Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dead Bait 2

Dead Bait 2
Severed Press 2011

Dead Bait 2 by [Alten, Steve, Ramsey Campbell, Guy N Smith, Tim Curran, James Robert Smith]

A themed horror series that is both horror and stays on theme!  Be still be bleeding heart.  Not as good as the first installment, or maybe the novelty is wearing thin - I suspect these are leftover submissions from the first series.  I'm impressed that they've managed to spread out the topics and types of fish to avoid too much repetition.

Captain Fontaine and the Man Eater by Raleigh Dugal
A midlife crisis tale of shark fishing.  There's a brief hallucinatory scene with a mermaid or something, so you can take that for Magic Realism if you want, but not really horror.

The Mer-Monkey by Paul A. Freeman
An anthropologist goes looking for Fiji mermaids with a stupid twist that doesn't make sense.

Heavy Weather by Murphy Edwards
A sea Captain promises the biggest catch, for a price.

Lonely After Dark by Tim Curran
A vengeful ghost lurks beneath the ice on Spider Lake.  My favorite of the collection, but there's a lot of leftover potential in ice-fishing horror.

Ferry-Moans by J.M. Harris
A guy fishing in the Amazon kills a native girl who becomes bait.  Starts to play off the whole "women are good at fishing because of pheromones" thing before it just fizzles out.

Raised by the Moon by Ramsey Campbell
A college student's car breaks down in a desolate coastal town.  He finds shelter with an old, miserable couple who deliver him to a horde of sea people.  I've never had much luck with Campbell, and this one I had trouble following some of the prose.  We've come this far without a Dagon reference, and I'm genuinely surprised it didn't come up here.

A Summer on Quiet Island by Cody Goodfellow
Another small town with a dying fishing industry, this time on an inbred island with mostly deaf inhabitants and a lot of creepy juvenile sexuality.

Lost in Time by Steve Alten
Noirish double crosses unearthing a buried pirate treasure and prehistoric fish.

The Fish Thing by Guy N. Smith
Smith doesn't even bother phoning it in - the title is about as creative as this gets.  A man kills his unfaithful Romany lover and throws her in a lake.  He goes back to the lake and she turns into the Fish Thing, the end.

Shiners by Michael Hodges
Man fishes with son, man catches weird looking fish, man gets snatched into the sky by some kind of bat thing.

The Worst Thing Ever by Anthony Wedd
Shark attack, written from the viewpoint of an annoying British teenager.  Some decent gruesomeness.

"The Krang" by James Robert Smith
A mercenary shanghais a one-armed beggar to hunt the Krangin an old-timey fantasy.  Slight horror overtones, but I enjoyed it so I'll forgive going a little off-genre.

Available from Amazon for Kindle.

Click here for an excerpt.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Butcher 32 The Hoodoo Horror by Stuart Jason

The Hoodoo Horror
by Stuart Jason (Michael Avallone)
The Butcher 32
1981 Pinnacle Books

A generic guru Father Pequet goes to the hospital for a heart attack.  The Butcher is sent by White Hat to protect him.  He fakes injury in a car accident to access the hospital where he's involved in a couple of explosions between banging nurses.

Another agent, The Candy Man, helps him escape police questioning and joins the Butcher in finding Pequet after he's discharged from the hospital.  Here we come as close as we're going to get to a plot.  Pequet faked the heart attack, intending to amaze the world with his ability to recover enough to make a speech three days later.  A little weak, as far as miracles go.

Pequet's theology is incredibly vague - part Hindu guru, part Billy Graham.  Pequet admits that he's using the dark power of Hoodoo...

...which is vague bad-guy magic stuff.  Pequet says this power will destroy the military and make him the world's master.  Which is a good enough reason as any for the Butcher to murder everyone.  He does, getting the Candy Man killed in the process.

This is my first reading of an Avallone Butcher, and he continues in the eccentric writing style of the original, only more repetitive and adding Avallone's trademark of having not much happen.  In places it reads like Lionel Fanthorpe doing hardboiled detective, which is not a good thing.  But we end up with lines like:

"Some women's home plates can be like stubbly forests, barbed wire fences, gravel pits - "

Sexy stuff, that.

Available used on Amazon for too much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Fluttering by David Whitehead

The Fluttering
by David Whitehead (Ben Bridges)

The Fluttering by [Whitehead, David]

Brits are attacked by telepathic bats before having their heads beat in by a hammer.  A scientist and cop get to the bottom of things in a clear Guy N. Smith homage.  The kindle title comes up in a search for Smith, meaning he was actually included in the keywords when uploading the file.

Not that there's anything wrong with channeling the master, but it doesn't quite rise to the level of gore or sleaze of the original.

Available for Kindle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Things I Didn't Finish - Secret Six audiobooks

My library got a Hoopla subscription, which means I now have access to a big chunk of Radioarchives pulp ebook and audiobooks.  I have fond memories of listening to storybook albums as a kid, or falling asleep listening to Mind's Eye cassette tapes.

Michael C. Gwynne's voice is perfect for listening to spooky stories in the dark.  I love his gravelly, bass delivery.  My car speakers, not so much.  As much as I romanticize the good old days of sitting around a giant radio, nobody is going to do that for 3 to 8 hours.  I listen to these in the car, and I can barely make out the dialogue over my windows rattling once I turn up the volume to actually hear what he's saying.

I've heard other titles by Gwynne that didn't have this problem, but his delivery didn't work for me with the Secret Six.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hosts of the Flaming Death - Operator #5 17

Hosts of the Flaming Death
by Curtis Steele (Frederick C. Davis)
Operator #5 17 8/35

America faces a shortage of wartime materials and a gold-masked enemy threatens America's gold supply.  Operator #5, Jimmy Christopher, is taken off the case to deal with the Hidden Hundred, a vigilante army of men in skull mask and skeleton gloves.