Review: Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare

Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo LivesClown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives by Adam Cesare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

In my opinion, Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives suffered a bit from middle-book syndrome.

Based upon the rumor mill and the way this one left off, I am guessing there is going to be a third book and it’s going to knock this one out of the park.

It’s been a year since the bloodbath in Kettle Springs. Quinn Maybrook finds herself back in Philadelphia, attending college and trying to recover from the horrors she survived.

The public reaction to the Kettle Springs events are mixed. There are factions of online warriors who believe the whole thing was a hoax and some who believe that Quinn and her friends, Cole and Rust, were the actual perpetrators. Frankly, it’s been difficult trying to navigate that atmosphere.

Quinn is a tough egg though, she’s getting by the best she can, just trying to blend in.

Back in Kettle Springs, her father is now the mayor, doing his best to get the damaged town back on track.

The town has become a bit of a tourist attraction for fans of the macabre, general looky-los and unfortunately, a few crazies. All the day in the life of an infamous town.

One weekend when Cole and Rust go to visit Quinn at college, they’re suddenly attacked by a familiar figure. This isn’t their first rodeo, however, and our trio is able to fight off their attackers.

Then Quinn gets the most disturbing call of her life. Something is going down in Kettle Springs and her father seems to be the latest victim. The three must return and seemingly relive the worst night of their life all over again.

Is it a copy-cat? Is it a conspiracy? How were the attacks coordinated? Quinn’s not sure yet, but she definitely intends to find out.

I loved Clown in a Cornfield. I started it on release day, read my hardback copy and enjoyed every moment of my reading experience. It was the exact book I needed to kick off the start of my Spooky Season 2020.

I loved the new girl trope we had happening with Quinn as she first arrived in Kettle Springs. The set-up was fantastic, including details as small as the view from Quinn’s bedroom window. I see you, Frendo.

The social commentary was fantastic as well and the kill scenes were a ton of fun. I marveled at Cesare’s creativity.

While this reading experience was quite different for me, I’m not mad at it.

This time around, I listened to the audiobook, while preparing for and traveling for Thanksgiving. Because of this, I feel like my mind wasn’t 100% committed and had the tendency to wander.

In fact, I listened to the last 40% twice, just trying to determine my opinion on it. One issue was that I found the multiple perspectives difficult to track.

Additionally, I found the build-up to the climax to be a bit muddled. In fact, it was confusion city there for me for a while.

Obviously Quinn’s personality has completely changed as well. At least it felt that way to me. While that’s understandable after all she’s been through, I did find it a little more challenging to connect with her.

While Cole and Rust’s relationship/angle was a bit of a mess for me, I did enjoy the inclusion of a new character in Kettle Springs, Jeri. Meaning new, as in we get her perspective multiple times in this installment.

Jeri lost her sister in the first book and had a very close call with Frendo. I really enjoyed learning more about her and her experience in the aftermath of his sister’s death and the town’s sudden infamy.

Personally, I don’t think the audibook did me any favors either. It’s not like the narration was bad. It really wasn’t. It was great in fact. I just think this could have been a better experience for me if I had read my hard copy.

Regardless, this was still a solid book. The themes involved were well-expressed. Particularly relevant in the aftermath of the Alex Jones / Sandy Hook trial. Cesare did a good job channeling those types of real-life issues into this.

I like that. I always enjoy some social commentary in my Horror. So, while this wasn’t great for me, I’m still enjoying this series and would absolutely pick up a third book!!!

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Review: Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison

Such Sharp TeethSuch Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Such Sharp Teeth follows Rory Morris. Rory is somewhat reluctantly returning to her hometown to support her sister, Scarlett, through her pregnancy. Scarlett is currently estranged from the baby’s father and living alone.

Rory moved away for a reason though and isn’t crazy about being back, but she figures she should suck it up for a bit in order to help her sister. It’s the right thing to do and doesn’t hurt to be a good person once in a while.

Regardless, like many of us who have moved away from our hometowns, to return just feels weird. You’re out of place, life has move on without you. You feel so removed.

In an effort to re-acclimate herself, she heads to a local bar, as you do. Seriously, that would be my first stop. There are faces there she hasn’t seen in years. Some look real good, like the bartender and one time almost-flame, Ian.

Maybe this won’t be so bad after all…

On her way home from the bar that night, as her mind is racing over the surreal nature of her evening, Rory hits something with her car.

Shocked and a bit unsure, she gets out to investigate. Apparently, Rory has never watched a Horror movie before. The next thing she knows, she’s on the ground being viciously attacked.

Awaking in the hospital, Rory doesn’t remember much, just the feeling of tearing flesh and a distinct, gamey odor.

The explanation offered up is that she was attacked by and then fought off a bear. Okay, Rory doesn’t necessarily think that was it, but what her mind is leaning towards is too crazy to even say, no one will believe her.

Recovering from her accident, in the following days, Rory notices some changes within herself. She deals with them alone, again, she doesn’t want everyone to think she is crazier than they already do.

As the full moon arrives, however, it can no longer be ignored. Rory can’t control it. It can’t be denied, Rory has found herself in the midst of a werewolf tale and she’s the star. Ughhh, just her luck.

Such Sharp Teeth was such a delightful surprise. I love Rachel Harrison’s brand of ‘Horror with Heart’ and this one is the perfect example of that style.

Harrison excels at body horror, of which there is plenty within these pages, all while meshing it perfectly with everyday, relatable life issues. Her characters are so well done. I never have a problem connecting with her mains and Rory is no exception.

This story feels contemporary, and it is, but with one horrifying thing happening to Rory, it changes the entire tone. It’s funny, heart-warming, heart-breaking and addicting.

This is easily the most unique werewolf story that I’ve ever read. It was so much fun to go along with Rory as she comes to grips with what is happening to her and tries to find a way to deal with it.

Rory needed to get control of her life before the incident, but the stakes are raised for sure by the attack.

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys humorous horror, or body horror. It’s a quick read and completely engaging throughout.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Harrison delivers next!!

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Review: Jackal by Erin E. Adams

JackalJackal by Erin E. Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Even though she is returning to her hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, as a successful adult, Liz Rocher is still filled with trepidation. Her memories of her time there fill her with anxiety.

Growing up a bit of an outcast, the one person she could always rely on was her best friend, Mel. Now Mel is getting married and has asked Liz to be part of her special day.

Mel and Liz have remained close over the years and Liz is even the godmother to Mel’s daughter, Caroline. When it comes to visits though, it’s always them going to see Liz in the city; same with Liz’s Mom.

It’s her turn to show up this time, so she does. It feels strange to be back; doesn’t seem like a lot has changed. Her Mom is certainly full of the critiques straight away.

At the wedding, Liz is discomforted by the woodsy venue. The local woods, the subject of dark legends and a frequent player in Liz’s nightmares, are part of her worst memories from Johnstown.

In spite of the location, Liz is enjoying spending quality time with Caroline. It’s sort of on her to keep an eye on the girl while Mel and her new husband entertain at the reception.

Sometime between dessert, dancing and dodging awkward conversations, Liz loses site of Caroline. She begins searching, asking everyone if they have seen the little girl, but no one has. Starting to panic, Liz enters the edge of the woods. She’s scared.

After finding a frightening bit of evidence, Liz comes to the conclusion that Caroline is gone. She needs help. A full search party is assembled.

Liz is devastated. How could this happen? The incident is reminiscent of another horrible night back when Liz was in high school. A night when another girl went missing in the woods from a party; Keisha Woodson.

Even though she had only planned to stay in town for a couple of days, Liz can’t leave now. She has to stay until Caroline is found. Whatever the outcome, she needs to help. She needs to be here.

In an effort to help find the girl, Liz begins asking around regarding Keisha’s disappearance. Perhaps the two cases are related. What she finds is that Keisha wasn’t the first. She also finds a very distinct pattern, all black girls, missing from the woods, directly around the summer solstice.

Will Liz be able to figure out who, or what, is taking the girls, and find Caroline before it’s too late?

Jackal impressed me. It’s hard to define, it’s quite unique. I would describe it as a thoughtful work of Dark Fiction with heavy Social Horror components. The writing style has a stream of consciousness quality to it, that honestly, I’m not normally crazy about, but it really fit here.

It’s not a super straight-forward story, it does require some effort on the part of the Reader, but I feel like for those who are willing to put in some energy, it will leave a mark.

Liz was a well-developed character. It took time to get to know her, but it would be hard not to feel for her and her experiences. I also felt like her character growth was paced well throughout.

The overall tone reminded me of The Other Black Girl, in that the entire build-up of the story is laced with a certain uneasiness; like you know something sinister is going on just beyond your line of sight.

I love that feeling. The ominous feeling of the developing mystery and the building of tension as the conclusion approaches.

It did sort of lose me a bit towards the end. I’m still a little confused on a couple of things and maybe in those instances would have preferred a more definitive outcome. However, this is 100% personal preference.

I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys Social Horror, or Dark Fiction in general. The topics explored, the over-arching mystery and compelling main character, all combine to make Jackal a stirring debut.

Thank you to the publisher, Bantam, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m really looking forward to reading more from Erin E. Adams!

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Review: All Hallows by Christopher Golden

All HallowsAll Hallows by Christopher Golden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

All Hallows, Christopher Golden’s upcoming Horror release, is set in Coventry, Massachusetts.

More specifically, all the events contained within this story surround Halloween Night, 1984, in the solitary neighborhood of Parmenter Road.

The energy in the neighborhood that day is electric, as everyone puts the last-minute touches on the night’s events, decor and costumes.

The Barbosa Family will be hosting their annual and this year, their final, Haunted Woods event. Tony and his daughter, Chloe, have been pouring their hearts and souls into this event for years; setting up just the right props and scares for neighbors and strangers alike to enjoy.

Also that evening will be the typical door-to-door trick-or-treating by neighborhood kids, as well as a block party hosted by the Koenig Family. There’s a lot happening.

The Reader follows the unfolding events via multiple perspectives of individuals living in the neighborhood, including both children and adults.

As the night begins to build, more and more drama is exposed on what one might suppose is a quiet little street. Parmenter Road, like many small town streets, contains a lot of people harboring a lot of secrets. A few of which are about to be brought to light in a big way.

On this night in particular, there are outsiders added to the mix as well. Children dressed in old-fashioned costumes, a Clown, a Scarecrow and a Raggedy Ann, begin to insert themselves into the activities, pleading with the local children for help.

They need to hide, just until midnight from The Cunning Man. Will anyone help them?

I had a lot of fun with this. I love neighborhood-focused stories and this one night on Parmenter Road gave me all the spectacle and intrigue that I could want in that regard.

There was just the right amount of family drama, 80s-references, kills, gore and creepy imagery to keep me 100% invested all the way through.

There are a lot of perspectives, which I feel like not everyone will be crazy about, but for me it made perfect sense. Considering how the story plays out, I actually can’t imagine it being told any other way.

I also loved the atmosphere. Golden brought me back to the Halloween Nights of my youth. Traipsing around with the other neighborhood kids under our claustrophobic masks, carrying plastic orange pumpkins, hitting up as many houses as we could, walking a little faster through the dark spaces between homes.

The strange children and the idea of The Cunning Man definitely brought the chills as well. Nostalgic and scary, I definitely enjoyed the unsettling vibes.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me a copy to read and review. I always enjoy checking out Golden’s new work, sure to be full of creativity and frightening imagery.

Hallow’s Eve is being released on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. Preorder your copy now!!!

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Review: Final Girls by Mira Grant

Final GirlsFinal Girls by Mira Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Mira Grant’s novella, Final Girls, originally published in 2017 is now being released in audio format.

This story features Dr. Webb, who has created a ground-breaking VR technology that she purports helps clients overcome long-term psychological damage and trauma.

With this process, the clients get taken back to significant times in their lives and run through situations that basically equate to scenes straight out of a horror movie.

I understand the idea to be that the scientists take the clients back to these pivotal moments, break them, shock them so severely, that they are able to rebuild new memories and thus rewire their brains; resetting their psychology.

Another main player in this one is Esther Hoffman, a journalist, who has her own very strong opinions on this type of science.

Esther ends up in Dr. Webb’s lab for a story. She observes a couple of clients running through the process themselves, as well as observing the resulting aftereffects. Then Esther agrees to undergo the treatment herself.

When a real world threat enters the lab during Esther’s scenerio, Esther and Dr. Webb, once on different sides, are suddenly forced together in a fight for survival.

Final Girls explores a unique concept that I was definitely intrigued by. I would definitely pick up a full-length novel tackling these futuristic ideas.

My experience with this story overall, however, can be broken down as follows:

Concept: 4-stars
Plot: 3-stars
Characters: 3-stars
Writing: 5-stars

Mira Grant’s writing is something to experience in and of itself. I love it. Every word carefully placed, themes thoughtfully examined, well-paced and nuanced. I always eat it up.

While I don’t think this story will stick in my memory from now until forever more, I am really glad that I listened to it. The narration was fantastic and it definitely is interesting to think about this type of futuristic therapy.

Thank you to the publisher, Tantor Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had fun with this one and will continue to pick up any Mira Grant work I can get my hands on!

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Review: White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

White HorseWhite Horse by Erika T. Wurth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


**A NOVEMBER 2022 BOOK OF THE MONTH SELECTION**

Kari James has a bit of a dark past. There’s her missing mother, her father, who suffered a brain injury in an accident and is unable to care for himself, as well as a best friend lost to their lifestyle choices.

Now in her 30s, living back in her hometown of Denver, Colorado, Kari works, takes care of her Dad and in her downtime, enjoys reading, or having a few beers at the White Horse, her favorite local watering hole.

Kari’s cousin, Debby, is her closest friend. The person she can count on the most. The two spend quite a bit of time together, but would probably be together even more if it wasn’t for Debby’s overbearing husband.

One night while Kari is drinking at the White Horse, Debby arrives. As they chat, Debby presents her with a bracelet that she found while doing some cleaning. It used to belong to Kari’s Mom.

As soon as Kari lays hands on the antique, traditionally-engraved bracelet, she feels a unique energy course through her. This is something powerful.

Kari begins being plagued by dreams and visions, of her mother, of her past, of something dark and dangerous lurking just outside her vision. She’s haunted.

Kari, not unlike myself, has always been a fan of just keeping the past buried. Some events are too painful to dwell upon; they’re best dealt with if they’re not.

Kari had always been told her mother left them. Now she’s not as sure that was the case. She begins to dig. She feels compelled to finally find the truth. Is her mother still alive, is she dead?

Kari’s also sort of forced to deal with her own past, life choices and the loss of her best friend, Jamie. Kari needs to overcome her own guilt, in addition to her grief, in order to move forward with her life.

White Horse is a beautifully-told story. I loved the dark and gritty tone of it all. I could picture everything Kari was experiencing, but it was like watching a Horror movie where the setting is always kind of dark. Where you feel like you are squinting because you’re trying so hard not to miss what’s happening.

I also really enjoyed the themes explored. It was layered, emotional, powerful, and the Indigenous lore and concepts involved in the story were fantastic.

There’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding Kari’s family and early-life. I liked how Wurth gradually revealed the truth. It was done slowly, but in a way that kept me interested from the very start.

The pace and tension continues to build as you learn more. By the end, I was so freaking invested. I had to know the truth!

There were some things that I wasn’t crazy about, but not many. For example, Debby’s husband’s presence occasionally kicked me out of the story, he was so terrible.

Also, some aspects did become a little muddled for me personally, particularly surrounding the focus on The Shining. I think I get it, but I’m not a hundred on it. I may need to read it again to clear up some things.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this story; investigating the long-held family secrets within this one Urban Indigenous family. I listened to the audiobook and would definitely recommend that format. It was well-done and just a great story to sit and listen to.

The texture of the grief, the guilt, I felt it. I connected with Kari. Wurth did a great job developing her character. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am going to remember this one for a long time.

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Review: The Wakening by J.G. Faherty

The WakeningThe Wakening by J.G. Faherty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Greetings Geeks & Ghouls!

Halloween Weekend is FINALLY upon us. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Am I right?!

If you love possession stories, if you love an exorcism, if you love an exorcism gone wrong, may I present J.G. Faherty’s, The Wakening, for your consideration. This could be the perfect weekend read for you!

This story follows a group of individuals, pulled together through an eerie set of circumstances, trying to save one small New York town from the grips of an ancient evil.

The story actually began over 50-years ago in a remote Guatemalan village, when a young Father Leo Bonaventura was called to assist a friend with a complicated exorcism.

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well. In an effort to learn from that day, Bonaventura brings some evidence of that exorcism back with him to the United States to be studied. Ultimately depositing the objects at a University in upstate New York.

The University is in the small town of Hastings Mills. Over the years the town witnesses multiple atrocities, including an extremely vivid scene taking place in the abandoned attic room of one of the University buildings, when a group of students gathers to perform a seance.

I’m talking, extremely vivid. This was honestly my favorite scene of the entire book. It got my pulse racing. It seriously creeped me out. I could picture it all and the horror imagery was absolutely fantastic!!

It’s a little difficult to explain the set-up of this one, but after the background of the paranormal activities of the town, we begin to follow a group of paranormal investigators who get called to assist with a young girl, Abigail, who appears to be possessed.

Stone Graves is their leader and he is the host of a reality paranormal show. The group gets to Abigail’s home, much to the relief of Abby’s father, a single-parent, and immediately begin filming.

It’s clear that Abigail’s issues are no farce, the adults find themselves in a true battle, not just for their lives, but for the lives of the entire town. How can one little girl be so powerful?

Father Bonaventura, now well past his prime, just may be the key to it all.

Dun, dun dun. Y’all, this book was pedal to the floor the entire way through. I hope I have given an intriguing enough synopsis to get at least some of you Horror fans interested.

I don’t think it gets enough love yet, but we can change that. I appreciated the set-up of this so much. You can literally watch the timeline unfold of the horrors of this town.

And trust me, there are a lot of horrors happening with Abby’s house being the center of it all. When I mentioned above it is pedal to the floor, I meant it. There are no pages and pages of nonsense waiting for something paranormal to occur, it is in your face all the time.

Sometimes, maybe it was too much. I can see how some Readers may feel that way. My one small criticism would be that I did feel it was a touch too long. There was so much happening at Abby’s house that on occasion it began to feel a bit repetitive.

Also, this didn’t bother me at all, but I feel like I should provide a caution for others, the entity involved is sort of a demon of lust and chaos. Therefore, their power seeping over the town can cause blatant acts of hyper-sexualization.

To be clear, you will find that on page. Again, didn’t bother me, but if you feel you are sensitive to highly-sexual content, this may not be the book for you.

With this being said, I did love the build-up, including the set of characters that were brought together to battle the evil and the entire possession element. Even though it was a touch too long, I feel like it was worth the investment of my time.

I absolutely plan to pick up more of J.G. Faherty’s work. I was impressed by the imagery he was able to evoke with his words. Yikes.

Overall, The Wakening is an entertaining, pulse-racing, toe-curling, gag-inducing possession story!

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Review: Little Eve by Catriona Ward

Little EveLittle Eve by Catriona Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Hot off the success of The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial, Catriona Ward’s 2018-novel, Little Eve was rereleased earlier this month.

I was super impressed with Ward’s most recent releases, so was very excited to check this one out as well. The synopsis sounded just as WTF as I would expect and the story itself didn’t disappoint in that regard.

This novel starts out with a bang, as the brutalized bodies of a family are discovered off the coast of Scotland, on the remote island of Altnaharra. The scene appears be ritualistic in nature.

The rest of the story fills in the pieces of the events that preceded that horrific event.

The narrative follows a few different perspectives and jumps around in the timeline as well. You mainly follow Eve and Dinah, who are two of the girls living on Altnaharra with the mysterious ‘Uncle’. Through their words you begin to understand what their life was like on the island.

There’s also the perspective of Chief Inspector Black, who becomes involved in Eve’s life. His view, from an outsider’s eyes, really helps to highlight the horrors of Altnaharra.

For the first quarter of this, I was well and truly confused. It is revealed later in the story why that might have been and I did come to understand why Ward would have written it that way. It made sense if you were seeing the world through the mind of these characters.

The tension and pace picks up at the story goes on. I had no idea who I could trust. I was loving so many of the reveals as the puzzle pieces began to fall into place.

Towards the end, it started to get a bit chaotic again and I was finding it a bit more difficult to track what was going on. In fact, I listened to a couple of the last chapters at least three times, trying to capture it all.

That is another thing, I did listen to the audiobook and I’m not sure, that could have added a bit to my confusion. The accent was a little tough for me, with my dumb foreign ears, so some names and words were hard to differentiate.

I think if I would have read a hard copy, maybe I would have had a slightly easier time keeping track of everything.

With this being said, the story itself was absolutely captivating. The atmosphere was rich and creepy as heck. I enjoyed the mystery of it all and finding out the truth.

While the ending wasn’t perfect for me, this was definitely a memorable one. Ward is unique and we love that. Each novel I have read from her is totally different from each other and also like nothing else I have read. That’s a gift.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I enjoyed this one. It’s dark content and stunningly-cold atmosphere is perfect for the Spooky Season.

I cannot wait to see what Ward comes up with next!!!

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Review: Daphne by Josh Malerman

DaphneDaphne by Josh Malerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the best parts of any sleepover is scaring yourself. Whether it’s with scary movies, games or just scary stories told amongst friends, there’s no denying it’s a fun way to pass the time.

In the small town of Samhattan, when the girls basketball team gets together for a sleepover, one of the girls decides to tell the story of a local legend, Daphne.

Daphne attended their high school a few decades ago, around the same time as many of their parents actually. She was a 7-foot tall, social outcast, who wore Kiss makeup for no apparent reason and made a lot of people, children and adults alike, very uncomfortable.

Legend has it that she died tragically, at the hands of classmates and ever since that time will haunt anyone who dares to think about her. Daphne allegedly appears and kills with her bare hands.

The concept is along the lines of Bloody Mary. We all know her, many of us fear her, but this is worse. With Bloody Mary, you have to be consciously summoning her, saying her name, doing certain things that are said to bring her forth.

With Daphne, all you have to do is think about her though. Everyone knows that the more you try not to think about something, the more impossible it becomes. Thus, Daphne is now pretty much an inevitability for these teen girls.

Kit Lamb, one of the star players, has a really hard time not thinking about Daphne. As a matter of fact, she even asks the rim about her; a tradition the girls have.

She asks the rim if Daphne will kill her. The ball goes in. I think you can all deduce what that means. Then it is a non-stop terror train of thoughts about Daphne for poor Kit. How can she possibly shut these thoughts off?

Will any of the girls basketball team survive knowing Daphne’s story? Honestly, it’s so awful. How could they not think about her after being told?

Daphne was a weirdly-fun and captivating story. Even though I wasn’t crazy about some of the structural choices, it felt quite disjointed to me due to odd perspective shifts, overall, I really enjoyed it!

Truthfully, Malerman’s work has been hit or miss for me; we have a 50/50 relationship. I was actually thinking this would be the last shot I was going to take. Regardless, I’m glad I took the chance as this story paid off.

I really appreciated the exploration of anxiety through Kit’s perspective and also enjoyed the whole idea behind this town and Daphne’s legacy. The idea that it could collectively be blocked from the town memory, without anyone pushing for that to be so, was a really interesting concept.

That something so heinous and traumatic, a piece of history, could be swept under the rug, with everyone just pretending it didn’t exist. That sounds pretty true to life, doesn’t it?

The horror was fun. The concept of Daphne was very creative and well-imagined. There were scenes that definitely got my pulse going.

Additionally, this had some twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming. That absolutely contributed to my enjoyment. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I’m looking forward to more Malerman now!

Thank you to the publisher, Ballantine, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I definitely recommend this one to Slasher fans, or anyone looking for a thoughtful, spooky, fun read!

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Review: Ghostwritten by Ronald Malfi

GhostwrittenGhostwritten by Ronald Malfi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ghostwritten is a collection of 4-novellas by one of the most compelling voices in Horror Fiction today, Ronald Malfi.

I didn’t know anything about this collection going in, seeing Malfi’s name on the cover was enough for me, but was so pleased to discover the connecting theme amongst the stories contained therein: BOOKS!

We all love books, don’t we?

How about haunted books, evil books or murderous books? Color me intrigued! I would definitely check them out.

This collection starts out with a bang with The Skin of Her Teeth. I adored that story. It was giving me Secret Window, Secret Garden vibes and I was living for it. The tone and suspense of it all helped me to fly through it so quickly.

It was crazy fun!

The second and third stories, The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride and This Book Belongs to Olo, were both enjoyable as well. They were so dark, fast-moving and creative. How does he come up with this stuff?

With these middle two though, for me, I wasn’t captivated to the same extent as I was with the first story. I began to think that maybe the first story would end up being my resounding favorite. Then I started the fourth and final story, aptly titled, The Story.

The Story involves a very dark web, twisted version of a Choose Your Own Adventure story. I was obsessed with those types of books when I was a kid.

I always wondered just what would happen if the choices I was making in the book actually had an effect on my real life. I guess Malfi once upon a time wondered the same thing…

I loved this one so much. It was horrendous in all the right ways. The way it ended, sheer perfection.

Overall, this was a completely enjoyable, sure to be memorable collection.

For me, since the first and fourth stories were 5-stars, and the second and third were around 3.5-stars, I decided to slice it right down the middle with a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ final rating. Also, I definitely recommend the audiobook!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Titan Books and Tantor Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

If you are looking for a creepy collection to pick up this Spooky Season, you should absolutely get your hands on Ghostwritten. There’s something for everyone here!!

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