A solid character study suspense story about a group of folks who live at a marina. The day that Leo Rice (badly) brings his boat into the marina forA solid character study suspense story about a group of folks who live at a marina. The day that Leo Rice (badly) brings his boat into the marina for an indefinite stay is the day when secrets start unraveling and a journey to violent death (though never gratuitous) is undertaken. The title is pure pulp misleading, there's a gimmick that the last line of each chapter builds into the first line of the next (a cute transition from one POV character to another), but the characters are richly detailed. A solid effort, though the ultimate plot point the book builds toward was less interesting than all the individuals and their stories....more
Ligotti is a sometimes difficult, always rewarding read. Philosophically challenging and lyrical, the stories in this collection constitute some of thLigotti is a sometimes difficult, always rewarding read. Philosophically challenging and lyrical, the stories in this collection constitute some of the most memorable dark fantasy published in the last twenty years. It is terrifying fiction of the highest order....more
I first found out about this Kindle book from John Scalzi's Whatever blog. Scalzi hosted a "Pimp your non-traditionally published book" entry. CarcanoI first found out about this Kindle book from John Scalzi's Whatever blog. Scalzi hosted a "Pimp your non-traditionally published book" entry. Carcano's book sounded fun, so I picked it up. I read it in one sitting.
Dead To Rites is an explosive adventure, set in Ole Mexico during the westward expansion. In it, an arms dealer named Cobb is on his way to deliver a shipment of weapons to the federales. He's a survivor type, looking out for number one. On the way, he gets sidetracked by the offer of a free meal, robbing grave offerings during El Dia de los Muertos. This leads him to meet a devilish stranger, a convent with a secret, and a whole hell of a lot of the walking dead.
The plot is perfect escape material for fans of 80s style action-packed horror, the kinds of things that grindhouses and pulp magazines used to churn out with aplomb. The story is a wonderful horror siege movie for the mind's eye. DtR mixed one part John Carpenter, one part Robert Rodriguez, one part Brian Keene, and add a little Tales From the Crypt for bazinga flava.
That said, the dialogue is sometimes not quite convincing. In particular, the main character (Cobb) uses a sales pitch method of delivering the author's research about the many armaments in his wagon. While this started out like Ash talking up his boomstick at the beginning of Army of Darkness, it didn't work as often as it was used. This is a one time trick, best utilized outside an action scene. Unfortunately, it showed up one time too many, ultimately kicking me out of the action.
Fans of Brian Keene (Ghoul), John Skipp & Craig Spector (The Bridge), and John Steakly (Vampire$) will find plenty of entertainment here....more
The Eye of Argon is infamous for both its big ambitions and many shortcomings. It is also a fine way to spend an hour. Not reading it at home alone, nThe Eye of Argon is infamous for both its big ambitions and many shortcomings. It is also a fine way to spend an hour. Not reading it at home alone, no no no. The book is so godawful, I would not wish such an experience on my worst enemy. It becomes entertaining when a group of con goers sit around in a circle and try to read it aloud AS WRITTEN. That is, every mistake must be incorporated into the reading or else your turn is done and the next reader gives it a go. That experience, filled with laughter and good natured jibes and snark, make The Eye of Argon a worthwhile . . . construction. I don't recommend being exposed to it in any other way....more
This big book's blend of material should not work. An ancient Czech mythical monster story, a secret Vatican conspiracy, animal rights activists, a poThis big book's blend of material should not work. An ancient Czech mythical monster story, a secret Vatican conspiracy, animal rights activists, a politician pushing anti-meat legislation because he wants to get laid, a gargantuan pig undergoing brain surgery and subsequently developing the sentience/awareness of a human child, a father who decapitates his children and then goes on to become a sympathetic character . . . This is too weird! It shouldn't work! But it does.
Flesh & Blood takes all these disparate elements (as well as a few other surprises) and tosses them in a blender before hitting puree. Somehow it manages to create an engaging narrative. The novel is a pure horror extravaganza, quite entertaining. It sometimes approaches Having A Message territory, but ultimately leaves well enough alone and concentrates on telling its bizarre story . . . Masterton also gets bonus points for capturing convincing Midwestern American voices for his characters, as he's from the UK. There are a couple of places where the dialogue sentence structure sounds a bit off, but for the most part it's right on the money....more