by John Everson
Let me start by saying that I'm not a fan of slasher fiction. I am, however, a big fan of haunted house stories and that's what led me to this story, innocently unaware of the author's other novels and prevalence of violence therein.
It's a great premise; a house located next to a cemetery is the local 'haunted house' that every small town has, only this one was owned by a witch who actually does still haunt the place. An entrepreneur gets a bright idea to convert the old house into a Halloween amusement and a collection of Horror enthusiast decorators and make-up people get involved creating themes based on popular Horror movies.
While it isn't what I would call great literature, I have to give credit to the author for creating the right atmosphere despite the fact that I haven't seen most of the Horror films referred to, though I did go look up the Goblin soundtrack to Suspiria on YouTube.
The story kept my attention all the way through and despite the main protagonist, Mike, being the poster boy for stupidity by way of being led my his genitals and too much beer, the variety and distinctiveness of characters was really well done. It wasn't until the last few chapters that things got messy and I did have to stop between chapters to decide if I could continue, but by then I needed to know what would happen and who might survive.
The descriptions were well done, though graphic, in a way that didn't feel gratuitous. Considering the level of violence it reached, that's a pretty good trick. People who like slasher Horror will love this. Personally I'm too squeamish to ever want to go there again.
by Terry M. West
The title of this is a little misleading because the featured creature isn't actually a pet. An aspiring writer lives in a small rural town where most neighbors are renters and not long term residents, except for the man who keeps to himself and has No Trespassing signs all over his property.
One day the old hermit knocks on the writer's door and insists he has to show him something. He needs a witness. Curiosity wins over caution and they hike up to the hermit's property to see what he's caught. What could go wrong?
It's a short story dealing with fortean creatures with a Horror twist. The writing was fairly good and the characters well drawn, including the creature. Nothing too original in the plot, but a nice, quick read for the Monster Horror enthusiast.
by Frank Roberts
This story started with a long, drawn out description of small town life that gave me thoughts of slitting my wrist, both from the writing style and the thought of having to spend a life in that environment. Eventually some ghostly happenings did enter the story.
There's nothing wrong with the writing in this per se, it's just a voice I don't get on with. Very much like someone's great uncle Horace sitting on the front porch in a small southern town telling a story of something that happened and digressing into irrelevant details about people you don't know for hours at a time. Some readers might love this style, I don't.
The most likeable characters in my opinion are the ghosts. They do get their story told. The main character would be okay if he would stick to the story. The actual central plot is fairly good once it finally takes form. I just found the digressions terminally boring.