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When I discovered the books of John Saul in the late nineties, he quickly became my go-to for damned good horror. I devoured Suffer the Children, The Unloved, and Second Child in succession, and after a short break, went back for more. Currently, I’ve read nineteen of John Saul’s novels, and the latest, Hellfire, is right up there on my list of favorites.

In true John Saul fashion, Hellfire centers on a young protagonist, Beth, who wants more than anything to fit in. Hellfire is complete with a broken family, a spoiled, malevolent stepsister, Tracy, and the twisted, psychotic matriarch, Abigail, who just can’t seem to keep her nose where it belongs. When Beth’s mother, Carolyn, marries the rich Philip Sturgess, Carolyn and Beth move to Hilltop, the Sturgess home.

Beth isn’t happy at Hilltop, and finds herself fascinated with the old shoe mill on the property, which caught fire and has been shut down for many decades. Strange things happen in the mill – including the deaths of two boys under the same eerie circumstances several decades apart – but when Beth believes she’s made contact with the spirit of a young girl who died there a century earlier, things go from bad to disastrous.

One of my favorite things about John Saul’s books is that you never know how they’re going to end. Sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes the baddies conquer all. Hellfire is an example of Saul’s mastery of the surprise ending, and I’d recommend this book to horror-lovers of every stripe.

After many, many years, John Saul remains one of my favorite horror authors and if you haven’t checked him out, I urge you to do so. If you want a better feel for what he does, check out our interview with him at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! where we talked to him about horror, writing, and his long prolific career. He was as charming, fun, and fascinating as I could have ever hoped he’d be, and it was an honor to spend time with him. To listen to his show, click here.

 

 

March’s newsletter will include an excerpt from our upcoming novel, DARLING GIRLS – exclusive to subscribers. Click here to join: http://tinyurl.com/zscnyy8

Darling Girls (final)

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“Bestselling author Mr. Cross writes with fervour, and he leaves no stones unturned in the novel which was one of the best reads of the month. In an unparalleled ease of diction and flow of words, this story is both long enough to encompass the gritting tale and worthy of our time for a beautiful tinge of satisfaction of the reader’s appetite at the end.
Extremely graphic and palatable to the imagination nerves, the story stretches out with an angel saving a girl and losing his memories at the end. As the story progresses, we can only admire the inclusive approach Cross has with every character, squeezing out the essence out of every single being. The storyline is as magnetic as the mild mannered and powerful Alejandro. The darker portions of the story were a treat to read as it elevated the overall thrill of the read. The eternal scuffle betwesn the good and the evil is a significant influence in the novel, and Cross has done a fantastic job in describing the poison of corruption that has been brought to engulf the city. The quest and the secrets are dealt professionally in a suave fashion, keeping us almost at the edge of our seat as we are lost in an adventure.
The devil is one hell of a person, and the pun is intended. Making deals and corrupting people be a pleasurable job, and he does it in style. The scenes at Club Mephistopheles are wonderfully dealt with, and the balance(the pun) is perfect. Together, it is a big picture of certain light and obscurity exhibited to perfection with words and ambrosia of imagination.
Recommended to everyone who finds that Angel-Devil stories are either theological or boring. You are about to experience a jolt.”
– Review by Reshov
The Angel Alejandro is available now.
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Posted: March 21, 2017 in books
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Darling Girls (final)

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5Nights

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“First things first: this is not my normal read (meaning generally I stir clear of paranormal/supernatural books), however I found the premise intriguing and decided to give it a go. Another thing that needs to be mentioned: this is a very graphic book in regards to violence and sexual depravity, not for the faint of heart.

Madison is an independent woman, whose life has already had its fill of ups and downs. But when her roof is leaking, and she decides to fix it, she gets the biggest down of them all…she falls off and dies…but she doesn’t, she’s saved by a mysterious man, who has no memory of who he is.
A church with a tragic history, a mysterious man willing to buy it, a small town is turned upside down.

There are so many things happening in this book (and that can get a bit confusing at times). The author switches POV quite often, but I didn’t find it difficult to follow as it was well done. However, it did get a little difficult to keep track of all the characters and the things happening to them. Nevertheless, this was such a fascinating and intricate tale into the deepest, darkest corners of the human mind and what the influence of pure evil can have on a person and a community.

It’s a long book, so settle in for the ride and enjoy!”

4.5 Stars
By M.A. Stanley on March 15, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

The Angel Alejandro is available at: http://tinyurl.com/h4jrqlt 

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A few months ago, we had librarian (and top Goodreads reviewer) Karen Brissette on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! It turned out to be a great show for many reasons, but I was most intrigued and impressed by the “Readers Advisory” aspect of Karen’s job. For those like me who’d never heard of such a thing, “Readers Advisory,” is a service that helps readers find new books based on their personalities, tastes, and previous reading experiences. Karen is, in short, a professional book suggester … which I think is awesome. Who knew there was such a thing?

Anyway, during the show, I asked her to work her magic on me and tell me what authors were out there just waiting to dazzle my reading sensibilities. She asked me some questions about my literary preferences – which books and authors I like, which ones I don’t and why – and after some thought, she said, “Nick Cutter.”

I’d never heard of Nick Cutter and, eager to see how accurate her assessment was, I hurried out to get THE TROOP, a novel she thought I’d particularly enjoy.

And boy, was she right.

It’s taken me a while to finish due to other obligations, but I knew as soon as I started it, this was my kind of book. I read the last page tonight and am pleased to announce that my initial impression upheld. I dare say it’s one of the best I’ve read – ever. Think Lord of the Flies meets 1980s Stephen King meets anything by Richard Laymon. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

But wait. There’s more …

Naturally, when I find an author I love, I want to meet him or her, and thanks to the radio show, I get to do that. So … later this month, Nick Cutter will be our guest on Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, and I can’t wait to meet him! I’ll post the details as soon as I have them. You’ll definitely want to tune in.

Finally, to the horror lovers – check out this book. It’s grisly, visceral, and beautifully, cruelly, true to life. If you like it dark, appalling, and terrifying, you’ll dig it, I promise.