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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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review 2017-07-21 14:56
Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book by Wallace Fairfax
Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book - Wallace Fairfax

 

Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book , ("How much more black could it be?"), is exactly what you expect and hope it to be-which is FANTASTIC!

 

 

It includes a complete discography and history of the band. It includes close up looks at each individual member, including most of the drummers that are no longer with us.

 

A bio and background information is provided on Marty Debergi, how he came to be turned on to the band, and became interested in making a documentary about them.

 

It has a few tidbits too, such as-remember when David St. Hubbins was talking about the audio books that were read by celebrities of the same last name as the author of the books? The full list is here, such as: The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson as read by Pamela Anderson.

 

Behind the scenes interviews with band members and an entire section on the horrible Jeanine Pettibone who took over as Tap's manager after Ian Faith left.

 

Everything is here: "turn it up to 11", Sh*t Sandwich, the puppet show, "Hello Cleveland!", the Stonehenge monument in danger of being crushed by a dwarf, everything...it's all here. 

 

 

If you are a "Taphead" this book cannot fail to put a smile on your face. If you aren't familiar with the band: buy this book and see the movie, and you soon will be!

 

Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book gets my highest recommendation!

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it!*

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text 2017-07-20 19:00
Reading progress update: I've read 65 out of 128 pages and...
Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book - Wallace Fairfax

I've been grinning the entire time! At this point, we are still going through the discography and history of the band. 

 

For instance, the album "The Sun Never Sweats" from 1975. This is the album which featured the lead single "Stonehenge." The band came up with a great idea to have a replica of a stone made as a stage prop. Unfortunately, Nigel got his measurements wrong and Tap ended up with this:

 

 

 

 

The second song on "The Sun Never Sweats:"  "Daze of Knights of Old" 

"elucidates on themes of King Arthur's era and why his table was round, and not rectangular, like most tables."

 

This album came out after "Shark Sandwich." For which Spinal Tap received a two word review: "Shit Sandwich."

 

 

 

Sadly, this was not their first two word review. They previously received one that simply said: "Spinal Crap."

 

 

I am now up to Spinal Tap in the 80's. Of which Nigel said:

 

"The 80's were a blur, really. And not just because I lost my glasses."

 

 

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text 2017-07-19 18:45
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 128 pages of
Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book - Wallace Fairfax

Spinal Tap, The Big Black Book and it's totally hilarious. So far, we have a discography and close ups of the band members. Of course, the drummers must be discussed. For those who don't know, Spinal Tap drummers have a bad record and don't last very long, for one reason or another. 

 

There was a "bizarre gardening accident", a "choking on vomit, (but not his own vomit-"can't dust for vomit"), and two, (count 'em, TWO) spontaneous combustions.

Oh! And one death was a mystery, "best left unsolved."

 

 

"It's just not widely reported."

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text 2017-07-18 18:45
Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book
Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book - Wallace Fairfax

 

I'm happy to be starting this one. This Rock 'n' Roll mockumentary is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's always impressed me that most of it was improvised. Featuring Christopher Guest, (pictured below), Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, Spinal Tap is a classic comedy with a long list of cameo appearances. It is a MUST SEE! 

 

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