Book of Night by Holly Black and Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado #bookreview #horror #fantasy #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies in the vein of Ninth House and The Night Circus.

In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.

Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

With sharp angles and prose, and a sinister bent, Holly Black is a master of shadow and story stitching. Remember while you read, light isn’t playing tricks in Book of Night, the people are.

This was one of my most anticipated reads this year, so receiving an ARC felt like winning the lottery.

Morally gray characters are among my favorites, and there’s certainly no shortage of them here. Lucipurr the cat (adore the name) may be the only innocent. Charlie’s life hasn’t been an easy one, but a good portion of it can be blamed on her bad choices. She starts out with good intentions, but usually gets sidetracked along the way. To her credit, she owns those decisions and stands by them. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her at first. Some of her actions are maddening, but she’s also clever, street smart, loyal to her sister, and I soon found myself rooting for her. At her core she has a good heart.

This is a dark, gritty world filled with murder, magic, and bloody battles for power. I struggled at times to understand all the rules, but they became clearer along the way. I predicted a couple of the twists, but was surprised over others. Some reviewers have mentioned the slow pace at the beginning, and I agree it took a few chapters for the story to find its stride, but before long it was unputdownable. I’m not sure if this is a planned series, but the ending leaves an opening.

I’d recommend this book to fantasy and horror fans looking for a gratifying blend of the genres. You’ll never look at your shadow – or those of others – in the same way again.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Mysterious disappearances.
An urban legend rumored to be responsible.
And one group of teens determined to save their city at any cost.

For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention—especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.

Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. And if the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart—or die trying.

Comp titles of Stranger Things and Get Out immediately piqued my interest, and that fierce cover sealed the deal.

Several teens have gone missing over the past several months, and the disappearances seem to be tied to the Echo Game. It comes with an odd set of rules (flipping a coin to decide which direction to go, never turn back, start in the wee hours of the morning), and upon entering the game, players are transported to a traumatic event that occured in their area. For these characters it was during the 70s when the Bronx was burning and over 80% of housing was lost to fires, much of it caused by slumlords who wanted to collect insurance money.

You’d be crazy to want to play, right? But what if entering the game might be the only way to save your family and friends? For Raquel and Charlize, there’s no choice – they have to play. The actions starts immediately, and the first pages pulled me right into the story. I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening, but there’s no way you could have pried the Kindle from my hands. Pride in their community and friendships between the characters are strong points – especially between Raquel and Aaron. Even when the odds weren’t in their favor, they had each other’s backs. But with so much depending on them, the characters surprised me a few times with their careless choices, and intense, dangerous moments are interrupted with sudden relationship talk that I felt interrupted the flow of the story.

Expect vivid imagery inside the game. Some of the gory descriptions might not be for everyone, but I thought they added to the horror of what the characters experience and the obstacles they face to survive.

With heart-stopping scenes (I gasped out loud a couple times!), an alluring, dangerous concept, plenty of life-threatening situations, and relatable characters, horror/thriller fans will want to add this to their TBRs. I’m excited to see what this author does next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Ravenous Dead (Gravekeeper #2) by Darcy Coates #bookreview #horror #paranormal

He’ll never let go…

Keira, hired as Blighty Graveyard’s new groundskeeper, lives surrounded by the dead. They watch her through the fog. They wordlessly cry out. They’ve been desperately waiting for help moving on—and only Keira can hear them. But not every restless spirit wants to be saved.

Sometimes the dead hate the living too much to find peace.

As Keira struggles to uncover the tangled histories of some of the graveyard’s oldest denizens, danger seeps from the darkest edges of the forest. A vicious serial killer was interred among the trees decades before, his spirit twisted by his violent nature. He’s furious. Ravenous. And when Keira unwittingly answers his call, she may just seal her fate as his final intended victim.

I’ve read several Darcy Coates novels and always feel a thrill of excitement when I see one come up for review on NetGalley. Of course I snagged this one – what a cover!

As with all Coates books I’ve read, an eerie atmosphere cloaks the story, along with some goosebump-worthy moments that may make you leery of graveyards at night. Keira has the power to see and speak to ghosts. While trying to figure out who she is (because of amnesia), she takes a job as a groundskeeper at a cemetery. Part of her job description includes helping the lingering spirits to move on. Some of the ghosts she encounters are amusing (one man insists on being proudly naked), others are confused about what happened to them, and some have unfinished business. But one is extremely violent and a danger not only to Keira, but also to the spirits she’s trying to help. He was a serial killer when alive and isn’t finished claiming victims.

Along with new friends Mason and Zoe, the three of them set out to learn about the killer’s past so Keira can send him away from this plane for good. They’re assisted by someone smarter than the three of them put together – Daisy the cat (don’t all cats assume they’re smarter than humans?). She seems to understand what’s going on around her and helps Keira out of sticky situations more than once. She also knows ways to get in and out of the house without being seen. Made me wonder if she had some kind of supernatural power herself.

Nothing on NetGalley indicated this was the second book in a series. When I started reading it, I felt like I’d walked into a room in the middle of a conversation and missed some important information. Upon checking Goodreads, I learned this was book two. Backstory is mentioned, but I never felt like I really knew these characters very well. I prefer to read a series in order – that’s just me – but other reviewers have mentioned these can be standalones. It all depends on your preference.

Although it’s not my favorite book by this author, I still enjoyed the read, and it’s sure to give horror and paranormal fans thrills and chills.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sundial by Catriona Ward #bookreview #horror #suspense

You can’t escape what’s in your blood…

All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.

She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

The Last House on Needless Street blew me away, so requesting Ward’s next release on NetGalley was a no-brainer.

Right away you know this is a dysfunctional family – a husband with anger problems who’s had numerous affairs, an unhappy wife who clearly has issues of her own, a daughter obsessed with nearly anything involving death. I felt bad for the daughters who had to witness the toxic, abusive relationship between their parents. Rob has always found it difficult to connect with her oldest daughter, Callie. At times, she even struggles to like her. She feels like Callie is more her husband’s daughter, while Rob’s strongest bond is with her youngest daughter. After a jarring event, Rob knows she has to take Callie away to her childhood home, Sundial. And what a twisted place it was to grow up.

The gradual reveal of Rob’s past sent icy fingers inching their way up my spine. It’s no surprise her greatest desire is to have a normal life. Shocking, horrifying secrets some to light, and you’ll never see them coming. The ending is difficult to describe. Just trust me when I say you’ll need uninterrupted time to finish those pages and then more time to think about it.

There’s no doubt the psychological suspense is well-crafted, but I struggled with this novel due to the many mentions of animal death and cruelty and had to skim through several pages. If there was any hint of this in the description or a content warning, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. If that topic is a trigger, you might want to skip this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren #bookreview #YA #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

This addictive YA horror about a group of teen ghost hunters who spend the night in a haunted LA hotel is The Blair Witch Project for the TikTok generation.

When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.

But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.

Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.

Teen ghost hunters spending a night in a haunted hotel. Yes, I’m a sucker for a good haunting. And that cover is everything.

Imagery is superb from the beginning, and from the second the teens stepped foot in the hotel I immediately thought of American Horror Story: Hotel. Minus the vampires, of course. But Hotel Cortez in AHS and Horror Hotel do share some similarities – they’re both overrun with ghosts. I’m not fond of the swing a dead cat saying, but it’s a pretty apt description in this case.

The four members of the YouTube famous Ghost Gang have their own talents involving directing, writing, tech, cameras, media, etc., but one member – Chrissy – can see and talk to ghosts. The girl is legit. The group may be in for more than they bargained with this hotel, and Chrissy in particular is in danger. Some ghosts are more aggressive than others.

Ghost Hunters, The Blair Witch Project, and true crime fans will enjoy this quick read, as will fans of slasher films. The teens make some stupid decisions, they choose the horror movie trope of separating at one point (and we all know what happens after that), and it’s pretty obvious who the bad guy is long before they’re named. Despite that, this is a fun read I finished in a couple days. I recommend turning down the lights, grabbing a bowl of popcorn, and settling in with this spooky, paranormal tale.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson #bookreview #thriller #horror #survival

A mysterious plague that causes random bouts of violence is sweeping the nation. Now three generations of women must navigate their chilling new reality in this moving exploration of identity, cycles of abuse, and hope.

Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.

But Chelsea’s husband has turned their house into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–then a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.

Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser.

This is not an easy book to read. Honestly, it should come wrapped in multiple layers of trigger warnings, and an author’s note states the issues this novel deals with (physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and includes animal death and graphic violence) before the story begins. Sadly, some of it is based on the author’s personal experiences.

Three generations of women – Patricia, her daughter Chelsea, and Chelsea’s daughter Ella are all victims of abuse in one form or another. After leaving a previous abusive relationship, Patricia is now in a loveless marriage of convenience to a wealthy man. Chelsea uses makeup to hide bruises and walks a daily tightrope around her husband, afraid of what might happen when he returns from work if something isn’t perfect in their home or he’s had a bad day. Ella takes her five-year-old sister and hides from him – he’s starting to take his rage out on her, and he could turn on her sister at any time. And then The Violence begins and people and pets are killed in brutal, violent ways. Soon after, due to various circumstances the women become separated and are unable to contact each other. As a pet lover, I had to skim several pages in this book – I couldn’t bring myself to read them – but the scenes aren’t for shock value. They convey the atrocities of the plague and what these characters experience.

Maybe you’re wondering why I read this book. I wanted these women to escape, live their best lives (even Patricia, who’s not very likeable at first), and watch their abusers get what they deserved. I felt like I needed to see them through this plague and know they’d be okay. That should tell you something about the outstanding character development. Speaking of Patricia, for me, she had a tremendous character arc and was transformed by the end.

Something I found difficult to buy into was a career decision Chelsea makes – it seemed a little too cheesy and far-fetched, although it works out for her. I came close to calling it quits at that point, but I’m so glad I finished.

The action starts immediately and once I began, I couldn’t shut the Kindle. At over five hundred pages, I read it in two days. Clearly this book isn’t for everyone, but if you decide to take the plunge you’ll find a powerful story about family and survival.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Hay Bale by Priscilla Bettis #bookreview #ghosts #shortread #TuesdayBookBlog

Contemporary Southern Gothic meets weird horror in this new novelette from Priscilla Bettis.

Professor Claire Davenport yearns to be a mother. After suffering four miscarriages, the university microbiologist tries and fails to qualify as an adoptive mother. Then Claire’s husband leaves.

Alone and emotionally wounded, Claire takes a summer sabbatical from her microbiology classes and escapes to rural Virginia to heal. There, she meets local farmers with strange agricultural practices.

Claire moves into the historic manor house she rented for the summer, and an abandoned child greets her. Is the child real, an answer to her prayers? Or is he a figment of her tormented emotions? Perhaps the tight-knit locals are playing a trick on the science lady from the city.

Whatever the boy’s origin, Claire is determined to find the truth, but the truth may be bloody.

I’ve been anxiously anticipating this novelette after reading the description on the author’s blog. Southern Gothic, weird horror, and a historic manor house? Everything about that calls out to the horror fan in me.

What’s so scary about a hay bale you ask? Plenty. To microbiologist Claire, it can be a breeding ground for fungus and disease. It may also hide something else. Reeling after suffering four miscarriages, failing to qualify as an adoptive mother, and separating from her husband, Claire takes a step back from her life and rents a house in a small town for the summer where she can begin to heal. That small town is filled with odd people, and she soon learns disturbing information about her new home. And that’s on top of the fact that it also seems to be inhabited by the ghost of a young boy.

Atmospheric, unsettling, and full of creepy imagery (I felt some Midsommar vibes), this horror novelette can be easily read in an hour and will stick with you long after finishing. I’m anxious to see what this author does next.

Such A Pretty Smile by Kristi Demeester #bookreview #thriller #psychological suspense

A biting novel from an electrifying new voice, Such a Pretty Smile is a heart-stopping tour-de-force about powerful women, angry men, and all the ways in which girls fight against the forces that try to silence them.

There’s something out there that’s killing. Known only as The Cur, he leaves no traces, save for the torn bodies of girls, on the verge of becoming women, who are known as trouble-makers; those who refuse to conform, to know their place. Girls who don’t know when to shut up.

2019: Thirteen-year-old Lila Sawyer has secrets she can’t share with anyone. Not the school psychologist she’s seeing. Not her father, who has a new wife, and a new baby. And not her mother—the infamous Caroline Sawyer, a unique artist whose eerie sculptures, made from bent twigs and crimped leaves, have made her a local celebrity. But soon Lila feels haunted from within, terrorized by a delicious evil that shows her how to find her voice—until she is punished for using it.

2004: Caroline Sawyer hears dogs everywhere. Snarling, barking, teeth snapping that no one else seems to notice. At first, she blames the phantom sounds on her insomnia and her acute stress in caring for her ailing father. But then the delusions begin to take shape—both in her waking hours, and in the violent, visceral sculptures she creates while in a trance-like state. Her fiancé is convinced she needs help. Her new psychiatrist waves her “problem” away with pills. But Caroline’s past is a dark cellar, filled with repressed memories and a lurking horror that the men around her can’t understand.

As past demons become a present threat, both Caroline and Lila must chase the source of this unrelenting, oppressive power to its malignant core. Brilliantly paced, unsettling to the bone, and unapologetically fierce, Such a Pretty Smile is a powerful allegory for what it can mean to be a woman, and an untamed rallying cry for anyone ever told to sit down, shut up, and smile pretty. 

The publisher sent me the NetGalley widget for this novel, and I was on the fence about downloading it, but took the plunge. I’m still not quite sure how I feel after reading it.

I like the theme of female empowerment and stopping men who try to silence women or dismiss them as hysterical when they try to express their feelings. But this is a very bizarre, sometimes confusing, and occasionally disturbing story. At times I honestly didn’t know what was happening – but I plowed through this book in a couple days.

Fifteen years apart, young teen girls are brutally killed in similar ways. It happened when Caroline was in her twenties and has started again. She’s understandably worried about her thirteen-year-old daughter, Lila. When Lila begins acting strangely, memories Caroline hoped to keep buried are resurrected, and her backstory and their similar experiences are revealed in alternating POV and timeline chapters. From her dying father, Caroline learns that as a very young girl she went missing for several days, but has no memory of what happened to her during that time. By the end of the novel, I still didn’t have a firm grasp of what she experienced during that disappearance either.

This is a bloody, gory tale, and those scenes are well-written and sure to delight horror fans, but for me personally, too many elements are left undefined, and I needed more of a concrete explanation for what happens to Caroline and Lila. Were their experiences real? Just delusions? I’m not certain. Reviews are split, so if you’re a reader who enjoys ambiguous storylines this may be for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo #bookreview #horror #LGBTQ

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.

I think I first became aware of this book in a weekly horror newsletter from Book Riot and immediately requested it from NetGalley. What a heavy, ominous ride it was – a fabulous debut novel.

Andrew shares a deep connection with his best friend Eddie and refuses to believe he committed suicide. He travels to Nashville for several reasons – to deal with Eddie’s estate and substantial inheritance left to him, prove Eddie was murdered, and attend grad school. Someone knows the truth behind the supposed suicide, and Andrew immerses himself into Eddie’s life to find answers. Soon, he’s drawn into late nights of fast cars, drugs, parties, and alcohol and learns Eddie hid plenty of secrets during their six months apart. Andrew is lost, drowning in his grief, and reaches for a lifeline wherever he can find one.

At its core, this story is about Andrew’s overwhelming grief and devastating loss of his best friend. It quickly becomes evident that their feelings for each other went beyond friendship, but Andrew hasn’t allowed himself to dig deeper and examine the true nature of their relationship. Several summers ago, they became trapped in a cave and went missing for a couple days. They weren’t alone in the darkness – something else was with them. It was a pivotal moment that significantly impacted their lives, but you won’t realize exactly how until late in the story.

Filled with eerie moments, regrets, questions of what if, and a family curse, Summer Sons is a dark, slow burn, Southern gothic horror story. Hauntings aren’t limited to places. This is an author I’m keeping an eye on.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood #bookreview #YA #horror #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

What the heart desires, the house destroys…

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire. 

It’s been quite a while since I read Jane Eyre, and I honestly don’t remember much about it. It was the mention of Andromeda being an exorcist that hooked my horror-loving heart and made me request this book.

I’m thrilled this story is set in Ethiopia and incorporates some of the traditional food and dress. It’s nice to find a YA book not set in the US or UK. Gothic overtones are apparent the minute Andi crosses the theshold of Magnus’s home, and she’s informed of the house rules almost immediately. The most important is to be in your locked bedroom by 10pm (that’s when the Waking begins) if you want to live to see the next day. Over the past three years, nearly a dozen debteras have tried and failed to cleanse the household, and it seems like Andi is the last hope. Homeless before this position, she’s determined to succeed and also gain Magnus’s patronage when the job is completed.

Andi is a no nonsense kind of gal who’s learned to survive the hardships of life. Sold by her parents at the age of five, she was taken in by a well-known debtera who probably had no business raising a child. But he taught her some valuable lessons. I didn’t know what to think of Magnus at first. He comes across as gruff, spoiled, and a tad clueless, but once the secrets of the house are revealed, his moods make sense. He’s also a scene stealer with some lines that are laugh out loud funny. It’s not hard to predict a romance between these two is on the horizon, but Andi’s mood swings from one sentence to the next during their conversations nearly gave me whiplash. Since I’m not much of a romance reader, that could just be me.

The magic system isn’t something I’ve come across before. Debtera create amulets from silver and other materials, each being unique to the manifestation. Amulets can both protect the exorcist and also drive away the Evil Eye and everything connected to it. The ghost in the library who throws books at intruders is my favorite – she probably just wanted to read undisturbed. I get it.

With no major twists or surprises, the ending is predictable, but that didn’t hinder me from enjoying this story. It’s an impressive debut novel, and I’ll absolutely keep tabs on this author and look for her future releases.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BadMoonRising Father of Lies by Steve Stred #horror #occult

Happy Halloween from Bad Moon Rising! Are you ready for all the little ghosties and ghoulies who may knock at your door tonight? I’ve got my candy ready. We’ve reached the end of BMR, but it’s been a month full of fun conversations, new books, and maybe some new friends. But it’s not over quite yet. Today’s author writes horror – but when he watches a horror movie he makes sure his feet are on the couch and nearly covers his head with a blanket. Welcome Steve Stred!

Which urban legend scares you most?

I don’t know if any scare me now, but growing up I was always worried about swallowing chewing gum or stepping on a crack on a sidewalk. It’s funny how those little things kind of work into your brain and stay there.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?

No, I actually haven’t, but would be up for having it done. I have had an incredibly strange experience with an Ouija board when I was younger, so I try to avoid them at all costs, but over the last few years they keep lurking closer and closer. It’s the oddest thing.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

It’s very rare that I get a chance to watch any horror movies right now, just with having a 5 year old and our schedules, but when I do, I typically have a list of a few that look just insanely good – so those ones are always bound to scare the crap out of me and I watch them with my feet on the couch and the covers up to my nose.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

I had facial reconstruction surgery on my right side when I was 21 or so. For a year I had no peripheral vision on that side, it was the weirdest thing. Would often make me feel ill. But when it started coming back, I always used to think someone was walking towards me and when I’d look – nobody. Never creeped me out but sure did make me antsy.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

As lame as it sounds – I start the next one. I don’t really have too much ‘down time.’ It may be that I’ll take time away from writing to go over edits and re-writes if a book is back from my editor or anything like that, but for the most part I try and stay full-steam ahead on whatever it is I’m working on and whatever it is that is after.

Which book have you read more than once?

I don’t typically re-read adult books (I re-read kids books a million times to my son right now!) but one book I’ve actually re-read a number of times over the years has been The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. Many people have watched the movie or even the sequels, but I personally love the book. The second half is just as magical as the first and my son is named after the Auryn medallion given to Atreyu to protect him on his journey and plays a prominent role in the second half.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

Absolutely Andrew Pyper. If you’ve followed me on any of my social media pages you’ll know how much I love Andrew’s work and was even given permission to create an Official Archive of his work, which you can find at

This book contains scenes of extreme violence and sexual content. Do not purchase this book if you are easily offended or require trigger warnings!

Beginning in October, 2019, Steve Stred released three of the darkest, most depraved novellas – Ritual, COMMUNION, and Sacrament.

These three novellas completed the ‘Father of Lies’ trilogy, telling the story of a disturbed man trying to open the cosmic gates and enter the Black Heavens to live forever. Inspired by Steve Stred’s research acquired while joining a real cult, the stories from the trilogy have already become favorites within the horror world.

Now, here for the first time, is the complete and definitive ‘The Complete Father of Lies Series.’


–          All three novellas

–          An exclusive foreword by Sonora Taylor

–          An exclusive essay by cover artist Mason McDonald

–          A bonus fourth story ‘Eucharist.’

–          ‘The Battle Raged On and On’ essay from the author, answering reader questions about the trilogy

Not to be missed, this Omnibus will be available in ebook, paperback and hardcover!
Buy link:

Author Bio and Social Media

Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.

Steve is the author of a number novels, novellas and collections.

He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.

Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.

He is an active member of the HWA.

He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.


Twitter: @stevestred

Instagram: @stevestred