Slime City Massacre part 1

The first Diabolical Radio show since December. Kicking it off with guests Greg Lamberson, Robert Sabin, and Debbie Rochon in part one of a possible three part series. Another special treat is author, Jeff Strand co-hosting with Krist.

Diabolical Radio is no longer a part of Blog Talk Radio.


Review: TRADE SECRETS by Ray Garton

I was first introduced to Ray Garton when I became a member of the Leisure Horror Book Club. The first two books I received were Bryan Smith’s THE FREAKSHOW, and Ray Garton’s NIGHT LIFE. I put them on a book shelf, knowing I would return to them at a later date, I was reading a lot of Richard Laymon and Bentley Little at the time, so I decided to save them when I took a break from those others. See, when I discover an author I’m not familiar with, I read a lot of their books in one large cluster, and then move on to something else, coming back to said author and reading two or three in a row again. It’s how I do it, I’m not sure if that’s odd or what, but that’s just how I roll.

Anyway, flash forward a couple years. My family and I moved to a new a house, and I had the dreadful task of packing/unpacking all of my books. While going through them and putting them in order by author, I realized that I had four Garton books that I hadn’t even read yet. So, I decided to read NIGHT LIFE, finally. I was hooked instantly, but knew right away it was a sequel to a book he’d written back in the eighties. Finally, after a crucial character was killed, I closed the book and said I have to go read LIVE GIRLS before I move any farther. And, I did.

I haven’t stopped reading Ray Garton books since. This brings me to my review of TRADE SECRETS.
Amazon’s plot rundown:
One rainy night, Gerry Brady discovers a beautiful woman with heartbreaking eyes hiding in his garage. The moment he sees her, he is struck by an involuntary thought he does not understand: I've found you. She is a woman in danger. He does not understand why he feels so powerfully drawn to her, but he feels compelled to help her, even though doing so puts his life and the lives of his friends in jeopardy. Gerry's relationship with Kendra draws him into a conspiracy too horrifying to believe...a conspiracy rooted in his own past. As he falls in love with a woman he doesn't know, he learns more about himself than he ever suspected. TRADE SECRETS is a riveting, emotional thriller that features the most memorable and terrifying villain Ray Garton has ever created.

The last line of that synopsis couldn’t be any truer than that. Ms. Macomber is an awfully evil minx that makes Annie from Misery look like Betty Crocker. Seriously, I wanted Macomber to die horribly reading this book. What she does to an innocent family is atrocious, and Garton doesn’t pull any punches when writing it. Some people might be turned off by this, but I found it brilliant that he was able to take something so disturbing, but write it in such a way that you want more…you NEED more.

Now, don’t be confused, this is NOT a horror novel, but it is full of horrific moments. I haven’t read a book that fast in a long time. I was actually becoming worried that I was getting burnt out on reading books until I began reading Ray Garton’s novels.

If you’ve never read Garton, start with this one, then choose from the myriad of novels he has. I believe he’s published sixty, maybe more, so you have plenty to choose from. I look forward to reading his entire library. I’m hooked.


Fangboy - by Jeff Strand

Fangboy is quite the departure from Strand’s other books. Less horror-comedy, and more drama-comedy with some horrific moments. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the plot, here’s a rundown:
Nathan Pepper seemed like an ordinary baby...except for a mouth full of scary sharp teeth. Because his life began with his grandmother strongly recommending that he be destroyed as soon as possible, it's safe to say that Nathan was not destined for a typical existence. He hated the nickname "Fangboy," but nobody could deny that he was the most frightening little boy in town. And he would have adventures of every sort. Tragic adventures, like what happened to his parents. Dangerous adventures, like his encounter with the sinister Professor Mongrel. Thrilling adventures, like the part where he's on an out-of-control horse and he can't make it stop running and you think "Well, he should just jump off," but he CAN'T because it's going too fast and he could break a leg. And, yes, one particularly gruesome adventure, though it is not described in great detail. Will things end happily for Nathan? Will he bite somebody? Gather your family and your most deranged friends, make some chocolate chip cookies, and share the dark comedy treat of FANGBOY, a bizarre yet heartwarming yet rather tasteless saga that-all ego aside-will define a generation.

Strand goes about this story the correct way. The lead character is a child; so naturally, it’s told from the child’s point-of-view, but from an adult narrator. Think of it as this story had been written a century ago by someone like Charles Dickens or Mark Twain. I loved this aspect of the book. I felt while I was reading it that someone was actually telling me this story, and not that it had been written by hand.

Sure, there were a few plot points that I didn’t enjoy where they took me, but once the story ended, I thought overall, they made sense, and Strand had been building them up almost perfectly throughout.

So, bottom line, a little bit of drama, some humor, with a tad of horror sprinkled on top – Fangboy is a nice way to spend a weekend. A heavy departure from his usual fare, but if you enjoyed books like Dweller, then you should have no problem with this one. Just don’t expect a lot blood and chills; this is an old-fashioned story, told by an author that knows how to share a story.

I’m really curious to find out if Fangboy will return in another book of some capacity. He was a good character, a reader’s hero if there ever was one. I pulled for him throughout the story and would love to see if he has another adventure to take us on in the future.


Population Zero

Anyone that’s listened to Diabolical Radio knows that I was an avid reader of the books published through Leisure. Not just the horror, but the western line also. When they announced they were dropping their mass-market releases and only publishing in Ebook format with a possible trade paperback edition to follow six months later, my favorite authors took their ball and went home. How could you blame them for it? It was hard enough making ends meet in the mass-market, now to be only distributed in a flooded marketplace, how were they expected to survive? Easy. They weren’t. This bombshell was a slap in the face to not only their loyal authors, but to their devoted readers.

So, where did they go? The authors I mean. Some of them have yet to resurface, a slim few remained with Leisure, although, I’m not sure as to why. Maybe bastard-like clauses in their contracts, or maybe it’s actually not a bad place to write for. I don’t know personally. But, several of the Leisure soldiers emerged at Deadite Press.

Wrath James White was one of those that crossed over.

As of now, he has published two books through Deadite. A new print of his short story collection, Book of a thousand Sins, and the novella about to be reviewed, Population Zero.

The plot summary on Amazon is as follows:
An intense sadistic tale of how one man will save the world through sterilization.
When Todd was just a child, he learned that sometimes it was necessary to sterilize or euthanize animals in order to keep their population from growing too rapidly. It was the humane thing to do, the best thing for the environment. Yet, every day at his job at the Welfare Department, Todd sees the dregs of humanity multiplying unchecked, overburdening the earth with a tidal wave of waste, abuse, and cruelty. But if he can convince them not to reproduce, if he can convince everyone to voluntarily sterilize themselves, then he might just prevent the coming population explosion. And those who can't be convinced...
Population Zero is the story of an environmental activist named Todd Hammerstein who is on a mission to save the planet. In just 50 years the population of the planet is expected to double. But not if Todd can help it.

White is one of my favorite authors. He has a gift for writing a disturbing story in a way that isn’t exploitive. He never skimps on the gore, but it’s not there for the sake of it, or a cheap thrill. It’s all a vital part of his craft. He doesn’t pull any punches. Nor, does he in Population Zero.

The main character, Todd, has a different outlook on life than most. Although, once you’re inside his head, it’s almost easy to understand why his thought process is as damaged as it is. Overpopulation of our planet Earth. It’s happening, and when you read the statistics – which White points out in the book – you’ll be terrified. But, I hope you don’t take the route to stop it as Todd does in the book. Plant a tree, start a garden, or USE CONDOMS, not kidnapping impregnated crackheads, and forcing them to have caesarian sections. Or tricking a jobless man with several kids he’s paying child support to, to come to his house so he can give them an influenced hysterectomy.

Todd is so obsessed with saving the planet that he will go to any lengths he deems necessary to see it through.
And he does not discriminate who he chooses. There are no limits to his madness, and that is frightening.

Wrath James White takes the reader through a dark journey with Todd, and yes, you’ll like him and hope he does the right thing, but his idea of right probably doesn’t agree with yours.

Population Zero is definitely worth picking up. If you’re a fan of Wrath James White, or if you’ve never read his books before, start here and then backtrack to Succulent Prey and The Resurrectionist, and Yaccub’s Curse, plus Scabs and Book of a thousand sins.

The Sinister Mr. Corpse

I was introduced to Jeff Strand by J.A. Konrath. Being a member of the now redundant Leisure Horror book club, I had already received Strand’s book Pressure, although I hadn’t read it upon my conversation with Konrath. He told me that Strand was one of the few authors out there that did a great job of blending humor with horror. I was excited to begin reading his work. Fast forward a couple days later when I read the last page of Pressure. I thought to myself, where’s the humor? Pressure was an INTENSE book. I didn’t laugh much throughout. But, I was hooked, and had to have him on the show.

I had just come off an interview with a female horror writer, who will remain nameless (not out of fear that she’ll read this, but out of fear that YOU might be tempted to read her work), that left me questioning my own goals as a writer. She was obnoxious and very full of herself, and I decided that if I had to act like her to become a published author, then they can keep it. I don’t want it that bad. Needless to say, I never aired the interview. I had already set up a time slot to interview Jeff Strand when I recorded the dreadful interview with Lady Writing God. I was afraid Mr. Strand would be just as intolerable. And, thankfully he was not. He was a blast, although, I showed my ignorance when I didn’t realize the extent of his writing credentials.

The next book I read was Kutter – another intense story – yet heartwarming all at the same time. This one did have some humor in it, but not what Konrath had proclaimed Strand was known for.

Then came Dweller. Okay, we’re getting there. More humor, but still another intense book – also my favorite book of 2010.

So, I went back and started reading his backlist.

Benjamin’s Parasite. When I finished this book, I then understood Konrath’s comments. Strand took a disturbing and sickening story about a parasite, but somehow managed to make it an absolute comedic treasure.

With The Sinister Mr. Corpse, Strand is unleashed. The plot summary on Amazon is as follows:
Sometimes they rise from the grave, hungering for human flesh…
Sometimes they’re created by a mad scientist intent on forming an unstoppable army of the undead. Sometimes the zombie plague is transmitted by a horrific virus……and sometimes, they’re resurrected in front of millions of viewers as part of a live primetime television special.
This is the story of Stanley Dabernath, zombie. A regular guy who dies, is brought back to life as a ghastly walking cadaver, and becomes the international sensation hailed by the press as The Amazing Mr. Corpse. Fame! Wealth! Groupies! Despite his ghoulish appearance, Stanley finds himself living the dream.
But in many ways, it’s harder to be a celebrity than a zombie. The suits behind Project Second Chance want to tell him how to behave in public. It’s difficult to enjoy a simple restaurant meal in peace. There’s constant pressure coming at him from all sides--not to mention that many people consider him a vile blasphemy that should be erased from existence.

And does Project Second Chance have Stanley’s best interests in mind, or is the real reason behind his reanimation something much more...sinister?

Sounds interesting, does it not?

Stanley Dabernath is not a successful man and he knows it, which made him an even sadder character. A pathetic failure that takes breaks to cry into a pillow. When he is accidentally killed (a glorious demise) and not until he’s brought back to life, does he become somewhat loved. This is where the story progresses to the small guy that hits the big time cliché, but Strand doesn’t recycle what’s already out there, his vision is original and welcomed. At first Stanley is humbled, if not ashamed, of his rebirth. But, then, as the story continues, he begins to absorb his own bullshit and truly believes that he is phenomenal. Of course there are those that adore The Amazing Mr. Corpse and others that fear him enough to kill him. Then there are those that know a sweet prize when they see it and want nothing more than to exploit him.

I don’t want to delve much deeper into the plot out of fear of giving too much away. But, I’ll say this. Jeff Strand threw an outstanding cast of characters, plot turns, and knee-slapping humor into a blender and hit mix. There are others out there that attempt this, but no one, and I mean absolutely no one, can pull it off quite like Jeff Strand. His writing is unique and all his own. I don’t understand why his books aren’t out there more than they already are.

I like that a lot of authors are now self-publishing some of their books on the Kindle. If you’re like me, and I know I am, there are a lot of authors out there that we adore, and after the Leisure collapse, there was a fear we’d never get them again at an affordable price. Now, thanks to Ebooks, we can get them quickly and cost efficient. The Sinister Mr. Corpse was only $2.99 and once I clicked Buy I had it three seconds later.

Go to Amazon, get The Sinister Mr. Corpse, and while you’re at it, pick up some of Strand’s other books. You won’t be disappointed.

Didn't you have a radio show or something???

Yes. There was - and still is - a radio show known as Diabolical Radio. In fact, it was going strong again until the first of the year. What happened you ask? Well, BlogTalk Radio decided to shake things up and make it impossible for their "favorite" shows to be hosted. How did they do that you ask? I can't say due to legal reasons, but I promise you, they weren't being the easiest of people to work with. So, Diabolical Radio, much like several other podcasts, left. We weren't going to sign any contracts, and we definitely were not going to pay to host our own shows. Have you noticed that this blog hasn't been updated in almost a year? Well, with BlogTalk, there was no need to keep this blog going, all the updates could be handled there.

My thought process in leaving was it should be easy to find a new host site, right? I mean, podcasts are everywhere. YES! They are everywhere, but if you look at the dates under their episodes, you'll notice that most of them are over a year old. The reason for this is they, much like BlogTalk, are trying to steal from their shows. Oh, well, back to the drawing board.

Now, Diabolical Radio is going Christian Slater in Pump in the Volume with podcast. I have taken two laptops, microphones, some audio recording/editing software, and have started pre-recording shows. They will be posted on this blog as well as shared through email(the DR fanlist is a long one), Facebook, and on my file site. So, Diabolical Radio isn't going away. In fact, it's coming back sooner than later with a fantastic show and guests that I will be announcing soon.

Also, look for some book reviews to be posted this weekend if not sooner. Thank you loyal listeners for not wanting this show to be dust in the wind.


JoyRide preview

Friend of the show, Jack Ketchum, has a re-release coming at the end of the month from Leisure Publishing. Here's a sneak peak for you readers.

Carol and her lover, Lee, knew there was only one way to get rid of Carol’s abusive husband for good. They planned every detail. And they thought they had committed the perfect crime. But a stranger named Wayne saw what they did, and he was thrilled. Now Wayne wants to be their friend. He wants to share the excitement of murder with them. He wants to take Carol and Lee on a road trip straight to hell so his new friends can enjoy an all-out killing spree that can only end one way….