Book Review: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Author: Shirley Jackson
Pages: 160
Published: October 31, 2006 (First published 1962)
Genre: Adult, Horror, Mystery
Rating: 4/5

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a classic horror novel by the great Shirley Jackson. This is the story of two sisters that live in the Blackwood House with their ailing uncle. Both sisters seclude themselves from the rest of the neighborhood and feel judged constantly by the townsfolk. Everyone is aware of one fateful night at the Blackwood House when most of the family was murdered during dinner. 

I really enjoyed this story and will definitely be reading it again at some point. Shirley Jackson is a must-read for all horror buffs and this is a great place to get started. It was definitely one of the eeriest stories that I’ve read in a long time and kept me guessing throughout the entire story.

Advertisements

Book Review: Help for the Haunted

Author: John Searles
Pages: 368
Published: September 17, 2013
Genre: Adult, Horror, Mystery
Rating: 4/5

Sylvie Mason’s parents are anything but normal. They are often called to help out families that have children being afflicted with mysterious symptoms resembling possessions. One night Sylvie’s parents receive a phone call that will change the course of their lives forever. 

After leaving the house with Sylvie in the car, her parents head to a local church to meet with a previous client. That’s when everything goes wrong. Her parents are murdered and now only Sylvie can figure out the truth behind who their killer was. 

This was an excellent horror read. The author did a fantastic job of telling a story through the eyes of a young girl and I enjoyed every minute of it. Help for the Haunted is a fun crime thriller novel that all horror fans can enjoy. It did remind me a lot of the Warren’s and I’m not sure if that was the intent, but it definitely had aspects of The Conjuring in it. 

I gave this book a 4/5 because it didn’t blow me away, but it was enjoyable enough to keep my attention throughout the entire story.

Book Review: Blackout

Author: Tim Curran
Pages: 95
Published: Expected August 19, 2014
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

For a shorter story, I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. A wonderfully written alien story that will definitely creep you out. 

Jon lives in a small town where everyone gets along. Even when someone gets into trouble, the town acts as if nothing has changed and continues to have huge barbecues and parties with everyone invited. One night after passing out from another long night of hosting a bbq, Jon is awakened by irregular flashes of light outside. He assumes at first that it is just lightning, until he realizes the flashing is happening in a very distinct pattern. Creeped out, but still too hung over to really think much of it, Jon heads to bed only to find his wife missing. After searching everywhere for her, he knows Kathy is gone and he will never see her again. 

Tonight is the end of life as he knew it on Piccamore Way. No more bbq’s, no more get togethers, no more parties. Another life form has decided to take over and there is nothing anyone can do about it now.

A quick read that I really enjoyed. I’ll definitely be getting more of Tim Curran’s work.

Book Review: Into the Grey

Author: Celine Kiernan
Pages: 304
Published: Expected August 26, 2014 (First Published January 1, 2011)
Genre: YA, Horror
Rating: 3.5/5

I loved the first 3/4 of this book so much. But for some reason I just could not stay focused during the last quarter of the book. It became very dense and seemed more like a description for how to make the movie version of the book rather than a solid ending. 

Dom and Pat are twins. They’ve had a very strong relationship their entire life with Pat writing stories while Dom drew comics. Everything seemed to be going great for the two of them, until Nan burnt the house down. After the fire, their family was forced to move into their summer home and everything began to change. 

Dom started acting strange. He would zone out and start talking to someone that wasn’t there. At first it was weird, then it got annoying, then it got really weird. Pat is taken on a journey to help rescue Dom from “the Grey” that he is trapped in and uncover the mystery of the beings he is now seeing on a daily basis. 

This book was creepy as hell at times. I definitely got goosebumps more than once while reading it and I enjoyed it a lot. Like I said at the beginning, the book was excellent for the first 3/4 of it. Then the last quarter just seemed to drag on and on for a while. Thinking about it more, I think it kind of had to drag on in order to fully develop the scenes that were occurring toward the end of the novel since they were more fantastical than any other parts of the book, but I kept losing interest.

The very last chapter of the book was a great wrap up though and I feel comfortable giving this a solid 3.5/5.

Book Review: The Bedlam Detective

Author: Stephen Gallagher
Pages: 320
Published: February 7, 2012 (First Published January 1, 2012)
Genre: Adult, Horror, Thriller, Crime
Rating: 4/5

A great crime thriller that had so many wonderful sub-plots embedded within it. 

The main story focuses on a man named Sebastian Becker who has recently moved to London with his wife and 18 year old son. Sebastian used to be a police officer, but has since been hired as an investigator of Lunacy. He is tasked with developing reports on wealthy individuals that have been rumored to be mentally unstable in order to determine if they are of sound mind enough to take care of their assets. 

While investigating Sir Owain Lancaster, a once very respected man that has since been deemed a fraud after returning from a trip to the Amazon and publishing a book about monsters that have followed him home, Sebastian uncovers a string of disappearances and murders that have never been solved.

This novel had me guessing the entire time and I loved it! The setting was fantastic and fully fit the story line without bogging it down. Another fantastic crime thriller that more people should be aware of!

Book Review: Alex

Author: Pierre Lemaitre (Translated by Frank Wynne)
Pages: 375
Published: September 3, 2013 (First Published 2011)
Genre: Adult, Suspense, Crime Thriller, Horror
Rating: 4.5/5

This book was royally screwed up and wonderful!

Alex appears to be an ordinary 30 year old. Then one day while on her way home from work she realizes she is being followed. Thinking that maybe running into the same guy three times in one month is just a coincidence, Alex doesn’t take any extra precautions when walking home at night on an abandoned street. 

After being kidnapped and beaten by her attacker, Alex is forced to strip and is placed inside a torture box that is suspended from the ceiling. The box was deliberately made too small for her to lay flat or sit comfortably. She is fed dog food and given water, but other than one short phrase her attacker has not revealed why he is doing this to her. When she asked him why he was doing this, he responded that he wanted to watch her die. 

This book was first written in French and is book two of the Verhoeven Trilogy; however, this was the only book to be translated to English. Detective Verhoeven is assigned the task of uncovering who the kidnapper is as well as who it is that he kidnapped since no one has reported a woman missing. 

There are so many twists and turns throughout this story that it will keep you guessing right up until the very end. An amazing crime thriller that I really enjoyed. ***Lot’s of adult content***

Book Review: The Curiosity

Author: Stephen P. Kiernan
Pages: 464
Published: July 1, 2014 (First Published June 18, 2013)
Genre: Adult, Sci Fi (Time Travel), Mystery
Rating: 5/5

Absolutely brilliant.

The Curiosity tells the story of Dr. Kate Philo. While on an expedition to obtain samples of organisms frozen in hard ice in the Arctic, Dr. Philo’s team discovers a large object has been frozen inside the biggest iceburg they’ve encountered thus far. After digging through the ice, the team believes it to be a seal. However, further digging reveals that what they believed to be a flipper was actually a human hand. Dr. Philo and the rest of her team are able to free the frozen man’s body and take him to their lab.

Dr. Philo is part of the Lazarus project which has set out to re-animate organisms that had previously been frozen in hard ice. Thus far, they had focused on krill, shrimp, and other small creatures. However, now that they have a full human body her team makes the choice to attempt to bring the man back to life! And it works! 

Somehow, Dr. Philo’s team is able to bring this man back to life and now must work to discover the secrets of his past and adapt him to the modern world. After being frozen for 100 years, Judge Jeremiah Rice is brought into modern day Boston. 

This book was amazing! I loved every second of it. The ability of her team to re-animate a human being brought many discussions of ethics and mortality to the story without being overbearing. A great thriller novel and an excellent debut fiction novel from this author.

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 181
Published: June 18, 2013 (First Published January 1, 2013)
Genre: Adult/YA?, Horror, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

I really enjoyed this story. It was a pretty quick read and another great book from Neil Gaiman. 

I tried to type up my own summary of this book, but decided that it sounded kind of all over the place. So a brief summary is that this story is about a man that has returned to his childhood town in order to attend a funeral. While there, he visits the home of an old friend and has flash backs of some major events that took place during his childhood. All of which were a result of a man committing suicide in his car down the road from the main character’s home. 

I feel that this story is definitely one that is appreciated more if the reader doesn’t know much about the plot before diving in. 

 

Book Review: Bird Box

Author: Josh Malerman
Pages: 262
Published: May 13, 2014 (First Published April 1, 2013)
Genre: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: 5/5

An absolutely brilliant debut horror novel from this author.

From Goodreads: “Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn’t look outside anymore. Malorie raises the children the only way she can; indoors. The house is quiet. The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows. They are out there. She might let them in. The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall. Soon she will have to wake them. Soon she will have to blindfold them. Today they must leave the house. Today they will risk everything.”

I loved this novel so much! The ending was absolutely fantastic and fit the story perfectly. I haven’t been that creeped out from a book in a very long time. Innovative and captivating without being corny or predictable, Bird Box is now on the top of my “to-buy” list. I have been waiting to read this book and Josh Malerman did not let me down.

 

Book Review: Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone

Author: Stefan Kiesbye
Pages: 198
Published: September 25, 2012 (First Published February 1, 2011)
Genre: Adult, Horror, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5

This was a very strange but super enjoyable book. A must-read for all horror buffs!

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone is broken into chapters focused around a group of kids that live in the town of Hemmersmoor. Each chapter provides a little more insight into the make-up of the town as well as the deranged things that all its inhabitants take part in. Murder, torture, rape, and even cannibalism seem to be daily occurrences within this small messed up town so it’s no wonder that its children have some problems.

I definitely enjoyed this book. It didn’t blow me away with any new ground-breaking ideas for the horror genre, but it had enough weird action in it to make me continue reading. ***DO NOT READ if you are squeamish or cannot handle adult content as there is a LOT in this book***