The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn

LornTheScareRowsNarrator: Commodore James

Publisher: Edward Lorn (2015)

Length: 1 hour 30 minutes

Author’s Page

This story is part of the anthology Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror but it’s available by itself on Audible.com.

Set in Edward Lorn’s fictional town of Bay’s End, a new Halloween attraction, The Scare Rows, has come to town. People are excited and interested; however, soon they will be horrified or dead.

Mr. Stuart Keane has brought his attraction to town. He says he’s from Lubbock, but he doesn’t really know since his memory is a short and questionable thing. He wanders about Bay’s End handing out tickets to his attraction.

Sara and Scott are out that night for a bit of fun, or arguing, the two mixing together. They go play in a cornfield and something rather unmentionable happens to Sara. Those that knew her begin to forget her. Scott and his pitbull, Little Scott, are hired by Mr. Keane to provide security for Keen’s attraction while he finishes setting it up.

The attraction finally opens on Halloween and at first, it is everything and a bit more than folks were expecting. Pretty soon things turn messy as the more fantastical elements of the attraction come to life and take their toll. At first, I was a little horrified and this pleased me because this is a horror story. However, things did get a little repetitive. Corn was a major theme and so once I saw one corn monster, the others weren’t that scary nor were they unexpected.

The tale did end on a strong note, with some mystery left. Bay’s End will have to pull itself together, again.

Narration: Commodore James did a great job with this book. He had a handful of accents to do, and he did them well. I also liked his arguing couple – Scott and Sara.

What I Liked: I will never look at cornfield attractions the same way again; fun, horrific premise for the story; solid ending.

What I Disliked: The monsters were a little repetitive and predictable after the first appearance.

What Others Think:

Ade Grant

Confessions of a Reviewer

Michael Patrick Hicks

Beyond the Gates of Toyland by Edward Lorn

LornBeyondTheGatesOfToylandPublisher: Lornographic Materials (2016)

Length: 27 pages

Series: Book 3 War on Christmas

Author’s Page

Note: This story really works best if you have read the previous 2 stories. Edward Lorn has all three for free on Amazon in one volume (War on Christmas) for the holidays, if you’re so inclined for a bit of a horror holiday tale.

This book picks up where Book 2, Deck the Halls, left off. Mary, Santa’s wife, has been kidnapped and Santa is none too pleased about that. He’s joined forces with Krampus, who is sort of an evil twin to Santa. He’s also scary as hell. Good thing Santa has the Jingle to keep Krampus in line.

Santa heads off to discover the source of the malevolent toys that are wrecking so much havoc with his holiday and home life. He must speak with Geppetto, the preeminent toy maker himself. Lorn gives us a deliciously creepy version of the Pinocchio story. There’s a reason there’s so many maniacal nutcrackers after Santa.

Santa and his sack (of toys and tricks) head off to rescue his beloved wife. He picks up a new ally along the way for part of the story – a being capable of pulling his sleigh. This thing (trying not to spoil anything) is spooky and enchanting at the same time.

What follows is a bloody, murderous affair. Santa doesn’t pull any punches when his wife is on the line. I will never look at nutcrackers the same way again. This tale was definitely a much needed reprieve from all the syrupy all-too-happy holiday stuff out there. It was fun and messy and had me rooting for Santa the entire time. Santa is my hero.

What I Liked: Dark and delicious; holidays have never been more creepy; Geppetto and Pinocchio seen in a different light; Santa kicks ass with the best of them.

What I Disliked: Nothing – very amusing!

Deck the Halls by Edward Lorn

LornDeckTheHallsWhere I Got It: Own it

Publisher: Lornographic Materials (2015)

Length: 24 pages

Series: Book 2 War on Christmas

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it stands quite fine on its own. In fact, I read this book first and then checked out Book 1, The Naughty List.

Santa and his reindeer team head home on Christmas Eve for a quick regrouping, and perhaps a change of clothes, after their unexpected battle with the imp demons known as the Naughties in Book 1. After all, Santa has the elf magic to slow down the clock, so he has plenty of time to deliver toys around the world. However, upon landing, they notice chaos and tragedy. Santa’s blood boils at what has been done and there will be blood to pay!

Once again, this was an excellent holiday horror tale. I’m really enjoying this kicking butt and taking names Santa. Of course, the Naughties are playing for keeps also. The reindeer lose one of their own and it hits hard (sniffle). Yet this seems to stoke their fires for vengeance. A lone remaining Naughty, one left behind to deliver an ultimatum, is captured. I think Yak expected to die but Santa has other plans for him. I applaud the practical use of holiday garland as restraints!

Santa needs answers and perhaps a temporary ally. So they travel to his birthplace in Turkey to find a deadly foe. Yak was none too pleased with this. I was glad to see Santa returning to his roots, they being more sinister than the typical jolly fat man we see decorating so many store windows and holiday paper.

What follows is part adventure and part revenge action movie. It’s all deliciously twisted. Once again, Lorn brings that common sense brutality to the game, making the tale that much more enjoyable. The reindeer aren’t your timid lovey dovey dainties; no, they are beasts that mean to take out as many foes as possible.

My one wee complaint is that there are only 3 clearly female characters, and two are merely mentioned and not seen. Some of the Naughties may be female, but that is never specified. So we have the reindeer Vixen (who gets a few goat like blats for lines) and perhaps Cupid is mentioned, along with Santa’s wife Mary being mentioned. I would have liked another clear female in the fray somewhere. However, this is such a small thing and didn’t deter my enjoyment of the tale.

The adventure takes Santa and his companions to a place he doesn’t want to go. The Naughties are seeking power but get more than they can chew on. This puts Santa and his team in grave danger. Let’s just say that I won’t be looking at some classic toys the same ever again.

 

Edward Lorn was kind enough to make this short story and the previous book in the series available for free on Amazon for a week this year, so don’t miss your opportunity to pick them up and enjoy!

What I Liked: The darker side to the holidays; Santa returns to his roots; an unlikely and creepy ally; more Naughties bite the dust; the reindeer are not wall flowers; the scary side to toys.

What I Disliked: Could have used 1 more active female character.

What Others Think:

 

52 Book Minimum

The Naughty List by Edward Lorn

LornTheNaughtyListWhere I Got It: Own it

Publisher: Edward Lorn (2014)

Length: 12 pages

Series: Book 1 War on Christmas

Author’s Page

 

This is a holiday themed short horror story. If you are squeamish or easily offended, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you love the darker side to holidays, reindeer, elves, imps, and toys, then look no further! This is the holiday book for you.

Santa has his hands full in this tale! He’s using his elf magic to travel the world in one night and deliver goodies to all the well behaved kids who celebrate Xmas. He uses holiday house decorations to help guide his sleigh, and he doesn’t mind if they are a bit crooked or ragtag. He touches down at secluded house that would look disreputable in anything other than the warm glow of holiday lights. As he goes about his business, he soon sees that not all is as it should be. He begins to suspect the impish demons known as the Naughties are at play.

So, obviously I can’t talk too many specifics here without giving away the whole plot. So lets get all gooey and talk feelings. This book made me giggle and chuckle. I was definitely rooting for Santa and his team of reindeer. They are better fighters than you might think. But the Naughties have their own brand of cleverness and also the huge numbers. They also have worthy names like Puss. Having read several other Lorn works, I really didn’t know if Santa and his team would make it out alive. Yep, that’s the kind of story this could be.

I was really glad to see that the reindeer behave more as wild animals than as tame feeding zoo pets. They are also lead by Vixen in this tale, she having the common sense to know when to fight and when to retreat. The reindeer do bring the pain. Many a Naughty will not be forgetting them any time soon. The story has a good mix of common sense and violence. After all, the Naughties are demon imps that are up to no good. They must be taken down! Maybe Santa wears red for a variety of reasons, one of them being the practical necessity to hide a bit of blood here and there.

Overall, this was an excellent little tale and just the perfect holiday story for my tastes.

Edward Lorn was kind enough to make this short story and the sequel available for free on Amazon for a week this year, so don’t miss your opportunity to pick them up and enjoy!

What I Liked: Common sense brutality; reindeer being reindeer; Santa’s red clothing; the Naughties; ready for more!

What I Disliked: Nothing! Great fun for the holidays!

What Others Think:

Claire Loves To Read

From Dark Places

52 Book Minimum

Fog Warning by Edward Lorn

LornFogWarningWhere I Got It: Bought an Audible.com copy.

Narrator: Kevin R. Tracy

Publisher: Edward Lorn (2015)

Length: 2 hours 57 minutes

Author’s Page

Brent Cummings has an addiction to pain killers…. and he is an emergency room doctor. Right off the bat, you can see how he might have an on going problem. One day on his way home, he stumbles across a woman’s body in the fog. He ends up accused of intent to distribute controlled narcotics by the police when they come to investigate and a coworker (Plucky, a cancer specialist) must come to his aid. However, when he goes to the pharmacy to fill his prescription for methadone, he sees the same woman, living and breathing. Brent spirals in and out of sanity for the rest of the book.

To date, I have enjoyed several Lorn books. So I dove into this book expecting the same twists and surprises. However, I found this book rather predictable. Now, let me be clear. I was entertained through out. Lorn is an excellent story teller even if you’ve guessed where the story is going. Yet I kept waiting for that little bit of something extra that would put this story up there with other Lorn books. I think, in large part, the lack of surprises is due to the very small cast in this story. Essentially, we have drug-addled Brent, his helpful coworker Plucky, and the dead (or not dead?) woman. I guess you can count Brent’s altered awareness as a fourth wheel to the story. So from the beginning, I guessed the story would go one of two ways and at about the half way point, it became clear to me which way it was going to go.

Due to the small cast, there were fewer female characters than we normally see in works by this author. However, he doesn’t skimp in making them whole and interesting characters. There’s several female side characters and even a memory of a lady from Brent’s past.

I enjoyed the details that went into the tale, especially the loose references to other Lorn books that take place in and around Bay’s End. As usual, Lorn put in small touches that made connecting with this story easy and entertaining. For instance, describing the graffiti drawn on the bottom side of top bunk where Brent has to spend down time – amusing and yet I can totally see that being there. While predictable, there was still some suspense in seeing how it all unfolded and who would still be alive at the end. It was an enjoyable tale even if it lacked the polished genius of other Lorn works.

Narration:  Kevin R. Tracy did a good job with this narration. He had a certain desperate intensity for Brent that carried throughout the book and even managed to sound somewhat high or strung out at times. Also, once the creepiness factors starting coming out in the dialogue, he did a great job of getting those across to the listener.

What I Liked: The basic premise of the story; the mystery of the dead woman (or is she?); the details of the story telling; a satisfying ending.

What I Disliked: The tale was predictable.

What Others Think:

Horror After Dark

Scarlet’s Web

52 Book Minimum

Crawl by Edward Lorn

LornCrawlWhere I Got It: Bought an Audible.com copy.

Narrator: Maria Hunter Welles

Publisher: Edward Lorn (2014)

Length: 1 hour 45 minutes

Author’s Page

Juliet & Colton are having marital issues. In fact, he’s driving her to her mother’s house so she can have her space. The road trip is uncomfortable and tense. It’s a mix of bittersweetness and anger. They revisit the good times before they were married and argue about the smallest things. They notice a creepy car on the highway, one they later bump into at a pit stop for coffee and a pee. Tinted windows and an odd vanity plate go hand in hand with the Red Priest who drives it.

The suspense builds slowly in this tale. We spend the entire story in Juliet’s head and so we get to know her feelings on the marital issues quite well. She feels anger and betrayal and perhaps the death of something that once was great. Still, you can see how she also wishes that she and Colton could forget the ugliness and go back to being a happy couple. But that’s not a possibility, so she wants some space and time to think about her next move. Also, a part of her wants Colton to be punished and this is her way of doing it.

Pretty soon another element is added in: the creepy tinted-window vehicle. At first, it is just a slow moving vehicle Colton has to pass on the highway. But the odd vanity plate sticks with Juliet. Then they stop at a diner for some coffee and a pee break and they eventually notice the vehicle. The driver, to become known as the Red Priest, bumps into Juliet as she heads towards the bathroom. Pretty intense creepy dude. But you don’t know how creepy yet. You think maybe he is just way into this faith and smug on himself.

Edward Lorn includes a bathroom conversation. Not at the sink, but while Juliet is in one stall and the other lady is in the next stall over. I found this very amusing because Juliet found it annoying and a little uncomfortable. I am right there with her. Who has chatty conversations while doing their business with another person, even a stranger, who is doing their business? So by now I feel a connection to Juliet and I want her to come out of this OK.

So they get back on the road and things happen. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Let’s just say that the suspense that has been building up suddenly leaps ahead and things get horrifying very quickly. It was very well done, this shift. The Red Priest continues to play a part and Juliet fights on for her life. A supernatural element is introduced and it is particularly hair-raising. I very much enjoyed how so much of The Horror was left to the reader’s imagination. There’s a handful of details that your mind builds upon, just as Juliet’s mind does. She’s injured and it is no easy task to try to escape. Yet she soldiers on. The ending was not what I expected but I still felt satisfied by it.

Narration:  Maria Hunter Welles did an incredibly good job with this book. She was a perfect fit for Juliet and she had this excellent way of getting Juliet’s emotions across to the listener. She also had believable voices for the men in the story. Later on, there are some rather disturbing sounds the supernatural element makes and Welles’ performance raised the hairs on the back of my neck and freaked out my cats. Just a superb performance all around.

What I Liked:  The cover art; connected with Juliet pretty early on; the creepy Red Priest; the supernatural element; Juliet’s continued fight to escape; excellent narration; satisfying ending.

What I Disliked:  Nothing – I was creeped out and satisfied by this horror flick.

What Others Think:

THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK

Horror After Dark

Eklektikos

Gregor Xane

No Such Thing by Edward Lorn

LornNoSuchThingWhere I Got It: Bought an Audible.com copy.

Narrator: Audio Elan

Publisher: Edward Lorn (2014)

Length: 42 minutes

Author’s Page

Johann Schmidt is seeking funding for his latest genetic experiment. His fundraising speech to a group of wealthy atheists doesn’t go over so well, but he does get invited to have a private chat with renowned scientist Eliot Von Lennon.

Eliot Von Lennon’s assistant, Claire Jacobs, is the first to bring up the question of the human soul. Subsequent questions follow such as: Can it be measured? Can it be created? What happens if mad scientists create some laboratory life that is lacking a soul? These are all interesting questions that are explored in this short tale.

Johann Schmidt hopes to skirt the  laws concerning creating clones and Eliot Von Lennon is willing to fund his efforts if Schmidt will help him with a little problem of his own. At first, Schmidt is disgusted by the mere appearance of Lennon. Even though he is a man of science, he still has a narrow view of what is acceptable.

MILD SPOILER:  I liked this tale because Lennon is not wholly male or nor wholly female, but rather a chimera. I  am not sure what the proper term is, perhaps intersex, but it is great to see this highly underrepresented slice of society present in this tale. END SPOILER

The three set too, attempting to make Lennon’s dream come true. This is where I got a little murky on the plot. I thought that Lennon wanted to accomplish one thing, but then we move forward a bit in time and apparently I was wrong about what Lennon wanted. I feel like a didn’t connect a few dots there. At any rate, none of them got what they thought they were getting and things get messy.

The tale starts off all science-y and talking about rights and wrongs. However, once the experiment is underway and coming to fruition, the horror part sets in. Under the stress, we get to see the true nature of Eliot Von Lennon who isn’t as sympathetic a character as we are first lead to believe. There are casualties and gore. Yep, the author hooked me in with the age old questions surrounding souls and coupled it with science. By the time the horror arrived in the plotline, I was trapped and had to see the story through to the end. All in all, it was an interesting tale bringing up some age-old questions concerning the soul and medical experimentation.

Narration:  Audio Elan did a very nice job. Schmidt had a German accent the entire time (which was awesome to hear). Then Elan had a nice female voice for Claire, and an often indeterminate voice (as required by the story) for Von Lennon. Also, there was this one section where a character had to type out answers in reply to spoken questions and Elan did a masterful job of portraying the ragged typing.

What I Liked:  The cover art; questions of the soul; medical experimentation; mad scientists; things end messy;  excellent narration.

What I Disliked:  There is one short stretch in the plot where I didn’t connect the dots.

What Others Think:

THe GaL iN THe BLue MaSK

Gregor Xane

Pennies for the Damned by Edward Lorn

LornPenniesForTheDaamnedWhere I Got It: Review copy from the publisher via their blog tour by Sage’s Blog Tours (thanks!)

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing (2015)

Length: 220 pages

Series: Book 2 Larry Laughlin

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 2, it works well on its own. Enough background is given that you can pick up this book and enjoy it for its own sake.

This is the long awaited sequel to Hope for the Wicked, which I found disturbing and refreshingly honest at the same time. Pennies for the Damned is a mix of flashbacks to happier, more fruitful times with Mo & Larry gainfully employed, and Larry’s present. Larry made it out of Mexico scarred, both physically and emotionally, and has decided to head home. It’s time for a family reunion. His brother, Jaime, has Down Syndrome. His father is being released from prison after doing time for pedophilia. Before Larry can get down to business, other, darker business comes knocking on his door.

Edward Lorn does not disappoint with this long awaited sequel. In fact, I found this book to be a bit better than the first. I think this is because we get so much Larry time. We really get to delve into his character and connect with him. He really did retire from the hitman business, but circumstances drive him to unbury all those skills. The story starts off with him having some semblance of right and wrong. However, by the end he has been pushed far too hard and the lines get really blurry for him. He goes from being a bit complicated to not so complicated as all the rage boils out of him. It was a very interesting story arc.

The plot was twisted. Plenty of bends and cul-de-sacs. Basically, there were a lot of players and most of them wanted to remain behind the curtains. Larry has to drag them out into the light on at a time, kicking and screaming. I enjoyed being right alongside Larry, having to rethink what I thought I knew and try to figure out who the mastermind is and what their motivations were.

My favorite side character was Brooklyn, a teen sex slave that Larry comes across. She refuses to be left behind and Larry needs info. This book deals with pedophilia and sex trafficking. There are some really intense conversations between Brooklyn and Larry. It made a strong base for their relationship later on.

The ladies are no shrinking violets. Mo’s memory is a real presence in Larry’s life. She lets him know when he is being an idiot. Brooklyn is that tender mix of bravada and damaged kid. Later on, we meet Samantha who is a communications and computer specialist. She has ties to the bad guys and Larry makes use of her skills. She’s not in your face brave or such, but she has skills and brains. I really like that Lorn keeps the genders well balanced and that the ladies aren’t cardboard cut outs of each other.

Lorn also pulls in people of different backgrounds. In some ways, he forces the reader to take a look at prejudices they may have through the assumptions and societal prejudices that Larry has. It’s pretty clever. For instance, Jaime, the brother with Down Syndrome, has a certain lifestyle (don’t want to spoil anything here, so I am being vague) and Larry makes all this instant assumptions that prove to be false. There’s also the hired gun Carol who has a lot of facial scars. He starts off as a rough character but Larry’s regard for the man shifts as we learn more about Carol – he’s more than just an ugly face.

All in all, this was a worthy read. The plot kept me guessing. The characters kept me engaged. The bad guys kept me wanting to punch them in the face. The ending was both touching and uplifting, which was a little unexpected considering how some of Lorn’s other books end.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

What I Liked: Pretty intense; the relationship between Brooklyn and Larry; Larry’s unending drive to see this through; Jaime the brother; the bad guys have their own motivations; the real necessity to treat wounds. 

What I Disliked: Nothing – I truly enjoyed this book. 

What Others Think:

 

Check out the book blog tour HERE for other reviews, interviews, and guest posts.

Book Blurb: 

Ex-hitman Larry Laughlin got out of Mexico alive, but now he’s a haunted man. The final step to laying his ghosts to rest requires killing his newly paroled father. Before he can take action, a trio of killers break into Larry’s house, and he overhears their scheme to murder his brother, Jaime. Old habits kick in, and Larry emerges the sole survivor. But while he’s gathering hidden funds to finance his plans, he’s ambushed by an abused teen named Brooklyn, who refuses to be left behind.

Larry and Brooklyn set out to save his brother and complete his patricidal task, but one misstep drops yet another aching tragedy on Larry’s burdened shoulders. Nearly mad with his hunger for vengeance, Larry seeks his final nemesis in the heart of New York City. But what he finds will threaten more than just his life: Larry Laughlin damned himself long ago.

Author Bio

Edward Lorn is an American horror author presently residing in the southeast United States. He enjoys storytelling, reading, and writing biographies in the third person.

Once upon a time, during a session of show and tell, a seven-year-old Edward Lorn shared with his class that his baby brother had died over the weekend. His classmates, the teacher included, wept while he recanted the painful tragedy of having lost a sibling. Edward went home that day and found an irate mother waiting for him. Edward’s teacher had called to express her condolences. This was unfortunate, as Edward had never had a baby brother.

With advice given to her by a frustrated teacher, Edward’s mother made him start writing all of his lies down. The rest, as they say, is history.

Edward Lorn and his wife are raising two children, along with a handful of outside cats and a beagle named Dot. He remains a liar to this day. The only difference is, now he’s a useful one.

In January of 2012, Edward Lorn self-published his debut novel, Bay’s End. Later that year, he contracted with Red Adept Publishing to bring his sophomore effort, Dastardly Bastard, to the world. For the Halloween season, Edward published a collection of short stories entitled What the Dark Brings. His novella, Hope for the Wicked, was picked up by Red Adept Publishing and is coming soon.

Find Edward Online

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Edward-Lorn-Author/237418413004623

Twitter: @EdwardLorn

Goodreads Pennies of the Damned: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23556502-pennies-for-the-damned

Purchase Links

RAP Pennies of the Damned: http://redadeptpublishing.com/#!/Pennies-for-the-Damned-by-Edward-Lorn/p/46536388/category=12029350

RAP Hope for the Wicked: http://redadeptpublishing.com/#!/Hope-for-the-Wicked-by-Edward-Lorn/p/46536367/category=12029090

Best of 2014

ElwesLaydenAsYouWishA big thank you to all the publishers, authors, and narrators who generously provided review copies, especially the audiobooks. Thanks to all my book blogger friends, real life friends, and family who recommended books, or simply let me babble on about books even when you really didn’t care. According to Goodreads (which I don’t use religiously but perhaps I should just for the stats) says I read 116 books this year, the majority of which were audiobooks. Here is my list of favorites from 2014. Enjoy!

SummersLightningWolvesAs You Wish by Cary Elwes – Nonfiction: True adventures of the filming of the movie The Princess Bride. Lots of good stuff to make you laugh.

AlvaVosper'sRevengeLightning Wolves by David Lee Summers – Steampunk: Wild west gets even wilder in this multi-cultural steampunk adventure.

BernheimerPenniesForferrymanVosper’s Revenge by Kristian Alva – Epic Fantasy: Book 3 of the series and a most excellent wrap up to the first trilogy in this world. Intense and insightful!

Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim BernheimerUrban fantasy: Mike Ross is a reluctant detective with a bad eye that lets him communicate with the ghost world. A great nitty-gritty ride. 

Ancient Stout being used as a bookstand.

CampbellDragonsOfDorcastleThe Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse by Lauren Wilson & Kristian Bauthus – Nonfiction: Cookbook, survival book, and snarky humor on the end of civilization as we know it.

ShrumDyingForALivingDragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell – Epic Fantasy: Book 1 in a new series with some steampunk thrown in with unreal magic. Excellent world building in this book!

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum – Urban Fantasy: Jesse is a Necronites who can take the place of another in death….and come back to life. I almost passed this book up and it turned out to be one of my faves of the year. I thank the book gnomes for preventing me from being a total dunce!

PriestMaplecroftWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – Epic Fantasy: Book 2 in the Stormlight Archives and some of the best fiction I have ever read, hands-down.

7912701Maplecroft by Cherie Priest – Gothic Horror: Take Lizzie Borden and Cthulu monsters and you have something cunningly magnificent. Dare I say this is what Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and HP Lovecraft have been waiting for?

WillisAllClearBoneshaker by Cherie Priest – Steampunk: The Civil War hasn’t ended and the Pacific Northwest remains in shambles due to an industrial accident. Complex world surrounds a complex relationship between a mother and son.

SeboldShanghaiSparrowAll Clear by Connie Willis – Time Travel: Book 2 in the All Clear series is an excellent wrap up to Blackout (WWII historical fiction).

MartinDeadlyCuriositiesShanghai Sparrow by Gaie Sebold – Steampunk: Awesome multi-cultural fiction with a stubborn lass at the center of it.

BowmanArrowThroughAxesDeadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin – Urban Fantasy: Certain objects attract ghosts or hold onto malevolent memories. Time to call in the right detectives to neutralize the object!

AlexanderAmbassadorArrow through the Axes by Patrick Bowman – Classic Retelling: Book 3 concludes Bowman’s excellent retelling of the ancient The Odyssey.

JangDearLeaderAmbassador by William Alexander – Science Fiction: Awesome adventure that asks so much from one young lad.

Cats: Picky readers.

Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung – Nonfiction: A look inside North Korea from a native poet and spy. Absolutely fascinating.

FremantleSistersOfTreasonThe Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman – Historical Fiction: Beautiful story of two young people in NY during one of the worst fires in history.

LornDastardlyBastardSisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle – Historical Fiction: The sisters of Lady Jane Grey must navigate murky political waters for decades, and they do not always succeed.

KozeniewskiBraineaterJonesDastardly Bastard by Edward Lorn – Horror: A fast-paced, intense ride right up to the end.

Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski – Urban Fantasy: Think noir detective meets zombies. Yeah. Pretty fucking awesome indeed.

One of the few times Smudge has willingly held still for her photo.

JordanNewSpringThe Kingdom of the Gods by N. K. Jemisin – Epic Fantasy: Book 3 of The Inheritance Trilogy offers a beautiful ending to this complex and rich series.

AtwoodMaddAddamNew Spring by Robert Jordan – Epic Fantasy: I believe this to be Jordan’s finest work in The Wheel of Time series.

Grahame-SmithAustenPrideAndPrejudiceAndZombiesThe MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood – Dystopian: I read all three of these books this year and each blew me away in different ways. Atwood had me laughing one minute and wanting to punch something the next.

Streak sleeping in his basket.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith & Jane Austen – Classic Retelling: Yep, hoity-toity aristocracy of England has been infested with zombies. And now it is fashionable to send your kids off to Asia to become martial arts experts. A most excellent and entertaining book!

The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint – Paranormal Fantasy: A captivating tale of a mechanic who has to figure out a way to free herself and others from a mundane afterlife.

Dastardly Bastard by Edward Lorn

LornDastardlyBastardWhy I Read It: Having read other Edward Lorn novels, Hope for the Wicked and Life After Dane, I couldn’t wait to delve into Dastardly Bastard.

Where I Got It: A won a copy in a giveaway by the publisher (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: This is for the paranormal ghost story fans who like an outdoor setting.

Narrator: Glenn Marcum

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing (2013)

Length: 6 hours 38 minutes

Author’s Page

The story starts off tame enough. We get to know each of the characters a bit and why they all end up at Waverly Chasm, near Bay’s End, on the same day. Justine and Trevor camped over night and plan to join the guided hike. Justine isn’t really the outdoor type, but she’s making an effort for Trevor.  Mark, a professional photographer, is tasked with doing a piece on the Chasm which is a step down from his war correspondence he recently wrapped up. He’s an obese guy and a 6 hour hike isn’t really something he is looking forward to. Marsha, recently widowed, takes her fancy-phone addicted kid, Lyle, out to the woods because it is something her dead husband would do. Donald is a world-famous author, but he as chosen a pen name and a full size model to play him in public as he is dwarf and doesn’t want to make his books about his size. Finally, Jaleel is stuck with all of them, being the guide for the hike. As they get warmed up, they talk of one of the main features of the hike – Scooter’s Drop (or was it Plunge?). It’s where this kid fell off into the Chasm, never to be recovered. As they near it, shit starts happening. And the real personalities come out.

Rainbow rug, cotton rayon blend, 28inX89in.
Rainbow rug, cotton rayon blend, 28inX89in.

Edward Lorn’s writing does strange things to me. This is a horror story. Bad things happen to good people. Lots of suspense, a bit of blood, a touch of innards, a swirl of scary. What did I do while listening to this book? I wove a rug. Not just any rug. A rainbow rug. Yep. And when I was done with that, I had over an hour left of the audiobook. So what did I do while finishing out the book? I baked a cake. From scratch. And not just any cake, but a 3 layer chocolate cake. It weighed perhaps 7 pounds when I was done. 6 eggs, a pound of butter, sugar, cocoa, and love. I shared with the volunteer fire department.

Three layers of home made cake.
Three layers of home made cake.

Yeah, his books do odd things to me.

Now you probably want to hear about the book. In short, I loved it. It was fast-paced, full of wit and suspense. Each character came with their own baggage, their own horrors, that they had to face. Justine was my favorite. She was a real hero in this story, pulling folks together, leading the way when the path was not clear. At first I didn’t care for Donald the writer. He was a bit of a dick. But then we get a peek at his deepest horror and shame and I think my heart cracked a little for him. After that, I liked him quite a bit. Mark was also a favorite as he faced a professional quandary as a war correspondent – what to publish and what to delete, how much truth to tell?

I liked that not everyone survived (because I do find it unrealistic when all the good guys survive a paranormal attack of some sort). The pacing was good (never a dull moment). And the mix of people was great – various sizes, various skin tones, single, paired up, widowed, etc. The ending was more upbeat than the other two Lorn books I have read, so that was unexpected for me (but I liked it!). I really enjoyed that the characters had to go through some tough crap, face it, makes friends with it, and then they could attempt to come out the other side. Nothing was just given to the good guys.

I’ve now read three Lord books and quite enjoyed each one. This one did not disappoint and may have been even more enjoyable because it was an audiobook and I could listen as I worked.

Narration: Glen Marcum was an excellent fit for this audiobook. He infused the story with tension, tenderness, pissed-offness, etc. as needed. Edward Lorn writes well, and Glen Marcum did a great job of giving those characters a voice. I especially like his voices for Lyle and for Justine. Oh, and Trevor (who sounded stoned throughout the book).

What I Liked:  Lots of suspense; outdoor setting; such a variety of characters for so many different backgrounds; the fears the characters faced (real shit, nothing half-assed); the ending.

What I Disliked:  I too wondered why the police didn’t ask about Trevor’s lack of pants.

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