WELDON BURGE

Publisher/Full-Time Editor/Freelance Writer

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Book Review: FEAR ME by Tim Curran

August 10, 2011

Tags: horror fiction, book review, Tim Curran

Tim Curran is a revered horror writer, the author of the novels Hive, Skin Medicine, Dead Sea, The Devil Next Door, Resurrection, and Biohazard. His latest novel, Fear Me, has just been published by Delirium Books.

The short novel is set in Shaddock Prison, a maximum security facility housing some of the most vicious, hardened criminals in the country, including the protagonist, Romero. When Romero gets a new cellmate, Danny Palmquist, he assumes the scrawny blonde kid won’t last in the hell that is Shaddock—but, he doesn’t know Danny’s dark secret and his own brand of “hell”. Whenever Danny is hassled or harmed, Danny’s brother takes bloody revenge on his oppressors. Despite the bars and walls, there is no escape from the horror unleashed every night as Danny sleeps. And the deaths are supremely gruesome.

Curran steers clear of prison clichés here, yet successfully immerses the reader in the rigors and inhumanity of prison life. As the lead character, Romero is a believable, complex character, but he is far from the convict with the heart of gold. He intercedes in defense of Danny, although it is likely to mean his own death, even before he discovers Danny’s true nature. But, even then, Romero’s motives are largely self-serving and more out of a sense of fairness than any real concern for Danny’s well-being. In Curran’s deft hands, the characters are well-defined, and the plot—while outlandish and horrifying—is ultimately thrilling and satisfying.

Many of Curran’s stories, while not Cthulhu Mythos pastiches, often contain Lovecraftian undertones. Fear Me is no exception, and is certainly not for the faint of heart—the novel is filled with brutal violence, gore, slime, and ever-heightening suspense until the incredible climactic scenes. This is a must for Curran fans—or anyone who loves a fast-paced horror yarn!


(A version of this review was also published in the August 2011 issue of Suspense Magazine.)

Watch Out Janet Evanovich—Here Comes Starr Reina!

August 6, 2011

Tags: suspense fiction, Suspense Magazine, Starr Reina




Besides being an accomplished author of suspense novels and thriller stories (mostly dealing with crime, with a sly mix of humor), Starr Reina is also an Executive Editor for Suspense Magazine. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. Starr has won three ‘Best Speaker’ awards as well as ‘Best Evaluator’ at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She was a co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, a weekend long event. She is represented by the Cliffhanger Literary Agency.

Reina has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series. The first is In the Name of Revenge and the second, Deadly Decisions. A third in the series is being penned as you read this. Reina is also the author of the young adult novella Cruel Whispers and its sequel novel Cruel Past.

Despite Starr’s busy schedule, she was happy to grant me the following interview. Enjoy!

Weldon Burge (WB): What do you find the most challenging as Executive Editor for Suspense Magazine? The most rewarding?

Starr Reina (SR): The most challenging I would have to say is poorly edited stories before they're submitted to us. I don't mean the paltry punctuation errors, but blatant misspelled words, misappropriate usages, and terrible formatting. The most rewarding? Well, I'd have to say everything else. I'm able to read the reviews, interviews, articles and stories first! The #1 reward is being part of such a fabulous magazine with a great team.


WB: You not only cohosted Suspense Radio Live with John Raab, but you were interviewed. What did you learn from these experiences?

SR: Both experiences were a lot of fun. I was able to speak with some great authors. I learned many things from various persons, such as how they write (style), their marketing endeavors, and much more. During my interviews, I was able to share some of the same information and it was a good feeling. Not to mention how my training from being in Toastmasters really helped.


WB: Coffee or tea or hot cocoa?

SR: Anyone who knows me can answer this question. Coffee, most definitely—but I do enjoy the occasional hot tea (or iced) and hot cocoa in front of a roaring fire in the winter in Big Bear.


WB: In your novels, In the Name of Revenge and Deadly Decisions, the first two books in your Ivanovich series, we have Pavel Ivanovich, a Russian heavy, and Italian mobster Carlo Mancini. How did you research to develop these two characters?
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