David’s Haunted Library: Lucy Furr

The city of Mable Town is ruled over by Valkos Enterprises government, they force their rule over all of their citizens and they demand conformity. Not all people are unhappy with the system though. Mary, Joseph, and their cat, Lucy Furr, love their mundane existence and other people seem happier around them. Unfortunately, there is a  gang of teenagers who are jealous of them and have decided to make them pay.

The group captures the feline and takes it on a ride which jump starts a horrifying chain of events. One evil act leads to another and no one’s life will ever be the same. In this strange society that has very different rules than our own, revenge is still the way that some people right wrongs.  Lucy Furr by Russell Holbrook is a bizzaro gruesome thrill ride that you will never forget.

This is a hard book to describe, it’s very different and unlike most horror stories that I’ve read. When I heard the book promoted as an odd Dystopian fairy tale they weren’t kidding. Anything goes in this book, sometimes it felt like I was watching a slasher movie, but a very creative slasher movie. It also felt like the author was trying to make some points about what society would be like if everything was run by a corporation. The corporation is looked at as a god and at certain times you have to say the pledge of allegiance and if you don’t do what you’re supposed to you get shocked.

One thing I thought was interesting in this society was that they even have paid alcoholics. Lucy Furr is one strange trip and even though I didn’t fully understand the point of it, it held my interest. Remember, though, if you decide to get this book you need to have a strong stomach because this book is not for the squeamish. Even the good guys suffer in this one.

 

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David’s Haunted Library: Low

Life wasn’t going well for police officer Mark Adams, his marriage was on the rocks and he was fed up with the limitations of his job. He was tired of busting criminals just to see them return to the streets to wreak havoc. Officer Adams respects the law and has high moral standards but there are some people who deal with the law that have lower standards.

Chad Bigleby is a lawyer who would be considered a shade of grey when it comes to morals. He is married and has a couple of mistresses, he has a son out of wedlock and he would do anything for him. This includes blackmailing someone so he can get a big pay day.  What Chad doesn’t know is he is about to be held accountable for all his sins because something evil has arrived in town and its going to put Chad and Mark on the path to a dark destiny that will change their worlds.

Low by  Mike Duke is half philosophical horror and half police drama. Off the bat I have to give this book credit for being original, I loved how it makes you think. People that normally don’t read horror novels look at them and think they’re for dumb people with sick minds. This opinion probably comes from the fact that there are so many bad horror movies out there. Horror literature on the other hand is totally different from horror movies and Low shows what kind of messages can come through in a good horror novel.

This book is all about morality and the consequences that come when you make the wrong choices. In Low we see some bad people being punished for their sins but we also meet characters who are shades of grey and what they go through when they cross the line. The bad guys in this book have their good side as well but they still have to suffer for their choices.

If you’re more into crime stories than horror you get that from Low. Even if I didn’t read Mike Duke’s biography before reading this book I would have figured out that he worked as a police officer. There is a lot of detail in the story on police procedure and the kind of things police officers see on a day to day basis. For me that’s where the book dragged a little, I felt some of the police scenes could have been cut out but at the same time it added a little depth to the story.

My favorite parts of Low was watching how the characters dealt with temptation, we see what Mark Adams does when faced with the opportunity to cheat on his wife. Even more interesting to me though was seeing how chad’s wife Sam acted when she realizes what her husband is really like. Though she isn’t a huge part of the book I loved Sam’s character. At first she is presented as someone who can’t handle the world she lives in but when faced with a crisis we see her as a strong person. She also has my favorite scene in the book when she gives her views on what Zombies represent in horror movies.  The best part of Low for me wasn’t the story or the characters, it was the messages that it was trying to get across.

David’s Haunted Library: Siphoners

 

Four people from different backgrounds, they have nothing in common except one big problem. They have the power to siphon people’s life force but sometimes they kill their victims. Little by little they are losing control over their powers and people are disappearing or dying.

Through a set of random encounters, the four siphoners: Donovan, Seth, Avanti, and Frederick find each other. They discover that someone is controlling them and there is more to their powers then they realized. They are now on a quest to find the source of what makes them different and along the way, they find a future they never expected

Siphoners by Evan Bollinger is a psychological horror novel with elements of Science Fiction. The Siphoners are never called vampires but to me they came acros as psychic vampires. This book was like a mixed bag for me. It is a good book but I felt it could have been better. There were some action scenes where I wasn’t sure what was going on and I got tired of the sex and drug references.

Out of the 4  main characters I only liked two of them and in all cases I would liked to have gotten to know their personalities better before we got into their powers. Avanti was one of the ones I liked, she comes across as a strong woman who happens to have a problem she doesn’t understand. The other one I liked was Donovan. My favorite part of the book was seeing him get to college for the first time and hearing about how he has been sick his whole life. We then see him realize how he is a fish out of water in his new dorm and he doesn’t really know how to act. At this point he doesn’t realize he has powers and thinks he’s just weird.

I would have liked to see more scenes where Donovan is trying to fit into his surroundings but can’t. Instead the story goes straight for his powers being out of control. This isn’t a bad book though. I love the concept of siphoning life force but I thought the story could have been told a little better. The book has its moments though and I would be interested in further installments of the series and I would read more writings of Evan Bollinger.

David’s Haunted Library: Sueño Street

When you think of horror comics you think of Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror. If you never read these comics from the past you know the type of stories in them and thinking about them puts a smile on your face. Now there’s  a graphic novel that pays homage to those comics and adds a Latino flavor. Sueño Street is written by Patricia Santos Marcantonio with art by Mike Youngman.

In the introduction  Patricia Santos Marcantonio talks about her love of comics and how she wanted to make her own using Latino characters.  Sueño Street comes complete with its own horror host, a young street artist who draws scenes of nightmares and unseen places. He points out that every action has consequences and gives us six tales of horror.

One of my favorite stories here was the tale of La Llorona the weeping woman. This is a story that is part of Hispanic folklore centering on a ghost of a crying woman who drowned her kids and is now searching for her lost children along the river. In this story we hear about her orgin in 1920 from Mexico. What makes this one so great is that marionettes are used to tell the tale, sort of an art form in an art form. For a short story there is a lot of depth here as we hear about the emotions of  La Llorona and learn why she did it. My favorite part was the end as we see the emotions of La Llorona’s mother and how the street artist reacts.

Another good one is about Cucuy the Hispanic boogeyman. It takes place in 1761, a woman named Lita takes on a job caring for a child who believes that no one likes him and others believe may be evil. He says he has a special friend and that friend may be responsible for other children in the town disappearing. Lita discovers that something may be wrong with the boy but is he truly cursed? I love how this story opens up with a man telling Lita she has come to Hell and Lita answering that she has already been there. This is a good bit of foreshadowing as we see that Lita can handle such things as a monster who lives under beds.

Sueño Street is a stunningly visual walk down memory lane. Patricia Santos Marcantonio adds a certain depth to each story that you don’t often see in comics and the art compliments her storytelling nicely. As I was reading it I was reminded of the horror comics I enjoyed as a kid along with all the anthology shows I use to watch like Tales From The Darkside. These stories don’t necessarily have a moral to them they are just meant to entertain and scare us and they do a great job of it. What makes this a must read is that it centers around Hispanic folklore which is something you don’t normally see in comics. Though the main reason you should get it is great art and great storytelling, what more can you ask for?

David’s Haunted Library: Mountain Sickness

Telluride is a small remote town in the Colorado Rockies and it’s a playground for the rich and famous. People come from all over to ski here and the city’s economy is dependent on tourism. It wasn’t always that way though, it started as a mining town but the mine was considered dangerous and closed down. Since then, Telluride has been a winter paradise until a mysterious plague starts to affect the guests.

Telluride isn’t an easy place to get in and out of, so when disaster strikes there is nowhere to run to. It starts with normal people turning into raving lunatics; it ends with them changing into flesh-eating zombies. To make matters worse, the town is being rocked by a blizzard and the locals and tourists alike will have to work together to survive and keep the zombie virus from spreading. If you ever wanted to know what the zombie apocalypse would be like in a blizzard than Mountain Sickness by Frank Martin is your chance to find out.

My first thought when I saw this book was: “Zombies in a snowstorm, sounds like fun.” I can’t think of any other zombie books or movies that take place in a cold climate so I found this idea appealing. My one complaint about this book is that it takes a long time to get into the action. There are so many characters being introduced in the beginning that it’s hard to keep track of everyone. Once we see the first person sick with the zombie virus the story gets good real quick.

It’s not just the setting that makes this zombie story different, it’s also how the people are before they change. The victims fly into a rage before they become zombies and in the beginning, they start as fast-moving zombies. One of my favorite scenes was when one of the ski resort’s employees named Chris goes to find his girlfriend as the people are turning into zombies. He finds her close to death and her dying wish is for Chris to save a boy named Ryan. Chris starts looking for Ryan and as he does he sees himself as a man who has never committed to the life he truly wanted and now he has to fulfill his girlfriend’s dying wish. This made me fall in love with the character Chris and as we see him try to rescue Ryan, he finds another survivor on the way, a 13-year-old girl named Stephanie.

Stephanie is another character in this story I fell in love with. In the beginning, she is a normal teenage girl but we see her become a different person as she deals with the loss of her family and is forced to become an adult as society collapses around her. One scene I loved has Stephanie walking up to someone changing into the living dead and knocking them out with one punch. Seems unbelievable but the zombie didn’t see it coming. The most interesting part of this book is seeing how all of the characters change as they realize that if the zombies don’t get them then they will probably die in the blizzard. The setting and the characters make Mountain Sickness a must read.

 

 

David’s Haunted Library: The Noctuary Pandemonium

Simon Ryan was a talented writer, he had a hard life and the dark muses in the underworld want to use him as a scribe. Now he writes words that aren’t his own and every horrifying sentence he writes comes to life in the real world. With his new power, he is given the chance to rewrite his dark past but some things can’t be changed and Simon goes missing.

A few years later, Psychiatrist, Dr. Desmond Carter finds a bloody manuscript from his former patient Simon, who he thought was dead. This sets off a chain reaction of events as the police are called along with Simon’s former agent Christina. Desmond finds out that if you write the manuscript in blood, what you write will come true, but at what cost? Now everything Desmond knew about himself and Simon is making him question his sanity and could lead to his damnation.

The Noctuary Pandemonium by Greg Chapman is an unapologetic horror novel. In the beginning, Greg describes the night as a shade of blood with people walking the street being stalked by their shadows. This is being described by someone who fears to lose his mind and he may be right. If this picture of darkness that Greg Chapman paints doesn’t sell you then this line will: “There is no finer art than the prose that terrifies! Fear is Primal!” With those words you know you are in for a gruesome read and the book doesn’t disappoint.

I love the concept here of muses from the underworld looking for someone to inspire darkness and destruction in humanity. What makes it interesting is how the people the muse chooses start to do it because they want to fix a problem. Good intentions don’t always lead to good results though and the chosen ones have to deal with the darkness that has always been inside them. The most interesting aspect to The Noctuary is that the spirits of the underworld aren’t really the bad guys, read it and you’ll understand.

There is a point in this novel where I had a lot of unanswered questions but all loose ends are tied up by the end. I loved the history behind the muses and how Hell is described almost as a living place. This book also gets into the idea of how what lies in the soul of man can be much darker than Hell and there is no escaping it. This book paints a bloody disturbing portrait that you will love if you’re a horror fan. The Noctuary Pandemonium is a dark thrill ride that will have you thinking harder about the consequences of every choice you make.

https://darkscrybe.com/

 

David’s Haunted Library: Quiet Places

 Dunballan is a place that has its share of dark secrets,  along with a beast that stalks the woods around it. There is a long history associated with this small town and David McCavendish’s family is part of it. David has been living in London and now has to return to the place of his ancestors in order to inherit the family home. He now has to adjust to country living and in order to help him, he brought along his girlfriend Sally.

Sally quickly realizes that something is a little off about Dunballan. The only person who seems to talk to her gives her a history of the town that includes some stories of odd spirits that lurk in the woods, one being Hettie Of The Hedgegrow. Another problem is that every time the beast in the woods appears, David goes into a depressed catatonic state that lasts for days. Sally realizes that the town is cursed and will do anything to keep David from suffering through it. The problem is she may not be able to help him without making everything worse.

Quiet Places by Jasper Bark is not your average horror novella. It feels like Jasper Bark was thinking to himself: “What are the things that scare people the most?” As he was pondering that question he sat down and wrote a terrifying piece of work that relies on mood and emotions rather than gore or a hideous monster. The beast in this story isn’t all that scary, but what it represents is and the history surrounding it is even worse. I felt the scariest part of this book was in the very beginning which I don’t want to give away but Jasper pretty much nailed my worst fear and he wasn’t even that descriptive. It was all psychological, Jasper makes you imagine it instead of showing it.

After the gut wrenching start, you as the reader are left to wonder how we got there and then you get the history leading up to the event. This book gets into mythology, the occult and a history of David’s relatives. I loved all the attention to detail in this book but most of all I loved the character of Sally. We see Sally deal with a lot of different issues in this story but she stays strong even when things are at their worst. Sally seems like she doesn’t fit in anywhere and she isn’t sure she even cares about fitting in. She does know who’s important to her though and will do anything to save him.

Quiet Places is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and could be considered cosmic horror but it’s a highly original novella. This is a psychological horror story that gives you a lot to think about. Some of the questions it raises are who do you trust in a town of strangers? How far would you go to save a loved one? And What would you do when all hope is lost? Quiet Places shows us that a story doesn’t have to be bloody to be scary and there are far scarier things than death.