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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The Devil's Own Work by Alan Judd, narrated by Matt Godfrey

The Devil's Own Work - Alan Judd, Owen King

 

The Devil's Own Work is a beautifully written, subtly told Faustian tale, which the narrator performs perfectly.

 

A man relates the story of his friend, Edward, and how he became a famous and successful writer. A writer who, although he writes many words, ultimately has nothing of substance to say. Further along, we discover that Edward inherited a manuscript from a recently deceased author named Tyrell. With that manuscript he also seems to have inherited a beautiful, ageless woman named Eudoxy.

 

As the story unfolds, we learn more about the manuscript, (which only can be read one letter at a time, because to try to see an actual word results in the reader seeing gibberish.) It's when this manuscript falls into Edward's hands that he suddenly becomes successful. Is that because of the manuscript itself, or because of the mysterious Eudoxy? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This novella length story is tight and slow to build. There isn't necessarily a denouement, but instead a growing realization of horror and what is truly involved. If you are a reader expecting a lot of action, this isn't the tale for you. However, if you have a love of language and precise storytelling, AND this premise sounds intriguing to you, I highly recommend you give The Devil's Own Work a try. It probably won't provoke any screams or shouts of terror from you, but I bet it will give you a bad case of the heebies-jeebies.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*This audiobook was provided free of charge by the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Halloween bingo: game format

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

 

Game Format Changes!

 

We're going to be playing our game a bit differently this year!

 

The first difference is that all of the players will play with a different bingo card! OB & I have come up with 31 reading "squares" that are focused in four broad categories: mystery/murder, horror, Stranger Things (the television show) and supernatural/creature feature. Each card will have a combination of 24 squares, with a free space!

 

Custom Cards!

 

So, how do you get your card? You ask me to create you one! I'll be announcing all of the categories in tomorrow's post, and you will be able to request your card with as much or as little specificity as you desire! You can give me the list of 24 squares that you want, you can identify specific squares that you don't want, you can ask for a focus on one or two of the four broad categories, or you can just let me surprise you! The easiest way to request your card will be in the bingo group, where there will be a thread created for just this purpose!

 

Bingo Calls!

 

Next - we're adding bingo calls to the game! Every other day, starting on September 1, 2017, OB or I will post the "square" that we are calling for the day. You do not need to finish the book before the next call & books can be read in any order. However, to "fill" a square, two events must both have occurred - the square must be called & you must have finished the book! Every square will eventually get called, so everyone will be able to "black out" their card by the end of the game!

 

Group Reads!

 

Group reads are optional, but are a lot of fun! We'll be doing two group reads this year, one in September & one in October. The September read will be a classic noir mystery & the October read will be classic horror. Further details will be announced on this later - but the good news is that the group reads will operate as universal matches. You can fill any square with the group read if you participate by reading the book and posting in the group discussion at least once!

 

Bragging Rights!

 

This game is just for fun - so no prizes. But the winners get full bragging rights, and reading and playing is its own reward!

Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #6) by Stephen King, narrated by George Guidall

Song of Susannah  - George Guidall, Stephen King

 

Song of Susannah was not as enjoyable for me this time around. I deducted one star from my original rating.

 

It seemed like there were a lot of words, (especially the word "chap", enough already!) but the story didn't seem to move very far.

 

What I really enjoyed about this audio book were the diary entries from SK himself, which were read by the narrator after the story was over. In these entries, he talks about his drinking, about how some of the DT stories came about, and about how he and his wife argued over his taking his daily walks alongside a busy highway. That was truly chilling. I don't remember these being in the book back when I read it the first time, so it may be something that was only included in the audio, or in reprints of the original book? If I'm in error about that, I'm sure someone will let me know.

 

I only have one book to go in my audio re-read of the DT series.

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.*

The Lost Boys Volume 1 by Tim Seeley

The Lost Boys Vol. 1 - Tim Seeley

 

The Lost Boys Vol. 1 picks up where the movie left off. The Frog brothers are celebrating their victory over David and his gang of vampires but their victory is short-lived. There are new vampires in town and their gang is called the Blood Belles. Will the Frog brothers be able to defeat this new gang in the "murder capital of the world," Santa Carla? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I enjoyed the nostalgia I felt while reading this. Back in 1987 when the movie came out, it was all the rage. We got two Coreys-Feldman and Haim, not to mention the good looking Jason Patrick. For me though, it was great to see David again,(portrayed by the incredibly hot Kiefer Sutherland in the film), he was always my favorite. I think this volume stayed true to the feel of the original movie and the characters-I was happy about that.

 

 

What I didn't much like was the dialogue and the simplicity of the story line. I understand that this is for fun and nostalgia and all that, but there's no reason that the story can't be more geared to adults. Even though there was some language here, I feel like it was geared more to the person I was back in the 80's, rather than who I am now. Does that make any sense?

 

 

 

I can't complain too much though, because I did enjoy this comic quite a bit. The graphics were dynamic and true to the movie and I loved seeing all these old characters again-(man, I wanted to be Star, [Jamie Gertz]), back then. I had a lot of fun reading this and will continue with the series, if only just for the fun and nostalgia of it.

 

On sale August 15th, here: The Lost Boys Vol. 1

 

 

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

I've read 124 out of 144 pages of The Lost Boys and...

The Lost Boys Vol. 1 - Tim Seeley


Remember this guy from the movie?

 

 

I laughed out loud when he made an appearance!

 

This comic is fun and brings back a lot of memories. The Frog brothers are here, along with Michael and Sam, David and Star. 

 

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

This is how I feel walking into a library or bookstore. 

 

 

 

Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman

Marvel 1602 - Neil Gaiman, Richard Ianove, Andy Kubert

This was tongue in cheek fun and it was beautifully illustrated. 

I am beginning to believe that Neil Gaiman can do anything. 

I'm not very familiar with the Marvel universe as I'm still relatively new to comics and graphic novels and superheroes really aren't my thing. But you don't need to know all of that stuff to enjoy this. I knew enough to recognize most of the characters by their real names and that was all I needed to know. So if you're thinking about giving this a try, I say go for it. And if my word isn't enough, feast your eyes on a just a little bit of the beauty within!

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost City of the Monkey God

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story - Douglas Preston, Bill Mumy

 

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story is not my normal cuppa, but came to me highly recommended. I'm glad that I reserved the audio at my library.

 

The story was enjoyable and educational, but I was slightly disappointed at the time spent actually exploring. The beginning of the book goes into previous expeditions to areas near this city and the problems faced due to the fact that Honduras can be a very dangerous country. Not only due to the insects, snakes and other poisonous creatures, but also because of drug cartels.

 

The brief portion that involved the actual exploration was fascinating. Imagine going into an area completely untouched by mankind in 500 hundred years. How exciting! However, the actuality of exploring such an area means exposing oneself to thousands of dangers from extremely deep mud, insects of all kinds, snakes and even jaguars, to name just a few.

 

There was another brief section talking about the problems with other archaeologists and academia throwing shade on this expedition, some of them doing so with no REAL knowledge of what went on, how LIDAR worked and what was found.

 

Lastly, and the part I found most interesting, was what happened to many of the explorers after they got home and that is: Leishmaniasis. OMG. This is a disease, (actually many diseases and symptoms, grouped under one name), which is carried by tiny sand flies. The havoc this disease can wreak is almost unbelievable. This led to another section of the book which spoke about new world diseases and how they affected the Americas. There is talk of how some of the early civilizations disappeared and how that may have been caused by parasites and diseases. I found all of this fascinating but extremely scary. Most especially when it was mentioned that cases of Leish have now been found in Texas and the speculation about how that is because sand flies are moving northward due to climate change.

 

What I found most surprising is that many of the explorers that were diagnosed and treated for Leish, jumped at the chance to go back to the site. I can only assume that they were CRAZY!

 

I enjoyed this book and I learned a lot about Honduras and its history. I recommend The Lost City of the Monkey God to anyone interested in learning more about Honduras, the city and the history of the world, in general.

 

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

The Suicide Motor Club by Christopher Buehlman

The Suicide Motor Club - Christopher Buehlman

 

 Vampires and American muscle cars. It's like this book was tailored to me personally. And on top of that, it ROCKED!

 

A family is on a road trip on an American highway one night, with their young son in the back seat. A car with no lights on pulls up next to them, grabs the arm of the boy, (he had his arm out the window), and poof, the boy is gone. Next thing you know, the car is crashed on the side of the road, with both mom and dad badly injured. Where did the boy go? Who took him? Will he ever see his father and mother again? You'll have to read this to find out.

 

There's no sparkling here and there's no romance, (well, maybe a little, but it's a different type of romance.) Instead, these vamps traveled in a pack during the late 60's. For me, the time period was a perfect, refreshing setting because: 1. the cars were all American,(this was a time before the invasion of imported cars), 2. I'm an American car gal AND I love muscle cars and 3. there were no cell phones or other technologies distracting me from the story.

 

At this point in my horror-reading life, I'm vampired out. It takes a special book to get me excited about them, and this one was it. I loved the return of vampires with hypnotizing skills, (remember when Dracula did that hypnotizing thing?), ones that can make you do his/her bidding and then forget you ever saw them. I enjoyed the fact that these vampires had other special skills which I'll leave you to discover on your own, (but trust me the skills were COOL). I loved that these monsters were just that: MONSTERS in capital letters. Lastly, I also loved the fact that the protagonist was strong and female, never exactly sure of her strength but pressing on just the same. Jude was one to root for and root I did! 

 

Now I'm sad that I only have one Christopher Buehlman book left to read. If you're out there, sir, I hope you're working on something new!

 

If you haven't read any of Mr. Buehlman's work as of yet, you should rectify that-and quickly! I doubt you'd be disappointed with any of them, but I highly recommend The Suicide Motor Club! It might just restore your faith in vampire horror stories and give you a new author to read!

 

You can get your copy here: The Suicide Motor Club

 

*I obtained my copy through my awesome public library, because I'm usually broke. Libraries RULE*

APPROVED!!

Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction - Grady Hendrix

 

I ask you, is there anyone more perfect to review this book than yours truly? I think not!

 

I requested this from NetGalley back in March or April, and I just got approved today. 

 

So...WHOOHOO!

 

The Daily Show: An Oral History

The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests - Chris Smith, Jon  Stewart

 

This book was a lot of fun! It seems like everyone that was ever part of the show as far as on-air personalities or behind the scenes people were interviewed here. However, many of the guests-friendly to the show or not, were also interviewed, which made the book all the more interesting.

 

I learned a lot about the dynamics of the show and how it worked. I learned about who was not happy there and who was. I learned that Jon Stewart paid people out of his own pocket for as long as he could when the writers went on strike. I learned that Jon really cared about the people he worked with, and he deeply cared about some causes-like obtaining health care for 9/11 rescuers. I learned all of this and plenty more, laughing all the while.

 

I enjoyed hearing what John McCain felt when interviewed, (at times friendly interviews, at others-not so much). Anthony Weiner, Hillary Clinton and many others were also interviewed-all very absorbing.

 

This book didn't present only one side, but it did mostly slant towards loving Jon Stewart, and since I already did that, now I love and respect him even more. I'm not sure if the book started out to deify Jon, or if it was just because he's actually a good man- so what everyone had to say about him was mostly positive.

 

What I disliked about this audio book is that actors do all the voices. First, that was hard to get used to. Second, since all of these former employees, guests, and comedians were interviewed for this book already, wasn't there a way to get their permissions to use their actual voices instead of actors?

 

The Daily Show: An Oral History was hilarious and I learned a lot. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the show.

 

*Thanks to my awesome local library for the audiobook loan.*

July 2017 Round Up!

Bone White - Ronald Malfi A Game of Ghosts: A Charlie Parker Thriller - John Connolly The Necromancer's House - Christopher Buehlman Halloween Carnival Volume 1 - Lisa Morton, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Brian James Freeman, Robert R. McCammon Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories - Gary Gianni, Gary Gianni The Twilight Pariah - Jeffrey Ford For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska, Steve Upham, Charles Black, Reggie Oliver, Reggie Oliver Behind Her Eyes: A Novel - Sarah Pinborough Zomcats! - Amanda Horan, Graeme Parker, Jack Strange Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

In July I read 19 books!

 

Graphic Novels:

 

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, House of Cards

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three, The Prisoner

American Vampire, Volume 6

Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories

 

Total: 4

 

Audio Books:

 

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough 

Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

The Necromancer's House by Christopher Buehlman

Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi

Nevertheless: A Memoir by Alec Baldwin

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman 

 

Total: 6

 

ARCS:

 

Dark Screams: Volume Seven edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar

Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

Halloween Carnival Volume 1 by various authors

A Game of Ghosts by John Connolly

Spinal Tap: The Big Black Book by Wallace Fairfax

Bone White by Ronald Malfi

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

 

Total: 7

 

Random Books 

 

Zomcats! by Jack Strange

For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska 

 

Total: 2

 

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

Running Count: 5

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

 

Running Count: 28 CHALLENGE MET! WHOOHOO! 

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

The Twilight Pariah - Jeffrey Ford

 

Everyone knows that you don't disturb buried skeletons. Everyone except Henry, Maggie and Russell, that is. With the summer off from college, three high school pals get together as Maggie has convinced the other two to help her with her amateur archaeology project. They're going to dig up an old outhouse pit and see what they can find. Not only do they find a buried skeleton, the skeleton is very small and it has horns. Anyone sane of mind would leave that thing alone, fill the hole back up and take off-but that wouldn't make for a very good horror story now would it? And this is definitely a good horror story! So what happens to the demon baby skeleton? What happens to this trio of friends almost immediately after disturbing said skeleton? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Digging up an outhouse pit , (at night of course), near an old abandoned mansion is a creepy endeavor to start with, and when odd things started happening it got very creepy indeed. I especially loved the portions about the mansion and the Prewitts, the people that used to live there. Actually, I would have loved to have learned more about them and the history of the family. Still, what happened to Marlby Prewitt and what resulted from that incident, was a unique and new idea, (at least to me), and I loved what Mr. Ford did with his creation.

 

The Twilight Pariah was a LOT of fun! I read it in just two sittings and when I finished, I was sorry that it was over. There is a lot to be said for lean storytelling and tight prose, but let me be clear, I would have delighted in more! More of the Prewitts, more of the trio and their friendship, more, more, more! In such a tight space, Mr. Ford brought these characters alive, made me care for them, and then boom! It was over and he took them away!

 

I'm embarrassed to say that this was my first book from Jeffrey Ford, but it will not be my last. I HIGHLY recommend The Twilight Pariah!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: The Twilight Pariah

 

 *I received this paperback ARC free of charge by responding to a Tweet from Mr. Ford. This did not affect my opinion of this awesome story.*

 

Find this review and others like it at: www.Horrorafterdark.com

Booklikes-opoly Update!

The Twilight Pariah - Jeffrey Ford

I finished my Free Friday book last night, (The Twilight Pariah),  and that will be it for me as far as Booklikes-opoly! At 176 pages, I net $4.00 and my total bank is: 68.00! (I have to wait a little bit to review this as it's an ARC, but I will.)

 

My bank is kind of lame, I know, but I think I did well, considering that my reading is planned out for almost a year ahead! Luckily, M.R. and Obsidian did a great job creating the board which allowed for many different books-I usually was able to find something to fit. 

 

I had a great time playing and want to thank M.R. and Obsidian again for all the fun that was Booklikes-opoly!

For Those Who Dream Monsters by Anna Taborska

For Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska, Steve Upham, Charles Black, Reggie Oliver, Reggie Oliver

For Those Who Dream Monsters is an excellent collection of well written short stories. Not all of them are horror, but I thought that almost all of them were good.

 

A lot of Polish history comes through in these tales, with actual history making an appearance as well as a few myths from Polish culture.

 

There were even some laughs, such as in DIRTY DYBBUK, in which a virtuous young girl is invaded by the spirit of her horny aunt. Most of this collection is on the dark side however, such as the stories LITTLE PIG and THE GIRL IN THE BLUE COAT-tales about the cold inhumanity of war. I also enjoyed SCHRODINGER'S HUMAN and UNDERBELLY as they both made me gleefully uncomfortable.

 

A widely varied collection of marvelous stories from a new to me author is like finding a nugget when sifting for gold. It makes me excited for the future. Hopefully, Anna Taborska is working on something meatier that we can all sink our teeth into!

 

Highly recommended!

Currently reading

The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman
Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three: Lady of Shadows by Peter David, Jonathan Marks, Robin Furth
Progress: 68/128pages
Haunted Nights by Lisa Morton, Ellen Datlow
Progress: 34%
Through A Glass Darkly by Donald Allen Kirch
Progress: 130/292pages

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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
Ghoul
Billy


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