If you like good old fashioned horror like that of Stephen King, if you loved Stand By Me, If you religiously watched Stranger Things, then The Sacrifice Box is your next must read. Continue reading
I really enjoyed The Loney and had high hopes for Andrew Michael Hurley’s follow up, Devil’s Day. I can honestly say this was my favourite horror novel of 2017.
John Pentecost and his wife return to the Endlands farm his family has owned for generations to help with The Gathering when sheep who have wandered the hillsides freely all spring and summer come down to the farm for winter. The day before the Gathering is known as Devil’s Day when rituals, as old as life in Endlands, are enacted to stop the devil from possessing an animal or worse.
John and his wife are expecting a child, a state that they are keeping secret meantime. John senses his father is getting too old to manage their farm now and wants to come back with his family and make a life for themselves there in the small claustrophobic Endlands community. John isn’t the only Endlander with secrets and when Devil’s Day comes it brings with it more than a few surprises. Events from John’s childhood are revealed piecemeal and give an added horror to the current events.
This really is literary horror at it’s best. The author has given his readers such a sense of place I feel I could recognise the setting from a photograph. I know a little about living in a small, closed community and the issues his characters face are familiar – although my own experiences are far removed from those in the book.
Hurley walks the line between folklore and reality expertly and creates such an atmosphere of menace and evil. I was enthralled from beginning to end. A wonderful, beautiful, creepy, horrific slow burn of horror. I eagerly await the author’s next book.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I was a little girl we used chalk to mark out beds to play peever on – hopscotch, for non-Scots. Sometimes we’d use them to draw pictures, the braver among us describing an approximation of male genitalia on the hot summer pavements of Glasgow. In The Chalk Man, a group of disparate friends use chalk figures to send messages to each other. Lets meet at the park, see you in the woods.
But when the chalk figures start to reappear when the kids are all grown up, they know something sinister is afoot.
On the basis of this book it would be easy to call CJ Tudor the British Stephen King: outsiders? check; death? Check; a band of kids? Check; the past coming back to bite them on the bum? Huge check.
I have read several thriller/mystery books recently that share the King vibe, yet each one has been different and enjoyable in it’s own way. Knowing the time between writing and publication, it’s unlikely this is a fall out from the recent successful film of It. But I do wonder why there seems to be so many. At least it’s a welcome change from all ‘The Girl …’ titles.
The Chalk Man is well written. The characters are well drawn, not all likeable, but their actions seem reasonable within their circumstances and I really was rooting for the main protagonist, Ed. I enjoyed the plot and the creepy vibe and I’d definitely read more by this author. It’s a shame that the book’s impact might be diluted because of other similar themed titles, but if you decide not to read this book because of that, you’d really be missing out.
The year is yet young, but if this is the standard of book I can expect this year, I’m going to be a very happy Nettie!
I picked up this book to read because of the author. I had read and loved NOS4R2, Heart Shaped Box, The Fireman, and was looking forward to reading his new novel. I soon realised, however, that rather than a full length novel, this book was a collection of 4 novellas, all connected with the theme of Strange Weather. Continue reading
Devils in Dark Houses wasn’t he book I was expecting to read. My take on the publisher’s blurb led me to expect four linked tales of terror and horror. While one of the stories, Each Castle Its King, could be described as a traditional horror, the other four were more what I’d call psychological thrillers, and damn good ones at that.
Connecting all four storied are Detectives Martinez and Shirdon, partners in Oregon where each story takes place. Although they appear in each story it is in the final tale, the titular Devils in Dark Houses where their presence is most pertinent to the tale.
Each novella is quite distinct from the others and offers a unique take on an aspect of modern living. The stories themselves wouldn’t be out of place as episodes in an American police series. This gives them a relevance that is sometimes missing from ‘olde worlde’ horror.
The author uses the internet, police corruption and identity theft to explore the dark side of the human psyche and as a result has provided the reader with stories that are close to their own experiences which has the result of making the tales more unsettling.
I’m not sure if I could say I had a favourite story within the book but the first one, The Eye That Binds, is the one I liked least.
All in all, Devils in Dark Houses is an excellent collection.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I don’t know about you, but I love the modern “B” movies broadcast on the SyFy channel. Give me a title like Big Ass Spider and, of course, Sharknado and I’m there, popcorn in hand, ready for 90 minutes of fun and mayhem. And that’s exactly what you get in this thoroughly entertaining book by Ray Garton.
In a freak of nature, a hurricane named Quentin is headed for the west coast of America and due to hit the small town of Eureka within a few hours.
Meanwhile, the old asylum has been redeveloped in part and is now being used by scientists to research bio-weapons under the guise of developing new antibiotics.
Meanwhile, an army veteran and campaigner for the homeless is taking his militia to look for the homeless people who have been going missing recently from Eureka.
Meanwhile, a psychotic cop has kidnapped a man and his son and is taking them on his murderous trail around the county.
Meanwhile, a woman is driving on the storm-hot roads to deliver s suspicious package in order to earn money to pay for her son’s medical bills.
And, finally, a local radio presenter and conspiracy nut is going to get the story of a lifetime.
You might think that there is far too much going on, and none of it particularly believable, but forget all of that. Accept Frankenstorm for what it is: an OTT tale of the convergence coincidences that I found wonderfully entertaining and thoroughly enjoyed.
Someone, tell the SyFy channel about this book. I’d LOVE to see it made into a movie!
I’m a fan of Dark Fuse novellas. Almost every one I’ve read has been well written and enjoyable and Facial by Jeff Strand is no exception. Although I very nearly put it down after just a few pages…
To call the plot of this book bizarre is to do it a great injustice. It is totally nutty bonkers but in such an entertaining way that I read it all in one (late night) sitting.
I really don’t want to give anything away – discovering the madness is all part of the fun – but it involves brothers, a cheating wife, murder and a few heads. Oh, and not forgetting the decomposing lion. Look, it’s not a long story but it is fun and well worth the price.
There was a time when Stephen King wrote a lot about writers but three of his recent books, Joyland, Doctor Sleep and now Revival, his latest, have a fairground feel to them. I’m in no way saying that King is re-writing the same book time and again, but there is a certain familiarity in some of the themes. Continue reading
When aliens arrive on earth, evil and violent, things change. Vegetation withers, birds fall from the sky. The alien gods need to be fed, they need humans, and in order to get them, they need human minions to bring them.
Dan is one of these unfortunate people, forced to bring sacrifices to the Masters in order to protect his wife and daughter. He picks up Alice and, hands and feet bound, takes her in his car to his particular “contact.” But they have an accident not far from the rendezvous and they have to make the last mile on foot, and Alice will not go easily to her fate.
There is a lot to like about this book. It shares some similarities with Tim Curran’s Blackout, but for me, The Last Mile isn’t as good.
There isn’t a great deal of specific violence in the book but what little there is seems…pornographic. In order to make Dan do as he’s told the gods force his wife to masturbate with the contents of the cutlery drawer. And if they can force her to violate herself in this way, why do they need thralls to do their dirty work for them?
I was left feeling rather unsatisfied by the logical inconsistencies of the novella but in the spirit of full disclosure, I am suffering an upper respiratory infection and read this book during the night when I couldn’t sleep for coughing. That may have soured my mood a little.
A young girl goes missing in Edinburgh, presumed abducted. No one sees her go, but in the station toilets not far from where she had stood with her mother, a black swan is found, severely mutilated and in a pool of blood.
And the black swan’s wings are missing.
The number of missing girls gets higher, each disappearance accompanied by a broken bird, and no one can fathom how they were taken.
What follows is a police procedural following brothers John (a cop) and Alan (an investigative reporter) as they investigate the missing girls.
So far, so “Stuart McBride.”
But you wouldn’t expect a straight detective story from a writer with a strong back catalogue in well written horror and, as usual, Meikle delivers.
Thanks to Alan, the Granger brothers find a sandwich-board nutter who seems to know a lot about what may have happened to the girls and it’s at this point that the story begins it’s shift into fantasy and horror as we are taken to the land of the fae where an evil is building, intent on tearing down the barrier between worlds.
The book has a real feel for Scottish myth and folklore yet the author manages to make the transitions between worlds believable and natural. The horror is well described and gory without being gratuitous and the book marries the Scotland of a dark Brigadoon with the Edinburgh of Rankine to create an interesting tale of evil ambitions, myth and 21st century detective work.
Being a Scot, I appreciated the setting. I read a lot of horror and it was refreshing for the setting to be somewhere other than America.
A good, satisfying book which leaves the reader with the hope that the sequel the author sets up isn’t long in coming.