What Makes a Monster?

Happy Birthday to Mary Shelley, the Queen of Horror



An American Pope by Paul Xylinides – A Review

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

A modernizing American has assumed the papal throne. One of His first acts is to select a seventeenth century priest for canonization. The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints recoils in horror at the new pontiff’s choice. Against a backdrop of Vatican intrigue and infighting, a long-unsolved crime comes to the attention of a retired detective. The forces that contribute to it reach far back into the distant past. No one can truly fathom the life of the candidate for sainthood including the nun and priest who join forces to prepare the submission to Rome.

Amazon Book Description

Continue reading “An American Pope by Paul Xylinides – A Review”

The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel – A Review by Lee Hall

Many thanks to Lee Hall for reviewing my latest novel THE GOOD KILL. It’s such an honor and so very rewarding when someone like Lee gets your work.

You really need to learn more about Lee if you are just now being introduced to him. He is not only the creator of fine, independent literature himself, he is also one of its biggest supporters with his willingness to focus so much of his time and effort in reading and prolifically reviewing the work of so many other independent authors, authors who I am sure are just as grateful to Lee as yours truly right here is.

Lee's Hall of information

An enthralling, gripping tale of epic proportions taking the reader on a ride full of twists, turns and action…


Kurt Brindley has constructed an intricate  story that immediately immerses readers into the brutal world of organised crime,  drug and sex trafficking and a gangster underworld all of which is centered around main character Killian Lebon. This warrior and former navy seal embarks on a journey in search of answers and revenge while also dealing with a huge level of trauma. He’s a character that for all of his flaws and even dark moments you cannot help but admire and get behind.

The story unfolds gradually via a gripping and very readable style with the emphasis on Brindley’s descriptive full sentences (proper sentences, how I have longed for thee…)  with a series of stories and characters that all eventually find themselves linked later on. There are a wealth of three dimensional realistic characters…

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The Good Kill Summer Giveaway

If you like action-filled, full-bodied thrillers, then have I got a book for you…


Thanks to everyone for the interest and support.
Perhaps we’ll do it again come autumn.

I’m giving away all the books you see here, each with its own snazzy bookmark to accompany it, to anyone in the Americas or UK who is willing to write an honest review for it and submit the review to Amazon and Goodreads, and anywhere else you’d like as well… your blog perhaps, Barnes and Noble, Yelp, Foursquare, Uber, your call as long as it at least gets on Amazon and Goodreads. :)

It’s received some pretty decent reviews so far. Heck, even the sole three-star review it received is a rather stellar endorsement:

I generally shy away from reading novels about dark subjects, and nothing is darker than sex trafficking. Despite that proclivity of mine, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel…I like the author’s voice and writing style. I would love to read a novel of his that is not so dark. That prejudice of mine should be taken into account when considering the three star rating that I give to this novel. 

Ed of Whispering Stories

So if you’d like to own one of these babies* for nothing more than an investment of your leisure time, then please let me know where to send it by emailing me through the contact page and I’ll get one of these bad boys* out to you posthaste.


*non-gender specific

What a Bizarro World We Live In

So, it’s kind of becoming a thing for me to head straight to the WordPress reader after publishing a new post to do a search on whatever it is I have just posted about so I can see what others have written about it.

I like to do this especially after posting reviews since I don’t like to read other reviews regarding whatever it is I’m reviewing prior to writing the review…


Anyway, I did exactly that yesterday after posting my review of AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THEIR TANKS .

First I did a search on the title and pretty much came back with zippo, except for my review.

Then I did one on Jack Kerouac and a ton of stuff came back on him of course, but nothing regarding the book I just reviewed.

Next came the search for William S. Burroughs.

I found nothing on his relationship with the book, as expected, but I found a whole slew of information about him that I didn’t no otherwise, which was easy because I really didn’t know much about him except that he was an OG Beat, the author of Naked Lunch, a junkie, and a murder.

Quite the portfolio of virtues, no?

So I had fun reading up on him for a while.

But then, all of a sudden, I scrolled upon a post by Zé Burns entitled How I Discovered Bizarro Fiction, and which I have reblogged here (way) down below for your entertainment and instruction…

And a whole new world opened up to me.

I cannot believe I have never heard of Bizarro Fiction before.

After reading Ze’ informative and highly interesting article about how he got turned on to the genre and where he trumpets the virtue of one bizarro writer in particular — Danger Slater, whose book now adorns my Want to Read list — I spent the next several hours digging deeper and deeper into the subject as a result.

What a ride that was.

Here are some description of the genre direct from Bizarro Central:

  • Bizarro is like:
    • Franz Kafka meets John Waters
    • Dr. Suess of the post-apocalypse
    • Takashi Miike meets William S. Burroughs
    • Alice in Wonderland for adults
    • Japanese animation directed by David Lynch

So, to be honest (Now, I’m not saying that I haven’t been honest up to the point… or am I?), I don’t really think the genre is for me.

I mean, I like the idea of it…

Just like I like the idea of low-grade cult movies, which is another comparison of bizarro fiction I found…

But I never, ever watch cult movies.

At least not any more.

Which takes me to where yesterday’s adventure eventually ended up.

When I was a kid growing up in Ashtabula, a lake-front town an hour or so east of Cleveland, there were some pretty bizarre dudes on TV back in the 70s and early 80s that would “perform” severely bizarre/warped skits interspersed and sometimes overlapping with seriously low-grade cultish movies, and/or Three Stooges skits, and/or cartoons.

These bizarre dude were Hoolihan & Big Chuck, The Ghoul, and Superhost… and their sole purpose in life was to lovingly pollute the hearts and minds of every adolescent in the Greater Cleveland area.

And they did.

At least they did of yours truly.

Poor Froggy never had it easy…

But that was long, long ago and I have long since pretty much turned up my nose to such bizarre, cultish entertainment…

And I expect I may end up doing the same with bizarro fiction.

I didn’t know it at the time when I read Brian Evenson’s Last Days [about] that he is regarded as a bizarro author (at least he is included in the long list of them on Bizarro Central’s website).

As you can tell by my review, I didn’t think too highly of his work…

Not because of its highly bizarre, cultish story (it really is a story about bizarre cults)…

But because it was poorly executed in my opinion, one which, as evidenced by the high praise it receives from others elsewhere, seems to be in the minority.

But who knows…

Maybe I’ll like Danger Slater’s work better.

In Zé’s interesting and informative post, of which I reblogged here down below for your entertainment and instruction, hé highly recommends Slater’s HE DIGS A WHOLE [about].

But I’ll probably start off with his novella ROADVOLUTION [about] since its available with Kindle Unlimited.

Hey, I’m not cheap…

I’m cost conscious.

Anyway, I’ll report back to you after I finish the read.

I promise…


TL;DR: There’s a thing called Bizarro Fiction. I may or may not like it.

Zé Burns | Blog

Prague_old_town Old Town Prague where it all began … (via Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve all had those life-changing discoveries, those moments where we find things we could never imagine living without. Mine came with an obscure, underground small-press genre called bizarro fiction.

In the summer of ’06, I visited Prague with my mother. My reading and writing at the time revolved around fantasy with bits of literary fiction thrown in. But as we explored the art and history of the city, I discovered Surrealism. I was obsessed. These artists and writers became my superheroes. It altered my writing forever. But still, it wasn’t exactly right. So I started my own one-man literary movement.

André_Breton André Breton, author of “The Surrealist Manifesto” and co-founder of Surrealism (via Wikimedia Commons)

I thought I was real clever. I had invented a genre so unique, so out there, I was sure to be the next André Breton

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RATING: ★ ★ ★

In the summer of 1944, a shocking murder rocked the fledgling Beats. William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, both still unknown, we inspired by the crime to collaborate on a novel, a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and art, obsession and brutality, with scenes and characters drawn from their own lives. Finally published after more than sixty years, this is a captivating read, and incomparable literary artifact, and a window into the lives and art of two of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.

Book description, grammar errors and all, as found at Amazon
Continue reading “AND THE HIPPOS WERE BOILED IN THEIR TANKS — A Rapid Review”


RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is the book’s description, as diminutive as it may be, and as it may be found on its Amazon page…

John Dolan Vincent, a forger who suffers from migraine headaches and mental illness, invents a new identity for himself in order to be released from a mental hospital and build a new life.

And this is my review of the book, as diminutive as it may be, and as it may be found as follows (huh?)…

Continue reading “THE CONTORTIONIST’S HANDBOOK — A Rapid Review”

LAST DAYS by Brian Evenson — A Reluctant Review


I had been looking hard for a killer horror noir novel ever since reading FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg, a stellar benchmark of the sub-genre that is in close competition for greatness with ANGEL HEART, its movie adaptation starring Mickey Rourke.

I eventually came across a couple of pretty good lists of horror noir books and found that LAST DAYS was high on both of them.

In Last Days I thought for sure I had a ringer.

And then when I began reading Peter Straub’s introduction for it there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was going to be the absolutely best horror noir book I had ever read.

Continue reading “LAST DAYS by Brian Evenson — A Reluctant Review”

The Good Kill by Kurt Brindley — A Review Tales Review

A big thanks to Jeyran of Review Tales for the kind review of The Good Kill. If you aren’t familiar with her fantastic site chock full of book reviews, guest posts, and so much more, you really should click the link below and head on over and check it out.

While we’re on the topic, I’d also like to thank Whispering Stories of their review as well. Whispering Stories is another fantastic site that is an awesome source for book reviews, author interviews, blog tours, and more.

Good stuff!

Review Tales by Jeyran Main

The good kill is a thriller story written about Killian Lebon. He is an ex-Navy SEAL Senior Chief who happens to have an accident in one of his missions. With an explosion at the scene, death threatening injuries and a failed mission, he retires and begins to deal with the trauma and after effects of the endeavor.

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Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo | A Miranda Reads Review

If you’re going to go negative, this review by the wildly popular Goodreads reviewer Miranda Reads that I’m reblogging here for your entertainment and instruction is exactly how it is to be done.

You’re welcome, now do yourself a favor and go check out more of her magic…

Miranda Reads



Whelp…that was horribly disappointing…

I cannot begin to explain how utterly…blah this one was.

SO many people recommended it, and I honestly feel a bit awful with the low rating – but ehhh, what’s the point of goodreads if I can’t rant? 

How to Write a Hit YA Novel 101 

(In 5 easy steps!)

1. Make your main character ugly

“She’s an ugly little thing. No child should look like that.”

Like realllllllly ugly.

Pale and sour, like a glass of milk that’s turned.

And she must be skinny, but in the malnourished-and-kinda-hot sort of way.

– she can never be so ugly that the Generic Love Interest(s) aren’t attracted to her!

I’m sorry it took me so long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.

Your Main Character must be ugly enough so that…

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FACTOTUM — The Worst of America At Its Best

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Heinrich Karl (Charles) Bukowski – image courtesy of Wikipedia

I’ve never been much of a Charles Bukowski fan…

Not because I don’t like him…

But just because I never got around to reading that much of his work.

However, I’ve always liked the idea of Charles Bukowski…

The legend of Charles Bukowski.

Of him being someone who just did not give one single fuck care about society and its oppressive norms.

Bukowski, or the idea I have of him, appeals to me because he is so opposite of who I am…

Continue reading “FACTOTUM — The Worst of America At Its Best”