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review 2018-09-22 16:36
Hunter's Green - Phyllis A. Whitney for Country House Mystery
Hunter's Green - Phyllis A. Whitney

Would also work for Genre: Suspense, Terrifying Women, Murder Most Foul, Amateur Sleuth, and Romantic Suspense.

 

It's fun reading these old thrillers that are so slow, with hardly any murder, no kids or really old people, and servents neither seen nor heard. They're charmingly predictable. And although this was published in 68 and makes much of the brash young mods, they feel So Old Fashioned. There are phones, but only to ring up the doctor or the police to haul away the perpetrator. There are cars for running up to Town, and low speed pursuit, and explosive crashes. What I love most is that everyone stops at regular intervals to sit down and eat a hot meal. I suppose this is what people are talking about when they reminisce about a slower time. 

 

I did have one great disappointment though: a device was quite deliberately introduced in the first act, but played no subsequent part in the plot. It wasn't even a red herring: it was just never mentioned again.

 

The only disturbing part of the story isn't meant to be:

 

My apologies for my failed spoiler tag. 

 

Library copy 

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review 2018-09-13 00:01
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King, Owen King for Modern Masters of Horror
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King,Owen King

  I enjoyed this enormously. There were some surprises and some poor reading on my part (my earlier race comment was wrongish, because of my failure to notice and/or remember the race of characters, but also kind of accurate given later developments - it's complicated). Anyway, nice work with archetypes and fairy tales and a premise that is clearly fantasy, but also very grounded and concrete. There's a large cast and lots of plot. But also really nuanced and generous, kind even. Stephen has always showed an understanding of and sympathy with abused women, so a whole lot of compassion towards the inmates of a women's prison is no surprise. But there is also a lot of anger, some of it directed at people behaving badly and some of it directed at society for creating and exacerbating iniquity. Dickensian.

 

Good on these two for writing a book that is absolutely entertaining, but more than just entertaining.

 

Good for many squares, and recommended to those who don't care for horror in general.

 

 

Library copy

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review 2018-03-11 02:26
THE WOODS ARE DARK Review
The Woods are Dark - Richard Laymon

4.5 stars rounded up!

 

Wow! This was my first Richard Laymon novel and I was not disappointed. I know Laymon has a bit of a bad reputation (as in, he’s known for writing trashy horror), so I was a bit hesitant when starting this short tale of a few people lost in the woods and on the run from an incestuous family of cannibals that . . . practice witchcraft? I think?

 

Oh, and the Devil shows up too. In literal monster form.

 

Needless to say, this thing is intense. I could not — and did not — want to put it down.

The whole time I was reading, I felt like I was reading Jack Ketchum’s Off Season (which is funny, since they were both published in 1981), only I enjoyed this one much more. Maybe it’s because I was able to sympathize more with the characters, despite Ketchum arguably fleshing his creations out more. I dunno. Laymon did a good job, here, of giving me just enough information to make the characters distinctive and likable without getting bogged down in back story. This one is all action, all horror, from the start.

 

Easily the scariest book I’ve read this month thus far, I liked this one much more than I expected and I hope to squeeze in another Laymon before the end of March.

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review 2017-10-02 00:13
Lycan Unleashed - Shannon Curtis

This world of Vampire and Werewolf territories is interesting but fairly predictable, for the most part, however the author does explore the complexities of Vampire and Werewolf territories and how this would work in a world, politics is complex and makes for messy situations.  I still hate the ignorant hero/heroine ending up in a situation that is mostly caused by their ignorance of their culture.  Things like bonding rituals would surely be a fundamental thing to know.

 

Lycan Matthias Marshall is on the hunt for his alpha's killer, the leader of a neighbouring pack, so he has infiltrated this pack's territory, he encounters Trinity Caldwell, she's a tracker and loyal to her pack, no matter how they've treated her.  He's attracted and she has issues with the ring he wears.

 

It's not bad, it just felt like it could be more.

 

It could be werewolf (that I don't have); vampire; witch; supernatural; with a little bit of a stretch you could also argue murder most foul; romantic suspense; there is a child in the plot so it could possibly fit into chilling children (again a stretch); In the Dark Dark woods is actually an easy fill for this as most of the story happens in the woods; I'm going to use supernatural.  It's a slot I have to fill.

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review 2017-09-26 18:45
The Wilderness Within by John Claude Smith
The Wilderness Within - John Claude Smith

 

The Wilderness Within blew my mind! I should be used to that by now, as John Claude Smith never presents anything boring to his readers.

 

Novelist Derek Gray responds to his friend Frank's letter asking for him to come for a visit. Frank Harlan Marshall lives in the forest, miles away from civilized life. Together, they're awaiting a third friend and while passing the time, Derek notices Frank is in dire straits mentally. He's not himself, he's barely even present when they talk. Derek also meets Frank's neighbor, Alethea, former singer of Dark Angel Asylum. Together, all three will face something-something in the forest, something that is ancient and will change them all, forever.

 

John Claude Smith is always exploring new ideas and this book is no exception. My favorite parts happened in the forest-the first time Derek and Frank take a walk in the woods together is truly creepy.

 

"I sensed in my mind, something picking through my thoughts, as if my skull had been opened up and something was looking for whatever special thoughts, memories and imagination that it fed on, and was diligently feeding: beetles picking the carcass clean."

 

The creative minds of authors and musicians are interesting things to explore. I'm reminded of U2's lyrics from The Fly: "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, all kill their inspiration and sing about the grief." John Claude's take is: "But I know creative individuals and know the madness and intensity that is part of their make-up. There has to be a lack of inhibition in allowing the madness full reign in order to really capture the gist of what one really needs to express creatively."

 

All of this makes it seem as if this book is focused on the inner lives of artists, and in a way it is, but it's also about the forest, nature, what is going on around us, and just maybe...how small we are in the bigger scheme of things. That part of the story and what's really wrong with Frank-these are things you have to discover for yourself. But be prepared because the truth is scary and often ugly too. Not only do we not know everything there is to know about nature and how the world works, we often don't even know the people we think we know the best.

 

Surreal, intense and brave, The Wilderness Within is a unique story that delivers on the creep factor and explores deeply the inner lives of the creative and the broken. At the same time, it makes me want to stay away from the forest, at least for now.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: The Wilderness Within

 

*I was provided an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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