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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-12 04:10
Violet Eyes by John Everson
Violet Eyes - John Everson

Violet Eyes by John Everson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fresh start was the plan, but for Rachel and her son, Eric, the quiet town near the Everglades proves to be anything but suitable. The news reports of an unknown breed of fly, migrating through the area, but when said species of fly begins to attack people in swarms, things only seem to get progressively worse from there. Black spiders with violet slashes across their backs, appear from seemingly nowhere, making their presence known as they start to take over.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

Who isn't afraid of spiders? Well, me actually, but the way in which arachnids were presented here was no doubt alarming. Instead of the eight-legged critters that want nothing more than to live human-free lives, were abominations hungry for the warmth of living (and dead) flesh. And flesh they got, copious amounts of it, from animals to humans of all ages; everything that breathed appeared to be fair game. The very life cycle of these unnatural creatures made my skin crawl; a bizarre rotation of fly and spider, with bites that could implant eggs, as well as paralysing venom. The greatest and worst biological weapon, their only instinct to wipe out life. Whilst Everson did a good job in capturing the nastiness of their sudden invasion, I found myself wishing the focus back upon Rachel and Eric, as I felt more committed to them in the long run. Most of the other characters introduced had only one sole purpose, and that was to die in the most horrific ways possible, each instance trying to outdo the last. This served as brief entertainment, but as I said, I'd would've preferred more time with the main protagonists.

Let's get into the little irksome details throughout that I just couldn't ignore. For starters, it struck me as unrealistic that almost everyone talked to themselves. This may seem like a nit-picky, largely irrelevant complaint, but it actually affected my immersion. I've no issue whatsoever with inner dialogue; it's something we all do, but to outright speak, out loud, in conversation to ourselves? No, not everyone does that, and it gives the impression that it's for the benefit of the reader - that they're not talking to themselves, but to us. It's a highly personal opinion, of course, and one I had to mention, for my own peace of mind.

The next thing's story related and it involves what you might consider a spoiler, so heed the warning at the beginning. Whilst the incursion spread throughout town, with reports of hostile swarms of flies biting people and houses covered from roof to ground in webbing, Rachel didn't think to leave town? I didn't understand, that for the safety of her child, why it didn't occur to her that it just might not be safe. Again, it brought distraction through its impracticality. I prefer rational thinking that brings the person on the page to life - I very much dislike questionable events that only seem plausible to serve the plot.

Obvious issues aside, I did like the primary characters. I found Rachel's determination to live independently, free from her abusive ex, to be respectful. It was nice that she found romance in someone far better than Anders, of whom was composed in a way that did him absolutely no favours. I couldn't much care for his death - it appeared to be an attempt at redemption, which failed as far as I was concerned. I have to say, I was expecting the ending, but when it came I felt a twinge of sadness. I do appreciate when what I read induces emotion, so I was pleasantly surprised in that regard.

In conclusion: I'm sticking with three stars, however I very nearly settled on two. The spider aspect I enjoyed, but some things (other than the spiders) got under my skin. I just couldn't overlook them.

Notable Quote:

The best things in life were usually killed by ignorance, ambivalence, age, wisdom and sometimes, outright malevolence. Whatever the reasons, the things you loved most always seemed to die long before you were ready to let them go.

© Red Lace 2018

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/12/violet-eyes-by-john-everson
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review 2016-06-18 00:00
Sacrificing Virgins
Sacrificing Virgins - John Everson It's hard to even know where to begin while talking about Sacrificing Virgins by John Everson. I could easily write 500 words analyzing each of the 25 stories here, but the best way to experience this book is by reading it. One thing that I will say though is that this book is a template for what great horror stories should be. Sacrificing Virgins has moments that are shocking, violent and downright disgusting. These are all things that horror fans want but for me what makes a great horror story is characters that you care about and can relate to. Then you have to put them in a bad situation where it looks like they can't escape.

For example in the story Bad Day we hear of strange exotic flying roaches that are latching on to people and causing them to go into a coma. After a short period the people awaken as zombies. We then get to know a family from the father's point of view. We know he loves his wife and young daughter, but he feels that maybe he was to old to start a family and he feels bad for his wife. As he gets to go off to work every day and escape fatherhood for a while and be around adults, his wife is at home with only their daughter to talk to. Hearing this information, you care about this family and the idea that they're facing the apocalypse is horrifying. This story isn't as violent as some of the others in this anthology but it is one of the scariest because you see this family that you grow to like facing the end of humanity. This is true horror.

The next example of a perfect horror story and my favorite one in this book is Camille Smiled. This story is told in a different way then the previous one, in the beginning you're not sure what's happening but as the tale moves along the blanks are filled in and you get into every parents worst nightmare. Camille was killed in a car accident at 8 years old and her grief-stricken father uses voodoo to bring her back from the dead. The problem is that she didn't come back the same. This story is a masterpiece and the best parts of it are so subtle. In one scene the father is talking about how much he misses his daughter and even with the state of decay she is in, he doesn't care, he just wants her back. Then you have the mother who shows how angry she is at her husband before he succeeds at bringing their daughter back from the dead, yet she never leaves him or turn him in for grave robbing. Then we have the description of Camille staring emotionless at her father and the father realizing that his daughter is dangerous. This is a love story that literally sent chills down my spine.

Another story I really liked here was Voyeur. I loved the originality here, it has to do with a man who went from being a voyeur to a murderer but little does he know he is being studied by something out of this world. This book also has a story about bondage and sexual torture called Field Of Flesh, which is tied into John Everson's novel NightWhere. This one has some disturbing imagery that I liked but the best part of it was the end when we find out how the room the protagonist is in works. Every story in this book is a lesson on how great horror literature can be and it's a can't miss book for real horror fans.
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review 2016-01-25 18:07
Failure John Everson
Failure - John Everson

Three losers... Cind was cheating her way through high school. Sal couldn't get a girl and Raymond botched multiple attempts at killing himself. When a mysterious stranger offers Sal the best weed he's ever smoked if he'll get two other people to have sex while the stranger watches, he wonders "what's the catch?" Did the stranger fail to mention that they would be having the sex on the floor of the basement covered with a huge pentagram drenched in blood while the stranger recites strange incantations? Probably not. But the pot IS really good and besides, what could possibly go wrong?

 

While reading Failure, the AC/DC song If You Want Blood... kept popping up in my mind and rightfully so. This is my first Everson story and this one is full of the red stuff. It is definitely not for the squeamish and the story is told in a very tongue-in-cheek way that doesn't take itself too seriously. Its a fun tale that I thoroughly enjoyed and I suggest that you give it a try too.

 

4 sacrifices out of 5


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

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

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1JOKW56F2YT

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review 2016-01-09 16:12
Best New Werewolf Tales, Volume 1
Best New Werewolf Tales (Vol.1) - James Roy Daley,Jonathan Maberry,John Everson

A compilation of short stories all pertaining to...you guessed it. Aahhrrrooooo! There were some absolute gems and a few clunkers. My absolute favorites were Maberry, Meikle, Newman, and Smith. Here's the breakdown of each story:


Like Part of the Family - Jonathan Maberry

Mr. Hunter is a private detective that moved to Philadelphia. He can be very persuasive to get what he wants. Even if he's up against something not quite human. Great story.

5 out of 5 stars


Baby - James Roy Daley

It's good to know who the man really is that you're marrying, especially if you ever plan to have a family with him.

4 out of 5 stars


Anniversary - John Everson

Every month Margaret prepares for her date with Charles when the moon is full. When the sex is that good, you'll do anything for your partner no matter how unorthodox their relationship is.

4 out of 5 stars


The Virgin O' Full Moon Falls - James Newman

Quick little tale of revenge when a pack of rednecks attack the high school virgin queen.

5 out of 5 stars


The Trojan Plushy - David Bernstein

Another revenge tale that combines the werewolf with witchcraft and the Trojan Horse. Has a Twilight Zone-kind of feel.

4 out of 5 stars


Jesus When The Sun Goes Down - Simon McCaffery

The church camp counsellors are hell-bent to save the souls of their campers. But, who is going to save the counsellors?

5 out of 5 stars


Three Dog Night - John F.D. Taff

An animal control officer brings in a strange stray dog.

4 out of 5 stars


Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have - Rob Rosen

Grammy has a secret. Sammy thinks he know what is. He's right...and he's wrong.

4 out of 5 stars


Scarred For Life - Michael Laimo

Fairly predictable yarn about the birth of a father's child.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Hairs and Graces - William Meikle

Set in a fairy tale, magical and medieval Britain which makes for the perfect setting for a werewolf story. A female investigator is hired by a Lord to find the original owner of a belt he recently purchased. Ah, but this is no ordinary belt. Love, love this story. The only downside is that it ended when I wanted it to keep going. But, isn't that the sign of a good story - you don't want it to end?

5 out of 5 stars


Out of the Light - Douglas Smith

Jan is a hunter of shape-shifters from the old country. After a tragic mistake takes the life of the girl he loved, Jan moves to Toronto into the big city and away from their habitat. But as time passes, all things evolve. Great story.

5 out of 5 stars


Hungry Like The Moon - Rob E. Boley

A tale about what happens if you're a werewolf and are caught in the zombie apocalypse. Nice merge of genres.

4.5 out of 5 stars


Unlucky Moon - T.J. May

Be careful when you answer those ads on Craigslist.

3.5 out of 5 stars


A Taste of Blood and Roses - David Niall Wilson

A woman's disabled veteran husband is a werewolf. While the writing was decent, the story had no substance and went nowhere.

2.5 out of 5 stars


Under A Civil Moon - John Grover

Werewolves Union soldiers racing through the south. This southern belle knows what to do. Not a lot of meat in this story to gnaw on.

2.5 out of 5 stars


Unleashed - Nina Kiriki Hoffman

What to do about childcare when you're a new mom AND a werewolf. Could've been so much more entertaining than this mess.

2 out of 5 stars

 

Steak - Randall Lahrman

Turning into a werewolf is like discovering the Fountain of Youth. Simple and fun story.

3.5 stars out of 5


Silver Anniversary - Stephen M. Wilson

Wedding gifts can come in handy. Another simple, fun one.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

Buy A Goat For Christmas - Anna Taborska

A werewolf attacks an African village, but the blacksmith has a secret weapon. Great storytelling with a nicely fleshed out setting

4.5 stars out of 5


Sq389 - David Wesley Hill

A werewolf attack in virtual reality, blah, blah, blah. Don't even waste your time.

1/2 star out of 5


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

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

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1JOKW56F2YT

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review 2015-12-18 13:04
WTF Friday: Sacrificing Virgins by John Everson
Sacrificing Virgins - John Everson
Every once in a while, as the mood strikes me, I like to indulge in those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.

They're often an underground of sort of literature, best shared through guilty whispers, and often with embarrassed grins. These are our WTF Friday reads!

 

 

Despite having purchased several of John Everson's novels, Sacrificing Virginsactually proved to be my first taste of his work. Having finished it last night, I must say that it left me with one very important question - what the hell I was waiting for?

This is a collection that absolutely sucked me in, devoured my soul, and left me an undead husk, eager to be used and abused some more. The short stories here are wildly imaginative, darkly atmospheric, and seriously depraved. Alternately erotic and sadistic, they are sometimes full of the blackest humor, and other times completely barren of hope.

“She Found Spring” is a beautiful, yet sadly haunting sort of tale, a classic ghost story centered around the turning of the seasons. "Bad Day” is a terrifying, apocalyptic sort of tale that starts out with a bit of morbid humor, but which descends into hopeless terror as the plague of Luna Roaches begin breeding inside human skulls.

“Nailed” marks the first appearance of erotic horror in the collection, introducing us to a lonely woman and the stone sex toy she steals from a long-dead corpse beneath her garden, while "The Eyes" marks the first appearance of extreme horror in the collection, with a sadistic serial killer who has a fetish for eyes . . .

“Sacrificing Virgins” is where Everson completely won me over, putting a necrophiliac twist on the classic 'deal with the devil' story. This is one of those stories that repeatedly seems to reach a new depth of disgust, only to keep finding even deeper levels of debauchery. Somehow, “Whatever You Want” actually manages to push the envelope even further, with a slow-burning tale of erotic mutilation that just keeps getting darker and more perverse.

“Eardrum Buzz” merges elements of earlier stories, mixing music and bug in a blackly humorous story about the 'buzz' of a new band, the 'buzz' of a concert the day after, and the 'buzz' of something else. “Field of Flesh” is a companion piece to his erotic horror novel NightWhere (which I need to read next), involving a supernaturally kinky sex club, an all-too-eager detective, and the very dangerous temptations of sexual voyeurism.

“The Pumpkin Man” and “The Tapping” are stories where you know what's going on, and can guess the ending from the start, but they're so well told that you're content to enjoy the read. Both are distinguished by the uniqueness of their narrators, the creepiness of the atmosphere, and the ghost-story chills of the plot.“The White House” is a similar sort of tale where you can guess at the ending from page one, but it's the slow build of the tension, and the gradual reveal of the house's sins that make it so powerful.

“Star on the Beach” is another darkly erotic tale of 'harmless' necrophilia on a beach, while “Fish Bait” is a darkly humorous tale of a night in a redneck bar, but both are brutal reminders of the power of seemingly superstitious rituals of appeasement. “To Earn His Love” is another piece of erotic horror that touches on familiar themes, this time involving inappropriate student-teacher relations, guilty voyeurism, and poorly considered deals with the devil.

"The Hole To China” is a perfect closer to the collection, as beautiful and sadly haunting as the story that opened it. A tale of escape from the all-too-real horrors of domestic abuse, it relates the simple story of a boy digging his way to China, and the kindly woman next door who offers him a special shovel, along with some increasingly unsettling observations.

Make no mistake, Sacrificing Virgins is not for everyone, but that's precisely why I enjoyed it so much. I have barely scratched at the surface here, but this is a book that had me covering my eyes, turning my head aside, and reading almost tentatively at times. Some of it is beautiful, and some of it is shocking, but it's all powerful.



ebook, 440 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Source: beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.ca/2015/12/wtf-friday-sacrificing-virgins-by-john.html
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