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review 2018-03-06 20:31
HELL HOUND Review
Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton

Ken Greenhall’s long-forgotten horror masterpiece, Hell Hound, is finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks to a recent reissue. This was my first novel by this author, but it certainly won’t be my last.

 

This tale — one of a psychotic and cunning Bull Terrier — is bloody and mean and aims for the throat; told in precise prose, this is a terrifying hellraiser not concerned with sentimentality or sympathy. The obvious comparison is to Stephen King’s Cujo, though these stories are wildly different. Of the two, Cujo is perhaps better written, but something must be said for this book’s heartlessness.

 

This is a novel more horror readers should be aware of. The length of a long novella, this is a quick, effective read: one that is finally getting its due.

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review 2018-01-06 13:33
A rediscovered, beautifully written, horror classic
Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton

Ken? Ken who? I thought, as I observed and read about this "brought back to print" horror edition from the amazingly brilliant Valancourt books. Reading the preamble to Hell Hound  (rather alarmingly a google search states that Ken Greenhall was born in Detroit in 1928 and is now aged 89. This is inaccurate as he died in 2014 or perhaps this being a horror publication there is a hidden message here.......) Hell Hound was published in 1977 and formed a very limited output by the said author over the next 11 years. At a time when horror paperbacks where beginning to assert and influence an ever increasing reader base Greenhall could find no publisher willing to support him in his venture until a long forgotten Zebra Books produced a limited run with a cheap and nasty front cover (when horror books were often judged by their outlandish, intricate and colourful covers)

 

HH is a neat, short, original story of a small community seen through the eyes of a number of residents in particular "Baxter" a bull terrier.." a head like a hatchet. Malevolent blue eyes, too small and misplaced."... with some rather worrying antisocial behaviours. When we first encounter him he is the much loved pet of the unassuming Mrs Eileen Prescott. Baxter soon becomes tired of this relationship as "there is never laughter in this house, only the dull sounds of age and weakness."....The sweet little old lady meets an untimely death following a close encounter with a staircase and the friendly pressure of a loving bull terrier.... Nancy and John a young modern couple are "gifted" Baxter whose demeanour and character changes when it is announced that Nancy is pregnant. Naturally Baxter is worried that the relationship with his new owner will be dramatically altered when a child is born and endeavours to recapture their affections by what he sees as a little act of kindness!.....Jason and Sara Fine are worried about their son Carl, his unpredictable sometimes withdrawn nature, and his obsession with Nazi Germany. Would the companionship of a dog help Carl feel more comfortable and accepting of his adolescence?

 

This is a highly original and understated publication that really should have been showcased many many years ago. It is criminal to think that such a neatly observed, satirical work of outstanding quality lay silent before this new edition was finally announced. Grady Hendrix, in his introduction, pays a fitting tribute to  the author Ken Greenhall..."He didn't aim to terrify, he wanted to undermine your sense of comfort. It's a harder trick , but it last longer.".... So here in the in writing of a newly rediscovered, and hopefully not to be forgotten  author are some delightful observations..."And never let a dog lick you. A dog uses its tongue as toilet paper."......"Then I lie on the sofa and think of the couple. I wait to hear the faint, peculiar sounds they make in the darkness."....."he deposited on the intricately patterned old rug a small rivulet of urine."......"They're like snails, he thought. They need the shells of their houses and automobiles. Not so much for shelter as for reassurance."....."Most humans have few virtues. But, of course, they have many disadvantages to overcome. Their peculiar bodies, for example. Tall creatures that walk on two legs must be in a constant state of anxiety."...

 

This exceptional piece of gentle, unassuming horror has only been made possible due to the great work of Valancourt Books, whose mission is quite simply to discover and publish rare neglected and out of print fiction. Many thanks to them for sending me a copy of Hell Hound in exchange for an honest review, and that is what I have written. Highly Recommended.

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text 2017-12-29 18:45
Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Books of 2017
Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden
The Suicide Motor Club - Christopher Buehlman
The Changeling - Victor LaValle
Hell Hound - Ken Greenhall,Grady Hendrix
Bone White - Ronald Malfi
The Wilderness Within - John Claude Smith
A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction - Grady Hendrix
Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural - Jonathan Janz,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton
The Trials of Solomon Parker - Eric Scott Fischl

 

Please note that these are not necessarily books published in 2017, only books I've read during this year. I also had to change the title from novels to books, because of the awesome PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, which is more of a reference book. I've read a lot of great books this year, and making up this list was so difficult, that I've added a few "Honorable Mentions" at the end of the list. 

 

Without further ado, (please click the cover to see my original review):

 

1.Ararat: A Novel - Christopher Golden  by Christopher Golden. I haven't read very many books by Mr. Golden, but I own quite a few of them. I have had the pleasure of meeting him numerous times at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, where he is always friendly and humble. This story about the discovery of Noah's Arc was fun and frightening all at once and I loved it!

 

2. The Suicide Motor Club - Christopher Buehlman  by Christopher Buehlman. This author is my favorite discovery of the year. Over the past 12 months I've read or listened to every novel he's written and I'm eagerly awaiting the next. The Suicide Motor Club features a road trip with vampires in American muscle cars. It couldn't have been more perfect or fun for me!

 

3.The Changeling - Victor LaValle  by Victor LaValle. This novel was just AMAZING. It's starts out in one direction and ends up in a totally different direction: none of which could be predicted and I love that! 

 

4. Hell Hound - Ken Greenhall,Grady Hendrix  by Ken Greenhall. This novel was originally published in the late 1970's. Brought back by Valancourt Books with a new cover and an introduction from Grady Hendrix, this book about an evil dog is spellbinding fun!

 

5. Bone White - Ronald Malfi  by Ronald Malfi. I find myself thinking about this book a lot lately, since the frigid cold weather began here. This novel was a cold and creepy read and I just loved it. 

 

6. The Wilderness Within - John Claude Smith  by John Claude Smith. A surreal, unique and intense read that I think about anytime I look out into the woods behind my house. 

 

7.A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly  by the AWESOME John Connolly. I've read a lot of series books over the years and very few of them have kept up the quality continuously throughout like this series about fictional detective Charlie Parker. I feel in my bones that the series is coming to an end and I will be so sad when that happens. 

 

8. Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction - Grady Hendrix  by Grady Hendrix. I don't even know what else to say about this GORGEOUS volume. It's a reference book, really, but no reference book EVER in history was as much fun or as pretty as this one. With colorful commentary about the times in which these books were originally written, no other book has had such a powerful impact on my TBR list as this one. 

 

9.Elizabeth: A Novel of the Unnatural - Jonathan Janz,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton  by Ken Greenhall. This is his second entry on my list. Originally published in the 70's, (like Hell Hound above) and brought back by Valancourt Books, this novel is CHILLING in its depiction of a nasty, calculating witch of a girl. (Also, please note both of these are referenced in Hendrix's PAPERBACKS FROM HELL.)

 

10.The Trials of Solomon Parker - Eric Scott Fischl  by Eric Scott Fischl. This book isn't classified as horror, but I put it solidly in the land of dark fiction and as such, it belongs on this list. I know it's not a popular or well known book, but it sure was a unique, fun and interesting ride. This one slid under most everyone's radar, but I thought it was great and I humbly hope its mention on this list helps it to get more attention. 

 

As mentioned above, I have three honorable mentions, (click title to see my review):

 

THE LISTENER by Robert McCammon. Much as I loved ARARAT, this was my favorite book of the year. Except that it isn't even out yet. Publishing in 2018, I didn't feel it was fair to add it to this list. (And even though I read it in 2017, be assured that it will be on my BEST BOOKS OF 2018 post.) An amazing novel of magic, friendship, crime and love, I cannot wait until more people read it, so I can discuss it with them!

 

SPINAL TAP: THE BIG BLACK BOOK by Wallace Fairfax was a total blast. This book features fun facts about the fictional band as well as a discography and other interesting tidbits. I haven't seen this book mentioned or talked about anywhere, and that's a damn shame. Any fans of the film This is Spinal Tap would love this book. 

 

ASH WEDNESDAY  by Chet Williamson was a fantastic book of quiet horror. It was slow burning and horrific, but not in a bloody or gory way. I took away from it a sense of the value of life and time-we have to make the most of the time we have. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-03-31 18:15
March 2017 Round Up!
Knottspeed: A Love Story - Jeff Johnson
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett
All Souls' Night - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Sir Hugh Walpole
Wallflower - Chad Lutzke
The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 3 (Walking Dead Compendium Tp) - Charlie Adlard,Charlie Adlard,Robert Kirkman
The Dark Tower, Volume 1: The Gunslinger Born - Richard Isanove,Jae Lee,Robin Furth,Peter David,Stephen King
Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2) - Michael Jensen
Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton
20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill,Christopher Golden
Lucky Supreme: A Novel of Many Crimes - Jeff Johnson

 

I've read a bunch 'o books this month in all kinds of genres!

 

Graphic Novels

The Walking Dead Compendium 3

The Dark Tower Volume 1: The Gunslinger Born

The Dark Tower Volume 2:The Long Road Home

Batman (Rebirth) Volume 2: I am Suicide

The Dark Tower Volume 3: Treachery

 

Total: 5

 

Audio Books

All Souls' Night by Hugh Walpole

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

 

Total: 2

 

E-Arcs

Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall

Knottspeed by Jeff Johnson

Wallflower by Chad Lutzke

Lucky Supreme by Jeff Johnson

 

Total: 4

 

Random Books

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

Man & Monster by Michael Jensen

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Donald Allen Kirch

 

Total Books Read in March: 15

 

Reading Challenges:

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

(Horror Aficionados Group on GR)

Goal: Read 40 books that I already own during 2017

 

January count: 1-Dominoes by John Boden

February count: 2 Hometown by Luke Walker, Disembodied by Anthony Hains

March count: 0

Running count: 3

 

Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge: 

Goal: Read Horror Books!

 

January Books: 5

February Books Read for Challenge: 3

March Books Read for Challenge: 4

Running Count: 12

 

Graphic Novel Challenge: 

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017  

 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

Running count: 12

 

Keep Calm and Read On!

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-03-29 21:23
Sci-Fi and Scary Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge-March Update
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett
Wallflower - Chad Lutzke
The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 3 (Walking Dead Compendium Tp) - Charlie Adlard,Charlie Adlard,Robert Kirkman
Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix,Ken Greenhall,Jessica Hamilton

 

 I am participating in a Horror Reading Challenge over at the Sci-Fi and Scary blog. You can sign up yourself at the Sci-Fi and Scary Blog here: Sci-Fi and Scary

 

This month I've read 4 books towards the challenge:

 

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

 

Wallflower by Chad Lutzke

 

The Walking Dead Compendium 3

 

Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall

 

March Total:  4

February total: 3

January Total: 5

 

Grand Total: 12

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