Posts Tagged ‘aliens’

oor-cover

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Alien Agenda Publishing

Length: 44 Pages

Release Date: July 16, 2016

Ever since Glenn Rolfe sent me a copy of his debut novel The Haunted Halls, I have been a huge fan of his work. It has been an awesome following Glenn’s career and seeing him develop into one of the best and most entertaining horror writers out there today. Not only is he a talented author, but he is a super nice guy and a huge promoter of the horror community. Trying to choose a favorite work of Glenn’s is nearly impossible because of the versatility he has displayed thus far in his career, and there is something different I love in each of his works.

Glenn’s last two releases – the full-length Blood and Rain and this year’s novella Things We Fear – were some of my favorite horror reads and I know Things We Fear will be on my “Best of” list at the end of the year. After finishing Things We Fear in March, I thought for sure I was going to have a long and agonizing wait for the release of his upcoming Chasing Ghosts. So it was an unexpected treat when Rolfe announced the release of Out of Range, a collection of three short stories that revolve around aliens. If you are a longtime reader of this blog, then you know I have a love/hate relationship with aliens, so this was a book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on!

Out of Range opens with a pretty cool foreword from fellow horror author Hunter Shea. It talks about all the things that fascinate people about aliens, UFOs and the unknown even though the prevailing thought is that aliens would destroy us in seconds flat. Despite the fact that aliens scare the hell out of me, I am still fascinated about talking about them and the possibilities their existence poses. While some may not enjoy the foreword, I thought that it set the mood for this collection perfectly and really connected with me as a fellow fan of all things alien. As I was reading, it definitely helped build my excitement to see what sort of extraterrestrial horror Rolfe has conjured up for this collection. The passion of that foreword and the fact that it is evident throughout these three stories is what made this such a blast for me to read.

Out of Range kicks off with Not of this World a terrifying story that channels the spirit of John Carpenter’s The Thing and mixes in a dash of Alien. Author Jonathan and his wife are expecting their first child and it should be the most joyous moment of their lives, but something is not right. Despite the fact that her husband told her that her nightmares were just a byproduct of her nervousness over the pregnancy, Gina is convinced that there really is something wrong with the baby. While Jonathan is supportive of her, the tension of her fears is beginning to put a strain on their marriage. The baby’s due date comes and goes and that’s when the movements that were unlike anything she expected began to happen. Jonathan was away at Cincinnati to sell books at a horror convention and Gina is convinced that she is in grave danger.

Jonathan is trying to call his wife from the convention and she doesn’t answer, though she always normally does. He frantically tries every number he can think of with no luck, so he decides to skip out on the convention early and races home to be with his wife. When Jonathan arrives home, he witnesses a horror beyond his imagination and is in a race for not just his survival, but the survival of everyone in his community and possibly the world.

This was the perfect choice to start off the collection as it is full of adrenaline-pumping scenes and the alien in this story is by far the most frightening creature in the collection. I don’t want to give too much away, but the scenes of the aliens arrival were definitely pretty creepy and definitely had me on the edge of my seat. It’s arrival is gruesome and violent and channels the blood-soaked characteristics of The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain. The descriptions are simple, yet devastatingly effective: “Shredding flesh, popping and ripping ligaments…” Out of the three stories, I would say this one is definitely the most frightening just in terms of the alien’s abilities and carnage it unleashes in such a short time span. It is a devastating and heartbreaking piece because the alien ruins the lives of the people it comes across and there are some truly bleak moments that really stuck with me about this story.

The Astronauts is a story I was honored to host on The Horror Bookshelf last year for a few weeks and I am glad to see it get a wider release in this collection. The story revolves around the mystery of what the narrator is hiding following the arrival of a mysterious race of beings known as The Astronauts on Earth.  The Astronauts try to prohibit any mention of the past or memories and employ a series of barbaric tortures to ensure compliance to their demands. The narrator, along with the other survivors. are all huddled up in squalor and filth. It used to depress them, but they have come to reluctantly accept their situation. Despite their shared predicament, he doesn’t trust any of them with his secret. The secret he is hiding is something that he feels would cause The Astronauts to kill him, so secrecy is key. However, The Astronauts possess formidable powers and keeping that secret will prove to be an almost impossible task.

The Astronauts are sort of a half way point between the other stories in terms of the level of danger they pose to the characters. The being in the first story is driven by an animalistic rage and hatred. The Astronauts of this story are cold and brutal, but they have a much more human-like intelligence. They band together in groups and formulate plans. What I loved about this story was that despite the bleak surroundings and his knowledge of what these beings are capable of, the narrator remains defiant.

While I enjoyed all of these stories for different reasons, the titular story of this collection is definitely my favorite. The aliens in this story announced their arrival by cutting the Internet. They only broadcast a single message to announce their presence and it was viewed on devices all across the globe. They only utter three sentences “Your world is not yours. We gave it life as we gave you. We are coming home.” After that single message, everything went silent and people are just sitting around waiting for them to return. The story views the invasion through the eyes of a single family, particularly the narrator Nick. He is staying with his sister Lindsay and attempting to help her raise her kids Jack and Wendi. His 16-year-old niece Wendi makes a discovery that sends chills down Nick’s spine and makes him fear the worst when she tells him what she has found.

This story is more subtle in its set-up. It is little moments – hisses in radio static, the loss of instant communication the Internet offers – that builds a sense of dread. Then there is the fact that the aliens delay their arrival. They make their creepy announcement and then there is nothing. Life carries on as usual for the most part and there is something even more ominous about that then if these beings had descended upon Earth blowing up everything in sight. That sense of an unknown future really gives you the chills and allows your imagination to run wild.

Part of the reason this one gets the nod as my favorite is that it incorporates some of the things that both fascinate and terrify me about aliens and there are some really memorable scenes that I think alien fans will really enjoy. Also, this story it has a powerful emotional core that adds a great layer to the story.

Out of Range is a brisk read at only 44 pages, but not a moment is wasted by Rolfe, who grabs the reader’s attention right from the beginning. I remember after I tore through this book on release day thinking about how each one of these stories would have made for a fantastic full-length novel. These stories work as stand alone stories and probably will stay that way, but I can’t help but wish for a continuation of the story Out of Range. If you are a fan of Glenn’s terrific novella Boom Town or just have a fascination with aliens, this is a collection you definitely want to add to your shelf. Out of Range is a quick, fun summer read that has gotten me excited not just for Chasing Ghosts, but also the sequel to Boom Town that is currently in the works!

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Purchase Out of Range: Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK) 

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behindthedarkness

BOOK INFO

Length: 212 Pages

Publisher: Severed Press

Release Date: January 25, 2015

Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

The first time I head about Robert E. Dunn’s Behind The Darkness was on Hunter Shea’s blog where he talked about the book and featured an interview with the author. Reading that interview and the ideas behind the novel, I was hooked and had to get my hands on this book.

I have always been fascinated with the idea of aliens and UFOs. I can remember as far back as early elementary school shortly after graduating from your standard young reader books checking out every book I could on aliens and UFOs. Books about Roswell, the Hill abduction case you name it. I remember checking out all of these books and reading them, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where that fascination came from. Oddly enough, as intrigued as I was by all of these accounts and experiences and wanting to believe that they were somehow real, the idea also terrified me. For every harmless story about spotting strange lights in the sky or seeing aliens from afar, there are some truly horrifying accounts out there. Abductions where people are ripped from their home or cars and experimented on, cattle mutilations, etc. It doesn’t really matter whether you believe in these or not, any way you slice it – real life occurrence or fiction – there is something downright scary at the thought of being captured by otherworldly beings with no way to defend yourself.

Well, it seems Dunn has found his way into my nightmares with Behind The Darkness. Readers are first introduced to Max Callahan, a man who is on a romantic hike with his wife Sheila. Things start of playful as they race each other to the summit with Max winning handily. However, what he sees at the top of that ridge takes a terrifying turn. At first, he is intrigued and calls for his wife to hurry and join him. As he continues to watch, he realizes something is terribly wrong and begs her to flee. Without a chance to save her, he is taken by the mysterious craft and subjected to horrific experiments and unthinkable violence by his captors.

Then we are introduced to the Duncan’s. Ashley Duncan and her husband Tyler own their own farm and have a baby on the way. Although they are excited about having their own farm and growing their family, they sense something sinister surrounding their home. Tyler has been discovering the mutilated corpses of his cows in the fields and Ashley first experiences the aliens when they hypnotize and terrorize her. Ashley’s brother Vic and her longtime friend Leslie are coming for the weekend to help the Duncan’s on the farm and reconnect with each other. As everyone gathers at the house and Max is introduced to the group, the aliens converge on the Duncan ranch to reclaim their captive and attempt to take Tyler’s baby and wife. What follows is a violent battle for survival that will change everyone forever.

The small town setting for this story may be a bit expected, but it works remarkably well in this case. It is your typical country town with the largest thing being a fast food chain and cell phone reception is spotty at best. This allows the aliens to make their presence known with little fear of discovery. Bill Tatum, who owns the feed store, is the only character who takes Tyler’s plight seriously and suspects the truth behind what is going on. Everyone else in town knows about the cattle mutilations that take place, but fear acknowledging what could really be happening due to how the news would portray them or how it would impact their property values. Even if the townspeople believed aliens were responsible, their seclusion from major city centers make it next to impossible to defend themselves.

The only real weakness to this story would be the characterization at times. In the beginning of the book, the cast of characters seem fairly one dimensional. We are given enough information to be able to differentiate between them, but there is little that makes the reader forge a connection to them. However, Dunn fixes that in the later portion of the book. As the characters are surrounded by pure evil ripped straight from their nightmares, that is when we begin to see who they truly are and they become more well developed. The biggest transformation would have to be Tyler. I don’t want to spoil what happens to him or what he does, but he undergoes a dramatic change from the character we are first introduced to. Even as Tyler begins to develop a darker side, you still root for him to come out on top as he takes a stand to protect his friends and family against impossible odds.

As a fan of alien accounts and non-fiction books, this is the sort of alien/UFO novel I have been waiting for. I have read a ton of books on the topic from both horror and science fiction and most of them just seem to be missing something. While I appreciate the attempt at creating an original alien race and trying to create something fresh, I have always wanted to see a straightforward, terrifying alien horror novel that draws heavily on the Greys. Dunn draws from this traditional portrayal heavily, but sprinkles in enough originality to make them seem frightening and far from just a rip-off.  They utilize some of the same psychological tactics to confuse and disable their victims but they are also physical and capable of extreme violence. They also have the ability to camouflage themselves with their surroundings.

The novel is packed with action and once the group huddled in Duncan ranch begin to face off against the creatures, I could hardly set the novel down. This one is packed with action and is downright scary and should definitely be added to the collection of anyone with an interest in aliens or UFOs. I live in a pretty rural area and after reading this book, I have to admit I was pretty creeped out when I had to step outside during the middle of the night. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4/5

Robert E. Dunn Official Website

Severed Press Official Website

Purchase Behind The Darkness on Amazon

Today I am happy to have Samhain Horror author Glenn Rolfe on The Horror Bookshelf for an interview in support of his delightfully creepy alien novella Boom Town (review). Glenn talks about his writing, punk rock, being a part of the Samhain Horror family, his upcoming releases and a ton of other cool stuff! Also, if you happened to miss it the first time around, Glenn was kind enough to share a brand new story titled “The Astronauts” last week that you definitely don’t want to miss!

A huge thanks to Glenn for stopping by to answer my questions and to Erin Al-Mehairi of Hook of a Book Media & Publicity for inviting me to participate on this blog tour!

Glenn Author Photo

Hey Glenn! Before we get started, I just wanted to thank you for stopping by The Horror Bookshelf!

Glad to be here, man. Thanks you so much for having me.

You write songs and act as the front man for a punk rock band called The Never Nudes. How did you first get involved in punk rock bands?

I started playing and singing in bands back in 1997. That band was called The Skin Flutes (we were a 3-piece). We started off with original tunes right off the bat. We did two albums which you can still find on bandcamp for free! https://theskinflutes.bandcamp.com/

I’ve been in and out of bands ever since. The Never Nudes came along a couple of years ago after I started writing. We’ve actually just called it quits. Lack of time and arranging schedules is too hard.

It was all fun, man. I used to sing Green Day and Rancid tunes all the time. One of my friends heard me and said I should sing in his band. That was the start.

The punk rock community has a long history of Do-it-yourself ethics and there are a lot of parallels with how that could be influential to a writer. Has that carried into your work as an author and what lessons have you learned from it?

Oh yeah. 100%. We used to walk through the crowds selling cassette tapes that we manufactured in my crappy apartment. Spray painted t-shirts, too. You learned to push your art. It’s never easy to walk up to someone who has no idea who the hell you are and ask them to buy your work for $3. Who knew I’d be doing that very same thing with my eBooks 17 years later! But yeah, I developed the tough skin needed to keep alive in this business. And a cool book cover can be as effective as a great album cover. Then there’s the whole word of mouth, grass-roots movement that bands and authors have to do at the start. There are a lot of things the correlate between the two.

Does music play a big part in your writing? Do you have any artists you like to listen to while writing?

Music almost always plays into my writing. I can’t tell you how many times a random tune comes through my headphones and works itself into my story. Off the top of my head…I know Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” is in the novel I’m working on now. It came on while I was in this scene and it just fit perfectly. I had to add it in.

And my first novella, Abram’s Bridge, pulls its name and inspiration from a Bruce Springsteen song.

How did you make the transition from a musician into writing fiction? What inspired you to finally go for it?

Well, punk rock isn’t what it used to be. People moved and I started a family. I lost my job in 2010 when the hotel I worked at closed. After a couple of months at home, I needed some sort of outlet. I had chicken-scratched a couple of horrible short stories in a notebook in the early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until I typed up something fresh during that jobless time that something sparked. I shared this short piece with some horror friends on Facebook and they wanted to know what happened next. They cheered me on until I had a sixty thousand word novel. I haven’t stopped since.

What drew you into the world of horror and what is your favorite thing about the genre?

I was always being subjected to creepy movies from my older brother. He would use them to scare the piss out of me. The Howling, Maximum Overdrive, A Nightmare on Elm Street… something about that powerful, resonating emotion—that fear—stuck with me. It definitely got me into reading. The bass player from The Skin Flutes gave me Stephen King’s The Dark Half and I was hooked.

My favorite thing about horror is how much you can do with it. To me, with horror, you can do almost anything any other genre can do–love, mystery, fantasy, drama, heartbreak– plus you can scare the crap out of people. You can push every button the reader has.

What is a typical day of writing like for you?

I’m usually writing blogs or reviews during the week. I do the majority of my fiction writing on my two overnight shifts at the hotel I work at now. I get three or four hours to sit with my laptop and go. Making time during the week for fiction writing is freaking hard. I have three kiddos that like to keep my attention.

When I do write, I almost always have music playing in the background. And I will use certain bands to set the mood. Danzig gets a lot of play. Bruce, hair metal, and whatever comes across the old shuffle.

Samhain Horror is one of my favorite Horror publishers. How did you end up connecting with them to release your work?

I tracked down Don D’Auria. He was the mastermind behind the Leisure Books horror line. I found out he was brought on to handle duties for Samhain and just targeted him. He was the only guy I really wanted to work with. Those LB titles were instrumental in making me want to become a writer. Abram’s Bridge was my most refined piece and Don loved it enough to offer me a contract.

Samhain Horror authors seem to be pretty supportive of each other. How has this helped you as a writer?

I just tackled this in a guest post last week for fellow Samhain author, Tamara Jones [in] “We’re a Happy Family”. And it is so true. Everybody is here for each other. I was fortunate to connect with guys like Jonathan Janz, Russell James, and Ronald Malfi while I was still honing my craft. Hell, I’m still fine tuning this thing. But even before I was on the Samhain roster, these guys were giving me advice and rooting for me. I felt like getting that first contract validated their time and faith in me. That first round of welcomes moved me.

I try to return that faith and encouragement. I try to pay it forward. I think we all do. It is a pretty special group. I’m honored to be a part of it.

You have mentioned in other interviews that you don’t really outline or plot out your novels, but instead take a more spontaneous approach. What are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages to that approach?

The advantage is you are learning what happens as it happens. Hopefully that translates to the readers surprise of what happens next. How can the reader know what’s coming if I don’t?

On the flip flop, I’m driving blind and can run into dead ends. But since no one sees that, I am able to delete and try again. I’m not afraid to fail or crash and burn in a story. You can always go back and try again. I can usually tell when it feels off.

Your debut novel The Haunted Halls started out as a serial work on Jukepop. What was the experience like? Would you try this style again?

It was good and bad. It gave me The Haunted Halls, but it was difficult. You had to write a chapter, edit it, and throw it up live. Once it was live, you could not edit it. They have since changed that. My ugliest mistake that I could not get down—Chevy Mustang. Yep, I like to say it was an alternate universe, but writing while you’ve been awake all night sometimes causes brain cramps. That was my big one.

I wouldn’t do it again. It takes time and commitment. I wouldn’t be able to do that now. If you are just starting out though it’s a good way to learn how to make a story that pulls people along. I think that was the best thing that came out of the experience for me. If you are writing and posting one chapter at a time, you learn to make sure that that each chapter makes people have to read the next. That’s something I see as a common thread pointed out by the reviews of my work so far. People can’t put the story down. That was my A+ in Jukepop 101.

The Ice Queen is one of the most original antagonists I have come across in quite awhile! How did you get the idea for her abilities?

I work at a hotel. The idea came to me there. I thought of all the things that would make my skin crawl and gave those abilities to her. I’m sure there is movie and novel influences in there, too. But yeah, she was a lot of fun to work with. I had goose bumps at three thirty in the morning numerous times. That’s how I knew I was doing something right with her.

Abram’s Bridge originated as an idea for a ghost story for your writing group. Do you still participate in the same group and if so, how has it helped you with your writing?

The Tuesday Mayhem Society. Yeah, there a bunch of great people, friendly as hell and just as twisted! I still get with them some, but not as much. Again, it’s a matter of time. I just can’t get there.

While Abram’s Bridge definitely shares the same voice as your other works, it is a little bit different in terms of style. What was it like exploring a different side of your writing?

Fun. I have to thank Mercedes Yardley for that. I read her collection, Beautiful Sorrows, and was blown away by her style and the things she dared to do and places she went with her horror. Sweet Kate would not have been who she was if Mercedes hadn’t opened that door for me.

Ronald Malfi’s Floating Staircase made an impression on me that I think bled into Abram’s Bridge, as well. The obvious line is that they are both ghost story/mysteries, but the atmosphere Malfi created in his novel, I definitely tried to re-create that a bit in my novella.

Boom Town is based on actual reports of underground booms in Wisconsin. What is the scariest true alien encounter you have ever come across?

I always point to the abduction story of Travis Walton. Whether you believe it or not. The movie, Fire in the Sky, has the scariest scene ever for an alien flick. When Travis is having flashbacks to what the aliens did to him…that gets every time. It’s one of my nightmares.

I loved the portrayal of the alien presence as a mysterious ooze. What inspired you to take that route as opposed to relying on more traditional entities?

Ah, the ooze. In the first draft it was more like the ectoplasm in Ghostbusters 2. But that just didn’t feel right to me. I wanted an alien connection and I just didn’t have the balls to go for it. I thought, “I’m a horror writer, I can’t write science fiction…” But once I got over the fear and added the opening scene and then the closing scene, the rest of the story fell into place and worked like I wanted it to. I had it in me and didn’t even realize it.

You’re upcoming Samhain novel Blood and Rain has been in the works for some time in various forms. What has the process been like re-working that?

Oh my. Blood and Rain, the first draft, was the first novel I wrote, the one I showed a couple of Facebook friends. It was much more Laymon-esque in its original form, but way less well-written. I sent it to an editor. He fixed all of my horrible writing issues, but the story was still less than good. I tweaked it and shopped it a few times. It was rejected by three or four indie presses including Don and Samhain thankfully! Yes, I’m glad no one took it. After Samhain took Boom Town, Don asked me when I could deliver a novel. I love the characters and the main story in Blood and Rain and I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I called upon two of my most honest and well-read friends to help me re-shape the novel. My best friend, Ben, kicked my ass. He told me if something sucked, or asked why a character would do this? I ended up re-writing about 50-60 percent of the last version I had. I had Erin (Al-Mehairi) clean it up and sent it to Don. Mind you, did all of those major re-writes over a four-week period last summer. It was intense, but the results were perfect. And Don agreed.

What was your inspiration for Blood and Rain?

Well, like I said, my brother showed me The Howling. He showed me Silver Bullet. He always seemed keen to werewolves. That rubbed off on me. One of my favorite werewolf bits is actually the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. That scared the hell out of me as a kid. That was done by the same guy who did An American Werewolf in London. After writing a couple terrible short stories, I started this werewolf bit. It started growing past my comfort zone. I remember thinking, “this is a novel”. I stopped, but I kept that notebook. I saved this story. When I started writing for real in 2011, this is what I knew I had to write.

I get my kids howling at full moons. It is hilarious. Plus, look at my name– “Rolfe: The unusual English surname Rolfe derives ultimately from the Old Scandinavian and Germanic pre 5th century personal name “Hrodwulf“. This was composed of the elements “hrod“, meaning “renown”, and “wulf“, a wolf.” [Source: Wikipedia]

It seems it was only a matter of time.

What horror novel has had the biggest impact on you as a writer and who are some of your favorite current writers?

Biggest impact: ‘Salem’s Lot. I kind of think Blood and Rain is my werewolf answer to ‘Salem’s Lot. I’m no Stephen King, but this is special.

For current writers out there…Ronald Malfi, Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland, I loved Jonathan Maberry’s Pine Deep Trilogy. A couple of writers I just got into last year that I really dig would be Adam Cesare and Todd Keisling. I could fill this list with Samhain authors. If Don gives them the thumbs up, that’s good enough for me.

If you could choose any writer to collaborate with, who would you choose and why?

Outside of King, who I’m sure I could share any idea with and he would make it amazing. I think I’d love to do something with Ronald Malfi. I love his style so much. I think we could make something deep and beautiful.

Horror writers are generally big fans of the genre as well. What sort of horror novel have you always wanted to see that has not really been explored?

Personally, I like what’s out there now. I like the classics. I like seeing someone drip their DNA into a “tired” trope. It’s like music, man. There are only so many chords and chord progressions that work, ya know? It’s what the individual has inside of them that makes their take special.

What other works are you currently working on?

I have two novels close to finished: Becoming and Window. Then I have a new untitled novella underway and plan on putting out my second short fiction collection, The World Comes Down, in the first half of 2016.

Thanks for stopping by The Horror Bookshelf Glenn, I am definitely excited to read your upcoming works!

Thanks again, Rich. My pleasure.

boom-town-tour-logo

About Glenn Rolfe

Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the ghost/mystery/thriller novella, ABRAM’S BRIDGE (Samhain Publishing, Jan. 2015) and his latest novella, a Horror/Sci-Fi mash-up, BOOM TOWN (Samhain Publishing). A full-length novel, BLOOD AND RAIN, will come out this Fall from Samhain Publishing and THINGS WE FEAR, a novella, is set to publish from Samhain in 2016.

His debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (James Ward Kirk Publishing, 2014), is available now, as well as his short story collection, SLUSH (Alien Agenda Publishing, 2014).

Look for his punk rock band, The Never Nudes, on Amazon and Facebook.
Check out his website: www.glennrolfe.com

About Boom Town

BoomTown

Terror from below!

In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.

Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.

Reviews for Boom Town

“…Stephen King-lite. (Boom Town) is quick, punchy and goes places you may not see coming before the final page is swiped or turned.”Horror After Dark

“Boom Town is quick and entertaining read that harkens back to the 1980’s brand of small town (or intimate invasion) alien pieces. Like a readers digest version of Late Night Horror Television presentations (every region had one, for me it was “Fright Night Theatre”) of “Invaders From Mars”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “Night of the Creeps” or “Xtro”Zachary, Mouths of Madness Podcast

Rolfe weaves a wonderful tale of big, bad things happening to a small, good town. A sure winner!Hunter Shea, author of Island of the Forbidden and The Montauk Monster

Add on GoodReads

Purchase Boom Town:

Amazon

Samhain Horror

Barnes and Noble

BoomTown

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 81 Pages

Release Date: April 7, 2015

Review copy provided for an honest review as part of the Boom Town blog tour

Ever since I read Glenn Rolfe’s debut novel The Haunted Halls, I had a feeling he was destined to be one of the most exciting new authors to break out into the genre. It was a no-holds-barred novel that blended psychological horrors and blood and guts violence for a memorable debut. Rolfe takes that adrenaline-fueled approach and applies it to his latest novella for Samhain Horror, Boom Town.

In 1979, the sleepy small town of Eckert, Wisconsin was shaken by one of the most unusual UFO sightings in history. A young couple was driving through town late at night on Hollers Hill when they witnessed a UFO blast a blue beam into the hill and caused an earthquake-like event that reverberated through the town and was reported to stretch across state lines. The event has become ingrained into the local folklore with residents split as to what actually occurred that night. Some believe every word of the event while others dismiss it as an exaggerated tall-tale. However, thirty years later when the town begins experiencing regular tremors, the events of that night begin becoming the talk of the town. Theories ranged from the alien connection to underground creatures to a secret oil line installed by the government to stash oil.

When local business owner Alan Packard heads down to Kasey’s Cave, two local fanatics Gus Jackson and Nat Gallant claim much more is going on than just the seemingly harmless booms. They mention that resident Lyle Everson hasn’t been seen in over a week, right after a boom occurred in his backyard. Alan thinks it is nothing serious, he’s either sick or the two men simply let paranoia overtake them due to the booze, but Nat mentions that is not like him. In the twenty years he worked with Lyle, he never recalls him missing a day of work and he never answered his door when he went to check on him. There was no doubt he was there, Nat could hear him breathing heavy and noticed a rotten smell emanating from his home. It isn’t long between the booms hit Packard’s back yard and he learns firsthand the frightening consequences that follow their arrival.

The following morning, 12-year-old Brady Carmichael and his best friend and crush Kim Jenner discover a pipe behind Packard’s Flea Market that was unearthed by the booms. This marks the first time the booms occurred so close to Brady’s house and he is eager to investigate despite Kim’s warnings that they should stay away. Contained within the pipe is a bubbling, blue ooze that could either be toxic waste or something far more sinister. Brady’s youthful curiosity gets the best of him and he touches the ooze to frightening consequences. The two young teens continue to explore the mystery of the ooze on Packard’s property and what they uncover has terrifying consequences for both them and the rest of Eckert.

It is no secret to regular readers of The Horror Bookshelf that I am a huge nerd when it comes to aliens. Anything from true accounts to novels and movies, if it has aliens in it, there is a good chance I am going to enjoy it. While what terrifies me the most is your more traditional alien story (grey aliens and abductions), the utterly creepy portrayal Rolfe lays out here made my skin crawl. The blue ooze that marks the presence of these visitors from another world is frightening. At first glance the blue ooze seems relatively mundane, causing characters to lower their defenses so it can take hold of its victims without them ever seeing it coming. Imagine if you were walking around in the woods and stumbled upon this mysterious substance. Chances are you would be curious in the same way Brady was, not paralyzed by fear like you would be if you happened to encounter an actual entity. However, the ooze is capable of truly horrifying things and leads to some gruesome and memorable scenes. I don’t want to spoil the oozes capabilities, but the haunting mantra that surrounds it –“Take them. Bring them. Ascend” – will send chills down your spine!

I love what Rolfe did structurally with this novella by opening with a news report detailing the strange underground “booms” that have been regularly occurring over the past three days. It is a perfect way to explain the history behind the town and what the booms could mean and sets the stage for the horrors that unfold throughout the story.

Much like his previous novella Abram’s Bridge, Rolfe crafts the perfect portrayal of a small town and manages to create a diverse and interesting set of residents. My favorite supporting characters were the fanatics Gus and Nat, regulars at Kasey’s Cave who spout all kinds of conspiracy theories and refuse to believe anything other than the booms being connected to alien activity. Rolfe’s decision to set Boom Town in a small town was a perfect fit for this type of novella. While I have enjoyed numerous alien movies where they move on large cities in a display of power (think of the White House scene in Independence Day), there is something utterly creepy about a sinister force that descends on an unsuspecting population.

The only complaint I have concerning Boom Town was that Brady’s interaction with the ooze raised a lot of questions but had no real explanation or resolution. It didn’t significantly impact my reading or enjoyment of the story, but it was something that nagged at me when I realized there was no definitive explanation. I have my own theories, but it still does not answer why Brady was the only one to experience this reaction to the ooze.

Boom Town is a fun, fast-paced read packed with action, copious amounts of alien slime and an aura of creepiness that is sure to appeal to both horror and science fiction fans. Rolfe leaves just enough of the mystery surrounding Eckert unresolved for a possible sequel and I hope that he decides to delve more into the events that began in Boom Town!

I am excited to announce that Glenn will be posting a guest post on the 13th and stopping by for an interview on the 20th as part of his publicity tour for Boom Town, so be sure to stop back on those dates! Also, be sure to check out the other great sites that will be hosting reviews, interviews and guest posts on his tour page (which you can find by clicking on the tour graphic below).

Rating: 4.5/5

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Boom Town on : Amazon, Samhain Horror and Barnes and Noble

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Glenn Author Photo

About Glenn Rolfe

Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the ghost/mystery/thriller novella, ABRAM’S BRIDGE (Samhain Publishing, Jan. 2015) and his latest novella, a Horror/Sci-Fi mash-up, BOOM TOWN (Samhain Publishing). A full-length novel, BLOOD AND RAIN, will come out this Fall from Samhain Publishing and THINGS WE FEAR, a novella, is set to publish from Samhain in 2016.

His debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (James Ward Kirk Publishing, 2014), is available now, as well as his short story collection, SLUSH (Alien Agenda Publishing, 2014).

Look for his punk rock band, The Never Nudes, on Amazon and Facebook.
Check out his website: www.glennrolfe.com