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Publisher's Summary

Thirteen dark tales from the author of Saint Sadist and Gods of the Dark Web.

The disappearance of his son brings a rock star home to atone for past sins. A bartending ex-preacher faces a terrible destiny when an former congregation member walks into his bar wearing a bloody shirt. A blizzard traps a suicidal writer at the Jersey Shore with a cult and its strange goddess. A woman shoots a pornographic video and the act shatters her reality. The zombie apocalypse forces three teenagers to take refuge with the school bully. An old poem connects a college student with her haunted past and her doomed future.

Lucas Mangum's debut collection Engines of Ruin will surely appeal to fans of Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Sara Gran, Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, and John Skipp.

Stories included in this collection:

  • Ghost Music
  • Hell and Back
  • Our Lady of the Sea
  • Worlds Colliding
  • Video Inferno
  • Offerings
  • Hayride
  • Worm Magic
  • Occupy Babylon
  • The World Asunder
  • A Killing Back Home
  • Waters of Ruin
  • The Last Easy Rider
©2018 Lucas Mangum (P)2020 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about Engines of Ruin

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I wasn't much of a fan.

***ATTENTION: I'm a killjoy. That is all.*** I love scary and weird stories, so when I come across a collection, I’m all for it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the majority of stories. Maybe it’s because I felt some were too short, or because most seemed to revolve around sex (a subject I’ve gotten so bored reading about) or have a lot of lip chewing, or are just meh stories. Overall I think the narrator did a good job. There were times when he'd add emphasis to a word for whatever reason that I couldn't pick up on. I'd listen to him again. I’ll probably come across as a prude for this comment (oh well) but starting a story with two characters having sex is one thing, but when they’re “f*cking” and the word is repeatedly used with the narrator adding emphasis to it all within the first five minutes of the story...? It just seemed a bit crass to me. I don’t know how to describe it but I wasn’t a fan. ----“Ghost Music” 1/5 “It was as if their genitals were meant for each other.” Seriously? I can’t think of how many times an author has referenced a male and female character, whether it’s their bodies matching up (like a puzzle piece) or their neither regions. This is a reason I avoid strictly romantic stories. I’m so over this description. Bring on something new! This is a perfect reason as to why I’m tired of reading sex scenes… they’re all the same. As for the story itself? I honestly wasn’t even sure what was going on. ----“Hell and Back” 2/5 This might have been a good story, but it was way too short. ----“Our Lady of the Sea” 1/5 Sorry, but this story bored me. ----“World’s Colliding” ?/5 I wasn’t sure how to rate this one. I felt it was all over the place and confusing, weird (in a bad way). I did find it funny that the author thinks a female (with a v*gina) can pee out semen. Please tell me why that doesn’t work, why it’s not possible? LOL ----“Video Inferno” 1/5 Again, I was bored. ----“Offerings” 5/5 I found this one to be the most interesting and entertaining of the batch. ----“Hayride” 1/5 I didn’t think there was much to this story. ----“Worm Magic” 1/5 I didn’t understand what was happening. ----“Occupy Babylon” 4/5 This was the next best story. I honestly wasn’t 100 percent sure what was happening, but I love zombies! ----“World Asunder” 1/5 This story made me think of the movie “Spit on Your Grave” with the young, “special” fella who hangs out with the a**holes of the town. They get into trouble, this time wanting to rape a female. They force the “special” guy to do the deed even though he doesn’t want to. Afterward, he lies in the fetal position and cries because it was so traumatizing for him; the other guys laugh, of course. Anyway, the fact he ends up getting his nose shattered and acts as though nothing happened? Yeah… ----“A Killing Back Home” 3/5 There was a description around the part when the female protagonist goes to visit her father. She describes the air as smelling like semen due to some type of pear. Can I ask why when male writers write about a female character, there’s usually sex involved, or overly graphic descriptions used for her, or what she does is described in a sexually manner? No? I didn’t think so. My comment has me thinking about an article I read recently in which a female writer was questioning the descriptions some male writers tend to use when describing scenes with female characters. Picture this: a woman is running for her life. She’s heading to a man (the main protagonist) who is waiting for her on the other side of a field. He’s watching her scream in terror, crying, and of course trip. “She was a beautiful woman. Her large jugs bounced as she ran in my direction.” Yeah… nothing wrong with that description. ----“Waters of Ruin” 2/5 I wasn’t really sure how I felt about this story. A part did catch my… ear though. “The cries came from above. The bathroom light flowed faintly from above like the sun above the sea.” Tells me what’s wrong? ----“The Last Easy Rider” ?/5 Again, I have no clue how I felt about this story. What was the point of it exactly? I’m not always the best person when it comes to reading into something. To me, it was about a girl who dreamed about her gay (or something gay/bi) friend. I received a free audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

2 people found this helpful

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Good Collection of Twisted Horror Stories

Good collection of twisted horror stories. I am really hard pressed to say which one was my favorite. Each one offered up something unique and I thought as a collection they were pretty solid. While I didn't find them graphic from a horror perspective, a few were a bit graphic related to sex. A few of them to me seemed like they just ended and didn't have a full conclusion, not a fan of stories that don't have an actual ending and just leave things open. All in all they were neat stories and this author should definitely be on your radar if you like horror stories. Sean Duregger did a great job with the narration. I loved his character's voices, the cadence he used, and the overall energy he put into each story. He really brought the story and characters to life I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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I. Throughly enjoyed this take on it’s genre.

I have listened to/read numerous books in this genre. This is one of the better ones. I do recommend this book.

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Classic scary fun!!

This was a great read and listen. Shawn did an awesome job of narrating this one. It had all the feels of the classic campy Halloween goodness I love, the closer to Halloween I get. The King influence is strong and this is the most fun I've had reading a short story collection in a long time. I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review, and it is one I'll definitely share and spread the word about. I loved this one, and hopefully you will too. Enjoy, and Happy reading.

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Grim stories

Great title. Very dark stories and not everyone has a happy ending. Sexually graphic, especially how woman are treated in most of the stories, which is not nice. Time-jumps in a few stories, as though a transition was missing. Very talented voice actor.

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good collection, great narration

this was a pretty good collection of short stories, it has plenty of sex and violence with a dash of depravity that almost made it boarder on hardcore horror but not quite though. the narrator was great and I enjoyed listening to it.

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didn't do it for me

There are several five-star reviews for this collection of short stories, so I guess that your enjoyment is a matter of personal taste. I thought that the best story in the bunch was 'Offerings'. I think that the author wrote well and the character development was pretty good in all of the stories. Why didn't I give more stars? Plot. I guess my preference is for stories with eerie hooks or ironic twists (especially at the end), but in my opinion none of these stories resonated with me in terms of gore, shock, horror, eeriness, or irony. I was expecting those things because of the audiobook cover art, I admit. It's too bad because, as mentioned, the author's writing style and character descriptions were on track. Tension-building was fine. The potential was there, but the endings didn't end quite right for me. To me, they ended with a shrug rather than a satisfying closure. It's my two subjective cents, though, because other reviewers were much more positive. The narration was good - he has a good voice for horror fiction and was a good choice for this project. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Insane Stories

Weird bizarre stories with some sexual situations some good some not but good narration. Enjoyed his other books more.

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Decent collection

I read Lucas Mangum's novella Gods of the Dark Web earlier this year, which left me impressed and disgusted (the latter, I suppose, in a good way), and was curious to listen to this follow up collection of stories. A more diverse array of story types are on display in Engines of Ruin, some better than others. My favorites were "Our Lady of the Sea" and "Offerings." Overall enough goods stories that kept me going all the way through. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Great Halloween read

I love scary short stories. This one was a great Halloween read. I really enjoyed it. I was given a copy of this recording in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Alan Preece
  • 10-22-20

Where things began...

Engines of Ruin is a collection of thirteen short stories from the writer of Gods of the Dark Web (one I particularly enjoyed from him) and Saint Sadist (one I didn't as much) and contains stories covering everything from serial killers to Lovecraftian sea-goddesses and a whole lot in-between. This review is going to be one that is glowing with faint praise, mainly because - even though I like Lucas Mangum's work quite a lot and I've even found him to be a bit of an inspiration - he often wanders off in a direction that doesn't directly appeal to my own sensibilities. I'll be honest with you here and tell you that this is because of my own hang-ups and should be taken very lightly by others looking to read his work. Mainly my issues lie with his depiction of sex, and we're often not talking about coy references, but sometimes in a rather graphic sense, and his use of religion, specifically Christianity. If like me you find depiction of sex more squirmy than you find extreme violence then these moments have the affect of making you want to mentally fast-forward, which spoils the over all affect of his work, and I personally found that the stories that shied away from the use of sex worked better and seemed far less contrived. The other issue that bothered me was the "Christianity as villain" angle the stories often took, sometimes explicitly and sometimes more subtly. I've always found this cliché to be a little lazy and often added nothing to the resulting story other than a handy excuse (as in "The World Asunder") or served no purpose at all (as in "Worlds Colliding"). All that being said I quite liked Lucas Mangum's Engines of Ruin. For the most part the stories are well drawn with a solid atmosphere and oddly believable situations, in addition to my "pet peeves" (which you shouldn't let influence you one way or the other) my only genuine criticism is that the stories in Engines of Ruin have a slightly "truncated" feel to them. Sometimes they seem to be unfinished, perhaps ending too early or sometimes not quite "complete" in their message. This could be deliberate stylistic intent of course, and some readers may completely disagree of my analysis, but I personally thought his more long-format work fares better but it was very interesting to get the chance to hear his first work. Ah yes, hear... because this was an audiobook version from the always dependable Sean Duregger, a name that always makes a book a little better by his presence. His productions are clean and lacks any of the bells-and-whistles some producers add that - in my opinion - more often detracts than adds to the resulting audiobook. In my opinion the team of Mangum and Duregger makes this one a must-have, and I'm very pleased I had the opportunity to experience it and I'm looking forward to their next release.

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  • miss
  • 09-01-20

really enjoyable

there are some good stories in this book and some great stories too. im usually not a great fan of short stories but these were really good xxxxx

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  • Ryan Pascall
  • 08-29-20

A mostly great selection of darkly sexual horror.

Short stories are a strange thing. To try and present an entirely rounded setting, circumstance and outcome in about 20-30 minutes is not an easy thing to do, be it in written form of an anthology movie such as Asylum (1972- check it out) and it really does depend what the subject matter is. I tend to find that sci-fi shorts don't really work as there is too much world-building to be done but horror is a perfect palette to work with. In this case, we've got thirteen tales of sexually-charged horror ranging from a murder couple to a zombie apocalypse and (my favourite) ghostly revenge. My enjoyment with the tales varied from one to another as some simply failed to elicit any sense of shock but all are well written by the one Author and fabulously narrated by Sean Duregger who add a great sense of pace and expression to the characters. For this type of collection you just need to ask yourself if you like short stories as, while a pretty good selection of stories, they're not for everyone.