Sinister Reads – February 2011

Sinister Reads

Midnight Echo #5

Australian Horror Writers Association
RRP:  AU$3.50 (.pdf) AU$11.00 (+AU$3 postage) (print copy)
Available later this month from Australian Horror Writers Association
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Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian Horror ed. Anthony Ferguson
Equilibrium Books
ISBN: 978-1-921456-46-6
RRP:  AU$29.95
Available from Equilibrium Books

Since time immemorial, men have dreamed of creating beings in their own image, and for almost as long they have endured nightmare visions of being overthrown by the beings they create.

Dolls and effigies have always been a staple in the horror fiction genre, for what could be more frightening than seeing that which is inanimate move of its own volition, or hearing words emanate from fleshless lips while staring into glassy, lifeless eyes?

Presented here for the first time are the collected ruminations on the theme of dolls and duplicates by some of the biggest names in Australian horror and science fiction. There are tales on reanimated corpses, beautiful gynoids, alien impostors, clones, golems, doppelgangers, and of course, dolls – effigies that exist to serve and protect, and others that want to mess with your head in the worst possible way.

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The Crossing
by B. Michael Radburn
Pantera Press
ISBN – 978-0-9807418-7-2
RRP: AUD$32.99

Available May 2nd from Pantera Press

Traumatised by the disappearance of his daughter Claire, Taylor Bridges’ marriage breaks down, and he exiles himself to Glorys Crossing in Tasmania. Taylor is the only ranger in this isolated town adjoining a national park … a town dying a slow death as the rising waters of the new dam project slowly flood it.

Struggling with the guilt of Claire’s disappearance, Taylor is a chronic sleepwalker. When another young girl the same age goes missing, Taylor begins to question himself … uncertain of what happens when he sleepwalks.

It’s a race against time not just to find the missing girl, but in Taylor’s search for redemption and a past better left lying at the bottom of the new lake.

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The Armageddon Shadow
by Lee Pletzers
Panic Press
ISBN – N/A
RRP:  UK₤9.99

Available from Panic Press

2007, Agent Baxter pursues the entity, Darkness, following an accident that slew Doctor Hayden’s wife and son. Dr. Hayden studied the Darkness without realizing it was studying him. Shadows, however, have a way of vanishing into light and the entity flees the compound where Hayden thought it was contained.

In 27 B.C. a peaceful man’s family is slaughtered, turning his life upside down and bringing forth a leader. A leader who will drive an army into the bowels of hell for vengeance. At the moment of his death, he offers his soul to the dark gods of the underworld for revenge which is granted swift and deadly.

Thrown from his stead on his return to Hell, Darian crawls out of the blackness and into the modern world under the new name of Darkness and carrying an infection. An infection that will take mankind to a new level of evolution.

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Savage Menace
ed. Richard L. Tierney Ill. Andrew J. McKiernan
P’rea Press
ISBN – 9780980462555
RRP: AUD$35.oo

Available from Pantera PressOf Science and Swords & Gavin Smith

Poems of the velvet dark and the monstrous macabre written over a fifty-year period by a master poet. By turns Lovecraftian and Howardian, Tierney brings delicious shivers and the nasty clawing of unstoppable burrowing fiends into your very lounge-room—and your very being!
Savage Menace has passed through the 2011 Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot.

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Should Have Killed the Kid
by R. Frederick Hamilton
Legumeman Books
ISBN – 978-0987049667
RRP: AUD$23.95 (free postage within Aus.)

Available from Legumeman Books

At the time it seemed so cut and dry. When the old man held out the knife and asked him to kill the kid, Dave didn’t think twice. The man was clearly nuts. Raving about an apocalypse that only the boy’s death could stop. Dave had done what any rational person would have – knocked the lunatic out. A lucky punch and all had been over… or so he thought.

Locked in a skyscraper in Melbourne, Dave Thomas has ample time to rue and lament his decision. As he watches the city burn, it’s a little difficult to escape the enormity of his mistake.

Claws have invaded the shadows.

Billions are dead.

Continents in ruin.

And to rub salt in the wounds, the only hope for salvation is to face that decision all over again.

He really should have killed the kid.

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Torment
by Greg Chapman
Damnation Books
ISBN – Print  9781615723423/ eBook 9781615723416
RRP: eBook US$ 4.99

eBook available from Damnation Books & Amazon

Print edition available soon.

Jessica’s Newman’s tragic childhood has come back to haunt her. Her father, a Catholic deacon whom she hasn’t seen since he was found not guilty of her mother’s death during an exorcism ritual, has turned up dead in Scotland, a single gunshot wound to the head. Forced to take her family to Scotland and deal with her father’s estate – a derelict mansion in the Grampian Mountains – Jessica begins to question her mother’s death and just what role her father played in it. But the house – and its dark basement – could provide more answers than she bargained for.

“There are points in Torment when this novella is truly a torment to read, but in the all the right ways. Chapman inexorably draws the reader into Jessica Newman’s terrifying world to the point where there are two choices – put the story down to still your beating heart, or read on into the complex mystery, rightly fearing what lies on the next page. This is at once a tale of demonic and ghostly terror, as well as a compelling nod to the core imagery of classic horror. I don’t expect I’ll forget this tale any time soon, and that may not be a good thing!” ~Rocky Wood, author of Stephen King: The Non-Fiction and Horrors! Great Tales of Fear and Their Creators

Torment echoes The Exorcist with its tale of tortured souls and questions about faith. A chilling, tightly written story from a new voice in horror.” ~Brett McBean, author of The MotherTales of Sin and Madness, and Concrete Jungle

Torment is a slow-burning supernatural thriller that fuses the darkness of Blatty’s The Exorcist with the visceral thrills of ghost stories from masters such as Peter Straub and Robert Hood. With authorial sleight of hand, Chapman turns the exorcism sub-genre on its head with Torment. Greg Chapman is an author to watch.” ~Shane Jiraiya Cummings, author of Shards and The Apocrypha Sequence

“Well-placed dark fiction doused in history, ritual and intrigue.” ~Mark Farrugia, editor, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine: Best of Horror #2

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Sinister Slices

The Guardian

by B. Michael Radburn

Published in: Devil Dolls and Duplicates in Australian Horror

Available from: Equilibrium Books

An ordinary boy

by Jen White

Published in: Print version of The Tangled Bank (released on 12 Feb – Darwin Day)

Available from: Tangled Bank Press

The Fear

by Richard Harland

Published in:  Years Best Horror 2010 (ed. Ellen Datlow)

Available from all good online bookstores

Love Death

by Andrew J. McKiernan

Published in: Aurealis — Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine #45

Available from: Aurealis

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Sinister Awards

All the Clowns in Clowntown

by Andrew J. McKiernan

Nominated for Short Fiction: 2010 Australian Shadows Award

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