Category Archives: Horror

Book Review: The Haunting of Winchester Mansion

I’m at the point in my book reading career (if only!) that all I have to do to find something to read is pickup my Kindle and make a random choice out of the library I have amassed there. Sounds like a good “problem” to have, eh? Sometimes it is a real gamble. I’m on several mailing lists for free Kindle books, as well as several author mailing lists. It can be very difficult to decide what to read.

In May, I chose to reading a cliche named series. One of those “the haunting of…” titles that seem so popular in the paranormal genre. I didn’t know what to expect. It took me a few chapters to even decide if I liked what I was reading. Might have gone differently if I had actually started with the first book in the series. Continue reading

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Filed under Crime & Mystery, Horror

Coronation by Lee F. Jordan

From time to time I find a story that is damned good, but the writing of that story isn’t at the same level. I’m afraid that was the case with Lee F. Jordan’s Coronation (2012).

An ancient evil (that’s not all that ancient), nautical themes that do make sense (but corrupt the legends of their subjects), and a mysterious ability that just isn’t really explained. Like I said, the story was pretty damned good and could have gone places, different places than it did go.

J.D. is a semi-retired special officer with the United States Navy. He has this thing that happens when he’s in danger, or someone he is close to is in danger. His nose bleeds. Okay. Why? What’s the cause? Just a couple of the questions left unanswered. It almost reads like this isn’t the first book in a series. It is not Jordan’s first book.

Ok, I can move beyond those unanswered questions. The suspense, the thrill, the horror. Those were done rather well. Jordan’s descriptions of mutilated bodies were very graphic. They didn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination, but that may have been his point. Sometimes the more graphic a description the better the horrified reaction from the reader. Personally I like to be able to draw in some of the details myself. But I do understand where Jordan was going with those descriptions. To tell you would be a spoiler.

Along with the blood and guts and the unanswered questions, there is a theme of military and government intrigue that strikes a chord for today’s reader. Does the government really have an “X-Files” unit in the Navy? If so, is the Navy the only military branch with such a unit? More unanswered questions, but maybe Jordan will write something else that will explore both this mysterious unit and J.D.’s nose bleeds.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I am sure that fans of conspiracy theories, the exploration of evil in humanity, and the horror genre will enjoy this book. All in all, I did enjoy it. I was disappointed in the unanswered questions.

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Filed under Horror, Thriller

The Wolf Gift, Anne Rice

I’ve been a fan of Anne Rice’s books for decades. I devoured the Vampire Chronicles as soon as I could get my hands on them. As a teen I was obsessed with her vampire stories so much that I took “Lestat” as my handle on dial-up BBSes in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Some of my friends from that time still call me Lestat. I’ve not read her Christ stories, not all that interested in them. To be honest, in recent years I’ve found myself drifting away from Rice’s books, though I own just about everything she’s written.

I wasn’t sure what to think when I learned that she was writing a story arc around the Werewolf legend. My hesitation in regards to these books comes from my love of Anne Rice’s sister’s werewolf books. Alice Borchardt had a wonderful feel for her werewolves, both as humans and as wolves, that I was afraid Rice couldn’t come close to capturing. Now I know, they are not the same person. Their stories are not related, they don’t even come close to touching upon each other. ┬áThat didn’t stop me from being reticent when it came to The Wolf Gift.

Like many of ┬áRice’s series, the first book plods along for a while. Interview with the Vampire started slowly, I was nearly a third of the way through before I was hooked. The Witching Hour took me three copies before I was able to finish it – a lot of back story and my copies disappearing. The same holds true with The Wolf Gift. A lot of back ground – not really back story. Reuben’s story is at first disconnected from the theme of the werewolf. But we do get the connection soon enough.

Taking advantage of internet media, historical references to werewolves, and the American obsession with serial killers, Rice ties them all together in a way that is uniquely her’s. Returning to her Gothic genre, Rice takes us on a journey of transformation and self-realization. Reuben is a freelance reporter, the son of a successful emergency surgeon and a literature professor. He’s handsome, youthful, financial secure. Yet he’s questing for who he is as a man. When he’s sent by the paper he’s been writing for to do an expose on a mansion in northern California that has a mysterious history – the current owner wanting to sell and move on with her life, he falls in love with both the house and its mature female owner. That night they are attacked in the mansion after an evening of adult festivities and there the story begins.

We see it all from Reuben’s point of view. His self discovery, his family issues, his horror-turned-fascination with what he has become. The parallel story is even more interesting. I don’t want to reveal too much of that…. The builder of the mansion and his friends have disappeared, for all intents and purposes they are dead to the modern world. But as Reuben and his new love explore what is happening to him and discover the secrets of the house we learn that these men have a history that is not unlike that of Rice’s vampire saga – ancient and hidden, yet parallel to the history of human civilization.

Again, I do no want to say too much more. Other than I am glad I finally decided to pick up this more recent literary contribution by Anne Rice. I’m looking forward to reading more of this story arc as well as her return to the Vampire Chronicles this fall with Prince Lestat.

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Filed under Horror, Sci-fi and Fantasy Books