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.
PANDEMONIUM is a place, maybe not the capital of hell as it is in the epic Milton poem, but it's close! Maybe it's more like Hotel California? Because once you check in, you never check out.
Hannah leaves work for the day, intent on getting home to care for her aging mother. Suddenly, a man walks up with a knife and bundles her into a van with even more men waiting inside. She is so surprised she barely has time to understand what's happening, never mind save herself. A few days and one failed escape attempt later they arrive at Pandemonium.
There, Hannah meets other men and women in the same situation and the story turns into something else altogether. Their leader, Monin, loves them; he loves them with all of his heart. He is going to take care of them and all of their worries from the old world will disappear. And then, someone attempts to escape. Will they be successful? Will Hannah try to escape as well or will she be happy to remain there, free from the worries of work and family obligations? You'll have to read this to find out!
It's difficult to describe this book-it's dark fiction/horror,(obviously), but I also got a kind of cosmic horror vibe, or closer to an "other worlds overlapping and/or coexisting with ours" situation. There's also a bit of a cult feel to it-in regards to Monin. Who is this guy, (is he even a guy? Or something other-wordly?) What does he want? This is where the mystery and suspense comes in.
I have been reading Luke Walker's work for a while now and I have to say that it's these novels from him that I enjoy the most. By "these", I mean the ones with creative monsters, horrible worlds, and truly evil people. I also enjoy his ability to create strong, believable women as protagonists in his books, and Hannah is definitely one of them.
I enjoyed the creativity, the horror and the gore, (those rat-things skeeved me out!), and I especially liked Hannah and Piotr as characters. I liked trying to determine what was going to happen next and for all of these reasons:
I recommend PANDEMONIUM!
Available tomorrow, but you can pre-order here: PANDEMONIUM
*I was provided an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
A home invasion tale which differs in the fact that in this case, the invaders are actually moving in for a week or so.
I've been wanting to read something from The Behrg, and since I pre-ordered his latest book, I was eligible for a free download of one of his previous books-I chose HOUSEBROKEN, and here we are.
This story had so many twists and turns I had a hard time keeping up. The villain stood apart from the many hundreds of villains I've read about previously-that and the extremely fast pace had me hanging on until the final words were spoken. Other than perhaps being a bit too long, this book was excellent.
The narrator wasn't very skilled with female voices in my opinion, but his voicing of the villain was very good.
FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION is an impressive and imaginative group of stories that swept through me like a slow moving storm and left me like jello, shivering on the floor.
I can't list my thoughts on all of them here, but the ones that blew me away were:
AN INCIDENT IN CENTRAL VILLAGE- Pond monsters!
THE YATTERING-A haunted bookstore. Already, with the title and subject alone, it screams my name.
THE SICKENING-At this point in time, what with COVID19 and its effects, this tale was even scarier than it otherwise would have been.
At least COVID19 doesn't make us kill each other. At least not yet.
AND THE HITS JUST KEEP COMING -A "tables are turned" type of story.
LOTUS PETALS: LIMINAL PERSONAE-Body Horror that put me in mind of Geek Love or some of Michael Blumlein's work.
SYBARITES (OR THE ENMITY OF PERVERSE EXISTENCE) I don't even know what to say about this other than that this was the tale that cemented my thoughts about how great this collection really was.
To be honest, this was a collection where every story worked for me on some level or another. That's a rare occurrence, so I took my time savoring these tales and surrendered myself to whatever it was Mr. Rinaldi wanted to show me. I'm so glad I did!
My highest recommendation!
Get your copy here: FEAR OF FREE STANDING OBJECTS: A COLLECTION
*Thanks to Doug Rinaldi for the paperback arc in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
COLERIDGE is a gothic story as beautifully written as the cover is beautiful to look at!
Zadie and Delia meet at an auction of an old, dilapidated home. They get to talking and before they know it, they've formed a partnership and decided to rehab the place. Somewhere along the way they fall in love. As their work came to a close, however, Zadie seemed more and more preoccupied and Delia worried that Zadie had found someone else. That's not what was wrong, though. On top of that, Zadie didn't live to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Soon thereafter, a stranger shows up at Delia's shop claiming to be Zadie's father. Is he really Zadie's dad? What does he want with Delia? You'll have to read this to find out!
The characters of Delia and Zadie were wonderful. Their fondness soon turned to something more as their work on the house continued and all of that seemed to progress naturally. I could feel Delia's grief and pain later on because this portion was so well written.
I can't talk more about the mystery involved here with Coleridge, (the house), without giving too much away. I was fascinated with the history of it and by the time the tale of the house unfolded, I wanted, no - I NEEDED...more. More about the house, more about Coleridge, (also the name of the original owner/builder), more about...pretty much everything! I'm not sure if this was meant to be a series or a trilogy or something? I really hope it is, because as I said, I need MORE!
I loved this tale overall, I just felt a little let down by how it all wrapped up.
*Thanks to Silver Shamrock Publishing and Tom Deady for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. Also, I've met Tom Deady a few times and he's the nicest guy ever, and his wife is a sweetheart too.*
After the events in THE RESURRECTIONISTS, Salem Hawley is on a quest to find Al Azif, the mysterious grimoire stolen at the end of that book. Now, prepare yourself for a rip-roaring ride to Arkham!
In a horse drawn carriage on the way to find the book, Salem deals with racism and other problems. Even though he is a free man, he doesn't command much respect. Once he arrives at Arkham, he meets a mysterious woman named Louise LaMarche. Together they will have to face the most serious threats yet, namely, Dagon and the Deep Ones. Will he and Louise be able to find Al Azif? If so, will they find it in time to prevent Dagon and the others from overtaking Arkham? Lastly, will Salem and Louise survive? You'll have to read this to find out!
BORNE OF THE DEEP features some of the best battle scenes I've read in a long time. I thought a lot of blood was shed in the first book, but this one goes entirely off the rails. Salem is a brave, brave man to stand strong against what Dagon has in store. Fans of Lovecraft will recognize these names and see them brought to life more vividly than I've ever read before, and that includes Lovecraft's writing itself!
With a great historical background, and the integration of cosmic horror to boot, (most better than the original, [sorry, Lovecraft]), there is no way this series could fail to please or satisfy serious horror readers. I initially rated this 4 out of 5 stars, but after thinking about it overnight, I boosted my rating to the full 5. I couldn't have asked for anything more-other than the next book be released. Right now!
Kindle copies available now, just in time for social distancing! BORNE OF THE DEEP
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
I'm not that big a fan of James Taylor, but he's from the area where I live, (western MA) and I thought this audio might be interesting.
I was wrong. For a memoir that covers a musician with drug addictions and mental illness, this was boring. There's actually very little here because, (it felt like), there was a musical interlude every two minutes.
Perhaps, if you're a die hard James Taylor fan you would enjoy this. I was just wanting it to be over.
A free Audible Original for members.
Romping, chomping, creature-feature FUN!
I was on the outskirts of the Twitter community that spawned the idea for this story. It was fun to see most of those Tweeters turned into characters and killed in the book.
Perhaps a bit heavy on the anti-domestic violence message, but that didn't spoil the overall fun.
Recommended for fans of creature-features!
*I purchased this novella with my hard earned cash.*
Finally, I've read this!
I had high expectations for this book, and it didn't quite live up to them, but it came pretty close.
At times, I was outraged and at other times, I was just sad. Mostly because I see the seeds of some of this book's attitudes in our day to day lives now.
I will admit that I was pissed off at how this ended-but I will still read the second book.
*I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash.*
Set aboard the Titanic and aboard her sister ship, the Britanic, Alma Katsu weaves a haunting tale of love, grief, crime and class. Buy your boarding pass now!
I am a fan of alternating timelines and THE DEEP utilized that format. It was sometimes a little jarring, (I mean this in the best of ways), because of how vividly it brought home the differences between the Titanic, (the luxurious ocean-liner catering to the best of the best), and the Britanic, which by 1916 had been converted into a hospital ship serving during WWI. Men facing sudden, life- changing amputations and injuries vs. the creme de la creme of society in their fancy suits and gowns. It's a sharp contrast.
The characters here are well drawn and there's nice variety too: Gay boxers/con-men, those that are obsessed with the spiritual world, degenerate gamblers and cheaters galore. In this way, the writing reminded me a lot of Edith Wharton's characters and settings, and also the characters of Charles Dickens. What a weird combination, right?
Behind all of these interesting characters lurks a bit of a mystery, and perhaps a supernatural one at that. A woman survives the sinking of the Titanic only to find herself on her sister ship a mere four years later. It's quite a different trip this time around but one is left wondering who was haunted here? The ships or the woman?
I'm not gonna lie, I went into this expecting a horror novel. I didn't get one. Turns out, that was okay because I got a fascinating historical fiction story instead. To be honest, as the tale progressed, I was more interested in the goings-on of both ships, than the lack of any real horror. (Other than the horrors of what happened on both of these boats.) To my unpracticed eye, the research seemed well done and like I said-the details of the daily lives of the passengers stole my heart and attention.
THE DEEP may not have been what I expected, but in the end, I think that made me love it all the more.
Available March 10th, here: THE DEEP
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this tale in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*