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review 2019-01-16 19:43
The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish
The Haunting of Henderson Close - Catherine Cavendish

I received this book in for review from Flame Tree Press. I’m going to do my best this year to read as many new ladies of horror fiction as I can and I snapped this up as soon as I noticed it was available without even reading the blurbage. I love all kinds of horror but the creepy, slow atmospheric kind has been working for me lately and this story has all of that and a little bonus gore too!

 

Way back in 1891 a do-gooder is brutally murdered in front of Henderson Close. Many moons later, the building is now a tourist trap where tours are given and it’s reputed to be haunted. When Hannah arrives as a new tour guide, the ghosts all seem to come out of hiding and it’s on her to figure out what the heck is truly going on. Is she losing her mind? Is she in danger? Why is she experiencing time jumps where she’s certain she’s been thrust back in time to 1891? What is going on and why won’t her bitchy employer believe her? Why am I asking so many annoying questions?! Hell if I know, these reviews write themselves.

 

Anyhow, this book has incredibly well written atmosphere. The author has taken care to create and set her scenes and create her characters and I appreciate that so much. You can nearly smell the stench that permeates the streets in 1891 and the dark corners of Henderson Close when the ghosties appear. It’s also very moody and creeptastic and the reader, as well as Hannah and a few friends, are left in the dark to figure out what the heck is going on. When the reveals are made in the last quarter, I have to admit that I was a wee bit confused by it all because there was too much going on and too many characters involved and it made my head hurt a little. Still, what I understood was pretty satisfying . . .

 

But up until that point, I was digging the story. There may (or may not) be ghosts, demons and gargoyles and there was even a surprise moment of serial killing gore. Call me crazy but I wouldn’t have minded a little more of that sort of thing!

 

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review 2019-01-16 17:30
THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER by Calvin Demmer
The Sea Was a Fair Master - Calvin Demmer

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER is a top notch collection of flash fiction!

 

I have always thought that flash fiction consisted of stories that were only a few sentences long. For example: "The last man in the world heard a knock at the door." That type of thing. I was wrong. Apparently flash fiction can be super short stories-say a page or two. Four to five. Six to seven. Now that I know the correct definition of flash fiction, I'll say this: I love it!

 

I read a ton of single author story collections and multiple author anthologies throughout the year. I've done this since about the age of 12. It seems to me that stories back then were shorter than the tales these days. The last one I read had two stories that were the length of novellas. Not that I'm complaining, but I like my short stories to actually be short. These are!

 

What I liked most about the tales here is that they were all dark, they had lots of variety, and they were ALL GOOD. Seriously, every single one of them made me feel something, made me think, made me chuckle, or made me marvel at how well written they were.

 

My absolute favorite was YARA. Incredibly poignant and super short. It's amazing to me that such feeling and emotion can be communicated in only a few pages, but Calvin Demmer is a master at doing just that.

 

LETTING THE DEAD GROW and HUMANS OR SNAKES were another two stories with disturbing imagery while at the same time being wildly creative. UNDERNEATH, BLIND TEDDY, REVENGE OF THE MYTH and VOODOO CHILD round out my absolute favorites.

 

Usually I would tell you a little about each story, and/or about why I liked them so much, but these bite-sized pieces of entertainment are so short, I feel you need to go into them blind, as I did, and take from them what you will. I hope, (and I'm pretty darn sure), that you're going to like them as much as I, (and nearly everyone else who has read this book), did! If you like your short stories to be short, original, and have occasional punches to your gut? I doubt you could find a better volume than this.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER

 

*I bought the Kindle version of this book with my hard earned cash, but then the author offered to send me a paper copy with no strings attached, and I accepted.*

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review 2019-01-15 18:59
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Ghost Story (Audio) - Peter Straub,William Windom

I originally read this book back in my early 20’s, back before I obsessively reviewed everything I read, and the only thing I could remember about it was an intense feeling of boredom. I later tried to read Mystery and Julia thinking it was me and not the writing. But I couldn’t get through either of those without wishing they’d end with every page I struggled through. At that point, I put Peter Straub down for good. Or so I thought. Back in December, I decided to use my Audible credit on Ghost Story to torture myself, it turns out.  Also, my book buddies were reading it and talked me into joining them but truly I only have myself to blame for thinking I’d matured enough to enjoy it now. Haha. Jokes on me! It was just as boring the second time around. Maybe even moreso . . . 

 

It was just as tedious as I’d remembered. It was so plodding, so slow to me, that I hadn’t realized I had sleep-read the last third. I had to rewind the entire seven hours of this audio because I was left so confused at the ending (who were these people and what the hell was going on?!). SEVEN HOURS. I want them all back and the previous seven too, ffs! What is the matter with me? At any rate, once I forced myself to listen again, this time with all of my faulty listening skills, the book made a lot more sense to me but it was still not very interesting. I tried, damn how I tried, but apparently not all books are made for every reader. Someday I will learn this about myself.

 

This book is not really a ghost story in the traditional sense. It’s about a group of elderly fellows who call themselves “The Chowder Society”. They spend nights sharing “ghost stories” with each other, smoking cigars, drinking spirits and keeping secrets as old fellows do, I suppose. I don’t really know as I’m not an old fellow. The old friends who tell the tale are most definitely haunted but they are haunted more by something that happened in their youth. Something they cannot escape, mwahaha. I don’t want to give the thing away so that’s all I’m saying about that. When the book begins one of the old fellows in the club has died and this stirs up a series of events and endless pages of tangents and memories in which the reader gets dragged along until the conclusion eventually happens. It’s easy to get lost and confused in this story so do yourself a favor and either DNF it or pay very close attention. Don’t be like me.

 

I found some of the stories interesting and there are some disturbing and pervy bits that I found rather comical but the book just went on and on and I felt like I had been reading/listening to it for my entire life. Eventually it did come to an end though and for that I am grateful. My two friends enjoyed this book very much while all I did was complain about the old coots, their roving eyes and their cheating ways and bitch about how confused I was about the time jumps and the plethora of unnecessary characters popping in and out of the story. This may be the last time I’m invited to a buddy read again, lol. So what I’m getting at here is don’t go by my opinion because my taste is atrocious. Also, don’t sleep read your way through this because it will not make any kind of sense.

 

Now I will leave you with my favorite quote courtesy of one of the many side characters whose name I have long since forgotten.

 

“There’s no teaching without beating.”

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review 2019-01-15 12:45
THE PIGEON by Andrew Lennon and Christopher Motz
The Pigeon: Nothing Goes Unseen - Christopher Motz,Andrew Lennon,Ryan C. Thomas

Don't let this rather vague-looking cover trick you into thinking this is not a full-fledged horror story. THE PIGEON is not some little psychological tale with a talking bird or poetry like an Edgar Allan Poe story. And it's not some fancy literary fiction either. It's an in-your-face, fast paced, gory, twisty-turny little novella that might even make you laugh at times. How much fun is that? A lot! It's a LOT of fun.

 

When Andrew Lennon asked me if I could review this book last fall I think it was, I said sure without really knowing what I was getting myself into. If I had known it was this short, I probably would have tried to squeeze it in even sooner.

 

A young lady hates her job and is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. He shows up at her house and things just go downhill from there. Fast! There's no way I can get across to you how surprised I was at nearly every turn this story took. And it's because of the fact that I want you to be surprised too, that I'm not going to go further into the plot.

 

If you like your horror unpredictable, bloody and gory, with a sense of humor on the side? THE PIGEON is for you!

 

Highly recommended! Get your copy here: THE PIGEON

 

*I was provided an e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2019-01-13 17:16
THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU by Chad Lutzke
The Same Deep Water as You - Chad Lutzke

 

I'll start simple: I love me some Chad Lutzke! THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU is yet another tale from the author I view as the one most able to make me cry. If there was a ribbon for that, he would take blue for first place.

 

As always, Chad put together an intimate story where his writing is top notch. The language is plain but the words are put together in such a way that they make you feel. They're like tiny little word arrows shot into your heart.

 

 

" You can put life on hold for a whole year dating someone, getting to know them, and then it all falls apart. Your heart is broken and you can’t do shit for another half a year without thinking of them, missing them, missing all that wasted time. I suppose with each one we walk away learning something about ourselves, about life, about how to love. Maybe we’re all just stepping stones for each other. We’re all helping somebody get somewhere. From here to a better there."

 

 

 

While I did enjoy this novella, I didn't feel the same poignancy that I normally experience when reading Chad's work. I've been thinking on it and I've come up with this for the reason why: the time period in which it's set. I came of age of with ACDC, Motley, Judas and Ozzy. I'm pretty sure The Cure came after that?? That means that all references to them went right over my head, (other than those to their most popular songs.) Being more familiar with the band and their music would probably have provided that extra connection or nostalgia I felt I was missing.

 

This is still Chad Lutzke though, so it's all good. It's still a story that grabs you and makes you think. It still has phrases put together in such a way that they touch your heart. It still builds into a satisfying tale in the end and what more could you ask for?

 

Recommended! You can get your copy here: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU

 

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash. *

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