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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: Hellscapes Vol 1 by Stephen Zimmer

by Stephen Zimmer
Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare.

In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world.

“The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite. Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn.

In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well, in life. This city won’t be remaining vacant for long.

“Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation.

The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds.

Hellscapes, Volume 1 is the first release in an exciting new themed horror collection from Stephen Zimmer, the author of the Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden Series

I had no idea Stephen Zimmer could write horror so beautifully. I was also impressed with his grasp of language in choosing the right words to set the tone and describe the world he has created. There is a poetic flow to the prose that makes you feel as if you are entering an archaic world of nightmares. He uses the classic idea that hell would be one of your own making. In the case of these stories, the four people aren’t aware they are dead, and the story is about each individual’s journey of realization of why they are there, and what eternity holds for them. The stories take place in the same world, but these are four separate stories of different people. There is an omniscient entity that resides over this hell, but the only time we are aware of it is in the prologue and ending of the book. It doesn’t directly interfere.

My favorite story was The Grove. It had a Tales of the Crypt type of ending and I could feel the terror of the man experienced when he realized his fate. Chilling. The Smallest Fish was my least favorite only because the middle part was a little too long for my tastes.

This is a fabulous read for readers who like a classical type of writing and story. Definitely worth checking out.

4.5 “Where am I!” Sheep

Sharon Stogner

About the Author:
Born in Denver, Colorado, Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning fantasy author and filmmaker based out of Lexington, Kentucky.

Stephen has two series being published through Seventh Star Press. One is the epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series, which was launched with Crown of Vengeance (winner of the 2010 Pluto Award for Best Novel). Book 2, Dream of Legends, was released in January of 2011. The other is the epic urban fantasy series The Rising Dawn Saga. The Rising Dawn Saga launched in spring of 2009 with The Exodus Gate (nominated for a 2009 Pluto Award). The next step was taken in June of 2010 with The Storm Guardians. Highly prolific, Stephen is adhering to a release schedule that sees a new book approximately every seven months!

As a filmmaker, Stephen has credits in fantasy and horror, including the supernatural thriller Shadows Light (feature), The Sirens (horror short film), and Swordbearer (fantasy short film). Swordbearer debuted in early 2011 and is currently being exhibited on the convention and festival circuit. Featuring a special appearance by former WWE wrestler Al Snow, the film is based upon the H. David Blalock novel Ascendant.


  1. Thank you for the review! Having a new collection coming out in a genre I'm not yet known for writing in has been a really interesting experience, seeing how various types of readers react, from those who've read my other work to the horror genre readers. Really glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. Ms. Stogner,

    I'm not exactly a horror kind of girl*, but I love his fantasy series "Fires of Eden" (Chronicles of Ave - was my introduction!)! :) I must admit I was curious about "Hellscapes" even though I knew I couldn't read the book! After reading your review I not only gained further insight into the direction of the stories but insight into the author's perspective and writing styles. During your review you referenced his writing as "poetic flow" and this I can attest too from Ave! He has a way of stitching together stories that illumine the mind as much as the heart! He grabs your attention and gives you something to become pensive about for sure!

    I can also say the descriptions of the story surprised me as he took a setting such as Hell and transmorphed it into a place I was not expecting him to take it! Yet. At the very same time, I think where he went with "Hellscapes" is exactly where I'd hope he'd go! He's a multi-layered writer who fuses his creativity with thought-provoking narratives! In essence, he's not what I would have first perceived of a horror writer, but then again, he's sort of in his own category overall! :) His unique story-telling style shines bright and true!

    *I have parallel interests that intercede on the genre but overall, no, its not something I seek out.