WHO

WHO'S COMING DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY TONIGHT?




Charles Stross, "Overtime"

2016: CTHULHU FOR CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Becoming

Becoming Becoming by Glenn Rolfe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: BECOMING by Glenn Rolfe

Oh my...old-fashioned creature feature here, though not like this. BECOMING is raw horror, and I'm not here referring to the "monsters," I mean the human evil. I had just finished reviewing a novel of psychological horror "starring" a really evil human with certain predilections (and one of the most massive sense of entitlement I've ever seen) and then I jump into this. If I were subjected to the human evil here, I'd jump into the lake too--even though I can't swim. In many ways, I found cheering for the "creature."

In addition to the brand-new novella "Becoming," the wonderful horror novella "Boomtown" is also included.

View all my reviews

Review: Godland

Godland Godland by Stuart R. West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: GODLAND by Stuart R. West

Author Stuart R. West is such a talent! As with his debut adult horror novel, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH, he brings together disparate threads and personalities, multiple plot threads, and seamlessly constructs a new and illuminating tapestry. Also in both books, he strummed my emotions and triggered several buttons I'd overlooked. I spent the entirety of both novels furious at certain characters (multiply), spitting radioactive nails and mentally stomping their heads. That's how involving is Mr. West' s ability to draw in the reader and make us suspend disbelief. Caution: GODLAND troops on several taboos, so if you have sensitivities, just be warned.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Watch Neighborhood Watch by Stuart R. West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH by Stuart R. West

HOW SCARY IS THIS?? TERRIFICALLY SCARY!!!
NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH makes me so grateful I live in the country, because I could not bear to live in the neighborhood depicted here. A quiet small Kansas community, an enclave of middle-aged and seniors--sounds paradisical. So not so!! The only safe exit is to sell out and move, or better, just run!

Author Stuart R. West, who so exquisitely terrified readers with DREAD AND BREAKFAST, illustrates a quiet community where you never want to live, for fear of the neighbors AND the demons--and the ghosts! I anticipate a whole slew of sleepless nights.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Review: Fatal Option

Fatal Option Fatal Option by Chris Beakey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of FATAL OPTION by Chris Beakey

What a thrilling mystery! A one-session read because you just can't stop! Author Chris Beakey introduces multiple tangled plot lines, admirably maintains all, and leavens them with a sizable dose of humanity: emotions, mistakes, failings, success, regrets. Overarching are events that change lives, the kind of events about which reader and characters both ponder "if only--." My heart stayed in my throat the entire reading, and many times I wished I could reach into the story and shift the characters out of danger, or stop villains. Even the "bad guys" have their own backstory here, so that behavior which is not admirable is at least comprehensible.

I will definitely be anticipating more novels from author Chris Beakey and enjoying rereading FATAL OPTION.

View all my reviews

Review: Fatal Option

Fatal Option Fatal Option by Chris Beakey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of FATAL OPTION by Chris Beakey

What a thrilling mystery! A one-session read because you just can't stop! Author Chris Beakey introduces multiple tangled plot lines, admirably maintains all, and leavens them with a sizable dose of humanity: emotions, mistakes, failings, success, regrets. Overarching are events that change lives, the kind of events about which reader and characters both ponder "if only--." My heart stayed in my throat the entire reading, and many times I wished I could reach into the story and shift the characters out of danger, or stop villains. Even the "bad guys" have their own backstory here, so that behavior which is not admirable is at least comprehensible.

I will definitely be anticipating more novels from author Chris Beakey and enjoying rereading FATAL OPTION.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: The Devil Crept In

The Devil Crept In The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE DEVIL CREPT IN by Ania Ahlborn

Not once has an Ania Ahlborn novel disappointed me! Always fascinating, engrossing, and intriguing, her novels expand my imagination. In THE DEVIL CREPT IN, she interweaves two separate plot lines and the result is a terrifying and implacable horror, a horror which should not exist in nature, with consequences that violate physical laws (such as changes in the behavior patterns of animals). This horror is delineated so subtly, like a frog boiled in initially lukewarm water, that the reader (and the good characters) are over one before we can realize.



View all my reviews

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Review: Chalk

Chalk Chalk by Paul Cornell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: CHALK by Paul Cornell

Paul Cornell became one of my favorite authors with his SHADOW POLICE series. His newest novel, CHALK, however, is completely different, set on the chalk downs of Wiltshire rather than in esoteric London. I found it an intriguing but disturbing read, a novel which is up front about bullying violence and its repercussions. It is also a story illuminating the dangers of awakening history. On one level, it could be viewed as a chronicle of mental disorder stimulated by traumatic violence [and certainly there are contemporary examples of that]. Beyond that view is a very intense paranormal framework, one which invokes entities, prehistory, and events of Roman Britain. Those who watched for Roman invasion still watch on. Whichever viewpoint one chooses to elicit the novel's themes, this story will shake up one's own received world view and refuse to be forgotten.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: Gypsy

Gypsy Gypsy by Dan Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: GYPSY by Dan Foley

Gosh I love this book. It's compactly taut, requiring only a minimal suspension of disbelief. Starting with a carnival in Vermont in 1956 (a decent carnival, where the carnies demonstrate family feeling, not the horror show type often found in fiction), we the reader quickly discover that the carnie crew, and most of the townspeople are good guys. Unfortunately, the town does contain some bad apples--or rather, one monstrous (in both character and size, most unfortunately) and his personal cache of five acolytes, for whom he constantly plays his own version of Simon Says (or else). He is seemingly unstoppable; and not too stable. When he and his followers (not equal enough to be buddies) commit a horrid crime in July 1956, his own personal enabler, his brother the Sheriff, blows it away.

Fifty years later, a seventy-two-old man, a Vietnam vet, originally from New Jersey, happens into the carnival, mostly for distraction. With brain cancer, he only has three to four months to live--until he meets his destiny and finds his purpose, discovering himself returned to 1956. His hero's quest: to right a terrible wrong, to overturn a gross miscarriage of justice, and to wreak someone else's revenge. What a page-turner!

View all my reviews

Review: Agents of Dreamland

Agents of Dreamland Agents of Dreamland by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: AGENTS OF DREAMLAND by Caitlin R. Kiernan


To open any fiction by Caitlin R. Kiernan is to open oneself to a world of infinite possibilities. In her works of horror, of course, many of these possibilities are life-changing and even world-ending. They are also frequently unforgettable. From my personal Lovecraft-obsessed viewpoint, Ms. Kiernan "gets" the Lovecraft Mythos in a degree unsurpassable. Here in the novella AGENTS OF DREAMLAND, she creates not just a contemporary ecological disaster brought by summoning from another dimension but very toxic to humanity; she interweaves alien incursions and natural disasters of the past and a post-apocalyptic near future that is almost unsurvivable--and it's not nuclear, nor EMP, nor solar flare. It came from Out There, and it's implacable. (and Lovecraftian). I will never erase it from my mind. What a glorious read for February, Women in Horror Month.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: Fraser: The Disappearance of Michael Pitts

Fraser: The Disappearance of Michael Pitts Fraser: The Disappearance of Michael Pitts by Mark Clodi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: FRASER: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MICHAEL ALLAN PITTS by Mark Clodi and Michael Picco

I can remember few cliffhangers as enormous as the ending of this horror-mystery-suspense novel. Certainly it propels readers to the next in the James Rover series. James Rover is a rather unusual protagonist, who falls into a really unusual (potentially world-ending) case. Once an FBI agent specializing in analytics, Rover was badly injured during a shootout which also included his partner/mentor Corinne Washington.

Allowed intermittent function as an unofficial private investigator in investigation of cold cases, Rover stumbles into the Iowa disappearance of a seventeen-year-old boy who has no ostensible reason to disappear. The sheriff also has disappeared, Rover himself is arrested by the "interim" Sheriff for arson, and he quickly discovers that this quiet river town is a hotbed of unnatural disturbance, and a portal to the beyond.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: Shades: Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror

Shades: Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror Shades: Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror by Joseph Rubas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: SHADES by Joseph Rubas

An exceptional short story collection, SHADES showcases author Joseph Rubas' strong literary talent and extensive imagination. For me, it also served as an introduction to Mr. Rubas' writing, and an invitation to extend my interest in his work. I was impressed by the consistency of the high quality of this collection.

The collection is subtitled "Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror" and well demonstrates its truth. All are frightening; some are terrifying. Starting with the initial offering, each story impacted me even while I reveled in the writing, plots, and characters [who too often give up common sense and suffer accordingly]. am unashamed to admit that after several of the stories I had to pause and take deep breaths and wait for the impact of the story to settle. I predict nightmares, and tales that will take root in the imagination and linger long-term.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review: The Cult of Ocasta

The Cult of Ocasta The Cult of Ocasta by Mark Allan Gunnells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE CULT OF OCASTA by Mark Allan Gunnells {The Final Limestone Story}

I only recently "discovered" this special author, but even the first reading convinced me not to miss anything he writes. Mr. Gunnells is not just prolific, he is both talented and accomplished.

In preparation for reviewing an advance copy of THE CULT OF OCASTA, I reread THE QUARRY, the first Limestone story, which I had read in March 2012. Although THE CULT OF OCASTA can certainly be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading both books in order, to enjoy the full panorama the author brings to these stories.

At little Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina, Security Department Lieutenant Emilio Gambrell is a man with an overweening life purpose. Formerly a student at Limestone, the horrifying events of his freshman year forced Em to drop out and to join the college security force, his purpose to protect students, faculty, and staff from potential depredations of the "creature" chained far beneath Lake Limestone. Emilio knows from firsthand experience how dangerous is this entity, and when acolytes of it flock to Limestone College and to the community of Gaffney, determined to resurrect it, Emilio' s life purpose is honed to laser focus: to stop the creature' s rise, no matter the personal cost.

View all my reviews

Review: The Cult of Ocasta

The Cult of Ocasta The Cult of Ocasta by Mark Allan Gunnells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE CULT OF OCASTA by Mark Allan Gunnells {The Final Limestone Story}

I only recently "discovered" this special author, but even the first reading convinced me not to miss anything he writes. Mr. Gunnells is not just prolific, he is both talented and accomplished.

In preparation for reviewing an advance copy of THE CULT OF OCASTA, I reread THE QUARRY, the first Limestone story, which I had read in March 2012. Although THE CULT OF OCASTA can certainly be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading both books in order, to enjoy the full panorama the author brings to these stories.

At little Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina, Security Department Lieutenant Emilio Gambrell is a man with an overweening life purpose. Formerly a student at Limestone, the horrifying events of his freshman year forced Em to drop out and to join the college security force, his purpose to protect students, faculty, and staff from potential depredations of the "creature" chained far beneath Lake Limestone. Emilio knows from firsthand experience how dangerous is this entity, and when acolytes of it flock to Limestone College and to the community of Gaffney, determined to resurrect it, Emilio' s life purpose is honed to laser focus: to stop the creature' s rise, no matter the personal cost.


View all my reviews

Review: Escapees and Fevered Minds

Escapees and Fevered Minds Escapees and Fevered Minds by David Owain Hughes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: ESCAPEES AND FEVERED MINDS by David Owain Hughes

It might accurately be stated that a fevered mind is a criterion for setting into the wildly imaginative world of author David Owain Hughes. So be it: I will gladly claim to have such a mind, for I dearly love his writings. ESCAPEES AND FEVERED MINDS is the delightful sequel (delightful for readers, not so for some of the characters) to WHITE WALLS AND STRAIGHTJACKETS. While the first volume was told in short stories within an overarching plot, ESCAPEES AND FEVERED MINDS is straight-on novel, with--wait for it--dual endings! I confess to have read both books as a set, non-stop, not wanting to sleep, eat, and certainly not to socialize. Crystal and Harry; Hob and Bella; Norm and Angharad (I love her name); Santa Klaws, Samantha, Mr. Tickles; Sideshow Necrotic and Sideshow Nightshade; the Mansion and the Circus of Fear; I want to "meet" all of these again. Extreme Horror and Gore, yes; psychosis and selfishness, implacability; all subtly leavened with humor. David Owain Hughes has an exceptional talent and has certainly carved out his own niche. May he rule in it forever.

View all my reviews

Review: White Walls and Straitjackets

White Walls and Straitjackets White Walls and Straitjackets by David Owain Hughes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: WHITE WALLS AND STRAIGHTJACKETS by David Owain Hughes

I am addressing this review primarily to fans of "extreme horror" [don't hide--you know who you are]. If you've read any of Welsh author David Owain Hughes' anthologized short stories [for example, "His Name Was Simone" in BLACK CANDY Halloween anthology, or his piece in the BAH! HUMBUG! Christmas charity anthology ("Little Sh** ts"--my elision), or any of his other work, you already know he is an author not to turn your back on (nor his characters!) It's no holds barred, nothing held back, and over the top with Mr. Hughes--and I love it. Could not put the book down!

WHITE WALLS AND STRAIGHTJACKETS is over the top horror couched in a plot arc, then explicated through short stories, contained in a mysterious "found" book. If you enjoy Crystal and her psychotic wooden ventriloquist' s mannequin, the foul-mouthed, abusive, Harry, worry not! These performing artists/vicious killers reappear in ESCAPEES AND FEVERED MINDS, along with a cast of characters you hope are only fictional.

View all my reviews

Review: White Walls and Straitjackets

White Walls and Straitjackets White Walls and Straitjackets by David Owain Hughes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: WHITE WALLS AND STRAIGHTJACKETS by David Owain Hughes

I am addressing this review primarily to fans of "extreme horror" [don't hide--you know who you are]. If you've read any of Welsh author David Owain Hughes' anthologized short stories [for example, "His Name Was Simone" in BLACK CANDY Halloween anthology, or his piece in the BAH! HUMBUG! Christmas charity anthology ("Little Sh** ts"--my elision), or any of his other work, you already know he is an author not to turn your back on (nor his characters!) It's no holds barred, nothing held back, and over the top with Mr. Hughes--and I love it. Could not put the book down!

WHITE WALLS AND STRAIGHTJACKETS is over the top horror couched in a plot arc, then explicated through short stories, contained in a mysterious "found" book. If you enjoy Crystal and her psychotic wooden ventriloquist' s mannequin, the foul-mouthed, abusive, Harry, worry not! These performing artists/vicious killers reappear in ESCAPEES AND FEVERED DREAMS, along with a cast of characters you hope are only fictional.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 10, 2017

Review: No Man's Land: Horror in the Trenches

No Man's Land: Horror in the Trenches No Man's Land: Horror in the Trenches by Greg Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: NO MAN'S LAND: HORROR IN THE TRENCHES by C. M. Saunders

Told as a series of continuing vignettes, NO MAN'S LAND relates the experience of Harry Doyle, a young Welsh soldier in the First World War. As terrifying as are the usual horrors of any war, Harry and his cohorts face additional horrors of an implacable nature. Harry is a wonderful protagonist, because he's not a one-dimensional fearless hero, but rather he is a true human, fearing, loyal, emotional, introspective. NO MAN'S LAND is a literate and vivid narrative of an ugly war, a war which for Harry Doyle and his fellow soldiers extends beyond the boundaries of consensus reality.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rockin' My TBR_MOUNT TBR CHALLENGE 2017

The brainchild of Bev at My Reader's Block, this special challenge is now in its 5th year. This is my first participation, and my goal is Mount Olympus (Mars): 150 books from my TBR (as of Dec. 31 2016). So between now and Dec. 31 2017 I need to read 150 books (print and digital).

Sign up: https://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2016/11/2017-mount-tbr-challenge-sign-up.html

or https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/202951-mount-tbr-2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Review: Winter Tide

Winter Tide Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of WINTER TIDE by Ruthanna Emrys

WINTER TIDE will clearly be one of my favorites of 2017, and one of my all-time top novels in the Lovecraftian Mythos category. Appropriately in Women in Horror Month (February), I want to acknowledge the influence of two women horror writers, both of whom excel at play in the fields of The Lovecraft Mythos: Ruthanna Emrys, and Caitlin R. Kiernan. The writings of both are truly exceptional.

In WINTER TIDES, I am gifted with all that I seek in fantasy, all that I ask of science fiction, all I could imagine in Lovecraft's universes, and my mind is stretched beyond its usual capacity. Ms. Emrys waives any need for suspension of disbelief. Everything in the novel seems as real and as vivid as anything I might view through my windows. Innsmouth and Arkham; Miskatonic University and its sister institution, the Hall School; body thieving and the various species of humankind (people of the rock; people of the water; people of the air) are so vividly realised as to make them, indeed, real to readers. Even in its post-World War II setting, there are serious overtones reaching back to the U.S.'s interment of Japanese-Americans during that war, and forward to the political witch hunts in the 1950's by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee in their quests to find Communists under each rock, and further to today's political climate and fear/hatred of the unknown (in this case, the “unknown” ethnicities, such as the “fish-folk” formerly of Innsmouth, and any practitioners of magic, and the Yith).

H. P. Lovecraft might in his day have taken exception to the idea of a female writer working in his Mythos, but I for one am very thankful that Ruthanna Emrys has chosen to expand on his foundation. I'll be rereading WINTER TIDES repeatedly, enclosing myself in its literate explications, reveling in the language and in the metaphysics of the Lovecraft Mythos.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review: Doll House

Doll House Doll House by John Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: DOLL HOUSE by John Hunt

DOLL HOUSE is a deeply felt and admirably realized tale of an unending real-life nightmare. On the very day she moves into a freshman residence hall at university, Olivia is abducted and undergoes five years of unspeakable torment. During her absence, her devoted father Harry devolves into alcoholism, an addiction that continues even after Olivia' s eventual escape and return to their home. Since the ringleader has not been found, neither Olivia, Harry, nor the other victims can find peace, until a heartwrenching and traumatic denouement.

View all my reviews