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review 2017-11-14 18:45
Childgrave by Ken Greenhall
Childgrave - Ken Greenhall

 

CHILDGRAVE is a beautifully written quiet horror story, with a sketchy small town lurking in the background. By the time the secrets of the town are revealed, it's too late for the reader to turn back.

 

As I get older, I find myself more and more drawn to quiet horror. I can do without gore and torture and all that if I have a tale that's well written and atmospheric. I also need compelling characters and CHILDGRAVE has that in spades. The main character, Jonathan, is a widowed photographer. He, his daughter Joanne, and his housekeeper Nanny Joy, are so well drawn I feel as if I know them personally.

 

When Jonathan's photos of his daughter seem to show specters in the background, while at the same time Joanne seems to have developed some new invisible friends, Jonathan is intrigued. Are the two events connected? Who is Conlee, the name of Joanne's new invisible friend? Lastly, what is Chilegray and how is connected to Conlee? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'll get it out of the way now-this is a slow moving story. What kept me interested was the quality of the writing and the characters. Jonathan is a quirky man. He has few friends and little interest in fashion or modern day trends. His housekeeper Nanny Joy loves jazz and Jonathan's daughter, but is concerned about the appearance of Conlee and the specters in the photographs. Jonathan's agent Harry is hilarious and his girlfriend, Lee, is interesting as well. NYC of the 70's is the main setting, and it was fascinating to read about the city during that time of social upheaval and change.

 

I was inexorably drawn to the conclusion which leads the reader to a small town hidden in a valley. "Evil in a small town" is one of my favorite tropes and Greenhall knew how to deliver it in a chilling and shocking- yet believable way. You find yourself wondering what you would do in such a situation and I continued to think about it all night long...hours after finishing the book. I can't say that I blame Jonathan for the choices that he made.

 

While CHILDGRAVE isn't the psychological, fast moving story that both ELIZABETH or HELL HOUND were, it was excellent in its own quiet and compelling way. Slowly drawing the reader down into the valley where secrets are kept for generation after generation, Greenhall deftly brings things to a head and left this reader wishing for more.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: CHILDGRAVE

 

*Thanks to Valancourt Books for providing this e-book free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-11-06 01:03
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story - Debbie Tung
New people overwhelm her but her current friends and family give her comfort. She would prefer to be alone but she agrees to the plans that others have arranged as she doesn’t want to hurt their feelings by turning them down. She would prefer to have an empty calendar than a full one. As I read through this novel, I found myself agreeing with some of the feelings that she was acknowledging, could it be that I had some traits of an introvert?
 
As a young child, Debbie was quiet and preferred to be alone so this is not something that has just occurred. Debbie had been struggling with social anxiety for a few years now and she keeps her guard up. As she starts to becomes an adult, she begins to rethink how she handles her social situations.
 
One of the reasons that I enjoyed this graphic novel was because of the messages it was sending its readers. Debbie liked being by herself and what she was doing was fine but how she felt was causing her conflict. Debbie felt that she needed to conform, to please others but she doesn’t. Debbie needs to only please herself. Debbie also doesn’t need to be upset with herself for not fitting in with other individuals in her life, she needs to do what makes her happy. I liked the way this graphic novel presents this. I also liked the illustrations, I thought these helped fuel the energy towards the messages inside the novel. I think that many readers will be able to relate to Debbie as they read this graphic novel.
 
This was an arc and I hope that they keep this one page as it made me smile and it is one that I know many people will be able to relate to. This page had two sections, one section was labeled “How Other People Party” and it had individuals dancing with drinks in their hands and they were all laughing and smiling. There were streamers and a banner decorating the room. In the second section of the page, it said, “How I Party” and it had Debbie in her bed with a hot drink on her nightstand. She was sitting up with a book in her hands and she was getting excited as the plot in her book thickened. I loved this.
 
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-11-03 17:44
Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson
Ash Wednesday - Chet Williamson

 

A beautifully written and touching story of what happens when the dead of the town of Merridale are suddenly visible and blue. They're visible in the places in which they died or in the places that meant the most to them when they were alive. At first, people are freaked out, (wouldn't you be?), but then they get used to it. Well, some do and some don't.

 

The characters in this story are well drawn and believable. This is a story about guilt, and about making the most of the short time that we have here on earth, among other things.

 

I'd classify this as a quiet horror tale, not too many bloody, ugly scenes and that's the type of horror I prefer these days-the quiet, atmospheric, and psychological kind. This book just hit all the right notes with me. Bravo!

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get a Kindle copy here for only $2.99! 

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review 2017-11-03 03:42
Review: A Song for Quiet
A Song for Quiet (Persons Non Grata) - C... A Song for Quiet (Persons Non Grata) - Cassandra Khaw

This feels like it starts from the same seed as LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom, but goes in a completely different direction. Both are lovely, almost complimentary tales.

 

While this is a second Persons Non Grata novella, John Persons' inclusion is more like The Doctor's in Blink than a regular episode. Not a complaint, it works quite well. However, I'm glad I had read the first one first so I knew who he was.

 

Will be delighted to read more of these. 

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review 2017-10-20 22:30
The Travelling Grave by L.P. Hartley
The Travelling Grave and Other Stories - L.P. Hartley

 

I very much enjoyed this collection of Gothic and creepy stories originally released in the 1940's. I generally prefer short tales that pack a punch, and these are definitely not that. However, they often have a good deal of humor and that sense of atmosphere in which I love to wallow.

 

The standouts to me were:

 

A VISITOR FROM DOWN UNDER was, for me, a beautifully told ghost story/tale of revenge.

 

PODOLO A nice little day trip to the island of Podolo takes a nasty turn. This one reminded me that feral cats may not be worth the effort.

 

THE TRAVELLING GRAVE was quite the funny story involving a misunderstanding involving perambulators. (Is that word even used anymore? It's a shame if it's not because it's a word that rolls nicely off the tongue.) Anyway, the humor of the situation quickly changed to horror at the gruesome ending. Always be careful playing hide & seek!

 

CONRAD AND THE DRAGON I wasn't sure what to make of this fairy tale like...tale. It didn't have the usual fairy tale ending, but I found it to be totally charming.

 

THREE OR FOUR, FOR DINNER was another tale involving some humor and a practical joke gone wrong.

 

This was my first experience with L.P. Hartley and I'm so glad I gave this collection a try! Recommended!

 

*Thank you to Valancourt Books for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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