Cthulhu Armageddon, by C.T. Phipps
Phipps does an amazing job of weaving the Lovecraft mythos with some hard-knuckled action. While I love the mythos as we all first read it by Ech-Pi himself, I always felt more kinship to those larger than heroes born out of Robert E. Howard's imaginings that don't just go mad by the sight of the unspeakable horror.
And here is where Phipps shines with his narrator, Booth. As the head of his unit in this post-apocalyptic wasteland Booth gives us all we need to do to know about our familiar yet horribly different and shattered world after the rising of the Old Ones. Familiar names are doled out in a reasonable non-info dump manner, so that anyone familiar with the mythos can say Oh I know what that is before Phipps can surprise us with an imaginative twist. We get to meet the grooviest ghoul of them all for example.
I enjoyed the pacing and at one point, I actually wondered - How can they top this! And we're only halfway into the book - I was afraid it was going to wrap up too soon!
IF you like action, horror and some grimdark humor, you have got to check this one out! I look forward to reading more of Phipps work!
Dream Breaker, by Jason King
This is a short by my friend Jason. He does amazing world-building (as he should being an epic fantasy author) and he get's you right in the gut with this tale of Dareth and crosing over into the dream realms where all is not what he expected. Its free at least right now on kindle so you gotta check it out. Dareth battles another Arkyn (arcane-kind) across two planes of existence as he fights to protect his client - The High Priest of Faelon - from assassination.
Murrmann, by Michael Arnzen
I got to meet and chat with Michael Arnzen at this last World Horror Con, great guy, I've read a lot of his stuff on the craft of writing (brilliant work) and finally snagged this short to read his actual fiction stories. Murrmann is a great little sequel to Dracula capturing the quirks of Van Helsing in his own hand along with a flair for wonderful locales and real local legends. Arnzen knows both the physical territory having been there and of course the horror landscape to grip us cold. The imagery herein is amazing. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this bloody disturbing tale reminiscent of Stokers "The Squaw" along with "Dracula" too of course.
Sands, by Kevin L. Nielsen
Kevin is setting us up in a brilliantly imagined new world populated with dessert clans and their own traditions and such and of course the dramatic struggle against the genesauri—giant, flying, serpentine monsters who hunt across the desert in enormous packs. This has a new take on the epic fantasy story in that this is more son the level of man vs. nature than a dark lord. Its a refreshing new spin.
There were of course some surprises on the human end too as the desert culture of the seventeen-year-old Lhaurel's clan forbids her from even wielding a weapon in her peoples defense. Exiled she begins a new adventure to save her people and herself. This is the beginning of a trilogy that is worth checking out.
Killing Trail, by Charles Gramlich
I love Charles work, from pulpy sword and sorcery to the chilling terror to sword and planet adventure and now the old west. Gramlich has a flair for poetic language with his salty action and then just wins me over everytime. Now of course these shorts are quick and to the point with white hats and black hats but there are clever surprises you don't see coming. Highly recommended.