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 FREAK SHOW MURDERS AND OTHER STORIES by Fredric Brown

The Freak Show Murders - Fredric Brown

Despite my taking such a long time to read this relatively short collection of mysteries, I enjoyed it quite a bit!

 

These mysteries were originally published back between the early 40's and the early 50's. As such, they contain language and slang of the time. This made them even more of a hoot than they otherwise would have been.

 

Most of the stories here are light in nature, other than the title tale and one other SEE NO MURDER. I didn't have a chance at solving any of these crimes, but I still had a great time reading these mysteries, especially THE FREAK SHOW MURDERS. (This tale came with a little glossary of carney-speak that made me giggle a bit, especially the description of "cooch" and the "cooch dance".) Brown knows how to plot a good mystery while still keeping his quirky sense of humor and bits of dialogue.

 

Thank you to my friend here at Booklikes, Tigus, for the gift he sent me a while back, which included this book. (I apologize for taking so long to read it!)  I really enjoyed it and I like looking at the cover too. This book will have a prominent place on my shelf so I can gaze at it from time to time.  I appreciate your gift, good sir!

The Dreaded DNF

Someone Like Me - Mike Carey

My apologies to NetGalley, the publisher and author, but I will not be finishing this book.

 

At 35% it has still not captured my attention and I have no feelings for the characters.

 

Perhaps I will pick it up at another time and if so, I will provide feedback then.

 

Thank you for the opportunity.

 

DNF-No rating

BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

BIRD BOX! What a blast!

 

Tension filled and atmospheric, while not being altogether believable.

 

I'm glad I finally read this and I'm looking forward to watching the film on Netflix next month.

 

Recommended!

THE BOOK OF ETTA by Meg Elison

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere 2) - Meg Elison

 

THE BOOK OF ETTA (THE ROAD TO NOWHERE #2) is a heavy piece of dark, post-apocalyptic fiction.

 

This story picks up about 100 years after THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE. The Unnamed created the city of Nowhere and now they have developed their own way of life. Since the plague that started everything, women are scarce and children even more so. As such, Nowhere honors women and to keep the human race going, women there have created hives-a group of men/lovers who help that woman with chores and who also provide regular loving- with the hopes of childbirth as the result. According to the elders of Nowhere, this is the chief role of women now. Period. 

 

Here, we meet Etta, who feels constrained in Nowhere. Etta has no time for hives or for childbirth, and she wants no part of it. She goes out as a raider instead-looking for goods from the old world which can be made useful again. On her travels, she binds herself up to pass for a man and calls herself Eddie. There are more reasons for that other than the plain fact that it's safer to travel as a man, but I'll let you discover those reasons on your own. As Eddie, he comes across several towns, all with their own ways of doing things, (the world building here is impressive), and then he comes across the town of STL. (I see other reviews calling it Estiel, but I listened to the audio and I just assumed it was STL, so I'm sticking with that.) In STL reigns a man called "The Lion." What he has going on in HIS city is a travesty and an injustice-one that Eddie cannot let stand. Will he be successful in putting an end to the practices of The Lion? Will he survive? Will humankind survive? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first, but I think that's because it took me a little time to get used to the voices of Etta/Eddie. Once I did, though, I settled down and let the story wash over me. As I said above the world-building here is so interesting, each town having their own beliefs about women and children and how to keep the humanity going, it provided a lot to think about. Also, it was sad to see what happened to America in the wake of the plague-how many things had been forgotten, the uses for implements lost to history, and of course, what happened to personal freedoms and choices. It's hard for women to live in this world right now, just imagine how hard it would be in a world with no medicines, no birth control, no choices at all for women in general. These were the aspects of this world that interested me the most.

 

As a note of caution to potential readers-there are all kinds of unpleasant happenings in this book. None of it surprised or shocked me, avid horror reader that I am, but it might shock some. Rapes, pedophiles, genital mutilation, child abuse and other things are part of the post plague world and if those things really get to you, you might want to take a pass.

 

That said, I recommend this book if you enjoyed the first in the trilogy. No, it's not the same as THE UNNAMED, and no, it's not even the same world as the first book because things have changed so much, but Etta and Eddie have a lot to say and I, for one, was happy to listen. I'm intrigued and excited for the last book,  THE BOOK OF FLORA, which I've already requested from NetGalley.

 

*I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash and my opinion is my own.*

#FridayReads 11.16.18

 

Reading progress update: I've read 27%

Bird Box - Josh Malerman

and I wish I had some time off work coming to me! If I did, I would be curled up at home right now with my nose buried in this book until I was done!

 

I wanted to read this before the movie comes out. I think it's being released for a film festival first and then it's coming to Netflix, even though it's a Netflix movie.  Anyway, the film stars Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson among others and I know I'm going to be watching the night it's released because this book is something else so far.

 

After messing around for half an hour, I admit defeat and cannot figure out how to add the movie trailer here, so here's a link instead:

 

BIRD BOX MOVIE TRAILER

 

Armistice/Veteran's Day- Task 3

Tasks and Book

 

Diwali

Task 1:  Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.

 

(Pass)

 

Task 2: Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.

(We'll see.)

 

Task 3: Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?

 

Stephen King would be the obvious answer for me, but instead I will go with Robert R. McCammon. I believe I've read everything he's written and I will continue to do so until I am dead or he stops writing, whichever comes first. 

 

Task 4: Treat yourself to a slice of poppy seedcake and post a photo. If you want to make it yourself, try out this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/poppy-seed-cake/ … or this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1629633/lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake

 

(Pass)

 

Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

 

(We'll see!)

 

 

Thank you to all of our veterans and your families for all you have sacrificed. 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Doug Murano

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories – One Legendary Venue - Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering, Brian Keene, Jeff Strand, Matt Hayward, Glenn Rolfe, Patrick Lacey, Matt Serafini, Adam Cesare, Jonathan Janz, Kelli Owen, Doug Murano, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Bryan Smith, Booth Tarkington, John Skipp, Alan M. Clark

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW is a themed anthology with all of the stories revolving around, (or involving in some way), a rock n' roll club named The Shantyman. That's it! There's no hard thread connecting all the tales other than the club itself. That makes WELCOME TO THE SHOW different because there's no one "bad guy" to blame things on. In this case, the "bad guy" is anyone or anything the writer wanted them to be. In this regard, I think the authors involved had a lot more leeway as far as the direction each story would take and I think that resulted in an above average anthology as far as the quality AND the variety of the stories within.

 

I can't get into all of them here, because I don't want this review to be as long as the book itself, but the tales that stood out the most to me were:

 

WHAT SORT OF RUBE by Alan M. Clark was a perfect start to this book, providing a bit of history and setting the tone. (I've never read any of Clark's work before, but he's on my radar now.)

 

NIGHT AND DAY AND IN BETWEEN by Jonathan Janz. This story went in a totally different direction than what I had expected. Loved it!

 

TRUE STARMEN by Max Booth. I'm not sure that it was supposed to, but this story cracked me the hell me up! It's the first time THE SHANTYMAN hosted pod-casters instead of a band, and the results just made me laugh.

 

OPEN MIC NIGHT by Kelli Owen. The 27 Club-you know, those singers and musicians that never made it past that age? I thought this anthology would be a shoe-in for stories about that club, but this was the only one. I was glad because it made this tale stand out even more.

 

PARODY by Jeff Strand. Zany Chester and his plans to be the next Weird Al fizzle out before they even got started. (It's birdies, not bodies!) Chester had to go to a few back up plans, actually, and none of them were pretty.

 

DARK STAGE by Matt Hayward. This tale spoke to me in a personal way which made it that much more horrifying at the end.

 

A TONGUE LIKE FIRE by Rachel Autumn Deering. The end was NOT what I was expecting at the beginning. Usually I can see that coming..in this case I saw something coming, but not what I got. Well done!

 

Brian Keene's tale RUNNING FREE made me laugh at the premise before it got all serious. (A man trying to run himself to death by heart attack, thereby evading death from the cancer already running through his body. Come on, that's kind of funny! [All right, I know I'm messed up.]) Anyway, this story didn't go the way I thought it would and I loved how it tied into previous tales in this book.

 

WE SING IN DARKNESS by Mary SanGiovanni. This story had everything that I've come to expect from Mary's work. A terrifying future where music is banned is only the beginning.

 

I enjoyed this collection and even though it was a little uneven throughout, the variety and quality more than made up for that. I liked that everyone didn't have quite the same view was to what was going on at The Shantyman because that allowed for more creativity in the tales. Variety is the spice of life and all that, you know?

 

I read a lot of collections and anthologies over the course of a year and there is no doubt in my mind that WELCOME TO THE SHOW will be among the best I've read this year. For this reason, I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: WELCOME TO THE SHOW

 

*11.12.18 We are currently reading this book, along with most of the authors in the Horror Aficionados Group at Goodreads. Feel free to join us, read along, and ask questions of the writers, if you like! (Our read continues until the end of this month.) Here's a link: WELCOME TO THE SHOW at Horror Aficionados

 

**I bought this book with my hard earned cash and these opinions are my own.**

AGENT TO THE STARS by John Scalzi, narrated by Wil Wheaton

Agent to the Stars - John Scalzi

 

I don't want to give away anything about this story away-I think everyone should go into it as blindly as I did.

 

I thought this book was hilarious and fun, while also providing a little social commentary regarding the civil rights movement and the Holocaust, among other things.

 

I listened to the audio and Wil Wheaton nailed this one down tight. My only issue was the "he saids, she saids." They started to stand out for me towards the end-by that I mean they were irritating. "He said" doesn't need to be stated at the end of every sentence-and sometimes it felt like that's exactly what was happening. For this I subtracted half of one star.

 

Other than that one picky thing, (which probably would only bother me, I'm weird like that), I have no criticisms of this book at all. It was funny and creative and rather light on the science, which was fine by me.

 

Highly recommended to those who prefer their science fiction light, with big chunks of humor on the side!

 

*I bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

#FridayReads 11.9.18

 

24 Festive Tasks-Diwali Task 4

 

 

Task 4: During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower. Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.

 

 

 

Those of you who know what books are most popular with me also know that this was a monumental task! I may have stretched the definition of "flowers" here, as well as that of a  "young woman" so please forgive me.

 

  Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror - Joyce Carol Oates,Caitlin R. Kiernan,Lois H. Gresh,Molly Tanzer,Gemma Files,Nancy Kilpatrick,Karen Heuler,Storm Constantine,Daniele Serra,Lynne Jamneck     Black-Eyed Susans: A Novel of Suspense - Julia Heaberlin       Greatest Love Story Ever Told, The - Nick Offerman,Megan Mullally  Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories - Doug Murano,D. Alexander Ward,Clive Barker,Neil Gaiman,Ramsey Campbell,Paul Tremblay,John F. D. Taff,Lisa Mannetti,Damien Angelica Walters,Josh Malerman,Christopher Coake,Mercedes M. Yardley,Brian Kirk,Stephanie M. Wytovich,Amanda Gowin,Richard   Thomas,M

 

Creatures of Want and Ruin - Molly Tanzer  

 

FREE SHIPPING (US AND UK) NOW THROUGH DEC. 31

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

Now through Dec. 31, we are offering free US & UK shipping on all orders placed on the Valancourt Books website, with no minimum purchase. UK orders will ship from the UK. Grab some holiday gifts early!

 

Guy Fawkes Night-Tasks 1 and 2

 

Task 1: Burn a book in effigy. Not that anyone of us would do such a thing, but if you HAD to, which book would be the one you’d sacrifice to the flames (gleefully or not)?

 

Goodbye, Moby Dick and your endless chapters about whale types!

Goodbye sperm whales, white whales, killer whales, blue whales and all the rest of ya!

Nothing against you, personally, but paragraph after paragraph of whale descriptions are BORING!

 

Moby Dick - Herman Melville,Frank Muller   

 

 

Task 2:  List your top 3 treasonous crimes against books.  Not ones you’ve committed, but the ones you think are the worst.

 

1.Borrowing a book and not returning it-be it to the library or to a friend. Bring those books back people!

 

2. Returning the book in unreadable condition. (Friend who dropped that book into the bathtub and returned it to me like nothing happened? Yeah, I'm looking at you here.)

 

3. Marking up a book-highlighting it or writing in the margins. You know that's not right, especially if the book is not yours! Stop it! No one thinks your thoughts are mind-blowing, they just think you're a jerk.

 

TEETH by Kelli Owen

Teeth - Kelli Owen

 

Lamians. That's what vampires are called now. They have rights just like regular people under the Stoker Treaty, so you'd better get used to it. This is part of the premise of Kelli Owen's TEETH, and it sucked me right in! (See what I did there? Perhaps I should move on...)

 

As we already know, just because laws are there doesn't mean they'll be followed. We only have to look at the civil rights movement to see that. Once coming of age is reached and the new, Lamian teeth come out, they're as difficult to hide as skin color. Unlike skin color though, those new teeth signify a lot of differences-we are NOT all the same. Lamians have special powers-they may be able to read our thoughts for one, and who's comfortable with that? TEETH does a terrific job of addressing the types of sociopolitical issues of today under the guise of vampirism.

 

Set in a small town, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice play a large role here. Lamians are hated as well as admired. They are ousted from popular social circles and in others they may be worshipped. A young woman just getting her teeth and worrying about being expelled from her social clique at school has feelings just as valid as the young man who wants to pay the dentist for implants because he needs to be accepted into a Lamian group. Looking at issues from all sides, Owen does a great job of slipping in current political commentary and I enjoyed that. Oh, and she also slips in a serial killer, but I'll leave you to discover that on your own!

 

Another aspect of this story that I enjoyed was the Lamplight Foundation. This is a Lamian organization designed to help Lamians learn more about their history, their future, their abilities and many other things. I found myself wanting to know more about them, how they came about and especially more about the leader of their local branch, Maximillian. Perhaps we will get that in a future book? I certainly hope so.

 

Just when I think I'm sick to death of vampires, an author comes along and puts their own spin on the old myths. So... relax-there's no sparkling here. There's no whiny regrets here as there is with Lestat and Louis, either. What we DO have is a clever way to address fear, bigotry and prejudice, and how they are used in our current political climate. And that way is all dressed up and disguised in the bloody gore of torn out throats and other body parts. Come on, how much fun is that? It's a LOT of fun! Trust me on this.

 

Recommended! You can get your copy here: TEETH

 

*I was given an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Dia De Los Muertos-Task 1

 

TASKS AND BOOK

Task 1: Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice.

 

It's not exactly poking fun, but here we go:

 

 

Eleanor came to Hill House

With Theo she walked about

Doors were banging,

Bent-neck lady was hanging,

There Nell belonged, no doubt

 

The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson,Laura Miller 

 

(The Bent-Neck lady refers to the Netflix show.)

 

EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Exorcist Falls: Includes the Novella Exorcist Road - Matt Godfrey, Jonathan Janz, Jonathan Janz

 EXORCIST FALLS was so much demonic fun, I don't even know where to begin!

 

Narrated by Matt Godfrey, this audiobook starts out with the novella EXORCIST ROAD. A completely off the wall story of demonic possession with so many twists and turns, this reader didn't know which way was up!

 

I'm not going to get into the plot-exorcism is involved- which is plain from the get-go. What makes this book exciting and different is the twists and the loads of action within. Not only do we have the demon and the priest, we have an extremely depraved serial killer-and perhaps more than one. Father Crowder, the protagonist, isn't a completely good guy either-he often gets a bit over- zealous, (over-righteous?), in his thinking, which leads him down some uncommonly sinful roads.

 

My only criticism is the fact that towards the end of the tale the twists began to feel contrived. Honestly, though? I was having so much fun by then that I really didn't care. The final scene was such a gleeful delight, I would have overlooked a LOT worse. I'm grinning just thinking about it!

 

As I mentioned above, Matt Godfrey narrated (the hell out of )this story, and his voice and pacing were perfect. There were a few hairy scenes that I'm sure must have been difficult to get through, but he made it sound easy. He also sounded like he was having a great time, which only added to MY enjoyment.

 

If demonic possession all mixed up with a mysterious serial killer and sketchy priests sounds good to you, I highly recommend you give EXORCIST FALLS a try. I've never read anything else quite like it!

 

You can get your copy here, (tell 'em Char sent you): EXORCIST FALLS

 

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Currently reading

Husk by J. Kent Messum
The Queen: Aretha Franklin by Mikal Gilmore, Adenrele Ojo
Progress: 30/228minutes
A Deep Horror That Was Very Nearly Awe by J.R. Hamantaschen
Progress: 13/314pages
Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Progress: 60%
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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