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: A Stitch Of Madness

David's Haunted Library

28473957What do you get when you have a man driven to madness by an old urban legend, a girl who owns a rag doll that might contain the spirit of her dead mother and a man who may have just gotten a visit from the devil? You get A Stitch Of Madness by A.J. Brown. This anthology contains three stories that all have to do with someone going insane and having to deal with the consequences.

The first story and my favorite  in this book is Catherine’s Well, it deals with a man named Johnny who goes to prison after being accused of killing his best friend Buster. As Johnny tells his story we see that the truth behind the murder is much more complicated. What I liked most about this story is seeing how Johnny reacts to Buster’s decent into madness. At one point Johnny asks himself why he can’t leave his friend as he goes insane and he remembers how Buster was always a good friend through good times and bad. The tragedy in this story is Johnny is punished for his loyalty and witnesses something so horrible that he will never forget it.

The second story is Stitches which is about an abused girl dealing with the death of her mother who owns a rag doll that speaks in her mother’s voice. This is psychological horror at its best because there is a mystery to what is really going on in this story. The imagery in this one was great with the description of the doll’s eyes and her stitches. I also loved the dark mood of this story as it shows what a history of abuse can do to a person. One line in Stitches which describes the main point of the story is: “It’s hard to fix torn material.”

The last story is called A Sickly Sweet Scent which deals with a man who may be the devil looking for work on a farm and maybe a soul also. This story had a Twilight Zone feel to it. I liked the dialogue between characters and the way the story gets more complex as it moves along. In the beginning I thought this was going to be a story of good versus evil but the author took a different approach with it. This tale might make you hate grapes when you’re done reading it

I listened to the audible version of this book read by John Malone and I felt that John’s narration added a lot to each story. John’s deep voice added a sense of menace to the scarier parts of the stories and his delivery was perfect. Each story here reminded me of Stephen King because they are all character driven tales. You feel for all the characters here, when bad things happen to them it’s terrifying, even though the characters are flawed and might have deserved what was coming. A Stitch Of Madness is an example of great horror storytelling that you should put on your to be read list.