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6/10
Review: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Reviews / December 4, 2017

Here’s the thing: I like Seanan McGuire, but for some strange reason or another her books always seem to rub me the wrong way when she writes as Mira Grant. Because of this, I almost didn’t pick up Into the Drowning Deep, but in the end, I’m glad I did—the premise of a horror novel about mermaids was just too amazing for me to pass up, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have at least bit of fun with it. Still, I wish I’d enjoyed the book more, though like I said, there’s probably a precedent for some of my more conflicted sentiments, namely that some of the same issues I’ve had in the past with her characters and world-building just kept cropping up. While Into the Drowning Deep is the start of a new story, it is also technically the follow-up to Rolling in the Deep, a novella chronicling the tragic fate of the cruise liner Atargatis which set sail for the Mariana Trench seven years ago on a mission to film a mockumentary about the existence of mermaids. Only, no one made it back alive. Every member of the Imagine Entertainment studio film crew was…

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8/10
Review: Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
Reviews / November 6, 2017

Some of my favorite horror stories involve haunted houses, because after all, a home is supposed to be a place of warmth and shelter. The idea of what was once a safe haven being invaded by malevolent spirits creates such a sense of wrongness that the terror is elevated to a whole other level. In Kill Creek, a character even ventures to explain why such stories fill us with dread, positing it’s because we never expect such awfulness to lurk so close beneath the surface of what is considered normal. This novel is a good example of such horror, the kind that sends chills down your spine, making you wonder if anything is even safe anymore as you steal nervous glances over your shoulder to make sure you really are alone. At the center of this story is the house at Kill Creek, an old abandoned three-story that was built in the mid-1800s on a lonely road in the middle of the Kansas prairie. Lovingly constructed by its first owner, the house saw a few good years before tragedy struck, and people say it has been haunted ever since. Nobody could stand to live in it for more than a…

1
8/10
Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Reviews / October 23, 2017

Strange Weather is a collection of 4 short novels, each telling a unique story. They are all independent of one another, and could be read in any order. I may not rate this one quite as high as most of the works I’ve read by Hill, but I suspect most of that comes from my preference for longer works. The stories are quick and varied covering funny to horrifying to creepy and the main character in each are varied. One aspect of these that some readers will love, but some may not is the endings can ;eave the reader just on the edge of “what happens next”. You can probably guess, for good or for bad, how the cards will fall, but Hill will leave you right on the precipice, giving the reader something to think about and let their own imagination fill in the details. This is something I have always enjoyed, I feel like endings like this make a book last a bit longer for me because I find myself thinking about the ending more than if every last detail had been provided. That said, I know not all readers love this type of ending as much as…

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9/10
Review: The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Reviews / May 29, 2017

Well, the question of whether M.R. Carey could catch lightning in a bottle twice has been answered. Not that I had doubted it much, but while The Girl with All the Gifts was met with much acclaim, I’d made sure to temper my expectations for its follow-up companion novel in the months up to its release. Given the infuriatingly vague publisher description, and with the newness of the whole idea, there were just way too many unknowns. Thankfully, The Boy on the Bridge came through with flying colors. It might not have been quite as fresh as the original, simply because we know so much more about the world now, but the book still had plenty of surprises in store. Here’s what I can tell you: The Boy on the Bridge is something of a prequel to The Girl with All the Gifts but it can be read as a standalone (though I still highly recommend reading the books in their publication order). The world has been ravaged by the Cordyceps plague, turning much of its population into “Hungries” — effectively just another term for the walking dead. And yet, humanity still has hope that it will find a cure,…

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10/10
Review: The White Road by Sarah Lotz
Reviews / May 17, 2017

The White Road will creep under your skin, fill your mind with all the ghastly things and make you leery of participating in activities like, oh, let’s say caving or mountain climbing. I was totally going to go climb Everest next year, really!  Never mind that I have a bum knee, a bum ankle, and maybe I’m scared of heights and also am a wimp, maybe I could have considered it anyway. But nope. Not now. None of my more rational reasons for never climbing Everest are nearly as convincing as reading this book. My knee may hurt, but it doesn’t haunt me night and day and give me the creeps. Maybe this is fiction, maybe there really aren’t haunted caves or mountains, either way, I am very content staying planted on the ground (not beneath or above) letting other people figure that out. I will bask in the experience vividly given to me via Lotz’s book. Kind of like how I felt about cruises after reading Day Four. Lotz has cemented herself as one of my favorite horror authors with this book. The characters are real and fascinating. The book is just downright creepy! I love it! The dark sense…

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7/10
Review: Ararat by Christopher Golden
Reviews / May 15, 2017

Adam and Meryam are a newly engaged couple from very different backgrounds, but they have always bonded over their love of adventure. In recent years, they have even achieved moderate fame for their series of videos taken from their travels around the world. Now they are eyeing their next great challenge, an expedition to climb Turkey’s Mount Ararat after an avalanche has reportedly revealed a massive cave up high in the side of the mountain. Wasting no time, Adam and Meryam call upon an old friend to be their mountaineering guide, and together they begin a harrowing race up Ararat in order to be the first ones to discover its secrets. However, what they end up finding in the cavern goes even beyond their wildest dreams. Within its depths, the couple discover the remains of a large ancient ship, which immediately raises the question: could this be Noah’s Ark, the great vessel that weathered the Biblical flood in the Book of Genesis? To answer this question, a full team is quickly assembled to excavate and study the find, with Meryam at its head as project manager. Included among the scientists and other experts is also a documentary crew, which is…

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9/10
Review: A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman
Reviews / December 8, 2016

This novella has a simple boy-meets-girl plot, but the love story is wrapped in some sinister forces befitting a horror story. It’s a testament to the skills of author Josh Malerman that this tale somehow successfully navigates between a quaint story of mild-mannered ghosts and the gruesome gore that seems to always find young lovers near lakes. We first meet James, a teenager who works in his father’s hardware store, just before he meets Amelia, who comes to buy a hose but forgets that when James asks her on a date. Through short, fast chapters written from each teenager’s point of view, we see how nervous and awkward the two feel about themselves and their date as they head out on a canoe to explore a lake. The first lake is connected to a second, and the second is connected by some kind of drainage tunnel to a third. This hidden lake is not as attractive as the first two except for the fact that is deserted, and James and Amelia discover their common ground–a shared interest in exploration. While paddling about they discover the house at the bottom of the lake. It is fully intact, furnished and ready for…

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8/10
Review: The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue
Reviews / October 28, 2016

The Motion of Puppets is a darkly enchanting tale based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.  I really enjoyed this.  To be frank, I was completely intrigued.  The author spins a tale that is compellingly horrifying and, well, I just couldn’t put it down. The story starts off with a newlywed couple.  To an extent they come across as an unlikely couple, Kay is a performer, currently holding a position in the Cirque as an acrobat and her husband Theo is an academic, a little older than Kay and usually with his head in a book.  And yet, the two of them are in love.  They’ve found that special something that just works for them and they’re happy.  Until one evening, when Kay, after having finished the evening’s performance, accepts an invitation to go for a small soiree with some of the other artistes.  Of course one drink leads to three and soon enough Kay is walking home alone, wary of footsteps that seem to be echoing in her wake.  She spots a light on in a window.  It’s the toy shop that she’s been strangely fascinated with, especially the old puppet in the front window.  The shop has never…

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6/10
Review: Reanimatrix by Pete Rawlik
Reviews / October 13, 2016

Make no mistake, Lovecraft-inspired stories are a real hot thing right now and I am gobbling it all up. This year the types of Lovecraftian fiction I’ve already read have ranged from bloody gorefests to dark comedies, and there just seems to be a style for every persuasion. And if your tastes happen to run in the direction of weird fiction and pulp noir, then Reanimatrix is sure to make you very, very happy. Unfolding through a series of diary entries and letters, this story follows the strange lives of two main characters, Robert Peaslee and Megan Halsey. It is the 1920s, and Robert was an officer in the Great War returning to his home town of Arkham to work on the police force, handling the sensitive cases that the other cops don’t want to touch. One fateful day he meets Megan, a young heiress with a troubled past, and immediately feels drawn to her. Years later, however, Robert is called to work a crime scene by the docks where a body of a woman has been discovered, and he is shocked and heartbroken to later learn that it is none other than Megan Halsey. Before the investigation can move…

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9/10
Review: The Family Plot by Cherie Priest
Reviews / September 28, 2016

The Family Plot by Cherie Priest is a wonderfully atmospheric and chillingly gothic ghost story populated with well rounded characters, a particularly malevolent ghost and a house with a character all of its own. I loved this. It seriously gave me the goosebumps and, frankly (although I could be something of a wuss) scared me into not reading alone late at night, I admit that this book just really worked for me. I probably can’t put my finger on exactly why but I just liked it as soon as I started to read. We start the story with a deal being struck between a salvage operator and a property owner in the process of having her mansion demolished. Augusta Withrow inherited the family mansion. Not wishing to live there she is selling anything and everything that can be removed in order to benefit from the process. Chuck Dutton is the owner of a salvage company that has hit a crisis. The books are in the red and the promise of all the bounty sitting in the Withrow home is too good an offer to miss, even if it means going further into debt, this could be the golden egg that…