Juliet and Colton were once madly in love but Colton ruined it all when he decided to diddle the dog sitter (better than the dog, I suppose!). JulietJuliet and Colton were once madly in love but Colton ruined it all when he decided to diddle the dog sitter (better than the dog, I suppose!). Juliet is fuming mad and who can blame her? When the story begins this is all fresh and told from Juliet’s POV. Her emotions are red hot as they are driving together to drop her off at her mothers and you really “get” her. Her husband is a selfish dolt. Bad luck befalls them as their car is sideswiped and Juliet awakens dazed to find herself shackled to a post and things only get worse from there. Damn, and I thought my luck was bad!
The best thing about Juliet is that she is not a whiner. She acts.
The narrator is pure perfection for this tale. She conveys Juliet’s emotions extremely well as they range from simmering rage to pain, fear and full out anger. I’d recommend reading it this way, if you’re a fan of audio.
I was gifted a copy of this audio from the author with no expectation of a review but I “review” everything I read and, if you know me at all, you know this in no way changes my thoughts on the book. If it sucked, I would tell you. But this book was cringe-inducing awesomeness with just enough sarcasm and snark thrown into the dialogue and thoughts to make me a very happy reader. ...more
Cool to the Touch combines two things that should never, ever go together. Zombies and sex. Yeah, you read that right. Zombie sex. Sex with4 1/2 Stars
Cool to the Touch combines two things that should never, ever go together. Zombies and sex. Yeah, you read that right. Zombie sex. Sex with zombies. Not exactly the stuff of which dreams are made.
“How consuming is love?”
Would you believe me if I told you this is a sensitive and eloquently written tale of love, loss, lust and utter hopelessness? You should because it’s true.
I quite enjoyed it. It’s not all up in your face gross as most of the “monster porn” I’ve read has a tendency to be (not that there's anything wrong with that either!). It’s sexy but not super explicit. It’s .99 cents for 12 pages of terrible beauty and if this author decides to write a full out erotic horror novel I’ll be the first in line to one-click buy it.
Read it if this is your thing. I won’t judge you. Come on. You know you want to. . . Here's a small sample of what's in store. You can blame Tressa.
"Things were precarious just then. I could feel the aftershocks of her own pleasure clenching me at the root, as if every drop of me might bring her back from the edge of depravity that she stood upon." ...more
A man returns home after a long day of work, hoping only to get through a painful anniversary by having4 1/2 Stars
Things aren’t always what they seem.
A man returns home after a long day of work, hoping only to get through a painful anniversary by having a quiet dinner and watching a movie with his family.
But that doesn’t happen because a madman has other ideas . . .
After eating a surprisingly terrible meal from their usual take out place, dad, mom and their two teens all begin to feel sick and sleepy and head off to bed. When they awaken, a nightmare begins. And let me tell you, it does not let up until the very last page is turned.
This is a tense story that is filled with terrible secrets. I love reading books about families with soul destroying secrets so I was never once tempted to stop reading even though I didn’t overly care for any of these people. They go through hell in the course of the story but they’re also living empty lives and the more that was revealed about them, the less I sympathized with them.
It’s a rather sad look at a family in crises, basically going through the motions and finding happiness in their own destructive ways. None of that slowed down my need to keep reading though because the writing hits you right in the gut and never gives you time to recover. I did love it so.
The narration was strong and ominous and spot on for a thriller this dark. I highly recommend the audio version if you’re a fan of them because this one was so well done. It won’t leave you feeling all happy and uplifted but we need some darkness to balance things out, right? With that said, I will leave you with this cheerful quote because it doesn’t seem to want to leave my memory.
Love doesn't die all at once, or in big steps, he thought. It dies in tiny pieces, with daily decisions that nip off bits of it like the edges of a living branch until you’ve cut away to the heart of the trunk and then that, too, is gone and there’s nothing left.
I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook loaned out via Overdrive and read by Flinty Williams who has the most lovely, lilting English accent. I read this cold and I think it best if you do so too so this is going to be super brief.
It starts off a little weird and I like weird so I was hooked. It seems that children are being overseen by military men who keep them locked in cells, removing them only for their school lessons, but only after they’ve been strapped into wheelchairs. Ummm, what the hey is going on here?
I’m not going to tell you. But when you figure it out it’s rather unsettling to say the least. Sassy cats say it best.
The dulcet tones of Flinty Williams, along with the intriguing beginning, grabbed me but it was the humanization of the characters that kept me going even when some poo hits the fan and things started to get a little too bogged down in survival action for my personal liking.
This was a fantastic story with a beginning I loved and adored though I do wish more time had been spent at the “school” and it has excellent characterization. You’ll probably hate some of ‘em though (but what’s an adventure without a few baddies? BORING, that’s what!). From the beginning, you can’t help but sympathize with Miss Justineau and Melanie and they are two characters who will linger with me for a while.
There’s even some fun bits of sarcastic dialogue amidst all of the fear, anxiety and fighting for their lives. And who can't use a little sarcasm in their lives?
I will leave you with my favorite line.
“Do I have to punch you in the head again?”...more
A couple are anxiously awaiting the birth of their daughter but when she arrives sadness follows in the form of a rare medical condition that will strA couple are anxiously awaiting the birth of their daughter but when she arrives sadness follows in the form of a rare medical condition that will stress them both financially and emotionally. As they’re settling into a new normal, some really bizarre and terrifying things begin to happen and they’re forced to temporarily relocate. But they soon discover they can’t outrun the horror.
I can’t put my finger on why this book didn’t work for me as well as it did for most of my friends. The atmosphere was dripping in dread which usually hooks me. It had well written characters and I felt sadness for the parents, especially the dad who was trying so hard to outrun his past and not allow it to ruin his present. I had much empathy for their bad to worse situation and parts of the story were definitely creepy as hell but I found it a book that was all too easy to put down (unlike this author’s novel Strangers). Why? Hell if I know. My only guess is the constant POV switches kept throwing me off and made it difficult for me to stay 100% engaged. Or maybe I wasn’t in the mood and it might just be a sad case of “It’s me. Not you.” ...more
When I started The Devil’s Detective I knew it might be a bit of a challenge but it called to me. It’s been described as bleak and has also been compaWhen I started The Devil’s Detective I knew it might be a bit of a challenge but it called to me. It’s been described as bleak and has also been compared to Barker and though I’ve always adored Barker’s work, I’ve always had to give him my 100% attention because his stuff is rich with description and layer upon layer of dread.
I’m not going to lie. This book made me work. It’s filled with a despair that I just can’t put into words. The author painstakingly recreates Hell as a place you’d never, ever want to visit but not because there is some evil entity setting your ass on fire. No, in this version of Hell you don’t even know why you’re here so there’s not even a sense of “I was an asshole. I deserve this.” You arrive with no memory, are given a job and then you’re not allowed to do it properly. Talk about an exercise in frustration! Your existence is one of despair, tedium and malaise. And that’s all there is.
The story follows an “Information Man” called Fool who is dispatched to investigate the dead bodies that turn up in Hell (it is Hell and overrun with demons, after all). Fool catalogues endless crimes and murders but no one follows up on any of it until one day he runs across a body whose soul appears to have been eaten. Deliciousness! But that’s weird, even in Hell, so The Powers that Be get their ears all perked up and Fool is given a mission as well as a forbidden smidge of hope that maybe, perhaps this one case will be one he’ll actually get to solve.
The best part about this book is the imagery. The characters, if I’m being honest, are rather uninteresting. There’s a female or two and they’re pretty useless creatures, whining and wailing and lamenting and carrying on. Meh, go away. I have no patience for you. A livelier Fool would’ve made this one go down easier but he’s too bland for my taste. The descriptions are 100% what kept me reading but at a bit of a snail’s pace. I never felt an undying urge to keep going to see if he solved the mystery but keep going I did. I don’t regret it though because as I said the imagery and savagery is worth the time.
“He raised his head, feeling something that had to be blood roll down the side of his face. He lifted a hand to it, finding a short tear just below his hairline, another wound that would scar to a keloid ridge and add to the story of his time here, a story written across his skin in the language of Hell.” ...more
If you’re looking for dark fiction that keeps you guessing, Plague of Gulls is a definite recommend. It is4 1/2 Find this book at The Pigeonhole.com.
If you’re looking for dark fiction that keeps you guessing, Plague of Gulls is a definite recommend. It is filled with upsetting and disturbing turns and nowhere along the way could I anticipate where things were going. I love when that happens and it doesn’t happen nearly enough in my reading life.
I also love a well written sense of creeping dread and writing that can turn the mundane into something just slightly ominous with a turn of phrase and Plague of Gulls captures those feelings perfectly and maintains them throughout the piece. I could not put this one down.
“Kenny watches, the smile like a wound on his mouth.”
So, what’s it about? I’m going to be vague so as not to ruin it. Basically it’s about a young man named David going through an extremely low point in his life. He had visions of a summer filled with music and friendship but because of circumstances, he spends his time mostly alone or at a quarry that hides pain deep within its depths. And then a baby seagull comes into his life and things go from awful to tragically dark. And that’s all I’m giving you.
I despise poor-me types and was a little worried at the beginning that David was going to be one of those oh woe-is-me whiny boys that give Eeyore a run for his money.
Even David admits that he’s not sympathetic but after a few chapters I didn’t find that to be true at all. This kid had been dealt a hand of poo that festered and continued to grow with every move he made and it would’ve been hard for me not to sympathize with him.
It’s creepy, it’s sad and it has moments of unexpected humor but the descriptive prose is what grabbed me and won me over. I can’t wait to read more by this author.
“I wait for the pain to ease. The walls of the castle and the old town lean around the house and smother it with their shadows.” ...more
I requested this book from Netgalley and I am sad to say that I am going to have to DNF at the halfway mark. It may get better but it may not. All I kI requested this book from Netgalley and I am sad to say that I am going to have to DNF at the halfway mark. It may get better but it may not. All I know for certain is that I am just not having a good time with the story and I’m calling it done and moving on. You readers who revile the DNF review may want to click away now because that’s what you’re about to get here.
The intoxicated driver of a car filled with twenty somethings decides to take a shortcut home. You just know this won’t end well. And it doesn’t. They end up stranded in a town that no longer exists on any map and is inhabited by some very strange animated doll parts.
Sounds good to me and my hopes were high. I loved Curran’s book Blackout. But after a great beginning featuring some extremely well written creepy atmosphere, a diner straight out of hell, and several creatures that will haunt my dreams, it just sort of got stuck in a rut and lost me. I had trouble keeping track of the characters who decided to split up early and investigate and pretty much get what’s coming to them for being such curious creatures. I didn’t get to know any of them well enough to like or dislike them and never felt the tension that comes when a character you love or despise has to face unimaginable horror. And thus I stalled and this is where I part ways with Doll Face. Sorry guys. ...more
3 1/2 stars but rounding up. Don't ask me to rate each individual story because I am far too lazy.
The cover? Oh how, it haunts me. Those must be demon3 1/2 stars but rounding up. Don't ask me to rate each individual story because I am far too lazy.
The cover? Oh how, it haunts me. Those must be demon tails, right? Otherwise I can’t deal. This is a short story collection of 16 horror and horror-ish tales narrated by Nelson Pyles. He has a down to earth every man sort of tone that kept me listening and he does a great job with the voices, never sounding forced or mechanical or too deadly serious.
Of Shadows The last thing Ellen remembers was walking her dog. Now her head hurts and she’s locked in a cage. As she gets her wits about her, she realizes that she is not alone and that she is in a dungeon . . . This is a crazy tale of tale of survival. Having recently read King’s Revival, I have to say this one gave me the creeps. Ugh, those images will forever be burned into my memory.
Avenged This is a straight up western revenge tale and, to be real, it just wasn’t my thing. A man walks into a bar to avenge the death of his crew. Death happens. I enjoyed the narrator’s work with the different voices but I’m not a big fan of this kind of thing.
Ordering Out This one is more my style. Percy is tired of the tedium of “ordering out”. It’s more fun when he can lure his meal into his lair. This story is more light-hearted than the previous two.
Perfect Little Hands Yikes, this one is the darkest of the bunch so far. A man is grieving over the coffin of his dead step-daughter. He’s filled with jealousy and rage and as the story unravels he’s revealed to be the king of all creepy-ass step-daddies.
Inside Out A journalist scores an interview with a convicted killer who tells him a strange story he never expected to hear. This is a crazy tale about childhood atrocities, a handicapped boy and perhaps a monster. This was one odd little tale that made complete sense in the end.
Shards Gerald is a disturbed man. He has mommy issues and baby issues and he’s a bit of a mess but he’s managed to hide it from his wife until she reveals to him his worst fear come true and then everything unravels. I wish this one had been longer. I would’ve liked to have read all of the gory details.
What is wrong with me?
Twist of Pain Sarah is unstable and she may or may have not have just kidnapped a baby. I figured out where this one was going long before the reveal but I grew up watching too many creepy tv shows and had a mom who (view spoiler)[collected dead eyed dolls.
Old Habits A couple plan a peaceful summer at a remote cabin in the woods. They probably should’ve stayed home. Hubby goes out for groceries and returns to find something terrible has happened but the worst is yet to come. This was a fun kind of cabin in the woods meets something other than hillbillies mash-up.
In the Shadow of the Equine A man and his boy only want to spend some time bonding over majestic horses but instead they find themselves stranded on an island inhabited by deranged folks. This one has a bit of Alien/Lovecraftian inspired flair, great tension and some fabulous atmosphere. It was one of my favorites in the collection.
Split Ends Sally suffers from a distressing hair disease that causes scabs and major hair fallout and requires obsessive brushing. She fears that she may have passed it along to her daughter. Her fear and anxiety are painful to witness but it’s obvious to see what the real “affliction” is here. Ew, this one will probably make you cringe. Body horror gets me every time.
Spaceship Earth A rather clueless fellow accidentally stumbles upon Spaceship Earth and soon learns he can never leave. This one had an eerie Outer Limits vibe that brought me back to my teens when I spent endless hours binging on Outer Limits, Twilight Zone and Tales from the Darkside.
Warmth Within Thy Depths A deep sea diver finds more than he bargained for down below. It’s not all mermaids and singing crabs under the sea, people. This wasn’t one of my favorites but you can’t win ‘em all.
Never Free A lonely man awaits freedom from his imprisonment but is the cost worth it? This one was just ok for me.
Ahate’s Spirit A young man who grew up surrounded by tales of spirit beasts encounters a magnificent and strange bird while out hunting. His first instinct is to kill it. He quickly learns that one should never mess with a spirit beast. Another “meh” story for me but I think it had more to do with my lack of sympathy towards the protagonist than anything else.
Rebirth This is the tale of a mad scientist working like, well, a madman to bring back what he has lost. I have a soft spot for these guys who believe their creation will change the world but usually only manage to make their miserable lives all the more miserable.
Redpath Stu After the death of his father, Stephen hits the road and lands in a very strange diner. This is another favorite. I have a fondness for weird “Stu” and this one hit all the right spots.
Like all collections of this sort, some of the stories grabbed me more than others. A few are “meh” or just not to my personal taste but most of them are entertaining and they’re all very different which I enjoyed. There’s some great little tales here that would make terrific little short horror movies.
*I received a copy of this from the narrator in exchange for an honest review. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Milk blood is a bleak, unflinching look at people in desperate situations. When I say bleak, I am not exaggerating. These people are more than down onMilk blood is a bleak, unflinching look at people in desperate situations. When I say bleak, I am not exaggerating. These people are more than down on their luck, they have hit rock bottom. It’s a gripping mix of the horror show that is drug addiction and otherworldly horror that feels so natural your skin may crawl. It’s descriptive and gut-wrenching and some truly terrible things happen to an innocent young girl. You might want to have something upbeat nearby because some of these scenes may wreck you. Unless I’m just getting wimpier as the years go by. Nah. I don't think that's it.
I listened to this story in its unabridged audiobook format which immerses you in the desolation of the story. The narrator is deadly serious (as he needs to be) and, to be honest, though it’s only 3 hours or so, I had to take breaks and listen to some silly horror podcasts in between. This story is intense and bothered me on a level that most horror can’t reach. It’s similar to Lynda Barry’s Cruddy in that way. Only without the humor. There's nothing humorous here.
Don’t do drugs people.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....more
A gleefully fun, slightly rough and nasty, little tale that’ll get you in the Christmas spirit and make you think twice about messing with Santa and hA gleefully fun, slightly rough and nasty, little tale that’ll get you in the Christmas spirit and make you think twice about messing with Santa and his reindeer. Not that any of you would ever do such a thing :)
Because I quit a book last week, I forced myself to finish this one. I can finish anything on audio, thought I. I am not aWell, that was melodramatic.
Because I quit a book last week, I forced myself to finish this one. I can finish anything on audio, thought I. I am not a quitter, thought I. But after struggling to focus on this and backtracking 2 hours because I realized I had been daydreaming the entire time, I have come to the realization that the DNF review is not so bad a thing.
This read was torturous. I finished it but did not have a good time.
“You don’t love me. But you will.”
Sorry Erik but no. No I won’t. Feel free to keep trying.
“You must know that I am made of death, from head to foot, and it is a corpse who loves you and adores you and will never, never leave you!”
Hmmm, slightly tempting. But no. And here’s why:
This story has the lovely gothic trappings that one would expect; an opera “ghost” who hides in the shadows, a helpless damsel and loads of secret passageways and hidden rooms where ominous things happen. But . . .
It was boring .There, I said it. It’s rather a dry read, goes off on tedious tangents about missing money for hours (felt like hours anyway) and the narration was a wee bit on the stuffy side, making it easy for me to doze off. It also features a love triangle between Christine the beauty, Erik the mentally unstable phantom and Raoul a weepy, boy-man who dissolved into a fit of tears whenever he thought Christine might not share in his insta-love. Note to Raoul: toughen up, man! Your tears are a perfectly good waste of suffering (thank you Clive Barker) and they are not attractive. Poor Christine. She would’ve been better off getting a dog than marrying either of these two.
This did not go down well for me. It was a struggle from beginning to end. I was very much expecting to become immersed in the world but instead I couldn’t wait to flee from it.
Slush is a collection of short horror and dark fiction and the forward to the stories tantalizes:
These stories will make you feel real, feel alive, feSlush is a collection of short horror and dark fiction and the forward to the stories tantalizes:
These stories will make you feel real, feel alive, feel creeped out, feel entertained, BUT the key word here is FEEL.
Most books only succeed in making me feel bored, aggravated or frustrated or nothing at all. So it was with no great amount fear that I turned the first page of Slush, afraid if it didn’t make me feel something that I may truly be dead inside.
So here goes.
Skull of Snakes It’s the summer of ’89 and young Lennie and his pals have the whole summer ahead of them. On the way to a parade, Lennie picks up an old coin that is oddly decorated with a skull full of snakes. He drops it in his pocket and forgets about it. Then some very bad things begin to happen to those closest to Lennie and he remembers the coin and realizes that it may be cursed. Now his carefree summer will forever be marred by tragedy and loss. Note to self: don’t ever pick up that shiny penny, life is tough enough without tacking on a curse. Action drives this story and I would’ve preferred a few quieter moments for Lennie to catch his breath and process some of the grief. It could’ve been a tear-jerker but it wasn’t. 3.5 stars
Sweet Sixteen This is a disturbing short tale of first love and lost innocence. Love goes good until it’s not so good. Then horror ensues. All in the name of true love, of course. This story is kind of a screw you to fickle young love and one can almost feel for the boy, if he weren’t crazier than Norman Bates. Though very short, the opening paragraph gives it all away which was a bit of a letdown but I am the type who runs screaming from spoilers so you have to take that into consideration. 3.5 stars
Jackie Boy This story is gloriously grisly and one of my favorites in the collection. Jackie Boy has found a rather unique way to dispose of the rats bothering his beloved horse. Turns out Jackie is quite the resourceful, if very creepy, little man. This one is bursting with gory fun. I don’t know what this says about me but I loved it for its in-your-face, more than slightly disturbing, grossness. 5 stars
The Curse Five students plan revenge on their evil coach. Coach Haggis has managed to torment generations of teens with nary a complaint to administration. She’s a terrifying old bitch, I’ll give her that, but I found this mighty suspicious. From the Courtney Love lyrics I’m setting this smack in the 90’s when kids weren’t so helicoptered and tried my best to let it go (admittedly not my strongest point). Instead of telling anyone in authority about the abuse, they seek out the local hermit/rumored witch because, you know, that’s always a fantastic idea. She thrusts a be-spelled candle at them and sends them on their way. Revenge ensues. To be honest, this one wasn’t my favorite. I found it too predictable and the characters too stereotypical. Can’t win ‘em all, right? 2.5 stars
The Delicious Death of Parker Stevens Already creeped out after watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a friend, Parker’s head definitely wasn’t in the right place to walk home alone through the woods. He starts hearing weird sounds and tries his best to shrug it off. This is one horror scenario where I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had run back to his friend’s house shrieking in terror.
Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz Just woodsy sounds. Perfectly normal.
Click, click, click Animals in the woods, he tells himself.
“Boy,” a raspy voice whispered. Uh oh, that’s probably not any species of animal he wants to meet in the dark!
“Boy,” she repeated. “Come to us.”
Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz And out of the woods the creatures come. . .
This one made me cringe in all the right places. It was deliciously evil just as promised. 4 stars
I’m In Here This one is terribly unsettling and manages to achieve that in only a few paragraphs. That’s all I’m saying. It made me feel sad (whew, guess my soul is still intact!). 4.5 Stars
Henry Oooo, here comes the body horror!
Poor Henry is 13 and suddenly stricken with a severe case of acne. He can’t dare face the girl of his dreams looking like a pus filled beast and decides to take drastic measures to remedy the situation. With His Daddy’s Shiny New Razor. Henry has no beard. Ponder that, if you will.
I had to actually look away from this story because I did not want to see what was coming. But then I looked again (the things I do for you people) and yep, it’s just as awful as you can imagine. 4.5 Stars
Something Lost This is a short tale of grief and the importance of musical memories. Not horror but very moving all the same. 4 Stars
Ballad of the Best-Selling Author A bitter horror fan/struggling writer butts heads with a smug hipster who has made a fortune peddling zombie tripe. The struggling novelist shows him the meaning of real horror and the comeuppance is kind of glorious. 4.5 stars
Candle Magic This is a super short rumination on the magical qualities of the candle. Not enough here to rate.
Flaws I did not enjoy this story. One day a man awakens with the urge to start snuffing out the lives of innocents.
Why and why now? I don’t rightly know. A bit more insight into his head would’ve made this go down easier. As written, we’re basically forced to watch him as he does terrible, horrible things to innocent creatures. I’d like to unread it, please. It was unpleasant and too dark and terrible even for the likes of me. 1.5 stars
Halloween Worm This story makes up for the last one. A young boy is coerced into helping the town bully get revenge against an old man who gave him a worm infested apple the previous Halloween. A nasty surprise awaits them. Pure gory fun and a great way to end the collection. 4.5 stars
So, yeah, these stories made me feel all sorts of things. Some good, some not so good and that’s why I read horror. Guess the soul is still intact for the moment.
We were a team of professional insomniacs. Once you know there are monsters under the bed, closing your eyes becomes a foolhardy act. So, we paced. WeWe were a team of professional insomniacs. Once you know there are monsters under the bed, closing your eyes becomes a foolhardy act. So, we paced. We stared into the dark. We listened for the creak of the opening door.
This is a story about a group of strangers, all from different walks of life, who have been brought together for a group therapy session. They are all trauma survivors but each of them carries scars caused by the stuff that haunts dreams and fuels horror films. None of them are fine. Not even close.
The horrors unravel very slowly and the reader is forced to piece together each reveal and attempt to make sense of it. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on with each character because there is no big info. dump spew. Not that I’m complaining. Things unravel just as I assume they would in a real life therapy group. Because of the trauma (or simply because they are human) only one guy jumps in and spills his entire history but not in a coherent manner. The rest are wary of each other. And for good reasons.
This was an intriguing novella filled with frightening ideas but I truly wish it had been a wee bit longer and that I could’ve learned more about the characters than I did. Their backstories were fascinating and horrifying but there was much left unsaid. Perhaps a sequel is on the horizon?
*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review....more
“He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness4 1/2 Stars
I know you know it:
“He sees you when you're sleeping He knows when you're awake He knows if you've been bad or good So be good for goodness sake “
Think that song’s a little creepy? Well, trust me, after reading The Dark Servant, those seemingly innocent lyrics will forevermore take on an ominous new meaning. Author Matt Manochio fills in all the blanks implied in those words up there.
Santa has an evil sidekick named Krampus. Krampus is not cuddly. Nor is he a kind, plump fool doling out gifts to “good” little brats. He’d much rather chain you up and lick the flesh from your face while you beg for mercy. No, you do not want Krampus coming after your bad self. So try your very best to be good kiddos.
The kiddos in this story weren’t very good to each other and thus Krampus comes a-calling.
“Besides the beast’s howls, the last bit Travis remembered before losing consciousness was the smell that started the nightmare: the odor of a malevolent force that invaded New Jersey twenty days before Christmas.”
Sorry. I tried to resist. The temptation was too great.
Once Krampus arrives in town, armed with his handy dandy giant backpack-crate, his steamy breath, torturous tongue and his list, teens quickly start to go missing. One of those teens is Billy’s older brother. Billy braves a treacherous snowstorm and risks his life to discover the truth behind the disappearances. What he discovers is unbelievable but he doesn’t let it discourage him. Along the way he grows up, finds love and becomes a better, braver, much more confident person ready to face off against the likes of Krampus.
Maybe Krampus isn’t so bad after all! I’m betting there are many towns that would benefit greatly from a Krampus visit. . . .
I very much enjoyed this story. It had a quick pace and teen kids who act like jerks but don’t get off easy. My only complaint was that I thought it got a little too “talky” in bits. You may think differently. Truly, though, the best thing about this story is its terrifying, unpredictable monster that had a snarky, dark sense of humor and was also a little bit of perv. I have to admit, I kind of adored him (view spoiler)[(except for the bit where he ATE the doggie, seriously that was totally uncalled for) (hide spoiler)]. Otherwise, he was 100% amusing.
“I crave your beauty. The despairing feelings you imbue in others, your masterfully concealed wretchedness and your physical grace embody a perfect creature. If only the Master would permit me to take a bride…”
To sum this up (finally, you say), if you’re already sick of the Christmas shopping insanity and looking for a little holiday nastiness to better get you in the spirit, you’ll probably want to read this. I have no regrets and will probably do it again next November.
*I received this book to review for Horror After Dark. Thank you Samhain and Nikki!*["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I downloaded this a million years ago but finally got around to listening to it today. It was terrifying, so disturbingly good and is still Free on AuI downloaded this a million years ago but finally got around to listening to it today. It was terrifying, so disturbingly good and is still Free on Audible. It’s only an hour and ½ long so you’ll get through it in no time at all. Go get it.
Apparently this story is a prequel to a series of books set in this same zombie apocalypse stricken world. Or maybe it’s just set in the same world. I don’t really know. What I do know is that you don’t have to read the others before listening to The Hospital. It completely stands alone and is completely creepy.
Gus is the protagonist. He is just a regular guy trying to stay alive and avoid becoming dinner for the walking corpses. He was a big guy when things went bad and even now, half starved, he’s still got a good bit of meat on him. He’s bald, he spits, he drinks too much booze and he has stinky accidents in his pants like any normal scared-out-of his-wits person would in this situation. What’s not to like?
Anyway, this story follows Gus as he loots a hospital. He’s rather surprised by how much good stuff is just lying about but he doesn’t think too hard on it. He’s just thankful he’s found it. He’ll regret this later, after he loses a little of his meat . . .
This story was short but it packed a gruesome punch. Gus ends up finding more than he bargained for and what happens next is extremely horrifying and kind of funny, if you're strange like me. I won’t forget this one anytime soon. The narrator was perfect for the part and did a fabulous job with Gus and the one other character. This is good gory stuff and I hope to revisit this author and Gus again.
And if’n you are one of those who must know the spoiler and decide to click below don’t be blaming me if you never sleep again.
This is a young adult novel with a love triangle. You have been warned.
“Edward and Montgomery were suddenly both by my side, each taking an arm.
This is a young adult novel with a love triangle. You have been warned.
“Edward and Montgomery were suddenly both by my side, each taking an arm.
My face burned as I looked between them. Two boys, two sets of hands on my wrists. One rough and calloused, the other strong yet smooth. My emotions knotted tighter, threatening to cut off my circulation.”
I picked it up knowing this and expecting the above because I was seduced by the plot. The “madman” is actually Dr. Moreau. Yes, that Dr. Moreau. The one who, in my dreams, creates these lovelies:
Dr. Moreau was basically run out of town and his reputation ruined after his nefarious experiments came to light. He abandoned both his wife and young daughter and high-tailed it to an island. Flash-forward a few years and Juliette is now a teenager eeking out a living as a maid. She stumbles across some evidence to the location of her long-lost father and, though she is haunted by memories of him, he is the only family she has left and she sets off an adventure to track him down. She may wish she had never found that first clue before it’s all said and done . . .
I really enjoyed most of this book. It has a very well done sense of place and maintained its creepy gothic “what the heck is going on” atmosphere throughout. The love triangle was unnecessary and I didn’t give a rats patootie about it but I’m too old to care about teen crushes and flip flopping between handsome boys. I wanted more gruesome surgery scenes but what is here was enough to make me happy.
“To me, blood smelled like home.”
I liked Juliette. She fears she is too much like her father; cold, a little blood-thirsty, perhaps, maybe even a little mad. She is very honest in her thoughts and I found this realistic as well as refreshing. She was the only character who really captured my attention.
There are many twists and turns and secrets to be revealed and I was surprised more than once at a few of the reveals but if I’m being honest it was way too long. Probably 80 or so pages too long. The backdrop, the horror (quite repulsive at times) and the evocative writing elevates this above most of what’s out there and the ending was perfect. If this interests you check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. ...more
Looking for something to read on Halloween night? I don't think you can go wrong with this one.
The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane
I had so many questionsLooking for something to read on Halloween night? I don't think you can go wrong with this one.
The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane
I had so many questions when I stepped into this story because the characters and the setting were so unusual. What are they? Where did they come from? What is going on?! Soon enough I just went with it and followed the odd Riggle twins as they headed out for their Halloween adventure to find two tributes before midnight. And it’s imperative they do so because “they don't want to die again . . . The first time was bad enough.”
This was a bizarre, horrifying and completely unpredictable little tale. As much as I love having my questions answered, in this case, I enjoyed the fact that we weren’t spoon fed all of the answers. It made things much more ominous and mysterious.
Pumpkin Head Ted by Evans Light
Poor Ted lives a miserable existence. He is neglected and abused at home and ruthlessly tormented by his peers. Halloween is the one night Ted can blend in and almost feel like he belongs. He dons a mask and people don’t notice his deformities and treat him like any other kid. Feeling brave, he visits the home of his biggest tormentor and starts a terrible chain of events that children will be whispering about for decades to come.
This is a story filled with rage, hate, pain and revenge and it was a gut-wrenching read. Don’t let hate infect your soul kiddos, that’s all I have to say.
Ghost Light Road by Adam Light
Billy was planning on spending Halloween avoiding trick or treaters, watching horror movies and drinking beer but his little sis calls and screws with his plans. Now he and her two friends are off to Ghost Light Road so they can spy a ghost, despite the rumors that people often do not return from their little visit.
These four dummies decide to drink some concoction of booze which may or may not be laced with some magickal mushrooms and, as young drunkards will do, proceed to make some truly dumb ass moves that have them discovering the reason why some folks never return from their trip to Ghost Light Road.
The twist was surprising. The story takes a bunch of horror clichés and mashes them together into something new. It was fun and a little gory and left me pretty happy with the outcome.
Easy Pickings by Jason Parent
Trevor is a big bully and Halloween us his favorite time of year, a time when he can terrorize his younger, weaker neighbors and steal their candy while cowardly hiding behind a mask. When he and his side-kick happen upon a young boy, without a parent in sight, the two make their move assuming he’ll be easy pickings. They were oh so wrong.
The true monster in this story gets what he deserves and I loved the gruesomeness of it.
The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn
A seasonal attraction called "The Scare Rows" has popped up in a small town, seemingly overnight, and all of the townsfolk are abuzz with excitement for the big show.
The big show isn’t anything at all what they could’ve concocted in even the darkest, dirtiest of minds. This one is down and dirty and darkly humorous so of course I loved it. Most of the characters are revolting which makes the outcome that much sweeter.
“Her lips and tongue seemed intent on polishing every individual kernel of starchy goodness.”
Who wouldn’t want a sarcastic little demon of their very own? Especially one who is at your beck and call, subservient to your every whim, small enougWho wouldn’t want a sarcastic little demon of their very own? Especially one who is at your beck and call, subservient to your every whim, small enough to stick in your pocket and who has the ability to inflict great pain and suffering upon those who have done you oh-so-wrong.
Martin is in possession of a book called “Raising Demons” and he and his two dim-witted acquaintances decide that raising a demon and forcing him inside a tiny, poorly constructed totem is a brilliant idea. Martin plans to use this demon for nefarious purposes such as ridding himself of his high school tormentors and such. Surprisingly Martin succeeds but now he’s gone and opened up a world of hurt and finds himself at the center of a demon feud. He’s still a miserable young fool but now he’s stuck with an annoying as hell demon too.
Sometimes life just isn’t fair.
My advice to angry, hurting teens everywhere? If you stumble across a book titled “Raising Demons” leave it be and call in the pros.
Bad things occur. Oh, such terrible, revolting things (cannibalism, mutilation, necrophilia and more!). These are demons, after all. Fortunately, the writing doesn’t linger long enough on those horrible things to disturb one too deeply. It’s all written a little tongue in cheek, splashed with a good amount of gore and a whole lotta “you get what you wished for, sucker!” and I liked it quite a bit. The characters are lively and most of them are very sarcastic and that’s always a win in my book.
I’m a hard sell when it comes to funny though. I may snicker at silliness and human follies but laughing at words on a page doesn’t happen often for me. Most of the story was amusing when it wasn’t busy being horrifying but it didn’t make me spit out my coffee or laugh like a loon. But there’s this one scene where the little demon decides to be a nosy mofo and goes through a female characters text messages just because he’s a jerk. He soon realizes that he messed with the wrong girl and it was Hilarious. Totally made the entire book for me.
This was a fun, nasty little adventure filled romp and If you like such things something might be wrong with you but who am I to judge? Check it out. ...more
This novel contains two novellas that are not connected in any way except for the fact that they both take place many years after a world changing eveThis novel contains two novellas that are not connected in any way except for the fact that they both take place many years after a world changing event occurs.
First up is Harry Shannon’s Biters. Now I’m not going to lie, I had some problems with Biters. If you loved Biters you might not want to read my words. Many people are forgiving sorts but I’m afraid I’m not. So when the protagonist utters the following I find it hard to go on and/or to care about anything he does pretty much thereafter.
She was working him good now, sitting there on the seat all cute and begging. She knew how to charm a man out of his shirt, just like every other bitch he’d ever known.”
Excuse me? What’d he just say? I realize he’s living in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse and he’s all hardened up and manly man and has scars on his soul but I don’t think that’s an excuse for having such a horrible attitude towards all female kind. Guys can be bitches too but I don’t despise them all for a horrible few. Sorry, it had to be said. I was hoping he’d have some sort of turnaround and I could get over my distaste but it really didn’t happen.
Can’t he more like this guy? (This one's for you Char. Okay and for me too!)
I mean, would it kill a guy to show a little kindness in his thoughts?
Perhaps it would. What do I know? I haven’t exactly suffered through a zombie apocalypse and been betrayed by bitches of any gender. What I do know is that I did not like Buck Ryan and that’s a problem seeing as he’s the lead character here. Honestly, I did not like any of the human characters. Not a one. They’re all jerks. They all deserve to have their brains eaten by zombies or to be extruded through a meat grinder to feed the poor homeless doggies wandering the landscape. Had that happened I might be a little happier.
I admit that I skimmed a little on the way to the end because I just didn’t want to spend any more time with these people. It isn’t really a zombie story and it definitely wasn’t a story meant for the likes of me. It’s more a story of betrayal that reminded me a bit of the old Tales from the Crypt comics and that’s all I have to say about it. You may love it. I see lots of people did. So don’t listen to me.
I give it 2.5 stars only because of Dog . Dog was awesome.
The other story is The Reborn by Brett J. Talley. Now this one here hooked me immediately. It opens with a shocking and brutal scene that stunned me. I didn’t think it would go there but it did. I had to keep reading and didn’t stop until I finished.
It is the late summer of 2050, seventeen years after the end of the Great War, and twenty-five years after A-Day.
The world is now very different than the one we all live in. Crime has become nearly extinct, so much so that police officers have little to do and are getting laid off. But underneath the false sense of utopia there is a dark undercurrent of betrayal, corruption and brutality that may be pure evil.
Marcus just lost his job with the police force and is approached by a man who offers him a sweet new position with a top secret organization. He’s kind of desperate and accepts without asking too many questions. What “The Shepherds” do and why they do it are revealed in bits and pieces throughout the story. I’m not going to give it away but trust me it’s harsh and horrifying and it’s awful and by the time Marcus figures it all out he’s in too deep to bow out easily.
This story is action packed. Now I’m not an action fangirl by any means but unlike the previous story I was interested to see what would happen to Marcus. Marcus had compassion and questioned the system and that’s why I kept on reading. The concept was chilling and creative and I enjoyed it immensely despite all of the action and war talk. 4.5 stars
*The FTC makes me declare that I received this copy from the author. I hope he doesn't regret it. ...more
“The story I am about to tell you is about what happened after the lights went out. I’m going to tell you what happened to your beautiful green world“The story I am about to tell you is about what happened after the lights went out. I’m going to tell you what happened to your beautiful green world and the people that called it home. Understand, it’s not a happy story and there is no moral. It’s not that kind of story.”
Blackout starts out so normal. So very mundane, even. A bunch of middle class folks, in a middle class neighborhood have just finished up with a little get-together where one neighbor grabbed another wife’s butt and one wife got a bit too drunk for her own good. They could be anyone’s neighbors.And that’s what makes the book so damned frightening. This setup lulls you into thinking this could happen to you and this is why, when it all went to hell, I enjoyed it so much.
As night sets in a storm starts, the lights go out and sticky tentacles drop from the sky. Those who first peek outside to investigate don’t return. A small band of survivors are witness to atrocities beyond belief and to say much more would spoil the whole thing for you.
I’ll just say it’s fascinating and gruesome and so realistic it’ll probably make your skin crawl.
If you’re looking for an imaginative horror story with an ending that makes so much sense it will probably haunt you, you’ll be wanting to pick give this a read. I don’t think you’ll regret it. ...more
I’d previously read Wrath James White's collaboration with Edward Lee, Teratologist , and was horrified by the depravity their two minds concocted. TI’d previously read Wrath James White's collaboration with Edward Lee, Teratologist , and was horrified by the depravity their two minds concocted. That book left me slightly traumatized and unable to scrub the images from my brain. So, of course, when I saw that Wrath’s newest title was classified as “dark erotica” I had to read it.
400 Days of Oppression is very much dark erotica but it never went too far. I was prepared for something truly soul destroying and disgusting but there was nothing here that I couldn’t handle. In fact there were really only two scenes that take place on/after “the farm” that were gruesome to me (one hilarious, the other just horrific but well deserved). In all honesty, I was a little disappointed by the lack of gore and body fluids but there’s probably something wrong with me. This book isn’t being marketing as “erotic horror” for a reason.
With all that said, I’ll try to tell you a little bit about the story without giving it all away. Kenyatta is a black man who, as a young teen, fell in love with a white girl and had his heart stomped on. Kenyatta did not take this well. This vignette was so innocent and sweet and heart-wrenching that when the story flashes forward to a grown up Kenyatta it was a bit jarring. He has never forgotten that experience and when he grew up, he discovered a love and talent for the BDSM scene. He meets Natasha. Natasha is pretty, white and very insecure. She is longing for love and will do whatever it takes to win the eternal love and devotion of Kenyatta.
Kenyatta uses a book based on slavery called “400 Days of Oppression” as a guide to torment and preach at Natasha. If she can endure everything the blacks endured during their enslavement he will marry her. All the girls before her have failed but Natasha is quite damaged when they meet and knows how to endure. The story is fueled by sex and pain and I have to admit that it left me feeling very sad. Sad for humanity and the pain people inflict on each other, sad for Kenyatta who felt the need to do this, and sad for Natasha for needing a man so badly that she allowed it all to happen.
This is a difficult book to rate. It is a very grueling read with little to no relief from all of the suffering. I enjoyed the implied ending but I wish it hadn’t been quite so abrupt. I like dark stories, I like erotica, and I usually enjoy extreme love stories but this one? I don’t know, it didn’t entirely work for me on any of those levels. It has a load of darker edged sex including whippings, dub-con, f/f, attempted rape and all that stuff and though most of it was erotic and well written, it left me feeling drained and upset at both Natasha and Kenyatta. ...more
I just listened to this on unabridged audio. Having seen the movie a few years ago, I was expecting it to be a decent body horror tale of survival andI just listened to this on unabridged audio. Having seen the movie a few years ago, I was expecting it to be a decent body horror tale of survival and I wasn’t disappointed on those two counts. But I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed the book more than the movie. The movie was suspenseful and to the point and brutal and it was only 90 minutes long so there wasn’t a lot of time spent with the characters. The audio though was nearly 11+ hours long and I had to spend way too much time with these characters. This normally wouldn’t be a bad thing but as the story went on this dumb bunch began to get on my last nerve..
I was sympathetic when they decided to leave their cushy resort to hike into the mysterious “ruins” to find an acquaintance, armed only with some tequila, a little water and bit of snack food for sustenance. They’re young, they’re stupid and they think they’re invincible.
They soon learn they’re not the latter. Nope. Not at all. Because of their keen ability to ignore all of the warning signs they end up stranded on a hill infested with something sinister. They ignore the tour guide and I get it because there is a huge language barrier. Still, this warning might’ve given me pause, “This place. No good”. Oh really? Well, let’s just pretend he never said that . . . They then ignore the dog, who desperately attempts to warn them away and who turns out to be far smarter than all of them. Always listen to the doggie. Yet they blunder on, even ignoring the locals armed with arrows. At this point, were it me, I’d be scurrying back to where I came from but this group is braver and dumber and they trudge on.
Turns out the men with the arrows are the least of their worries anyway.
Terrible things happen to them and they are forced to endure pain, suffering and each other’s insufferable company. That may be the worst fate of all. This whole scenario brings out the very worst in them which is completely understandable but after a while I became very tired of their bickering and stupid decisions. Your tolerance for this may be higher than mine seeing as I live with teenagers.
This tale of creeping dread and anguish is narrated by actor Patrick Wilson and that man is all business. He reads the story well enough but he doesn’t add anything extra to the story. I didn’t feel the terror emanating from his very soul but maybe I’m just jaded and cold. That’s probably it.
The atmosphere and description of the landscape are well done. The intense heat, the lack of food and proper shelter and the fear these dummies experience all come across and the body horror descriptions are exquisite and squirm worthy. At parts it is very tense and terrifying and for that I’ll give it a three. ...more
Sadie despises her job. And you can’t really blame her. Her Assistant Manager is a Type A personality (the A in the case stands for ass) wh4 1/2 Stars
Sadie despises her job. And you can’t really blame her. Her Assistant Manager is a Type A personality (the A in the case stands for ass) who forces her to shuck corn until her hands are numb in a cold, dreary basement that resides in the bowels of a supermarket. Sadie has just about reached her breaking point when this evil little tale begins and what follows might shock and offend you if you go in all innocent and unawares. Though if you’re picking up a title called “Sadie the Sadist” thinking you’re in for a sweet treat, well then I guess there’s no helping you.
Sadie starts out relatable and relatively sane. I get her. She’s snarky and she has some very dark thoughts. But don’t we all? No? Just me, then? So, very early on Sadie gives us a gentle teaser of things to come when she thinks this about a jerky customer:
"The man barks, "Your job is to serve me."
Broiled on a bed of lettuce?"
Can you see where this might be leading? Things get graphic but there’s always an undercurrent of the blackest humor your soul can imagine. I found it as amusing as I did revolting. As the book moves along, Sadie swiftly begins to unravel. Here’s a little teaser if you’re still wondering what's in store for you if pick this up.
"Barefoot, I pad to the kitchen, stand in front of the refrigerator examining the contents. Half a container of expired almond milk, a shriveled peach, a plastic container that used to hold Chia seeds and now holds what appears to be a penis. Nothing I feel like eating."
Is it real? Is it a case of too many prescription drugs? Who am I to say? I only know that I couldn’t put this book down once I started it and enjoyed all of the often over the top extreme fun and highly recommend it if you have a taste for this sort of humor. What I don’t recommend is trying out any of Sadie’s included recipes (as delish as they may sound) because they might land you in the slammer if you attempt to source the secret ingredients. Don't skip over them though because they contain a wealth of knowledge and sure are entertaining to read.
“Mushrooms add earthy flavor and depth to a dish, and if you administer the right ones to aggravating people, mushrooms can rid your life of problems." ...more
**BARGAIN ALERT 6.9.14** $1.99 on Kindle! Grab it while you can.
I’m super stingy with my five stars. The longer I continue to read, the pickier I ge**BARGAIN ALERT 6.9.14** $1.99 on Kindle! Grab it while you can.
I’m super stingy with my five stars. The longer I continue to read, the pickier I get. Most books fall somewhere between a three and a four for me. But N0S4A2 is getting the full five stars it deserves. It captured me from the creepfest of an opening scene and held me until the very end. It made me laugh with its unexpected dark humor, made me teary for the main characters who suffer through so much and it creeped me the heck out. Did I already say that? Yeah, well it takes a lot to creep me out so it’s worth repeating. Books like this are the reason I keep plodding through so many meh ones.
You’re best going into this story cold which is what I did. I avoided reading any in depth reviews because I didn’t want anything spoiled. So I’ll be brief and just say it’s about a woman named Vic who discovers a magical bridge when she’s a child. This bridge allows her to find things. One day she heads out looking for trouble and the bridge helps her find it, leading her straight to villain Charlie Manx, owner of the N0S4A2 vanity plate and creator of a place called “Christmasland” (a nightmarish and sinister place that’ll probably give you nightmares) who dubs himself the “CEO of Christmasland, The King Shit of Turd Hill”. Vic’s interaction with King Shit will plague her for years to come.
Vic is not a perfect person. She’s actually very troubled. She’s a mess who makes poor choices and screws up but, and a very important but it is, she owns it. She’s not a “poor me” type. She knows she’s a screw up and through everything I always understood and sympathized with Vic. Probably not everybody will agree with me though.
I thought the story was incredibly imaginative. It went wherever the hell it wanted and I found that very unnerving because as I kept reading along, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into nor how any of it would end. Like Hill’s previous book Horns, this book does a pretty good job of destroying your heart and I think that’s what I love so much about his writing. I felt everything right along with the characters. Hate, love, fear, hope, pain, grief and humor. It’s all there and he slammed me with all of those emotions when I was least expecting it. Curse you Joe Hill (and please keep writing like this).
I listened to this book as unabridged audio narrated by actress Kate Mulgrew AKA “Red” on “Orange Is the New Black” (and if you’re not watching it on Neflix you really should be). Early on in the book her incorrect pronunciation of Haverhill (it's not Hav-er-hill all proper-like, it's Hayv-rill in these here parts) drove me a bit mad but I got over myself soon enough and just fell into the story. Mulgrew has a gritty voice perfectly suited to rough around the edges Vic and her voicing of Charlie Manx was chilling, whispery and spot-on for the evil character. She did justice to all of the other characters too.
I love, love, loved this book. Loved it to death. I know I sound like a raving fangirl but I hope I’ve explained why I loved it. These damn five star reviews are the hardest to write.
Don’t waste any more time reading my silly thoughts, go read this book. I hope you’ll love it too. ...more
This is an older short story that GR says was first published in 1956. Admittedly, I haven’t read much in the way of classic horror and I wasn’t sureThis is an older short story that GR says was first published in 1956. Admittedly, I haven’t read much in the way of classic horror and I wasn’t sure the story would work for me. I guess I was expecting it to be dry and slow. What I found instead was a deeply disturbing story with many images that will linger with me for months to come.
This story is about a soldier who calls himself “George”. George is being held in a crowded military psychiatric ward for assaulting a superior. It seems he’s been forgotten there though and they really need his bed for another patient. Psychiatrist Dr. Phil is tasked with going over his case before his release. What he discovers is bizarre and chilling.
George’s story is told in various ways. He writes his own biography for the doctor which takes up a large chunk of the book. This part explores George’s sad, desperate childhood growing up poor with a sick mom and a mean ass drunkard father. I listened to this on audio and narrator Malcolm Hillgartner does an amazing job with these characters, especially George. Initially, I found George’s section sad but as he revealed more tidbits about his past, I could see that he was developing some very dangerous tendencies and a simmering anger that turned my feelings of sympathy into repulsion. The narrator gives him the perfect backwoods voice that wasn’t over the top but yet remains vastly different from the more cultured tones he gives to the psychiatrists. The rest of the book consists of interviews with the doc and George and letters between the doctors as they pick and prod into George’s past in order to figure him out. These two doc’s are quite the characters. The witty back and forth banter between them added some much needed humor and I found them both highly amusing despite the dark subject matter they were discussing.
George’s affliction is bizarre, to say the least, and I refuse to think about it too much because it freaks me out. I highly recommend listening to this on audio, if you can, because the narrator adds so much life to the words.
I will leave you with my favorite quote from George:
“The world would be a whole lot less trouble for everybody if most people would just not talk so much.”