Hungering Shadows (The Bounty Hunter Case Files Book 1)
The answer helped to develop the plot, but the knowledge she gained by the end of the story only fortified her already-established character. In my opinion, a series character should be like a favorite, well-worn piece of clothing. When I put it on, it feels good. And when I take it off, I miss the comfort and intimacy, and I look forward to putting it on again. I think it depends on the type of story and what role the character plays. While the spotlight may stay focused on the gumshoe, it is sheldom that this is the character the story is really about.
He serves as a type of narrator. He sees something wrong with the world and works to set it right. There is no reason for him to change. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson changed very little. The same is true of Miss Marple. Also of Hercule Poirot. But those stories are about the criminal and the victim, not the detective. It is different when the story is about the recurring character.
That character must change or we have no story. Interesting article and differing views in the comments. Each new individual introduced throughout the series impacts their thinking or feelings on some level. It does not have to be a major struggle but if they never grow from these interactions, the character appears to be stuck in time.
Burke has walked a fine line with Robicheaux, making changes in his life — and advancing it chronologically — while keeping the core elements of his character intact and consistent. Go Dave! I like stories about old guys who can still kick ass and take names! Good discussion! It has worked magnificently, IMO, but it also presents Connelly with bittersweet challenges, he said. Bosch is closing in on retirement age, for example. How will that affect the dynamics of the story? But it also helps that these two authors are just flat out so good that they can render the inner life just as effectively as the outer.
Jordan mentions Lucas Davenport and not tracking with age thing. Like Reacher, part of the delight is the kicking butt part. So in that sense, the aging could dilute that part of the experience. What do you think? Ah, and Joe H. Kind of like the aging gunfighter in the old West who has to take on one more fast drawing kid. That reminded me of a favorite wester, Ride the High Country, dir. Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott play just such gunfighters, pretty much retired and taking a stinking payroll security job jus to pay the bills McCrea hides the fact that he has to wear reading glasses, for example.
But it makes what happens at the end all the more poignant. But then, that was a stand alone experience. I love trying to keep characters alive and fresh, but am trying to avoid creating the Keith Richards effect. You know…everyone scratches their head and asks how the hell he is still alive. This is good brainstorming discussion. I have a historical character who is 11 years old when we first meet him, but then I have stories planned for him as an adult but there is a gap of maybe 8 years that are unnacounted for in terms of planned stories. The hard knocks of life will take a toll on him, as they do all of us, but I still want him to be the same guy at heart that he was when we met him at All this pondering and the thousands of possible story directions are what make writing so much fun and sometimes give you a headache!
You might be right about action, Jim, but that could be remedied book to book. This is purely my opinion, but what I initially liked about Lucas changes when you marry him off for too long that he gets domesticated.
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On Bosch, I really love that series. He ages well and Connelly knows how to torture him. That makes a big difference to me. Bosch has become a richer experience for readers. Equal parts, character driven to plot ratio equals good writing. Just a regular guy from New Jersey. Sometimes most of the time Sam even surprises me!
I deliberately keep Jonathan Grave ageless in the series. In any given book, the secondary characters—the ones Jonathan is saving—develop on a much sharper arc than the recurring characters do. That said, I make it a point in each book to reveal to the reader a little bit more about what makes Jonathan the kind of man he is.
One thing he is not is introspective. I like both types of characters. Jesse Stone from Robert B. Parker stays fairly consistent, but he does grow. Awesome post! I like a little of each. I like seeing a character carry his wounds and scars from one book to the next, but you have to be careful.
He kept getting wealthier and less interesting with each book. The same happened with Jack Ryan. Once you are President, character enhancement gets tough. His only choice was to develop superpowers. I love the Bosch and Scudder characters. And Dirk Pitt makes my heart go pitty-pat. I think part of it is giving the character room to grow by not giving away too much in the first book. Hint at his past and his family, etc. Steve is also doing a nice job letting out the backstory gradually.
There is a lot more to learn about Conway Sax. And by that I mean inner conflict and such. These passages are compellingly written. One thing that drove me nuts about The Hunger Games was the lack of character growth Katniss experienced. Mari, you bring up one of the most popular series of all time. Could your point be part of the reason? It sort of flies in the face of most writing advice to not have the character experience a change from the beginning to the end of the book as well, so it confused me a little when an author choose to keep a series character the same.
I think in a stand alone it can work if the world changes around the character, and in some cases the character change can be very slight like in Harry Potter. But the characters I love the most, that stay with me the longest, are the ones that I am growing and bleeding with too. Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files springs immediately to mind.
The thing is, I think you can have both. I love letting out the interior stories slowly. Using Steve as an example again. I think Katniss changes a lot just in book 1. The scales are lifted from her eyes and she discovers what she is capable of. What you choose to read depends on your mood. But other times we want to see progression. Angsty and aging regards his surroundings and responsibilities but unchanged in the essential elements of his make-up. Connelly and Hieronymus do like wise. Changes occur in all these characters but they are not oversdone…and often more in reaction to unavoidable changes in and around them.
John — the humor of your new character and the clever word play had me smiling. I was disppointed in book 2 of Hunger Games. It was like Stalone redoing Rocky. It seemed she wanted to lay better groundwork for the formulaic teen love triangle. As for internalizing, I think less is more. I think over-angsty comes from repeating points ad nauseum. I disagree with Mari that Katniss in the Hunger Games was the same throughout all three novels.
A balanced mix or horror and fantasy, The Dark Side of Heaven, while at times brutal, is an entertaining read. Contains: violence, gore and adult language. Floaters by James Kinsak. Fiero Publishing, Available: Kindle e-book. Ward gets a frantic phone call on Easter Sunday from his ex-wife, who swears she has seen their dead children, Jimmy and Josh, while visiting the cemetery. Ward meets his ex-wife, Merilee, at the same hotel where he stayed with the boys on their Easter vacation one year ago. The room seems to trigger some memories, and Ward decides to try and find out how they died.
As his memories return, we discover that Ward was having an affair, and Merilee divorced him, going off the deep end. Ward soon learns the truth about what happened that awful Easter when he lost his boys. Floaters is a creepy short story about a man who does the unthinkable to get what he wants. Well-written, and with memorable characters, the reader discovers just how monstrous a man can be. It is suspenseful with a few surprising twists near the end. Contains: violence and sexual situations. Bad Moon Books, Available new paperback and kindle e-book. It is , and Mark is the son of one of the richest men in Texas.
He meets a mysterious girl swimming in the lake, and hopes to see her again. Mark is also seeing an old woman in his dreams. The details of the country club party of really bring it all to life, without bogging anything down. Mark and Ben are very likeable characters, with Ben easily being the more sympathetic of the two, as Lost Girl also touches on the racism of the time. Contains: violence, gore and sexual situations. The Underdwelling by Tim Curran. Delirium Books, Available Kindle e-book.
Boyd, in desperate need of a job, goes to work for the Hobart Mines. While working the graveyard shift, Boyd is given the chance to finally go underground. Digging in the lowest level of the mine to look for ore, the men stumble upon a shaft that leads into an odd cavern. McNair, a paleobiologist from the local university is called in to help the miners determine if they can continue digging. They find an immense cavern…. Tim Curran is an amazing writer…. Curran has obviously done his research on mining to make the details as realistic as possible.
His character development is succinct, and I found myself really liking Boyd and Jurgens. The Underdwelling, with its deep underground setting, complete with the ever present fear of a cave-in, embodies the epitome of claustrophobia, and it made my skin crawl. Contains: violence and adult language.
Red Rain by R. Touchstone, ISBN Available: New, Used, and E-Book. What about when the shoe is on the other foot? Rowling's adult debut hit stores this fall, and now R. Stine, the original scaremaster, is back, with a twist. His original audience may now be grown, with kids of their own, but Stine will still frighten them. Lea Sutter, a travel writer who lives for the edge, visits a small island off the coast of South Carolina. A hurricane decimated the town in and is slated to do so again. The storm hits during a death ritual conducted by the locals.
In the aftermath, bodies are strewn everywhere, tears and death raining down upon Lea as she walks the land - along with a true, red precipitation. Out of the rain walks a pair of boys, twins, who appear unharmed but without parents. Lea brings them home without a second thought, although her husband, Mark, and two children, Ira and Elena, rail against the move. Of course, strange events ensue, and life takes a turn for the worse-- the twins are not the attractive, polite, gullible orphans they appear to be. Stine gives credit where it is due and mentions Village of the Damned, Children of the Damned, and Island of the Damned on the acknowledgments page.
Stine's writing has matured with his readers, although it definitely contains the strengths of his YA writing. Red Rain is a fluid, easy read replete with humor, suspense, a strong sense of setting, and yes, sex. Smart but campy, and entertaining from start to finish , Red Rain is recommended for all of Stine's old fans and will hopefully find plenty of new ones along the way.
Highly recommended for adult collections in public libraries. Homestead by James A. A small town in Texas has six unsolved missing children cases in its past. One of the missing children is the best friend of Kathy, who has begun drawing some disturbing pictures. Kathy is having quick flashes of some of the dead children, as well as some bizarre memories from the time the children went missing.
Kathy has her own young children and is distressed over her growing obsession with the disappearances. Why did she stop looking for her friend? Homestead is a quick but frightening read about suppressed memories of the worst kind. Character development is succinct and to the point, leaving the reader empathizing with Kathy and understanding the ghosts that have come to haunt her. Bottled Abyss by Benjamin Kane Ethridge. Redrum Horror, Herman and Janet are spiraling out of control Since losing their toddler daughter to a hit-and-run accident a year ago, Janet has become a raging alcoholic and Herman has become apathetic to everything around him.
When he returns home to find that Janet has attempted suicide, Herman goes looking for the man so he can save her life. Janet discovers that the bottle contains some very unusual properties, not the least of which include curing Janet of her alcoholism and her suicidal tendencies—but those cures come at a high price. The bottle itself is connected to the fabled River Styx, but something new is happening and a new ferryman is needed. An excellent and entertaining read, Bottled Abyss mixes modern horror and ancient Greek mythology, with a nod to The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz.
The characters are well-developed; I could easily empathize with Janet and fully understand the motives behind her actions. They are all flawed people.
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The story itself is excellent, moving through a range of emotions and taking a bizarre but thrilling turn. The Dreadful Doctor Faust by K. Bandersnatch Books, Available: Kindle. Who is the mysterious Doctor Faust? Koehler explores the topic by taking the reader on a trip that is full of all that such a life can offer. As both their pasts are exposed, themes of love and revenge are revealed. I really got into this as Ms. Koehler pulled me in with the air of mystery as more and more is revealed, and the rich details she always gives.
Hell Manor by Lisa Morton. Haunted houses are supposed be both scary and fun, right? Well, that's what Jack Lichtner is going for as he creates his annual Halloween haunted house. This year, however, he wants something extra special for the haunted house, to make it stand out even more. He finds it in one of the actresses that tries out, Maeve. She has some extra special talents that make the haunted house a success, but he doesn't find out until too late that she is in a bit of trouble.
Not only does she write an action-packed scary tale, but she also throws in a lot of Halloween factoids and information on various demons. I thought Morton had outdone herself last year with The Samhanach , but she continues to surprise me. This may be her best book yet. I can't wait to see where she goes next in her writing, but I would love to see some full-length fiction by her. She's the most powerful female horror author out there from what I've read, and I hope more people take notice of that. I highly recommend this book to everyone! The Bone Tree by Christopher Fulbright.
Available: Paperback, Kindle. While tucking his children into bed late one night, Kevin is asked if he and Mommy will die someday. He proceeds to tell the story of his early days in rural Texas where he roamed the woods with his best friend, an African-American boy named Bobby. One day they encountered a neighbor child who was frightened out of his wits and escorted him home, setting off a terrifying chain of events including a scary shadow man, some grisly murders, and, in a nearby cemetery, a gnarled dead tree that emanates evil. The boys have to grow up quickly, facing life lessons about race relations, obedience to their parents, and taking action against otherworldly evil.
Remember the heart-pounding terror ringing in your ears in your scariest of memories? Prepare to feel that again. At under a hundred pages, this would make a great Halloween read-aloud and is suitable for young adults and up. Heart of Glass is a stand-alone novelette by David Winnick. Here we meet a married couple. The wife is clearly falling out of love with her husband. However, he wants to repair their relationship and purchases a glass puzzle for them to work on.
As the puzzle progresses, the husband becomes far more attached to it than the wife. The end cannot be spoiled. This is a great, chilling read. The Caretakers by Adrian Chamberlin is a stand-alone novel. Tom Hughes possesses a deep and ferocious rage inside. Fifteen years ago, at Oxford, he and some of his friends encountered a dark evil that seeks to overthrow the planet in the end days of man. Tom returns to Oxford decades later to confront this evil, and his own dark nature. This is a book which rests proudly in the English tradition of dark and occult horror.
It will scare your pants off. I know I had trouble sleeping after I finished this book. Its images are burned into the retinas of my eyes. I highly recommend this book for fans of the Occult and for older teens and adults. Contains: Gruesome imagery, Violence, Profanity. Reviewed by: Benjamin Franz. Tribesmen by Adam Cesare. Ravenous Shadows, Available: new paperback. In the s, Italian horror was at its height in popularity, and Adam Cesare effectively sets his story during this time. When the cast and crew arrive, they find the village is deserted, and they stumble upon a mass grave. It turns out that natives were slaughtered, and the matriarch of their tribe cursed the island, and anyone who set foot upon it.
Cynthia, an American actress, flees into the jungle to avoid becoming another victim in what is quickly becoming a snuff film. Will anyone make it out alive? More importantly, what will happen to the movie? It took an amazing film genre and turned it into a real horror story for the small cast and crew involved.
Tribesmen was just as bloody and grotesque and any 80s Italian horror film and included a major dose of the supernatural. Cesare writes without the pretense of being a cinema know-it-all…. I think any fan of horror will appreciate Tribesmen for what it is—a very entertaining read. Contains violence, gore and adult language.
Heinous by Jonathan Moon. Library of the Living Dead Press, Gavin and his best friend Joshie are inseparable….. They also find a weird stone that Gavin is unusually attracted to, and the two boys fight over it. Gavin becomes possessed by something living in the stone, and the demon that possesses him is only sated through violence and suffering.
Heinous, the name Gavin gives to the evil entity inside of him, takes him over and commits gruesome acts; but Gavin knows everything that is happening, and what, unfortunately, will happen to the people closest to him. Heinous is a violent story, and bloody as all hell.
The characters of Joshie and Gavin are well-developed, and even after succumbing to the mysterious stone, Gavin is a sympathetic individual. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Contains: graphic violence, gore and adult language. Available: New Paperback Edition and Kindle. Detectives Joan Renwick and Mike Stakowski head the team investigating the disappearances. Meanwhile, local historian Anna Mason has returned to Kempforth to be with her brother following a family trauma; and celebrity psychic Allen Cowell has, with his sister Vera, been drawn back to the town where they were born to face their own personal demons.
As the protagonists begin to work together, everything that they discover points them to long-since abandoned hospital Ash Fell, a place of horror, brutality and cruelty. On first glance, this might seem to be fairly standard fare. As the story unfolds, the true horrifying history of Kempforth and Ash Fell is revealed, leading to a genuinely startling conclusion. Based in UK history, and with some local color, the horror in The Faceless is very British in flavor.
However, this does not mean that it will not appeal to readers from elsewhere. As such, The Faceless is strongly recommended, as an example of recent UK horror at its best. Contains: violence, supernatural horror, the occult, references to paedophilia and incest. Sacrifice by Wrath James White. Sinister Grin Press, The incidents don't stop there, unfortunately, and Detective John Malloy and his partner Mohammed Rafik have a crazy case on their hands. In addition to these reports, they also have been running an investigation on a bunch of missing little girls.
I've yet to meet a Wrath James White book I haven't liked and that goes for this one as well. He always writes a strong story with vivid details and strong characters. In particular, the character of Delilah that he has created in Sacrifice is one-of-a-kind, and I had a hard time deciding whether I loved her or hated her. Her reasoning for doing what she does is good-natured, but the results are just so horrific that it's hard to decide which outweighs the other.
That might not make sense to you now but I guarantee that if you read this novella, you will understand my conflict. If you are familiar with White's work, you will expect over-the-top gore, lots of violence, and hardcore sex in this novella. There is still a little of each, but I'd say the gore and sex is majorly tamed down this time, which should allow readers that have avoided White's work in the past due to those features a chance to give his writing a try. He is a powerful writer and one that shouldn't be missed.
In order to avoid spoilers to the novel, be sure to read it before this novella. Reviewed by: Rhonda Wilson. Subterranean Books, Available: Hardcover , Kindle, Nook. There are few things horror readers can count on in life. However, Peter Straub winning a Stoker award is never in doubt. Is it his popularity? Maybe, but his writing never fails his fans and he often wins over new ones.
The man just never sits on his laurels. This past summer he had a very well-deserved win with The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine , and took home another haunted house trophy with his name inside the doors. Sandrine Loy and Ballard no other name given are two odd characters on a cruise that seems never-ending, floating down the enigmatic Amazon River. The setting is fine fodder for the tale. They begin in , culminating their journey in or so. There is a strong erotic influence to this offering, but Straub keeps it in the background, never overwhelming the reader.
It is a strange relationship between the two characters as age doesn't appear to matter to either Sandrine and Ballard - or to time itself. Neither character figures out why they are there in this time warp, but both seem to enjoy the trip in all its decadence, and the subtle horrors the excursions bring. Reviewed by: David Simms. The Thirteen by Susie Moloney. William Morrow, Ah, suburbia. It always seems like such a quiet, peaceful place. From Twin Peaks to the Stepford Wives, though, it's practically a trope that under the surface, dark secrets lurk.
It's no different in The Thirteen, the story of a coven of desperate housewives who sell themselves and their families to the devil to ensure their prosperity, success, and looks. The author of Thirteen, Susie Moloney, is a comedic writer, and it almost sounds like this could be a black comedy, but the opening pages immediately put that idea to rest. You don't get results from the devil here without sacrificing a loved one. When a coven member dies, the other members find themselves under immediate and unpleasant pressure to replace her, and they believe Paula, the grown daughter of incapacitated coven member Audra, is the perfect candidate.
Paula and her daughter Rowan can sense that something strange is going on under the surface, but it's impossible to explain, and Izzy, the founder of the coven, is able to easily manipulate them. Moloney does a good job of creating the sinister atmosphere of Haven Woods, using many details and building the story bit by bit so that the supernatural slides right into place.
Character development is finely drawn, with skillfully placed flashbacks to past tragedies filling in the blanks as to the motivations and personalities of the characters. Izzy's daughter Marla, a high school friend of Paula's who is also a member of the coven, must deal with conflicting loyalties, and Sanderson, Paula's potential love interest, turns out to be a steadfast kind of guy.
Rowan, Paula's daughter, is a major character with her own personality and interests, and essential to the plot. The battle of wills between the desperate Izzy and stubborn Audra, her first convert from many years ago, comes to a surprising end, as well. However, I did find this an unsatisfying read, because the continued existence of the coven over time stretched the limits of believability. The reader gets a vivid, graphic, and disturbing description of Izzy's first encounter with the evil her coven serves, and it's hard to believe that she was able to easily find twelve other women willing to go through the same encounter to lose weight or become a dancer Still, if you'd like a helping of Desperate Housewives with a slant to the dark and gruesome side, Thirteen will keep you occupied and reading up to the very creepy end.
Recommended for public library collections. Contains: gore, violence, graphic sexual situations, decapitation, blood sacrifice, suicide. Review by Kirsten Kowalewski. December by Phil Rickman. Available: New, Used, Kindle,. It turned out to be a cruel trick by a twisted record producer to exploit these sensitive, psychic artists. The abbey, its walls cemented in blood, had been haunted since the 12 th century when the Welsh bard Aelwyn Breadwinner died there. Each of the musicians had his own ghosts or obsessions which came into play that fateful night, December 8… the same night John Lennon was killed.
The musicians went their separate ways, living with the damage done that night. Fourteen years later, the tapes resurface, and another music mogul convinces the group that they must come back together to record again. It becomes a reluctant attempt to heal, and perhaps exorcise the evils which still haunt them, the abbey, and the village.
There are plenty of fascinating characters such as Scottish folksinger Moira Cairns, and Dave Reilly, who has a psychic connection with John Lennon. Abbey Tapes adds another chapter to the book by uncovering lost material and beautifully resolving some mysteries. Contains: Some gore and violence, supernatural, sex, homosexuality.
Cemetery Dance Publications, Available: Limited edition hardcover. Hudson is an almost pure soul that Lucifer wants. Hudson decides to go to the address given in the message, and there he begins his grand tour of Hell, with H. Lovecraft as his tour guide. Hudson sees unimaginable horrors along the way and wonders why Lucifer would think Hudson would give up eternity in Heaven upon his death. However, Lucifer has an ace up his sleeve. Meanwhile, Lucifer has his minions building a reservoir that is heavily guarded from prying eyes. He wishes to build a permanent merge point between Hell and Earth.
In another part of Hell Joseph Curwen has built the largest demonculous, which will be powered by his own heart for the glory of Hell. While all of this is going on, a terrorist group of anti-Satanists, led by the fallen angel Ezoriel plots the destruction of both the demonculous and the reservoir. They will ultimately get an unexpected helping hand. I could not put this book down. The characters, both human and demon are well-written and very interesting.
I liked Hudson but could see that even though he had an almost perfect soul Hell was having an unexpected effect on him. And I absolutely loved Howard the guide Lovecraft. He was so refined and yet so perfectly suited to Hell. Pick this one up, if you can. Contains: Graphic violence, blood, gore, adult language and sexual situations. Lullaby for the Rain Girl by Christopher Conlon. Dark Regions Press, Depressed, overweight, and in the midst of an unfriendly divorce, he moves automatically through his days. Its structure is odd. Surreal stories written by Ben that are related on some level to the Rain Girl and to his past are interspersed, and provide a way for the characters to reflect on things, in an oblique way.
Both are finally brought together in the third section of the book. So much of the story seems ordinary, yet Conlon brings to it a feeling of dread. Readers looking for a straightforward narrative ought to look elsewhere, but those seeking an unsettling, emotionally involving, and often mysterious story will have a treat in store.
Contains: Sex, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse. Reviewed by: Kirsten Kowalewski. Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland. Samhain Publishing, Available:New Paperback and digital. Historical horror continues to abound in recent months. Dan Simmons has the deftest hand with this subgenre, from The Terror to Black Hills but a few talented newcomers have stepped up and dug into a dark chapter in time. Robert Jackson Bennett thrilled the horror community with Mr. Shivers last year and continued with The Company Man. John Hornor Jacobs gave readers something new in Southern Gods , which should be on everyone's radar for best first novel at this year's Stoker Awards.
Brian Moreland first showed readers a glimmer of his talent in the war novel Shadows in the Mist. Dead of Winter takes a major step forward. In the bleakest of winters, Ontario is not a pleasant place to be, especially at a fort where people are dying faster than clues can be discovered.
Tom Hatcher has taken his son to a frontier post after the death of his wife, seemingly to get away from the depression of Montreal and her memory. Yet in the blizzard, a demon, possibly Wendigo, is terrorizing the wilderness. Back in the big city, Father Xavier is picking up the pieces from a former case, a cannibal who is much more than he seems to be.
Xavier specializes in exorcisms and his experience will be needed in a way that differs plenty from the obvious William Peter Blatty influence. Hatcher and Father Xavier cross paths and their stories intertwine in such a manner that Winter blazes its own path. Moreland displays a sharp talent for capturing the history and setting of the time, along with carving into his characters a depth not seen often in many novels today.
Samhain has struck gold with this effort.
Recommended reading for fans of historical horror. Little Boy Lost by T. Uninvited Books, Available: new paperback and digital. CJ is an eleven year old boy with a photographic memory who is seeing a psychiatrist. CJ has lost his mother to murder, and his stepmother, Marie, has disappeared. What no one understands, including CJ, is that there are supernatural forces at work in this family. There have also been violent wind storms.
Miles knows that a demon is lurking…and has taken his sons. Wright amps up the fear by adding a supernatural element—a demon who has lived for ages. All of the characters are well-written, and CJ and Miles are both sympathetic and endearing. The story as a whole is thoroughly engaging right to its dark and surreal conclusion.
Wright has written a wonderfully dark and creepy story that I found difficult to put down. Contains: adult language and some sexual situations. House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli. Available: Trade paperback and Kindle ebook. Karen's just starting to get her life back on track after the disappearance of her twin brother months ago.
But what she finds at the House of Fallen Trees is a classic creepy ghost tale that might have killed her brother. House of Fallen Trees is a fast, compelling read. It's dark, twisted and will have readers questioning Karen as much as the strange happenings at the giant ship built in the middle of the woods.
Creepy and fun, it's a stellar ghost tale in a thin market. A definite good choice for horror collections. Contains: Sexual language, foul language. The Cranston Gibberer by Martin Mundt. Bad Moon Books, In a story told entirely through letters between H and his friend X, The Cranston Gibberer tells of a writer H who is asked by his boss to investigate and write a newspaper article about a local monster called the Cranston Menace. H discovers the monster—also known as the Cranston Gibberer--is centuries old and has some connection to a family called Dirge…one of which is the publisher of the newspaper that H writes for.
Unfortunately for H, the monster has decided to change his target. The writing is funny and clever, and Mundt will leave you wondering if the monster was real or if H was really one crazy SOB? A quick and enjoyable read, The Cranston Gibberer is one of those rare stories that I can read over and over again.
Get this book! Black Bed Sheet Books Mike Van Gremor has just lost his wife to a mysterious illness. In an effort to get past his grief, Mike takes on a new assignment for the newspaper. He goes to the small town of Gremory to investigate strange fatal accidents happening there. While there he meets the enigmatic and beautiful Charlotte. Gremory is preparing for an annual festival that has been celebrated for generations. Mike now finds himself in danger while at the same time in a position to decide the fate of the world. The supernatural forces are hard at work in Gremory but Mike is not alone in his fight against evil.
While I liked the basic story of The Raising, I thought its execution was average, at best. That being said, I think there is some potential here for a darker tale that would appeal to a wider audience. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. Available: New and digital. Maybe you remember the Miracle of the Hudson, in which a pilot safely landed a plane on the Hudson River, saving many lives.
This is not the story of that amazing rescue. Unable to return to the life he once had, plagued by PTSD, nightmares, and hallucinations, Chip, his wife Emily, and their twin daughters Hallie and Garnet retreat to an old Victorian fixer-upper in small town New Hampshire to begin again. Driven by guilt, he promises to provide his daughters as friends for the ghost girl. There is something unforgettable and disturbing about the way guilt and fear color the interactions between parents and children.
Bohjalian has created a sense of dread throughout- the atmosphere is chilling and claustrophobic under a superficially pleasant surface. Strong writing, well-developed characters, and a terrifying climax followed by an ending with a twist all conspire together to create a frightening psychological tale of the supernatural that is much more than a traditional haunted house story. Contains: violence, murder, possession, sexual situations, witchcraft, blood sacrifice. Samson and Denial by Robert Ford. Thunderstorm, Available: Used. Bob Ford has written a tight supernatural noir piece in Samson and Denial.
Samson Gallows runs a seedy pawn shop and is a small time drug dealer — then a junkie pawns a mummified head, Samson's brother gets iced by the Russian mob, and his wife disappears. With his whole world turned upside down, Samson and his mummy head take to the streets of Philadelphia, streets that are soon awash in blood, violence, and supernatural mayhem.
Reminiscent of the writings of Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale, Samson and Denial introduces us to the seedy underground of Philadelphia and a myriad of colorful characters that ring true. This spectacular debut is over-the-top, violent, and an adrenaline-pumping ride. The supernatural element is an interesting twist to an otherwise straightforward revenge fantasy crime drama.
Ford makes it work by pulling no punches and never taking his foot off the accelerator. At less than pages, Samson and Denial is streamlined and action-packed, but a wild ride guaranteed to thrill the most jaded of genre fans.
- Randomly Accessed Memories: And Chance Encounters on the Road;
- The Book On The Royal Art.
- Speed Chat Dictionary?
- Peach on the Beach.
Limited to only copies, Samson and Denial is a must-have for collectors and one I highly recommend. Review by Bob Freeman. Cinema of Shadows by Michael West. Seventh Star Press The Woodfield Movie Palace has seen its share of tragedy in the many years since it first opened as an opera house. It has been boarded up as of late, with plans to knock it down. Before that happens, Professor Burke wants to conduct an investigation to see if the Woodfield is haunted.
The professor and some of his parapsychology students venture into the old theater to see what they can find. Kim, who had her own encounter with a ghost some years earlier, is hoping to face her fears. Her boyfriend, Dr. Tyler Bachman, has seen some strange and scary things in the ER lately that appear to be connected to the old theater. When the group goes in, will they make it out alive?
There are interesting and well-rounded characters and a fantastic history for the old movie theater. If you like ghosts, demons or hauntings then Cinema of Shadows belongs in your horror book collection. Contains violence, gore, adult language. In this story we meet Jacob Portman, teenage future heir to a Florida drugstore chain.
This is an amazing book! Highly recommended for readers of the supernatural, strange, horror, and genuinely strange but funny books. Cuckoo by Richard Wright. CreateSpace 2 nd Edition , Available: Paperback, E-Book. Cuckoo was the first book written by Richard Wright. In it, we meet Greg Summers. Greg has it all, a beautiful wife, nice family, and a loving mistress named Georgette. But are the things Greg possesses real? Is Greg Summers really his identity?
Rapidly, Greg discovers what is true and what is false, and in a dizzying chase, attempts to avoid a fate worse than death. I will not spoil the horrors which wait for you in this graphic, deeply disturbing novel. However, I will say that this is not a book for anyone under the age of consent. Exceedingly raw, violent and unflinching in its storytelling, Cuckoo will gross you out, just as it absolutely terrifies you. Sometimes you just cannot win. Hopefully no one reading this will ever end up being chased by the Cuckoo. Highly recommended for mature readers. Contains: Graphic violence, graphic sex, gruesome imagery, profanity, adult situations.
Carnival of Fear by J. Graveside Tales, A dark carnival has appeared in the middle of the night on Halloween Eve, and the carnies are hungry for human flesh and souls. The biggest attraction is the Haunted Castle. When the castle is full, at the stroke of midnight, everything changes. Upon entering a theme room in the Haunted Castle—witches, zombies, and werewolves—the teens are transported to another world. If they destroy the evil there, then they will end up back in the castle, cardboard cutouts and all. The teens discover that they must defeat the evil in each room of the attraction, and then do the same in the final room at the top.
Unfortunately, not everyone will make it out alive. Carnival of Fear is an imaginative and scary story that plays on the fears we all have when walking into a haunted attraction of some kind. The main characters are all kids, but adults can relate to them all in one way or another. We were scared teens, too once. The story is well-written and has a nice flow to it. Faherty has written a dark and spooky story that will appeal to all ages. Contains: Violence, gore and sexual situations.
The White Faced Bear by R. Scott McCoy. Bellfire Press, Merrick and his grandfather Joe are descendants of the shaman Aouachala, and they help Jeff survive the wrath of the magician and destroy the giant bear. Along the way both men must deal with the deaths of their fathers and how it has affected their own lives to this point. Character development is spot on and the story moves at breakneck speed to its inevitable and satisfying conclusion.
Both Jeff and Merrick are flawed, but still very likeable men, who are just trying to find their way. This is definitely one to pick up if you like your horror full of the supernatural and dangerous animals. The Watching by Paul Melniczek. Available:Used and Digital. Not only does Trish watch over Pat, but she is also her best friend. One night Pat has trouble sleeping because Trish had told her a spooky story earlier that day. Unable to sleep, Pat finally crawled out of bed to look out the window and saw Trish trying to lure one of the family cats back into the house.
A moment later, something reaches out and grabs Trish, who is never seen again. Over time others do as well, and only Pat has any idea of the reason behind said disappearances. However it does fall a little flat. I think had this been an actual novel, Melniczek would have been able to add some more depth to the characters and create an even creepier tale. So those that enjoy twisted fairy tales would probably enjoy this novella. Also worth noting are the cover art and artwork within this book drawn by Jill Bauman. They add an additional charm to this short read. The Samhanach by Lisa Morton.
Three hundred years ago the McCafferty clan was cursed by something that rose up out of the bog. During a Halloween party, one of the young McCafferty boys was murdered out of jealousy. His family chased the perpetrator to a bog where the murderer called up a Samhanach…a bog demon.
New Adult Book Reviews
Every Halloween the family waits for the demon to show itself and do its worst. A hundred years pass before it comes to fulfill the curse, and another hundred years pass before it shows itself again. At just a hundred pages, The Samhanach is a quick read and a wonderful story. Lisa Morton delves into ancient Celtic folklore to weave an imaginative Halloween tale that recalls the origins of the holiday and the bogies that lurk in the dark.
The story takes on a great dark fantasy twist when Merran has to enter the dark fairie realm in order to save her daughter from the shape-shifting Samhanach. With vivid descriptions of the fairie world and the devastation caused by the Samhanach, as well as beautiful cover art by Frank Walls, this is a great novella to add to your collection. We have a take two review of The Samhanach this time by David Agranoff. Lisa Morton is a three time Bram Stoker award winning author. Morton is also the author of two non-fiction books about her favorite holiday — Halloween.
Who better to write a novella taking place on Halloween than someone who loves it? Morton brings her amazing depth of knowledge of Halloween folklore to this complex story. Spanning years of Halloween and Scottish folklore, this is the story of a family curse. Every one hundred years on Halloween night, a monster seeks revenge on the McCafferty clan. They were perfect plane reads. You can get the whole story in one sitting, the perfect length for a short flight.
The books are not cheap, but keep in mind, Bad Moon is an independent press putting out works by fresh new authors, and they are worthy of your support. The Samhanach is another home run for Lisa Morton. Fans of Halloween fiction should not pass this one up. Get yourself a copy and read it on Halloween night! Highly recommended!
Finally, a third take on The Samhanach from Rhonda Wilson:. On Halloween, Merran McCafferty discovers a journal by one of her ancestors lying in the yard. Reading through the journal, she finds out about a curse that has supposedly been on her family for years.
She has trouble deciding whether the journal is the truth until things start to happen to her neighbors, and in particular, her daughter. When her daughter is taken into another dimension by the Samhanach, the creature that attacks their family every years, Merran goes on a mission to both save her daughter and end the curse forever.
Morton is extremely knowledgeable on the history of Halloween, having written two nonfiction books on the topic: The Halloween Encyclopedia and A Halloween Anthology. Her knowledge is evident throughout the novella, which is threaded with Halloween folklore. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fast and creepy read this Halloween, or any day, for that matter! Available: New and Digital. Unfortunately for Priscilla Stuyvesant, who is overseeing the transport of the artifacts, a bomb has reduced three truckloads to one. Priscilla and her two companions, Mason and Brigham, barely escape with their lives, and have now picked up some refugees.
One of the refugees decides to ride in the back of the truck, but Priscilla senses something is wrong with their cargo. After a harrowing night at a military refueling station, the group finally makes it to the docks and the cargo ship, but with two less people than they had the night before. Once on board, things go from bad to worse rather quickly.
Not only are these mummies former assassins returning to life, but the ship has now been boarded by Nazis on the run from their own government, including a doctor who performed unauthorized experiments on his own people. Priscilla and her companions must find a way to survive murderous Nazis and powerful mummies all in the enclosed spaces of a cargo ship on the Atlantic Ocean.
If there was ever a story to begin the reign of the mummy in the horror genre, Eternal Unrest is it. Dixon has woven a tale of war, murder, and revenge—of two powerful civilizations separated by thousands of years, and the magic and horror that has connected them. Eternal Unrest wastes no time getting into the meat of the story, which is bloody and brutal, and the very claustrophobic atmosphere makes for a truly scary read.
With a great introduction by author Nick Cato who sums up the lack of mummy love perfectly, and amazing cover art by C. Hutchinson and Jesus Morales, this is a must-read. Smile No More by James A. Miskatonic Books , The Carnivale de Fantastique and those surrounding the Carnivale are stumped as to why people from the show keep turning up dead. James A. Moore sent me this book after finding out that I had a fear of clowns, and I can tell you this… if I were to ever see Rufo the Clown in person I would cower in fright and probably not be able to move.
I feared what Rufo would do next and felt bad for all the people he killed, but I also felt sorry for Rufo. I understood what he was trying to accomplish and sympathized with his loss. Moore really created a heartfelt, yet horrifying, tale with Smile No More. Readers who get nightmares from reading scary books may want to skip this one, as the visuals throughout could definitely make it difficult to sleep. However, for anyone else, this should be a book on the top of your reading list.
A View from the Lake by Greg F. Available:New and Kindle. James is devastated, and within a few months of that tragic accident, he slowly loses his sanity and then disappears. A year later, Katherine has decided to sell the resort and start over somewhere new. Carlo discovers a past that James kept hidden from his wife that came back to haunt him—and drive him mad—when the boy drowned at the resort. Carlo tries to get back to Katherine during a blizzard, while she makes her way down the same path as James did over a year before. Greg F. Gifune has written a beautifully dark story about the fine line between sanity and insanity.
Gifune highlights this isolation by setting A View from the Lake at an empty resort during the height of a blizzard. Katherine and Carlo experience their own isolation, both figuratively and literally—Katherine at the empty resort and Carlo attempting to navigate the empty, snow-covered roads. Carlo is also attempting to keep himself sober long enough to save Katherine from James and his past. With a wonderful introduction by T.
Wright and fantastic cover art by Erin Wells, A View from the Lake will appeal to fans of dark fiction and the supernatural alike. Contains: Violence, adult language and sexual situations. Harbor by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Thomas Dunne Books; Reprint edition, One snowy morning, on a small island in Sweden, Anders and Cecilia take their six-year-old daughter Maya across the ice to visit a lighthouse in the middle of a frozen channel.
Anders and Cecilia explore the lighthouse, leaving Maya on her own.
She disappears, without leaving even a footprint. Two years later, Anders returns to the island. Everyone, including his own mother, appears reluctant to speak, the sea seemingly holding a power over them all. Shortly after his return, strange things begin to happen. Anders commits to doing whatever it takes to find out what actually happened that morning two years ago.
Anders will stop at nothing, risking his own life, to discover what happened to his daughter. Lindquvist is known for reinventing horror genres, and he succeeds once again in Harbor. The suspense builds slowly and steadily, keeping the reader involved. Characterization is another aspect at which Lindqvist excels: Harbor is a story that takes place over five generations, allowing him to build the history and create familiarity with the members of each of the families involved. This is a book that cannot be skimmed or skipped over. Tiny details mentioned early on come back again in later chapters: missing those details might take away the impact of the story.
The writing is rich, the characters multi-dimensional, the storyline compelling. Reviewed by: Jennifer Lawrence. He was left for dead, discovered at the brink of death. During one of the test runs of the train, a horrific accident took place. The only survivor of this accident was an employee, originally quite sane, who upon surviving the tragic accident, completely lost his mind.
A host of celebrities, including a man in the running for the Presidency, are accompanying him on the ride. Buck knows accepting this job is quite possibly a suicide mission. Mediums who have visited this area have died: Buck came close to dying himself in this exact location.
Everything comes into question as the train goes speeding through the desert at miles an hour, heading through one of most dangerous locations in the country. Black Light is a unique novel. Think of it as a combination of Ghostbusters and Die Hard. Note: The authors of Black Light are also the creators of the Saw horror movie franchise. Reviewed by Jennifer Lawrence. The Pumpkin Man by John Everson. Now, on top of that, Jennica and her roommate, Kirsten, have been laid off. Desperate to get away, Kirsten and Jenn head to California to check out the home Jenn has inherited from her now-deceased aunt Meredith.
The bookshelves in her home are filled with ancient books on death, potions, and the like. One of the most interesting books is a photo album filled with pictures of intricately carved pumpkins. When they head to a local bar for a drink, the townspeople are hostile, serving the girls a rat under a silver dome dish. As the days pass, Jenn learns more about her aunt and her uncle, George, often referred to as the Pumpkin Man. George was skilled at carving complex images into pumpkins, and each year, people would look forward to his big creation for that year.
Then one year a little boy went missing, and the pumpkin displayed that year resembled the face of the missing boy. Desperate for human interaction outside of the unwelcoming town, the girls head down to San Francisco. They meet two young men, who come to visit the girls at the house.