'Die Schandmaske' beginnt wie ein klassischer Krimi mit dem Fund der Leiche. Was erst wie ein Selbstmord erscheint, wird bald zu einem Mordfall, denn'Die Schandmaske' beginnt wie ein klassischer Krimi mit dem Fund der Leiche. Was erst wie ein Selbstmord erscheint, wird bald zu einem Mordfall, denn schliesslich gibt es plausible Motive und ausreichend Verdaechtige. Die Verstorbene Mathilda Gillespie hinterlaesst ein nicht unerhebliches Vermoegen, und ihre ungeliebte Tochter ist auch schon zur Stelle, um das Erbe anzutreten. Doch mit der Testamentseroeffnung kommt die ueberraschende Wendung, denn als alleinige Erbin ist die Aerztin benannt, die Mathilda offenbar als einzige leiden konnte. Und damit beginnt ein Verwirrspiel voller Zweifel und Intrigen, bei dem jeder aus dem Umfeld der Toten mindestens einmal in Verdacht geraet. Jedes Kapitel beginnt mit Auszuegen aus den Tagebuechern von Mathilda, welche teilweise Licht ins Dunkel bringen, aber auch neue Verdachtsmomente ins Spiel bringen. Das Ende bietet gleich in mehrfacher Hinsicht eine Ueberraschung, denn die Aufloesung kommt voellig unerwartet und der boese Bube ist zum Glueck doch nicht so schlimm... Ein Spitzenkrimi, den ich genauso wie 'Die Bildhauerin' bis zum Ende nicht aus der Hand legen konnte....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
Phantasmen ist nach Asche und Phönix ein weiterer Roman von Kai Meyer, der in der Bittersweet Reihe des Carlsen Verlages erschienen ist. Und wie schonPhantasmen ist nach Asche und Phönix ein weiterer Roman von Kai Meyer, der in der Bittersweet Reihe des Carlsen Verlages erschienen ist. Und wie schon sein Vorgänger spielt diese Geschichte in einer mehr oder weniger realen, dem Leser vertrauten Welt und ist nicht wie frühere Werke historisch oder extrem fantastisch aufgehängt. Und genau das ist auch hier mein Hauptkritikpunkt: mir fehlt die Magie, die überbordende Fantasie, die einen mit jeder Seite aufs Neue erstaunt und in ihren Bann zieht.
Natürlich ist es nicht verkehrt, neue Wege einzuschlagen und wie hier z.B. die Möglichkeiten einer postapokalyptischen, science-fiction-verbundenen Idee auszuloten. Aber leider konnte mich der Plot, der in grossen Teilen einem Road Movie glich und dessen Auflösung auch keinen wirklichen Höhepunkt darstellte, nicht wie erwartet fesseln. Viele Fragen blieben offen und das Potential der Ausgangssituation, dass die Welt auf einmal von Geistern bevölkert ist, blieb in meinen Augen unausgeschöpft. Ein durchaus lesenswerter und unterhaltsamer Roman, die ich persönlich aber zu den schwächeren Werken des Autors zähle....more
As with every collection, I enjoyed some stories more than others:
1 - The one with a rusty spoon: while I anticipated the outcome, I was fascinated byAs with every collection, I enjoyed some stories more than others:
1 - The one with a rusty spoon: while I anticipated the outcome, I was fascinated by this depressing story about superstition and how a person's self-esteem can be affected by narrow-minded behavior. ****
2 - The one with a crow-nosed piano player: an average but for me unremarkable story which reminded me of X-factor episodes you are asked to guess if it is based on a true story or not. **
3 - The one with a starving wolf: nice twist on the well-known fairy tale. The poor animal. ***
4 - The one with two sets of fingernails: My least favorite, I just couldn't get into it. *
5 - The one with a pair of best friends: I was very impressed by this little bitter-sweet story, though I can't really say why. ****
6 - The one with a man made of ash: Weird and creepy, great story. ****
The flawless writing and overall convincing quality of the stories made this collection a worthwhile read.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review)...more
All stories in this collection are related to winter and christmas.
Snowmen: this was definitely my favourite story, as it evoked a sense of utter dreaAll stories in this collection are related to winter and christmas.
Snowmen: this was definitely my favourite story, as it evoked a sense of utter dread and despair as I have seldom experienced. 5 stars.
Doomsday Father Christmas: I could not relate to or sympathize with the musings of the sad old man, nor did I understand why he was protrayed as only a pretense of Santa instead of the real deal, which may have made a difference and increased his tragedy. 2 stars.
Black Static: ok, but not remarkable. 3 stars.
They Know: cold and creepy, this one send one chill after another down my spine. Well done. 4 stars.
Visitation Rights: with a surprising end some may find shocking, this story left me in a very melancholy gothic mood. 4 stars.
Overall, a very good collection of horror short stories to add some spice to the season....more
'The Broken' introduces us to a new character named Holt. We first meet him as a ranger returning runaway slaves to their merciless owner. Later on, H'The Broken' introduces us to a new character named Holt. We first meet him as a ranger returning runaway slaves to their merciless owner. Later on, Holt fights with the Confederates, but is betrayed and forced into slavery himself. Forced to fight against the invading undead, he manages to escape and later on joins a group of already well-known outcasts we met in previous installments. Together, they decide to stop the general who is responsible for the undead plague spreading through the chaos of war. While not everything is explained, more details about the origin of the zombie plague are revealed.
This was another action-packed and fast-paced adventure in the Red Dust series. However, the numerous changes that marked Holt's fate (ranger, soldier, slave, slave soldier, fugitive, ...) followed each other too fast, overloading the story with ideas. Either it should have been longer so the development of things could have been more elaborate, or the authors should have focused on a single event and summed up the rest as a short introductorily background. Reading this short story felt much longer than reading its predecessors, and I wonder whether this one would have better been put into a novella-length book.
I guess I said it somewhere in the past, but I would appreciate a detailed full-length novel for Red Dust sometime, and reading 'Broken' confirmed that the authors do have enough great ideas and potential to do so. ...more
Ein deutscher Mysteryroman!? Die Geschichte von Kyra, die in einem nur für sie sichtbaren Buch von bevorstehenden Unglücksfällen erfährt, hat spontanEin deutscher Mysteryroman!? Die Geschichte von Kyra, die in einem nur für sie sichtbaren Buch von bevorstehenden Unglücksfällen erfährt, hat spontan meine Neugierde geweckt und kam mir als Urlaubslektüre gerade richtig.
Mein Hauptkritikpunkt an dem Buch ist seine Länge: irgendwann hatte ich das Gefühl, es dreht sich alles im Kreis und ich lese eine Szene bereits zum x-ten Mal. Die Charaktere wirkten eindimensional, z.B. der schwule beste Freund war nicht sehr originell und die Auflösung seiner Beziehung zu Kyra war mehr als vorhersehbar.
Als leichte Urlaubslektüre durchaus empfehlenswert....more
This was a spontaneous purchase from a rummage table. I had never heard of the author or book before, but the premise caught my attention and I thoughThis was a spontaneous purchase from a rummage table. I had never heard of the author or book before, but the premise caught my attention and I thought it would make a decent holiday read. And I was rewarded indeed with a great story. The complex M.O., poisoning her victims and taking on their identities one after another, was very original, while the choice of an elderly woman as serial killer was unusual but fitting. The investigating DCI also was different, as Mark Lapslie suffers from synaesthesia, which manifests in all kinds of flavors invading his taste buds upon hearing different sounds. While this condition partly benefits his job, at most times it is a great challenge he has to endure.
But as if the combination of these two bizarre characters wasn't enough, the author adds a third element of surprise, which at the end explains some mysteries and connections. However, I thought it was too much and spoiled the otherwise perfectly balanced alternation between investigator and criminal, therefore "only" four stars. However, I will definitely check out the next book in the series....more