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 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!*

#FridayReads 1.18.19

 

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER by Calvin Demmer

The Sea Was a Fair Master - Calvin Demmer

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER is a top notch collection of flash fiction!

 

I have always thought that flash fiction consisted of stories that were only a few sentences long. For example: "The last man in the world heard a knock at the door." That type of thing. I was wrong. Apparently flash fiction can be super short stories-say a page or two. Four to five. Six to seven. Now that I know the correct definition of flash fiction, I'll say this: I love it!

 

I read a ton of single author story collections and multiple author anthologies throughout the year. I've done this since about the age of 12. It seems to me that stories back then were shorter than the tales these days. The last one I read had two stories that were the length of novellas. Not that I'm complaining, but I like my short stories to actually be short. These are!

 

What I liked most about the tales here is that they were all dark, they had lots of variety, and they were ALL GOOD. Seriously, every single one of them made me feel something, made me think, made me chuckle, or made me marvel at how well written they were.

 

My absolute favorite was YARA. Incredibly poignant and super short. It's amazing to me that such feeling and emotion can be communicated in only a few pages, but Calvin Demmer is a master at doing just that.

 

LETTING THE DEAD GROW and HUMANS OR SNAKES were another two stories with disturbing imagery while at the same time being wildly creative. UNDERNEATH, BLIND TEDDY, REVENGE OF THE MYTH and VOODOO CHILD round out my absolute favorites.

 

Usually I would tell you a little about each story, and/or about why I liked them so much, but these bite-sized pieces of entertainment are so short, I feel you need to go into them blind, as I did, and take from them what you will. I hope, (and I'm pretty darn sure), that you're going to like them as much as I, (and nearly everyone else who has read this book), did! If you like your short stories to be short, original, and have occasional punches to your gut? I doubt you could find a better volume than this.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER

 

*I bought the Kindle version of this book with my hard earned cash, but then the author offered to send me a paper copy with no strings attached, and I accepted.*

THE PIGEON by Andrew Lennon and Christopher Motz

The Pigeon: Nothing Goes Unseen - Christopher Motz, Andrew Lennon, Ryan C. Thomas

Don't let this rather vague-looking cover trick you into thinking this is not a full-fledged horror story. THE PIGEON is not some little psychological tale with a talking bird or poetry like an Edgar Allan Poe story. And it's not some fancy literary fiction either. It's an in-your-face, fast paced, gory, twisty-turny little novella that might even make you laugh at times. How much fun is that? A lot! It's a LOT of fun.

 

When Andrew Lennon asked me if I could review this book last fall I think it was, I said sure without really knowing what I was getting myself into. If I had known it was this short, I probably would have tried to squeeze it in even sooner.

 

A young lady hates her job and is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. He shows up at her house and things just go downhill from there. Fast! There's no way I can get across to you how surprised I was at nearly every turn this story took. And it's because of the fact that I want you to be surprised too, that I'm not going to go further into the plot.

 

If you like your horror unpredictable, bloody and gory, with a sense of humor on the side? THE PIGEON is for you!

 

Highly recommended! Get your copy here: THE PIGEON

 

*I was provided an e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU by Chad Lutzke

The Same Deep Water as You - Chad Lutzke

 

I'll start simple: I love me some Chad Lutzke! THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU is yet another tale from the author I view as the one most able to make me cry. If there was a ribbon for that, he would take blue for first place.

 

As always, Chad put together an intimate story where his writing is top notch. The language is plain but the words are put together in such a way that they make you feel. They're like tiny little word arrows shot into your heart.

 

 

" You can put life on hold for a whole year dating someone, getting to know them, and then it all falls apart. Your heart is broken and you can’t do shit for another half a year without thinking of them, missing them, missing all that wasted time. I suppose with each one we walk away learning something about ourselves, about life, about how to love. Maybe we’re all just stepping stones for each other. We’re all helping somebody get somewhere. From here to a better there."

 

 

 

While I did enjoy this novella, I didn't feel the same poignancy that I normally experience when reading Chad's work. I've been thinking on it and I've come up with this for the reason why: the time period in which it's set. I came of age of with ACDC, Motley, Judas and Ozzy. I'm pretty sure The Cure came after that?? That means that all references to them went right over my head, (other than those to their most popular songs.) Being more familiar with the band and their music would probably have provided that extra connection or nostalgia I felt I was missing.

 

This is still Chad Lutzke though, so it's all good. It's still a story that grabs you and makes you think. It still has phrases put together in such a way that they touch your heart. It still builds into a satisfying tale in the end and what more could you ask for?

 

Recommended! You can get your copy here: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU

 

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash. *

THE LAST: A NOVEL by Hanna Jameson

The Last - Hanna Jameson

 

THE LAST: A NOVEL by Hanna Jameson is an intriguing look at how people might deal with the end of the world. In this case, starting with a nuclear bomb and a cell phone notification!

 

Jon Keller and and a group of plucky survivors find themselves stranded in a resort hotel in Switzerland when nuclear bombs are dropped on bigger cities around the world. He and everyone else there are stuck with no access to the outside world-the internet goes down and cell phones no longer work. With no ability to communicate Jon has no idea how his family is faring back in the U.S. On top of all that, the group discovers the dead body of a young girl in the water tank atop the hotel. When was this girl killed and why was her body tossed into the water tank? Will Jon and the others survive, and if so-what will they have to do to do so? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I was impressed by the writing style as it was so relatable and it flowed easily throughout. Most of the main characters were fleshed out beautifully, however there were a few more that we never learned much about. I think that was a wise decision-because focusing any more on the lesser members of the group would have detracted too much from the story.

 

As the characters came to know each other, we came to know them as well. Of course, conflicts between them arose-some more important than others. Political views become involved and depending on where YOU stand on the political spectrum you may or may not enjoy that turn of events. (But isn't it just like people to argue over politics when it's possible that "politics" no longer even exist? Humanity just has to have someone to blame, doesn't it?)

 

Jon styles himself the journalist of the group and as such collects everyone's stories while he also becomes rather obsessed with the murdered girl. As such, he also becomes a detective of sorts, interrogating people and trying to get justice of any kind for the victim. There were interesting threads that cropped up during this story-some followed through, some not so much. There was also the constant fear of being attacked by other survivors as well as the very real fears of running out of food and water.

 

My only issues with this tale were the leads that ended up going nowhere and the fact that the ending seemed to wind up too quickly. I would have liked to have learned more about the possible supernatural aspects, (as in did they exist or not?), and also, a little more about the denouement, which I can't get further into here without spoilers. These items are a bit picayune, but hey, that's how I felt.

 

Hanna Jameson has a hit on her hands with THE LAST: A NOVEL. It was intriguing and mysterious, while at the same time entertaining and engaging. I hit a certain point during reading when I knew there was no longer any way to put this book down without knowing what happened. I HAD to know and I bet you will need to as well, if you give this book a chance. I highly recommend that you do!

 

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

#FridayReads 1.11.18

 

Reading progress update: I've read 70% and

The Power of the Dog - Don Winslow

 

this book is simply: OUTSTANDING!

 

To be honest, I purchased the audiobook THE CARTEL by this author in error, not realizing that it was book 2 of a series. 

 

When I discovered my error, I decided to buy this one-mostly because of Ray Porter, the narrator. 

 

Now I'm pretty much consumed by this story of:

 

Iran-Contra

Panama

Drug Cartels

The Mafia

The Catholic Church

Armies trying to take over South American countries

(and how they are backed or not backed and the reasons why.)

 

If I didn't already know what happened back then I might not believe what's going on in this book. But I do know the truth of some of what happened and I have no choice but to believe it. Don Winslow has done his research.

 

It's compelling, it's believable, the characters are engaging, (not even the bad guys are ALL bad - making them quite believable in the process), the story in turns shocking, sad, stunning and un-put-downable.

 

Lastly? Ray Porter is a narrating GOD. 

OBSIDEO: A Prequel to WILL HAUNT YOU (Part 3)

Will Haunt You (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Brian Kirk

 

Brian Kirk’s novel Will Haunt You was inspired by a couple from his neighborhood who disappeared after finding a strange book in their home. Brian witnessed this event happening live on the neighborhood website Nextdoor.com, and has provided screen grabs of the ordeal, along with his reactions to each post as he watched the drama unfold. Click the following links to get caught up before continuing with the story below. 

 

(Seriously? This is some creepy stuff-Char)

 

Catch up on the story here:

 

 

 

 

PART I

 

PART 2 (1)

 

PART 2 (2)

 

 

 


This next post took the ordeal to an entirely new level, putting everyone in the neighborhood on high alert. People volunteered to conduct a patrol, and calls were made to the local police station, asking them to increase their presence in the area until the man was found. As far as I know, no one was ever charged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of this strange encounter continues tomorrow. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the novel inspired by the book OBSIDEO:

 

 

WILL HAUNT YOU

 

 

You don't read the book. It reads you.
 
Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler―former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead―was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. 
 
But Jesse is wrong. The legend is real―and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however. 
 
By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author's deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare. 
 
The real horror doesn't begin until you reach the end. That's when the evil comes for you.  

 

THE MANSION by Ezekiel Boone

The Mansion - Ezekiel Boone

Thank you to Net Galley and to Atria books for the e-ARC of THE MANSION.

 

I'm sorry to say that I'm setting it aside for now. I love this author's style of writing and I love this premise, but it's taking way too long for anything to happen. I'm finding myself dragging my feet every time I try to go back to this book. I gave it 40% and I think that's a fair shot.

 

Perhaps I'll come back to it at a later time-so for now: No star rating.

 

Thanks to Atria for the opportunity!

COYOTE SONGS by Gabino Iglesias

Coyote Songs - Gabino Iglesias

 

COYOTE SONGS. What can I say? It was brilliant, so let's start with that.

 

I can't even hope to write a review as insightful and well written as my friend's, Michael Patrick Hicks', here: Mike's review.

 

 All I can hope to do is try to impart to you the way this book make me feel. There is a small group of characters living near the U.S./Mexican border and we are privy to their lives-with all the sorrows and joys therein. Unfortunately, there are very few joys. There is little to look forward to other than more poverty, misery, and crime. I quote from the book:

 

"He opened his eyes to a present that mocked his every wish and shattered any vision that dared go past it." 

 

When every hope you have is dashed, when every small good thing in your life is met with ten big, bad things, what point is there? When you have no hope for your children or yourself, again, what's the point?

 

Here is where I was going to make a brief political statement, but I just deleted it. If you don't already feel compassion or empathy for those innocents caught up in this immigration debacle, then there's nothing I can say to make you feel for them. But Gabino Iglesias has said the words that made me feel even more for them than I already did.

 

They are powerful words. They are words that needed to be said. They're not all flowers and sunshine, they are violent and dark and represent some of the worst things about humanity. You should read those words. They are called COYOTE SONGS.

 

My highest recommendation, period.

 

You can and SHOULD get your copy here: COYOTE SONGS

First #FridayReads of 2019!

 

December 2018-That's A Wrap!

The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky: A Novella of Cosmic Horror - John Hornor Jacobs Scapegoat - Adam Howe, James R. Newman The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories, Volume Three - Charles Beaumont, J.B. Priestley, James Purdy Becoming - Michelle Obama Winter's Bone - Daniel Woodrell In the Night Wood - Dale Bailey Mourning Jewelry - Stephanie M. Wytovich Husk - J. Kent Messum Saga Volume 9 - Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

I read 13 books in December!

 

Audiobooks

 

BECOMING written and narrated by Michelle Obama 5*

WINTER'S BONE by Daniel Woodrell 4*

MOURNING JEWELRY by Stephanie Wytovich 4.5

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens 5*

 

Total: 4

 

ARCS/Reads for Review

 

THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY by John Hornor Jacobs 4.5*

SCAPEGOAT by Adam Howe and James Newman 4*

IN THE NIGHT WOOD by Dale Bailey 4*

HUSK by J. Kent Messum 4.5*

THE VALANCOURT BOOK OF HORROR STORIES, V.3 edited by James Jenkins and Ryan Cagle

 

Total: 5

 

Random Reads

 

THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW by Richard Laymon 2.5*

 

Total: 1

 

Graphic Novels

 

SAGA, VOLUME 9- by Brian Vaughan 5* YOU BROKE MY HEART!

SANDMAN: OVERTURE by Neil Gaiman 5*

KILL OR BE KILLED, V. 1 by Ed Brubaker 4*

 

Total: 3

 

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge:

Challenge: Read 40 Books Already on my TBR

 

(I failed but had fun trying!)

 

1. City of the Dead by Brian Keene

2. The Warblers by Amber Fallon

3. October by Michael Rowe

4. It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis Lawson

5. Bad Pennies by John Leonard

6. Cold in July by Joe Lansdale

7. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

8. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

9. Hex by Thomas Heuvelt

10. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 

Running Total: 157

Total Goal: 150

A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE by J.R. Hamantaschen

A Deep Horror  That Was Very Nearly Awe - J.R. Hamantaschen

The work of J.R. Hamantaschen has been on my radar for years now, beginning with YOU SHALL NEVER KNOW SECURITY. A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE is another short story collection from this author and this is his best yet!

 

It's easy to see how his work has matured in the depth of these tales and in the range which they cover. We have everything here from mental illness to strange, unknown things in a men's room stall, dissolved marriages and bullied teenagers.

 

Of all the stories here though, 7099 BRECKSVILLE ROAD, INDEPENDENCE, OHIO was my absolute favorite. Creepy and atmospheric, it was not what I've come to expect from this author at all. I love to be surprised, don't you?

 

I'm not going to get into each story, (there are eleven of them, total), but I will say that none of them are like the next-they're each stand alone creations. They often have strange titles, which I enjoy, for example one title was: STORY TITLE REVEALED ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH.

 

This author is quirky. I like that! I never fail to read the blurbs he has listed in the front of the book, because they're never all legit. He'll slip things in there that are funny to discover and they also make me laugh. Even the copyright page has a little bonus.

 

The only criticism I have, and it's a small one, is that a few of these stories verge on the title of novella, rather than short story. As I said, it's a small beef. That's all I got!

 

A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE was dark, soul crushing, beautiful, funny and intriguing all at once. J.R. Hamantaschen always delivers-just maybe not quite in the way you expect. The variety on display here shows how diverse he can be and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: A DEEP HORROR THAT WAS VERY NEARLY AWE

 

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

 

**A special thanks to Goodreads for deleting all of my reading updates on this book. All my story notes *poofed* away which I did NOT find helpful.**
 
 

 

Char's Horror Corner: Top Ten Novels of 2018

Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea The Woman in the Woods - John Connolly The Listener - Robert R. McCammon Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni Husk - J. Kent Messum Cold in July - Joe R. Lansdale Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) - Vic James

Welcome to my Top Ten Novels List!

 

I read 157 books over the course of this year and here's what I thought were the best of the best novels.

(These are books that I read this year, not necessarily published this year.)

Click on the cover to read my review.

Let's get started!

 

 Creature (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Hunter Shea  

 

CREATURE was not what I expected at all. 

Hunter Shea is great for creature feature novellas, and that's what I expected from this book. Instead, I got punched in the gut and my heart was torn out!

 

The Woman in the Woods - John Connolly 

 

The Charlie Parker series continues with what I think was the best entry yet!

Sixteen novels in and at this point, I can't imagine a world without a new Charlie Parker book every year. 

 

The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

 

Robert McCammon, author of BOY'S LIFE, (my favorite book of all time), crushes my heart again with this book about an exceptional young black man. (Technically, I read this book in 2017, but it didn't come out until 2018. So sue me!) This book is beautiful and brutal all at once, and features characters both good and bad, that you'll never forget. (I love you, Curtis!)

 

 

Give Me Your Hand - Megan Abbott 

 

Megan Abbott is a recent discovery of mine thanks to author Randy Chandler. Now I'm lined up every time she has a new book out. She writes about women like no one else. 

 

 

We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix 

 

With this entry Grady Hendrix became one of my favorite authors. MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM was great, but this book knocked me out. Maybe because I loved Metal back in the day, and also because the protagonist reminded me of Joan Jett. Whatever the reasons, I LOVED this book!

 

Providence: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes 

 

 

Caroline Kepnes hit my list of favorite authors in 2018.

I listened to both YOU and HIDDEN BODIES, (both of which are on my TOP TEN AUDIOBOOKS of the year list), and then I read this one back in June. All I can say is I know that I will read anything she puts out. She could write out a grocery list and I would read it with pleasure!

 

 

Behind the Door - Mary SanGiovanni

 

 

After reading BEHIND THE DOOR this year, I know that I will be catching up on more of Mary SanGiovanni's  backlog while staying up to date with her latest releases. With a distinct voice and style, she causes me to think-and her characters in this one are quite memorable!

 

Husk - J. Kent Messum  

 

This is probably my most recent read that made it to this list. Fast paced, imaginative and adventurous, this book has more of a science fiction base, but there are horrific aspects as well. I was really impressed!

 

Cold in July - Joe R. Lansdale 

 

The Champion Mojo Storyteller strikes again!

 

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts) - Vic James 

 

This was more of a dark fantasy than horror, but I don't really care for labels as much as I care about a good story and mark my words this was one.A follow up to the previous year's GILDED CAGE, I thought this was an imaginative story about young adults, but so, so dark that it surprised me. Who doesn't love a good surprise?

 

 

Thanks for staying with me this far if you're still here. I appreciate you!

I hope you'll join me again at the end of 2019 for another list of my favorite books of the year. I hope that your New Year is also filled with outstanding and amazing reads!

 

 

 

 

 

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens, narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens

I'm not a good enough reviewer to properly review this book. Instead, here's:

 

Shelby's review

 

Kelly's review

 

Bark's review

 

and lastly,

 

Yodamom's Review

 

 

My friends have it all over me regarding reviews of this book, so I'll let them speak for themselves. What a great way to finish off 2018!

 

Now I'm going to go ugly cry.

Currently reading

Bait: A Novel by J. Kent Messum
Progress: 30/289pages
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Progress: 50%
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
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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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