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review 2019-01-09 12:00
Review: The House by the Cemetery
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was immensely fun in a twisted way. Haunted houses are my favourite type of horror movie, from the downright creepy to the laughably bad and gory to the what the fuck did I just watch? This book reads like a combination of all of the above.

 

Down on his luck Mike is in desperate need of a job, his buddy Perry has a plan to renovate a spooky old house into a Haunted House attraction in time for Halloween. The house is in the perfect creepy location next to a cemetery and there are boundless rumours of the house being haunted. Satanic rituals and murders on the property. Anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie or read a horror novel should know that to logical people building a haunted house in a place with this kind of history should scream bad idea, bad idea! Something is going go hideously wrong!

 

And of course, therein, lies the fun.

 

Mike starts building the house, a girl Katie, and her creepy friend appear and random intervals, Katie is pretty and younger than Mike. She and her friend start helping Mike with the renovations. Weird things start happening, odd noises, strange…things…turning up out of nowhere.  Meanwhile a host of other characters are introduced, the people who are getting involved in designing and making the haunted house.  The set designers, the costume makers and prop-makers, the actors, the makeup artist and her boyfriend. They get together and start working on their project.

 

And at the same time, two paranormal investigators are ranting about what a spectacularly bad idea this haunted house thing is. Restless spirits, a dark place etc. Their attempts at getting into the house fail miserably.  Katie has a secret. Halloween night arrives and with it, a blood bath! Not a lot happens until the opening night of the attraction, its short chapters, lots of characters. And the plot doesn’t require any kind of thinking or figuring out deep ulterior movies or anything.  It’s atmospheric and has some creepy moments. The characters have absolutely no depth to them. The secret behind the old murders, and weird things happening is just stupid. And there is a murderous rampage of epic proportions. But it doesn’t matter how ridiculous it all is.

 

It’s entertaining, and daft haunted house fun is the whole reason for reading it. Thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-10-06 23:06
The House by the Cemetery
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

The idea of a haunted house attraction that is actually haunted drew my attention and with Halloween approaching, it seemed appropriate for the season. The cover also sets the stage for a creepy and perhaps sinister tale. In that vein, I suppose this one does deliver, but it took a rather meandering route to get there. The story tends to slog along for quite some time, actually about the first two-thirds or better. There are the occasional creepy scenes, some of which are quite chilling. However, there are a lot of characters introduced, and many of them receive much more page time than needed. Character depth is one thing, but the time taken with some felt like so much filler. Then we have our main character, Mike, the handyman hired to get the house ready for the season. Again, even for a main character, we're given way more than we need for the story. I get it, he's a carpenter and working on the house, but I don't need details of bracing ceilings or laying floors to get the picture. Aside from that, I found Mike to be rather single-minded and well, not very bright. The lust angle is one thing, but I just can't imagine anyone being so completely ignorant of things as this guy. The story does eventually ramp up and we get plenty of Halloween creepiness and gore, but it was just too little, too late to save this one for me. Tightened up and trimmed down, this story could be a real chill-fest in that B-movie kind of way, but as it stands, it just doesn't do the job. 

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text 2018-10-02 18:45
September 2018-That's A Wrap!
Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam Light,Gregor Xane,Josh Malerman,Jason Parent,Evans Light
Cross Her Heart - Sarah Pinborough
Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Ramsey Campbell
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson
Cockblock - Ramona Master,Roderick Hunt,Roderick Hunt
Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite,Matt Godfrey
Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt
The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

I read 13 books in September! 

 

Graphic Novels

 

Lucifer Book 3 by Mike Carey 5*

 

Total: 1

 

Audiobooks

 

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor, narrated by Ray Porter 4*

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn 5* (HB)

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey 3* (HB)

Cockblock by C.V. Hunt, narrated by Ramona Master 4*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough 4* (HB) 

Doorbells At Dusk edited by Evans Light (Anthology) 4*

Thirteen Days at Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell 3* (HB)

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 5* (HB) 

The House by the Cemetery by John Everson 3.5* (HB)

Slimer by Harry Adam Knight 5* (HB)

The Devil's Fingers by Hunter Shea 4* (HB)

 

Total: 7

 

RANDOM READS

 

Hex by Thomas Heulvelt (Buddy read with Lillelara) 3* (HB)

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

(I'm failing miserably)

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

9. Hex by Thomas Heuvelt

Running Total: 122

 

Books read for Halloween Bingo: 9

 

 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-24 07:28
The House by the Cemetery 4* book review
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson The House by the Cemetery John Everson Flame Tree Press 4* ***SPOILERS*** “Some things should remain buried” Synopsis: “Rumour has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumours won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumours down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumours is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfil. Because while the witch may have been dead... she doesn’t intend to stay that way.” Thank you to Flame Tree Press for sending me an advance copy of The House by the Cemetery to review. Some things should most definitely remain buried. A murderous witch undoubtedly should. If there was ever a tale about a man being led by his, ahem, ‘other’ brain, this is it. Mike, a carpenter is tasked with making an already haunted house safe, to be opened as a haunted house attraction. Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? The end result, the cattle are taking themselves to the slaughter. I got many American Horror Story feels from this book; I could picture it in my mind, the different cast members of AHS and which parts they would be perfect for. It really felt like a story that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk had come up with during the creative process for their next series. It’s a shame really that they have already done the haunted house theme (series 1). I can live in hope though right? Mike, divorced, living hand to mouth and pay check to pay check, is struggling to pay the rent. He reluctantly agrees to a job offer from his friend Perry, to work on reconstructing Bachelor’s Grove, an infamous haunted house complete with a creepy cemetery. It is to be opened in the run up to Halloween and a scary money making attraction. He meets a girl, Katie, falls for girl and does everything she asks no matter how twisted or bizarre it may seem. Love really is blind. That was my one fault with this book; Mike was a little too accepting of the situation. Even at the end, all the murders, the bloodshed, and he just seemed to be very blasé about it. He would complain, and say he didn’t agree et cetera et cetera, but Katie would smile sweetly and bat her witchy eyelashes and he would be back to being her good boy. That one thing was my only annoyance. I think we needed a man with a bit more fight in him, not an absolute pushover. Katie really didn’t have to work for it. Also, I have to admit, it was not a huge surprise to find out Katie was a ghost, or even the witch for that matter. It was sadly pretty obvious from early on in the book, although that didn’t curtail my enjoyment. I felt the haunted house within a haunted house concept worked really well, I loved all the different room ideas and the overall layout and decoration of the house really did sound great. I felt there was maybe a lack of any ‘actual’ haunting within the house when it was open to the public, unlike the subtle incidents, of entrails, noises and footsteps whilst Mike was working on it. That subtle approach was perfect for building atmosphere in the earlier stages of this novel. I would have appreciated a few unintended jump scares from resident ghostly inhabitants during the open house, which would have been a treat alongside the actors dishing out the scares. I think introducing some other spectral figures would have given the house more of a back story, showing us that many people died there over the years. While we were limited with ghostly visitors, despite being told numerous times of the vast paranormal presence within the house, we were not left totally disappointed. It wasn’t until the very last night of business that the ghouls came out to play. Those last few chapters were great, a very big finish, a huge kill count, it was an absolute blood bath that wouldn’t have been lost on an eighties slasher flick. The House by the Cemetery, released 18th October 2018, is available for pre-order from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Cemetery-Fiction-Without-Frontiers/dp/1787580016/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1537108789&sr=1-1&keywords=the+house+by+the+cemetery 4/5 – We all love a good haunted house story don’t we? Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)
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review 2018-09-20 22:30
THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY by John Everson
The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

 

Bachelor's Grove is a small town featuring a house backing onto a cemetery. There have always been rumors about the house-something about a witch and a haunting. Rumors have no impact on Perry, though. He's an entrepreneur that wants to open a Halloween haunted house there. Great idea, right? Yeah...no. All kinds of things go wrong as you may have guessed and lots of gory shenanigans ensue. Will the haunted house business be a success? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I requested this ARC from Flame Tree Press because I loved the cover and also because I've been wanting to read more of John Everson's work. Ever since I read his book SIREN several years back, I've been meaning to get back to him, and with this book I finally got that opportunity. While I respect his writing, in general, I think he really shines when it comes to the bloody action-plenty of which is too be found towards the end of this story. I just thought it took a bit too long to get there.

 

We are introduced to many characters, maybe too many, and while I did like or care for some of them, I don't think they required the amount of attention they received. Also, it took a long time for us to get to where the story really lived. I would have preferred less of the extraneous characters and more about the main characters and perhaps more about the history of the house. It's hard to add anything else without spoilers, however I will reinforce the fact that the denouement was bloody brilliant and I had a ball reading that portion.

 

Overall, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY was fun in that bloody B-movie way many of us horror lovers enjoy- and if anyone ever does make a film based upon this tale, I would love to see their rendition of the basement at the end of Halloween night!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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