Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: 14 by Peter Clines

14 by Peter Clines

350 pages Permuted press

Nate finds the perfect apartment. For LA it is amazingly cheap, so cheap he is surprised there is even an opening. After he moves in he finds that only one or two of the residents have been there very long. The German caretaker is an odd duck, and yeah he has been around awhile. He doesn’t like the residents getting nosey about apartment 14 that is double locked. The basement storage that is locked down, or the odd markings on the cornerstone of the building. Some rooms have crazy lights, some never get warm and many more mysteries.

Once Nate moves in he finds out that the strange-ness of the building has driven out several people who lived in the building. Some leaving months on their lease. Nate makes friends with the people in the building and begins to investigate.

14 as a novel is many things, Gothic horror, a supernatural mystery, A haunted house story, (in this case a Los Angeles apartment building) and a Lovecraftian bizarro freak out. All those elements make for a fun novel but what makes it work are the well- written characters and perfect story structure. The three acts of the book connect well but each have a different feeling in a strong way.

I am positive I’ll be writing about this book again when I do my end of the year review. The setting is effective and as creepy as meant to be. Clines really gives the building a living breathing feeling, without this sense of place the book would have failed. On the same note the strongly defined characters are essential for adding weight to the mystery.

I read the first book of Clines zombie super heroes cross over and was impressed by his skill. 14 showed me that novel was not a fluke. He is a powerful story teller.

Would make a great companion novel to Lisa Morton’s Castle of Los Angeles. Both have a great LA gothic horror feel.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chargers Talk: John Elway in the long run is helping our Bolts!

During the first couple days of free agency I assume the fans of almost all 32 teams freak out. Either they over react assume there team is not going enough, or over react buy assuming their massive free agent signings are the key to the super bowl.

As a Chargers fan I have watched the message boards “Sign this guy!” or “Sign that guy!” All great players and if it were fantasy football it would make sense. The reality of the current collective bargaining agreement means teams have to adhere to a salary cap. If you are a serious football fan you should understand this , but it seems like no one understands.

Some Charger fans have been complaining that GM Tom Telesco is not doing enough, when Denver our main divisional rival is spending BIG. With Denver spending big Talib at Cornerback, Demarcus Ware at Defensive end, and TJ Ward at safety all with big contracts on the defensive end. The reality is these signings are for the most part fool’s gold.

Running the front office John Elway has not only pushed all his chips in, but he stopped at the bank to get a loan borrowing money to gamble even more. With a lot of the big money in the back end of the contract, Elway is basically admitting the window to win a super bowl is short with Peyton Manning who has two years to get it done. If he doesn’t it wont matter 3 years from now the Broncos will not be able to afford to keep Manning and half it’s bloated contracts.

Brock Osweiler’s Broncs will be a cellar dweller for years, I expect Manning and Elway to retire at that point. In the mean time the Bolts are building their team in a sustainable manner. Building through the draft, making small quiet moves that will help the team.

Consider the 3 year contract for former Colts Running back Donald Brown, decried by many fans as not a big deal. Consider the last play-off loss at Denver. In the regular season The Bolts beat down Denver on the road by controlling the clock through the run game. With Ryan Mathews injured and heavy winds that made passing difficult the chargers went 3 Quarters score-less before storming back and losing the game by one score.

Considering the Bolts were one score away from the AFC Championship, imagine what a difference a second high quality RB in that game would have made. A few years ago the Jets had two lock down corners so the Patroits designed the offense to go up the middle with two Tight ends. The AFC west arms race has the Broncs going heavy on the pass rush, thus the Chargers are wisely building a three-headed monster in the backfield with Ryan Mathews Donald Brown and Woodhead. Those backs setting up short 3rd downs will be key to give Rivers 3rd and short to work with. It was the reason The Chargers led the NFL in 3rd down conversions last year.

It is impossible to say, but I don’t think we would have been scoreless that long if we have Donald Brown instead of Ronnie Brown. Check out his highlights from last year’s Thursday night game against the Titans. If you don't believe me...

Stop playing fantasy football with your Chargers on the message board. Trust Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy and Phillip Rivers. We are almost there.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chapter 21 Excerpt from Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich...

Excerpt from Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich:
Chapter 21:

“A voice shouts loud: 'We'll never surrender.'

A voice in the crowd: 'Never surrender.'

A hand in the crowd's flying propaganda:

'Never surrender, We'll never surrender.'

The Skins in the corner are staring at the bar.

The Rude Boys are dancing to some heavy heavy ska.

It's getting so hot people are dripping with sweat

The Punks in the corner are speeding like a jet,

Staring at the Rude Boys...”

---The Ruts

Sonny kept expecting to wake up. It was all so unbelievable. A week had passed since Klaus Schroeder came into their lives, but it went by like a blur.

At first, when they went into the night as a pack, it was like the world was a videotape stuck on fast-forward. The various new senses coming to life were still overwhelming. By the second night he understood why Klaus warned them about losing yourself.

It was like a high. Stuff like driving, watching TV, or even walking, felt so mundane. He wanted to be in the pack, to be a wolf, all the time.

They didn't all go out at once. They forced others to sleep, be ready for the store in the morning. It was a terrible feeling. Sitting at home watching TV, or listening to music, knowing the pack was out there. Still, no matter what what he did, it felt unreal. Like a dream. Sonny never woke up.

The pack waited, down in the backyard. He could hear the faint but familiar sounds of the Transformation happening. He hadn't been with them on the night they found the cab driver. Tonight was his first real hunt.

Sonny reached in the bag he packed back at home and pulled out a vintage paperboy cap that Marcus traded him, back in the day. Sonny smelled the hat closely. He could smell his own smell, but there was the smell of Marcus still buried in the threads of the hat.

Sonny looked at himself in the mirror. “Not King Skinhead for long...”

* * The horn section danced when they could. Marcus danced all night like a man half his age. His wife Shawna had never been a fan of Oi or hardcore, so Ska shows were a big deal. Marcus put on his best suit and porkpie hat and wore his braces up. Last but not least, he shined up his three-hole Docs for the night. The Vespa scooter got dusted and pulled out of the garage, and they showed up to the club in style.

Medusa's was a house club. They did shows from time to time. Tonight, it was packed with Ska fans from at least three states. The Toasters only had two shows in the Midwest all year, Chicago and Minneapolis, before the band headed out West. They were on their encore, and everyone was on pins and needles knowing they saved the song “East Side Beat.”

The song started, and the skinheads locked arms to Chant “OI!” with the horn section. It was a daze, the last song. The dance floor swirled with old-timers and young people skanking to the beat. Marcus knew the song had about a minute left when he leaned over to Shawna. “Hey I'm gonna beat the crowd, pick up beer...”

Shawna didn't want to be bothered. She pushed him back and kept dancing. “See you at Rooster's!” Marcus shouted, but Shawna didn't hear him or even acknowledge him. Marcus used his size and height to push through the crowd and never lost his balance.

When he got to the long stairwell that lead down to the street, he laughed at how empty it was. He was used to shuffling out like sardine at the end of shows.

On the street the night air felt chilly despite the summer humidity. He had, of course, walked out of an oven. He let his braces down and searched his pants pockets for his scooter keys.

His black Vespa was the third scooter in the line of fifteen parked in front of the club. It was shined up, with five mirrors set along the front, stickers for London scooter shops and the first Specials album cover on the wheel casing. Pain in the ass to maintain in the States, but Chicago had a shop where they worked on them, near Lincoln Park. Marcus had learned a thing or two about scooter repair, but the scooter didn't come out except special occasions, and a Toasters show qualified.

Marcus sat down on the Vespa. Just as he put the key in the ignition, he heard a growling dog. Marcus didn't turn the key.

He looked up, and saw an impossibly large dog on the sidewalk. It stepped close, into the light from the club. He thought it was a Husky at first, but this was no dog.

A wolf, but larger than one he had ever seen a picture of. Everyone in the neighborhood had been on edge since the cab driver was killed. It seemed likely this was animal that did it. Marcus wondered if it was rabid.


The band stopped. The crowd chanted, loud enough to be heard clearly down the stairs. They were stomping their boots, sounding like an army marching.“One more song!”

The wolf turned its head slightly, as if it was listening to the chant. It took small steps towards Marcus, staring straight at him.

Marcus didn't know shit about animals, so he didn't know what to do. It looked ready to pounce. Maybe the motor coming on would scare it away. Marcus turned the key, revving the small motor. The wolf arched its back, like it was ready to run.

Over the sound of the crowd chanting and motor of the scooter, he heard a faint chorus of growls from behind him.Marcus turned his head slightly, just enough to see three more wolves behind him on the street. The crowd roared inside. The Toasters must have walked back on stage. Marcus shifted the scooter back off the kickstand. The wolf on the sidewalk pounced and swung its paws at the front of the scooter as Marcus peeled backwards.

There was an intense roar as his scooter slammed into the wolves behind him. He felt the hot breath of a beast fan his neck. A claw slashed at his side as he moved past them.

The scooter pulled back in the middle of Sheffield Street. Cab lights were bouncing down the street now. The light changed, a block away on Belmont.

Marcus felt a dull pain as he revved on the motor. The wolves jumped at him. The scooter squealed as it headed up the street. He pushed it as hard as he could. This was a side road, compared to Clark and Belmont, and empty at the moment. He thought he'd feel safer if he could make it to Clark Ave., and the busy bar scene. He got the scooter going to thirty-five miles an hour, and the wolves ran with him. One flanked him on each side. The lights and sounds of Clark got closer. Marcus twisted the gas so tight he felt his muscles tighten. The wolves still ran beside him.

Marcus looked up, expecting to see Belmont Avenue. A wolf stood up straight on its back legs in the street. It looked seven feet tall. Marcus turned to avoid it, and crashed into a car parked on the street.

Marcus fell back, slamming his back on the pavement. Before he could scream in pain, he felt a paw at his shirt collar. The tall wolf had hold of him.

Marcus looked back to see the burning yellow eyes of the monster. It dragged him across the pavement toward an alley. The other wolves ran ahead of them.

He wanted to fight, but his back was shattered. Marcus felt nothing but pain pulsate through his body. And he couldn't feel his arms or legs.

The tall wolf stopped in the middle of the alley. Marcus tried to stand, but sharp new waves of pain were all he could feel. His racing thoughts turned to Shawna. Would she be able to keep the house? Stay in the country? Could she keep the house?

Marcus screamed as one of the wolves stepped over him, baring its teeth in his face. He felt more teeth tearing at his legs, at his stomach, like cats with a scratching-pad. He looked up at the sky between the buildings, and saw the nearly full moon before he closed his eyes forever.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

New novel out now! Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich! (It has a theme song too!)


My new coming of age horror novel is out from Deadite press!

Paul has just moved to the big city to finish out high school, and is excited to have made friends with all the local skinheads and punks. It is the summer of 1989 and they spend their days hanging out and having fun, and their nights fighting the local neo-Nazi gangs.

Driven back and badly beaten, the local Nazi contingent finds the strangest of allies - The last survivor of a cult of Nazi werewolf assassins. A war criminal on the run, the old monster has come to America and dreams of starting a Fourth Reich. An army of neo-Nazi werewolves are just what he needs. But first, they have some payback for all those meddling Anti-racist SHARPs...

From David Agranoff, the author of The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies, comes another punk horror epic of growing up, black magic, and kicking Nazi-werewolf ass!

So this being a novel about skinheads I thought this book could use it's own original OI! song. Thanks to Rat who wrote the music and recorded it. Lyrics are mine.