Archive for the Book Reviews Category

Book review: 44 Lies by 22 Liars – Flash fiction from Post Mortem Press

Posted in Book Reviews, News on January 6, 2017 by Christian

This antho is kind of a sleeper, so it’s really nice to read a review like this…

The Grim Reader

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Your mileage will definitely vary with this collection of flash fiction from Post Mortem Press. I almost gave up on this book. I was deep into two novels at the time and decided to read the odd flash piece as a break. It didn’t really work for me so I left it alone until I’d finished the other books. I am sure glad that I did. I went through the book initially reading the pieces by writers who I enjoy reading and some of these stories were great then read the rest of the collection and found myself enjoying it quite a bit.

One of the real standouts is Jessica McHugh’s ‘The D-Word’. It’s a short piece about a service robot and was one of the most original in the collection, gave me a little bit of the feels too and Robert Essig also impressed with ‘Names on the Sidewalk’…

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THE BLACKENING OF FLESH “works at a high level”

Posted in Book Reviews on November 1, 2016 by Christian

Author Scott Dyson (THE INN, THE CAVE) has reviewed THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, calling it a “great horror story, very tense and original.” Dyson picked the book up at Printer’s Row Lit Festival over the summer, but you don’t have to wait for June because it’s available now in paperback and Kindle. Anyway, here’s what he had to say:

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The past won’t stay buried.

Once in a while I read something really interesting and unexpected.  I’ve been getting a bit of reading done recently, having plowed through Stephen King’s END OF WATCH (thumbs up), Harlan Coben’s HOME (also thumbs up), Jim Butcher’s SIDE JOBS (very good), Steve Richer’s THE PRESIDENT KILLED HIS WIFE (good), V.J. Chambers’ THE GIRL ON THE STAIRS (title copying of all of those “Girl on the…” books aside, a really great psychological thriller), and MP McDonald’s MARCH INTO HELL (good and interesting!). Then I read THE BLACKENING OF FLESH by Christian A. Larsen…

Sure, with a cliffhanger like that could head in any direction, but went on to say some very nice things. You can read the rest of the review here. And if you’ve already read THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, I’d love to read your review, too!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Joseph Williams: “THE BLACKENING OF FLESH should be in your hands right now”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on May 4, 2016 by Christian

Had a bit of a bad day today. I won’t go into it–we all have them, and then we shake them off, but … it makes it a lot easier to shake off when something nice chases it. And I got that today. Boy howdy.

Joseph Williams, author of BUNYAN UNDEAD and the Blues Traveler-authorized collection JUSTIFY THE THRILL had some pretty nice things to say about my new ghosts and gangsters novel, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH:

Chris Larsen is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. If you’ve visited this site before and read my review of his debut novel LOSING TOUCH, you know that I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now, but as a reader, you never know whether or not that enjoyment will carry over to the writer’s sophomore effort. Sometimes, the nuances of a particular author’s style that are successful in one book may be intolerable in another. Sometimes, an author voicing a different sort of character than he or she had in the earlier work can expose a one-dimensional aspect to his or her writing. Well, I’m happy to report that in Chris Larsen’s latest release, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, that’s not the case. In fact, quite the contrary. You can all exhale now (especially you, Chris).

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The past won’t stay buried.

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH tells the tale of newly graduated high-school outcast Jared Dix. While running a delivery for the local drug store, Jared meets Monica: an aloof college girl who immediately becomes the subject of his infatuation. Monica informs him of his house’s sordid past (which she discovered while writing a research paper about the Cerutti gang) and the two strike up a friendship of convenience…with Jared holding out hope for a little more than just friendship. Soon enough, however, Jared’s interest in his home’s history morphs from a convenient icebreaker with an attractive girl to a matter of life and death as one by one his loved ones are possessed by the ghosts of Capone-era gangsters.

As with Larsen’s debut novel, LOSING TOUCH, what makes THE BLACKENING OF FLESH work so well is Chris’s writing style. There’s an effortlessness to Larsen’s prose that—simply put—is comfortable for the reader. I wince as I write this because I know this comparison is drawn upon far too often with horror authors nowadays, but Larsen’s writing reminds me of Stephen King in that way. While most comparisons to King are made simply because the book in question has a horror premise that reminds the reviewer of one of King’s works (which is almost impossible to avoid at this point as he’s 60+ books into his career and has used basically every horror plot imaginable), in this case, it’s Larsen’s style specifically that is reminiscent of King’s charm…

Read the rest the review and interview here and then go out and pick up one of Joseph’s books here. He’s a helluva writer in his own right with a fertile imagination that will scare your socks off, and his review came right when I needed it. I guess it’s been a pretty good day after all…

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Collings: THE BLACKENING OF FLESH is “sheer daring”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on March 31, 2016 by Christian

Michael R. Collings, retired professor of creative writing and literature at Pepperdine University and author of STEPHEN KING IS RICHARD BACHMAN and NAMES AND NAMING IN J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S THE LORD OF THE RINGS, says that THE BLACKENING OF FLESH is “well done and strongly recommended” in his review at Hellnotes.com:

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The past won’t stay buried.

Christian A. Larsen’s previous novel, LOSING TOUCH (2013), told the story of a man increasingly unable to keep in contact with his world, physically and otherwise. In THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, Larsen delivers a subtle but important twist on that idea: Jared Dix discovers that he is increasing unable to keep in touch with the world of his psyche, even of his soul.

Larsen introduces his tale within a tale in an “Author’s Note”; after something horrendous happens near us, our first reactions are along the lines of “I never thought it could happen in my hometown.” Yet horrendous things happen everywhere, often to people who outwardly seem normal, well-balanced, essentially sane. There must, he contends, be a “why,” an answer that makes everything understandable; but those answers “are never simple, and sometimes, they aren’t what we think they are at all…”

Read the rest of Collings’s review here. If you haven’t already ordered your copy, I’ll be signing copies of THE BLACKENING OF FLESH at Concinnity 16 hosted by the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Saturday April 16 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can also pick up your copy at the Association of Writers Bookfair this weekend in Los Angeles at the Post Mortem Press table … or right now at Amazon.com. Yeah, do that.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

FURNACE will chill you, thrill you

Posted in Book Reviews on March 25, 2016 by Christian
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The Hummel took a helluva wrong turn.

Joseph Williams’s FURNACE (Severed Press) is like a Sunday brunch buffet for science-fiction and horror fans. It had a little bit of everything-scares, space-travel, and just enough hard science to ground the story in reality, a reality I sincerely hope does not exist.

Here’s the scoop: Navigator Michael Chalmers attempts a shortcut that lands the Rockne Hummel in a spot of space that’s so uncharted, they can’t even see stars. Think about the terror that would engender in you. You’re beyond known space-time, and the only thing in site is a hellscape of a planet known colloquially as “Furnace”.

What Chalmers and the rest of the crew finds there is, well, that’s the rest of the story, told in an epistolary style that makes the experience—and the terror—palpable. Visceral. FURNACE combines all the most thrilling traits of science-fiction and horror, and for fans of either genre, it’s an absolute must-read. I loved it.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Review: “Losing Touch reads like Philip K. Dick writing an X-Men origin story.”

Posted in Book Reviews, News on August 5, 2015 by Christian

I’m a little embarrassed by this. Joseph Williams, author of the novels BUNYAN UNDEADPARIN, and the Blues Traveler-inspired (and authorized) short story collection JUSTIFY THE THRILL, has written one of the most flattering reviews of LOSING TOUCH that I’ve ever read:

Joseph Williams: I fell in love with it instantly.

Joseph Williams: I fell in love with it instantly.

Have you ever read a book so good you were compelled to grab the nearest person, slap him or her across the face like Cary Grant knocking sense into a hysterical dame (the social norms in old movies didn’t age well at all, did they?), and demand they stop whatever they’re doing to read it so you can bask in their inevitable euphoria?

No? Well, I’m doing that to you right now. Don’t mind me. I’ll just be watching from over here, mouthing my favorite passages as you read and occasionally looking over your shoulder to tell you when you’re getting to the good parts. 

Fine. If you’re getting creeped out, I guess I don’t have to do that (my slapping arms aren’t long enough to reach you, anyway), but I hope you’ll at least consider the following earnest appeal:

Buy LOSING TOUCH by Christian A. Larsen. Read it. Squeal with delight. Then buy it again and give it to someone else to enjoy. You’ll be glad that you did, as will starving Chris Larsens across the Midwest.

I’m not prone to hyperbole and I’m aware that overhyping a book can be just as damaging as condemning it, but I can’t help myself in this case. LOSING TOUCH struck a chord with me. It was hilarious, sincere, suspenseful, well-written, and profound. As a writer, it made me jealous. I wasn’t prepared for it at all, which is probably why I’m so excited about it. In more ways than one, the book took me completely by surprise…

Read the rest of the review here, but be forewarned: it’s one of the most in-depth reviews I’ve read in a while, too. And then read some Joseph Williams fiction, too. Four novels and four short story collections, including TIMBERS OF FENNARIO, a short story collection inspired by the Grateful Dead. And yes, the Dead signed off on it, so you know it’s gotta be good!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Review: “Genuine gems” lurk in SHRIEKS & SHIVERS

Posted in Book Reviews, News on July 24, 2015 by Christian

Glenn Dallas of Manhattan Book Review has posted an appraisal of SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS, the latest anthology from The Horror Zine, which features my short story, “Center Stage Sideshow”:

Now available in paperback and Kindle editions.

Now available in paperback and Kindle editions.

A crash tapeworm diet brings unexpected consequences. Horror follows a selfish woman home from the nail salon. Something monstrous haunts the filming of John Carpenter’s THE THING. A heavy rainstorm brings a reckoning for a man who lost his wife. The footsteps of a tragic suicide victim follow a woman. A strange plague tears apart a community. Missing glasses are the least of a man’s worries when an artifact begins affecting him. A Vegas ghost haunts a woman on the eve of her wedding. Social media takes over a man’s life.

SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS covers horror in all its forms, from creeping slow-burn terror to monsters running wild, from body horror and gross-out scares to tales that delve deep into the psyche and unleash fears that haunt us all…

Read the rest of the review here. And if you haven’t read SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS yet, here’s what you’re missing:

Edited by Jeani Rector, SHRIEKS AND SHIVERS features a foreword by Bentley Little (THE SUMMONING) while screenwriter, director, and novelist John Russo (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) contributes the introduction. Pick up a paperback or ebook copy for yourself today!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.