Book Review: Point Hollow by Rio Youers

About the Book: Point Hollow, NY. A town with unspeakable secrets. To the tourists that visit each summer, it is quintessential America. They stroll through its picturesque streets and hike its stunning trails. No one sees the cracks in the town’s veneer. No one knows its terrible history: a secret that has been buried-forgotten. But Abraham’s Faith, the mountain that overshadows Point Hollow, doesn’t forget so easily. It booms, wicked and controlling. It is filled with the bones of children. Oliver Wray is Point Hollow’s favourite son, its most generous benefactor, admired by all. But Oliver, like the town, has a secret: Abraham’s Faith speaks to him, and he has spent a lifetime serving its cruel needs. He believes his secret is safe, but one person has glimpsed the darkness in his heart . . . Matthew Bridge hasn’t set foot in Point Hollow for twenty-six years. Something horrifying happened to him there. Memories of an ordeal that flicker and taunt, but cannot be recalled. Now, trying to find the answers to his failed marriage and failing life, Matthew is coming home. Back to Point Hollow. Back to Abraham’s Faith.

My Review: Can you feel that sound? A vibration in your bones; a dull thrum growing louder in your head until it becomes a thunderous roar; then words. If you can hear words then the mountain, dubbed as Abraham’s Faith, speaks to you and it needs you to carry out horrible deeds. In the town of Point Hollow, in the Catskill Mountains, no one knows that sound better than Oliver Wray. colemountainOliver is Point Hollow’s favourite son and he knows the mountain’s voice well. When Abraham’s Faith taunts, it creates a visceral torrent of psychological degradation in Oliver, lending strife to his character and bringing to the story a tragic and disturbed persona that eventually collides with the protagonist, Matthew Bridge.

The novel sets pace after Oliver meets Matthew, and the mountain booms in Oliver’s ears to bring it a child. Oliver obeys. He lures 10 year old Matthew away from his home and together they venture onto the slopes of Abraham’s Faith. Tension builds, facades crumble and the terrifying truth about Oliver sends Matthew running for his life from the mountain.

screenshot_2015-04-22-00-58-49-1Twenty-six years later Matthew still carries with him nightmares of his childhood abduction. The problem is he can’t seem to remember the details. With his marriage eroding from these constant nightmares Matthew sets out to find answers. He leaves New York city and returns to his hometown of Point Hollow. His quest: to uncover the memories of what happened to him on the mountain, but what he finds are deadly secrets. The mountain has called Matthew home, and this time there’s no escape.

From the moment I laid eyes on this novel I could hear the mountain (as you can see in my photo of life imitating cover-art, it had possessed me). I enjoyed reading Point Hollow for two reasons: it played like a movie in my head, and Rio Youers has a flare for writing unbridled horror that strikes you in the gut and surprises. I’m excited for what this author will come out with next. Bravo Rio.

Point Hollow by Rio Youers is published by ChiZine Publications. ChiZine was awarded the HWA 2014 Specialty Press Award at the 2015 World Horror Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out other great books and Rio Youers’ previous publication Westlake Soul by visiting ChiZine Publications online.

Rio YouersAbout the Author: Rio Youers is the British Fantasy Award–nominated author of End Times and Old Man Scratch. His short fiction has been published by, among others, St. Martin’s Griffin, Harper Collins, and IDW Publishing. His previous novel, Westlake Soul, was nominated for Canada’s prestigious Sunburst Award and has been optioned for film by Hollywood producer Stephen Susco. He lives in southwestern Ontario with his wife, Emily, and their children, Lily and Charlie.

 

Horror Bite Challenge #17:

Flash Fiction of 349 words inspired by the image above.

Bait

By Darryl Foster

Earl McTavish was a farmer: early to rise, church on Sundays, a man of denim and plaid. At the edge of his inherited farmland he’d found his missing cow—a carcass of holes, reeking like the bottom of a carnival garbage bin. Earl retched. He’d heard of alien cattle mutilations, but he didn’t believe in them. He believed in poachers. A bitterness shivered through Earl as he remembered his granddad, found dead in this field a year ago. Foul play they had said, and likely a poacher. Earl left the remains and walked home. Tonight he’d bait this field with a cow and trap the poacher.

~

Midnight, and Earl huddled near a silo with his rifle and retriever, Dawson. An hour had passed since he had sent a cow into the dark field.

Dawson’s ears perked.

“What is it boy?”

Dawson growled, sprang forward and charged into the field. The dog’s barking faded with distance then died with a suffering yelp.

“Jesus Christ!” Earl stood alert, rifle ready, and the shadowy figure of a man manifested, embossed against the blackness of the field beyond.

“A man who stinks of church shouldn’t take the Lord’s name in vain.”

“Where’s my dog, poacher?” Earl accused and aimed.

“In pieces.”

“You son-of-a-bitch.” Earl fired. The man’s eye sockets burned with tendrils of flame, and the bullet became molten and dribbled to the ground. Earl’s heart swelled with fear.

“What the hell are you?”

“Your granddad asked the same question before he died. It’s simple, I’m a hunter, and you’re a fool for believing I wanted your cattle. The dead cows were bait to lure you out into the night, my hunting ground. Your grandfather fell for it too. There’s no poacher, only hunger.”

The leathery beat of a thousand wings filled the night and bats descended on Earl. He tossed the rifle and swatted with his hands, but the mouths of many were unstoppable, and tore chunks. Earl screamed and a bat flapped into his mouth, and chewed his tongue. He gargled blood as the man joined the kill with ivory fangs.

Darker Terrors: Full Content List

Oh this looks good…

Spectral Press

'Into the Fire' by Les Edwards ©2014 ‘Into the Fire’ by Les Edwards ©2014

‘Very creepy stuff!’

—John Landis, director of American Werewolf in London

and Michael Jackson’s Thriller

This is the moment you have been waiting for – the full contents list for the Darker Terrors: A Best of Dark Terrors volume coming this October from Spectral Press. Quiver in delicious anticipation at this TOC:

Foreword – Stephen Jones

More Tomorrow –Michael Marshall Smith
I’ve Come to Talk with You Again  – Karl Edward Wagner
A Really Game Boy – Brian Lumley
To This Water – Caitlin R Kiernan
The Museum on Cyclops Avenue – Harlan Ellison
Free Dirt – Ray Bradbury
Self Made Man – Poppy Z. Brite
The Wedding Present – Neil Gaiman
Family History – Stephen Baxter
Inside the Cackle Factory – Dennis Etchison
My Pathology – Lisa Tuttle
At Home in the Pubs of Old London – Christopher Fowler
Barking Sands…

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8 real life oddities to kick-start your next novel

I love stuff like this. Kudos to Leslie Chivers for putting this together.

Literary Dialogue

Working on the outline for your next novel, and you’re feeling stuck? Have no fear because sometimes real life is stranger than fiction. And sometimes, those mysteries can spark the creative fire. There are hundreds of unexplained mysteries out there. I’ve chosen eight that can be a launchpad for your next novel. Have fun.

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

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You’ll read about The Donner Party in a few moments, but this is way stranger than The Donner Party will ever be. In 1959 a group of nine skiers set camp for the night in the northern Ural Mountains. The next day, all nine were dead. But it was weeks later, when a search party was sent looking for them after they failed turn up at a rendezvous spot, that the full extent of the mystery became known.

Investigators determined the skiers had torn their tents open from the inside out in…

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Crawlers by Darryl Foster

The prompt: fireworks in a wheelbarrow.

Horror Bite Challenge #16: write a piece of nano-fiction (200-350 words) inspired by an image supplied by Laura Jamez on the Office Mango blog. Here’s the image and my story:

Crawlers

by Darryl Foster

Hide-and-seek, and my daughter Jamie was nowhere to be found in the house. I walked into the kitchen, called her, and my eyes shot wide. A guttural fear surged. “No…no…no!” The patio door which lead to the garden was unlatched. She’d known about the threat of the Crawlers, and I never imagined our most guarded house-rule being broken: never go outside at night.

Day was our time, and the night belonged to the Crawlers—but tell that to a five year old, who can open the door on their own. They simply don’t understand the lurking danger.

I opened the patio door and peered into the garden. The night was cold and the darkness seemed both alive and bottomless. I called for Jamie. No answer—right, we were playing hide-and-seek—and now the clock was ticking. The Crawlers would latch onto her scent and gather.

I shut the patio door and sprang from the kitchen. I careened through the house, opened a door and entered the garage. I had never used the wheelbarrow trick—taught to save wandering children at night—but I was prepared: a wheelbarrow, a lighter and fireworks. A Burning Schoolhouse would keep the Crawlers away while I searched for Jamie.

I opened the garage’s back door and lit the Schoolhouse. The firework sparked and hissed. Light radiated, sulfur clouds billowed, and I pushed the wheelbarrow into the middle of the garden. Beyond the boundary of my protective light-dome: a dark curtain studded with the diamond glints of many eyes.

“Daddy!” Jamie’s cry seemed muffled in my ears.

Crack!

“Jamie!”

No reply, just the wet smacking of many mouths in the dark beyond. A suffocating shock dropped me to my knees. Tears flowed. “I love you Jamie!” If she was alive, I hoped she’d heard.

The Schoolhouse fizzled. Dark.

Sour breath, and sharp twig like fingers crept over my clothes. Rails of teeth clamped the meaty parts of my appendages. I shrieked as my limbs were pulled, and in the kitchen window I saw Jamie inside. I barely heard her scream through the glass, “Daddy!”

Friday the 13th and the Darkside Tour II: Highway of Horror!

This was a great event and Rosemary’s Pixie captured it perfectly in her blog. Check it out:

rosemary's pixie

For my Friday the 13th festivities, I went to The Darkside Tour II: Highway of Horror V.I.P. Elle Canada Man Event to celebrated the latest works of two Canadian horror authors.  It was an intimate affair where a small audience got to listen to a couple of guys talk about writing.  You might pass them on the street, perhaps pushing strollers or carrying a six-pack of beer; two regular guys who happen to write the most disturbing things.  Those regular guys are best-selling, award-winning authors Nick Cutter (a pseudonym for Craig Davidson) and Andrew Pyper, and they spent the evening talking about their latest books, inspirations, and horror.  Hosted by Elle Canada’s Features Editor Aliyah Shamser, it proved to be a fun, insightful night.

wpid-20150315_134841.jpg My autographed copies!

Nick Cutter’s first book, The Troop, made me physically cringe as I read it.  The story about a boy scout camping trip that goes horribly wrong after a man dies at their cabin was…

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How Submittable Works

Great post by Allison K Williams

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

From top: Glimmer Train, Tin House, Ploughshares, Paris Review...From top: Glimmer Train, Tin House, Ploughshares, One Story, Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review…

Submittable.

So much better than stealing photocopies at our temp jobs or wondering if no response means “lost in the mail.”

If you’re not already using Submittable, the site is a service for authors to submit work to literary magazines, and for magazines a way to control and organize the tsunami of submissions without letting anyone slip through the cracks. In terms of paper saved, Submittable is probably responsible for half a rain forest, or at least the contents of several hefty recycling dumpsters.

Editor Kelly Davio has helpfully broken down how Submittable works, in a post worth checking out if you are new to using the service, or have been using it without really knowing what all those status changes mean. Submittable’s blessing and curse is:

greater involvement in the submission process. Using Submittable’s…

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10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes

Thanks to Carly Watters for this wonderful post.

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

typeEveryone’s looking for the “rules” of getting published. I try to share some wisdom on my blog, but who am I kidding? There are no rules. However, here are some guidelines (in quote form!) for aspiring writers…

10 Great Writing Tips, in Quotes:

1. What works for other writers doesn’t have to work for you. It’s okay to make your own rules. And, what works for other writers often won’t work for you so it’s best not to compare your writing or your style to anyone else.

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” — Jon Acuff

2. You don’t have to write every day. In fact, it’s perfectly okay to avoid burn out and take a day off. It doesn’t mean you’re not a writer.

“Hard scheduling rules — write every day! work on research for one hour each morning! exercise 10 hours a week! — deployed in isolation will lead to…

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Dark Side Tour – Pobi, Pyper and Cutter in Ottawa

The three terrors. Awesome authors. Check out this article and gain some amazing insight on Rob Pobi, Nick Cutter and Andrew Pyper. Canadian horror writing at its best.

Dreadful Tales

To anyone, three men sitting around a restaurant discussing the books in hand may not be so striking. To know they are preparing for readings and selecting passages may pique the interest of a student of horror. What they are choosing are bits that they know are either striking to their readers, or portions that they really feel embody the highlights of that particular work or as a hologram of their craft as a whole.

~DSC_6017smNone of them wear ‘scary’ like a uniform. Horror is in books and film and in their imaginations. It’s not sitting down for a meal or spending the day on the lake with the kids, let alone getting to meet and talk with the public. So, seeing them all with their books going over the evenings reading selections and chatting about their work and the tour remains as “business casual” as anyone would suspect. They…

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Book Review of Robert Levy’s: The Glittering World

The Glittering WorldPublisher: Gallery Books | Released: Feb 10, 2015 | 352 pages | ISBN: 978-1476774527 | Click here to order from Amazon

The Glittering World: In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.

When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy, Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring co-worker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind.

Fae CaveMy Review: Every town has secrets, and Starling Cove’s artist colony has many. The Glittering World is a fantasy-thriller entwined with mystery, fable and magic. The imagination of Levy to stitch together real-places with the mythos of what he calls the Other Kind (mutant-fae that live in the caverns beneath Cape Breton’s Kelly Mountain) had created a literary-harmonic that transported me into Levy’s glittering world. Here I felt a sense of escapism and freedom as the imagery Levy portrayed came lucid and alive in the prose.

While reading the novel I admired the intelligence of a 4 part POV that drove the story forward. It was like a relay, passing of the baton, between the four main characters: Blue, Jason, Elisa, Gabe. With each character came a unique perspective of each person’s struggles, thoughts and haunting memories. Those aspects within the main character Blue were mesmerizing, and my curiosity kept turning pages. fae woodsWhen Blue disappears in the dark woods surrounding Starling Cove (for a second time) it’s up to his friends to solve the mystery of his whereabouts. The clues that lead to Blue not only reveal a mythic revelation but unveil Blue’s childhood as heart-breaking and terrifying. Levy wrote this character in a way a caterpillar forms a chrysalis, but in this case what emerges is not-of-this-world.

Something ancient stirs in this book. The mystery that lurks in the homes, the woods, and in the people of Starling Cove creates an unstoppable read that ends in a seemingly cinematic crescendo that will leave you wanting more.

Quoted Reviews:

“As imaginative and frightening as a whole gallery of surrealist paintings come luridly to life.” (John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil)

“A luscious, compelling tangle of a thriller. The Glittering World maps the realms of friendship and identity, the mythic and the contemporary. I loved it.” (Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners)

“Fast paced, yet it also succeeds as a reflective tale of self-discovery…Well crafted, atmospheric, and whimsical, this will attract readers who enjoy Neil Gaiman and Mark Z. Danielewski.” (Library Journal)

“The Glittering World is a stunning phantasmagoria drawn from the world just beneath the surface, aswarm with great and memorable characters and a plot that twists and turns as it hurtles forward. A grand debut. One taste, and you’ll be addicted.” (Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child)

“Robert Levy spins a dark and mythic tale. Exquisitely allegorical, this novel seethes with menace, romance, and mystery. The Glittering World is a powerful debut.” (Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All)

Robert Levy

About the Author: Robert Levy is a Harvard graduate subsequently trained as a forensic psychologist. He is also an award-winning playwright, having multiple shows developed Off Broadway. His work has been called “frank and funny” (Time), “idiosyncratic and disarming” (The New York Times), “ambitious and clever” (Variety), “smart” (Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine), and “bloody brave” (SFX magazine, UK).

www.therobertlevy.com