One of the important and under appreciated works of dark fiction to come out of the beginning of this current century The protagonist s relentless introspection and depression can be a bit heavy, but the creepy and the uncanny build to an excellent conclusion. Holy Hell.Alan, Donald, Rick, Bernard and Tommy are the kind of inseparable friends that have been together since grade school, and while they have very different personalities, they are always there for each other This picture perfect New England portrait of male friendship gets it s first crack when a careless driver hits Tommy as he gets off a school bus when the boys are in high school Their friend s tragic death becomes a shadow hanging over the group that the four buddies can t seem to shake off, as if this premature ending had also snuffed out something in them.They don t grow up to be successful adults, by any stretch of the imagination Alan lands a security guard job and never tries to move beyond that, Donald drops out of college and develops a drinking problem, Rick ends up in jail for a stint, and after a knee injury, Bernard is discharged from the Marines and winds up selling used cars to make ends meet They lead uneventful and mediocre lives in their small, run down coastal Massachusetts town when another tragedy suddenly shakes them up Bernard hangs himself in his cousin s basement, where he was squatting after his house got repossessed The remaining three friends can t help but feel guilty, as Bernard had tried to reach them all in the week before his suicide, and none of them had bothered to return his calls The motivations behind his act seem unexplained until Rick gets a cassette in the mail, a cassette Bernard sent him just before hanging himself.On that tape, Bernard serves his old friends some really harsh truths, but also reveals some frightening truths about himself, letting them to wonder was their old pall insane, or was he, as hinted, a killer Will the changing of seasons shed some lights on who Bernard really was, as promised by that disturbing recording They knew he was a solitary man with a tendency to bend the truth a little bit, but did they really know him at all The story is told from Alan s perspective, and it is undeniable that he is a sad character from the first few pages stuck in an unsolvable professional rut, married to a woman he loves but with whom he had no chemistry, looking after his alcoholic friend but unable to truly help him He is, in a way, waiting for something to happen, and when certain things come to the surface, he feels like he has no choice but to try and see what else is hiding in plain sight about his old friend s life, like figuring this mystery out might give him a sense of purpose he s never had.Gifune creates a bleak and heavy atmosphere from the first few pages wet New England winter, sad little broken town, pathetic characters that you feel disdain for, but that you also want to hug even if you know there s nothing that could possibly comfort those three I was very impressed with those beautifully crafted yet horribly damaged characters they felt completely believable, the blood and gut mechanisms behind stereotypes we know so well They make this book much sophisticated than a run of the mill horror novel this is not a comfortable read I m a wimp when it comes to that kind of stuff, so I kept it for daylight hours, but it was hard to look away when time came for me to switch reading gears.The plot is also very cleverly structured, punctuated with glimpses into a perfectly normal seeming past, suddenly tainted by a surreal present I found the prose vivid, almost cinematic which made the whole think extra creepy with some creepy sprinkled on top because I had a detailed visual of the events as I read on This was my first book by Gifune, but it definitely won t be my last A very intelligent and powerful literary horror novel that I enthusiatically recommended Alan, Tommy, Rick, Donald And Bernard Were Best Friends Living In A Small, Coastal Town Their World Was Simple And Happy Until The Day Tommy Was Killed Years Later, Bernard Commits Suicide Within Weeks Of Bernard S Death, Several Mutilated Bodies Are Found In Town The Three Remaining Friends Attempt To Solve The Riddle Of Bernard S Suicide And Come To Realize That He May Have Been A Savage Ritual Killer, A Bleeder Of Young WomenTo Find The Truth About Bernard, They Must Delve Into The Darkness That Cradles An Unspeakable Evil So Terrifying It Could Forever Trap Them In The Shadows Of The Damned And Shatter The Very Concept Of Their Existence I think I m going to be in the minority on this one.Beautifully written, no doubt about that The first third of the book was gripping and intriguing, but then the story became mired in lengthy ruminations by the narrator usually not a good thing in a first person book and rambling didactics by secondary characters whose eloquence inexplicably exceeded what it by all rights should have been given their descriptions.There were several problems I had here, the main one being that the plot lenth ratio was way off What could have been an excellent novella is instead padded out into a full length novel Words, so many words pretty words that flow and sparkle, but ultimately add little to the story The actions of the protoganist throughout the story have a deus ex machina feel that I never was able to buy into as real, urgent or even likely, and this reduced the level of suspense to curiousity rather than excitement.The other issue I had was with the complete seriousness of the proceedings The ambition of the author to achieve literary or meaningful fiction status seems to be greater than what the product actually delivers, and the darkness and evil it intends to portray comes off to me about as menacing as a Nine Inch Nails video from the mid nineties A little fun never fails to hurt a work of horror in my opinion, and there is little in the way of fun here Overly earnest writing in horror makes me snicker, sorry.Several scenes in the book stood out as exceptionally realized in written word, but actual horrors were few and far between Unfortunately, I found the money shots in this book to be highly reminiscent of things I ve seen in many horror films over the years Excellent chops, few truly original ideas.I will read by this author in the future, as I m sure this book was in sync with the prevailing trends of horror at the time of release Just not my cup of tea in the story and style department. I am going to write a VERY in depth review of this book, which will hopefully be up tomorrow There are no words for this book Really But I ll try to muster a few anyhow FULL REVIEW What is Evil The Bleeding Season Review It has been so long since I wrote a good review on here that I think I ve forgotten how I know I really neglect my reading websites and just my reading in general these days, but I ve been trying to get back in the hang of things I started by reading two Richard Laymon books, which are good, easy, fun reads which I ll probably post reviews of later I read these books rather quick and they helped me get out of my massive reading slump I was going through my Kindle after I finished the second book trying to figure out what I was going to read next and happened upon The Bleeding Season I tried reading The Bleeding Season last summer but I really couldn t handle it I don t know whether it was due to my mind set at the time or what, but the book was too dark and slow paced for me to really enjoy at the time So I decided to try to finish it I m extremely glad I did The Goodreads description of the book Alan, Tommy, Rick, Donald and Bernard were inseparable best friends living in the small, coastal Massachusetts town of Potter s Cove A circle of five, their world was simple and happy until the day Tommy was struck by a car and killed Nothing was ever the same They were never the same.Years later, as the four survivors all unhappy, unsuccessful and marking time approach their fortieth birthdays, Bernard suddenly commits suicide.Within weeks of Bernard s death, one by one the mutilated bodies of murder victims are found in town, and as the three remaining friends attempt to solve the riddle of Bernard s suicide, they come to realize that he may not have been who or what they thought he was His entire life may have been a lie, and rather than the sad, lonely and harmless person they believed him to be, he very well may have been a savage ritual killer, a bleeder of young women who conjured evil to fulfill his own demented dreams To find the truth not only about Bernard, but themselves, they must delve into the darkness and those who inhabit it, a darkness that cradles an unspeakable evil so terrifying it could forever trap them in the shadows of the damned and shatter the very concept of their existence.THE BLEEDING SEASON Evil is a state of mind Evil is a state of mind Remember that I ve never read a book dealing with what evil actually is than this one And this is definitely not your typical horror story This story is sad and at times you will want to put it down It gets that sad There is no scene in this book that is too gory is that how you spell that or disgusting It just isn t that kind of horror novel This book builds atmosphere Fuck, it chokes you with it and then makes you care about these characters who it puts through hell, literally and figuratively, at every turn But what really disturbed me about this novel is that it actually made me feel vulnerable just like the characters in it Do we really know the people we love Are we born evil or influenced by it Is evil a state of mind or is it like a disease Is it both It s hard to talk about this book, but I highly recommend it 5 glowing stars I probably won t be on here much for a while because I have to go to this six week university program after vacation this week, but I ll try to make updates from my phone which is a pain in the ass to do Sorry about the inactivity I m reading Boy s Life by Robert McCammon right now and I m definitely going to try to review that book, even though it might be harder than this book to review I love it so far. This was an atmospheric and moody read The author gets into the minds of his characters and much of this book is psychologically compelling At first the stream of consciousness type of third person characterization seemed a bit much however, after the storyline progressed I found myself rereading segments that consisted of characters pondering the nature of good and evil This runs alongside the main plotline which takes several twists and turns that made it difficult to put the book down The author is skilled at creating effective settings Overall this was a great, disturbing read. This is the first book I ve read by Greg F Gifune and to say I enjoyed it would be a massive understatement, totally blew me away, a horror that touches on the evil of man, how that evil manifests after death and the shocking tale of man with two lives This is a book that doesn t rely on excessive descriptions of bloodshed and violence, that said it is horror and there are elements that tie it to the genre but the strength of this novel is the characterisation and the gripping story.Alan, Tommy, Rick, Donald and Bernard were close childhood friends, inseparable as kids can be and absolutely devastated the day a tragic accident killed Tommy their leader Life carried on, they endured but they never truly recovered each resorting to their own coping mechanisms, each to their own battle, each flawed in their own way.Fast approaching 40 and with very little to show for their lives, dead end jobs the likes of used car salesman, security guard and bouncer, the friends are about to feel that shock again as Bernard, apparently down on his luck resorts to hanging himself.All the possessions he had left were a duffel bag, address book and the picture of an unidentified woman, no suicide note, that arrives later in the post and it s on a cassette The story is told from Alan s point of view and it s riveting as we listen to Bernard s final words to his friends, a few home truths are laid bare but it s what he alludes to that grabs their attention and I was hooked at this pointBernard had always been the weak one, gifted with his mouth but rarely truthful, perhaps morally sensitive than the others Alan has to discover why he killed himself and it soon becomes obvious that Bernard wasn t quite who they thought he was Each of them recollect stories from their childhood, occasions where Bernard acted anything other than a normal kid but when they all dream the same dream and bodies start to appear, the terrifying darkness reaches out to them.An intelligent and totally absorbing read that drags you in and doesn t let go like any good horror villain , I will definitely be exploring of Greg F Gifune s work Highly recommended. When childhood friends discover that one of their own, recently deceased, was not who he they thought he was, they delve back into the past to uncover the mystery of who Bernard was, and in turn who they were Disturbing memories, suppressed over the years begin to emerge Memories of a burgeoning evil An evil that didn t die with their friend but reaches for each of them from beyond the grave, come to drag them all back into the dark where dead things still live.I like how Gifune straddles the line between psychological and supernatural horror You can almost dismiss the unthinkable in this book as the psychosis of a disturbed mind You can almost rationalize away the paranormal as mass halucination Almost This is a well written, dark story More than cheap thrills as much as I like those Gifune goes where a lot of horror writers fear to tread 4 stars After all, Goodness is a state of grace Evil, is a state of mind.The above is just one of the quotes from this book that I LOVED This is my fourth Gifune novel novella and it will not be my last.The story is set in a small coastal town in Massachusetts Alan and his friends are mourning the loss of their friend Bernard who committed suicide by hanging They are shocked and confused Then they find the suicide note left by Bernard And so begins their journey into the dark.Mr Gifune tells the story so well, I will leave the rest of the story and plot alone I will say, the writing in this novel is so good, it s almost lyrical at times I ve read Heretics and The Rain Dancers, among other things , by this author and in my opinion Mr Gifune writes very well, especially when it is in reference to people who are damaged and who isn t One of my favorite quotes addresses this We were all the same, it seemed to me, all of us dented and scratched and damaged, held together with pins and duct tape, the walking wounded making one last stand in the dark before giving in to the inevitable.With a cast of well developed characters and an engaging story, this one is highly recommended I can t wait to read by this author because he is quickly becoming a favorite in my book. A persistent feeling of dread permeates this tale about the dark Make no mistake this is the real dark, a tangible entity The shadows wait to swallow you whole See the used car salesman s eternal smile, the man who is rotting from the inside out convinced that no one starts living until he is dead A variation on the theme that one man s trash is another man s treasure, but here, one man s hell is another man s Eden.