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.
*I received this audio courtesy of the narrator with no strings attached. This review is my honest opinion. *
Simply said, KILL CREEK was AWESOME! I've long been suspecting that a really good haunted house book was a thing of the past. I'm happy as hell to be proven wrong on that.
At first, I'm not going to lie, the standard trope of four people staying overnight in the oh-so scary house, did not impress me. But between the characters themselves, the background of the house, and how everyone came together, slowly this story began to win me over. In this case, we actually had 6 people staying overnight, on Halloween, to boot. Four famous horror authors, Wainwright, the man who orchestrated this affair, (being the founder of a website dedicated to all things horror), and his girlfriend Kate who is there to photograph any happenings. Then, (and get this surprising twist), not all that much happens and everyone goes home! So where's the scary stuff? What occurs that makes so many people rave about this book? Don't look at me, I'm not going to spoil it. You'll have to read it for yourself.
These characters burrowed down deep into my psyche, and I felt like I knew them all intimately. Every single one of them changed throughout, and be they good changes or bad, they were all different people by the denouement. I love that. I love unpredictability in both my books and my characters-who wants to read about boring flat Stanley?
The writing had a vivid feel to it and the author is terrific in his descriptive passages as well as with his dialogue. It all rang very true to me. I have to admit that I am impressed-even more so when I take into account that this is a debut novel. For many years, my favorite book was GHOST STORY by Peter Straub, and in my mind, I can't help but compare the two and KILL CREEK holds up to that comparison. That's the highest praise I can give.
Lastly, the narrator: Bernard Setaro Clark? You rock, man! You nailed it! What else is there to say?
I'm sure this audio will be in my top ten at the end of the year and as such it gets my highest recommendation. You should read it. Right now! Why are you still here?
You can get your copy here: KILL CREEK
*I bought this e-book and the audio with my hard-earned cash and this opinion is my own.*
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.*
SICK HOUSE is yet another example of Jeff Strand's crazy and sick mind. What fun!
It's a relatively short book written in such a way that it just flies by. There's crime, violence, murder, witchcraft, a haunted house, lots of blood and gore and a satisfying ending. What else is there to say?
Recommended for those who like their in horror in short, bloody bites!
*I bought this book with my hard earned money and it was worth it.*