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Sunday, October 13, 2013

31 Days of Horror: Day 13-- Review and Give-Away: Limbus, Inc

Time for a break in the guest posts for me to have 4 days of reviews on some horror books I think are worth your time.  I have a new book, an easily available backlist title, a graphic novel series and one old, out-of-print gem suggested to me by another, non-horror author all coming in that order.

So with that, let's begin with a promising new title in a shared world series by one of my favorite horror publishers (JournalStone), Limbus, Inc.  The set-up here is awesome.  From the publisher:
Are you laid off, downsized, undersized?
Call us. We employ. 1-800-555-0606
How lucky do you feel?
So reads the business card from LIMBUS, INC., a shadowy employment agency that operates at the edge of the normal world. LIMBUS's employees are just as suspicious and ephemeral as the motives of the company, if indeed it could be called a company in the ordinary sense of the word.
In this shared-world anthology, five heavy hitters from the dark worlds of horror, fantasy, and scifi pool their warped takes on the shadow organization that offers employment of the most unusual kind to those on the fringes of society.
One thing’s for sure – you’ll never think the same way again about the fine print on your next employment application!
Who are those five heavy hitters? Well three of them are HUGE; authors whose novels you should already have on your library shelves-- Jonathan Maberry, Benjamin Kane Ethridge and Brett J Talley [links to their mentions on this blog including reviews and guest posts].  The other two, I am less familiar with-- Joseph Nassise and Anne C. Petty who also edited the volume [links to Goodreads].

Think The Twilight Zone only with today's sensibilities.  The five tales here are more novellas than short stories.  They have meat on their own, but in the shared world, they take on even more depth. To add to the cohesion, their is a prologue and an epilogue tying it all together.

Each novella could be its own story, but it is the shared world idea that will draw you in or not.  Limbus is a shadowy company.  They look for people down on their luck and match them to the perfect job for them.  These jobs are unique and can entail you traveling all over the globe, even through time and space, and their is no guarantee that you will make it through alive or if you live that you will ever be employed by them again.  There is some seriously deadly fine print here.

I don't want to give away the plots of each tale at all because I really did enjoy each story for different reasons.  If I had to pick a favorite, I would go with Maberry's "Strip Search," but that is because I love the way he writes. Although Ethridge's laid off Salughterhouse worker led tale is pretty darn awesome.

Although this collection is a true sf/fantasy/horror hybrid, the horror elements shine the brightest.  An uneasy atmosphere abounds here and there are some gory scenes. Limbus, Inc. is a must read for fans of today's horror filled with high tension, and some, but not gratuitous, blood and guts.

Since we are dealing with novellas, the writing is tight.  This is not a book that will waste your time.  It flies by but without sacrificing the chills or the character development. And the shared world is very believable, allowing the entire collection to have a feel of one complete novel.

If you are looking for a fast, satisfying read that seamlessly blends the best of old horror with what is so exciting about today's crop of talented scare-meisters, grab a copy of Limbus, Inc. I was happy to see that this book is getting universal praise from readers, especially those who don't normally read horror or story collections.

JournalStone is promising more Limbus tales to come.  I hope so.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: I have an ARC from the publisher, featuring the limited edition cover art [pictured below] to give away.  Email me at zombiegrl75[at]gmail[dot]com to enter.  I will take entries through Noon on 10/18 to select a random winner.  No need to send me mailing info at this time.
This is the ARC cover
Three Words That Describe This Book: shared world anthology, original, high tension

Readalikes: If you really like one of the pieces, run out and read more by that author. I included links to more of their works up near the top of this review.

I recently finished volumes 1 and 2 of the sf/fsy graphic novel Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.  In that series, there is an agency that is very similar to Limbus that sends out agents to do dangerous, inter-planetary jobs. 

If you want to read more recent story releases, I have also ordered Four Summoner's Tales for the BPL which while not a shared world, is similar.  Here is the set up:
Four bestselling authors. One hellraising premise.
What if the dead could be summoned from their graves—for a price? What if a quartet of distinctive storytellers took a stab at this deceptively simple idea—on a dare? The answers lie here, in Four Summoner’s Tales, as these acclaimed writers accept the challenge and rise to the occasion—in four brilliantly chilling ways. It’s all in the execution. . .
Here the authors are Kelley Armstrong, David Liss, Christopher Golden and Jonathan Maberry.  I have not read it yet (it is checked out at my library), but I am hearing people say they like it.

Again, I think with both Four Summoner's Tales and Limbus, Inc. the biggest appeal factors are if you are a fan of one of these authors and/or the shared story ideas.  So, for more readalike suggestions, start with a full novel by your favorite author from the collection and move out from there.

Back tomorrow with a YA backlist title to review.

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