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.

 

Char’s quotes


 


 

 

 

 

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror by Eric C. Higgs

The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror - Eric C. Higgs

THE HAPPY MAN: A TALE OF HORROR is one bizarre piece of work from the 80's, brought back by Valancourt Books. I finished this book on Saturday and I still am not sure what to make of it!

 

A couple moves in to a new housing development in a suburb of San Diego. Charles Ripley and his wife are mostly on an even keel, despite a tragedy that occurred shortly after the move. Then, the Marsh's move in next door and even though they don't know it, the lives of the Ripley's are soon about to change.

 

First-the good. It is very difficult to put this book down. The chapters are short, (heck, the BOOK is short), and fast paced. Once things start happening, they don't stop happening until the very end.

 

Second-the baffling. I'm not sure what the point of THE HAPPY MAN is supposed to be? I'm pretty sure there's some commentary going on here about housing developments, suburbia, immigration, sex, monogamy, corporate America, family dynamics, drug use, the decline of morals in society and so on, but was that the point? I don't know!

 

Perhaps it's this simple: A man thought he was happy and then was shown that he wasn't? Or that it didn't take all that much to turn a happy, regular guy into something else altogether? Maybe everything is just as much a facade as was Charles Ripley's demeanor? Charles wasn't that good of a guy in the first place and it only took a small nudge to send him down the road of....well, you'll have to read this to find out.

 

I'm going with a 4/5 star rating because I'm still thinking about this short novel days later and also because it was VERY difficult to put down once started. I'm also going with RECOMMENDED, if only so that you and I could talk about it and I could see what you think, when you're done!

 

You can get a copy here: The Happy Man: A Tale of Horror

 

*I received an e-book free from Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

I met Grim & Libromancer's Apprentice!

 

Last night I got to meet both Grim and Libromancer's Apprentice at an author event held at a local library. What fun!

 

This means I also got to meet Scott Lynch, (author of The Lies of Locke Lamora, Gentlemen Bastard Series #1), and Elizabeth Bear, (author of a whole bunch of stuff!). They're a married couple and just so cute together. They were both also very generous with their time and answered all of our questions. I'm so glad that I went!

 

I have to admit to being slightly nervous as I've not met anyone from Booklikes before, but it all went swimmingly. Grim and Libromancer's Apprentice were both as nice in person as they are on line and Grim even brought me books and made cookies! I let her know beforehand that my kitties might not warm up to her, so she brought them a kitty wind-up toy filled with catnip. She was able to pet them both before the night was out, which is unheard of! (They were both adopted and even though we've had them since January, they are still jumpy around strangers.)

 

As I said, I was very nervous about the whole night but everything turned out great! Grim and LA-it was a pleasure meeting you both and I hope we can get together again sometime in the future. :)

 

 

 

 

16 Festive Tasks Update!

In the cases where a book task has been completed, the cover of the book is posted in the square. If another task has been completed there's a little Christmas ornament. 

4 tasks completed so far + 1 bonus point from the horserace = 5 points total!

Square 6: Saint Nicholas Day & Square 2: Bon Om Touk

Square 6:

 

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

 

I read: Childgrave

 

Childgrave - Ken Greenhall 

 

 

Square 2:

 

Tasks for Bon Om Touk: Post a picture from your most recent or favorite vacation on the sea (or a lake, river, or any other body of water larger than a puddle), or if you're living on the sea or on a lake or a river, post a picture of your favorite spot on the shore / banks / beach / at the nearest harbour.

 

 

I don't have any recent vacation pictures as we've recently bought a house and adopted two kitties! (Our vacations have been in the back yard ever since, and that's just fine with us.) For the purposes of the 16 Festive Tasks, I've posted pics below of one of our favorite places in the world: Martha's Vineyard. For those who don't know, it's an island off the shores of Massachusetts. It features some quaint towns, a cool little village and some of the most beautiful views anywhere, in my admittedly humble, (and not well traveled!) opinion. 

 

We are lucky to have a friend that owns a home in MV, who welcomes us to stay and who knows all the places with the best food. Let's start with breakfast. We ALWAYS went to Biscuits which is in Oak Bluffs and has the most fantastic food EVER. Yes, you can get chicken and waffles, you can get a bacon-cake, or you can get my favorite: eggs with homemade Linguica hash. Look at those big hunks of potato-YUM!

 

 

 

 

Usually after breakfast we would take a walk. Not far away from Biscuits is the old Methodist Campground. Founded in the early 1800's, originally in tents, this area was set up for worship. There is a big tabernacle there and its reputation grew. Eventually they began to build these gingerbread houses, in place of the tents, and now it's a gorgeous little village of these homes. None of them have cellars and the land itself is owned by the Campground. Most of the homes are so close, they even touch. From what I understand the homes are often passed down through generations and since the land is not owned, banks won't give mortgages for them. Here's my husband in front of one of the super cute homes, (sorry it's crooked!). I loved the little birdhouse on the front, (top balcony) which looks just like the house itself. Some of the homes are themed-there's one Wizard of Oz house that is super cool.

 

 

 

 

Here's a straighter picture for you:

 

 

At the western end of the island is a beautiful place which used to be called Gay Head, but is now called Aquinnah, for the native American tribe that lived here, (and still does). There's a beautiful lighthouse, which they've had to move due to erosion. Back in the day, there used to be a fort here, to protect the shore-the remains of which you can barely see in the water below, at the foot of the cliffs. 

 

 

 

South Beach is one of my favorite places on MV. You can drive right onto the beach and it's not crazy crowded like so many of the beaches on the mainland. Of course, it's private, so you can only go if you're with a resident. (You may be able to buy a day pass even if you're not a resident.) There are no snack bars, no bars whatsoever, just the beauty of the ocean. That land you see in the background on the left is Chappaquiddick. We were told by our friend that sometimes the channel across is connected by the sand that often builds up there and then you can drive right across. I guess that has happened on and off over the last 40 years. 

 

 

 

Lastly, the saddest part of any vacation-going home. This picture was taken from the ferry.

 

 

I hope we can make it back there sometime soon! 

Childgrave by Ken Greenhall

Childgrave - Ken Greenhall

 

CHILDGRAVE is a beautifully written quiet horror story, with a sketchy small town lurking in the background. By the time the secrets of the town are revealed, it's too late for the reader to turn back.

 

As I get older, I find myself more and more drawn to quiet horror. I can do without gore and torture and all that if I have a tale that's well written and atmospheric. I also need compelling characters and CHILDGRAVE has that in spades. The main character, Jonathan, is a widowed photographer. He, his daughter Joanne, and his housekeeper Nanny Joy, are so well drawn I feel as if I know them personally.

 

When Jonathan's photos of his daughter seem to show specters in the background, while at the same time Joanne seems to have developed some new invisible friends, Jonathan is intrigued. Are the two events connected? Who is Conlee, the name of Joanne's new invisible friend? Lastly, what is Chilegray and how is connected to Conlee? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I'll get it out of the way now-this is a slow moving story. What kept me interested was the quality of the writing and the characters. Jonathan is a quirky man. He has few friends and little interest in fashion or modern day trends. His housekeeper Nanny Joy loves jazz and Jonathan's daughter, but is concerned about the appearance of Conlee and the specters in the photographs. Jonathan's agent Harry is hilarious and his girlfriend, Lee, is interesting as well. NYC of the 70's is the main setting, and it was fascinating to read about the city during that time of social upheaval and change.

 

I was inexorably drawn to the conclusion which leads the reader to a small town hidden in a valley. "Evil in a small town" is one of my favorite tropes and Greenhall knew how to deliver it in a chilling and shocking- yet believable way. You find yourself wondering what you would do in such a situation and I continued to think about it all night long...hours after finishing the book. I can't say that I blame Jonathan for the choices that he made.

 

While CHILDGRAVE isn't the psychological, fast moving story that both ELIZABETH or HELL HOUND were, it was excellent in its own quiet and compelling way. Slowly drawing the reader down into the valley where secrets are kept for generation after generation, Greenhall deftly brings things to a head and left this reader wishing for more.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: CHILDGRAVE

 

*Thanks to Valancourt Books for providing this e-book free, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Sweet Aswang by Anthony Hains

Sweet Aswang - Anthony Hains

 

I have to admit that I had no idea what an Aswang was when Anthony Hains asked if I would like a review copy of this novella. I'd previously read his book THE DISEMBODIED and enjoyed it, so I said yes. I'm glad I did!

 

Two eighth-graders, Chloe and Spencer, have one thing in common-diabetes. Rather than spending all their time talking about boys or girls, they have to spend a lot of it calculating carbs and insulin dosages. One night they are each awoken by mysterious noises outside and the next day they discover that a nearby family has been slaughtered in the night. What killed this family and mutilated their bodies? Did the mysterious noises have anything to do with the murders? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

Even though YA is not really my thing, I thought this novella delivered the goods. We have a mysterious, scary creature, a few likable kids with some real problems, (diabetes is no joke), and lots of action in the last half, which was fun. The mythical abilities of an Aswang are wide and varied and as such leave a lot of room for imaginative storytelling; which is one of the reasons that made me wish this tale didn't end so quickly.

 

SWEET ASWANG was a lot of fun without getting too seriously bogged down with medical jargon or sappy teenagers stealing kisses on the front porch after dark. With a fast moving plot and a cool creature like the Aswang, this book was over before I knew it and I was sad to be finished.

 

Recommended!

 

You can get a copy here: Sweet Aswang

 

 

*As noted above, I received this copy free, in return for my honest feedback. This is it!*

Childgrave (1982) by Ken Greenhall

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

New Release

 

Available in hardcover, paperback and ebook (audiobook coming soon). “Writing in Shirley Jackson’s precise, sharp, chilly prose, Greenhall delivers a slippery book that can’t be pinned down, all about spectral photography, little dead girls, snowbound small towns, and the disquieting proposition that maybe God is not civilized.” - Grady Hendrix, author of Paperbacks from Hell.

 

 

Book Description

When photographer Jonathan Brewster’s four-year-old daughter Joanne tells him about her new invisible friends, he doesn’t think too much about it. But then he sees them for himself: weird and uncanny images of the dead appearing in his photographs. The apparitions seem to have some connection to Childgrave, a remote village in upstate New York with a deadly secret dating back three centuries. Jonathan and Joanne feel themselves oddly drawn to Childgrave, but will they survive the horrors that await them there?

The third novel by Ken Greenhall (1928-2014), whose works are receiving renewed attention as neglected classics of modern horror, Childgrave (1982) is a slow-burn chiller that ranks among Greenhall’s best.

Reviews

“Writing in Shirley Jackson’s precise, sharp, chilly prose, Greenhall delivers a slippery book that can’t be pinned down, all about spectral photography, little dead girls, snowbound small towns, and the disquieting proposition that maybe God is not civilized.” - Grady Hendrix, author of Paperbacks from Hell

“A very well-orchestrated, eerie tale.” - Publishers Weekly

Now available:

Hardcover
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Paperback
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK
eBook
Website | Amazon US | Amazon UK 

3 Festive Tasks Completed!

For now, I'm just using the book covers for the book tasks I've completed. 

I'll figure out a different marker for other tasks later. 

But, whoohoo 3 done!

Thanks for making the book tasks so flexible!

 

 

Square one task: Write an epitaph for your most hated book: (Woman in Black.)

 

Square 9: Book themes for Yuletide: Read a book set in the midst of a snowy or icy winter, –OR– set in the Arctic or Antartica: (Deadbomb Bingo Ray-winter in Philly.)

 

Square 6: Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht:  A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover. (Room by Emma Donoghue, which even features a character called "Old Nick.)

Deadbomb Bingo Ray by Jeff Johnson

Deadbomb Bingo Ray - Jeff Johnson

Mark my words readers, Jeff Johnson is an author to watch! I haven't yet read anything from him that I haven't enjoyed, and as such he's one of my go-to authors.

 

In DEADBOMB BINGO RAY, we have a tall, handsome "fixer" who earned his nickname during an unfortunate incident at a casino. He earned his reputation the hard way and everyone knows who he is and stays clear.

 

That is, until he finds himself on the radar of one Tim Cantwell, a man he's already taken down once. Unfortunately, Cantwell did not learn his lesson the first time around and now he's looking for revenge. Throw in the beautiful Mary Chapman, a black man named Skuggy, DBR's secretary Agnes, her son Cody, and the new love of his life, Abigail, and you have a memorable cast of characters. Will Cantwell be successful in his bid for revenge? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I need to get one thing straight with you-DEADBOMB BINGO RAY is NOT a hero. He is not a good guy. What he is is a thinker-capable of masterminding schemes and plans that make Lex Luthor look like a drooling idiot recently escaped from the asylum. Oh, and he sometimes kills people.

 

What makes this story so entertaining is the characters. Even though DBR isn't a good guy, you cannot help but admire the style with which he goes about his nefarious deeds. His home sounds beautiful, he rescued a Pomeranian, and, (like most of Johnson's main characters), he cooks. His secretary Agnes hates Woody Allen so much,(because of the situation with his step-daughter), she tells everyone she meets that she's going to kill him. She also loves dogs. Ray's friend and sometime assistant, Skuggy, is an hilarious mystery of a man with long fingernails and colorful language, who likes Newports. All of these characters are so vividly drawn and real, they seem to come to life with little to no effort on the part of Johnson. He makes it look easy.

 

There is plenty of material here that will offend people; as previously stated DBR is not a good guy. People die. Some animals die. That's part of the gritty reality of this neo-noir world and that's who these people are. At least when they are committing crimes, they do it stylishly.

 

One more thing I want to mention is the inclusion of song titles/bands throughout the novel, many of which I weren't familiar with. I did not listen to all of them, but when I had the opportunity and the means to do so, I did. I felt like these songs helped to set the mood of what was coming next and I also thought it helped to achieve an almost movie-like experience while reading.

 

These are all the reasons I said at the start that Jeff Johnson is an author to watch. Every book I've read from him so far is totally different from the rest, but they all have one thing in common and that is STYLE. I like it and hopefully you will too!

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get a copy here: Deadbomb Bingo Ray

 

*I received an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss and Turner Publications in exchange for my honest review. This is it. *

Ash Wednesday by Chet Williamson

Ash Wednesday - Chet Williamson

 

A beautifully written and touching story of what happens when the dead of the town of Merridale are suddenly visible and blue. They're visible in the places in which they died or in the places that meant the most to them when they were alive. At first, people are freaked out, (wouldn't you be?), but then they get used to it. Well, some do and some don't.

 

The characters in this story are well drawn and believable. This is a story about guilt, and about making the most of the short time that we have here on earth, among other things.

 

I'd classify this as a quiet horror tale, not too many bloody, ugly scenes and that's the type of horror I prefer these days-the quiet, atmospheric, and psychological kind. This book just hit all the right notes with me. Bravo!

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get a Kindle copy here for only $2.99! 

Epitaph For My Most Hated Book Ever

Square 1-Dia De Muertos

 

Task: Write an epitaph for your most hated book ever.

 

 

Here Lies the Woman in Black, 

who nearly bored me to death. 

All that fog made the going hairy, 

but in the end she wasn't scary. 

 

 

 

RIP Woman in Black. 

 

The Woman in Black - Susan Hill 

October 2017 Round Up!

Cthulhu Blues (Spectra Files) - Douglas Wynne The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton Halloween Carnival Volume 4 - Kealan Patrick Burke, C.A. Suleiman, Ray Garton, Brian James Freeman, Bev Vincent Coraline - Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean The Trials of Solomon Parker - Eric Scott Fischl Lightning Men: A Novel - Thomas Mullen Strange Weather: Four Short Novels - Joe Hill Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever - Tom Neely Halloween Carnival Volume 5 - Lisa Tuttle, Kevin Quigley, Norman Prentiss, Richard Chizmar, Brian James Freeman

 

October was a crazy month here at the Horror Corner! 

 

The most important, (and beautiful thing), was that my lovely niece married her best friend of 20+ years. The ceremony was wonderful and the reception a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Then, two weeks after that was the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival!

You can find my post about that HERE.

 

Here's a photo of myself with Rio Youers. Isn't he the cutest? He's also extremely gracious and very funny. 

 

All of this is why I only read 10 books this month! 

 

Graphic Novels: Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever by Tom Neely and friends.

 

Total: 1

 

Audio Books:

 

Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 

Coraline written and narrated by Neil Gaiman

 

Total: 3

 

ARCS:

 

Cthulhu Blues by Douglas Wynne

Halloween Carnival: Volume 4

Halloween Carnival: Volume 5

The Trials of Solomon Parker by Eric Scott Fischl

Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

 

Total: 6

 

 

READING CHALLENGES

 

Horror Aficionados Mount TBR Challenge: 

(Horror Aficionados Group on Goodreads)

Goal: Read 40 books I already own in 2017

 

 

January Count: 1

February Count: 2 

March and April Count: 0

May: 2 (Boo! and The Well)

June & July: 0

August: 1-The Talented Mr. Ripley

September: 1  Carter & Lovecraft

October 0 (But had LOTS of fun with Halloween Bingo!)

Running Count: 7

 

Graphic Novel Challenge:

(Paced Reading Group on GR)

Goal: Read 25 Graphic novels in 2017 

 

January count: 5

February count: 2

March count: 5

April count: 5

May count: 3

June count: 4

July count: 4

August count: 5

September: 1

October: 1

 

Running Count: 35! Challenge Met!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Devoured by Curtis Lawson, narrated by Jason Sprenger

The Devoured - Jason Sprenger, Curtis M. Lawson, Curtis M. Lawson

 

THE DEVOURED is an insane read. Insane, I say!

 

A man leaves his wife and child to fight in the civil war. His wife, (and therefore his son, Emmett), are of native American heritage and while the man is gone, his wife becomes ill. Emmett, big for his age of 16, decides to seek out his mother's father, a Shaman, (from whom she's been estranged), to request a cure for her illness. Can she be cured? And if so, will she be cured? Lastly, what is the price for that cure? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

This book seems to have elements of everything. By that, I mean it has a western feel to it, along with some Norse mythology, (Thurs, giants, Utgard, at one point there was a large tree- Yggdrasil?), witches, cannibals, and I don't even know what else. You might think that there is just too much going on, but somehow Curtis Lawson pulls it all together within the framework of a man trying to save his family.

 

I especially liked the characters of the old man, (I'm not sure if he was ever named?), and his companion, a young black boy named Hank. At first, I liked Emmett, but his turn down a dark road changed that by the time it was all over.

 

It took a while for everything to gel for me, because there was a lot going on, but when it did, I was impressed by the skills on display. Lawson's knowledge of history and mythology is impressive. I was feeling slightly off balance due to all the different aspects of the tale, but I finally stopped worrying that I was missing something and just let the story sweep me along. And that it did, right up to the brick wall that is the denouement. It was just the type of ending that I love!

 

I listened to this book on audio, which was narrated by Jason Sprenger. I've never listened to his narrations before, but I thought he was excellent. His voicing of the different characters was very good, but his main voice was the BEST, reminding me of Sam Elliott at times.

 

Overall, this book was just plain FUN! A mixed up combination of genres, mythology, American history and more, I can't think of another book or author, (well, maybe Tim Curran?), that can blend such things successfully. Curtis Lawson did so, and did it in spades.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: The Devoured

 

*I received a digital copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

Halloween Carnival Volume 5, edited by Brian James Freeman

Halloween Carnival Volume 5 - Lisa Tuttle, Kevin Quigley, Norman Prentiss, Richard Chizmar, Brian James Freeman

In this, the last entry of the Halloween Carnival series, Hydra hands us a great group of stories that couldn't possibly be more different from each other. This is a good thing!

 

Richard Chizmar's DEVIL'S NIGHT, impressed the heck out of me. The only thing of his I've read is his collaboration with Stephen King. Now I'm going to have to read more of his work. 4*

 

THE LAST DARE by Lisa Tuttle was a neat little story with no explanation. The characters were very well drawn for such a short tale and I found myself thinking more about them after I finished the story. This one grew on me, but after the fact-if that makes any sense. ?Look, all I know is I'm not entering any houses with tower rooms, okay? 3.5*

 

THE HALLOWEEN BLEED by Norman Prentiss was a twisty little tale, with half told secrets taking place between a learned man and his eager to learn interviewer. Little does he know that he isn't as smart as he thinks. 4.5*

 

SWING by Kevin Quigley. This was a sad and poignant tale and I enjoyed it. I just didn't see what it had to do with Halloween? 3*

 

PORKPIE HAT by Peter Straub. Let me preface this by saying Straub's Ghost Story was my favorite novel for a few years-I just loved it so much. Shadowland and Floating Dragon followed and I liked those too, and don't even get me started on how much I loved The Talisman. But since then, not much of his work has appealed to me. Until now. I ADORED this story. It has jazz, musicians, a student/reporter/nobody, and a subtle back story packed with racism, double standards, adulterers fear and loathing. I loved how PORKPIE HAT unfolded like some kind of origami animal and I just had to have some peace and quiet to read it in its entirety. For me, this was the star of this collection. 5*

 

I didn't have time to read all of the Halloween Carnival entries, but of the ones I did read, this is my favorite. I like all kinds of dark fiction stories and I loved the variety here. I didn't think even one of them was a clunker, but of course your mileage may vary.

 

Highly recommended!

 

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

Halloween Bingo-Final Card!

 

With the calling of American Horror Story I bingoed for the 4th time!

 

I would like to say THANK YOU to MR and OB for putting this all together. I had a fabulous time filling in my card and watching everyone else fill theirs. 

These are the kinds of things that make Booklikes special for me, so a big THANK YOU to Booklikes as well! 

 

 

Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey

Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey

Blackwater: The Complete Saga on audio is absolutely phenomenal! Phenomenal! That's right, it's so good, it deserves two PHENOMENALS. 

 

First-about the book itself. Michael McDowell was a force to be reckoned with as far as writing about family dynamics. If you've read The Elementals, Gilded Needles, or Cold Moon over Babylon, (and if you haven't you SHOULD), you already know that McDowell writes about families like no one else. Now imagine those books expanded to cover several generations of one family, in this case The Caskeys, and you might have an inkling of how great a work of literature, (that's right, I'm calling it literature), Blackwater really is. 

 

Starting with a huge flood in Perdido, Alabama and a mysterious woman found in a partially flooded hotel and ending with another flood in the same town, there is a symmetry here not often found in horror fiction. Perhaps it's because Blackwater isn't really a horror novel, (or series of novels, as it was originally released back in the 80's), at all. I would describe it more as a Southern Gothic soap opera or family saga, with supernatural and horrific elements.

 

One of the things I adore about McDowell, and there are many of them, (click here for my essay on McDowell's work), is how he treats horrifying supernatural events as if they were no big deal. Somehow, the way he does that makes the event even more horrifying, if that makes any sense. 

 

Of course, as I mentioned above, McDowell writes family dynamics like no one else and this book proves it. Throughout generations even, McDowell is at the top of his game writing about this family with its rich men and domineering women. Being from Alabama himself, the authenticity of the family's bearing and standing in their community of Perdido is never in doubt. His insights into human behavior are unmatched and beautifully written-without fail. Here's a quote from the first book of this novel,The Flood, (which takes place in the early 1920's):

 

That was the great misconception about men: because they dealt with money, because they could hire someone on and later fire him, because they alone filled state assemblies and were elected congressional representatives, everyone thought they had power. Yet all the hiring and firing, the land deals and the lumber contracts, the complicated process for putting through a constitutional amendment-these were only bluster. They were blinds to disguise the fact of men's real powerlessness in life. Men controlled the legislatures, but when it came down to it, they didn't control themselves. Men had failed to study their own minds sufficiently, and because of this failure they were at the mercy of fleeting passions; men, much more than women, were moved by petty jealousies and the desire for petty revenges. Because they enjoyed their enormous but superficial power, men had never been forced to know themselves the way that women, in their adversity and superficial subservience, had been forced to learn about the workings of their brains and their emotions.

 

 

I could go on and on about McDowell, as many of you already know, but now I'd like to address the narration of this story by Alabama native Matt Godfrey. 

 

I just don't have the words to describe how McDowell's words, combined with Godfrey's narration, made me feel. Together, they made a great work even greater. Godfrey's voicing was so true to the source material it made the Caskey voices come alive. ALIVE, I say! I laughed out loud many times, and I cried a few times too.

 

I most especially adored his voicing of James and of Oscar. Don't get me wrong, I loved these characters back when I first read the books a few years ago; but with Matt's voice attached to them, they became larger than life. It was easy for me to recognize who was talking just by the inflections and changes of tone. I've never listened to an audio book where it was easier for me to identify who was who, just by how the narrator voiced them. I've listened to a lot of audios over the last few years, and that's never happened to me-at least not in a book with as many characters as Blackwater. That's why I say now, with no reservations, that this is the BEST audiobook I've ever read. PERIOD.

 

I hope that I've convinced you to give this audio a try by giving it my HIGHEST recommendation. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you do give it a go. 

 

You can get your copy here: Blackwater: The Complete Saga

 

*I received this audiobook free, from the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **Further, I consider Matt Godfrey a friend, even thought we've never met, but this review IS my honest opinion.**

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The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien, Adriana Hunter
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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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