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Search tags: Evil-in-a-Small-Town
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review 2019-03-22 19:06
GHOST STORY by Peter Straub
Ghost Story - Peter Straub

I am SO glad that I finally re-read this book! I was afraid that it wouldn't hold up to my memory of it. I worried about that for decades. Silly me-I needn't have worried-it was even better than I remembered!

 

This beautifully written story of evil in a small town has a lot in common with Stephen King's IT as far as the small town portion goes. Derry and Milburn are similar in a lot of ways. Despite the title, this book isn't really a ghost story. Just like in IT, IT isn't really a clown.

 

Ghost Story is about a small group of men who made a mistake in their youth and rather than face up to it, they went about hiding it instead. This leads to consequences none of them could have possibly foreseen. But WE can see those consequences, and unfortunately, they are often deadly. 

 

GHOST STORY was my favorite novel for many years-mostly because of the intricacy of it. The stories of these men, the stories about the relatives of these men, and the stories about the town itself, wind around and through each other-to me it's like a beautifully woven tapestry of art. I have to think that the author had it all planned out from the very beginning, otherwise how could it have been so wonderfully done? 

 

This book isn't for everyone, and I get that. (It wasn't even for me at one time, it took me three tries to get into it back in the day.) For those people that it DOES work for? They will sit back when they're done, just like I did, and marvel at the skill on display here. 

 

My highest recommendation!

 

*I've purchased this book 3 times so far, (my original copy was lost), then I bought a paperback copy, but the print was too small, so I purchased a Kindle copy. I'd buy it again, if I had to!*

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review 2019-03-14 18:00
FEAR by Ronald Kelly
Fear - Ronald Kelly

 

FEAR was a crazy mixture of: creature feature/coming of age/evil in a small town horror. It just doesn't get much more fun than that!

 

In the backwoods of Tennessee, young Jeb Sweeney is fighting for his family. His farmer father has been turned into a simpleton, thanks to a war injury. His mother is gone and his grandmother is gravely ill. There are bullies around their small town and on top of that, some kind of creature has arrived and it's killing anything it can get its hands on. What is a young man supposed to do about all this? You'll have to read FEAR to find out!

 

I have to admit that this book brought me back to the old days when I first started reading horror. (For me, those old days are in the late 70's, early 80's.) Back then, there were a lot of tales like this and they were beefy ones too-500 pages or more. You really would settle in with a book and it would go everywhere with you until you finished it. Coming of age tales were especially popular during that time, but not all of them were great. FEAR was though and I'll tell you why.

 

We have a family we can care for, more than one antagonist, a compelling setting, and best of all? A creature that can only be described as....SCARY. Sprinkle in some older women busy working their mojo, a traveling blues-man and an entire county of scary creatures, and you have the recipe for F-U-N!

 

This tale did start out slowly as we got to know everyone, the town itself, and the stories surrounding Fear County. Around about the halfway point, things ramped up and then the pace flew through the second half- I had a very hard time putting it down. I suspect that these days, an editor would have cut down the word count a bit, and even though I enjoyed the slower pace of the beginning, I can't deny that a few words could have been cut without hurting the book overall. For that I deducted half a star.

 

FEAR is exactly the type of book that inspired in me a love of horror fiction and dark fiction in general. We have a dirt poor family, a young man to root for, a setting of the small town, and nearby? A place so haunted and scary that no one ever goes there. I mean, really, for a horror fan-what's not to like? I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of coming of age horror and creature features.

 

Get your copy here: FEAR

 

*I purchased my copy with my hard earned cash back in 2014. I'm so glad I finally read this book!*

 

**Ronald Kelly was kind enough to join the Horror Aficionados Group for a group read of this story. Thank you, Mr. Kelly! I had a great time!*

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text 2019-02-06 13:38
THE RED HOUSE by David J. Thacker
The Red House - David J Thacker

 

A young group of boys spending the bulk of their summer vacation in the woods meet a new boy named Lawrence. He's dirty and bloody and generally beat up and he's also quiet about his life. One day one of the boys follows Lawrence home. What does he find there? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

THE RED HOUSE is a quiet little tale of dark fiction which I can't say too much about without spoilers. It was creepy and atmospheric and perhaps an indictment of industrialism and what it has done to small towns?

 

Overall, I liked it and it was a pleasant way to spend my lunch hour.

 

Recommended!

 

Get your copy here: THE RED HOUSE

 

*I received an e-copy of this short story in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

*Find this review and others like it at www.HorrorAfterDark.com.*

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review 2019-01-29 18:45
THE WORST IS YET TO COME by S. P. Miskowski
The Worst is Yet to Come - S.P. Miskowski

 

Small town living-it's just the best, right? There's none of that violence you hear about in big cities and the people are friendlier too or so we've all heard. Unfortunately, none of that applies to Skillute.

 

A couple and their young daughter move to Skillute for exactly the reasons listed above. But Skillute is a dying town, and as it turns out? The people are really not that friendly. Especially, if like the Davis family, you're coming from liberal-town USA. It's not only the politics of the situation that keep the Davis family isolated though, it's Skillute itself.

 

When the Davis' daughter, Tasha, finally makes friends with a new classmate, Briar, her parents are excited, yet fearful. Briar isn't all they had hoped for -being from a broken family and all. But Tasha and Briar's friendship soon becomes more solid, with their secrets being the thread that stitches them together. What are their secrets? What is wrong with Skillute? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Over the last few years, I've forgotten how much I enjoyed the work of S.P. Miskowski. She writes a quiet kind of horror which is the kind I prefer these days. The town of Skillute reminds me in some ways of Charles L. Grant's Oxrun Station. The history of Skillute can be found in a few of Miskowski's other books, (THE SKILLUTE CYCLE), but it's not necessary to read them to "get" this one. They all take place in different time periods so that the history of Skillute unfolds in front of you, mostly through the eyes of its women.

 

There are ghosts in this town, there are witches and there are spirits as of yet undefined. Not everything is spelled out for you like a game of Scrabble. Some things you have to figure out for yourself. I enjoy that. I feel that the author respects me enough to trust me to see where she's going. To see the meaning-to see the inevitable end. And boy, that end?! I suspect it's going to raise some hackles out there! It didn't raise mine though: for me, it ended on a perfect note.

 

I loved this tale of small town life, the supernatural, and most of all: the people. The characters here came alive and while none of them were perfect, they all came across as real to me and as such? I felt for them. Maybe you could let yourself feel for them too?

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available February 22, but you can pre-order here: THE WORST IS YET TO COME

 

*Thank you to S. P. Miskowski for providing a free e-ARC with no strings attached. I freely chose to read and review this book honestly.*

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review 2019-01-24 18:45
SALEM'S LOT by Stephen King, narrated by Ron McClarty
Salem's Lot - Deutschland Random House Audio,Stephen King,Stephen King,Ron McLarty

 

1.24.19-I just finished my third read of SALEM'S LOT, this time via audiobook. The narrator, Ron McClarty worked well for me and I found this tale as satisfying as it ever was.

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