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review 2018-09-23 14:46
SLIMER by Harry Adam Knight
Slimer - John Brosnan,Phil Kettle,Harry Adam Knight

 

SLIMER is a perfect example of why I loved (and still love), horror from the 80's! It's fun, it's fast paced, unpredictable, imaginative, and did I mention it's FUN?

 

Three couples find themselves stranded in a life boat after the yacht they were on sank. After several days they come upon an abandoned oil rig, and are grateful to be on solid ground again. After they start looking around, their gratitude turns to confusion and eventually fear. Why are there scientific labs instead of oil production equipment? Where are all the people? Most importantly, why are they finding piles of clothing all over the place? Piles with undergarments and socks inside, almost as if the person vanished into thin air? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I know that the title doesn't bring to mind great works of literature, but this book towers above most creature features, and unlike a lot of horror from that time period, it's actually pretty well written. I'm not looking for Shirley Jackson all the time, you know? Sometimes I want lots of action and in your face horror and both of those are found here in spades! I've been trying to think of movies or other books I can compare SLIMER with, and all I can come up with is The Thing. Instead of the arctic setting, we're on an isolated oil rig in the middle of the deep sea...but all the other main components are there. The growing fear, the confusion, and suspicion regarding your fellow man, all of it's here. And all of it spells F-U-N!

 

Valancourt Books' PAPERBACKS FROM HELL series is going to be a lot of fun if this is the kind of stuff they'll be putting out. I, for one, am going to be lined up for each new release like a shopper at midnight on Black Friday!

 

If you liked John Carpenter's The Thing, if you like creature features, and finally, (maybe especially), if you liked the best works that 80's horror had to offer, SLIMER is a MUST-HAVE for your home library. My highest recommendation!

 

Available on October 2nd, but up for pre-order now, here: SLIMER

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review 2018-09-10 18:45
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn
The Haunting Of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne

There's nothing more I can say about this book that hasn't been said by hundreds, if not thousands, of other readers and critics. It's a classic for a reason. 

 

A haunted house story to beat all haunted house stories, with the added bonus of Shirley Jackson's sublime prose. As an example I submit the opening paragraph, which in my opinion, are some of the best in all of literature. 

 

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

 

 

I happily re-read this for this square:

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text 2018-09-04 23:28
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn
The Haunting Of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Bernadette Dunne

Watching Moonlight's updates on this all time favorite book of mine, AND the fact that the Classic Horror square has already been called, I've decided to re-read it, via audio,now. 

 

 

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."

 

 

I also discovered that I never added this book or my rating here! For shame!

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review 2018-08-17 18:30
CREATURE by Hunter Shea
Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea

 

CREATURE! It. Knocked. My. Socks. Off.

 

Kate and Andrew have certainly been tested. Her health, (a horrible litany of problems due to auto-immune diseases and problems arising from the treatment of them), and his care of her, has tested the strength of their marriage at every turn. Now with Kate trying an experimental treatment, they are in for their biggest test ever. In an attempt to alleviate the tension and bring some relaxation to their lives, Andrew rents an isolated cabin in Maine for the summer. Instead of being the serene, quiet time they had both hoped for, their cabin becomes the target of something in the woods. Will they return from their vacation relaxed and refreshed? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This is not the book I expected from Hunter Shea. What I expected was a creature-feature, (one of those words is right there in the title after all), and it sort of was. But what it mainly was, was the story of a strong marriage and how chronic disease attacks every component of your life-and this is a tale I recognize from my own life. I had a period of years with an un-diagnosed disease, which in the end WAS diagnosed as an auto-immune condition. I know what it is to be frustrated, to have my patience tested, to be told it's all in my head, and to be poked, prodded, and experimented with like a lab rat. So, when Mr. Shea wrote about Kate's inner thoughts I totally understood and I recognized the pure truth of them.

 

What Mr. Shea did with Kate's thoughts is another thing entirely. It was brutal, yet beautiful at the same time. The imagination and creativity here was astounding. It was also frightening and spellbinding. I read the last 40% of this book straight through, because that was what the story demanded of me. I loved these characters, each and every one of them, and I rooted so hard for them all-I simply could not leave them at the height of their struggle.

 

Now, I find myself almost speechless, (and if you know or follow me, you know that's rare!). I want you to understand that this is a powerful tale, about so much more than what it appears to be on the surface. I hope that if you've ever trusted a review based solely on a reviewer's word, that you choose this one to trust. You will not be disappointed.

 

CREATURE gets my highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere September 6th, but you can pre-order here: CREATURE

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press via NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-08-01 18:45
THE AUCTIONEER by Joan Samson, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Auctioneer: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Joan Samson

 

 Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes and books like this are the reason why!

 

Harlowe, New Hampshire is a small town surrounded by small farms. It's a tightly knit community, or at least the townsfolk believe it is, until an outsider comes to town and things begin to unravel.

 

Perly Dunsmore is an auctioneer. Taking over a recently available old mansion in town, (due to the death of the previous owner), Perly sets about "improving" Harlowe by holding auctions to benefit the police department. These auctions are funded by the generous donations of the townspeople. Until they're no longer able to do so, (eventually there's nothing left), in which case they are gently and quietly threatened to come up with more donations, or ELSE. Will Harlowe survive these auctions or will it rise up against Perly in protest? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I've been thinking about what this novel was really about and I'm still not quite sure. The strongest feeling I have about it relates to that old poem: "First they came for the Socialists...", but that's not quite right. Then I was wondering if it was really about fascism-the auctions after all first funded a police department, to the point of having almost as many officers and deputies as there were citizens in the entire town. But that doesn't quite fit the bill either, especially in light of the finale. Then I finally gave up the analyzing and endeavored to enjoy this novel for the yummy, atmospheric piece of horror fiction that it was.

 

If this is the type of story that usually works for you, (quiet, small town horror a la Tryon's HARVEST HOME, or maybe Michael Rowe's ENTER, NIGHT), I highly recommend you give this book a shot! I listened to it on audio, narrated by Matt Godfrey, whose voicing of Ma Moore I will never forget.

 

Atmospheric, full of tension and palpable fear, THE AUCTIONEER still holds up as an excellent tale, even now, 40 years later. I give it my highest recommendation!

 

*I received this audiobook gratis from the narrator in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it! Further, I consider Matt Godfrey to be a friend, although we've never met in person. This has not affected the content of this review.*

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