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text 2018-02-12 04:36
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune
A View from the Lake - Greg F. Gifune

Katherine and James purchased lake property in rural western Massachusetts when they were in their mid-twenties. They rented out the various cottages while James worked on his poetry. It was an idyllic setting and life. That is, until James discovered the body of a boy floating by one of the cottage docks. The accident sent devastated James and he slowly sank into madness and depression from a broken mind. Katherine watched as James became more and more recluse and angry until one day he disappeared without a trace. Trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered life, Katherine makes the decision to sell the property in the spring and to try and start a new life. All she has to do is get through the winter. Not an easy task now that she's hearing strange thing that sound like James. Is this all in her mind or is he out there somewhere?

 

 

I've read a handful of Gifune's work and most of them are noted for the story being enveloped in shadows and fog, to the point where it's hard to tell what's going on, what's real and what's not. A View from the Lake is no different. But where it is different than my other experiences with Gifune's stories is that there is no pay off. The last 1/3 doesn't ratchet up and have this wonderful revelation that ties everything together. In fact, the ending came out of the blue and left you with more questions than answers. The characters weren't all that interesting and I didn't feel for Katherine or James. I know this is one of Gifune's earlier works and I think it shows. When you read his later works, you'll see that he commands things so much better.

 

 


2 Confusing Hallucinations out of 5

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://intothemacabre.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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text 2017-10-01 12:23
September wrap-up 2017
Faerie Tale: A Novel of Terror and Fantasy - Raymond E. Feist
The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
Symphony of Ruin: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel - Christina Lay
A Spark of Justice - J.D. Hawkins
Cabal - Clive Barker
Children of Chaos - Greg F. Gifune
Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco
Mirror Mirror - Anthony M. Strong
A Latent Dark - Martin Kee
Helltown - Jeremy Bates

Wow. I finished 16 books this month! That's not a lot to some of you speed readers, but it is for me. I average 4-6 books a month usually.

 

I'm also very close to finishing 2 more. :D

 

Just one of this month's books was a Netgalley read, Symphony of Ruin. The others came out of either my A-list or my free books slush pile, or were sourced from Amazon's daily freebies or in the case of Classics, from Gutenberg.

 

I didn't read any samples all month. I had about a dozen saved up before Bingo started, but the pile has been growing from all the books I see from others' Bingo reads! I'm not going to tackle that folder until November. It will be interesting to see how many collect up!

 

So, for October, Bingo continues. Once I hit blackout, if I manage it, I'll try the other books from my free books slush that I put aside for back-ups in case some of my choices turn out to be duds. It will give me a start on cleaning out the free books backlog!

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text 2017-09-19 14:32
Bingo Update! I have a row!
Children of Chaos - Greg F. Gifune
Cabal - Clive Barker
Mirror Mirror - Anthony M. Strong
Helltown - Jeremy Bates
Stalking Jack - Madison Kent

It doesn't count as Bingo because the squares haven't all been called, but I have a row completed. :D

 

 

Now the question is, which to target next? The diagonal row or the second across row? Both have three called squares. So I'm doing one from each that are fairly short and we'll see what happens next. I really want to start Dead Sea by Tim Curran for Monsters square, but it's nearly 600 pages!

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review 2017-09-04 08:27
Children of Chaos
Children of Chaos - Greg F. Gifune

by Greg Gifune

 

The prologue alone sets a disturbing tone. A man with all over body burns is in the vicinity of a carnival in town and encounters some local boys, who assume he must be responsible for a little girl's murder that happened that day. It all goes downhill for them fast from there.

 

Then the first chapter jumps in time and the boys have grown up and gone separate ways, each affected in their own ways by the events of the beginning. Phillip, the protagonist is probably the least screwed up, but his past comes back to haunt him when the mother of one of the other boys asks for his help.

 

The author admits in his notes that part of this story was inspired by Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I can see the correlations, though the writing is riveting and most of it original. I'll admit that I didn't think the end measured up to the journey. I'd like to have seen something more original and unpredictable, though it served the story well enough to enjoy the read.

 

The horrific elements were pretty strong in places and the tension almost exhausting at times. The setting was depicted very effectively so that I felt I was there and the characters fit in well, each of them very unique. Although I didn't much like the ending, I can see why this author is becoming very popular with those who enjoy a good Horror novel. I have another of his that I'll look forward to reading soon.

 

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review 2017-09-03 20:41
Children of Chaos - Greg F. Gifune
Children of Chaos - Greg F. Gifune

Philip, Jamie, and Martin are young teenagers when they stumble upon the mysterious stranger in the rain. The encounter ends with the stranger mumbling odd ramblings about destinies and then, before their very eyes, the children see the scars that line his back move and change shapes. In an act of self defense, the boys murder the stranger. Their lives were never the same again. Fast forward to the present. Philip has failed at his marriage, is failing as a writer, and is worried that he'll fail as a father to his teenage daughter. The only thing he seems to succeed at is being a full-blow alcoholic. Jamie has failed as a priest due to his inner demons with girls that aren't of age. And Martin? Well, let's just say that Martin is not of his right mind. His last destination was at the end of a lonely stretch of road called the Corridor of Demons. It's because of Martin and his cult of followers that the road gained it's nickname, and reputation. Martin's ailing mother back home pays Philip to bring her mentally ill boy back to her. Is this a suicide mission or something more?

 

 

The description of Children of Chaos is that it's an homage to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I've never read Heart of Darkeness, so I wouldn't be able to tell one way or another. (Put your pitchforks away, literature snobs) One thing that I do know is that Children of Chaos is Gifune clicking on all cylinders. It has the trademark shadowiness, for which I have come to know him. It has disturbed and flawed characters with layers and layers of depth within them. It has a story that slowly unfurls itself and makes you turn the page to see what's on the other side, not quite figuring it out until the last act. It makes you ask the question, What are we? Are we the masters of our own destiny or simply pawns in a game played by higher powers? Is everything chaotic and random or preordained? These are question I've often pondered in my own life, as I'm sure many of you have as well. The ending kind of ties things up with a neat little bow, maybe a little too conveniently for some, but I still enjoyed it. For myself, I pulled bits and pieces of Mystic River and Angel Heart from the story. This is one that will stick with me for a while and that's the sign of a good one.

 

 


4 1/2 Cult of Personalities out of 5

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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