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January 2020 - How many??

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    January 2020 - How many??

    Finished 5 in January and they were all pretty good.

    Classic Horror Stories - the Barnes & Noble edition. At nearly 800 pages and over 40 stories, this was a big book with a lot of great stories in it. As with any anthology of this size, not all the stories worked for me, but overall this edition would provide an excellent introduction to classic horror / weird fiction from the 1830's to the 1930's. 4 / 5

    Brother was the first thing I've read by Ania Ahlborn, but it won't be the last. At times it remined me of Kin by KP Burke, and both Off Season and The Girl Next Door by Ketchum, yet the story is original enough to stand on its own merits. Similar to those books, Brother was a very dark, very bleak story. The storyline is engaging and fast paced and the small cast of characters are well developed (except for the mother & father, who are both presented as very one dimensional, and I got the feeling this was by the author's design). There were a couple of big holes in the plotline, as though Ahlborn was not going to let reality interfere with the storyline. Overall, highly recommended for fans of reality based dark fiction. 4.5 / 5

    The Willows & Other Nightmares by Algernon Blackwood contained Blackwood's masterpiece 'The Willows" and 4 other classic short stories. A true pioneer of weird fiction in the early 1900's, Blackwood was writing cosmic horror before HP Lovecraft. 4.5 / 5

    Strange Fruit by James Cooper. Cooper's short story collection, Human Pieces, was the best single author collection I read last year. His novella Strange Fruit didn't lower the bar any. Similar to the stores in Human Pieces, Strange Fruit is a dark story peopled with flawed characters. A coming of age story about a friendless girl who is mercilessly bullied at school by the other girls, has a dysfunctional relationship with her single parent mother, and whose fantasies about the boy next door are crushed after a face to face encounter. Then Cooper introduces the man with the strange fruit who likes to hang around the park & watch the kids play. My only complaint was with the characterization of Ellie, the story's protagonist. At times she was portraited as a young girl (7-8 years old), other times she seemed to act more like a teenager (Cooper never established her age in the story). But anyone looking for dark, yet engaging fiction, can't go wrong with choosing something by James Cooper. 4.5 / 5

    The Weird West by William Meikle. A chapbook collection of 3 weird western tales. The stories were more fantasy / horror in nature than western. 3.5 / 5


    Brian Lumley - Necroscope 3: The Source (7/10) After the fairly narrow focus of the first 2 books in the series, Lumley expands his mythos taking us to the homeworld of the vampires. Very good action adventure story, but not horror.

    Mark Burnell - The Rhythm Section (7/10) I bought this novel when it came out in 1999, put it on my shelf and forgot about it. Then I saw a movie based on it is released at the end of January, so decided to read it first. A very unlikely heroine has to take on international terrorists while also dealing with her inner demons. Rather eerily, it mentions Osama bin Laden and a failed attempt to crash a hijacked passanger plane into New York a couple of years before 9/11. A very enjoyable thriller which I've now found out is the first in a series of 4 books which I will definitely read a lot sooner. Hopefully the movie will be good and will make my long forgotten first edition a bit more valuable. :-)

    Jack Ketchum - Hide & Seek (6/10) Most of this short novel is a non-genre story about a group of friends getting up to the usual teenage antics. The gruesome ending feels like a different story that's been tacked on so that the book could be sold as horror. Not Ketchum's best work but the quality of his writing and characters make it worthwhile.

    Rex Miller - St Louis Blues (3/10) Run of the mill crime novel with nothing to distinguish it from a thousand others. Given the author is famous for his unforgettable Chaingang Bunkowski series, it's strange that this mediocre book is his only limited edition.


      So sometimes life just gets i the way. Unfortunately 2020 will be my year for that. My reading time has dropped and the time I have to compose longer posts is also impacted.

      With a break in the action so to speak I thought I would play a little catch up. For now I will just be posting what I read and my rating.

      7 Reads Completed

      Jonah Inside the Whale by Jason Sechrest:
      3 Stars

      Pont Neuf by Max Byrd:
      2 Stars

      The Martian by Andy Weir:
      4 Stars

      If She Wakes by Michael Koryta:
      4 Stars

      Calypso by David Sedaris:
      3 Stars

      The Shining by Stephen King:
      4 Stars

      Buried Deep by Margot Hunt
      5 Stars