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Search tags: psychological-horror
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review 2017-08-19 16:32
Through A Glass Darkly by Donald Kirch
Through A Glass Darkly - Donald Allen Kirch

 

The site of the all the action in this book is Manchester House. Built in the small town of Atchison, it's known by the town-folk as a place to be avoided and it's even known by the local police force as the place they often have to go to recover dead bodies. In other words, everyone knows not to go in there.

 

So of course, here comes Dr. Holzer and his team. I'm tempted to call them paranormal investigators, but they're really not. We have one skeptic, one archaeologist, one psychic, and Professor Holzer. Later in their investigation, Indrid Night appears with his deaf and mute assistant, Lars. Night was easily the most interesting character in the entire story-even more so than the ghosts and spirits that were present in the house. A professional expert in dealing with hauntings of all kinds, I would have happily read an entire book about him alone.

 

Where the story lost its grip on me was when the explanation for the haunting was revealed. (This is almost always where haunted house stories fall apart for me.) Also, the dialogue between the characters never quite came together in the right way for me to believe it. It was kind of stilted and unnatural. Lastly, perhaps it's too many of these types of shows on TV now, but I kept picturing this as an episode of ghost hunters. This book deserved better than that, but I couldn't help my mind from seeing it in that manner. I hope this makes sense.

 

Overall, the imagination and creativity here were top notch, even if the execution was slightly clunky. I would still recommend this to fans of shows like the Ghost Hunters, and also to fans of haunted house stories!

 

*I was provided a free PDF of this story in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-08-15 22:30
The Devil's Own Work by Alan Judd, narrated by Matt Godfrey
The Devil's Own Work - Alan Judd,Owen King

 

The Devil's Own Work is a beautifully written, subtly told Faustian tale, which the narrator performs perfectly.

 

A man relates the story of his friend, Edward, and how he became a famous and successful writer. A writer who, although he writes many words, ultimately has nothing of substance to say. Further along, we discover that Edward inherited a manuscript from a recently deceased author named Tyrell. With that manuscript he also seems to have inherited a beautiful, ageless woman named Eudoxy.

 

As the story unfolds, we learn more about the manuscript, (which only can be read one letter at a time, because to try to see an actual word results in the reader seeing gibberish.) It's when this manuscript falls into Edward's hands that he suddenly becomes successful. Is that because of the manuscript itself, or because of the mysterious Eudoxy? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This novella length story is tight and slow to build. There isn't necessarily a denouement, but instead a growing realization of horror and what is truly involved. If you are a reader expecting a lot of action, this isn't the tale for you. However, if you have a love of language and precise storytelling, AND this premise sounds intriguing to you, I highly recommend you give The Devil's Own Work a try. It probably won't provoke any screams or shouts of terror from you, but I bet it will give you a bad case of the heebies-jeebies.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*This audiobook was provided free of charge by the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2017-08-07 16:00
The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman
The Suicide Motor Club - Christopher Buehlman

 

 Vampires and American muscle cars. It's like this book was tailored to me personally. And on top of that, it ROCKED!

 

A family is on a road trip on an American highway one night, with their young son in the back seat. A car with no lights on pulls up next to them, grabs the arm of the boy, (he had his arm out the window), and poof, the boy is gone. Next thing you know, the car is crashed on the side of the road, with both mom and dad badly injured. Where did the boy go? Who took him? Will he ever see his father and mother again? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

There's no sparkling here and there's no romance, (well, maybe a little, but it's a different type of romance.) Instead, these vamps traveled in a pack during the late 60's. For me, the time period was a perfect, refreshing setting because: 1. the cars were all American,(this was a time before the invasion of imported cars), 2. I'm an American car gal AND I love muscle cars and 3. there were no cell phones or other technologies distracting me from the story.

 

At this point in my horror-reading life, I'm vampired out. It takes a special book to get me excited about them, and this one was it. I loved the return of vampires with hypnotizing skills, (remember when Dracula did that hypnotizing thing?), ones that can make you do his/her bidding and then forget you ever saw them. I enjoyed the fact that these vampires had other special skills which I'll leave you to discover on your own, (but trust me the skills were COOL). I loved that these monsters were just that: MONSTERS in capital letters. Lastly, I also loved the fact that the protagonist was strong and female, never exactly sure of her strength but pressing on just the same. Jude was one to root for and root I did! 

 

Now I'm sad that I only have one Christopher Buehlman book left to read. If you're out there, sir, I hope you're working on something new!

 

If you haven't read any of Mr. Buehlman's work as of yet, you should rectify that-and quickly! I doubt you'd be disappointed with any of them, but I highly recommend The Suicide Motor Club! It might just restore your faith in vampire horror stories and give you a new author to read!

 

You can get your copy here: The Suicide Motor Club

 

*I obtained my copy through my awesome public library, because I'm usually broke. Libraries RULE*

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review 2017-07-30 14:35
For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska
For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska,Steve Upham,Charles Black,Reggie Oliver,Reggie Oliver

For Those Who Dream Monsters is an excellent collection of well written short stories. Not all of them are horror, but I thought that almost all of them were good.

 

A lot of Polish history comes through in these tales, with actual history making an appearance as well as a few myths from Polish culture.

 

There were even some laughs, such as in DIRTY DYBBUK, in which a virtuous young girl is invaded by the spirit of her horny aunt. Most of this collection is on the dark side however, such as the stories LITTLE PIG and THE GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT-tales about the cold inhumanity of war. I also enjoyed SCHRODINGER'S HUMAN and UNDERBELLY as they both made me gleefully uncomfortable.

 

A widely varied collection of marvelous stories from a new to me author is like finding a nugget when sifting for gold. It makes me excited for the future. Hopefully, Anna Taborska is working on something meatier that we can all sink our teeth into!

 

Highly recommended!

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review 2017-07-28 20:10
Bone White by Ronald Malfi
Bone White - Ronald Malfi

In the cold town of Dread's Hand, Alaska, Paul Gallo arrives in search of his missing twin brother. He will never be the same again.

 

“You didn’t arrive in Dread’s Hand, he realized, but rather Dread’s Hand came at you piecemeal, a bit of itself at a time, like someone reluctant to make your acquaintance..."

 

I'm not going to rehash the plot, as the synopsis and several other reviews already do that. I can only tell you how it made me feel. Uneasy. Jumpy. Disconcerted. All these things and more.

 

Ronald Malfi's writing keeps getting better and better. It seemed to me that in this book, the writing disappeared altogether, and the story was directly injected into my brain. Isn't that the best writing of all?

 

Bone White is that feeling you get when you glimpse something out of the corner of your eye, but when you turn there's nothing there. Combine that feeling with the cold isolation and cold people of a small closely-knit, Alaskan town. One that's hiding a secret. Don't expect long drawn out explanations here. Instead, expect crosses, headless bodies and dark shadows.

 

This is the second book I've read this month which will undoubtedly make my best books of the year list. You should read it, so that you can add it to yours.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks so much to NetGalley and to Kensington for the e-ARC of this phenomenal book, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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