Posts Tagged ‘Savage Beasts’

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)

we are monsters

2. Richard Thomas Disintegration (Random House Alibi)


3. Ronald Malfi Little Girls (Kensington)


4. Ania Ahlborn Behind These Walls (Gallery Books)


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


6. Jonathan Janz Wolf Land (Samhain Horror)


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


8. Russell James Q Island (Samhain Horror)


9. Glenn Rolfe Blood and Rain (Samhain Horror)


10. Kristopher Rufty Jagger (Sinister Grin Press)



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


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


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


4. Adam Howe Gator Bait (Comet Press)


5. Matt Manochio Twelfth Krampus Night (Samhain Horror)


Anthologies and Collections

1. Savage Beasts (Grey Matter Press)


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


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

happy hour



It’s been a little over two months since Grey Matter Press announced their open call for latest anthology, the music-inspired Savage Beasts. I know I am going to be a little early with this post as they have not announced the stories that have been accepted or a release date, but this is a book I am really excited about! Inspired by their upcoming release and my love of music, I have decided to put together a playlist of songs that I enjoy listening to while writing and/or have some connection to horror. It could be the song title, lyrics or music video, but a lot of these songs do have some connection to horror themes. I have created a Spotify playlist and provided a short explanation for each song I picked. The songs span a pretty wide variety of genres, so while you may not enjoy every song, hopefully there are a few you like. I had a ton of other songs that could have made the cut, so I may break these up in installments. Enjoy!


1. Mogwai “Now You’re Taken” – Mogwai is hands down one of my favorite post-rock bands and this is easily my favorite track by them. This is one of their few songs with vocals (provided by Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat) and is absolutely perfect for chilly fall evenings.

2. Early Day Miners “Errance” – I don’t know what it is about this song, but it has been on just about every playlist and mix CD I have ever made from high school all the way until I decided to make this playlist. “Errance” is a warm and atmospheric track that has accompanied a large bulk of everything I have ever written.

3. Gregor Samsa “Jeroen Van Aken”– Largely piano driven, Gregor Samsa’s “Jeroen Van Aken” is an absolutely beautiful song that utilizes its simplicity as its greatest strength. Haunting lyrics such as “it seems the devil’s got a grip on me” and the song’s allusion to writing make this track one that not only has roots to horror but writing as well.

4. Radiohead “Pyramid Song” – A haunting song by one of the most original bands around. No description I could give would do “Pyramid Song” justice, just know that it is alleged that Thom Yorke once called this song the best Radiohead ever recorded at the time.

5. Deerhunter “Fluorescent Grey” – A pretty catchy song that centers around death and obsession, this was one of the first songs that began my obsession with indie rock.

6. Snowden “No Words No More” – The only cover song to appear on this list, Snowden’s brilliant take on Love and Rockets “No Words No More” is an atmospheric track that somehow manages to feel both gloomy and beautiful at the same time.

7. Explosions In The Sky “Your Hand In Mine” – Explosions In The Sky’s lush and cinematic arrangements make for some excellent writing music and this is one of their best.

8. Converge ” You Fail Me” – “You Fail Me” is a dark and visceral track from the band’s critically acclaimed 2004 album You Fail Me. The churning, metallic guitars, Jacob Bannon’s throat-shredding vocals and track’s slow-burning menace conjures up images of an apocalyptic wasteland and made this a “no-brainer” selection for this playlist.

9. Interpol “NYC” – I have been a huge fan of Interpol and their take on post-punk since their landmark 2002 debut Turn On The Bright Lights. “NYC” used to be the perfect soundtrack to my late night walks back to my dorm room in college.

10. Soundgarden “Fell On Black Days” – This was always my favorite Soundgarden song and its appearance on one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural, made it a natural pick for this playlist.

11. TV On The Radio “Wolf Like Me” – TV On The Radio is an incredible indie-rock band that can boast about the fact that David Bowie is one of their fans, which should really tell you all you need to know about how good this band is. I can’t speak about the true meaning behind the song, but based on the B-movie inspired music video for “Wolf Like Me”, it’s about turning into a werewolf. How could it not make this playlist? Check out the music video here.

12. The Rolling Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” – I don’t think this selection really needs any explanation!

13. Cloud Nothings “No Future/No Past” – I was blown away by this song the first time I heard it. I had never really listened to Cloud Nothings prior to this track, but they supposedly leaned more toward the pop side of indie-rock before deciding to record 2012’s Attack on Memory with Steve Albini and shifting to heavier sounding songs. The music video for the song was directed by John Ryan Manning and was what really makes this song stick in my mind. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but the video opens on a man seemingly being dragged by an unknown force just outside the camera’s view. It is one of the coolest and creepiest music videos I have seen in a while and I definitely recommend checking it out. I think this premise would have made an excellent short story.

14. Deftones “Change (In The House of Flies)” – Besides the fact that I just think this is an awesome song and one of the Deftones best, it gets its horror connection from being included in The Following and Dexter.

15. Young Widows “Kerosene Girl” – Young Widows is one of my favorite post-hardcore bands and this monolithic track is a must-listen for fans of heavy music.

16. Les Savy Fav “Adopduction” – One of my absolute favorite songs from the brilliant Les Savy Fav, the song is about a dream in which the narrator was kidnapped and slowly develops Stockholm Syndrome.


Grey Matter Press is currently accepting submissions for an upcoming anthology tentatively titled Savage Beasts. They are looking for previously unpublished works of dark fiction that have been inspired by music. I have been tweeting the link for this since it was announced at the end of July, but I wanted to do a post here for any of my readers who don’t use Twitter. If you are interested in learning more about the anthology or are interested in submitting your work, head on over to their website for the detailed submission guidelines.

Now, anyone who has read any of my reviews knows how much I love Grey Matter Press, so it goes without saying that I will be looking forward to this anthology. As an avid music listener and occasional music journalist , I was REALLY excited when I read that the theme was going to be centered around music. Just when I didn’t think I could love Grey Matter Press any more, they announce an anthology that contains two of my favorite things in the world. I can’t wait to read the stories that make it into Savage Beasts and figure out what pieces of music inspired the stories! I know it’s probably a long shot, but hopefully someone submits a story inspired by The Toadies “Possum Kingdom”. I always thought that song would make a killer story!