Paperback: 492 pages
Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (January 23, 2018)
Speculations : From Texas to Alaska, Joe McKinney’s collection of nightmares will leave you mesmerized and frightened to the very core. Prepare yourself for a tour of the macabre: Police investigating the supernatural! Vampires trying to survive under the monstrosity of man! The spirits of the dead demanding vengeance! Novelists suffering from a little bit more than just writers’ block! All of that and more in this spine-chilling, terrifying tome of horror!
There’s all types of horror entertainment. We hear things,see things or go places that give us a momentary but fleeting thrill. That’s about as good as it gets I’m afraid. However if you crave great horror stories,then you need to investigate Joe McKinney’s Speculations. From the first page to the last, Speculations offers tales of horror from supernatural entities to psychological terror. Using his vast knowledge and experience as a Sargeant in the San Antonio Police Department, McKinney grounds his stories like ‘Blemish’,’Ghost Town’ and ‘The Night Visitor’ in true to life situations. Initially, one might believe that Speculations is purely a supernatural themed anthology. Not true.
As readers, we are faced with subject matter that hits closer to home,and where our perceptions and realities are questioned in stories like ‘The Shed’and ‘Among Men’.
Speculations begins with ‘A Little Crimson Stain’ a creepy tale that should make any reader think twice before he/she uncovers “treasures” from somebody else’s attic, to the final story a thought-provoking Sci-fi tale titled ‘Acclimation Package’ where the reader begins to ponder their own mortality.
I have to admit though,one of my favorite stories from Speculations was ‘Hero’. In ‘Hero’ a psychiatrist named Dr. Lange discovers that not all of his patients are crazy. In fact, one particular patient Robert Hanover, will alter Lange’s beliefs on reality for exactly seven minutes and twenty-two seconds.
Speculations is another great book that highlights McKinney’s talents as both a writer and master storyteller. He portrays the torment,anguish, and disparity of his characters with laser like precision while delivering a first class story. It’s easy to feel empathy and vindication for the protagonists throughout the book and as each story unfolds, we’re engrossed until the finale.
While the key focus of this collection is horror, McKinney encompasses all aspects of the genre and taps into the fears that most of us hide from. And that’s great entertainment.
Speculations has well developed plots, vivid and complex characters,and leaves it’s readers with an overall feeling that our appetites for great literary horror have been appeased. So whether you’re a fan of dark tales, ghosts,vampires or conjurings from the deep recesses of man’s own subconscious, Speculations has something for you. For those reasons, we’re giving Speculations 5 out of 5 stars.
Joe McKinney is the San Antonio-based author of several horror, crime and science fiction novels. His longer works include the four part Dead World series, made up of Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead, Flesh Eaters and The Zombie King; the science fiction disaster tale, Quarantined, which was nominated for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a novel, 2009; and the crime novel, Dodging Bullets. His upcoming releases include the horror novels Lost Girl of the Lake, The Red Empire, The Charge and St. Rage. Joe has also worked as an editor, along with Michelle McCrary, on the zombie-themed anthology Dead Set, and with Mark Onspaugh on the abandoned building-themed anthology The Forsaken. His short stories and novellas have been published in more than thirty publications and anthologies.
In his day job, Joe McKinney is a sergeant with the San Antonio Police Department, where he helps to run the city’s 911 Dispatch Center. Before promoting to sergeant, Joe worked as a homicide detective and as a disaster mitigation specialist. Many of his stories, regardless of genre, feature a strong police procedural element based on his fifteen years of law enforcement experience.