by Warren Wagner
Published by Ghoulish Books on August 29, 2023
Adult, gay, intense, zombie apocalypse, gore, 5/5.
A fairly short, emotional rollercoaster. The story at novella-length made me crave longer exploration of the content, but it is a solid and complete read that doesn’t leave you hanging, though it might leave you in shreds. It tears the protagonist down, frustratingly so considering the journey they just went through, but in the end there's a solid push at hope that worked to bring the story full circle. Another glimmer somewhere in the middle when lovers get together was especially touching, too, and a necessary breather between wading neck-deep through death. Plays on the zombie trope with zombies that are more vocal about wanting to die, and an interesting mirror to the protagonist longing for what he lost and his inability to really engage with life as is beyond mere survival and hiding, not thriving.
Bloody and grotesque, heart-wrenching and hard, this is a must-read novella I highly recommend.
I thank the author, publisher, and BookSirens for the advance review copy I received for free, and I am voluntarily providing this review.
Octavia Cade's website: https://linktr.ee/warrenwagner
Purchase at the Ghoulish website: https://ghoulish.rip/product/the-only-safe-place-left-is-the-dark/
My review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5876615840
by Angela Sylvaine
Published by Dark Matter INK on October 10, 2023
Cover Art by Eric Hibbeler
Comic b-grade horror, gore, prairie dogs, fast fun read, 3/5.
Fast-paced comedy horror chock-full of references to 80s-90s movies, music and culture. The nostalgia lover in me was fully appeased. This even had a solid freaking radio playlist at the end: We're All Gonna Die HOT-25.
I did love the friendship of the main characters, as well as the quick flow of the story. Easy popcorn read. Highly recommend it for that.
On the other hand, while the pace is great, this is really straightforward prose, which I personally found wanting. I am generally a lover of prose that goes deeper, so this sometimes felt too generic for me overall. Many readers will likely love it though, and certainly serves the forward momentum.
And for one more bit of criticism, I will say that sometimes the humor fell flat for me, and I went c'mon, really, ugh… but then, I mean that was part of the B-movie cheese that this glorifies so you kind of have to just roll with that.
Still, a good deal of the over-the top horror and silliness did grab me and kept me loving the ride, so I am totally on board for the next installment.
Oh, and isn't that cover art just awesome!
My thanks to the author, publisher, and Book Sirens, for the advance review copy I received for free, and I am voluntarily providing this review.
Angela Sylvaine's website: https://angelasylvaine.com/
Purchase at the Dark Matter INK website: https://darkmattermagazine.shop/products/frost-bite
My review on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5876615403
Eric Hibbeler's website: https://erichibbeler.com/