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It’s a new year, and we’ve got several killer reads from exciting new publishers, sure to help you stay on top of your 2021 reading challenge.

Is it over? Is it done? Did we survive? I don’t think so. We are but ghosts in the fog of 2021. However, alongside our wavering spirits comes a glimmer of hope in the form of stories. And with those stories comes newly founded publishing companies in which to spread the amazing talent that continues to rise in the indie world.

1. Spine Magazine (Various)

From the depths of the endless pit of horror fiction comes an exciting new publication press, intent on showing the world what exactly the indie horror scene has to offer. With a slew of anthologies on the way and novels set for release, Blood Rites Horror presents…

Spine Magazine is a FREE online horror anthology that is the backbone of the Blood Rites Horror publishing group. With two issues out and a third on the way, it offers a variety of horror for the masses. Dedicated to showcasing indie talents, Spine Magazine is not interested in limiting itself to horror fiction.

With pages that are wonderfully created to set the mood for whatever it is presenting, the magazine offers illustrations, poetry, flash fiction, and short stories from both known and unknown authors in the indie scene.

2. The Miracle Sin (Marcus Hawke)

55062128-_sx318_Have you ever wondered if there’s more to life; if we are destined for something great, part of a divine plan rather than just subjects of random chaos? Mason Cole has wondered these things. And he has the answer…

No.

Another title releasing under the Blood Rites banner is the debut novel The Miracle Sin by Marcus Hawke. A grim, merciless story, Hawke writes with clear intent and beautiful imagery. This book is hard to go into without spoilers — and to spoil the story would be doing a disservice to the reader. The author’s writing style is unique, able to give fast-paced action and horrors while maintaining a descriptive quality that will shake the reader. The pacing is a rollercoaster of horror and tension.

To say more would be to reveal much. But take my word that this is very much a book to pick up.

3. A Place for Sinners (Aaron Dries)

55629205Sometimes survival is a sin…

 Those in the know will have already heard the name Aaron Dries, as well as his book A Place For Sinners. Those that have yet to read it, such as myself, and were keen on finding what the hype was about, may have gawked at the price tag on the original run of the book. However, thanks to Beneath Hell Press — a newly founded Australian publication press — we are accommodated with a more budget friendly edition.

With a new cover, new publisher, and new price tag, the story is all Aaron Dries. A splatterpunk novel, it starts with a gut punch and refuses to stop raining its blows down on the reader. Giving equal time between the raw viciousness of the story and the absolute heart wrenching emotional aspect, this book will leave you feeling cold and empty at the end.

4. The Cockroach King (Andrew Cull)

55993911-_sy475_“We’d been in the house two weeks when Tommy pulled the first bones from the garden.”

Not satisfied with rereleasing an already established book, Beneath Hell has teamed up with acclaimed horror author Andrew Cull for a brand-new novella, The Cockroach King. If the title doesn’t give it away, be warned: there are bugs in this book. Lots and lots of bugs.

Aside from those real-life horror creatures, Cull does a fantastic job of crafting a real human being in its lead, despite the story length. We automatically care, we squirm with her, and we feel the tension in the air as Cull leads us through the creepy crawlies.

The start of the year has just begun. Whether it leads us through worse terrain than 2020 or better, the only way to find out is to walk blindly into mist. Hopeful or filled with doubt, one thing is for sure. There is no end in sight for the horror scene. The community is growing, and as we can see through the new presses appearing, we are building into a foundation that is here to stay.

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