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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Sci-Fi and Scary Coolthulhu Crew 2017 Challenge-March Update

The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett Wallflower - Chad Lutzke The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 3 (Walking Dead Compendium Tp) - Charlie Adlard, Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix, Ken Greenhall, Jessica Hamilton

 

 I am participating in a Horror Reading Challenge over at the Sci-Fi and Scary blog. You can sign up yourself at the Sci-Fi and Scary Blog here: Sci-Fi and Scary

 

This month I've read 4 books towards the challenge:

 

The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett

 

Wallflower by Chad Lutzke

 

The Walking Dead Compendium 3

 

Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall

 

March Total:  4

February total: 3

January Total: 5

 

Grand Total: 12

I've read 16% of Lucky Supreme and...

Lucky Supreme: A Novel of Many Crimes - Jeff Johnson

I'm loving it so far!

 

Jeff Johnson is such an interesting man, and his writing appeals to me. It always has a noir feel to it, it's filled with a dry, black sense of humor, there's always good food cooking, and his writing style is vivid and clear. 

 

My question is why he isn't more well known?

 

Drop Dead Gorgeous by Donald Allen Kirch

Drop Dead Gorgeous - Donald Allen Kirch

Drop Dead Gorgeous is a bizarre and erotic horror story that resonated with me.

 

U.S. Only Audiobook Giveaway at Horror After Dark! Click here to enter.

 

Ray wakes up duct taped to a chair and soon realizes that he is being held captive by the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. She wants to tell him a story, and he wants to stay alive. So begins this wicked tale of revenge, sex, lies, genetic modifications, lust, and, perhaps a bit of social commentary. These are the reasons I say it was bizarre, but bizarre in a good way!

 

 

(Click here to see the Drop Dead Gorgeous book trailer! )

 

I had no idea where this tale was going, so I just hung on for the ride. I'm not going to get further into the plot, because most of the other reviews already do that. I will say that Mr. Kirch deftly strings the reader along until the perfect ending quickly arrives, leaving said reader in a daze. I was worried he would chicken out and shy away from the denouement this story so richly deserved, but he didn't.

 

Steve, Eve, Wells and even the evil Annabelle were well drawn, realistic characters. Not one of them was a cardboard cutout, they each had depth; both good points and bad. Sometimes I found myself feeling sorry for the villains and hating the "good" guy.

 

There's a lot to be learned here too, at least there is to my mind. How society treats women, (and men, really), based on their bodies and their looks. Many women would kill to have the body of Eve, but she would kill to get rid of it. That got me to thinking that I should probably be careful about what I wish for. Also, there are some scary experiments going on with genetic modifications, nanos and science-y stuff, which brought many ethical questions to the forefront of my mind. We all know that scientists are working on ways to make us immortal and while most of us would probably like to live forever, is that actually a good thing? The world is overpopulated as it is. It's rare that an erotic horror story bring up questions of such import, but this one did.

 

All in all, Drop Dead Gorgeous adds up to more than the sum of its parts,  and it delivers over and above what you would expect from the cover. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it and look forward to reading more from Mr. Kirch in the future!

 

*Mr. Kirch provided Horror After Dark a review copy free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill, Christopher Golden

My favorite stories were:

 

Pop Art

20th Century Ghost

Better Than Home

My Father's Mask

Voluntary Committal

 

My thoughts on this collection cannot possibly make a dent in all of reviews already written about this book. Suffice it to say: I loved it and it gets my highest recommendation!

At the Cemetery Gates: Year One by John Brhel and Joseph Sullivan

At The Cemetery Gates: Year One - Chad Wehrle, John Brhel, Joseph T. Sullivan

At The Cemetery Gates: Year One is a collection of 14 short stories. Most of them feature cemeteries-if not actually set there, they're at least mentioned.

 

My favorite story of the bunch was An Epistle From the Dead which was a macabre tidbit with a touch of poignancy to it that really brought the story home.

 

Pictures of a Perpetual Subject was also a poignant tale with a haunting outcome that I won't soon forget.

 

The remaining stories were all good, but not outstanding. These are the types of tales to be told around a campfire at night or at a sleepover. In fact, I think they're perfect for those types of scenarios. Seasoned horror fans used to hard-core scares might come away slightly disappointed, but I believe the average horror reader would find these tales satisfying.

 

 

Today, this book is free! Click here: At The Cemetery Gates: Year One

 

Recommended!

 

*Horror After Dark was provided a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

To Die For by Alice Clark-Platts

To Die For - Alice Clark-Platts, Penguin Audiobooks, Rachel Bavidge

 

To Die For seemed more like part of a story, than a full one.

 

That said, a couple of the characters were very well drawn, (if hateful), and I would have liked to have read more about them. But by then, this "story" was over.

 

Thanks to Audible for the free download. I may try a full book from the author in the future.

Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall

Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix, Ken Greenhall, Jessica Hamilton

 

In the late 70's, I started reading horror in earnest, and I honestly thought I was familiar with most horror writers of the time. I was wrong. I'd never heard of Ken Greenhall until Valancourt Books brought him to my attention. Now, I want to get my hands on everything he's written.

 

Baxter, the bull terrier, is a sociopath. But he's just a dog, you might say! It's true, but he's observant, willful and extremely dangerous. With some portions of this book being from his point of view, the reader gets a clear look into what's going on in that doggie head of his. I know this book sounds cheesy, and perhaps like a rip-off of Cujo, but the facts are that it's not cheesy at all, and it was written before Cujo. Featuring keen insights into human behavior, precise but spare prose, and bringing to the reader a growing sense of dread and horror, I'm pretty sure this will be among the best books I will read this year.

 

My highest recommendation! You can get your copy here: Hell Hound

 

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

Batman, Volume 2: I Am Suicide by Tom King, Michael Janin and Mitch Gerads

Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide (Rebirth) - Mikel Janin, Tom King, David Finch

 

Tom King caught my eye with the Vision comics, so when I saw he was writing Batman Comics I immediately requested them from Net Galley. 

 

The first, Batman, Volume 1: I Am Gotham , was pretty good, so I was happy to try Batman, Volume 2: I am Suicide.  Unfortunately, I'm not enjoying these as much as I enjoyed Vision. Admittedly, this could be because I am not very familiar with DC Comics or superheroes, in general, so please keep this in mind.

 

The first story in this volume is I Am Suicide. I loved the artwork but the story seemed to be all over the place. Batman was trying to capture Psycho Pirate who is being kept by Bane, and he assembled a group of misfits, none of whom I'm familiar with, to do so. On the way there, he encounters resistance and repeats himself constantly. (He's trying to get to Psycho Pirate because something he has or can do can help Gotham Girl, who's still a mess from her experiences in I Am Gotham.) Bane is a super huge criminal dude being held in a prison called Santa Prisca. I thought that if I were more familiar with these characters things would make more sense, but from reading the other reviews here, that doesn't seem to be the case. Overall, this story was a 2.5 stars out of 5 for me, mostly because I thought the art was very cool.

 

Rooftops, which is the second story in this volume, was much better. It was a bit cheesy and predictable, but it had some humor and a nice connection between Batman and Catwoman. Again, the artwork in this story was excellent and conveyed the feelings the author was trying to get across. 4 out 5 stars.

 

 

I did enjoy this volume, just not as much as I expected to. I'm still interested in seeing where this series is going, because I love the idea of a dark Batman. He is developing as a complex character and I like that, it's just that this volume was a bit of a let down.

 

Available April 18th, you can pre-order a copy here: Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide (Rebirth)

 

*Thanks to Edelweiss for the free advance review copy in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, narrated by George Newbern

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman, George Newbern

 

This was such a touching, funny story it almost made this cold, cold heart shed a tear.

 

I can't help but see some similarities between this story and the movie Saint Vincent, with Bill Murray. Also, I have to say that this tale is a bit predictable.

 

Those things said, I did laugh out loud a few times while listening, and I thought this narrator did a fantastic job.

 

If you're looking for a sweet tale about a curmudgeonly old coot without a friend in the world, this book is for you!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thanks to Audible for the free download.*

I've read 50% of Hell Hound and...

Hell Hound - Grady Hendrix, Ken Greenhall, Jessica Hamilton

 

I'm torn between racing through to the end or slowing down to savor every word. I'm not sure how I missed Ken Greenhall back in the late 70's, since that's when I began to read horror in earnest. I only know that I will now try to track down everything he's written.

 

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home by Robin Furth, Peter David, & Jae Lee

The Dark Tower, Volume 2: The Long Road Home - Peter David, Stephen King, Richard Ianove, Jae Lee, Robin Furth

The second volume of The Dark Tower graphic novel series is as visually stunning as the first, but I felt the story quality was slightly below that of the first volume.

 

 

                               Our boy Sheemie, after his transformation:

 

It's a real treat to see the artist's renderings of these characters, but it's even better to see the settings and the Crimson King. There is so much detail in the art, that I could gaze at these images for hours and never get bored.

 

Sheemie is a badass now:

 

 

 

 

Based on the two volumes I've read of this series so far? I'm in love with Jae Lee and believe that he's a comic God.

 

That is all.

 

You can buy your copy by clinking the link below, or you can check your local libraries as I have. Either way I highly recommend this series!

 

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home

Man & Monster (The Savage Land, #2) by Michael Jensen

Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2) - Michael Jensen

 

 

Man & Monster (The Savage Land, #2) is a blast of an historical fiction, m/m romance, horror novel!

 

Cole ("Cold-Hearted") Seavey meets up with the characters from Man & Beast (The Savage Land, #1) , out on the Ohio Frontier, circa 1799. (Namely John Chapman, (Johnny Appleseed), and Pakim, (our handsome Delaware Brave). Pakim rescues Cole after he finds him badly injured as the result of an attack. An attack from what is the question; especially after this creature begins to attack Hugh's Lick-the small settlement that is closest to John Chapman's claim.

 

Soon the reader is fully engrossed in the story of this town, its inhabitants and whatever the thing is that's hunting them. The characters are so solidly drawn, they're vivid in my mind. I was happy to see John Chapman again, (I didn't know that he was going to be in this one!) and Cole turns out to be anything but cold-hearted. He soon develops feelings for Pakim and together with John Chapman and others, they struggle to defend themselves against what Pakim believes is a Wendigo.

 

The real meat of this story was the mystery of the Wendigo. I have always had a fondness for creatures of legends of myth, and Wendigos are near the top of my list. Native American cultures are fascinating and so are the stories they told to each other. The author's research into these and into the norms and taboos of the white frontier-folk of the time really shines through and rings true.

 

With many exciting action scenes and twisty turns of the plot, Man & Monster turned out to be a lot of fun, even though it's wayyyy out of my wheelhouse. To me, it's always the story that is paramount, and in that regard, Michael Jensen delivers.

 

Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction, m/m romance, and HORROR!

 

You can get your copy here: Man & Monster (The Savage Land: Book 2)

 

*I received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **In addition, I consider this author to be an online friend. This did not affect the content of my review.**

Why I love Reading

Reblogged from Chris' Fish Place:

I know that these posts are supposed to be genre based, but that's not goint to work for me.

 

For me, reading is life.  I know it is for many of us on sites like this or Goodreads or Librarything.  Pick your poision.  You have more books than you know what to do with.  The ereader is the book haul.  Your bedroom or house is simply a place where you sleep or live with books.  It's library with an alternate function.

 

I was, am, never the out going one.  I am the shy one, the quiet one, the one with her head in the book because the best thing about human race in many class is literature.  At first, books are an escape.  There's magic.  There's horses.  There's dragons.  The underdog wins.  The unpopularity doesn't matter because the book doesn't care.  You meet people like you in books.  The characters don't give a damn what your hang ups are, and they don't betray you - at least not in the real world way.  You can forget, submerge, be on Mars, Krynn, MIddle Earth, Medevial France, the Tudor Court, a mole in a hole.  

 

And you can stop reading.  You are in control and not in control.  It's a good feeling.

 

Because books are there.  Once, you just needed a library card.  Now, you need a phone or computer.  

 

Then you get older, and you realize that books teach you.  That Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown didn't just teach about story telling but about being a woman.  That non-fiction is worth reading too, even if it is about those long dead people.  

 

Non-fiction boards your mind.  Fiction does too.

 

It keeps you sane because it is the rabbit hole and the ruby slippers.  The way out, the way back.  It can protect you from those other humans, yet educate you about them too.

 

It is a way to make friends.

 

One of my oldest friends is my friend because we both loved The Hero and the Crown.  Today, we have many books in companion, and some we don't. I went to my first protest with my book club.   Every friend I have on a site like Booklikes or Goodreads is there because of books.  Books aren't about life; they are a key to life.

 

I love reading because it helped me find my voice.

Let's share book love!

Reblogged from Grimlock ♥ Vision:

 

February was all about love, book love. But let's face it, in book lover's world the book affection lasts 24/7 all year long. If you've missed BookLikes bloggers book love stories, here is your chance to sneek peek into the pieces once again. Read all readers' testimonies and get the insights of book bloggers' reading preferences and favorite genres.

 

We'd love to read your Book Love Story!

Tell the world why you love reading books and we'll be more than happy to spread the word, feature and interview you on the BookLikes blog!

Remember to add why I love tag to your post :)

 

Why I love fantasy books#1 Book Love Story: Why I love fantasy books

A guest post by YouKneeK

Anybody who has followed me for more than, say, a week could tell you that I love science fiction and fantasy books. Of those two genres, fantasy is my favorite. Unlike many fantasy readers who could regale you with tales of their childhood favorites that inspired a lifelong love of fantasy, I didn’t get addicted until my early twenties. It all started with a computer game called Betrayal at Krondor. It was a role-playing game in which the text was actually written like a book, and the player feels like a character in that book.  I loved the game and wanted more.  When I learned that it was based on a series of books by some guy named Raymond E. Feist, I decided to try them. I started reading Magician: Apprentice, and I’ve been hooked ever since... read more

 

#2 Book Love Story: Why I love horror books

A guest post by Charlene from Char's Horror Corner

When I was young, there were very few children in my neighborhood, so I spent a lot of my time reading. The Bookmobile would come around once a week and I would check out as many books as I could hold. Back then, (only allowed to check out children's and young adult books), it was Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Conan Doyle that tickled my fancy. Poe-especially. I remember reading his story The Black Cat and getting a delicious case of the shivers-and so my love of horror was born!... read more

 

#3 Book Love Story: Why I love non-fiction books

A guest post by Mike from Book Thoughts

I am very excited to have a chance to share my passion for reading history with you all. I have had a life-long love of history, and grew up in a house where my father spent all of his free time either reading or talking about history.  I have always been fascinated about the past, and my childhood experience led to what is now a career reading and teaching history.

I have taught history at the high school and community college level for 15 years and my love for history has only grown during that time.  Too many adults think back to their history classes when they were in school and remember being bored and having to memorize facts and dates.  History is so much more than that!  To understand where we came from and how the world we live in was created by those who came before us is fascinating... read more

 

#4 Book Love Story: Why I Love Comic Books and Graphic Novels

A guest post by Grimlock ♥ Vision

I remember was first introduced to comic books by one of my first boyfriends, whom I indulged. It was, by the way, the death of our relationship: he took me the store, and reluctantly handed me She-Hulk I dumped him within a week, hoarding my own stack of X-Men. He probably looked at the comics, looked at me, and asked, ‘But why?’ He underestimated me, and I couldn't abide by that. It killed the relationship, but struck up a life long love of comics. I’ve always loved books as well as movies and TV, so the cinematic flair of the visual aspects combined with storytelling just works for me in comics... read more

 

#5 Book Love Story: Why I love historical fiction

A guest post by Susanna from SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

I love historical fiction. I love it in so many of its forms, from fictionalized biographies of long-dead monarchs, to stories about "normal people" of the past, to historical mysteries, time travel stories, and historical romances.

Why do I love historical fiction? I read in order to be taken on a trip to places I would otherwise never visit, and historical fiction is the gateway to the past.  And I love and am interested in the past - I trained as a historian.

I confess I can be a bit picky about historical fiction. There is nothing more likely to take me out of the flow of a book I'm enjoying than to run headlong into a "fact" that's wrong.   My next reaction is undoubtedly going to be "well, if they got that wrong, what else did they get wrong that I didn't catch?"  But good historical novel can give you a feel for another time and place in great ways.  You can feel like you've been there yourself... read more

 

#6 Book Love Story: Why I love romance books

A guest post by Cat's Books: Romance

I unabashedly love Romance Novels.

I love them as at the center of the best ones are optimism, human connection, and feminism. The Happily Ever After promise allows the reader to explore very dark themes at times wit the knowledge that there will be hope and love no matter what. 

Because the main stay of romance is the find of a partner, the question of how to build a lasting connection and all the psychological l complexity of that quests shapes every romance. Most every romance is female centered. Female desire and viewpoints control the narrative... read more

 

#7 Book Love Story: Why I love writing books

A guest post by Ned Hayes

Storytelling is a calling: we manufacture meaning out of events through the act of storymaking. After all, the human experience doesn’t really make sense on a day to day basis. Story is a fabric laid transparent over the bumps and bricks of random occurrence, a map showing the past and the future. It is as if we weave a web of story, from inside ourselves, like a spider, and live in it, and call it world.

I believe that story is in fact all powerful in our lives. To be truly human is to tell stories. Without stories – without that rhythm of beginning, middle, and end, without that hopefulness of meaning being given by seeing the pattern of a story – I believe that we become less than human. I believe that storytelling is what makes us human. We are homo storytelli or homo sinificans, the storytelling creature... read more

 

Let's share book love!

Hell Hound (1977) by Ken Greenhall

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

New release! Don't be fooled by the schlocky title: Ken Greenhall's Hell Hound (1977) is a lost classic of literary horror whose titular canine, according to Too Much Horror Fiction, "makes Cujo seem like a clumsy amateur". Narrated from the point of view of a sociopathic bull terrier on a homicidal search for the perfect master, Greenhall's novel was adapted for the French black comedy film Baxter (1989). Features a new intro by Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör and My Best Friend's Exorcism.

 

 

Book Description

‘What are the possibilities of my strength? That is a thought I have never had before. What if some morning as the old woman stood at the head of the staircase she were suddenly to feel a weight thrusting against the back of her legs? What if she were to lunge forward, grasping at the air, striking her thin skull against the edge of a stair? What would become of me if she were found unmoving at the bottom of the stairway?’

Such are the thoughts of Baxter, a sociopathic bull terrier on the hunt for the perfect master, as he contemplates the demise of his first victim. The basis for the acclaimed 1989 film Baxter, Ken Greenhall’s utterly chilling and long-unobtainable Hell Hound (1977) has earned a reputation as a lost classic of horror fiction. This first-ever reissue includes a new introduction by Grady Hendrix.

Available worldwide:

Paperback
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK
eBook
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Princess Diarist written and read by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

 

Even though I'm not a Star Wars fan, I am a big fan of Carrie Fisher.

 

I loved how outspoken and honest she was about her life and mental health. After listening to The Princess Diarist I now love how honest she was about her affair with Harrison Ford. I also greatly enjoyed her talking about some of her fan interactions; they were hilarious!

 

It's nice to hear someone from Hollywood talking about how insecure she was about her hair, her weight, etc... You would never know it from watching Princess Leia and her buns of Navarone. (As she called them.) As a role model for strong women, one could do much worse than the Princess.

 

Recommended for anyone interested in learning more about Carrie Fisher and Star Wars!

Currently reading

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror by Bentley Little;P. Gardner Goldsmith;Lorne Dixon;Michael A. Arnzen;Pat MacEwen;Ray Garton;Ian Withrow;John F.D. Taff;Jeff Strand;Kevin Lucia;Benjamin Kane Ethridge;Shane McKenzie;Steve Vernon;Charles Colyott;Taylor Grant;Dev Jarrett;Eric J. Guignard;J. S.
The Dark Tower, Volume 4: Fall of Gilead by Peter David, Stephen King, Richard Ianove, Robin Furth
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, Kim Staunton
Progress: 67%
Dear Sweet Filthy World by Caitlín R. Kiernan
Progress: 10%
Lucky Supreme: A Novel of Many Crimes by Jeff Johnson
Progress: 75%

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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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