Vermilion is just really, really disappointing

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting the very oldest titles off my TBR, especially since starting this project. There are a few dusty, more obscure ones I’ve had trouble tracking down and had to wait until the ol’ budget was flush enough to make an order. Vermilion is one of those. IContinue reading “Vermilion is just really, really disappointing”

‘My Heart’ Cuts Like a ‘Chainsaw’

Typically the term “unflinching” is used when talking about works of Very Serious Fiction or Nonfiction (an even more serious genre than Very Serious Fiction), of which genre fiction like horror is not typically a part. But the more I read of Stephen Graham Jones’ work, the more I can’t get past that word asContinue reading “‘My Heart’ Cuts Like a ‘Chainsaw’”

From Tropes to Teen Survivors, ‘Final Girl’ Nods to Slashers

The happy ending of many horror movies, especially slashers, is that the one last main character (usually teen, female, conventionally attractive) walks away bruised and bloodied but alive while the killer dies a horrifically fitting death, often at the hands of the survivor. This happens so frequently, this character trope has a name: the finalContinue reading “From Tropes to Teen Survivors, ‘Final Girl’ Nods to Slashers”

Bigfoot and Big Scares in ‘Devolution’

One of the greatest, most terrible, most amazing parts about reading is when you find yourself absolutely immersed in a book and nothing—not responsibilities, relationships, or reasonable bedtimes—can draw you out of it. Which is why I was flipping ebook page after ebook page at 1:30 a.m. as I raced to reach the end ofContinue reading “Bigfoot and Big Scares in ‘Devolution’”

This ‘Book Club’ has Teeth

There are so many things I want to talk about with The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires but every time I start, I realize they’re almost all spoilers. Which is funny, because from the title, the basic premise is pretty clear: a book club, comprised of middle-aged mothers, who slay vampires. But it’sContinue reading “This ‘Book Club’ has Teeth”

Macabre History is a Delight in ‘Monster’

When I told my husband the book I was reading was called Monster, She Wrote, he said, “You’re only reading that because it sounds like Murder, She Wrote,” and then proceeded to describe a whole horror-themed knockoff of the classic 1984-1996 series starring our absolute queen, Angela Lansbury. Which was completely insulting, because the Murder,Continue reading “Macabre History is a Delight in ‘Monster’”

No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’

In the opening chapter of The Only Good Indians, Ricky, one of the titular “Indians” has stepped outside a bar to take a leak when a massive and possibly hallucinatory elk appears, stomps on a bunch of cars, and leaves him to the mercy of a bunch of drunk white guys who mete out swiftContinue reading “No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’”

‘Hollow’ Treads Familiar Ground, but Still Spooks

The Hollow Places made it onto my TBR the instant I knew it existed, which was, like, two weeks ago. I read T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones soon after it came out last year and it gave me the willies, the creeps, and the heebie-jeebies, and I loved every minute of it. In The HollowContinue reading “‘Hollow’ Treads Familiar Ground, but Still Spooks”

It’s Easy to Fall Under the Spell of ‘Gothic’

One of the most pleasurable threads running through Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic is that the book’s heroine, Noemí Taboada, can be in the throes of spooky secrets and acutely in danger and still take a moment to consider her outfit. For example: “Noemí changed into a polka-dot day dress with a square neck. She hadContinue reading “It’s Easy to Fall Under the Spell of ‘Gothic’”

Let ‘Bones’ Take You for a ‘Drive’

I feel like just about everyone knows an odd old woman with passionate interest in niche subjects like bark beetles or William Blake, and no respect for the boundaries of others. Strange and nosy, but more or less harmless, as long as you don’t have an HOA. Yet from this familiar archetype, Olga Tokarczuk makes anContinue reading “Let ‘Bones’ Take You for a ‘Drive’”