All three narrated by R.C. Bray.
This was one of the best haunted house stories I've ever read! I just loved it! It's about The Rolfes- Marian, Ben & their son David. They live in a noisy apartment building in Queens so in order to get some peace they rent a house in the country for two months for their summer vacation. The house turns out to be a huge mansion that has fallen in disrepair. They find the renters, Roz & Brother, to be very eccentric and in the back of their mind they know that something isn't quite right. They present them with an offer they can't refuse though so they move in and take possession of the house but they'll come to find out that the house has taken possession of them; and as Marian's obsession with the house intensifies and her will to choose her family over the house is slowly taken from her, the house comes back to life...
Sometimes I find the endings to haunted house stories can be kind of hokey but I thought this one was very satisfying. The entire story was very atmospheric and I really enjoyed the sense of dark foreboding that overcast their stay. Seeing the house take possession of the family was very eerie and nicely written by the author.
If I absolutely 'had' to pick something that I didn't care for, it would probably be Marian & Ben's lovey-dovey dialogue. It was kind of sweet at first, and to give the author credit where credit is due, it was pretty realistic but I really don't care to hear couples baby talk in real life so I definitely don't care to hear it in a book either. That's really just a personal preference though and it didn't bother me enough to sway my rating.
On a side note, my 'obsession' with books 'possessed' me to buy a 1973 first edition of this but I'm so glad I did! It was totally worth it and I know I'll go back and reread it one day. For now though, it's going back in its Brodart and I'm going to find a copy of this movie that I'm dying to see!
Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco is a slow-burn of a horror novel, one that I have to admit I struggled with. For a book that’s around only 8 hours of listening time, it felt twice as long thanks to Marasco’s lethargic pacing and subtle scares.
At it’s core, Burnt Offerings is a haunted house story. Ben and Marian Rolfe, along with their son, Dave, escape the city for the summer and rent an opulent, lakeside mansion on the cheap. There’s a catch, of course, beyond the minor price-tag and the oddities of the Allardyce’s they are renting from, and Marian soon finds herself the caretaker of an unseen old woman who lives upstairs. The premise is sound, but the execution left me wanting far more than Marasco provided. See, I prefer quicker, deeper, faster cuts in my horror fiction and too much of the horror elements here revolved around a woman’s hair turning prematurely gray as she methodically cleans house. Too much of the book is even less intriguing than this. There are occasional, and well done, moments of creepiness, as well as forays into violence and madness, to interrupt the otherwise languid narrative before slipping back into a frustratingly slow story, until the last hour or so when things finally get kicked up a notch for an unsettling finale.
Burnt Offerings is a mixed bag of a book. I didn’t care much for the characters or Marasco’s plodding pace, but there is a richly developed theme about the curse of consumerism and desiring what others have. Much of the book revolves around Marian’s base need to possess what is beyond her, until she, and those she loves, is threatened by the very thing she wishes to consume. It’s a great element in the book, but one that I wish were amplified to a stronger degree in the characters. I wanted more psychological scares, more mania, more horror. I know Burnt Offerings was a notable influence on Stephen King’s The Shining, but frankly I’ll take that King book over this any day.
A part of me thinks that RC Bray, though, is a better narrator than this book needed. He has such a rich, deep voice and switches up character voices with ease and a lack of fuss. His delivery is spot-on, particularly during the rare frenetic scenes where he provides a suitable amount of gusto to bring the horror to life. In terms of production quality, there’s nothing to complain about – audio levels and clarity are consistently good throughout the run-time, and I like the little snippet of musical score that accompanied the opening and ending of this title.
While I found myself occasionally disturbed by some of the events depicted in Marasco’s book, I ultimately felt more disappointed and, too often, bored.
[Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com]
I can hardly believe that another year has gone by! It was an exceptional year for reading here at the Horror Corner, and today I'm going to share my favorites with you. To clarify,almost all of the books on this list were published prior to 2015, but I read them this year. Without further ado, my favorite reads of 2015, in no particular order, (click the title to see my review):
Riding the Centipede by John Claude Smith. A fresh offering in the horror genre is a rare thing, but Jean Claude Smith pulled it off with this one. It's bizarre, original, disgusting and fun. It was a blast.
Sweetheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor. Next to Joe Lansdale, Bernard Taylor is my favorite author discovery of the year. With his beautiful writing and descriptive skills, this haunted house/ghost story rose above the rest, featuring shivers galore. This is one of my all time favorite stories, sure to be read over and over again. The intro, by Michael Rowe, is also one of the best I've ever felt. I say felt because his excitement for the story came through and touched my heart.
Katie by Michael McDowell. A charming 80's horror tale of a young girl, (and later young woman) and her hammer. That's right. Her hammer. A MUST READ for fans of 80's horror, from the screenwriter of Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. If you haven't read any McDowell, you can't honestly call yourself a horror fan.
The Croning by Laird Barron. A beautifully written tale with vivid imagery. It's been months since I've read it and I still cannot find the words to describe this story.
The Best of Joe Lansdale by Joe Lansdale. This was the first Lansdale book I've read and it was the start of what is going to be a long journey for me. This collection of tales has something for everyone. Let the Champion MoJo Storyteller show you a thing or two about how short stories should be written. I guarantee you'll come back for more.
Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco. Never did I think I would read TWO awesome haunted house stories this year, but I did. HH stories almost always fizzle out for me at the end, but not this one. I bought a house with a swimming pool this year, and every single time I look at it, I think of this book. Read this story and you'll know why.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. I didn't get the new Kvothe book I was hoping for, (DAMMIT!), but this novella which features Auri from The Kingkiller Chronicle, was so awesome, I was okay with that. A unique little story without much dialogue or action, but I just loved it. When I recently moved, I attempted to use Auri's method of decorating-i.e. sit back and let things tell you where they belong. It worked, too. Mostly.
Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke. This novella was twisted and messed up. Plus, look at that cover. It's freaky! It matches the story perfectly.
A Song of Shadows by John Connolly. This was my favorite entry in the Charlie Parker series so far, which is saying something, because I've loved them all. I believe that this will forever be my favorite fiction series.
Paradise Sky by Joe Lansdale. I didn't want to have any authors on here twice, but I cannot deny that Paradise Sky belongs on this list. A western, not a horror story, (it does have horrific elements, though), this tale has something for everyone. Even though I listed it on my best audio books list, I feel it belongs here as well. I laughed out loud so many times my coworkers thought I was losing it. I also bawled my eyes out at one of the scenes, which I rarely do. I got that delicious, satisfied feeling when I finished listening to this book. I bet you will too.
That's it! I've met some more excellent book-reading people at Goodreads and Booklikes and I hope to continue to receive awesome reading recs from them in 2016. (You guys ROCK!)
As for me, I hope to improve my reviewing skills while reducing the number of "read to review" books and increasing the reading of the great number of books that I already own. Hopefully, I will do better at this than I did last year. Either way, I'm reading a lot of great books and that's always a good thing.
Happy New Year from the Horror Corner!
A haunted house horror tale from the 70's now in kindle form. Marian, Ben and their son David respond to an ad to act as housesitters at the home of the Allardyces in upstate New York. What follows is a creepy tale as the house appears to be coming alive bit by bit and all through Marian. There is something very unsettling about this book....what is the true intention of the Allardyces letting this beautiful old house for the small sum of $900? who is the old lady who resides deep within the walls of the house and who must be regularly fed three times each day?...although she is never seen. What strange power has this house over Marian as she appears to sacrifice it over the lives of her husband Ben and son David. "It was alive, all around her it was alive, and how else had it come alive but through her? And wasn't that the uneasiness she was feeling - the growing awareness of her power in the house, the enormity of the mystery enveloping her life...."