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review 2020-06-18 23:00
LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAMS' by Mendal W. Johnson
Let's Go Play At The Adams' - Mendal W. Johnson

LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAM'S has quite the reputation, so I was excited to finally read it. In some ways, the book lived up to the hype, and in other ways, not so much.

 

I'm not going to run down the plot because it's pretty apparent even by just looking at the cover. This book was loosely based on a real case. The young woman's name was Sylvia Likens, and I know that I'll never forget her. I've read about her in another book: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum. A book that I forced myself to finish. It was brutal in its descriptions of what happened to her, and I felt like I somehow owed it to her to keep reading until the end. I expected this book to be a kind of rehash of that one, but it wasn't. I also expected it to be rather trashy, and it wasn't that either.

 

LET'S GO PLAY has a different set up but it gets to the meat of the story right off the bat. This was where I began to realize that there was going to be a lot of psychology in this book. Not only in the captive's head, but in the heads of the children as well. We have kids varying in age from 17 down to 10. We get to peek inside the heads of all of them. I'm no expert, but I read a lot of psychological horror, and the thoughts going through all of these different heads seemed spot on to me. Everyone here acted their ages, and their inner thoughts reflected their later actions.

 

I have to say LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAMS' surprised me. It was more well written than I thought it would be, and the psychology seemed spot on. The facts remain however, this denouement was the same as in Ketchum's book, and as in real life. It was a tragedy and these kids were monsters.

 

Recommended!

 

Trigger warnings:

Rape and Torture

(spoiler show)

 

*Thank you to Valancourt Books for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.*

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review 2019-08-19 18:45
THE DRAGON FACTORY by Jonathan Maberry, narrated by Ray Porter
The Dragon Factory - Ray Porter,Jonathan Maberry

Together, narrator Ray Porter and author Jonathan Maberry form an unbeatable team!

 

I'm not going to write a full review because I'm way behind the times on this book, (it was published back in 2011.) Military/Action type books aren't really my thing, but with Ray Porter narrating, and Maberry writing-now they ARE!  So much so, that I'm starting the next book in this series right now!

 

*Thank you to my local library for the digital loan of this audiobook. Libraries RULE!*

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review 2019-08-03 14:36
THE BEDEVILED by Thomas Cullinan
The Bedeviled - Thomas Cullinan

 

THE BEDEVILED was a nice romp through the 70's satanic cult paranoia, with a pinch of witchcraft and rituals tossed in for good measure. To be honest, I don't know WHAT or who this group was worshiping, but there was an upside down cross and it was creepy as hell!

 

The Caine family loses an aunt who leaves them her old home, (more like a warehouse, really), and soon they're off to explore their inheritance. They meet the creepy neighbors, the husband falls and breaks some bones, and soon their temporary stay turns more permanent. Shortly thereafter, their son starts acting strangely, weird things begin to occur and Maggie, the mom, begins to wonder if she's losing her mind. Will the Caine family ever go back home? Will their son ever get back to normal? And why does Maggie start to think she's actually someone else? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

THE BEDEVILED definitely feels dated, but that didn't bother me. Well, there was an incident that everyone took to be nothing, but today would have caused a huge ruckus and rightfully so. (It was hard for me to get my mind around the fact that this act wasn't even viewed as serious back then.) I enjoyed the slow burn of this tale, and how it incorporated elements and themes that are tropes of the genre today. It was fun to see how these things became tropes in the first place.

 

I do think the last third of book lost a bit of the momentum and while I did enjoy the shocking denouement, I would have enjoyed actually seeing what happened, rather than looking back on it even more.

 

Mostly slow burning, THE BEDEVILED was a lot of (70's style) fun, with an interesting cast of characters, and a few genuinely creepy moments. I never guessed what was coming and the end was a pretty big shocker which made up a bit for that little loss of pacing.

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to Valancourt Books for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-09-27 19:35
HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

 

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

 

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

 

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

 

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble... foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc. The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

 

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.

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review 2018-09-04 18:45
DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES edited by Evans Light
Doorbells at Dusk: Halloween Stories - Adam Light,Gregor Xane,Josh Malerman,Jason Parent,Evans Light

DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES was an above average anthology that challenged me to take my time and savor the tales of Halloween mischief. I failed that challenge!

 

There are 14 spooky tales included within, and these were the ones that stood out the most for me:

 

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES by Jason Parent. I just adored this story of Halloween thieves picking the wrong house to burgle. I laughed out loud at the eyeball scenes. (Not sure what that says about me.)

 

VIGIL by Chad Lutzke. This wasn't a gross-out or even a very scary story. (Unless you're a parent.) It was poignant though, something Chad has mastered in his tales.

 

THE FRIENDLY MAN by Thomas Vaughn. I don't even know what to say. This story was so darkly macabre that even though what was happening was just AWFUL, I found myself gleefully turning the pages. This was my favorite story in the book. Well done!

 

OFFERINGS by Joanna Koch. I absolutely loved the concept and execution of this story. It's not complicated but it is MESSED UP. The take away? Don't escort any trick-or-treaters to your bathroom whilst others are briefly left unattended at your front door.

 

TRICK 'EM ALL by Adam Light. A disturbed and misguided (?) boy. A talking Jack O'Lantern. What could go wrong?

 

THE RYE-MOTHER by Curtis Lawson. This tale spoke to me more loudly once I finished this anthology, because it was unlike every other story and because it kept popping into my mind at weird times. It has staying power. (Also, I'm opting out of the corn maze this year.)

 

I had a great time with this anthology and liked almost all of the stories included within, which is pretty rare for me. Evans Light did a great job of bringing these authors together and the stories flowed well from one to the next. If you're looking for a great anthology to fill out your Halloween reading this year, make it DOORBELLS AT DUSK: HALLOWEEN STORIES. (Oh, and stay away from those corn mazes!)

 

Highly recommended!

 

*I received a paperback ARC of this collection in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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