I've been toying with the idea of starting a YouTube channel where I talk about books I've read and maybe feature some of the books in my ever-growing collection. But like so many things, it's just a thought that dances through my brain. I actually tried recording a video and it looked terrible. One of the great hindrances for me concerning promoting my books is the fact that I know dick about technology. I can't create promo images, promo art, bookmarks, videos that look decent. So, for now, I'll have to come back to this neglected blog.
Here are a few books I've read over the past several months and a few words on each one. Not reviews, just thoughts.
The Manitou by Graham MastertonMasterton's
debut, and what a debut it is. Reading an author's first book is always a bit of a crap shoot. Even great authors sometimes have mediocre first novels. I won't name any here, but I know my first novel (first few novels!) was pretty shitty. Some authors come out of the gate with a masterpiece, like Melanie Tem's Prodigal
or Kathe Koja's The Cipher
. I wouldn't call The Manitou
a masterpiece, but it sure is a hell of a good time. I imagine it was one of the earliest Native American curse type horror stories (there were a lot of them in the horror boom of the 80s). I know I've seen the movie adaptation, but it was many years ago and I don't really remember it. I have a feeling I liked it, but who knows. I used to watch all the horror I could get my hands on, and clearly it wasn't that memorable. The book, however, has stuck in my mind. I've read a few Masterton books this year, and he's rapidly becoming a favorite.
The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young
The first of the breakout series of Splatter Western books from the great Death's Head Press. Full disclosure: I'm a Death's Head author, but that has no reflection on my thoughts about this or any other DHP books I feature on my blog. This was, hands down, a fun, gripping read. Kind of like a Sergio Leone spaghetti western, only much darker. If Blondie, The Man with No Name, from the Fistful of Dollars
trilogy were a real bad motherfucker (I mean, he is, but I'm talking sadistic here) you'd have the protagonist of this book. He's a fucking maniac, but that's okay. A worthy beginning of what has proven to be a great series of books. Keep 'em coming!
Spawn by Shaun Hutson
This book was kind of nuts, especially for its time. Imagine the guy who works at the hospital tossing refuse such as aborted babies into the incinerator. He's got some serious trauma from his past that causes him to save these aborted fetuses. If that's not crazy enough, imagine what happens when he buries them around the shack he lives in and then lightning strikes the ground! Look, what happens in this book is absolutely batshit crazy. Seriously. You have to take this stuff with a grain of salt. I took a break halfway through and read another book before returning to finish this one. That was mostly because Hutson was telling two stories that eventually merged in the end. The crazy fetus story was engrossing (emphasis on GROSS!), but the escaped mental patient serial killer story was kind of meh. The way they came together worked, and sort of made it all worth it, but it felt like half the book was all aces and the other half was a sleeper. I believe this was Hutson's second or third book after Slugs
, and it shows that he improved his craft. Slugs
is fun, but this one is even better, both the writing and the plot.
The Uninvited by John Farris
Of the books I've read recently, this one was by far the best. Farris is a brilliant author, a master at the craft, and a exquisite story teller. Interestingly, of all the books of his I've read the only one I didn't like was The Fury
, and that's the one he's probably most known for. Oh well. The Uninvited
follows a teenage girl who accidentally hits a guy with her and then becomes invested in his recovery after he comes down with amnesia. He has nowhere to go and her father, who's a famous artist, allows him to stay it their house. As she spends time with the guy trying to get him to remember his past, they develop a relationship, but he's...kinda weird. This is one of those books you find yourself deeply invested in and then shit just goes haywire. The greatest part is that I didn't see it coming, the IT being some of the big reveals. This is one of those books I've had on my shelf for years, but never bothered giving a read. Who am I kidding. My shelves are loaded with vintage paperbacks that, unfortunately, I won't get to. This one in particular has been hanging around for well over a decade. I'm glad I gave it a spin.
I hope to blog more about books I've read, but who knows. In the meantime, my latest anthology Chew on This! has been published by Blood Bound Books and is available in print and digital formats. See the blog post below for details.