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Blog Tour: Dread Wood – Jennifer Killick

Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!

The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute…? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge…

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Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.

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My thoughts: The Breakfast Club is one of my favourite films, with its group of misfits thrown together for a Saturday detention – something my school thankfully didn’t have. But Dread Wood school does, and this might be the worst detention ever because there’s something lurking in the grounds of the school and it’s hungry.

I should also state I am massively arachnophobic and reading this book freaked me out – a lot. If spiders aren’t your jam, don’t read this just before bed.

Angelo, Hallie, Gus and Naira are thrown together but they combine their individual smarts and talents as a group to fight back against those who want to hurt them and save the day, if not the school, but who hasn’t wanted to blow up at least one part of their school?

The first in a new series featuring this intrepid gang – The Loser Club – as Gus dubs them, it’s funny, smart and a bit creepy. There’s also bonus points for positive disability rep and diversity – no one is negative about the differences between them, which is great to see. And the gang do learn their lesson – they didn’t need to be menaced by monsters and crazed scientists to learn it either. Which bodes well for the rest of the series. Can’t wait.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The House of Ashes – Stuart Neville

Sara Keane’s husband, Damien, has uprooted them from England and moved them to his native Northern Ireland for a “fresh start” in the wake of her nervous breakdown. Sara, who knows no one in Northern Ireland, is jobless, carless, friendless—all but a prisoner in her own house. When a blood-soaked old woman beats on the door, insisting the house is hers before being bundled back to her care facility, Sara begins to understand the house has a terrible history her husband never intended for her to discover. As the two women form a bond over their shared traumas, Sara finds the strength to stand up to her abuser, and Mary—silent for six decades—is finally ready to tell her story . . .

Through the counterpoint voices—one modern Englishwoman, one Northern Irish farmgirl speaking from half a century earlier—Stuart Neville offers a chilling and gorgeous portrait of violence and resilience in this truly haunting narrative.

My thoughts: this book was shocking and harrowing. Between the terrible abuse Sara is suffering at the hands of her husband and the horrors of the farm sixty years before, it paints a bleak portrait of life.

The farmhouse exerts a terrible fascination for Sara, who sees its ghosts and finds it disturbing. She’s determined to find out what happened to Mary all those years ago and bring the past into the light. But to do that she has to stand up for herself and stop her awful husband from crushing her completely. He and his father have been getting away with things for too long and it’s only by breaking free that she, and Mary, can put the ghosts to rest.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Blitz: After – Eerie River Anthology

AFTER copy

It’s always a treat to share an Eerie River publication with you! This series is called AFTER: A Post-Apocalyptic Survivor Series!

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AFTER

Publication Date: September 3rd, 2021

Genre: Book Collection/ Dystopian/ Post-Apocalypse

Publisher: Eerie River Publishing

This is not our world. This is the world AFTER.

Featuring the entire eight-part novelette series

We challenged eight Eerie River authors to imagine life AFTER the world we know is destroyed by a cataclysmic event, leaving our species on the brink and struggling to survive. In each of these stories you will find a new world, years after the old one was ravaged by war, disease, invasion, climate change or mythological event.

In the caves and on the roads, through transformation and violence, and in the empty spaces left by the vanishing sea, discover the fate of the humanity that remains, both familiar and alien. Where survival is a struggle and the future lives in the ruins of the past.

This is not a collection of stories about how the world ends.

These are stories of how humanity survives.

Fans of “Love, Death + Robots” will love this collection!

Available on Amazon

AFTER graphic

Featuring Eight Original Stories:

Derelict by T.M. Brown
A Place Beyond the Storm by David Green
Quantum Rule by Jay Sandlin
The Creeping Void by Tim Mendees
Heart of Thorns by Chris Hewitt
Fading Echoes by Joel R. Hunt
Carry On by Holley Cornetto
Sin Chaser by S.O. Green

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Book Blitz: Beyond the Veil – E.J. Dawson

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I don’t know what is more enticing, this beautiful cover or the plot? Check out Behind the Veil by E.J. Dawson!

Behind the Veil - Dawson, E. J_

Behind the Veil

Publication Date: October 1st, 2021

Genre: Gothic Noir/ Paranormal Suspense

Can she keep the secrets of her past to rescue a girl tormented by a ghost?

In 1920s Los Angeles, Letitia Hawking reads the veil between life and death. A scrying bowl allows her to experience the final moments of the deceased. She brings closure to grief-stricken war widows and mourning families.
For Letitia, it is a penance. She knows no such peace.

For Alasdair Driscoll, it may be the only way to save his niece, Finola, from her growing night terrors. But when Letitia sees a shadowy figure attached to the household, it rouses old fears of her unspeakable past in England.

When a man comes to her about his missing daughter, the third girl to go missing in as many months, Letitia can’t help him when she can’t see who’s taken them.

As a darkness haunts Letitia’s vision, she may not be given a choice in helping the determined Mr Driscoll, or stop herself falling in love with him. But to do so risks a part of herself she locked away, and to release it may cost Letitia her sanity and her heart.

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Excerpt

Finola lay in a room better suited to a princess.

A four-poster bed draped in gauze shrouded the figure within. A pale pink duvet covered the slight frame, illuminated by a rose glass lampshade held aloft by a fairy cast in bronze.

Pretty as it was, Letitia focused on the girl in the bed.

Finola’s breathing was labored, her eyes twitching beneath her lids and forehead clammy, with threads of auburn hair sticking to her skin.

Letitia studied her for several moments.

There was no darkness attached to the girl, though the room’s low light gave too many shadows for Letitia’s liking. Ever wary of self-protection, she took hesitant footsteps closer.

When she stood at the foot of the bed, and was sure there were no dark specters here, she took Finola’s measure.

Finola was drugged, but from the girl’s eyes flickering in uneasy sleep it wasn’t working. Even with the morphine, Letitia could tell what the others could not—Finola would still have the nightmares.

A nurse sat beside the bed, and Letitia looked to her, letting a sliver of the nurse’s personality in.

A warm autumn breeze regarded her, refreshing though it was weak. The nurse stared at Letitia but made no comment at Letitia’s scrutiny.

“What’s your name?” Letitia asked, coming around the bed to offer her hand.

“Nurse Hopkins.” Hopkins had curling brown hair and hard dark eyes. A firm hand gripped Letitia’s gloved one, and she maintained eye contact. There was a hardness within the nurse, and Letitia guessed she’d served in the war. Not on the front lines, but she was toughened by her experience.

“What can you tell me about Finola’s condition?” Letitia asked. Mr. Driscoll came up beside her, and Letitia held up a hand to silence him. He glared but nodded permission for Hopkins to speak when the nurse hesitated.

“She has terrible night episodes,” the nurse said, “like those of the soldiers coming back. When she’s awake she cries a lot, she…bathes often but won’t eat much.” The nurse’s glance dipped between Finola and Mrs. Quinn as though she would say more, but she pressed her lips together.

“What else?” Letitia’s gentle tone, and the retreat of Mr. Driscoll’s looming form, let loose the nurse’s tongue.

“I walk with her in the gardens,” she said. “She…doesn’t like people to touch her. Appears distracted and nervous, takes to fright, doesn’t like strange men—the gardeners and delivery men and such.”

It was succinct but what Letitia needed to hear. “Thank you, could you give me a moment?”

The nurse needed another nod from Mr. Driscoll before she took her leave.

“Well?” Mrs. Quinn asked, standing on the far side of the bed, touching her daughter’s forehead. The girl flinched, and Mrs. Quinn drew back her hand with a disappointed frown.

“Please don’t,” Letitia asked, and Mrs. Quinn’s glower turned to acute displeasure.

“She’s my daughter and she’s sick.” Mrs. Quinn’s voice held a razor’s edge that hadn’t been there before.

“She also can’t distinguish who is touching her when she’s dreaming,” Letitia said, and Mrs. Quinn covered her widening mouth, gaze darting between Letitia and Finola. She must come do this often, and what should have been the comforting gesture of a mother made the nightmares worse.

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About the Authorweb-res-ej-dawson-005

Beginning a writing journey with an epic 21 book series, Ejay started her author career in 2014 and has taken on the ups and downs of self-publishing with her fantasy series The Last Prophecy since 2016. At the start of 2019, she put the series on the backburner to write Behind the Veil in 25 days, and signed a publishing contract for the gothic noir novel to independent publisher Literary Wanderlust. Behind the Veil is set for release on the October 1st 2021. She resumed self-publishing a scifi series, Queen of Spades released across 2020 and 2021, as well as signing another contract with Literary Wanderlust for NA fantasy, Echo of the Evercry. Believing in more than one path to a career in publishing, Ejay pursues self-publishing alongside querying traditional publishers with multiple manuscripts.

Ejay writes scifi, fantasy, and horror, with a dash of the paranormal. Behind the Veil is her first book with Literary Wanderlust, a romantic suspense with a touch of darkness. She also has a fantasy NA with Literary, Echo of the Evercry, and two self published series.

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Blog Tour: The Gift Book One; Eleanor – R.A. Williams Plus: A Giveaway!

A lush historical adventure that’s equal parts Gothic horror as it is tale of lost love, The Gift: Eleanor is the first in an exhilarating new trilogy that takes you from the Titanic to the trenches of WWI, and Honduran shipwrecks to ancient crypts in the heart of London.

The North Atlantic, 14 April 1912. Amid the chaos of the sinking Titanic, a young Eleanor Annenberg meets the eyes of a stranger and is immediately captivated. As the ship buckles around them, she follows him down into the hold and finds him leaning over an open sarcophagus, surrounded by mutilated bodies. She catches but a glimpse of what lies within before she’s sucked into a maelstrom of freezing brine and half-devoured corpses.

Elle is pulled out of the water, but the stranger – and the secrets she stumbled upon – are lost. Unintentionally, however, he leaves her a gift; one so compelling that Elle embarks on a journey that pulls her into a world of ancient evils, vicious hunters and human prey to find the man who saved her that fateful night. From trench warfare at Cape Helles in 1915 to a shipwreck in the tropical shallows off the Honduran coast, from a lost mine beneath the towering Externsteine in a Germany on the verge of war to the gothic crypts of Highgate Cemetery in London, Elle gets closer to a truth she has sought for most of her life. But at what cost? Gifts, after all, are seldom free.

An immersive gothic story spanning decades, The Gift is a compelling read that weaves the supernatural of Dracula with the adventure of Indiana Jones.

My thoughts: this was a fun, adventurous romp through early twentieth century history, a lot of it terrible, following in the footsteps of a monster who kills his own kind and recruits others to his cause. Elle spends her life in pursuit of the mysterious Balthazar, hunting him across the globe, from Michigan to Folkestone, the Caribbean to German forests, she won’t stop looking.

Hidden in the relics and artifacts of ancient civilizations are clues to the creatures known as Crimen – the Guilty. Vampiric monsters who want only to feed on the flesh of the living, they wiped whole societies out, and few references to them remain. As a ethnologist, Elle has studied these traces, putting forward a theory about them that she slowly discovers might just be right.

She risks her life to find out more, especially as Germany edges towards the Second World War, her being American doesn’t stop her being Jewish making the increasingly violent state suspicious of her. But in being sent to Britain, a place she left in 1912, she might just finally get her answers.

Elle is a sort of scientific proto-Buffy. In love with a monster, and in need of her own Scooby gang (yes I spent my teens obsessively watching the show, yes I can still quote bits of it.) She’s incredibly smart and doesn’t care much about her personal safety. Balthazar has left clues all over the world as he wades through the trenches at Gallipoli, or hunts in the Belgian Congo, for the banshee Siobhan, carving a legend along the way. Setting everything up for an incredible series of exciting and hair raising adventures.

Who wants to win a book?

Fancy winning a copy of this fantastic tale? Then simply follow me on Twitter and tweet me this password: #TheGiftisGiving you have between right now and publication day on December the 9th.

UK/Ireland only, book will be provided by the publisher. ramblingmads is not responsible for safe delivery of your prize.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Blitz: Last Stop – Eerie River Publishing Anthology

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Today, I’m happy to share another chilling release from Eerie River Publishing, Last Stop: Horror on Route 13! Read on for my details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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Last Stop: Horror on Route 13

Publication Date: October 30th, 2021

Genre: Horror/ Anthology

Publisher: Eerie River

A terrifying journey into America’s forgotten regions.

You ever heard of Route Thirteen? No, not that one.
The real one.

It ain’t on no map, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who’s travelled it. I dare say this book’s the only evidence you’ll ever come across mentioning that forgotten road. Or the bar.

Goes by the name of Whiskey Pete’s.

That shiver you just felt? That’s a warning, and so’s this book. Thirteen stories of pure horror, blood-curdling violence and spectacularly bad decisions, inspired by the poor folks who fell foul of old Route Thirteen and Whiskey Pete’s.

Let this book be your warning. If you find yourself on that forsaken road, with the warming lights of Whiskey Pete’s upon your windshield, turn back. Or it’ll be your Last Stop

A shared-world anthology of dread authored by

Holley Cornetto ~ L. T. Emery ~ Peter J. Foote
J.W. Garrett ~ David Green ~ Stephen Herczeg
Abigail Linhardt ~ Beth W. Patterson ~ Lynne Phillips
Austin Shirey ~ Joshua D Taylor ~ V. A. Vazquez ~ Patrick Winters

Available on Amazon

Click the link to enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card! Giveaway closes Midnight EST on December 2nd!

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Blog Tour: The Fallen in Soura Heights – Amanda Jaeger

Fey Anderson has dreamt about Soura Heights and how picture-perfect it appears to be. What she never expected was for her husband’s body to be found in the forest. Determined to find out the truth behind his death, she moves there and finds herself weaving into the fabric of the small town.

But things aren’t always as they seem. As she learns more about Bruce’s “accident,” she unravels secrets about the town and its people she wishes she never learned. It’s all about survival in Soura Heights. Will Fey uncover what happened and bring justice for her husband, or will she be the next to fall?

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Amanda Jaeger has always had an interest in true crime, suspense, and mystery. As a long form copywriter, she has always had a hand in writing creatively for businesses to boost their income.  She’s the wife of her college sweetheart and the mother of two spit-fire girls, but she’s also been a sign language interpreter, transcriptionist, and a book slinger. Working with words isn’t her job, it’s her career. Now, she uses her knowledge and experience in engaging an audience and applies it into her author career, crafting suspense and mystery to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Residing in Virginia, you can bet on Amanda listening to true crime podcasts, watching cold case documentaries, and playing with her kids. (Not simultaneously.) Website Goodreads  Instagram Twitter

My thoughts: this felt like a grown up Little Red Riding Hood with its “stay out of the forest and don’t stray from the path” warning. Fey is vulnerable and young, at only 20 she’s just lost her husband, high school sweetheart, Bruce and has moved to Soura Heights to investigate his death. Swept under the wing of Frankie, the local diner owner, she’s not making much progress in solving Bruce’s death. But there’s definitely something weird going on.

Dealing with grief in fiction can be hard, but Fey’s listlessness and constant memories help the reader understand her pain, she’s drifting through her life and trying to survive each day as it comes, surrounded by people she doesn’t know that well, and with only a potted fern for company.

Her obsession with and fear of the forest grows as the anniversary of Bruce’s death, and her birthday, approaches. Frankie’s overzealous insistence on a birthday surprise, a treat, should maybe have triggered a few concerns but Fey just plods along. When she learns the truth however, she’s galvanised into action. She can’t bring Bruce back but she can change the future for herself and others. An intriguing modern horror story featuring the one thing humans have always feared – the forest and the things that dwell within.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: It Calls From the Doors – edited by Lyndsey Smith

Open the door to your nightmares.

They are the silent guardians of our inner spaces. We throw them open to welcome friends and family. We shut them tight against the darkness and trust them to keep us safe. But they also hide our true natures, ward off intruders, and seal away what can never be allowed to escape.

But, what happens when the thing that we rely on the most, welcomes the bad things in? What happens when our protector becomes the thing we fear?

Turn the key, pull back the bolt, unfasten the latch and let the darkness through. Discover 19 tales of terror and despair that lurk on the other side of the Doors in the fourth instalment of Eerie River Publishing’s horror series.

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My thoughts: Eerie River gather excellent short stories for this creepy collection. Doors that lead to realms full of monsters, doors that keep the scary things out, doors that lead into your nightmares. This collection has them all. I found a couple very creepy, especially the one set in Bank Station – I used to commute through there and I already hate escalators! There’s something for everyone here, although maybe read them with the lights on!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Release Blitz: Deadsteam II – various authors

DeadSteam copy

It’s release day for DeadSteam II, the terrifying follow up to anthology DeadSteam: A Chilling Collection of Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural. This collection would be perfect to curl up with tomorrow evening, though you may want to leave a light on!

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DeadSteam II: More Dreadpunk Tales of the Dark and Supernatural

Publication Date: October 30th (Today 🎃)

Genre: Anthology/ Dreadpunk/ Dark Steampunk/ Horror

Just when you thought the nightmare was over, what was dead comes crawling back from the beyond. We warned you not to open that fateful tome. But you just couldn’t resist, could you?

Back with more chilling tales of the dark and supernatural, the anthology of dreadpunk, gaslamp, and dark steampunk returns to haunt you with mummies, witches, vampires, gorgons, ghosts. The second installment in the DeadSteam series from Grimmer & Grimmer Books, DeadSteam II promises an even darker, grimmer gothic than the first offering.

DeadSteam II includes stories by DeadSteam alumni David Lee Summers (Owl DanceThe Brazen Shark), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Bryce Raffle, Ross Smeltzer, C.C. Adams, E. Seneca, and Rob Francis, while also introducing newcomers to the DeadSteam series.

If you should sense someone lurking down by the river, some thing creeping through the forest, a sound from the attic, a strange pattern in the wallpaper that shouldn’t be there, a cold gust of wind on your neck…don’t look back. Just run. Run as far as you can.

But know this…we’re still here.

Purchase your copy on Amazon today!

About the Authors

Edited By: Bryce Raffle

Stories By: DeadSteam alumni David Lee Summers (Owl Dance, The Brazen Shark), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Bryce Raffle, Ross Smeltzer, C.C. Adams, E. Seneca, and Rob Francis, while also introducing newcomers to the DeadSteam Series: Artoria Sahnow, Renee MPT Kray, Melanie Cossey, RE McAuliffe, and Macy Harrison

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Book Blitz: The Resurrectionist – A.R. Meyering

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If you enjoy gothic tales, then look no further than The Resurrectionist by A.R. Meyering. A chilling tale inspired by real events!

Resurrectionist Cover (2)

The Resurrectionist “Inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders”

Publication Date: July 3rd, 2020

Genre: Supernatural/ Horror/ Fantasy/ Based on Real Life Characters

Synopsis:

Scotland, 1854

On a skinny, forgotten road in Edinburgh stood a shop without a name—a shop that could be found only if one had previously been led to its door. William, who was blind, rapped his knuckles on the door. The shop owner opens the door and says, “I recognize you. You’re the thief who slithered away while your partner swung by his neck.”

William begs the woman to break the curse that has been set on him that prevents him from dying. The curse, says the woman, cannot be broken, but it can be displaced. Is your death so precious to you that you would destroy one more innocent life to get it? The life of your own child?”

London 1895

In 19th century Scotland surgeon Edgar Price has only days to live. He has become host to a revenant that will corrode both his body and soul. Edgar’s fatal mistake has not only doomed him, but also released six more of these malignant wraiths onto the world. In his remaining time, he has vowed to stop the revenants from claiming other victims. His perilous travels lead him to the Witches’ Wood, a haven for a sisterhood of powerful enchantresses. There he meets Ainsley, who is also racing against the clock to save her life and will go to any lengths to spare the life of her lover Colleen from the grief of losing her. Despite their mutual dislike, Edgar and Ainsley find that the only way to traverse the twisted, otherworldly labyrinths that the revenants have created is to work together. Their mission becomes further complicated when Edgar begins to develop feelings for Fana, the guardian goddess of the Wood in spite of Ainsley’s forbidding warnings to stay far away from her.

Though THE RESURRECTIONIST is a work of fantasy, many of the settings and elements are based on fact. Horror and fantasy intermingle in this novel inspired by the true story of the Burke and Hare murders.

From 1828-29, Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare were responsible for the murders of sixteen people in Edinburgh. Their methods generally involved luring a victim to Hare’s boardinghouse, where they plied them heavily with alcohol before suffocating them. They were motivated by greed, selling the corpses of their victims to a local surgeon, Robert Knox. Each victim was publicly dissected, and Dr. Knox is largely thought to have been complicit in the crimes.

During their ten-month killing spree, William Hare’s common-law wife, Margaret Laird, was pregnant with their child. Hare was pardoned for his crimes due to his confession and condemnation of his accomplice Burke, who was hanged and publicly dissected as punishment.

After being pardoned, Hare, Margaret, and their infant are thought to have escaped to Ireland. It also has been rumored that William Hare was thrown into a lime pit and subsequently suffered blindness before becoming a beggar. The victims in THE RESURRECTIONIST are also based on real life people.

Reminiscent of Tess Gerritsen’s The Bone Garden, THE RESURRECTIONIST explores a real-life horror story through a riveting supernatural thriller that is guaranteed to hook readers from the very first page.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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A.R. Meyering was a graduate student studying philosophy. She has worked as an English teacher in a small town in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Her dark fantasy novel, Unreal City, won a Literary Classics International Book Award gold medal for YA horror and a Moonbeam Award bronze medal in YA horror. While doing her undergrad in English she studied abroad in Edinburgh, focusing on Scottish occult literature and folklore. 

Sadly, A.R. Meyering passed away in 2021.

A.R. Meyering

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