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Search tags: Evil-in-a-Small-Town
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review 2018-06-08 18:30
THE TEA PARTY by Charles L. Grant, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Tea Party - Charles L. Grant,Matt Godfrey

A tea party on the lawn in the middle of summer? Sounds great to me! Even if the tea party does take place at the creepiest property in town: Winterrest.

 

THE TEA PARTY plays with one of my favorite horror tropes: evil in a small town. It does it with a haunting atmosphere, unusual weather and natural events, (like winds, and earthquakes), and it also features a large cast of characters. I like quiet horror and this certainly fits the bill.

 

I see a lot of reviews and ratings that aren't so great on this book and it makes me wonder why. The story takes its time, that's for sure, and there's also little blood and gore. But for me, these days, this horror tale fit the bill perfectly, though I do have to admit the denouement left me slightly stunned.

 

I listened to the audio version, narrated by Matt Godfrey, who was outstanding as usual. I found his laid back style to be a perfect match for this slow burning tale of a haunted mansion, an insane stonemason, and the entire town of Deerfield who could not avoid being affected by the recent events in their tightly-knit neighborhood.

 

If slow burning, small town evil stories aren't your thing, (think Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon), you might want to give this one a pass. On the other hand, if this is the type of story you've loved since childhood, like I have, (and that love has only grown), then THE TEA PARTY is definitely one for your "To Read" list.

 

Recommended!

 

*I received this audio courtesy of the narrator with no strings attached. This review is my honest opinion. *

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review 2018-05-07 18:45
TERROR IS OUR BUSINESS: DANA ROBERT'S CASEBOOK OF HORRORS, by Joe & Kasey Lansdale
Terror is our Business: Dana Roberts' Casebook of Horrors - Kasey Lansdale,Joe R. Lansdale

 

Joe Lansdale always delivers and now we know that Kasey Lansdale does too!

 

In the foreword, the "Champion Mojo Storyteller" shares with us a little bit about his character Dana Roberts, and how she came about investigating what she calls the "supernormal." This being what most people call "supernatural," but what Dana believes are just events that science cannot yet explain. I enjoyed her tales a LOT, mostly because I loved the framework of Dana being asked to share her stories with a group of skeptical men, (and sometimes women), in a smoky club. In the last two tales, Dana hires Jana, (Kasey Lansdale's creation), and they investigate a few cases together. While Dana is the skeptical, professional and beautiful lead "investigator," Jana is the irreverent, less polished, but also beautiful, sidekick. Having these last tales be from her POV was brilliant, giving us a different look at Dana's work while also highlighting the fact that Dana is kind of hoity-toity and not as willing to get her hands dirty as this reader first thought.

 

My favorites of the bunch were:

 

THE CASE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE SHAMBLER I'm a sucker for haunted lighthouse stories and this one was a doozy.

 

THE CASE OF THE FOUR ACRE HAUNT was the tale of a haunted house. What made it special for me were the descriptions of the shadows; some of them honestly gave me the heebie-jeebies, and that doesn't happen often. Well done!

 

 

THE CASE OF THE ANGRY TRAVELER featured one of my favorite tropes-the whole city discovered beneath today's city type-thing. Now you know that Dana and friends found something down there, but what was it, exactly? You'll have to read this book to find out!

 

Of the two Jana and Dana stories, THE CASE OF THE RAGMAN'S ANGUISH stood out the most for me. This was more of a novella than a short story, but there were different aspects to it than in the other tales, (I won't say what those aspects were), which made it unique and my favorite story of the bunch.

 

TERROR IS OUR BUSINESS was just plain fun and reminded me of the flat-out horror tales Joe Lansdale wrote back in the day. Joe's famous sense of humor may not be the prominent one in this collection, but Kasey's, (or Jana's) humor is, and it turns out? She's funny too!

 

Highly recommended for fans of short, scary stories that have a healthy side of humor and skepticism!

 

*Thanks to the authors and to the publicist at Cutting Block Books for the chance to read this book free, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-04-10 12:45
UNBURY CAROL by Josh Malerman
Unbury Carol: A Novel - Josh Malerman

Hell's Heaven! I haven't been this torn about a book in a long while. UNBURY CAROL was brave in exploring new territory, (weird western, I'd call it), while at the same time it wallowed in repetition.

 

Carol has a rare condition which causes her to fall into a coma for days at the drop of a hat. To anyone unfamiliar with her disease, she appears to be dead. It's important for at least someone to know what's going on with her so that she doesn't get buried alive by mistake. However, Carol is reluctant to tell many people for fear of rejection, and in one case, the departure of her true love who just didn't want to deal with the responsibility. Will she ever find true love again? Will there ever be a cure for her malady? You'll have to read this book to find out.

 

I'm going to attempt to be honest here, while also attempting not to spoil anything. I feel obligated to mention the repetition of certain words and phrases. They had me rolling my eyes repeatedly. "Hell's Heaven" (!), is a phrase that nearly everyone uses to no end. It's this world's version of OMG, or "Holy shit!", I guess. One overused word was "outlaw." (I get it. These are outlaws. We're in the west, they're wanted men.) Lastly "pig-shitters." Low down and dirty are the pig shitters. I get it. EVERYONE gets it. I'm speculating that the author used these words and phrases with the aim of world-building, and perhaps they helped to accomplish that...at first. After that, they just became so repetitious and irritating that it became kind of funny. (Or that could just be me, I'm told my sense of humor is off.)

 

Speaking of that world-building-I've read that the hardcover has a map of the Trail. (Everything that happens in this book happens along the Trail itself, or in the villages and towns located on the Trail.) That map is something I would like to see and I'd also like to read more about the Trail in the future. The villains in this book were interesting and a lot of fun, and they ALL had seemed to have some history that involved the Trail. In most cases, those people and the Trail's history were more interesting than the main characters-at least for me.

 

So, again, I am torn. I loved the creativity and imagination that went into Carol's disease and the building of this western world, while I was bothered by the repetition and what felt like an anti-climactic finale. Where does that leave us? At a 3.5/5 star rating. As always, your mileage may vary and I wold love to hear your thoughts on UNBURY CAROL when you're done!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-30 12:45
VIDEO NIGHT by Adam Cesare, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Video Night - Adam Cesare,Matt Godfrey

 

VIDEO NIGHT is a perfect example of a creature feature combined with a small town and 80's nostalgia. For fans of this type of horror, it would be difficult for you to find a better book than this.

 

Billy and his best friend have a standing date once a week to watch a video, almost always a horror movie. Their video store is small and space is limited, so they've seen every horror movie available over and over again. But this week, VIDEO NIGHT is not going to go as planned. Both boys have dates and not all of them will survive. In fact, most of the town won't survive. Will Billy himself make it through? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I love all kinds of horror, dark fiction and even some fantasy, but I have a special place in my heart for both the 80's and for creature features, so this book was perfect for me. (It only took me so long to read it because friends of mine, [I'm looking at you Kimberly and Andi], gifted me a gorgeous signed/limited edition and I didn't want to crack the spine!) I had some high expectations going in, and I'm happy to report that this book lived up to each and every one of them.

 

I listened to the audio and Matt Godfrey did a great job of narrating, as always. I admit that I wondered how his calm manner would work in a book that was so fast paced and gory, but I needn't have worried. He brought it all home with a certain style that I enjoyed.

 

If you like creature-features and 80's nostalgia, or if you grew up during that time, there is no book out there better suited to you than VIDEO NIGHT!

 

BONUS! If you're a member of the Horror Aficionados group at Goodreads, come join us during the month of April, when Adam Cesare himself is participating in a group read of this book. He'll be available for your questions and comments! It's free to join and all you need is a copy of the book, which you can get in all formats here: VIDEO NIGHT

 

 *Thanks to Matt Godfrey, the narrator, for the free audio of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-03-26 14:30
JACKRABBIT SMILE by Joe Lansdale
Jackrabbit Smile (Hap and Leonard) - Joe R. Lansdale

Hap and Leonard return to Hap's hometown of Marvel Creek in Joe Lansdale's latest release JACKRABBIT SMILE.

 

This time around our heroes are hired by a man and his mother to find their missing sister/daughter. The relationship between Hap, Leonard and Brett and their new clients isn't a good one, since both the man and his mom are openly prejudiced against any and all who aren't white. Which, of course, doesn't sit well with Leonard. Will the dynamic duo find the missing girl? Will the people who hired them get their due? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The humor Joe Lansdale is famous for is here in spades, but there's a lot of darkness as well. Hap's hometown is full of racism, violence, and both false prophets and profits. (It's hard to believe good-hearted Hap came from such an ugly place.) All of this makes for a quick, extremely entertaining read.

 

 

If you're reading the Hap and Leonard series, you already know how addicting these books can be. If you're watching the television series on the Sundance Channel, you'll note some similarities between the current season and this book. Both take unflinching looks at the ugliness of racism in all of its different faces and forms; but they do it with bravery and a sense of humor. I think that's what makes this series, (both the books and the television show), so special and enjoyable.

 

If you're not reading this series or watching the show, what are you waiting for?

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

 

 

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