Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Bunch of Book Reviews

I haven't blogged much in the past few months and now I have a lot of books to review. So I'm going to review them in groups rather than a post per book because otherwise I won't get around to reviewing them all.

Slugs by Shaun Hutson

I thought this book about human-eating slugs would be more entertaining than it actually was. The main character - the health inspector, which he is referred to in the novel so much that I don't remember his name - was so dull. The characters were all one-dimensional, boring and I really didn't care if they were eaten alive by slugs or not.  And the explanation behind why slugs suddenly grew teeth and started taking bites out of people made no sense.

Okay, I guess maybe I expected too much from a book about killer slugs. I didn't completely hate it - there are a few good, gory scenes that I enjoyed. If you read it with low expectations then you might like it more than I did.

This was also made into a 1988 film of the same name. I haven't seen it but I think the story might work better as a movie.

Rating: 3/5

Mandibles by Jeff Strand

This is another book about killer insects, this time ants.

I enjoyed Mandibles much more than Slugs. It's funnier, has more interesting characters and the existence of the giant killer ants is explained better and actually makes sense (as much as the thought of insects eating humans can I suppose).

The Kindle edition is available for only $2.99.

Rating: 4/5

Stranglehold by Jack Ketchum

As I've already said before on this blog, Jack Ketchum is my favourite horror author. So when Crossroad Press started releasing some of Ketchum's novels as cheap e-books, I was thrilled and bought a bunch of them for my Kindle - including this one.

Stranglehold reminds me a bit of The Girl Next Door because they both deal with child abuse, only this book isn't quite as gruesome. It's still very disturbing and realistic though. I don't want to give too much away about this book so I'm simply going to say it's amazing and I think all horror fans should read it.

Rating: 5/5

The Nightrunners by Joe R. Lansdale

This book is a lot like the movie Straw Dogs, but with a supernatural twist.
After a woman, Becky, is raped, she goes on a vacation to a cabin with her husband, Montgomery, to help them forget about it. Montgomery feels bad about his inability to protect his wife and claims to be a pacifist to cover up the fact that he's a coward.

The man who raped her is sent to prison and hangs himself. But he was the leader of a gang that is involved with an evil entity called The God of the Razor. It wants death and destruction - and for them to finish what they started and kill Becky.

The Nightrunners is incredible - definitely one of the best horror novels I've ever read. It's suspenseful, has an interesting plot and likable characters. If you haven't already read it, do it now!

This is the first book by horror legend Joe R. Lansdale I've read, but after reading The Nightrunners, I'll definitely be reading more. I bought The Complete Drive-In because I heard it was good, but have yet to read it.

Rating: 5/5

Ghoul by Brian Keene

Like It by Stephen King, Ghoul is a coming-of-age tale where a group of kids battles a monster. The trio of boys in this book make a clubhouse in a cemetery where they come across a ghoul.

I loved everything about this book - I even liked it more than It (which I found to be waaay too long and boring in spots). I highly recommend it to all horror fans.

Ghoul was made into a movie for Chiller which aired April 13 starring Nolan Gould (Luke on Modern Family), but unfortunately I couldn't watch it because Chiller isn't available in Canada. Hopefully it comes out on DVD soon so I can watch it. Has anyone seen it? I'm curious if it was as good as the book.

Rating: 5/5

Suffer the Flesh by Monica J. O'Rourke

I actually hadn't read anything by Monica J. O'Rourke when I interviewed her last year for Women in Horror Recognition Month. In the interview she said "My co-author (Wrath James White) said he approached me to write Poisoning Eros with him after reading Suffer the Flesh because he was shocked a woman had written it. I get that a lot, how people are surprised a woman could write something so extreme. I’ve been told I 'write like a guy.'" That made me want to seek out her work even more. When Suffer the Flesh was released as an e-book for a mere $2.99, I bought and read it immediately.

I can definitely see how others could be surprised that a woman wrote it. Suffer the Flesh is extremely gory and features many rape scenes. It's about an overweight woman (Zoey) who is captured off the street in New York after browsing the self-help/diet section of a bookstore and is taken to a secret research centre where they "help" women lose weight by raping and torturing them. 

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was suspenseful - I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to find out how (or if) Zoey would get out of this situation. I also found Zoey to be a very sympathetic character. I could relate to her weight loss struggles and hoped she would get out of there alive. I recommend this book for people who can handle extreme gore - including sadistic rape.

Rating: 4/5 

Dismember by Daniel Pyle

This is a backwoods novel with a twist. When a young boy is "rescued" by a man who lives in the woods after surviving a car wreck he has no idea that worst is yet to come.

Then the narrative moves forward several years and the boy has become a man not unlike his captor. Now he's looking for a new family to replace his.

The only thing I enjoyed about this novel was the first chapter. The plot is boring and excruciating slow. It took me a whole month to read Dismember and I struggled to finish it. There's no action or suspense. Other than the car accident in the beginning, there are maybe two deaths in the whole book. With a title like Dismember and a cover with a bloody axe, I expected it to have much more gore.

If you're still interested, it's available for Kindle for $3.99, but I recommend skipping this one.

Rating: 2/5

Super Fetus by Adam Pepper

When a fetus realizes its mother's intentions of having an abortion it begins working out so it can stand a chance against the doctor. But when it defeats the doctor its mother takes matters into her own hands....

Super Fetus was the first bizarro book I've read and I enjoyed it a lot. Weird and disturbing yet highly entertaining. At times I would be laughing, then read the next few pages and stop reading in disgust. Well, there were only a few moments in the book that I found gross, but they were very gory/disturbing (just thinking about them now makes me shudder). Recommended for horror fans looking for something different and humorous.

Rating: 4/5