Category Archives: extreme horror

Conversations With Dead Serial Killers

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, HORROR FAMILY!

I just finished Ashley R. Lister’s novel, Conversations With Dead Serial Killers, and I don’t believe I could have read this book at a more relevant time. The internet is rife with controversy over the recent Dahmer series. In the newly released horror movie, Terrifier 2, there’s a dinner table conversation in which the sister scolds her brother for dressing as a real-life murderer for Halloween. Every year at this time, as we embrace the “spooky season” vibe, we also ponder that fine line between tragedy and entertainment. Our Halloween traditions are a balancing act between honoring the dead and celebrating the monsters who hunt and kill them.

In Ashley Lister’s horror novel, Conversations With Dead Serial Killers, this same moral struggle is presented as we follow two con-artist brothers who exploit the deceased for profit. Derek and Clive Turner are not the most likeable guys, but a dastardly duo who’ll keep those pages turning! While Derek feigns psychic abilities and pretends to communicate with the dead, pocketing undeserved money from their surviving loved ones, Clive’s obsession with serial killers escalates to fatal proportions. This book is unique in that we’re not rooting for the main characters to overcome adversity or rise above. We are rooting for their demise. Even as antiheroes go, these siblings are a couple of bad apples who don’t inspire much empathy on the part of the reader. That’s not to say this book isn’t inspiring. It is a thought-provoking concept; the pace was 100% perfect for me, personally, and Lister understands how to use blood and gore without losing the plot to it.

There are a handful of interesting characters who play a lesser role in this depraved downward spiral of a plot, and honestly, they felt pretty real. That tells me they were written well, no matter how small their individual parts. My favorite was Sam (and I imagine a fan favorite as well), a ghost who’s come back from the dead to haunt these assholes and set them straight!

Conversations with Dead Serial Killers is sprinkled with so many fun facts about serial killers that even if you think you know it all, you’ll find a brand new nugget of trivia somewhere in these pages. Most importantly, though, it tries hard to remind us that these murderers and their victims were fact, not fiction. It makes the reader question why we put these scuzzbuckets in the limelight… while simultaneously putting them in the limelight. Seriously… horror fam, true crime fam, what is wrong with us? Lol.

I really enjoyed reading Conversations With Dead Serial Killers. I don’t have a rating system, but since it’s Halloween, I’ll give it 5 out of 5 pumpkins. Please, do check this book out for yourself! And before you go, get to know the author below!

Until next time, stay safe out there, boils and ghouls!

Ashley Lister is a prolific writer of fiction across a broad range of genres. He’s written more than one hundred short stories, articles and academic papers, and is currently working on his 63rd full length novel. Aside from regularly blogging about writing and reading, Ashley also teaches creative writing in the North West of England. He has completed a PhD in creative writing where he looked at the relationship between plot and genre in short fiction. Ashley’s current writing is an exploration of the horror genre which includes his series of novellas exploring his own interpretation of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth, the highly acclaimed Raven & Skull, a study in the horror of working in an office, and Conversations with Dead Serial Killers, a story about society’s obsession with the darkest souls.

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You CAN judge a book by its cover – a look at the work of Brett Williams

Hiya, horror freaks! Today I’d like to discuss the horrifying works written by friend and colleague Brett Williams. This is an author who is not afraid to “go there”. Though he writes in more than one genre, his horror books tend to gravitate toward the extreme and taboo, in the same vein as Edward Lee.

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I have read three of Brett’s books to date. The first one, From Murky Depths, was a light read with none of the depravity of the latter two, High Octane Damnation and Family Business. I, myself, don’t read much extreme horror. Believe it or not, violence is not really my thing. Lol. Who woulda thought? But despite my sub-genre preferences, I DO recognize a well-written, solid piece of fiction when I see it, and Brett Williams always delivers.

What am I getting at with this preamble? Well, as you can imagine, writing extreme horror containing graphic and sexual content always brings in bad reviews, and I guess I’m tired of seeing it. I’m tired of reading reviews claiming a book is garbage just because the reader picked out the wrong type of book for him or herself. There should be no surprise that Brett’s book Family Business contains rape. The cover image is a mostly naked woman behind bars! Did the reader think this sexualized woman behind bars was starring in a romance role? Doubtful. The truth is, the entire novel is oddly compelling from start to finish whether you want to keep reading or not, and the reader who posted the bad review that inspired this blog was probably just disappointed in himself for staying glued to the whole thing! What a sicko! Hahaha. I joke, I joke.

Anyway, I’m here to shout from a mountain top (or from my couch) that you absolutely CAN – in fact SHOULD – judge a book by its cover before you dig in. If there’s a lot of sexuality and blood, or if it’s named “Lucifer’s Whore” for instance, and you still decide to open up those pages and start reading, you just forfeited your right to leave a terrible review based on graphic content, in this blogger’s opinion.

So… there’s my two cents. Seems obvious. I don’t buy a thong swimsuit and complain it shows too much butt cheek. Use your brains, folks. Buy the books you’re likely to enjoy. In fact, here are some covers for books written by Brett Williams. Please, JUDGE THEM accordingly and then decide… do you want to know what’s inside? (I bet you do NOW. Lol.) 🙂

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To find out more about this author, please visit: http://brettwilliamsfiction.com

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