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review 2017-09-18 12:45
Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen
Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen

 

Atlanta in 1950 was a crowded place. The war was over and housing was scarce. Racial tensions were brewing, neighborhood lines were being redrawn,  and not everyone was happy about that. Even the fact that black policemen now served in the Negro areas of Atlanta didn't mean these officers had the respect of white officers nor that of the residents. When a white man gets beaten down by the Klan and then a Negro beaten down a few days later, tensions threaten to erupt. What happens next? You'll have to read Lightning Men to find out!

 

I was excited when I discovered there was a sequel to last year's Darktown. I was surprised at what I learned from that novel and I learned a lot from this one as well. For instance, I'd never heard of the Columbians before. Apparently, this group of neo-Nazis formed, (and so soon after the war in what must have felt like a direct insult to the soldiers and survivors now living in Atlanta), to unite their hatred of both Jews and Negroes. They even dressed similarly to the SS officers in Germany, hence their nickname: lightning men. 

 

I also learned a lot about how the neighborhoods changed during that less than peaceful time in American history. It's often painful to read about, but it's interesting to see events from several different points of view. Rake, Boggs, Smith and MacInnis are well rounded characters and even now, after a second novel, I think they all still have some secrets in reserve. None of them are perfect and they are all struggling to find their place in this new world, their new police station, (even if it is in the basement of the YMCA), and in their new neighborhoods. Social change doesn't come easy and I think all of these characters recognize and respect that in their behavior, which made them believable to me and maybe a little lovable too.

 

Lightning Men is scary in a way, because it's easy to recognize some of the behaviors from this story on the nightly news today. It's also sad that so much good can begin to be undone by just a few hateful people in high places. Not only is this story a good one, but it reminded me that America always has to remain vigilant,  so that everything we have worked so hard for as a people, is not undone by only a powerful few. 

 

Highly recommended! You can get your copy here: Lightning Men

 

*Thank you to NetGalley & Atria for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-15 15:30
Dark Screams Volume Eight
Dark Screams: Volume Eight - Bentley Little,Kealan Patrick Burke,Richard Chizmar,Frank Darabont,Brian James Freeman

 

Another entry in the, (overall), excellent DARK SCREAMS series is here, this time with a few surprising authors. I've listed what I thought were the standout tales below.

 

My favorite story in this volume has to be WALPUSKI’S TYPEWRITER from Frank Darabont. Known for his work directing movies like The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, I had no idea the man wrote stories. This one was dedicated to Stephen King and it even has that SK vibe to it-reminding me a lot of King's early story THE MANGLER . In this case, the machine gone-wild is a typewriter and Darabont doesn't hold back. I LOVED this tale!

 

Coming in a close second for me though, was Kealan Patrick Burke's THE PALAVER. Those of you who have read Kealan's work in the past may already be familiar with the town of Milestone and be as happy as I was to return. There is something about human hair that creeps me out and Kealan takes that creep factor and amps it up to eleven. Just thinking about it makes me shiver, (and a little bit ill)!

 

I enjoyed THE TUMOR by Benjamin Percy as well. I believe this is the first story I've read from this author and I'm going to have to track down some more.

 

DARK SCREAMS 8 delivers the goods once again. Not all the stories resonated with me, but that's not unusual. The ones that did resonated deeply and that's what keeps me coming back to this series again and again.

 

Recommended!

 

Available on Halloween! Pre-order yours here: Dark Screams Volume Eight

 

 *An e-ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-12 19:00
Haven by Tom Deady, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Haven - Greymore Publishing,Matt Godfrey,Tom Deady

 

Haven is a coming of age story, set in a small town in Massachusetts. Narrated beautifully by Matt Godfrey, and set in a such a perfect place, how could the story itself not be fabulous? Truth is though, it's just okay.

 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and as I said the narration was excellent. However, I didn't find that this book added anything original to the genre. 80's horror nostalgia is a big thing now and that may have soured my opinion a little. I recently saw the movie of Stephen King's "It" and I just don't think it's possible to compare the two without having Haven come up short. I'm also not sure that it's possible to NOT compare the two- which may be my whole problem.

 

 

There are some differences, but at its heart, this is a very similar story. We have our plucky kids going up against a mysterious monster, while they're getting bullied at every turn, and Denny's mom is in just about the same state as were Bill Denbrough's parents from IT. There's even a chance that the monster will return in the future. Sound familiar? The only thing that's really different is the origin of this creature and I won't spoil that here.

 

(spoiler show)

 

This is an engaging "coming of age"/"evil in a small town story", it's just that I didn't find the writing or the story itself to be outstanding. Good? Yes, definitely! And who knows? You may enjoy it a lot more than I did. So, if this sounds interesting to you, I say give it a shot.

 

Recommended!

 

*I received this audiobook free from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-10 14:50
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Farris
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris

 

My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a gorgeously illustrated graphic novel. Karen Reyes is a young girl coming of age in 1968 Chicago when her neighbor is murdered, her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Martin Luther King is shot and the local mob boss goes to jail.

 

Peppered in between all that are Karen's notebook drawings of all kinds of things-her neighborhood, her brother and mom, and the covers of pulp magazines. She also likes to draw her version of popular paintings which her brother takes her to see at the local museums. All of her drawings are on lined notebook paper and all I can say about them is that they are stunning. All in pen, but not all in color-each and every drawing is so detailed you can stare at them for a long while and continue to find new things.

 

       

 

  Never let anyone's darkness provoke you into your own midnight.

 

 

Tackling subjects like racism, homosexuality, the Holocaust and so much more, this graphic novel adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Highly recommended!

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review 2017-09-09 00:30
Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard
Carter & Lovecraft - Jonathan L. Howard

 

Carter & Lovecraft is an imaginative novel based on characters that are the descendants of H.P. Lovecraft, (real author), and Randolph Carter, (a fictional character created by Lovecraft.)  I liked it!

 

I read this as a buddy read and this story makes for a lot of fun discussion. There were some intriguing character deaths that kept the reader engaged and there were also quite a few mysteries to puzzle out. 

 

My one complaint is the cliffhanger ending-I hate that! Plus, not only did it leave the plot of this story unresolved, it also opened up all kinds of new questions and now, of course, I need to read the next book! 

 

Overall, this novel was fun and you don't have to be a walking encyclopedia of Lovecraft knowledge to understand or enjoy the story. However, I think a rudimentary knowledge of the man himself might not hurt. Recommended to fans of horror and of Lovecraft!

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