Don't let all the sunshine go to your head. There are still plenty of new releases to keep you company in the dark of night. Check out j...


Don't let all the sunshine go to your head. There are still plenty of new releases to keep you company in the dark of night.

Check out just a few of the summertime scares headed your way this month. 

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The Ruins by Phoebe Wynne

Expected publication: July 5th 2022 by St. Martin's Press

 

A suspenseful, feminist Gothic coming-of-age tale with shades of Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca, and Atonement, pitched against the sun-soaked backdrop of a summer holiday on the French Riviera.

Welcome to the Chateau des Sètes, a jewel of the Cote d’Azur, where long summer days bring ease, glamour, and decadence to the holidaymakers who can afford it.

Ruby Ashby adores her parents’ house in France, but this August, everything feels different. Unexpected guests have descended upon the chateau––friends of her parents, and their daughters―and they are keen to enjoy the hot, extravagant summer holiday to its fullest potential. Far from England, safe in their wealth and privilege, the adults revel in bad behavior without consequence, while the girls are treated as playthings or abandoned to their own devices. But despite languid days spent poolside and long nights spent drinking, a simmering tension is growing between the families, and the sanctuary that Ruby cherishes soon starts to feel like a gilded cage.

Over two decades later the chateau is for sale, its days of splendor and luxury long gone, leaving behind a terrible history and an ugly legacy. A young widow has returned to France, wanting to purchase the chateau, despite her shocking memories of what transpired that fateful summer. But there is another person who is equally haunted by the chateau, and who also seeks to reclaim it. Who will set the chateau free––and who will become yet another of its victims?

With riveting psychological complexity, The Ruins captures the glittering allure of the Mediterranean―and the dark shadows that wait beneath the surface.  

Frightmares by Eva V. Gibson 

Expected publication: July 5th 2022 by Underlined

 

In a Florida tourist trap, a summer acting job turns into a real-life horror show when a cast member turns up dead—then disappears. This nail-biting story is perfect for fans of Fear Street!

Dave is spending his final summer before college working at Frightmares House of Horrors, a struggling haunted house attraction held together by malfunctioning killer clown mannequins, a cheap replica Annabelle doll, and a lot of improvising.

After a particularly disastrous shift ends in an employee walkout, Dave reluctantly takes over a role for his friend, however, he makes a horrifying discovery—a real dead body, hidden on set. But when Dave returns with help, the body is gone.

Though the killer covered their tracks, Dave realizes they must know what he saw. Could he be their next target? 



They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe
 

Expected publication: July 12th 2022 by Poisoned Pen Press

 

If you can hear the call of the water,
It's already far too late.

They say Cape Disappointment is haunted. That's why tourists used to flock there in droves. They'd visit the rocky shoreline under the old lighthouse's watchful eye and fish shells from the water as they pretended to spot dark shapes in the surf. Now the tourists are long gone, and when Meredith Strand and her young daughter return to Meredith's childhood home after an acrimonious split from her wife, the Cape seems more haunted by regret than any malevolent force.

But her mother, suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's, is convinced the ghost stories are real. Not only is there something in the water, but it's watching them. Waiting for them. Reaching out to Meredith's daughter the way it has to every woman in their line for generations-and if Meredith isn't careful, all three women, bound by blood and heartbreak, will be lost one by one to the ocean's mournful call.

Part modern gothic, part ghost story, They Drown Our Daughters explores the depths of motherhood, identity, and the lengths a woman will go to hold on to both. 




Expected publication: July 12th 2022 by Tor Nightfire

 

From the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones comes a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher."

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.


 


The Pallbearers' Club by Paul Tremblay

Expected publication: July 5th 2022 by William Morrow

 

A cleverly voiced psychological thriller about an unforgettable—and unsettling—friendship, with blood-chilling twists, crackling wit, and a thrumming pulse in its veins, from the nationally bestselling author of The Cabin at the End of the World and Survivor Song.

What if the coolest girl you’ve ever met decided to be your friend?

Art Barbara was so not cool. He was a seventeen-year-old high school loner in the late 1980s who listened to hair metal, had to wear a monstrous back-brace at night for his scoliosis, and started an extracurricular club for volunteer pallbearers at poorly attended funerals. But his new friend thought the Pallbearers’ Club was cool. And she brought along her Polaroid camera to take pictures of the corpses.

Okay, that part was a little weird.

So was her obsessive knowledge of a notorious bit of New England folklore that involved digging up the dead. And there were other strange things—terrifying things—that happened when she was around, usually at night. But she was his friend, so it was okay, right?

Decades later, Art tries to make sense of it all by writing The Pallbearers’ Club: A Memoir. But somehow this friend got her hands on the manuscript and, well, she has some issues with it. And now she’s making cuts.

Seamlessly blurring the lines between fiction and memory, the supernatural and the mundane, The Pallbearers’ Club is an immersive, suspenseful portrait of an unforgettable and unsettling friendship. 




Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Expected publication: July 19th 2022 by Tor Books

 

"Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories -- she's come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.



Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology ed. Vince A. Liaguno, Rena Mason  

Expected publication: July 19th 2022 by Mariner Books

An anthology of original new horror stories edited by Bram Stoker Award winners Vince Liaguno and Rena Mason that showcases authors from underrepresented backgrounds telling terrifying tales of what it means to be, or merely to seem, “other”

Offering original new stories from some of the biggest names in horror as well as some of the hottest up-and-coming talents, Other Fears will provide the ultimate reading experience for horror fans who want to celebrate fear of “the other.” Be they of a different culture, a different background, a different sexual preference, a different belief system, or a different skin color, some people simply aren’t part of the dominant community—and are perceived as scary. Humans are almost instinctively inclined to fear what’s different, as foolish as that may be, and there are a multitude of individuals who have spent far too long on the outside looking in. And the thing about the outside is . . . it’s much larger than you think.

In Other Fears, horror writers from a multitude of underrepresented backgrounds will be putting a new, terrifying spin on what it means to be “the other.” People, places, and things once considered normal will suddenly appear different, striking a deeper, much more primal, chord of fear. Are our eyes playing tricks on us, or is there something truly sinister lurking under the surface of what we thought we knew? And who among us who is really of the other, after all? 




Into the Sublime by Kate A. Boorman

Expected publication: July 26th 2022 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
 

A new YA psychological thriller from the author of What We Buried about four teenage girls who descend into a dangerous underground cave system in search of a lake of local legend, said to reveal your deepest fears.

When the cops arrive, only a few things are clear:
- Four girls entered a dangerous cave.
- Three of them came out alive.
- Two of them were rushed to the hospital.
- And one is soaked in blood and ready to talk.

Amelie Desmarais' story begins believably enough: Four girls from a now-defunct thrill-seeking group planned an epic adventure to find a lake that Colorado locals call "The Sublime." Legend has it that the lake has the power to change things for those who risk—and survive—its cavernous depths. They each had their reasons for going. For Amelie, it was a promise kept to her beloved cousin, who recently suffered a tragic accident during one of the group’s dares.

But as her account unwinds, and the girls’ personalities and motives are drawn, things get complicated. Amelie is hardly the thrill-seeking type, and it appears she’s not the only one with the ability to deceive. Worse yet, Amelie is covered in someone's blood, but whose exactly? And where's the fourth girl?

Is Amelie spinning a tale to cover her guilt? Or was something inexplicable waiting for the girls down there? Amelie's the only one with answers, and she's insisting on an explanation that is more horror-fantasy than reality. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in between?

After all, strange things inhabit dark places. And sometimes we bring the dark with us. 




It's time again to check another box on the Scaredy Cat Bingo Challenge which consists of 25 reading prompts on a bingo board. Not playi...


It's time again to check another box on the
which consists of 25 reading prompts on a bingo board.

Not playing yet?
Jump in anytime here.

Today's prompt:
Crumbling Castles

Gothic fiction is one of my favorite horror genres. There's so much to love: the old moldering estates and eerie houses, whether they be Southern plantations or Italian villas, the feeling of dread, the flawed characters, and the weather that is a character in itself. Of course, everyone knows the classics of gothic fiction like Dracula, Frankenstein, Rebecca, and The Haunting of Hill House, but here are twelve you might not have on your TBR. 

 by caitlin starling

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.

By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished. 

 by a.g.slatter
Long ago Miren O'Malley's family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren's grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren's freedom.


White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi 

In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of women inhabit its walls. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. She is leaving them slowly -

Slipping away from them -

And when one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story.

"Miri I conjure you "

This is a spine-tingling tale that has Gothic roots but an utterly modern sensibility. Told by a quartet of crystalline voices, it is electrifying in its expression of myth and memory, loss and magic, fear and love. 


The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey. 
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep-sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah is not the same. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has brought part of it back with her, onto dry land and into their home.

Moving through something that only resembles normal life, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had before might be gone. Though Leah is still there, Miri can feel the woman she loves slipping from her grasp.

Our Wives Under The Sea is the debut novel from Julia Armfield, the critically acclaimed author of salt slow. It’s a story of falling in love, loss, grief, and what life there is in the deep deep sea.


Argentina, winter 1913.

Ursula Kelp, a young English gardener, travels to Buenos Aires to take up the role of head gardener at a long-abandoned estate in the Pampas. The current owner wishes to return to the estate with his family and restore the once-famous gardens to their former glory. 

Travelling deep into the Pampas, the vast grasslands of South America, Ursula arrives to warnings from the locals that the estate is haunted, cursed to bring tragedy to the founding family of Las Lágrimas. And soon Ursula believes that her loneliness is making her imagine things – the sound of footsteps outside her bedroom door, the touch of hands on her shoulders when there’s no one there. Most strangely of all, she keeps hearing the frenzied sound of a man chopping down trees in the nearby forest with an axe, when all her staff are in sight. 

As the strange occurrences intensify – with tragic consequences – Ursula questions if there’s truth in the rumours about the cursed estate. The family’s return is imminent – are they in danger? And the longer Ursula stays at the estate, the more she realises that she too is in mortal danger.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller 

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.

Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.

Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren't real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.

But now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.

If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.

Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.


A faceless man stalks a woman’s nightmares in Hollywood. A Kanontsistóntie is summoned to seek revenge in a monastery. A move from the Projects to Manhattan leads to ominous shadows closing in. Two sisters discover a secret room in their farm, unearthing a sinister power.

When Other People Saw Us, They Saw the Dead is an anthology of dark, unsettling writing from some of the most exciting contemporary BIPOC writers. Blending Gothic, horror, folklore, fantasy and fairy-tale, these eerie short stories will disturb, move and humour you. Death is ever-present in the pages of They Saw the Dead, blending with notions of home, memory, grief and belonging, as well as gentrification, white supremacy and colonisation.

Edited by Lauren T. Davila, They Saw the Dead explores what it is to be truly haunted.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches...

In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to fight off the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful, forbidden attraction. But even he might not be enough to battle the darkness.

Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom. 

The Path of Thorns by A.G. Slatter 

Alone in the world, Asher Todd travels to the remote estate of Morwood Grange to become governess to three small children. Her sole possessions comprise a sea chest and a large carpet bag she hangs onto for dear life. She finds a fine old home, its inhabitants proud of their lineage and impeccable reputation, and a small village nearby. It seems an untroubled existence, yet there are portraits missing from the walls, locked rooms, and names excised from the family tree inscribed in the bible. In short order, the children adore her, she becomes indispensible to their father Luther in his laboratory, and her potions are able to restore the sight of granddame Leonora. Soon Asher fits in as if she’s always been there, but there are creatures that stalk the woods at night, spectres haunt the halls, and Asher is not as much a stranger to the Morwoods as it might at first appear.

Leech by Hiron Ennes

A surreal and horrifying debut, Hiron Ennes's Leech defies our understanding of identity, heredity, and bodily autonomy.

“A wonderful new entry to Gothic science fiction, impeccably clever and atmospheric. Think Wuthering Heights... with worms!”—Tamsyn Muir

MEET THE CURE FOR THE HUMAN DISEASE

In an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The doctor’s replacement has a mystery to solve: discovering how the Institute lost track of one of its many bodies.

For hundreds of years the Interprovincial Medical Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine. The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species from the apocalyptic horrors their ancestors unleashed.

In the frozen north, the Institute's body will discover a competitor for its rung at the top of the evolutionary ladder. A parasite is spreading through the baron's castle, already a dark pit of secrets, lies, violence, and fear. The two will make war on the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, humanity will lose again. 

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher 

From the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones comes a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher."

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.

What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.

Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.



Published February 8th 2022 by Tor Nightfire  (first published May 7th 2019) N ATURE IS CALLING—but they shouldn't have answered. Travel...


Published February 8th 2022 by Tor Nightfire 
(first published May 7th 2019)

NATURE IS CALLING—but they shouldn't have answered.

Travel journalist and mountaineer Nick Grevers awakes from a coma to find that his climbing buddy, Augustin, is missing and presumed dead. Nick’s own injuries are as extensive as they are horrifying. His face wrapped in bandages and unable to speak, Nick claims amnesia—but he remembers everything.

He remembers how he and Augustin were mysteriously drawn to the Maudit, a remote and scarcely documented peak in the Swiss Alps.

He remembers how the slopes of Maudit were eerily quiet, and how, when they entered its valley, they got the ominous sense that they were not alone.

He remembers: something was waiting for them...

But it isn’t just the memory of the accident that haunts Nick. Something has awakened inside of him, something that endangers the lives of everyone around him…

It’s one thing to lose your life. It’s another to lose your soul.

FROM THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING SENSATION THOMAS OLDE HEUVELT comes a thrilling descent into madness and obsession as one man confronts nature—and something even more ancient and evil answers back. 

Nick Greeves wakes in the hospital bandaged and with no memory of what occurred to his climbing partner, Augustin on the Maudit in the Swiss Alps. Broken both physically and mentally, Nick's Adonis face is now craggy and sharp. Nick's boyfriend, Sam, is also trying to come to grips with knowing that Nick will never be the same in spite of surgeries to fix the defect. He's attempting to be grateful that Nick is still alive, but it's challenging with Nick's continued silence about what happened on that mountain. With Nick's face wrapped like a mummy from a tomb, Sam is desperately trying to get Nick to let his guards down.

Our story doesn't start that way though. It starts with a terrifying encounter with Sam's sister, Julia, as she wakes in the middle of the night seeing shadow people standing at the bottom of the stairs. Every time she takes her eyes off them, even to blink, they get closer...and closer. Whoo. Easily one of the most terrifying intros I've read.

There's no denying that Echo is dark and unsettling. The first chapter only solidifies that fact with its shades on the stairs waking nightmare. It can't possibly continue that momentum so what Thomas Olde Heuvelt presents instead is a character-driven narrative. He gets us completely invested in Sam and Nick's strained relationship as we attempt to empathize with both sides. It's difficult at first to like Nick as a character. He's reserved and withdrawn, even from Sam who despondently loves him. Echo toys with our emotions in the relationship between the two. It's romantic and heartbreaking and we can only watch as it plays out.

Told in bits and pieces from diary passages, manuscripts, and notes, we eventually get the story of what happened on the mountain and thus to Augustin. Echo is a lengthy novel with an excess of technical climbing information. While that lends credence to the story, I think it could have benefited from a good editing chop. The pacing also falters at times. We get that great opening, some creepy moments, and then not a whole lot of anything in the middle. The ending, however, sees it all crashing down around us.

Having been less than impressed with the follow-through of Hex, I was reluctant to pick up Echo but I don't regret it. It's not an in-your-face fright but a steady, steep (if you'll excuse the pun) climb to the peak. A complex building of pressure with imagery both brutal and beautiful.  There's a fantastic tie-in of folklore and small village superstition, especially with the birds. I don't want to give anything away as this is one that needs experiencing but sometimes the abyss stares back.




Published October 12th 2021 by Hold My Beer Publishing A  MAIDEN VOYAGE… The Pepper Kay is no stranger to the open seas, but now she has a n...



Published October 12th 2021 by Hold My Beer Publishing

A MAIDEN VOYAGE…
The Pepper Kay is no stranger to the open seas, but now she has a new captain: God. His maiden voyage aboard the newly-acquired vessel will be operated by a crew greener than seaweed. With a reputation like God’s, they were all he could find.

NO MAN’S WATER…
The Pepper Kay and her greenhorn crew, captained by God and his shady deckboss Nash, voyage into the brutal unknown of the Bering Strait in search of Dungeness crab. But, when a storm rolls in and the crew hauls from the depths an impossibility, something ripped from the pages of nautical folklore, tensions mount and the crew separates into factions: good versus evil.

THOSE WHO DWELL IN DARKNESS…
Nash has plans for their newest catch, plans God is not a part of, and the deckboss will wade through blood and chum before he allows his goal to be blocked. As the crew dwindles, laid low one by one, the remaining shipmates must faceoff against not only the human evil of Nash, but something much, much older. 

On board of the Pepper Kay, an unskilled crew directed by God (no, not that God) is on its way to the Bering Strait for crabbing. From God's, the captain, point of view, this is a ragtag group: Sam, "tall and rangy", Jordan, "dark of skin but bright of gaze", Charlie, a "no-nonsense woman", and Nash, "mean and unshaven", it's an odd group for sure even for God. God has three commandments for his crew. They need to do what he says, work hard, and work together.  

Nash is nasty. He's an absolutely vulgar, abhorrent sack of testosterone that deserves to be castrated and then quartered by horses. He's such a piece of excrement that it's honestly difficult to read the scenes that he is in. He's exactly the kind of character that you wish the deepest, darkest corners of the earth to swallow him down and torture daily without remorse. I've read some atrocious characters before but I can honestly say Nash is by far, the most deplorable. There are no redeemable traits about him whatsoever. None. He's disgusting, perverse...there truly aren't enough words in the English language for Nash. 

While the focus is on the clashing personalities aboard the Pepper Kay, we mustn't count out the danger of what they have drug up from the deep. This mermaid is ugly, superficially human, but with a mouth and teeth more like a dolphin, green tangled hair, blue skin, and the tail of something that resembles a whale.  It's a tight, dreadful atmosphere aboard the Pepper Kay with the so-called mermaid in the hold. As the story progresses, the crew is stuck desolately in the middle of the ocean with danger both on board and off, we are then left to decide who the true monster is. (Hint: only one is pure evil.) 

The pacing was brilliant but I found myself wanting more mayhem by mermaid. Oh, there is carnage galore, but it went way too fast and skipped to the end. I highly enjoyed the perspective of the Pepper Kay itself, with its almost all-knowing compassion and empathy. There are many triggers in the book and the authors give a list of them, so I highly recommend reading those first. Maiden is a hard story to swallow, getting stuck in your throat as you try to gulp air past the blockage. 



Published February 26th 2022 by Tangled Tree Publishing What happens in Vegas just might kill you. When divorcee Justin Gray wakes up next t...


Published February 26th 2022 by Tangled Tree Publishing

What happens in Vegas just might kill you.

When divorcee Justin Gray wakes up next to a beautiful stranger in Vegas on his birthday weekend, he assumes it’s just a drunken mistake. When he discovers that he’s married to said stranger in her early twenties, he insists on an annulment and assumes his life will return to normal once he gets back home.

He assumes wrong.

As the shapely blonde refuses to give him an annulment and insists the marriage continue, what was a wild weekend turns into a deadly mistake.

Murder is only the beginning.

Get ready for a tale of greed so twisted you won’t know what’s on the next page or who anyone really is until the…

very…
last…
page. 




Mental illness in fiction

by rachel tamayo


We love our crazy, don’t we? Books like the You series by Caroline Kepnes, The Shining by Stephen King, and the umpteen other psychological thrillers that line shelves as far as the eye can see in bookstores both digital and physical. 

We love these characters. They grip us. Like in The Shining, Jack Torrence and his slow maddening decent into a paranormal induced psychotic break. Or Joe, who becomes rapidly obsessed with one woman after the next, every female is “the one.”  Or how about this classic, the little talked about The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G Wells in which the mad scientist Dr. Moreau moves to an island and performs extreme and horrifying experiments creating a mass of animal-human hybrid creatures? 

These characters have all got one thing in common. Insanity of one form or another. History proves that little to nothing was known about the general craziness perceived in the population, and anything that was perceived as out of the norm led to people being locked away for the rest of their natural lives in deplorable conditions. Now we are left with reminders of these actions in abandoned asylums and story after story of once horrendous hospitals haunted by the long dead spirits of the abused and mishandled. This brings to mind characters like the wife in the attic in the classic romance, Jane Eyre. 

But now, in the year of our lord 2022, things are a bit different, or so we like to think, anyway. Now we have the Movement for Mental Health, we have the National Alliance on Mental illness, numerous hashtags, and so many more.  There is an attempt to understand, treat, and accept mental health disorders for what they are, diseases of the mind. 

So this bids the question, has this changed how we perceive and create our crazed characters? In the past these sorts of characters were easy additions to tales meant to shock and frighten readers. There was no reason to explain, or even humanize these characters. They were all just “crazy” bad guys. 

Now, authors like myself, tend to do things differently. Researching legitimate mental problems, reaching out for history, truth, facts about treatment and the effects such things have on others around them. All these things create reality, truth-based fiction around real illnesses that need attention. Things these people have to deal with, the uphill battle their disease creates while they and their loved ones try to seek help.  It generates an entirely new form of psychological fiction. The harsh reality being that there generally is little to no treatment, very little help, and sometimes things go very wrong, and get very bad. As someone that has years of experience dealing with the law enforcement side if this issue, and has training to do so, I see both sides of this coin. Terrifying things happen due to mental disease. 

Books like Jane Eyre were written 175 years ago. In the nineteenth century, they were painted as dangerous lunatics and the only solution to their dangerous lunacy was imprisonment. In the Twenty-first century, we like to think we paint them in a different light. 
But have we?




Rachael Tamayo is the bestselling author of the award-winning Deadly Sins series, and the bestselling award winner (soon to be re-released) Crazy Love. Before she started her writing career, she was a highly awarded 911 emergency services dispatcher with twelve years of experience and many commendations under her belt. Upon exiting law enforcement, she’s focused her writing on the dark, suspenseful, and psychological. Now Rachael uses her dark thriller as a sort of self-therapy after all those years answering 911, and works what she knows into frighteningly realistic and layers characters her readers love her for. Rachael lives on the Texas Gulf Coast near Houston with her husband of eighteen years and their two children.


author email: rtamayo@rachaeltamayowrites.com
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