Char's Horror Corner

 Welcome to my Corner! I specialize in Dark Fiction reviews including Horror, Dark Fantasy, Splatterpunk, Horror of the 70's & 80's, and Graphic Novels. I also read and review classics, true crime, thrillers and audio books of all genres except Romance.

 

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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!*

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."

 

 

Insane Clown President by Matt Taibbi, narrated by Rob Shapiro

Insane Clown President - Matt Taibbi, Rob Shapiro

 

The only thing I really miss about my Rolling Stone subscription is the reporting of Matt Taibbi. And maybe the scary-ass environmental articles written by Bill McKibben. (I canceled my 25 year standing order because they had the audacity, {stupidity?}, to put the Boston bomber POS on the cover. I'm surprised this Massachusetts girl received her copy intact and not covered in spittle.) When I saw the audio of this book was available at my library, I eagerly put it on hold, but I'm sorry to say I'm a bit disappointed.

 

What I liked about this book was Taibbi's bluntness about the state of our media and the role that it plays in elections. I also liked his exploration of how that role has changed over the years-especially in regards to the 24 hour news cycle that now dominates our airwaves. I also liked the fact that he was hard on Hillary and her campaign. I'm not a Trump fan but I'm not a Hillary fan either. Taibbi went into some depth about how our candidates are selected in this country and it's not by us-America's citizens. It's by money. It's by the press. It's by those powerful people behind the scenes and their machinations. It's disgusting.

 

Regarding the media...all these talking heads and pundits and opinions. What happened to the freaking NEWS? What happened to the facts? I hate to say that Trump is right about anything, but the media is no longer trustworthy, if it ever was. They are out to sell us what they consider news. And guess what? Poverty doesn't sell. No one wants to see homeless people while they're eating dinner. People might turn the channel! No one could go without covering Trump's antics during the campaign, or even now, because people love that stuff! Here we are 6 months into Trump's administration and what has he accomplished? We're all too interested in Russia and Trump's Twitter feed to look too closely. Every time he Tweets the public is distracted. Again.

 

What I didn't like about this book, at least at times, was its flippancy. The campaign drinking games portion could have been funny-if it was done just once. Doing it twice, with lists of rules a mile long was redundant and irritating. The portion about who would play these candidates in a movie was also boring. I love Matt Taibbi's sense of humor and razor sharp wit, but I think these chapters were cheap shots and beneath his abilities and intellect. Then again, the title of the book is Insane Clown President and some of these things ARE insane.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I still love Taibbi. I wouldn't recommend it to Hillary lovers though, unless they are ready to hear some hard truths. I expect that many are not.

On sale

Vision Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man (Vision (2015-)) - Mike Del Mundo, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Tom King Vision Vol. 2: Little Better Than a Beast - Tom King, Michael Walsh
Reblogged from Grimlock ♥ Vision:

Amazon daily deal. 

 

Shop here for volume one and here for volume two.

 

It's one of my favorite series!

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."

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! 

 

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni, Gary Gianni

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was a real treat! I knew nothing about what to expect from this volume, (knowing nothing about the Hellboy series, in which these comics were originally released), so I went in with no preconceptions. I was seriously impressed. Here's why:

 

First, I LOVED the stories! The first 2/3 of this are different comics featuring a movie director named St. Lawrence, (who looks a lot like Vincent Price, BTW, and who you would think belonged in the 30's expect for the occasional glimpse of technology), and his friend Benedict a member of the Corpus Monstrum guild. Benedict is an immortal knight and always wears his knight helmet and a tuxedo. (I need to learn more about the background of this character because he was a blast to read about.) Together they fend off plagues of falling skulls, and other monstrous creatures.

 

 

 

 

Second, the last third of the book contains illustrated classic stories by the likes of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, and William Hope Hodgson. I LOVED these! When reading these short stories, I couldn't help but notice how the first 2/3 of the book carried the exact same pulpy, adventure feel that these classic stories originally created. I think Gianni did a beautiful job of carrying on that feel in his comics and in his illustrations of these pulp shorts. In a way, I feel like these were his way of paying tribute to what came before, while also making them his own.

 

Again, I went into this with no preconceptions. I came away with much admiration and respect. I'm going to eventually read the Hellboy comics and I'm definitely going to search out Mr. Gianni and see what else he has on offer, because whatever it is, I'm in!

 

Highly recommended, especially to fans of the classic pulp short stories and to fans of incredible artwork.

 

You can get your copy here: Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to Dark Horse Comics for the e-ARC of this volume in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

The Necromancer's House by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Todd Haberkorn

The Necromancer's House - Christopher Buehlman, Todd Haberkorn

 

This book is totally INSANE!!

 

I thought Between Two Fires was crazy, but The Necromancer's House has that one beat. By a mile!

 

Magic is inherent but also can be taught. There are all kinds of spells that may be weaved. There are all kinds of creatures of myth and folklore. There's a meteor! There's a crazy-ass dog... creation. There is the dead founder of AA having conversations through the television. There's a house, filled with many booby traps and spells, and what dark fiction reader doesn't love that? There's also much, much more.

 

I can't even begin to explain this book, nor would I want to try. But what I can say is that I love and respect an imagination that can come up with something this maniacal and satisfying! It was entertaining, but also had parts where the pain was visceral. The characters were well drawn even if many of them were just downright nasty. I have to admit that a few of the characters that I disliked at first became my favorites by the end. I love when that happens.

 

I started with Those Across the River , then read Between Two Fires, and now this one. I'm not sure which of Christopher Buehlman's books I'll read next, but I am definitely going to be reading all of them!

 

I highly recommend this one to lovers of dark fiction, with some magic and myths woven into the narrative fabric. I guarantee you haven't read anything like it! 

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly

A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly

 

This time around Charlie Parker is hired to look into the disappearance of Jaycob Eklund. Jaycob is a P.I. that has mysteriously vanished while investigating the history of a group named The Brethren. Louis and Angel get involved and the Collector and his aging father do as well. What FUN!

 

FBI Agent Edgar Ross is the man who hires Charlie and I still don't trust him or his motives. He won't even tell Charlie why he's searching for Eklund. I'm not sure where Mr. Connolly is going with this relationship, but I have a bad feeling about it, for sure.

 

Louis and Angel trade insults as always, but in this book their love became a little more real to me. You'll see why if you read it. (You SHOULD read it!)

 

Also playing a part in this volume are Rachel and Sam, Charlie's ex-girlfriend and (living) daughter, respectively. Rachel, understandably, is still angry and upset after what happened to Sam in the last book and is now taking legal steps regarding Sam's custody. Trusty Moxie, Charlie's lawyer, is on the case. Unfortunately, Rachel doesn't ask Sam how she feels about all this, but Sam makes her feelings known-in a way that is uniquely her own.

 

I loved this book! I believe I am seeing the beginning of the end, off in the distance, and that makes me sad. However, I am hoping that perhaps the series will continue in some other form, I

am hoping for an entire new series featuring Sam and her insane capabilities.

(show spoiler)

But if I don't get I will still be happy, because I believe that the Charlie Parker books have become the best ongoing series out there, bar none. They are consistently interesting, well written and just plain fun-and considering how dark some of them are, that's quite a feat!

 

I love Charlie, Louis and Angel and I love YOU, John Connolly! I can't wait to see what happens next! I highly recommend A Game of Ghosts to fans of the series, and to new fans, (but I strongly suggest you read them in order.)

 

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

A Book of the Dead (1984) by John Blackburn

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

New Release

 

Why is someone willing to kill in order to get their hands on every copy of Men of Courage, a rare but worthless book? That's the mystery at the heart of John Blackburn's rarest thriller, A BOOK OF THE DEAD (1984), long unavailable and republished now for the first time.

 

 

Book Description

When a veteran book dealer pays an exorbitant sum at auction for a copy of Men of Courage, a worthless book about famous heroic deeds, his colleagues believe he has lost his mind. But when he is found dead and the book goes missing, it appears something more sinister may be going on. In fact, someone has been buying, stealing, or destroying every known copy of the book. Bookseller Tom Mayne, with the help of the lovely heiress Janet Vale and the egotistical adventurer J. Moldon-Mott, is determined to find out why – and to stop a madman before he kills again!

John Blackburn (1923-1993) was regarded as one of the great British mystery and thriller writers of his time. This first-ever reprint of A Book of the Dead (1984), his penultimate and rarest novel, includes a new introduction by Greg Gbur. Fifteen other thrillers, mysteries, and horror novels by Blackburn are also available from Valancourt.

Reviews

‘He can be depended upon to sustain swift, sure, exciting, and absorbing stories ... undoubtedly one of England’s best practicing novelists in the tradition of the thriller novel.’ - St. James Guide to Crime & Mystery Writers

‘He is certainly the best British novelist in his field and deserves the widest recognition.’ - Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural

Now available worldwide:

Paperback
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK

eBook
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Reading progress update: I've read 34% and...

A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly

and I'm getting a very bad feeling regarding one of my favorite characters in this series.

 

That's not gonna happen, right? John Connolly wouldn't do that, would he?

 

Halloween Carnival Volume 1

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Brian James Freeman, Robert R. McCammon

 

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 is a tasty treat for horror lovers everywhere!

 

First off, I have to mention the opening story, Robert McCammon's Strange Candy. I'm a huge McCammon fan and this story was originally found in the FANTASTIC collection Blue World. Poignant and sweet this tale will always remain one of my favorites.

 

With that out of the way, the story that impressed me the most here was Kevin Lucia's The Rage of Achilles, or When Mockingbirds Sing. What started out to be a story of the difficulties of parenting a special needs child turned into a story of such bittersweet pain and love, I thought I heard my heart crack. Beautifully written with prose that cuts straight through your chest, this was the star of Volume 1.

 

La Hacienda de los Muertos by Lisa Morton was a neatly wrapped up tale about shooting a movie in Mexico. And maybe a ghost?

 

John Little can always be counted on to deliver and that he does with Demon Air. 

 

 Lastly, Mark Allen Gunnells' #Makehalloweenscaryagain was my first read of this author's work. While I generally don't care for hashtag anything, and even though I partially guessed how this story would end, I still enjoyed the journey and I look forward to reading more from Gunnells in the future.

 

Other than Strange Candy, I am not sure if these other stories have been published elsewhere previously. If so, I haven't come across them. I enjoyed the fact that these tales were mostly gore free, quiet horror since that's the type I prefer these days.

 

If quiet but powerful horror is your thing, I highly recommend this collection-especially for your Halloween reading pleasure!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Halloween Carnival Volume 1

 

*Thanks so much to Hydra and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it!*

The Dark Tower 5 by Stephen King, narrated by George Guidall

Wolves of the Calla - George Guidall, Stephen King

I'm not exactly sure why, but I enjoyed this more this time around than I did the first time.

 

I much prefer this narrator over Frank Muller. (At this end of this audio book, King himself speaks about Frank Muller and why he didn't continue narrating this series-it was due to a motorcycle accident in which he was seriously injured. (Frank is part of the reason The Haven Foundation was created. It's to help independent authors, narrators and frelancers during times of catastrophe. ) To find out more, please click here: The Haven Foundation

 

I was sorry to hear about what happened, but I'm glad to have George Guidall back as narrator and I'm looking forward to listening to the next book.

 

Whoohoo! This is my 100th book of the year!

 

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

 

Very rarely do I rate books I don't finish, but in this case, having read 61%, I feel as if I've read enough to merit an opinion. My opinion is this book isn't for me.

 

I absolutely loved the premise-sort of a Scooby Doo/Cthulhu mash up-I mean, what could be more perfect for me? However, what I found to be funny and entertaining at first, soon turned into ennui. I found myself making excuses or reading short stories to avoid going back to this book.

 

I've seen a lot of reviews mentioning the author's inventions of certain words and while I found some of them to be fun, after a while it got too cute. "Tragichuckled" for instance. Another thing that bothered me were the very dense run on sentences. Some were so long my mind wandered more than once trying to read them. Reading for fun shouldn't be this much work.

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Doubleday for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. I wish I could honestly say that I liked it.* 

Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

Optical Delusion - Hunter Shea

 The latest installment in the Mail Order Massacres series is Optical Delusion. This time around the action is focused on some X Ray glasses ordered from the back of a comic book. What could go wrong with that?

 

Mr. Blackstone's son tosses the specs aside because they gave him a headache and they don't work. When Martin Blackstone spots them, he scoops them up and decides to give them a try. What happens next? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

 

 

I enjoyed this novella for the bit of silliness that it was. It's not trying to be the next Crime and Punishment, it just wants to take you along a quick ride of "What if?" Even though I knew going into it that this was a novella, I found myself wishing for a meatier story. Overall though, Optical Delusion did meet my expectations and I had fun with it.

 

I'm looking forward to Mr. Shea's next foray into the world of mail order mayhem!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and Lyrical Underground for the e-ARC!*

The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon

The Dreaming Jewels (MP3 Book) - Theodore Sturgeon, Paul Michael Garcia

Having read Sturgeon's Some of Your Blood a few years back, I've been on the lookout for more affordable Sturgeon books. Earlier this year, this one was on sale, and adding the narration was only a couple of bucks more, so I jumped on it. Luckily, I was very pleased with my decision.

 

This story was nothing at all like Some of Your Blood. But with an opening line of: "They caught the kid doing something disgusting out under the bleachers at the high school stadium.", how could anyone not continue with the tale?

 

This book is difficult to categorize. An horrific, dark science fiction tale, with humor, humanity and social commentary-these words work well to describe this story. It also seemed timeless, never once did I feel that I was listening to something that was written in the 50s.

 

I liked this book, I liked it a lot. If anyone out there has any other Sturgeon recommendations, please let me know, because I'm impressed with what I've read so far!

Currently reading

Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin
Progress: 50%
Zomcats! by Amanda Horan, Graeme Parker, Jack Strange
Progress: 40%
For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska, Steve Upham, Charles Black, Reggie Oliver, Reggie Oliver
Progress: 30%
Bone White by Ronald Malfi
Progress: 15%
The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith, Jon Stewart
Progress: 37%

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Horror Aficionados
Horror Aficionados 11358 members
If you love horror literature, movies, and culture, you're in the right place. Whether it's vampi...

Books we've read

The Stand
Dread in the Beast
The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales
Horror Library, Volume 1
Butcher Shop Quartet
Family Inheritance
'Salem's Lot
A Treasury of American Horror Stories
Heart-Shaped Box
20th Century Ghosts
The Revelation
Lowland Rider
Off Season
Neither the Sea Nor the Sand
The House Next Door
The Ceremonies
Nazareth Hill
The Light at the End
Ghoul
Billy


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