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Search tags: Barks-Horror-Reviews
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review 2018-08-15 19:39
Unidentified by Michael McBride Audio Review
Unidentified - Michael McBride,Joe Hempel

This is a brief little novella that runs a little over 2 hours on audio. It’s narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Joe Hempel, who helps the story leap off the pages. He also never grates on my last nerve like some narrators do. His pace is on the slower side and it draws you into the chilling atmosphere of the story and his performance of the characters sounds natural. If you like audio and scary tales, this is a really good one. 

40 years ago a group of teens stumbled across something terrible in the aftermath of crop circles, missing teens and animal mutilations. They woke without memories of the events that cost them a friend but now that another child has gone missing and one of them writes a chilling email saying only “I remember everything”, they reunite to start digging into the past and end whatever it is from tormenting their hometown once and for all. 

Since this is such a short story I don’t have a lot to say about it. It left me guessing and I loved the bleak threads running throughout it and if you listen to the author notes at the end, and you should, you might be a little terrified of the sky!

 

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review 2018-08-07 19:01
The Beast of Brenton Woods by Jackson R. Thomas
The Beast of Brenton Woods - Jackson R. Thomas

There is a werewolf on the loose and he’s got murder, food and procreating on the brain!

 

If you want a fast paced, action-packed, blood-soaked read and are sick and tired of watered down monsters you should give this one a go. I think you will be very satisfied. There are a few people who accidentally get in his path but, for the most part, his victims are no big loss to society.

 

This story is more than just people eating fun though and that’s why I liked it. There’s some good characterization, realistic dialogue and interesting plot threads here too. There’s a young boy who feels a weird connection to this monster and thinks his momma is keeping secrets and there’s a teenager who has a heart of gold and risks everything to save his feckless sister. It’s good to have a couple of good guys to root for in this cruel, cruel world.

 

This reminded me slightly of a Richard Laymon story, what with the pervy men and stupid people, but it wasn’t nearly as in your face with it all and there wasn’t all the rump and boob talk that Laymon loved so much. I enjoyed it without ever wanting to murder one of the characters myself.

 

My only minor issue was the plethora of characters. There were a lot of them in this novella and sometimes I struggled trying to remember who was who but maybe that’s due to my crappy memory and the fact that I couldn’t finish it in a sitting or two.

 

At any rate, it’s a solid four star read and recommended for you beast lovers!

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review 2018-07-31 18:46
The Sea Was A Fair Master by Calvin Demmer
The Sea Was a Fair Master - Calvin Demmer

Sorry for my lack of anything. I was on vacation and intended to do so many things and did none of them. I had fun in the real world though. Now, back to my regularly scheduled thoughtless reviews:

 

This is a collection of little short stories or as they’re better known “flash fiction”. There are 23 of them and when I realized how short they were I have to admit I was super worried that they’d be a waste of my time. I mean, I have trouble with a lack of a complete story in a novella, never mind a story that is only 2 pages or so! But once I started reading them I was no longer worried. These stories are eerie, creepy, sinister, sometimes bleak or funny and always creative and best of all they are COMPLETE! One or two even almost made me get teary. How the author managed to do that with so few words is beyond me but I’m glad he did and I can easily recommend it for any weird fiction and horror fan. 

There’s a little something for everyone here and I wasn’t disappointed with any of the stories but, of course, there were some I liked better than others. I'd say my least favorites were the two having to do with the sea. Here are my favorites with vague little recaps. 

Restroom Finds is filled with gory gorgeousness and is set during the aftermath of an apocalypse. All I have to say is, when are people finally going to listen to Agent Mulder and Trust No One?! And that means absolutely NO ONE!

Underneath is a darkly demented, humorous little tale about a man and his wife that still makes me laugh when I think of it. But perhaps there is something wrong with me!

Yara Damn this one. This one made me go all bleary eyed when I least expected it.

Revenge of the Myth Krampus comes a-calling and you can bet I loved this one. It’s complete but I’m greedy and I want it expanded into a novella! Who can ever get enough of the sexy Krampus, lol.




The One is a weird little voyeuristic look into the desperation of a homeless man willing to do the most awfullest of awful things in order to win the hand of the woman he loves. It’s gruesome and it’s fun, if you’re a weirdo.

Letting the Dead Grow A cemetery grounds keeper takes his macabre garden very, very seriously using the materials he has on hand.

Graves Oh, ouch this one stings the heart until it’s dead. 

If you like this sort thing, I suggest you grab a copy of this collection. Each story is like a little present, and most contain an unexpected nasty little surprise inside. What more could you want?!

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review 2018-07-13 19:06
Providence by Caroline Kepnes
Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

Oh, this book. How on earth does one review such a unique book without ruining the experience for others? This is one of those books that you should experience going in nearly cold.

Strangely enough this book takes place in a town five minutes from my home. Me, being me, was reading every Nashua reference with a squinty eye looking for a nit to pick but I didn’t find anything to bitch about. Nashua is not a very exciting place, if you ask me, and it was fun imagining this weird stuff happening so close to me. I’m going to give any suspicious men about town even more of a wide berth after reading this, however. 

If you bought PROVIDENCE because you loved YOU and HIDDEN BODIES and you expect another crazy Joe you do need to know that this book is not at all like either of them. It starts out when the main characters are children and within pages I was so in love with their friendship and engaged with these two characters that I didn’t want to put it down (curse you real life and your constant interruptions). Kepnes managed to do in mere pages what some books cannot accomplish after hundreds of them. She made me care deeply about these two and put my feelings through the wringer. Now that’s a talent!

Jon and Chloe just click. They would’ve, could’ve, should’ve been that rare couple who fall in love, marry young and stay together through good times and bad because they were meant to be. But that doesn’t happen because who wants to read that book?! Something unexpected happens to one of the kids and it changes them forever. Waking up with vague memories and a copy of The Dunwich Horror by Lovecraft with a strange letter tucked inside, the parents, best friend and the family soon learn that something has forever changed with this kid. I’m not going to tell you what it is or even which kid it is because you need to experience that gut punch yourownselves. I’ll just leave you guessing with this quote.

"I’m starting to get paranoid, starting to think something’s wrong with me… I imagine myself the invisible monster, slaughtering them all."

The remainder of the book features these two kids grown and struggling to connect, longing for each other but unable (for reasons I’m still not divulging) to be together properly. Their story is absolutely wrenching to witness. There is also another character named Eggs who makes it his mission to crack a case involving suspicious deaths of young people. Eggs and his story was also filled with pain and heartbreak and tore me all up inside. Geez, this book. I’m going to spoil it if I keep blathering on. Just read it if you want and I hope you love it as much as I did.

My favorite quote is this one because it’s so damned accurate for me and most everyone I know that I actually laughed out loud like a genuine lunatic. 

"Why are you so dressed up? That should be the state fucking slogan of New Hampshire. "

 

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review 2018-06-19 18:57
Servant of the Undead by Isabelle Drake
Servant of the Undead - Isabelle Drake

I don’t think this book is going to be a book for everyone but if you like a little monster mixed in with your erotica it may just be the book for you.

 

Hayden is a young guy doing a little zombie sex-cult research for a junk rag in the library when he is approached by a gorgeous woman wearing little more than a mini-skirt and a few scraps of rags. She’s dripping (it’s storming out, you pervs), she is icy cold and she smells weird. He knows deep down that something is not quite right here but he has sex with her anyway (hey, she offered!) and now he’s in way over his head. Turns out she’s the sort of zombie that he has just been researching. What are the odds, do you think?! She lets him know that he is her newest sex pet and he must perform whenever she feels the need to “feed” which is quite often, it turns out. She feeds off of sex, by the way, instead of brains and he has no way to fend her off because she easily compels him with her eyes and her beautiful body.

 

“You don’t understand yet, do you? Let me explain. You belong to me now. Until I’m done with you, that is.”


She chains him, she drugs him and, if you ask me, it serves him right! He has a girlfriend who he has cheated on and now because of his dick and his weakness, she’s caught up in all of this weirdness. He is one of the world’s worst boyfriends and feels bad for brief moments but not bad enough to figure a way out of the situation. And nearly not bad enough for me to feel bad for him as I reveled in his debasement!

 

This book is something else. I cannot honestly say that I liked any of the characters with the exception of Rachelle, the cuckolded but good-natured girlfriend, because they’re all pretty despicable creatures who do terrible things and think terrible thoughts but I couldn’t put it down. It’s a sexy, strange read with loads of dubious consent and a few humiliating episodes but nothing overly gross or truly disturbing (says me who has read some AWFUL stuff in the past, pee & poo stuff if you must know, so your mileage may vary). Be warned though, if dubious consent or the inability to consent scares you off because that stuff is here in several scenes. None of it gets too dark or disgusting and it’s not filled with angst and emotional despair. It was all rather amusing in a dark, dubiously sexy sort of way.

 

I’d give it a 3 1/2 because the story did get a wee bit convoluted towards the last half but it still managed to keep me entertained.

 

Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for providing me with an ARC.

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