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Ready to smash that pre-order button? You’ll want to for Catriona Ward’s new novel Sundial releasing on March 1, 2022. You can read my review of Ward’s previous novel The Last House on Needless Street here. While Last House was impressive, you’ll want to hang on for the ride of a lifetime in Sundial.

The Plot

Rob has what looks like the ideal family: a husband, two kids, and a middle class life. What lurks below the surface is unsavory. Her husband, Irving, is manipulative and abusive. Rob begins to fear for her oldest daughter, Callie, when she begins to harvest animal bones and speak to an imaginary friend.

Rob’s past lurks in the rearview and Rob knows she must confess her history to Callie. Rob takes Callie to Sundial, her family’s farm in the desert, where gruesome knowledge awaits.

Alternative cover for Sundial

The Verdict

It is difficult to discuss this novel without revealing too much. Do not read reviews and do not spoil yourself on the multitude of twists and turns that Sundial takes. A blind reading experience will produce lasting chills. This novel is dark and serpentine.

“A wild, twisted, family gothic unlike any you’ve read before, and one you won’t soon forget.” 

—Paul Tremblay

Sundial is the most bizarre, twisted horror novel I have read in a long time. I hung on every word and savored the journey of Rob and Callie and the way it intertwined with Rob’s past. Usually, I race to the ending of a novel like this to get the answers I crave, but I relished in Ward’s prose and her ability to make me feel a part of the story. I journeyed with Rob and Callie as the two found answers in this family gothic like I’ve never seen before.

In places, I felt as if I was in a fever dream, floating above the intensity of the prose and plot with disassociation. When the written word can produce such emotions and internal dialogue, you know it’s a winner.

This could easily win the Goodreads Best Horror category in 2022 and this is the easiest five Cthulu rating I’ve given in my life. I will be raving about this one for years to come.

It is worth noting that possibly every trigger warning that exists needs to be given: animal abuse, animal cruelty and experiments, physical and psychological abuse, graphic depictions, self-harm and blood, mental illness, and infidelity among others. Be warned. This is a seriously graphic horror novel.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

If you want to read Sundial, click below!

Want to read reviews of other horror novels I was impressed with? Check out this one.

Sarah Moon is a stone-cold sorceress from Tennessee whose interests include serial killers, horror fiction, and the newest dystopian blockbuster. Sarah holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing. She works as an English professor as well as a cemeterian. Sarah is most likely to cover horror in print including prose, poetry, and graphic forms.

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Book Reviews

A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”

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The Plot

“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?”  — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.

The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.

Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.

The Verdict

This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.

It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

Woom: An Extreme Horror Novel

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“That doesn’t invalidate it,” Angel said. “There’s no statute of limitations on pain.”

The Plot

Angel is a man who knows pain: physical, mental, sexual. The story begins with Angel visiting Room 6 at the Lonely Motel and ordering a plus-size sex worker to his room. What comes next is Angel’s retellings of painful stories while performing sexual acts on the sex worker, Shyla.

The novel reads as a book of short stories, as Angel relays stories to Shyla and she tells him stories back. This is a novel of pain and disgust. Angel’s stories are so dark and traumatic that Shyla can’t believe they are true. As Angel bares his soul, we see a side of him that is melancholy and unable to process hurt in a natural way.

The Verdict

This novel is full of disgusting visuals and isn’t afraid to get dirty. This truly is an extreme horror novel. As a warning, there is discussion of feces, blood, rape, sex, and body horror. This novel is not for the faint of heart. You’ll close this short novel feeling dirty. Angel is a character that begs for sympathy while his stories narrate that he may not be as innocent as he perceives.

When the subtitle says this novel is extreme horror, believe it. Only the strong will survive Duncan Ralston’s Woom. It is more splatterpunk than anything, but true literary quality lies beneath the filth.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Read it yourself by clicking below!

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Book Reviews

Did She Do It? Stacy Willingham’s “All the Dangerous Things” Asks Us Just This

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One year ago, Isabelle’s life crumbled when her baby was abducted from her home. Her marriage to her husband, Ben, is destroyed as they try to navigate the fallout.

The Plot

Even one year after the abduction, Isabelle seeks answers. She is still doing appearances at true crime expos to get information on the attendees, thinking the abductor will be there one day. Abductors usually revisit their crime and Isabelle swaps her appearances for the event guest list, never taking any money for her talks.

Some think that Isabelle killed her own baby as evidence from the case says the perpetrator came from inside the house. Isabelle hasn’t slept – not fully – since Mason was abducted. Her therapist is worried that she may be having hallucinations. Is Isabelle the killer or is she on a quest for true justice?

The Verdict

I absolutely loved the complication of not knowing whether Isabelle was a reliable or unreliable narrator. This was my favorite aspect of the novel. It made me question everything that Isabelle had to say and the actions she executed.

Isabelle is a character that, as a mother, I really felt for. I wanted to believe that Isabelle was innocent, but I was hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to find out. Stacy Willingham is the master of a story that winds all around, waiting for you to find the truth.

If you are interested in reading Willingham’s first novel, A Flicker in the Dark, check out my review here.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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