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
Koontz has written a gripping take on the Weird House story here, with the largest cast of characters since Strangers. The mansion at 77 Shadow StreetKoontz has written a gripping take on the Weird House story here, with the largest cast of characters since Strangers. The mansion at 77 Shadow Street has long since been turned into apartments for wealthy residents. The place has a history of weird happenings, sometimes quite bloody, but much of that has been forgotten--the last incident took place almost 40 years before. Unfortunately for the residents and the employees, the strange incidences have begun again.
Koontz knows how to write the hell out of action scenes. 77 Shadow Street finds him at the top of his game, involving a bunch of quirky characters (some far, far quirkier than others) in a weird mystery. The prose is carefully wrought, the characterizations are sometimes a little too goofy (usually when they deviate into occasional, over-the-top philosophical arguments), and the terror sequences sometimes drag things out a little much, but the book remains a gripping read. This one kept me guessing, packing what should be outlandish or even ludicrous surprises with enough of a thread of sense to make them credible. A neat trick. Bravo to Koontz for this, one of the best books he's written in recent years....more
This double dose of action-packed horror fiction is a welcome return for stories that originally appeared on the Vampires2.com website. This combinedThis double dose of action-packed horror fiction is a welcome return for stories that originally appeared on the Vampires2.com website. This combined version is one of V2's first releases in its new ebook foray. The Chuck Cave series character has appeared in numerous tales and in several incarnations, but these stories are great starting points for new readers. Confession: I performed audio versions for both of these stories in their first appearances.
"Cave's Dark Mistress" starts with a bang. Cave is trying to break into a Sheriff's Department evidence locker (actually a shed), only to have his lock picks break. Things go quickly to Hell after that, as Cave discovers himself caught in the machinations of several rival forces, including a mysterious nun, a vampire prince, and slowly rousing, Lovecraftian god-monsters. All he wants is to get through it and save his gal, Bethy. This piece has a weird menace pulp fiction flavor and the pace of a good 1980s action-horror movie. Entertaining as all hell.
"Cave's Deadly Beauties" is also fast paced, but it's not afraid to wax meditative upon loneliness. Cave plays a Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe style investigator in this one, on the trail of a murderer with an agenda. He has a troubled past with a vamp gal named Morven, which we get a sense of, but that story remains to be told . . . This one feels a bit too fast, at times. The story is longer here than its first appearance (not quite twice the size), but I believe it could have benefited from even more expansion. There's enough material here to fill a full-on novel.
These stories are pure entertainment, and welcome for it....more