the movie. Then the words “She’s here” scratched into the wall in an actor’s trailer. And then people working on the series start dying. It’s all happening again, and Laura finds herself on the run with her sister and a jaded psychic, hoping to find answers—and to stay out of the Needle Man’s lethal reach.

An homage to slasher films with a fresh take on the true price of fame, Burn the Negative is a twisty thriller best read with the lights on.

Really looking forward to giving this a try. Josh Winning’s Burn the Negative is due to be published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in North America and in the UK, on July 11th, 2023.

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Excerpt: THE HOLLOWS by Daniel Church (Angry Robot Books)

ChurchD-Hollows“Folk horror meets ancient gods in a remote snowbound Peak District town where several murders take place.” Today, we have an excerpt from Daniel Church‘s The Hollows, which was published this week by Angry Robot Books. Here’s the synopsis:

In a lonely village in the Peak District, during the onset of a once-in-a-lifetime snow storm, Constable Ellie Cheetham finds a body. The man, a local ne’er-do-well, appears to have died in a tragic accident: he drank too much and froze to death.

But the facts don’t add up: the dead man is clutching a knife in one hand, and there’s evidence he was hiding from someone. Someone who watched him die. Stranger still, an odd mark has been drawn onto a stone beside his body.

The next victims are two families on the outskirts of town. As the storm rises and the body count grows, Ellie realises she has a terrifying problem on her hands: someone – or some thing – is killing indiscriminately, attacking in the darkness and using the storm for cover.

The killer is circling ever closer to the village. The storm’s getting worse… and the power’s just gone out.

The excerpt is taken from the middle of the novel, when the action really starts to get going…

Continue reading

Excerpt: LUTE by Jennifer Thorne (Tor Nightfire)

ThorneJ-LuteToday, we have an excerpt from Jennifer Thorne‘s Lute, a folk horror novel that has been described as “Wicker Man meets Final Destination“. Check out the synopsis:

On the idyllic island of Lute, every seventh summer, seven people die. No more, no less.

Lute and its inhabitants are blessed, year after year, with good weather, good health, and good fortune. They live a happy, superior life, untouched by the war that rages all around them. So it’s only fair that every seven years, on the day of the tithe, the island’s gift is honored.

Nina Treadway is new to The Day. A Florida girl by birth, she became a Lady through her marriage to Lord Treadway, whose family has long protected the island. Nina’s heard about The Day, of course. Heard about the horrific tragedies, the lives lost, but she doesn’t believe in it. It’s all superstitious nonsense. Stories told to keep newcomers at bay and youngsters in line.

Then The Day begins. And it’s a day of nightmares, of grief, of reckoning. But it is also a day of community. Of survival and strength. Of love, at its most pure and untamed. When The Day ends, Nina—and Lute—will never be the same.

Now, on to the excerpt, which is taken from the second chapter in the book…

Continue reading

Guest Post: “Only the Lonely: Isolation in Horror” by Dan Coxon

CoxonD-IsolationAnthology“I’d left her out here all alone, with nothing but the snow and the night that closes in too soon. How could anyone live so remotely without it creeping into them – the cold, endless blue dark?”

That’s taken from ‘The Snow Child’, Alison Littlewood’s story which opens my latest anthology, Isolation: The Horror Anthology. There’s good reason why I placed it first in the book. When I originally came up with the idea of isolation as a unifying theme for an anthology, this was the kind of story I was expecting. Frozen wastes, distant towns, the cold, and the dark, the effects that has upon the mind… That was the horror of Isolation. Continue reading

Books on Film: INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice (AMC)

It’s been in the works for what feels like years, but the first trailer for the new TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s classic Interview with the Vampire was released during San Diego Comic-Con. The original movie adaptation — starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, and — has long been a favourite of mine, as have the novels (I’ve read all of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles novels, multiple times). The trailer for this new TV adaptation certainly grabbed my attention and has made me rather more eager to see the show. (I like that the voiceover channels, ever-so-slightly, Pitt’s delivery in the original movie adaptation.)

The new adaptation stars Jacob Anderson as “Louis de Pointe du Lac” (you may recognize him as Gray Worm from Game of Thrones), Sam Reid as “Lestat de Lioncourt”, Bailey Bass as “Claudia”, and Eric Bogosian as “Daniel Malloy” (the interviewer — played by Christian Slater in the movie adaptation).

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life — the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly sensual, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force — a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.

The first episode of Interview with the Vampire airs on October 2nd, on AMC in the United States (not sure about other countries, yet).

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire is out now, published by Ballantine Books in North America and Sphere in the UK.

Interview with the Vampire IMDb, Twitter
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InterviewWithTheVampire-AMCPoster

Annotated Excerpt: THE CITY OF DUSK by Tara Sim (Orbit/Hodder)

SimR-CityOfDuskWriting books is so weird.

Ever since I was fifteen I knew for sure that I wanted to be an author. Back then, writing books was so much fun. I got to let my imagination loose, play around with (aka torture) characters, and make up entirely new worlds. There were no deadlines, no pressures, no expectations — just the joy of creation.

Although writing is still fun, I find that it gets harder and harder. So naturally, I like to challenge myself with each new book.

The City of Dusk was certainly challenging. It’s my most ambitious book/series to date: four separate realms, four magic systems, seven POVs. Somehow, it all came together in the end, but the journey was arduous and spirit-shattering. Continue reading

Quick Review: SIREN QUEEN by Nghi Vo (Tor.com)

VoN-SirenQueenThe magic and horror of movie-making…

It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic.

“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill — but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.

But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes — even if that means becoming the monster herself.

Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.

“The magic of movie-making”: we’ve all heard people say and write things about Hollywood that sprinkle stardust and the otherworldly metaphors onto filmmaking. In Siren Queen, Nghi Vo asks readers to consider what if it wasn’t actually metaphorical? A clever novel that follows the career of screen star Luli Wei, I enjoyed this. Continue reading

Upcoming: GOTHGUL HOLLOW by Anna Stephens (Black Library)

StephensA-WHH-GothgulHollowAnna Stephens is perhaps best known for her Godblind Trilogy and latest novel, The Stone Knife. The author has also been writing a fair number of short stories for Black Library, and next year her first will arrive: Gothgul Hollow is part of the publisher’s Warhammer Horror series. Set in the Age of Sigmar, I’m rather looking forward to reading this. You can read a little bit more about it (and some other upcoming Warhammer Horror titles, here.)

The Hollow. A lonely Shyishan town, obscured amongst wild moorland, inhabited by folk of vigilant routine. What remains of the once illustrious Gothghul family endures season upon season of monastic isolation in their castle on the hill. Aaric Gothghul, made callous by loss, shuts himself in his study and broods over arcane texts, while his strange and formidable daughter wanders the forests alone.

But when the town is threatened by a spate of sinister manifestations, the quiet formality of their days end. Worse still, the upheaval disturbs a terrible family secret – a chilling memory that Aaric has kept buried for twenty-five years. Now, father and daughter must set aside their differences and search for answers to an ancient curse that is somehow linked to their past. Aided by a straight-talking sharpshooter and a shrewd man of faith, they seek to fathom the forces that assail the Hollow.

Scholar. Sorceress. Killer. Priest. Four people divided by their secrets and lies, bound together by horror, must unite their strengths to uncover a diabolic mystery – the clue to which they have but one incomprehensible word: Mhurghast.

Gothgul Hollow is due to be published by Black Library in North America and in the UK, in February 2022.

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Interview with WALTER GOODWATER, Author of THE LIAR OF RED VALLEY

GoodwaterWL-AuthorPic2021Welcome back to CR! For new readers, let’s start with an introduction: Who is Walter Goodwater?

Good to be back! My name is Walter, and I’m a software guy by day, and exhausted writer by night. (My two kids under four certainly contribute to that exhaustion). I’ve been reading fantasy my whole life, starting with Tolkien in the 5th grade, Dragonlance in the 6th grade, and Terry Brooks in the 7th grade. After that, I was hooked. I love writing fantasy because creating a new world is such an ideal way to shine new light on things in our own world in unexpected ways.

Your latest novel, The Liar of Red Valley, is due to be published by Solaris in September. It looks really interesting: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

It is a horror/fantasy set in Red Valley, a drought-stricken rural California town where magic and monsters are more of a nuisance than noteworthy. Dark, hungry things fly over the town at night. Junkies invite demons into their heads. The local dive bar has an almost human clientele, and a mysterious door in the back no one goes into (unless they are really desperate). People growing up in this town live by three simple rules: Don’t cross the King. Never, ever go in the River. And don’t trust the Liar. Sadie knows these rules as well as anybody, but since her mom died, she’s the Liar now, which means she keeps the towns secrets. And if she’s going to survive in Red Valley, she’s going to have to break some rules. Continue reading

Very Quick Review: WALK AMONG US by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw & Caitlin Starling (Voyager)

KhawC-VM-WalkAmongUSAn interesting and varied collection of novellas

One of the most popular role-playing properties in the world gets new life with this trio of horror novellas set in Vampire: The Masquerade’s World of Darkness by three brilliant talents: Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw, and Caitlin Starling

The subtle horror and infernal politics of the World of Darkness are shown in a new light in Vampire: The Masquerade: Walk Among Us, a collection of three novellas that show the terror, hunger, and power of the Kindred as you’ve never seen them before.

I’ve been interested in the Vampire: The Masquerade setting for years. However, I’ve never played a game of the pen-and-paper RPG. In fact, despite buying some of the 1990s-early 2000s novels (which I haven’t had a chance to read, yet), I have quite limited experience with the setting. I played and loved the Redemption video game (I really want them to update it for newer platforms!), and also the first Bloodlines game. Aside from that, before 2021, I had no other experience with it. When Walk Among Us was first announced, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m happy to report that it is a very good, varied collection. Continue reading