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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-24 00:20
Hex
Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Welp, it's finished. Don't really have too many strong opinions. We'll see how this goes. 

 

Hex takes place in Black Spring, a town cursed by Katherine Van Allen. She doesn't seem to actually do anything to you, but she can make you want to do pretty horrible thing. The town quarantines themselves in a Puritanical attempt at Apple Pie America and hopes that so long as the witch's eyes and mouth remain sewn shut, things might be okay. But the more progressive youth of Black Spring have other plans and things quickly spiral out of control. 

 

Yeah, I'm pretty lukewarm about this one. The book is getting pretty decent reviews, and the premise was awesome. It was an interesting story and I enjoyed many parts of it. It had some really creepy parts, like the details of Fletcher's death and some pretty chilling Crucible-like scenes. It just didn't mesh together well for me and I was left feeling eh when it was all said and done. 

 

Part of the issue was the writing style. There was something about the way Olde Heuvelt writes that made it really confusing for me to understand what was going on. Like, I understood the individual words, but the way they were strung together in the sentence didn't comprehend. A lot of parts just felt cluttered, which made it kinda tedious to read. The beginning was honestly kind of boring up until they actually explained who the witch was and the nature of the curse. Until then it was just day in the life of this weird town.

 

One big thing that left me particularly unsatisfied was there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end. I don't mind some things remaining a mystery at the end of horror novels, but it felt almost careless, like Olde Heuvelt threw out these plot points and never bothered to follow them up. For example, why did the recording hurt Tyler but not Burak or the Outsider kid? Seemed inconsistent. Why did Fletcher hang himself? Who put the recorder on Tyler's pillow? Why did Katherine's mumblings convince people to kill themselves when at the end we learn she didn't want more death and destruction? Really, the list goes on and on and it ends with a really disjointed story.

 

So I don't know. I didn't NOT enjoy the book, it just didn't satisfy the way a good horror novel should. Read if you want something creepy but don't care too much about whether Points A and B fit together. 

 

Final rating: 3 out of 5 stars. This would have been a terrific story if the writing had just been a little more solid. 

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review 2017-08-22 20:21
Optical Delusion - Hunter Shea
Optical Delusion - Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea has tapped into our childhood for his latest offering of fear. Remember those ads in the backs of comic books? Muscles like Charles Atlas. Sea monkeys. Joy buzzers. Fake ice cubes with a fly in the middle. Gum that turns your mouth black. Oh, and the ever popular, X-ray glasses. I certainly remember them. More specifically, I remember wanting them and my mom saying "absolutely not". Well, what would happen if she did allow me to get those x-ray glasses and after 10 minutes of making my eyes hurt, I tossed them aside only to have my dad pick them up and put them on. And, what if, in between the fuzzy-eyed headache it produced, he saw a glimpse of a girl's panties she had on underneath her clothing? And what if, in desperate attempts to get more than a glimpse or two of what the females looked like under their winter clothing, it caused something else? Something more hideous, more macabre, and it wouldn't let you turn away?

 

Optical Delusion was a fun ride into every boy that grew up in the 1970s and 80s past and warped it with a Twilight Zone twist and an EC Comic turn. My last couple of reads from Shea have been my favorites. He's honed his chops the last few years and is churning out nothing but quality lately. So much so, that he's quickly become one of my go to writers that can't miss.

 

 


5 Victoria's Secrets out of 5

 


* This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 


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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review 2017-08-22 19:29
Review – The Skin Room by Morgan Fleetwood #MorganFleetwood
The Skin Room - Morgan Fleetwood

The Skin Room by Morgan Fleetwood

 

The Skin Room

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

This is not my usual brand of high action and suspense. It is written as if they are face to face – murderer to investigator – and Alex Melville is proud of his despicable actions, wanting to share.

 

Up until the cave, his kidnap attempts are almost comical. His ineptness and bad luck will surely get him caught. I try not to laugh (sarcasm) when bad things happen to him.

I sometimes felt I was sitting with him…listening.

 

I am not even halfway through and the verdict is still out. Is it good? Great? All I know is he has captured me too, and I know I won’t get away until the final page is read.

 

When his motivation is finally revealed and his last confession written, it truly made my skin crawl. The evil is slow, insidious, gets under my skin, and erasing his existence can’t happen soon enough.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Skin Room by Morgan Fleetwood.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  3 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

The Last Confession of Morten Flygare is an unnerving suspense thriller narrated by Morten Flygare – multi-lingual translator and multiple murderer. The blood-stained document that comprises the narrative of the novel is his claustrophobic, unreliable account of the murder of Valentina, and the incarceration and death of his drug-addicted sister, Sonia. This is no ordinary confession, however. In a unique and distinctive style, Morten gradually reveals his secret: this story has only one reader, the police inspector he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death, and that while he writes in the flickering candlelight, he has one last grotesque secret to share that is his ultimate revenge. The Last Confession of Morten Flygare is a ‘whydunnit’ with a twist.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/review-the-skin-room-by-morgan-fleetwood-morganfleetwood/ The Skin Room by Morgan Fleetwood The Skin Room Amazon / Goodreads MY REVIEW This is not my usual brand of high action and suspense. It is written as if they are
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review 2017-08-22 18:40
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

 

**Please note that this review is LOADED with spoilers! If you plan to read this book in the future, you should! But you should NOT continue to read this review.**

 

To Tom Ripley, being bored, being around dull people and having nothing to do are among the WORST things in existence. Of course, he never has to be bored again after brutally murdering his friend and assuming his identity.

 

Tom is recruited by Mr. Greenleaf, (the father of Tom's acquaintance, Dickie), to bring his son home from Italy. Tom is even given a hefty sum with which to support himself in Italy while working his come-home-magic on his friend. Unfortunately, Ripley has no luck persuading Dickie to do anything, other than to get stumbling drunk nearly every minute of the day. Then, shortly after an awkward scene where Tom is caught trying on Dickie's clothes, Tom decides to whack Dickie and that's where this story really begins.

 

I'd seen the movie with Matt Damon a long time ago, but I've always been fascinated with the character of Tom Ripley and wanted to read the book for myself. In the 50's, stories from the viewpoint of the murderer were rare, not like today. I think it was also rare, (feel free to correct me), to have the antagonist be likable at times. I mean, there you are, in Ripley's mind- rolling along thinking about your afternoon cocktails and that evening's parties and then BAM! He's whacking someone across the head with an oar. And then whacking them again. And then across their neck. And then stabbing them with it as if it were a sharp instrument. He's wheezing and out of breath and he's still going. And there's the reader, a bit stunned, wondering how we got to this point and where did everything go wrong? This right here is what I liked best about the story.

 

Now we have Criminal Minds and FBI profilers that write books about serial killers, sociopaths and the like. In the 50's when this book was written, that was not the case. I think Patricia Highsmith had the thought processes of Ripley down pat. Nothing is ever his fault. He is just so clever and everyone else so dull and stupid. The depravity of his thoughts are presented so matter-of-fact-ly that they could almost pass for normal. His ability to read the emotions and thoughts of others and anticipate what they'll do and how they'll react in certain situations is astonishing. It's almost like Ripley was not a person at all, but instead just a collection of facial expressions and witty banter wrapped around an all encompassing greed. He was a mimic of a person. He had nothing within himself-all that he was came from outside.

 

"He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn't that worth something? He existed."

 

He was so good at his machinations that he, himself believed them. He would imagine scenes in his head over and over again-so they would become real. To him, real in his head equated to real in reality. He believed so totally and utterly that it was easy for him to make others believe too. To me, this is where the strength of this book lies-the creation of Tom Ripley. He is such a fascinating character that I can see myself reading this again in the future.

 

This story really wouldn't work in today's world, with all of our phones and cameras and facial recognition software: in that regard The Talented Mr. Ripley is dated. However, as far as the creation of a believable sociopath, Tom Ripley would be right at home in an episode of Criminal Minds-and he would give the investigators a good run for their money.

 

Highly recommended!

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review 2017-08-22 02:24
World Between My Teeth - Tim Meyer
Worlds Between My Teeth - Tim Meyer

Another short story collection from a new-to-me author, Tim Meyer. Let's jump right in and break each story down one by one.

 

 

The Dream Eaters - It's all a dream. Nothing can hurt you in a dream, right? Some familiar elements with a twist or two.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Lemures - A brother and sister running from a crime boss who made a deal with the devil and can summon dead spirits. The story has a nice voice, if not the most satisfying ending.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Cherry Collectors - Being a player can come back and haunt you.

 

4.5 out of 5 stars

 

 

Worlds Between My Teeth - The night just keeps getting stranger and stranger for a mall security guard. Shades of King's The Drawing of Three and The Twilight Zone. Good stuff.

 

5 out of 5 stars

 


Gingerbread Death Machine - Revenge doesn't always taste sweet. A macabre Christmas tale that seems familiar but doesn't work as well as it could.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 


Under New Skies - A high school boy writes about love and the world becoming Jurassic Park overnight. I liked the uneasiness in this one.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


The Ice King - Emmett is sure that his wife, Gertie, is slipping him an extra pill in his daily stash, trying to kill him. When he sees something humongous under the ice while fishing, he becomes convinced. Lovecraft meets Grumpy Old Men. This was a fun one.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


Box Game - Yikes! That's some game!

 

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


Armala's Hunt - Armala's sister has been abducted by an unknown assailant. She recruits her world's best tracker for hire. They follow their trail to a cave where the grisly realization of why he kidnapped Armala's sister unveils itself. A nice tale of fantasy that feels like it's the start of a story rather than the whole tale.

 

4 out of 5 stars

 


The Old Church - Umm?!? Am I missing something here? What seems like a fragment of a setup to a story.

 

1 out of 5 stars

 


The Pumpkin Tree Giveth, The Pumpkin Tree Taketh Away - The pumpkin tree has been rumored to grant wishes. For 10-year-old Jeffie, he better watch what he wishes for. Again, it feels like a scene instead of a story.

 

3 out of 5 stars

 


The Man Who Never Frowned - A used car salesman, who is down on his luck, is about to have a really bad day.


4 out of 5 stars

 


The Organ Harvest (An October John novella) - In 2052, a plague has hit the world and decimated 95% of the population. Detective Callahan is breaking in a rookie partner while investigating a strange case of murders. The victims bodies are barely recognizable save for one distinguishing feature, a tattoo of a white rabbit on their ass cheek. Every clue runs into a dead end and with nowhere else to turn, Detective Callahan is forced to turn Johnny Webster (aka October John), a down-on-his-luck bum that has a knack for this kind of work. You see, 12 years ago, Johnny used to be Callahan's partner.

A fun novella that introduces us to some interesting characters with October John being right up at the top. Think of Riggs from Lethal Weapon.

 

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 


All in all, a very solid collection of shorts and a novella. Meyer has an easy writing style with some good characters and plots. There were a couple that were too short for me to really get into, but that's my preference and not necessarily a dig on Meyer's writing. Definitely worthy of space on any horror fan's bookcase. Meyer looks like he has the chops to make a real name for himself in the horror community.

 


Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

 


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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