(Editor’s note: DOUBLE FEATURE is a column where I read at least two horror books per month in 2020 and review them for my website.)
Released in May 2019, Dead End is the first novella in the four-book series Clown Conspiracy. Set in Colorado, Dead End follows two detectives, Shirley and Carter, on the case of a murder at a popular Halloween haunted house attraction. The investigation also faces a profit-hungry business owner and lawyer determined to keep the haunted house open during the aftermath of the murder. Forced to investigate while the haunted house is packed with customers, the detectives face at least one elusive clown who takes advantage of the Halloween bedlam to kill again. Book 1 ends without a resolution to the case but sets an intriguing table for the sequels. With Dead End, author Mallory Kelly creates two likable lead characters and delivers a treat for fans of creepy clowns and Halloween scares.
Released in July 2017, Hades’ Gate is a creature feature set off the shores of Greece. The novelette follows a group of treasure hunters who deep-sea dive to an underwater cavern hoping to score the haul of a lifetime. However, something lurks in the depths, something with teeth. Irish author D.J. Doyle delivers a fast-paced, old-fashioned horror tale that effectively blends modern adventure with Greek mythology. Hades’ Gate finishes with an action-packed climax but frustratingly ends on an epic cliffhanger that screams for a sequel. Doyle teases at the end, “You never know, it may one day have a sequel.” For fans of Hades’ Gate, I think that day has come.
October’s DOUBLE FEATURE: Curfew by Kev Harrison and The One That Knows No Fear by Steve Stred.