Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Misery by Stephen King (1987)

Posted: December 5, 2013 in Horror, Thriller

“I am in trouble here. This woman is not right”


Misery is the story of novelist Paul Sheldon, who nearly dies in a car crash and Annie Wilkes, the woman who saves his life.  Misery is also the name of a popular heroine in Sheldon’s Victorian romance novels.  Paul awakens from his coma to find himself crippled and under the care of Annie, a former nurse who has read all of his Misery novels and professes to be his number one fan.  As time passes by under Annie’s care, Paul begins to realise to his horror that his carer is in fact his captor and she is severely unstable.  Annie loses her temper when she reads Sheldon’s belligerent new novel about car theft.  She flies into a morbid rage when she finds that he has decided to kill off Misery, ending her romantic saga.  Eventually she forces him into writing a new novel to bring back her beloved Misery from the dead.  Paul co-operates with her, hoping that when he is recuperated enough he can formulate an escape plan.  But he soon learns the consequences of betraying his number one fan.

Although I have seen most of the Stephen King movie adaptations I must confess that Misery was the first of his novels I have actually read.  I’m glad I finally did because I have become an instant fan.  Don’t get me wrong, this book may require some work before you begin to enjoy it but the rewards come very quickly.  Paul’s fevered dreams of agony do not make for easy reading at the beginning of the book.  The chunks of Sheldon’s fictional manuscript for “Misery’s Return” were not exactly easy for me either but I’m glad King put them in there because it really helps with the realism of Paul’s plight.

Those of you who have watched the 1990 movie you will be familiar with the basic concept and the characters but I recommend you take the time to read this novel because it really takes you much deeper into the horror of this unnerving situation.  Sheldon’s abuse at the hands of Annie Wilkes takes on a much darker tone and I certainly found myself wondering if he was ever going to make it through to the end of the book!  Obviously a popular novelist like Stephen King requires no approval from me but if you have yet to read Misery it is worth picking up a copy either second hand or on Kindle.  After all, who knows?  You may even become his next number one fan…

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“Funny, cheeky, sexy and ridiculous…”

Accidental Demon Slayer

I stumbled across this book during a browse through the free section but in truth I would not have minded paying for it.  Unlike most freebies, this is not a novella but a full size novel with enough room for character development, plot twists and lots of humour.

Lizzie Brown is an ordinary modern woman, fresh into her thirties, teaching at a primary school.  Her well-to-do life is turned into a bizarre adventure when her long lost grandmother pulls up on a motorcycle and tells her she is destined to save the world from a powerful demon.  Guided by her grandmother’s coven of biker witches, protected by a shape-shifting griffin and supported by her talking Jack Russel, Lizzie must learn to use her formidable powers to overcome the forces of darkness.

Although the romantic side of the story may be directed more at a female audience there are enough action scenes, plot turns and funny jokes to entertain any reader.  I’d recommend this if you enjoyed shows like Buffy or Charmed but even if you didn’t there is enough to keep most horror-fantasy fans going.

While the word use is very colloquial and sometimes just a little clumsy it is fairly deliberate and generally suits the story.  Some parts of the character dialogue and development seemed a bit rushed too but not to a point that ruins the whole book.  On the whole it seems that Fox was writing the kind of story she’d like to read rather than fill a genre market-gap or follow a formula.

The Accidental Demon Slayer certainly does not hold back too much on gore, language or indeed sex. For this reason, despite its somewhat jovial look at the supernatural I would say that only adult readers should buy this book.

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Dead Thing by Andrew Hawnt (2011)

Posted: December 3, 2013 in Horror
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“Painting The Town Red!”

Dead Thing

Cover art by Richard Woollatt

The story centers around the actions of an otherworldly entity, a demon which survives and grows by inhabiting human hosts. Our major protagonist is Kevin, a young man whose days are numbered by Cystic Fibrosis. After a short encounter with the fiend he finds himself assisting a team of paranormal investigators in a desperate race to save his estranged lover Julie from becoming the creature’s final host.

While the supernatural action is incredibly graphic and extreme the brief episodes of normality are amazingly true to life. Andrew Hawnt clearly has a good grasp of his characters in their everyday lives with their pet hates, daily routines and waking thoughts. These scenes of the mundane serve to make the scenes of the macabre surprisingly believable. The main characters are realistic, intelligent and sympathetic people whose world is torn apart by a foe that you genuinely want them to defeat. In true Tech-Noir fashion much of the action takes place in the seedy world of clubland, where violence and panic are easier to camouflage into a backdrop of leisurely excess.

All in all Dead Thing is a fairly short read but it’s impact is hard. At Kindle price it is certainly worth buying just to try something a little different. I look forward to reading (and hopefully reviewing) the sequel.

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