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 DEVIL'S FINGERS (One Size Eats All #3) by Hunter Shea

The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

 

A sucker for tentacles, that's what I am. (And I can't resist the old-"Get it? Sucker for tentacles?" So sue me.). Anyway, tentacles- THE DEVIL'S FINGERS has them in spades, and oh what fun it is to be with Hunter Shea again!

 

A group of 20 somethings head out into the woods to help their friend say goodbye to his recently deceased dad. They've come to spread his ashes at his favorite spot. Along the way though, they encounter a strange growth of fungi that somewhat resembles the pods in Alien. What is this gross looking fungus? It can't spread to humans can it? And if it can, will these humans survive the encounter? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

 

I'm keeping this review short because I don't want to give anything away and because I don't want this review to be longer than the book. I liked how this group of friends was written and I really liked how they had the strength to stand up when the time came. For me, with creature features, (even ones featuring a nasty fungus as the creature), the story lives in those who fight it, and in this case they fought hard. I also thought their actions were believable-even during the crazy action scenes and BOY, were there action scenes! Complete with the sounds and smells-everything you would need to create a vivid picture in your head-you are THERE.

 

In this, the third installment in the One Size Eats All series, Hunter Shea shows he is the master of bringing home dark and amusing B-style movies in Halloween fun-sized nuggets. What horror fan wouldn't love that?

 

Highly recommended!

 

 

Available everywhere October 23rd, or pre-order now: HERE

 

*Thanks to Kensington, via Net Galley, for the e-ARC of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea

Does this fungus (nicknamed the Devil's Fingers) remind you of anything?

 

 

I'm reading this one for the Cryptozoologist Square:

 

#FridayReads 9.28.18

The Devil's Fingers - Hunter Shea Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden For We Are Many (Bobiverse) (Volume 2) - Dennis E. Taylor

 

HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

 

HEX was not what I expected. At all. It had some very creepy moments and for that reason I'm glad I read it, but I didn't find it to be the end all-be all of dark fiction like most of my friends did. I'm a little bummed about that because my expectations were high.

 

I'm not going to get into the plot much as this book came out several years ago and everyone knows it's about a witch. She haunts the town, but her type of haunting mainly consists of showing up at weird times and places, creeping the hell out of everyone by just standing there, and then she vanishes. Okay, there's more to it than that, but that's the gist.

 

As I mentioned above, there were a few genuinely disturbing moments and I could almost feel the stifling atmosphere at times. The few scenes that unsettled me were effective and creative. However, my enjoyment of them was often marred by breasts. That's right: breasts. What is the fascination with them in this story? Also, the poor lady with the high forehead. OMG, get over it already! Every single time this character was mentioned, so was her forehead. Lastly, I think the (I'll just call them) portents of doom, were overused and unnecessary. Owls all over the place looking at you, and peacocks...peacocking themselves about. Enough! Get on with it!

 

I cared for almost none of the people in Black Spring, nor did they deserve my care. For the most part they were all terrible human beings. It's partly because of that that I LOVED the ending! From what I've read and my discussion with my online friend Lillelara, who buddy read this with me, the denouement was completely re-written from the original Dutch version. I think it worked wonderfully for an American audience, (or at least me),especially in today's world. (Lillelara was less impressed than I.)

 

In short, I really liked the first half and I found the creepy times to be genuinely eerie and disturbing. The second half seemed to ramble... foreheads, breasts, peacocks, etc. The ending rocked. I don't know what else to say, other than I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.

 

I read this for my 2018 TBR challenge, (to read books I've owned for years and still not read), and I also read it for the TERROR IN A SMALL TOWN square in Halloween Bingo at Booklikes.

Reading progress update: I've read 227 out of 385 pages.

HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Ohhh, that Jaydon. He's an evil one!

 

 

(I'm buddy reading with Lillelara.)

 

But the rest of these people? I'm not getting much of a feel for them at all, other than the main family. And why, oh why must we be focusing on the lady's high forehead every single time she is mentioned? 

 

Wild Card Selection-Harry Adam Knight!

Slimer - John Brosnan, Phil Kettle, Harry Adam Knight The Fungus - Leroy Kettle, John Brosnan, Harry Adam Knight

 

For the Wild Card option I'm choosing author Harry Adam Knight! 

He's the author of two books that don't seem to quite fit my categories. 

 

My first Harry Adam Knight book was SLIMER. 

I'm going to use that book to fill the 

Relics & Curiosities square. 

So, yay!

 

I have Knight's THE FUNGUS coming up soon. 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 43 out of 385 pages.

HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

I'm intrigued by this premise! Black Spring is a strange little town.

SLIMER by Harry Adam Knight

Slimer - John Brosnan, Phil Kettle, Harry Adam Knight

 

SLIMER is a perfect example of why I loved (and still love), horror from the 80's! It's fun, it's fast paced, unpredictable, imaginative, and did I mention it's FUN?

 

Three couples find themselves stranded in a life boat after the yacht they were on sank. After several days they come upon an abandoned oil rig, and are grateful to be on solid ground again. After they start looking around, their gratitude turns to confusion and eventually fear. Why are there scientific labs instead of oil production equipment? Where are all the people? Most importantly, why are they finding piles of clothing all over the place? Piles with undergarments and socks inside, almost as if the person vanished into thin air? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I know that the title doesn't bring to mind great works of literature, but this book towers above most creature features, and unlike a lot of horror from that time period, it's actually pretty well written. I'm not looking for Shirley Jackson all the time, you know? Sometimes I want lots of action and in your face horror and both of those are found here in spades! I've been trying to think of movies or other books I can compare SLIMER with, and all I can come up with is The Thing. Instead of the arctic setting, we're on an isolated oil rig in the middle of the deep sea...but all the other main components are there. The growing fear, the confusion, and suspicion regarding your fellow man, all of it's here. And all of it spells F-U-N!

 

Valancourt Books' PAPERBACKS FROM HELL series is going to be a lot of fun if this is the kind of stuff they'll be putting out. I, for one, am going to be lined up for each new release like a shopper at midnight on Black Friday!

 

If you liked John Carpenter's The Thing, if you like creature features, and finally, (maybe especially), if you liked the best works that 80's horror had to offer, SLIMER is a MUST-HAVE for your home library. My highest recommendation!

 

Available on October 2nd, but up for pre-order now, here: SLIMER

COCKBLOCK by C.V. Hunt, narrated by Ramona Master

Cockblock - Ramona Master, Roderick Hunt, Roderick Hunt

 

Callie and Sonya are on their way for a nice date night, when all of a sudden they are verbally assaulted by some men on the street. As the men got closer, the assault became physical and soon they are running for their lives. They discover that a message from the president is being broadcast nationwide and it's affecting men all over the country. How does it affect them? Will Callie and Sonya make it out alive? You'll have to read this short book to find out!

 

All of my horror loving friends that have read this have rated it fairly high. I love and trust them so when I saw this available in the Audiobook Boom! listing, I requested it right away. And now, here we are. 

 

Incredibly graphic and violent, while at the same time kind of hilarious, C.V. Hunt has worked some magic here. A somewhat derisive view of the president and politics in general is worked into the story as well. It's not in your face, but it's there and that's just fine with me. In a world where we shame rape victims for speaking out, where we often treat the perpetrators as young men who just made a mistake,

I enjoyed this story where women finally triumph over that culture.

 

(show spoiler)

 

I listened to this on audio and I admit it took me a while to get used to the narrator. It must have been difficult for her at times, because as I said above there are some incredibly brutal scenes here. I gained respect as the story unwound and ended up enjoying her quite a bit.

 

Brutal, tongue in cheek, (and in many other places in this story), violent, graphic, and with an eye toward our current political environment, COCKBLOCK, is original, imaginative, sarcastic, and has a clear vision of what it wants to say. The only question that remains is are you brave enough to hear it?

 

Highly recommended to those horror fans who can handle brutal violence and rape.

 

*Thanks to the narrator and to Audiobook Boom! for the audio of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

Halloween Bingo Update 9.21.18: 5 Squares DONE!

 

 KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read, Square not called:

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 New Release: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix 

   Modern Masters:The House by the Cemetery by John Everson  

                                 Diverse Voices: Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite 

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts = not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7-DONE

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

Modern Masters of Horror 9.15-DONE!

Creepy Carnivals 9.17

Relics & Curiosities 9.19

Diverse Voices-DONE!

 

 

Currently reading: 

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream for A Grimm Tale? (Snowqueen story)

Slimer by Harry Adam Knight for ??

 

 

#FridayReads 9.21.18

Slimer - John Brosnan, Phil Kettle, Harry Adam Knight Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden Cockblock - Ramona Master, Roderick Hunt, Roderick Hunt

 

DRAWING BLOOD by Poppy Z. Brite, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Drawing Blood: A Novel - Matt Godfrey, Crossroad Press, Poppy Z. Brite

A good old haunted house story is something I've always loved, so when the narrator of this tale offered me a chance to listen to the audio in exchange for a review, I jumped at it. Poppy Z. Brite is an author I've heard a lot about and I've been wanting to read his work for quite some time. I learned a few things while reading this book and one of them is that Poppy Z. Brite can write.

 

Trevor is a young man returning to the house where his mother and brother were killed 20 years ago. Shortly after his arrival in Missing Mile, his old hometown, he meets a young computer hacker on the run, named Zach. The two immediately feel a connection and together they go to face Trevor's childhood home. What will they find there? Is the house actually haunted? You will have to read this to find out. 

 

While the writing quality here was good, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the story itself. This is not the author's fault, nor the narrator's,  it was my sky high expectations. I expected a scary as hell story- and while there was a little darkness,  there was way too much romance for me. I don't mind explicit sex scenes, (gay or straight),  if they are integral to the story. Now I totally get the term insta-love. These two just met, one of them a virgin, and before you know it they are going at it at a breakneck pace. And going at it again. And again. The sexy times were sexy, don't get me wrong but after a while they finally led me to ask "Can we get to the horror already?"

 

Eventually, we did get to the horror, but after such a long build, it failed to move me much. I'm not sure if I was just bored by that point, or if all the romance had inured me to what should have been an exciting finale. 

 

The narration by Matt Godfrey was excellent as always, I especially loved his Jamaican accent. Yeah, mon! 

 

As I said, I did like the writing, and in a few spots it was nearly lyrical. From what I understand this is one of Poppy Z. Brite's, (now he goes by the name Billy Martin), earlier works. While I didn't find this novel to be a true horror story, I'm told his later works definitely are and I will be tracking those down in the future, maybe even the near future. 

 

Recommended, as long as you're not looking for a horror tale and you don't mind a lot of romance and sexy times! 

 

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

THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY by John Everson

The House by the Cemetery (Fiction Without Frontiers) - John Everson

 

Bachelor's Grove is a small town featuring a house backing onto a cemetery. There have always been rumors about the house-something about a witch and a haunting. Rumors have no impact on Perry, though. He's an entrepreneur that wants to open a Halloween haunted house there. Great idea, right? Yeah...no. All kinds of things go wrong as you may have guessed and lots of gory shenanigans ensue. Will the haunted house business be a success? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I requested this ARC from Flame Tree Press because I loved the cover and also because I've been wanting to read more of John Everson's work. Ever since I read his book SIREN several years back, I've been meaning to get back to him, and with this book I finally got that opportunity. While I respect his writing, in general, I think he really shines when it comes to the bloody action-plenty of which is too be found towards the end of this story. I just thought it took a bit too long to get there.

 

We are introduced to many characters, maybe too many, and while I did like or care for some of them, I don't think they required the amount of attention they received. Also, it took a long time for us to get to where the story really lived. I would have preferred less of the extraneous characters and more about the main characters and perhaps more about the history of the house. It's hard to add anything else without spoilers, however I will reinforce the fact that the denouement was bloody brilliant and I had a ball reading that portion.

 

Overall, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY was fun in that bloody B-movie way many of us horror lovers enjoy- and if anyone ever does make a film based upon this tale, I would love to see their rendition of the basement at the end of Halloween night!

 

Recommended!

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

WE SOLD OUR SOULS by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

 

 Hard rock, heavy metal, stoner rock, doom metal-it all dragged itself up out of the swamp called the blues. 

 

As a major fan of the blues, how could I not be aware of Robert Johnson's story? Legend says he sold his soul at the crossroads to play the guitar like that. Maybe he wasn't the only one doing the selling?

 

WE SOLD OUR SOULS is the story of a band in turmoil, maybe not a great band, but one that affected people. One that got people through the hard times...one that helped them celebrate the good. But when the lead singer decides that this isn't enough for him, he investigates...other avenues. Will the band survive his efforts and appeals to be something greater? Will they survive at all? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I loved how the background of each band member was related, but I especially liked the lead character Kris, because she wasn't the stereotypical female protagonist that we so often see. (Well, let's face it-we don't see that many female leads of rock bands, in real life or especially as believable characters in books.) She was bad-ass but she didn't think so-maybe she didn't even realize it. But she was resilient and she kept on keeping on even when there was no chance of success. I think I have my first fictional girl crush.

 

As the tale progresses, several twists occurred that I didn't foresee at all. I will never look at a UPS truck in the same way again, (and I bet you won't either). I'm sure my mouth dropped a couple of times and it probably wasn't pretty, but hell, I don't care. (I won't even speak about how late last night my Kindle hit me in my face because I was so intent on finishing this story but I just couldn't say awake any longer.) The bruise was worth it!

 

At the end of each chapter you'll find little tidbits from radio or news broadcasts and some of them won't make sense until later on. I really liked them and they provided background at times, and foreshadowing at others.

 

Grady Hendrix blipped my radar with his beautiful book PAPERBACKS FROM HELL and since then I've been a big fan. This book, however, this one is truly something special. I rank it right up there with a few other books about bands that I've greatly enjoyed like Robert McCammon's THE FIVE.

 

At this point, if I haven't won you over I'm probably not going to. However, I will say, if you're a fan of well written, fast paced, dark fiction, and you love Rock & Roll, you will miss the boat by a wide, wide margin if you don't read this book.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

Available everywhere on Tuesday, September 18th, but you can pre-order here: https://amzn.to/2xdfoR5

 

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

#FridayReads September 14, 2018

We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite, Matt Godfrey

 

Halloween Bingo 2018 Update 9.13

 

 

 KEY

Black cat = Read, not called.

Devil Bamma=Called, not read

BatCat=Both read and called

 

Books Read:

Supernatural: The Siren and the Spectre by Jonathan Janz. 

13: 13 Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

 

Books Read & Called

Classic Horror: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Terrifying Women: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

 

Calls Made (Strikeouts=not on my card):

Classic Horror 9.1-DONE!

Cryptozoologist 9.3

Cozy Mystery 9.5

New Release 9.7

Southern Gothic 9.9

Terrifying Women 9.11-DONE

A Grimm Tale 9.13 

 

Currently reading: 

We Sold our Souls by Grady Hendrix for the center square?

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream for new release?

Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite for Diverse Voices?

 

 

 

Currently reading

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn
Progress: 80%
Driving to Geronimo's Grave and Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale
Progress: 90%
Bright Ruin by Vic James
Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Progress: 40%
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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