Horror Reader 13

Just my opinions on new and old Horror novels.

Holy Voodoo!

Set in Stone - Newton

A well written short story about a guy who inherits the duty to care for a cemetary. It's the "family business". His father taught him not only the care duties, but the need to keep themselves apart from the people in the town because if they develop friendships, they will find themselves burying friends and their children and it's too much to take.


Michael, the protagonist, buries his parents and inherits the yard, as the cemetary is called, but has thoughts of marriage and a real life for himself. A murder thwarts his plans and leads to some serious juju to try to find out who the killer is. Dealing with the local witch has some Twilight Zone type drawbacks and consequences.


All things considered, it was a good short story and had a neat ending. There were a few typos that could use correcting, but the writing was generally good and had the desired effect. Not a bad effort for a short.

Christmas Horror read

A Halloween Tale - Austin Crawley

I'm glad I saved this one to read in December. I've enjoyed several movie versions of A Christmas Carol and loved the original book, so the idea of someone having a seance to raise the spirits of Christmas was really appealing.


This has been done extremely well. The three female characters don't seem all that likeable at first, but like Scrooge, they experience flashbacks to their pasts that make it possible to understand them better and see their development into what are actually typical examples of a lot of young women today. But it's the changes that happen as a result of the ghostly visitations that really make the story.


I love how the progression mirrors that of Scrooge, yet is specific to each of these characters. I was drawn deeper and deeper into their lives and the terrible things they've seen or experienced. Naturally the third ghost brings it all to a frightening and even surreal crescendo before the end. I think I'll remember this story for a long time to come. I might even make it an annual Horror Christmas read.

Nice little story

Human: A Ghost Story - Brian  Rowe

Human is a cute little story, told in present tense, about a little girl ghost who befriends a human boy when his family moves into the house. She is trapped within a limited area of the house and cannot be seen by adults, only the boy.


It's nothing too exciting, but the story does take a dark turn when we learn how the little girl died and why she is so restricted in her movements. For a short story, her character and that of the boy are actually developed fairly well.


It's a nice, short read for when you're in the mood for a ghost story, but nothing too intense.

Reading progress update: I've read 153 out of 1104 pages.

It - Stephen King

I see why there is such a high page count now. 150 pages in and the story is still being set up. I'm not complaining, just noting the style.


There could be spoilers ahead so this is really written for those who have already read it (that would be everybody except me) and are vicariously enjoying my first trip to Derry.


So, so far there has only been one murder seen in 1958, but after reeling ahead to 1985, the individual stories of a group of people who were kids at the time who made a pact to return if it ever started happeneing again, there are suggestions that a lot more happened in 1958 than the story has shown so far and we're going to learn all about it as we go along. These individual stories have left me bored, fascinated, angry, but most of all, invested. I can't quit now. I have to find out what happened.


King, you bastard!

Something spooky for Halloween!

The Last Ghost - Dennis Liggio

The Last Ghost is a short, just 32 pages, told in first person. The story description says: " In his ancestral home, a man puts his family's affairs in order, alone except for the ticking of a clock. But he soon finds that he is not alone as he is visited by a succession of ghosts."


It starts out as a nice little story that sounds like it will go on this way, the protagonist making observations as he is constantly watched by a ghost in the house and others come along, each with their own distinct personalities.

Then it takes a dark turn, leading to a great twist.

This is one of those hidden gems we're always hearing about that you only find by wading through the slush. It's an easy five stars and I will be looking for this author again.

Would make a great Halloween read for anyone looking for some spooky entertainment tonight that isn't too long to finish.

Story or avant garde art?

Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune

This one almost lost me at the beginning. There's a fast paced prologue written in present tense and fairly gory, followed by a slow paced first chapter. Add to that a protagonist named Rooster (so I have a mental picture of him as a chicken every time his name is mentioned) and it was only the creepy scarecrows that held me.

Lots of Ak 47's, high testosterone stuff. But then there are increasing hints of horrors to come and things get pretty cryptic. The scarecrows made me wonder if we had some Children of the Corn type Horror in store, but then it took a different turn. Having finished now and assimilated the great reveal, I'm tempted to say this is more of a piece of avant garde art than a story. Objectively, it was very well done. The ideas were above the pale and stimulated a lot of analytical thought.


However, as a story, it was non-linear and very confusing at times. First a guy is dead, then he's alive again, then... you get the picture. It all makes sense in the end, but that feeling of not knowing what's going on along the way isn't what I look for in a story. It would probably appeal to Tarantino film fans. Personally, I'm hoping the next story I read is a little more straight forward with the old fashioned beginning, middle and end formula.

Reading progress update: I've read 45%.

Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune

The scarecrows! Naturally creepy. I like it.

Bad Moon On The Rise

I keep forgetting to mention, this blog is doing a 31 days of Horror feature through October, showcasing a different author every day.




Check it out.


bad moon on the rise

Reading progress update: I've read 70 out of 1104 pages.

It - Stephen King

Well, they used the word "It" for the first time. Makes me wonder what the phone call was all about.

Who? What? Where? When?

Horror Fiction : The Black Apostles - Tony Keegan

I kind of feel bad just giving this story two stars, but ratings are supposed to reflect enjoyment level, right? The story could have been good if the writer would SLOW DOWN and set the scene, give the reader some idea of where, when and who within the first few chapters. Grammar was fine and the dialogue was even good, but I started the story feeling like I came into the middle of it and had no idea what was going on or who was who. By the third chapter, I went back to the book description to try to remember what it was supposed to be about.


What I would advise this author is to learn to set the scene, introduce your characters and don't be in such a hurry to get to the next thing that happens. It's a 71 page story according to Amazon, but reads like a 200 page story told my someone high on Meth.


Fill in the detail, bring the readers into what you're seeing in your head. We're not already there!

Ghost story book haul

Ghosts of Tsavo (Society for Paranormals Book 1) - Vered Ehsani The Hilliard Haunting: A Novella - Scott Donnelly Horror Fiction : The Black Apostles - Tony Keegan Closer to Knowing - Brandy Leigh Demon Flower - Christopher Alan Ott Fiends: Ten Tales of Demons: Dark Fantasy Stories (Ten Tales Fantasy Stories Book 11) - Rayne Hall, Mitch Sebourn, Douglas Kolacki, Mark Cassell, Heide Goody, Pamela Turner, Jake Elwood, Tracie McBride, Kelda Critch, Debbie Christiana Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune Human: A Ghost Story - Brian  Rowe The Last Ghost - Dennis Liggio

I've collected up a batch of short stories and novellas from the Horror category, mostly while they were free. I have no idea if any of them are going to be any good. My expectation is that I'll find a mixed bag; some good, some not worth reading. Being free doesn't mean being bad, it's just modern marketing.


There are more than I've pictured here. I figure if one in ten turn out to be worth the time spent reading, I'll be doing well. Reports will follow as I absorb each one.

October, time for IT

It - Stephen King

Okay, I'm starting. I'm still more terrified of the 1104 pages than the scary clown, but tis the season. I'm going in.


I'm going to attempt to alternate this with some shorter ghost stories I've acquired so that I can have the satisfaction of finishing something. We'll see what happens.

Another one who doesn't know the difference between a circus and a carnival

Dark Perceptions (Mystic's Carnival Collective) - Debra Kristi, Tiffany Johnson

DNF at 17%


This might actually appeal to someone young and female who enjoys Romance. However, although the writing itself is good, the research is non-existent. Carnival acts? Really?


I wonder if these books are written by people who didn't get taken to carnivals or circuses as children. The difference is plain to see the minute you step on the fairgrounds or into the circus tent. Yes, they are both amusement business, but they are not the same!


I might even concede that it's not unknown for a special occasion that a circus *and* a few carnival rides might get organized on the same site. It's not usual though, and the author lost me at "carnival acts" when she was talking about clowns and Big Top acts. That's the circus dear, the carnival has rides and games. The closest thing to a carnival act would be a freak show, and those are only photographs on a wall these days.


Why don't writers do their research?


The protagonist was young enough to worry about whether she had permission from her mother to wear a particular dress, but old enough to have a crush on some guy. This could be for the YA readers, if the author wasn't completely ignorant of her chosen setting.

Journey into another world

Joyland - Stephen King

This book should come with a warning. Once you get past halfway, it gets increasingly difficult to stop reading. Other things get pushed back, like eating, sleeping, paying attention to the kids and getting anything done. Do not try to read just a little more before going to work!


One thing you can say for Stephen King, he does description well. Whether it's the setting or a character, he gets those mental images in place early in a story. I loved that skill in this story because an old fashioned amusement park has natural creepy overtones, even before you throw in a murder or a possible haunting.


The owner of the park and some of the key managers have a variety of experience in the amusement business. Some of them are what's called "carny from carny", second generation carnies that settled down to this stationary park for a few years, or in the case of the owner, for good.


King seems to have two different ways of telling a story. His Horror stories are usually written in third person, but this one fits in with his first person narratives that give the reader a feeling that they are being told a story in person by someone who might have been an ordinary person, but who has had some extraordinary experiences.


Would this story be classified as Horror? Maybe, because of the ghost. But that's not the main focus of the story. It's more a relation of the main character coming of age, surviving his first love, making choices for his life, having a few first experiences and finding his place in the world. A summer job in the amusement business has a significant effect on his journey of self discovery.


A little ghost hunting also plays a significant part, and I'm glad King didn't fall back on cliché and what you would expect to happen. As a matter of fact, he managed to surprise me pretty good in the end. There were some exciting moments towards the climax of the story, but a lot of interesting twists and turns along the way. I would highly recommend this as one of King's best works, but don't look for a lot of gore or a really scary ghost story.

Free demons

Fiends: Ten Tales of Demons: Dark Fantasy Stories (Ten Tales Fantasy Stories Book 11) - Rayne Hall, Mitch Sebourn, Douglas Kolacki, Mark Cassell, Heide Goody, Pamela Turner, Jake Elwood, Tracie McBride, Kelda Critch, Debbie Christiana

Picked this up on an Amazon freebie yesterday. Don't know if it will be any good, but you can't argue the price. Worst that could happen is the stories are as underwhelming as the cover art but that's what God made the delete button for.


Still free at this moment so probably good for the weekend. They usually are.


Thought I would point it out for any Horror lovers who like demon stories.



Don't you just hate it when...

A Spark of Justice - J.D. Hawkins

Don't you hate it when Amazon sends you an email with a good sale price on a book you already own?


This was a very enjoyable read, so I thought I would share the price drop info for anyone who might have read my recent review and have this one in mind. It's down to 99 cents on Kindle. I presume it's temporary.


Please feel free to reblog this to anyone who likes circus stories or big cats. It left a last impression on me that makes me still want a panther for an exotic pet. I would never really do it, but imagining 'what if' is what reading is all about, isn't it?