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Thread: February 2020 - How many...?

  1. #1
    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    February 2020 - How many...?

    I managed to hit my target of 4 books again.

    Mary Higgins Clark - A Stranger is Watching (6/10) A young man on death row is about to be executed for killing a housewife 3 years earlier. Meanwhile, the victim's son and his father's new girfriend are kidnapped for ransom. Is there a connection? Early novel by the reknowned suspense writer. Fast-paced but fairly straightforward by today's standards.

    Leigh Bardugo - Ninth House (5/10) Murder mystery where a young woman who can see ghosts is taken on as an apprentice overseer of secret magical societies at a university. I read this because of glowing reviews by Stephen King and Joe Hill, but sadly it didn't live up to the hype.

    Joe Lansdale - Coco Butternut (7/10) A Hap & Leonard novella. Somewhat lightweight but fun while it lasted.

    Lewis Shiner - Slam (3/10) A 39 year old man is released from prison on parole and is given a cushy job housesitting by an old friend. He meets and starts sleeping with a teenage runaway, lets an escaped convict stay at the house and sell drugs, and finally pays someone to burn down the house so he can pretend to be dead and start a new life under a false identity. And this is the 'hero' of the story! Bizarre.

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    Nothing to see here! Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonUK View Post
    I managed to hit my target of 4 books again.

    Mary Higgins Clark - A Stranger is Watching (6/10) A young man on death row is about to be executed for killing a housewife 3 years earlier. Meanwhile, the victim's son and his father's new girfriend are kidnapped for ransom. Is there a connection? Early novel by the reknowned suspense writer. Fast-paced but fairly straightforward by today's standards.

    Leigh Bardugo - Ninth House (5/10) Murder mystery where a young woman who can see ghosts is taken on as an apprentice overseer of secret magical societies at a university. I read this because of glowing reviews by Stephen King and Joe Hill, but sadly it didn't live up to the hype.

    Joe Lansdale - Coco Butternut (7/10) A Hap & Leonard novella. Somewhat lightweight but fun while it lasted.

    Lewis Shiner - Slam (3/10) A 39 year old man is released from prison on parole and is given a cushy job housesitting by an old friend. He meets and starts sleeping with a teenage runaway, lets an escaped convict stay at the house and sell drugs, and finally pays someone to burn down the house so he can pretend to be dead and start a new life under a false identity. And this is the 'hero' of the story! Bizarre.
    I had about the same response to Ninth House. I had heard praise from several sources including King and Hill. The concept sounded intriguing. I just failed to care about the characters or the story.

  3. #3
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    I finished 10 in February, the most in a while, though several of them shorter works & chapbooks.

    Lullabies for Suffering ed. by Mark Matthews was an anthology of six longish stories dealing with the theme of addiction. Overall, this was a pretty solid anthology, with only one story I didn't like ('Beyond the Reef" by Gabino Iglesias was so ridiculous that it would have been better if written as a satire, rather than a straight forward horror story). The highlights of Lullabies were "Monsters' by Caroline Kepnes & 'The Melting Point of Meat' by John FD Taff. 4 / 5

    A Ghostly Trio by William Meikle. As the title states, a chapbook collection of three ghost stories by Meikle. 3.5 / 5

    In the Lovecraft Museum by Steve Rasnic Tem is the story of a man returning to London, where his son disappeared 15 years earlier, at the request of a friend to attend the newly opened Lovecraft Museum. Needless to say, things in London & especially the museum quickly take a turn towards the weird. In the Lovecraft Museum is a short novella which never really resolves it's storyline, though it did hold my interest throughout. 3.5 / 5

    Gwendy's Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar is the sequel to Gwendy's Button Box and takes place 20 years after the mysterious man in black takes back the button box at the end of GBB. Things have gone pretty well for Gwendy since then. She followed up a successful advertising career with a best selling book and by directing an Oscar winning documentary. In her late 30s she has been elected to congress. Then the button box shows up again. And teenage girls in Castle Rock start to go missing. I really enjoyed this follow up to GBB. Chizmar's writing style keeps the story flowing fast & smooth. Highly recommend (but read GBB first!). 5 / 5

    The Faces was a short novella of disquieting horror by Douglas Clegg. A shy man gains confidence while wearing the mask of a cartoon character from his youth while attending a costume party. After the party he starts to wear the mask more & more in his everyday life, and good fortune seems to coincide with the wearing the mask. However, by the time he starts to question his good luck, it may be to late to take the mask off. Good to see Clegg back with some new fiction. 4 / 5

    A Little Yellow Book of Fever Dreams by Caitlin R. Kiernan was a collection of 6 stories originally published in her on-line digest Sirenia. The stories tended deal with mythology or have a dark fairy tale feel to them. My favorites were 'For One Who Has Lost Herself' about a selkie girl trying to get her sealskin back & '-30-' about the lengths an author will go to find endings for her stories. Fans of Kiernan's fiction will like this mini collection. 4.5 / 5

    Blood & Rain by Glen Rolfe was the first thing I've read by Rolfe, but it won't be the last. B & R was based on an old horror trope; a werewolf terrorizing a small town. The pacing is what sets B & R apart. Rolfe maintains an action packed pace from the beginning to the ending of this short novel. Characterization is at a minimum; you get enough to keep the story flowing along. Highly recommended, especially for fans of creature features. 5 / 5

    The Weird West by William Meikle was a chapbook collection of 3 weird western stories. 4 / 54

    The Refuge Collection Vol 1: Heaven to Some was the first in a 2 book charity anthology series edited by Steve Dillon of strange stories set in the town of Refuge, located somewhere on the coast of Australia. The stories tended to be inter-related, pulled together the Dillon's three part story 'The Empathy's Tale" and most, but not all of the stories, had a certain Lovecraftian feel to them. Favorites were "The Thief's Tale' by Lee Murray, 'The Fighter's Tale' by Steve Dillon & 'Plato's Cave' by Brian Craddock. One annoying quirk about the book: it is a large book (450 page count according to Amazon), but there weren't any page numbers. Overall a pretty solid anthology. I've already ordered the second book in the series (The Refuge Collection Vol. 2: Hell to Others). 4 / 5

    With the Blade as Witness was a Dim Shores chapbook by Sloane Leong. A science fictionesque story set on another planet where conflicts between tribes are settled by fights between the Keepers, large robot-like creatures (yet apparently alive). Each Keeper has a handler, a human that travels in a space in the chest cavity of the Keeper. And with all that I still found the story boring. 1 / 5

    B

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    Nothing to see here! Jeez! Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Martin's Avatar
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    6 Reads completed:

    The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher:
    4 Stars

    Our Harlem: Seven Days of Cooking, Music and Soul at the Red Rooster by Marcus Samuelsson:
    5 Stars

    A Little Purple Book of Phantasies by Gahan Wilson:
    5 Stars

    Prey by Michael Crichton:
    4 Stars

    The Sniper by Richard Chizmar:
    5 Stars

    Midnight Under The Big Top by Brian James Freeman (Editor):
    5 Stars

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