“Talley is wonderful at crafting suspense.” –Kirkus Reviews
Hello, and welcome to my website. My name is Brett J. Talley and I’m the Bram Stoker Award Nominated author of That Which Should Not Be, He Who Walks In Shadow, The Void, and numerous other novellas and short stories. Here you’ll find reviews of my books, updates on what I’m doing, my published short stories, and my reviews of books and horror movies.
Stay awhile, but remember. There is darkness in this world. Beware the shadows!
If you are interested in JournalStone, the publishing company that made all this possible, visit them at www.journalstone.com!
In the past week, I’ve finished two interesting works of art that were worth the time to review. One I liked better than the other. Let’s start with the other.
Revival by Stephen King
It’s been a while since I read anything by King, but I’d heard that Revival was Lovecraftian in tone and content, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Let me start by saying that I’ve never read anything by King that I would classify as “bad.” Sometimes the story misses or the idea falls flat, but King is never boring, his characters are always interesting, and he does not fail to keep your attention. But I have to say, Revival was trying at times. And once again, not because it was bad. I was just…off. The horror is a slow burn. A very slow burn. You might even say that the horror doesn’t really get going until 90 percent of the book is itself dead and gone. The book is Lovecraftian, but only in an attenuated way. You won’t notice if you don’t know who Lovecraft is, and you might not notice even if you do. In the end, Revival is a fine book, but it’s just that–fine. Don’t expect a real page turner, and don’t expect it to keep you up at night.
Movie Review: Old Boy (2003)
Now this, on the other hand, is a masterpiece of storytelling and misdirection. And it’s kinda like a book, since it’s in Korean and you have to read it anyway. Old Boy tells the story of a man, kidnapped and held hostage for the better part of two decades. He doesn’t know who kidnapped him–he never sees his captors–or why he is being held. And when he is suddenly released into the world, he doesn’t know why that happened either. The rest of the movie is about him figuring it out.
Old Boy grabs hold from frame one and never lets go. Every action director in America should be forced to watch it, if for no other reason than to learn how to film a fight scene. No herky jerky camera here, just awesomeness.
Old Boy is excessively violent and contains some…uh hmm…mature content, but I would recommend it unreservedly. It’s quite the trip, and you won’t forget it.
Featuring the work of Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Laird Barron and David Liss. This is the best Limbus anthology yet. Click here, and buy it today.
Who can turn that down, right? Recently, I had a Kindle book giveaway of That Which Should Not Be and He Who Walks in Shadow over on the Lovecraft eZine and I’ve got a couple left to give away. Click below, and good luck.
That Which Should Not Be
He Who Walks in Shadow
We Are Still Here is one of those movies that shows up on “Best Horror Movies on Netflix You Haven’t Seen” lists all the time. Tonight I got around to checking it out. All told, it’s a serviceable, if somewhat formulaic (at least till the end, where it reminds you that the same folks responsible for The House of the Devil made it), ghost story with enough fears and chills to keep you interested.
Annie and Paul have moved to the remote countryside after their son’s tragic death in a car accident. But it doesn’t take long before Annie begins to feel an otherworldly presence that she believes might be the undead spirit of her son. When two friends and their children visit to see if they can give comfort/figure out what’s going on, things get hairy.
The great thing about this movie is that it hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. The already short running time of less than 1:30 flies by. The story has enough twists to differentiate it from the standard haunted house fare, but don’t expect anything earth shattering. Which is not to say the movie isn’t creepy. It is, at times very much so. If it has a downfall, it’s that it shows the big bad a little too soon and a little too much. Favorite part? Probably the seance. The move is off and running at that point, and it’s a wild ride.
Well worth your time on a lazy Saturday night.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 based on the last thirty minutes, which separates it from the pack (and provides a delightful amount of gore).
The Irish have taken over from the Japanese the mantle of cutting edge horror. The Hallow is another in a line of strong, independent horror films set in Ireland, with a powerful mix of body horror and traditional Irish folklore. It’s also another in a long tradition of “why do people never listen to their new neighbors?”
Our two heroes are husband and wife (I honestly don’t remember their names) who’ve moved to the Irish countryside to do…something. It’s unclear exactly what they are doing, but it has something to do with the forest. I’m sure this was explained during the film and I just missed it, but it didn’t strike me as particularly important. But I digress. Most of the locals are unhappy with their presence, and one neighbor in particular is keen to warn them about the fairy folk wandering the nearby woods. No one listens of course, and weird things start to happen, all focused around the couple’s young child. Before long we are dealing with changlings, parasitic microbes, woodland creatures of dubious character, and general insanity. And the twist at the end, pretty cool and unexpected.
A pretty good way to spend an hour and a half, if not the best movie I’ve ever see. A good argument for clear cutting forests, but the Ireland tourist board is probably less than pleased.
4 flaming scythes.
Check it out.
I started reading horror by the time I was ten or so. For anyone who knows me, this probably explains much. I stumbled across my first Lovecraft story, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” by t…
Source: The Lovecraft eZine: Interview With Mike Davis
It doesn’t really matter what you write–books, articles, blog posts, Yelp reviews–somebody is going to hate it. And sometimes, a lot of somebodies. So when you get a review from a reader who really “gets” what you were trying to say, it’s worth sharing. Here’s just such a review. Enjoy.
In the world of Lovecraftian horror, there is no more recognized or trusted name than the Lovecraft eZine. So to see He Who Walks in Shadow listed among their ten best novels of 2015 is a real honor. Check out the link, and buy some of these books! You can’t go wrong.
Check out Munkstein if you are curious.
Before Graeme Reynolds’ excellent High Moor series, I wasn’t a fan of werewolves. But Reynolds made a believer out of me, and so I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing in lycanthrope fiction. So when I saw that Glenn Rolfe had penned a book called Blood and Rain and when I saw that it had a giant werewolf on the cover, I knew I had to check it out. I was not disappointed.
It’s been years since the “Full Moon Monster” terrorized the unsuspecting residents of Gilson Creek, Maine, leaving death and destruction in its wake. But time has not dulled the memory of some in the town, including the sheriff who may know more about the true nature of the beast than he is willing to admit. Now the full moon is rising again, and the sleeping beast prepares to awaken. Who will live? Who will die? And who will join the ranks of the werewolf?
There’s little that’s more difficult than to take a known trope and make it interesting and new, but Rolfe pulls it off. And he does so by focusing his efforts on the human characters that are hunted by the monster. By the time the full moon rises, we know Gilson’s Creek. We know the people who live there, who frequent Mel’s Diner, who spend lazy afternoons at the lake. And so when they are in danger, we care. We have a great villain to root against, and heroes to cheer for. Many more experienced, more celebrated writers could learn from Rolfe.
If you love werewolves, you’ll love Blood and Rain. But make no mistake, this is a book that any fan of horror could enjoy. So check it out. And when the full moon rises, lock your doors.
The year’s started off with a bang. First, He Who Walks In Shadow made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award. Doesn’t make it a nominee yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. And a number of end of year best lists included HWWIS in their ranks. I’ve listed them below. Check them out. You could do worse for a reading list for the next year.
Glenn Rolfe Scribbles Madness
Brett J. Talley’s He Who Walks in Shadow was a great supernatural adventure that was part Robert Langdon, part Indiana Jones, and all awesome! Not so much a horror story, but a lot of fun!
Horror After Dark
The sequel to That Which Should Not Be was anticipated with all kinds of excitement, but Talley manages to exceed them all with an intelligent expansion of his established universe. He lovingly re-creates scenes from the early parts of the twentieth century, yet unlike many of Lovecraft’s works, his styles remains eminently accessible. Talley also does not shy away from describing the horrors his characters find on their journey across much of Europe (and beyond), and at one point he pokes a little fun at the master when one of the characters acknowledges that another contemporary writer had the “inability to describe properly the things he has seen”. Pure gold.
This epistolary novel, collecting a series of journal entries, chronicles a suspenseful race against time and the Old Ones, is so much more than just another Mythos rehash/re-imagining. Infusing his tale with both real and weird history (The Russian Revolution/The Tunguska Event), brilliant characters and a real sense of dread, Talley has done something incredible…..he’s not only given life to the Mythos….under his guidance, it is evolving.
Highest possible recommendation.
The Passionate Foodie
And of course, it wouldn’t be fair to include the Best Of lists without also including a WORST OF list, my favorite distinction of the year. Can’t win them all.
Writing About Books
I have read works by Talley before (see my review of The Void here), so when this book came up as an offering as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers, I leapt at the chance to read it. Oh Lordie! Bearing in mind the overall problems I’ve had with reading in general recently, and niche markets in particular, it is no surprise that I had issues with this book.
Little did I know when I put my name forward, that this is the sequel to Talley’s THAT WHICH SHOULD NOT BE. Dr. Carter Weston continues the fight to contain “The Old Ones” and act as a guard to the barrier keeping them from wiping out humanity. His daughter, Rachael Jones, joins him after working with Henry Armitage to rescue Carter from the Nazis. There is plenty of change in terms of narration – the story is told from various standpoints, including individual journals and other documents, and several key scenes from Weston’s past adventures. In this novel, the focus is on Nyarlathoep –a guardian set upon awakening “The Old Ones” and freeing them from their slumber.
The blurb and the setup of the novel attracted me, and I should have enjoyed things. However, this became virtually impossible to finish – I really didn’t care for anyone well ahead of the ending, so I am ashamed to admit this was a DNF.
The High Moor saga is one of those rare series where each book is better than the last. Graeme Reynolds is a man who loves his werewolves, but he likes them visceral and dangerous. If you’re tired of teen angst and sexy wolves, this is the series for you. And Blood Moon is the best yet.
The werewolves have been exposed, and you can imagine the response by the non-wolf public. Our heroes are hunted, not only by the government that wants to understand and take advantage of their secrets, but by the leaders of the pack who blame them for ripping away the veil of secrecy that had protected the other werewolves. At the same time, people who live ordinary lives—except, you know, for once a month—are now targeted for extermination. And it’s all coming to a head where everything started—the village of High Moor.
Heavy, right? Reynolds is no slouch, and he infuses in what could be a standard werewolf yarn serious issues that any reader will recognize. Illegal immigration, terrorism, government overreach and oppression. It’s all there.
The verdict? A fitting ending to my favorite werewolf saga of all time.
Acclaimed horror novelist Glenn Rolfe has released his Best of 2015 list, and He Who Walks In Shadow has made the top 10! Who am I kidding, it actually made the Top 3. Rolfe has one of the best horror novels of the year in his own right, Blood and Rain, and any fan of the genre–especially if you like your horror with some werewolf bite–should check it out. But first, take a look at his site. Here’s what he had to say about me.
He Who Walks in Shadow is author Brett J. Talley’s follow-up to That Which Should Not Be. Do you need to read the latter to get into this new one? No. I think the story is compelling and the characters written well enough to introduce you to them even if for the first time.
In this adventure, taking place in 1933, we follow Carter Weston, Henry Armitage, and Carter’s daughter, Rachel Jones. They are out to prevent the end of the world as we know it. Their number one adversary, Nyarlathotep, is a god of darkness who wishes to vanquish our people to bring forth his own.
Along the way our trio meets others willing to join in the crusade, and are also in a race against one of Carter’s old (human) nemesis, Erich Zann. Who will survive? Can this ancient evil be thwarted?
He Who Walks in Shadow is one of the best books of 2015. Part supernatural horror, part Robert Langdon meets Indiana Jones, this is a terrific adventure story about a group of people willing to sacrifice all that they love for the greater good of mankind. While not my favorite “horror” story of the year, it is definitely one of my favorite all-around stories.
Looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the Lovecraftian in your life? You cannot go wrong with this beautiful anthology, The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft. I’m in it, but considering the company, I barely make the credits. We’re talking Doug Wynne, Laird Barron, Joe Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, just to name a few. And the early reviews rave, including a starred review in Booklist who said, “H. P. Lovecraft and his Mythos have seen a resurgence in popularity in the last 10 years, in both popular and scholarly circles, but this collection stands out among the crowd.” And indeed it does. You can say I’m biased–and I am–but I haven’t been prouder to be a part of a project since the first Limbus, Inc. Check it out, and let me know what you think in the comments.