Archive for December, 2015

twelfth-krampus-night

BOOK INFO

Length: 121 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: December 1, 2015

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of the Twelfth Krampus Night Blog Tour

I was introduced to Matt’s work was through his highly entertaining debut novel The Dark Servant, which introduced many readers to the legend of Krampus, a cloven-footed beast that serves as the dark foil for Santa Claus and whose origins stretch back to back to pre-Christian traditions. What impressed me the most about Manochio’s depiction of Krampus was his ability to mix the traditional elements of the creature with a distinctive personality that was both frightening and darkly humorous. So when I heard Matt was going to revisit the legend of Krampus in his latest novella Twelfth Krampus Night, I knew I had to jump at the chance to give it a read!

Beate Klothilda’s life seems to be picture perfect despite her humble upbringing. She is set to marry her childhood sweetheart Heinrich Kluber and their future together seems bright as Heinrich has his sights on a lucrative job for the baron as a blacksmith. However, her happiness is shattered when they discover the mutilated body of her best friend Gisela along the side of the path they were traveling. Hardly given any time to mourn the loss of her friend, Beate and Heinrich are ushered to Vettelberg Castle by the baron’s sons to complete the preparations for a royal wedding started by Gisela.

Meanwhile in the shadows of the forest, the belly-slitting hag Frau Perchta and monstrous beast Krampus also have their sights set on Vettelberg Castle. Thought to be little more than boogeymen used by parents to scare their children into behaving, they are frighteningly real. They are tasked with punishing those who have committed horrible deeds and they are hellbent on breaching the castle walls to capture their prey by any means necessary. As these horrific creatures launch their deadly assault, Beate must use her wits and courage to survive the attack and unravel the dark secrets swirling within the castle.

While Twelfth Krampus Night marks the return of Manochio’s original take on Krampus, readers are also introduced to another dark holiday figure in Frau Perchta, the belly-slitting hag. For those who are unfamiliar with the legend of Frau Perchta, the short version is she is a lot like Krampus. She enters the homes of children and if they have been good and worked hard throughout the year, they are rewarded with a small coin. If the children are bad, well, “belly-slitting hag” paints a pretty vivid picture of what happens to them. I don’t want to spoil her character by giving too much away about her favorite form of punishment, but it is horrifyingly gruesome and makes her every bit as terrifying as Krampus. While I was somewhat familiar with the legend of Krampus even before reading any of Manochio’s books, Frau Perchta was entirely new to me. Even after you read Twelfth Krampus Night, I highly recommend checking out the folklore on Wikipedia as it is a pretty interesting read.

One of my favorite aspects of Twlefth Krampus Night was the interactions between Krampus and Frau Perchta. Originally when I read the synopsis, I went into this novel thinking that the kind-hearted Beate would encounter each of these characters separately or that Frau Perchta and Krampus would form some kind of horror dream team and work together to storm the castle walls to deal out their brand of bloody and vicious punishment. While these two they do work together to a degree, Manochio treats readers to something far more entertaining than a simple monster team-up. These two holiday nightmares lob insults at each other during their initial meeting and even when they do agree to work together, they try to sabotage each other at every turn. I couldn’t help but think of the first time I watched Freddy Vs. Jason while reading Twelfth Krampus Night in regards to the initial interactions between Krampus and Frau Perchta. Whether you loved or hated that movie, I think any horror fan can agree it was pretty awesome to watch those two invincible forces square off. I got that same sort of sheer excitement from watching Frau Perchta and Krampus duke it out in the earlier portions of the novella.

While Frau Perchta and Krampus may get most of the glory from readers – face it, who doesn’t love a good monster? – Manochio’s other characters that appear in Twelfth Krampus Night are brought to life just as effectively. There are some truly sinister people lurking within the walls of Vettelberg Castle that readers will love to hate and then there is the maiden Beate Klothilda, who was my favorite human character in the novella. She speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to defend herself with razor sharp wit, even in the presence of royalty where insubordination is often punished severely. Beate is subjected to all sorts of horrible things throughout the course of the novel, but she never loses her courage and is a total bad-ass throughout the entire story.

I felt Manochio’s decision have this story take place in medieval times was perfect. While I loved seeing Krampus appear in modern times in The Dark Servant, there is something magical about seeing him and Frau Perchta in their element. The characters of The Dark Servant are largely left in the dark about what is ripping kids from their homes, but in Twelfth Krampus Night the legends are still a large part of the characters every day lives. Sure, they are skeptical that these boogeyman stories told by their parents are real, but they are much more accepting of what they are up against and have some knowledge of both creatures.

While there are tons of adrenaline-inducing scenes and copious amounts of blood and guts that will be sure to delight horror fans, Manochio also weaves in elements of mystery that add another level of enjoyment for readers. Readers are left in the dark as to who Frau Perchta and Krampus are actually after up until the final few pages of Twelfth Krampus Night and the final reveal is pretty shocking.

Manochio weaves together a great cast of characters, dark humor and some truly terrifying creatures for a fast-paced horror read that is perfect for horror fans looking to get into the holiday spirit! I don’t know if Manochio is planning any more Krampus novels for the future, but I sure hope he is because they are always a blast to read. Besides the enjoyment factor, there is a line in Twelfth Krampus Night about Krampus’ origin that is just bursting with possibilities. If you’re reading this Matt, please give us a badass Krampus origin story!

Also, be sure to check out Matt’s recent interview on the incredible podcast Monster Men. Matt talks more about his work, Krampus and other horror-related stuff. I highly recommend checking out this episode and horror fiction fans will find tons of other great interviews on the Monster Men channel. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance at an awesome prize that includes a print copy of Matt’s The Dark Servant and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! All you have to do is enter using the rafflecopter link and if you email Erin a link of your review you get 5 extra entries.

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Matt Manochio’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Twelfth Krampus Night: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Horror or your favorite bookstore!

Krampus tour graphic (1)

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about Twelfth Krampus Night! – #TwelfthKrampusNight #TKN #TheDarkServant #Krampus 

Twelfth Krampus Night Synopsis

Dark servants clash!

Medieval maiden Beate, who’s grieving over the mysterious evisceration of her best friend, Gisela, must escape a Bavarian castle under siege by sadistic creatures.

Standing in her way—beyond towering walls and crossbow-toting guards—are Saint Nicholas’s demonic helper, Krampus, and Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag who prowls the countryside during First Night festivities to punish naughty teens.

Beate wants out. Krampus and Frau Perchta want in, determined to breach the castle to snag their prey. Beate has no idea why these monsters want her, but she must use her wits to save herself from horrors both human and inhuman—lest she wind up like Gisela.

Praise for Matt Manochio

Twelfth Krampus Night is an enjoyable read and a strong horror story. Manochio is a very strong writer and his talent is evident in this novel.  I easily slid into the world that Manochio creates and was fascinated by Frau Perchta and Krampus.” Minneapolis Examiner.com

The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be–eerie, original and utterly engrossing!” — Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author

“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers–creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm!” — Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author

“Matt Manochio is a writer who’ll be thrilling us for many books to come.”  — Jim DeFelice, New York Times bestselling author

“Matt Manochio has taken a very rare fairytale and turned it into a real page-turner. Matt has constructed a very real and believable force in Krampus and has given it a real journalistic twist, and he has gained a fan in me!” — David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author

“In The Dark Servant, Matt Manochio has taken the tantalizing roots of Middle Europe’s folklore and crafted a completely genuine modern American horror story. … I fell for this story right away. Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller.” — Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author

“Could there be a dark side to Santa? And if so, what would he do to those kids who were naughty? Matt Manochio provides the nail-biting answer with The Dark Servant.” — John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author

“If you want some pure escapism on a quiet afternoon and you don’t mind a little–okay, maybe a lot–of blood, SENTINELS is exactly what you’re looking for. Manochio is a talented author with a bright future and someone who’s work I will follow with great interest.” – Shotgun Logic

About Matt Manochio

MattHeadshot

Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree. He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting.

He wrote about one of his passions, rock ‘n’ roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career. He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment.

His debut novel, The Dark Servant, was published with Samhain Horror in November of 2014. His second novel, Sentinels, was released November 2015, just prior to Twelfth Krampus Night in December 2015. He currently lives in New Jersey with his son.

Giveaway

Test your luck and enter to see if you’ll win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a print copy of The Dark Servant (Matt’s Krampus book from 2014). Anyone can enter and you can enter multiple times per day in various ways.

Also, if you review Twelfth Krampus Night and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com, and click you’ve done this on the Rafflecopter section for it, you will get 5 extra entries!! Any questions, defer them to Erin as well. Click on the Rafflecopter daily to enter!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI4/?

 

the red highway

BOOK INFO

Length: 282 Pages

Publisher: Necro Publications/Bedlam Press

Release Date: October 30, 2015

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

My first introduction to Robert E. Dunn’s work was Behind The Darkness, a scary as hell novel about a group of aliens terrorizing a family on their rural farm. I have always been both fascinated and terrified by aliens, so I was instantly drawn to Dunn’s novel and his traditional take on the Grey alien. I remember reading it over the summer and feel no shame in admitting that from start to finish, that novel scared the hell out of me. It was like Dunn took all my childhood nightmares about UFOs and aliens and brought them to life. So when he sent me a copy of his latest novel The Red Highway, I was definitely excited to give it a read.

The Red Highway is a supernatural tale that takes place during racial tensions of Los Angeles in 1992. Paul Souther is a homeless man who has lost everything due to his alcohol addiction and the trauma of his former life who frequently spends his nights in the Studio KC XXX theater in attempt to be safe and left alone. He rarely pays attention to the movies, but that all changes when he sees porn star Jennifer Vixx on the big screen and is instantly drawn to her. After seeing her, Jennifer Vixx fills his dreams and Souther can’t seem to shake her from his thoughts. One day while roaming the streets, Paul witnesses an act of violence by a man he refers to only as “Big Man”. Despite being frightened by the carnage unfolding before him, Paul steals the shooters car – a 70’s era Chevy Impala – and $8000. Although he doesn’t know it yet, this discovery and the startling vision of Jennifer Vixx speaking directly to him through the movie screen at Studio KC will change his life forever.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country, Mary Prince aka Jennifer Vixx, is having visions of her own. In the middle of filming a scene for her latest movie, she is shaken by visions of Los Angeles consumed by flames and a mass of people causing chaos, destruction and violence. Not long after these visions and being startled by the same mysterious Big Man Paul encountered in Kansas City, Mary finds out she is pregnant despite being sterile for most of her life. Mary’s pregnancy draws Paul and an eclectic group of strangers together, but they are not the only people aware of Mary’s unique situation. The Big Man has an interest in Mary’s child and gives Mary and her new friends an ultimatum – surrender the child or violence will erupt throughout Los Angeles and the city will burn.

The thing that I loved most about The Red Highway was Dunn’s unique and well-developed characters. I loved Dunn’s previous novel Behind The Darkness, but at times I felt the characterization was a bit uneven. However, with The Red Highway, Dunn does an impressive job of bringing both his main and minor characters to life. He utilizes multiple story lines to help readers get an in-depth look at the lives of his characters and how their flaws and past trauma shaped them into who they are. Although there is a pretty large cast of characters in this novel, each one has a distinct personality that helps them to stand out. Paul’s road trip buddy Ford is a true believer, who believes everything they are doing is part of God’s plan and keeps obsessive notes about everything they encounter on the road. Danny Johnson is a reporter who had big dreams of being a respected journalist, but finds himself writing for a celebrity tabloid instead and wrestling with his own identity. Reverend Curtis Wilkerson is seemingly on top of the world running a successful church and living a life of luxury but has doubts that he is living up to his full potential.

Not only does Dunn create strong characters, there is an impressive amount of diversity present in The Red Highway. Religion, racism and prejudices are just some of the issues that are explored in the novel and Dunn gives honest and realistic portrayals of these issues. I thought it was interesting that despite tensions around these issues bubbling to the surface and plunging Los Angeles into chaos, this group of relative strangers are able to band together despite their different viewpoints and beliefs. There are brief moments where they seem to have preconceived notions about each other and challenge each others beliefs, but for the most part, they overcome their differences to achieve a common goal and end up caring for one another.

I also loved Dunn’s villain, The Big Man. He mainly appears to the characters as a man, but as the story progresses, it becomes obvious that The Big Man is not just an ordinary person. What makes him such a great villain is that despite the powers he hints at through the novel, he doesn’t choose to unleash that power to achieve his goals. Instead, he prefers to use coercion is his main weapon. He is able to twist people’s feelings and get them to do his bidding with little to no effort. I don’t want to spoil too much about The Big Man because Dunn does an excellent job of slowly building to the reveal, but the scene where he appears to the Reverend Curtis Wilkerson is jaw dropping. I remember thinking early on that The Big Man wasn’t all that scary, but Dunn’s descriptions of him in this scene are downright terrifying.

The Red Highway may share some similarities to other novels horror fans may have read, but Dunn’s execution, characters and choice of setting help it stand on its own. Reading The Red Highway, there is no denying that Dunn is a talented writer and he has some highly original ideas that make me excited to read whatever he releases next!

Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win either a copy of Behind The DarknessThe Red Highway, or a print of The Red Highway’s cover art by Erik Wilson! 

Rating: 4.5/5

LINKS

Robert E. Dunn’s Official Website

Necro Publications/Bedlam Press Official Website

Purchase The Red Highway: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Necro Publications or your favorite bookstore!

The Red Highway tour graphic (1)

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about The Red Highway! – #TheRedHighway #RobertEDunn #HookofaBook

The Red Highway Synopsis

In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.

Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead

Praise for The Red Highway

The Red Highway is not one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year, or that I’ve read in a long time…it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read!  It was an incredible read, one that has so many layers that I was completely enthralled with the story.” –2 Book Lovers Reviews

“A thoroughly gripping read. Dunn is a writer with guts and the chops to grab his readers by the eyeballs and dare them to look away.”Hunter Shea, Author of Tortures of the Damned

About Robert E. Dunn

robertdunn

Robert E. Dunn was born an army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He wrote his first book at age eleven, stealing, or novelizing, as he called it at the time, the storyline of a Jack Kirby comic book.

His college course of study, philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications, left him qualified only to be a televangelist. When that didn’t work out, he turned to them mostly, honest work of video production. Over several years he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues. Still always writing for the joy of it he returned to writing horror and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.

He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win either a copy of The Red Highway, Behind the Darkness, or a print of the beautiful cover artwork from The Red Highway done by Erik Wilson! You can do multiple things each day to gain more entries! Just click the rafflecopter link. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI3/?

Today’s post on The Horror Bookshelf comes from Brian Kirk, the author of the psychological horror masterpiece We Are Monsters (review) which is out now through Samhain Horror. I was hooked on We Are Monsters from the very first page and was highly impressed with Kirk’s complex characters, reality-warping plot and stunning prose. This is one of the most impressive debuts I have read and easily my favorite book of 2015. Kirk’s post takes a look at what makes a human monster and the questions that helped him create We Are Monsters. We Are Monsters is a truly remarkable book and I hope this post encourages you to grab a copy and experience the journey for yourself!

Before I turn over the blog to Brian, I want to thank him and Erin Al-Mehairi of Hook of a Book Media & Publicity for having me on the tour. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour dates and enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

What Makes a Human Monster

By Brian Kirk, Author of We Are Monsters

we are monsters

Most horror stories feature a monster of some sort. Oftentimes this is a supernatural creature divined from some malevolent origin intent on causing death and destruction. What’s interesting about these stories is how the humans typically defeat these monsters in the end, implying, whether intentionally or not, that we are actually the scarier and more ferocious of the two creatures at war. We are more intelligent, more cunning, more ruthless and relentless. We are the superior killers.  

Perhaps that’s why I’m so fascinated with monsters of the human variety, and spend perhaps more time than I should studying them. Let’s think about this for a second, who are the most dangerous among us? The ones who commit the vilest and most barbaric acts?

Politicians, you say? Oh, you’re killing me!

Seriously, though. If I were to create a list (so saying as I proceed to create a list) of the most heinous of our kind, I’d include the following, in no particular order: pedophiles, serial killers, rapists, and cannibals.

These are the people you definitely don’t want living next door. But who are these people? How did they get this way? What turns an innocent toddler into a monster that feasts on human flesh?

It’s difficult to say. Some of it’s nature, some of it nurture. Some people are born with abnormal brains, while others have their minds altered through prolonged exposure to trauma or violent environments. One thing that may be safe to say is that no one grows up wanting to become one of these perverted, and violent predators. I don’t think anyone with a normal, healthy brain and upbringing consciously decides to begin engaging in these acts rather than, say… go to dental school.

It’s an innate calling, an urge. An irresistible compulsion that defiles our dream that we’re all basically good. That evil does not exist in this world. That we’re more than hairless monkeys born of violence and blood-thirst.

What do we think when we see violent and heinous acts? When deranged killers walk into elementary schools and gun down innocent children? Evil is what comes to mind, isn’t it? Insane.

But not insane like an illness. Insane like a demonic possession.

I wonder about that. Is insanity more like an evil possession, or more like a disease?

Some may say, “Who cares. What’s the difference? The acts are evil and should be punished.”

While I absolutely agree that people with irresistible pedophiliac urges cannot be allowed to roam freely in society, I wonder what should be done with them. What if, instead of being deviant predators, these people were otherwise normal human beings afflicted with a disease or deformity that could be corrected or cured? What if it was your brother who inexplicably had these urges, or your son?

Let’s say we could identify and diagnose the people with this disease before they ever acted upon its urge. Would we send them to prison? Would we kill them? Or would we quarantine them while we worked to develop a cure? The same way we would treat someone who inadvertently contracted small pox and was now a health hazard to the rest of humanity.

Heck if I know. I’m just intrigued by the question. I’ll tell you this, though. If the urge to harm others is, at times, caused by a “disease” or deformity of the brain, much like how the mutation of a cell can lead to cancer, it is by far one of the worst diseases that can afflict an individual. And its contagion is among the most damaging to society as a whole.

These are difficult questions involving an uncomfortable subject. They are questions that inspired the nature of my debut novel, We Are Monsters.

In We Are Monsters, a troubled, yet brilliant psychiatrist is working to develop a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.

This novel asks challenging questions. As the venerable review site, Ginger Nuts of Horror said, “Parts of the story are heartbreaking, parts will make you angry, and the whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.”

But I believe they are questions worth asking. I hope you’ll check it out.


Purchase We Are Monsters: AmazonSamhain PublishingBarnes and NobleKoboOmnilit 

Thanks for having me on your site! Here’s my contact info in case anyone is interested in forming a virtual friendship.

Brian Kirk

 Twitter

 Facebook

 Goodreads

We Are Monsters tour graphic (1)

This guest post originally appeared on Hunter Shea‘s blog. Hunter is an incredible writer and another one of my favorite authors, be sure to check out his books too!

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about We Are Monsters! – #WeAreMonsters #asylum #mentalhealth #psychologicalhorror

We Are Monsters Synopsis

The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.

Praise for Brian Kirk

“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut, We Are Monsters, is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners on split screens. ” — Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Redheads

We Are Monsters is fantastic — a frightening and intense thriller and one hell of a debut novel. I was blown away. Brian Kirk is exactly what readers need — a talented new voice with original, awe-inspiring ideas that can push the genre forward.” 
Brian Keene, best-selling author of Ghoul and The Rising

“Brian Kirk’s debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that’s a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I’ve read this year.”  – Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.

“A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.”  – Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Brian Kirk’s debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up… and what happens when they’re freed. Highly recommended!”  – John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.

“A disturbing, gets-under-your-skin debut novel. I expect to read much more from Kirk in the future.” – Robert Ford, author of The Compound and Samson and Denial.


“Cleverly told. Psychologically complex.” Scarlet’s Web

“A gorgeous display of conceivable terror that resonates long after reading.”  – Ranked as one of the Top Ten Horror Novels of 2015 by Best-Horror-Movies.net

About Brian Kirk

brian kirk

Brian Kirk lives in Atlanta with his beautiful wife and rambunctious identical twin boys. He works as a freelance writer in addition to writing fiction, and is currently working on the second book in a planned trilogy. We Are Monsters is his debut release. Feel free to connect with him online. Don’t worry, he only kills his characters.

See more about Brian at: http://briankirkblog.com/ 

Follow Brian on Facebook and Twitter. He’s found on Twitter at @Brian_Kirk and looks forward to connecting with you.

Giveaway

Click the rafflecopter link below and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from Brian Kirk! You can perform several tasks for entering each day here or at each stop that posts the giveaway link. Best of luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI1/?

we are monsters

BOOK INFO

Length: 308 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: July 7, 2015

I have heard nothing but great things about Brian Kirk’s We Are Monsters from other bloggers and some of my favorite authors, so the hype around this book reached monumental proportions for me. It took me awhile to finally read We Are Monsters, but I can safely say it was definitely worth the wait.

Kirk’s We Are Monsters is a psychological horror story that takes place in the Sugar Hill mental asylum led by two brilliant but very different psychiatrists, Dr. Eli Alpert and Dr. Alex Drexler. Dr. Alpert is plagued by self-doubt and haunted by the demons of his past, events that shape how he interacts with his patients. While he is not opposed to using modern medicines to treat his patients, Dr. Alpert tries to use more humanistic and less invasive approaches whenever possible and treating his patients with dignity and respect. His holistic approach makes him unpopular with the board despite his sterling reputation for helping patients reach high levels of recovery. They see him as stubborn and refusing to adapt to modern times and would rather see him utilize medications more in treatments. Dr. Drexler is more willing to utilize medication in the treatment of his patients. He has been testing an experimental drug in secret without his mentor and boss Dr. Eli Alpert’s knowledge. Dr. Drexler hopes that his drug will be able to cure his patients that are battling mental illness, but his medicine has not been performing up to his standards as of late as he is on his fifth trial patient and his backers in Philax Pharmaceuticals are quickly losing patience. Although he views Dr. Alpert as a mentor, they are often at odds with how to treat patients, which adds tension to their relationship.

The arrival of a new patient known as the “Apocalypse Killer” plunges Sugar Hill into a state of chaos and violence that brings these tensions to the surface. The board of Sugar Hill feels Dr. Alpert is losing control of the hospital, and turn to Dr. Drexler for help. They know all about his secret project and force him to use it on a patient through implied blackmail in an attempt to gain positive press. However, Dr. Drexler’s cure has horrifying side effects that will change the lives of everyone at Sugar Hill forever.

We Are Monsters has a very interesting structure and it is one that readers will either love or hate. Personally, I loved it. A majority of the novel is spent introducing readers to the cast of characters that help give this story life. We learn about their history, their desires, the darkness that haunts them and both major and minor characters are brought to life in an incredibly vivid way. Kirk’s characters are complex and it is in many of these scenes that We Are Monsters truly shines. A great example of this is Dr. Drexler. He comes off initially as a man driven by greed and as being cold considering his early interactions with his wife. However, flashbacks about his relationship with his parents and his schizophrenic brother Jerry show that while he may have faults, he isn’t that easily categorized.

These chapters of character building set up the events that unfold throughout the course of the novel and despite being loaded with flashbacks and switching from various view points, Kirk’s attention to detail and lyrical prose keep the reader hooked and it is never confusing. As a horror fan, I love getting to the parts where things go off the rails and whatever creepy monster, creature or event is finally unveiled in all of its terrifying glory. However, in the case of We Are Monsters, I was just as intrigued by the back story and the events that led to these scenes. I loved this approach because when elements of the supernatural are finally unleashed in the back half of the novel, their impact is that much more visceral.

I don’t want to get too much into the details of  what exactly the effects are of Alex’s drug are because it would ruin the discovery for new readers and that journey is part of what makes We Are Monsters such a great read. I will say that I thought the way Kirk introduces the more supernatural elements of the novel was brilliant and even with the reality-warping events that take place, the explanation for them was fairly plausible.

 I started reading Kirk’s debut with the thought that “Oh, I’ll just read a few chapters to get started”. That plan of attack quickly went out the window as I found myself hooked on We Are Monsters from the very first page. Any time I had to put the book down, I couldn’t wait until I was able to once again immerse myself in the world that Kirk created. I am glad I was able to read We Are Monsters before the end of the year because not only is this one of the most impressive horror debuts I have ever read, I am confident in placing We Are Monsters firmly in the number one spot for the best horror novel of 2015. I was absolutely blown away by the emotional resonance of the novel and the stunning quality of Kirk’s work. One thing is for certain, whether Kirk continues to write exclusively horror or branches out into other genres, I will be first in line to read his works. Regardless of what types of book you like to read, We Are Monsters is a book that belongs on your bookshelf.

Be sure to check out the giveaway below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Brian Kirk’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase We Are Monsters: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Horror or your favorite bookstore!

We Are Monsters tour graphic (1)

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about We Are Monsters! – #WeAreMonsters #asylum #mentalhealth #psychologicalhorror

We Are Monsters Synopsis

The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.

Praise for Brian Kirk

“Keep an eye on Brian Kirk. His ambitious debut, We Are Monsters, is a high-voltage thrill, like watching Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor and Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners on split screens. ” — Jonathan Moore, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Redheads

We Are Monsters is fantastic — a frightening and intense thriller and one hell of a debut novel. I was blown away. Brian Kirk is exactly what readers need — a talented new voice with original, awe-inspiring ideas that can push the genre forward.” 
Brian Keene, best-selling author of Ghoul and The Rising

“Brian Kirk’s debut We Are Monsters is a smart, elaborate novel that weaves together the best and worst of us. Complex, terrifying, and still humane, this book moved me to both horror and compassion, and that’s a difficult thing indeed. Easily the best book I’ve read this year.”  – Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy.

“A tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us. The whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.”  – Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Brian Kirk’s debut novel We Are Monsters is a sure bet. A hippy-trippy jaunt that goes deep into the baser things we keep bottled up… and what happens when they’re freed. Highly recommended!”  – John F.D. Taff, Bram Stoker nominated author of The End In All Beginnings.

“A disturbing, gets-under-your-skin debut novel. I expect to read much more from Kirk in the future.” – Robert Ford, author of The Compound and Samson and Denial.


“Cleverly told. Psychologically complex.” Scarlet’s Web

“A gorgeous display of conceivable terror that resonates long after reading.”  – Ranked as one of the Top Ten Horror Novels of 2015 by Best-Horror-Movies.net

About Brian Kirk

brian kirk

Brian Kirk lives in Atlanta with his beautiful wife and rambunctious identical twin boys. He works as a freelance writer in addition to writing fiction, and is currently working on the second book in a planned trilogy. We Are Monsters is his debut release. Feel free to connect with him online. Don’t worry, he only kills his characters.

See more about Brian at: http://briankirkblog.com/ 

Follow Brian on Facebook and Twitter. He’s found on Twitter at @Brian_Kirk and looks forward to connecting with you.

Giveaway

Click the rafflecopter link below and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from Brian Kirk! You can perform several tasks for entering each day here or at each stop that posts the giveaway link. Best of luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI1/?