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review 2017-02-07 19:05
Dream Woods - Patrick Lacey
Dream Woods - Patrick Lacey

Vince and Audra's marriage is more than on the rocks, it's on life support. Audra has already left Vince once in the middle of the night and then couldn't go through with leaving her twin boy's, one of which is diabetic, and her husband all alone and returned. Vince is looking for anything that can save their marriage. He turns to a mysterious billboard that he sees on his way to work one morning. Its advertising Dream Woods, an old amusement park that burned to the ground when he was a kid. Apparently, it's opened back up and Vince is encapsulated with excitement at the prospect of being able to share the awesome experience he had as a kid with his family. But is Dream Woods really open for business? Especially, after what all happened so many years ago?

 

 

Have you ever woke up from a dream that seemed so realistic while you were sleeping that you're left in a fog when you awake, half in reality and half stuck in the dream, and it takes you a little bit to clear the fog out of your head? At first, the dream feels so realistic and then, after a while, you realize how silly it was and you can't believe that you ever thought it was real. That's kind of how you feel when you start reading Dream Woods. You have to be ready for it. Lacey's latest isn't a straight forward story told in the realistic here and now, and that's what tripped me up for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of it. It should be read as a messed up fairy tale. Think of it as if C.S. Lewis wrote about an old, Disney World-esque theme park in rural Massachusetts and then Clive Barker and Bentley Little got a hold of the first draft while tripping on acid and made some revisions. As you can imagine, you have to let your imagination go and have fun with it. It's not meant to suspend your disbelief. It's meant to steer you into an almost comic book/nightmare type of world. If you can get past that, you'll enjoy Dream Woods. Lacey's story is energetic and well written. But it's kind of stuck in the middle. It's not straight forward enough to be taken seriously and it's not so over-the-top that it's a pure fantasy, and maybe that's what Lacey intended. The characters are well rounded for a novella length story. But, Audra comes across as more annoyingly ungrateful than a lost soul trying to find herself and that makes it hard to root for her. The gore is poured on by the bucketful, but the people that are being offed are the extras on the set. You don't get to know any of them and it becomes kind of numbing when faceless people are killed by the trainload. I go back and forth on this book. There were parts that I could really get into and then there were paths that Lacey took that I wish he would've went a different direction. That doesn't mean that I think it's bad. Not at all. But, it's kind of like being in the mood for a traditional pizza and then getting some version with broccoli, goat cheese and pine nuts on it. While that may not be a bad thing, it's not what you had in mind when your taste buds were all primed for pepperoni and mushrooms.

 

 

 

3 Blood Stained Mascots out of 5

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2017-01-21 00:00
Dream Woods
Dream Woods - Patrick Lacey This ain’t no Walley World. The gears of these rides are oiled with human blood.

If your marriage is on the rocks and you feel like the family is falling apart, what could be better than taking a little road trip to your favorite amusement park as a kid. Sure, it was closed down years ago due to a series of brutal murders, but it has just reopened and I’m sure they cleaned up most of the body parts and gore by now. Maybe. Or maybe, it’s just reopening for round two.

There’s something about amusement parks that are inherently creepy. Could be the carnies, or run down rides, or clowns. Everybody knows clowns are scary as f*ck. Could also be the ratty ass mangy bear mascot named Sebastian. I would steer clear of amusement parks completely except for the fact that they have deep-fried chocolate covered pickles wrapped in bacon. Yummy.

This was a quick read and a fun ride, well written and quick moving. I enjoyed the building creepy factor as the truth about the park is revealed and long buried secrets come bubbling to the surface. I’m afraid it’s not all cotton candy and rainbows at Dream Woods. 3.5+ Stars
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review 2016-08-11 00:42
Sleep Paralysis - Patrick Lacey
Sleep Paralysis - Patrick Lacey

 

Worm Garden -

What would you cause you to feel more guilty - sleeping with your best friend's girlfriend behind his back or taking him to a sacrificial altar on a ghost hunting trip?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


Operation Parasite -

Conspiracy theorists. Manny is one. Is he onto something or is he a dangerous whack job?

4 out of 5 stars


Pen Pals -

Who's on the other end of those pen pal letters? That's what James is afraid to know. Great Twilight Zone-ish tale!

5 out of 5 stars


Drowning in Filth -

The next time you're flipping the channels and you see a show about hoarders, you might think twice that it couldn't happen to you. Excellent creepy-crawly tale.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Lost and Found -

A stuttering boy finds strength from the body of a murdered girl. A little too thin of a plot and more questions than answers for me.

3 out of 5 stars

 

First Bell -

A survivor of a high school shooting can see the ghosts of that horrific day a he relives it over and over. More like a victim having a flashback than a real story.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Send Your End -

A website called Send Your End where people send in video of them killing themselves is addicting to high school senior, Marissa. She tries to enlist her favorite teacher into helping her. But some things are beyond our control.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


The Lynnwood Vampires -

If the high school kids in your small town start dressing all in black, dye their hair black, bleach their skin and get numerous face piercings, it may not just be a goth phase. Great storyline and character development make this one a fun read.

5 out of 5 stars


Norton -

Ritchie's daughter, Veronica, finds a beat up stuffed bunny outside of a burger joint and wants to take it home. Ritchie agrees out of feeling guilty that his wife has recently left him and Veronica. She names the bunny Norton. Oh the things Norton can do. With shades of Chucky from Child's Play, Norton was a good story that could've benefitted from not ending so abruptly.

4 out of 5 stars


Cold Call -

A struggling single mother gets a telemarketing call like no other. Make sure, when you're walking home with your friends from the bar and complaining about your life, that you don't offer to sell your soul for a better life. You just might be heard.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Bad Egg -

A woman who can't have children is raped by a reptilian-like creature. How bad does she want to have a child?

3 out of 5 stars

 

Critter Marrow -

Odd sounding name in an odd SPAM email that Gary can't seem to delete from the company email. What do you do with a haunting email that you can't delete?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

 

Last Words -

How well do we know our family? Everyone has two sides. One is who you really are and the other is what you show other people. Are you sure you know who your father really was? Great story about how we think we know our families only to find a hidden side and what would you do with that knowledge.

5 out of 5 stars

 

The Boss -

No one rarely sees the boss of the grimy fast food dive that Perkins is sitting at. When a drunk customer complains about her food and demands to see the boss, she quickly understands why.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


Mrs. Alto's Garden -

Death makes the best fertilizer. At least that's what Mrs. Alto says. An enjoyable story that has shades of Charles L. Grant and H.P. Lovecraft.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Big Bertha -

Big Bertha is one of those older arcade games where you throw balls into her cavernous mouth while cheesy carnival music plays as she's bellowing, "Feed me!" Now imagine how creepy this game could be in the dark. A fun and silly read.

4 out of 5 stars


Full Disclosure -

A tale from a ghost's perspective as it tries to help out a beautiful girl who has moved into his old apartment and unknowingly brings home a demonic clock.

4 out of 5 stars


A solid effort from Lacey. Some of the stories were silly, but fun. It was best to just sit back, don't take things too seriously and enjoy the ride.

 


Overall, a solid 4 out of 5 stars.


This ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2016-01-24 04:46
A Debt To Be Paid - Patrick Lacey
A Debt to be Paid - Patrick Lacey

Gillian receives an unusual and mysterious letter in the mail. Soon afterwords, she is stalked by nondescript shadowy figures that don't quite grab her. Feeling like she's losing her mind and her husband thinks she needs to be committed, Gillian takes their young daughter away to "escape" the shadowy figures. Twenty years later, her mother IS committed and Meg also receives a mysterious letter and is soon called at the bank where she works only to hear strange noises on the phone. She then also begins being stalked by the shadows.

 

Oh boy. Where to begin with this one? A Debt to be Paid is a raw first effort from Lacey that probably should've been screened a little harder by the editor. The story telling is thin, the characters are wooden and not very interesting, the shadow people are never explained nor do we find out why they're stalking the characters. Even Meg's dad and boyfriend has the same name, Brian, for no apparent reason. There are only four main characters in the whole story. Why in the hell would you name two of them Brian unless there was a point to it? It makes the storytelling muddy at times. On top of that, the story isn't scary, realistic, break any new ground, have a point and not very interesting. Not much here folks. It feels like I killed an hour watching a bad Lifetime Channel movie.

 

2 unexplained shadow out of 5


I was given a free digital copy of this story in exchange for an honest review

 

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

http://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J1JOKW56F2YT

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review 2015-11-18 14:41
A Debt to be Paid review
A Debt to be Paid - Patrick Lacey

Getting right down to it, as a reader I look for one thing when picking up a new author, and that's potential. I don't ever expect a first time author to blow me away, but I definitely want to see some potential for something bigger, better and bolder to come from the author in the relatively near future. That potential may be their way with words, or their ability to breathe some life into their character. Or it may be within the ideas on display.

So here's the good news: Patrick Lacey oozes potential.

His first novella from Samhain Publishing, A Debt to be Paid sets up an intriguing premise - that of a young woman being visited by the same dark shapes which plagued her mother into an asylum twenty years previously - and then gradually ratchets up the threat. Said daughter realises she must visit her mother to obtain answers to the burgeoning threat, and when the two women come together things quickly escalate from bad to worse ...

And then it just kind of ... ends. In a completely unsatisfying manner.

In other words, Lacey shows considerable potential. His writing is solid without being overly flashy or noteworthy, most of his characters behave like realistic people (which was refreshing), and the antagonistic threat builds nicely. But his ending felt rushed and not at all consistent with what came before. I won't go into details here, of course, but the ending dropped this a full star rating for me. Maybe I missed something? It's possible. But A Debt to be Paid is not an overly taxing read, nor one with particularly complex concepts.

So as disappointing as the final five or so pages were, Lacey demonstrates more than enough potential for me to have him on my watchlist of authors, and I look forward to seeing what his next foray into the longer forms of horror writing yields.

3 Dark Figures Gently Rapping, Rapping at My Chamber Door for A Debt to be Paid.

The preceding was based on an electronic copy of the book provided in exchange for an honest review, which you have now read.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1441227113?book_show_action=false
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