Book Recommendation – Hell on Mars

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is Hell on Mars by JZ Foster and Justin Woodward. This is the first book in Reality Bleed, their ongoing sci-fi horror series.

Born and raised in Ohio, JZ Foster moved to South Korea after college and lived there for 8 years, running a small English school, marrying a Korean woman and having a baby. Since returning to the U.S., he’s launched his writing career and three series. Justin M. Woodward lives in Headland, Alabama with his wife and two small boys, Nathan and Lucas. He is the author of three novels and dozens of short stories. Both are making a name for themselves in the sphere of sci-fi horror authors.

Photo of author JZ Foster
Photo of author Justin Woodward

SYNOPSIS: Something went wrong in the Mars Felicity Station. A gate to another reality was opened, and a mysterious alien plague threatens humanity. After communications with the station are cut, the crew of the Perihelion is sent to find out what happened. Outmatched and unprepared, they’re forced to make war on this new enemy and rescue what remains of the survivors.

Rating: 5/5 Mutant Heads

“If you love science fiction and horror then this is THE BOOK for you.”

Marcy (@MarcyReads)

“The monsters are scary as hell and the violence is explosive and bloody. If you’re looking for an excellent sci fi horror action book, look no further.”

Matt (@teamredmon)

“Characters were believable, the danger felt real, my heart was drumming a thousand beats a minute, and I was left with a cliffhanger that made me want to flip a table!”

Nina (@the_wandering_reader)

“Basically this book blends together the best parts of Doom, The Thing, Aliens, Event Horizon, Dead Space, and Stranger Things (all of which I love so much). Maybe I should knock off points for copying some, but I was just having too much FUN to care! Really though it manages to still stand alone as it’s own exciting entity, full of exhilarating action sequences, grotesque monsters, and great character development.”

Ben (@reading.vicariously)

To read the full review, click here!

Hell on Mars by JZ Foster and Justin Woodward is available now.

Book Recommendation – Jennifer Strange

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Indie Horror Reviews

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is Jennifer Strange by Cat Scully.

Cat Scully is the author-illustrator of the queer young adult horror series Jennifer Strange, pitched as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark meets Evil Dead. She’s best known for her world maps, which have been published with Random House, Simon and Schuster, and Sourcebooks. When she’s not writing and illustrating books, Cat works in video game development for the Deep End Games on their next title Romancelvania.

Cat Scully author photo

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange is the Sparrow, cursed with the ability to give ghosts and demonic spirits a body – a flesh and blood anchor in the mortal world – with the touch of her hand. When a ghost attacks her high school and awakens her powers, her father dumps her unceremoniously in the care of her estranged older sister Liz, leaving only his journal as an explanation. Drawn to the power of the Sparrow, the supernatural creatures preying on Savannah, Georgia will do anything to receive Jennifer’s powerful gift. The sisters must learn to trust each other again and uncover the truth about their family history by deciphering their father’s journal…because if they can’t, Jennifer’s uncontrolled power will rip apart the veil that separates the living from the dead.

Reviews

“JENNIFER STRANGE is a gruesomely fun, demon-infested YA romp in which two teenage sisters learn and ply the family’s secret demon-fighting trade. A promising debut.”

Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and Survivor Song

“This debut novel is overflowing with sardonic wit and memorably feisty (and satisfyingly angry) female protagonists…It’s clear this is a story that has more to come, and horror buffs will happily anticipate the next volume.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Wow, I had SO much fun with this book! There’s an element of mystery to it right from the beginning, but then it also turns fairly gruesome and horrifying very early on. It reads like a typical YA book, so I was actually caught off guard (in the best way) by the brutality and pulse-pounding scares of our protagonist’s first major paranormal encounter. It’s violent, it’s instantly memorable, it lasts for three glorious chapters, and it instantly hooked me into the book. From that point on reading this was pure bliss.”

Ben Long, reviewer at @reading.vicariously

To read the full review, click here!

Jennifer Strange by Cat Scully is available now at Horror Hub Marketplace

Book Recommendation – Labyrinth of the Dolls

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Indie Horror Reviews

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is Labyrinth of the Dolls by Craig Wallwork.

Craig Wallwork is the author of the novels Labyrinth of the Dolls, Bad People, and The Sound of Loneliness, as well as the short story collections, Quintessence of Dust, and Gory Hole. His stories have been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, many of which feature in various anthologies and magazines both in the U.K. and U.S. He currently lives in England.

Craig Wallwork author photo

Synopsis

It’s been one year since the horrific murders of Stormer Hill, and the events of that time continue to resonate with Detective Constable Tom Nolan. In an attempt to find the second killer, known only as the Ragman, Nolan joins West Yorkshire’s Murder Investigation Team. Partnered with Jennifer Morrison, a straight-talking detective with her eye on promotion, the two officers are assigned to track down a new killer whose victims are all found dressed like human dolls. As the investigation progresses, Nolan becomes an intricate piece in the killer’s grand vision that puts his life in danger.

Reviews

“Wallwork is a talented crime-thriller storyteller. He delivers what genre buffs want: An investigator we care about, grisly murder scenes, unexpected plot developments, and hideously wicked ‘bad people’. LABYRINTH is everything. Wallwork develops our stalwart constable Tom Nolan even further for his readers; emotional investment is at a new level of intensity that I was not expecting.”

Sadie Hartmann, Mother Horror

“I’m happy to report that this sequel retains everything I loved about the first book, while adding new twists, more insight into Nolan’s character, and a creepy new killer. Without spoiling too much I’ll just say that I loved this sequel! The blend of crime thriller and psychological horror, the police procedural elements, the impeccable pacing, the strong writing voice and vivid detail, the gruesome moments and surprising turns – all of it is great!”

Ben Long, reviewer at @reading.vicariously

To read the full review, click here!

Labyrinth of the Dolls by Craig Wallwork is available now at Horror Hub Marketplace

Book Recommendation – Sour Candy

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Reviews

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke

Hailed by Booklist as “one of the most clever and original talents in contemporary horror,” Kealan Patrick Burke was born and raised in Ireland and emigrated to the United States a few weeks before 9/11. Since then, he has written five novels, among them the popular southern gothic slasher Kin, and over two hundred short stories and novellas, including PeekersBlankySour Candy, and The House on Abigail Lane, all of which are currently in development for film and TV.

Most recently, he adapted his work to comic book format for four volumes of John Carpenter’s Tales for a Halloween Night series of anthologies and contributed a short story to Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors.  He recently completed a new novel, Mr. Stitch, a collection of novellas entitled Guests for Suntup Editionsand a graphic novel for Storm King Comics. He lives in an unhaunted house in Ohio with a Scooby Doo lookalike rescue named Red.

Kealan Patrick Burke author photo

Synopsis

At first glance, Phil Pendleton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to set his own bedtimes and eat candy whenever he wants. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.

What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life.

Review

“I was truly enraptured as I read. I couldn’t look away. I had to know what was going to happen next to Phil as his life is turned upside down in a most upsetting way. The young boy is seriously creepy, and I was legitimately worried about what was going to happen. And speaking of, there are numerous twists and turns that I did not expect. And that ending…wow. In fact, it’s the type of story that is best read with your expectations at the door. Just buckle in and enjoy the ride!”

Ben (@reading.vicariously)

To read the full review, click here!

Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke is available now at Horror Hub Marketplace

Book Recommendation – The House That Fell From the Sky

Categories
Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Reviews

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is The House That Fell From the Sky by Patrick Delaney.

Award-winning author Patrick Delaney grew up in varying cities in the greater Los Angeles County. After leaving the city of Santa Clarita, he relocated in Redding, a small city in Northern California. It was here Patrick began his literary career, slowly writing his first novel. After receiving an Associate of Science degree in Social Sciences at Shasta College he continued his higher education at Simpson University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Throughout his undergraduate career he gradually polished his debut novel “Dante’s Town of Terror”, which would go on to win the gold medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards(IPPY) in the horror category for 2018.

Author Patrick Delaney

SYNOPSIS

When twenty-nine-year-old Scarlett Vantassel comes to the conclusion that her life doesn’t resemble any of the things she actually wanted for herself, she drops out of school and moves back home, attempting to reconnect with the people she left behind. But a shadow falls over her return one early October morning when a sinister house miraculously appears in the center of the city, sparking a media frenzy that attracts attention nationwide.

Soon after the newspapers label it, “The House that Fell from the Sky,” Scarlett’s childhood friend Hannah becomes obsessed with the idea that the house holds the key to discovering whether there really is life after death. Undeterred by her friends’ numerous warnings, Hannah becomes increasingly consumed with the desire to enter the house, convinced it would allow her to reconnect with her recently deceased mother.

Despite a series of escalating events suggesting that the house may be more dangerous than anyone ever thought possible, a privately owned company seizes control of the property and hosts a lottery to lure the city’s residents, promising the winners a large cash reward if they dare to enter the house.

To Scarlett’s horror, Hannah uses her vast wealth to secure a spot among the winners to gain access to the house. Now, it’s up to Scarlett, her older brother Tommy, and her friend Jackson to face their fears and journey into a place where nothing is ever quite as it seems, and decide if they can help a friend in need, or if Hannah truly is lost.

Review

“Now this is how you do an original take on the haunted house genre! Sure, it borrows tropes and imagery from other books and movies, but not in a bad way. It’s more of an homage to those that came before, while also carving out a unique niche of its own. This book hit a lot of personal likes of mine: a focus on character building, themes of family, friendship, and grief (a la Haunting of Hill House) an irresistible mystery that needs solving, and terrifying scenes of monsters and dark chaos. I love that there’s such a cool mix of horrors (ghosts, ghouls, creepy crawlers, monsters, eldrich terrors, etc). Also healthy doses of Silent Hill, Lovecraft, King, and more. At over 500 pages it drags just a bit in some spots, but overall I was definitely down for this epic tale!”

Ben (@reading.vicariously)

To read the full review, click here!

The House That Fell From the Sky by Patrick Delaney is available now at Horror Hub Marketplace.