D.J. Tyrer’s Blood of God

Weirdbook No. 34, page 125From Weirdbook No. 34:

“Blood of God” by D.J. Tyrer takes place on an Anglo-Russian survey platform off Russia’s arctic coast. When the survey team discovers an extra-heavy oil deposit things turn dire. Tyrer’s frigid, isolated setting conjures memories of The Thing. As the crew opens a sample deposit it transforms their mission from research to survival in this tension-packed monster meddler.

James D. Mabe’s Touched

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You don’t have to imagine the discomfort of Abigail Haynes when lawman Jim Barton stops by her place unannounced and invites himself in for a drink, a smoke, and a little chat. James D. Mabe serves it straight up in “Touched.” Barton’s down home charm draws you in like a blue-green fly crawling up the wall on a hot summer day, at least a mile from the nearest neighbor. As he pours out his spiel poor Abigail is bound, barely able to wonder why he’s telling her about the hideous Throckmorton murder scene. Unfortunately for her, she soon learns how all the disparate pieces squirm together.

Frank Duffy’s Anonymous Devil

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Frank Duffy builds a waking nightmare with a satisfying mix of specific detail and invention in “The Devil is Anonymous.” Its UK setting appears vivid and real. The relationship of its troubled couple and their technological life does too. But there is much unexplained, brushed aside by a narrative that throws the reader into a questionable reality of vitriol and mysterious circumstance. Who can you trust in this world of twisted corporate torment and virtual stalkers? The suspense and tension finally burst in a dark, bloody end that leaves you wanting more.

Frederick J. Mayer and Zhar’s Outré House

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Award-winning poet Frederick J. Mayer’s short story, “Zhar’s Outré House,” is a meld of poetry and narrative that delights in description over deed. For example: “The vivacious vixenish lead vocalist gave a fleeting foxy wink to her awaiting, appreciating, but inattentive friends situated in the darkly lit place’s menses red vinyl half-moon shaped booth. Dr. Anne du Voor, whose robust rotundity displayed how an obese form could show no excess fat; Dr. Koh Rei-mi’s, in her prime forties, physique could of been that of a young model for August Rodin and Lady Jones.”

Franklyn Searight: Excavation

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In “Excavation” by Franklyn Searight, a lightning strike in Morris Clooney’s front yard seems to have triggered something. Over the coming months the earth rises to form a rectangular bed, a puzzle with no logical explanation. Even when Morris hires a young neighbor to literally dig into the matter, his questions remain. Then, one night the answer begins to materialize in a remarkably explicit dream from a time long past.

J. Michael Major’s In the Gallery

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J. Michael Major gives readers a peek inside the art scene, with “In the Gallery.” It’s all quite inspirational as we follow an accomplished painter, who shares his life’s canvas with his new protégé—including some enjoyable asides on the ups and downs of the creative vocation—but don’t ignore the setting. This is Weirdbook, where the final sentence can shatter one’s naive illusions.

Sean Patrick Hazlett’s Mukden

Weirdbook No. 34 page 35From Weirdbook No. 34:

A dark tale of swords and sorcery, Sean Patrick Hazlett’s “Mukden” follows Captain Tanaka Hideki through a tenuous partnership with the bandit Fu Shih and encounters with the ghostly shikome, fell servants of the underworld, on his way to reclaim his honor and reach Mukden. Hazlett captures the bleak, brutal pall of war as the Japanese and Chinese battle their Russian invaders.