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Showing posts from October, 2015

About That Night by Norah McClintock

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About That Night by Norah McClintock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 238 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by Orca Books
Source: Library Thing Early Review program


This is my second book by McClintock but the first I've read of her teen crime novels for which she is famous. It's a well-written suspense which I enjoyed reading however it had an unsatisfying ending, ambiguous really leaving the reader neither here nor there. In fact, the crime aspect of the story has no ending. While I liked the characters and was interested in the read I ultimately was let down and frustrated by the lack of a conclusion. I will try another of her YA crimes though as she's written a lot and won several awards.


Voices in the Field: A Collection of Short Stories by J. Allen Fielder

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Voices in the Field: A Collection of Short Stories by J. Allen Fielder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 172 pages
Published October 24th 2011 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Source: Kindle Freebie


A mixed bag of stories, this is the author's first collection. A few of the stories have been previously published with the rest appearing here for the first time. Most of the stories are of the horror variety, but there is a bit of everything added to the mix including straight fiction, children's stories, and mysteries. I found the author quite promising though he has some trouble with perfecting the twist ending. His horror is good, but surprisingly I found his juvenile fiction offerings showed his best overall work. His forays into other genres often left me underwhelmed, but I'm glad to have read the collection.

1. Voices in the Field - An elderly man's car breaks down on the side of a highway surrounded by cornfields. He records his thoughts as he waits unsucces…

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

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A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 139 pages
Published 1979 by Dell Laurel Leaf
first published 1972
Source: thrift shop


The last chapter had me choking back the tears. I read this book probably in about Grade 5 and from there went on to read all Peck's books. This is my first re-read and I can see why it affected me so much at the time and I also see that it began a long-lasting relationship for me with this type of literature. I'm still drawn, today, to books about farm people, mountain people, uneducated folks, living off the land, living plain and simple. And books that end with sadness and people dying, books that some would call depressing but rather I see the redemption that will follow after the book has been closed.

This is Peck's first book and is autobiographical; he even uses his and his father's own names for the characters. Set in 1920s Vermont it opens with a violent, brutal first chapter involving a cow birt…

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 343 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Vintage Books
first published 1965
Source: Bookmooched

It has taken me a long time to get around to reading this classic. Generally known to be the first true crime book, I was afraid it would be somewhat dated for a reader like me who reads a lot of true crime and non-fiction "novels". I couldn't have been more wrong! It's an excellent piece of work, brilliantly written, raw and very brutal. The book completely reads like fiction, being told from various characters points of view. Yet it never lets you forget that it is nonfiction as the author provides you with quotes from a multitude of sources both oral and written. Capote never refers to himself until the very last pages when he mentions the killers spoke to a journalist which one assumes means himself. I thought I knew this story of the Clutter murders as I'd seen the movie, with Robert Blake, and read…

I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories: The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak Volume One

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I Am Crying All Inside and Other Stories  by Clifford D. Simak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ebook, 332 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Open Road Media

The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak (Volume One)

A random collection of stories by Clifford D. Simak, all science fiction except for one western. I really like this author especially his longer stories and novellas of which a few are included here. This is a good mix of short and longer stories. Each story is prefaced with a short intro by the editor explaining when and where it was first published along with an interesting tidbit about its publication and the editor's personal opinion or remembrance. All of the stories are good garnering mostly 4 or 5 stars with only a couple of 3 stars. Simak is an excellent world-builder and his stories are entirely mesmerizing. It also has all the qualities I like in a short story collection with David Wixon performing an excellent job as editor.

1. The Installment Plan (1959) - Exce…

The Killer Handyman: William Patrick Fyfe by C.L. Swinney (Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked A Nation (Book 7)

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The Killer Handyman: William Patrick Fyfe by C.L. Swinney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, First, 112 pages
Published September 25th 2015 by RJ Parker
Source: Kindle Store

Crimes Canada: True Crimes That Shocked A Nation (Book 7)

This is the second book I've read in this series and I won't be reading any more. A different author this time, but again I hadn't heard of the case and it is certainly worthy of knowing about. However, badly written, with a lot of repetition of information, blocks of details rather than narrative and plenty of the author's own personal opinions and assumptions, Swinney managed to make this book boring. I only finished it since I paid for it and I wanted to know the end results of the case without just resorting to muderpedia.


In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914 by Leslie S. Klinger

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In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror, 1816-1914 by Leslie S. Klinger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 15th 2015 by Pegasus
Source: egalley via Edelweiss


A wonderful collection of gothic short stories by authors the editor feels have been forgotten over time as writers of the macabre by falling under the shadow of Poe. A very informative and entertaining introduction is included which gives a history of the "terror" story from ancient times to now with the emphasis being on the latter-half of the 1800s. This is an excellent sampling of Gothic tales of horror from the Victorian era by a wide range of authors. Of course in such collections some stories are better than others, but I found the collection as a whole to be a solid 4-star rating. I had heard of most of the authors, read a good many of them, found some new-to-me authors, but also did not recall having read any of these stories and was particularly pleased to find a c…

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 410 pages
Published 1984 by Signet
first published 1983
Source: Bookmooched


Contains spoilers but I've been intentionally vague.

I'm re-reading King's books in chronological order and I was looking forward to this one. I would have been 15 the first time I read this and I remember it being quite frightening; I have no memory whatsoever of watching the movie even though I must have. My memory served me well pretty much recalling the whole plot of the story, but I couldn't remember the ending. Did he actually bury the kid? And what happened then? All that stuff ends up happening in the last 75 pages or so, though.

For the most part, I found the book did not live up to my expectations. The last 75 pages is the good stuff. Preceding that we have a family story, bad stuff happens, this family has psychological problems in dealing with death, but not much happens except for the cat thing. Honestly, that isn'…

Dark Screams: Volume Five edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar

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Dark Screams: Volume Five edited by Brian James Freeman & Richard Chizmar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Hydra
Source: egalley via Netgalley

Dark Screams (5)


I've read all the books in this series and found this latest offering the most disappointing. All the stories included are originals for the book, or at least the copyright doesn't say any different. The crowning glory of this series has been the inclusion of at least one (sometimes two) old reprints by classic authors such as King, Straub or Barker. This book fails to carry the scope of the previous four books by including five authors I've never heard of and not one of them stood out as must read author to me. Though the stories improved starting with the worst and saving best for last. I'm hoping the next book will return to its previous format and include a proven successful reprint as a feature story.

1. Everything You've Always Wanted by Mick Garris - H…

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart by Kory Merritt

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The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart by Kory Merritt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Andrews McMeel
Source: egalley via Netgalley

The art is the best thing about this profusely illustrated picture book for older kids. It's creepy and haunting, a bit scary and gross at times, certainly disturbing and the creatures are the stuff of nightmares. I liked it, the colours, dark and cool, purples and blues matched the gothic atmosphere. The story, on the other hand is somewhat long-winded taking ages to get to any point. The whole first half up to where Jonathan can't come up with a story, I found boring and tedious and struggled with not wanting to finish the book. It would hardly have changed the plot had the book started in the middle with Jonathan sitting there without a story to tell, getting up, and the same events would have followed. This is where it picked up for me and I started to enjoy the swamp crea…

Old Sparky: The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty by Anthony Galvin

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Old Sparky: The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty by Anthony Galvin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 280 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Carrel Books
Source: egalley via Edelweiss


An engrossing read from start to finish. The book narrows down its focus quite quickly but does start broadly to illustrate how the author arrives at his premise. Starting with worldwide execution methods throughout history, Galvin quickly travels through medieval and renaissance Europe, then particularly Britain from whence the colonists brought their preferred execution styles with them to the new world. For most of Britain and it's colonies, hanging became the civilized method and was used almost exclusively in the US until a time when Britain was perfecting the method. What was the US to do? Follow Britain again? Was hanging the most humane method of execution? The French had the guillotine, the Spanish the garrotte, and the firing squad has been used in most civilized countries …

Classic Collection: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Frankenstein

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving by Savior Pirotta; illus by Jason Juta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by QEB Publishing
Source: egalley via edelweiss

QEB Classic Collection

A very well written story in itself and a well-told adaptation of the classic tale. Many adaptations choose to concentrate on the headless horseman and turn this into a horror story when it is not. This author has kept to the original by presenting a fine folktale of life in New York, a love triangle, and the place ghost stories held in these peoples' lives. The headless horseman scene is the climax of the story which meanders along telling the story of Ichabod Crane first and foremost with moments of humour and a bit of a sense of the haunted. A good introduction to the ghost story.



Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson by Anne Rooney; illus by Tom McGrath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by QEB Publishing

Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories edited, illustrated & introduced by Audrey Niffenegger

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Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories edited, illustrated & introduced by Audrey Niffenegger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Knopf Canada
Source: Review Copy thanks to Penguin Random House Canada


A varied selection of ghost stories from Victorian era through to modern day authors. The spooky ghost theme is consistent throughout the collection though sometimes the reader is left with deciding whether it is a story of the paranormal or madness. The writing, however, varies widely from Gothic to humour to horror to simply odd and so on making it a decidedly inconsistent anthology. Overall, I found the selections mediocre, some better than others, a few great, but more than a few less than good. There were some I'd read before and the older ones were my favourites. There were classic stories by Poe, Oliver Onions and M.R. James but surprisingly my favourite in the entire collection was a modern story by a new-to-me author, Kelly Link.…