Welcome back my bloody readers!  The summer is among us and most of you will be outside
enjoying the bright sun and sandy beaches.  But if you need a break from all that cheerfulness, I
have a couple of options for you.  The first is a short collection mix of short stories, poetry and a
screenplay.  The second is a book about what happens when you mix together a couple of
teenage girls in a foster home and a Ouija board, which is nothing good.  So take a gander at
these books and enjoy your summer reading!
                                                                                                                                             D.W. Jones

Book of Squalor by Max Rudd
      If you are looking for a quick read that contains a variety of writing, this book
maybe for you.  It’s only 72 pages and has 9 pieces of work which includes short
stories, poetry and a screenplay.  This is a perfect read for a day at the beach or
park and the title puts you in the right mood for this book.  Also the cover art is pretty
cool if you look at it long enough.
      One of the stories I liked is The House on Dumaine Street.  It is a story about a
war veteran, Sgt. Burkett, floating about after the Civil War and comes across his
Sergeant in New Orleans.  His Lt. Colonel Montague offers him a place to stay for as
longs as he needs it.  Soon after his stay, strange things start happening like foul
odors and mysterious beings show up in the middle of the night.
      To add to it, Burkett notices that even Montague is acting funny, disappears often
doesn’t notice the odor.  He starts to fear something supernatural is happening but
doesn’t know what to do.  Will he survive his stay and help Montague to just run to save his own life?
      Rudd does a good job telling a story from two different points of view with a familiar vehicle to give you
various viewpoints that adds to the suspense.  He leads on the suspense of the story until the final words
and lets you decide what you would do in a similar situation, especially after a trauma like war.
      Another story I enjoyed it Tatters.  This is a screenplay that I would love to see done in a short film.  It
tells the story of Skye, a mother recently divorced just trying to get on with life.  She comes home with her
date to find the house a mess and thinks it’s her ex and his girlfriend dropping off their daughter but it turns
out to be much more sinister.
      This story comes from out of box thinking and let’s you thnk about the mess you leave around.  I don’t
want to say much more or it would give it away.  But once you read it, you’ll see what I am talking about.  
This reminds me of something that would be on Outer Limits or something similar.
      So if you are thinking that  you want a nice quick read that you could read in an afternoon or a day or
two, this is for you.  You can visit the site xadrum.com or go to Amazon.com.

Birthday Girl by Ash Crowlin
       When we received this book review request, I was a little leary about it.  The
story sounded good but in the description, it read “my debut extreme horror novella”.
I wasn’t sure what that meant and how graphic it would be.  To my surprise, even
though it was pretty graphic, Crowlin told a great story that matched the horror of the
      Anna was approaching her 18th birthday and she was ready to leave the orphan-
age that she was living at most of her life.  On her last night, her best friend Kate
wanted to go out with a bang.  With a ouija board they find, they play with it with a
couple of other girls in their room and unknowingly release a demon named Magriol.
And all he wants to do is have some demented fun.
      Magriol now plays a game with Anna and her friends and seems rigged to bring
them with nothing but pain and torture.  As they navigate the game, it gets worse as time goes on and the
sadistic nature of Magriol continues until they don’t know how it can get any more unbearable.  Will Anna,
Kate and their friends survive the night or will they forever be the play things of Magriol.
      Crowlin tells an non stop story that has you wondering what is coming around the next corner.  As he
warns on the cover, this novella is extreme and not for everyone.  He starts off hard and amps the gore and
violence as the story goes on that rivals some of the most graphic horror movies out there.  In addition to
that, there is a story that deals with severe trauma on the psyche and how people can withstand some of
the most horrifying events. He also does a great job keeping his characters real with not a self sacrificing
act but with self preservation.
      I recommend this novella for the hardcore horror fan who is not afraid of over the top violence and
gore.  You can pick this book up at Amazon.com.
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