All Hope of Becoming Human

All Hope of Becoming Human by Lonnie Busch

Book Reviewed by Rahul Gaur

When Ben Jonson first came up with the saying “Curiosity killed the cat,” he probably didn’t imagine that it would continue to be used to describe humans for a long time. We’ve seen this idea in many movies, books, and this story is no different. But what makes it interesting is how he presents this theme in a captivating way.  Purchase Here.

The opening chapter sets a chilling tone as Officer Reggie’s peaceful surroundings clash with the horrifying reality he uncovers. The vivid descriptions and palpable tension create a sense of unease that permeates the entire story. I must say that the opening chapter serves as a fantastic hook for the reader, just like an exciting thriller movie.

As the plot progresses, we are introduced to a diverse cast of characters, each with their motivations and struggles. From Professor Braden’s archaeological expedition to Karen and Lizzy’s fight for survival, the chapters seamlessly intertwine, propelling the narrative forward while leaving breadcrumbs of intrigue along the way. The characters are well-developed. I felt like I got to know them and understand their motivations. The characters’ individual experiences, struggles, and encounters with the extraordinary events happening around them add depth and complexity to the narrative. Each character brings their perspectives, motivations, and reactions, shaping the overall dynamics of the story.

One thing that deserves attention is the pacing of the story. In some places, it felt like the story was moving too quickly, and I didn’t have enough time to get to know the characters or understand what was happening. Some part of the story felt like it was dragging on, and I was eager to get to the next part. However, the plot effectively grabs hold of the reader, generating a sense of intrigue and leaving them excited to uncover the unfolding narrative.

The author skillfully blends elements of horror, suspense, and the supernatural, crafting a gripping tale that defies traditional genre boundaries. The characters and their world are in a state of constant dissonance, which mirrors the unease that permeates the story. It is a testament to the author’s storytelling prowess that even in the most dreamlike moments, a sense of realism summons the reader into the story.

This story stands out by compelling readers to contemplate the duality of humanity and the decisions we make when confronted with extraordinary situations. Given that people continue to live as they do now, the events depicted in this book may come true one day. Some may call my perspective pessimistic, but I see pervasive chaos all around, which makes me wonder when we will develop the ability to coexist harmoniously with nature. What price must we pay to rediscover our humanity? Is there any hope for our collective return to a more humane state, or have we lost that opportunity entirely? The answer lies in the latter portion of the idiom, “but satisfaction brought it back.”

View the Trailer for All Hope of Becoming Human

All Hope of Becoming Human_26 second trailer from Lonnie Busch on Vimeo.

Cutthroat Express

Cutthroat Express by Bryan Cassiday

Book Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson

In Cutthroat Express, Bryan Cassiday takes his zombie epic to the next level. In the aftermath of President Cole going completely off the rails and nuking himself, Chad Halverson and the other survivors at the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center are left facing nuclear fallout in addition to the continued threat of the zombie hordes.  Purchase Here.

With the arrival of a stranger promising the existence of a cure, the new president enlists Halverson and a rag-tag group, including four hardened criminals, to go out into the zombie-infested nuclear wasteland and bring back the cure. With threats to Halverson and his team coming from every direction, Cassiday once again aims to show that the most difficult obstacle for society to overcome is most often humanity itself.

With the odds stacked against them, mistrust between the convicts and the rest of the team frequently poses a far greater risk to their survival than any external threat. From start to finish Cutthroat Express is filled with tension. After everything that has happened, it is no surprise that all the characters appear to be at the breaking point. As the challenges faced by Halverson and his team continue to mount, it becomes more and more difficult to believe they will be able to accomplish their seemingly impossible task.

In Cutthroat Express, the characters are constantly jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. As the dangers grow, betrayals begin to mount, and the tension continues to build. Cassiday does a great job of keeping the reader on edge. The harsh and biting dialogue, combined with the constant assault from the undead and dead alike, works to keep the reader from getting too comfortable in this cruel world.

Cutthroat Express keeps the audience engaged. With every new twist and turn it becomes harder and harder to put the book down. This action-packed narrative is a quick read that will keep you turning the pages. Every chapter leaves you curious about the next. Cassiday’s zombie apocalypse series continues to hit the mark in the latest installment. By the end of the novel, you will be eager to discover what comes next for Chad Halverson in this world of the damned.

The Nosferatu Conspiracy

The Nosferatu Conspiracy: Book 2 The Sommelier by Brian James Gage

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

The Sommelier is the second book in The Nosferatu Conspiracy series by Brian James Gage. A synopsis of the first book, The Sleepwalker, provides an excellent framework for readers in this riveting, chilling, and hair-raising tale that is both unsettling and addictive. Purchase Here.

German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, the ruler of the Prussian Empire, is working toward world domination and searching for the bottle of Vlad Dracula’s blood so that he and his mistress can achieve immortality and conceive a superior and untouchable child personified by evil. Augusta, Wilhelm’s wife, has stooped to devious measures in the hopes of stopping the mistress from becoming her successor.

Creatures with supernatural abilities and powers also want to obtain the bottle of blood along with an enchanted sword for their own nefarious reasons. The warlock in possession of the items is on a quest to find and protect Prince Felix Yusupov. Felix and his best friend, Rurik Kozlov, have left Saint Petersburg, Russia, for Bucharest, Romania, to settle a score and keep loathsome individuals, vile creatures, and demonic entities from succeeding in their gruesome activities. They are armed with the necessary equipment and supplies to help protect themselves from physical attacks caused by supernatural means. In their travels, challenges greet them at every step along the way, with their lives constantly in jeopardy. They run across allies who possess magical abilities, which are utilized in facing off against bloodthirsty beings with grotesque appearances and sadistic intentions.

Gage has penned a gut-wrenching thriller packed with heart-pounding twists and non-stop action. It is split into three parts, each with thematically relevant titles that superbly tie the story together. Chapter headings include the date and time relevant to when events take place. Some headings also include excerpts about covert activities involving the top echelon of the Kingdom of Prussia, a clipping about unlawful acts covered in a once publicized Berlin newspaper, and a German fairy tale centered around a witch in the story. The author has created a diverse cast of characters who possess a unique variety of personality traits, special powers, and unforgettable physical characteristics. The depiction of brutal acts of violence and spine-tingling fight sequences fits in well with the characters involved in situations that could have a favorable or unfavorable outcome.

The Sommelier includes vampires, warlocks, witches, werewolves, undead humans, swords imbued with mysterious powers, magical incantations, strong family and friendship bonds, treachery, clandestine meetings, horrifying battles, kidnappings, dark secrets, telepathy, and torture. The story is jam-packed with tension, suspense, and epic twists and turns that keep readers engaged in anticipation of what will happen next.

Gage has written a thriller that will keep readers thoroughly engrossed and give them goosebumps. The English translation is provided for foreign words and phrases. Scattering of profanity throughout the book is used judiciously and suits the characters. At the end of the story, Gage includes a brief overview of what will transpire in The Last Seraph, the conclusion to a blood-curdling series that is not to be missed.

Teaser for The Nosferatu Conspiracy: Book Two, The Sommelier

3 minute featurette for The Nosferatu Conspiracy: Book Two, The Sommelier


Horde (Zombie Apocalypse: The Chad : Halverson Book 6) by Bryan Cassidy

Book Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson

Horde is clearly a product of the times. It’s a zombie apocalypse book written with a heavy influence from the COVID-19 pandemic. With people worried about things like face masks, quarantining, and social distancing, the zombie apocalypse sounds like an event with which we are all too familiar. Purchase Here.

Bryan Cassiday takes on the oft overplayed zombie apocalypse novel. However, he mixes in current events to give the zombie tale a unique twist. He combines everything that this last year brought us. Most of the novel takes place in an encampment in Arizona, where mistrust runs high. The camp is filled with confusion regarding the nature of the plague. There is much debate on whether the zombie plague can be transmitted through spores released through the breath of zombies and if there are symptomless human carriers of the disease.

Horde does not limit its scope of yearly commentary to pandemic-related affairs, however. There is also a president who seems to be losing his grip on reality as he declares himself president for life and begins to nuke cities across the United States in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Not to mention, an attempted overthrow of the government by a group of armed vigilantes.

The anger and confusion of people trapped in what feels like a neverending nightmare is very relatable for modern-day readers. Chaos rules in the world created by Cassiday. He shines light upon all of the senseless arguments and endless fighting that occurs in our world with nobody willing to really listen to the point of view of anyone else who disagrees with them. The protagonist, Box, is more confused than anyone. He is taken into the camp after being found out in the desert. He has no memory of who he is or how he got there and is completely shocked to learn of a zombie plague.

The characters in Horde are typically representative of various outspoken groups and portrayed with much exaggeration. While on the surface, it is a zombie apocalypse story, the threat posed by humanity is far more in the forefront than the danger of the plague. The zombies mostly serve as background for a tale about how bad things can get between people when our everyday lives get turned upside down. It serves as a mirror to show us how easily we can all become lost amid the difficulties of the world we live in today.

Who's There

Who’s There? A Collection of Stories by Dimos Rio

Book Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Offering horror fans, a literate concoction of brief yet creatively posed stories woven with a supernatural bent throughout, Who’s There? by author Dimas Rio does well to stimulate the imagination with his collection of Asian culture-centric, eclectic shorts each sure to pique the interest as well as tingle the spine. Purchase Here.

Firstly, Author Dimas beguiles the reader with solid storytelling with the title story, Who’s There? which is also my personal favorite. This well-honed tale brings the reader along on a creepy journey through the guilt-ridden conscience of an alcoholic, drug-addicted and particularly egocentric man whose dark psyche leads him into the cold wet embrace of his fiancé.

Continuing the chills is story 2, titled At Dusk within which a high school magazine reporter embarks on an assignment to interview a celebrity mystery writer who shares the ultimate ghost story to his captive, and earnest yet unsuspecting audience of one.
Next, story 3 The Wandering entangles with horror as a forgotten lover comes from the grave to visit bringing retribution in red.
Then story 4 The Voice Canal, touches the heart as the border between reality and the supernatural become blurred when love keeps the lines of communication open briefly between a deceased father and his bereaved son.

And last but not least, story 5 The Forest Protector, has an abused mother and son leave behind an unhappy and brutal past with the mother casting her eyes toward an uncertain future, but with a renewed perspective concerning the nature of humanity and her duty as a protective mother.

Altogether, Who’s There brings a satisfyingly dark, terrifying and even melancholic read that will keep the hackles up. An interesting addition to some stories is the inclusion of intriguingly creepy poetic verses that do well to add fuel to the already articulately coherent horror shorts. A literate roving into Asian based horror, the five included stories within this compilation wields not only effectively chilling tales, featuring elements of the Indonesian supernatural culture that shines with author Dimas’ adept ability at storytelling wrought with scene defining details, well-plotted twists and turns in the story which keeps the reader fascinated throughout the reading. Also further enhancing the read is the perspective of terror stemming from another culture, offering a unique take on fear-inducing scenarios which overall did well to make the read especially engaging.

Ultimately, what grabs the attention within Who’s There is the increasingly creepy build-up of tension and terror throughout each story within the whole book, and if you enjoy settling in for a titillating collection of satisfying scary shorts then surely this book should be next on your “want to read” list.



The Nosferatu Conspiracy:  The Sleepwalker

The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sleepwalker by Brian James Gage

Book Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sleepwalker is the first book in a new series that takes place in both Romania and Saint Petersburg, Russia. Brian James Gage has written a gripping, edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller with his own interpretation of Russian history involving Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin and the Russian Imperial Romanov family during the reign of Tsar Nicholas Aleksandrovich Romanov II. Rasputin, a powerful and deceptive vampire with extraordinary, otherworldly abilities, has orchestrated an elaborate scheme that will enable vampires to rule the world and use the human population as a food source. Members of the Romanov family are crucial to the success of Rasputin’s game plan. Vampire hunters with special weapons are trying to thwart Rasputin’s efforts in his promise of victory for bloodsucking evil beings to triumph over humankind. The hunters face a time-constraint for trying to put a stop to this calamitous undertaking. Who will be the victor? Will humans serve as vampires’ food supply or will humans destroy any chance of vampires running rampant?   Purchase Here.

This nail-biting and electrifying story is split into three parts, each with thematically relevant titles that wonderfully tie the storyline together. Chapter headings include the date and time, which are important to the story in the countdown to either the successful or unsuccessful implementation of Rasputin’s goal. Some headings also include quotes from a vampire bible written by “Vlad Draculea”, diary excerpts from a Romanov family member, and newspaper clippings. It is easy to keep straight the myriad of individually distinctive characters in the story, and all of the minor characters are important in supporting the development of the plot. The transitions between past and present events are handled seamlessly. Descriptive writing by Gage’s use of vivid details, figurative language, and sensory information draws readers into this fascinating rendition of events surrounding Rasputin and the ending days of the Romanov Dynasty.

The Sleepwalker incorporates historical figures, religious officials, seers, malevolent entities, underground sects, political revolution, familial love, friendship, odious conflicts, treachery, secret plots, and gory/graphic violence. It is full of nonstop tension with unpredictable twists and turns that explodes into a spine-tingling climax. Gage does a thorough job of explaining Romanian folklore about vampire-like creatures, which is extremely helpful for anyone unfamiliar with these mythological beings and their powers. The English translation is provided for the words and phrases that are written in an appropriate foreign language for the story. The Sleepwalker forms an auspicious beginning for a new series. At the end of the book, Gage includes a brief overview of what will transpire in The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sommelier, which is the second installment in the series.