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review 2018-01-22 18:45
Splatterpunk Fighting Back
Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Dave Benton,Jack Bantry,Tim Curran,Rich Hawkins,Duncan Ralston,Glenn Rolfe,Bracken MacLeod,Kristopher Rufty,Adam Millard,John Boden,Matt Shaw,W.D. Gagliani,George Daniel,Elizabeth Power

 For me, this anthology was nearly perfect. Almost every single story hit home with me, and the fact that the purchase of this anthology benefits the fight against cancer makes it that much sweeter.

 

Without further ado-these are the stories that affected me most, in the order in which they knocked off my socks:

 

MOLLY by Glenn Rolfe. I have read a number of Glenn's works now and it's my opinion that he's an author to watch. With this story, he has arrived! A killer doll, a hotel, sexy women and weak men-add them all together and what have you got? Molly. 5*

 

LIMB MEMORY by Tim Curran. It sucks to lose an arm. Turns out that it also sucks when the arm comes back! 5*

 

THE GOING RATE by John Boden. A super short, shocking story! LOVED. IT. 5*

 

EXTINCTION THERAPY by Bracken MacLeod. Beautifully written with one of those punch-in-the-gut endings that I adore. 5*

 

THEY SWIM BY NIGHT by Adam Millard. Who doesn't love a good story about sirens? (Not like on police cars, but like in ancient mythology.) You have to ignore those singing ladies, or they'll get you every time. 4*

 

THE PASSION OF THE ROBERTSONS by Duncan Ralston. This was gross, funny and messed up all at once. 4*

 

FEAST OF CONSEQUENCES by W.D. Gagliani and Dave Benton. This story was a constant stream of Oh No! Followed by YES! I 'll let you guess upon which of those the story ended. 4*

 

DARLA'S PROBLEM by Kristofer Rufty. This being my first Rufty story, I wonder why I've waited so long to check him out. When Darla comes to you with a problem-take her seriously.

 

SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK was an anthology that totally worked for me, and I'm guessing even though it's only January, this will be included in my best anthologies of the year.

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

You can buy a copy here, (remember-proceeds go towards fighting cancer):

Splatterpunk Fighting Back 

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review 2017-03-06 15:36
The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett

 

The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!

 

Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.

 

After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":

 

"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."

 

I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.

 

"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."

 

They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.

 

If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.

 

Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism

(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)

 

Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.

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review 2016-05-12 19:43
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror - Joyce Carol Oates

The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror. The problem here lies with the "Tales of Terror" part of that title, because it's a bold statement and I'm afraid these stories never did reach that level.

 

Don't get me wrong-all of these tales were well written and a few of them were extremely creepy, (such as The Doll-Master and Big Momma), but for me it was always easy to see where the stories were going to end up and they were NEVER scary. (I guess a lot of my problem with this collection is with the title. My expectations were raised; I was ready and excited to be terrorized, and instead I didn't even get any goosebumps. I cannot hide my disappointment.)

 

Again, this book was well written, hence my 3 star rating, but I can't heartily recommend it to experienced fans of horror and dark fiction. If you're just starting out in the genre and want to dip your toes into the dark water, this would be an okay place to start. Afterwards you can check out the short fiction of King or McCammon, or the old masters like E.A. Poe or Arthur Machen and then you too, will see what I'm talking about. Terror is not a word to be tossed around lightly and I'm sad to say that's what happened here.

 

*Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the free e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2016-03-10 18:10
Magic by William Goldman
Magic - William Goldman

 

This novel was a lot of fun. There's an evil vent dummy, (just look at that face on the cover!), and a somewhat wishy-washy magician. Put them together and what have you got? A total blast!

 

This book seems a little tame compared to the horror that abounds today, but back in the 70's when it was written, I'm sure it was a shocker. And perhaps because I was a criminal profile junkie back in the day, the origins of the psychological issues in this story didn't quite ring true for me. But geez, it's a vent dummy story, right? Lighten up. 

 

In that regard, this tale hits all the right notes. It's entertaining, fast paced and compelling. Goldman is also the author of The Princess Bride and The Marathon Man, so the guy knows how to write a story and this one is no exception.

 

If you're looking for a tale about a magician and a dummy, and you're not going to think too hard about it because you just want to have a good time, this is the book for you! Grab it and see if you can see the magician's lips move! I dare you.

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text 2016-03-08 22:05
Reading update: I've read 117 out of 248 pages of...
Magic - William Goldman

...Magic by William Goldman. What fun!

 

I vaguely remember the seeing the movie with Anthony Hopkins when I was a kid. I also have a vague memory of reading the book-but honestly? If I did, I just don't remember it now. 

 

I have recently discovered that Goldman not only wrote The Princess Bride and Marathon Man, he also penned the screenplay for Stephen King's Misery. So yeah, this guy has some writing chops. 

 

Anyway-back to Magic. It's fun and it's fast paced so far. Plus, there's an evil vent dummy!

What more could you ask for?

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