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Search tags: 90-s-horror
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review 2020-07-05 18:15
MURDER BALLADS AND OTHER HORRIFIC TALES by John Hornor Jacobs
Murder Ballads and Other Ballads - John Hornor Jacobs

MURDER BALLADS AND OTHER HORRIFIC TALES is an excellent example of how wide and varied short stories can be, while still being compelling reading for genre readers.

 

Here, we have stories that are so far apart from each other: Viking women and southern bluesmen, from dog-fighting (that was a hard one) to creating artificial intelligence, how could anyone be bored? The humanity that binds us all as storytellers and story readers is still here.

 

I have started getting back to my love of science fiction tales lately and Single, Singularity is one of the best I've ever read, bar none. Seriously now, I was lounging outdoors on a ninety degree day and this tale gave me the shivers something fierce. It was that. Good.

 

Ithaca was about a man, miraculously surviving war, only to return home to find his wife missing.

Verrata was another sci-fi tale about a smart watch and other fabulous sounding technologies that, of course, turn out to be dangerous.

El Dorado was a nasty little story that had a noir feel to it. It also did not feature even one likable character.

 

I really dug the last tale, the sequel to SOUTHERN GODS. Having owned that book since I don't when, and still not having read it, (I'm ashamed), Murder Ballads struck a chord with me. I found myself traveling with another American bluesman, just as I did in A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL, and I loved every minute of it. However, I know I would have perceived a lot more depth had I read SOUTHERN GODS first. I will rectify that soon and then I'll have myself a reread of this great story.

 

John Hornor Jacobs is a relatively new discovery to me. I've become familiar with his name due to my fellow reviewers, whose opinions I trust. I have several books of his to read and I'm looking forward to them even more now. John Hornor Jacobs is the real deal folks. You need to climb aboard his train and do it right now.

 

*Thank you to the author for the eARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2020-07-05 17:32
THE BONE MOTHER by David Demchuk
The Bone Mother - David Demchuk

I can sum this one up in two words: LOVED IT!

 

Told as a series of short stories, I adored the way THE BONE MOTHER was presented. Each tale was preceded by a photograph and I found that those photos gave a face to the characters in each vignette. 

 

The tales themselves were very dark. They all came together,( mostly), at the end, to tell a story of pure evil. Told from Ukranian/Romanian points of view, these characters named horrors that I admittedly know little about: The Holodomor, for instance. Easily over 3 million dead, yet most Americans I've met know nothing about it. Why? References to Kristallnacht, and other horrific events in history also appear, all of which add to the darkness of this volume.

 

In some ways, though, these tales do have a lighter side to them-isn't it often the darkest of times that bring out the best in people? These characters sacrificed and loved each other, despite the often miserable lives and events they faced. In that way, this book SHINES. 

 

The writing was gorgeous and descriptive without being overly wordy. The presentation just blew me away. The photographs, the stories, the horror, the love and finally the darkness of it all-combined they make THE BONE MOTHER. 

 

My HIGHEST recommendation!

 

*I received this paperback from the author with no strings attached. I read it, loved it and here we are!*

 

 

 

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review 2020-07-05 14:20
Dead Sea
Dead Sea - Tim Curran

by Tim Curran

 

This was wonderfully atmospheric.

 

From the Prologue:

"Shut your mind down, shut it right down or they will hear you thinking and if they hear you thinking they will find you."

 

How many children have hidden under their blankets in the dark thinking just this? Invoking our childhood fears from the start, the story goes on to trigger other fears, including fog, darkness and most notably, the vast open sea.

 

Several members of a construction crew have never been out of sight of land before, but they needed this job. What awaits them goes far beyond fear of a sinking ship or natural disasters when the ship enters an eerie fog in the vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle. Everything seems wrong. Watches and radios don't work properly and sea creatures unlike anything even the seasoned sailors have ever seen before add to the otherworldly feeling of being somewhere unknown, where all the rules have changed.

 

This book could do with a technical edit as there are periodic words missing or shoved together, but the writing is exquisite and the characters develop into very distinctive personalities, some of them sensible and others so irritating you want to just shoot them for the good of the group. The eerie atmosphere is very well done and keeps the pages turning to the point of losing sleep over 'just one more chapter'.

 

I loved the way the author got inside the minds of men who are trying to hang on to sanity in circumstances that test their limits more and more as time goes on. Sometimes I've had to stop reading just to get out of that world for a little while myself! I wanted a book with monsters. Well, I definitely got it with this one. It took me unequivocally into another world where nothing is as it should be and the rules become clear only when it's too late.

 

As if that weren't enough, we get some theoretical Physics! One of my great interests and the reason I love time travel books. It was sensibly done, going just far enough. My only complaint besides the typo errors is that an aspect of the ending was a little too convenient for something untried, but by then reality was fully suspended so I didn't care too much. Despite my little criticisms, this one gets a full 5 stars for the amount of enjoyment it gave me.

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review 2020-07-04 00:02
The Bright Lands by John Fram
The Bright Lands - John Fram

'The Bright Lands' hit me in some unexpected places. This is a supernatural horror novel, but the foundation of it is a rural, working-class town with not much else going for it except "the good ol' days" and the success of its football team. The novel is set in Texas, but I saw parallels with my own town in Vermont.

 

The plot involves Joel, a successful financial wizard, getting a strange text from his younger brother Dylan that leads him to flying back home for the first time since he was publicly outed and humiliated at the end of high school. He's flown his family to him in New York rather than return to that place.

 

The night he returns to town his brother, the star of the football team, vanishes. Joel's ex-girlfriend is on the police force and, while working out their differences, they investigate the disappearance and uncover a lot more than they expected.

 

I can't go further into this without revealing too much, but on top of the supernatural dread, there were some real gems of small-town, homophobic existence. I want to say so much more, and I CAN'T, urghh. The most outlandish parts of this book are so real. As a gay man I often can only look on  bemused and sad at the knots a community will twist into, even in this day and age, around an obvious truth. 'The Bright Lands' is about many things, but its mostly about the cankers that form around secrets and the cost paid to maintain them.

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text 2020-07-01 20:28
Attention: Booklikes

To the ghostly or non existent person behind Booklikes.

 

I have been here for years now, as well as on many other book related sites. 

What you have here in this community is very special. 

Why, oh why, are you wasting it by doing nothing? 

 

You answer no requests for help here or on Facebook. 

 

You ignore the spammers joining this site by the hundreds, every single day, thousands per month. This is not an exaggeration.

 

Some of those spammers are posting ads for escorts and other goods and services that are not legal in the U.S. and at the very least, are distasteful. 

 

The community here is dying and you have no one to blame but yourselves.

 

I'm officially giving up on Booklikesopoly because I don't have all day to wait for posts to load. It took 5 minutes for this new text post to load up, for God's sake. That's longer than it's taking for me to type it!

 

I will keep posting reviews here, if I am able, until my site is up and running, which I don't expect to do until the fall, at the very least. At that point, I will abandon this place altogether.  

 

I hope your advertisers sell a lot of product to all of your spammer accounts:

keto diets, prostitutes, escorts and generic substitutes for Viagra. There soon will be no one left here other than them. If that's what you were shooting for? Well done!

 

Well fucking done. 

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