Book Reviews

{Review} ALL SMOKE RISES: Milk-Blood Redux, by Mark Matthews

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{Review} ALL SMOKE RISES:  Milk-Blood Redux, by Mark Matthewsby Mark Matthews
Published by Wicked Run Press on February 8, 2016
Genres: Dark Fiction, Extreme Horror, Fiction, Horror, Supernatural
Pages: 113
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon

Introduction by Bram Stoker Award Winning Author Kealan Patrick Burke
Ten year old Lilly is the victim of a terrible house fire and a wretched family. Her father is an addict with mental illness, her mother was murdered and then buried across the street, and her uncle got her addicted to heroin.

Lilly's tragic story has been told in the book ALL SMOKE RISES, and it may be true, for the author has broken into your house, and placed Lilly's body on your kitchen counter. He demands you read the manuscript, before cutting his own wrists and bleeding out on your floor.

Now you have decisions to make, for her body may not be dead, and her family is coming for her.

ALL SMOKE RISES is a follow up to MILK-BLOOD but can also be read as a stand-alone story.

ALL SMOKE RISES: Milk-Blood Redux by Mark Matthews is the sequel to his novel, MILK-BLOOD. In this previous novel, we are first introduced to the child, Lilly–born with a defective heart, and hooked on heroin by her Uncle Nelson. Then comes the fire that burns down her home . . .

ALL SMOKE RISES begins with a bang. A female doctor from the Sharepoint Psychiatric Hospital arrives home, only to find herself confronted by a patient who breaks in. He lays a bundle upon her counter, and a pile of papers. His instructions to her before committing suicide in her kitchen are: “Before you do anything. Read this. Read it through. Because you must.” The psychiatrist is shown the bundle on her counter. “This is the body of Lilly.” “Lilly was anything but a white flower. Her skin blackened and burnt.”

Matthews brings us this raw, emotional novel that tugs at the reader’s soul in every way possible. The use of milk-blood by heroin addicts–a practice of taking out drug-laden blood for later injections when pure heroin is not available–is frighteningly real. This is REAL HORROR, with some supernatural elements added to move the plot along. Once I began reading this, all of the characters and what they had been through, hit me very hard. There are streets like Brentwood all over the world–where people born there are never able to escape. Crystal is another such character here. Her son, Oscar, died in a fire, and she moves back to the same street after her release from prision–unable to think of anything except her son’s final agony.

“All smoke rises.”

For all reasons, Lilly should have died in the fire that destroyed her own home, but her “real father”, a delusional heroin addict himself, finds her in the basement. “He wouldn’t let her stop living. Even when her eyes closed for so long . . . he knew what to do to open them again. The smack. The milk-blood.”

This story is all too real in its depiction of the horrors of drug addiction, and the lives of those involved in it. Whether users, suppliers, or just people unlucky enough to be born in such a neighborhood, each of them struggles just to survive. These “horrors” are real life. THAT is what makes this book so incredibly powerful.

“And you read. Because you must.”

Highly recommended!

About Mark Matthews

Mark Matthews is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a licensed professional counselor who has worked in behavioral health for over 20 years. He is the author of On the Lips of Children, All Smoke Rises, and Milk-Blood, which has been optioned for a full length feature film. He is the editor of the anthology Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror, coming in April 2017. Matthews has run 13 marathons, and has two running based books, The Jade Rabbit and Chasing the Dragon, also available on amazon. He lives near Detroit with his wife and two daughters. Reach him at


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *