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 2.15.19

 

ALIEN: RIVER OF PAIN by Christopher Golden (Audiobook)

Alien: River of Pain - Christopher Golden

I especially liked the last one I listened to ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS by Tim Lebbon, so I thought I would enjoy this one just as much. I didn't.

 

I felt that during the first half, not much happened, other than us meeting everyone, which seemed like a bit of a waste due to spoiler-y reasons.

 

Also, when the action finally started, it was a bit difficult to fathom what was going on-I mean you could figure it out- but it seemed silly to go through all of these performances, screaming and sound effects, only to have to figure out what happened by the actual dialogue before and after the event.

 

Overall though, this was a free audio and I was entertained- I just didn't get anything new.

 

*Thanks to Audible for the free download.*

THE IMMACULATE VOID by Brian Hodge

The Immaculate Void - Brian Hodge

 

THE IMMACULATE VOID is a stellar entry in the fields of cosmic horror and dark fiction!

 

Brian Hodge has long been a favorite author of mine and this novel only justifies his position on my favorite authors list.

 

I'm finding that I don't have adequate words to properly review this book. (Which is the same way I felt about John Langan's THE FISHERMAN.) I was lucky enough to read both of these novels in 2019 and I'm just worried that nothing else I read this year will be as good as these two books.

 

My HIGHEST recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: THE IMMACULATE VOID

 

*This book is on the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List and for good reason. If you don't want to listen to me, please listen to them!* http://locusmag.com/2019/02/2018-locus-recommended-reading-list/

 

** Book source: I bought this book with my hard earned cash.**

Paperbacks from Hell with Valancourt!

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

From the pages of Grady Hendrix's best-selling Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction (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. 

A subscription service including all five books is available. See details below. The books included:

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

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

THE TRIBE by Bari Wood, introduced by Grady Hendrix

THE SPIRIT by Thomas Page, introduced by Grady Hendrix

THE REAPING by Bernard Taylor, introduced by Will Errickson



The inaugural volume, Gregory A. Douglas's The Nest, goes on sale April 2, with one new volume per month thereafter. Collect them all! 

 

 

Book Description

It 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!

Following in the footsteps of other “animal attack” classics like Jaws and The Rats, Gregory A. Douglas’s shocker The Nest (1980) is an ’80s paperback horror classic and was the basis for a 1988 cult film adaptation. This edition features a new introduction by Too Much Horror Fiction blogger Will Errickson.

PRE-ORDER NOW:

Individual paperbacks can be ordered at the list price of $16.99 each plus $3.49 shipping in the US/UK, or you can subscribe to the whole set for a flat $85, which covers all five books and the five separate shipping costs to send each one (US/UK only), working out to a discount of 20% off the list price on the books.

INFORMATION ABOUT SHIPPING

Books are sent out as they become available. If you pre-order all five books, you will receive one at a time. Pricing for the subscription service includes shipping to the US and UK.

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS

If you are outside of the US and UK and you want to pre-order all five paperbacks, please contact us through our contact form with your address and we can send you a Paypal invoice with the exact shipping for your country. Books are sent out as they become available. If you pre-order all five books, you will receive one at a time. Ebooks can be purchased without contacting us.

Books purchased individually will have shipping calculated during checkout using the Paypal buttons.

Visit our website for ordering. 

WAITING OUT WINTER by Kelli Owen

Waiting Out Winter - Kelli Owen

A few years ago we had an invasion of caterpillars that was so bad we would be driving over a carpet of them to get into our garage. Seriously, our blacktop was a moving wave of caterpillars. It freaks me out to this day, but hey-at least they didn't fly. Just think about how hard it is to avoid flies!

 

WAITING OUT WINTER is about an invasion of killer flies; a government experiment gone wrong, (don't they always?) However this isn't your average romping, chomping creature feature. This is a quiet little horror story, taking place during an apocalypse, but focused on the disaster from a small town and family point of view. It's not gory, but it is poignant, sad and scary.

 

This was a short, entertaining story and only my second from Kelli Owen. I recommend it and I will be on to the second novella shortly!

 

You can get a copy here: WAITING OUT WINTER

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash and Kelli Owen was kind enough to sign it for me. Thank you, Kelli!*

THE DEVIL ASPECT by Craig Russell

The Devil Aspect - P. Craig Russell

 

1935, Prague.

 

A young doctor named Viktor comes to the ancient castle/asylum, Hrad Orlu, excited to test his new theories in psychology. Housed at this asylum, isolated atop a mountain, are the 6 most dangerous killers alive today. At the bottom of the mountain in the town proper, a police detective named Lukas is trying his best to solve a series of murders which the press attributes to the "leather apron killer." At the same time as these events, the Nazis are on the rise in Germany. Will Viktor's new theories pan out, and allow psychiatry to identify dangerous individuals in the future? Will Lukas find his killer? Will the Nazis put a stop to all of that before it has even properly begun? You'll have to read THE DEVIL ASPECT to find out!

 

I found this book to be a marvelous new (to me), voice in fiction. The synopsis of this book had me so psyched I couldn't help but want to read it right away. I loved the Gothic setting of the castle, surrounded by rocky areas and dense forest. (What horror lover doesn't love that type of isolated setting?) Yet, just down the mountain is a town full of scared people. Losing its citizens one by one to a brutally violent killer, with what seems like zero progress by the police- I almost expected to see the townsfolk armed with torches heading up to the castle. (Because, surely that must be from where their misfortune emanates?)

 

But, that didn't happen, because the voice of Craig Russell is more original than that. This tale twisted and turned until I had no clue what was going to happen! As more of Viktor's theories were tested, some things became clearer, while others became more perplexing. On top of all this, there was the rise of the Nazi party always in the background. Combined together, these components contributed to the overall feelings of anxiety and darkness that permeated this book.

 

So why 4 stars and not 5? I felt the pacing dragged a bit during the middle portion of the story. Even though I was interested in all of the criminals Viktor was interviewing, I didn't feel that all of them were integral to the tale. It's a small thing, but at times I felt like I had been reading quite a lot without really getting anywhere.

 

This is what I took away from THE DEVIL ASPECT: A NOVEL. Fun? Check! Hypnotizing scenes between the doctor and the criminals? Check! A Gothic castle, set atop a mountain surrounded by a dense forest, and creating a dark and gloomy atmosphere? Check! Twists and turns galore which put our heroes in jeopardy? Check! A denouement to beat the band? Hell yes!

 

In short, (too late!), I recommend this novel to fans of the above, but most especially to fans of Gothic fiction and psychological horror! I predict that this novel is going to knock some socks off!

 

Available March 5th, but you can pre-order here: THE DEVIL ASPECT: A NOVEL

 

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

#FridayReads 2.8.19

 

THE RED HOUSE by David J. Thacker

The Red House - David J Thacker

 

A young group of boys spending the bulk of their summer vacation in the woods meet a new boy named Lawrence. He's dirty and bloody and generally beat up and he's also quiet about his life. One day one of the boys follows Lawrence home. What does he find there? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

THE RED HOUSE is a quiet little tale of dark fiction which I can't say too much about without spoilers. It was creepy and atmospheric and perhaps an indictment of industrialism and what it has done to small towns?

 

Overall, I liked it and it was a pleasant way to spend my lunch hour.

 

Recommended!

 

Get your copy here: THE RED HOUSE

 

*I received an e-copy of this short story in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

*Find this review and others like it at www.HorrorAfterDark.com.*

#FridayReads 2.1.19

 

THE DEVIL ASPECT - synopsis

The Devil Aspect - P. Craig Russell

You know when you read a good book description and it gets you all fired up?

 

I requested this one from NetGalley, based on this description only. That was a month or two ago, so last night when I picked this up, I read it again. Now I'm excited all over again!

 

Whomever wrote this description should be writing actual books, I think!

 

Prague, 1935: Viktor Kosárek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country's six most treacherous killers--known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon--and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier--London's Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum. 

Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.
 

THE WORST IS YET TO COME by S. P. Miskowski

The Worst is Yet to Come - S.P. Miskowski

 

Small town living-it's just the best, right? There's none of that violence you hear about in big cities and the people are friendlier too or so we've all heard. Unfortunately, none of that applies to Skillute.

 

A couple and their young daughter move to Skillute for exactly the reasons listed above. But Skillute is a dying town, and as it turns out? The people are really not that friendly. Especially, if like the Davis family, you're coming from liberal-town USA. It's not only the politics of the situation that keep the Davis family isolated though, it's Skillute itself.

 

When the Davis' daughter, Tasha, finally makes friends with a new classmate, Briar, her parents are excited, yet fearful. Briar isn't all they had hoped for -being from a broken family and all. But Tasha and Briar's friendship soon becomes more solid, with their secrets being the thread that stitches them together. What are their secrets? What is wrong with Skillute? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Over the last few years, I've forgotten how much I enjoyed the work of S.P. Miskowski. She writes a quiet kind of horror which is the kind I prefer these days. The town of Skillute reminds me in some ways of Charles L. Grant's Oxrun Station. The history of Skillute can be found in a few of Miskowski's other books, (THE SKILLUTE CYCLE), but it's not necessary to read them to "get" this one. They all take place in different time periods so that the history of Skillute unfolds in front of you, mostly through the eyes of its women.

 

There are ghosts in this town, there are witches and there are spirits as of yet undefined. Not everything is spelled out for you like a game of Scrabble. Some things you have to figure out for yourself. I enjoy that. I feel that the author respects me enough to trust me to see where she's going. To see the meaning-to see the inevitable end. And boy, that end?! I suspect it's going to raise some hackles out there! It didn't raise mine though: for me, it ended on a perfect note.

 

I loved this tale of small town life, the supernatural, and most of all: the people. The characters here came alive and while none of them were perfect, they all came across as real to me and as such? I felt for them. Maybe you could let yourself feel for them too?

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available February 22, but you can pre-order here: THE WORST IS YET TO COME

 

*Thank you to S. P. Miskowski for providing a free e-ARC with no strings attached. I freely chose to read and review this book honestly.*

PSYCHOTOPIA by R. N. Morris

Psychotopia - William Morris

 

PSYCHOTOPIA. The cover, the synopsis, the title, and the review of a friend all prompted me to request this book from NetGalley. I'm so glad I did!

 

There are several threads working together in this speculative fiction story. One from the POV of a policeman. Another from a young woman recently used and used hard by a handsome rogue. And lastly, there are chapters from a video game designer, talking about the architecture of a new, interactive, virtual reality experience. Such contrasting views, yet somehow I knew they would eventually come together, and they did.

 

PSYCHOTOPIA takes a hard look at the world and how it has evolved. Specifically, how humans have evolved. Is it possible that in an age so dark and hopeless a psychopath could be viewed as the natural evolution of mankind? A person who doesn't recognize the feelings of others, is free from the guilt that hurting others can bring. Is that a good thing or a bad thing in this new world?

 

What would happen if someone invented a machine which could determine if a person was a psychopath or not? Would you want to be tested? What kind of preventative measures could be taken if a person tests positive for psychopathy? Would such a test be a violation of civil rights? Would it become mandatory testing for certain jobs, like police officers or politicians?

 

I know I'm asking a lot of questions here, but that's what this book did to me. It wasn't a matter of simply reading it and saying "good story!" It made me think a lot about what this world is coming to, and about how we treat each other- not only our equals, but how we treat others both above and below what we believe to be our stations in life. I love books that make me think and this is definitely one of them.

 

I also loved the creativity and imagination that went into the world-building here, and I especially liked how I couldn't predict how the characters would come together. An urban setting full of psychopaths, (known or unknown), leaves a wide open field of crimes and misdemeanors and Mr. Morris exploits that field to the max. I enjoyed the hell out of it!

 

Highly recommended!

 

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

I've listened to about 15% of this and...

The Cartel: A novel - Don Winslow

It is just insane! 

 

I came across this article from Rolling Stone in a Tweet today:

 

 

 
 
And I'm like, "Yeah, I just read about that in this series of books by Don Winslow."

 

#FridayReads 1.25.19

 

SALEM'S LOT by Stephen King, narrated by Ron McClarty

Salem's Lot - Deutschland Random House Audio, Stephen King, Stephen King, Ron McLarty

 

1.24.19-I just finished my third read of SALEM'S LOT, this time via audiobook. The narrator, Ron McClarty worked well for me and I found this tale as satisfying as it ever was.

THE FISHERMAN by John Langan

The Fisherman - John Langan

 

John Langan's THE FISHERMAN is a phenomenal story within a story.

 

Featuring cosmic horror, quiet horror, psychological horrors and a few scenes that were just horrific in general, I find myself lacking the words this book deserves.

 

This tale was outstanding and I waited way too long to read it. You should read it and the sooner the better.

 

My HIGHEST recommendation!

 

You can get a copy here: THE FISHERMAN

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash and the author was kind enough to sign it for me. Thank you, sir!*

Currently reading

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Kill or Be Killed, Vol. 2 by Elizabeth Breitweiser, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips
Progress: 100/160pages
The Playing Card Killer (Fiction Without Frontiers) by James Russell Lowell
Progress: 99/288pages
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

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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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