Tag Archives: horror

Review of I Died In A Bed Of Roses, by Kevin Strange

I won a copy of Kevin Strange‘s I Died on a Bed of Roses through Goodreads.

Description:
Cult horror filmmaker Brian Sully has isolated himself to a simple life on the Oregon coast after being publicly shamed by the lead actress of his most recent B-Movie monster flick for sending her pictures of his dick. Brian’s years of isolation have left him on the brink of suicide. But after his best friend and producer books him at a 20th anniversary horror festival honoring their first feature film, Brian Sully’s life is about to change. Is true love real? What if you fell in love with something not quite… Human? Would you pursue it? Would you let anything stop you? Even death? I DIED IN A BED OF ROSES is Kevin Strange’s first ever crack at the paranormal romance genre. But if you’re expecting a mushy love story, well, you don’t know Kevin Strange!

Review:
I’m never entirely sure how to review bizaro fiction, let alone bizaro horror, because it’s, you know, bizarre. This one starts out pretty well, which was a relief. The cover left me fearing it might just turn into male-centric wank fodder. (It doesn’t. It’s very male-centric, but not a wank fest.) I’m afraid it does peter out though, veering off into a rushed, simplistic, deus ex mechana climax and ending. This is maybe not surprising, since the author says in the beginning that the book was written during a weeklong writing retreat and the beginning was birthed more easily than the end. It’s not bad. It’s actually pretty finny at times. But I think this will definitely be a case of finding the right reader for the book.

……Ok, I just want to say wank one more time.

Review of Eli’s Town, by Amy Cross

Eli's townI got Eli’s Town, by Amy Cross, from Amazon as a freebie. It was still free at the time of posting.

Description from Goodreads:
“Someone really should go check on Eli…”

Every year, someone from the Denton family travels to the town of Tulepa, to check on weird old uncle Eli. This time around it’s Holly’s turn to make the journey, but when she arrives she discovers that not only is Eli missing, but the locals appear to be hiding something.

Meanwhile, a strange curse seems to have struck the town. Every day, at exactly noon, one resident drops dead. Is the string of sudden fatalities just a coincidence? If it’s something more sinister, why does no-one seem to be trying to uncover the truth? And what do these deaths have to do with the disappearance of Eli Denton, a strange old man who has barely even left his house in more than a decade?

Eli’s Town is a horror novel about an eccentric but seemingly harmless man who discovers a new way to live, and about his niece’s desperate attempt to uncover the truth before she too succumbs to the town’s mysteries.

Review:
I found this to be a perfectly passable horror-suspense novel, along the lines of M. Night Shyamalan’s film work. It had a similar atmospheric feel. It kept me guessing until fairly far into the book and had a truly creepy antagonist.

I did think the ending felt a little deus ex machina. The boyfriend, Dean, felt especially like a caricature of a pickup artist boyfriend, which I found hard to believe considering how long they were meant to have been together. And I had a little trouble believing no one ran from town before they weren’t able, considering how obviously odd it was. Even raised in isolation, I think people like Tatty would have high-tailed it out of there.

But all in all, it was an enjoyable read. I’d be perfectly willing to pick up another Cross book.

Review of Zoey and the Zombies: A Mondamin Court Adventure, by R. J. Eliason

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I won a paperback copy of Zoey and the Zombies: A Mondamin Court Adventure, by R. J. Eliason, through Goodreads.

Description:
The world is over ran with undead. Giant hordes of zombies are pouring out of the East Coast, threatening the Midwest. The defense of Mondamin Court, a quiet neighborhood in Des Moines, Iowa is up to a disabled cop, a fourteen year old boy and a transgender girl. What could go wrong? Mondamin Court is a typical lower middle class neighborhood in a midwestern city. The people are a cross section of normal Americans. Each book starts with the same setting and characters but they face a different apocalyptic scenario.

Review:
I found this enjoyable. I really appreciated that it took on some serious themes and included some intriguing human/social insights. But the only thing that separates it from a hundred other zombie survivor books is the presence of a prominent lesbian couple and a trans character (who is admittedly badass).

These inclusions are great, but not enough to carry a book. Unfortunately, I kind of felt like the author expected it to. She went to great efforts to include several diverse characters, as well as do things like present a prostitute in a humanized light, which is unusual and, again, great. But unfortunately she fell prey to as many stereo-types as she upended and eventually the variety felt forced. Partly because there are about a million characters to diversify. Far, far, far, far, far, far too many characters are in this book. I very quickly gave up on keeping track of who was who, outside of the main ones.

The main characters were varied and some of them were complex, flawed but redeemable. Others, not so much, but with so many I don’t know that it would be possible to flesh them all out. A lot of them, especially the young, were forced to consider heavy ideas and I liked how a lot of it was handled.

There are some pretty significant plot holes and, despite the blurb describing the people of Mondamin Court as “a cross section of normal America,” they seemed to have unusual and convenient skills to survive the zombie apocalypse, not so normal really. How many of your suburban neighbors know how to use a halbert, own katana or wakizashi, or happen to take belly dancing that includes scimitars, or are fully prepared preppers with hydroponic stations, know how to can and stretch rations almost indefinitely, or keep goats?

All in all, when I look at technicality I find complaints, but if I stand back and just think about my reading experience, it’s more positive than not.

On a side note, not even really as part of my review, I couldn’t help noticing some odd formatting in the book.

formatting

Here is an example. The font size changed, as did the justification of the margins and I think the line spacing. Again, it’s just something I noticed. It didn’t really effect the reading experience other than occasionally being pulled out of the story by a double indention or style change. *shrug*


What I’m drinking: What the English might call Builder’s tea. One inexpensive bag of black tea, quite strong and a dash of milk. This is one of my comfort drinks. These days, I’m often off dairy. So, I don’t drink it as often. But for pure, melt into the couch relaxation, it’s my go-to drink.