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review 2018-05-20 15:46
PARDON MY GHOULISH LAUGHTER by Fredric Brown
Pardon My Ghoulish Laughter - Donald E Westlake,Fredric Brown

 

PARDON MY GHOULISH LAUGHER is a collection of mystery stories from the detective pulps. Most of these tales were originally written back in the 1940's. What fun!

 

All of these stories have the possibility of being supernatural tales, but all end up having a perfectly reasonable explanation. What's fun is the getting to the explanation! I enjoyed every single tale here, but I think my favorites were:

 

TWICE KILLED CORPSE- which had a nice little twist as well as a hero that wanted to be a detective.

 

PARDON MY GHOULISH LAUGHTER- which had a lead character that reminded me of Jimmy Olsen. (I'm showing my age here!)

 

DEATH IS A WHITE RABBIT- which was a strange little tale with a remote hint of Dr. Moreau and his experiments. These things never go well.

 

This book was a boatload of fun and reminded me of my pre-teen and early teen years when I read these types of collections. The old Ellery Queen's and Alfred Hitchcock's were always a source of entertainment, but somehow I missed Frederic Brown back then. With this collection and NIGHTMARES AND GEEZENSTACKS, (which I listened to last year), Mr. Brown has made made my list of memorable and witty short story writers. I'll be on the lookout for anything else of his I can get my hands on.

 

*I received this book as a gift from my friend Tigus, at Booklikes, with no strings attached. Thank you once again, sir! *

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review 2018-05-16 18:25
Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
Kill Creek - Scott Thomas,Bernard Setaro Clark

A young internet tycoon lures four horror writers to the most haunted of haunted houses for a two-day interview under false pretenses. There’s some grumbling naturally, I mean who, besides me, would willingly want to stay the night at a scary old ghost filled place? But they all decide to do the right wrong thing and stay anyway and a whole lot of nothing too sinister happens. But just you wait!

 

The truly frightening things happen when they return back to their real lives and this is where the book excels. It takes that old setup and makes it fresh and new and terrifying. There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and everyone seemed to love it so I went in with very high expectations and a lot of fear that I would hate it or want to pick it apart because I can be a jerk like that. Fortunately, mostly all I can say is that it is amazing and the story will grab you from the beginning and if you like haunted house stories you NEED to read it next.

 

The four writers are all very different in style and personality and watching them interact was pretty fascinating in and of itself. Moore, the only female in the group, writes violent, in-your-face horror (the kind I honestly like best), Sam is your Stephen King type writing about the relatable good guys, Sebastian Cole is a Charles L. Grant quiet horror type and Daniel writes books for the tween/teen market with strong moral codes and little religious subtlety. Watching them struggle with their differences, rag on each other and later deal with their inner demons, secrets and tragedies was so interesting to me not just because I’m nosy but because they were so incredibly well written and believable.

 

Five star books are so hard for me to review. This one gets all five stars and it deserves each and every one of them. Kill Creek is the perfect blend of great characterization, growing dread, true terror and murderous bits. If you’re into audiobooks get the one narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark. He adds another level of fright to the terrors within with his professional narration.

 

I have nothing here to bitch about. Nothing at all. I know, I can hardly believe it myself!

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review 2018-05-14 19:43
They Feed - Jason Parent

This monster romp was populated with mostly despicable people whose gruesome deaths were so much fun to witness. We all need a little of this sort of thing in our lives right about now, am I right?

 

Deep in the woods lurks a nightmare that doles out death to those foolish enough to venture into the woods looking for some rapey, murdery, torture-filled times and to a few innocents as well (but no worries, you won’t be crying about any of these deaths).

 

Tyler, newly released from a long stint in prison, revisits the woods that landed him in jail to try to make sense of his past but unbeknownst to him, he is being tailed by someone with revenge in their little black bitter heart. Also headed into these woods are a couple who really should NOT be together but their psychologist thought it would be good for them to spend some time in the outdoors (I think these people must share the same doctor of bad advice as the man in The Bird Eater). And then there’s the group of toxically stupid frat boys doing what they do.

 

“Things lived in the woods. Things with sharp teeth.”

 

Oh yesssss, come on in vile people! Come on in and get eaten! The sooner the better for me. The fun starts up soon enough and doesn’t really let go until the last page is turned. It’s gory and nasty and gleefully fun if you’re in the mood for a creature feature starring shit pancakes and tiny tentacled beasties.

 

Thank you Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, author Jason Parent & publisher Sinister Grin Press for sharing an ARC with me!

 

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review 2018-05-14 18:52
BAD PENNIES by John Leonard
Bad Pennies - John F Leonard

 

Chris Carlisle's life is going to hell and he's taking us with him! It starts when Chris witnesses an accident wherein a gentleman dies. As good citizens do, he gets out of his car to see if the man is okay, but he's not. On a sudden impulse, Chris takes the dead man's wallet, gives his statement to the police when they arrive, and then goes on his way. He later discovers money inside and agonizes over it all day while working his stressful, low paying job. He decides he's going to go back and leave the wallet at the scene of the crime, but in the end it never happens. Instead, he decides to spend a little money on drinks and cocktails, and once he gets home, he discovers the money he spent has reappeared in the wallet. He still has the same amount he started with! How can this be? Will he do the right thing and return the wallet and/or report what he did? Or will he keep the wallet, (after all he is in dire need of money), and treat himself to a few things he really needs-like new clothes for work or a new car? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

This is a novel of supernatural horror and terrible things occurred on the pages of BAD PENNIES. Every time Chris decided on a course of action, I couldn't help but ask myself what I would have done in the same situation. When his actions lead to the deaths of innocents, animal attacks and doors opening where there previously were none, the situation escalates quickly, and I just hung on for the ride. I really felt for Chris and I could easily understand why he did what he did. Would I have made the same choices? Maybe so and I think that's the main reason I kept reading. That and my fascination with the Scaeth and what he/it might do next. I'm not going to say anything more about it, because that should be related to you by the author, not by me. I loved the imagination and creativity that went into several different scenes, and I truly felt afraid once or twice, which is a rarity.

 

The issues I had with this book were twofold and not too bothersome-the pacing was a bit off and it took a while for the story to really get going. (Once it did, though, it went quickly.) The second problem I had, (and this was probably just me being picky), was that there was too much foreshadowing going on. It seemed like every chapter ended on a sentence foreshadowing a future event. I don't mind a little of that here and there, but it was used a bit too often for my comfort.

 

BAD PENNIES had a lot of interesting and intriguing world-building going on that I need to know more about. Who was that Sammael guy? I want to know more about Brian MacGuire and his club. I want to know more about the Scaeth, what it wants, why it's here, and more about where it lives, (between the walls.) So now I'm left to waiting for Mr. Leonard to fill me in and I can't wait!

 

Strongly recommended for fans of supernatural horror!

 

*I received a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!* You can get a copy, (with it's super-cool new cover) here: BAD PENNIES

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review 2018-05-11 17:42
KILL CREEK by Scott Thomas, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark
Kill Creek - Scott Thomas,Bernard Setaro Clark

Simply said, KILL CREEK was AWESOME! I've long been suspecting that a really good haunted house book was a thing of the past. I'm happy as hell to be proven wrong on that.

 

At first, I'm not going to lie, the standard trope of four people staying overnight in the oh-so scary house, did not impress me. But between the characters themselves, the background of the house, and how everyone came together, slowly this story began to win me over. In this case, we actually had 6 people staying overnight, on Halloween, to boot. Four famous horror authors, Wainwright, the man who orchestrated this affair, (being the founder of a website dedicated to all things horror), and his girlfriend Kate who is there to photograph any happenings. Then, (and get this surprising twist), not all that much happens and everyone goes home! So where's the scary stuff? What occurs that makes so many people rave about this book? Don't look at me, I'm not going to spoil it. You'll have to read it for yourself.

 

These characters burrowed down deep into my psyche, and I felt like I knew them all intimately. Every single one of them changed throughout, and be they good changes or bad, they were all different people by the denouement. I love that. I love unpredictability in both my books and my characters-who wants to read about boring flat Stanley?

 

The writing had a vivid feel to it and the author is terrific in his descriptive passages as well as with his dialogue. It all rang very true to me. I have to admit that I am impressed-even more so when I take into account that this is a debut novel. For many years, my favorite book was GHOST STORY by Peter Straub, and in my mind, I can't help but compare the two and KILL CREEK holds up to that comparison. That's the highest praise I can give.

 

Lastly, the narrator: Bernard Setaro Clark? You rock, man! You nailed it! What else is there to say?

 

I'm sure this audio will be in my top ten at the end of the year and as such it gets my highest recommendation. You should read it. Right now! Why are you still here? 

You can get your copy here: KILL CREEK

 

*I bought this e-book and the audio with my hard-earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

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