Friday, September 4, 2015

Episode 24: Garton, Strand, Mesling - Best New Zombie Tales Trilogy

In the immortal words of Christian Slater, greetings and salutations! And welcome to a Bare Knuckle landmark. Not only is this our longest episode to date, but it features the longest story we've ever provided for your listening pleasure—which, in turn, is why it's our longest outing (it's kind of a Möbius strip of an episode).

The story in question is Ray Garton's distinctly enjoyable—if you're as warped as we are—story, "Zombie Love," and you'll quickly learn why it would have been an easy decision to include it on the podcast at twice the length. As with all three stories in episode 24, "Zombie Love" appeared in the Best New Zombie Tales Trilogy from Books of the Dead Press. It's a delightful blend of the witch and zombie sub-genres, but to say more would be to rob you of the pleasure of discovery. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is proof that the best way to scare a reader is to make him or her care about the characters. In other words, get ready for a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

Next up is an excellent flash piece from the inimitable Jeff Strand. This one goes by the name of "Immunity," and owing to it's brevity, the less said here the better. If you're familiar with Strand's work, you know to be on the lookout for scares mixed with laughs. "Immunity" is no exception.

The final selection for the episode is Pete Mesling's "The Worst is Yet to Come." Being your woe-inspiring host and narrator, Mesling always manages to shoe-horn one of his stories into the podcast, but we're confident you won't be disappointed. The fright factor is high with this one. Join Mesling on his cautionary journey through the hidden terrors of the prairie, where you are left to decide for yourself which is worse, monsters from beyond the grave or the very real monsters that live among us.

Ray Garton has been writing novels, novellas, short stories, and essays for more than 30 years. His work spans the genres of horror, crime, suspense, and even comedy. His titles include Live Girls, Ravenous, The Loveliest Dead, Sex and Violence in Hollywood, Meds, and many others. His short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and have been collected in books like Methods of Madness, Pieces of Hate, and Slivers of Bone. He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, and at the 2006 World Horror Convention he received the Grand Master of Horror Award. He lives in northern California with his wife, where he is currently at work on several projects, including a new novel titled Monster Show, which, if all goes to plan, will begin a trilogy.  Visit his website at

As for Jeff Strand's biographical data, I will only point you to the bio he's penned for his own website: You are strongly encouraged to read it all the way through, as it is the funniest bio you are likely to encounter from a horror writer.

And that brings us to Pete Mesling, The best place to stay up to date on his projects is He's got some neat stuff in the pipeline, so do have a look. Follow his blog if you'd like, and while you're at it, why not subscribe to his newsletter! All music in episode 24, by the way, was composed, performed, and recorded by your humble host and narrator. There's plenty more where that came from.

Until next time, friends, beware.

UPDATE: You can now read Mesling's "The Worst is Yet to Come" for free at his None So Deaf blog!