Offering a variety of dark fiction, I Can Taste The Blood provides uniquely woven tales that will not only scare but will allow the reader’s mind to explore unfamiliar depths of storytelling. Each author has an offering that cannot be ignored; this book holds the key to talent that has been locked away. Using an entirely different approach, Joe Schwartz’s story interested me in particular. A story of a kidnapping that took an unpredicted turn provided excellent story telling that was very real and terrified me. I could taste the blood!

Read below to find out more about Joe Schwartz with iHorror’s interview.


I Can Taste the Blood, Synopsis, and Info

  • Print Length: 290 Pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Grey Matter Press (August 23, 2016)
  • Publication Date: August 23, 2016



Five Unique Voices. Five Disturbing Visions. One Nightmare.

From Bram Stoker Award-nominated authors Josh Malerman, the newly minted master of modern horror, and John F.D. Taff, the “King of Pain,” to the mind-bending surrealism of Erik T. Johnson, the darkly poetic prose of J. Daniel Stone and the transgressive mania of Joe Schwartz, I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD offers up five novellas from five unique authors whose work consistently expands the boundaries of conventional fiction.

I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD opens the doors to a movie theater of the damned; travels the dusty, sin-drenched desert with an almost Biblical mysterious stranger; recounts the phantasmagoric story of birth, death and rebirth; contracts a hit that’s not at all what it seems; and exposes the disturbing possibilities of what might be killing Smalltown, U.S.A.

As diverse as they are, in voice and vision, the work of the five celebrated authors assembled in this stunning volume of terror share one common theme, one hideous and terrifying nightmare that can only be contained within the pages of I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD.

The book has an introduction by John F. D. Taff about the impetus of the book and an afterword featuring comments by each author.

Edited by John F.D. Taff and Anthony Rivera

About The Author


– Joe Schwartz

In 2008, Joe’s Black T-Shirt: Short Stories About St. Louis was published as a personal favor for friends of Joe Schwartz. The idea that people outside of Schwartz’s limited Midwestern world could find these dark, and occasionally personal, stories entertaining was as exciting as it was mysterious for the first-time author. Since then, he has written two more collections of short stories as well as the novels A Season Without Rain and Adam Wolf and The Cook Brothers – A Tale of Sex, Drugs and Rock&Roll. The kind of stories he tells have been described as “a sharp punch to the gut” and disarming “like a sunny day in Hell.”

iHorror Interview With Author Joe Schwartz (Vision III).

iHorror: Can you please tell us about yourself and also where you are from?

Joe Schwartz: My name is Joe Schwartz, I’m 46 years old and I live in St. Louis. All my stories feature St. Louis as the location but it’s really more out of necessity than affection as I have lived here most of my life.

iH: Rather than offering readers a story of the supernatural, your remarkable characterization and attention to detail create a story of crime that felt very real and a monster in itself. Did you have any inspirations for writing this piece? Any research conducted?

JS: I watch the news most nights and I love to read the police beats of small town newspapers. The story starts off with a fairly inhumane joke which I used as a writing prompt. What kind of guys could possibly find something this sick funny? And it was just a useless thing I’d heard until John Taff told me about the infamous I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD scrawl he’d seen on the bathroom wall of the Blackthorn Pizza pub. I wrote the story extremely fast having no idea what was going to happen to these guys but I was fascinated nonetheless. The only time I recall actually slowing down to think about what I was writing was near the end. I fucking hate predictable endings! The pink girl is probably the most heinous character I have ever created and found her role in the story extremely enjoyable. Trust me when I say nobody was more surprised by how that story ended than me.

iH: What were the beginning years of your writing like?

JS: Nothing to brag about really, but as time has gone by and people have genuinely told me how much they like what I do, I have found a patience about what I’m doing. People often ask me what is it like to be a writer and I usually say this, writing is like taking a trip across the ocean in a rowboat and no one could give a shit if you make it to the other side. Compared to say being in a movie which is more like jumping in a rocket ship to the moon, it takes significant diligence to write. The best thing that ever happened to me when I was a new writer is that a few people were willing to read me, critique my work without any personal malevolence, and help me get better.

iH: What do you love about being an author?

JS: I love being read, having an effect in people’s life by telling them a story. When I was a kid books were an escape pod for me from loneliness, abuse, neglect and poverty. As adult stories are still my gateway away from self-loathing and low self-esteem to worlds filled with redemption and justice. The cool thing is that now I’m the storyteller and every time I sit down to write it is with an expectation of doing work that not only I can be proud of, but that as a bookworm I would want to read myself. There is no bigger compliment any writer can receive than a reader gushing over how much they liked his story. That’s what I’m shooting for each time I publish, a story that readers will like so much they’ll share it with their friends absolutely charmed to have read something so good.

iH: Who is your favorite author and do you favor a particular genre?

JS: I have two; the first being Steinbeck. Reading Of Mice and Men for the first time was an experience for me akin to losing one’s virginity. Talk about exceptional stories. I sometimes feel like that story broke me open as a writer. The second oddly enough is King when he was Bachman. The Bachman Books seriously ruined me for a long time for other stories. I like stories that champion the underclass, that make something as perverse and desperate as being poor goddamn exciting to read about yet nothing you would hope to live through.

iH: Is there any subject matter that you would not even think about writing about?

JS: Not really. The stranger, the more sacred, the more offensive – the better!

iH: Any writing advice that you can offer our future authors?

JS: Whatever you do, pay to have your work professionally edited before allowing it to be published. You will become a better writer if you have someone handing your work back to you dripping in red-ink. I recommend finding an editor who particularly does not like your writing. Not only will their comments totally piss you off, they will inspire you to write better if only to shut the smug son of a bitch up!

iH: What can fans expect in the future? Are you currently working on any new novels?

JS: As of this moment, I have a novel coming out called STABCO – the story of two loser brothers hoping to find salvation and redemption through the sale of knives door-to-door. If that logline made you chuckle when you read it, then you are going to love this book. https://t.co/QHHqhukYAs

iH: When you are not busy brainstorming and writing what do you do in your spare time?

JS: Not much. I’ve gotten into running some over the last year, however, I wouldn’t bore a stranger on the bus with talking about that shit. Basically, I’m just a guy who works 40 hours a week, mows the grass like it’s actually more important than it ever really is and watches too much TV. Mostly (big surprise here) I like to read. I just finished Larry McMurtry’s brilliant Last Picture Show and highly encourage anyone who loves stories with lots of sex and violence and generally a good book overall about how people are just basically fucked up, to read it as soon as possible.

Thank you so much, Joe!


Praise for I Can Taste the Blood and for Grey Matter Press

“Only a group of psychopaths would assemble a book such as this. Bloody brilliant, and beautifully executed. Taste this.” – Michael Bailey, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor of THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD

“I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD is a tour de force for Grey Matter Press and for the five outstanding dark fiction authors gathered here. If you’ve read their work before, then you’ll know what we’re talking about, and if you haven’t, you won’t find a better place to start than right here.”
– Shane Douglas Keene, THIS IS HORROR

“It is the slow burn, the creeping doubt, the inherent violence, the lore made real. Through exotic locations, where the wind blows from within; flashing across the silver screen, violence echoing into the night; pulled from the trunk of a car, dark deeds that deserve retribution; a monster lying in wait, one more city down every road. Haunting and disturbing, even now, I CAN TASTE THE BLOOD” – Richard Thomas, author of BREAKER and TRIBULATIONS

“While this quintet of authors may taste the blood, we readers will feel the fright of their nightmare visions, sense the dread, the thrills, the awe of their standout voices. MALERMAN, STONE, SCHWARTZ, JOHNSON, and TAFF: The five points of a brilliant star that herald short horror mastery.” – Eric J. Guignard, fictionist, winner of the Bram Stoker Award and finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award

Praise for Grey Matter Press

“Grey Matter Press has managed to establish itself as one of the premiere purveyors of horror fiction currently in existence via both a series of killer anthologies –SPLATTERLANDS, OMINOUS REALITIES, EQUILIBRIUM OVERTURNED — and John F.D. Taff’s harrowing novella collection THE END IN ALL BEGINNINGS.” – FANGORIA

“The dark, all-encompassing theme seems to be the trademark of Grey Matter Press. When asked for a referral I often state without hesitation to the very press that has enchanted my reading attention.” – Dave Gammon, HORROR NEWS

About Grey Matter Press

Grey Matter Press is a Chicago-based publisher whose mission it is to discover and cultivate the best voices working in dark fiction. The company is committed to producing only the finest quality volumes of exceptional fiction for its readers. Since the publication of their first volume in late 2013, Grey Matter Press has released a succession of bestselling titles, including two of which that have been nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award. FANGORIA Magazine says of the publisher: “Grey Matter Press has managed to establish itself as one of the premiere purveyors of horror fiction currently in existence.” For more information visit GreyMatterPress.com or follow the publisher on Twitter at @GreyMatterPress.

I Can Taste The Blood can be purchased by clicking here.


Oh, A Hook Of A Book Publicity Tours!


A Few Past Reviews:

Kristen Dearborn’s ‘Stolen Away’ Blurs The Lines Between Reality and Hell. [Book Review]

‘Children of the Dark’ Will Haunt Your Dreams and Reality.

‘A Mixed Bag of Blood’ Will Make You Cringe & Squirm!



Ryan T. Cusick is a writer for ihorror.com and very much enjoys conversation and writing about anything within the horror genre. Horror first sparked his interest after watching the original, The Amityville Horror when he was the tender age of three. Ryan lives in California with his wife and Eleven-year-old daughter, who is also expressing interest in the horror genre. Ryan recently received his Master’s Degree in Psychology and has aspirations to write a novel. Ryan can be followed on Twitter @Nytmare112