Finally! A writer working within the small horror press that is deserving of all the praise he has been getting!

There are others, sure. John Little and Kealan Patrick Burke come immediately to mind. And I'm not talking about those that have their feet planted in both the small press and the mass market. But it is increasingly difficult to discern what is the real good stuff out there and what is hyped by friends. I've seen a lot of you-wash-my-back-I'll-wash-yours going on. And I guess it's tough when someone gives a nice blurb or pens a glowing Introduction for you and then hopes for reciprocation. Like Heinlein once wrote in Farmer in the Sky, "We're dealing with human beings here, not Saints".

But I sat down here to write about Greg F. Gifune and The Bleeding Season. And I plan to be very complimentary. For Gifune definitely is the real thing and The Bleeding Season is truly superior to not only most small press horror novels, but to anything being published today, regardless of the publisher.

I heard that The Bleeding Season is along the lines of King's The Body/Stand By Me, or perhaps Summer of Night. I don't think that's quite accurate. But The Bleeding Season is one hell of a book in its own right.

Once upon a time there were five true boyhood friends. They had different personalities, but they became close as only preteens seem to be able to get. One of them is tragically killed in a freak car accident. This is extremely painful to the rest, but none could have forseen the long-ranging legacy of evil that would come to pass because of it.

Decades later, another of the gang commits suicide and leaves a tape recording with a cryptic confession. Possibly the deceased had been responsible for a lot of bloodshed. The survivors begin having terrible dreams and visions and they are compelled to investigate the hidden life of the friend they believed they knew. The trails leads to broken lives and buried secrets. And unimaginable horror.

The characters in The Bleeding Season are not exactly the most lovable that I've ever read. They're all damaged individuals. All are underachievers and all are bitter about it. They tend to be overly confrontational and quick-tempered. But these faults make them fascinating creations and they are also an important part of the story.

I honestly can't remember the last time I read a new author that gave me as much excitement that Greg F. Gifune has given me. Sure, he's been around for some time, and I'm late in the game in catching up with him and his work. Most of it was available in expensive hardbacks before Delirium Books started its trade paperback line and I wasn't about to shell out the dough for an untested writer. But The Bleeding Season would have been worth every penny of the average signed and limited hardcover. And if the resolution of the story wasn't quite as satisfying as the buildup, well, that's something that can be said about nearly every writer's work at some point or another.

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