Book Review – Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft

Dreams of Terror and Death

The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death is a collection of short stories and novellas from the author’s “Dream Cycle,” which is a series of stories that explore the idea of alternate worlds accessible to humans through dreaming. Though treated as a distinct cycle of stories here, it is made evident in the text that these tales exist within the same narrative universe as the Cthulhu Mythos that Lovecraft is better known for. While a number of the stories are fairly self-contained with unique protagonists, a number of settings recur throughout. The most important recurring character is Randolph Carter, a young man more adept at exploring the realm of dreams than the average person.Read More »

Book Review – Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Little Heaven

Little Heaven is the fourth and latest novel by horror author Nick Cutter. In the backwoods of New Mexico in the mid-1960s a religious commune has built themselves a community to get away from the sinful world, guided by their charismatic leader Reverend Amos Flesher. Only one rough road and some trails lead back to civilization. They are surrounded by woods and ever in the shadow of a monolithic black rock that looms over the landscape. They have dubbed their community Little Heaven, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many months after Little Heaven is settled a young woman named Ellen hires a trio of mercenaries to take her there. Her goal is to find her nephew, ensure he is safe, and if he isn’t, get him out of there. Finding the place is easy enough, but getting out becomes another matter entirely.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Odder Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Odder Jobs

My second book for Frighteningly Good Reads 2019 is Hellboy: Odder Jobs, the 2004 sequel to the first Hellboy anthology Odd Jobs, once again edited by Christopher Golden. This book collects 16 stories by a variety of authors including one by Frank Darabont and another co-written by Guillermo del Toro. Each story is accompanied by an illustration by Mike Mignola. My history with Hellboy anthologies has been a little out of chronology; when I first started checking them out I read Odd Jobs (1999) and An Assortment of Horrors (2017) within months of each other, the latter being the most recent release. I was excited to finally continue the “odd jobs” trilogy (as I’m dubbing it) properly, hopeful that my positive experience with the two books I’d previously read would continue.Read More »

Book Review – Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep

Kicking off my Frighteningly Good Reads for 2019 is Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, the 2013 sequel to one of the author’s most famous novels, The Shining. Dan Torrance, now a grown man, is still haunted by his experiences at the Overlook Hotel all those years ago. Some ghosts are harder to escape than others, and the violence and drinking that plagued his father has come back around on him, leaving him to aimlessly wander around the country. He eventually winds up in Frazier, New Hampshire, a small town that inexplicably triggers visions, despite the years of drinking dulling his “shine.”

Dan decides to settle in the town and gets his act together, attending AA meetings and eventually working at a hospice where he uses his psychic gifts to comfort those passing on, gaining the nickname “Doctor Sleep.” One day he is remotely contacted by Abra Stone, a young teen girl with a “shine” far more powerful than his own. She has attracted the attention of the True Knot, a tribe of psychic vampires who feed off of victims with powers like theirs, and needs his help if she is going to survive.Read More »

Book Review – Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline

Coraline is a 2002 horror fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. Coraline, the titular character, and her parents have moved into a new flat in a big old house that is divided into several apartments. They share the property with some colourful characters; two aged actresses below them and an eccentric old man above them. There is a vacant flat next to theirs that is unoccupied, the passageway in their place bricked up behind a door in their parlour. Listless and left by her busy parents to try and entertain herself in the waning days of summer, Coraline can’t help feeling oddly fixated on this door, even though her mother has already shown her what’s on the other side. Reopening it on her own, she finds a long dark corridor where there ought to bricks. The passage leads her to a world that mirrors her own, full of wondrous delights and populated by another mother and father with buttons for eyes, who soon turn out to be far more malevolent than she first realizes.Read More »

Book Review – Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Small Gods

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett is the 13th novel in the comic fantasy Discworld series, and the second standalone novel belonging to a small, loosely connected group of novels that cover specific, lesser-known cultures of the Disc. This novel in question is set a century before the usual present day and focuses on the land of Omnia, a powerful and oppressive theocracy that worships and acknowledges only one god: The Great God Om. The time for the 8th prophet to be revealed is close at hand and Om has manifested himself in physical form on the Disc to seek out his new chosen one. The problem is, he has somehow manifested as a diminutive tortoise and nobody he speaks to can hear him. That is, until an eagle meaning to make a meal of him drops him into the Citadel in Omnia, where he lands in a garden. There he meets Brutha, a novice of the Citadel and the only person in the whole world who can hear him.Read More »

Book Review – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

TheSevenDeathsOfEvelynHardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is Stuart Turton’s debut novel. Set in an English country manor in the early 20th century, our protagonist awakens in the forest yelling the name Anna but remembering nothing else. He is mysteriously guided back to Blackheath manor, a rundown old estate owned by the Hardcastle family, who are hosting a ball to celebrate the return of their daughter Evelyn from Paris. While struggling to remember who he is, our protagonist soon learns that his mind is inhabiting the body of someone other than himself. He will cycle throughout eight different host bodies, reliving the same day at Blackheath over and over, until he solves the mystery of Evelyn’s murder. Guided by a mysterious figure in a plague doctor outfit, he must contend with two rivals to solve this mystery. The answer is the key to their freedom that only one of them can claim.Read More »

Book Review – Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann

Star Wars Myths and Fables

Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann is a middle grade collection of stories set in the Star Wars universe, with an illustration by Grant Griffin accompanying each story. Though the connections are not especially overt, the book was released as a part of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge media project. Unlike a typical collection, each story is a piece of in-universe folklore from across the galaxy. Some are self-contained little fables, while others work to mythologize iconic characters we know and love from the films.Read More »

Book Review – The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill

The Man in the Picture

The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story is a horror novel by Susan Hill. A young man named Oliver is visiting his old professor Theo Parmitter, an elderly bachelor who lives on campus at Cambridge University. One cold winter’s night during Oliver’s visit Theo tells him the strange story of a painting he has hanging in the room, depicting masked revelers at a carnival in Venice. Seemingly burdened by not having shared this tale, he tells of how he came to acquire it and the disturbing history of people becoming entrapped by its macabre beauty.Read More »

Book Review – Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exit West

Exit West is a 2017 novel by Mohsin Hamid that blends fiction and magical realism. The story follows dual protagonists Nadia and Saeed, a young woman and man who live in an unnamed city that is gradually beset upon by militants. Though Nadia is more independent and outspoken, which goes against tradition, and Saeed is generally more conservative, the two begin a romantic relationship. As they try to survive day-to-day in their city, with the militants encroaching further and further, mysterious doors begin popping up there and around the world, linking places many miles apart. As life in the city becomes nearly unlivable the two seek out one of these doors to escape the daily violence and build a new life far away.Read More »