GUEST BOOK REVIEW by William Meikle: 31 Days of A Night in the Lonesome October: Day 20

A Night in the Lonesome October
All is not what it seems…

In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.

Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.

And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.

Author: Roger Zelazny
Illustrator: Gahan Wilson
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Gaslamp
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: September 1, 1994
Pages: 280


October 20th

After being fed by Jill, who Snuff realizes is actually younger and prettier than she lets on, Snuff and Graymalk investigate the manse where “Enderby” is living. Graymalk sneaks inside. Meanwhile Snuff has a conversation with the great white owl, and discovers that the Vicar is indeed a player, and has a white raven as a companion who has been asking questions. Snuff and the owl surmise that the Vicar is new, and late to the game and has been trying to catch up. Now that he knows the vicar is a player, Snuff’s magic tracking system kicks in and he sees that the vicar’s killing of the policeman was a ritual one in an attempt to garner information. The owl and Snuff agree to keep each other posted, although Snuff keeps his knowledge of Talbot’s ‘lunar proclivities’ to himself.

Graymalk is let out of the manse. She tells of an altar hidden inside and they realize the place might indeed be the center they have been looking for. Why the Great Detective has ‘claimed’ it, and why he is maintaining the subterfuge of disguise are still unanswered questions.

Graymalk and Snuff are becoming good friends. We discover some of Graymalk’s background, as a lost, almost feral cat found by Jill, almost the same herself, both of them longing for a different world. We’re still unsure whether they are Openers or Closers, but both seem to have a desire to mix things up. We also learn that the ‘game’ isn’t played very often, only when there is a full moon on Halloween, and when Snuff tells Graymalk he has played the game before, he is giving away the fact that he has been with Jack for quite some time.

The last visit of the night is to the Good Doctor, to investigate rumors of a third person in the house. This third man turns out to be a hulking, slow-witted thing. When he takes a liking to the cat and starts to crush it to his breast Snuff has to alert the Good Doctor to get him to save Graymalk. They make a quick getaway, having learned much that night, but also having been given much to think about.

Snuff and Graymalk’s growing friendship is very nicely done, reinforcing their closeness, and their differences. Snuff is revealing things to her he won’t tell anyone else, but he is also keeping things from her, like the identity of the Great Detective. Is this through loyalty to Jack? Or is it distrust,…or just natural caution given that he has played the game before?

Friendships and alliances are forming and reforming, the players are all dancing around each other, and the wildcards are getting ready to throw their spanners in whatever works they can.

Round and round and round we spin. It is a great world Zelazny has woven from these iconic characters, and having Snuff being the narrator while the icons dance around him is the simple, but brilliant, idea it all hinges on.

I’m absolutely loving this slow trip through it.


Boo-graphy:
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with more than thirty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.

He has books available from a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, Crossroad Press and Severed Press, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines.

He lives in Newfoundland with whales, bald eagles and icebergs for company.

When he’s not writing he drinks beer, plays guitar, and dreams of fortune and glory.

Website

The Green & the Black
A small group of industrial archaeologists head into the center of Newfoundland, investigating a rumor of a lost prospecting team of Irish miners in the late Nineteenth century.

They find the remains of a mining operation, and a journal and papers detailing the extent of the miners’ activities. But there is something else on the site, something older than the miners, as old as the rock itself.

Soon the archaeologists are coming under assault, from a strange infection that spreads like wildfire through mind and body, one that doctors seem powerless to define let alone control.

The survivors only have one option. They must return to the mine, and face what waits for them, down in the deep dark places, where the green meets the black.

William’s Halloween Giveaway

GUEST BOOK REVIEW by Armand Rosamilia: Tender Is the Flesh

Tender Is the Flesh
“Cadaver Exquisito”

By: Augustina Bazterrica
Translator: Sarah Moses

Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 8.4.2020

Genre: Horror, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 223

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.


Armand’s Review

Brutal but in a good way. Well-written, very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Not even kidding. Likely the book of the year for me right now, too. The characters are brilliant, the impact of what’s happening makes you think, and the ending will tear you apart. But hopefully not eat you.


Boo-graphy:
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He not only runs two successful podcasts…

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

But he owns the network they’re on, too! Project Entertainment Network

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

You can find him at his website for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal.

The Beast
The end of summer, 1986. With only a few days left until the new school year, twins Jeremy and Jack Schaffer are on very different paths. Jeremy is the geek, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends Kathleen and Randy, while Jack is the jock, getting into trouble with his buddies.

And then everything changes when neighbor Mister Higgins is killed by a wild animal in his yard. Was it a bear? There’s something big lurking in the woods behind their New Jersey home.

Will the police be able to solve the murder before more Middletown residents are ripped apart?

Trapped
Forget the conspiracy theories about Denver International Airport… this just got real.

When a massive snowstorm shuts down the airport and forces a plane carrying exotic and deadly cargo, those trapped inside the terminal have no idea what’s in store for them.

Can a group of passengers and airport workers band together to face the onslaught, or will they be ripped apart?

GUEST BOOK REVIEW by William Meikle: 31 Days of A Night in the Lonesome October: Day 19

A Night in the Lonesome October
All is not what it seems…

In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.

Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.

And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.

Author: Roger Zelazny
Illustrator: Gahan Wilson
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Gaslamp
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: September 1, 1994
Pages: 280


October 19th

The pace is picking up. The ‘things’ in the house are getting restless; and the ones in the mirror are congregating around a flaw in the glass that Snuff knows will bear close watching.

Snuff enters a mutual agreement with Quicklime, the snake that is the Mad Monk’s familiar, to try to make sense of the pattern that is emerging. They visit the Count’s place to make sure he is still there, and he is, sleeping, but Snuff knows that if the count moves about the center will keep shifting. We are also given the fact that in some partnerships it is the player that calculates the pattern, in others it is the familiar.

Gypsies arrive, it is assumed, to protect the Count and hide his comings and goings, further confusing Snuff’s calculations. If both the vicar and Talbot are players, the old manse wil be the center for the Halloween ritual. The manse has a new resident, a woman called Linda Enderby who seems to be friends with Larry Talbot and who smells to Snuff like the great detective. Enderby is making a point of visiting all the players in this new guise.

Another fact arises; Graymalk has discovered that the vicar knew about the dead policeman all along, and was hoping that Jack would be blamed when the body was discovered.

Is the vicar the killer? Are his ceremonies in praise of the Elder Gods a clue as to the nature of the ritual we are leading up to? Are the Great Detective and Larry Talbot in cahoots? All these questions are more could be answered in the next episode of this monster mash

Another lovely Gahan Wilson illo today, of the Count, very Lugosi-like, asleep in his coffin.


Boo-graphy:
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with more than thirty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.

He has books available from a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, Crossroad Press and Severed Press, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines.

He lives in Newfoundland with whales, bald eagles and icebergs for company.

When he’s not writing he drinks beer, plays guitar, and dreams of fortune and glory.

Website

The Green & the Black
A small group of industrial archaeologists head into the center of Newfoundland, investigating a rumor of a lost prospecting team of Irish miners in the late Nineteenth century.

They find the remains of a mining operation, and a journal and papers detailing the extent of the miners’ activities. But there is something else on the site, something older than the miners, as old as the rock itself.

Soon the archaeologists are coming under assault, from a strange infection that spreads like wildfire through mind and body, one that doctors seem powerless to define let alone control.

The survivors only have one option. They must return to the mine, and face what waits for them, down in the deep dark places, where the green meets the black.

William’s Halloween Giveaway

GUEST BOOK REVIEW by William Meikle: 31 Days of A Night in the Lonesome October: Day 18

A Night in the Lonesome October
All is not what it seems…

In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.

Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.

And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.

Author: Roger Zelazny
Illustrator: Gahan Wilson
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Gaslamp
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: September 1, 1994
Pages: 280


October 18th

Snuff is making a final attempt to get the body to the river and it’s not going well. He is disturbed by a newcomer, another dog he thinks, then realises it is a great grey wolf. He is astounded when the wolf identifies itself as Larry Talbot. Talbot is a werewolf, but he can change volutarily, with the help pf botanics, at any time, except at the full moon, when he is berserker. Talbot helps Snuff finally dispose of the body in the river, then takes Snuff tothe local church. The vicar and parishioners are in residence…performing a satanic ritual. This changes things for Snuff…if the vicar is a player, he needs to be incorporated into the mental map to determine the center. And if Talbot is a player, so too does he. Then there’s the complication if it’s only one or the other of them.

Talbot and Snuff come to an agreement about mutual aid. Talbot is unsure as to his own place in the game, as he will be berserker on the full moon of Halloween, a wild card in proceedings.

Snuff seeks out Greymalk but the cat confesses to be as confused about the calculations as Snuff is himself.

Snuff takes himself off for a think in a spot that might, or might not, be the center depending on who is or isn’t a player and, after some ruminations, and peeing on old stones, realises he’s got it figured, or at least might have, if Talbot and the Vicar are both players. There’s an old manse that needs investigation on the morrow.

Today was another one where we were given a lot of info through conversations. Zelazny never overdoes it. He slips in jokes and witticisms to sugar coat things, and never gives us everything, just enough to keep us interested


Boo-graphy:
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with more than thirty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.

He has books available from a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, Crossroad Press and Severed Press, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines.

He lives in Newfoundland with whales, bald eagles and icebergs for company.

When he’s not writing he drinks beer, plays guitar, and dreams of fortune and glory.

Website

The Green & the Black
A small group of industrial archaeologists head into the center of Newfoundland, investigating a rumor of a lost prospecting team of Irish miners in the late Nineteenth century.

They find the remains of a mining operation, and a journal and papers detailing the extent of the miners’ activities. But there is something else on the site, something older than the miners, as old as the rock itself.

Soon the archaeologists are coming under assault, from a strange infection that spreads like wildfire through mind and body, one that doctors seem powerless to define let alone control.

The survivors only have one option. They must return to the mine, and face what waits for them, down in the deep dark places, where the green meets the black.

William’s Halloween Giveaway

GUEST BOOK REVIEW by William Meikle: 31 Days of A Night in the Lonesome October: Day 17

A Night in the Lonesome October
All is not what it seems…

In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.

Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.

And now the dread night approaches – so let the Game begin.

Author: Roger Zelazny
Illustrator: Gahan Wilson
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Gaslamp
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: September 1, 1994
Pages: 280


October 17th

It is the time of the new moon, and Snuff is feeling reflective. The openers and closers will soon reveal themselves and cooperation between the players will not be so forthcoming. But there is time for one last act together. Snuff and Jack visit a lonely isolated graveyard for some dry ‘materials’. They find that many of the other players have had the same idea, and there is some wonderful comic banter back and forth as they toss body parts around between them dependent on their needs. Snuff meets the graveyard dog, who is not happy at the mess that will be left but seems resigned to it in the way old dogs can put up with almost anything.

Snuff catches a known scent. An old wizened caretaker leaning on a spade is neither old nor wizened but is the Great Detective, keeping an eye on proceedings. Snuff and Jack slip past him in the shadows and make their way home.

Before resting Snuff has to return to the dead policeman’s body and drag it a bit closer towards the river.

The new moon appears to be like a starting pistol, galvanizing the players. As the Great Detective has been making himself involved more and more I’m looking forward to seeing if he can put a spanner in the works of the Monster Squad’s plans and machinations.

I realized I haven’t mentioned the illustrations. I’m reading this in the hardcover edition with Gahan Wilson illustrations, and they illuminate the text with his wonderful droll characterizations. The one today of a moon with body parts passing across the surface as they are thrown from player to player is delightfully macabre and a particularly fine example.


Boo-graphy:
William Meikle is a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with more than thirty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries.

He has books available from a variety of publishers including Dark Regions Press, Crossroad Press and Severed Press, and his work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and magazines.

He lives in Newfoundland with whales, bald eagles and icebergs for company.

When he’s not writing he drinks beer, plays guitar, and dreams of fortune and glory.

Website

The Green & the Black
A small group of industrial archaeologists head into the center of Newfoundland, investigating a rumor of a lost prospecting team of Irish miners in the late Nineteenth century.

They find the remains of a mining operation, and a journal and papers detailing the extent of the miners’ activities. But there is something else on the site, something older than the miners, as old as the rock itself.

Soon the archaeologists are coming under assault, from a strange infection that spreads like wildfire through mind and body, one that doctors seem powerless to define let alone control.

The survivors only have one option. They must return to the mine, and face what waits for them, down in the deep dark places, where the green meets the black.

William’s Halloween Giveaway