Tag Archives: horror


My interview with Kelli Owen – author of “The Neighborhood”

 This year I’ve had the fortune of discovering the writing of Kelli Owen.  In my review of her debut novel “Six Days” I called it “a claustrophobic cocktail of unease and uncertainty” that I found to be “refreshing in a very Chianti and fava beans sort of way.”  Recently, I had the chance to review her new novella, “The Neighborhood”, and found even more to like.  In that review, I said:

The comfortable and effortless style Owen imbues in her prose, her ability to make the ordinary both familiar and frightening, and the sensibility she brings to her storytelling are all reminiscent of “It” and Stephen King at his best.  The ability to instantly connect me to a new world in a single sentence that first made me a King fan then, is the same thing that’s made me a Kelli Owen fan today.

Having made such an impression on me, I really wanted to pick Kelli’s brain a bit and see what makes her tick.  She was kind enough to take time out of her day to answer a few questions recently. 


Review – “Samson and Denial” by Robert Ford

“Samson and Denial” is a new novella from Bob Ford.  Part good old-fashioned horror story, part character study on the necessity and danger of denial as a survival mechanism – it’s an engrossing story that hides a surprising depth.  Ford packs a hell of a lot (and a lot of hell) in to these 125 pages.


The story follows Samson, a man of not a few faults and shortcomings:


We’ve never met, you know me.  There’s someone like me in every crowd.


I’m the guy who always has a stain on his shirt or has his fly unzipped.  I’m the guy who leaves the men’s room with a ribbon of toilet paper trailing from the heel of his shoe.  On a Chinese calendar I’m the guy who’s born in the year of the pig or the rabbit or the cock.  Never something cool like the year of the tiger or the dragon.


I’m never the cool guy.


Review – “The Neighborhood” by Kelli Owen

When I reviewed Kelli Owen’s novel “Six Days” earlier this year, I had this to say:


Owen has set the bar very high with her debut novel, a bar I have no doubt she will be able to surpass.  Her blend of human observations, horror sensibilities, and gifted prose portend great things for her in the future.


With the release of her novella “The Neighborhood” in September, you will find that she is delivering quite nicely on that potential.


The titular neighborhood in the book is Neillsville, a town so small it “doesn’t even have its own Local Weather on the 8s”.  It’s the kind of small town where the idea of idyllic living is far more important, and far more real, than the living itself.  The kind of town where the best-kept secrets are the ones kept out in the open for everyone to see.



Review – “Entombed” by Brian Keene

I’m a Brian Keene fan.  No getting around it.  As I remarked in a previous review – “His writing is like an ice-cold beer on a hot day – it goes down smooth and always satisfies.” He’s on my must have list – I’ll pre-order each new release on Amazon, I’ll comb the specialty stores for out of print anthologies, and I’ll shell out the dinero for each small press limited edition. (My only regret is that I missed out on the “lifetime subscriptions” he offered last year.  Oh well, you can’t win them all…).  So, when I heard his latest release “Entombed” would finally be available, but only as a limited edition from Camelot Books, I fired up ye olde Internet and placed my order (you can still snag a copy here).  I’m happy to say copy #151 now has a home on my living room bookshelf.  It was money well spent.  Well spent indeed.


Review – “Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King

For a man who supposedly retired from writing in 2002, Stephen King remains a prolific producer of fiction.  “Full Dark, No Stars” is his latest release – a collection of four short stories.  I’m a huge fan of King, so I was eager to dive in to the book as soon as Amazon so diligently delivered it to my door.  I wasn’t disappointed.

In “Full Dark, No Stars”, Kings delivers four stories – “1922”, “Big Driver”, “Fair Extension”, and “A Good Marriage”.  While all very different, they each manage to nibble around the edges of a common theme:  What happens when seemingly normal people are put in a position to do horrific things?  Head’s up to everyone – there will be some spoilers ahead.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…


Review – “Darkness on the Edge of Town” by Brian Keene

I mentioned in one of my earlier reviews that Brian Keene is one of my “go to” authors.  He always delivers a solid, entertaining story – a comfortable read.  The thing is, to find that comfort, you have to be willing to submerse yourself in a story that, in most cases, really isn’t going to be all that happy.  “Darkness on the Edge of Town” is one of those books.  It has the style and fit of a familiar and well-tailored suit – the kind of suit you would wear to a funeral.


Review – “A Gathering of Crows” by Brian Keene

Everyone has a few “go to” authors.  You know that ones I am talking about – no matter what they publish, you pre-order it from Amazon and wait to have it show up on your door on release date.  They rarely disappoint you and their voice becomes a familiar companion on the page.  Stephen King is one of those authors for me – and so is Brian Keene.  His writing is like an ice-cold beer on a hot day – it goes down smooth and always satisfies.  His latest release, “A Gathering of Crows” is no exception to that rule.


Review – “Dark Delicacies 2″ edited by Del Howison and Jeff Gelb

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the country’s premiere horror bookshop – Dark Delicacies, in Burbank.  Some friends of mine, knowing my love of reading, thought that I would enjoy a visit to the shop.  Boy, were they right.  I met the owner, Del Howison, and proceeded to spend an hour discussing everything from zombies, to Stephen King, to Brian Keene.  It was such a pleasure to talk with Del – his love and passion for writing, and the horror genre in particular, were infectious.

While there, Del asked if I had read any of his horror anthologies.  I admitted that I had not – if you’ve read my other reviews, you know that I am not a particularly big fan of short fiction.  After talking with Del, though, I was intrigued by what type of collection he and his other editor, Jeff Gelb, would pull together.  As I looked through the three volumes of “Dark Delicacies”, I noticed that volume two had an unpublished story from Max Brooks, set in the world of “World War Z”.  Being a fan of Brooks, and zombies in general, I was sold.  I picked up the book – which Del was kind enough to sign for me – and headed home.


Review – “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill

If you read my review of “20th Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill, you know that I have been looking forward to reading his full-length novels.  I discovered Hill through his short fiction and was anxious to see what he could do in a long form novel.  I decided to start with his debut – “Heart-Shaped Box”, and it more than delivered on what I had hoped for.  If you are a fan of horror novels, or just novels in general, you should give this book a try.  It doesn’t disappoint.  Why you ask?  More after the jump…


Review – “The Quiet Road” by Annie Frame

I am a fan of horror and supernatural fiction – when it’s done right.  I love a story that explores good versus evil; light versus dark.  I also love a good ghost story.  It’s always interesting to see someone else’s take on the supernatural world and what they think is lurking behind the curtain, just off stage.  With that in mind, I was asked to review “The Quiet Road” (full disclosure – I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of this review.) I was intrigued by one line in particular from the back cover synopsis – “Can he save his soul from darkness, and can he save the souls of others who cannot help themselves?” It sounded like a good place to start a story.

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