The Mammoth Book of the Mummy is a compilation of short stories that feature, well, what else but, mummies. Some of them are from Egypt, some are not.The Mammoth Book of the Mummy is a compilation of short stories that feature, well, what else but, mummies. Some of them are from Egypt, some are not. Some of the stories are scary, like John Langan's "On Skua Island" and some are not. As with most compilations, many of the stories are reprints but there are also a couple of originals. I found several of the stories to be particularly notable and I've given a few details.
In "The Good Shabti", Robert Sharp postulates what would happen if sometime in the distant future science figured out a way to reanimate a mummified body that had been dead and buried for millennia. More suspenseful than scary, right up until the very end.
"The Queen in Yellow" by Kage Baker features operatives from The Company who have been sent back to retrieve something from a dig run by esteemed archeologist Flinders Petrie.
John Langan's "On Skua Island" is scary. It starts with a group of people around a dinner table talking about Bram Stoker's Dracula which segues into a conversation about mummies. Flashback, twenty-five years to an expedition to Skua Island where an archeologist interested in Viking lore digs up much more than he ever bargained for and barely escapes to tell his tale.
Terry Dowling's "The Shadowwes Box" is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe.
"Egyptian Avenue" by Kim Newman is more of a story adjacent to mummies than actually about mummies, but it certainly fits with the theme of the book. The action occurs in an old graveyard in London, and I really can't say any more without spoilers. I will say, this story is absolutely worth reading and one of my favorites.
Gail Carriger has an entry set in the steampunk universe of her popular Parasol Protectorate series. This is another story well worth the price of admission.
Carole Nelson Douglas' "Fruit of the Tomb" features a distant ancestor of her popular Midnight Louie character. Heart of Night is perhaps the first feline detective. He solves the case and becomes one of Pharoah's inner circle.
My overall favorite, probably because I'm a big fan of the movie is Joe Lansdale's "Bubba Ho-Tep". If you haven't seen the movie, well, Elvis and JFK, save the world.
Oops, I almost forgot. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. This was actually one that I chose from among their available books because I'm a big fan of horror....more
Rise of the Chosen is a fresh and absorbing zombie novel. It is book number one in the Lifeblood series, and I was happy to see that there was going tRise of the Chosen is a fresh and absorbing zombie novel. It is book number one in the Lifeblood series, and I was happy to see that there was going to be a continuation of the story line. In Rise of the Chosen there are two types of zombies. The first, The Woken, are typical. Die, come back, kill everyone, the end. The second or The Chosen are similar to vampires in that they are stronger, faster and better than their human counterparts, but they are not bloodsuckers.
Our heroine Samantha’s father died a hero while protecting civilians from Woken bloodlust. While Samantha is surviving and working towards joining the Watch Guard to follow in his footsteps, her mother has completely fallen apart and is losing the ability to function. Samantha is worried that her mother might commit suicide, which in their world, where the dead routinely rise, is a heinous crime.
I’m trying not to give away the story line, so I won’t go into more detail, but suffice it to say, the circumstances of Samantha’s father’s death weren’t what they seemed. In fact, they play a major role in upcoming events. Samantha herself isn’t what she seems either. Her destiny at this point is uncertain, but it appears that she will play a major role in the upcoming events. As the title tells us, The Chosen aren’t content with the role that society has given them, and times they-are-a-changin’.
One other spot of freshness in this novel, Sam is bisexual and she has a female love interest. I know many readers won’t think this is a big deal, but it is, there aren’t a lot of positive role-model bisexual protagonists out there. I sincerely hope that the author keeps this in mind when writing the future novels in the series, and doesn’t just fall back on the old “oh, she was confused and just hadn’t met the right guy” cop-out.
Since it’s the first in a series there are a lot of loose ends to be tied down in future novels. I’m looking forward to the next book to see if the author can continue to keep it fresh and interesting. ...more
When Amanda Greene awakens something is not quite right. She hazily remembers a night of alcohol and partying, and a big fight with her boyfriend. HerWhen Amanda Greene awakens something is not quite right. She hazily remembers a night of alcohol and partying, and a big fight with her boyfriend. Her dorm room is familiar but there is a girl claiming to be her roommate that she doesn't recognize. Come class time she checks her schedule and finds herself scheduled for a class in history of all things. Amanda hates history and knows she wasn't going planning to take it this semester. Things get weirder, the class is in a building she didn't even know existed on campus. And the professor is dressed as Plato or Aristotle or Hippocrates or one of those other boring old Greek guys. Before she knows it Amanda is immersed in a series of visions relating to historical figures. Will she learn what they have to teach her? Or is she just having the worst hangover in history?
Since the book is only a novella the author had less space for character development, back story and gently leading his protagonist (and reader) in the desired direction. It made the morality lesson heavy handed in spots. I enjoyed the ending because it was what I expected.
Edited to add: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review....more
The town of Clearwater, Iowa is quiet and safe just like most typical small American towns. They don't have problems with violent crime. That is untilThe town of Clearwater, Iowa is quiet and safe just like most typical small American towns. They don't have problems with violent crime. That is until the day a teenaged girl is found abandoned in the town cafe. She's been heavily drugged and has no memory of who she is or how she got there.
Clara has taken in unwanted children as fosters before and can't bear the thought of this poor girl being locked up in a mental hospital. Since the girl's parents can't be found and she doesn't know her own name, Clara begins to call her Angel. Angel settles in at Clara's place and befriends her new foster brother Grim, and his girlfriend. Since this is a horror story it all begins to go downhill from there.
Angel is strange. She appears normal, but something is a little bit off about her. Unrest follows her, beginning on the day when she was first noticed quietly sitting in the cafe. A string of deaths and disappearances occur and while nobody can prove that Angel is involved she begins to apologize for the trouble she is causing. We never do find out exactly what it is about Angel that is so unsettling or that causes so much violence in her wake.
Great writing, great use of suspense. Just enough gore without being over the top....more
An odd child who compares spinning laundry with clowns grows up into an odd man. As a child, Jonathan could spend hours watching the laundry go roundAn odd child who compares spinning laundry with clowns grows up into an odd man. As a child, Jonathan could spend hours watching the laundry go round and round in the washer and dryer. The colorful clothing becomes a private circus. The first few chapters go on and on about Jonathan's obsession with laundry. As he gets older Jonathan (or the author) loses interest in clothing because it is never mentioned again.
Another of Jonathan's obsessions has to do with religion, specifically transubstantiation. When circumstances prevent Jonathan from attending Mass he takes matters into his own hands. First he starts consuming scabs, then mutilating his own flesh and eating it. Eventually, his own flesh isn't satisfying enough.
If you like gory horror there are plenty of disturbing scenes but there isn't much of a plot. ...more
Whispering Pines was a small gated community before the zombie apocalypse. Now it's gated, barred and surrounded by razor wire. The residents are tryiWhispering Pines was a small gated community before the zombie apocalypse. Now it's gated, barred and surrounded by razor wire. The residents are trying to keep it business as usual so the Home Owners Association is alive and well. Unfortunately, the president is a tyrant who keeps most of the residents cowed and uses her authority to further her own ends which ultimately results in chaos.
So far Whispering Pines has managed to keep its residents safe and well fed. They even have working Playstations. Of course, like any good zombie story, it's all about to come crashing down around them.
While I liked the book in general. I found some things unbelievable. The main characters (and town saviors) run around with crippling wounds. Elsbeth is a teenage cannibal, ninja-assassin able to take on fifty zombies with only a spiked club, and she can sneak up on and "take out" trained Special Forces soldiers. While this makes the story more amusing, (and the author was definitely going for a comedic aspect) it takes away from the realism. Although, it's a zombie apocalypse do we really need realism?
Thanks to Kindle Unlimited I'm able to get the whole series so I'm absolutely going to pick up book number two and see where the author is planning to take us next. ...more
Is she or isn't she? That's the real question in this story. Is Ernessa a vampire? Is the narrator insane? What's really going on here. Ultimately allIs she or isn't she? That's the real question in this story. Is Ernessa a vampire? Is the narrator insane? What's really going on here. Ultimately all the questions aren't answered in a tidy little bundle and the reader is left to their own conclusions. Bravo!...more
The Doll-Master and other Tales of Terror is a dark exploration into the depths of psychological terror. Author Joyce Carol Oates doesn’t skimp on theThe Doll-Master and other Tales of Terror is a dark exploration into the depths of psychological terror. Author Joyce Carol Oates doesn’t skimp on the horror; she just doesn’t need to spell it all out. There isn’t much blood and guts in these stories, but they stay with the reader regardless.
The titular story The Doll Master follows a young man whose cousin dies of childhood leukemia. His response is to steal her favorite doll, and then begin collecting other “dolls” from around his neighborhood.
Soldier is the weakest and least memorable of all the stories. Perhaps it was the subject matter that I found repelling. Alternatively, perhaps I just couldn’t connect with the protagonist.
Gun Accident forces a young girl to make some devastating choices.
Big Momma explores the concepts of friendship and alienation and how things aren’t always what they seem.
Equatorial is classic paranoia in an exotic setting. However, just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.
Mystery, Inc was my favorite story of all. Maybe it was the setting. Maybe the characters. Maybe the twist at the end....more
This book is like a B-movie in novel form. Imagine zombie, werewolves, and vampires but not the sexy, sparkly kind. Now imagine that they've been captThis book is like a B-movie in novel form. Imagine zombie, werewolves, and vampires but not the sexy, sparkly kind. Now imagine that they've been captured and put on display in a Magic Kingdom style amusement park complete with water rides. Nothing could go wrong with that idea. It's perfectly safe. Or so says Vincent Conrad the park owner and inventor of the concept of Monsterland.
We follow the exploits of a group of high school students who receive special behind the scenes passes to the park's grand opening in a scene reminiscent of the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Except that these passes are printed on something different... is that skin?
A few wild and exciting rides later and the real fun begins. ...more
I hope Bill Schweigart continues writing this series. I’ve heard that the third book is in the works, and I cannot wait. I enjoy the characters; the aI hope Bill Schweigart continues writing this series. I’ve heard that the third book is in the works, and I cannot wait. I enjoy the characters; the author has done a superb job bringing them to life. That is not to say that they are perfect or don’t do stupid things, but they are likable and entertaining. It is easy to pick a favorite and then worry about them for the rest of the book. Because scary bad things are happening and nobody is safe.
Northwoods begins by introducing a new setting and a new character, Agent Davis Holland is ex-military, and he is a man on a mission to save the town he is not only assigned to protect but that he has adopted as his own. The story begins with a mysterious box that Agent Davis discovers in the woods under suspicious circumstances. Enter Ben, Lindsay and Alex, the intrepid investigators from Beast of Barcroft, who are again commissioned by cryptozoologist Severance to discover just what’s going on. At first glance, it consists of tourist schlock, mainly tee-shirts, and cutesy stuffed toys but as the investigation deepens they find desecrated graves, and strange disturbances in the woods.
The monsters are scary and disturbing, and the author goes all out with the blood and guts. He certainly doesn’t hold back on the horror, and by the time the book culminates in a frantic, bloody battle the reader be on the edge of their seat wondering what is coming next.
Before you move into a new neighborhood you should really check out the neighbors first. That's a lesson that Ben McKelvie learns to his own chagrin.Before you move into a new neighborhood you should really check out the neighbors first. That's a lesson that Ben McKelvie learns to his own chagrin. His neighbor Madeline is crazy, and not a good crazy, she is singlehandedly turning her property into a toxic waste dump. First she leaves food out for pigeons, and when rats come to eat the pigeon food, she feeds them too. Poor Ben, this is not what he expected when he moved into Barcroft.
But things get worse, first his dog gets eaten by a mountain lion. Or was it a mountain lion? He's not really sure, it looked like one, but the eyes were strange and haunting. The policewoman who takes his statement doesn't seem to care. Neither does the town council. What's a guy to do? Team up with a big cat curator from the National Zoo. At least she believes that there's a big cat stalking the neighborhood. Or is it a big cat? Something fishy happens with evidence collected from the scene that leads them to team up with a cryptozoologist and a Native American shaman to root out the source of the evil that's stalking Barcroft.
This book was a real page-turner. The action came on fast and the suspense didn't quit. The characters were interesting and likable. I also really liked that when one of the characters turned out to be gay it was incorporated naturally into the story. I think fans of Stephen King and Bentley Little will really enjoy this book.
I was not really shocked or disturbed by any of the stories that made up this novel. Mostly bored. I didn't find this to be one of Palahniuk's betterI was not really shocked or disturbed by any of the stories that made up this novel. Mostly bored. I didn't find this to be one of Palahniuk's better offerings....more