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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#FridayReads 3.15.19


Snakes & Ladders: Update 6

I finished my current book last night: FEAR by Ronald Kelly. I left off on Space 7 which was:

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.


Since my book didn't quality for that, I'll roll one die. Again.

You rolled 1 die:


Timestamp: 2019-03-14 15:46:07 UTC


At this point, I might not finish this game by the end of the year!


I'm on space 9:  Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

 Once again, it doesn't fit with anything I'll be reading soon. :(



FEAR by Ronald Kelly

Fear - Ronald Kelly


FEAR was a crazy mixture of: creature feature/coming of age/evil in a small town horror. It just doesn't get much more fun than that!


In the backwoods of Tennessee, young Jeb Sweeney is fighting for his family. His farmer father has been turned into a simpleton, thanks to a war injury. His mother is gone and his grandmother is gravely ill. There are bullies around their small town and on top of that, some kind of creature has arrived and it's killing anything it can get its hands on. What is a young man supposed to do about all this? You'll have to read FEAR to find out!


I have to admit that this book brought me back to the old days when I first started reading horror. (For me, those old days are in the late 70's, early 80's.) Back then, there were a lot of tales like this and they were beefy ones too-500 pages or more. You really would settle in with a book and it would go everywhere with you until you finished it. Coming of age tales were especially popular during that time, but not all of them were great. FEAR was though and I'll tell you why.


We have a family we can care for, more than one antagonist, a compelling setting, and best of all? A creature that can only be described as....SCARY. Sprinkle in some older women busy working their mojo, a traveling blues-man and an entire county of scary creatures, and you have the recipe for F-U-N!


This tale did start out slowly as we got to know everyone, the town itself, and the stories surrounding Fear County. Around about the halfway point, things ramped up and then the pace flew through the second half- I had a very hard time putting it down. I suspect that these days, an editor would have cut down the word count a bit, and even though I enjoyed the slower pace of the beginning, I can't deny that a few words could have been cut without hurting the book overall. For that I deducted half a star.


FEAR is exactly the type of book that inspired in me a love of horror fiction and dark fiction in general. We have a dirt poor family, a young man to root for, a setting of the small town, and nearby? A place so haunted and scary that no one ever goes there. I mean, really, for a horror fan-what's not to like? I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of coming of age horror and creature features.


Get your copy here: FEAR


*I purchased my copy with my hard earned cash back in 2014. I'm so glad I finally read this book!*


**Ronald Kelly was kind enough to join the Horror Aficionados Group for a group read of this story. Thank you, Mr. Kelly! I had a great time!*

Reading progress update: I've read 22%

Tracing The Trails: A Constant Reader's Reflections on the Work of Stephen King - Chad CLark, Duncan Ralston, Richard Chizmar

This is like a love letter to Stephen King's work and the years of entertainment he has provided. It's broken down into sections and then broken down by book. I've finished the 80's and I'm into the 90's section. 


The section on The Tommyknockers reminded me of how much I hated that book. I mean I REALLY HATED that book! 


So far, I AM enjoying this book though. I can relate because a lot of this constant reader's feelings, (meaning ME), are the same as the author's. So, onward ho! 

THE BORDER by Don Winslow, narrated by Ray Porter

The Border - Don Winslow, Ray Porter


THE BORDER is the last book in the POWER OF THE DOG trilogy.


All I can say is WOW. It was everything I hoped for and more. Brutal criminals, sometimes even more brutal law enforcement, international drug wars, politics, and the absolutely fabulous Ray Porter relating it all in that powerful voice of his.


At this point I feel like Don Winslow and Ray Porter are a part of my life. I've spent dozens of hours with them both and to be honest? I'm going to miss them.


Does Art Keller finally get somewhere in the drug war he's fought his entire life? Will he get to settle down and live a quiet life with Marisol? What about Eddie Ruiz? Callen and Nora? Hell, will any of them even survive? I recommend you read this ASAP so you can find out!


Winslow delivered the goods here and Ray Porter performed the hell out of it.


My highest recommendation!

Snakes & Ladders: Update 5

My last encounter with a snake landed me back on #5: 5. Published in 2018.


Since none of my current books qualify for that, I'll roll one die. Again. 

(I finished THE BORDER by Don Winslow, just published last month.)



You rolled 1 die:


Timestamp: 2019-03-12 19:57:15 UTC


Update # 5 and I'm only on space #: 7! 


7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

Paperbacks from Hell with Valancourt!

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

From the pages of Grady Hendrix's best-selling Paperbacks from Hell (Quirk Books, 2017), Valancourt Books is pleased to announce a new limited series of five long-unavailable paperback horror gems from the '70s and '80s, chosen by Grady Hendrix and Will Errickson (Too Much Horror Fiction).  All five titles will be available for a limited time in a special mass-market size format, and in some cases will feature their original glorious paperback cover art. Each book will feature a brand-new introduction written specially for this edition by either Hendrix or Errickson.



THE NEST  by Gregory A. Douglas, introduced by Will Errickson

t was just an ordinary garbage dump on peaceful Cape Cod. No one ever imagined that conditions were perfect for breeding, that it was a warm womb, fetid, moist, and with food so plentiful that everything creeping, crawling, and slithering could gorge to satiation. Then a change in poison control was made, resulting in an unforeseen mutation. Now the giant mutant cockroaches are ready to leave their nest--in search of human flesh!

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom, introduced by Grady Hendrix

Sally Ann and Martha. Two Women, searching for love. Finding Terror. During a terrifying storm, a gentle childhood is destroyed by a twisted man who promises love but delivers nightmare. In the lightless depths of an underground labyrinth, unseen creatures lie in wait for an innocent traveler, cold skeletal hands stretched out in welcome.

THE TRIBE by Bari Wood, introduced by Grady Hendrix


Highly acclaimed when first published in 1981, The Tribe follows a group of Jewish people who not only survive the concentration camps, but thrive. Their secret follows them to modern-day Brooklyn, where they continue their relationship and keep their deadly cabal until one day a new threat arrives... Drawing on Jewish mythology and folklore, the novel also combines well-drawn characters and police procedural to create a memorable and humane horror novel. 

THE SPIRIT by Thomas Page, introduced by Grady Hendrix

It's the stuff of nightmares and legends. It has many names: Bigfoot... Yeti... Sasquatch. But whatever it is, it's out there in the woods, and very dangerous. For John Moon, a half-Indian, it holds the key to his inner self. He worships its power and he'll kill to protect it. Desperate, exhausted, half-starved, Moon will follow wherever it goes.

THE REAPING by Bernard Taylor, introduced by Will Errickson

Tom Rigby couldn't believe his luck when he was commissioned to paint a portrait at Woolvercome House. But strange, inexplicable events in the secluded country mansion soon changed his mind. And the longer he stayed  there, the deeper Tom was drawn into an impenetrable maze of horror.





#FridayReads 3.8.19


Snakes & Ladders: Update 4

Instead of waiting to finish Don Winslow's THE BORDER to fulfill #12, I'm just going to use THE NIGHT AND THE WATCHMAN as my book read and roll 1 die. (THE BORDER is a doorstopper!)



Dice Roller

You rolled 1 die:


Timestamp: 2019-03-07 16:04:07 UTC


I was on space 12, heading in the wrong direction. a 6 brings me to space 25. GAH!

I should have waited to finish THE BORDER and rolled two dice instead! 




THE WOLF AND THE WATCHMAN by Niklas Natt och Dag

The Wolf and the Watchman - Niklas Natt och Dag


A gruesomely mutilated body is fished out of a local lake by a night watchman. So begins this dark mystery set in Stockholm in the late 1700's.


The main characters, the aforementioned night watchman, (Cardell), and a lawyer dying from consumption, (Winge), were fascinating and multi-layered. Winge hasn't much time left in this world, and he makes the investigation of this case his only reason for living. Cardell, an injured war veteran looking for self worth and coming up short, is turning to the bottle instead. This mystery provides a reason for him to stay sober. Mostly. Together, they wander the disgusting streets of Stockholm, hunting their murderer. Will they find him/her? Will Winge live long enough to see the perpetrator tried for the crime? Will Cardell be able to keep himself out of the bottle long enough to aid Winge in his only goal? You'll have to read this to find out!


I enjoyed reading about this time in Stockholm's history. Admittedly, I do not know much about the city or the country, but I learned a little bit reading this book. I learned that the city, much like others of its size around the world at that time, was a seething pit of disease. Piles of excrement lying around, chamber pots emptied out the window-I think you get the drift. Whenever I read about living in a city during this time period I wonder how humanity survived at all.


On top of the filth of the city, its inhabitants were often entertained by the worst society has to offer. Gambling, prostitution, and ruining the reputations of others just for fun-these were the popular habits of the day. A woman, left widowed, or worse yet? Impregnated before marriage? They were left in circumstances beyond dire. Combat veterans-especially those who lost limbs or those who were mentally impaired due to the harsh circumstances of war? They fared no better. Most people were so involved in their own survival, (no small feat!) there was no time or thought put into charity for others.


Regarding the solving of the gruesome murder, this book reminded me quite a lot of THE ALIENIST. Winge was especially interested in hearing the motives from the killers themselves in his past cases, and he wants to know what made this perpetrator tick as well. While THE ALIENIST was heavily involved with crime investigation techniques, Winge was much more interested in the psychological aspects of criminals. So am I, so this viewpoint worked perfectly for me.


The way this tale unfolded was intriguing-the first section involving Winge and Cardell, the others involving other people with whom we were not familiar. It kept me reading because I needed to see how all of this was going to tie together. I think the telling was my favorite aspect of this story-well, this and the main characters.


I finished up the book having developed a serious liking and respect for Cardell. Both he and Winge were men of honor, something which seemed to be in short supply during this time period. I wanted to know more about the Eumenides and a few other characters as well. I am really hoping for a sequel here, people!


I devoured this book as quickly as I could. As I said above, I was fascinated by how the author told the story, the pacing was excellent, and the mystery a good one. I especially liked the darkness of the tale and how the author did not shy away from the brutality of life at the time. I suspect that the gruesome nature of this story, and the author's unflinching telling of it, may turn some readers off. But for this reader, lover of dark fiction that I am, it was nearly perfect and left me wanting more. Please, bring on a sequel, sir!


Highly recommended!  Get your copy here: THE WOLF AND THE WATCHMAN


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

Reading progress update: I've read 65%

The Wolf and the Watchman - Niklas Natt och Dag

This story is engaging, and I just love the writing style. I liked the first part the most. That involved what is told in the synopsis: One policeman dying from consumption, still determined to get his man, and one nightwatchman, (a combat veteran), who are working together to solve a gruesome, gruesome murder. 


The second portion involved the murder victim, but he was never mentioned by name. (At least that's who I think it was, I can't be sure.)


The third portion involves a young girl whose unfortunate circumstances get her thrown into a spinning house/work camp. 


All of these taking place in the "city between the bridges," which is Stockholm of the late 1700's.


I can't wait to see how all of these threads will tie together!

Snakes & Ladders Update 3

I rolled the dice on Wednesday night when I finished THE DAY OF THE NEW GODS and I got a 5. For some reason I can't get it to post here, (it only posts 1 die of the two?)


I also realized that I'm going the wrong way on my board! I guess I'll correct that when I get to the next level. So I landed on 12 and I'm currently reading Don Winslow's THE BORDER which will qualify for the author's last name starting with W. This is a HUGE one, so it'll be a while before I'm back rolling again. 


12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z


#FridayReads 3.1.19



The Day of The New Gods - Leesa Wallace, Graeme Parker, Luke Walker


Are you in the mood for a quick romp through a gory country of cosmic horror? Look no further because this is the book for you!


Even though THE DAY OF THE NEW GODS is a prequel to THE MIRROR OF THE NAMELESS, you can read these in whichever order suits your fancy. I've read MIRROR twice now, and both times left me wanting-at least as far as more information about the 3 "Gods." In DAY, I finally got a bit of an origin story and it did not disappoint.


A small group of bank robbers has their plans change unexpectedly during their getaway. A huge giant appears, bits of which fall off at random- burning and killing people, but really? That's not that big a deal, because there's also an eerie green mist which turns people into mad, murdering, gibbering things, until it wisps off and people discover what they have done. Then they usually kill themselves. I didn't even bring up the huge, white worm yet! What will happen to our group of thieves? What happens to all of these monsters and how how they did here? You'll have to read this to find out!


I've been a fan of Luke Walker's for a while now, and when I was offered a chance to finally see how these gods came about I jumped at the chance. I find this world to be imaginative, unyielding and pretty much insane. It's perfect for me! We all know, deep down inside, that the cosmos doesn't care for us-but what if it were personified? Now it's, (they're) walking around earth, (or floating or slithering), demonstrating how useless we really are and what's more scary than that? Not too much!


At a few points, the pacing seemed a bit uneven, but this is a picky thing. Since all of these events happened over the course of one, very long day, it's most likely just me. One thing that WAS even throughout though, was the gore. There is no shortage of monster GOD carnage, human on human carnage and sometimes both all at once.


Good times!


I thought this prequel was a great way to revisit the Gods in this ultra violent world that Luke Walker has created. If this all sounds like your cup of tea, (or cup of bloody gore?), this is the book for you!




Get your copy here: THE DAY OF THE NEW GODS


*I received an e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Snakes & Ladders: Update 2


I finished FAILURE IS AN OPTION by H. Jon Benjamin which satisfies "An author whose last name begins with a B" for square 7. Roll 2 dice!


You rolled 2 dice:

5 5

Timestamp: 2019-02-26 15:13:11 UTC


Square 17: GENRE HORROR!

How perfect is that? I'm reading THE DAY OF THE NEW GODS . 




1. Author is a woman

2. Genre: mystery

3. Set in the twentieth century

4. Published in 2019

5. Published in 2018

6. Title has a color word in it

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

8. Author's last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake - go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

27. Set during WWI or WWII

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

30. Someone travels by train

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake - go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake - go back to 19

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake - go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a "food" word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author's debut book

87. Snake - go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake - go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

99. Snake - go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!


FAILURE IS AN OPTION (AN ATTEMPTED MEMOIR) written & narrated by H. Jon Benjamin

Failure Is An Option An Attempted Memoir - Benjamin Franklin


If you enjoy Bob's Burgers or Archer, or if you enjoyed the poorly animated Dr. Katz back in the day, you should like this audio memoir.


There were a few points in this book where I just laughed my ass off. Most especially the scenes where Jon was trying to build a bookshelf with a prison inmate, Jon's threesome encounter, and the pinnacle of humor: diarrhea from first class airline food.



Yeah, baby!




This audio was hilarious, entertaining, and I learned a little about the voice behind some of my favorite shows. I recommend it!


*I downloaded this audio from my local library. Libraries RULE!*

Currently reading

The Silkworm (Audio) by Robert Galbraith
Progress: 80%
Tracing The Trails: A Constant Reader's Reflections on the Work of Stephen King by Chad CLark, Duncan Ralston, Richard Chizmar
Progress: 22%
Detours by Dean Koontz, Michael Koryta, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Kelley Armstrong, David Morrell, Michael Marshall Smith, Michael Marshall Smith, Owen King, William Peter Blatty, Mark Stewart, Chet Williamson, Poppy Z. Brite, Brian James Freeman, Peter Straub
Progress: 125/400pages
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
Progress: 50%

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Horror Aficionados
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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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