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review 2017-06-30 19:59
Train to Busan
 
 
 

 

Train to Busan
Zombie Film 
Released 2016
While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

See it on Netflix or Amazon
 
My Thoughts:
 
It's been ages since I've gotten off my bum and written a horror film review. I've seen a ton of films but usually can't remember a thing once the credits roll and that makes it hard to write any kind of review.  But this one? This one has been lingering and rattling around in what's left of my brain for days. Now it's screaming at me to write a review, if only to get it out of my head. I'll likely get the names spelled all wrong and maybe some of the details too but I'm going to do this anyway. Sorry in advance.

This is a movie you MUST see if you're a fan of character driven, action-packed zombie films (yes, they really do exist!). This is how horror films should be done, if you ask me. It's a South Korean film and has subtitles and the run time is just under two hours but don't let any of that put you off. This movie is spectacular. I'm not exaggerating. My husband who is not a horror fan by choice keeps bringing it up so I know it stuck with him too. It's currently running on Netflix. You really need to drop everything and go watch it. Seriously.


Seok-woo and his wife are separated and his wife has moved out. For her birthday his little girl Su-an only wishes to take the train to see her mother. She is a strong willed little kid and will do it alone if she has to! I really loved Su-an. She is adorable and has a fine backbone. Her dad is a workaholic businessman who misses all the important moments in her life but his latest and greatest mistake was to miss her recital. She's angry at him and he's a little miffed about the whole thing but decides to do the right thing and accompanies her on the train to mom's place thinking he'll be back to work in a few hours. They board the train together and then a zombie outbreak happens.

These zombies are fast and hungry and initially the people on the train are clueless as to what exactly is happening and they are all trapped in sections of the train as it speeds to its destination. This scenario is claustrophobic and completely terrifying.

The cast is filled out with a hoard of characters because the train is packed with people. As the movie progresses few of them remain human but those who do are really fleshed out into realistic people you will root for and, of course, there's one you will despise because there has to be at least one villain! I love that the movie took the time to develop its characters and was able to keep the action going. Many of the people start out as stereotypes but truly surprised me with their strength and humanity and bits of humor even as the terror brutalized them. 

This movie is violent and heartbreaking and one of the best I've ever seen.  It will probably leave you a weepy mess but it will also give you hope in some of humankind, at least, and I think we all need a little of that kind of hope right now. I had the ending spoiled for me by a bigmouth on a horror movie podcast (to which I've now unsubscribed) so do yourself a favor and go into this without reading any reviews other than mine, of course! Trust me, you do not want to spoil it for yourself.
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review 2017-06-30 18:53
Hell Cat of the Holt by Mark Cassell
Hell Cat of the Holt (a novella): supernatural horror in the Shadow Fabric mythos - Mark Cassell

I shallowly chose this as my next read because of the title and the cover. I live with a hellcat who chews laptop cords, Ipads, electrical wiring, hapless and short lived mice and human legs. He likes the legs best of all but only if they’re hairy so I’m usually safe. He also takes great joy in lazing about on the stairway awaiting the human stupid enough to dare pass him. You know the type.

Here’s the devil’s furry son we call Patrick.



Here he is in action:



Anyhow , this story turned out to be about a potentially demonic cat and a whole lot more. It’s part of the “shadow fabric mythos” which consists of several connected stories set up by the author. I haven’t read any of the other work set in this mythos but I can tell you that I’m going to change that and that you can go into this one without feeling left out, confused or aggravated. Hell Cat of the Holt stands alone quite well and is one of those atmospheric stories that creeps under your skin pretty quick. 

I was taken in by the opening scene which was nearly a complete unsettling short story all on its own. I even had to flick back to the blurb to make sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up another short story collection. Nope, I was safe! I hadn’t just accidentally agreed to read another “Nightmares”. Phew.

Anne has recently returned to the home of her childhood with her cat Murphy. Soon after, Murphy goes missing and she spends most of her time wandering about the small town in search of him. She worries that the rumors may be true, and that there is indeed a big, black monstrous cat terrorizing the locals, causing accidents and she fears that it may have done something terrible to her beloved Murphy! Nothing hooks me like a sweet kitty in peril and hooked I was. With the help of a neighbor named Leo, Anne digs deep into the secrets of the demonic cat and discovers something far more insidious and frightening than an overlarge cat with red eyes (but yeah, that’s scary enough!).

This short tale paints an excellent picture of a small town gripped by something not quite of this world. It’s a little gory and the atmosphere is as much a part of the story as the characters and I always love an author who can do that and do it well. There is a bonus story at the end that ties in with Hellcat and adds an even creepier undertone to everything. 

If you’re a fan of atmospheric horror and cats you’ll most definitely want to read Hellcat of the Holt. 

I received an ARC of this story from Confessions Of A Reviewer promotion. Thanks for sharing!

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review 2017-06-30 18:45
The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker
The Fourth Monkey - J.D. Barker

I don’t read a ton of straight up thrillers because the police procedural bits usually don’t thrill me but this one did. It’s about a serial killer (those I do like!) and not only does it follow the current day rush to find a kidnapped teen left for dead, it also tells the creepy tale of the killer’s super weird and rather disturbing childhood. He and his parents lived in a picture perfect neighborhood and had the picture perfect marriage but they weren’t like other parents and I was riveted from page one of the killers spectacularly lurid diary that was filled with juicy secrets. Oh how I love juicy secrets! 



I’m not going to tell you much of anything about the plot because I’m too lazy and you don’t really want things spoiled for yourself, do you? Why read the book if a review tells you everything? And this is one you’ll want to read and discover all on your own. If you’re into thrillers and dysfunctional households, I think you’re really going to enjoy this one. 



What I will tell you is that the way this story is told kept me hooked. It alternates between the victim’s ordeal, the police attempting to figure it all out and the killer’s diary. All of these stories are compelling and kept things moving. The characterization is pretty awesome too and that’s a rarity in many of the books I read. The dynamic between the group working on the case felt very realistic and the main man on the case is wounded to his very soul and is extremely sympathetic. I liked him, I felt for him and I ached for his heartbreak. It takes a lot to make me feel much of anything but when it’s done right, as it is here, I am glued to the pages. This darn book kept me up until 1:30 in the morning when I had to get up at 6 for work. I NEVER do that but I had to learn all the secrets and get all the answers. I’m totally regretting it today.



I also loved the creepy characterization of the young killer in the diary. He reminded me a lot of young Norman Bates of Bates Motel (oh, how I miss that show) and his too adult for his age word choices didn’t seem at all out of place in his strange little world. 


I’m terrible at figuring out mysteries and most clues completely go over my head and, as per usual, I didn’t see many of these twists coming but that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot. If you’re a die-hard mystery/thriller fan you may have a different experience – or you might not. Either way, it’s tough to put down and I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a read.

This twisted quote is my absolute favorite. It makes me laugh every time I read it. But don’t read it if want to go in blind.

 

 

"Oh, I didn’t beat him. I pushed him down the stairs, chained him to the water pipe, then went to work trying to slice the evil out of him. It was messy work, and even after three hours I’m afraid I only made a dent in it. I worked up such an appetite, though.”

 

(spoiler show)

 

 


I received an ARC from Booklover Catlady Publicity. Thanks for the twisted read!

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review 2017-05-09 18:55
Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk
Threshold - Jordan L. Hawk


I listened to this book on audio and the narrator is not my favorite. I wasn’t thrilled with his performance in “Widdershins” and it was pretty much the same deal here. He simply has no oomph to his voice, there is very little to no emotion behind any of the words and I’m a reader who needs the oomph. I don’t enjoy having a story “read” to me. I need a performance. And it’s all about me, right? Anyway, this story is good enough for me to mostly ignore the sometimes awkward/sometimes stilted delivery and the lack of tone change in most of the character voices. Christine is done right though so that’s awesome.

This time lovebirds Griffin and Whyborne and their colleague Christine are investigating strange goings-on at a coal mine. There’s some humor, dastardly humans, some spicy love making, ancient monsters with pincers and surgical skills (yes! Gross but, yes, I loved it!). What more could I want in a story? Nothing, I tell you. Ok, maybe a little angst but that’s here too as the pair have their first real fight, face some insecurities and kiss and make up.

If you don’t like horror you will need to skim and think of this during the scary bits.


This is book #2 in the series and I most definitely recommend reading them in order so you can watch the main couple fall in love and solve their first really weird case in Widdershins. I don’t follow many series because I’m too lazy to keep track of them but this is one that calls to me. I may read the rest in paper format though unless I hear that the narration gets a whole hell of a lot better . . .

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review 2017-04-18 16:06
Garden of Fiends Anthology
Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Johann Thorsson,Max Booth III,Glen Krisch,Jessica McHugh,Kealan Patrick Burke,Mark Matthews,Jack Ketchum

This is a truly excellent collection of short stories all about the struggle of addiction. All have a horror twist and there isn’t a dud in the bunch. If I didn’t have to work, feed and clean up after people all the live-long day, I would’ve finished it in one sitting because it’s that good. I’m not going to rate them. Just know that they’re all around the 4 1/2 – 5 star range which totally averages out to a 5, right?

 

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke

 

Things get off to a dark start (and stay there, really) with this story about a man caught in the throes of alcohol addiction. His life is a wreck, he is haunted by his mistakes, by his never-ending thirst and perhaps by something supernatural. It’s unflinching and you really do feel for this mess of a man as he is helpless to stop the all-consuming thirst . . .

 

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh

 

In a not too distant future, a man has lost the love of his life due to his addiction. This only feeds the vicious cycle as he longs for drugs to take away his emotional pain. He lives in a desperate world where the wealthy pay big bucks for something only the drug addicted can offer them. But he’s not desperate enough to sink to that, or is he? This is apparently an excerpt from a longer work called Green Kangaroos, which I now need because I am the nosey sort, but the story feels complete enough here. This one is dirty and brutal and harrowing.

 

Garden of Fiends by Mark Mathews

 

Oh how I loved this one. It’s haunting and terrifying and all around awesome. Tara is a recovering addict and every day is a struggle to remain sober. She has a family who loves her and will do anything to keep her alive and I do mean anything. This is a story about an addict, a garden that grows terrible fruit and the damage it all does to one once close-knit, loving family. It’s sad and horrible and beautifully written.

 

First, Bit Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson

 

This is a little snippet of a story that started with a party trick that turns one woman on to a new obsession that’ll put some images in your head you may not easily forget. Eww this was disturbing! So fantastically disturbing and I wanted more!

 

Last Call by John FD. Taff

 

Ted is a slave to his addiction. When he shows up loaded at his latest AA meeting his sponsor is forced to take drastic measures and hands him a business card, telling him to go to the address on the card and ask for “the last bottle he’ll ever need”. He gets it and gets his life together but the past will come back to haunt in a most terribly heartbreaking way.

 

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch

 

Maggie is 15, a runaway, sees demons and sets out on a course of disaster to locate her father. This was like watching an extremely dark episode of Supernatural with a surprise ending and I adored it.

 

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will Be by Max Booth III 

 

This one starts out in a most startling manner. Jeremy arises after a saucy night to discover that blood is oozing out of a place it shouldn't be oozing out of. He tries to shrug it off as a result of overuse but it’s difficult to shrug off something like that, especially when it doesn’t stop oozing! Uh oh. This story is darkly comical and is laced with my favorite kind of twisted humor. It’s probably my favorite because of that. Sex, drugs, cravings, spiders and madness fueled by drugs and nightmare images? What’s not to like? It’s also gory and bloody and so very messy. I loved it all.

 

Returns by Jack Ketchum 

 

Awww, this was a short and beautifully told ghost story about a depressed alcoholic, a man and a cat ending with a Ketchum edge. It’s a little scary to me that I just so happened to take this particular progress photo when sitting down to read this collection!

 

 

This book was a very cohesive collection and I am so glad I changed my stance on short story collections (due to burn out) and gave this one a try! I received an ARC from the publisher.

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