Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Rolfe’

I am a bit late with my 2016 list as the first month of 2017 is just about over, but I still wanted to take a minute and share some of my favorite reads from this year. 2016 was a slow year for The Horror Bookshelf and I didn’t hit any of my goals that I made this time last year, but it was for a happy reason! The last few months of 2016 were some of the happiest in my life as my wife and I had our first child. The blog has slowed down considerably, but I do not plan on closing The Horror Bookshelf. I fell a bit behind, but I plan on starting 2017 off catching up on some reviews I owe and then hopefully getting back into a normal routine. I have met so many great people through this blog and it would take forever to name everyone, but I want to thank all of my friends, authors, and readers for sticking with me and offering me encouragement and support. My main goal for this site has always been to have fun, interact with other horror fans, and give back to the authors whose art has inspired me and helped me through some rough patches. That goal remains the same and I hope I can continue the blog for many more years.

Being that I fell a bit behind, some of the books featured here haven’t had their full reviews run yet, but they are on the way. I still want to recognize the authors and their works for helping make 2016 an incredible year for this horror fan. Here is a list of my favorite reads from 2016. I decided to go with a Top 15 for novels, a Top 10 for novellas and a Top 5 for Anthologies and Collections. Thanks for sticking with me this far and I hope you find some great new reads on this list!

Novels

1. Ronald Malfi The Night Parade 

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2. John C. Foster Mister White 

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3. Kristopher Rufty Desolation 

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4. Jonathan Janz Children of the Dark

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5. Justin Cronin The City of Mirrors

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6. Damien Angelica Walters Paper Tigers

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7. Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason Mayan Blue

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8. D. Alexander Ward Beneath Ash & Bone

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9. Hunter Shea The Jersey Devil

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10. Joe Hill The Fireman

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11. Kristin Dearborn Stolen Away

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12. Robert E. Dunn A Living Grave

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13. Stephen Kozeniewski Hunter of the Dead

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14. Joe Schwartz Stabco

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15. John Quick Consequences

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Novellas

1. Adam Howe Tijuana Donkey Showdown

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2. Glenn Rolfe Chasing Ghosts

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3. Josh Malerman A House At The Bottom of a Lake

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4. Mark Matthews All Smoke Rises

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5. Robert E. Dunn Motorman

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6. John F.D. Taff The Desolated Orchard

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7. Kristin Dearborn Woman in White

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9. David Bernstein Blue Demon

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10. Lucas Mangum Mania

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Anthologies and Collections

1. I Can Taste The Blood

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2. Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

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3. Richard Thomas Tribulations

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4. Brian Moreland Blood Sacrifices

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5. Glenn Rolfe Out of Range

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BOOK INFO

Length: 102 Pages

Publisher: Sinister Grin Press

Release Date: August 1, 2016

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour for Chasing Ghosts

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that I am a huge fan of Glenn’s books. I have been following his work ever since his debut The Haunted Halls and it seems like he just keeps getting better with each book. So when Chasing Ghosts was announced, it instantly shot to the top of my list of most anticipated books. As soon as you crack the cover on Chasing Ghosts, you will notice the novella is dedicated his to Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene and Jonathan Janz. If you are a fan of any or all of those writers, this should give you a good idea of what to expect and it definitely captures the spirit of those writers.

“Rumors were usually born from some kind of truth”

The novella opens introducing readers to Jesse Gerrard, a bit of a rebel who occasionally gets into trouble with his friends who dare each other to do crazy stunts like blowing up M80’s at school. Jesse knows his father is cheating on his mother and it is weighing heavily on his mind. Trying to flee his tense situation at home, Jesse grabs his coat and storms out of the house to meet up with his buddies Davey and Luke at the old Cobb place. While his dad attempts to stop him and talk to him about the incident with the M80’s, he tells his dad he is “chasing ghosts” and then he is gone. Those are the last words he will ever say to his father.

When they get to the Cobb house, it doesn’t take long for the dares to begin and each one trying to prove their toughness. Davey dares Jesse to pick up a rotting rabbit carcass, which he does with no problem. The smell is stomach churning, but Jesse’s ego won’t let him look like a chicken in front of the new kid. However, Jesse takes it a step further and chucks it through a window into the now abandoned home. Glenn builds great tension by slowly incorporating the legends that swirl around the Cobb house, like that Zachariah ate his own baby and their reputation as a group of redneck cannibals.

Luke instantly is filled with fear and is trying to convince Davey and Jesse to run, but while they are bickering and before they can move a muscle, they hear an ominous grinding noise coming from inside the Cobb House. Jesse thought they were out there all alone, but that sound indicates otherwise. They duck for cover, but once again, Jesse’s desire to prove his toughness leads him to go right up to the house. Even though his friends are scared, all he can think of is showing off and he climbs inside the house! I know I am a horror fan, but if I am being honest, I am a scaredy-cat in real life. There is no way in HELL I would be going inside that place if I was Jesse!

It doesn’t take much longer for all hell to break loose. I won’t get into what happens, but I was reading this and my jaw dropped because it is so early in the story and Glenn just goes straight for the jugular. It is right around this moment I knew Chasing Ghosts was going to be one hell of a ride!

Following that opening, we are left to ponder the fate of the group of friends in the woods and the story shifts its focus to another group of characters. Jack, Ian, and Connor are members of the punk band The New 45 and they are on their way out to a gig at a secluded cabin in the woods where a wild party is taking place. While they complain about having to play in the middle of nowhere, they are planning to have a great show and have fun partying until all hours of the night.

After meeting the band we are introduced to Jesse’s parents Derek and Heather, who are dealing with the fallout over their son’s disappearance. Heather found out about Derek’s girlfriend Melody and the stress of the affair and their son’s disappearance has left the couple’s marriage in shambles. Derek is beaten down by the emotional toll of losing his son and while his wife holds out hope he is still alive, he knows that he is gone. After their fight, Derek goes out on his bike and finds himself rocketing toward Cobb Road. He remembered his son liked to come out here and cause Zachariah trouble. As he is traveling down the road, he sees a strange person crossing the road and a frightening encounter ultimately leads him to the cabin where the band is playing.

When the band’s lead singer goes missing, Derek can’t help but think if the strange person he saw out on the road. He joins Connor and Ian as they search for their friend and they will find themselves battered, bloody, and doing whatever they can to survive the hell they have found themselves in.

One of my favorite scenes in Chasing Ghosts is when Derek’s best friend Mike fills Melody in on the wild history of the Cobb’s and the woods they called home. Now, I don’t know how other readers will feel about it, but I loved that Rolfe gradually explained the legends surrounding the woods. By giving out a little bit of the history at a time, it helps amplify the mystery that haunts the pages of this story. Mike’s retelling gives readers a more complete history of the Cobb’s and sets a very creepy atmosphere for the back half of the novella. The way Mike tells the story with perfect pacing, it feels like the sort of campfire ghost story that has you ready to leap out of your skin at the smallest noise.

Glenn’s characterization is truly exceptional in Chasing Ghosts. Glenn manages to introduce a variety of interesting characters and none of them feel like they get lost and the action never lags, even as we jump from different characters view points. Even the minor characters pop off the page, like the scraggly hipster that first greats the band at the cabin. The depiction of Jesse and his friends relationship is perfect and kind of reminded me of the kids in Stranger Things. They get each other to do stupid dares like screwing around at the Cobb Place and blowing up M80’s at school. They have no problem teasing each other, but you get the sense that their friendship is incredibly strong and that they would do anything for each other. Out of all of those characters though, Luke was definitely my favorite. He is one of the youngest characters in the book and is subjected to horrors that would break most anyone regardless of age. Despite all of the stuff he endures throughout the novella, he never gives up and fights for his life every step of the way.

I also loved the way Glenn portrays the killer that attacks the band and Derek out in the woods. He is over six feet tall and a physically imposing figure. Connor tries to attack him, but when he hits him full speed, he does little more than make the guy stumble. The group’s run-in with this guy made me think of classic movies like Friday the 13th, where even the strongest character couldn’t even phase Jason with their best effort. Connor, Ian, and Derek try to take him on and inflict an extreme amount of punishment, but it hardly phases him and still kicks their asses. This fight scene was one of my favorite moments of the book, unrelenting action that is pumping with adrenaline. There are other aspects about the Cobb family that I thought were extremely well done, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet. Trust me though, you won’t be disappointed! More than once I got chills while I was reading this.

Honestly, Chasing Ghosts is one of the scariest books I have read in a while and it may just be Glenn’s darkest work yet. Once you get to the back half of the novella, it is pretty much a barrage of action and extremely bleak situations. I mean lines like this: “I could see his brains on the leaves. I could see his brains on the leaves” are devastatingly effective and only scratch the surface of the blood-soaked brutality that plays out in the woods surrounding the infamous Cobb property. There is also one scene with one of the characters in the woods towards the end of the book that honestly made me wince because I could only imagine the pain that character was experiencing.

I remember reading a blog post about this one and Glenn mentioned how he wanted to capture the tone of the Leisure Books that he was a huge fan of and I feel he does that in spades. Chasing Ghosts has the feel of a vintage horror novel that is chock full of blood, guts, and pulse-pounding action. I love all of Glenn’s different types of stories, but it was awesome to see him go back the extreme horror that was on display in his debut. This was a blast to read and as a horror fan, Chasing Ghosts has everything I could want in a great horror story. I grew up around the woods and while it can be a peaceful place during the day, as a young kid who loved horror movies, the setting was terrifying at night. Rolfe definitely taps into that fear with Chasing Ghosts, which is definitely my favorite novella of the year. I highly recommend grabbing a copy and I can’t wait to see what Glenn comes up with next!

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Sinister Grin Press’ Official Website

Purchase Chasing Ghosts: Amazon, Barnes & NobleSinister Grin Press, or grab a copy from your favorite bookstore!

Chasing Ghosts tour graphic

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about Chasing Ghosts! – #ChasingGhosts #Rolfed #WoodsPeople

Chasing Ghosts Synopsis

The Cobbs were ignorant woods-people that died off and left nothing to fear. Locals in Naples, Maine think they know this story. But are they wrong?

Luke Howard and his mom move to Naples and Luke’s eager to make new friends. When Jason and Davey invite him out to the abandoned Cobb place for a game they call “chasing ghosts,” he’s ready and willing. However, the boys will come to discover that some vacant houses are better left to die alone.

Meanwhile, a punk band set to play in a rented cabin out of town feel eyes upon them. Somebody’s watching, but not their usual audience. When their lead singer strays too far from the group and disappears, his band mates set out in the darkness to find him.

Police Chief Walt Henderson is about to discover that there’s more going on out in the woods of his town than he ever imagined.

Chasing ghosts is more than just some children’s game.

Praise for Glenn Rolfe

Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh

“Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller is addictive. A quick, compelling read. Rolfe creates tension with a minimal amount of words. His characters are so well-drawn they come alive (before they die).” — Duncan Ralston, author of Salvage

 “Fast paced and tense, with one of the most interesting monsters I’ve read about in recent times.” — Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to Be Paid

“Glenn Rolfe is quickly establishing a name for himself as one of a number of excellent new writers to ensure the horror genre is kept alive and well.” — Catherine Cavendish, author of Dark Avenging Angel

“There is a definite old school feel about this novella (Things We Fear). It isn’t an over the top gore fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” – Adrian Shotbolt, at Ginger Nuts of Horror

Glenn Rolfe Biography

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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, Jack Ketchum, Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland and many others. 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 novellas, Abram’s BridgeBoom TownThings We Fear, and the forthcoming, Chasing Ghosts; the short fiction collection, Slush; and the novels, The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain.

His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, was released in March 2016.

Media? Wish to Feature?

If you are a member of the media or a blogger that wishes to review Chasing Ghosts or feature Glenn Rolfe, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicity and marketing, Sinister Grin Press, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

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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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BOOK INFO

Length: 98 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Where Nightmares Begin

BOOK INFO

Length: 219 Pages 

(A collection of the three novellas Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear)

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Review copy provided of “Things We Fear” in exchange for an honest review as part of the Things We Fear & Where Nightmares Begin Blog Tour 

Anyone who follows my reviews on The Horror Bookshelf knows I am a huge fan of Glenn Rolfe’s work. Since discovering Glenn’s debut The Haunted Halls back in 2014, I have been hooked on Rolfe’s brand of horror that feels both fresh and yet has an old-school feel to it. So when I was asked to join the blog tour for his latest novella Things We Fear from Samhain Horror, I didn’t even hesitate to say yes!

Things We Fear kicks off following Kasey Campbell, a bartender who has encountered almost every pick up line under the sun during her three-year stint at Patrick’s Place. An interaction with a mysterious stranger with good looks alters her evening from the standard slog into something a bit more ominous. He introduced himself as her “Next Best Night” and seemed fairly harmless, but after an interaction with a bar regular, Next Best Night sets Kasey on edge when he snatches her by the arm and hurls insults at her. Kasey is saved by her friend and bouncer Eric and despite the weirdness of the encounter, she forgets about the man shortly after.

It is then we are introduced to the perspective of Matt Holmes, the man who introduced himself as Kasey as “Next Best Night”. He is your stereotypical “tough guy type” and while he comes across as relatively harmless, he harbors a sinister secret. After being thrown out of the bar, he is determined to get his revenge on Kasey for humiliating him.

After a pretty intense opening, Rolfe introduces readers to the other two main characters in Things We Fear. Aaron Jackson is an Ed Tech at Fairington Elementary School and he has been haunted by nightmares about drowning since he was fifteen. Every time he slips into this dream he is gripped with terror and sees something that turns his blood to ice. Dr. Lewis, his therapist, says that the horrifying image is just Aaron’s brain giving a face to his fear, but it seems much more real to Aaron. The nightmares started after the accident at the swimming spot called the Ropes, where Aaron almost drowned. Often times when he is awakened by these terrifying nightmares, the only thing that can help him get back to sleep is by self-medicating with a few beers. In an attempt to at least lessen his fears, every summer after the school year is over, Aaron heads down to Old Orchard Beach and rents a beach house to be by the water. Although it seems crazy for him to want to be near his greatest fear, the comforts of the beach and being surrounded by familiar faces helps him deal with his anxiety.

Emily Young is also looking forward to the end of the school year and a chance to work on her writing and to finally tackle although her summer gets off to a creepy start when she notices a white SUV that seems to be monitoring her apartment until she goes outside and it takes off in a hurry down the street.

Heading into the final day of the school year, Aaron is contemplating leaving his job at Fairington Elementary after years of failing to make faculty. This year was his easiest yet as he worked with Emily Young, a beautiful teacher that he is constantly daydreaming about. After finally reaching the freedom of his car, he bumps into Emily and after an awkward bit of flirtation, Aaron invites her to look him up if she happens to head down to Old Orchard Beach over the summer. Shortly after the start of summer vacation, Emily finds herself needing to get away from town for a little while after she is shaken when her tire was slashed. She thinks it could have been just an act of teenage mischief, but the event still sets her on edge and makes her nervous to be home alone. She decides to book a hotel room near Old Orchard Beach and spend some time with Aaron. The two get over their initial awkwardness and soon kick off a summer romance. However, Matt has his sights set on Emily and when he sees Emily with Aaron, it sets Matt off and and begins a chain of events that will forever alter their lives.

Rolfe does a pretty good job with building up his characters and bringing their fears to life. Aaron Jackson is confronting his fear of the water after a disturbing event from his childhood and is haunted by a vision that is pretty terrifying. I don’t know if the thing Aaron sees is just a manifestation of his fears or if it really exists, but either way it gave me the creeps! Emily Young is trying to allow herself to open up after being hurt in relationships during the past, but is scared of her feelings for Aaron.

Phys Ed teacher Matt Holmes doesn’t seem to have any fears of his own, but he does thrive off of causing fear in others. I hate to say it because this character is just the epitome of evil and sleaziness, but Matt Holmes was one of the more intriguing characters in Things We Fear. Matt is a dangerous predator and although he may not seem it at first, Matt is an intelligent person when it comes to his crimes. He is able to read people and adapt his personality to try to worm his way into their lives. In Emily’s case, he tries to portray himself as a nice guy, apologizing for his forward behavior and coming to her rescue at opportune times. When I am reading a novel, I like to try to visualize characters based off their mannerisms and descriptions. I don’t know why, but for some reason every time Matt popped up,  I couldn’t help but think of a homicidal version of Stifler from the American Pie movies. This is a novella so I understand some of his back story needs to be left to the imagination, but I would have loved to see more of how Matt developed into the type of person he is during Things We Fear. I think there is a pretty cool story hidden in there!

I also loved the interactions between Aaron and the Hersom’s, the couple he rents his cottage from every summer. It is clear that over the many years of renting from them, Aaron has built a strong relationship with them, almost like his own grandparents. He is particularly close to Mrs. Hersom, who teases him about his crush on Emily and is always reading the horror novels he sneaks to her.

Rolfe also does a perfect job of capturing the setting of Old Orchard Beach. I have never been to there before, but Rolfe’s vivid descriptions of the town – from the smell of the Atlantic to the small shops and landmarks that give these beach towns their own unique charm and identity – made me feel like I had been going to Old Orchard Beach all of my life. While I was reading Things We Fear, I couldn’t help but think of Stephen King’s Joyland, which is one of my favorite novels. I think that both of those novels have perfect settings that capture that feeling of nostalgia and the joys of summer while offering just a hint of darkness lurking below the surface.

I loved the way Rolfe utilizes the multiple view points of the characters, particularly how we see certain interactions from different point of views. Also, let me just say for the record that Matt’s chapters are downright creepy! I also think it was great how he takes the chapters of the teachers Emily, Aaron, and Matt and weaves them together with hotel worker Heather, in what seems like a random order until the different storylines slowly converge on one explosive event.

Things We Fear is a straight-ahead thriller that focuses solely on real life horror that could actually happen and shares a lot of the same atmosphere as his previous novella Abram’s Bridge. While there is plenty of evil and violence in Things We Fear, it is one of Glenn’s works that doesn’t feature any supernatural elements. That is unless you count the thing that appears in Aaron’s dreams, which is beyond creepy and I am surprised it hasn’t yet made an appearance in my own nightmares! 

If you are new to Rolfe’s work, I highly suggest picking up a copy of Where Nightmares Begin, which collects three of his novellas – Things We Fear, Boom Town, and Abram’s Bridge – in print for the first time. This is a great introduction to his work and shows off the versatility he is capable of. Boom Town (review) was a downright creepy sci-fi adventure and Abram’s Bridge (review) was atmospheric with a dark beauty. Where Nightmares Begin is a perfect starting point and I promise you won’t be disappointed with any of these novellas!

Glenn is one hell of a writer and continues to get better with each and every release. As much as I absolutely love Glenn’s more straightforward horror works, after reading Things We Fear, I hope Glenn continues to write more thrillers as he has a real talent for it. All I know is that regardless of whatever type of story he decides to tackle next, I will definitely be first in line to check it out!

Rating: 4.5/5

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Things We Fear: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore

Purchase Where Nightmares Begin: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore

Things We Fear tour graphic

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about Things We Fear & Where Nightmares Begin! – #ThingsWeFear #WhereNightmaresBegin #horror #scaryreads #novellas

Things We Fear Synopsis

Summer has just begun, and fear is in season.

School’s out, and the faculty at Fairington Elementary School are free for the summer. Emily Young can’t deny her attraction to Aaron Jackson, the Ed Tech from her classroom, but she’s afraid of being hurt again. Meanwhile, Aaron is determined not to let his phobia of drowning prevent him from enjoying the sun and the sand of Maine’s best beach town.

But they’re about to learn real fear. Fairington is home to a monster. Phys Ed teacher Matt Holmes has more to offer the ladies than a perfect smile. He’s a killer and he’s got his sights set on Emily.

Who at Fairington will conquer their fears? And who will fall to a psychopath’s hellbent rage?

Where Nightmares Begin Synopsis

A collection of the three novellas Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear

Monsters can hide anywhere. Under a bridge, below the earth…or behind a smile.

Abram’s Bridge

 When Lil Ron realizes the beautiful girl he met under Abram’s Bridge is a ghost, he sets out to make things right for Sweet Kate. His quest leads him into a tangle of small-town secrets as he uncovers a story of heartbreak, violence…and fear.

Boom Town

Thirty years after a notorious UFO encounter, the town of Eckert, Wisconsin, is besieged by mysterious rumbles from deep in the earth. As the earthly tremors grow stronger, two pre-teens discover a dislodged pipe spewing a strange, bubbling ooze. Their curiosity unleashes an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.

Things We Fear

Emily Young can’t deny her attraction to Aaron Jackson, the Ed Tech from her Fairington Elementary classroom, but fears she’ll be hurt again. Aaron is determined to overcome his drowning phobia and enjoy the sun and the sand of Maine’s best beach town.

But real fear lurks closer than they think. Fairington harbors a psychopath seething with hell-bent rage—and he’s got his sights set on Emily.

Praise for Glenn Rolfe

Praise for Things We Fear

Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh

“Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller is addictive. A quick, compelling read. Rolfe creates tension with a minimal amount of words. His characters are so well-drawn they come alive (before they die).” — Duncan Ralston, author of Salvage

“Fast paced and tense, with one of the most interesting monsters I’ve read about in recent times.” — Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to Be Paid

“Glenn Rolfe is quickly establishing a name for himself as one of a number of excellent new writers to ensure the horror genre is kept alive and well. His previous books – Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town and Blood and Rain – have also served to show the extensive breadth of his imagination and Things We Fear carries on that trend. Quite simply, each story is fresh, new, exciting, and unpredictable.” — Catherine Cavendish, author of Dark Avenging Angel

“In this frighteningly real look at true horror, Rolfe manages to up the ante of tension while balancing genuinely heartbreaking moments, while showcasing his talent for creating unforgettable characters placed in equally unforgettable moments.” — David, Beneath The Underground

“There is a definite old school feel about this novella. It isn’t an over the top gore fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” –Adrian Shotbolt, at Ginger Nuts of Horror

Praise for Abram’s Bridge (a novella within Where Nightmares Begin)

“This is a stellar debut from Glenn Rolfe, a tale that will give you chills as much as it will make you question the hardness in men’s hearts and the spirit of redemption.” –Hunter Shea, Author of The Montauk Monster and Island of the Forbidden

“If you’re looking for a page-turning who-done-it with a touch of the supernatural and a solid all around story that satisfies, then look no further.” –David Bernstein, author of Goblins and Unhinged

Praise for Boom Town (a novella within Where Nightmares Begin)

“Short and sharp, Glenn Rolfe’s BOOM TOWN packs in in for a novella. An excellent blend of horror and sci-fi, with way more character development than you usually see in a shorter work like this.” –Russell James, Author of Q Island

“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.” –Rich, The Horror Bookshelf

About Glenn Rolfe

glenn-bw-profile

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 novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and his latest, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will also be released in March 2016. His next book, Chasing Ghosts, will be coming by 2017.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

I am a bit late with my 2015 as the first month of 2016 is rapidly coming to a close, but I still wanted to take a minute and share some of my favorite reads from this year. 2015 was a great year here at The Horror Bookshelf. The blog celebrated its one year anniversary back in April, I made some great friends, I got to take part in SFSignal’s Mind Meld feature and I had the honor of premiering a brand new story from Glenn Rolfe.

I never really made a post for The Horror Bookshelf’s first anniversary, so I wanted to just take a minute and touch on a few things before getting to my list of favorite reads for the year. I started this blog as my way of giving back to the extremely talented writers who have created the books I enjoy reading and connecting with other horror fans. In that respect, I think the first year of The Horror Bookshelf was a huge success. I am so thankful for all of the writers and publishers who reached out to me and offered me review copies and words of encouragement along the way. Without you and the books you spend so much time crafting, The Horror Bookshelf would not exist. I also want to thank anyone who has ever taken the time to read any of my reviews, interviews or guest posts. There is no greater feeling as a reviewer than introducing someone to a potentially new favorite author or a great book and I hope that by visiting this site, you have found a few.

There are so many people to thank for helping this blog become what it is today, but I wanted to take a moment to thank a few special people who have shown me a humbling amount of support since the very beginning. A huge thank you to my friends and family, Tony and Sharon at Grey Matter Press, John F.D. Taff, David Spell, Mark Matthews, Dale Elster and Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. You have all offered me so much support and tons of encouragement when The Horror Bookshelf was getting off the ground and I will always be grateful for that. I also want to thank my beautiful wife for encouraging me to follow my dreams and for giving me that boost of confidence I need when I feel like I can’t possibly keep everything going.

I am not usually big on New Year’s Resolutions, but what the hell, I came up with some for The Horror Bookshelf anyway.

1. Read more in 2016 – This one is fairly vague and for anyone that runs a review site, it sounds borderline crazy. I read a ton of great novels in 2016, but one of my biggest regrets was that I didn’t read that many novellas, short stories or anthologies this year. I hope to change that in 2016 and also to increase the amount of novels I read in a year.

2. Get more organized – I am notorious for my poor organizational habits, but I have already made some progress by using a planner (that my wife made me buy) to help me keep track of all my upcoming reviews, interviews and features. This may be the most mundane and boring resolution of the list, but it is an underrated part of keeping a review site going in my opinion.

3. Keeping the site updated more frequently – This may be the biggest challenge of them all. I am the only writer on The Horror Bookshelf and the amount of reviews I have going at any given time can be overwhelming, but I want to set a modest goal – starting in February – of posting at least once a week. Sort of on the same topic, if I owe you a review and have not posted it yet, I promise I haven’t forgotten! I appreciate every author that sends me a book for review and sometimes time gets away from me, but I promise I will get to them soon.

Here is a list of my favorite reads from 2015. I decided to go with a Top 10 for novels, a Top 5 for novellas and a Top 3 for Anthologies and Collections. Thanks for sticking with me this far and I hope you find some great new reads on this list!

1 . Brian Kirk We Are Monsters (Samhain Horror)

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2. Richard Thomas Disintegration (Random House Alibi)

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3. Ronald Malfi Little Girls (Kensington)

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4. Ania Ahlborn Behind These Walls (Gallery Books)

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5. Hunter Shea Tortures of the Damned (Kensington/Pinnacle)

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6. Jonathan Janz Wolf Land (Samhain Horror)

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7. D. Alexander Ward Blood Savages (Necro Publications)

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8. Russell James Q Island (Samhain Horror)

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9. Glenn Rolfe Blood and Rain (Samhain Horror)

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10. Kristopher Rufty Jagger (Sinister Grin Press)

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Novellas

1. John F.D. Taff The Sunken Cathedral (Grey Matter Press)

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2. Kealan Patrick Burke Sour Candy (Self-published)

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3. Glenn Rolfe Abram’s Bridge (Samhain Horror)

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4. Adam Howe Gator Bait (Comet Press)

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5. Matt Manochio Twelfth Krampus Night (Samhain Horror)

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Anthologies and Collections

1. Savage Beasts (Grey Matter Press)

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2. Todd Keisling Ugly Little Things – Volume One (Precipice Books)

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3. Tony Knighton Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties (Crime Wave Press) 

happy hour

Today’s post on The Horror Bookshelf comes from Glenn Rolfe, who recently released his thrilling werewolf novel Blood and Rain (review) through Samhain Horror. Glenn is one of my favorite writers and I knew I would read every book of his after I discovered his brutal and haunting debut The Haunted Halls. Blood and Rain is an absolute blast to read and offers a unique spin on the werewolf mythos, so I highly encourage any horror fan to pick up a copy of this stellar novel. I loved Glenn’s take on the werewolf curse and his characterization and attention to setting and pacing are top-notch. Glenn is an extremely talented author and already has locked in a few spots in my “Best of the Year list”, so I am happy to have him back on The Horror Bookshelf. Not only is Glenn a great author, but he is consistently sharing and promoting the work of other writers in the horror community. As an aspiring writer myself, Glenn’s post definitely hit home for me and his positive outlook and work ethic serve as an inspiration.

Before I turn over the blog to Glenn, 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 some of Glenn’s books!

Staying Positive

By Glenn Rolfe, Author of Blood and Rain

blood-and-rain

Positivity breeds positivity. That mantra can get a writer through many situations big and small. It helps you keep the belief and faith, even when you hit a wall, that your story will tell you where it wants to go and how you plan to go about getting the finished draft published. Not everyone is going to get your story or love that you wrote a werewolf story without leaving the werewolf’s identity a mystery. You will get rejected, but if you have written the story you wanted to write (which, it most certainly should be if you’re submitting it) you must have faith that your baby will be adopted and find a home.

Tomorrow, Annie… the sun will come out tomorrow.

Another place where staying positive comes into play is in promoting yourself and others in your genre/field. Once you get published (and you will-see how good that positive thing feels?) you will get hit with a bunch of nice or great reviews by people that get your story and love your characters. Brace yourself. You will also get someone that hates it. You’ll get someone who doesn’t understand, or can’t relate to your characters or say…all of your great ‘80’s references. And you know what? That’s okay. Nobody writes a story that everyone likes and just because that one reviewer speaks poorly of your beloved work, it doesn’t make that person an asshole. Read it and let it go. Or do as some in our field do and don’t read it at all.

No means no, and that’s okay, too.

I had only been writing for eight months when I did the unthinkable…I emailed one of my favorite horror writers and asked him if he would be willing to beta read the first three chapters of my very first novel. Was this ballsy? Maybe. But you know what? The worst I was going to get in response was NO. And that’s fine. But you know something? That writer said, “sure.” He read my first three chapters and gave me a bucket full of great advice. Nuggets like “even if you’re going to kill a character that only appears in one chapter, you MUST bring that character to life, otherwise it comes off like a big screen cheap thrill” …that’s not quite verbatim, but you get the gist. Since then, this writer has remained one of my mentors in the horror writing business. It pays to try. It pays to go forward with a positive mindset.

We can only control what we do, not what others do.

In our world as writers, we can only control what WE do. We write our story, compromise on parts when we have to, and sell our story to anyone willing to listen. That’s what we can do. Once you sign a contract, you become an employee. Once you work for someone else, you have to play by the rules and policies of that company. Regardless of what happens, you can always choose to quit, but if you signed your contract that story is staying put until its contracted time expires (there are exceptions, but hopefully you don’t run into a crazy publisher that intentionally fucks you-makes changes without your approval, refuses to pay you, etc.). But we’re staying positive, remember? Publishing is a business. It’s not always pretty, but you can only control what YOU do. Sometimes our bosses will make changes in management, marketing, and other venues for a variety of reasons. Some we understand, some we do not. It has happened in my day jobs too many times to count. It has also happened in my real job. It sucks, and it is scary, but I can only control what I do and the attitude that I carry forward. And that is what I choose to do. I took a few days to consider all of the information received and realized what in the heat of the moment I forgot, to stay positive, and that, I can only control what I do. It sounds naïve to some I’m sure, but I had to make myself look at the bigger picture. Right now, I’m walking in the big unknown. Only time can show us whether or not the shake up is for the best or not. Whether that happened to your Customer Service Manager at Wal-Mart or to the CEO of your Hospitality Group, only time will tell. If you want to keep your current job, you must learn to roll with it. You must learn to roll with the punches. You can always choose to punch out; I’m staying on the clock and getting back to what I control. I’m getting back to work.

Good, good, good, good vibrations…

Please put positive vibes out there, people. Life is full of cheap shots. We must learn how to take the hits and figure out how to keep moving forward.

I hope this post makes someone feel good.

Pay it forward. Lift up someone in your field or your life that you think deserves to know how much you think of them or their work.

Stay tuned!

-GR

###

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Blood and Rain: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore!

blood-and-rain-tour-logo1

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about Blood and Rain! – 

#BloodandRain #Werewolves #WereRolfe #Horrortober #horror #halloween #scaryreads

Blood and Rain Synopsis

The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.

Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past.

Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.

Find Glenn Rolfe at: http://glennrolfe.com/ or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Praise for Blood and Rain

Praise for Blood and Rain~

“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!” –Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

“With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Blood and Rain will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos, and proof that we’re in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!” –Ronald Malfi, author of The Floating Staircase

“Rolfe tells a tale that captures your attention like King without all of the wordiness. He also spills the red stuff like Laymon…” – Into the Macabre

“Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.” — Horror Underground

“Wow! Easily one of the best werewolf books I’ve ever read.” – Hunter Shea, author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon

“Some good ‘ol fashion violence and gore…” – Jason Parent, author of Seeing Evil

“Glenn Rolfe takes a swing at the werewolf genre and hits a home run.” – Russell James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

“…not just another werewolf story, Rolfe has managed to take the werewolf to a-whole-nother level…” – Horror Novel Reviews

“The best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt.”–Horror After Dark

About Glenn Rolfe

glenn-bw-profile

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 novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Excerpt

Stan Springs stared at the curse in the night sky. His curse. He clenched his jaw, and bit back the grunts that demanded release from within his sweat-covered body. His muscles tightened and took turns throwing fits. He could feel his heartbeat’s thunderous barrage at work inside his heaving chest. It was only a matter of minutes before the changes would come.

He ripped his gaze from the clouds, moved away from the window and knelt down next to the bed against the concrete wall. He slipped one shaky hand beneath the mattress and found the small incision he’d made when he first arrived at the institution. He had traded a guard, a heavyset fella by the name of Harold Barnes, his prized Ted Williams rookie card in exchange for a copy of the key. Parting with this gold mine had been necessary. Stan Springs had nothing else of value with which to barter. Harold trusted him enough to make the swap; he told Stan there were crazies here by the dozen, but he could tell that Stan was not one of them.

No, Harold, I’m something far worse.

Key in hand, Stan stepped to the unlocked door and cracked it open. The hallway was clear. He moved down the corridor, as stealthily as during his heydays working on the force in New York. Hearing footfalls ahead and to his left, he fell back and pressed his large frame against the custodial door. Hidden by the entryway’s shadow, he watched Nurse Collins—a tall, thin woman with a dark complexion—pass fifty feet from where he stood, before she disappeared into the nurses’ break room.

Barefoot and dressed in only a Red Sox T-shirt and his sleeping shorts, Stan made a break for the staircase across the hall. His breaths were coming faster now. If he didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t make it outside. He crept down the steps leading to the main hallway.

Through the small window on the stairwell door, he could see Harold Barnes’s haunted jowls illuminated by the laptop screen in front of him. The old man’s eyes were closed, his mouth open. Harold hadn’t even made it an hour into his shift before he was out. Stan knew Harold also ran his own antique shop in the neighboring town of Hallowell. He’d told Stan that working both jobs on the same day, which was sometimes unavoidable, made it difficult for him on the night shift. It was another shared nugget Stan had stored away for nights like this one—the nights the beast in him needed to get out.

Easing the door open, Stan skulked his way along the shadows on the wall, and tiptoed to the main entrance door. Despite the cramps now rampaging through his calves and thighs, he slipped the procured key into the lock, slow and steady. The door clicked open, and he stepped out into the night.

As the cool breeze brushed against the sweat of his brow, the tendons and bones in his face began to shift. The rest of his body followed suit. He dropped to one knee and cried out. His skin, his scalp, his eyes, his muscles were all too tight. He reached behind him and managed to push the door shut.

If you could see me now, Harold.

The private roads out front were deserted. He launched from the building’s stairs and landed on the lawn below, making a beeline for the woods to the left of the large property.

He was twenty feet from the forest when the change hit him like a massive wave, crashing him to the ground. His muscles clenched and squeezed and tore, while the bones of his face continued to crack and grow. His teeth began to fall out in place of the monster’s. Down on all fours, he crawled to the tree cover and vomited. A mix of last night’s cafeteria meat loaf, black coffee, loose teeth, and blood splashed the ferns before him. Stan’s fingers extended as his claws dug into the soft soil of spring’s floor. He moaned and grunted his way through the rest of the fluid process.

In full beast mode, Stan Springs stood and howled at the cloud-covered sky. The creatures of the night became ghosts among the trees. He felt the strength flowing through him and the hunger begging to be sated.

He burst forward, headed north. Despite Stan’s best effort to control the beast’s killing zone, he found himself heading home.

Giveaway

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b22/?

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BOOK INFO

Length: 202 Pages

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Release Date: October 6, 2015

Review copy provided as part of the Blood and Rain Blog Tour

During the spring of 1997, the small and quiet town of Gilson Creek, Maine was rocked by a series of attacks that left nine people dead. While the official cause of death was announced as an animal attack, some residents believe it was the work of the “Full Moon Monster”, a savage creature that leaves death and destruction in its wake. Now, years after those initial attacks and with summer arriving in Gilson Creek, there are reports of attacks that re-awaken the fear and paranoia of the town’s residents. Sheriff Joe Fischer is the only hope for this small town as he was there for the attacks in 1997 and knows what he is up against. Struggling to protect his daughter and the residents of his town, Sheriff Fischer must confront the secrets buried in his past in order to stop the carnage once and for all.

While I went into Blood and Rain excited about reading terrifying werewolf scenes, what I loved most about this novel was the little things Glenn does to bring the story to life. Glenn creates a large cast of characters but each has their own distinct personalities that help them from getting lost in the story. Glenn does an outstanding job with the characterization of his main characters, but what impressed me the most was the way Glenn brings even the most minor characters to life and weaves them into the fabric of Gilson Creek. Gilson Creek felt like a real town and the care and attention to detail Glenn shows in building up the town and its residents made me feel like I had lived there my whole life.

I also loved the tension Glenn created in this novel. Sure, the werewolf parts were awesome and among the best I have read, but it is the build-up to those scenes that makes them so great. Blood and Rain’s prologue introduces a character who is afflicted with the werewolf curse and Rolfe crafts a terrifying atmosphere that permeates the rest of the story by using great descriptive language to detail the gruesome transformation process that is jump started on every full moon. Blood and Rain opens pretty action packed with that scene and the blood-soaked attack on Brian Rowel, the creatures first victim in years. That opening attack on Rowel is brutal and vicious and is the same sort of straight-up horror that first made me fall in love with Glenn’s writing in The Haunted Halls. However, it isn’t just the monster and brutality that make this scene so great, it is Glenn’s attention to setting. We see the beast early on, but I loved how Glenn doesn’t simply rely on the beasts appearance to inspire fear. It is the cracking branches, the shadows in the trees, the raging storm and the ominous howling that gets the readers nerves on edge. When Brian sees the beast in a flash of lightning, those details make the scene that much scarier.

Glenn opened the novel with tons of action and great descriptions of the werewolf attacks before introducing readers to the residents of Gilson Creek. These moments of character-building are enjoyable and the attacks are like a shot of adrenaline that keeps the reader hooked. That approach to pacing is what made this novel such an enjoyable read for me.

I don’t want to spoil the werewolf’s identity in this review, but I loved how Glenn handled the character and how they dealt with the curse. It would be easy to have the character simply be at the mercy of a condition he cannot control or an evil person who uses the curse to his advantage, but Rolfe takes a more complex approach. The curse plays a part in the events that unfold throughout the course of Blood and Rain, but there are other factors that motivate the character to commit the savage attacks on the residents of Gilson Creek. Rolfe utilizes common themes from werewolf mythology, but he also sprinkles in some unique elements that helped this novel stand out. If you are a fan of Glenn Rolfe’s writing and have read his other stories, then you will enjoy the cool easter egg  hidden in the pages of Blood and Rain that connects to one of his other works.

I started reading Glenn’s work last year when I reviewed his debut The Haunted Halls and have been a big fan ever since. I have been impressed with the range of styles he utilizes in his works thus far – The Haunted Halls was no-holds-barred horror, Boom Town was a downright creepy sci-fi adventure and Abram’s Bridge was atmospheric with a dark beauty. Blood and Rain incorporates all of those styles to create a thrilling werewolf tale that is sure to delight horror fans. If you haven’t read any of Glenn’s work before, do yourself a favor and pick up one of his stellar releases. Glenn is one of my favorite newer writers and no matter what book you decide to pick up first, I guarantee you will have a blast!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for an excerpt from Blood and Rain and a chance to win a copy of Glenn’s work!

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Blood and Rain: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore!

blood-and-rain-tour-logo1

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about Blood and Rain! – 

#BloodandRain #Werewolves #WereRolfe #Horrortober #horror #halloween #scaryreads

Blood and Rain Synopsis

The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.

Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past.

Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.

Find Glenn Rolfe at: http://glennrolfe.com/ or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Praise for Blood and Rain

Praise for Blood and Rain~

“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!” –Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

“With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Blood and Rain will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos, and proof that we’re in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!” –Ronald Malfi, author of The Floating Staircase

“Rolfe tells a tale that captures your attention like King without all of the wordiness. He also spills the red stuff like Laymon…” – Into the Macabre

“Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.” — Horror Underground

“Wow! Easily one of the best werewolf books I’ve ever read.” – Hunter Shea, author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon

“Some good ‘ol fashion violence and gore…” – Jason Parent, author of Seeing Evil

“Glenn Rolfe takes a swing at the werewolf genre and hits a home run.” – Russell James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

“…not just another werewolf story, Rolfe has managed to take the werewolf to a-whole-nother level…” – Horror Novel Reviews

“The best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt.”–Horror After Dark

About Glenn Rolfe

glenn-bw-profile

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 novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Excerpt

Stan Springs stared at the curse in the night sky. His curse. He clenched his jaw, and bit back the grunts that demanded release from within his sweat-covered body. His muscles tightened and took turns throwing fits. He could feel his heartbeat’s thunderous barrage at work inside his heaving chest. It was only a matter of minutes before the changes would come.

He ripped his gaze from the clouds, moved away from the window and knelt down next to the bed against the concrete wall. He slipped one shaky hand beneath the mattress and found the small incision he’d made when he first arrived at the institution. He had traded a guard, a heavyset fella by the name of Harold Barnes, his prized Ted Williams rookie card in exchange for a copy of the key. Parting with this gold mine had been necessary. Stan Springs had nothing else of value with which to barter. Harold trusted him enough to make the swap; he told Stan there were crazies here by the dozen, but he could tell that Stan was not one of them.

No, Harold, I’m something far worse.

Key in hand, Stan stepped to the unlocked door and cracked it open. The hallway was clear. He moved down the corridor, as stealthily as during his heydays working on the force in New York. Hearing footfalls ahead and to his left, he fell back and pressed his large frame against the custodial door. Hidden by the entryway’s shadow, he watched Nurse Collins—a tall, thin woman with a dark complexion—pass fifty feet from where he stood, before she disappeared into the nurses’ break room.

Barefoot and dressed in only a Red Sox T-shirt and his sleeping shorts, Stan made a break for the staircase across the hall. His breaths were coming faster now. If he didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t make it outside. He crept down the steps leading to the main hallway.

Through the small window on the stairwell door, he could see Harold Barnes’s haunted jowls illuminated by the laptop screen in front of him. The old man’s eyes were closed, his mouth open. Harold hadn’t even made it an hour into his shift before he was out. Stan knew Harold also ran his own antique shop in the neighboring town of Hallowell. He’d told Stan that working both jobs on the same day, which was sometimes unavoidable, made it difficult for him on the night shift. It was another shared nugget Stan had stored away for nights like this one—the nights the beast in him needed to get out.

Easing the door open, Stan skulked his way along the shadows on the wall, and tiptoed to the main entrance door. Despite the cramps now rampaging through his calves and thighs, he slipped the procured key into the lock, slow and steady. The door clicked open, and he stepped out into the night.

As the cool breeze brushed against the sweat of his brow, the tendons and bones in his face began to shift. The rest of his body followed suit. He dropped to one knee and cried out. His skin, his scalp, his eyes, his muscles were all too tight. He reached behind him and managed to push the door shut.

If you could see me now, Harold.

The private roads out front were deserted. He launched from the building’s stairs and landed on the lawn below, making a beeline for the woods to the left of the large property.

He was twenty feet from the forest when the change hit him like a massive wave, crashing him to the ground. His muscles clenched and squeezed and tore, while the bones of his face continued to crack and grow. His teeth began to fall out in place of the monster’s. Down on all fours, he crawled to the tree cover and vomited. A mix of last night’s cafeteria meat loaf, black coffee, loose teeth, and blood splashed the ferns before him. Stan’s fingers extended as his claws dug into the soft soil of spring’s floor. He moaned and grunted his way through the rest of the fluid process.

In full beast mode, Stan Springs stood and howled at the cloud-covered sky. The creatures of the night became ghosts among the trees. He felt the strength flowing through him and the hunger begging to be sated.

He burst forward, headed north. Despite Stan’s best effort to control the beast’s killing zone, he found himself heading home.

 

Giveaway

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b22/?

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

abramsbridge

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 85 Pages

Release Date: January 6, 2015

There is no better feeling than discovering a fresh new voice and that is what happened when I first found the work of Glenn Rolfe a year ago. Going into Abram’s Bridge, I may have been a bit biased as to what I expected. Rolfe’s debut, The Haunted Halls, was a scary as hell novel filled with supernatural horrors and violence and I expected a bit of that style to seep through the pages of this novella, but I was surprised to find this novella was a bit different.

Make no mistake, Abram’s Bridge has its fair share of violence and evil, but this time around it manifests itself in the flesh and blood characters and relies more on tension and evil lurking in the hearts of its characters than it does on any supernatural entity. While there is plenty of Rolfe’s trademark style evident throughout, Abram’s Bridge is a bit of a departure for Rolfe and finds him blending a much more atmospheric element and beauty into his work that shows his versatility as an author. A touching coming of age story that featured a heartbreaking ending that literally had me screaming “No!” in disbelief as the events surrounding Lil Ron’s investigation into Sweet Kate’s death finally reached their conclusion.

I love all of Glenn’s work, but this is by far his best in my opinion. Definitely an early contender for the year’s best novella and I expect you will see this on a lot of “Best of” lists at the end of 2015.

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Glenn Rolfe’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Abram’s Bridge: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore!

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