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


 
Goodreads Quotes

Snakes & Ladders: Update 1

 

 

 I was reading BAIT when the game started and the author is definitely not a woman. I finished that book and if I'm doing things correctly that means I can roll 1 die:

 

You rolled 1 die:

6

Timestamp: 2019-02-25 17:24:04 UTC

 

 

 

I'm now on Space 7: Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

I'm currently reading an audio from H. Jon Benjamin, so that fits! 

I'm using a silver rubber ducky for my marker. 

 

 

 

 

Spaces:

 

1. Author is a woman

2. Genre: mystery

3. Set in the twentieth century

4. Published in 2019

5. Published in 2018

6. Title has a color word in it

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

8. Author's last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

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

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake - go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

27. Set during WWI or WWII

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

30. Someone travels by train

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake - go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake - go back to 19

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake - go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a "food" word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author's debut book

87. Snake - go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake - go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

99. Snake - go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!

 

BAIT by J. Kent Messum

Bait: A Novel - J. Kent Messum

What can I say about this fast paced novel? Check out the synopsis:

 

 

No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this. Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible—swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights—and their captors’ motives finally begin to emerge.

 

 

How could any horror lover resist that description? Who is watching our plucky group of addicts from that yacht? What possible reason could they have for doing such a thing? You'll have to read BAIT to find out!

 

After reading HUSK by Messum late last year, I became an instant fan. BAIT only solidifies my fandom.

 

I can't say too much about this tale with out being spoiler-y or redundant. I will say that I had a blast with it, and being as fast paced and action packed as it was, (during the second half), it didn't take long for me to blow through it. It was bloody, unpredictable and a few sharks were harmed in the making of the novel.

 

Recommended, especially for fans of SHARK WEEK! 

 

Get your copy here: BAIT

 

*I received a paperback copy of this book with no strings attached, and the author was kind enough to sign it for me.*

A Question Regarding Audio Books

There was a nasty comment left on one of my audio-book reviews last week, not here on Booklikes, but somewhere else. The name calling bothered me a little bit, (then I decided to OWN it and changed my moniker on the site), but what really bothered me was the comment that listening to audio books is NOT reading. 

 

 

 

While I realize that technically, listening is NOT reading, I believe that in spirit, anyway, it IS reading. I currently have a poll going on the Char's Horror Corner Facebook page, but what say you, Booklikers? Is listening to an audio book reading? Yeah or Nay? 

 

Please comment below. 

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, narrated by Robert Glenister

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

This was a fun listen!

 

Nothing new was covered really, it's your typical private dick kind of story. What made it special for me were the main characters Robin and Cormoran himself. Their chemistry was interesting and I look forward to seeing what happens between them in the next book.

 

I borrowed this audio from my local library. Libraries RULE! 

#FridayReads 2.22.19

 

THE PLAYING CARD KILLER by Russell James

The Playing Card Killer (Fiction Without Frontiers) - Russell  James

 

THE PLAYING CARD KILLER was one twisty-turny thriller of a ride!

 

Brian is tired of taking anxiety meds as he's been taking them his entire life. He decides to quit them cold turkey and see what life is really like. Unfortunately, his panic and anxiety attacks return and they seem worse than ever. Also, he can't sleep without having terrible nightmares wherein he's strangling people. When Brian learns that the victims he's seeing in his dreams are actually being killed, his anxiety ramps up to a previously unknown level. Is he murdering people while he's asleep in some kind of sleepwalking trance? How could he do such a thing? You'll have to read this book to find out!

 

It's hard to talk about this story without spoilers, but I'll give it my best shot. While I don't think this tale added anything new to the thriller genre, I do think it gave an unflinching look at anxiety and panic attacks. In fact, it personified them in the form of Mr. Jitters and that WAS new. To be honest, Mr. Jitters freaked me out. I've had personal, close up experience of what panic and anxiety attacks can do to a person and I've seen what the meds can do as well. There's nothing good about any of it and this book addresses those facts head on.

 

I loved the characterization in this book, especially that of Brian and Detective Weissbard. They came across as real to me, with real life concerns and problems. I could understand why Brian wanted to be off of his meds and why it was so important to him.

 

The only problems I really had with this story was that Weissbard's boss was a caricature of a "bad cop" and I thought that came across as a bit silly, even though I did hate the guy. Also, the real antagonist of this story didn't seem quite real to me at first, but as the tale progressed, I warmed up to him and I could see where he was coming from.

 

Overall, this fast paced story flew by and I enjoyed it. I think fans of psychological horror, serial killer stories and police procedurals would enjoy THE PLAYING CARD KILLER as well!

 

Recommended!

 

 

You can buy your copy here: THE PLAYING CARD KILLER 

 

*Thank you to Flame Tree Press for the paperback copy in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

#FridayReads 2.15.19

 

ALIEN: RIVER OF PAIN by Christopher Golden (Audiobook)

Alien: River of Pain - Christopher Golden

I especially liked the last one I listened to ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS by Tim Lebbon, so I thought I would enjoy this one just as much. I didn't.

 

I felt that during the first half, not much happened, other than us meeting everyone, which seemed like a bit of a waste due to spoiler-y reasons.

 

Also, when the action finally started, it was a bit difficult to fathom what was going on-I mean you could figure it out- but it seemed silly to go through all of these performances, screaming and sound effects, only to have to figure out what happened by the actual dialogue before and after the event.

 

Overall though, this was a free audio and I was entertained- I just didn't get anything new.

 

*Thanks to Audible for the free download.*

THE IMMACULATE VOID by Brian Hodge

The Immaculate Void - Brian Hodge

 

THE IMMACULATE VOID is a stellar entry in the fields of cosmic horror and dark fiction!

 

Brian Hodge has long been a favorite author of mine and this novel only justifies his position on my favorite authors list.

 

I'm finding that I don't have adequate words to properly review this book. (Which is the same way I felt about John Langan's THE FISHERMAN.) I was lucky enough to read both of these novels in 2019 and I'm just worried that nothing else I read this year will be as good as these two books.

 

My HIGHEST recommendation!

 

Get your copy here: THE IMMACULATE VOID

 

*This book is on the 2018 Locus Recommended Reading List and for good reason. If you don't want to listen to me, please listen to them!* http://locusmag.com/2019/02/2018-locus-recommended-reading-list/

 

** Book source: I bought this book with my hard earned cash.**

Paperbacks from Hell with Valancourt!

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

From the pages of Grady Hendrix's best-selling Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction (Quirk Books, 2017), Valancourt Books is pleased to announce a new limited series of five long-unavailable paperback horror gems from the '70s and '80s, chosen by Grady Hendrix and Will Errickson (Too Much Horror Fiction). All five titles will be available for a limited time in a special mass-market size format, and in some cases will feature their original glorious paperback cover art. Each book will feature a brand-new introduction written specially for this edition by either Hendrix or Errickson. 

A subscription service including all five books is available. See details below. The books included:

THE NEST by Gregory A. Douglas, introduced by Will Errickson

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom, introduced by Grady Hendrix

THE TRIBE by Bari Wood, introduced by Grady Hendrix

THE SPIRIT by Thomas Page, introduced by Grady Hendrix

THE REAPING by Bernard Taylor, introduced by Will Errickson



The inaugural volume, Gregory A. Douglas's The Nest, goes on sale April 2, with one new volume per month thereafter. Collect them all! 

 

 

Book Description

It was just an ordinary garbage dump on peaceful Cape Cod. No one ever imagined that conditions were perfect for breeding, that it was a warm womb, fetid, moist, and with food so plentiful that everything creeping, crawling, and slithering could gorge to satiation. Then a change in poison control was made, resulting in an unforeseen mutation. Now the giant mutant cockroaches are ready to leave their nest—in search of human flesh!

Following in the footsteps of other “animal attack” classics like Jaws and The Rats, Gregory A. Douglas’s shocker The Nest (1980) is an ’80s paperback horror classic and was the basis for a 1988 cult film adaptation. This edition features a new introduction by Too Much Horror Fiction blogger Will Errickson.

PRE-ORDER NOW:

Individual paperbacks can be ordered at the list price of $16.99 each plus $3.49 shipping in the US/UK, or you can subscribe to the whole set for a flat $85, which covers all five books and the five separate shipping costs to send each one (US/UK only), working out to a discount of 20% off the list price on the books.

INFORMATION ABOUT SHIPPING

Books are sent out as they become available. If you pre-order all five books, you will receive one at a time. Pricing for the subscription service includes shipping to the US and UK.

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS

If you are outside of the US and UK and you want to pre-order all five paperbacks, please contact us through our contact form with your address and we can send you a Paypal invoice with the exact shipping for your country. Books are sent out as they become available. If you pre-order all five books, you will receive one at a time. Ebooks can be purchased without contacting us.

Books purchased individually will have shipping calculated during checkout using the Paypal buttons.

Visit our website for ordering. 

WAITING OUT WINTER by Kelli Owen

Waiting Out Winter - Kelli Owen

A few years ago we had an invasion of caterpillars that was so bad we would be driving over a carpet of them to get into our garage. Seriously, our blacktop was a moving wave of caterpillars. It freaks me out to this day, but hey-at least they didn't fly. Just think about how hard it is to avoid flies!

 

WAITING OUT WINTER is about an invasion of killer flies; a government experiment gone wrong, (don't they always?) However this isn't your average romping, chomping creature feature. This is a quiet little horror story, taking place during an apocalypse, but focused on the disaster from a small town and family point of view. It's not gory, but it is poignant, sad and scary.

 

This was a short, entertaining story and only my second from Kelli Owen. I recommend it and I will be on to the second novella shortly!

 

You can get a copy here: WAITING OUT WINTER

 

*I bought this book with my hard earned cash and Kelli Owen was kind enough to sign it for me. Thank you, Kelli!*

THE DEVIL ASPECT by Craig Russell

The Devil Aspect - P. Craig Russell

 

1935, Prague.

 

A young doctor named Viktor comes to the ancient castle/asylum, Hrad Orlu, excited to test his new theories in psychology. Housed at this asylum, isolated atop a mountain, are the 6 most dangerous killers alive today. At the bottom of the mountain in the town proper, a police detective named Lukas is trying his best to solve a series of murders which the press attributes to the "leather apron killer." At the same time as these events, the Nazis are on the rise in Germany. Will Viktor's new theories pan out, and allow psychiatry to identify dangerous individuals in the future? Will Lukas find his killer? Will the Nazis put a stop to all of that before it has even properly begun? You'll have to read THE DEVIL ASPECT to find out!

 

I found this book to be a marvelous new (to me), voice in fiction. The synopsis of this book had me so psyched I couldn't help but want to read it right away. I loved the Gothic setting of the castle, surrounded by rocky areas and dense forest. (What horror lover doesn't love that type of isolated setting?) Yet, just down the mountain is a town full of scared people. Losing its citizens one by one to a brutally violent killer, with what seems like zero progress by the police- I almost expected to see the townsfolk armed with torches heading up to the castle. (Because, surely that must be from where their misfortune emanates?)

 

But, that didn't happen, because the voice of Craig Russell is more original than that. This tale twisted and turned until I had no clue what was going to happen! As more of Viktor's theories were tested, some things became clearer, while others became more perplexing. On top of all this, there was the rise of the Nazi party always in the background. Combined together, these components contributed to the overall feelings of anxiety and darkness that permeated this book.

 

So why 4 stars and not 5? I felt the pacing dragged a bit during the middle portion of the story. Even though I was interested in all of the criminals Viktor was interviewing, I didn't feel that all of them were integral to the tale. It's a small thing, but at times I felt like I had been reading quite a lot without really getting anywhere.

 

This is what I took away from THE DEVIL ASPECT: A NOVEL. Fun? Check! Hypnotizing scenes between the doctor and the criminals? Check! A Gothic castle, set atop a mountain surrounded by a dense forest, and creating a dark and gloomy atmosphere? Check! Twists and turns galore which put our heroes in jeopardy? Check! A denouement to beat the band? Hell yes!

 

In short, (too late!), I recommend this novel to fans of the above, but most especially to fans of Gothic fiction and psychological horror! I predict that this novel is going to knock some socks off!

 

Available March 5th, but you can pre-order here: THE DEVIL ASPECT: A NOVEL

 

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

#FridayReads 2.8.19

 

THE RED HOUSE by David J. Thacker

The Red House - David J Thacker

 

A young group of boys spending the bulk of their summer vacation in the woods meet a new boy named Lawrence. He's dirty and bloody and generally beat up and he's also quiet about his life. One day one of the boys follows Lawrence home. What does he find there? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

THE RED HOUSE is a quiet little tale of dark fiction which I can't say too much about without spoilers. It was creepy and atmospheric and perhaps an indictment of industrialism and what it has done to small towns?

 

Overall, I liked it and it was a pleasant way to spend my lunch hour.

 

Recommended!

 

Get your copy here: THE RED HOUSE

 

*I received an e-copy of this short story in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

 

*Find this review and others like it at www.HorrorAfterDark.com.*

#FridayReads 2.1.19

 

THE DEVIL ASPECT - synopsis

The Devil Aspect - P. Craig Russell

You know when you read a good book description and it gets you all fired up?

 

I requested this one from NetGalley, based on this description only. That was a month or two ago, so last night when I picked this up, I read it again. Now I'm excited all over again!

 

Whomever wrote this description should be writing actual books, I think!

 

Prague, 1935: Viktor Kosárek, a psychiatrist newly trained by Carl Jung, arrives at the infamous Hrad Orlu Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The state-of-the-art facility is located in a medieval mountaintop castle outside of Prague, though the site is infamous for concealing dark secrets going back many generations. The asylum houses the country's six most treacherous killers--known to the staff as The Woodcutter, The Clown, The Glass Collector, The Vegetarian, The Sciomancer, and The Demon--and Viktor hopes to use a new medical technique to prove that these patients share a common archetype of evil, a phenomenon known as The Devil Aspect. As he begins to learn the stunning secrets of these patients, five men and one woman, Viktor must face the disturbing possibility that these six may share another dark truth. 

Meanwhile, in Prague, fear grips the city as a phantom serial killer emerges in the dark alleys. Police investigator Lukas Smolak, desperate to locate the culprit (dubbed Leather Apron in the newspapers), realizes that the killer is imitating the most notorious serial killer from a century earlier--London's Jack the Ripper. Smolak turns to the doctors at Hrad Orlu for their expertise with the psychotic criminal mind, though he worries that Leather Apron might have some connection to the six inmates in the asylum. 

Steeped in the folklore of Eastern Europe, and set in the shadow of Nazi darkness erupting just beyond the Czech border, this stylishly written, tightly coiled, richly imagined novel is propulsively entertaining, and impossible to put down.
 

Currently reading

The Silkworm (Audio) by Robert Galbraith
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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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