Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Sunday, June 11. 2017


In the future universe, where you can travel through wormholes into other galaxies, the rules have changed. In these new times, there are those called FixIts. They are sent by The Company to take care of problems that may arise. These problems could be anything from discrepancies, to terraforming a planet, to outright destroying the planet entirely if it was called for. These FixIts have total control, wherever they go. Their clearance goes beyond anything else set forth, but it's that clearance that can also get them into undesirable situations.


One of these men goes by the name of Gerrold. The toll that the job as a FixIt has taken on him is unlike many others. His wife begs for him to stay with his family, to not go out on any more jobs when he's called. The problem is he has to go, there is no saying "no" to The Company. That's when Gerrold finds out something else is going on with his wife, something that will tear them apart from the inside. Then his child comes down with an extremely rare illness, and Gerrold has no other choice but to take one final unknown job, a job that could get him killed, a job that could save his child's life. In the end, a man is brought to his final reserves, pushed to his limits, and taken to hell and back for the life he has chosen.


In this latest novel by Michaelbrent Collings, it takes quite the turn from previous novels I have read and reviewed for him at The Horror Drive-In. Normally the books I read from him are fast paced, horror and thriller based. This one went in a much different direction, leaning much more towards sci-fi/thriller, with a few little tidbits of horror thrown in. I'm not going to lie, I'm not really a sci-fi fan, but the story intrigued me, so I went ahead and volunteered my time to read and review this one. The pacing is a little slower than what I had been used to from his other novels, but it still packed the same style of emotional punch I'm used to getting from Michaelbrent, with characters that make you care about who you're reading about.


Overall, I'd say if you're looking for a little change of pace from your horror novels, check this one out. It might just pique your interest and give you a nice break from the usual. I'm giving this one a solid B rating, and want to thank Michaelbrent for lending me an ARC review copy so I could write this review for you guys.

Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Friday, October 28. 2016


Detritus is a young boy, a young boy unlike any others around. He's got a "third eye", that lets him see what others cannot. What he sees are his best friends, those in the form of two members of the dead. A young girl by the name of Blank (whom he falls in love with, and she doesn't know she's dead), and a boy named Shultz that insists on wearing Nazi clothing. With a meth-head wreck of a human for a mother, Detritus has to find solace and friendship wherever he can, even if it's in those of ghosts.

The ghosts though know that something is coming. It's called The Opposite, and it means to end all that is going for Detritus. A life of despair, a life almost not worth living to begin with. Where his family wishes he was never born, and nobody wants to have anything to do with him. Can they stop the darkness from coming? Will Detritus finally find happiness in his meager life?


In this novella from Mercedes M. Yardley and John Boden, we encounter a sad, dark tale of a young buy with nothing to live for, a life of nothing but bad. A mixture of the depressing, the horror, and the bizarre, this novella is a quick read, but at the same time packs a good punch too for what it's going for. If you're in the mood for a good little read this fall, I'd check this one out. I'm going to give this a B, and thank John for sending me a copy to review for the site.



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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Monday, October 24. 2016


It's convention season and everyone is getting excited! Oh to see washed up stars from yesteryear pilfering out photos and signatures for $20, $40, and $50 bucks a pop! One starts to imagine why their fame holds on for so long, for the masses of the horror convention going circuit.


That's where Clarissa Lee comes in. A washed up horror movie phenom from back in the day. She's known around the globe, she's still hot as hell, but she's flat broke. That's when she gets the call of a lifetime, an invitation to join other former actors and actresses from the horror community to join a convention unlike any other. It will be extremely exclusive to those willing to buy passes, on a former summer camp in the woods of Kentucky, and promises tens of thousands to the former stars who all join on.


Once they arrive though, they realize this isn't going to be like any convention they have attended before. Those running the con have instructed those attending to wear masks, and not talk to the stars. They must create a true horror movie experience, not only for themselves but for the stars too. Events are taped as well, so that each person attending will bring home their very own horror movie starring themselves! That's when the fun stops though, as the event quickly turns from con to real-life horror. A star is murdered right before their eyes, and everyone else is on the run for their lives. Who will be next? Who will come out on top to claim their money in the end?


In the latest from Adam Cesare, we get a fun and bloody take on the convention going experience. One that could easily happen today, with convention goers always wanting that "next level" experience. It's a fun novel, a crazy novel, and one that I think fans of horror and of Adam's writing will very much enjoy. I'm giving this one a B+ overall.


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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Friday, October 14. 2016


A disease has ravished the nation, the world. One that causes bleeding from orifices, nightmares, delusions, and eventual death. They call it the Wanderer's Folly, and it doesn't take anyone for granted.


Two years have passed since the beginning of the plague threatening to wipe out the human race. David and his daughter Ellie have managed to survive and are now on the run. From the disease. And also from those wanting to test on Ellie. You see, her mother was immune to the plague, an anomaly among the human race. Scientists tested on her so much that it eventually led to her death, her body giving in to the experiments to try and find a cure as to why she wasn't becoming ill. Now Ellie has the same immunity, one that the government would love to have in the palm of their hands.


The question is, how long can father and daughter manage to run before their past, and their present, catch up to them. With David not immune, can he survive long enough in the still diseased landscape to find a safe haven for his daughter? In the midst of the end of civilization, he can't help but try.


In the latest novel from Ronald Malfi, the end of the world, apocalypse-by-disease scenario hits fever pitch in a new take that will keep you enthralled to the very last page. To see the struggle one father will go through to make sure that his daughter is able to live unencumbered is heroic and brave. This story will pull on your heart strings from start to finish. One of my favorite reads so far this year, as Malfi tends to do when a new novel of his comes out. I'd give this an A overall.



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Review by Kyle Lybeck

Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Monday, August 22. 2016


It's 1983 in a small town, located in Pennsylvania. Johnny and his little brother, Roscoe, are enjoying their summer, and can't wait to see Return of the Jedi when it comes to their neck of the woods. In the mean time though, they find themselves creating things to do, and figuring out where to go within the town. Johnny definitely has an older brother mentality when it comes to Roscoe, and it shows through the narrative going back to their youth. Within the town though, there are secrets, strange things that happen, those who die don't really go away, both human and animal. Two boys finding their way through life, growing up together, and finding things out the hard way. Oh, and don't forget about Jedi.


John Boden takes us on a magical and nostalgic journey back to the summer of 1983 in his novella, Jedi Summer with the Magnetic Kid. The writing is quick, to the point, and comes at you full force. The occurrences for the boys really enthralled me, and brought me into the story with them, into their lives, into their sometimes troubled times dealing with all that they encountered. I think my own criticism would be that I'd love to have seen this brought up to novel length. John has a storytelling talent, much like Robert McCammon has in Boy's Life, to which I could easily see him writing out a novel length piece, and devouring it in only a few sittings. Overall I'm going to give this one an A-, and encourage you to take the plunge, and see why everyone is talking about this fine novella.

Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Wednesday, August 10. 2016


What Goes Around is an anthology collecting fifteen stories of the dark, macabre, horror, and sometimes gross. The stories that are contained within the collection are quite varied, making this a little hard of a review to write. Overall there didn't seem to be a general theme that I could find, the stories were kind of all over the place. One story you'd read would be quiet horror, while the next read more like a partly-thought-out Gross Out story from the World Horror Convention. Then the next story would go dark and demented.

I think the downside would be that the stories are in fact inconsistent in certain ways, and this can draw away from the reader's enjoyment. I did find quite a few good stories within, especially Taming the Tongue, The Killing Floor, and Knackered, among them. But then there were some that almost seemed unthought out, maybe even a little childish in the presentation, which unfortunately turned me off.

In the end, there were definitely quite a few fun stories to read, but not enough to make me feel like I was totally enamored with the collection enough to keep myself reading until the wee hours of the morning. I'd give it a C overall, and hope that the next collection that is put together is a little bit more consistent for the reader, so as to really draw them into the stories, and win them over with that "wow" factor.

Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Tuesday, July 19. 2016


Cartoonist Jason Tray needs to take a vacation. Neighborhood kids are harassing him and his dog, until he scares the living daylights out of one of them, causing a boy to trip and break his arm. Getting away for a little while is probably for the best, before he causes more trouble to other youngsters.


Jason's agent and publicist for his comic strip lets him borrow his cabin for a while to get some relaxation. Chuck thinks it will be the best for all parties, and also Jason's mental health. Before long, Jason befriends two members of the town at a local dive bar, and follow them to a house. This house, it is said, still holds a young woman everyone has deemed as "Blister", due to an unfortunate occurrence years prior. Jason is coerced into peaking through the window, where he catches a glimpse of her before running away from the ghastly woman in the window.


The next day, Jason's curiousness and also regretful mind gets the better of him, and he goes back to the house. He wants to apologize to the woman for his actions. In doing so, he soon becomes friends with her, taking pity on how she's being treated by her father at the house. It doesn't take long, though, for Jason to get way more than he bargained for with the woman, and it could mean his own demise.


Jeff Strand brings us on a tale of thrills, murder, love, and intrigue that I don't think he's done this well since his novels Pressure and Dweller hit the shelves. The emotional ride he takes us on, capped off with some brutal moments, and even a bit of hilarity, round out this latest novel very well. I would highly recommend picking this one up! Easily an A rating in my book.

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Review by Kyle Lybeck

Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Monday, April 18. 2016


Rupert wanted to break things off with his girlfriend. They fought all the time, and it wasn't the relationship he imagined. First though, he figures he'll take one last romp with her and her family (which includes many gorgeous women) as he is invited to sail on a yacht with them. He figures why not, one last hurrah. That is until they become stranded on an island when their yacht mysteriously explodes on the water, killing one of the men on board, husband to one of his girlfriends' sisters. Two of the other men swim out and salvage what they can, not knowing how long they'll need to survive at this desolate location. They hope it won't be too long until someone finds them.

At least they thought the location was desolate. The next morning Rupert finds one of the men hung up in a tree, having been dead for hours. Nobody remembers hearing anything or anyone coming into their little waterside camp. They search the surrounding area, but with no luck finding any clues as to who or what could be hiding out in the woods.


Very quickly though, more and more events strike the group that sheds light on who is targeting them and why. They make plans to capture those involved, but nothing is ever as it seems on their island, and anyone could turn into a foe at the turn of a hat.


In Island by the prolific writer Richard Laymon, a castaway story evolves quickly into murder, backstabbing, shocking moments, and a strong need for survival. This is not the first time I've read this novel, and definitely won't be the last. A quick read considering it is 500 pages, it will stick with you all the way to the end and leave you severely hating more than one of the characters. Very well done, this receives an A+ from me.


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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Sunday, March 20. 2016


The Booglin teaches us what we should never do if we have a nasty little booger monster up our noses.

Zombies, vampires, and humans collide in a story of survival in Eaten Un-alive.

Invasion shows us the main reason why we should never eat cockroaches we find on the ground.

One should really not be buying cutlery they find at garage sales, as Bad Cutlery proves to a husband and wife.

Witchcraft, toilets, and a very disrespectful young man bring the story of Potty Mouth to life.

STD reminds us why we should always wear a condom and never trust anyone in the sack, no matter how hot they are.

These stories and more are what create the collection A Mixed Bag of Blood by David Bernstein. This collection is made up of previously released stories found in various anthologies and other collections. Collected here for the first time, it gives the reader a nice and varied glance into the world of David's writing. What comes from this collection is good writing, interesting and fun ideas, some horror filled, some a little bizarro, and others meant to gross you out. That's what I really enjoy about collections is the variety you can get when it's done right. And let me tell you, David has done right with this one. I can't remember the last time I actually sat down, and couldn't stop reading a piece of writing until I was done. This may finally have re-energized me again in the reading realm of my life. A solid collection from one of the up and coming authors in horror, I'm giving this one an A.

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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Thursday, March 17. 2016


A group of robbers, always looking for the latest mark to rip off. Each one with their very own special talents that lends very well to the job. It's in their blood, it's what they do, and they do it well.

A man is overheard talking about some money he's about to come by. One of these robbers overhears, and sets out to make a plan. It seemed so perfect that nothing could go wrong.

A family at risk when the robbers come to their home, invade their space, and want what is not theirs. The husband, father, nervous as all get out can't open the safe, and that's when things go awry.

Years later the group of robbers chooses to partake in one last job, one final hurrah before they ride off into the sunset. They choose their mark very carefully, knowing that it will be a great payout on their end, and they can finally retire. What they don't expect is for their past to come back and haunt them, in the most horrific way possible. Can they escape from the clutches of certain death and see to breath another day? Or will they succumb to the violence that is hell-bent on destroying them? Only by reading can you find out the truth about The House That Death Built.

With his latest novel, Michaelbrent once again takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions and thrills. While I feel like this one was a little more drawn out than others I have read from him in the past, leading to less go go go action and craziness at times, it was definitely a very good read. The characters were very believable, and while some parts seemed far-fetched, you definitely get drawn into the mayhem of what could possibly happen next. Overall I'd give this a B and would like to thank Michaelbrent for the opportunity to review this novel.

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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Saturday, March 12. 2016


Clare was once a decorated member of the Air Force. That was until one day she was sexually taken advantage of, rung out in court, and disgraced to the curb. Now she's living a life of homelessness, unable to find a job as anyone who sees her resume also sees her disgraced record with the Air Force. This was until one day, a man approached her out of the blue. Asking if she really was the Clare Prentiss he was looking for. This man, very secretive in his ways, is inviting enough to convince Clare that she should come with him for an amazing job opportunity. A job opportunity that comes with a handsome salary, a place to live, and a company car. Clare couldn't even begin to believe her luck.

The job in question? The head security chief at a secluded clinic doing research for the Air Force. Hidden away on a nature reserve, they are free to do their research without bother. Clare meets the other two members of her security team, along with a few others on site who work on the medical side. Everyone seems very happy with their jobs, and Clare was joining that list quickly.

That's when things start to turn in a different direction. Secretive doors in the facility, mutated animals in the surrounding area, the caretaker of the homes they live in always showing signs of abuse by her husband, and sexual desires that she sees others partaking in, and also feels herself. As Clare dives further and further into the inner workings of the site, it becomes more and more apparent that things aren't what they seem, and her past quickly comes back to haunt her in more ways than one.

An oldie by Edward Lee, and still a decent read. The story itself is good, characters are more or less believable, and there's a few good twists and turns to the story. Overall it's definitely not what one would consider an "Edward Lee" novel in the sense we think of him now, which is a hardcore horror author with sexually explicit writing. This is a much more toned down version of many of this other works. That being said, it's a good read, but may not be what someone is looking for per say. I'd give this a B- in the ratings department.

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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Monday, December 7. 2015


Grant Marlowe regrets his past life. He wishes it would have never ended up this way. If only he'd realized sooner that his alcoholism had taken over his life and made him lie to his family, none of this would have happened. He'd never have lost the love and admiration of his family. He'd never have gone to jail, albeit for a short stint due to his connections. He'd never have lost his job. Finally, he'd never have killed that man's family on a desolate road nowhere near any help. Now, a man that has spent every waking moment plotting and writhing in pain, has nailed down exactly what he'll do if he ever gets the chance. To the man that stole everything, Dennis Hinshaw plans to even the score, even if it brings to light everything that has happened to him once again.


In this action packed thriller, Kristopher brings us one of the darkest pieces of fiction he's written to date. A gut wrenching story of love and loss, of redemption and sacrifice, of revenge and closure. He brings us through the tragic events, and then both men's lives afterwards and how they try to get through what they've done and endured. Then when Grant thinks he'll finally be able to get some closure and piece back together the broken pieces of his family, everything changes in an instant. An instant that he'll never forget for the rest of his life.


I can't really find anything to complain about this forthcoming novel from Kristopher. I'd say it's his best to date, and you can really tell how he's grown in his style and storytelling over the years. Definitely a novel fans of his work should pick up, and a strong recommendation from myself as a first novel to anyone looking to get into his writing. Overall I'd give his one an A-, and I'd finally like to thank Kristopher for the opportunity to read Desolation ahead of schedule, which will become available in paperback and eBook on January 5, 2016 from Samhain Publishing.

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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Tuesday, August 18. 2015


The upper east coast began its day like any other. Kids going to school, business-men and women traveling to their jobs in high-rise buildings. But then all that changed in an instant. First it was the EMP bombs, but then, something much worse. In the aftermath, communications are down, cars are left abandoned and unusable on the desolate streets, but that's only the beginning. The second wave contained chemical weapons, killing millions, and contaminating humans and animals alike in the process.

Two families, strangers and friends among them, now must fight their way out of the bomb shelter they frantically crawled into before the chemical agents were able to infect them. They must find food and water, and try to avoid possible contamination in the aftermath. The problem is, when is it finally safe to go outside? What lies for them beyond their homes in this newly created world around them? The animals have taken over for the time being, that is, until the family finds other survivors, and not the friendly kind.

In the reading of Hunter Shea's latest, a gripping post-apocalyptic nightmare in itself, it has hints and essences of Brian Keene's Entombed and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Those aside, Hunter brings his own writing prowess to an idea done many times over, but manages to show us a new and refreshing light on the subject. The pacing is great, the characters interact well and continue to have engaging dialogue throughout, and for the first time in quite a while I found myself finding every moment I could to find time to read and finish this novel.

Overall I'd give this a B+, and I'm excited to read more from Hunter, as this was my first venture into his works. Currently it's a steal on Amazon for just over $4 in paperback, and Kindle.


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Review by Kyle Lybeck
Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Monday, May 18. 2015


The Genarro family loves one another, more than anything in the world. They would do anything for one another. But no matter how much you love someone unconditionally, you always hold secrets back from them. Whether you think it's to protect yourself, or to protect them, they stay secrets. Hidden away in the darkest recesses of the heart, where nothing can escape.

Laurie's father meets an unfortunate end after he falls out of the window of his home. She gets the call, and that she has been left his estate in his well. The family packs up and travels to the home, where they plan to live until they can get the affairs in order and the house sold. Laurie grew up in the house, with a history, a bloody history. One that her husband Ted has no idea was part of her life.

What comes about at the house begins to unravel Laurie mentally. The girl next door bears a strikingly resemblance to Sadie, a girl that Laurie grew up with and was tortured by throughout her childhood. Then there is the problem with her father's death. The police aren't so sure it was an accident. Finally there comes a point where those little dark secrets that both her and her husband have been holding on to for their entire marriage start to come out, bit by bit.

The unraveling has begun for the family, but only Laurie can control how far it goes before it's too far to come back.

In his latest novel, Ronald Malfi takes us on a trip into ones past and present, where only they have the key to their own future. The characters play well off each other and the dialogue is, for the most part, a good back and forth mix. It leaves you enveloped in the world these characters are living, and make you feel for what they're having to go through in the present and have gone through with their pasts. Only a few slow points in the first part of the book to speak of, and the rest is very well done. Another win for Malfi and one that fans will eat up. Overall I'd give this a B+ and would like to thank Ronald for the chance to read an advanced copy of the book.


Review by Kyle Lybeck

Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair
Thursday, May 14. 2015


Melissa Latham is a teenage girl without a mother after she passed, and a policeman for a father. Her life would seem like a rough one, but in fact, it's actually not too bad. Her dad and her get along great even when he's very busy with his job. On a special day, he decides to take Melissa along with him to work when she's not feeling up to facing school, and so begins her adventure as a ridealong.

Normally they wouldn't allow someone to just come on board and spend the day in a police car. But then again, Melissa isn't just somebody. She's the daughter of one of the most respected men on the force, a true hero. A hero though, that one day in the not so distant past lost members of his police force when he couldn't save their lives during a harrowing shootout.

From this shootout, a vengeful man was born. Someone who lost a precious member of their family to, and will stop at nothing to seek revenge on those that caused their demise. The stakes are high, the stage is set, and without warning Melissa is caught in the middle of an all night race to find clues that will lead her and her father to not only their safety, but the safety of other policemen who survived that night, or so they believe.

In yet another taught and well thought out thriller, Michaelbrent Collings comes at you full force with his intriguing dialogue, events, and plot twists. The first quarter of this novel was a little slow for my tastes, with some dialogue not keeping up with how I've come to expect of his writing. The last three-quarters though was back to his tried and true methods, and packs a punch. A page turner for sure, with an ending you think you have figured out, but then socks you in the gut with a solid right fist.

Overall I'm going to give this newest novel of Michaelbrent's a B, and feel like you're going to have a really good time with this one.

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