David’s Haunted Library: The Cliffhouse Haunting

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The Cliffhouse Lodge has a history dating back to 1887. Not only has it been a place to stay for people enjoying the beauty of Blue Lady Lake, but it was also a place with a dark history. In the twenties a serial killer called the Bodice Ripper terrorized the town and a ghost called The Blue Lady was seen when a death was about to occur.

Flash forward to the present and a new serial killer is terrorizing the town and the Blue Lady is making her presence known again. At the Cliffhouse Lodge, wet foot prints are being spotted in rooms, disembodied voices are being heard and when people look in the mirror they see the face of the Blue Lady.

What can I say about The Cliffhouse Haunting by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross other than it left me with a huge smile on my face. I’ve been a fan of Tamara Thorne going back to the mid nineties. I like her writing because her books have great characters and she creates a detailed mythology. Also her stories have just the right amount of horror, smut, and humor that I look for in a book.

The Cliffhouse Haunting is no exception, it was obvious that Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne had a lot of fun writing this and it was hard to put down. I would love to know the writing process behind this book because all the characters are so detailed and a lot of them reminded me of people I knew. I’m not sure who wrote what in this book but by the end of it I was wanting to read any solo work that Alistair Cross has out along with re-reading Tamara’s books.

The best part of The Cliffhouse Haunting is without a doubt the characters. The serial killer referred to as Hammerhead who hates everyone including the ghost who helps him is a perfect villain. We also have characters who are self-centered and egotistical but at the same time are fascinating because we’ve all met people like this. Authoress Constance Welling thinks she is God’s gift to the world but no one else seems to like her. I kept hoping that nothing bad would happen to her in the book because the scenes that she is in were so entertaining. There is one scene when she is doing a fortune-telling act that’s one of the funniest and most outrageous scenes I’ve ever read in a book. Another great character is Dr. Siechert who will want to make you stay away from doctors for the rest of your life and is part of a very funny scene which takes place in a supermarket.

In addition to memorable characters in this book I also loved the detailed history of the Cliffhouse lodge and how the mystery of the Blue Lady unfolds. I loves how The Cliffhouse Haunting goes back and forth from being funny to scary and it was hard to predict where the story would go next. There are some gruesome death scenes in this book and one in particular had me laughing and cringing at the same time. All I’m going to say about it is beware of the chocolate wanderer. You want to know what it is? You need to read the book; you won’t be disappointed.

25968318Another book I read recently was a novella by Paul Di Filippo and Claudio Chillemi called The Horror at Ganico Rosso. Set in the early 1900’s, this story tells the tale of retired detective named Joe who gets called back to work to solve a series of murders that’s related to a case that he worked on years ago. The murders are linked to the mummies of the Capuchin Catacombs and they may hint at a threat that is coming to earth from another dimension.

The Horror At Gancio Rosso is a short but entertaining read that is inspired by the works of H..P. Lovecraft. This story includes monsters, mummies,parallel dimensions and occult happenings.It also has a good mystery with intriguing characters in an eerie setting. The book had a pulp fiction type feel to it, the story is simple, entertaining and throws a lot of strange creatures and villains at you in a short period of time which is all a true horror fan can ask for. All in all this book is a lot of fun and reminded me of the type of stories that I’ve enjoyed in Weird Tales magazine and it’s a must read if You are a fan of Lovecraft.

25405077If you’re into works of strange fiction set in a futuristic world filled with violence and terror then you should check out Alessandro Manzetti’s Massacre Of The Mermaids. This book contains six stories in a futuristic Rome ruled by a She-Pope. Some of the items you will see in this book include women who get fishtails sewed on them and then are brutally tortured as part of a new religion, human landfills, a slaughterhouse prison and much more. This book is not for the faint of heart but it’s interesting to see how some of the subjects talked about in this book mirror some of the things we have in the present day.

This is a hard book to talk about, the stories were confusing to me but the imagery in each story was so good I wanted to keep reading. The way things are described here are dark and disturbing and the stories are so off the wall that I had to keep reading to find out where each one would go next. Alessandro Manzetti describes things like no other author has and Massacre Of The Mermaids shows how much of a work of art bizarre fiction can be. This book may be ultra-violent but the settings described give a great idea of how creative a horror story can be and it would be interesting to see a novel set in the world that Manzetti has created here.

 

Review: Laugh To Death and Bizarre Fantasy

With the topic of episode 113 of horror addicts being Bizarro fiction I’ve got a couple of works of literature that are not your average reads:

23646976Salero was born into a family of circus performers. They were all acrobats but Salero decided to go against the family’s wishes and become a clown. Salero worked hard and he won the respect of his family and several awards for being a clown. He joined a traveling circus that’s on a tour of America and he is the star of the show, but he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the performers.

Salero is the only one in the circus that travels with his own Italian sports car along with having half a train car as his living quarters. Salero is clown royalty and he is also a serial killer. Not just any serial killer either, he targets young women who have a fear of clowns and he likes to sexually torture them before finishing them off. He makes kids laugh by day and women scream by night and as he travels from town to town he makes sure he covers his tracks. His killing spree may be coming to an end though as two detectives from New Orleans are on the case and closing in.

Laugh To Death by Charie D. La Marr is like no book I’ve read. After spending 9 years as a clown, Charie has started her own genre called Circus Punk and  Laugh To Death is as dark as Circus Punk can get. To say this book is disturbing is an understatement. I’ve never read sexual torture scenes that went on for so long. The Sex scenes are so descriptive and so unbelievable that even the most hard-core S and M fan may start squirming. Salero also  psychologically tortures his victims as he rapes them which makes this book even more shocking.

When I read a horror novel I usually don’t like it when it’s obvious that the author is going out of his or her way to shock me. In Laugh To Death it’s pretty clear that Charie D. La Marr is pushing the reader to the breaking point and trying to see how much the reader can handle. Though for me unlike other books I’ve read where the point is to shock, I wanted to keep reading this one even though I found myself feeling sick to my stomach. I can’t even describe the most disturbing scenes because I would be embarrassed to write about it, but the writing is so good in this book that I kept on reading.

The story may be pretty thin in Laugh To Death but the complex characters kept me wanting more. Salero may be a sadistic killer but there are some great scenes where the author makes him seem compassionate. It was also interesting finding out what his victims’ feelings are and how they question their own feelings. The two detectives in the story have a lot of great conversations with each other that made this book better.

Despite its flaws, Laugh To Death is a book that has its moments. In particular it gives a detailed glimpse at what a serial killer might be thinking and what the victims might be feeling. Beware though, this book is 436 pages and I would say 70 percent of it is describing brutal torture scenes. I think this book could have been better with a little less description and if it was a 100 pages shorter. That being said I would love to read more books by Charie D. La Marr in the future.

BIZZARE VOL 1Next up I wanted to talk about a new comic magazine edited by Mark Slade and Gavin Chappell called Bizarre Fantasy. This is a new magazine available from Rogue Planet Press which is a division of Horrified Press. In the intro of the first issue of Bizarre Fantasy, Will Viharo talks about how the combination of comic books and pulp magazines have influenced pop culture. Bizarre Magazine combines both genres and shows that pulp fiction and comics are just as relevant today as they were in the past.

This magazine is a passion project started by several writers and artists that grew up with a love of comics and old pulp adventures. There are seven stories here that range from shocking to humorous and there is some great artwork to go along with it. One of the stories that I loved in this magazine is Remnant written by LA Sykes and illustrated by Steve Wenta. The story is about a dying man who is writing about a demon that has laid waste to the world he lives in. Though as you read you find that things may not have happened as the one writing the story suggests. This story was a great example of how you don’t need a lot of words to tell a good story.

Some of the other stories here include one about a man who is turned into a snake after sex. This was a funny story that gets into the guilt that goes along with sex. The other ones in this collection include a kid who is having nightmares about outer space and runs away to join a circus, a mystical female warrior, a strange creature who gets control of a giant robot that changes his life, an alien’s worst nightmare and a strange vampire tale. I can’t say enough good things about Bizarre Fantasy Volume 1. The art is great, the stories are well written and the magazine was simply a lot of fun to read. If you consider yourself an indie comic geek, this is a magazine that you don’t want to miss out on.