Thursday, July 27, 2017

REVIEW: Warm, Dark Places Are Best

By: Mike Duke

Genre: Horror
Publication date: 3.27.2017
Pages: 89

Carl and Jessica are emotionally stretched thin, down on their financial luck, and stuck moving into a really nasty apartment complex after Jessica gets laid off and Carl is already on a fixed disability payment.
            From day one, they see lots of roaches in the hallways, but nothing in their own apartment.  Hoping their luck will hold, they have no idea just what kind of hell is coming their way, or what hideous secrets their apartment, in particular, holds.
            Buckle up.  Carl and Jessica are in for a nasty ride, and so are you.

Note: Not Extreme Horror, but NOT for the squeamish.

After meeting Mike at Scares That Care this past Saturday, and having a long discussion with him about this story, I decided to jump into this book of his, which has been on my Kindle for a couple of months.  (I actually started it the next day while eating breakfast at my hotel, waiting for my friend to join me.) 

Let me start out by saying that I don't particularly dislike bugs.  Now, I'm from Texas... where roaches fly... so maybe I should, but these have never been on the top list of things that bothered me.  Until now.  Two pages in and I was already looking up at the ceiling above me.  (Thanks, Mike!)

Roaches aren't the only bug that we encounter in this story, though, and they are far from the worst thing out there.

Carl and Jessica are good characters, and you find out quite a bit about them, even with the story being less than a hundred pages.  He is on disability from an injury on the job, and she is very caring and protective of him.  My favorite characters were the kids, though.  Like little adults, they were, and full of adventure.  Even though they had to benefit from what ever "good deed" they did, they were still such an awesome part of the story, especially with how quick they were to help Carl in whatever he had planned.

I wouldn't particularly call this a "scary story."  It definitely has that creepy factor - ya know, where you stop for a minute, look around, not sure if you really did see a shadow out of the corner of your eye.  It wasn't until I was laying in bed that the full impact of the story hit me.  Every time something brushed against my skin, I was wide awake, looking around, wondering.  In fact, it wasn't until the next morning, when I went to stand, that I realized just how tight I had been holding my legs together in my sleep.  Shortly after finishing the story, my left ear REALLY started hurting, so much so that I eventually went to the doctor because the pain was unbearable.  The first thing I thought, when he told me it was an ear infection, was "Oh, thank God!" haha.

The ending was particularly good, what with Carl's bond to these kids growing to another level.  I would love to see these characters again.

About the author:
I'm 44, married 25 years, and have a son and daughter who are both grown and out of the house (pretty much).  I was a cop for 12 years (and even spent a few years on the SWAT team) before getting into the training industry.  I've been working full time the last 10 years teaching military, law enforcement, bodyguards and private citizens High Speed, Tactical and Off Road Driving and Hand to Hand Combatives.  I also did a few bodyguard gigs, one for three weeks in multiple South African countries, one in Jamaica, and three for the Ultra Music Festival owner - twice in Miami and once in Sao Paolo.  Had some incredible experiences, especially in Africa.
            I've self-published three works thus far.  Two short novellas - Ashley's Tale and Ashley's Tale: Making Jake.  One short story - The Awakening.  I recently was picked up by Stitched Smile Publications and they are going to be publishing my full length novel Low in the not too distant future.

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