Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Monster in the Woods, by Kelly Abell
Graham is a few months short of nineteen and he has not had an easy life. His mother is the town whore giving no thought to what man she allows into her life. It was Graham who saved her when one of her boyfriends nearly strangled her to death. Neal, his mother’s boss is the only father like figure he has ever known and it was Neal who taught him the love of the woods. Now Graham is on his way for a one week camping trip before he begins work for the summer. A serious storm hits and forces Graham to find shelter in an old cabin, but when he opens the cabin door he is met with a sight out of a horror movie, a young girl shackled to the floor by her hands and feet, bruised and bloody with a broken nose and jaw. Graham is determined to save her before the monster who did it comes back but he is too late. The monster turns out to be someone he knows and Graham sees himself as a savior. Will this camping trip turn Graham into something he never expected?
When They Call, by L.E. Perez
Samantha Barry had a major motorcycle accident and she died twice. Sam survived, only beside the scars and bad leg she awoke with major headaches and visions. She hears a voice in her head and the screams of children. It has been a year since the accident and she is now heading to the town of Cassadaga in Florida where she is hoping to get answers. Now at the age of 24 she is no longer able to be a police officer but is on medical leave, her career all but over. It is in Cassadaga that she meets Gabe Evers the owner of the hotel who is also a psychic and empath and it is with his help that she learns the truth. A spiritualist she was going to see for a reading is more than she seems and Sam learns about the children’s screams and why she is hearing them.
Horror in Grieselton, by T.M. Witko
Samantha Mathewson settled in Grieselton two years ago after her divorce from her husband. Samantha is a clinical psychologist and her best friend is her little chihuahua Delilah. Madame Ophelia the town’s fortune teller sees Samantha and warns her that something is coming and she just brushes it off as nonsense. When a patient Brody Fisher comes for treatment after his release from the hospital Samantha notices that something isn’t right but that is not cause enough for his being rehospitalized. Samantha should have taken Ms. Ophelia’s warning and Brody’s unusal behavior more seriously because something did come and it came for her. The book is a cliffhanger and the author advises the reader that they can find the continuation in “Unexpected Gifts”. I don’t believe that a cliffhanger belongs in an anthology so I was disappointed in that, that is why it got 3.5 stars and not more.
Gone Fishing, by Susan Burdorf
Harry Bellow is a fisherman and a gambler but when he sleeps with a married woman his luck runs out. Harry is at the bottom of the river but his affair with the married woman was not the reason. Sixteen year old Belle was a change of life baby and when her parents decide on a cruise it is the last place she wants to go. Belle devises what she assumes is a full proof plan on going to her brother Pete to stay for the two weeks but her parents are smarter than she thinks and they are one step ahead of her, she actually has to spend the two weeks with her brother and not the friend she hoped to spend it with. Pete Malone is the sheriff investigating the murder at the resort and now he has to contend with a visit from his younger sister. Why Harry was killed and who killed him is the mystery and Pete is the man for the job.
Reflected, by J. Nichole Parkins
Marigold Wilson is not living she is existing. Marigold and her husband Sid having been just getting by for five years but not living or having any fun. She works two jobs and even that isn’t enough to make ends meet. When she looks at herself she sees a forty year old woman with wrinkles, bags under her eyes and sagging skin. One night exhausted as usual she goes to take a shower and sees another her in the mirror. She is convinced that what she is seeing is not real and just a figment of her imagination. When she sees this reflection at her job in a shop she loses it and breaks a table and three mirrors all costing her her job and whatever pay she was owed. It is then that she accepts her reflection and becomes friends with it, the reflection is the way she once way before grief and debt took over but the reflection wants more than friendship and Marigold learns the hard way that things could always be worse.
Escape, by Laura Stapleton
A virus has destroyed all of Earth’s foliage leaving it like a desert. They can’t control or reverse the virus leaving everyone on Earth doomed. The only hope is to escape to other planets to ensure the continuation of the human race. Various countries are banding together preparing seven ARCs, Advanced Relocation Colonies, to send into the solar system to recolonize, unfortunately typical of humans the bureacrats are interested in saving money even though there is no idea what that money would be used for on a dying planet and then there are the terrorist groups who want mankind to stay in it’s own solar system and so ARCs are being blown up. I found this story somewhat confusing and so I am not sure if there was a book before this that I missed or if it was only me.
11:34: Eleven Thirty-Four, by L.Marshall James
A new kid in a new town and at the age of six an old woman appears standing in her doorway, naked and facing away from her. Every night at 11:34 she appears and says nothing but when an intruder breaks into the house he is found in pieces all over the kitchen and she knows it is the old woman protecting her and her parents. Moving does no good and so there will be no sleepovers and no love in her future. When Tammy her only friend finds a way to stay overnight she like the intruder is found in pieces. Life for this young girl and her parents becomes one of isolation and security. Moving to another town doesn’t help either and so how do you get rid of this old woman and why does she appear. Is she a savior or the devil.
Revenge From Within, by Kristin Durfee
A vigilante is removing the scum of the earth in an attempt to protect innocent people. A man on parole, a rapist, a mother responsible for killing her own child and the list goes on. Detective Stef Jackson knew what it felt like to be attacked by someone who just wanted her bag but left her with a stab wound in the stomach. The wound left her unable to have children and left her husband fearing every time she left for work. She is looking for the killer or is she the killer trying to revenge her own attack? Will the killer be stopped? Surprises and secrets filled this story and I loved it.
Game Night, by Miranda Nading
Ruth Moore is retired and meets every Friday night for what her husband believes is a night of Bridge only these women play poker and for money. Ruth and her husband Tom are both retired and like so many before them they have begun to get into a rut and began to feel that life has passed them by. This night Ruth finds a chess piece on her steps but she is not the only one to find one. Ruth goes to check on one of the women who didn’t show for the game only to find her dead with a chess piece in her hand. Another friend she goes to for help is also dead. Is Ruth the next on the list? She is constantly verbalizing how lousy her life is now that she is old and retired so would death be so bad? Who is killing the women of the poker game? There is a great lesson for those retired about living life to the fullest and enjoying being alive.
When the Water Burns, by A. L. Awtrey
Tomas has a charter boat in Key West and for the past five years he has not moved on. The minute he saw Kyla singing in a bar he was hooked and couldn’t leave her. Although their relationship is nothing but friendship he just needs to know she is near by. One night a man Tomas pegs as a killer for the drug cartels enters and Kyla is drawn to him leaving Tomas scared for her. Tomas has no idea that Kyla is a water spirit and cannot die. She is drawn to this man because she can’t read him and he isn’t swayed by her. Tomas is determined to protect her even if it means putting his own life on hold. The story ends in a cliffhanger which I totally dislike since I have no idea where or when the rest of the story can be found.
When all is said and done and in spite of the fact that I did not love all of the stories this book was enjoyable and well worth reading.