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review 2018-11-15 14:10
BETWIXT HEAVEN & HELL ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1918)
Over and Above - Captain John E. Gurdon, DFC

"OVER AND ABOVE" is a matter-of-fact and at times gripping novel based on the author's wartime experiences with a 2-seat fighter squadron of the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force (RFC/RAF) on the Western Front during the spring and summer of 1918. Originally published in 1919, this is a novel that captures both the absurdity and tragedy of war on a uniquely personal level.

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review 2018-11-12 17:55
WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Doug Murano
Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue - Somer Canon,Rachel Autumn Deering,Brian Keene,Jeff Strand,Matt Hayward,Glenn Rolfe,Patrick Lacey,Matt Serafini,Adam Cesare,Jonathan Janz,Kelli Owen,Doug Murano,Mary SanGiovanni,Robert Ford,Bryan Smith,Booth Tarkington,John Skipp,Alan M. Clark

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW is a themed anthology with all of the stories revolving around, (or involving in some way), a rock n' roll club named The Shantyman. That's it! There's no hard thread connecting all the tales other than the club itself. That makes WELCOME TO THE SHOW different because there's no one "bad guy" to blame things on. In this case, the "bad guy" is anyone or anything the writer wanted them to be. In this regard, I think the authors involved had a lot more leeway as far as the direction each story would take and I think that resulted in an above average anthology as far as the quality AND the variety of the stories within.

 

I can't get into all of them here, because I don't want this review to be as long as the book itself, but the tales that stood out the most to me were:

 

WHAT SORT OF RUBE by Alan M. Clark was a perfect start to this book, providing a bit of history and setting the tone. (I've never read any of Clark's work before, but he's on my radar now.)

 

NIGHT AND DAY AND IN BETWEEN by Jonathan Janz. This story went in a totally different direction than what I had expected. Loved it!

 

TRUE STARMEN by Max Booth. I'm not sure that it was supposed to, but this story cracked me the hell me up! It's the first time THE SHANTYMAN hosted pod-casters instead of a band, and the results just made me laugh.

 

OPEN MIC NIGHT by Kelli Owen. The 27 Club-you know, those singers and musicians that never made it past that age? I thought this anthology would be a shoe-in for stories about that club, but this was the only one. I was glad because it made this tale stand out even more.

 

PARODY by Jeff Strand. Zany Chester and his plans to be the next Weird Al fizzle out before they even got started. (It's birdies, not bodies!) Chester had to go to a few back up plans, actually, and none of them were pretty.

 

DARK STAGE by Matt Hayward. This tale spoke to me in a personal way which made it that much more horrifying at the end.

 

A TONGUE LIKE FIRE by Rachel Autumn Deering. The end was NOT what I was expecting at the beginning. Usually I can see that coming..in this case I saw something coming, but not what I got. Well done!

 

Brian Keene's tale RUNNING FREE made me laugh at the premise before it got all serious. (A man trying to run himself to death by heart attack, thereby evading death from the cancer already running through his body. Come on, that's kind of funny! [All right, I know I'm messed up.]) Anyway, this story didn't go the way I thought it would and I loved how it tied into previous tales in this book.

 

WE SING IN DARKNESS by Mary SanGiovanni. This story had everything that I've come to expect from Mary's work. A terrifying future where music is banned is only the beginning.

 

I enjoyed this collection and even though it was a little uneven throughout, the variety and quality more than made up for that. I liked that everyone didn't have quite the same view was to what was going on at The Shantyman because that allowed for more creativity in the tales. Variety is the spice of life and all that, you know?

 

I read a lot of collections and anthologies over the course of a year and there is no doubt in my mind that WELCOME TO THE SHOW will be among the best I've read this year. For this reason, I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: WELCOME TO THE SHOW

 

*11.12.18 We are currently reading this book, along with most of the authors in the Horror Aficionados Group at Goodreads. Feel free to join us, read along, and ask questions of the writers, if you like! (Our read continues until the end of this month.) Here's a link: WELCOME TO THE SHOW at Horror Aficionados

 

**I bought this book with my hard earned cash and these opinions are my own.**

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review 2018-11-06 21:06
The Uninvited Guest
The Uninvited Guest - Troy Aaron Ratliff

19 year old Jose decides to drag his friend Harland to the wedding of an acquaintance of his mother. Jose and Harland clearly don't want to be at a wedding for someone they don't know at a hunting cabin in the middle of the woods, but make the best of it by taking advantage of the food and dance floor. However, before the guys can bust out their dance moves, an uninvited guest crashes the party and Harland decides to try out some hero action before all of the guests are put on the menu

The Uninvited Guest is a short thriller that has a lot of bite. Told from Harland's point of view, the story begins slow and has a lot of build up as well as a lot of information that seems useless to the reader; however, as it is a 19 year old recounting the story, this somehow makes perfect sense. As the halfway point of the story came and went, I was wondering where the climax of the story would be and then it suddenly hit full force in terrifying and gory detail keeping everything very tense until the end.

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review 2018-11-06 14:10
24 Festive Tasks: Door 1 - Día de los Muertos, Book
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie,Joan Hickson,Isla Blair,Anna Massey
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie

Audio revisit courtesy of Joan Hickson (who reads almost all of the stories), as well as Isla Blair and Anna Massey (who read one story each). Original review of the print edition HERE

 

The audio is excellent and contains an extra (and somewhat sinister) "non-Miss-Marple" story, The Dressmaker's Doll -- the story narrated by Anna Massey -- which was first published in book form in Double Sin and Other Stories (U.S., 1961) and in Miss Marple's Final Cases (UK, 1979); the story of a doll that mysteriously appears one day in a dressmaker's shop and slowly seems to want to take it over.

 

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review 2018-11-05 19:54
Bone Chilling
In the Tall Grass - Stephen King,Joe Hill

Not too much to say about this short story besides there is no happy ending. I am warning you there is no happy ending. Also don't read and eat at the same time. I repeat, don't read and eat at the same time.


King and Hill do a very good job with developing Cal and Becky (Irish twins) and my heart and body hurt for both of them. Becky's story and realization of things that come broke me. Sometimes I need a happy ending King, just saying.

 

Also I am a terrible person, because if I heard a person calling for help, the first thing I would go, that's a trap and call 911. I have seen and read too many horror books/movies.

 

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