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Book Review — “Mile 81” by Stephen King


Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

Apologies for my short hiatus the past two weeks.  Between getting a knee injury checked out, bringing my son home from the hospital, and adjusting to being an at home dad, time has been a little tight.  I am now ready and willing to bring a new post to you this week, a review of “Mile 81” by Stephen King.

Imagine you are driving by an abandoned rest stop and you see a car parked whose driver looks to be in some sort of distress.  Would you stop and help, or continue on your merry way?  Suppose you stop and approach the car to investigate, but don’t find a driver anywhere.  You might place your hand on the open car door to both brace you enough to look inside and pull back if there is trouble.  To your shock and horror, you find your hand stuck fast to the door.  The pain kicks in when your hand disappears into the door, literally.  That is precisely what happens to some very unlucky Samaritans in “Mile 81”.

Originally released as an e-book in 2011, it was later included in Stephen’s short story collection, “Bazaar of Bad Dreams”, released in 2015.  As with most of his later works, the story itself grabs you shortly after the beginning, and doesn’t let go.  The way he described what happened to the victims was very detailed without going into ultra gory.  I enjoyed the novella a lot, at least until the ending.  Unfortunately, as with many of his later works, the ending seemed almost rushed and felt like he didn’t really know just how it should end.  Until that point, I loved the story.  My rating is a 3.75 out of 5.

Now it is time for me to scat off to bed for another day of writing, recording, editing, and, most important of all, taking care of my youngest son.  Next week’s review will be a review of the audiobook, “Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword” by Tee Morris.  Until then…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Audiobook review — “Eden” by Phil Rossi


Hello ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Casa!

I have some baby news, but we’re not ready to report it just yet.  There are some things my wife and I need to do first, but good news will be forthcoming soon.  Thank you to everyone who have sent energy, prayers and positive thoughts our way.  And now, on to the review…

Orbiting the planet Uranus is a space station named Lola.  It’s purpose is to study a tree growing from the planet’s surface out into space.  The plant’s name is Eden, and all who see it are immediately wonderstruck .  That is Malcolm Green’s reaction to it the first time he sees the dark branches and full leaves rising into space.  He is on his way to Lola for an audit and inspection to determine if the company funding the research should continue to do so after a string of accidents plague the station.  Making things more interesting is the history he shares with Rosalind, the woman in charge of the station.  Shortly after he arrives, strange things begin to happen; things that make the crew question their sanity.

I first listened to this story when it was originally podcasted in 2009.  I thought it was a creepy story then, and a re-listen to it only cements that belief.  The best way to describe it is a ghost story in space, akin to the movie, “Event Horizon”.  The supernatural elements are enough to keep you hooked, but add in the subplot between the hero, Malcolm, and the woman who brought him to the station, and you dial-up the emotions even more.  It is one I recommend to anyone who loves a good psychological horror story, but be warned that there are some adult situations and language.  Overall, I rate this audiobook a 4 out of 5.

You can find this story in print form on Amazon, and in audio form on  I truly hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.  Until next time…

D.J. Pitsiladis


Book Review: “Cyberstorm” by Matthew Mather


Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

Just a quick update on the baby front.  He was born on 08/26, 6 weeks early.  He’s doing well, and we expect to bring him home in the next couple of weeks.  No word yet on what his online nickname will be.  More to come later.

This week’s review is one I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.  It seems like every time I’ve started writing about it, there is a terrorist attack and I end up shelving it for a while.  The reason why will become self-evident as you read on.  With the 15th anniversary of 9/11 this past weekend, I was again faced with a similar dilemma.  Without getting political, I’ve found that there may never be a “good time” to give the review.  It is a book that definitely deserves some time in the spotlight.  With that in mind, here we go…

In this technological age, with the threat of terrorism always looming, one can’t help but wonder what might happen if the US were to come under a cyberattack. What if the computers, which run practically everything, were to suddenly be turned against us.  Chaos would reign, but most likely an orderly version.  Now, imagine such an attack occurring in New York City during one of the worst snow storms in recent history.  Would people ride it out and stay unified, or turn on each other?

That scenario, scary as it may seem, is what plays out in Matthew Mather’s book, “Cyberstorm”.  I found it a slow boil ride that hearkens to some of the early despair and uncertainty of The Walking Dead, but with snow and ice instead of zombies.  It offers what I think is a semi-plausible description of how people might behave during such a crisis.  People show compassion for others, look out for their own, and some turn on the very people who have what they want.  Without providing spoilers, the twist ending was totally unexpected.  My rating is a solid 4 out of 5.

Now, it is time to go and spend some time with the newest member of our brood.  Until next week…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Movie review: Curse of Chucky

curse of chucky

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I intended to share my review for this movie a couple of weeks ago, but spending vacation time with my sons before school began for the year and the chaos that was birth week kind of put the kibosh on it.  I can say with a big grin that our son was born a week ago Friday night and is doing well for a preemie.  As I’m writing this, he is still in the NICU, but he is every bit a fighter.  I will share pictures of all my boys sometime in the future.  For now, on to the movie review…

One of the first slasher films I remember seeing as a kid was the original Child’s Play.  The movie was intense because, instead of the stuffed doll helping to keep the boogeyman away, the toy was the boogeyman.   I should add that one of my younger brothers had a My Buddy doll, which bore a fairly strong resemblance to Chucky, so the creep factor remained high for a while after the movie ended.  The subsequent installments saw Chucky the killer doll go through many lengths to possess Andy, the boy from the first movie, but they weren’t able to capture the magic of the first one.  By the time the trilogy ended, the studio decided that injecting humor to the franchise might help, and thus came “Bride of Chucky” and “Seed of Chucky”.  The latest installment of the franchise, Curse of Chucky, takes it back to the horror roots and succeeds so well.

The movie opens with a delivery of a Good Guy doll to an old house where the heroine, Nica, lives with her mother.  It becomes clear soon enough that her family sees her as someone unable to take care of herself, and they are surprised when she shows them what she is able to do.  Before long, the family members begin to meet their demise.  I wish I was able to provide more details about it, but to do so would provide spoilers.  If you are a Chucky fan or like suspense filled slasher flicks, then you will enjoy this film.

Well, I need to take off to see my son.  I will be back next week with a review of “Mile 81” by Stephen King.  Until then…

D.J. Pitsiladis

News — We’re welcoming a baby!

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

Apologies for no movie review last week.  I was enjoying the final week off from work with my family before my sons started back to school.  It was very much needed, and I promise to make it up to you… Just not this week, however.  

At the present moment, my wife and I have spent the past week in the hospital due to pregnancy related issues.  As I write this, she is being induced and we will be welcoming our son to the world soon much earlier that we expected.  It is for this reason that I must keep this short.  I will post another update once he has arrived.  

Until then…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Audio Book Review — “Closet Treats” by Paul E. Cooley


Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to The Casa!

For the first audio book, I thought we’d start with a bit of psychological horror.  “Closet Treats” was my introduction to works of Paul E Cooley, but it is far from the end of it.  I heard about the podcast version of this book via advertisement on a different author’s podcast.  I thought the premise sounded cool, so I took a listen.  Am I ever glad I did.

The story centers around a man named Trey Leger, a telecommuting computer programmer, who has issues with his mind.  From petit mal siezures brought on by stress to visions of the Closet Man, a hideous man beast that tortures him every chance he gets.  He’s been able to keep most of that at bay with medication, but all of that is ready to crumble after one look at the driver of a new ice cream van in the neighborhood.  from the moment he locks eyes with the ice cream man, a rollercoaster of events is set in motion.  Is what Trey sees reality, or his mind finally unravelling even more?

This story brought back memories of why I started reading Stephen King stories in the first place.  There is the slow burn of tension building all the way to the end of the story where it releases in one big torrent of viscera.  The story isn’t about blood and gore just for the sake of it, everything that occurs fits perfectly together.  I’ve listened to the story read by both Paul and John Mireau.  Both are really good at telling the story and capturing the personalities of the characters, so picking between the two is impossible for me to do.  What I can do is  direct you to Audible or to get yourself a copy to listen to or read.  if you enjoy stories that play with your mind, this one is for you.

Until next week…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: “Still Water” by Justin R. Macumber

still water

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I’m going to be attempting a new schedule and format for the blog.  While I cannot guarantee how well it will work, I will still be making a strong try to become a more regular host while also expanding what I share with you fans.  What I’m hoping to do is to write a post weekly with a review of work in different mediums.  One week it will be a review of books I’ve read, the next week will be a Podiobook or audio book, followed up by a movie, and then a status report on the various projects I am working on, and news in general.  Occasionally, there may even be a short story waiting for you all.  My hope is to build a routine once again, one that will only be interrupted when my child is born within the next two months.  With any luck, this will become a habit that will be hard to break.  This week, as promised, I want to share a review of “Still Water”, written by Justin R. Macumber.

Kyle, the proverbial “prodigal son”, returns to the small mining town of Stillwater, WV, after leaving six years prior.   The reason for the return is a strange message from his sister that says, “PLEASE COME HOME. IM SCARED”.  She is the one and only reason he returned to the town whose mine shafts took the lives of many – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  He wasn’t prepared for what his family and the town became in his absence.

Maya is a paranormal investigator with the ability to hear and see things most others were unable to.  Her latest case is researching and investigating the town of Stillwater, WV.  From the moment she first sees the town, she knows that something isn’t right about it.  As she investigates further, she realizes just how wrong she is.  An ancient evil is awake, and Stillwater is just the beginning.

This story was a really good thrill ride with a lot of twists and turns, much like the mine cart roller coasters you see in the movies.  You start out on a fairly level spot, knowing something bad is going on, and as the story progresses, it just takes you deeper and deeper.  There is definitely an H.P. Lovecraft feel about the story, and nothing about it felt out-of-place, forced, or unnatural (in a story writer’s way).  There was a good flow about it, and you genuinely feel concern for the characters and whether they will make it out of their predicaments.  I recommend this book to anyone who likes the elder god stories of Lovecraft and his ilk, as well as for fans of Dean R. Koontz.  The only real fault I give the book is the early death of a character who I felt might have given us a slightly different view of Maya.  I rate it 4 out of 5.

Now, it is time for me to finish preparing for the day job and start planning the next Nightmare Fuel piece for  Until next time, loyal patrons…

D.J. Pitsiladis


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