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September 2020 - How many??

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    September 2020 - How many??

    I finished 5 books in September.

    Fearful Symmetries ed. by Ellen Datlow was a pretty solid anthology of un-themed horror stories. Favorites were 'The Atlas of Hell' by Nathan Ballingrud, 'Suffer Little Children' by Robert Shearman & "Shay Corsham Worsted' by Garth Nix. 4 / 5

    Scavenger Summer by Steve Savile starts off with a teenage boy finding the corpse of his mother washed up on the beach. Soon after the story takes a decidedly left turn from where I was expecting it go, and heads into Invasion of the Body Snatchers territory. At novella length (100 pages), Scavenger Summer was a quick read that I enjoyed overall. 3.5 / 5

    A Little Magenta Book of Malevolence by Sarah Pinborough was a short collection that was a combination of fiction & non-fiction pieces. I thought the fiction pieces were all vey good, and for the most part, found the non-fiction pieces to be interesting. 4 / 5

    Devil's Creek by Tod Keisling starts off in 1983 with an uprising in a small religious cult that leaves the cult leader & the other cult members dead (except for the 6 children of the cult leader who were rescued before they could be sacrificed) and the church burned to the ground. The story jumps ahead 30 years. The cult is basically a local boogeyman story and the location of the burned church an area used by partying teenagers. Upon the death of his grandmother, one of the six survivors returns, and finds strange occurrences in town that indicate a possible return of the thought dead cult leader. In story structure, Devil's Creek kind of reminded me of It, though not nearly has intricately plotted. Story-wise, it most reminded me of Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry; a long, multi-character story about undead horrors returning to a small town for vengeance. Devi's Creek has a lot to offer; there are horrors galore from the start to the finish & for the most part, the main characters are well fleshed out. I guess my biggest issue was with the pacing. This a long story, and when I finished I couldn't shake the feeling that the same story could have told in 100 fewer pages. Also, a cookie cutter / by the numbers ending didn't help. Overall I enjoyed Devil's Creek and would give Keisling's next book a shot. Good, but not great. 3.5 / 5

    Clickers Forever ed. by Brian Keene was a tribute anthology to the late J. F. Gonzalez. The content was a mixture of original fiction and non-fiction / personal remembrances. Most of the stories took place in the Clickers mythos, though several were set in other stories by Gonzalez. For the most part the fiction was enjoyable but not memorable, with more than a few clunkers. Standouts were 'Vanilla Sunshine' by Jonathan Janz & 'Deep into that Dark One Peering' by Stephen Kozeniewski. Similarly, the non-fiction varied from very interesting (Jonathan Maberry's historical overview of horror fiction) to unreadable (the personal ramblings of Wayne Allen Sallee). Fans of Gonzalez should enjoy this anthology; horror fans in-general, probably not as much. 3 / 5


    I hit a wall in September and my reading took a real hit. This is probably the fewest books I have read in a month in years.

    Finished two books in September:
    Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks:
    The story of a community living on the base of Mt Rainier when an eruption occurs. The book is gleaned from the journals of someone who was there at the time and researchers from the outside. This story is really about how people manage within a disintegrating society. A fantastic read!
    5 Stars

    Devil Red (Hap and Leonard #8) by Joe R. Lansdale:
    Another Hap and Leonard tale and I am still not tired of them!
    4 Stars


      I only read 2. But I have so little time, and I'm a low reader. 2 is normal.

      Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. Loved it. I saw the movie Angel Heart decades ago and I didn't remember much about it (other than an overall impression of really liking it) but the one thing I did recall about a quarter way through the book was the huge plot twist. I still really enjoyed the book. Dark detective thriller with perfect pacing and lots of thrills. Great read. I will say, there are certain thinly covered plot holes that don't hold up under too much scrutiny. But I enjoyed the book so much, I didn't scrutinize. 5/5 stars

      Angel's Inferno by William Hjortsberg. I read this one immediately after Falling Angel and I loved spending more time with this story. It picks up right where the first one left off. But it is much slower, longer, and less disciplined. And at that leisurely pace it makes it harder to ignore the thinly covered plot holes from the first book. At one point, it actually rubs your nose in it and forces the examination. It could be reader error, but upon one read of both books, some things just don't add up. I recommend Angel's Inferno who were big fans of Falling Angel and who will just enjoy the extended time with William Hjortsberg's characters. I loved the ending, but not the closing events that lead to it. If this was a standalone book I'd have enjoyed it far less. 3/5 stars.


        It was a good month.

        Books read and recommended for September, 2020.

        Hard cover -

        1. The Annihilation Protocol by Michael Laurence (Michael McBride) from St. Martin’s Press. Excellent 2nd novel in The 13 series. Well written and researched political, crime, thriller with horror in heaps. Love it.

        2. Midnight Under the Big Top: Tales of Murder, Madness and Magic edited by Brian James Freeman from Cemetery Dance. Excellent anthology.

        3. A Stick of Doublemint by Gene O’Neill from Dark Moon Books. Katy Green & Johnny Cato kick ass in another good crime/mystery set in the Tenderloin.

        Paperback -

        4. Fubar: A Collection of War Stories by Weston Ochse from Cohesion. WOW! Fantastic collection and story notes. You can almost smell the war and emotion here. Great stuff.

        5. The Halloween Store by Ronald Kelly from Macabre Ink. Some real gems here. Fun.

        Favorites = #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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