Category Archives: First Rule of Book Club?

Book News & Book Reviews

First rule of #CoffinHop Book Club? Don’t go out in the woods… or in that cabin… Anne Michaud’s HUNTERS TRAP!

First rule of #CoffinHop Book Club? Don’t go out in the woods in the dead of winter! And you sure as shit don’t drag your little brother into that creepy fucking solitary cabin, just sitting there in the middle of the snowbound mountain pass. That is just asking for trouble, man. Asking for it.

Fortunately for us readers, in Anne Michaud’s tense, chilling (in setting and tone) and magnificently terrifying new book – HUNTER’S TRAP – the Mulligan boys ignore that advice when searching for their missing father and his hunting buddies as the first big snowfall hits in the treacherous mountain nightmare that may just become their final resting place.

Filled with edge-of-your-seat suspense, thrill-a-minute terror, and horror beats that Stephen King himself would be jealous of, HUNTER’S TRAP is a masterful blending of familial strife, brotherly love, small-town creepiness and supernatural fear that will have you turning pages almost as fast as your heart will be pounding while reading them.


“Ghosts don’t believe in you, either.”

Seventeen-year-old Dayton Mulligan is stuck looking after his little brother Jeremy when their father goes off on his annual hunting trip. But when Dad’s last phone call ends in a shotgun blast, it’s enough to send both boys out into a blizzard to search for him.

Caught in the killer weather, Dayton and Jeremy take refuge in an abandoned hunting cabin, which isn’t as empty as it first seems. A ghost inhabits its walls and promises to reveal the truth behind their father’s disappearance, but the brothers doubt their host’s sincerity as the spirit demonstrates its hatred for anyone who trespasses on its land.

Far from the safety of civilization, Dayton must swallow his fears, fight for himself and for his family before it’s too late and Hunter’s Trap claims them all, forever

Tense, taut and terrifying, yet full of dramatic weight and beautiful characters, HUNTER’S TRAP is well worth a buy.  Pick it up at AMAZON or look for it on Anne Michaud’s site (also a #CoffinHop per)

Stay cool and stay Hoppin’, and remember to enter the #COFFINHOP DEAD POETRY SLAM for your chance to win a plethora of dark poetry, and comment on any of my posts to be entered to win the Mystery Swag Bag!

First Rule of #CoffinHop Book Club? Don’t open that box! J. Parypinski’s PANDORA

I’ve been somewhat sidelined by treacherous little monsters, befouling my carpets and screaming blue murder in the middle of the night. Bloody stomach flu…. frickin fracken kids…

So, since we missed out on Pumpkinpalooza yesterday, I thought I’d offer up a special Monday morning throwback for #CoffinHop Day whateverthefunkthisis.

Here’s one of my favorites from the vaults detailing the excellence of one of our #CoffinHop originals…

First Rule of Book Club? Don’t open that box! J. Parypinski’s PANDORA

There’s something in the basement of Maria’s new house—something dark and primeval that made the previous owner commit suicide. It has infected the town of Sickle Falls, giving its inhabitants nightmares of a dark, fanged spirit that thirsts for blood. When Maria finds a mysterious ivory box buried in the bowels of her house, she must unearth its secrets before whatever is inside escapes and destroys them all.

So yesterday I handed over control of the channel to an incredible young writer by the name of Joanna Parypinski. I first made Jo’s acquaintance in 2011, as one of the hundred-some authors involved in the inaugural COFFIN HOP. As the year progressed and the group began working on the  Coffin Hop: Death By Drive-In anthology, Miss Parypinski won me over with her story submission for that book – a tale of empowered femininity and bravery in the face of a chaotic machine-on-a-rampage slaughterhouse – and later proved herself an excellent editor as well.

Suffice it to say, I was quite interested to see what her debut novel held in store, and was first in line to grab a copy when it dropped. Hot damn, was I glad I did.

PANDORA is the kind of book King and McCammon and the like used to write in the 80’s, the kind of book that made horror the go-to genre it has become. I have no doubt that there will be endless comparisons to King, as there are with most emerging horror writers, but Parypinski has earned it. This book is well-crafted and planned out, with the kind of scattered-seed style of character introduction favored by the aforementioned legends. Written in a loose 3rd person narrative, PANDORA follows a hopelessly depressed almost-Chef named Maria Vorkos and her schoolteacher husband, Chris, as they move to the small rural town of Sickle Falls. Chris’ parents live an hour or two away, and are hardly on familiar terms with the young couple, who are trying to start over after a tragedy that has left Maria haunted and closed-off. They move into a mysterious house that was home to an unfortunate and unusual suicide and an accidental death, both of which seem to have something to do with the ornate ivory box Maria finds walled up in the basement.

The book moves on to include the bullied teenage boy down the street; the famous author who lives on the other side of town; the stricken town priest; and a maniacal serial killer who believes they are the personification of biblical justice. The book also folds in historical accounts of the previous holders of the mysterious box, and a plethora of references to some very interesting Greek mythology and ancient theology.

It is an exciting, enthralling and highly imaginative read, full of horrific situations, hallucinations and descriptions. There are a myriad of horrible deaths, nasty bullies and varied stripes of evil. The characters have depth and common sense (the ones that aren’t driven completely mad, anyways) and, while there are some (fairly insignificant) flaws and minor gopher holes, this is as good of a horror-thriller as I have read in many a year. It is far better than pretty much anything I read during my tenure at a to-remain-unnamed horror digest or as a reviewer for a couple of top-tier publishers. As I mentioned, it not only reminded me of old Stephen King and Robert R. McCammon classics, it gave me the exact same feeling of immersive enjoyment; the same overarching dread as the story played out; the same concern for the main characters and nagging, incessant, undying desire to know WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AFTER THE LAST PAGE? WHAT! WHAT!

That, to me, is the hallmark of an expert storyteller, and Joanna Parypinski is certainly on the fast-track to that title. For a horror-thriller from a small press, this is really great work. For a first novel from someone Parypinksi’s age, this is amazing. She is most definitely a talent to watch, and there is no question that she will be a name to reckon with very, very soon. Good work, kid, and good luck!

The rest of you… PICK IT UP!!!

PANDORA is available now at AmazonBarnes & NobleDamnation Books

BOOK CLUB: Frederick Lee Brooke’s Collateral Damage!

First rule of Book Club? Finish reading the bloody book, you fool.

So I was asked to host a little something for Frederick Lee Brooke’s COLLATERAL DAMAGE book tour today and, while I haven’t had a chance to finish the book, I have enjoyed what I have read. The story of a war vet turned PI, COLLATERAL DAMAGE follows Annie Ogden on her soul-searching journey through past flames, current loves and a veritable minefield of questionable decisions and emotional debris. The writing is tight, well-paced and engaging, and the story rumbles along with its own undeniable beat.

Falling somewhere between mystery, romance and good ol’ fashioned potboiler, COLLATERAL DAMAGE has me looking forward to seeking out the rest of the Annie Ogden series and getting more involved with Annie, Sal and the rest of Brooke’s lively characters. Check out the bottom of this post for the Novel Publicity rafflecopter contest to win one of (2) $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of the book!


Collateral Damage Tour BadgeWhen Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancé, Salvatore? The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual. Annie’s problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her. Having changed his mind about helping her, Salvatore finds himself in a desperate race against time, the only man capable of finding the killer before it’s too late. Get Collateral Damage on Amazon. 


About the author: Frederick Lee Brooke author photo

Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes Doing Max Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage. The books do not have to be read in order. Having lived in Switzerland for the past two decades, Brooke has taught English, run a business and learned French, German and Italian. You can find him online at Sign up for his newsletter and read all about his travels, recipes, and upcoming works! Connect with Fred on his website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.






About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Collateral Damage! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Collateral Damage tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!