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review 2018-08-06 23:44
BEHIND THE DOOR by Mary SanGiovanni
Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni

In the small town of Zarephath, PA there exists a door. Everyone knows about it, and everyone knows what it does. Everyone also knows not to open the door: as in NEVER, EVER open the door. But, of course, someone does, and this is the basis for BEHIND THE DOOR.

 

A slight spoiler follows:

 

 

In my mind, this is a novel of cosmic horror. It doesn't feature Cthulhu or any Lovecraftian creatures, (though there are tentacles), but major aspects of it are there. What's behind the door is not of this world. Check. What's behind the door doesn't give a hoot about humans or humanity in general. It is cold, indifferent and unfeeling. Check, check, check. Now, it could also be interpreted as supernatural horror, in general, and that's fine too. But this is MY review and here we are. 

 

(spoiler show)

 

Kathy Ryan is a fascinating character and I can't wait to read more about her. An occult specialist, she knows things. For this reason, she is called to Pennsylvania to help the town figure out what happened, and hopefully, how to undo it. She comes in and she's heard. Surprisingly, she's understood and respected-pretty much right off the bat, with the few naysayers quickly changing their tunes as the situation escalates. (As a women in a primarily male field, I felt that this was a bit optimistic, but hey, that's just me and again, my review.)

 

I thought the other characters were also well drawn and believable. I just wanted to hug both Kari and Cicely as much as I wanted to kick Ed and Toby. (And I wanted to kick a certain place on their bodies that isn't ladylike for me to mention.) Characters that inspire that kind of feeling in me demand to be heard.

 

To recap: BEHIND THE DOOR is a fast paced novel that moves right along. Evil in a small town is a favorite trope of mine, and combined with this type of horror, (see spoiler above), this was a must read for me. If any of this sounds vaguely good to you? This is a must read for you too!

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere August 28th, 2018, but you can pre-order here: BEHIND THE DOOR

 

*Thank you to Kensington, Lyrical Underground and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-08-01 18:45
THE AUCTIONEER by Joan Samson, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Auctioneer: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Matt Godfrey,Valancourt Books,Joan Samson

 

 Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes and books like this are the reason why!

 

Harlowe, New Hampshire is a small town surrounded by small farms. It's a tightly knit community, or at least the townsfolk believe it is, until an outsider comes to town and things begin to unravel.

 

Perly Dunsmore is an auctioneer. Taking over a recently available old mansion in town, (due to the death of the previous owner), Perly sets about "improving" Harlowe by holding auctions to benefit the police department. These auctions are funded by the generous donations of the townspeople. Until they're no longer able to do so, (eventually there's nothing left), in which case they are gently and quietly threatened to come up with more donations, or ELSE. Will Harlowe survive these auctions or will it rise up against Perly in protest? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I've been thinking about what this novel was really about and I'm still not quite sure. The strongest feeling I have about it relates to that old poem: "First they came for the Socialists...", but that's not quite right. Then I was wondering if it was really about fascism-the auctions after all first funded a police department, to the point of having almost as many officers and deputies as there were citizens in the entire town. But that doesn't quite fit the bill either, especially in light of the finale. Then I finally gave up the analyzing and endeavored to enjoy this novel for the yummy, atmospheric piece of horror fiction that it was.

 

If this is the type of story that usually works for you, (quiet, small town horror a la Tryon's HARVEST HOME, or maybe Michael Rowe's ENTER, NIGHT), I highly recommend you give this book a shot! I listened to it on audio, narrated by Matt Godfrey, whose voicing of Ma Moore I will never forget.

 

Atmospheric, full of tension and palpable fear, THE AUCTIONEER still holds up as an excellent tale, even now, 40 years later. I give it my highest recommendation!

 

*I received this audiobook gratis from the narrator in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it! Further, I consider Matt Godfrey to be a friend, although we've never met in person. This has not affected the content of this review.*

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review 2018-07-25 18:45
THE UNREDEEMED by Luke Walker
The Unredeemed - Luke Walker

 

Benjamin Harwood is a horrible man. I guess I should say "was" a horrible man, since he's been dead for about 4 centuries. He's been hanging around various places with his dead pals since then. The day he spots young Hayley and her family checking out a new house, he makes a decision that not only affects his life, but also that of all his ghostly friends and a few demons to boot. Will his decision pay off in the end? Will Hayley and her family be okay? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The story's main base was the town of Dalry, (also the setting of Walker's book HOMETOWN), and though it sounds kind of charming, so many terrible, (yet fictional), things happen there I know I would never want to visit!

 

It's hard not to get too spoiler-y while reviewing this, but lots of action occurs once Ben "contacts" Hayley's family. Crossing the countryside while gathering an army of dead folk to battle demons, (one demon in particular who kept him out of Hell up until this point), there is no one safe from Ben. As he wheels and deals, he betrays everything that was ever important to him. At this point, I felt the pacing slowed down a bit leading up to the denouement. Then, all hell broke loose, so to speak!

 

A few times I had issues with Hayley's behavior, being that she was a 15 year old girl, but I chalked it up to her maturity level being a bit higher than her actual age.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and its original premise. (There's more to it than I can get into here.) Even though most of the characters were not likable at all, they made for fun villains, and I liked and did root for Hayley. I bet you will too!

 

Recommended!

 

*I received an e-ARC from the author in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-07-16 22:30
HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich, narrated by Teagan Gardner
Hysteria: A Collection of Madness - Stephanie M. Wytovich,Steven Archer,Michael A. Arnzen,Teagan Gardner

The entire time I was listening to this poetry collection, THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was in the back of my mind. HYSTERIA is about women and their likelihood of falling victim to men, to the world, to their children...and back again to the men. Unlike Gilman's story though, in HYSTERIA, the women often rise up and take what's due. I loved it!

 

I've admitted it before, but I will again here so we're clear, poetry is generally not my thing. But women are-especially strong women, women who have been through things in their life, women for whom life has not been easy. Most of this volume focuses on them, which is why, (I think), it speaks to me so intimately.

 

There are a lot of poems within and I can't get into all of them here, but I especially loved GREED, PLAYMATE OF THE NIGHT and GUARDIAN ANGEL:

 

"...lock me up somewhere else/you say the wrong thing around here, people start to think you're crazy, like madness is some contagion you breathe in through the air/I just told them that sweet Jezebel didn't like it when the men talk to her like that/when they visited her in her cell and touched her pretty face/ran their fingers through her silky hair/they beat me to get out my crazy..."

 

I found Stephanie Wytovich's prose to be killer: in bringing to mind vivid renderings of women-abused, crazy, strong, wild, beautiful, ugly, willful, sexy and with TEETH. Don't turn your back on these women, especially if you've done them wrong in the past. At the same time, some of these ladies are kind and nurturing, or at least they were... before they were diagnosed with HYSTERIA.

 

Highly recommended for fans of poetry and dark fiction!

 

*Thank you to Stephanie M. Wytovich for the free Audible copy of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-07-13 18:30
THE SHINING by Stephen King, narrated by Campbell Scott
The Shining [UNABRIDGED ON 14 CDS] (Audiobook) - Stephen King -- Narrated by: Campbell Scott

 

This was a re-read via the audiobook, narrated by Campbell Scott. He is FANTASTIC!

 

I loved every minute of this audio and highly recommend it, even if you've already read the book or seen the movie.

 

*I obtained this audio through my local library. Libraries RULE!*

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