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A Trailer for the Book by DAVE School

A Bit of Background…

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker is a book I first read back in 2006. That first time, I read it in one sitting. It has been my go to book for inspiration and to refill the font of horror goodness. With everything that’s going on these days, I find it’s a great example of how failing to find contentment with what you have leads to worse situations.

The Thief of Always
Clive Barker also illustrated. Check out the mask in the bottom left!

The Story…

The story follows Harvey Swick, a boy who is lost in his hum drum life. When the crafty Rictus blows in, Harvey is lead to the Holiday House, a magical place where every morning is spring and every evening is Christmas. Harvey quickly makes new friends and discovers the powers of Mr. Hood’s magical house can make every dream come true.

Things are not as wonderful as they appear. Harvey soon discovers that there is a price to pay for all these wonders. Can Harvey escape Holiday House or will be fall to the same fate as other child have for untold years?

Classic Clive Barker

The Thief of Always in Review…

The Thief of Always is horror lite. If I had to describe it, I would say, think Alice in Wonderland meets the Twilight Zone. This is a great book to get kids into horror with, too. I would put this up against books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which I say is a great introduction to the genre.

Get a copy with the illustrations!

The Thief of Always is an inexpensive purchase in e-book or paperback. There is a graphic novel, as well, which has beautiful art work. I encourage you to give it a read in these times because I think we can all relate to Harvey Swick who felt…

…eaten by the great gray beast February.

-The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

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Book Reviews

“The Writing Retreat” Gone Bad: Julia Bartz’s Debut

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Keeping it all in the family, Julia Bartz’s The Writing Retreat is the debut novel of the sister of Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here, which I reviewed here.

I was much more impressed with The Writing Retreat than I was We Were Never Here.

The Plot

Five up and coming female writers under 30 are invited to a writing retreat hosted by the reclusive and acclaimed horror writer Rosa Vallo. Rosa reveals the details of the retreat: each writer must complete a full length novel from scratch over the next month. The best novel wins a multi-million dollar publishing deal with Rosa.

Suddenly, the retreat turns into a nightmare when one writer goes missing in the snowy terrain outside.

The novel hinges on friendships in turmoil and has a focus on LGBT+ representation as well as interpersonal female relationships. The novel explores the dark publishing world and the search for fame and the Great American Novel.

The Verdict

This novel is atmospheric and intellectual, page turning, and the English major’s required reading. I absorbed this novel and found Julia Bartz’s writing and conceptual chops to be leagues above her sister’s.

Ths novel releases on February 21, 2023 and it should be in your cart right now.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Buy it here!

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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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