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review 2018-10-05 18:30
OUT BEHIND THE BARN by Chad Lutzke and John Boden
Out Behind the Barn - Chad Lutzke,John Boden

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is totally original, weird and creepy. I loved it!

 

That said, this is not the type of story I've come to expect from either of these authors. I've enjoyed the work of John Boden for years now and what I always expect from him is beautiful writing and poignancy. I expect the same from Chad Lutzke as well, just slightly less poetic, maybe? I'm not sure what I expected from this novella, but it was not this strange story of Maggie, her farm and her boys.

 

Davey and Ronny are watching when Maggie gets home and carefully unloads her burden into the barn. Then an arm drops down from her carefully wrapped package. This has happened before, so they are not surprised or alarmed. Will the package work this time? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'm finding it very difficult to review this book without giving anything away. It was short, spellbinding, mysterious, creative and suspenseful. Once the mystery is revealed, the problem remains as to how the characters will deal with it, and that's where the poignancy I expect from both of these authors showed up-in a big way.

 

The only issue I had with this story is that I expected to see one more chapter regarding a certain character's reaction to those poignant events. Then again, maybe that would have spoiled how I imagined that reaction went down?

 

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is a powerful piece of work, in spite of, (or perhaps because of of?), its short length. Either way, it affected me, and I'll be thinking about the boys and Maggie's farm for a long time.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

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review 2018-03-22 18:45
MYSTERY WALK by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan
Mystery Walk - Robert McCammon

 

MYSTERY WALK is a story involving the epic battle between good and evil and Robert McCammon does these types of stories better than almost anyone.

 

I won't get into the plot much, as this book was written back in the 80's and hundreds of other reviews already do that. I will say that this is my fourth time reading this book, (I actually listened to it, courtesy of the narrator Nick Sullivan), and this time it affected me even more than it did previously. I'm not sure why that is-perhaps as I've grown older I see more truth and depth in this tale?

 

It could also be the fact that the narrator brought these characters alive for me. I easily pictured the small town of Hawthorn and both its hateful and sweet residents. I vividly pictured the tent revivals of J.J. Falconer and the bogus claims of healing from his son Wayne. (I had to try hard NOT to picture Wayne's first bout with healing, you'll see what I mean if you read this.) Mr. Sullivan's voicing worked really well for me here and for this reason I've bumped my rating of 4 and 4.5 stars from my previous reads to all five.

 

MYSTERY WALK is full of hope but at the same time does not shy away from the difficulties in life we all face. The wonderful prose of Robert McCammon is only improved by Nick Sullivan's narration. If you're in need of a little hope in your life during these difficult times, then I highly recommend giving MYSTERY WALK a listen. If you do, give Billy Creekmore a hug from me and tell him that Char said "Hi".

 

You can get your copy here: Mystery Walk

 

*I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-12-13 18:45
The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror - William Meikle

 

Picture the scene: Victorian London. A smoky club. A group of literary icons. The price to join this group? A story of the supernatural. The scene is now set.

 

Imagine the tales these writers of old would share. Stoker, Dickens, Wells, James, and Stevenson, among others. What price would you pay to sit at that table? Unfortunately, the opportunity to sit there in person is gone, but thanks to William Meikle, you CAN now be privy to these stories and anything else these authors have to say. The entrance fee for you? Quite reasonable!

 

The standout tales for me were:

 

WEE DAVIE MAKES A FRIEND (in the style of) Robert Louis Stevenson. This was the first story and my favorite of the collection. Young Davie is an unwell boy and is often bedridden. The gift of a new toy changes his life.

 

ONCE A JACKASS (in the style of) Mark Twain. A Mississippi steamship captain makes a terrible mistake and unfortunately, all of the passengers and crew pay the price.

 

THE SCRIMSHAW SET (in the style of Henry James) I adored this tale of a haunted (?) chess set. This was my second favorite tale in this collection and I've just read that the author is planning to write more about this set in the future. I can't wait!

 

TO THE MOON AND BEYOND (in the style of Jules Verne) A super cool story about a man, his rocket and a trip to the moon. What was found there and what did he bring back with him? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

BORN OF ETHER (in the style of Helena Blavatsky) A man embarks upon a supernatural journey to freedom.

 

I was not familiar with a few of the authors here, Helena Blavatsky included, but I think the author did a stellar job of emulating their writing styles. These tales were entertaining, well written and I loved the framework within which they were presented.

 

For these reasons, I highly recommend this gem of a collection!

 

You can get your copy here, (your price of admission, rather than a story):

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror

 

*Thanks to Crystal Lake Publishing and the author for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2017-08-01 18:45
The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford
The Twilight Pariah - Jeffrey Ford

 

Everyone knows that you don't disturb buried skeletons. Everyone except Henry, Maggie and Russell, that is. With the summer off from college, three high school pals get together as Maggie has convinced the other two to help her with her amateur archaeology project. They're going to dig up an old outhouse pit and see what they can find. Not only do they find a buried skeleton, the skeleton is very small and it has horns. Anyone sane of mind would leave that thing alone, fill the hole back up and take off-but that wouldn't make for a very good horror story now would it? And this is definitely a good horror story! So what happens to the demon baby skeleton? What happens to this trio of friends almost immediately after disturbing said skeleton? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Digging up an outhouse pit , (at night of course), near an old abandoned mansion is a creepy endeavor to start with, and when odd things started happening it got very creepy indeed. I especially loved the portions about the mansion and the Prewitts, the people that used to live there. Actually, I would have loved to have learned more about them and the history of the family. Still, what happened to Marlby Prewitt and what resulted from that incident, was a unique and new idea, (at least to me), and I loved what Mr. Ford did with his creation.

 

The Twilight Pariah was a LOT of fun! I read it in just two sittings and when I finished, I was sorry that it was over. There is a lot to be said for lean storytelling and tight prose, but let me be clear, I would have delighted in more! More of the Prewitts, more of the trio and their friendship, more, more, more! In such a tight space, Mr. Ford brought these characters alive, made me care for them, and then boom! It was over and he took them away!

 

I'm embarrassed to say that this was my first book from Jeffrey Ford, but it will not be my last. I HIGHLY recommend The Twilight Pariah!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: The Twilight Pariah

 

 *I received this paperback ARC free of charge by responding to a Tweet from Mr. Ford. This did not affect my opinion of this awesome story.*

 

Find this review and others like it at: www.Horrorafterdark.com

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review 2017-03-28 18:35
Drop Dead Gorgeous by Donald Allen Kirch
Drop Dead Gorgeous - Donald Allen Kirch

Drop Dead Gorgeous is a bizarre and erotic horror story that resonated with me.

 

U.S. Only Audiobook Giveaway at Horror After Dark! Click here to enter.

 

Ray wakes up duct taped to a chair and soon realizes that he is being held captive by the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. She wants to tell him a story, and he wants to stay alive. So begins this wicked tale of revenge, sex, lies, genetic modifications, lust, and, perhaps a bit of social commentary. These are the reasons I say it was bizarre, but bizarre in a good way!

 

 

(Click here to see the Drop Dead Gorgeous book trailer! )

 

I had no idea where this tale was going, so I just hung on for the ride. I'm not going to get further into the plot, because most of the other reviews already do that. I will say that Mr. Kirch deftly strings the reader along until the perfect ending quickly arrives, leaving said reader in a daze. I was worried he would chicken out and shy away from the denouement this story so richly deserved, but he didn't.

 

Steve, Eve, Wells and even the evil Annabelle were well drawn, realistic characters. Not one of them was a cardboard cutout, they each had depth; both good points and bad. Sometimes I found myself feeling sorry for the villains and hating the "good" guy.

 

There's a lot to be learned here too, at least there is to my mind. How society treats women, (and men, really), based on their bodies and their looks. Many women would kill to have the body of Eve, but she would kill to get rid of it. That got me to thinking that I should probably be careful about what I wish for. Also, there are some scary experiments going on with genetic modifications, nanos and science-y stuff, which brought many ethical questions to the forefront of my mind. We all know that scientists are working on ways to make us immortal and while most of us would probably like to live forever, is that actually a good thing? The world is overpopulated as it is. It's rare that an erotic horror story bring up questions of such import, but this one did.

 

All in all, Drop Dead Gorgeous adds up to more than the sum of its parts,  and it delivers over and above what you would expect from the cover. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it and look forward to reading more from Mr. Kirch in the future!

 

*Mr. Kirch provided Horror After Dark a review copy free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

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