Reclusive Reads

Where I read and review Dark Fiction, from the classics to the contemporary, while favoring the quietly atmospheric, with side trips into everything from Fantasy and Mystery to the occasional work of non-fiction.

Professional Reader80%Reviews PublishedChallenge Participant

2016 NetGalley Challenge




The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians - Stephen Graham Jones

When four young members of the Blackfeet Nation decide to hunt on reservation land reserved for tribal elders, it costs them the right to hunt on reservation land ever again.

Ten years later, they will learn the price is much higher than that. And they won't be the only ones to pay it.

For prey has become the hunter. Maternal instinct fuels unrelenting vengeance as a nature spirit rises from a killing field to balance the scales.

A brilliant, literary Native American horror novel that is incredibly empathetic to both the hunters and that which hunts them

Highly recommended.

This was an eARC from Netgalley.

Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Gallery/Saga Press

The Surgeon's Mate: A Dismemoir by Alan M. Clark

The Surgeon's Mate: A Dismemoir - Alan M. Clark

When artist and author Aiden, already struggling with his own demons, contracts a brain infection, his life becomes a nightmare as he finds his mind invaded by a malignancy from across time and space.......a damaged maniac named Frederick living in 1800's London. As awareness of each other grows, the serial killer revels in sharing his crimes with Aiden, striking in the shadow cast by London's other monster....Jack the Ripper.
As Aiden battles to free his mind, his terror grows as Frederick's insanity begins seeping into his life, endangering his family.
Clark blends autobiography with the historical, fictional and factual, and psychological thriller, creating a unique piece of dark fiction that is powerfully emotional, at turns heartbreaking and horrifying.
Highly recommended.

Devil in the Darkness by Archie Roy

Devil In The Darkness - Archie Roy

A sudden snowstorm in the Scottish Highlands strands a newly married couple in a crumbling Victorian mansion known as Ardvreck House, along with a team of paranormal investigators and demolition experts already there, seeking proof that the mansion is haunted before the old pile is reduced to rubble.
Archie Roy, a noted astronomer and physical researcher, brings a sane, scientific approach to the haunted house genre, without losing an ounce of atmosphere or dread. And avoiding the cocksure, self serving/self promoting nonsense that oozes from such 'paranormal investigators' as the Warrens. The suspense steadily mounts without being bogged down by the dry tone scientific writing has been known to be plagued with.

Originally published in 1978 and brought to America for the first time by Valancourt Books (Where do they find these wonderful lost gems?)

A Parliament of Crows by Alan M. Clark

A Parliament of Crows - Alan M. Clark

An engaging work of historical fiction based on the true crimes of the Wardlaw sisters, three women whose survival instincts, honed in the Civil War, proved to be deadly to other family members....including small children. Until the death of a daughter/niece finally brought them to the attention of the law.

Clark brings empathy and a depth to this novel that one rarely finds in true crime accounts, recreating the pivotal moments of these women's lives leading to their downfall.....and offering a look into their minds, the unholy bond that drove them, and displaying the personalities that turned these three sisters into a singular deadly whole...a triad of black widows acting as one.
Finally, he offers a look into the trial that ended their spree, and sent them into a self destructive spiral as stress induced insanity shattered their unholy union.

A brilliant piece of fact based historical fiction. Highly recommended.

A Book of Bones: Charlie Parker # 17 by John Connolly

A Book of Bones: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 17.  From the No. 1 Bestselling Author of THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS - John Connolly

When a body left in a remote Arizona dump to throw off law enforcement is found too soon, Charlie Parker realizes that Pallida Mors is alive......and it's time to put an end to her, her master Quayle and the book known as the Fractured Atlas.

Aided by the FBI, Charlie follows the pair's trail, from Arizona, to the Netherlands and finally London.
But not alone.
Where Charlie goes, a healing Louis follows, seeking his pound of flesh from the deadly duo. And where Louis walks, Angel, staggering under the effects of chemotherapy, is beside him.

While, in England, human sacrifices are being left at pagan sites.....spilling fresh blood and awakening old Quayle seeks the final key to unleash the power of the Fractured Atlas....a power that is already leaving tears in reality, letting creatures of myth and nightmares spawned in the minds of the insane to cross over....leaving more death in their wake.

And others are in the hunt, powerful individuals who want the Atlas at any cost.

The final race has begun.......and in America, two special little girls stand together on opposite sides of the veil between life and death, watching as their father faces a force that must be stopped at any cost.

With this, the 17th installment of the Parker series, Connolly has let loose with a steamroller of a thriller, overflowing with human evil and supernatural forces.....packed with cursed books, amoral evil, and England's rich past of human history and it's connections to the occult.

This one is a monster of a novel, and a must-read addition to one of the must-read series ever written.

This was an eARC from Netgalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books.

Expected publication: October 15th, 2019 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books.

Beyond The Gate (A Kathy Ryan Novel Book 3) by Mary SanGiovanni

Beyond the Gate (A Kathy Ryan Novel Book 3) - Mary SanGiovanni

When the theoretical research group, with a shady reputation opens a dimensional doorway to another world....a world where only plant life thrives, it is a discovery of unlimited potential.
None of it good.
The discovery of a dead city on this silent world ends in tragedy, as the first research team to cross dimensions vanishes....and a scientist connected to the project falls prey to an infestation that haunts the minds of hardened police detectives.
The corporation hires occult investigator Kathy Ryan to spearhead a rescue mission across the barrier....but their true intentions have little to do with rescue. And Kathy finds herself thrust into a world beyond the veil, joined by a team of non-volunteers, to explore a dead city that doesn't lie still. Where a horror older than time waits.
Mary SanGiovanni spins an engaging horror/thriller that weaves the Lovecraftian Mythos into a fresh, new horror mythos that is hers alone.
Highly recommended. I look forward to more in the Kathy Ryan series and from the pen of Mary SanGiovanni.

This was an eARC from Netgalley.

Expected publication: November 26th, 2019 by Lyrical Press

Cricket Hunters by Jeremy Hepler

Cricket Hunters - Jeremy Hepler

Five friends bond into the group they dub 'the Cricket Hunters' under the guidance of Celia and her abuela, a practicing bruja.....weaving a little of that white magic of childhood with the beliefs of their friend and her grandmother, while doing all the things that kids with bikes, woods and soaring imaginations do.

But with the sunshine comes the darkness.....and all magic isn't white. For one of them will disappear and never be seen again.

15 years later, Celia and Parker, one of her fellow hunters, are married. Celia has never let go of her abuela's teachings. But the past isn't finished with her or the Cricket Hunters, because now it's Parker's turn to vanish. And Celia will need the strength of her faith, and the magic of her childhood to find out what happened to her husband, and her long lost friend, because a darkness is gathering around her.

Jeremy Hepler delivers a brilliant coming of age tale, a mystery that runs the gamut from heartbreaking to bone chilling, filled with hope, heart and even horror.

I'll be watching for Jeremy's next books with avid anticipation.

Many thanks to Ken at Silver Shamrock Publishing, and Jeremy for the review e-ARC.

We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk

We Are Monsters - Brian Kirk

Dr. Emil Alpert runs the Sugar Hill mental asylum with compassion and humanity, treating his patients with understanding rather than drugging them into catatonic submission.
However, his protégé, Dr. Alex Drexler views treatment of the mentally ill differently, secretly testing a new experimental drug that he believes can cure schizophrenia. Driven beyond his means and his better judgement, he seeks fame and fortune at any cost.
When the brutal murder of a former patient, seemingly by a member of the hospital staff sets in motion a series of errors that removes Dr. Alpert from his position, Drexler is given his chance to prove his drug testing it on the asylum's newest and most infamous patient.....Crosby Nelson, the 'Apocalypse Killer'.
Allowing his ambitions to override his common sense, Drexler agrees.....and discovers his drug does something he never planned for...
Crosby Nelson's inner demons have broken loose in the halls of Sugar Hill, and no one is safe.

Because the demons that haunt the Apocalypse Killer are many, and they won't be denied.

An interesting novel that balances between a hard look at how society treats the mentally ill and a straight out horror thriller.

I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley and Flame Tree Press in exchange for an honest review.

The Spirit by Thomas Page

The Spirit (Paperbacks from Hell Book 5) - Grady Hendrix, Thomas Nelson Page

For a schizophrenic Native American, it is the spirit guide that will lead him back to the heritage he can no longer remember....a spirit he will kill to protect.

For a wealthy businessman looking for a purpose in life, sole survivor of a chance encounter with this spirit, it is a savage beast that must be destroyed at all costs.

The creature known as Bigfoot.

An engaging, reasonably intelligent novel concerning the legend that basically kept alive supermarket tabloids back in the day and fueled a few horror films.
Page offers an interesting spin on Bigfoot, and the conflicting evidence associated with it, while delivering a solid horror adventure that explores what drives humans to the edge of insanity in search of inner peace.

Things You Need by Kevin Lucia

Things You Need - Kevin Lucia

A traveling salesman who is closer to the end of his road than he realizes finds himself in Clifton Heights, a quiet little town that teeters uneasily between Norman Rockwell quaint....and someplace else. Where shadows whisper and familiar streets lead to places that aren't on any map.

Weary in heart and soul, on the verge of suicide, he's compelled to drive the night streets, seeking something he can't name.
What he finds is Handy's Pawn and Thrift. A cluttered little shop with the sign "We Have Things You Need".

Along with things he didn't want to know.

Kevin Lucia weaves eight tales into the shadowy mosaic of Handy's Pawn and Thrift, a dark night of the soul for a man whose travels have brought him to the end of one line...and the beginning of another in Clifton Heights.

A pure pleasure to read, Lucia's Clifton Heights stories deserve comparison to Charles L. Grant's Oxrun Station tales.

Highly recommended.

Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things and Other Stories - Paul Tremblay

A masterful collection of uniquely told tales of horror, from the weird to experimental pieces that will linger in your mind, and your nightmares long after you close the book.
Tremblay's voice is refreshingly his own, even in tribute stories to Laird Barron (THE BARN IN THE WILD) and the one and only Hellboy (HER RED RIGHT HAND).

A must-have for fans of Tremblay, short stories, and damn fine writing.

Highly recommended.

In The Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland

In The Scrape - Mark Steensland, James R. Newman

Two young brothers formulate a daring plan to escape from the cruel attentions of their abusive father, and find their long lost mother.
The best laid plans of mice and boys...because their father isn't the only threat standing in their way.

A poignant, heartbreaking coming of age novella, IN THE SCRAPE delivers on an emotionally visceral level.....from the power of love, to the chains that abuse forge, to the strength that comes when one pushes the innocent to their limits...and then over those limits.

James Newman and Mark Steensland work together is flawless, their writing styles melding together perfectly, becoming one powerful, compelling voice.
This is a team readers need to keep their eye on.....along with Silver Shamrock Publishing.
Well done.

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing for the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: July 1st, 2019.

Hearthstone Cottage by Frazer Lee

Hearthstone Cottage (Fiction Without Frontiers) - James George Frazer

When four friends take a holiday at a remote Scottish cottage, the accidental death of a stag causes something dark to stir within it's walls.
Something that reaches out from the past, driving one of them to the edges of alcoholism and insanity.
His past sins are the catalyst.....but there are older debts, darker sins waiting in Hearthstone Cottage.....and now, there are choices to be made because what has been wronged must be repaid.

A chilling, atmospheric tale that creeps up on you like fog off a loch.

Highly recommended.

Expected publication: October 10, 2019 by Flame Tree Press

This was an eARC from Netgalley.

The Gemini Experiment by Brian Pinkerton

The Gemini Experiment (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Brian Pinkerton

Terminally ill Tom Nolan is offered a second chance, and so much more, when he is approached by a privately funded company to become the first human to have his mind downloaded into a perfect android replica.
Sworn to secrecy, unable to even tell his family, he agrees.
But when the first test subject, a convicted felon suffering from cancer and with nothing left to lose goes rogue in Tom's replica, escaping to take his place.....and killing anyone who stands in his way.
Now a fugitive, Tom learns that there are others hunting his replica, as Russian agents race to obtain the rogue for their own purposes.......and behind it all, an even darker agenda lurks.

A breakneck science fiction thriller that hits all the marks you'd expect from across the genre, and nails every one.
Pinkerton delivers in spades, with taut writing, a compassionate protagonist, a fiendishly twisting plot, and enough dirty dealing for several novels.

Highly recommended.

This was an eARC from Netgalley and Flame Tree Press.

How It Happened by Michael Koryta

How It Happened - Michael Koryta

'When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'

Sherlock Holmes may have been right.....but what if that which remained was still impossible.....and still the truth?

A confession that leads nowhere:
No bodies.
No evidence.
And a suspect above reproach.

A thought provoking thriller that will keep you guessing as an FBI agent risks his career and his life on the word of a notorious liar based solely on his instincts.

Roosevelt's Beast by Louis Bayard

Roosevelt's Beast - Louis Bayard

A fictionalized retelling of Teddy Roosevelt's ill fated 1914 expedition down Brazil's 'River of Doubt', that finds the former president and his son Kermit kidnapped by an undiscovered Amazonian tribe to help them kill an unknown creature that is suddenly hunting in the jungle......something that kills with a savagery that defies description.

A literary adventure tale set in historical fact that is at turns thrilling, heartbreaking and horrific, transforming Teddy's personal 'River of Darkness' into a powerfully moving piece about family, fortitude, fear and the insanity that lurks where civilization ends.

Bayard captures Teddy's personality and drive with a deft hand, and he allows the facts about the Roosevelt family to give his novel an undercurrent as dark and unforgiving as the fiction.

Currently reading

The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle, Luke Gibbons
Blood Standard by Laird Barron
We Live Inside Your Eyes by Kealan Patrick Burke
Midnight in the Graveyard by Jeremy Hepler, Chad Lutzke, Kenneth W. Cain, Jonathan Janz, Kealan Patrick Burke, John Everson, Elizabeth Massie, William Meikle, Thomas F. Monteleone, Robert R. McCammon

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