Churn the Soil – Steve Stred

‘Twas the month before Christmas, when Saska’s blood spilled

The cops were called in to see how she was killed;

The Border was safe from evil unspoken,

Now they’re all fucked ’cause the pact has been broken.

One hundred feet of clearing is all that separates The Border from the woods. The residents of the settlement know not to cross the boundary after dark.

Graham Brown spent part of his childhood living in the settlement. Now he’s a Basco police officer. He and Reynolds, his partner, are investigating Saska’s death. They probably should have called in sick.

Those woods. They looked so ominous, as though once you entered you never came back.

I love horror that knocks us off the top of the food chain. I especially love horror when you’re not even really sure for the longest time what it is that’s going to cause your insides to become your outsides.

It’s cold, so very cold, and the snow is currently undergoing a reddening. You really should stay out of the woods if you want to be breathing this time tomorrow. Although … if you play it safe you won’t get to meet Bruiser, the best cop ever.

Under an icy snowfall…

Under a clear, blue moon…

Get your eviscerations here!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Two hundred miles north of the town of Basco sits The Border. It’s a quiet, off-the-grid settlement, where the residents have developed a tentative agreement with those that live on the other side of the clearing.

But things are about to change forever. 

As night falls, a teenage girl is brutally murdered as she flees across the clearing. Now, it’s up to Basco PD officers Brown and Reynolds to find her killer. 

But the truth is far worse than they could possibly imagine, and the more the officers uncover, the bolder the things beyond the clearing grow. 

‘Under an icy snowfall…’
‘Under a clear, blue moon…’

Mastodon – Steve Stred

Tyler’s mother disappeared during a hiking trip when he was a baby. Seventeen years later, his father, who spent much of Tyler’s childhood teaching him survival skills, goes missing in the same remote area. 

Refusing to heed the warnings of those who try to convince him his father is already dead, a determined Tyler sets off to find him. Remaining undetected by the military personnel, who have cordoned off “an area larger than Vancouver”, is only one of the dangers Tyler faces in the unforgiving wilderness. 

“These woods aren’t like any woods you’ve ever been in.” 

There’s a growing dread as Tyler hikes deeper into the woods and I was eager to find out what secrets it held. I was not disappointed.

If you’re at all squeamish and aren’t keen on bloodshed of the ‘insides are now your outsides’ variety, then this is probably not the book for you. But if your perverse enjoyment of horror grows exponentially as the red stuff begins to flow freely enough to form a river, then you’re in for a treat. This is a creature feature with guts. Lots of them. All over the page. 

On and on it went, horror after horror. 

It was dark. It was bleak. There were scenes that made me want to cringe and turn away. It was so much fun, in an ‘abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ kind of way. You will never look at a clearing the same way again.

This was my first Steve Stred read. It will not be the last.

A word of warning: don’t let anyone tell you what’s in the woods. This is something best revealed with Tyler as your guide.

P.S. I never thought an afterword of a horror book would make me cry, but then I was introduced to OJ. I’m not going to say anything else, though, or I’ll start again.

Thank you so much to the author for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

17 years ago, Tyler Barton was born in the Rocky Mountains, while his parents were on a hike.

On that day, his mother disappeared, never to be seen again.

Now, history repeats itself.

On the 17th anniversary of her disappearance, Tyler’s father is flying home when the plane he’s on disappears – in the same area where his mother was last seen.

Undeterred by officials, Tyler decides to hike into the area in search of his father, hoping to find him alive and bring him back to safety.
But there’s a reason that area is prohibited to enter and even though Tyler doesn’t care, he’ll soon find out that the wilderness can hide some of the deepest, darkest fears known to man.