Author: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk Books
Orsk Furniture (basically a knock-off of Ikea) is a wonderful place to work for some, and a dead end for others. Something incredibly odd is happening there, though. Every morning when the employees arrive, they are finding smashed furniture, shattered glassware, a some very nasty substances smeared on couches. The security camera footage shows nothing. The managers are freaking out, because people from corporate will be arriving soon to evaluate. One of the floor managers, along with a couple of employees, volunteer to work an overnight shift in an attempt to find and put a stop to whomever is wreaking havoc. They assume that it is someone sneaking in, and managing to avoid the cameras. What they find, however, is much more sinister than breaking and entering.
This was my first Hendrix novel (also the author of My Best Friend’s Exorcism), and it was thoroughly enjoyable! It was horror, in the traditional sense, but it definitely had a nice creep factor to it. It was elevated by a very nice dose of humor, which I always enjoy. I loved the format of this book, as it was made to mimic a catalog, which really fit the storyline nicely and was very unique. The characters were pretty well developed. Maybe not as well as I would normally like them, but it didn’t seem to detract from my enjoyment of the story the way that it would in a more traditional storyline. If you’re a fan of books with a bit of a creepiness to them, I would recommend this one.
Author: Nick Cutter
Genre: Supernatural Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Gallery Books
It’s 1966 and Micah, Ebenezer, and Minerva are assassins for hire, the best mercenaries of their time, and they all end up in the same place to kill one another. Needless to say, this does not turn out well. They band together, and are all hired by a woman to do a welfare check on her nephew, who has been taken by her father in to a religious compound known as Little Heaven. This leads to them having to face off with the Biggest Bad that any of them have ever faced before. Cut to 1980 and Micah’s daughter has been taken by one of the bad dude’s minion’s as what he knows is a lure to lead them back to Little Heaven to face off once again.
This book was strange, thrilling, and had nice horror elements all at once. It shifts between the “original” story of 1966 and the “present day” story of 1980, so the reader gets some nice world building for the supernatural elements, and a great backstory. The character development for the main characters was very well done, aside from the “standard” of using rape as one of the female’s main motivations. It is overused, overdone, and I know I am not the only one that is really wishing that authors would, please, come up with another backstory to use for their female characters to motivate them. It is not discussed often throughout this novel, really only in the divulging of her story, but if the mention of it is a trigger- here is your trigger warning. It is also a bit heavy on the racist slurs as part of the dialogue. That could have been cut down a bit. As to the story itself, I really enjoyed it very much! This was my first Cutter book, and his writing style reminded me a bit of King whom I am a huge fan of. It even seemed to borrow some elements from King stories, although not shamelessly or in any sort of a plagiarized manner. If you are a fan of the horror/supernatural suspense genre, I think that you would probably enjoy this novel. I will definitely be reading more Cutter novels in the future.
Thanks to Gallery Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Author: P.J. Mayhair
Genre: Horror/Psych Thriller
Jeremiah really wants to helps the girls that he finds. They should be more clean, more pure. There’s only one problem, he keeps killing them in the process. His latest target, Rachel, may be the perfect girl. Jeremiah believes that she may be just the woman that he has been looking for, that is until she turns the tables. Suddenly Jeremiah may become a victim of his own madness.
I’ll start this review by saying that the premise for this book is fabulous! This is a story that I don’t think that I have heard written in another way, so it was fresh, and I love that. That being said, Mayhair is a relatively new author, and that shows a bit in this book. The story jump a bit in some places, so it could have been helped a little more editing to even out the flow a little more. It also could have used another round of proofreading. Overall, though, I would definitely say that it was an enjoyable read. I really look forward to seeing what will come out of this young author in the future. He has a great mind!
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror/Speculative Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
This collection of short stories, from the wonderful yet creepy mind of Joe Hill, includes stories with everything from a ghost that won’t leave a theater to an inflatable boy to a human turned locust. It really does include something for every horror/creepy read fan. As I always mention, short stories are my thing! I absolutely love them, and Hill did an amazing job at reminding me exactly why I do. These stories were packed with great characters and easily visualized places (thanks to his descriptive writing). The book read very quickly, but was intensely satisfying. It’s hard to say which of these tales was my favorite, but I’m leaning toward “Best New Horror”, which was a very interesting tale of an editor looking for something fresh…oh, he finds it! It could very well be “Voluntary Committal”, though, as I do love anything having to do with psych wards! The stories in this collection will not only leave you a little disturbed after read them, but they may just provide some unexpected self-reflection, as well. They will make you think about who you are, where you came from, and what “ghosts” you may have buried within yourself. I have been a huge fan of Joe Hill since I read NOS4A2, and he hasn’t disappointed me yet! I 100% recommend this, if you are looking for an amazing book of spec fiction short stories… or to just be disturbed a bit!
Author: Stephen King
As I have said many times before, short stories are one of my favorite things. This newest collection by King did not disappoint. In fact, it is what finally got me out of my reading slump. I had already ready several of the stories in previous collections/editions, although a couple were reworked or rewritten for this collection. Regardless of having read them before, they were all worth reading again. It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite story from this collection, but UR (a kindle with some very interesting features), Dune (an elderly judge has been making the canoe trip to a dune outside of his home since he was a boy to see the names of people who are to die soon written on its shore), and The Little Green God of Agony (a very wealthy man, who was in a plane crash and can’t get rid of the blinding pain, calls in a preacher to help him) are a few of the gems in this edition that I really enjoyed. The thing that I think that I loved the most about this collection was the pages that actually came before the stories themselves. Before each short story, King gives the reader a glimpse in to how the story came to him, what or who inspired it, and some of what his thought process was when he was penning it. It is incredibly interesting to get a glimpse in to this great author’s mind. Overall, I loved this collection, and would recommend it to any King or short story fan.
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Eric Roberts
Publisher: Phoenix Audio
Dick has an addiction problem: he eats too much, works too much, and smokes way too much. By happenstance, he runs in to an old pal at the airport who has kicked his habits, and offers him a way to quit his addictions: a place called Quitters Inc. Dick thinks that it is all probable a sham, but decides to check it out anyway. Before he knows it, Dick has signed up for a program that has severe punishment is he ever backslides on his smoking addiction. The consequences begin with mild electric shocks to his unsuspecting wife, and only get worse for his loved ones from there. Will Dick be able to quit his addictions in order to save his loved ones from to consequences of his shortcomings?
This is a wonderful short story, which was originally a part of King’s book of short stories titled Night Shift and then one of the stories in the movie Cat’s Eye. I loved this story! It wasn’t particularly creepy or scary, but it was definitely entertaining and kept me engaged while listening to it. If you enjoy King’s work, I definitely recommend this classic short story!
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror/Psychological Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow
After a night of hard partying and doing a bunch of terrible things, Ig Perrish wakes up to a rather unpleasant discovery: he has grown horns…like devil horns. As odd as this revelation is, it gets worse. The more people that Ig runs in to the more that he realizes that he has taken on characteristics of the Devil. People are not actually taking notice of the horns, but are spilling their darkest truths instead. At first it is very disconcerting, but Ig realizes that he can use this new “gift” to his advantage- he can find out what really happened to his girlfriend, who he is believed to have murdered.
This is the second Hill novel that I have read, and I enjoyed it more than the first! He is amazing! Not only is this a twisted psychological thriller/horror, but the way that he writes the scenes and dialogue makes it border on a dark comedy, as well. You wouldn’t think those would really work together, but he makes it work flawlessly. I was captured and entertained from the beginning to the end of this novel, and I can’t wait to read another one.
Author: Joe Hill
Genre: Horror/Psych Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Ever since she was a young child, Vic McQueen has been able to find things- either material possessions, people, or answers. She could get on her bike and ride across an old covered bridge that would take her to what she was looking for.
Charles Manx also had a vehicle that would magically take him to places that he wanted to go: a vintage Rolls with the plates NOS4A2. Unfortunately, where he wanted to go was to “save” children from their bad futures, and take them to a terrifying one with in in a place called Christmasland.
One day, after a fight with her mother, Vic went looking for trouble and found Manx. She became the only child to ever escape from him, and he was arrested. Once she grows up and tries to forget about him, though, he and his Rolls are rolling again and the game begins…this time, with her own son as the pawn.
Wow…just wow! This was creepy with a capital C! Hill’s mind works in a very different and twisted way, and I like it. The story was told from several different vantage points and the story told in several different time periods, so it can be a bit difficult to follow at times, if you aren’t really paying attention to what you are reading. It is a very captivating story, though. It holds our attention to the end, and you really don’t know until the end what is going to happen. For a rather long book, it didn’t take as long to get through as I thought it would, so that was a very nice surprise. I highly recommend it, if you are a fa of good horror/psych thrillers! You will never hear Christmas carols in the same way again!