And Hell Followed (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)

43351589._SY475_And Hell Followed is an anthology with a premise that is simultaneously obvious and irresistible. The various authors featured have all derived their inspiration from a single text — one filled with depictions of worldwide violence and hallucinogenic weirdness; one ripe with potential for spiritual insights and shameless iconoclasm. That text, of course, is the Book of Revelation.

The anthology opens with Sam West’s “The Whore of Babylon”, a relatively tame story that works as something of an appetiser. While visiting a nightclub, a horror author with the Bunyanesque name of John Christian is approached by a busty blonde bombshell proclaiming herself to be the Whore of Babylon. Is she a gold-digger, wannabe writer, religious fanatic, or the real thing? The story becomes a brisk character study as the novelist has his insecurities and anxieties laid bare by this personification of the end times.

Continue readingAnd Hell Followed (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)”

Dig Two Graves: An Anthology of Revenge (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)

DigTwoGravesThe title says it all, really: each one of the stories in Dig Two Graves involves revenge. How do the assembled writers approach this theme? Read on…

Some of the stories play upon everyday annoyances, as when a sociopathic waiter finds that unpleasant customers are dying one by one in “A Waiter’s Revenge” by Justin Boote. Others are more elaborate and disorienting, as with Feind Gottes’ Saw-esque story “The Forgiven Ghost in Me” in which a man wakes up to find that he has been trapped in a box by an unseen tormenter.

The stories have a varied range of settings. Christine Morgan contributes the historical novelette “Odin’s Eagle”, in which solid characterisation, layers of period detail and brutal violence combine for a gripping story about a teenage Viking and his family seeking vengeance against a rival chieftain. Meanwhile, “Murdock’s Magnificent Emporium” by Sean Seebach is a western-style story set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where a snake oil salesman and his companion end up in the sights of some seriously dissatisfied customers.

Continue readingDig Two Graves: An Anthology of Revenge (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)”

Dead Sea Chronicles by Tim Curran (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)

DeadSeaChroniclesDead Sea Chronicles is a collection of two novellas, “Weed-World” and “Devil in the Deep”, each set in the universe of Tim Curran’s 2007 novel Dead Sea. Not having read the original book, I came to this follow-up with no particular expectations.

“Weed-World” opens with the private jet of wealthy playboy Marcus Dupont breaking down in the middle the ocean and having to make an emergency landing on the sea’s surface. Marcus and his band – his secretary Ava, his yes-man Brice, his pilot Bisson and the story’s everyman protagonist Ethan – find themselves in a strange area where there is no wind, and the water is coated with dead seaweed of various unusual varieties. It soon turns out that dangerous creatures lurk beneath the thick weed – as Bisson, who tries to swim to the plane’s life-raft, learns the hard way when an unseen monster pulls him below the depths.

Continue readingDead Sea Chronicles by Tim Curran (2020 Splatterpunk Awards)”