Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: Hellscapes Vol. 2 by Stephen Zimmer

Special Halloween edition of my blog! I am reviewing the horror short story collection Hellscapes Vol. 2 as part of a virtual blog tour.

For all my avid readers (hi mom!), you may already know about Stephen Zimmer from my review of the first collection of his bone-chilling short stories set in the awful environment of hell itself.

Volume Two does not let up on the action and we can see Mr. Zimmer stretch his wings and soar with the fiction. He throws us right in and pummels us with horror after horror and torturing the literal hell out of each of his poor characters. I never felt sorry for any of them because there are ample hints that they all sucked in life and deserve everything that is coming to them. Finding out what they did is half the fun of going along with this journey.

The author hits his stride early and never lets up. There are characters and creatures in here that will send you jolting awake because they will creep into your mind and infest in your nightmares. The Crusher is one of my favorites but it's hard to pick amongst the grotesque beings since they all leave you with a chill down your spine. 

The settings are so eery and the writing does a wonderful job giving the tools necessary to throw you into harrowing environments, whether it's a rocky cliff shore or a dense jungle infested with a more terrifying version of spiders. 

The political and moral messages are back and more socially aware than ever. Let's just say that rogue cop that takes out his rage on innocent protestors is not going to get off as easily as he might in our troubled times. One of the cool things about this collection is you never know what to expect from one story to the next. Even after reading a whole volume previously, each new horror in this one took me totally off guard and I found myself flipping pages mesmerized much like the characters. It was also really haunting because some of the transgressions were even for lack of making a positive difference and there are plenty of things I can do better. There is a common thread throughout giving a diligent reader the opportunity to spot easter eggs Stephen leaves embedded in the stories. 

This book makes a reader think and scares the hell out them at the same time. What more could you ask for in a work of fiction? I have been a fan of Stephen Zimmer's writing since my first Rising Dawn Saga book and really look forward to reading everything else he has to offer. If you are in for a fright on Halloween night or something to keep you entertained during the cold months ahead, I would highly recommend Hellscapes Volume II. Go ahead and pick up the first one as well though you won't have to read it to understand what is happening in this latest edition. 

Stay tuned, I should posting an author interview soon!
Book Synopsis for Hellscapes, Volume II: Return to the nightmarish, shadowy realms of Hell in the latest installment of the Hellscapes series by Stephen Zimmer. Six brand new, macabre tales of the infernal await you … but be that you only visit these realms, you do not want to share the fates of the inhabitants you will encounter!

Included in the pages of Hellscapes, Volume II:
In “The Cavern”, a man finds his way into a nightmare, subterranean world that leads to an even greater, and more devastating, revelation.

A police officer takes pleasure in violently executing his duties and it appears to be open season in “The Riot” when he is part of an operation sent to crack down on a gathering of people protesting an economic summit nearby.  But this is an operation that is going to take a very different kind of turn, one that opens his eyes to a new reality.

A woman finds herself stranded on a high, rocky ledge, along with many other men and women, surrounded by a frothing sea in “Above as Below”.  Shadows glide beneath the surface and soon she will discover what lurks within the depths.

“Spots Do Not Change” tells the story of a man who has never had any qualms lying, cheating, or deceiving the women in his life.  A reckoning day looms as he comes to understand that his actions have harmed the lives of many others, actions that in the realms of Hell take on forms of their own.
Having spun webs of intrigue and personal destruction at the heights of national politics throughout his life, a man finds webs of another sort to present grave danger when he finds himself lost within a strange wilderness in “Weaving Webs”.

Many are drawn to “The Club” in the heart of the decaying, shadow-filled city of Malizia, hoping for some entertainment and release, or even safety from the monstrous dangers lurking in the darkness. One man struggling against amnesia finds his way to the seemingly popular establishment and its confines give him momentary hope; until he discovers the nature of this night club and those who run it.

About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based in Lexington Kentucky. His work includes the cross-genre Rising Dawn Saga, the epic fantasy Fires in Eden series, the sword and sorcery Dark Sun Sawn Trilogy, featuring Rayden Valkyrie, the Harvey and Solomon Steampunk tales and the Hellscapes and Chronicles of Ave short story collections. 

Author Links:
Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Tour Schedule and Activities
10/26 Anasazi Dreams Review
10/26 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
10/26 Shells Interviews Guest Post
10/26 Sinister Scribblings Guest Post
10/26 Kentucky Geek Girl Author Interview
10/27 Pulp Reports Review
10/28 Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Guest Post
10/29 Bee's Knees Reviews Review
10/29 Sheila's Blog Guest Post
10/30 L. Andrew Cooper's Horrific Scribblings Review
10/31 SwillBlog Review/Interview
11/1 I Smell Sheep Review
11/1 Sapphyria's Book Reviews Top-Tens List
11/1 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post

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