Cheap Reads

18591386Byron has just moved to the small town of Parkton from the big city and its like entering a new world. Parkton is a place filled with dark secrets and strange people. At the heart of it all is an old house on Jacob Street. For the most part people don’t like to talk about the house, when Byron asks about it in the library he gets yelled at and people seem to avoid the area all together. The only ones that have an interest in the house are two boys at Byron’s school named Lain and Hammish. They seem to have an unhealthy interest in monsters and they want to take Byron to find the monsters that live at 809 Jacob Street.

Byron is not sure he believes in monsters but something weird is going on in Parkton. One of its residents is Joey Blue, an alcoholic blues singer who is homeless and sees ghosts. Joey gets a shock one night when an old friend comes to him for help and he finds that the only way he can help him is by entering the house at 809 Jacob Street. Something sinister lives in that house and it is calling to Joey and Byron and when they enter the house they may never return.

809 Jacob Street by Marty Young is an atmospheric haunted house story that is like a painting put to words. Everything in this story is described in vivid detail from the ghosts in Parkton, the house on Jacob Street and the character’s emotions about what was going on. There is not a lot of action in this story but it makes up for it by giving you vivid descriptions on a town haunted by ghosts and monsters.

The characters in 809 Jacob Street were a mixed bag for me. I liked how Byron and his friends are doing what normal kids do by being curious about the haunted house that no one wants to talk about.  Then its made obvious how their interest is not as normal as it appears. The other kids in school seem to avoid Hammish and Lain and Byron realizes that no one in this town acts like they did in his old hometown. Lain and Hammish are not normal kids and everyone seems to know it. I liked how Byron is given a choice on whether to go along with the monster hunters or be accepted by the other kids. I also liked the dynamic of the group and how Lain’s agenda is revealed.

The other main character in the book is Joey. I didn’t like Joey’s character and didn’t quite understand his role in the book. I found myself not liking him and it bothered me that he talked about how he loved his wife and daughter but he also talks about how he abandoned them and never went back. I didn’t see Joey as a sympathetic character and didn’t care about what happened to him. His role until the very end confused me but I did like the payoff and his involvement in the end of  the book. 809 Jacob Street is a great haunted house story, It’s very visual and I can see it making a good spooky movie.

22351700The next book I want to mention is Sailors Take Warning by Malcolm Torres   When alarms go off aboard the USS Nimitz, first responder Kate Conrad runs to the scene of accidents and injuries. But after 93 days at sea, Kate is suspicious about strange activities in the ship’s morgue, so she conducts her own gossipy investigation. Captain Fox, obsessed with the success of the ship’s experimental cloaking system, delegates authority over the crew to his executive officer, Captain Brandt. And Brandt, of course, is a psychopath who coerces the ship’s medical officer to cover up the problems in the morgue. As the ship approaches the equator, where the crew will hold an ancient hazing ritual, Kate Conrad confronts her superiors with proof of the horrifying activities taking place in the morgue. But they provide no help, so Kate takes drastic action on her own.

13097934The last book I want to mention is by Christine Sutton called All the Little Children is a novella that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Ben and Cara Barlow move into a beautiful Connecticut Victorian home to start the next phase of their lives together. They are thrilled with the home’s beauty, location and price, so they move in right away. When strange things start to happen to Cara, Ben tries his hardest to be supportive. They call in a team of paranormal investigators, and the home’s grisly history, and occupants, past and present, engage in a battle to the death. Will Ben and Cara reclaim their dream house, or will the evil within those walls take everything, including their souls? A short novella at approximately 20,000 words.

Cheap Reads!

12742577Looking for some cheap reading material? Here are two books that you will find on Amazon for 99 cents. The first book is The New Death and Others by James Hutchings. This is a book of flash fiction and poetry that deal with mythology, fairy tales and horror. Most of the stories that are here are less than 1,000 words. They make you think and laugh while looking at the dark side of fantasy. This collection has a little of everything, including monsters who are afraid that people are no longer scared of them, A man longing for the perfect woman and a funny tale of two demons in love.

The first story in this collection is called The God of The Poor and deals with the gods deciding on which one of them will have dominion over the poor. In this story, I felt the gods were a metaphor for how most people think of the poor and it really set the stage for the rest of the book. In the next story called How The Isle of Cats Got Its Name, James Hutchings creates his own mythology.  It is set in the fictional city of Telelee and follows a powerful sorceress named Abi-simiti as she collects all the cats in the city to take to an unnamed island. Her plan is to torture cats as part of a musical instrument that is meant to impress a god. Abi-simiti makes a crucial mistake and the cats have the last laugh. Anyone who is a cat lover should enjoy this one along with another story in the collection called My Cat Is Not Like Other Cats.

There are a few stories in The New Death And Others that I really enjoyed. One in particular was The Doom That Was Laid Upon Fame. In this story the goddess Fame is blamed and punished for giving people who are unworthy fame and fortune, but she finds a way to get out of trouble with help from the seldom heard about fifth member of the four horseman of the apocalypse. Another good one is Weary Love, that is a funny short poem that tells what happens when the god Commerce takes over for Love. Some other stories here that were very similar that I enjoyed was Fame’s Beloved, The New Death and The New God. If you like short stories and poems that are  funny, dark and gives a satirical look at life, you will enjoy The New Death and Others.  There are a lot of good ideas in this book, in particular I enjoyed The stories involving the land of Telelee. I enjoy it when authors create their own mythology and I hope to hear more stories set in Telelee from James Hutchings in the future.

13477103The next book I want to talk about is Sudden Death Overtime by Steve Vernon. If you haven’t gotten your fill of hockey this year due to the NHL strike, this book can help. Hope’s End is a tough little town on the Northern Labrador Coast of Canada. When the weather turns cold, old-time hockey player Sprague Deacon and his three elderly friends set up an ice rink and everyone in town plays hockey. So when a black painted tour bus full of vampires comes to town and people start to disappear, there is only one thing to do, challenge them to a hockey game.

Sudden Death Overtime is a horror comedy dripping with blood that has memorable characters and a lot of action. There is a lot of depth to this short story starting with the opening scene where an older woman named Judith contemplates where her life went wrong and how it’s changed over the years. Judith is lonely and fears death which comes for her in the form of a black bus. Sprague and his friends are also over the hill and the vampires represent old age and death. When death comes knocking  these Canadians do what you do best and play hockey and whats more fun then hockey playing vampires? If your going to have to face death you need to make it beat you at your own game.

Steve Vernon manages to create some great characters in a short amount of time. The beginning of the book is character driven but when the vampires show up on Sprague’s lawn,  it turns to non stop action. There is a lot going on in this book, I like how the style changes midway through and the ending is hilarious. Another thing  I enjoyed about this book is the afterword called Time Out which gives you an idea of what inspired the story. Sudden Death Overtime is a lot of fun and will make you want to read more from Steve Vernon.