Monday 6 April 2015

REVIEW: Evans Light / Adam Light / Edward Lorn / Jason Parent / Gregor Xane - Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love

Well folks I am very very sorry to say that this is the last instalment of the Dead Roses Special week. Some of you may be glad of that fact to get away from my ramblings but I have enjoyed myself so much with this one that I want to do it all over again! Right now!

I honestly can’t find the words to properly thank the guys for taking part in this for me. Mike, Edward, Jason, Gregor, Adam and Evans were all kind enough to take time out from their busy schedules to answer all of the questions I threw at them to put this feature together. None of them moaned or complained and were only too happy to help in any way they could. For all of this I am eternally grateful.

I have discovered that these six are all totally down to earth guys with huge hearts and a massive love for horror, writing, art and anything to do with their fans. I like to think I have made some new friends through this and hope to keep a hold of those friendships for a long long time.

All the info you need for either contacting this crew or buying their stuff is at the bottom of this page. Please please support them in their work so that we can all enjoy reading their words and appreciating their artwork for years to come.

Thank you again for visiting the blog this week. I will have some more features coming up in a week or two’s time as well as my normal reviewing in between times so please keep coming back for more Confessions of a Reviewer……and please tell your friends!!

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Corpus Press
Publication Date: 16th March 2015
Pages: 250


This copy of Dead Roses was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer as part of a special article on the site for the books launch and in return for an honest review. This is that review.

I have been looking forward to this one for a long long time after hearing such good stories about this group’s previous collaboration, Bad Apples: 5 Slices of Halloween Horror. I have read all but one of these authors previously and already know they can produce some very powerful short stories.


Stuart is a priest in a small West Sussex church. Someone abandons a child on the steps of the church. The little girl was extremely disfigured. Stuart took her in and kept her from harm. Fifteen years later Eleanor is growing up. She is becoming sexually aware but surely Stuart can do nothing about this? He is a priest. Eleanor just wants to be beautiful. But how can she when she always must wear a mask? She can fix this. She can make herself beautiful.

Beautifully twisted. That’s about the only way I can describe this tale. On one hand you have a priest trying to do his level best for an abandoned, disfigured young girl. God will help him with this. But why keep her hidden away for fifteen years and tell no one?

On the other hand a simple blind girl, going through puberty that knows no better than the man before her. She can’t see him or even possibly know what he is or what he is supposed to do and not do.

There are so many possibilities for deeper meaning within this story that I have absolutely no idea which one is for real. One minute I feel sympathy for one character and loathing for the other then five minutes later, it all switches and I’m back to square one trying to figure out which way it should be. Maybe I’m reading too much into this one. I’m not sure, but it has totally mashed my head up.

A twist at the end that was nowhere near where I thought it was going proved to me that it’s going to be a long time before I figure this one out.

Smooth writing using an almost olde English narrative gives you the impression this is set in Victorian times when in fact it doesn’t state when it is set.

To summarise: Yeah, smooth and beautifully twisted. That’s how I would best describe it.



Nathan falls in love very easily. Ever since Eve. Eve was the first love. She was the best. Then it went wrong and he fell in love with someone else. He never forgot Eve though. It was almost like she wouldn’t let him. It’s all in the eyes.
If Fatal Attraction were a horror film it would be called Love Lies in Eyes. Forget boiling bunnies though. This shit’s real!

This is creepiness to beat all creepiness. I don’t want to review it. I just want to say, “Buy it!”

Nathan finds his first love then breaks her heart. She curses him and the girl she finds him with. Everyone has a psycho ex. In fact we all may be the psycho ex? But there are no psycho ex’s like Eve. She has powers by the looks of things that will haunt you. Forever. That’s all you’re getting.

This is no normal love story by any stretch of the imagination. It may leave you thinking about some of your own ex’s and you may even find yourself staring into the eyes of your current loved one. Just to see if you see the signs.

I know I’m just rambling with this review. I honestly don’t know what to write without giving the story away and that would be criminal.

To summarise: I’m stumped. It’s creepy. It will give you goose bumps. It’s creepy some more. If you have read a lot of Evans Light you will know he adds loads of humour, but, if there is no humour then it’s dark, creepy, mess with your head stuff. There is no humour in this story. The ending is rather ironic and I did scream “Nooooooooooooo!” at the Kindle on the last page. Not good when you’re on a bus. This is, just, brilliant.



Rob Arnold is an old man. His wife Molly is dying. All Rob does is look after her 24/7 and has a little smoke and a whiskey, watching the baseball when he can.
He sees an infomercial about a potion called Panacea. The advert claims it can cure everything. It’s destroying Rob watching Molly so ill so he decides what the hell, and orders some. He slips it to Molly one night. What happens next was beyond his wildest dreams. It soon becomes his wildest nightmare.

Wow. This, my friends, is what short stories are all about. Sucking you in, giving you a nicely paced story that slowly builds a picture and has you feeling nice and secure in your chair as you read it and then BAM!! You’re punched squarely in the face and just when you’re picking yourself up from that someone kicks you in the nuts! All you can do is give in and go with the flow right to the end, never knowing where it will stop.

What Adam Light has written for us here is the opening episode of The Twilight Zone if they ever make a new (creditable) series. It’s everything a horror book / film / TV series should be.

A man, rightly, deeply in love with his wife, who would do anything for her to prevent her from suffering any more. A magic potion that seems to work. Until it works too well. That’s when the gates to hell open up and things can only go downhill from there.

Absolutely loved this story. Didn’t want it to end. Perfectly paced. Perfectly written. Perfectly creepy. A perfectly horrifically twisted tale of love and how love can come back and bite you in the ass.

To summarise: Perfect.

★★★★★ Big fat ones.


Toby is troubled. His dad has left without a word. His mom only leaves long enough to pick up someone new and bring them home to bed. He has just hooked up with Lauren but he thinks Adam might have eyes for her.
Through a combination of a hard life and deep rooted hatred, Toby explodes when he discovers he was right about Adam.

This is fantastic. Edward Lorn has you feeling for Toby from the very first minute. You know he is warped. You know he is going to do something bad. When he does, in some ways, it’s much more understated than I think most authors would have done it, but hugely effective.

What we have here is, sadly a portrayal of life all over the world. When it is put as blatantly as Mr Lorn has here, it shows just how sad we are as a society. It also shows just how some innocent people can be manipulated in ways they don’t even realise by the events that shape their life. It also shows we never truly know the sort of person we are sitting beside on the bus and what goes on inside their head. How they are made up.

This story is an example of how to draw your audience in with very few words, very little dialogue, but with the words joined together in such a way that they grab you by the squidgies and squeeze and squeeze and refuse to let you go until the story ends. It’s an old plot. Boy finds girl he likes – girl is nasty – boy goes mad. The difference is I don’t think I have ever read this plot in a short story that is so effective in its execution.

To summarise: Perfect character building. Perfect pace. Perfect lack of amount of detail making this visually brilliant in the understated execution of “the crime”.

So good I read it three times.



Bill Capra is on a plane. He hates flying. He’s on his way to a Comic Con. He was big in the comic world once. That was until the “incident”. The same “incidents” that have cost him a few wives and some jail time.

The Comic Con is not his final destination. He’s on the last leg of a search that has taken over his life. He’s looking for someone he thinks he will find in a secret compound in the middle of nowhere, his journey is nearly over. Is his life nearly over as well?

It’s taken me nearly three days to write this little review. I still honestly do not know what to say about it. When I saw the title I thought “Nah it can’t be”. Yup it is.

Loving, (important comma there) the goat, is a comic superhero developed by Bill. That’s not his only love of goats though, hence the “incidents”.

In true Gregor Xane fashion the start of this story is brilliantly funny. The humour is very cutting. The dialogue between Bill and a reporter, Jake, sitting in the next seat on the plane is fantastic. There is also an incident when Bill (6’6” – 300lbs) goes to the small toilet on the plane. This is possibly the funniest and most cringe worthy scene I have ever read in a story.

The rest, I’m afraid, was not really my cup of tea at all. It’s certainly horror. It’s certainly twisted. In fact it’s twisted beyond belief in some points and deals with a subject matter that, quite frankly, sickened me sometimes. I know I won't be alone in that feeling. I think Mr Xane will take that as a huge successful tick. Job done. Isn’t that what horror is all about I hear you ask? I suppose it is and the beauty of it is that there is so much variety out there.

But, I’m still trying to work out whether this was serious or the biggest piece of tongue in cheek writing I’ve ever read. I honestly think that is a question that will remain unanswered with me for a long time.

To summarise: It’s hilariously funny at times. It’s extremely twisted and dark. It deals with a subject matter I think a lot of people will struggle with, but, this is the first thing I have read by Mr Xane so if this is the norm for him, I think his fans will absolutely love it. I have to go slap bang in the middle for this one because I still can’t make my mind up.


So there you have it. Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love. Loved this book. It’s not really horror in the true sense of the word. In its title it says it has “twisted tales” inside. They certainly are twisted but, twisted in so many different ways.

There is something for everyone in here if they like the dark stuff. It all flows very well together. This is a book for a dark, windy, rainy night sitting by a window with the rain beating off it and the shadows playing across the pages. It has that sort of atmosphere about it.

General rating:

★★★★.5 - Practically Perfect.

Horror rating:

★★★★.5 - Beautifully horrifically twisted.

You can buy Dead Roses: Five Dark Tales of Twisted Love here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Or for special edition signed copies click here.

Book Synopsis:

The creators of the bestselling BAD APPLES: FIVE SLICES OF HALLOWEEN HORROR team up once more to bring you five dark tales of twisted love.

ELEANOR, by Jason Parent

When Father Stuart McKenzie finds a disfigured girl abandoned on the steps of his church, he decides the child is a blessing from God and raises her as his own. But the special needs of Eleanor demand more from Stuart than a father can give.

LOVE LIES IN EYES, by Evans Light

When Nathan falls for a beautiful girl from across a crowded room, she disappears before he can muster his courage. Obsessed with getting a second chance, he’s about to learn that true love isn’t only hard to can be hard to lose.

PANACEA, by Adam Light

Decades of marriage haven’t tarnished Rob’s affection towards his dear wife Molly one bit, and he’s not about to let cancer snatch her away, no matter the cost. But every medication has its side effects, some more than others.

CINDER BLOCK, by Edward Lorn

Toby’s dad may have hit the road long ago, but his mother still loves him - along with every other man in town, that is. But after the beautiful Lauren shines a light into his dreary world, he realizes just how crazy love can get.

LOVING THE GOAT, by Gregor Xane

Embattled comic book artist and notorious animal lover Bill Capra is willing to do anything (literally) to get his dirty paws on the fabled object of his desire, even if it means his own destruction.

(This book contains adult content and is suitable for mature readers only.)

Mike Tenebrae Studios is based in South Africa.

Mike is available for a variety of genres and has been commissioned for imagery ranging from educational, to pin-up work to book covers, posters and paintings.

You can see more of Mike on his website.

Mikes Facebook page can be found here.

Evans Light is the author of Screamscapes: Tales of Terror, the novella Arboreatum, Don’t Need No Water, Crawlspace and more.

He currently resides in a warm, southern state where the living is easy.

Evans is the proud father of fine sons and the lucky husband of a beautiful wife.

You can see more of Evans at his website.

Evans’ author page can be found here.

Adam Light resides in northeast Florida with his beautiful wife and daughter, and their Walker Hound, imaginatively named “Walker.” 

He is proud of his little family and could not picture his world without them in it. By day Adam haunts a cubicle, and by night pens horror fiction. He is the author of Toes Up: A Collection to Die For, the novella Serving Spirits, Tommy Rotten, and more. In his spare time, he enjoys deep frying his pants, obtaining free samples at the grocery store and taking long walks off steep cliffs.

You can see more of Adam at his website.

Adam’s author page can be found here.

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.

You can see more of Edward at his website.

Edward’s author page can be found here.

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. 

When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it's harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he's back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that's another story.

You can see more of Jason at his website.

Jason’s author page can be found here.

Gregor Xane lives in southwestern Ohio. When he's not writing, he can be found in his workshop bolting little satellite dishes to the foreheads of anesthetized goats. He's the author of the horror novellas Six Dead Spots and The Hanover Block. His short story "It Came From Hell and Smashed the Angels" is available as a free eBook download from just about everywhere.

You can see more of Gregor at his website.

Gregor’s author page can be found here.

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