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.**
Haunted Nights collects several previously unpublished stories from an array of excellent authors-with the bonus that they're all connected- by Halloween. It may not be exactly the Halloween that we as Americans are used to, but the seeds are still the same-whether they're sown in Scotland or Ohio. I found quite a few stories to shine for me in this anthology and here are a few of them:
John Langan's Lost in the Dark is one of my favorite types of haunting tales-the disconcerting kind. That House of Leaves eeriness combined with a cool framing device and several stories within a story all equal out to a very satisfied Char.
With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds by Seanan McGuire was impressive and convinced me that I need to give more of her work a try. Always remember that those Halloween tricks can get you into trouble-especially if you trick the wrong person.
A Small Taste of the Old Country by Jonathan Maberry. This one was predictable, but man, I just wanted it to happen so badly. When it did, I couldn't have been happier.
The Seventeen Year Itch by Garth Nix would have made one hell of a Twilight Zone episode. This story put me in mind of those old horror and sci-mags back in the day. There is a lot of punch, (and scratching!), packed into this short story.
A Flicker of Light on Devil's Night by Kate Jonez is a downer of a tale, but I can't deny how powerfully it was written to make me feel that way.
All Through the Night by Elise Forier Edie. What another sad, sad tale! Halloween is not all fun and games and neither is the horror genre. Sometimes it's fun and imaginative, (see The Seventeen Year Itch), but sometimes it's all too realistic. Often it's those hard to look at stories, the ones about the lives of real people and the hardships they go through, that are the most horrific of all.
The Turn by Paul Kane. This is the perfect title-because it's exactly what you want-NO-are compelled to do when you hear footsteps behind you on a dark street. But what if you would be okay, if only you didn't turn. Would you be able not to?
John Little's The First Lunar Halloween and Jeffrey Ford's Witch Hazel rounded out my favorites in this collection.
I loved the fact that ALL of these stories were new and I adored the connection they had to Halloween. I've previously been disappointed in collections where I've discovered, (too late!), that I'd already read many of the stories within. These were fresh tales and featured some fresh, (at least to me), authors, as well as some tried and true. It is my excited opinion that this anthology belongs on any horror lover's shelves-but especially to those of us that have a love of all things Halloween!
Get your copy here: Haunted Nights
*Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*
In May, I read 15 books!
The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger-The Battle of Tull
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger-The Way Station
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, narrated by Bruce Springsteen
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
Skitter by Ezekiel Boone
Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse
The Well by Jack Cady
Boo! by David Haynes
Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories by Elizabeth Hand
Total Books Read in May: 15
Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:
(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)
Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017
January Count: 1
February Count: 2
March and April Count: 0
May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)
Running Count: 5
Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge:
Goal: Read Horror Books!
January Books: 5
Running Count: 27
Graphic Novel Challenge:
(Paced Reading Group on GR)
Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017
January count: 5
February count: 2
March count: 5
April count: 5
May count: 3
Running count: 20
Keep Calm and Read On!
It pains me to say it, but I did not like this book. At all.
I knew going in that it might not work for me. I've read one of Aickman's collections so far, and many of the stories left me unsatisfied. But, it was just one collection; maybe I read it wrong? It happens. But after listening to this wonderfully narrated story, I think it will be a long time before I attempt to read the other Aickman collection that I own.
The man writes beautifully, there's no doubt about it. He is also capable of sly social commentary and has a keen eye for the reasons behind certain behaviors; I appreciate that. But, and forgive me for asking, where is the damn story? This seemed more like a rambling tale about repressed sexual feelings, that sometimes features a nice enough lady named Grizelda. There are a few, I stress FEW, weird moments...and that's about it.
The narration here is fantastic and to be honest, if it weren't for Matt Godfrey's soothing voice, I would have ditched this book without finishing. It seems like with such promise in the voices, the story just HAD to get better, or at least show up. But sadly, it never did.
As I mentioned, the prose itself was excellent as was the narration, hence my 3 star rating. If I were rating on narration and quality of prose ONLY, it would be 5 stars. But for me, there has to be a story, and here I could not find one. This is obviously how I and I alone feel about The Late Breakfasters. Your mileage may vary.
*I received this audiobook free from the narrator in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*