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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SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt

3.5 stars! SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE is a beautifully written re-telling of the Lizzie Borden story.

 

I've always been fascinated by Lizzie Borden. Having lived all my life in Massachusetts, it's a story everyone is familiar with, even children, because of that horrible rhyme: Lizzie Borden took an axe... Because of my interest and due to the reviews of some of my friends, I decided to finally read this book that I had requested from NetGalley last year. I'm glad I did!

 

This narrative was split into several different viewpoints which was a bit confusing at first, but became easier as the tale went on. Because the story was told in this way, there ended up being a lot of repetition as each character had mutton soup at various times and they seemed to be preoccupied with pears.

 

That said, language is used beautifully even if it was a bit quirky. In fact, the prose was so lyrical at times that it distracted from the story. The characters were vividly drawn though and had strong personalities. I'm not sure how much of the narrative was actually true, but just about everyone in this tale is horrid. The creepy uncle who hangs about touching Lizzie and her sister in inappropriate ways. Mr. Borden who wasn't above smacking his grown children in the face whenever he was displeased. Mrs. Borden, (who was NOT Lizzie's real mother, by the way), seemed more of a doormat than a person. Lastly, Emma, Lizzie's sister, who cannot seem to figure out the simplest of mysteries, even when all the facts were right there under her nose.

 

All in all, I did enjoy this story, most especially because of the quirky, but eloquent prose. This story has been told before, but I liked how this tale was presented-so vividly, yet convoluted at the same time. I look forward to reading Sarah Schmidt's work in the future, and I do recommend this book, though it might not work for everyone.

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

THE FOREVER LONG ROAD OF OLAN WALKER by Steve Vernon, narrated by Adam Gold

The Forever Long Road of Olan Walker - Steve Vernon, Adam Gold

THE FOREVER LONG ROAD OF OLAN WALKER is a unique short story of a conjure man.

 

On the chain gang in Alabama, life is not good. The guards have the prisoners at their disposal and they're not afraid to remind the prisoners of that at every opportunity. But one prisoner is different. He's a conjure man. He can heal you, he can kill you, and he doesn't seem to care which.

 

I enjoyed the narrative style of this story and I enjoyed the narrator, I just needed MORE. This is something I rarely say, because I knew this was a short story going in. But this time around, even though this short tale had a definitive ending, I felt like this was just the beginning, (or maybe the ending?) of a vast, epic tale. I feel like I'm missing out on that larger story.

 

That said, I am looking forward to reading more from this author because I enjoyed his style and humor a great deal. When describing how skinny Olan was, he said "...as lean as a dog in Lent." It's a vivid and funny writing style which brought Joe Lansdale's work to mind.

 

Recommended!

 

*I received this free audio from the author, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

Friday Reads! 3.30.18

 

VIDEO NIGHT by Adam Cesare, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Video Night - Adam Cesare, Matt Godfrey

 

VIDEO NIGHT is a perfect example of a creature feature combined with a small town and 80's nostalgia. For fans of this type of horror, it would be difficult for you to find a better book than this.

 

Billy and his best friend have a standing date once a week to watch a video, almost always a horror movie. Their video store is small and space is limited, so they've seen every horror movie available over and over again. But this week, VIDEO NIGHT is not going to go as planned. Both boys have dates and not all of them will survive. In fact, most of the town won't survive. Will Billy himself make it through? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I love all kinds of horror, dark fiction and even some fantasy, but I have a special place in my heart for both the 80's and for creature features, so this book was perfect for me. (It only took me so long to read it because friends of mine, [I'm looking at you Kimberly and Andi], gifted me a gorgeous signed/limited edition and I didn't want to crack the spine!) I had some high expectations going in, and I'm happy to report that this book lived up to each and every one of them.

 

I listened to the audio and Matt Godfrey did a great job of narrating, as always. I admit that I wondered how his calm manner would work in a book that was so fast paced and gory, but I needn't have worried. He brought it all home with a certain style that I enjoyed.

 

If you like creature-features and 80's nostalgia, or if you grew up during that time, there is no book out there better suited to you than VIDEO NIGHT!

 

BONUS! If you're a member of the Horror Aficionados group at Goodreads, come join us during the month of April, when Adam Cesare himself is participating in a group read of this book. He'll be available for your questions and comments! It's free to join and all you need is a copy of the book, which you can get in all formats here: VIDEO NIGHT

 

 *Thanks to Matt Godfrey, the narrator, for the free audio of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Found A Great New Local Bookstore!

 

For Christmas, my son and his girlfriend gifted me a certificate to this bookshop. I finally had a chance to go and redeem it yesterday and now I'm  sorry I wasn't able to go sooner! 

 

First off, fans of Stephen King will most likely recognize the name of this shop from the book Mr. Mercedes. Second, it was the coziest store ever, with exposed brick walls and cool displays. They host book signings and author events, which is pretty cool. They have a Stephen King book club and in April they're reading RAGE by Richard Bachman. I think I'm going to go!

 

Anyway, they had a small horror/sci fi section, and I happened on a few great finds.

Pics below!

 

http://www.blueumbrellabooks.com/ 

 

 

 

Below is their set up for their book group discussion of Agatha Christie's

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

How cool is this?

 

 

 

My finds of the day! WILDWOOD is actually signed by Christopher Golden and it's in good shape. (It was only $6.00!!)

 

I am most excited about this find! Theodore Sturgeon in a Dell PB from 1978. It's in good shape too!

 

 

 

I had a nice chat with the proprietor behind the counter and we talked about some Theodore Sturgeon stories, Stephen King, Robert McCammon and Dan Simmons. It was a quiet and low key conversation, but we were both excited to talk about great books and I'm sorry, you just don't get that at the local big box (book) store. 

 

Thanks for reading this far if you're still here. Support Your Independent Book Stores!

JACKRABBIT SMILE by Joe Lansdale

Jackrabbit Smile (Hap and Leonard) - Joe R. Lansdale

Hap and Leonard return to Hap's hometown of Marvel Creek in Joe Lansdale's latest release JACKRABBIT SMILE.

 

This time around our heroes are hired by a man and his mother to find their missing sister/daughter. The relationship between Hap, Leonard and Brett and their new clients isn't a good one, since both the man and his mom are openly prejudiced against any and all who aren't white. Which, of course, doesn't sit well with Leonard. Will the dynamic duo find the missing girl? Will the people who hired them get their due? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

The humor Joe Lansdale is famous for is here in spades, but there's a lot of darkness as well. Hap's hometown is full of racism, violence, and both false prophets and profits. (It's hard to believe good-hearted Hap came from such an ugly place.) All of this makes for a quick, extremely entertaining read.

 

 

If you're reading the Hap and Leonard series, you already know how addicting these books can be. If you're watching the television series on the Sundance Channel, you'll note some similarities between the current season and this book. Both take unflinching looks at the ugliness of racism in all of its different faces and forms; but they do it with bravery and a sense of humor. I think that's what makes this series, (both the books and the television show), so special and enjoyable.

 

If you're not reading this series or watching the show, what are you waiting for?

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 7%

See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue with this because the prose is quirky, but so far I'm captivated. It's a Lizzie Borden story and I have a certain fascination with that case. We'll see how it goes. 

 

 

 

 

#Fridayreads

 

THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP edited by Ellen Datlow

The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow

An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply.

 

FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas!

 

WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book.

 

SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU TO THE SEA by Seanan McGuire. I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone.

 

SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith. I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I've ever read.

 

HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge. Even though they weren't the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again.

 

A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton. This one wasn't about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I've ever read about.

 

With a few more notable stories by Christopher Golden and Steve Rasnic Tem, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology and can honestly say that I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP

 

*A big thank you to Marion Schwaner at Night Shade Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

MYSTERY WALK by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan

Mystery Walk - Robert McCammon

 

MYSTERY WALK is a story involving the epic battle between good and evil and Robert McCammon does these types of stories better than almost anyone.

 

I won't get into the plot much, as this book was written back in the 80's and hundreds of other reviews already do that. I will say that this is my fourth time reading this book, (I actually listened to it, courtesy of the narrator Nick Sullivan), and this time it affected me even more than it did previously. I'm not sure why that is-perhaps as I've grown older I see more truth and depth in this tale?

 

It could also be the fact that the narrator brought these characters alive for me. I easily pictured the small town of Hawthorn and both its hateful and sweet residents. I vividly pictured the tent revivals of J.J. Falconer and the bogus claims of healing from his son Wayne. (I had to try hard NOT to picture Wayne's first bout with healing, you'll see what I mean if you read this.) Mr. Sullivan's voicing worked really well for me here and for this reason I've bumped my rating of 4 and 4.5 stars from my previous reads to all five.

 

MYSTERY WALK is full of hope but at the same time does not shy away from the difficulties in life we all face. The wonderful prose of Robert McCammon is only improved by Nick Sullivan's narration. If you're in need of a little hope in your life during these difficult times, then I highly recommend giving MYSTERY WALK a listen. If you do, give Billy Creekmore a hug from me and tell him that Char said "Hi".

 

You can get your copy here: Mystery Walk

 

*I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

Saga, Volumes 3 & 4 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 3 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples Saga Volume 4 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

 

These volumes are simply fabulous! They're fun, they're full of surprises, they're heartbreaking and they're timely. They may be taking place on different planets with different races of people, (and robots!) but the issues dealt with are all too real right here and right now on earth. 

 

Lastly, there's a creature called a Lying Cat. He basically goes around with you and tells you when anyone around you is lying. How helpful is that? VERY! I want one. 

 

 

 

I was able to request these copies from my local library. LIBRARIES RULE! 

STINGER by Robert McCammon, narrated by Nick Sullivan

Stinger - Robert R. McCammon,  Nick Sullivan

 

STINGER by Robert Mccammon is simply 80's horror F-U-N! With the entire book taking place over the course of one night, it's a great example of the horror being written during that time.

 

This is the story of a duel alien invasion-one alien crashed on earth due to a ship malfunction, (Daufin) and the other a bounty-hunter come to track the first one down, (Stinger). All of this takes place in the town of Inferno, in west Texas.

 

With a variety of small town characters putting aside their differences to unite against Stinger, the universal theme of good vs. evil comes into play. The shape-shifting abilities, (for lack of a better word), of Stinger allow it to take over host bodies and bend them to its will, making this a more interesting tale than it otherwise would have been. I think it also must have been quite challenging for the narrator of this audiobook.

 

The narration here took me a while to get used to, most especially during scenes where there was a lot of action. At first, I wasn't sure if I would make it through the entire way, (Stinger is 500+ pages long), but I did become accustomed to it and began to enjoy it thoroughly.

 

This is my third time reading STINGER and I think it's possible I might read it again in the future. Sure it's infused with a lot of 80's pop culture and lingo, (all the good looking girls are smash-foxes), but that was a special time for me, and for the horror genre, so I have no problem with that. Also, I think it's possible that STINGER has influenced a lot of authors, (it's difficult not to see a connection to King's UNDER THE DOME), whether they were conscious of it or not.

 

STINGER was a lot of fun to listen to and Nick Sullivan did a fairly good job of bringing it all home in a fun way. If you're looking for many hours of listening enjoyment and alien invasion action, STINGER is the book for you!

 

*Thank you to the narrator for the free Audible edition in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

BLANKY by Kealan Patrick Burke

Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke

 

BLANKY is a powerful novella, full of grief, pain, and horrors previously unknown-those both real and imagined.

 

You can't let Kealan deceive you with that innocent looking cover. Any of you already familiar with his work wouldn't fall for that anyway. This is a tale that touches on everything it is to be human, both good and bad.

 

The time we spend with our families, even the irritating or angry times, are all something special. We may only want to focus on the fun, good memories, but that's not reality. BLANKY makes you think about, made ME think about- exactly what reality is.

 

With this story, be prepared to bring a piece of yourself and leave it upon the altar of Kealan Patrick Burke.

 

My highest recommendation. Period.

 

*I bought this novella with my hard earned money and reading it cost a small piece of my soul.*

#Fridayreads

Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow Saga, Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples Mystery Walk - Robert McCammon

 

Afterage by Yvonne Navarro

Afterage - Yvonne Navarro

AFTERAGE was a whole lot of freaking fun!

 

The vampire apocalypse has already occurred and entire cities have been decimated. With isolated survivors cut off even from each other-how could a premise this good go wrong? The good news is, it didn't.

 

What I liked most was the...I guess I'll put it as...different levels of vampire. They have differing levels of energy and power. I won't even get into the Queen. (That's what I'm calling her.)

 

I also liked how the story of each survivor, (or surviving group), was introduced. I think it takes a special skill and confidence to jump into a story with a large cast and Yvonne Navarro did it deftly and with panache. I never felt that the story was lost or unwieldy. It all came together in a most satisfying way.

 

With a lot of strong female characters populating the landscape of vampire-ridden Chicago, how could I not enjoy this book? I especially liked Louise and her little dog, Beau, and of course, I had a fondness for Jo as well. (Though I could not help being reminded of Swan, a character in another GREAT post apocalyptic tale. Bonus points if you know what character and/or book I'm talking about.)

 

AFTERAGE was written in the 90's but it doesn't feel dated. I think that's because there's no electricity in this world, so phones and the internet would be out of the picture anyway. Even though decades have passed since this was written, the characters and themes involved are timeless. They still worked their way into my heart, and perhaps if you let them, they'll work their way into your heart as well.

 

Highly recommended!

 

 

You can get a copy here:  AFTERAGE

 

 

*I read this book because of THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE podcast. (They're doing an online book group and this is the second book they're reading.) I probably wouldn't have made time to read it otherwise, so thanks to the HORROR SHOW crew for bringing it to my attention. *

 

 

Bamma-girl and Books

Her name is Alabama. Which then morphed into Bamma. Which then morphed into Bamma-girl. She hopped up on my end table and dared me to take a picture. For once, she didn't move before I could.

Happy Friday, everyone!

 

 

 

 

Currently reading

Manchester Vice (Noirvellas) by Jack Strange
Sick House by Jeff Strand
Progress: 25%
Figures Unseen: Selected Stories by Steve Rasnic Tem, Matt Godfrey
Progress: 25%
Rage by Stephen King, Richard Bachman
Progress: 80%
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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