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 Classic Horror. I also read and review classics, true crime, thrillers and audio books of all genres except Romance.




Charlene’s quotes





Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

Desperation Road - Michael Farris Smith


Southern noir and fast paced grit-lit, Desperation Road is compelling and enduring dark fiction.


Russell returns to a small Mississippi town, fresh off the bus from 11 years in the penitentiary, only to be jumped by the family of the man who put him there. Maben, running from a drug habit and the darker sides of herself, has a bad run in with a local cop. Russell and Maben, two flawed, but decent people. They are at the center of this tight tale of revenge and repentance.


It was difficult to put this book down, so I read it in big hunks, growling at anyone that came near. The characters were sharply drawn, and I count the countryside of Mississippi as one of them. It was easy to see the lakes and ponds of the area, easy to feel the heat and the bite of the mosquitoes. It was also easy to see how the need for revenge could be nurtured in this hot and humid environment.


For 300 pages, this book was an incredibly fast read with characters that had depth to them and a realistic feel. I highly recommend this tense, quick trip to Mississippi. It's so beautifully written, you'll feel as if you were there right now, without the cost of air fare and the ugly realities of this world. There's an ugly reality there too, but at least there I felt as if there was also hope for the future.


Once again, highly recommended! (I think fans of Donald Ray Pollock would especially appreciate this dark tale.)


Desperation Road is available on February 7th, here: Desperation Road


*Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Dominoes by John Boden

Dominoes - John  Boden, K. Allen Wood


A Little Golden Book of Horror!


Surreal scenes, bits of song lyrics, shout outs to all kinds of authors, and a little beheading!


Clever, cool and a heck of a lot of fun! Highly recommended!


You can get your copy here: Dominoes



*Thanks to my friend Andi for the loan.*

Felix says: Have A Great Weekend!

Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri

Kill the Father: A Novel - Sandrone Dazieri


Kill the Father was an exciting thriller featuring two of the most memorable characters I've come across in years!


Deputy Captain Columba Caselli is recovering from a horrible bombing when her superior requests she look into a kidnapping case, even though she is still officially on leave. Dante Torre is a man still recovering from his boyhood kidnapping and subsequent 11 year incarceration by a man known only as "The Father." That's all I'm going to say about the plot.


These characters were so vividly drawn I can easily picture them right now-Dante with his endless coffee and cigarettes and Columba with her piercing green eyes and often sarcastic attitude. Together they are both damaged, but stronger because of it, and because of each other.


The pacing was mostly fast and there are lots of surprises, twists and turns, but I do feel that the book was just a tad too long. However, I never lost interest and in fact, I read the last 30% in one straight shot, because there was just no good place to stop-I had to see what happened. I was NOT disappointed!


Kill the Father was my first experience with author Sandrone Dazieri, but I hope it will not be my last. I just finished this book and I'm already missing Columba and Dante-so please, Mr. Dazieri, bring them back for another thriller!


Highly recommended for fans of thrillers and mysteries!


Kill the Father is now available here. Kill the Father


*Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton

The Raven Boys - Audio (Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater (2012-09-18) - Maggie Stiefvater


Confession time: I checked this audio book out of the library for one reason and one reason only, the narrator: Will Patton. I love that man.


I don't generally read YA because:


1. I like supernatural HORROR. I dislike the phrase paranormal because to me that comes across as NOT SCARY.


2. While I'm moving away from the more extreme horror and the Splatterpunk genre in my old age, I still like my books bloody. If they were steaks they would be super rare. Like, just hacked off the side of a cow rare. (The Cowboy Way Rare)


3. While I'm not a fan of romance at all, I don't mind a scary book that has some sexy times in it.


And none of that stuff that I like so much is in this book.


However, the general story did hold my interest and I found quite a few of the characters intriguing, so I will be going on the with next book. In audio form of course, because...Will Patton.


Highly recommended to fans of YA and paranormal romances, because I think those fans would get the most out of this creative story.


*Please note this review should be 3 stars, but Booklikes is being quirky and will not correct it for me.*

Reading Habits Tag


Thanks to Spooky's House of Books and Booklikes for getting this going!



Do you have a certain place in your home for reading? I have several! I have a comfy reading/recliner in the living room, a comfy massage chair in the room which I optimistically call my "library", and I enjoy reading in bed.


The massage chair in my "library."


Bookmark or random piece of paper? Both! I currently have a pretty owl bookmark and a beautiful Horror Aficionados bookmark, that one of HA's members made for me. 


Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop read after a chapter / certain number of pages? I can stop reading wherever. I prefer at a chapter break, but sometimes my eyes close of their own accord and I just don't have any choice but to stop there. 


Do you eat or drink while read? Yes! I love to eat while I read. If not lunch or dinner, then a snack and/or iced green tea. 


Multitasking: music or TV while reading? I usually like the television on low in the background. If I'm reading heavy material, then I like it to be quiet. 


One book at a time or several at once? Several! Usually one audio book, which I listen to at work, one short story collection or graphic novel, and one regular novel. 


Reading at home or everywhere? Everywhere! Even in line at the grocery store. 


Reading out loud or silently in your head? Silently. 


Do you read ahead or even skip pages? Hardly ever! I might skim ahead if a book is not engaging me, but that is rare because if I'm not engaged, I'll usually DNF the book and move on. 


Barking the spine or keeping it like new? I would like to keep everything new. 


Do you write in your books? Are you kidding? That's like blasphemy! I do like to use the highlighting feature in my Kindle though. Not only for taking notes for a review, but also because I like to highlight quotes that move me or touch me in some way. 


What are YOUR reading habits? Use the Reading Habits tag and share!

Batman Volume 1: I am Gotham (Rebirth) by Tom King, David Finch

Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (Rebirth) - Mikel Janin, Tom King, David Finch


Well, this was fun! It's my first Superhero comic and I enjoyed it a lot!


I loved the darkness of the story-line, the much more developed character of Alfred, (as compared to movies I've seen in the past),  and especially the graphics. 


It's hard for me to opine about how this compares to other comics/graphic novels about Superheroes, since I haven't read any others. But as a friend so kindly just reminded me, I do know STORIES, and I know that I liked this one. 


If a dark and stormy turn to your Batman is something you fancy, I think this volume will be right up your alley!


*Thanks to NetGalley and DC Comics for the e-ARC of this graphic novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it. *


Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem

Ubo - Steve Rasnic Tem


Ubo is difficult to talk about without sounding insane. There are so many thought provoking questions here, all locked up with roaches holding the keys. I know, I know...insane.


I have to touch on the basic outline here to make any sense at all of this review. Daniel goes from sitting in an airport contemplating walking away from it all, (including his wife and their sickly son), to living out scenarios of the most violent events in the history of the world, with only a vague, surreal, memory of wings and a moon separating the two.


When I say living out violent scenarios, I mean from inside the very heads of those doling out said violence. Jack the Ripper. Jim Jones. Charles Whitman. Here you are, witnessing these crimes as if it were you perpetrating them, while at the same time finding your conscience and your stomach recoiling. What possible good could come out of that? If there IS something good, can it be discovered and/or implemented before humanity destroys itself? You'll have to read this to find out.


I requested this ARC from NetGalley/Solaris because I have been a huge fan of Mr. Tem's short stories over the years. I remember his name always showing up in horror anthologies and knew I could depend on him to give me a good thrill. This book, however, is more of a science fiction novel with horrific elements-but all of his intense, strong writing? It's still here.


There's so much more I want to say, but...spoilers. Many things are going on in the background that beg for your attention, important things. Commentary about humanity really, where it is going and where it has been. Much of it is unpleasant. Somehow though, I found hope at the end. Is that because I couldn't face the stark reality, (not that far off from our current reality, by the way), or because I truly do think there's hope? I'm not sure. This is one of those times where I wish the author was my friend and I could just call him up and ask him. Since that's not happening, I'll settle for hearing what YOU think.


Highly recommended for those readers that enjoy turning over the reigns to a trusted author and believing that they will bring it all home. Go ahead and discover if there's even any home left. Read Ubo.


Ubo is available February 9th. You can pre-order your copy here: Ubo


*Thanks to NetGalley and Solaris for the e-Arc of Ubo in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild Audio - Saddleback Educational Publishing


The Call of the Wild is told from the dog Buck's point of view.


I read this as a teenager but I don't remember much of it. I do remember that I received it as a Christmas present and that it was part of a package of classic books, but that's about it.


I'm glad I re-read this, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did back in the day,(if I remember correctly). I am not a person that enjoys anything with animal abuse and as I get older I find myself less and less tolerant of those sorts of scenes. 


Overall though, this book was interesting and kind of neat, being that it was told from the dog's POV.



They're still (mostly) staying in the cellar, but at least they're not hiding all of the time. 

They both allowed me to give them belly rubs last night, so that was nice.

We're still getting a feel for their personalities, so names just yet. 




1 Loss and 2 New Additions


Those of you that are friends of mine on Facebook are probably aware that we lost our cat, Jeffrey, just a few days before Christmas. We did everything we could for him, but his health issues started to cascade and before we knew it, it was all over. Needless to say, the Christmas spirit was NOT strong in our household this year. 


RIP Jeffrey


After deciding that we wouldn't get another cat for a long while, then (the next day), deciding that we wouldn't get one until spring, then (the next day), deciding we wanted to get two the next time around, then (the next day), seeing a post about two beautiful kitties needing to be re-homed because their owner was moving, to (a few days later), picking them up and introducing them to their new home, it's been a hectic week. 


They are a bit older than this now and we haven't picked out names for them yet, as we're going to wait and see how their personalities develop, but here they are:



I'm So Excited!!

Whenever I pop on to Booklikes and everything is working right, I get so excited!!




The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 - Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, Robert Kirkman


Now, I wish I hadn't waited so long to read these! There are a lot of things that are different than on the show, but overall, I think the show has better character development. I'm not sure it's due to the writing-it might be due to the superior actors. 


I already have the second one reserved at the library! Bring it on. 

Infernal Parade by Clive Barker

Infernal Parade - Clive Barker, Bob Eggleton


Clive Barker always delivers in the creative department and this collection is no different.


Clocking in at only 88 pages, these short stories really pack a punch, yet as a whole, it feels like something is missing.



I think my favorite stories in the bunch were The Sabbaticus and The Golem, Elijah. Both could be interpreted as cautionary tales, as could Bethany Bled , and who doesn't like those? Be careful what you wish for and all that. These stories did make me miss (and long for) the Clive Barker of old with big old door-stopper books like Imajica or Weaveworld, where there was plenty of time for Mr. Barker to weave his spell. However, Infernal Parade did give me a taste of the wild imagination and words of Mr. Barker, so how could that be bad?


Recommended for fans of the Clive Barker of old!


*Thanks to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this collection in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it. *

Darkness Wakes by Tim Waggoner

Darkness Wakes - Tim Waggoner, John Williams


What a crazy ride!


Darkness Wakes begins with a somewhat happily married man noticing an unmarked door in a seedy strip mall. The door has FUCKL sort of scratched into it which would make anyone wonder what was going on there. Penumbra is the answer to that question and Penumbra is dark indeed.


Not too long after Aaron noticed the door, he begins to notice his sexy neighbor, Caroline. Caroline notices his interest and not long after she visits Aaron's veterinarian's clinic because her cat has a broken leg. (A leg which later, Aaron suspects of being broken by Caroline on purpose.) A sexual interlude occurs and soon after that Caroline invites Aaron to come to her private club, Penumbra.


Things go on there that defy description and I'm not talking about the sexy times. Orgies and sexual acts of all kinds go on in the front room, but it's the back room where things get out of hand. What an imagination Mr. Waggoner has to come up with a story like this! Because on top of Penumbra's front and back rooms, there's also a farmhouse with strange goings-on, a man with scabs all over his head and a woman with human bones in her braids.


I listened to the audio of this tale and I was not crazy about the narrator. Every time the character Gillian spoke it felt like a spike through my head. Luckily, she didn't speak all that much. Of course, your mileage may vary.


I ended up enjoying this book quite a bit, though there were some strange bits of writing that I didn't much care for. The song of the nipple mouths? Really? Overall, though-the creativeness behind this story especially appealed to me and the ending kicked ass! If this sounds like your cup of tea, I recommend you check it out!


You can get a copy here: Darkness Wakes

(When I purchased the Kindle copy, I added the Audible for only $1.99. It's a great deal!)

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Little Heaven: A Novel - Nick Cutter


Little Heaven is an extraordinary story! That doesn't mean it was a perfect story, but it was a lot of fun.


I'll refrain from going too deeply into the plot, but I will give a brief summary so I can talk about the few things that bothered me. Three bounty hunters meet up in the 60's, (and again some years later), and agree to help a woman check on her nephew, who had been taken by her brother-in-law to an isolated spot in the mountains. This spot being where the cult known as Little Heaven is located. Together, they all discover there is a LOT more going on in this settlement than just a warped, cruel "religion".


What I liked most about this story was its creativity. Yes, I saw similarities to Stephen King's work, (a lot of them, really), but I didn't find this tale to be derivative-I took it as an homage to the King instead. In fact, I think some of the scenes with the leader, (read: insane cult leader), the baby, (oh, that baby: SHUDDER), and the "Long Walker" (you'll see), would have made Stephen King himself jealous.


At times though, it seemed like Little Heaven didn't know what it wanted to be-between the main cult story, the interactions of the bounty hunters, the current and past time lines, the things in the woods and in the rock-there was a lot going on. I'm not exactly sure why, but at times I found my mind wandering. Maybe if the story were a little more tight and focused that would have helped? As I said, I'm not quite sure.


Whenever I found that happening, some piece of writing or a creative incident would set me right back on the path. I found this particular quote to be beautiful:


"It’s all so goddamn fragile. Your life and the thread you carry it on. And the more love you carry, the more stress you put on that thread, the better chance it will snap. But what choice do any of us have? You take on that love because to live without it is to exist as half a person. You give that love away because it is in you to give, not out of a desire for recompense. And you keep loving even when the world cracks open and reveals a black hole where all that love can get swallowed."


Overall though, this tale's creativity and imagination beckoned to me like a bright star moving across the sky, and I willingly followed it-right down into the dark below the big, black rock. What's hiding down there? You'll have to read this book to find out! I recommend that you do.


Available January 10th here: Little Heaven: A Novel


*Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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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

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