Editorial: Harry Potter and the Pretentious Book Reviewer

I made a social blunder recently when I disparaged Harry Potter during a family vacation. I started reading the Harry Potter series this summer, along with my wife and our 11-year-old daughter. There are lots of Harry Potter fans in our extended family. I have several nieces and nephews that grew up with author J.K. […]

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole is funny, wise, and as close to a perfect novel as you’re likely to find. Protagonist Ignatius C. Reilly is a bloated buffoon, a man-baby who lives with his mother, has a troubled digestive valve that causes him to burp and fart with great frequency, and possesses […]

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The magic of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling lies in its combination of simplicity and familiarity. Like a three-chord pop song, Harry Potter sticks in your head, causing pleasant sensations as it bounces around your brain. We know this story; an unlikely hero with a regal destiny is sent on an […]

The Croning by Laird Barron

Something amazing happens in Laird Barron’s The Croning. The hero saves the day simply by forgetting to act. He agrees to let his mind rot away (perhaps the most terrifying fate of all) while his witchy woman makes off with their newborn grandchild. That’s the happiest ending possible in this twisted tale that combines the legend […]

Rules by Cynthia Lord

We create rules as a way to manage our time, personalities, and behaviors. We make rules in order to control our lives and give order to the world around us. Rules let us agree on a common way of acting, of certain expectations being met, and of certain boundaries not being crossed. Rules tell us how […]

Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road by Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Bryan Smith, J. F. Gonzalez, Wrath James White, Nate Southard, Ryan Harding, and Shane McKenzie

 This is a good book written for a great cause; to help fund the medical bills of writer Tom Piccirilli. Pic’s colleagues in hardcore horror decided to pitch-in on a round robin novel to help support their friend. For that reason alone the book is worth buying. Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road is written by, and […]

Header and Creekers by Edward Lee

There is something beautiful and poetic about  the splatterpunk redneck fiction on display in Edward Lee‘s novella Header (1995) and the long-form novel Creekers (1994). Lee’s redneck horror pays homage to Richard Laymon‘s novels of backwoods terror as well as James Dickey‘s classic, Deliverance. Lee’s work is violent and nasty, but his pacing and dialogue are […]