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review 2017-10-17 20:41
NIGHT STONE Review
Night Stone - Rick Hautala

The Inman family — Don, Jan, and daughter Beth — have just moved to Maine and they are living in a house that once belonged to Don’s grandparents. The house and woods surrounding it have a sordid, creepy past; naturally, strange occurrences start happening. Beth finds an old doll in the house, and for me that was one of the most unnerving aspects of this novel. Dolls scare me!

 

A lot of this book deals with Native American culture, which I find interesting — and it is something that can make for good horror. The skeletal remains of a human hand are found in the Inman’s backyard, and it is soon discovered that their yard could be home to an Indian burial ground some thousands of years old. Naturally, curiosity gets the best of the Inmans (especially Don) . . . and, well, things go from bad to worse.

 

I really loved this novel. I picked it up at my local thrift store yesterday and expected nothing more than a cheesy Stephen King-wannabe tale. Rick Hautala’s 1986 bestseller is much more than that: it is a genuinely unsettling look at Native American burial traditions, and what can happen when an old house ‘goes bad.’ Fans of King would do well to check this out, though, for it does take place in Maine and bears a few passing resemblances to some of SK’s novels such as The Tommyknockers and Pet Sematary. A ripping good read, I finished this thing in two days — I didn’t want to put it down. 5 Stars.

 

Read for ‘Haunted House’ in Halloween Bingo.

 

 

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review 2017-10-17 19:16
The Only Child / Andrew Pyper
The Only Girl - Andrew Pyper

As a forensic psychiatrist at New York’s leading institution of its kind, Dr. Lily Dominick has evaluated the mental states of some of the country’s most dangerous psychotics. But the strangely compelling client she interviewed today—a man with no name, accused of the most twisted crime—struck her as somehow different from the others, despite the two impossible claims he made.

First, that he is more than two hundred years old and personally inspired Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker in creating the three novels of the nineteenth century that define the monstrous in the modern imagination. Second, that he’s Lily’s father. To discover the truth—behind her client, her mother’s death, herself—Dr. Dominick must embark on a journey that will threaten her career, her sanity, and ultimately her life.

 

I read this to fill the “Genre: Horror” square on my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

I really quite enjoyed this offering from Andrew Pyper and no one was more surprised than me when I was able to read it without my usual fearful quivering. (His book The Damned scared the crap out of me!)

There was definitely a sense of creeping dread throughout the first half of the book, as the reader is piecing together the details. Lily, our protagonist, at first seems to keep her wits about her. I understand her desire to know who her patient is and what relation he has to her life, but by the second half, I couldn’t completely understand her actions. But, as I have written before, I am a chicken who would have been in hiding (and would never have had a job like Lily’s interviewing the worst of the worst psychotic criminals).

What I did love were his sidelines into Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Dracula. I’ve read all three of these classics and I thought Pyper used their details well in this novel.

The ending, I suppose, was inevitable. It did leave me wondering if Pyper was leaving himself some room to write a sequel somewhere down the road.

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review 2017-10-17 13:00
Not scary but not bad.
Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin

Rosemary's Baby is not very scary but it was pretty strange and I enjoyed it.

Rosemary and her husband were really wanting to get into the Bramford apartment complex and right when they had signed a lease on another apartment it becomes available and Rosemary begs her husband Guy to get them out of the lease and into the Bramford. Wrong move on her part! :)

 

Not real long after they had been living there they meet an old couple who really seems to take over their lives but Rosemary doesn't see it until it's to late. Rosemary doesn't see a lot of things till it's too late. I know I keep saying wake up woman!

 

It wasn't to long after they met the old couple that Guy gets his big break in acting and it seems he is on fire with his career and then Rosemary gets pregnant and that is when the old couple really become a bit obsessed with her and the care of her baby, they even get her to go to a doctor they recommend, give her  vitamin drinks, etc.

 

Like a lot of older horror it was more atmospheric than scary. The reader can see what his happening and is worried for Rosemary though she is a bit slow to realize what is happening. There was a few times I really wanted to scream at Rosemary for not catching onto things that were happening around her.

 

The ending is a little strange and well I don't know. I am not even sure what I was expecting. I do think I am glad that I read this one before seeing the movie and now I would like to watch the movie. (Seeing the movie ruined my enjoyment of The Exorcist novel).

 

I am reading this book called Paperbacks from Hell and it's the history of the horror industry from the 70's and 80's and the author says there was three books that really was a turning point for horror and those are The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby and The Other. So I have one more to go and I will have all three read. :) Let me tell you this book is wreaking havoc on my TBR...lol.

 

Even though it's classed as horror I think I would put it as more suspense than horror, especially towards the end. I would recommend it to those who might like a little spooky suspense as it would be great for those who don't like to get to scared. I know a few of you out there...lol.

 

Read for:

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review 2017-10-17 11:41
Vampire - The Beginning
Vampire - In the Beginning - Charmain Marie Mitchell

by Charmann Marie Mitchell

 

This is novella length and told in first person. A female vampire who has lived over 500 years has become weary of life and has decided to write down the story of her long years as a vampire, to decide whether it is worth continuing or whether she should destroy herself and find peace.

 

The author has chosen her own version of vampire vulnerabilities. These vampires can walk in daylight and tend not to kill their victims, but take what they need and move on. There is some information dumping about all this in the beginning and a tendency to change tenses when referring back to things that happened in her past, but otherwise the writing is pretty decent and has a sort of dreamy quality to it that you expect from a vampire tale.

 

There were a few grammatical mistakes and the changing tenses screamed 'amateur writer' at me, but the plot was actually interesting. Unfortunately it ended rather suddenly with a few things left unexplained. My Kindle version included the beginning of the next book in the series, but it didn't hold my interest.

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review 2017-10-17 11:03
Carmilla (Valancourt Classics) - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,Jamieson Ridenhour

So this is a short book, today it would be a novelette and the publishers apparently decided that 85 pages of story needed a 37 page introduction and 72 pages of other matter. I should have skipped the other stuff. It turned the story into a school read and I was not well disposed to that.  The footnotes were also occasionally intrusive, the editor provided a dictionary (from the Oxford English Dictionary) definition of things like "languor" and "traces" so the reading experience felt like a school edition.

 

It's an early vampire novel, one set in Austria, and honestly my only previous experience of stories set in Austria are of The Chalet School stories.  From what I've read of Le Fanu's life he never went to Austria, but he did have experience of a sickly sister.  Maybe some of the ideas of there being some sort of cure was wish fulfilment of sorts, that the defeat of Carmilla would be like the defeat of the illness his sister suffered from? You know what, I could speculate (and the editor of this edition did, at length) but overall it was an interesting read of a root text, rather like reading Dracula a few years ago, to see where some of the ideas and tropes came from that have lingered into modern fiction.  It is also interesting in not being very judgemental about the lesbian overtones but mostly the story left me wanting more from it.  The illustrations were pretty overt as well with mostly bedroom scenes depicted (yes you can see Carmillas body through the nightgown on the cover), so the sexual overtones of the vampire legend are present, even in this ur-text.

 

Without the surrounding literary matter this would probably have been 3.5 stars but the matter got in the way of the story for me. It's the Bookclub read, and I'm glad I did but I wouldn't recommend this edition for the casual reader.  It falls into gothic, vampires, genre: horror, classic horror, and could be used for supernatural in all likelyhood, I'm using it for Classic Horror

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