WHO

WHO'S COMING DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY TONIGHT?




Charles Stross, "Overtime"

2018: CTHULHU FOR CHRISTMAS

Monday, February 24, 2020

Review: RECIPE FOR ENEMIES



4 Stars


I quite enjoyed reading this novel, both for the recurring (and escalating Spooky aspects) and for the protagonist's unfolding character evolution. From good-hearted, devoted, mother and wife, thoughtful and well-intentioned Erin gradually morphs into something else. Whether one attributes her mutation to Supernatural elements, or to a growing undiscovered psychological disorder, her process is realistic as she slowly changes.

Review: FALSE VALUE (Rivers of London 8) by Ben Aaronovitch



4.5 Stars
FALSE VALUE is Book 8 in the fantastic (in multiple categories) Urban Fantasy RIVERS OF LONDON Series by Ben Aaronovitch. I adored Books 7 and 7.5 [LIES SLEEPING  and THE OCTOBER MAN]. FALSE VALUE wasn't quite as fantastic to me, quite possibly because the techno theme went over my head and the corporate maneuvering left me uninterested.  However,  Feckless Hero police officer Peter Grant remains as adorable as ever, and the  Denouement in the Super-Secret server warehouse, especially the open "portal to darkness," was scrumptious reading (with Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror resonances) and definitely might be a springboard to further exploration in the next novel or two. I certainly hope so. My 4 Star rating then is actually 4.5, and I imagine many other readers will consider FALSE VALUE a 5.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Review: THE ROOM UPSTAIRS by Iain Rob Wright


5 Spooky Stars!

Gore-laden horror  but rife with deeply detailed characterization and realistic character evolution,  THE ROOM UPSTAIRS makes me glad to live in a single-story home. A blended family in Birmingham,  England,  is poor but mostly happy. Until a visit to a car boot sale (similar to American flea markets) sees the adolescent daughter bringing home an antique-appearing pendant and the eleven-year-old son a doll replica of a film series' evil clown, and real Evil enters the household,  tempting each member into wishes, ranging from the simple and mundane, to life-changing and life-destroying. Author Iain Rob Wright delivers imaginatively-premised unspeakable,  implacable,  Horror.  Just try to sleep after reading this one. That creaking door will keep you wide awake. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Review: THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by Simone St. James



5+ Stars!

I expected a great novel, as I adored Simone St. James ' BROKEN GIRLS; and THE SUN DOWN MOTEL delivered on that expectation and far beyond it. This is a tremendously frightening novel, both in terms of the Supernatural scares (I thought my hair would turn white) and of the horribly-inhuman human frightener--who makes my blood run even colder. It also carries a tremendous impact in terms of Awareness: specifically awareness of how unsafe women and girls are. Yes in 2020 we are familiar with the #MeToo Movement and with the pervasiveness of "rape culture." But in 1982, one of the timelines in this novel, we weren't,  unless we had personal experiences, or a loved one or dear friend had suffered.  That a tiny little town like St. James' "Fell, New York," tucked off on a lonely highway almost to Canada, has such a HIGH number of murders of women, many of these rape-murders, and many unsolved "disappearances," is both mind-boggling and terrifying, especially that it's tacitly assumed and runs under the radar! Revolting!!

This is not a book to put the reader peacefully to sleep at night.  This is a book to raise questions,  incite pondering,  and inspire activism.




Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES VOLUME 12 (SCARE STREET)



5 Scary Stars!

In exception to the first eleven volumes in this spooky series, SHORT HORROR STORIES VOLUME 12 contains only two stories:

Home Again by Ron Ripley:

In the early 20th century, literary lion Thomas Wolfe announced, YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN. I'm fairly certain he didn't have in mind the sort of homecoming that protagonist Allen experiences in this story!  As well as this works as a SCARY short story, I could hope that the inimitable Ron Ripley (who has an incredible imagination and a love of history) would decide in future to expand on certain characters and events mentioned--specifically those of three generations earlier.


The Inhabitant of the  Mirror by David Longhorn:  our protagonist, English by birth but long-ensconced in America, inherits the bizarre manor home of his mother's late half-brother, including its Magic Mirror.

Review: GARDEN OF BEWITCHMENT by Catherine Cavendish



5 + Stars!!

I believe author Catherine Cavendish may have lived a past life or two in Victorian Great Britain: she possesses a rare and quite special gift for writing that period "from the inside," and so readers "experience" her stories rather than just peruse a narrative.  I felt I lived with the characters in her newest,  the spectacularly spooky supernatural story GARDEN OF BEWITCHMENT. Evelyn and Claire, twin protagonists,  literally identical twins, their lives, their hauntings. Claire's obsession,  that mysterious and alien concept "toy" referenced so delightfully in the  title: for the duration of reading, all this was a part of me.

February: WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH. 2020


WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH 2020

This month I'm actively seeking out Women Writers in the Genres of Horror,  Fantasy,  Paranormal/Supernatural, Mystery & Suspense.

2020 February Women In Horror






Thursday, February 13, 2020

Review: HOME BEFORE DARK by Riley Sager




3 Stars


I was enamoured of Riley Sager 's first two novels,  FINAL GIRLS and THE LAST TIME I LIED. His third mystery, LOCK EVERY DOOR,  I've not yet read. The description for HOME BEFORE DARK really excited me, because I love a Haunting above all else. 

However: the pre-Prologue,  told from contemporary (adult) Maggie's point of view,  didn't set me up for the story. Now the Prologue, when Maggie was five and the family freshly moved into the unusual, if not quite, unique,  Baneberry House in a significantly rural region of New Hampshire: oh, yes. Bring It On.
Sigh: the author at some point decided to make this a two-era story, interweaving the events of 21 days, 25 years earlier, with the contemporary narrative: Adult all-business nothing-to-see-here Maggie Returns. That could work, might work, has worked.  But not here, and not for me. Think I'll reread this book, but differently,  reading all the  past-tense events as one smooth flowing narrative, then all the "now" sections as a narrative.  This back-forward-back-forward just disjoints my grasp of the narrative (and has cost the novel a Star).

Something else that gripes me about HOME BEFORE DARK is how extensively skeptical adult Maggie is.  Perhaps psychologically  this is a logical result of "slamming the door" on unwanted or terrifying belief. But it's not scientific method: when confronted with the seemingly inexplicable,  one doesn't leap off the opposite deep end trying to explain it away.  Sherlock wouldn't like that. 

Finally,  the Denouement: again, sigh. Maybe I'm simply too old and locked into my preferred patterns.  I want to shake the characters senseless,  screaming bansee-like, "Can't you fools see?"

So in conclusion,  I'm sorry,  but the best I can give is not even 3.5. 3 stars.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Review: POSSESSED by Peter Laws (Matt Hunter #4)


5 Stars

Matt Hunter #4

British Matt Hunter is a former Baptist minister who lost his faith and now serves as a professor of Sociology of Religion.  A very erudite and highly educated individual with deep knowledge of ancient and historical texts, both medieval and arcane, Hunter also exhibits an occasional lowbrow humor which provides comic relief in a very serious novel.

Called in as an "expert" due to the combination of his ministerial background,  his erudition, and his current position as Professor, he becomes involved in a murder case in a small village.  The case is exceptional because the killer "seems" to evidence possession, and his pastor is convinced.  When a widely known American "exorcist " appears on the scene, Matt's scientific rationalism is tested against "blind faith " in widespread demonic possession,  and his own faith in psychology is strenuously taxed.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Review: THE SALEM HORROR by Henry Kuttner


5+ Stars!
5 Stars! Well-written,  horrifying,  realistic consequences. Very Lovecraftian--the resonances with my most favourite HPL, "Dreams In the Witch-House," are immense--but wonderful! Kuttner is a learned and articulate author. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Review: THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones



5 Stars

Throughout I repeatedly asked myself why I had waited until now to read Stephen Graham Jones, vowing to read everything in his prolific oeuvre. The simple phrase "new favorite author" is overworked but very true. Stephen Graham Jones is exceptional.

THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS is a painful novel to read. I am ashamed of the Caucasian treatment of indigenous Americans throughout history, and as the case of character Ricky Boss demonstrates (reminding me of the Wyoming Matthew Shepard case), continuing today. Just reading it is painful; living it is unimaginable.

But THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS is not Horror only because of wrong-minded people performing wrong acts, nor the main characters living trapped in a history of sorrow and seeming inescapability. It is also a story of Supernatural Horror: one in which the four main characters make poor choices, driven by their economy, need, and resentment; and all the efforts of one, Lewis, come to no avail for any of them, a decade later, at the anniversary of this event.

This is not a book you read and leave behind. This is a book you live.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES VOLUME 10 (SCARE STREET)


5 Stars

"Pictures On The Wall" by Ron Ripley: 
This short story delightfully reminded me both of H. P. Lovecraft's "Picture In The  House," and of characters in Grade B horror films.  You know whom: they consult Ouija boards, hold seances, enter abandoned buildings at night, all because their egotism is even greater than their skepticism. 

Such is the protagonist here: a wealthy, successful,  author, Neil buys a triptych of an early Colonial manor. Once a single painting,  it was divested into three sections.  So naturally Mr. Ego, disregarding the testament he discovers hidden in the frame,  hangs the sections as one unit again.  Oh well. Pride and hubris always precede a fall. What a horrific Avenue to discovery!

"Photography " by Ron Ripley: 

Lindy is a dedicated Spirit Photographer. Convinced that often Spirits are trapped in objects, she searches yard sales, estate sales, and flea markets for whatever objects psychically move her, then photographs them in her home. Finally,  she endeavours to release the Spirits so they may find Peace. 

Unfortunately sometimes good intentions have the road to hell.

"An Artist's Purpose " by Rowan Rook:

This story also reminds me of Lovecraft: of Dreaming Cthulhu calling to the minds of men (primarily artists, writers, poets, and other creatives) with Strange and Arcane dreams.  A Seattle artist planning for an upcoming showcase purchases a too-cheap, damaged, cabin on Mt. Baker, seeking inspiration in the absolute quiet of isolation.  Inspiration results--but the cost is horrifying nightmares, not just for the Artist. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Review: INSIDE by D. M. Siciliano


3 Stars

A tremendous amount of Implacable Horror,  literal and metaphorical convolutions,  inescapable emotions  (grief, shame, rage, terror, guilt), and deeply delineated psychology populates this novel. I'm always in favor of Implacability in Horror: without it, the story is not realistic.  Without it, there's no possibility of a "miraculous" twist: a rescue,  a recovery,  an escape.  What  I am not in favor of is fatalism,  and that is how this story felt: vicarious suffering,  over and over, with not little hope, NO hope of Redemption.  So what's the point?

My other problem here (I'm not addressing the proofreading need because I read only an ARC and not the finished product--other than to say that "thrusted" is not a  viable verb--possibly exists, but thankfully,  rarely. Go with "thrust.") is extending the  story far beyond the point at which it should have died--err, ended. The entire aftermath,  to me, was unnecessary,  unhelpful,  and  pretty much,  just an excuse to "relive" it all again. I wish the book at stopped at the last scene in the House, before the "aftermath. " That would have rendered a much tauter plotline.

Review: TWELVE NIGHTS AT ROTTER HOUSE


5+ Stars

This "Haunted House" story I found exceptional for several reasons. Throughout the book, Thomas and Felix are such a cogent "odd couple," really a perfectly matched set of opposites,  a pair who constantly play riffs off each other.  Next, there's humour: not a fictional aspect I usually seek out, but here it's a welcome leavening, and I can see it working effectively if this novel was a stage play [and oddly,  that would be my choice in preference to: a Horror film--which seques right into my next point], these guys are like horror film memory champions! Like kids of the 50's memorizing Baseball stats, these guys know their B-movies!

But best of all,  there's the SCARES, the tongue-in-cheek reactions of Felix and Thomas; and finally,  That Denouement.  Not in a million years...and my reaction was horror, grief, sorrow, astoundment, horror....and still pondering two days later.  What a story!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd


5 Magical Stars

What more magical than a novel of historical fiction whose very prose is steeped in poetic imaginings of the most wondrous sort, whose evocation of Victorian London is so vivid as to be as easy as stepping out my front door, in which magical realism surpasses any disbelief and becomes as real as reading the headlines of today?


THINGS IN JARS is glorious. If you've loved THE NINTH HOUSE, or THE GENERAL THEORY OF HAUNTING, or A SUDDEN LIGHT: don't dawdle! Read a very special novel indeed and watch as your interior world opens to new horizons. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

THE OTHER PEOPLE by C. J. Tudor

5 Stars!

Stunning! C. J. Tudor NEVER disappoints! Unremittingly suspenseful,  highly tense throughout; and then there's that constant unrelenting pull of "What if?" What if: the Other People have the right idea? What if: vengeance is more just than forgive-and-not-forget? I think the premise here is one that will touch the heartstrings of a lot of readers,  and it's one that each will have to judge for herself or himself.  How far should Justice reach? How right (or wrong) is "an eye for an eye?" And: who determines what is Justice,  and what is just sadism or anger or revenge? Who ultimately is gifted to "play God"?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Tour: THE THIRD TO DIE by Allison Brennan







The Third to Die : A Novel
Allison Brennan
On Sale Date: February 4, 2020
9780778309444, 0778309444
Hardcover
$26.99 USD, $33.50 CAD
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
464 pages

About the Book:
New York Times bestselling author and gifted storyteller Allison Brennan's new standalone thriller features a troubled female police detective and an ambitious FBI special agent who wind up at the center of a ticking-clock investigation into a diabolical serial killer.

Brennan's novel will launch a book-a-year series featuring a fabulous cast of recurring characters. It’s the story of a troubled female police detective and an ambitious FBI special agent who wind up at the center of a ticking-clock investigation into a diabolical serial killer; and the bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for the future books in the series.

Detective Kara Quinn is visiting her hometown of Liberty Lake, Washington, after being placed on administrative leave by the LAPD, when she comes upon the mutilated body of a young nurse during an early morning jog. The manner of death is clearly ritualistic; she calls it in. Meanwhile back in DC, special agent in charge Mattias Costa is meticulously staffing his newly-minted Mobile Response Team. One of his first recruits is the brilliant FBI forensic psychologist Catherine Jones. When word reaches Matt that the Washington state murder appears to be the work of the Triple Killer--it will be the first case for the MRT. Jones has done the only profile on this serial killer, but she is reluctant to join the unit, still shaken by the death of her sister a year ago under circumstances for which she holds herself responsible. But only she holds the key to understanding the killer's obsessive pattern--three murder victims, three deep slashes a piece, each three days apart, each series beginning on a March 3rd--3/3, then a three-year hiatus before he strikes again.

This time they have a chance to stop him before he claims another victim strikes, but only if they can figure out who he is and where is is hiding.

About the Author:
Allison Brennan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. She was nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers, has had multiple nominations and two Daphne du Maurier Awards, and is a five-time RITA finalist for Best Romantic Suspense. Allison believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five kids. Allison and her family live in Arizona. Visit her at allisonbrennan.com

Social Links:
Facebook: @AllisonBrennan
Twitter: @Allison_Brennan
Instagram: @abwrites

Buy Links:


REVIEW:

An unusual serial killer with a complicated pattern and an unknowable goal, a workaholic FBI SAC of a brand-new not yet fully constituted mobile unit, an undercover feisty LAPD officer,  and a quiet Pacific Northwest community: the combination makes for a tense nonstop week as law enforcement mobilizes to stop the next killing,  none realizing how close is the killer to completing his silent vendetta, never guessing his identity. 



EXCERPT:

Wednesday, March 3
Liberty Lake, Washington
12:09 a.m.

Warm blood covered him.
His arms, up to his elbows, were slick with it. His clothing splattered with it. The knife—the blade that had taken his retribution—hung in his gloved hand by his side.
It was good. Very good.
He was almost done.
The killer stared at the blackness in front of him, his mind as silent and dark as the night. The water lapped gently at the banks of the lake. A faint swish swish swish as it rolled up and back, up and back, in the lightest of breezes.
He breathed in cold air; he exhaled steam.
Calm. Focused.
As the sounds and chill penetrated his subconscious, he moved into action. Staying here with the body would be foolish, even in the middle of the night.
He placed the knife carefully on a waist-high boulder, then removed his clothes. Jacket. Sweater. Undershirt. He stuffed them into a plastic bag. Took off his shoes. Socks. Pants. Boxers. Added them to the bag. He stood naked except for his gloves.
He tied the top of the plastic, then picked up the knife again and stabbed the bag multiple times. With strength that belied his lean frame, he threw the knife into the water. He couldn’t see where it fell; he barely heard the plunk.
Then he placed the bag in the lake and pushed it under, holding it beneath the surface to let the frigid water seep in. When the bag was saturated, he pulled it out and spun himself around as if he were throwing a shot put. He let go and the bag flew, hitting the water with a loud splash.
Even if the police found it—which he doubted they would— the water would destroy any evidence. He’d bought the clothes and shoes, even his underwear, at a discount store in another city, at another time. He’d never worn them before tonight.
Though he didn’t want DNA evidence in the system, it didn’t scare him if the police found something. He didn’t have a record. He’d killed before, many times, and not one person had spoken to him. He was smart—smarter than the cops, and certainly smarter than the victims he’d carefully selected.
Still, he must be cautious. Meticulous. Being smart meant that he couldn’t assume anything. What did his old man use to say?
Assume makes an ass out of you and me…
The killer scowled. He wasn’t doing any of this for his old man, though his father would get the retribution he deserved. He was doing this for himself. His own retribution. He was this close to finishing the elaborate plan he’d conceived years ago.
He could scarcely wait until six days from now, March 9, when his revenge would be complete.
He was saving the guiltiest of them for last.
Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?
Still, he hoped his old man would be pleased. Hadn’t he done what his father was too weak to do? Righted the many wrongs that had been done to them. How many times had the old man said these people should suffer? How many times had his father told him these people were fools?
Yet his father just let it happen and did nothing about it! Nothing! Because he was weak. He was weak and pathetic and cruel.
Breathe. Focus. All in good time.
All in good time.
The killer took another, smaller plastic bag from his backpack. He removed his wet gloves, put them inside, added a good-sized rock, tied the bag, then threw it into the lake.
Still naked, he shivered in the cold, still air. He wasn’t done.
Do it quick.
He walked into the lake, the water colder than ice. Still, he took several steps forward, his feet sinking into the rough muck at the bottom. When his knees were submersed, he did a shallow dive. His chest scraped a rock, but he was too numb to feel pain. He broke through the surface with a loud scream. He couldn’t breathe; he couldn’t think. His heart pounded in his chest, aching from the icy water.
But he was alive. He was fucking alive!
He went under once more, rubbed his hands briskly over his arms and face in case any blood remained. He would take a hot shower when he returned home, use soap and a towel to remove anything the lake left behind. But for now, this would do.
Twenty seconds in the water was almost too long. He bolted out, coughed, his body shaking so hard he could scarcely think. But he had planned everything well and operated on autopilot.
He pulled a towel from his backpack and dried off as best he could. Stepped into new sweatpants, sweatshirt, and shoes. Pulled on a new pair of gloves. There might be blood on the ATV, but it wasn’t his blood, so he wasn’t concerned.
He took a moment to stare back at the dark, still lake. Then he took one final look at the body splayed faceup. He felt nothing, because she was nothing. Unimportant. Simply a small pawn in a much bigger game. A pawn easily sacrificed.
He hoped his old man would be proud of his work, but he would probably just criticize his son’s process. He’d complain about how he did the job, then open another bottle of booze.
He hoped his father was burning in hell.
He jumped on the ATV and rode into the night.


Excerpted from The Third to Die by Allison Brennan, Copyright © 2020 by Allison Brennan. Published by MIRA Books.










Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Review: NIGHTSHADE'S REQUIEM by Anthony Hains


5 Supernatural Stars!
Insane asylums have always fascinated me, both asylum-in-action and asylum's aftermath: dessication, decay,  ghosts. This Supernatural horror nearly interweaves both; events of September 1962, and the "asylum-under-renovation for tours" in a contemporary timeset. I venture to think that author Anthony Hains has most definitely done his research,  as the inclusion of "techniques" of 1962 and also in earlier eras, and the conditions when the Asylum was formerly utilized as a tuberculosis Sanitorium seem very accurate. 

Thankfully, NIGHTSHADE'S REQUIEM is first in a series. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Review: THE SECRET OF WHITE STONE GATE by Julia Nobel


5 Stars!


I read this immediately after reading the first in the Series, MYSTERY OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE.  I adored this mystery equally.  Author Julia Nobel certainly comprehends the minds of her young adolescent subjects (12 in the first book, 13 in this) and makes me recall some of my thoughts and feelings from back in the day. I even more than once found myself responding and mentally speaking out on protagonist Emmy's behalf (especially in regard to certain authority figures and busybodies wannabe authority). I also appreciate the weaving in of English history in both books. These are like Fantasy,  but not quite; like Magical Realism but not quite. Just thoroughly enjoyable and wildly entertaining reading.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Review: SHANTALLOW by Cara Martin

4 Stars

Canadian Challenge 

A multicultural coming-of-age story in which magical realism, fantasy, otherworldly dimensions, the nature of family and the nature of family dysfunctions all combine in significance (as do classism, crime, and ethnicism). 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Review: THE MYSTERY OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE by Julia Nobel



5 Stars +!

I adored this novel from the beginning. Not only a delight to read, I found it extraordinarily easy to empathize with the young female protagonist, Emmy (Emmeline)-shunted around and shifted aside by her career-chasing,  child psychologist, Narcissist celebrity mother ["expert" at telling other parents what they do wrong, blind to her own child's needs.] Add on a setting eerily reminiscent of "The Secret Garden" and of "Another" by Yukimo Ayatsushi, delightfully Gothic, dark and brooding--and potentially dangerous. For all us "misfits" out there: what a glorious series debut! (This is Book 1 in the BLACK HOLLOW LANE Series. Book 2, THE SECRET OF WHITE STONE GATE, will arrive 1 March 2020.)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Review: THE TAO OF THE VIPER by Linda Watkins (A Kate Pomeroy Mystery #2)



4 Stars

Dr. Kate Pomeroy has only just begun to recover from the shocks and griefs, and the horrifying revelations, of the summer on Storm Island, Maine. But she is determined to be both survivor and thriver, and as the new sole owner of one of the four family mansions at the island's compass points, Stormview Manor, Dr. Kate has converted it into a free island clinic.

But as a descendant of 17th century accused witch Maude Prichard, Kate will never cease to be the focus of those who have never forgiven Maude--or her descendants.

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES VOLUME 9 (SCARE STREET)

5 Stars

This consistently excellent series continues with two I rate as SCARY, and one in which for me the Scare was overlain by sorrow and grief.

"Gambling" by Ron Ripley : Foolishness is an unfortunate trait of Youth, whether it's racing, pranks, alcohol, controlled substances. In this case, it's pride and egotism, pricked by a dare and a wager. Implacable horror!

"Shadow Creature " by Anna Sinjin: I empathized with the protagonist. What she has to encounter should not happen to anyone. Again, implacable horror.

"Born Tonight " by Rowan Rook: historical French story weaving actual events. So sad.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Review: CHARLIE HARMER AND THE LADY IN RED by Brendan Detzner


4 Stars

Charlie Harmer is an endearing,  likeable--ghost. Yes: once upon a time Charlie was a  Chicago DJ, then he died, and his less-than-perfect record did not qualify him for entrance into Heaven.  So, instead of an eternity in the hot spot, Charlie gets to be an active ghost and do tasks for "the boss." (Not Hades' Big Boss, though; more like middle management.)

Charlie is endearing, but he's not always smart. He forgets that rules have consequences, and that maybe he's not the only rook in play on the chessboard.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Review: STORM ISLAND by Linda Watkins (Kate Pomeroy Mysteries #1)

4 Stars

STORM ISLAND returned me to those good old days of upper childhood and adolescence when I daily devoured the likes of novels by Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and the plethora of Gothic paperbacks of the 1960's, stories of intrigue, adventure, suspense, commitment, betrayal, jealousy, insanity, gaslighting, love, romance. Of course those preceded the #Metoo Movement by decades, so there were no instances of sexual assault, date rape or Rohypnol. 

Author Linda Watkins successfully brings the Gothic Suspense genre into the rapid-paced 21st century, but yet there is still that underlying aura of past Gothics (especially the protagonist's encounters in the woods and in the tower room). I can see her as played by a young Ingrid Bergman, as evil villains in the shadows gaslight her and soon she cannot distinguish friend from those who wish her ill. A satisfying read, STORM ISLAND is Book 1 of the Kate Pomeroy Mysteries.  

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 NetGalley/Edelweiss Challenge!

Knock those ARCs out!!@

netgalley-and-edelweiss-reading-challenge-2020-sign-up

Many (not all) books read here will also apply to my 2020 Mount TBR Challenge  (NetGalley/Edelweiss ARCs).
2020 Mount TBR Challenge


My Goodreads shelf is 2020_netgalley-edelweiss_challenge

Books Read:
THE TENANT  by Katrine Engberg.  NetGalley. Read Jan. 3-4

  • https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-tenant-by-katrine-engberg.html?m=1
THE PURITY OF VENGEANCE by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  NetGalley. Read Jan. 4-6.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-purity-of-vengeance-by-jussi.html?m=1

THE GOD GAME by Jeffrey Round. NetGalley.  Read Jan. 6-7
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-god-game-by-jeffrey-round-dan.html?m=1

STORM ISLAND by Linda Watkins (Kate Pomeroy Mysteries #1) Read Jan. 7
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-storm-island-by-linda-watkins.html?m=1

SHADOW PUPPET by Jeffrey Round (Dan Sharp Mysteries #6)
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-shadow-puppet-by-jeffrey-round.html?m=1

THE GOD GAME by Danny Tobey
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/reviewthe-god-game-by-danny-tobey.html?m=1

LION'S HEAD REVISITED by Jeffrey Round (Dan Sharp Mysteries #7)
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-lions-head-revisited-by-jeffrey.html?m=1

THE TAO OF THE VIPER by Linda Watkins (Kate Pomeroy #2)
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-tao-of-viper-by-linda-watkins.html?m=1

THE MYSTERY OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE by Julia Nobel
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-mystery-of-black-hollow-lane-by.html?m=1

THE SECRET OF WHITE STONE GATE  by Julia Nobel
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-secret-of-white-stone-gate-by.html?m=1

MIDWINTER FOLK by Rebekah Clayton
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-midwinter-folk-by-rebekah-clayton.html?m=1

AND THROW THE SKINS AWAY By Scott Archer Jones
https://malloryheartrecommends.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-and-throw-skins-away-by-scott.html

THE GIRL WITHOUT SKIN by Mars Peder Norbo.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-girl-without-skin-by-mads-peder.html?m=1

COLD FEAR by Mads Peder Norbo.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-cold-fear-by-mads-peder-norbo.html

CURSE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN  by Michelle Knudsen.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-curse-of-evil-librarian-by.html?m=1

COLD STORAGE  by David Koepp.
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-cold-storage-by-david-koepp.html

THIRD TO  DIE by Allison Brennan.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/tour-third-to-die-by-allison-brennan.html?m=1

CAST IN WISDOM by Michelle Sagawa.
Link 28 January.

THE OTHER PEOPLE by C.  J.  Tudor.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-other-people-by-c-j-tudor.html?m=1

FAULT LINES by Doug Johnstone.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-fault-lines-by-doug-johnstone.html?m=1

IMPLOSION! by Carolyn Hamilton.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-implosion-by-carolyn-hamilton.html?m=1

 My Hair-Raising and Heartwarming Adventures as a Pet Sitter by Christi Grace 
https://malloryheartscozies.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-my-hair-raising-and-heartwarming.html?m=1

THE UNWILLING by Kelly Braffet. 
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/tourthe-unwilling-by-kelly-braffet.html?m=1

THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd. 
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/things-in-jars-by-jess-kidd.html?m=1

INSIDE by D. M. Siciliano. 
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-inside-by-d-m-siciliano.html?m=1

ONE DAY YOU'LL BURN by Joseph Schneider. 
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-one-day-youll-burn-by-joseph.html

THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones. 
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-only-good-indians-by-stephen.html?m=1

THE BURNING by Laura Bates. 
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-burning-by-laura-bates.html?m=1


WATCH YOU BURN by Amanda Searcy.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-watch-you-burn-by-amanda-searcy.html?m=1

NO GOOD MEN by Thea Mcalistair.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-no-good-men-by-thea-mcalistair.html?m=1

THE BURNING GIRL by Mark Billingham.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-burning-girl-by-mark-billingham.html?m=1

BURN THE DARK by S.  A. Hunt
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-burn-dark-by-s-hunt.html?m=1

GARDEN OF BEWITCHMENT by Catherine Cavendish 

THE GOBLETS IMMORTAL by Beth Overmyer 

THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE  by Michael R.  Johnston 
MAGICAL MYSTERY PAWS by Mandy Morton 

BEYOND THE GRAVY by Mandy Morton 

THE ICE MAID'S TALE by Mandy Morton 
I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP by Alan Orloff 
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-i-know-where-you-sleep-by-alan.html

Mount TBR Challenge 2020

mount-tbr-reading-challenge-2020

My Goodreads Shelf  is

2020 Mount TBR _ Ararat

Level: Mount Ararat. 48 Books.
Reading NetGalley & Edelweiss ARCs acquired by 31 December 2019.
Reading owned books acquired by 31 December 2019 (e- and print).

Books read for this Challenge will usually apply to the 2020 NetGalley/Edelweiss Challenge at:

https://readingbetweenthepagesblog.wordpress.com


Books I've Read:


  • 1. THE TENANT  by Katrine Engberg.  NetGalley. Read Jan. 3-4

https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-tenant-by-katrine-engberg.html?m=1

2. THE PURITY OF VENGEANCE by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  NetGalley.  Read Jan. 4-6.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-purity-of-vengeance-by-jussi.html?m=1

3. THE GOD GAME by Jeffrey Round. NetGalley.  Read Jan. 6-7.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-god-game-by-jeffrey-round-dan.html?m=1

4. STORM ISLAND by Linda Watkins (Kate Pomeroy Mysteries #1) Read Jan. 7
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-storm-island-by-linda-watkins.html?m=1

5. SHADOW PUPPET by Jeffrey Round (Dan Sharp Mysteries #6)
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-shadow-puppet-by-jeffrey-round.html?m=1

6. THE GOD GAME by Danny Tobey
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/reviewthe-god-game-by-danny-tobey.html?m=1

7. LION'S HEAD REVISITED by Jeffrey Round  (Dan Sharp Mysteries #7)
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-lions-head-revisited-by-jeffrey.html?m=1

8. CHARLIE HARMER AND THE LADY IN RED by Brendan Detzner. Author's ARC acquired 2019
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-charlie-harmer-and-lady-in-red.html?m=1

9. THE TAO OF THE VIPER by Linda Watkins (A Kate Pomeroy Mystery #2)
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-tao-of-viper-by-linda-watkins.html?m=1

10. THE MYSTERY OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE by Julia Nobel 
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-mystery-of-black-hollow-lane-by.html?m=1

11. MIDWINTER FOLK  by Rebekah Clayton 
https://malloryheartrecommends.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-and-throw-skins-away-by-scott.html?m=1

12. AND THROW AWAY THE SKINS by Scott Archer Jones. 
https://malloryheartrecommends.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-and-throw-skins-away-by-scott.html?m=1

13. THE GIRL WITHOUT  SKIN by Mars Peder Norbo.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-girl-without-skin-by-mads-peder.html?m=1

14. COLD FEAR by Mads Peder Norbo. 
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-cold-fear-by-mads-peder-norbo.html


15. CURSE OF THE EVIL LIBRARIAN  by Michelle Knudsen. 
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-curse-of-evil-librarian-by.html?m=1


16. COLD STORAGE  by David Koepp.
 https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-cold-storage-by-david-koepp.html

17. THIRD TO DIE by Allison Brennan.
 https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/tour-third-to-die-by-allison-brennan.html?m=1

18. CAST IN WISDOM by Michelle Sagara.
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/tourcast-in-wisdom-by-michelle-sagara.html?m=1
19. THE OTHER PEOPLE by C. J.  Tudor.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-other-people-by-c-j-tudor.html?m=1

20. FAULT LINES by Doug Johnstone.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-fault-lines-by-doug-johnstone.html?m=1

21. IMPLOSION! by Carolyn Hamilton.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-implosion-by-carolyn-hamilton.html?m=1

22. My Hair-Raising and Heartwarming Adventures as a Pet Sitter by Christi Grace
https://malloryheartscozies.blogspot.com/2020/01/review-my-hair-raising-and-heartwarming.html?m=1

23. THE UNWILLING by Kelly Braffet
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/01/tourthe-unwilling-by-kelly-braffet.html?m=1

24. THINGS IN  JARS by Jess Kidd.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/things-in-jars-by-jess-kidd.html?m=1

25. INSIDE by D. M. Siciliano.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-inside-by-d-m-siciliano.html?m=1

26. ONE DAY YOU'LL BURN by Joseph Schneider.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-one-day-youll-burn-by-joseph.html

27. THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS by Stephen Graham Jones.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-only-good-indians-by-stephen.html?m=1

28. THE BURNING by Laura Bates.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-burning-by-laura-bates.html?m=1

29. WATCH YOU BURN by Amanda Searcy.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-watch-you-burn-by-amanda-searcy.html?m=1

30. NO GOOD MEN  by Thea Mcalistair.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-no-good-men-by-thea-mcalistair.html?m=1

31. THE BURNING GIRL by Mark Billingham.
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-burning-girl-by-mark-billingham.html?m=1

32. BURN THE DARK by S. A. Hunt
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-burn-dark-by-s-hunt.html?m=1

33. GARDEN OF BEWITCHMENT by Catherine Cavendish

34. THE GOBLETS IMMORTAL by Beth Overmyer 

35. THE BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE  by Michael R.  Johnston 
https://intotheabyssreviews.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-blood-dimmed-tide-by-michael-r.html?m=1

36. MAGICAL MYSTERY PAWS by Mandy Morton

37. BEYOND THE GRAVY by Mandy Morton 

38. THE ICE MAID'S TALE by Mandy Morton 
https://malloryheartscozies.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-ice-maids-tale-by-mandy-morton.html?m=1

39. I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP by Alan Orloff
https://mallorysmysteryclearinghouse.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-i-know-where-you-sleep-by-alan.html

40. ZUGZWANG by JT Toner. Historical short story

41. LOCKE & KEY VOL. 1: WELCOME TO LOVECRAFT by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez 

2019 VIRTUAL TBR CHALLENGE


virtual-mount-tbr-2020

My Goodreads Shelf is:
2020_virtual_tbr_challenge

I don't have Library access, so my Virtual will be on Scribd and Kindle Unlimited.

Level: White Plume Mountain. 48 books.

Title:     Genre:   Source:   Date:

1. PENGUIN MISSES MOM by Michael Dahl.  Children's.  Scribd.  1/29.
2. TWELVE NIGHTS IN ROTTER HOUSE by J. W. Ocker. Horror/Haunted House. Scribd.  1/30-1/31.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-twelve-nights-at-rotter-house.html?m=1
3. THE LAST SEANCE by Agatha Christie.  Scribd. 2/02.
4. THE  SALEM HORROR by Henry Kuttner. Lovecraftian Horror.  Scribd.
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-salem-horror-by-henry-kuttner.html?m=1
5. THE ROOM UPSTAIRS by Iain Rob Wright.  KU
https://thehauntedreadingroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-room-upstairs-by-iain-rob-wright.html?m=1

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Review: FEAST OF FEAR by Ron Ripley

5 Stars 

"Ghosts can't hurt you! All they can do is scare you." Haven't  you heard or read that all your life? Well, in the tiny community of Anger, Maine, that maxim is false. There, ghosts can scare you, they can hurt you, they can even kill you, causing excruciating agony  in the process. [Maybe the town should be renamed from "Anger" to "Agony."] The good die young, the good die old. The evil die and are brought to the town via whichever artifact to which they are attached, according to the  plans of a selfish medium herself controlled by a ghost who in turn is in the clutches of someone even worse.

This series is  engrossing to me for the characters--the good guys, such as protagonist Dan, elderly wise woman Mary, Detective Evan Coffin, remaining scion of a founding family--are individuals of integrity, personally flawed, but realistically human. I am also engrossed with the plot's incredibly creative Supernatural elements. Yet I must caution new readers that the violence level is extreme, especially so, I thought, in this novel.  People get hurt, and badly.  A lot suffer, extremely. There are scenes here which will be  especially disturbing to some readers, so exercise caution. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Review: SHORT HORROR STORIES VOL. 8 (Scare Street)

5 Scare Stars!
This Volume starts off with a bang!

"Dead House" by Ron Ripley SCARED the living blazes out of me! Urban exploration opens the really wrong door!

"What We Call Home" by A. I. Nasser:  SCARED me to the point I felt like I had turned inside out. Classic-style ghost story, and oh! The chills!

"Sleepless Sister" by Rowan Rook: how close can two sisters be, on either side of the grave?
 


5 Stars!

THE DROWNING is incredible! A bizarre mystery that stretches the bounds of what seems plausible, with fully-fleshed characters holding the narrative in place. Exceptionally sneaky and elusive villains abound. The theme here is: What is Reality? Is Reality how we perceive it, or how someone else informs us it is? An unforgettable puzzler!