Thursday, October 31, 2019

Victims by Shaun Hutson

by Shaun Hutson
1987 WH Allen


A sleazy special effects expert is nearly blinded in an effect gone wrong, gets a cornea transplant, and gains the ability to see murder victims, which is convenient as there's a serial killer on the loose. Add in a reporter with a creepy boss who's stalking her.

There are a lot of dropped threads in the story, but it's tied up so nastily it makes up for it.  The whodunit elements are secondary to the gore and sleaze, giving the book a good giallo vibe.

I don't know if Hutson usually does this, but the book is full of referential names: Frank Miller, Sam Loomis, Det. Chandler, etc.

Paperback from AbeBooks

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Men's Adventure on Kindle

Below are links to Men's Adventure paperback series currently available in ebook format for Kindle.  Some are full series, some partial, sometimes only single titles.  Buying ebooks often benefits the authors or their estates more than used books, and the affiliate money keeps me in bad habits. Titles currently available for Kindle Unlimited or Audible are listed, but please check before you click.

You may be eligible for a free trial with Kindle Unlimited or Audible - signups support the site.

.357 Vigilante aka The Jury(Ian Ludlow) - KU

Ashes (William J Johnstone)

The Assassin (Peter McCurtin)

TM Gallery: Child’s Play by Andrew Neiderman

Child’s Play by Andrew Neiderman

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Daughters of Satan (1972)

Daughters of Satan (1972)

Tom Selleck buys a painting of witches being burned at the stake because one of them bares an uncanny resemblance to his wife.  Figures start disappearing from the painting and entering their lives.  Has the vibe of made for TV combined with Filipino exploitation.  Slow moving and not much happens, then all of a sudden there is nude torture and a creepy as scene of a mortician taking spicy photos of a corpse.

Available in multiple formats from Amazon

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rockabye Baby by Stephen Gresham

Rockabye Baby
by Stephen Gresham
1984 Zebra Books


Stephen Gresham writes contemporary swamp magic fantasies under the cover of horror.  Rockabye Baby has more horror than most, but even here it feels like there's just enough to barely justify the cover.

We learn in the opening that an abled man pretends to be disabled during the day and pretends to be a woman while killing children.  He calls himself the Bloofer Lady, which is a reference to Lucy Westenra in Dracula.  A boy learns to harness the Darkness to give him the power to stop him, while a big city detective questions the locals.

The book ends with a long enough epilogue as to make the bit about the serial killer a minor subplot - as much as I'd like to see Grehsam do full-throated horror, I prefer Dew Claws where he doesn't even bother.

There's a bit about the kid's bookshelf filled with adventure fiction, including the Powers of Matthew Star, which sent me on a wild goose hunt to see if there was a novelization or even a comic book adaptation.  Guess this goes down with the Necronomicon or The King in Yellow as a classic mythical book.

Available in ebook from Amazon

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tie-Ins: Halloween II by Jack Martin (Dennis Etchison)

Halloween II
by Jack Martin (Dennis Etchison)
1981 Zebra Books

6945206. sy475

I read this novelization and saw the movie as a teenager, and all I remembered was the hot tub scene and that Night of the Living Dead was playing throughout the film.  I recently rewatched the film and listened to the audiobook, and this time I don't even remember the hot tub scene.

The story follows directly after Halloween, with Laurie Strode going to the hospital, to be followed by the Shape, Micheal Myers, in turn pursued by Sam Loomis.  Not much happens in the movie, and those bare bones are padded out with characters' internal monologues between each line from the script.

The rich can buy a used copy from AbeBooks,  while us cheap folks can listen to the reading from Audiobooks For the Damned

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Unseen (1980)

Some journalists stay at a creepy house and get pulled into heating vents.  Sydney Lassick is like a psychotic Joe Besser and the back story is creepy as hell, but not a ton going on here.  The first half is Barbara Bach breaking up with her boyfriend and the second is her crawling around in a basement.

DVD from Amazon

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

TM Galley: Omen: The Final Conflict

The Omen: The Final Conflict
The novelization of the final film, thought the book series continued

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

And the Undead Sing by Carter Brown

And the Undead Sing
by Carter Brown
1974 Signet

I have a weakness for Aussies and Brits doing hard-boiled American detective fiction, something about how they overdo the slang.  I've read one Carter Brown before and enjoyed it - it was a light, funny, fast moving detective story.

This one, not so much.  This was the last of the Mavis Seidlitz stories.  Mavis is the ditsy secretary of a private eye who stumbles her way to accidentally solving cases, while getting kidnapped, beat up, and sexually menaced along the way.  This kind of thing doesn't age well, and even by 1974 I'm sure it was wearing thin.

Here, Mavis is pretending to be a reclusive singer to lure out the mob figures who want to force her to sign a recording contract.  Most of the plot involves her panties being pulled down to see if she has or doesn't have a tattoo.

Doesn't work as a mystery, not particularly funny, and didn't even have the charm of leaning into the "pop-speak" of those way-out rockers.

Paperback from Amazon

Friday, October 4, 2019

TM Gallery: The Seventh Carrier by Peter Albano

The Seventh Carrier by Peter Albano
A Japanese aircraft carrier goes after Pearl Harbor 40 years after the original attack.  This is the first in a series - starting with the second book, the series does like Godzilla or Venom and the carrier are the good guys, fighting the Chinese in an increasingly post-apocalyptic series.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Night Seasons by J.N. Williamson

The Night Seasons
by J.N. Williamson
1991 Zebra Books

This started life as a novella length Steven King parody before it was padded out to 400 pages.  I don't know if the parody part was written out, unless the joke is that it's padded out to 400 pages.

Alcoholic, failed writer Rich Stenvall gets arrested for DWI.  The Sheriff has left town for a conference and left the jail in control of a psychiatrist, who recruits the writer to help with his experiments involving plants.

The plant causes a fungus to take over its victim's bodies and emerge from every pore and orifice in a relatively calm and ungory manner.  There's no "destructive orgy of bloody violence" or "savage jailhouse violence", just some blooming mushrooms.

The novel is in first person and jumps point of view to a few other characters in the first few chapters, but this doesn't get developed and goes nowhere.  There are also hints that Stenvall's alcoholism is wait makes him immune to the fungus, but this gets forgotten too - it's not as if he'd be the only alchy in jail, on either side of the bars.

The novel has a dreamlike quality, but I think that's less a stylistic choice and more the result of being so removed from reality.  Jails are not isolated places.  Shifts change, cops show up to book new prisoners, families come to visit.  You can't really have the entire jail, staff and all, die without someone noticing.

The novel ends with everyone dying except Stenvall, who walks out of an unlocked, unmanned jail.  He comes back a few days later to find the jail still unlocked, unmanned, and completely empty scrubbed clean.  Except for one room filled with fungus, dun dun dunnnn!  So a government conspiracy covered it all up but left one room for dramatic purposes.

Williamson's anthologies, such as the Masques series, tend to be better received than his fiction, which at least here failed to deliver on the promises on the back cover.

Paperback available from Amazon

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Tie-Ins: Good Burger by Ray Garton as Joseph Locke

Good Burger
by Ray Garton as Joseph Locke
1997 Pocket Books


Keenan and Kel were a teen comedy duo on Nickelodeon, and Good Burger was a film based on a recurring sketch on the show All That.  I never saw the movie, but I remember at the time a reviewer raving that this was the return of the comedy duo and that Keenan and Kel were the new Abbott and Costello and would be the driving force of film comedy for decades to come.  That didn't happen.

The story has basic comedy film bones - two lovable losers work at Good Burger against the efforts of evil corporate Mondo Burger's efforts to shut them down.  I read this as a goof but it was surprisingly entertaining.  I say surprising because comedy almost never works for me in fiction.  It worked here because the gags and jokes come fast, while most comedy fiction telegraphs the jokes with long setups.  Here I can pace the timing to suit my own tastes, and I'm curious how the well the movie would do, though probably not curious enough to watch it.

The writing is geared towards young adults and has little more than dialogue and blocking, which works for the material.  I wouldn't think a lot of interior monologues and back stories would improve the pace.

You can check out the book for free at, and give Ray Garton some love at his kindle store - I promise I'll review a book he's proud of some day.