My First Reviews!

Pretty cool news! My good friend Eden Royce let me know today that Bloody Carnival had a new review where the reviewer deemed Nightmare at 200 Feet as their favorite story in the anthology. I have copied the review below and a link to the original is just above it.

Additionally, Flesh and Bone: Rise of the Necromancers got a pretty favorable review back in February. Copy of review and link are also below.

If anyone sees any other reviews of any of my Pill Hill Press publications, please let me know!



The Horror Fiction Review – 4-2-2011

BLOODY CARNIVAL edited by Jessy Marie Roberts (2010 Pill Hill Press/ tp / 290 pp)

BLOODY CARNIVAL is a thirty-four story anthology of all things scary and gruesome about the world of carnivals, amusement parks, roadside attractions and circuses. These stories are chock full of zombies, ghouls, ghosts and of course, freaky clowns.

My favorite story of the bunch is “Nightmare at 200 Feet” by Darin Kennedy about a Ferris Wheel ride gone horribly wrong (never mind the fact that I’m absolutely terrified of Ferris Wheels). Another favorite is “Canto Carnascialesco” by Carnell about a first date to a carnival that is rudely interrupted by the appearance of zombies. I also enjoyed “The Really Big Prize” by Robert Essig, about an obnoxious young woman who gets the prize she truly deserves.

Other notable stories include “The Fairground Attraction” by Frank Roger about a very unusual house of illusions; “The Popcorn Challenge” by Scott Cole about a man who wishes to work for his landlord’s carnival and the strange test he must undergo; “The In-Between World” by Lee Pletzers about a woman and her fear of clowns; and “Carnival of the Damned” by Shawn Cook about a carnival that is literally Hell on its performers.

As with any collection there are bound to be some not-so-great stories. “Tears of a Clown” by Matthew S. Dent is about a man who comes face to face with a clown out of a nightmare. “Ghostface and the Last Ride of Boots Gurney” by Kent Alyn is about the drugging of rodeo bulls and the zombies they become. “This Circus, These Roots” by Wayne Goodchild is about a man seeking revenge on the town who ran him and his father out years before. None of these are bad stories I just thought they were maybe a little TOO fantastic.

Overall BLOODY CARNIVAL is a BLOODY good collection.

-Colleen Wanglund


Speculative Book Review, February 24, 2011

Synopsis: “Twenty-one dark short stories about the undead, and the persons who raise them… Featuring: The Blade of Tears by Lydia Sharp, No Man’s Land by K.G. McAbee, Wrists by Shennandoah Diaz, All the World a Grave by Michael McClung, Blood on the Beach by Anne Michaud, The Scarlet Cat by Rebecca Lloyd, The Mortician’s Secret by Kelley Frank, The King’s Accord by Alan Baxter, Necrodance by Darin Kennedy, The Ghost Walk by Marianne Halbert, Blood Brothers by J. Matthew Saunders, Bequest by Greg Mellor, 9 Mystery Rose by Eden Royce, In the Dark Kingdom by Brandon Berntson, Jenna’s Awakening by TW Brown, Queen of Bones by Aubrie Dionne, Small Matters of Immortality by Michael R. Colangelo, The Stoner Bride by Matthew Fryer, Sedenberry’s Pest by Jon C. Forisha, A History of the Wraith King by Chris Poling & And the Greatest of these is Love by David McDonald.”

While reading Flesh and Bone I was struck with the thought that this entire collection has the feel of a Creep Show or Tales From the Darkside feel to them. The collection contained in the anthology varies considerably. There are tales that are in the modern age as well as from times past. There is also a lot of fantasy elements aside from the obvious dealing with necromancy. While I found the nearly all the stories contained in the collection to be great there were a few that stood out.

The Blade of Tears by Lydia Sharp and All the World a Grave by Michael McClung were very impressive in that they should have been full blown novels. There were a lot of great ideas and characters presented in both of the stories. The Blade of Tears dealt with the undead attacking a woman bent on revenge as she attempts to recover a family heirloom. All the World a Grave had a fascinating assassin. The background for the character was impressive and the ending was something that I did not see coming. The Scarlet Cat by Rebecca Lloyd was a cross between classic Stephen King and Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell. After reading the story I thought she outdid King in many respects and would love to see more work from the author.

The one stand out story that I enjoyed was Blood on the Beach by Anne Michaud. It was a short story told from the zombie’s prospective as the zombie is semi-aware and not as brain dead was we are led to believe. When Michaud has the zombie looking for a hiding spot to avoid the soldiers had me chuckling.

Flesh and Bone: Rise of the Necromancers is not a collection that I would pick up on my own as it is not something that I tend to go after when I look for a new book, but I am glad that the publisher sent me the collection as it was a lot of fun to read and gave me a chance to read several talented authors that I had never encountered before. If you love the undead and those that raise them from their eternal rest then this the perfect collection for you. I wish that I had received this anthology around Halloween because it is a great collection for that time of year.

Plot 8 / Characters 7 / Style 7

Overall 8/10

(Imported from original website)

About Darin Kennedy

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