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    Love Delano's Hellblazer. Some of my favourite work in comics.


      The Adversary Cycle volumes 1-3 - F. Paul Wilson

      The Keep

      “He flashed his beam at the figure blacking his path. He saw the waxy face, the cape, the clothes, the lank hair, the twin pools of madness where the eyes should be. And he knew. Here was the master of the house.”

      Set in Romania around World War II, this story takes place in a stone keep, traditionally the final stronghold within a castle but in this case its own building. The keep is located in out-of-the-way rural countryside but is considered of strategic importance to the German blitz. An interesting dynamic is provided by way of contrast between the German army and SS soldiers of the Nazi party on its meteoric rise to power, as armies of men from both categories are stationed at the keep but with no love lost between the two.

      In exploring the keep one of the soldiers in the German army breaks into a walled-off, hidden cell, and a vampiric entity is released from his prison and goes about dispatching the occupiers at a rate of one corpse per day. The leader of the army, Woermann, and that of the SS, Kaempffer, are enemies of old but must work with each other to try and stop the killings. They conscript an elderly and crippled Jewish scholar along with his daughter to help them survive. The dark spirit gains power and lines are blurred between good and evil as the killings are (mostly) limited to the fighters helping to bring the world under Hitler’s heel while the characters race to uncover the truth.

      This was my first F. Paul Wilson work outside of short stories, and he does a mysteriously effective job of inducing fear while keeping his monster hidden in the first sections of the book. Natural conflict abounds between the leader of the ruthless Nazis, the more sympathetic leader of the German army, and the Jewish scholars held against their wills.

      Fast, interesting, and mixing in a bit of history with horror this first book in the Adversary Cycle comes highly recommended.

      “How can you judge him, Magda? One should be judged by one’s peers. Who is Molasar’s peer?”

      4 stars

      The Keep.jpg

      The Tomb (Rakoshi)

      “No rules in this alley, friend. Just you and me. And I’m here to get you.”

      The first Repairman Jack novel, The Tomb (as it was originally published in 1984) or Rakoshi (as Dr. Wilson wanted it to be titled before being overruled by the publisher) introduces us to the hard-boiled fixer.

      Jack lives under the radar with no social security number, no permanent job or address, and uses his anonymity and skillset to fix issues for others, ever since his first ‘fix,’ avenging the murder of his mother by becoming a killer himself. His vengeance both told him who he was, and more importantly who he wasn’t, as this act served to permanently separate him from normal society.

      In this novel Jack runs afoul of an Indian diplomat who is out to fulfill a 125 year old curse by severing the bloodline of a general who had wronged him in the past. The last of this bloodline happens to be the child of Gia, Jack’s former flame, who abandoned him when she learned of his brutal occupation. The diplomat brings demonic forces to bay to assist his revenge, and Jack is faced with his first supernatural challenge.

      The book has great pacing, plenty of raw energy, and introduces a strong character who obviously resonates with everyone because there are a ton of Repairman Jack novels. It’s a large part detective story, but has some great action-hero moments as well. Jack employs some of the skills you might expect, but the author leaves most of his secrets intact, as by the end I had the feeling I’d only scratched the surface of what this guy’s about. I literally read right through a California earthquake, with one eye on my desk in case I had to hurl myself underneath it.

      “Can a man who lies, cheats, steals, and sometimes does violence to other people be a man of honor?”

      Kolabati looked into his eyes. “He can if he lies to liars, cheats cheaters, steals from thieves, and limits his violence to those who are violent.”

      4- stars


      The Touch

      "I forgot to say my prayers."
      "That's okay, Love,"
      he said soothingly and she went back to sleep immediately.
      There's nobody listening anyway.

      The third book in the Adversary cycle, and the last of the standalones before the trilogy, this is best so far.

      Dr. Alan Bulmer, a general practitioner M.D., comes into physical contact with a certain transient man, and at his touch a jolt of strange electricity is released. The homeless man does not last much longer, but Alan soon learns he’s able to heal patients with just a touch. Soon the circus begins to gather around him, starting with the media, and he’s also becoming aware that the power is affecting him, changing him in some way. At the very least his short-term memory is taking a hit. Ba, the oversized Vietnamese houseman of an acquaintance claims to recognize the power from the Vietnam War.

      Dr. Bulmer represents some of the best in humanity and the struggles of this man carry an additional weight because he’s trying so hard to do the right thing, agonizing over his decisions. Dr. Bulmer’s relationship with his wife Ginny suffers a great deal, and opens up the possibility of a relationship with Sylvia, whom Ba serves. In a bit of a surprise, Ba is an extremely compelling character, and though his role is important the character is so strong I wanted to see much more. Mr. Wilson can create supporting characters so full and real no matter how he uses them it’s not enough – there is far more depth to plumb and I love that. I’d read a spin-off about Ba in a heartbeat.

      The book’s use of medical terminology is heavy but doesn’t present a barrier to get at the narrative. The opposite, really, as it helps tie the reader to the idea of learned, highly-educated healing.

      A ridiculously entertaining and compelling medical thriller with living, breathing characters, some mystical horror elements, great pacing, and a subtext exploration on the nature of helping people... and the costs of doing so.

      “How could he tell her or anyone else how he felt? It was as if he were the first astronaut in space, and he had looked down from orbit and seen that the earth was flat.”

      5- stars

      The Touch.jpg
      Last edited by bugen; 05-12-2016, 07:37 AM.
      “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
      -John Barth


        The Adversary Cycle volumes 4-6 - F. Paul Wilson


        “He had wanted to know, he had hungered for answers. The hunger had driven him to the farthest, darkest corners of the world, where he had learned too much.”

        The fourth book in the Adversary Cycle, Reborn functions as the first book in its own trilogy within the six book cycle. It’s the tale of the manly-man Jim, a struggling writer and a legend on the high school football field, Carol, his loving wife and a nurse-practitioner, and Bill, Jim’s high school friend whom a decade ago made his vows and became a priest.

        Jim, adopted as an infant, finds out he has an extremely large inheritance from the real father he never knew. He and Carol move into their new mansion where Jim doggedly begins digging into the life of his deceased father, and eventually uncovers the truth about his controversial adoption. As Jim tears further into the past, he becomes more and more frightened. Carol, despite Jim’s efforts to hide the truth, also learns what really happened as the story darkens.

        Father Bill, a morally supportive friend busy with his own issues at a boy’s home where he helps children find permanent homes, is a grounded, positive force and helps Carol through an unexpected tragedy.

        Dark forces gather against our heroes as a religious cult becomes convinced the Antichrist is about to be born into our world.
        The story is well laid out and glides along quickly, and displays a frightening pace near its end. The last few pages serve to rope together the first four books in the cycle, and while the first three books are standalone you’ll get an extra kick having read and understood them before this trilogy. We have this sort of stigma today with stories surrounding an Antichrist-like entity as over-worn, but when I started thinking of examples the list was pitifully small. To me this reads quite fresh, though there is at least one similarity to another book the author himself mentions during the telling.

        “The Antichrist? If only it were! When it gets here, you’ll long for your Antichrist. Because prayers won’t help you. Neither will guns or bombs.”

        The utter conviction of Mr. Veilleur’s voice drove a shaft of terror through Grace’s soul.
        “How… how do you know so much about him?”
        Mr. Veilleur gazed out the window as a stray cloud passed across the sun.
        “We’ve met before.”

        4+ stars



        “No, Carol. He needs to learn all he can about the world. After all, it’s going to be his someday.”

        Reprisal continues the story of Father William Ryan, beginning about 20 years after the end of the previous book, Reborn. He has shed his identity, his priesthood, his friends and family, and much of his humanity due to a tragedy that happened many years ago, but after the events of the first book in the trilogy. A groundskeeper at a North Carolina university, he keeps the lowest profile possible, not even owning a telephone for reasons which will be made clear. As he is haunted by this mysterious event we’re led back into his life and those whom he’s eventually come to care about, but won’t let himself get close to. Other central characters, including two professors, one male and one female, and an attractive, brilliant male student join a kind of hard-boiled New York detective in rounding out the main cast. One of the professors engages in a perilous relationship with the dangerously powerful student while the other keeps to himself, and the detective relentlessly pursues the vanished Father at the cost of his job. And then there’s the boy…

        Reprisal also begins more tangibly tying together the various standalone novels from early in the series. The Keep, The Tomb (or Rakoshi) and The Touch remain excellent standalone novels, but they now start fueling this final trilogy of the cycle.

        Mr. Wilson spends nearly the first half of this book in the now, endearing these characters to us, then takes us back to the events that caused all the turmoil affecting the present. This literary device isn’t new, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of it ever being used to better effect in horror. And horror you are in for. Hints are dropped as to what’s going on as the creep sets in but you'll only get the barest of ideas.

        The second half of the book is quite easily some of the most horrific material I’ve read, if not the most. It might have been comical to have seen me reading this with a slack jaw, but the humor ends there. I’m not even going to touch the events here besides the basic warning, as anything I write will be a disservice to how this unfolds. As a recent, popular comparison, there has been a lot of talk about King’s Revival, which was an excellent horror story with a hard-hitting gut-punch of an ending, but the terror so many have written about in that book is nothing compared to what happens here. It’s not even close, so be warned.

        There’s one final book in the cycle, and I can’t see how it could possibly match the dripping, acidic fear of this entry. My socks weren’t blown off; they were shredded to fragmented, bloody chunks while still on my feet then hurled into space. You couldn’t keep me away from the final entry with all the Hosts of Hell.

        “I can’t do this to him.”
        “Then do it for him.”

        5 stars



        “If he wants this world, he’s going to have to earn it!”

        fully unites the surviving main characters from all previous books in the cycle into one cataclysmic battle vs. the end of everything. Mr. Wilson has a talent for building characters we fall in love with, then dispatching them mercilessly in service of the story, so the final cast may be different than you’d think. Since there are 5 previous novels to draw from, the participants in this finale are fleshed out beyond what you’d normally find in a single book; some of those geared for this fight had the better parts of entire standalone novels dedicated to their development(s), so this was an interesting dynamic.

        As Rasalom, the devil incarnate, makes his final play to destroy humanity, a small group led by his counterpart, Glaeken, attempts to gather items and forces laid out in the previous novels in hopes to oppose the onslaught of night. For while the sun still shines, each day is progressively shorter than the last, and at night all manner of hell-creatures rip through anything human. Early in this final book, when the end has begun, humanity has less than one week before daylight hours have been reduced to nothing and the sun never rises again.

        The story is grand and the characters are compelling, and the fact that pretty much everyone here occupied a starring role in their own narratives from previous works makes for a crowded space as each of our leading actors is reduced to supporting roles by necessity. But it’s tough to fault a book for having too many strong, fully-realized characters.

        has plenty of horror and a giant-sized portion of empathy for the characters, which makes every torn-off chunk of flesh hurt that much more. These guys weren’t introduced to us 100 pages ago, they were given to us worlds ago and we need them to be ok. So if they’re not, the impact is all the greater.

        He picked up his duffel and started for the door, then stopped and turned. “I love you, Carol. I can’t think of a moment when I didn’t.”

        And then he was gone.

        4+ stars


        Final thoughts:

        “A long dark night of the soul for the survivors.”

        I had never read any F. Paul Wilson books before beginning this set. When first hearing about this a few weeks back (on this forum) I did some basic research and thought I might really enjoy the series, and I’d already known I needed to try out the author. I liked how I’d be able to test the waters with a standalone novel, as again the first 3 books in this series need no support from the others. This seemed like the perfect start.

        The Keep
        (4 stars) was flavor #1, and it tasted so good it took almost no time to move into The Tomb (Rakoshi – 4- stars). I’d heard of Repairman Jack and loved the idea I’d get introduced to an iconic character in the midst of a much larger arc that didn’t focus on him. The Touch (5- stars), as mentioned in its section was mind-bogglingly good.

        There seems to be a discrepancy between the order of the books depending on where you look. Every source I’ve seen lists them in the order they’ve been reviewed here, except the limited edition set I purchased, which has Rakoshi (no longer called The Tomb) as the third book in the series instead of the second, switching places with The Touch. Since these are all standalone anyway I’m not too sure it matters much, but if asked I’d still recommend reading in the order I did. The Touch is so highly charged with emotion I found it the perfect end to the standalone sections before entering into the end-of the-world trilogy. I’m sure Borderlands Press had their reasoning for the order here, I just don’t know what it is.

        The trilogy itself is a horrific nightmare that hits fever pitch in its second book, Reprisal. This book requires an outstanding introductory novel (Reborn – 4+ stars), and needs an earth-shattering finish (Nightworld – 4+ stars), but itself is the peak of horror as I’ve ever read it. To me, Reprisal (5 stars) represents the single most terrifying book I’m aware of. If anyone has read this and can beat it I’d love a PM showing me what I’ve missed - as of now this is my number one.

        We’re all heavy readers here, so we all know what it’s like to have an aching attachment to characters so that a void is left behind when they’re gone. One big difference between this series and other powerful ones is this loss is often realized within the story instead of after it’s over. Dr. Wilson is not cavalier with these guys, but he knows exactly when to sacrifice a rook and a bishop for maximum impact in order to keep the king alive for the win.

        “You’re not joking, are you?”

        “You think I could make up a story like that, even if I tried?”

        The Adversary Cycle – 5 stars

        The Adversary Cycle.jpg
        Last edited by bugen; 03-06-2015, 01:31 PM.
        “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
        -John Barth


          Thanks for this. I loved the Adversary Cycle!


            It really makes me want to check them out. Have yet to read any F. Paul Wilson.


              I hope you do, Theli, and I think pretty much anyone here would love these books.

              My aunt, a nurse practitioner, gave me The Dark Descent anthology when I was a kid because she hates horror and someone had given it to her. I bought her book three (The Touch) for a belated Christmas gift anyway, because it's a fantastic thriller with supernatural elements and I thought she would see past those to the powerful story of hurting, helping and healing. It was sent with a note that The Touch is standalone and she doesn't need to read the rest of the Cycle.

              After reading Reprisal, I put in a call to her making sure she doesn't read any of the other books even if she loves book 3. I'd never hear the end of it.
              “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
              -John Barth



                I finished off Stephen King's Rage earlier today. It's a quick and intense novel. The story is based around Charlie Decker, a young man in high school, whom one day loses it and brings a gun to school, killing two teachers and holding a classroom hostage.

                The subject matter itself is shocking, and is probably enough to turn people away from reading this novel. Not to mention the controversy surrounding this book; being found in the possession of two spree killers and eventually being removed from the print by King himself. The novel itself features none of King's trademark supernatural aspects, and thus feels more realistic than his other works, and perhaps more terrifying.

                Charlie is a sick individual with sick thoughts, and what can be disturbing is that you can also relate to him. Especially at that uncertain age of adolescence, we all feel a little repressed and disconnected. This is exemplified in the story as each of the students in Charlie's class get a chance to have their say about what's wrong in their own lives. These parts of the book can be very touching and introspective. King really explores what it can be like for teen growing up in an uncertain world, and how the sins of the father (or mother) will be visited upon their sons (or daughters).

                In a way this books has been highly overlooked at the place it could have in our society. It takes on issues and themes that are not discussed or written about easily. King tried his best to understand the teenage mind. A potentially very confusing age, and I think he succeeded. The human element in King's stories is often they're strength, and I think he succeeds here too, representing the duality and hypocritical nature of the human condition. At times Rage comes across like William Golding's Lord of the Flies, with students' twisted minds driven to pack mentality, while at others it seemed to be a celebration of individuality and freedom of thought.

                To be honest though, it wasn't the realism of the story that is the most terrifying or dangerous, but rather the unreal aspects. Charlie walks into the school with a gun, kills people, makes demands, and holds people captive. The captives themselves, with the exception of one, Ted Jones, all seem to like him and side with him. He is even shot, and through sheer luck survives relatively unscathed. The story is a power and control fantasy, and it plays out exactly how Charlie hopes it would, and probably how many actual potential spree killers hope it will, with their vindication, and it never does.

                I would like to see this novel back in print. As a peak into the mind of a confused adolescent male, it can be surprisingly and disturbingly accurate. However it would need to be preceded by a foreword warning of the contents of the story and the highly fantasized nature of the violence. Also I think a printing with Stephen King's essay Guns mighty be a marketable pairing.
                Last edited by Theli; 02-01-2015, 03:53 AM.


                  I love it, Theli, thank you. Coupled with the recent thoughts from SK Revisited I've got to get to this novel.
                  “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                  -John Barth



                    Originally posted by bugen View Post
                    I love it, Theli, thank you. Coupled with the recent thoughts from SK Revisited I've got to get to this novel.
                    Thanks! It is well worth it. You can normally get a copy pretty cheap in a used copy of The Bachman Books, that's what I read.

                    I just did a bit of editing on my review to clarify my thoughts a bit better.


                      The Resurrection MakerGlenn Cooper

                      A modern-day search for the Holy Grail, Mr. Cooper weaves a tale rich with science and history as the story moves back and forth through time.

                      Arthur, a chemist and descendant of Thomas Malory, the real-world scholar who wrote the definitive text on King Arthur himself (Le Morte d’Arthur), is a member of a group of Grail enthusiasts who spend their free time searching for the ancient relic. A member of the group makes an exciting discovery and before he can pass it on to Arthur he is murdered. Arthur picks up his trail and begins to unwind the mystery, gathering clues that further him on his quest for the relic.

                      Another dangerous group of Grail hunters, the Qem, will stop at nothing to obtain the cup for themselves and play a complicated game to get Arthur to find it for them.

                      The meat and bones of this story are in its history and its scientific backing. Exhaustive research would have been needed to write this book, and much of the presented material rings true.

                      Nevertheless, one of the strengths of the book is also its weakness as a lively tale bogs down while supportive details are presented. History buffs and Round Table experts will no doubt add at least an extra point of rating for its authenticity. And this detail isn’t a bad thing at all; it just keeps it out of the rip-roaring territory.

                      Toward the book’s end history gives way to science, and here the author is able to present facts that may sound dry in a classroom with an exciting front. Dark matter, multiple dimensions and quantum mechanics are all used to the effect of, ‘well, traditional science breaks down here and we don’t really know what will happen.’ It works well and has solid scientific backing, and these are interesting, modern lines of thought to contemplate. And not many today really want to know this stuff, partly because it’s complicated, and partly because it means when your kids ask you if there’s such things as monsters, you’d have to answer, “I don’t know.” The book both begins and ends with a good deal of scientific explanation, and this is a strong point.

                      It’s a good story, meticulously researched and asks the right questions of science. If it maintained the science and lightened up a tad on the history the pace could probably have been improved, but the overall story might have suffered without the background. It’s up to you.

                      “This Grail you’ve talked about,” Melton asked, “this would be the same as in Monty Python and the Holy Grail?”

                      3 stars

                      RESURRECTION COVER.jpg

                      Note: This is a NetGalley review, but posted here because of the Grail content. And I had to give it 4 stars on Amazon because it's better than ok. I don't particularly like their ratings system.
                      Last edited by bugen; 05-12-2016, 07:55 AM.
                      “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                      -John Barth



                        Blue World - Robert McCammon

                        “Something tore,” Spence said tonelessly. “Ripped open. Something won the fight, and I don’t think it was who the preachers said was gonna win.”

                        I do a bit of research into every book I read before picking it up, mostly because they all take hours and I’d rather not waste my time. This one had a few mixed results initially, but seemed promising enough for a go.

                        I finished it this morning, and returning to the site of one of the detractors had me more than a little miffed. I might’ve missed this book, and I spent about 10 minutes of the review just bashing someone who I’ve never met, without reading any of his other stuff, and that was my mistake. Everyone gets an opinion. After calming down and deleting everything I figured I’d sum up that little micro-experience, just to illustrate how strongly I feel about the book.

                        I’d like to talk about my favorite stories and mostly ignore the rest to keep the length down. It starts strong with “Yellowjacket Summer,” well followed by “Makeup” and “Doom City,” but starts to find its genius in “Nightcrawlers”.

                        “Nightcrawlers” has The X-Files written all over it. A man tears into the diner of a small town, stating he won’t sleep, and is quite obviously terrorized by something. The cop in the diner is hesitant to let anyone back out into the torrential downpour outside, and waking nightmares take the stage. Another excellent story, “Pin,” follows, but after there’s yet another showstopper, “Yellachile’s Cage”.

                        “Yellachile’s Cage” may not be the most PC story in today’s environment, and perhaps a little cliché, but it’s undeniably effective as it explores freedom from inside a prison compound. It also wears its heart on its sleeve as a ‘voodoo-man’ shows a younger inmate the ropes by way of his loyal and undying bird. “I Scream Man,” my least favorite of the collection but still a step above fair, is followed by “He'll Come Knocking at Your Door,” another excellent story concerning the Devil, Halloween, and what we do for success. Then comes “Chico,” a good story but outclassed by its peers, and is followed by, “Night Calls the Green Falcon.”

                        This story is reason enough to buy the book. “Night Calls the Green Falcon” concerns a washed-up 50’s serial comic-hero actor, who sees a tragedy and knows his chance to make a difference is to don the costume of his past, along with the hero persona, and get out there and help. Ridiculed mercilessly along the way, the Green Falcon battles his own lack of self-esteem along with the odds, and you ache for him to succeed.

                        Following up is the equally impressive, humane, force of nature that is “The Red House.” A stranger moves to a small, uniform town and has his house painted bright red in a sea of grey, standing out like sore thumb. The newcomer also takes a job at the town’s factory and quickly begins to outpace everyone. His house, his dress and his work ethic cause a special enmity to develop between him and his neighbor across the street, who’s been hoping for a promotion but seeing it all drift away in a sea of red. We’re examined, our pettiness is exposed, and hope is given in the form of a small boy, present in all of us, struggling to understand and exert his influence on his world. A kind of Atticus Finch is channeled. This one also contains possibly my favorite quote of the book:

                        “Damn it, Bobby, are you with me or against me?”
                        I didn’t answer because I didn’t know what to say. What’s wrong and what’s right when you love somebody?

                        Following up is “Something Passed By,” another excellent story detailing the end of the world, and then one final showstopper, a novella making up half of the collection and the title story, “Blue World”.

                        “Blue World” is the story of a straight-laced Catholic priest who becomes mixed up with an adult-film actress, questioning himself the whole time as his structured world deteriorates. There is a plot loosely built on an insane cowboy on a killing spree, but it’s really about the nature of helping people, the hypocrisy and pettiness built into us and some of our institutions, our vulnerability, and what can be done about it. And what should be done about it. This is yet another story where the author’s heart is on his sleeve, and it’s another that really shouldn’t be missed.

                        This collection is accessible, miles away from heavy-handed and a world away from pretentious. It’s also heartfelt. These stories are always subject to revision when read a second time, but for now Blue World as a whole achieves a rating I previously did not consider possible for a collection or anthology.

                        5 stars






                        Last edited by bugen; 05-12-2016, 08:55 AM.
                        “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                        -John Barth



                          Dark Screams Vol. 2 - Richard Chizmar, Brian James Freeman (Ed.)

                          Consisting of 5 short stories, Volume 2 contains works from Robert McCammon, Norman Prentiss, Shawntelle Madison, Graham Masterson and Richard Christian Matheson.

                          The collection starts strong with “The Deep End,” McCammon’s tale of a swimming pool that has a rising body count and a father’s determination to find out what’s happening and bring about justice.

                          Mr. Prentiss follows up with “Interval,” a tale of an airline disaster and an entity wrapped up in the deaths of numerous people, preying on the survivors.

                          I don’t believe I’ve read any of Shawntelle Madison’s work before, but she has a strong entry here in “If These Walls Could Talk,” involving the pre-production of a film shoot in a house with a dark history, where the mystery needs to be solved before the cast and crew show up in a few of days and photography begins.

                          Graham Masterson takes the prize here for the top story, as we not only get some history of the beloved C.S. Lewis, but we also get to know exactly how he received his inspiration as a haunted wardrobe terrorizes its new owner.

                          Finally we have Richard Christian Matheson’s, “Whatever,” which I feel is misfiring on all cylinders. I love this man’s short stories, and for full disclosure I did not read this story again when presented here, but carried over the tale’s rating from his superb collection Dystopia. The story is a series of notes, articles and lyrics following a band around, and perhaps aficionados can find more to like in this one than I did, but it scores one of the lowest ratings out of the 50ish stories I’ve finished so far in Dystopia.

                          After reading both Dark Screams Volume 1 and Volume 2, I’m beginning to see part of the challenge for the editors here. These are relatively short books with a handful of stories, so they’ve got to balance the bankability of larger author’s names with other stories which might be better, but would have more difficulty selling because the author is lesser known, a challenge that would be significantly easier to deal with in larger anthologies. I applaud the effort and hope this continues, as I suspect I’m not alone when saying the story is more important than the name of the writer. But it’s tough because we first have to be sold on the book before we can get to the story.

                          Dark Screams volume 2 is overall an enjoyable read, has an excellent Masterson story and the others hold their own while newcomer (to me) Mrs. Madison comes out swinging in a big way. My only real disappointment was R.C. Matheson’s tale, and that comes with the caveat that the rating was given when housed amongst the mostly fantastic tales is his own collection.

                          I’m very much looking forward to volume 3, and will probably drop everything to read it whenever it’s available based on the strengths and surprises of the first two books. I did this time, interrupting no less than Stephen King’s IT.

                          3 stars

                          Last edited by bugen; 05-12-2016, 08:56 AM.
                          “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                          -John Barth



                            The House on the Borderland - William Hope Hodgson

                            A couple of travelers come across a manuscript among ruins that details a man’s life in his house, the creatures that came for him, and time.

                            I’d been meaning to get to this novel for months, and finally picked it up for a moment yesterday. A few hours later, having had no intention of doing so, I closed the book, finished. A day later I have not yet been able to shake the story. This is not traditional, and requires the active participation of the reader’s imagination. It’s not one where you can sit back and let it wash over you, you must engage.

                            Coming in at number 8 on Centipede’s top 100 horror novels of all time, this book is a mind-bender, containing everything that’s ever happened as well as everything that will ever happen.

                            Easily one of the best novels I've read.

                            5 stars

                            Last edited by bugen; 03-03-2015, 02:47 AM.
                            “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                            -John Barth



                              ^Loved it. I still have yet to read more of his works though.


                                IT - Stephen King

                                Nowadays everybody wants to talk like they’ve got something to say. But nothing comes out when they move their lips, but The Stand.
                                And mother-****ers act like they forgot about IT.

                                First thing, I’m not disparaging The Stand, I just thought that was a catchy intro. The book is undeniably one of the best. But it’s true most of the public, and every list I can recall, considers The Stand his number one novel, or at least ahead of IT, and I’m not entirely sure that should be the case. Maybe…

                                A group of seven children confronts an unspeakable, unassailable evil, and emerge scarred but victorious. 27 years later, they’ve moved on and forgotten all about the monster they defeated, the town they’re from, and each other. But It’s back, and they must return to Derry, remember their childhoods and fight again, this time with diminished weapons of imagination they wielded as children.

                                Rich and detailed, things move leisurely after the opening scenes. I was 40% through the story before I bought all the way back in. Which means, due to the book’s length, I’d already read more than a novels worth of material before IT latched on and wouldn’t let go. Over the course of this gargantuan book, I read no less than two other smaller novels, one short story collection, and finished off two other collections I was in the middle of. IT takes it’s time getting good and hot, and I’d say don’t force it all at once if you’re restless. But come back. Because IT’s worth it.

                                I’ve read this book twice. Once, at about the age of the kids here, and again at about the age they go back as adults. This was always my favorite King book, and I’ve put off a re-read because IT was important to me - if that makes sense. But it was rewarding reading the book again from the adult perspective, complimenting my dimming memories from the youth perspective.

                                I’d love to dive all the way in here, break down what I can, but Mr. Chizmar will be taking a long look at this book as part of his SK Revisited and will do a far better job than I. So a final thought from IT:

                                “Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.”

                                5 stars






                                Last edited by bugen; 05-13-2016, 08:51 AM.
                                “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
                                -John Barth