Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dark Screams

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the forthcoming horror anthology Dark Screams: Volume One. It's a really good (short) collection. It's only got five stories, but they're all from fairly well known authors, and they're all good.

The book starts off with its only reprint, "Weeds," by Stephen King. Even if, like me, you haven't read this story before, you still probably know it, because it was used in Creepshow as "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill."  Even if you're familiar with the story from the film, it's still a great read.

The second story is "The Price You Pay" by Kelley Armstrong. It seems to start off as a standard horror trope about two women who get kidnapped and tortured by a psychopath, but it quickly moves into a different direction. I think it might have been my favorite story in the collection.

Story number three is "Magic Eyes," by Bill Pronzini. It's about a man in a mental hospital who claims he's not insane, he didn't murder his wife, and some sort of magic eyes are really responsible. Once again this story starts off seeming like a standard horror trope, but eventually proves to be something different.

The fourth story is Simon Clark's "Murder in Chains," which is about a man who wakes up to find himself chained to a murderous lunatic. Wackiness ensues (and by wackiness, I mean lots of blood and gore).

The final story is Ramsey Campbell's "The Watched," which is about a policeman who seeks revenge against the drug dealers he holds responsible for his daughter's death. Not surprisingly, there is a supernatural twist.

This is a really good anthology, and since it's only available in ebook form, it's cheap, too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Falcoln Throne

It's rare that I read a book and don't really know what to think about it, but that's the case with The Falcon Throne. I've enjoyed other books by Karen Miller, and I certainly didn't dislike this book. It just seems like this book was written to cash in on the popularity of Game of Thrones.

Both works have Throne in the title. Both books are fantasies set in pseudo-medieval kingdoms. Both works are about politics with lots of treachery and backstabbing and power-hungry lunatics who want to seize a throne at all costs. Both works have large numbers of major characters. Both works keep magic more or less in the background. Both works tell fairly dark stories.

I'm not saying that Falcon is a copy of Game, because it clearly isn't. It is, however, very much the same sort of story. If you enjoy Game of Thrones, the books or the TV show, you'll probably enjoy this. Unfortunately, its also long, fairly depressing, and you will see bad things happen to characters you like.

Personally, I will probably pick up the rest of the series when it's written.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

After the Funeral

Considering how many books I read, it's surprising that I'd never read an Agatha Christie novel until I read After the Funeral, and the only reason I read that is because the publisher sent me a review copy. Now, you might wonder why a publisher would send out review copies of a book that was originally published more than 50 years ago. Apparently, the Christie estate has authorized Sophie Hannah to write a new Poirot novel called The Monogram Murders, and the publisher had her choose her favorite Poirot novel and write an introduction for a new edition, She chose After the Funeral for its "nontransferable motive."

This book certainly had one of the most peculiar motives I've read. In fact this is one of the few mysteries I've read where I didn't have any idea who the killer was until the end of the book. Despite being a Poirot mystery, Poirot isn't in the book very much.  The book spends most of it time with the family of the victim(s).  They are a strange lot.

I really enjoyed the book and will have to add Agatha Christie to the ever growing list of authors whose books I really have to read.