While the book began as expected, it soon turned into something very different. Which is not a bad thing, but sometimes made me wonder what kind of stWhile the book began as expected, it soon turned into something very different. Which is not a bad thing, but sometimes made me wonder what kind of story the author really wanted to tell. The very graphic scenes at the beginning suggested a kind of extreme supernatural backwoods slasher story, while at the end it morphed into something much tamer which faintly reminded me of stories like Being Human (the TV series). Very well written with an emphasis on character development, it was easy to relate, while not always sympathize, with Vicky, Eric and Sam. At the end, a lot of questions were left unanswered - Who and what is the creature? What is the secret of the Blood Trap? What does Vicky's father really know? What have they become? A sequel would be very welcome.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review)...more
Dark Screams collects five short stories by some of the most successful authors in the genre - but does it automatically guarantee a success? Let me sDark Screams collects five short stories by some of the most successful authors in the genre - but does it automatically guarantee a success? Let me see:
Weeds (Stephen King) While I enjoyed the writing of this story the most, I missed some surprise element in the plot. Nice and straight, but at the same time a bit unremarkable. 3.5 stars.
The Price You Pay (Kelley Armstrong) A very fast and creepy thriller which had me holding my breath. My only criticism is that it was too short, I would have preferred more details and a slower rising arc of suspense. Would have been better in novella format. 4 stars.
Magic Eyes (Bill Pronzini) Disturbing but also kind of boring, this is my least favorite story in the collection. 2.5 stars
Murder in Chains (Simon Clark) Loved the premise and action, but too many questions were left unanswered which left me unsatisfied. 3 stars
The Watched (Ramsey Campbell) Weird, strange, brilliant. My favorite story in the collection. 5 stars
There is no overall theme of the collection, which I found to be both a good (diversity) and bad thing (not sure what to expect). Not a must-have, but an entertaining way to fill some time.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)...more
This book delivers a good old-fashioned monster tale, where the creature is after some children. However, this one comes with a twist, as the creatureThis book delivers a good old-fashioned monster tale, where the creature is after some children. However, this one comes with a twist, as the creature is no other than Krampus, Santa's Dark Servant. He takes those children that are on the naughty list for behaving badly, especially nx bullying other kids. If the children freely acknowledge and honestly regret their deeds they may be spared a brutal punishment. But this year in New Jersey, Krampus made a mistake, and now he is the one in trouble.
This was my second book based on the Krampus legend, and while 'The Dark Servant' stayed close to the original legend, at the same time it was kind of a stereotypical monster story. There where several though very minor things that bothered me. The references to the Nazis, while legitimate, seemed unnecessary. Also, I was not convinced why Krampus made his appearance in New Jersey, of all things. Finally, Krampus was made ridiculous on several occasions, which was entertaining but also counteracted the sense of dread and horror.
While I would definitely recommend this book as a well-written scary monster story, when it comes to Krampus I prefer Brom's interpretation of the legend: Krampus: The Yule Lord....more
Honestly, I had already lost hope and deeply mourned the vampire genre for being ruthlessly sucked dry of its last drop oI love, Love, LOVE this book!
Honestly, I had already lost hope and deeply mourned the vampire genre for being ruthlessly sucked dry of its last drop of originality. But just at this moment of deepest despair 'The Lesser Dead' seems to appear out of nowhere, bopping me in the head and yelling "Hey dumbass, here I am - still undead and kicking!".
The cover alone convinced me that I not only wanted to read this book, but that I absolutely needed to read it at once! Ok, that was not entirely possible, as I had to 1. order the book, 2. wait for delivery and 3. finish my previous book (I keep a very polite policy about that). An electronic copy (though I have to admit that would have been faster) was out of the question - just take a look at the cover and tell me you can hide such a beauty in the digital abyss of your e-reader! Imho, it requires to be displayed and admired in an appropriate way. Also, I was so damn sure I'd love this one that I wanted to show it off on a bookshelf. Yeah I know: silly me, but sometimes you just have to follow your gut feeling and sometimes you're even lucky.
At first glance, the summary and its tone reminded me of books like Bottomfeeder or Already Dead, but while I still feel they are somehow similar at the same time they are completely different. Hard to explain and probably a very personal experience.
Nevertheless, when I started reading the book it was like a revelation. I was sucked right in and devoured each sentence, each word, each letter like I had been starving for some time (and in a weird sense it was also true). While I did not immediately sympathize with the main character, Joey, he was gently growing on me despite of his arrogant attitude. On the other hand Cvetko, his undead and, as opposed to Joey, totally unimpressive friend, was very likeable - or so I thought.
The story is told from Joey's POV, which was a bit arduous at times, considering his penchant for the latest fashion and detailed description thereof. I enjoyed these passages as a light mocking of the long-winded descriptions I dreaded reading the Vampire Chronicles. Funny what associations the mind can create.
The plot itself was very original and mostly unpredictable, with several nasty twists that really got me by surprise. While the ending was on the verge of overdoing it, it managed to get it's act together at the last minute. The gore level reached a satisfying range with several interesting new scenarios. Not to mention the children - horror stories with children have an additional scary factor by default. The combination of childish innocence and incomparable cruelty always gives me the creeps.
So, if you like reading [vampire|horror|*] stories and are not squeamish about some blood splatters, this may just be the book you are looking for. Needless to say: highest recommendation!...more