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 HATCH by Kelli Owen

The Hatch - Kelli Owen

Spiders! I hate them! Yet I couldn't resist reading this sequel to WAITING OUT WINTER. I'm so glad I finally did!


We're following Nick and his band of survivors as the government experiment gone wrong in WINTER, has now morphed into a different problem altogether. As with the best post apocalyptic stories, this tale is more about the survivors than it is about the creatures. And even though there is a metric shit-ton of spiders around, in all of their different shapes, sizes and venomous abilities, we don't see a lot of gory spider action. In fact, we really don't see any-only the after effects. 


This is another quiet tale from Kelli Owen that I very much enjoyed and can heartily recommend with two caveats: 1. If you're expecting a lot of creature feature romp & chomp action, you'd probably be happier with something by Hunter Shea, and 2. you probably should read WAITING OUT WINTER first.


Heartily recommended!


Get your copy here: THE HATCH


*I bought my copy directly from Kelli and the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival and she was kind enough to sign it for me. That did not affect the honesty of my review.*

#FridayReads 3.29.17


Snakes & Ladders Update 9

This game is kicking my butt!

I don't know why, but I read my last dice roll as 11 and not the 9 that it was. So I am actually on space 21, which is: Set in Europe.


I just finished INSPECTION by Josh Malerman, which doesn't fit,

so I'm going to roll one die and hopefully count correctly this time:


You rolled 1 die:


Timestamp: 2019-03-28 15:42:19 UTC


And... SNAKE! I'm back down to space 5.

I'm taking my ball and going home! 


INSPECTION by Josh Malerman

Inspection - Josh Malerman

INSPECTION is a wildly imaginative and thought-provoking tale!


What would happen if boys were raised without any knowledge of the opposite sex? That's the basic premise behind this book, (there's more to it, but I won't get spoiler-y.) Just think about that for a minute, think about what would be involved. How to explain where the boys came from, for instance? How to explain puberty and changes to the body? The answer to those questions and more is easy. You LIE. And what happens when those lies are discovered? You'll have to read INSPECTION to find out!


I've never read a story quite like this before. That's a good thing. Josh Malerman's work may not always work 100% for me, but at this point, I know that I can always count on him for an original tale.


There were a few moments when the narrative took a completely different direction, the first one worked for me and worked well. But the second one? Not so much. I didn't think that much of a change was totally believable and I deducted one star for that. Don't get me wrong: I did enjoy the denouement, but I don't think it will work for everyone.


I had a LOT of fun reading this and stayed up way too late last night to finish it. When I'm willing to sacrifice the next day at work, to stay up reading- because I just have to know? That's a sign of a great book to me, and if you decide to try out INSPECTION? It might be good to arrange to have the next day off.




Get your copy here: INSPECTION


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

Snakes & Ladders: Update 8

I finished Don Winslow's THE FORCE which met the requirements for #12.

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z


So, whoohoo! I got to roll 2 dice today:




You rolled 2 dice:

5 4

Timestamp: 2019-03-26 19:13:50 UTC



28. Written between 1900 and 1999

I might have to shuffle things around a bit, but I think I have something for this coming up. 

THE FORCE by Don Winslow, narrated by Dion Graham

The Force: A Novel - Don Winslow

THE FORCE is a brutal look at what all too often happens to policemen on the job.


It made me laugh, almost made me cry, it made me angry and it also kept me listening.


Don Winslow knows how to tell a brutal and real tale and even though hardly anyone is likable? You can't stop reading his books until you're done. You just can't.



Highly recommended! 


*Thanks to my local library for the free audiobook download. Libraries RULE!*

GHOST STORY by Peter Straub

Ghost Story - Peter Straub

I am SO glad that I finally re-read this book! I was afraid that it wouldn't hold up to my memory of it. I worried about that for decades. Silly me-I needn't have worried-it was even better than I remembered!


This beautifully written story of evil in a small town has a lot in common with Stephen King's IT as far as the small town portion goes. Derry and Milburn are similar in a lot of ways. Despite the title, this book isn't really a ghost story. Just like in IT, IT isn't really a clown.


Ghost Story is about a small group of men who made a mistake in their youth and rather than face up to it, they went about hiding it instead. This leads to consequences none of them could have possibly foreseen. But WE can see those consequences, and unfortunately, they are often deadly. 


GHOST STORY was my favorite novel for many years-mostly because of the intricacy of it. The stories of these men, the stories about the relatives of these men, and the stories about the town itself, wind around and through each other-to me it's like a beautifully woven tapestry of art. I have to think that the author had it all planned out from the very beginning, otherwise how could it have been so wonderfully done? 


This book isn't for everyone, and I get that. (It wasn't even for me at one time, it took me three tries to get into it back in the day.) For those people that it DOES work for? They will sit back when they're done, just like I did, and marvel at the skill on display here. 


My highest recommendation!


*I've purchased this book 3 times so far, (my original copy was lost), then I bought a paperback copy, but the print was too small, so I purchased a Kindle copy. I'd buy it again, if I had to!*

#FridayReads 3.22.19


Nightshade and Damnations (1968) by Gerald Kersh

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

Now shipping!


Now available: 11 stories of the weird...the unspeakable...the bizarre. NIGHTSHADE AND DAMNATIONS! Selected and introduced by Harlan Ellison.

Snakes & Ladders: Update 7

After 6 rolls, I'm still only on space 9 and since the book I just finished did not qualify for the space on I was on, I can only roll one die.


You rolled 1 die:


Timestamp: 2019-03-20 15:51:07 UTC


Which brings me to space 12:


12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

Today, I'm starting THE FORCE by Don Winslow which qualifies. YAY!

(Bonus! I'm going the correct way this time.)



THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith, narrated by Robert Glenister

The Silkworm (Audio) - Robert Galbraith

THE SILKWORM was one of those rare times where the second book is better than the first!


Robin and Strike set out to solve the mystery of a missing author. Their relationship is getting closer and Robin is going to get some additional training towards being a detective, which is what she wanted.


Strike's ex-girlfriend Charlotte is even more of a bitch now than she was in the first book and I didn't think that was possible.


Lastly, the narrator-Robert Glenister is simply outstanding. He will forever be the voice of Cormoran Strike for me. I look forward to the next book in the series.




(Thanks to Ctgt and Melissa for their recommendations of this series.)


*I downloaded this audiobook FREE from my public library. Libraries RULE!*

#FridayReads 3.15.19


Snakes & Ladders: Update 6

I finished my current book last night: FEAR by Ronald Kelly. I left off on Space 7 which was:

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.


Since my book didn't quality for that, I'll roll one die. Again.

You rolled 1 die:


Timestamp: 2019-03-14 15:46:07 UTC


At this point, I might not finish this game by the end of the year!


I'm on space 9:  Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

 Once again, it doesn't fit with anything I'll be reading soon. :(



FEAR by Ronald Kelly

Fear - Ronald Kelly


FEAR was a crazy mixture of: creature feature/coming of age/evil in a small town horror. It just doesn't get much more fun than that!


In the backwoods of Tennessee, young Jeb Sweeney is fighting for his family. His farmer father has been turned into a simpleton, thanks to a war injury. His mother is gone and his grandmother is gravely ill. There are bullies around their small town and on top of that, some kind of creature has arrived and it's killing anything it can get its hands on. What is a young man supposed to do about all this? You'll have to read FEAR to find out!


I have to admit that this book brought me back to the old days when I first started reading horror. (For me, those old days are in the late 70's, early 80's.) Back then, there were a lot of tales like this and they were beefy ones too-500 pages or more. You really would settle in with a book and it would go everywhere with you until you finished it. Coming of age tales were especially popular during that time, but not all of them were great. FEAR was though and I'll tell you why.


We have a family we can care for, more than one antagonist, a compelling setting, and best of all? A creature that can only be described as....SCARY. Sprinkle in some older women busy working their mojo, a traveling blues-man and an entire county of scary creatures, and you have the recipe for F-U-N!


This tale did start out slowly as we got to know everyone, the town itself, and the stories surrounding Fear County. Around about the halfway point, things ramped up and then the pace flew through the second half- I had a very hard time putting it down. I suspect that these days, an editor would have cut down the word count a bit, and even though I enjoyed the slower pace of the beginning, I can't deny that a few words could have been cut without hurting the book overall. For that I deducted half a star.


FEAR is exactly the type of book that inspired in me a love of horror fiction and dark fiction in general. We have a dirt poor family, a young man to root for, a setting of the small town, and nearby? A place so haunted and scary that no one ever goes there. I mean, really, for a horror fan-what's not to like? I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of coming of age horror and creature features.


Get your copy here: FEAR


*I purchased my copy with my hard earned cash back in 2014. I'm so glad I finally read this book!*


**Ronald Kelly was kind enough to join the Horror Aficionados Group for a group read of this story. Thank you, Mr. Kelly! I had a great time!*

Reading progress update: I've read 22%

Tracing The Trails: A Constant Reader's Reflections on the Work of Stephen King - Chad CLark, Duncan Ralston, Richard Chizmar

This is like a love letter to Stephen King's work and the years of entertainment he has provided. It's broken down into sections and then broken down by book. I've finished the 80's and I'm into the 90's section. 


The section on The Tommyknockers reminded me of how much I hated that book. I mean I REALLY HATED that book! 


So far, I AM enjoying this book though. I can relate because a lot of this constant reader's feelings, (meaning ME), are the same as the author's. So, onward ho! 

THE BORDER by Don Winslow, narrated by Ray Porter

The Border - Don Winslow, Ray Porter


THE BORDER is the last book in the POWER OF THE DOG trilogy.


All I can say is WOW. It was everything I hoped for and more. Brutal criminals, sometimes even more brutal law enforcement, international drug wars, politics, and the absolutely fabulous Ray Porter relating it all in that powerful voice of his.


At this point I feel like Don Winslow and Ray Porter are a part of my life. I've spent dozens of hours with them both and to be honest? I'm going to miss them.


Does Art Keller finally get somewhere in the drug war he's fought his entire life? Will he get to settle down and live a quiet life with Marisol? What about Eddie Ruiz? Callen and Nora? Hell, will any of them even survive? I recommend you read this ASAP so you can find out!


Winslow delivered the goods here and Ray Porter performed the hell out of it.


My highest recommendation!

Currently reading

The Bone Clocks by Whole Story Audiobooks, Jessica Ball, Colin Mace, F. Leon Williams, Laurel Lefkow, David Mitchell, Steven Crossley, Anna Bentinck
In Darkness, Delight: Masters of Midnight by Israel Finn, David (ed.); W.H. Pugmire, Ann K. Schwader, Bobby G. Warner, Ralph E. Vaughn, Raymond Schmitz, Gary J. Robinson, Lisa Lepovetsky, Gary Lovisi, Albert J. Manachino, Kevin D. Duncan, H.P. Lovecr Barker, Josh Malerman, Andrew Lennon, Patrick Lacey, E
Progress: 30/298pages
Dracul by Clive Barker, Dacre Stoker
Progress: 30%
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

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