Cavallaro's Cavalcade of Carnage
That's a good question. I will attempt to answer it.

For this month, I challenged myself to read ALL of the books that I received at StokerCon. I got 13 books from the convention, and I read all of them except one. Close enough right?

In order to be consistent with my monthly column, I'll also pick out the worst book from StokerCon. I know...I'm mean aren't I?

Here are the grades:

1: THE MURDER OF JESUS CHRIST by John R Little. **A** Wow.
2: THE BONE WEAVER'S ORCHARD by Sarah Read. **C** "C" May be a little harsh for this book, as I love the story idea. But I do remember wanting to skim through it, which is never a good sign.
3: THE RUST MAIDENS by Gwendolyn Kiste. **B** Deserving of the Stoker win for first novel.
4: MEERKAT PRESS SAMPLER, anthology. **D**
5: THE DARK GAME, Jonathan Janz. **C** This surprised me, as I'm a big Janz fan.
6: THE FEARING, BOOK ONE by John FD Taff. **C** I expected to like this one more too, as I LOVE Taff's collection, LITTLE BLACK SPOTS.
7: THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD by Jeremy Wagner. **B** Another great Splatterpunky heavy metal opus for those that like that type of thing.
8: DRACUL by Dacre Stoker/JD Barker. **D**
9: HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. **B** Great premise for a horror novel!
10: ROTTERS by Daniel Kraus. **A**
11: THE CHALK MAN by CJ Tudor. **B** For the Gillian Flynn fans.
12: STOKERCON SOUVENIER ANTHOLOGY, various. **B** A few good stories in here.


WORST OF THE MONTH (tie): MEERKAT PRESS SAMPLER and DRACUL

The mistake that Meerkat Press has made with this publication is assuming that readers LOVE novel excerpts. Unless I'm totally off here (possible), readers would be more impressed with your stable of authors if you just gave them short stories from those writers and then just advertise for the upcoming novel. Publishers seem to think that excerpts are what trailers are for movies. But they aren't, because movie trailers are like a highlight reel for films and book excerpts usually just give you the first chapter of a book. That would be like a movie trailer just showing you the first 2 minutes of a movie. Doesn't work for me. Plus, the few stories in here weren't impressive either.

DRACUL is a totally different scenario. For lots of readers, this would be an "A." It's written in a classic literature style that is really just NOT MY THING. I feel that the plot moved along at a snail's pace, but without really interesting characters to keep me occupied while waiting for something to happen.

drum roll

BEST OF THE MONTH (tie): THE MURDER OF JESUS CHRIST and ROTTERS

After buying this book from Mr. Little, he told me that he thinks that THE MURDER OF JESUS CHRIST is the best book he's ever written. That is something a writer would typically say BEFORE you give them your money. He was taking a big risk by telling me AFTER he sold the book to me, since he knows that his novel THE MEMORY TREE is a book that is very near and dear to my heart. And you know what....he may actually be right. The only thing that could keep this book off of everyone's "best of" lists at the end of the year is if it doesn't get read. It's not my style to give away plot points, but I will say that this book is a genre bender. I've never read anything like it. And you haven't either.

I've had Daniel Kraus' ROTTERS on my radar for a while now, but never pulled the trigger on it. Then two things happened, 1: a dealer had a nice hardcover (deckle edges!) and 2: Mark Sieber told me to read it. I assumed it was a zombie novel because of the title. Then as I read, I realized that this is a book that might not have any peers in YA fiction. It's part coming-of-age story, but quickly gets dark and is genuinely unsettling in spots. The story takes a few left turns along the way, which only make it quirkier and darker as the story moves along. Plus, the protagonist is expertly drawn by Kraus, which is very important in a story like this one. This was my first time reading Kraus but not my last

Reviews by Jason Cavallaro
jcavallaro42@gmail.com
Twitter: @pinheadspawn


Written by Jason Cavallaro

1391 Comments

Linear