Monday, 31 October 2016

REVIEW: Michael Bray - The Island

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Severed Press
Publication Date: 4th October 2015
Pages: 206


A copy of The Island was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Michael Bray, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Severed Press.

In The Island, by Michael Bray, we see a society in which reality television has become a performance platform for violence and death. The island itself is a man-made land mass on which a competition has been resurrected to air for the first time as a television series.

Contestants are set loose on the island and only one can survive to the end. Their prize? Whatever it is they desire. All they have to do is make it from one side of the island to the other.

Oh, and they have to make it through an island packed full of dinosaurs.

The main character of the story, Chase Riley, decides to take part in the newly revamped show in order to save his daughter who is suffering from terminal cancer. Against the wishes of his wife, he enters into the show, hoping that a victory will bring in the money they lacked, in order to get their daughter, the treatment she needs.

Putting all my honesty down on the table, I have to admit that I was a little dubious of the concept of this book going into it. My concern was that this was going to just end up feeling like a modern reimagining of The Running Man, but with dinosaurs as an artificial attempt to add an extra element to an already successful story. Still, I was also intrigued by the idea and was willing to give it a go.

Sunday, 30 October 2016


If you follow the blog on a regular basis, (and if you don’t why the hell not?) you could not have failed to see the Confessions of my Past, Present and Future feature, where authors write a piece about what they like in books from their past, the present and the future.

If you have never seen it, then go have a look here to see what it is about.

This feature has run for over a year. It still proves to be very successful and you all seem to enjoy reading about what your favourite authors like in books.

So, I am going to keep it going. This is where you come in. I only have a few submissions left and would like more.

If you are an author and would like to take part in this feature, then please see the guidelines for it below and email me at to let me know.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #42 - Mark Cassell - The Shadow Fabric

#42 in the Show-Off and tell feature brings us, sadly, to the end of a week-long special about its author. Tonight’s book is The Shadow Fabric by Mark Cassell.

I have mentioned a couple of times this week how much of an approachable, decent fella Mark Cassell is. I hope that throughout this week you have picked that up as well and also that you will go pick up some of his books and give him the support he deserves.

If you decide to go and buy this weeks featured book, The Shadow Fabric, this post will give you an idea of what you will have in your hands.

The cover alone gives you an idea of the mysterious happenings on the inside of the pages and indeed, if you meet Mr Cassell at a con, you will be able to see the hourglass in person.

This is my copy:

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

REVIEW: Mark Cassell - The Shadow Fabric

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Herbs House
Publication Date: 18th October 2014
Pages: 340


The Shadow Fabric is Mark Cassell’s first novel. This book is published by Herbs House.

This book pops a couple of Confessions cherries tonight. Firstly, it is Mark Cassell’s first time being reviewed on Confessions.

Today he becomes a man.

Also this is the first ever book that I bought at a con. I met Mark at Emcon in Nottingham and to be honest I had no intentions of buying any books at that stage, but he impressed me so much with his enthusiasm that I bought them all. And stole a few bookmarks. And sweets.

This is another one that sat on the pile for a while because it wasn’t a direct submission for review. I was struggling to decide which one to read next instead of following the normal strict list. When this one caught my eye, I thought I would give it a go.

This is what I thought.

Leo is confused. He has had a troubling life. The problem is he can’t remember any of it bar the last couple of years. He has just returned from a years traveling around the world and his guardian of sorts, Goodwin, has a job for him. He wants him to go work for his friend Victor as a chauffeur.

Leo soon discovers that chauffeuring will not be the only job he will be doing for Victor. On his second day he witnesses a murder. On his third day he witnesses much, much worse.

What follows, is a race against time. A race against evil. A race against unknown forces. A race against The Shadow Fabric.

This is a race that no one can afford to lose.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Welcome back to Part Two of Confessions interview with Mark Cassell.
In tonight’s session, Mark tells us all about his book The Shadow Fabric and takes on The Ten Confessions.

It’s only Tuesday but go grab some pizza and a beer, sit back, and mostly……enjoy!

CoaR - Moving on to The Shadow Fabric, what is that all about? What did you want to achieve with it?

MC - It's a tale of a sentient darkness, of 17th-century devices, and deceit among old friends, following one man's struggle to unravel his past. I wanted to write a book that I needed to read. Having been bored to death of vampires and werewolves, of zombies and goblins, I had to devise a new evil and so I created the Shadow Fabric.

I've never read a book that strips down witchcraft and demonology and turned it on its head, so I wrote it myself. Not once did I expect it to expand into the mythos it's become, and I still get demands for more stories.

Monday, 24 October 2016


Welcome to Part One of Confessions of a Reviewer’s interview with an author who is, quite possibly, one of the nicest men you will ever meet at a con.

Tonight, we present Mr Mark Cassell.

I first met Mark at Emcon in Nottingham earlier in the year and was immediately impressed by his manor and his set up at the con. This has developed into meeting him a couple of times now and we have had quite a lot of contact putting this together and I have to say my initial impressions were spot on.

In Part One, tonight, Mark talks about himself and his writing in general. He also talks about his obsession with seventies singing star, Leo Sayer, and gives us some info on what he’s doing and how he does it.

Part Two, tomorrow night, features chat all about the new book, some more general stuff and of course The Ten Confessions where it turns out Mr Cassell has one or two demons of his own hiding in closets!

Wednesday sees the Confessions review of his book The Shadow Fabric followed by showing it off on Thursday.

Nothing left to say at this point other than go grab some nibbles and a drink and sit back, and most of all……enjoy!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #50 - Mark Cassell

Confessions of my Past, Present and Future


Mark Cassell

The Past

I don't know when I first became aware of Brian Lumley's work, nor whether he indeed inspired me to become a horror writer. Atop that, I certainly cannot remember how old I was when I read his 1986 novel, Necroscope. Before I say anything more, I'll allow Mr Lumley to explain what a Necroscope actually is (pulled from his website

Tele- (Gk. tele: ‘far’.) A telescope is an optical instrument which enlarges images of distant objects. For example: the surface of the Moon may be viewed as from only a few hundred miles away.

Micro- (Gk. mikros: ‘small’) A microscope is an optical instrument which makes small objects visible to the human eye. Through a microscope, a drop of ‘clear’ water is seen to contain countless unsuspected micro-organisms.

Necro- (Gk. nekros: ‘a corpse’) A Necroscope is a human instrument which permits access to the minds of the dead. Harry Keogh is a Necroscope – he knows the thoughts of corpses in their graves.

The main difference between these instruments is this: the first two perform purely physical, one-way functions. They are incapable of changing anything. The Moon cannot look back through the telescope; the amoeba does not know it is under microscopic scrutiny.

That’s Harry Keogh’s big problem: his talent seems to work both ways. The dead know – and they won’t lie still for it!

Friday, 21 October 2016

REVIEW: David Bernstein - The Sludge

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Great Old Ones Publishing
Publication Date: 4th July 2016
Pages: 131


A copy of The Sludge was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, David Bernstein, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Great Old Ones Publishing.

Sometimes this reviewing game throws you surprises. A lot in fact. A lot of welcome surprises. One of them that never fails to amaze me is the fact that, sometimes you read someone’s work and rave about it. Then you pick up something else of theirs and it doesn’t do a lot for you. When you review it, you automatically think that is the last you will hear from that author. Think this reviewing lark is easy? It’s a minefield I tell you.

David Bernstein’s last book, A mixed Bag of Blood was a collection that I didn’t really connect with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t grab me the way some of his other stuff has.

I was delighted when David sent me a copy of The Sludge to review. Firstly, because he hadn’t fallen out with me, and secondly because…..well…..just look at that cover! It screams old skool horror! I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it.

This is what I thought.

Bull and John are removing some toxic waste. They should dispose of it carefully but they are just going to dump it in Lolo National Forest.

They throw it in a lake and it mixes with some stuff they dumped years ago and starts a chain of events that will create a monster no one thought could ever exist.

Cole and Derrick are brothers. They are about to rob a bank with their friend, Dirk. The plan is to hide out in Lolo after the job is done.

Edgar, June, Kim and Tyler are hiking in Lolo when they stumble across the camp belonging to the brothers. Everyone is in for the shock of their lives.
The Sludge is brewing.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


Next week sees another of Confessions week long features on an author we think you should be reading more of, and certainly one we think you will be seeing a lot more of in the years to come.

If you have been to any cons in the UK recently you will probably have met him, and you will probably agree as well, that he is one of the nicest, most approachable guys in the UK horror scene.

We talk, of course, about the one and only, Mark Cassell.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #41 - Angela Marsons - Play Dead

#41 in the Show-Off and Tell series is another one that I hold very dear to my heart. Play Dead by Angela Marsons.

If you have never heard of Angela Marsons or you have never read her books, I have two things to say to you. Shame on you, and go fix it right away!

I have been lucky enough to follow this woman’s career from the beginning of the journey, with her first book in her DI Kim Stone series, Silent Scream. When I first read Silent Scream, I knew Angela was in for a bright career, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the explosion that happened.

If you need any more encouragement to go check her books out, then go read my reviews at the bottom of the page. If you don’t want to take my word for it then check out these facts.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Last week we dazzled and amazed you with images and words connected to the cover reveal for the amazingly wonderful Tijuana Donkey Showdown by the equally amazingly talented Adam Howe.

If you missed it then go here immediately.

One thing we couldn’t do at that time was supply you with the relevant links to buy it. We promised we would rectify that. And we have!

Monday, 17 October 2016

REVIEW: Wayne Lemmons - The Story's Writer

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: 1st April 2016
Pages: 172


A copy of The Story’s Writer was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, Wayne Lemmons, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is self-published.

You know how I like a funny story of how I got a book to review? Well, Mr Lemmons doesn’t know this, but there is a funny story for this one. Someone recommended his writing to me and said I should check it out. Well, they didn’t, exactly. They recommended someone else. I got the name wrong. I didn’t find this out until a few months after we had made contact and the books were in the pile for review.

So, obligated as I was, I couldn’t do anything about it and had to go with my promises. Did it turn out to be a fortuitous mistake on my behalf?

This is what I thought.

Amy is a single mom. She works very hard to keep a stable household and a steady life for her son, Bailey. The only thing she keeps for herself is a lifestyle of one night stands that, while leaving Bailey to fend for himself, keeps her sane. Not ideal for anyone, but they survive.

On one of these one night stands, she meets Grant. A horror writer that seems to be very grounded, and very interested in meeting Bailey, when he can. Could this be Mr Right at last?

When things blossom and Amy and Bailey move in with Grant, all seems to be going swimmingly. Until Grant starts to write his new book about ghosts. It really seems to Bailey like Grant has brought some of his research home with him.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

REVIEW: Rich Hawkins - King Carrion - Review #2

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Horror Company
Publication Date: 17th Sept 2016
Pages: 132


A copy of King Carrion was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Sinister Horror Company in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Getting back into the spirit of posting multiple reviews for the same books, Confessions gives you the second review of King Carrion by Rich Hawkins.

Tonight’s review is brought to you by Alex Kimmell:

If you’re a fan of horror fiction, chances are pretty good that you’ve read at least a couple of books about vampires and zombies. You’ve seen the movies, television shows and maybe even flipped through the overabundance of comic books out there. You are familiar with the end of the world tropes where all of us humans are scraped from the face of the Earth like so many crumbs from a plate of chocolate chip cookies. As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, or even the moon.

However, there are a certain, special few who divert from these well-worn, shadowed paths just enough to impress new footprints in the muddy diversion of a fresh trail.

Monday, 10 October 2016

SURPRISE!! Tijuana Donkey Showdown - Cover Reveal!

Well it looks like the cat is out of the bag. I have no idea how that could possibly have happened!

I didn’t give anything away! I suspect there is a spy in the ranks somewhere intercepting my private messages. There is no other way people could have known!

I really do despair.

Anyway, now the secret is out, Mr. Adam Howe would like to tell you all about his new book, Tijuana Donkey Showdown and let you see, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the wonderful cover. I have absolutely no idea what it is about because I have never, ever in my life heard that phrase before, honest gov!

If you have never read Adam Howe before then I can only suggest you check out my review of Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, here, or my interview with him here, to see what he is all about.

Once you do that, then pay very close attention to the pre-order news further down the page and get yourself prepared to hit the important pages to do just that and pre-order this little gem, which promises to be another big hit.

Go Mr. Adam Howe……….

Sunday, 9 October 2016

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #49 - Dan Weatherer

Confessions of my Past, Present and Future


Dan Weatherer

The Past

There are probably rules for this sort of thing, but rules (like promises) are made to be broken. As a young, awkward sort, struggling to find his place in the high school hierarchy, books were a welcome retreat from a world I did not much understand, never mind wish to be a part of. (Likely I was a troubled youth!)

There were several books that not only afforded me my escape, a few of which have stuck long in the memory, and provoke a smile and a familiar tingle when recalled. I will not pretend that any of these books are literary heavyweights, but then I never did harbour notions of snobbery. A good story is just that, and these kept my imagination alive and kicking during those tediously grey teenage years.

Friday, 7 October 2016

REVIEW: Patrick Lacey - Dream Woods

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
Publication Date: 1st October 2016
Pages: 135


A copy of Dream Woods by Patrick Lacey, was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publisher, Sinister Grin Press, via Hook of a Book Media and Publicity in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.

Sinister Grin is a press I respect a lot. They put out some wonderful books and seem to be on the pulse when it comes to how they operate, and how they look after their authors. That needs to be commended when talking about a smaller, up and coming press. Especially in today’s climate, when so many small, and also bigger presses, seem to be falling by the wayside.

They also seem to be getting their hands on some wonderful authors at the minute. One of those is Patrick Lacey. This is a young man who I have previously tipped for big things in the horror world so I was delighted to get an opportunity to read and review his latest novella, Dream Woods.

This is what I thought.

Vince is an ex punk. Covered in tattoos that he needs to keep hidden for his new life as an accountant, he lives for his family. He is also trying to keep his family together. His wife, Audra, doesn’t seem happy and he suspects she wants to leave. He would be right. He sees an opportunity to try and make things better when he sees a billboard advertising the reopening of his favourite ever place from his childhood, Dream Woods Amusement park. This could be perfect for himself, Audra, and their two boys, Tim and Andrew.

Author Regina Michaels, is working on her latest book. It is about Dream Woods. She wants to expose the truth about it’s dark past. She should know all about it. She used to work there.

When circumstances throw them all together, they must join forces to try and survive the evil that lurks within the gates of Dream Woods.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Confessions has a surprise for you next week!!!!

You know when someone tells you something and asks you to keep it a secret

Someone did that with me last week. Problem is, I am really no good at keeping secrets. I like to give hints, and try to get people to guess what the secret is without directly telling them the secret because then I would feel incredibly guilty about them knowing the secret and then it isn’t a secret anymore and the person who told me the secret wouldn’t tell me anymore.

It’s a difficult position to be in isn’t it?

Anyway……should I tell you the secret now, or just give you a hint?

I think if I just told you, then it wouldn’t be very fair. As well as that I wouldn’t have a surprise for you next week because you would already know.

If I just give you a hint will you promise not to tell anyone?

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

SHOW-OFF AND TELL #40 - Daniel Marc Chant - Into Fear

#40 in the Show-Off and Tell series is one that has just come out this week. It is Into Fear by Daniel Marc Chant.

You can read the review at the bottom of the page. It is worth reading giving the quality of the book and it’s high score for a collection.

I have to advise that the one featured in this Show-Off and Tell is not the one you will get when you buy the book. I am extremely lucky to have in my possession a very early proof copy with a different cover on it. One that didn’t see the light of day.

Not only am I delighted to own a copy of the book but, to have this version gives me an extra opportunity to stick two fingers up at one and all! That’s what showing off is all about! Isn’t it?

This is my copy:

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

REVIEW: L.X. Cain - Bloodwalker

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Freedom Fox Press
Publication Date: 4th October 2016
Pages: 284


A copy of Bloodwalker was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, L.X Cain, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Freedom Fox Press.

Another fresh name to me that I had the pleasure of receiving an email request to read and review Bloodwalker from. L.X. Cain is a name I have seen around. A lot. I always meant to pick something up but this old reviewing lark doesn’t leave a lot of personal time for reading stuff I just want to pick up.

On the other hand, when you want to pick something up by someone and they ask if you can review something, well, you’re obligated aren’t you?

Bloodwalker had a very interesting synopsis. It intrigued me. This is what I thought.

The Zorka Circus is travelling through Europe. It doesn’t stay long in any one place but when it leaves, it always takes something extra with it.

Young children are going missing and the Circus’ security chief, Rurik, thinks it is one of the performers that is responsible. He needs to find out who it is and put an end to it. For his own sanity and the security of the circus.

Sylvie is getting married at the circus. She is known as a bloodwalker, from the Skomori clan, a clan despised by nearly everyone. Untrusted and seen as ghoulish, they get a hard time wherever they go.

When Sylvie discovers some bones in a trailer, this puts her directly in the path of the killer. It looks like Rurik is the only one that can help. What they are about to have to confront, is something neither of them could have ever imagined.

Monday, 3 October 2016

REVIEW: Jason Parent - Wrathbone and other stories

Genre: Horror collection
Publisher: Comet Press
Publication Date: 3rd October 2016
Pages: 160


A copy of Wrathbone and other Stories was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Jason Parent in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Comet Press.

Nothing I like more than getting a request from Jason Parent to have an early look at one of his books. Be it a novel or a short story or as in this case, a collection, it doesn’t matter to me. He is one of those authors that I just cannot resist reading. I love his easy, relaxed style of writing, even when the story is going at one hundred miles per hour.

I was especially eager to read this collection because I knew that myself and my good lady wife Jo, feature in a story together. This triggers the usual disclaimer that including me on the outside or indeed the inside of a book does not garner any favours from me in terms of the review.

So let’s see what this little beauty has to offer!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

GUEST POST: Confessions of my Past, Present and Future #48 - Somer Canon

Confessions of my Past, Present and Future


Somer Canon

The Past

Most of my childhood books were old, tattered hand-me-downs given to me by my grandma. One of those books was the first book to really ignite the horror fiend within me. It wasn’t necessarily the story itself that scared me.  Even as a Kindergartner I was a hardened horror fan thanks to never being denied the opportunity to watch some great horror movies on television.

No, with The Night the Scarecrow Walked by Natalie Savage Carlson and Charles Robinson, it was the black, scratchy illustrations within, giving the book a moodiness that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

When I was learning to read, I was able to dig up some gems in my small school’s library. The checkout cards to the Crestwood House Monster Series books were filled with only my name. The book about shark attacks mesmerized me as well, not only because of the photos of the survivors but also because of this incredible drawing of a shark chewing through an anti-shark net, shredding its gums to bloody ribbons.