The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Posted on 31st March 2011 in Reviews

The Cypress House definitely doesn’t start with a whimper when introducing its supernatural elements. When Arlen Wagner looks around the train carriage carrying himself and co-workers to a jobsite in the Florida Keys, all he sees are skeletons looking back at him.

His gift for identifying those soon to die evolved following his experiences in the Great War, and he finds himself trying to convince those around him to leave the train.

He fails in his task, with only a young co-worker debarking with him in the middle of nowhere. Seeking shelter, the pair meet up with a traveller who helps them out with a room for the night, and then with transport toward their destination. Click here to read more.. »

I am Legend by Richard Matheson

Posted on 29th March 2011 in Reviews

I think that it’s important when reviewing this title not to underplay its influence on subsequent vampire, apocalyptic and zombie genres, and not just in the novel format. Horror-meister George Romero cites I am Legend as the main influence for his seminal Night of the Living Dead movie.

That’s no small beer: from that classic an entire sub-genre was born, so it’s interesting to think then that the vampire technically gave birth (or had a huge part to play) in the creation of the zombie genre as we know it today. Click here to read more.. »

Strangers by Taichi Yamada

Posted on 27th March 2011 in Reviews

Japanese novel Strangers (the original title translates in its native language to Summer of the Strange People) is a haunting tale that plays upon the precepts of the traditional ghost story in several interesting ways. Set in Japan, it’s about middle-aged and divorced salary man Harada who has just moved into a new building that is used primarily as an office space by the other tenants.

Due to his unusual living arrangement, only he and another mysterious woman inhabit the building as proper residents. The woman, who we later find is named Can Kei, seems steeped in a melancholy sadness that follows her around, lingering, and is made more curious by a large physical scar which she bears upon her body. Click here to read more.. »

Angel of Vengeance by Trevor O. Munson

Posted on 22nd March 2011 in Reviews

Angel of Vengeance tested me somewhat from the moment I started reading it. I was several chapters in and wondering whether I’d actually finish the novel. I’d already found the start of this story of LA-based PI and vampire Mick Angel heavily clichéd, and that’s with giving allowances for the hardboiled-fiction roots that author Trevor O. Munson is writing to.

Yet, despite this bumpy start and early warning alarms going off regarding the ‘been there, done that’ feel that is definitely present in this book, I persisted and kept on reading. I am somewhat glad that I did as there was some improvement over the course of this relatively short book. But was it enough for redemption? Click here to read more.. »

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft

Posted on 19th March 2011 in Reviews

call-of-cthulhu-coverThere are many and varied collections of Lovecraft’s works, but by far the best I’ve come across for choice, selection and awesome references is a Penguin edition of The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories edited by famed Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi.

This is one of my favourite books, and my copy is cared for but very well read. I can’t think of how many train/plane/tube/car journeys and such like it has been taken along on over the years. At times when I couldn’t quite decide which novel to take, or perhaps I wanted a shorter read to match the journey, it would be grabbed off of the shelf and taken in hand or in bag/rucksack and packed ready to go. Click here to read more.. »