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Search tags: wickedly-disturbed
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review 2017-09-26 18:45
The Wilderness Within by John Claude Smith
The Wilderness Within - John Claude Smith

 

The Wilderness Within blew my mind! I should be used to that by now, as John Claude Smith never presents anything boring to his readers.

 

Novelist Derek Gray responds to his friend Frank's letter asking for him to come for a visit. Frank Harlan Marshall lives in the forest, miles away from civilized life. Together, they're awaiting a third friend and while passing the time, Derek notices Frank is in dire straits mentally. He's not himself, he's barely even present when they talk. Derek also meets Frank's neighbor, Alethea, former singer of Dark Angel Asylum. Together, all three will face something-something in the forest, something that is ancient and will change them all, forever.

 

John Claude Smith is always exploring new ideas and this book is no exception. My favorite parts happened in the forest-the first time Derek and Frank take a walk in the woods together is truly creepy.

 

"I sensed in my mind, something picking through my thoughts, as if my skull had been opened up and something was looking for whatever special thoughts, memories and imagination that it fed on, and was diligently feeding: beetles picking the carcass clean."

 

The creative minds of authors and musicians are interesting things to explore. I'm reminded of U2's lyrics from The Fly: "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, all kill their inspiration and sing about the grief." John Claude's take is: "But I know creative individuals and know the madness and intensity that is part of their make-up. There has to be a lack of inhibition in allowing the madness full reign in order to really capture the gist of what one really needs to express creatively."

 

All of this makes it seem as if this book is focused on the inner lives of artists, and in a way it is, but it's also about the forest, nature, what is going on around us, and just maybe...how small we are in the bigger scheme of things. That part of the story and what's really wrong with Frank-these are things you have to discover for yourself. But be prepared because the truth is scary and often ugly too. Not only do we not know everything there is to know about nature and how the world works, we often don't even know the people we think we know the best.

 

Surreal, intense and brave, The Wilderness Within is a unique story that delivers on the creep factor and explores deeply the inner lives of the creative and the broken. At the same time, it makes me want to stay away from the forest, at least for now.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: The Wilderness Within

 

*I was provided an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-08-25 00:25
The Lesser Dead written and narrated by Christopher Buehlman
The Lesser Dead - Christopher Buehlman

That's it then: this is my favorite Christopher Buehlman book. It's made even better by the fact that he narrates it himself. It's unbelievably FUN, gory, tension-filled and fascinating! What more could a horror fan ask?

 

Imaginative? Check!

New spins on old tropes? Check!

Twists and turns that you can't see coming? Check!

Bloodbaths? (literally!)  Check!

BIG OLD SMILE on my face when I finished? Check!

 

I don't even know what else to say. I'm glad I bought this audio because I know I'll want to listen to this again in the future. It's the kind of story where you can find something new each time you read it. I'm looking forward to my re-read already!

 

The Lesser Dead gets my highest recommendation!

 

You can get your copy here: The Lesser Dead

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review 2017-08-22 18:40
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

 

**Please note that this review is LOADED with spoilers! If you plan to read this book in the future, you should! But you should NOT continue to read this review.**

 

To Tom Ripley, being bored, being around dull people and having nothing to do are among the WORST things in existence. Of course, he never has to be bored again after brutally murdering his friend and assuming his identity.

 

Tom is recruited by Mr. Greenleaf, (the father of Tom's acquaintance, Dickie), to bring his son home from Italy. Tom is even given a hefty sum with which to support himself in Italy while working his come-home-magic on his friend. Unfortunately, Ripley has no luck persuading Dickie to do anything, other than to get stumbling drunk nearly every minute of the day. Then, shortly after an awkward scene where Tom is caught trying on Dickie's clothes, Tom decides to whack Dickie and that's where this story really begins.

 

I'd seen the movie with Matt Damon a long time ago, but I've always been fascinated with the character of Tom Ripley and wanted to read the book for myself. In the 50's, stories from the viewpoint of the murderer were rare, not like today. I think it was also rare, (feel free to correct me), to have the antagonist be likable at times. I mean, there you are, in Ripley's mind- rolling along thinking about your afternoon cocktails and that evening's parties and then BAM! He's whacking someone across the head with an oar. And then whacking them again. And then across their neck. And then stabbing them with it as if it were a sharp instrument. He's wheezing and out of breath and he's still going. And there's the reader, a bit stunned, wondering how we got to this point and where did everything go wrong? This right here is what I liked best about the story.

 

Now we have Criminal Minds and FBI profilers that write books about serial killers, sociopaths and the like. In the 50's when this book was written, that was not the case. I think Patricia Highsmith had the thought processes of Ripley down pat. Nothing is ever his fault. He is just so clever and everyone else so dull and stupid. The depravity of his thoughts are presented so matter-of-fact-ly that they could almost pass for normal. His ability to read the emotions and thoughts of others and anticipate what they'll do and how they'll react in certain situations is astonishing. It's almost like Ripley was not a person at all, but instead just a collection of facial expressions and witty banter wrapped around an all encompassing greed. He was a mimic of a person. He had nothing within himself-all that he was came from outside.

 

"He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn't that worth something? He existed."

 

He was so good at his machinations that he, himself believed them. He would imagine scenes in his head over and over again-so they would become real. To him, real in his head equated to real in reality. He believed so totally and utterly that it was easy for him to make others believe too. To me, this is where the strength of this book lies-the creation of Tom Ripley. He is such a fascinating character that I can see myself reading this again in the future.

 

This story really wouldn't work in today's world, with all of our phones and cameras and facial recognition software: in that regard The Talented Mr. Ripley is dated. However, as far as the creation of a believable sociopath, Tom Ripley would be right at home in an episode of Criminal Minds-and he would give the investigators a good run for their money.

 

Highly recommended!

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review 2017-08-22 02:11
Mr Ripley!
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

 I need a massage from all that tension Mr. Ripley caused in my neck!

 

More tomorrow because it's Preacher time. 

 

 

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review 2017-08-13 16:23
Mass Hysteria by Michael Patrick Hicks
Mass Hysteria - Michael Patrick Hicks

 

Mass Hysteria was a brutal horror novel, which reminded me of the horror being written in the late 70's and, (all of the), 80's. Books like James Herbert's The Rats or Guy N. Smith's The Night of the Crabs. There are a lot of similarities to those classics here-the fast paced action going from scene to scene-with many gory deaths and other sick events. In fact, I think Mass Hysteria beats out those books in its sheer horrific brutality.

 

I'm not going to go into the plot very much-it's there in the synopsis for you. As a set up for the savage action to come, meteor showers are as good as anything else. The fact that the sickness hits the animals first and turns them from wonderful pets, police dogs, etc...and turns them into violent killing machines was heartbreaking. I felt more sympathy for the animals in this book than I did for most of the humans. Almost all of the people in this book were not likable. In fact, many of them were abhorrent, promiscuous or just plain stupid. That was okay though, because they got exactly what they deserved.

 

There was a good amount of sex here, interspersed with the horror, and the word "empurpled" was used a few times. (It made me chuckle every time!) Be prepared though, as the sex was not always with live humans.

 

Which brings me to my next point, this book is not for the easily offended. It's not for the horror novice who is new to the genre and all its various offerings. I think Mass Hysteria is best enjoyed by the experienced horror fan. Humans and animals alike are killed in all kinds of nasty ways. There is necrophilia, there is bestiality...are you seeing my point here? If even the very thought of these things disgusts you, this is not the book for you.

 

My last thought to share with you is about the ending: LOVED. IT. !! Keeping in tone with the style of the book up that point, Mr. Hicks did not shy away from the, (what I thought was), inevitable finish. I like and respect that!

 

If the subjects I mentioned above tend to make you shy away from a story, this one is probably not for you. However, if these subjects and the brutal kills and gore ARE your cuppa, then you should head over to Amazon right now and one-click this bad boy.

 

Recommended for hard core fans of the genre!

 

You can get your copy here:Mass Hysteria

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

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