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).

What Lurks in The Deep? A Book Review of Nick Cutter’s, The Deep

TheDeep TPB frt v2ABOUT THE BOOK: From the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down.…old-school horror at its best”—comes this utterly terrifying novel where The Abyss meets The Shining.

A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.

THE AUTHOR: When I was introduced to Nick Cutter via Twitter in February 2014 I was on a business trip in San Diego. My Twitter feed was on fire with this Nick Cutter fellow whose book came with a Stephen King endorsement “…scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down…” –the King had spoken, and my book-alert siren went off like the Starship Enterprise was under attack. Number-One, set new course for the local book store, engage. Warp drive is a little slow on the San Diego transit system, but soon my cash-energized tractor beam brought The Troop into my hands. The book proved to be an incredible novel of raw horror…and I couldn’t put it down.

Flash forward eight months to October 25, 2015: Creemore, Ontario and the IFOA had come to town. When I first met Nick Cutter (aka Craig Davidson) I thought I could wrestle him for an ARC copy of The Deep, but his tall gait and suspicious armband tattoo told me I was dealing with an Alpha Male, and it kept me civil in my seat. At the end of the author presentations I approached Nick to sign my copy of The Troop, and to my surprise “because it never hurts to ask” he had an ARC copy of The Deep for me. Inside my eyes went puffy, red and teary like a Ren & Stimpy cartoon, oh joy, but on the outside a cool composure, and a modest “thank you” prevailed. Mr. Cutter, you have a fan for life.

Bathyscaphe_TriesteMY REVIEW: How deep is The Deep? Oh, it’s crushingly deep. The Trieste submersible platform (the island of this novel) is deep in the Mariana Trench where life has to evolve to withstand the pressure of 15,750 pounds per square inch (thank you Wikipedia). But as deep as the Trieste is under the Pacific, there is another deep, one that also has crushing depths and it’s found in the fathoms of the human mind: madness.

The Deep has a tagline, “…the Shining meets the Abyss…” and that intersection is both chilling and surprising in the book.

The Deep follows the main character Luke on a thrilling ride to the bottom of the Mariana Trench to the Trieste platform where his brother Clayton, a scientist, is researching a substance called Ambrosia, found on the sea floor. Ambrosia represents a possible cure for a disease called the ‘Gets that plagues the surface, and is the reason why Cutter has us swimming in the deep end of the pool. Before and after we dock with the Trieste, Cutter has us strapped into a narrative-roller-coaster that tunnels deep into the darkest depths of Luke’s consciousness. The novel is both a trip to the bottom of the ocean, as it is a trip through the hollows of a tortured mind. Throughout the book brilliantly written flashbacks pick away at the fears we all carry in ourselves, and those fears are amplified in Luke, escalated by the airtight confines of the seemingly haunted, metal-creaking Trieste.Lurker

Nick Cutter scuttles any chance for a life preserver and holds nothing back in The Deep. He’s a Literary Artist hell-bent on painting grotesque images with nerve-shattering detail, bringing to life scratch-and-sniff scenes that will make you feel like you’re experiencing the book through your senses. The madness, the horror, the tight claustrophobic places intended to strangle your mind are all key in setting the stage for a classic horror novel under the sea with a surprise ending that hits an even deeper note than you can imagine.

The Deep, as was The Troop, are my top horror reads for 2014. Publication date for The Deep is set for January 13, 2015 from Gallery Books. Order here from Amazon.

Darryl Foster

HORROR HAS A RISING TALENT: Book Review of Mark Cassell’s, The Shadow Fabric

ABOUT THE SHADOW FABRIC: Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day, he witnesses a murder and the Shadow Fabric – a malevolent force that controls the darkness – takes the body and vanishes with it. Uncovering secrets long hidden from humankind, Leo’s memory unravels. Not only haunted by the past, a sinister presence within the darkness threatens his existence and he soon doubts everything and everyone…including himself. Now Leo must confront the truth about his past before he can embrace his future. But the future may not exist. THE SHADOW FABRIC is a story revealing the unknown history of witchcraft and the true cause of the Great Fire of London. A supernatural horror novel of sins, shadows, and the reanimated dead.The Shadow Fabric

MY REVIEW: Mark Cassell’s debut novel The Shadow Fabric is an action packed tale of supernatural horror. The book follows the journey of Cassell’s main character Leo. A car accident in Leo’s past had wiped out his memory. In his new life, post-accident, he struggles to recall the memories of his former life. Now, Leo finds himself working for a mysterious man named Victor Jacobs. Victor has secrets, ages old, and Leo quickly finds himself propelled into the secret and deadly world of the twisted Shadow Fabric.

Cassell has written a fast moving novel with a fascinating evil. He navigates us through a mysterious plot, and introduces us to a number of characters, ancient artifacts and legends that are all entwined with the Shadow Fabric. Cassell has effectively created a world at the edge of darkness, and he slaps us consistently with thrills and chills that will make you feel like you’re reading a movie.

Cassell’s marketing and author platform is outstanding, and his imagination is immense, as revealed by the unfolding of the Shadow Fabric mythos in the novel. He is an author with an online presence that clearly demonstrates a dedication to his craft.

I enjoyed reading and discovering the horrors of the Shadow Fabric and all its macabre wonders. If you’re a fan of classic paranormal horror then take the time to read Mark Cassell’s The Shadow Fabric. He has undoubtedly weaved a world by which legends of horror are born. I expect more great works will bleed from this author.

“Praise for Mark Cassell, a rising talent in horror.” ~ Darryl Foster

Flash Fiction Published on “The Turning”

Are you a Walking Dead fan?

Check out my flash fiction The Turning on, published today or read on below:

The Turning by Darryl Foster

My eyes flicker open.

A soft ambient glow fills my vision. I strain to focus and what at first appears to be a chalky blackboard sky solidifies to become the moon hovering like an apparition, floating among wisps of cloud. I feel peaceful lying here, somewhere, looking up at the drift of moonlit clouds as they slip through my vision. Each cloud a morphing fractal, a kaleidoscope of changing shapes pushed by the wind, curling, twisting, and then moving far away, leaving me to consider my thoughts and what seems to be my complete loss of self regard and place. The sudden realization that my careless mental drift with the night sky overshadows my current situation trips my consciousness. A tightening in my chest triggers a panic concerning my wellbeing and sends me crashing into the question—where am I?

I attempt to recall my thoughts, reaching back before I woke: What was I doing? How did I arrive here? Who am I? But nothing seems to snap my memory to attention. I am left to wonder if I have any memory of anything. I search my mind again, trying to recall something that could postulate my being here, and the only thing rising from my thoughts is a taste; a coppery bitterness in my mouth, as if I’d been sucking on a penny for days. It seems, for now, I have regained a tiny measure of feeling as my sense of taste returns to life, and with it, a rising intensity of a thousand pricking needles barrels through my body. It feels like I’m a dead limb waking after hours of poor circulation. And as my body comes back to life I regain some muscle control and turn my head. There at eye level, a curb and sidewalk perpendicular to my perception. I’m on my back. I’m lying down on a road, and my revived nerves send forward my sense of touch. I feel cold, and realize I’m shirtless, my skin pressing against clammy tarmac—get up—that’s all I can think.

I take a deep breath. The damp air quickens my senses, sending a flood of activity that rifles my brain, and all my muscles are sore; throbbing with pain. Something is wrong with me, something terribly wrong. A heavy feeling in my body, as if pinned by gravity, makes the road feel like it’s holding up my weight, and suddenly the tension in every muscle fibre seems to loosen as though waking from a bout of temporary paralysis. In that revelation all the pain is gone as if cast out by miracle, but strangely there is something left behind, not a tangible ache, but an encompassing apathetic clarity. Suddenly I’m no longer consumed by the questions plaguing me. It doesn’t matter who I am, where I am or what I am doing. All that matters is what I feel now; the rise of some new found sense of freedom composing itself in my mind. The sensation is: consuming, euphoric, limitless, and whatever questions I have of my past life lift away. This new life without bonds, without care, is far better, and something else—something growing inside—an instinctive reflex: to be, to live, to feed.

I summon my strength and roll onto my side. I push my hands against the cold asphalt and stand. A survey of my body reveals coagulated blood stains on my blue jeans, scrapes across my chest—as if I’d been dragged across pavement—and I notice my right forearm appears mangled as if mauled by a dog trying to wrestle out the bone. There’s no initial shock, and I can clearly see a streak of moist white sinew deep within the jagged valley of the laceration which extends from my elbow to my wrist. The wound is missing fatty tissue and muscle, and it’s easy to see the torn bloody ends of my arteries and veins, but oddly the sight doesn’t seem to concern me; it captivates me. I’m staring at my injury, observing it, picking at it with the hand on my good arm, and there is no pain. Perhaps I no longer understand pain. It doesn’t seem to register in my mind that I’m, hurt, and I don’t feel a need to seek help.

I take another deep breath; a taut pressure in my head releases, and I feel an unhinging of my mind, a mental bon voyage, and suddenly any emotion, desire or forward thought begins to numb. My original self succumbs, relinquishing its hold on this body and fades into oblivion. There is no sense of before or after, and the present doesn’t seem to register any measure of time—there’s only empty space in my thoughts. Regardless, I know I am something. I am alive, and although I may be absent of pulse, I know I exist in some state of living animation, perhaps as a shell, a vessel for whatever minuscule piece of consciousness I have left. And although that remaining part of me seems suppressed, it’s still able to comprehend my surroundings, and detects far-off screams of terror reverberating in the night air.

Those resounding cries of horror are like a beacon, and I’m attracted to whatever distant chaos is unfolding; the scent of it smells like blood spilt into the ocean to spur a frenzy of sharks. The louder the shrieks the more excited I become, and with the excitement a memory rushes through me—a memory of absolute panic—in which I’m running and trying to stay ahead of a tsunami of hysterical people. We are all being chased, unable to outrun a closing horde of clamouring, rot-smelly things that appear human and decayed. A woman on my heels is picked off, sideswiped by one of the creatures. I recall the hollow thud of her body and the crack of her skull on pavement—the sound of instantaneous death—and in the back of my mind I imagine it like a lion taking down a gazelle. The driving fear of her death—and mine pending—kept my legs moving and my senses sharp as I looked for any escape route—and there, ahead is an alley. I charge right, hoping to evade, but one of those things pursues. Its necrotic scent and sour breath looms over my shoulder. I breakout of the alleyway, dash across a sidewalk and race left onto a street, and the thing digs its fingernails into my neck. I feel its bite and jaw lock onto my arm. My eyes shut, and I cringe in breathless agony. A few last steps and this thing wrestles me to the ground. My eyes are wide, my screams choked by horror, as my nemesis hovers over me: vicious, manic and tearing into my arm. It is a hideous figure, appearing as a mangled man with bloody sores, lacerations and missing layers of skin and hair. Its bite is unrelenting and the sting of an acidic like saliva is mixing with my blood and tissue. I’m the gazelle now, surrendering to the kill, submitting to natural selection, and knowing my place in the food chain—blackness consumes, and the memory is gone.

More distant screams and something begins to pump my heart. I can feel it inside, moving in my chest—something has control of my body. Pressure builds in my veins; a wetness above my lip forms and a drip of blood runs uncontrollably from my nose. My eyes feel heavy as if sunken in their sockets. I feel aged, and decayed. My body quivers then turns with a jerk toward the direction of the screams searching out the scent of death in the air, and my eyes fall upon the streetscape ahead of me. The way forward is littered with the carnage of awkwardly splayed bodies reeking with a stench of soured organics. Maybe some will rise and wake like me. Maybe they will see the moon in the sky as I did, luminous with shape-shifting clouds and perhaps they too will wonder where they are, who they are, and perhaps they too will see the world in a different way, a new boundless way. I stumble forward, lurching toward the sounds of the frantic living, churning with a mindless hunger.