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review 2017-01-03 17:32
The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee
The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel - Lucky McKee,Jack Ketchum

Having read Ketchum’s work in the past and watching a few of Lucky McKee's films (May is a must-see, btw), I pretty much read this book with my heart in my throat while I waited for the ball to drop on my head and I was not at all disappointed!

 

 

This is a not a feel-good story. Don’t let that lovely cover fool you. It is a story about two terrible, self-absorbed, materialistic people who never should’ve had children. But they did. Twins in fact. Now the twins are eleven and Delia, an actress, is their beautiful little money maker. Robbie is basically ignored while their stage mom drags Delia from job to job to keep up with their luxurious lifestyle and to keep herself supplied in alcohol. Dad stays home and buys himself expensive toys. Ugh, I DESPISE these people. You will too. But you’re supposed to, so don’t feel bad about it. I sure don’t.

 

 

Delia’s only friend is her beloved dog Caity who has her own point of view. Caity is an amazing, fully fleshed out character. Their bond is super tight and extraordinary. It is also beautifully written and completely believable. Terrible things happen, as they do in a Ketchum novel, and I’m not going to spoil any of them. Just know that you will cry even if you think you’re too tough for that and when the story ends you will feel raw, as if you’ve been turned inside out and all of your nerve ending are now exposed. But you will not regret reading through the tough bits to get to the unforgettable end. Trust me on this. I loved this book. Books like this are the reason I keep reading through all of the “meh” one’s. It is absolutely deserving of all five stars. Delia and Caity will forever be in my heart. Now I’ve got to go and hug my dogs before I get all weepy again.

 

 

We are here. We together. We are not alone. This one might require Daryl.

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Thanks Netgalley :)

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text 2016-12-29 12:45
Char's Horror Corner Top 5: Novels Read in 2016
The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel - Lucky McKee,Jack Ketchum
Fellside - M.R. Carey
Darktown: A Novel - Thomas Mullen
A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly
Freedom of the Mask - Vincent Chong,Robert R. McCammon

 

2016 has been a great year here at Char's Horror Corner, with many phenomenal books being read. Here are the ones that I liked the most, in no particular order, (if you're interested,  click on the titles to see my reviews):

 

The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Caity is a dog that I will never forget, (that's her in silhouette on the cover there), and the Cross family is one I loved to hate. Bringing dysfunctional family stories to a whole 'nother level, The Secret Life of Souls brought out a lot of emotions in this cold, dark heart of mine. 

You can get a copy here: The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel

 

 

Fellside by M.R. Carey. After reading The Girl With All the Gifts, I had to give M.R. Carey another try, so I grabbed Fellside and I was NOT disappointed. Even though it wasn't exactly the horror novel that I expected, the storytelling was what got to me. With a plot that kept me guessing for quite a while, this book was a real winner for me. You can get a copy here: Fellside

 

 

Darktown by Thomas Mullen was a book that I requested from NetGalley based on the description alone. An historical fiction novel about the first black policemen in Atlanta, Georgia. Painful to read but beautifully written, this book was a testament to the strength and bravery of those officers. You can get your copy here: Darktown: A Novel

 

 

A Time of Torment by John Connolly is the latest entry in the Charlie Parker series. One would think for a series that has gone on for so long, the later entries would be weaker, but in this case the opposite is true. These books just keep getting better. However, I believe I sense Charlie's time is coming to a close. Though I hope that is not the case, I will be glued to the rest of this series either way. You can get a copy here: A Time of Torment: A Charlie Parker Thriller

 

 

Freedom of the Mask by Robert McCammon is the 6th book in the Matthew Corbett series, (which happens to be yet another series that is getting better and better.) This one started with a crazy voyage overseas, imprisonment in the filthy Newgate Prison, and a rescue mission gone badly awry. I've never had such fun with an historical fiction series in my life! I can't wait to see what's in store for Matthew next. You can get your copy here: Freedom of the Mask

 


If you're still here, thanks for reading! I hope that you'll join me here again next year, for what I foresee as being another great year of reading!

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review 2016-11-11 22:53
The Lost - Jack Ketchum
The Lost - Jack Ketchum

Right off the bat, The Lost starts with a bang (pardon the pun). Ray was a nutcase when he was a teenager and blew two girls away that were camping. His two friends, Tim and Jennifer, were sheep when they watched him do it and just stood there with their mouths open. They didn't turn him in. They didn't try to stop him. Nothing. Why did he do it? Just to see how it felt. Four years later, Ray is still just as big of a nutcase. The only difference is that he hasn't killed anyone in those four years since. Tim and Jennifer are still the loyal sheep that follow Ray's every move without question. The police were unable to pin the murders on Ray, but the officers on duty, Charlie and Ed, knew damn well that Ray did it. However, they didn't have the proof the bust him. So, for 4 years, he walked a free man. But four years is a long time and Ray has never had anyone push his buttons to see what he would really do if his temper reached critical mass...until now.

 

 

The Lost is a fantastic tale told in Ketchum's patented straight-forward way. He captures small town America. The characters are amazingly realistic and feel like you know someone exactly like them. When I say Ray is a nutcase, I mean it. On the surface, to the people that don't really know him, he only seems like a harmless hood. But his evil is constantly simmering under a lid that is barely on and just waiting to go flying off. Those are the scariest kind of monsters. Realistic and unassuming until one day...BLAM! Ketchum does an amazing job ratcheting up the dread until the final act. If you haven't read Ketchum yet, this one isn't a bad one to start off with. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

 

 

 

4 1/2 Bullets through the Eye 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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review 2016-11-10 16:47
The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee
The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel - Lucky McKee,Jack Ketchum

 

What an incredible read! I've loved the work of Jack Ketchum ever since I read his book The Girl Next Door. In The Secret Life of Souls Jack teams up once again with Lucky McKee and together, they knock this one right out of the park.

 

The Cross family is as dysfunctional as they come. Pat and Bart, (mom and dad), are busy trying to make their daughter Delia a star and her brother Robbie is mostly ignored. The family dog Caity more or less belongs to Delia alone, and it doesn't take long for the reader to discover that Delia and Caity have a special connection. Caity lives to serve the Cross family, but other than Delia and Robbie, they don't deserve this loyal dog. I'm going to leave off the plot here because this story should be absorbed as the authors intended, not interpreted by a lowly blogger like me.

 

This book is fast paced and well written. These authors know how to pull on your heart strings and they are not afraid to do so. The characters of the Cross family are so well developed but the more you get to know them-well, you'll see. The dog, though? The dog is the star of this show, and with portions of the story from Caity's point of view, it is no mystery how she's feeling. Many times I found myself wishing I could reach out and pet Caity and call her a good girl. (Who's a good girl, Caity? You are!)

 

I'm not sure this is a horror story, though parts of it are certainly horrific. What it is for sure though, is a fantastic novel that takes the reader through the full spectrum of emotions: from full blown happiness to acute sadness and all the stops in between. This may even be my favorite book of the year so far. The more I turn it over in my mind, the more sure I am that it will be.

 

Highly recommended for everyone, but most especially to dog lovers. I think you'll adore The Secret Life of Souls.

 

You can buy your copy here: The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel

 

*Thanks to Net Galley and Pegasus Books for the free e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

Find this review and others like it at HorrorAfterDark.com.

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text 2016-11-09 03:12
Reading progress update: I've read 40% and...
The Secret Life of Souls: A Novel - Lucky McKee,Jack Ketchum

my heart has been ripped out.

 

 

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