The Lord of Darkness

horror-palace-book-review-the-lord-of-darknessThe Lord of Darkness,” written by Lex Sinclair, is an eerie horror novel based ironically on the story of a young and successful writer’s struggles and how they turned his world upside down.  The story is unique and follows a different plot pattern to that of most horror novels, making the read interesting and highly unpredictable.   Sinclair’s writing style is extremely detailed; there are intricate descriptions included for every scene and each fine detail within the scene imaginable which adds excellent imagery to the book.

“The Lord of Darkness” is based on the life of a full-time fiction writer named James Baldwin.  Highly regarded for his renowned horror books, Baldwin sets out to write his next masterpiece.  However, he struggles from writer’s block.  A non-human character known as the Lord of Darkness arrives at his door, claiming he has a solution for writer’s block but stating that he cannot provide it to James without a lifelong commitment to his terms and conditions.  Hesitant and unsure of what he is signing up for, the author accepts.  James is then sucked into a vortex where he witnesses a famous author’s murder and the Lord of Darkness’ pact with said author to protect his ideas until he finds a worthy writer to see them through into books.  Changed forever, James’ life as a writer will never be the same and he becomes a mortal creative expression for the Lord of Darkness, even using his name as a pseudonym.

Throughout the novel, the actual horror content is subtly dispersed throughout the plot to make for a story that actually follows an interesting flow.  Unlike many horror books, this one is not jammed packed with terrifying or gruesome content, making for a pleasant and unanticipated turn of events whenever scary or violent parts of the story do unfold.  Also, the ideas within the book are interesting in that storyline feels unique and creative, lacking similarity to typical horror books which tend to have many commonalities.  One of Sinclair’s real strengths in writing this novel was that he developed an unexpected and special story that is almost like a mystery style fiction book with a slight horror genre twist.

Lastly, Sinclair writes with an extremely detailed approach, describing everything from settings to sounds and the fine details of characters’ faces.  This imagery provides added depth to the story because it allows the reader to really visualize what they are reading, giving strong support to the book’s ideas.  However, the author tends to write lengthy sentences which can result in awkward grammatical structure and diminish the impact of his words.  Also, while extremely minor, there were a few small typos as well as comma splices dispersed throughout the book.  However, if these small flaws can be overlooked, Sinclair’s writing style was very effective in bringing the story that he created to life for readers.

Overall, I would recommend this book for readers who are looking to dabble into the horror genre as opposed to readers who are diehard fans of traditional or more extreme horror books.  “The Lord of Darkness,” written by Lex Sinclair, is a well-constructed story unlike typical horror novels that is based on the life of a talented author and how his world is turned upside down when he makes an irrevocable promise to a total stranger.  The plotline is special and unique, resembling that of a different genre such as mystery, yet elements of fear and terror are present throughout the book.  Sinclair does an effective job of bringing the story to life through exquisite descriptions, however there were some small issues with typos.  “The Lord of Darkness” provides an interesting and refreshing spin on the horror genre and is an adventure to read.

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Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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Slow Burn – Zero Day

horror-palace-book-review-slow-burn-zero-dayZed Zane isn’t looking forward to asking his mom and stepfather for yet another loan to cover his rent, which will be followed by an inevitable lecture about work ethic—but that particular dread is nothing compared with what he’ll face in the coming days. When he arrives at their house to meet them for lunch, he finds his stepfather having a zombie feast—in his mom’s corpse. Horrified and confused, Zed stabs his stepfather to death, but not before being bitten himself. He wakes up two days later to find his world–and eventually the world at large–in turmoil. After a brief stint in prison and then a quarantine ward, he sees the world go mad–a virus from Africa is spreading across Austin, turning its citizens in flesh-crazed monsters.

It turns out that Zed is a “slow burn”–someone who can be infected but may or may not turn. That adds a certain level of suspense to the story—will the character you come to know and root for become a mindless monster?—though most of what keeps the pages turning is the almost non-stop action, as Zed and a small band of others who aren’t infected try to get to safety and figure out how to survive in a world they could never have imagined.

While there’s been a resurgence in zombie novels lately, “Slow Burn: Zero Day, Book 1″ stands out because it’s not just a tale of a survivor–it adds those who are immune to the mix, and the author has a great way with sensory detail that makes the novel come alive. There’s the grisly gore for those who like that in their horror novels, but there’s also excellent characterization (Jerome stands out as a surprising character) and a definite realism to the “flu” and how it affects society. Recommended for those who enjoy the zombie sub-genre, and for those who are looking for an exciting, action-filled read.

Jezelle-McLeod-Horror-Palace-reviewReviewed by Jezelle McLeod
Jezelle is a staff writer and horror book critic.
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The Beach House

horror-palace-book-review-beach-houseSibling rivalry leads to murder and a lifetime of evil in “The Beach House.” At the novel’s beginning, Damon and his younger brother Jonathan are spending time with their parents at family beach house, and Damon is sick of how his parents favor Jonathan, the “genius” and perfect younger brother. With no emotion except elation and glee, he lures Jonathan to his drowning death in the ocean.

Flash forward a decade or so, and Damon is a young man who feels no more remorse over that first murder than he did at the time. He and his beautiful girlfriend are double-dating with another couple to the beach house, which will again bring out Damon’s dark and twisted nature.

“The Beach House” is a horror novel without any supernatural element to it, which made me a little less excited while I was reading it—I generally do prefer my horror novels to have at least a touch of something beyond the ordinary. I also wished the author had addressed Damon’s childhood more—there are hints that he worries his parents with his lack of grief, but it’s not explored and it seems Damon’s evil nature lies dormant until he’s near the beach house. However, it is still an exciting and page-turning read, especially since you as the reader know Damon has potential for murder and could lose it at any moment—but the other characters have no idea and are not nearly as cautious around him as they should be. I also liked that the novel kept a low-level of gore while keeping tension high. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy thrillers as well as horror books.

The Beach House The Beach House
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Jezelle-McLeod-Horror-Palace-reviewReviewed by Jezelle McLeod
Jezelle is a staff writer and horror book critic.
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The Hand That Feeds

horror-palace-book-review-the-hand-that-feeds“The Hand That Feeds,” written by Michael W. Garza is an eerie book that plays with readers’ imaginations by developing a story about a regular family and twisting it to become something terrifying.  It is a scary story that has haunting ties to real life experiences, making it often feel believable.  Garza’s writing style is extremely descriptive, making it easy for readers to imagine each scene and what it would be like to be physically present in the world of the novel.  “The Hand That Feeds” is an incredible story that focuses on true everyday family dynamics and how one treacherous turn can change a loving household forever.

The book opens with a horrendously heart-wrenching image of a little boy on the ground alone, quite potentially dying or in serious trouble.  Then, the book shoots quickly over to the point of view of his anxious and terrified parents.  The small boy, Alex, is found by his mother in serious condition with black goo seeping from his body.  In absolute panic, she does anything in her capacity to try and save her young child and is ultimately unsuccessful.  After a visit with their doctor, the two loving parents find out their child is dead.  Or is he?  Shortly thereafter, he seems to come back to life.  However, something has changed and he poses a threat to his family’s life.  The plotline is intense throughout the book and every page is filled with engaging text.

One thing that makes this book a pleasure to read is that the characters and their experiences feel normal.  While both horrifying and less realistic things happen throughout the novel, the foundation of the book which is made up of the characters, their family dynamics and their emotions feels true and relatable.  Rather than being solely a horror novel that turns in to an expected zombie apocalypse type of story, there is a real life element in the family that makes part of the story seem far less fictional.  This is a unique element of this story that makes the read even more enjoyable and nerve-wracking because as a reader lost in the book, it is harder to separate what your mind deems as fiction and reality.

Also, Garza’s writing style is perfect for horror novels; he writes with depth, detail and impeccable flow.  While there were a few extremely minor typos within the novel, the book was written with meticulous attention to detail.  Each chapter and piece of the story connects perfectly not only to those which directly precede and follow it, but to the entire plot as a whole.  He also describes scenes with significant detail, making sure to always include something to engage all of the reader’s senses.  Garza remembers to explain how things smell, look, taste, sound and feel to the touch, making it easy for the reader to imagine themselves experiencing what the characters are going through in the book.

In summary, I definitely recommend the book “The Hand That Feeds,” by Michael W. Garza, for all horror genre readers who enjoy a story with a realistic twist.  As opposed to feeling like a fantasy novel, this is a plotline which at times consists of real life experiences and emotions that happen to everyday people.  The story is intense, descriptive and realistic, focusing in on a family’s grief in losing their son even though he remains physically present.  Garza does an excellent job of bringing readers along for the ride throughout the story, providing incredible descriptions that truly bring each piece of the book to life.  Overall, “The Hand That Feeds” is a well-written and powerful horror novel that has unnerving ties to real everyday life.

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Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
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Season of The Dead

horror-palace-book-review-season-of-the-dead“Season of the Dead,” written in collaboration by Lucia Adams, Paul Freeman, Gerald Johnston and Sharon Van Orman is a moving book about an infection that is spreading all over the world through zombie bites.  Taking place in various cities and countries, the book recounts the progression of the infection, how citizens attempt to protect themselves from being affected or live through the zombie apocalypse and how they try to stop the furthering of the illness.  It is a high energy book that is filled with suspense, gore and action.  Also, the authors’ writing styles align beautifully to come together as one cohesive feeling story.  “Season of the Dead” is a must read book for those who enjoy zombie stories and action or thriller novels.

The book is based on an infection that is plaguing the world and wiping out populations.  With a crescent shaped bite from a zombie, a person can be infected and there is no going back.  Deaths are eminent, zombies are taking over and brutally killing people and populations are either seeing their demise or spending their days hiding in the safe quarters of locked up buildings.  The world is a scary place and no one can understand how this infection came about or how to fix the problem.  Friends, neighbours, and family are dying from brutal zombie attacks or turning to the dark side and it seems that there is no way to escape.

First, this book is very well written in that it is descriptive and the tone evokes strong emotions in its readers.  Every single scene in the novel is accompanied by a solid description that allows readers to picture in their mind how what is taking place looks.  Furthermore, the tone is always suited to the events in the novel and it successfully causes the reader to personally feel and connect to the plot.  For example, hearing detailed descriptions of the attacks on victims and the sorrow that the living characters feel really does bring out emotions of compassion and sadness in the reader.  In contrast, when zombie chases happen or the characters are discussing constant feelings of fear and confusion, this brings about suspense and excitement for the reader.  The descriptive nature of the authors’ writing styles and the well suited tone throughout the book makes for an excellent reading experience.

Also, the actual idea behind the plot is fascinating.  The ideas are well developed and the book continues to revisit situations in four cities in particular around world.  In those locations, we learn more and more about what is going on and begin to see a fuller picture in terms of the scale of the infection.  As people, the notion that something like a zombie apocalypse or any Armageddon-like situation could ever occur seems nearly impossible.  This book does an incredible job of bringing to life an event that seems far from believable and making it feel realistic.  After reading this book, I am a new fan of zombie stories.

In summary, I would definitely recommend the book “Season of the Dead,” written by Lucia Adams, Paul Freeman, Gerald Johnston and Sharon Van Orman.  It is an excellent story about an infection that is spreading across the globe after being brought on by zombies.  The authors do an excellent job of working together to write a cohesive story that captures the emotions and attention of readers.  Also, the plot is interesting from beginning to end, bringing its readers into an imaginative and unthinkable world where zombies are real and the world is in turmoil.  This was a fantastic read and is a great book for any readers who enjoy zombie stories, action or thriller type novels.

Season of the Dead Season of the Dead
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Damnetha-Jules-Horror-Palace-Review

Reviewed by Damnetha Jules
Damnetha  is a staff writer, horror book and movie critic.
More Horror Book Reviews