Tag Archives: Horror

Eerie by Jordan Crouch and Blake Crouch

Synopsis: A cop and his prostitute sister find themselves trapped a a malevolent force that won’t let them leave her brownstone. Review: Eerie scared the absolute crap out of me! At one point I was too scared to even get out of bed to use the bathroom. The claustrophobic atmosphere was a big part of the power of this story–I really felt trapped in that house right along with Paige and Grant. I can’t say I was fully satisfied by the outcome of the story,…

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The Dark Half by Stephen King

Synopsis: A literary author kills his crime fiction scribe alter ego, only to have him come to life and menace his family. Review: The Dark Half is classic King and a book I’ve ready maybe 4 times now. It felt thin to me this time, probably because I am so familiar with the plot. I still love the way it talks about the process of writing–I don’t think anybody really does that better than King. Share on Facebook

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Big Machine by Victor LaValle

Synopsis: A brokedown junkie, ex-cultist and mass murder survivor gets a mysterious invitation to become an Unlikely Scholar investigating odd phenomena across America. Review: Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Big Machine rocked my world. Stylistically, it’s a mash-up of Haruki Murakami and Stephen King, with a bit of Ralph Ellison for good measure. When junkie Ricky Rice becomes an Unlikely Scholar under way mysterious circumstances, he finds himself scouring newspapers for stories that give evidence to The Voice. His journey grows ever more wild, and…

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Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Synopsis: 4 new stories that probe what ordinary people might do when faced with evil. Review: There were times when I considered putting down Full Dark, No Stars because it went so deep into the blackness. I know that sounds odd, because of who the author is, but for some reason these stories felt compressed in an unpleasant way. When King takes more time to develop his stories and let them breathe, you get some relief from the evil. That’s not the case with these…

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The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman

Synopsis: There’s something in the basement… and Henry is home alone. Review: The Painted Darkness is a slim book with a big debt to Stephen King, plumbing the same sorts of externalized inner horror that he specializes in. That’s not to say that the book is derivative, merely that it wears its influences proudly. Henry is home alone in the middle of a snowstorm, and has to go check the boiler. While down there, he discovers that he is not exactly alone. He then remembers…

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The Killing Doll by Ruth Rendell

Synopsis: A lonely young man sells his soul to the devil so that he will grow tall, but it’s his troubled sister who falls under the sway of the occult. Review: The Killing Doll is an odd little book, with more horror elements than can usually be found in a Ruth Rendell crime novel. I’m used to the pettiness of her characters, but usually there are one or two who engage me. I really didn’t connect to any of these people, and was glad when…

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Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Synopsis: Two years after the death of her famous writer husband, Lisey Landon must return to the other world where he both drew his inspiration and unearthed his demons in order to defeat a madman and put her husband’s legacy to rest for good. Review: I listened to the audiobook of Lisey’s Story, narrated by the incomparable Mare Winningham, and this was actually my second encounter with the book, which I have read once before. It’s one of King’s most ambitiously intimate stories, delving deep…

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Just After Sunset by Stephen King

Synopsis: A collection of short stories. Review: Just After Sunset offers a lackluster selection of short stories, hardly any of which really grabbed me by the collar. Many of them had a fancy twist ending that could be spotted a mile away (“The Mute”), while others were just deadly dull (“The Things They Left Behind”). I did enjoy “N,” which evoked the same creepy unease that I so loved in Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. However, once it reached the final section it had…

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Under the Dome by Stephen King

Synopsis: An impenetrable dome smashes down over a small Maine town, completely isolating them from the world. Review: I devoured Under the Dome, thoroughly enjoying King’s blend of deft characterizations, manic plotting, and outrageously broad social satire. Imagine the world coming to an end–but only over a few square miles, while the rest of America watches helpless to intervene. In true King fashion, he takes an external horror device and uses it to expose the evil within. I’d call him a Calvinist, except it seems…

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Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

Synopsis: The arrival of a freak show to town turns young Darren’s life upside down as learns that vampires are real–and not necessarily evil. Review: I had to stop reading A Living Nightmare after a vampire called one of Darren’s young friends “evil.” (I’m a mom, I can’t help but be tender-hearted.) Middle grade and YA horror have never been genres I enjoy, because I’m always uncomfortable with darkness being peddled to children. Additionally, I try to avoid books that call evil good and vice…

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