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January 2021 - How Many??

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    January 2021 - How Many??

    Finished 6 in January. All were pretty good reads, other than one novel I couldn't finish.

    Widow's Point by Richard & Billy Chizmar was a novella length story about a haunted lighthouse. The story was fast paced and truly chilling at times. Sort of love child between King's '1408' & "The Two Nephews' by Rick Hautala. 5 / 5

    Touch the Night by Max Booth was a disappointment. Gave up about half way through. There seemed to be a decent enough story at the heart of the book, but the constant references to a certain social / political theme grew tiresome (I have no problems with authors bringing up social / political concerns in their fiction, but in the case of TtN, I don't need it brought up every 4 or 5 pages for 220 pages). That, coupled with two ridiculous back to back eye-rolling scenes made me tap out on Touch the Night. DNF

    Classic Horror Collection - With stories spanning from the 1820's to the 1930's, this collection of 52 classic horror tales clocked in at over 900 pages. As with most of these large anthologies there was some very good stories & some that make you question how they could ever be considered for a classic horror anthology. Aimed at fans of traditional horror & weird stories; not for readers that prefer more modern fiction. 3.5 / 5

    The Raven was Jonathan Janz's take on the post apocalyptical novel. The apocalypse in The Raven was brought about by genetic manipulation which activated stagnant (junk) DNA in the human genome, which in turn caused some individuals (but not everyone was affected) to turn into mythical creatures. The science is psuedo and not dwelled upon. It was merely a way for Janz to have his protagonist running around in a post apocalyptical landscape filled with cannibals, werewolves, vampires, satyrs, ect. The action is nearly non-stop from the beginning, except for the last 20 pages, which acted as a set up for the next book (I am making an assumption on this point). Fans of Janz's fiction won't be disappointed. 4 / 5

    And Cannot Come Again was a very good collection of ghost / weird stories by Simon Bestwick. Most of the stories in And Cannot Come Again would fall under the category of some type of ghost story, though there were a couple of creature features, and several that were just plain weird. My favorites include 'Dermot' (probably the weirdest & most disturbing story in the collection), ' The Moraine' (a creature feature reminiscent of Kealan Patrick Burke's "The Tent'), 'Comfort Your Dead' (quiet ghost story), 'A Small Cold Hand' (vengeful ghost story), Angels of Silences' (teen age goth girls return as avenging ghosts), and the title story, about four men haunted by the horrible act they committed as teenagers. Highly recommended. 4 / 5

    Ravenous by Ray Garton provides a unique take on the werewolf story, mainly transmission through sex with a werewolf, rather than through it's bite. The story is fast paced & action packed (both violence & sex), with just enough character development to keep the reader invested in the storyline. I will definitely be picking up the sequel in the near future. 4 / 5

    Monsters & Other Stories was a short chapbook collection of six stories by Richard Chizmar. The father-son relationship was a recurring theme throughout most of the stories. I enjoyed them all, but my favorite was 'The Silence of Sorrow', about a father who discovers his recently deceased beloved son had a sexual proclivity for children. Heavy stuff, reminiscent of King's novella 'The Good Marriage;' . Overall, Monsters provides an interesting insight into the early development of a writer who is currently putting out some of the best work in the genre. 4 / 5


    Books read and recommended for January, 2021.

    Hard cover -

    1. The Black Gondolier and Other Stories by Fritz Leiber from Midnight House. Superb writer across genres. Amazing work.

    2. Toxic Love by Kristopher Triana from Thunderstorm. Triana doesn’t hold back. This one was almost too much.

    3. Suburban Gothic by Brian Keene & Bryan Smith from Thunderstorm. For fans of URBAN GOTHIC and FREAKSHOW this did not disappoint.

    4. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones from Saga Press. Great prose. With feeling.

    5. A Little Bronze Book of Greebles by Owen King from Borderlands. Meh! Boring.

    Paperback -

    6. Richard Punch by Edward Lorn from Lornographic. Crazy and fun.

    7. Invitation to Death by Bryan Smith from Grindhouse. Smith continues to write page turners and doesn’t hold back.

    8. Cemetery Closing (Everything Must Go) by Jeff Strand. What a blast. Andrew Mayhem thrillers are a treat.

    9. Christmas Horror Vol. 3 from Dark Regions. Nifty anthology.

    Digital -

    10. Bludgeon Tools: Splatterpunk Anthology edited by K. Trap Jones from Evil Cookie. Consistently good stories but not for the squeamish. However, the copy-editing was bad. One story in particular was almost ruined by it.

    Favorites = #1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

    Support Indie Publishers and Enjoy


      Originally posted by brlesh View Post
      , ' The Moraine' (a creature feature reminiscent of Kealan Patrick Burke's "The Tent'),

      Bestwick’s “The Moraine” is an older one and my favorite by him — one of my favorite modern horror short stories, in fact.


        Completed two reads in January but they were good ones.

        A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson: This a re-read from may years ago. The story stuck with me then and I am glad to say it is just as great with the passing of time. The building intensity and gradual unveiling of the events couple well with the satisfying end.
        5 Stars

        Saving Justice by James Comey: An honest look at Mr. Comey's time in the FBI mistakes and all with analysis on the importance on a fair and independent judicial system. I enjoyed Mr. Comey's first book. I loved this one.
        5 Stars