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    The Black Gondolier and Other Stories by Fritz Leiber from Midnight House.
    Allison by Jeff Strand. What a blast. Mass mayhem has never been so funny.
    The Odds by Jeff Strand. This was a blast. Great pacing and characters. What could possibly go wrong?

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      Originally posted by kresby View Post
      The Black Gondolier and Other Stories by Fritz Leiber from Midnight House.
      Allison by Jeff Strand. What a blast. Mass mayhem has never been so funny.
      The Odds by Jeff Strand. This was a blast. Great pacing and characters. What could possibly go wrong?
      I really enjoyed both those Strands, too, but for whatever reason THE ODDS really did it for me...what a fantastic read.
      Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

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        Just started John F. Blackburn's Blue Octavo, first published in 1963, reprinted in 2020 bt Centipede Press. A tale of the dark doings in the second-hand book business. Like it so far!

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          Just finished reading the SST limited edition of Paul Tremblay's "Survivor Song". Really enjoyed it as I have all of his other novels. Also enjoyed the slight tie in to "Disappearance at Devils Rock". The dialogue for Josh & Luis kept me cracking up the whole time. Am now going to begin P. Djl Clark's "Ring Shout". Have never read anything by this author but the book got a huge shout-out from Mother Horror in the CD reviews section and I have pretty much enjoyed everything that she has recommended; so, I figured that I would give this one a go.

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            Books read and recommended for November, 2020.

            Hard cover -

            1. Toby Chalmers Commits “Career” Suicide by Jeremy Thompson from Necro. Strange happenings for sure. Fun read. Will check out the sequel.

            2. Toby Chalmers Hits a New Low by Jeremy Thompson from Necro. Some good parts but had trouble getting into this one.

            3. Death, Scum, and T. V. Fun by John Wayne Comunale from Thunderstorm. 3 good novellas. Real good. Bizarro-like. Want more.

            4. Bone Chase by Weston Ochse from Saga Press. Fantastic mystery thriller. I felt like I was there. So, you didn’t believe in giants?

            5. Nemesai by John Urbancik & Brian Keene from Thunderstorm. Page-turner from 2 pros. Action galore with a surprising ending.

            6. In the Rose-Colored House Where They Died by Gwendolyn Kiste from Thunderstorm. Didn’t care for this one.

            7. Flight or Fright edited by Stephen King & Bev Vincent from Cemetery Dance. Excellent anthology of reprints with great original stories by Joe Hill and Stephen King.

            8. Tool Shed by Armand Rosamilia from Thunderstorm. Excellent novella. Characters and their banter is so believable. Supernatural possession and many deaths are the backbone for this love story but relationships drive it.




            Paperback -

            9. Allison by Jeff Strand. What a blast. Mass mayhem has never been so funny.

            10. The Odds by Jeff Strand. This was a blast. Great pacing and characters. What could possibly go wrong?

            11. Pets During Wartime by Weston Ochse from Thunderstorm. Very good sci-fi novella with heart.

            12. Autumn Bleeds into Winter by Jeff Strand. Ahh a coming of age story with a serial killer. Done with style.






            Favorites = #1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.




            Support Indie Publishers and Enjoy

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              Originally posted by sholloman81 View Post
              Just finished reading the SST limited edition of Paul Tremblay's "Survivor Song". Really enjoyed it as I have all of his other novels. Also enjoyed the slight tie in to "Disappearance at Devils Rock". The dialogue for Josh & Luis kept me cracking up the whole time. Am now going to begin P. Djl Clark's "Ring Shout". Have never read anything by this author but the book got a huge shout-out from Mother Horror in the CD reviews section and I have pretty much enjoyed everything that she has recommended; so, I figured that I would give this one a go.
              I just finished SURVIVOR SONG last night -- read over just three nights (which, these days, is blazing fast for a novel) -- and just loved it. I think this is my favorite of his after HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. Just a tremendous read, full of poignancy and darkness and twists of phrase that both wrench and lighten your heart. This was horror with heart, an exploration of love -- of friends, of family -- and how transcendent, even in the face of horror, it can be.
              Last edited by RonClinton; 12-03-2020, 06:25 PM.
              Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

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                Originally posted by RonClinton View Post

                I just finished SURVIVOR SONG last night -- read over just three nights (which, these days, is blazing fast for a novel) -- and just loved it. I think this is my favorite of his after HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. Just a tremendous read, full of poignancy and darkness and twists of phrase that both wrench and lighten your heart. This was horror with heart, an exploration of love -- of friends, of family -- and how transcendent, even in the face of horror, it can be.
                Might just move this up in the tbr pile. I just finished Malorie . It ended up being alright. I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as Birdbox .

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                  Originally posted by RonClinton View Post

                  I just finished SURVIVOR SONG last night -- read over just three nights (which, these days, is blazing fast for a novel) -- and just loved it. I think this is my favorite of his after HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. Just a tremendous read, full of poignancy and darkness and twists of phrase that both wrench and lighten your heart. This was horror with heart, an exploration of love -- of friends, of family -- and how transcendent, even in the face of horror, it can be.
                  I completely agree with these sentiments. I also haven't been able to stop thinking about the coda since I finished. What a fantastic ending!

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                    Just finished P. Djl Clark's "Ring Shout". Oh my god was this a fantastic short-novel. Could easily argue this as my favorite read of 2020. Has a fantastic premise mixing horror, fantasy/sci-fi, southern history, & black history. Easily some of the best characterization that I have read this year. All of the main characters felt fully fleshed-out with their own personalities and internal conflicts. Also loved that pretty much all of the main characters were female and had their own narratives that weren't motivated by male characters or the usual girl-power tropes. Don't see that very often in this sort of book. The antagonists in this story were all pretty scary and had a very Lovecraftian feel to them (special shout out to the Night Doctors who I found to be very creepy). Am very happy that the author left room for more books in this universe and will be disappointed if he doesn't write any as I'm already jonesing for more stories set in this universe. Basically, I can't recommend this book strongly enough! Special thanks to Mother Horror for the awesome book review which spurred my to read this novel as I had never heard of this author beforehand. Am happy that CD posts a lot of her reviews as I've pretty much enjoyed everything that she has recommended on the CD website and am sure that I would have missed out on this amazing book without them.

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                      Reading my first Bentley Little novel in probably 15 years, The Handyman. 80 pages in, and so far, so good.

                      B

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                        Originally posted by brlesh View Post
                        Reading my first Bentley Little novel in probably 15 years, The Handyman. 80 pages in, and so far, so good.

                        B
                        I thought that was one of his better more-recent releases. I hope you continue to enjoy it.
                        Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

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                          I recently bought a copy of the S/L HC of THE RUINS from forum member Jeffsta, and finished it a few nights ago. I have to say, it is one of the better horror novels I’ve read in some time. I’m still thinking about it days later. . I can’t for the life of me understand why it received a number of negative reviews when it first appeared in 2006, enough that it dissuaded me from reading it for 14 years. Only thing I can think of is that it was too different from his previous noir, A SIMPLE PLAN, so disappointed those fans of that remarkable work. Glad I finally remedied that oversight, as this is a book that shouldn’t be missed.
                          Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by RonClinton View Post
                            I recently bought a copy of the S/L HC of THE RUINS from forum member Jeffsta, and finished it a few nights ago. I have to say, it is one of the better horror novels I’ve read in some time. I’m still thinking about it days later. . I can’t for the life of me understand why it received a number of negative reviews when it first appeared in 2006, enough that it dissuaded me from reading it for 14 years. Only thing I can think of is that it was too different from his previous noir, A SIMPLE PLAN, so disappointed those fans of that remarkable work. Glad I finally remedied that oversight, as this is a book that shouldn’t be missed.
                            I am in the camp that did not like The Ruins when it came out. I think there were a few primary reasons. The main reason is that I pretty quickly found I could not like or root for any of the characters. I have no problem with setting reason and reality aside when reading but every step of the way everyone was doing things that people just would not do. This also made the story predictable as I could just think of the dumbest action and sure enough that is what they would do. The ending was just as predictable. I so loved A Simple Plan and really wanted to love this one. I have no problem with the author writing a very different novel from his first one, I actually prefer that. I do want a good story though! I disliked it enough that I donated my copy to my library. When CD announced it I did not buy it. I have since received it in a grab bag and I have it on the shelf next to the CD copy of A Simple Plan. I have debated if I should give it another go but have not been able to convince myself to pick it up.

                            I seem to notice a polarized audience for this one. People like you who love it and people like me who hate it with very few in the middle. Glad you like it but for me it is one of the most disappointing reads ever!

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                              Originally posted by Martin View Post

                              I am in the camp that did not like The Ruins when it came out. I think there were a few primary reasons. The main reason is that I pretty quickly found I could not like or root for any of the characters. I have no problem with setting reason and reality aside when reading but every step of the way everyone was doing things that people just would not do. This also made the story predictable as I could just think of the dumbest action and sure enough that is what they would do. The ending was just as predictable. I so loved A Simple Plan and really wanted to love this one. I have no problem with the author writing a very different novel from his first one, I actually prefer that. I do want a good story though! I disliked it enough that I donated my copy to my library. When CD announced it I did not buy it. I have since received it in a grab bag and I have it on the shelf next to the CD copy of A Simple Plan. I have debated if I should give it another go but have not been able to convince myself to pick it up.

                              I seem to notice a polarized audience for this one. People like you who love it and people like me who hate it with very few in the middle. Glad you like it but for me it is one of the most disappointing reads ever!
                              I won't try and urge you to read it again and give it another shot as it is clearly a divisive book and may indeed just not be for you, but I'll throw out a few of my views on the above and at least give you some for food for thought, and if should nudge you just a bit in the direction of a re-read, well then...

                              ** A few spoilers here, so those who haven't read it should avoid the following: **

                              Our primary division is that I enjoyed the characters. You're right that there was no overt hero in the story, someone drawn in such a way and with few flaws that encourage rooting for them...Jeff, as the acknowledged leader, was perhaps the closest, with his medical background and general attempt to control and manage the situation. But for me, there were all drawn very realistically as the young twenty-somethings on Mexican vacation that they were portrayed to be: a bit aimless and unfocused, somewhat self-absorbed, not yet fully mature and seasoned, and ill-equipped to survive against a monstrous force of nature. This was, at its core, a survival novel -- one with horrific elements, certainly, but a survival novel foremost. While it's been a while since I was in my early twenties, I remember it to a good degree, and, as well, I have daughters in that age range and know their friends of that same age, and I felt the way in which Smith portrayed characters in that not-quite-a-child-not-yet-a-full-adult stage of life, fumbling for survival, a win against an unwinnable situation, hoping and relying on the idea of rescue, just as their pampered upbringing taught them, rang true and real, and that made me invested in their plight. Even the ending, with the final character's suicide, her sense of hopeless and defeat and powerlessness to conceive and execute any final plan, any rallying hope for survival, felt honest. I will agree, though, that Mathias' (the German's) death was a bit melodramatic in form and could have been more aptly written. That sense of authenticity of character, that "realness", is also what I found so compelling in another recent read, Paul Tremblay's SURVIVOR SONG. Sure, there components of each story that strained credulity -- that's part and parcel of most horror fiction -- but the fundamental structure and tone, especially of character, of both rang true and authentic, and that's what made each five-star reads for me.

                              One element of the story I was disappointed that Smith didn't address, since it occurred to me immediately, was the potential of fire to remedy their situation. It was clear from the subterranean scene, wherein Jeff had a vodka-soaked torch and used it to frighten and beat back the vines, that fire was a weapon that could have been used against the threat. Why then, did they not use the other bottles of vodka they had, construct more torches, and use it to burn the hillside free of the vines...at the very least use it to burn their immediate area free of it, push back the vines twenty feet back in a ringed circle, while they waited for rescue? Maybe I missed something (but I don't think so), but it sure seems like that was an obvious tool they could have used to help themselves.

                              Twitter: https://twitter.com/ron_clinton

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                                I respect your views although I do not share them. I may re-read this one someday and who knows maybe I will see it differently.

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