Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels, Short Story Collections

REVIEW: X-Files: The Truth is Out There by Various Authors

*No Spoilers*

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in a chilling collection of all-new tales of dark secrets, alien agendas, terrifying monsters and murderous madmen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

As I always do when it comes to anthologies or short story collections, I take my favorites or most memorable stories and talk about them. For example with other short story collections I’ve reviewed, I usually talk about my favorites and least favorites. However, with this collection, I just did a top five of my favorites. I actually wanted to talk about seven of the stories, but my perfectionism won out, so I narrowed it down to my top five.

There isn’t a bad story in this collection, I enjoyed all of them, but I’m going to be discussing my favorites today. So, in order in which they appeared in the collection, here we go!

We Should Listen to Some Shostakovich by Hank Phillipi Ryan

No X-Files story is complete without some Mulder loves Scully action. In this story, Mulder and Scully have left their jobs at the FBI to get married and decided to start a family. As a wedding present, they receive a mysterious painting from one of Scully’s long lost uncles. As they delve deeper into the painting’s history things get dangerous. 3.5/5 Stars

Mummiya by Greg Cox

When a mummy is shot near a college, it’s up to Scully and Mulder to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction. This story is a good one for fans of Egyptology. There’s a lot about the history and religious beliefs to dive into. I don’t want to go into this story too much because it is a good one and worth the read. 4/5 Stars.

Male Privilege by Hank Schwaeble

The CDC is called to a small Arkansas town where a majority of the male population has developed breasts overnight after the town’s Sadie Hawkins Dance. Scully asks to tag along because she wishes to study this outbreak and maybe provide some insight due to her medical degrees. Mulder asks her if he could come along as well and she hesitantly agrees as long as he doesn’t pester the locals about aliens. However, things quickly derail as Mulder goes to the local library to look into the town’s history and things more mythological may be taking place here. This one made it to my list based solely of all the sarcastic jabbing Mulder gives the local sheriff regarding his newfound breasts, and how the sheriff wasn’t offended by the jabs. Pure dry humor in my book. 3.5/5 Stars.

Snowman by Sarah Stegall

A couple of military men are climbing up Mt. Rainier tracking a lost group of military soldiers that went missing. Soon they come across not only the remains of the missing soldiers’ camp, but their corpses as well. As they continue the trek they come across Mulder on the hunt for the missing expedition as well. However, something on the mountain is tracking the group and the myth of Sasquatch may not seem so far fetched. I love stories about Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti. This one is worth checking out! 3.5/5 Stars.

When the Cows Come Home by David Farland

Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate some crop circles and cattle mutilations. Soon things become stranger as they found out that the rancher’s neighbor is a Skinwalker and controls his cattle by whistling. This story was alright, but I wish it could’ve gotten more fleshed out. Scoring this one mainly for the Skinwalker, crop circles, and cattle mutilations. It’s the last short story of the collection so read it if that’s your kind of jam. 2.5/5 Stars.

So there’s my five favorite stories of The Truth is Out There. Like I said earlier, all of these stories are good in their own right. So I would definitely check out this collection if your a fellow X-Files fan or into the weird and supernatural.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels, Short Story Collections

REVIEW: Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns by Various Authors

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*No Spoilers*

From best sellers and writing legends to the brightest stars of the next generation of crime writers, the twenty-five authors here have taken pen in hand to say enough is enough. Gun violence has got to stop and this is our way of speaking out – by showing that gun violence can be removed from the narrative, and maybe from our lives.

It’s not anti-gun, it’s pro-sanity. And above anything else, these are thrilling crime stories that will surprise and shock, thrill and chill – all without a gun in sight.

Notable Short Stories:
The Old Man and the Motorized Wheelchair by Joe R. Lansdale-This story of a retired detective who has Sherlock Holmes-like capabilities made for a fascinating read.

The Starry Night by Grant Jerkins- This story exposes how insecure the children’s ward in the hospital can be. Especially when it’s busy, and you have clowns and people in and out visiting loved ones. Gave me the major creeps.

The Business of Death by Eric Beetner- A funeral home director who’s fallen on hard times might make unethical choices if it means some illegitimate money to fix up the parlor. I liked this story, this one is one of the more memorable stories out of the bunch.

The Final Encore of Moody Joe Shaw by Thomas Pluck- I felt this novel to be so sad and heartwarming at the same time. A man who is an outcast and misfit, finding comfort in an elderly lady’s company. The ending will have you reaching for your tissues!

Mysterious Ways by J.L. Abramo- I enjoy a good private eye story, no matter if it’s modern day or 1920s Same Spade. This novel follows a PI as he investigates the assault of the daughter of the man who hired him. A father’s love can make a man make immoral decisions.

Now, I’m not saying all of the other stories in this collection are bad, I’m just listing my favorites. The more memorable ones to me are the ones where I looked at the table of contents and instantly recall the story by the title.

I thought this short story collection was worth the read for the stories I mentioned earlier in my review. However, I thought several of the stories didn’t belong because there was no murder or mystery involved.

I would recommend this collection to lovers of short stories, mysteries, and for supporters of gun control/gun regulations.

More Short Stories HERE!

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels, Short Story Collections

REVIEW: Straight Outta Tombstone by Various Authors

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*No Spoilers*

Come to visit the Old West, the land where gang initiations, ride-by shootings and territory disputes got their start. But these tales aren’t the ones your grandpappy spun around a campfire unless he spoke of soul-sucking ghosts, steam-powered demons, and wayward aliens.

Here then are seventeen stories that breathe new life in the Old West. Among them: Larry Correia explores the roots of his best-selling Monster Hunter International series in “Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers.” Jim Butcher reveals the origin of one of the Dresden Files’ most popular characters in “Fistful of Warlock.” And Kevin J. Anderson‘s Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., finds himself in a showdown in “High Midnight.” Plus stories from Alan Dean Foster, Sarah A. Hoyt, Jody Lynn Nye, Michael A. Stackpole, and many more.

This is a new Old West and you’ll be lucky to get outta town alive!

I don’t read short story collections very often, I find it difficult to jump into a new story after I feel like I know the main characters. However, when I saw this cover at my local library and saw the cover art, I was sold on the concept.

I enjoy the weird wild west genre. Two genres that are polar opposites colliding for one epic story is fascinating to me! This book has fun with the genre, and it’s an enjoyable read!

All of the short stories in this collection are good, but I had some favorites. And some stories that didn’t impress me. These are all good stories in total, but some just didn’t catch my attention.

My Three Favorites (in no particular order)

  • Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers by Larry Correia – The first short story in this collection had charm and had my attention from the beginning. The characters were interesting, and I felt the stakes were dire. I would like to hear more from Bubba Shackleford sometime.
  • The Treefold Problem by Alan Dean Foster – A giant mountain man helps a family who is about to lose their home. I felt like this was inspired by Paul Bunyan, the famous lumberjack. I enjoyed the heart and good feelings in this short story.
  • High Midnight by Kevin J. Anderson – I love film noir. This is the story of a zombie detective who lives in a sort of purgatory with all kinds of monsters and the occasional human. The town is throwing a Wild West-inspired celebration. When things start going south, it’s up to our zombie detective to figure out the mystery.

My Three Least Favorites (in no particular order)

  • Chance Corrigan and the Lord of the Underworld by Michael A. Stackpole – This short story had promise, Chance investigates a mining town to figure out what’s going on. With robots guarding the mine, Chance finds a familiar face running the operation. I think this would have been better if it was its own novel. I felt like the ending was rushed and forced. The way this story ended left me disappointed.
  • The Greatest Guns in the Galaxy by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Ken Scholes – This is the story behind the cover art. Two aliens come to Earth in the 1800s in search of entertainment. However, when greed gets in the way, it’s up to them to deal with the consequences of their actions. Another interesting premise and I felt like the two aliens that caused the mayhem didn’t learn anything in the end. They just call their friends to help them and boom, everything’s fixed. I found the ending to be unsatisfying and I was disappointed.
  • The Key by Peter J. Wacks – The English Crown hires two hired guns to protect this mysterious object called “The Key” from the Russians. With help from some of history’s famous figures, can the gunmen keep the Russian invaders at bay? I felt like this story belonged somewhere else. This was more British undercover mission than western. I enjoyed the premise and ending well enough, but the lack of the Wild West left me bitter.

I would recommend this book to lovers of westerns, science fiction, fantasy, and short stories. This collection was a perfect addition to my Weird Wild West shelf. I would also recommend this if you are looking for new authors or authors you already enjoy.

More Short Stories HERE!