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Daniel I Russell - Writer of Horror Fiction

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

The latest offering from King takes us down a familiar routine, similar to Four Past Midnight and Different Seasons. Some of these novella collections have given us some truly incredible stories, such as Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Body, Apt Pupil, and the overlooked Langoliers, Library Policeman and Secret Window, Secret Garden. How will this latest collection stack up against some that others may consider classics?

In 1922, Wilfred James is a farmer with a big problem. His wife has recently inherited some land, and a firm wants to by it to build a pig slaughtering plant. She's keen. He's not, as this would mean selling all their land and moving to the city, which he despises. With only one option out of the mess, the farmer grooms his only son into assisting with the murder and disposal of his wife. What follows is an extreme revenge from beyond the grave.

Big Driver. An Agatha Christie-esque mystery writer is on her way home from a speaking engagement and takes an advised shortcut. Driving over nailed bits of wood, her car blows a tyre. The friendly trucker who stops to help turns out to be not very friendly...not very friendly at all.

In Fair Extension, a man dying of cancer makes a deal with the Devil, agreeing for a 'fair extension' of his life. But is the price too high?

Finally, A Good Marriage follows a woman and her marriage to a nice, quiet, meticulous accountant over 27 years. One night, while he's away on business, she fatefully trips over a cardboard box in the garage. Its contents take her on a dark journey into her husband's secret life.

You've probably noticed that I've given Full Dark, No Stars 3/5 stars if you're reading this on Goodreads.

It's not a bad book, but none of the tales featured within blew me away. I've always defended King, but as I read through the collection, it became apparent that some of the arguments against his writing style were cropping up. 1922 did extremely little with the large chunk of the book it takes up. Most of the story involves the protagonist feeling sad and lonely in his farmhouse, while the real action of the story, that of his son, is a mere subplot. Disappointing.

The second story held no real shock value for me, especially after reading Ketchum. I did like the mystery elements and the twists; obviously in key with the main character, the mystery writer! It was an intriguing tale and its second half made this my favourite of the four.

Fair Extension, which is a short story nestled among the three other novellas, was the biggest disappointment. This offered nothing original, in fact, Caroline B. Cooney's Vampire Trilogy I read as a young teen executed the idea better. Sorry, Stevie. Guess I'll never get a cover blurb now...

A Good Marriage was decent enough, but I like to gradually see characterisation emerge. You know, like how you get to know someone through what they do and say? King does his normal thing of giving us pages and pages of information straight off the bat regarding the couple in the Good Marriage. This info could have been leaked throughout the story...hang on...it was? No wonder the piece, just like 1922, felt fifty pages too long.

It's not a bad book. In my opinion, King cannot write a true stinker, but this falls far from his best. A shame, as I've been really looking forward to this book. Oh, and the cover IS a stinker, by the way. What were they thinking?

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 8:37 pm :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Massive update

Bloody Christmas, eh? It's the holidays and you have all this news to share (or a novel to write, as the case may be) and every morning you think 'today I AM going to write that blog post'. Yet everyday is filled with stiffling heat and presents and alcohol and all things lovely. Having written my required word count for the day, finished the edits for Necrotic Tissue #14 and barbecued the NICEST peppered steak ever, it was time for bum in seat to write a blog.

After all, this week has seen release of Samhane in English and German speaking countries! Who'd have thought this day would come, when that nasty, blood-soaked novel I wrote back in 2003/2004 would be in people's hands! Und deutschen Händen!

And now, the photographic evidence that the book exists...

English/US front cover

English/US back cover

Bio with author pic of me just after I wrote Samhane...young bastard!

See how good that spine looks on a shelf? Eh? Wink wink nudge nudge?

The German edition. BOX FRESH!

So there we have it. Samhane has been entered into both the Australian Shadow Awards and the Aurealis Awards. Fingers crossed for them.

For a little tidbit of information, I was also honoured to be in the Manjimup Bridgetown newspaper this week. For those not in the area, the newspaper put the article up online here. I occasionally take a nice author picture. Those more eagle-eyed readers may compare the pictures and see how I have aged in about seven years.

REMEMBER! The Samhane draw is only open until December 31st!

As this is the festive season, and Christmas is all about mass consumerism, every copy of Samhane bought from Stygian Publications or if you're a German reader, Voodoo Press puts you in the running to win an ultra rare and signed Festive Fear Global Edition. That's one for both...erm...languages. A runner up for each will also win a signed copy of Necrotic Tissue #12. All you have to do is buy a copy from the above places to enter the draw.

It couldn't be easier!

If you don't have much money to spare (I too have felt the pinch of Christmas. Nintendo don't sell their wares cheap) then perhaps the Goodreads giveaway may float your boat?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Samhane (Paperback) by Daniel I. Russell


by Daniel I. Russell

Giveaway ends January 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

And while that's a whole heap of news, it's all on Samhane, available from Stygian Publications or in German from Voodoo Press.

Things are looking good for wheels to start turning for the horror novella Come Into Darkness from Skullvines Press in the coming months, as well as the German edition through Voodoo Press. The new novel is currently only at 10k, but cooking nicely.

Oh! Nearly forgot! For those people who like an ebook every now and again, my free chapbook FLUFFS is now available on Kindle, etc via Smashwords .

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And as a marketing experiment, I will also have another chapbook available next week via Smashwords, a plant horror previously published in the anthology Decimate, Roots. Stunning cover art has already been confirmed. Can't wait to get this overlooked story out there. It's one of my more girly (God forbid!) short stories, but rest assured, there will be blood, there will be violence...and a very camp supporting character!

Happy New Year, folks!

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 6:44 pm :: 0 comments

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Friday, December 24, 2010


MACABRE: A Journey Through Australia's Darkest Fears is one hell of a volume. Literally. It's like a brick...but a brick chock full of great horror fiction.

Editors Angela Challis and Dr. Marty Young have put together an extra special anthology here. The book is exclusively an Australian endeavor, charting the change of the genre over the years. This is the big selling point of this collection in my eyes. The editors did not simply put out the call for submissions or do a year's best. This book has been thoroughly researched and it shows. The stories are arranged chronologically, and the first piece, Fisher's Ghost: A Legend of Campbell Town is dated 1836.

To be honest, this bothered me, at first. I'm not really a fan off pre-20th century horror as it can be thickly written, too flowery, or simply just lack a plot. The stories featured here, despite their age, were great and written with a certain contemporary feel.

This book took me a long time to get through, choosing to dip into for a short story every now and again. Obviously, I can't comment on every single story featured, but there wasn't really a story that was poorly written or off the mark.

It sucks that our very own Necrotic Tissue will be running against MACABRE for the 2010 Shadow Award for best publication, as MACABRE really is a monster. I also have to thank Angela and Shane for getting my copy signed by oodles of the writers at Worldcon this year. Makes this fine collection a cherished gem on my shelf.

If you want to spend some of you hard earned cash on an anthology (and in this day and age you really are spoiled for choice on that score) I can highly recommend MACABRE. It oozes quality on every page. This was no slapdash anthology thrown together. Come on, it's been nearly 200 years in the making! You don't even need to be Australian, Just buy it and enjoy it. Well done, guys. A standout book. Top marks.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 5:25 pm :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A VERY ENGLISH CHRISTMAS (a free holiday read)

As it is Christmas (well, near as damn it), I thought I'd repost last year's festive flash fiction.



Every year the same old bleedin’ shite.

Ken, lying in a recliner, popped the button of his jeans, opened the zipper and exhaled. The pressure on his gut subsided somewhat; the lashings of turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes succumbed by the slight extra room. Quite a meal, oh yes, quite a meal. The best thing about Christmas. He’d even eaten the traditional Brussel sprout or two, despite Alice over-cooking them. The swollen things looked like boogers on the edge of his plate. Boogers covered in onion gravy.

He picked up the remote from the arm of the chair and flicked to ITV.

“Oi!” moaned Tansy. “We were watching that!”

“Were you balls,” Ken grumbled at his daughter. “You can’t mess with that thing and watch the TV at the same time.”

She sat perched at the end of the sofa, messing with some pink Japanese bullshit gizmo. An I-something. Everything had to have an I in front of it now. He’d joked to Alice about Christmas being all about the I-wants.

“Haven’t you got it working yet?”

Tansy shrugged her shoulders.

No surprise there then. Even with the few apparent buttons the thing had, it was proving too much for his airhead daughter to understand. Ken studied her for the hundredth time, bemused by her denim miniskirt and tiny vest top. Snow flakes danced past the glass of the patio behind her. The house felt like a bloody sauna.

“Sweety?” Alice called from the kitchen. She’d been up since five, preparing the dinner. Then she served it. Now she was washing the dishes. Ken had seen her for all of ten minutes on this solemn family day.


“Is it nearly time for her?”

He checked his watch and sighed.


“Oh it just makes the day,” his wife warbled. “Have you tried your present yet?”

Ken’s gaze dropped to the black plastic case in his shirt pocket. Darts. New ones.

“Haven’t you seen the snow? Be freezing out in the garage.” He wiped his nose with the back of his hand, checked the contents and then smeared it on the arm of the recliner. “It can wait.”

Alice bustled in, his plump wife wringing her hands on a tea towel. Her thick black hair had tumbled loose and hung messy around her glistening face.

“Phew!” She gasped and fanned her face, dropping onto the sofa next to Tansy, who was frantically shaking the I-gizmo. “Like a greenhouse in here.”

“Then turn the heating down!” said Ken and stared back at the TV. Adverts. He watched out for any mentioning Easter.

“It’s been a tough year,” said Alice, not hearing him. “A tough year for everyone, us included. Must be even tougher for her.”

Ken frowned. “How so?”

“Well, watching the people of your country suffer and worry.”

He snorted. “This ain’t her country. All she does is bloody sponge of us workin’ stiffs.”

And that was when he could work. The building industry was on its arse. Not much demand for plasterers these days. Not like the blessed eighties. The money they’d had to scrimp and save just for Christmas. Tansy’s I-thing coast close to two hundred notes. She also wanted a download of this year’s X Factor winner, predictably, unable to think for herself. Ken had seen him. Some baby-faced whiney crooner. Shit show. Shit singer. Take any old thug off the street, shave him and give a bit of hair gel and put him in a suit. Viola. Frank fucking Sinatra. And a download? When he was a teenager, you had records. LPs. You could hold them in your hands because, guess what? They were real. At least Damien’s PS3 was real. His son had opened the package, grunted and taken it upstairs to his bedroom. They hadn’t seen him since, and that was about seven hours ago.

In hindsight, Ken wished they’d bought him one weeks earlier.

“It’s starting!” said Alice and clapped her hands together.

Ken grabbed the remote and turned up the volume for her.

“And now on ITV1, the Queen’s Christmas speech.”

Bollocks, thought Ken. At least Goldfinger’s on after this…

Onscreen, a cosy drawing room faded in from black. An open fire burned below hanging stockings. A grand piano stood to the left ready for carols, and to the right, the biggest Christmas tree Ken had ever seen, laden with decorations with brightly wrapped presents stockpiled underneath.

Glad to see the economic crisis has touched us all, Ken seethed.

The Queen stood by the fireplace, ever the short, harsh, sour-faced old bat she’d always been. The aunty that made you eat liver and onions and wrapped your knuckles with a spoon should you put your elbows on the table. She peered over spectacles.

"Christmas is a time for celebration,” she said, as wooden and miserable as the chick from that Twilight movie, “but this year it is a more sombre occasion for many. Some of those things which could once have been taken for granted suddenly seem less certain and, naturally, give rise to feelings of insecurity.”

“Amen to that,” Ken told her. “No Corfu this year…”

“Ken!’ Alice shushed him.

"People are touched by events which have their roots far across the world. Whether it is the global economy or violence in a distant land, the effects can be keenly felt at home.” Her eyes glimmered gold.

Ken leaned forward slightly, gaze fixed to the screen. “Did you-?”

“For the last time,” Alice moaned. “Shush! This is our majesty speaking.”

The Queen winked, quite cheeky for a lady of her standing. Those eyes flashed golden, like two shiny pound coins, behind her glasses. Ken felt a little better and settled back down, transfixed by her kind, loving expression.

“But I have a solution,” she said, a little knowing, like Anne Robinson before she booted someone off The Weakest Link. In an instant, the tiny pensioner ripped a poker from the stand by the fire place and plunged it forward.

Tansy and Alice glanced at each other.

“Is this some kind of joke?” Tansy asked.

The camera angle slid to the side and plummeted. Viewers now saw a side view of a plush, elaborate carpet. A bloody hand – the cameraman? – flopped into the picture.

“It has to be,” said Alice, hands rising to cover her mouth.

Ken remained in the recliner, watching nonchalantly.

Two pairs of feet emerged from the right, circling each other like they’d waltzed in. A gurgling choke, and another body fell to the floor, a man in a light blue shirt with large earphones clamped over his head. A boom, a guinea pig on a pole, fell from his hand. A knife, or perhaps a letter-opener, jutted from the scarlet geyser of his throat.

Tansy and Alice screamed.

The Queen, still smiling and with her eyes still shimmering, leaned in close and leered out of the TV screen. “I have the solution,’ she said again, her grin amplifying the cracks in her ancient face.

The picture suddenly clicked off, immediately replaced with the ITV1 symbol.

“We apologise for the loss in picture and sound,” said the mellow announcer. “We’re working to rectify the situation, and in the meantime, here’s some music.”

The whiney X Factor winner again.

“It…it has to be a joke,” whispered Tansy.

“Or terrorists,” added Alice.

Ken reached for the black case, popped it open and removed his darts, poking the Union Jack flights into the tungsten stems. He forced the recliner to the upright position and stood, scratching his balding head.

“Jesus. Well…she had one thing right…”

Alice placed a shaking hand on his shoulder. He turned his head and stared at it through a hazy, golden hue.

“What dear?”

Ken smiled. “I have the solution.”

The darts, clutched together in his sweaty right hand, slid through her eye ball like a cocktail stick pronging a pickled onion. The membrane popped and vitreous humour ejaculated from the socket. Alice flew back, clutching her face, wailing. Ken stayed with her, gripping her jaw and pummeling the darts into the vacant hole, sometimes driving the needle-sharp points through the flesh of her defending fingers. The tips pounded the squishy brain matter behind the remains of her eye, and Alice gave up the fight, choosing to fall to the floor and jerk around like a fish out of water.

Eye… he thought. Eye…I?

Ken, enjoying Christmas and full of festive cheer, spun to face his daughter. She cowered against the front door, which remained locked since the night before. Of course, her slutty miniskirt had no pockets. No pockets meant no keys, but the moron didn’t realise you needed keys to open a door. Her hand slid around the door handle in vain attempt to turn it.

In one fluid motion, Ken grabbed her I-thing from the I-sofa, and rammed it into her I-mouth, knocking out several of her I-teeth. She cried, her lips pulsating around her Christmas gift.

“Shhhh!” he cooed. “It’s Christmas. You know what that means?”

He stared at her. She whimpered.

“Do you know what that means?” he asked, louder, squeezing her throat.

She frantically shook her head, tears cascading down her cheeks. Her eyes bulged.

Ken leaned in close to her.

“It means…James Bond’s on the telly. Goldfinger this year. You gonna be quiet so dad can watch it?”

She sniffed, yet a trickle of clear snot escaped her nose. She locked eyes with him and nodded.

“Good,” he said, relieved. “Sing with me. Si-lent niiiiight…”

He smashed her head back against the door. Her body swayed in his grasp.

“Ho-ly niiiiight!”


Blood marred the white paint of the door. It looked like a face. Wilson from Castaway. Ken had it on dvd.

“Alllllll is caaaaalm….”

He put a bit more effort into this one. Her skull cracked with the sound of breaking a hardboiled egg.

“Well it is now,” he said, out of breath and dropping his daughter’s lifeless body to floor. “Now. The solution.”

He approached the window.

A man ran past, a hand pressed to a bloody wound in his head. He left a delightful pattern in the snow. A woman ran after him, brandishing a rolling pin. Good old Mrs. Perkins, making mince pies again, Ken guessed.

Ah Christmas, he thought wistfully. My favorite time of year.

Humming Jingle Bells to himself, he strode over to his wife and plucked the darts from her face. Sighing in contentment and filled with Christmas spirit, he wondered if Damien wanted a game, and headed upstairs, unaware that his jeans had fallen around his ankles.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 1:29 pm :: 0 comments

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Monday, December 20, 2010

A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene

More Keenedom. Getting through the Keene backlist is easy enough, with the pace being what they are. I was going for a weekend away to Busselton and just grabbed a book on the way out. In hindsight, I would have chosen another Keene book, perhaps Ghost Walk or Dead Hollow, as there is a chronological progression with one of the main characters of Gathering, which I would have liked to have followed.

But nothing I could have done about that, right?

A Gathering of Crows has a very simple premise. The town of Brinkley Springs is a down and out, one road town that is slowly dying as people head for more lucrative places to live. Returning there is Donny, an Iraq-vet who is all set to leave again following the death of his mother, his reason for coming back. A confrontation with his ex0girlfriend, who attempted suicide the first time he left, interferes with his plan to get out of Dodge. Alongside this, consider a giant soul cage that has descended on the town, meaning no one can get in or out. Plus, five crows, which are in fact shape shifting men in black with a murderous appetite, have descended on the town and intend to make mincemeat out of every resident. The town's only hope is Levi, an ex-Amish man who dabbles in the occult. Perhaps it was an act of God to have him in town at that moment. But with Levi unsure what these entities are, and as the bodies pile up, Brinkley Springs is fast running out of time before it dies for real.

Basically, Keene has this small group of killers having a night of fun in this deadend town, and manages to effortlessly fill a book of about 80, 000 words. Not a bad feat, as it never feels drawn out or forced.

I adore books where the population of a town is massacred in a million different ways. Gathering is no disappointment (and it broke a wry chuckle to see spliced version of mutual buds SD Hintz and Jerrod Balzer be killed off via frozen slabs of meat). While the deaths are varied and very, very often, the Keene nasty streak - as displayed in Castaways and Urban Gothic - seems to be restrained in Gathering. This would make it be the prefect starter book for new readers to Keene, or for those who like their horror, but not too much visceral details. Don't get me wrong, guts will hit the floor and hearts are ripped from chest cavities, but we have no torture or raping. It's a case of wham, bam thank you mam. Right. Who's next?

Levi, of course, is a stand out character and as Keene says in his afterword, has become a fan favourite. Imagine the Amish fella from Diary of the Dead...but not deaf and with occult powers! Okay, he isn't as fleshed out in indepth as you would want in a lead character, but as I said at the outset, I believe this ground work has been done in earlier books. Still, you fell for the guy and want him to succeed.

A Gathering of Crows is yet another Keene book with eclectic pace that whips by and reaches its conclusion before you know it. As for Levi, I do want to read more on him and am glad I have two other books that feature him on my shelf and ready to go. A great read.

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Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 7:23 am :: 0 comments

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The small press on the high street anyone?

We're back in good ol' Western Australia for the next stop on the Samhane blog tour. Nothing like coming home after a long trip around the world, right?

Perth is the scene for today. A wonderful, modern city with Asian influences. I love it. Very clean. Besides raging in a clothes shop (HULK SMASH!), my baby son making his first gay friend (cashier in said clothes shop), McDonald whores and a $25 Yoda Lightsaber - don't you wish you came shopping with me? - there was something more important to be taken care of: writing research.

I looked into high street stores and surveyed the state of horror small press. Big thank you to Australian horror God (and official ninja) Shane Jiraiya Cummings for having my rant on his page HERE!

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Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 6:40 pm :: 0 comments

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DWELLER by Jeff Strand

Followers of my reviews will know that I have loved Jeff’s previous books, Pressure and Benjamin’s Parasite. Dweller, it seemed to me, had a lot more hype than the other books, perhaps by riding on the waves made by Pressure.

The books starts with a massacre: some holidaying soldiers during WW2 are attacked by large, hairy, fanged, clawed creatures. Skip to the 50s. Toby is a geeky kid who is being tormented by two particularly nasty bullies at school. Seeking comfort in the deep woods that surround his house, Toby stumbles across a large, hairy, fanged, clawed beast living in a small cage. His first reaction? To run screaming, of course. Years later, and as an even more bullied teenager, Toby finds the monster again. This time, in a more controlled confrontation, Toby learns that the monster isn’t a feral, rabid beast after all…it can be his friend.

So starts a friendship that lasts decades between loner Toby and the creature he calls Owen.

As with Pressure, Jeff takes us on the journey of a lifetime, and we see how events of the past can heavily change and warp the future for the poor protagonist. We have a very sympathetic lead character in Toby. You can see his inner torment, and as a reader, you get dragged into his decisions. Okay, at times things seemed a little forced to get to an action scene or bump up the tension, such as Toby making some truly awful and moronic decisions. At the time of reading, I was thinking about the level of believability. Seriously, I was asking the book what the fuck are you thinking, Tobes? However, the more you think about it, the more his ill-informed decisions fit the plot. He’s socially inept, not overly bright, and going through a conflict of emotions. Is he really going to do the right thing? Seeing him make the wrong choice, and then watching his world collapse around him, rather than frustrating gets you invested in his fate.

Enough about Toby. What about Owen? I couldn’t help but picture Owen as Wildmutt from Ben 10 as I was reading this novel. Don’t know why. Anyway, Owen is a surprising character. He could have been treated like a big dog, but Strand gives him just above ape-like intelligence, granting him some basic communication. This cements the relationship between Toby and Owen further.

The side characters are adequately fleshed out and are a good support. But they aren’t the key players here. It’s all about Toby and his monster.

The gore is not excessive (well, as much as you’d expect with a monster eating people. Nom nom nom!) and just on the money. Pacing is great, and there’s a few twists and turns.

I think that people who read this as their first taste of Strand’s work will lap it up. Personally, while I enjoyed this book, I preferred Pressure…but that might be that I read it first. Strand has shocks a plenty, but after Pressure, I couldn’t trust him, and was watching for these awful, awful shock scenes early. Pressure is the nastier novel, but Dweller focuses more on relationships and friendships. It depends how you like your horror served.

Hell, just buy both. And Benjamin’s Parasite. And anything else of Jeff’s. Period.

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 6:44 am :: 0 comments

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Samhane full wraparound cover revealed

"Russell's debut novel SAMHANE really packs a punch. A thrill ride of visceral horror and suspense that steadily builds to a very satisfying conclusion. I enjoyed the hell out of it!"
Gord Rollo, Author of Valley Of The Scarecrow and The Jigsaw Man

"My oh my does it get wet within these pages, dear friends." Shroud Magazine.

"Horror lovers rejoice--you're about to be scared...or scarred. Russell's well-crafted nightmares will haunt you long after you've closed the pages of Samhane!" Fran Friel, Bram Stoker Finalist-MAMA'S BOY AND OTHER DARK TALES

Samhane is available on pre-order from Stygian Publications . All copies sold in December places readers in a draw to win an ultra-rare signed copy of Festive Fear Global Edition or a signed Necrotic Tissue #12. See older posts for more details.

Now. wouldn't that look good on your shelf? ><

Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 8:48 am :: 0 comments

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Friday, December 10, 2010

JOYRIDE by Jack Ketchum

I’m going to be honest in the reasoning in my reasons for buying Jack Ketchum’s Joyride. My cheapness in pages per dollar came into my decision not to buy the very short novella, Weed Species. Looking at the cover and seeing these epically evil plants (and I love my plant based horror, apart from the horrendously frustrating Garden of Evil by Edmund Le Plante – which I hope is a pseudonym!) it was hard to resist.

But along comes Leisure who have released an impressive catalogue of Ketchum’s work, and give us Weed Species as a bonus story with the novel Joyride. At the usual low low prices, I certainly couldn’t resist this time! Let’s look at the main novel first.

Carole is a nice enough, slightly posh woman who has been driven to hell and back by her abusive ex-husband. He really did a number on her with beatings, rape, etc. Now she’s with Lee, and the two are moderately happy together…apart that the ex-husband still pops around now and then for threats, harassment and the odd rape. The police haven’t done a thing, so the couple decide to indulge in some vigilante action, involving a seldom used hiking trail and a baseball bat.

Enter Wayne. Wayne is your town nutjob. In his twenties and working bar, he has a deep seeded resentment for basically everyone and a secret obsession with murder. After a failed romantic walk with his girlfriend, he takes a minute to rest, overlooking the trail.

This is where Wayne sees something he wasn’t supposed to see.

Now Wayne wants to be their best friend and share in the thrill of murder. Carole and Lee aren’t so keen, but how can you argue with a mad man?

Ketchum, as usual, hits the road running and never lets up. The novel slips by and you don’t even feel it going in. Ketchum just has this pace and sharp edge to his words that few can compare with. He keeps the plot rooted in reality, with absolutely no supernatural element whatsoever. The subject of a man who finally gives into his bloodlust in such an explosive way, while some may see this as Ketchum simply ticking his own extreme violence box, is gritty and actually, close to real life events.

It was an interesting read, as at the time of finishing, I thought it was quite a shallow read. Ketchum in third gear, Ketchum providing the cheap thrills, but with a paler moral stance than say The Girl Next Door. Only a few days after it did I start to think about it. Yes, murdering random strangers is bad, but it raises questions such as is the murder of a bad person make it acceptable? Does an ignorant society breed psychopaths?

Ketchum also has the stereotypical cop hot on the trail, but with a few atypical character flaws. A decent subplot.

Onto Weed Species. Now, the mistake I’d made (as I believe others had in the past) was that this was a story about plants. How very wrong.

A very different couple from Joyride, Sherry and Owen are serial rapists, and murderers when the situation demands it. Weed Species follows them over many years, revealing their exploits, the repercussions and how their presence affects the community (like a weed species. No plants).

This is the most rape-tastic story I have ever read. It reminded me of that famous scene from Dusk til Dawn. We got rape! We got date rape! We got anal rape! You like oral rape? We got oral rape! How about some anal rape followed by oral rape? We got lesbian rape! We got incest rape! We kinky rape! We got torturous rape!

Lots of raping. Be interesting to see what percentage of the page count doesn’t have any raping.

Ketchum really lets his hair down here on the pure gross out and explicit details. Funnily enough, just before reading this, I discussed in interviews how the first draft of Samhane was more extreme. However, Weed Species certainly would have aced it in the full-on rape stakes. Seriously, I cannot warn you enough, if you have a nervous disposition regarding rape, do not read this story. I’ve seen readers say they’re ashamed to own this book.

Is it any good? It was okay, I guess.

I prefer other Ketchum titles, but this was still a good, fast read, but definitely not for everyone.

Tomorrow comes the review for Jeff Strand's DWELLER.

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Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 10:05 pm :: 0 comments

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Win a rare antho featuring Piccirilli, Kane, Curran, Burke...

Been a very busy week, especially with the academic year coming to an end. We also got stuck in Busselton last weekend. Now, I've had my car break down in worse places. It was hot and sunny, there was MOTORFEST 2010 over the road, and at the 'fest was a cheap bar. We certainly made the most of these things while waiting to be rescued.

So what's happened since? Samhane promotion has continued, and my contributor copies of Festive Fear Global Edition arrived. Have to say, I was very, very impressed by the quality of these books. Stephen Clarke at Tasmaniac Publications once again shows how good he is, and the pride he takes in his products.

So, I thought, why not combine this week's events?


Festive Fear Global Edition has been released. This festive favourite features stories by Tom Piccirilli, Paul Kane, Tim Curran, Kealan Patrick Burke, me and others. Unfortunately, this was a pre-release sell out, so the anthology is hard to get hold of. Should be a worthy addition to any horror collection.

For a chance to win a limited edition, numbered and signed (just by me) read on...

As this is the festive season, and Christmas is all about mass consumerism, every copy of Samhane bought from Stygian Publications or if you're a German reader, Voodoo Press puts you in the running to win an ultra rare Festive Fear Global Edition. That's one for both...erm...languages. A runner up for each will also win a signed copy of Necrotic Tissue #12. All you have to do is buy a copy from the above places to enter the draw.

"My oh my does it get wet within these pages, dear friends." Shroud Magazine.

"Horror lovers rejoice--you're about to be scared...or scarred. Russell's well-crafted nightmares will haunt you long after you've closed the pages of Samhane!" Fran Friel, Bram Stoker Finalist-MAMA'S BOY AND OTHER DARK TALES

Winners will be selected at random by the head editors at each publisher. Winners drawn on January 1st 2011.

Jeder, der von jetzt an bis zum 31. Dezember 2010 Samhane bei uns im
Onlineshop bestellt, hat die Chance eine von Daniel I. Russell signierte
Anthologie Festive Fear Global Edition (limitiert auf 200 Exemplare !)
zu gewinnen. Der zweite Platz erhält eine original von Daniel I. Russell
... signierte Ausgabe von Necrotic Tissue... #12. Anmerkung: Beide Ausgaben sind in Englisch.Viel Glück!


Yes, the trips are slower now, but I aim to press on and arrive back in Australia next week. In the meantime, I'm still in Canada, at the humble abode of Louise Bohmer, author of The Black Act.

Jesus, Bohmer! How many rats you got? At first I thought your carpet was moving! (Might be an affect of those berries the satyr had me eat on the walk over here)

Anyway, Louise asked my opinion on what writers (especially those just starting out) should look for - or avoid, as the case may be - in a publisher. So check out the article here . Don't I sound all pessimistic?

Work calleth. Be sure to order your copy of Samhane, and I'll see you next week.

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Posted by Daniel I. Russell :: 5:51 am :: 1 comments

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