I have literally sat on this review for a week, trying to figure out the best way to write it, because this book was truly that fascinating and that interesting.
What first got my attention was of course the general summary that went along with the very enticing title. The book does, in fact, read precisely like a journal and one of a truly troubled individual. It’s like a deep dive into the mind of what once was a fairly normal young man and how he became a violent sex offender and murder.
What we get in this book is a fictional glimpse into the psyche of an abused boy who grows up not knowing how to deal with any of his emotions, no coping skills to deal with his abuse, no support system outside of his sister (and even that is a questionable ally at times) and nowhere he can consider a truly safe place to be himself.
Let me give you a little background on our young man/offender. His name is Russell Pisarek. He is 26 years old. He lives with his sister and her young son, who absolutely adores his uncle. Russell has a job at some sort of research facility where they use animals for testing. He is socially awkward and has trouble making friends and fitting in. He comes from a very dysfunctional home and was abused throughout his entire childhood by both his mother and his father. Although his father took part in the abuse, his mother was ultimately the controlling factor in the house and she governed with the heaviest of iron fists.
There’s one more thing about Russell. He wets the bed. Not all the time, well, at least not anymore. As a child this was a real problem and when he would have a nighttime accident, his mother went to great lengths to punish him in a variety of ways. She not only humiliated him inside and outside their household, she beat him, berated him and worst of all (for him) she would shave his head EVERY time he would pee the bed. If he tried to resist the punishment, she and his father would viciously hold him down to get the job done.
This type of violence and discipline begets a lot of built up anger and resentment in Russell. He begins to hate his mother Melanie. So much so that he’s given her the nickname “melanoma” because he feels she’s like a cancerous poison in his life. He also has no respect for his father, whom he calls by his first name, Jody, instead of Dad or anything like that.
As we read through Russell’s journal we learn about the difference between a stressor and a trigger in the psychopathy of a budding serial killer. The stressor is explained to us repeatedly and in incredible detail, while the trigger that finally sets him off into actually carrying out his thoughts and desires is a single occurrence near the end of the book.
But it is so easy to follow the evolution of the psychopath when it is laid out for us in this fashion. The descriptions of anger and pain, resentment and the feeling of inadequacy and not belonging, are clearly articulated in this book. So well done in fact, that I often wondered if the author somehow had some sort of personal experience with a psychopath or the details of psychopathology.
I mean, if there was an ongoing investigation and some cops found this journal, they would be having a field day ripping this Russell guy to shreds. It would be so easy for a profiler to nail him off of this kind of material as well. He basically gives a road map to his measured and somewhat controlled insanity.
I really enjoyed this book. It felt incredibly real when reading it. There ARE some parts, like the first page, that are pretty gruesome and not for the faint of heart. But, those are few in the book and overall, it’s not a gore-fest or anything like that. But, it IS chilling and very creepy to read, especially when I know that there are people out there right now with psychopathology so similar to this and worse. It can make you cringe.
There will surely be moments while reading this where you’ll hate Russell and want to throw the book across the room. But, make no mistake, if you are human with ANY empathy in you at all, there will be moments where you will feel for him too. The thought that “something is just not right with him” or “it’s really not ALL his fault” or “that poor kid” may very well cross your mind. And when it does, remember that these people do exist. And most of them were born like you and me. Somewhere along the line in their upbringing things got done wrong, miscommunicated, mistaught, cross-contaminated and cross-wired. The end result is usually a combination of so many things gone wrong which is why these killers always seem to be such a psychological disaster area.
This book is a really interesting, entertaining, enjoyable read. It can also be an eye opener to those who are interested in how these people become the way they are. This book is well written, insightful, has a lot of power in it and seems to have a lot of true psychology foundation. (I know because I majored in Psychology and Criminology in college.) So, it’s not like the psychology of the book is completely made up. It has actual merit as far as I am concerned.
Truly a stunning and chilling read that makes you curious about humanity and question it at the same time.
I ordered this tiny little book online. I thought it would be a nice little read. Aside from the countless punctuation errors, there’s really little actually wrong with the book. It didn’t necessarily give ME any new information but for someone who was just starting out and looking for some overall introductory information on cults, I suppose this could be a good start. Maybe. (Maybe not. Read on.)
However, if you are going to read this book there are a few things you should know. First, this person (or these people, I don’t even know because there is no author or authors listed on the book) didn’t even have the wherewithal to use the easy access advent of spellcheck, which is on almost every single word processing program out there…almost. I mean, even if you’re self-publishing, which I fully support, there really is no reason to not hit spellcheck. Even the internet checks spelling for you! Moving on…
I think this author also got confused between socialism and communism when talking about Jim Jones. Both can cause widespread destruction and poverty of epidemic proportions, not to mention bring down the morale of anyone included in such circumstances. Then again, so can capitalism. But while Jones was fascinated BY Hitler and his Communist views, he himself preached socialism which, while very similar to communism, is different because the working public aren’t the ones who own everything. Long and short is, communism is where everyone “owns” everything so, (in theory) everyone has a reason to work. Everyone is equal and working toward one communal goal and things are only distributed on a need by need basis. In socialism, things needed for survival are provided by the government (or whoever is in charge) and the workers get wages they can spend on what they choose.
The author of this book uses the word communism instead of socialism for an entire chapter and it’s just ridiculous. Jim Jones was the first to have a fully integrated church in Indiana. (I think it’s pretty safe to say Hitler wasn’t preaching social equality for ALL when he was shaking his fist and shouting at his followers.) But never once did Jones preach of a communist lifestyle. He went on about how he never bought a new pair of shoes or a new car, he wasn’t materialistic, that kind of palaver. Yet you never saw him in meager clothes or scuffed, old shoes, shabby, old robes. Oh no, not Jim Jones.
The author also seems to think that making money for profit and the free market is communism when in fact, that’s capitalism. In capitalism, it’s every man for himself, no limits, if it’s possible and within the bounds of the law (and apparently, sometimes not) and you can make money at it, go for it. (Unless, it's changed since I woke up this morning???) Part of me REALLY wants to find this author (or authors) and urge them to go back to school...high school...college...hell, at this point, I'd just let them look it up on the internet like they did everything else.
Furthermore, on the title page of a section on David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, they have a picture of Koresh. It is a mugshot from an arrest in 1989. They have it listed as “1998, Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh, in a police line-up following a gun battle with former Davidians.” The problem with that is that Koresh died in 1993 AND it was a mugshot, not a line-up. So, he looks very healthy for having been dead fo five years. Especially since I know he died after having been shot twice and left in a burning buiding. Yes, I understand that it could be a simple transposition of numbers but, that’s what proofreading is for. And if you can’t pay someone to do it, DO IT YOURSELF. It's what I do.
After a while of reading, I started to just kind of wonder who wrote this and where they got their information. Well, lucky for me at the back of the book they list where they found all their information. The majority of it was found in newspaper articles online, some books (of which some I have read myself), video clips, YouTube, and other random places. A little along the lines of how I do my research. I don’t trust newspapers or news clips and such so much, the media tends to skew the facts and chop up the details to present the juiciest story, not the truth. I found a little of that in this person’s writing as well. While the gist of what they were writing was true, the REAL definition and/or implication of what they were actually putting into print meant something completely different or something outside of what was originally intended.
I am not knocking the research technique. There are people all over that do the same kind of research. We used to call it going to the public library (for you younger folks, they do still have those and they aren't just to get free air conditioning and free movies on DVD). Anyways, I don’t care if you look stuff up online. And I don’t even care if you have 100 sources for your information. I think it was even more awesome that they listed all of their sources and IF I were writing an actual book and not on a blog, I would do the same thing.
HOWEVER, I tend to lend a lot more weight to the sites with higher integrity reputations rather than, oh, how popular they are. So, let’s say The Washington Post versus National Enquirer. Both are read incredibly often by thousands upon thousands of people. But one of them prints facts that are checked and verified and one prints stories for money and no verification. It’s not that it’s ACTUALLY a lie, but it’s definitely easier to not have to fact-check and get people to go on-record and such. SO, who’s more reputable?
But, I get sidetracked. As you all know.
Again, it’s not that this book is telling WRONG information as it is I think relaying misunderstood information in a few areas. I found it on thriftbooks.com for $4. So, it’s not like it was a huge investment OR loss. But, it’s cover price is $8.99 and I would NEVER have been okay paying that. And that's if I didn't have the knowledge I have already about the topic and then with the mistakes that are inside. This is marketed as an overall introduction to cults with summaries of the most common ones. So, if I were looking for the basic information I would definitely have purchased this book and I would have gotten wrong information in spots. That’s messed up. Any time someone gets material to learn something and they get wrong information, it’s messed up.
I don’t know, I guess I’m on the fence about this one. It’s certainly not at the top of my list. But, it’s not a no-go/don’t read. I guess, just be aware that there are mistakes and don’t take all the information in it as complete fact.
Note: I'm sure there are punctuation and typo mistakes in this and other posts of mine. However, I'm not paying for it to be printed and published. More importantly, I'm not making people pay to read it.
This was a very new take on the traditional courtroom drama type novel. Not only is the author, Benjamin H. Berkley a contributing writer for the ever-popular Huffington Post, he’s also actually been practicing law for over forty years. I point that out because it definitely gives an element of truth to the courtroom scenes in the novel. It also makes the courtroom rhetoric flow much more effortlessly and come across a whole lot more believable.
This book definitely pulls together an interesting emotional maze. I swear it would totally make a fantastic Lifetime movie. I am going to do this review in a slightly different format because I think it might be a little easier to follow and it might be more fun…well, for me at least. Ha ha ha!!! Since it IS a book, I don’t have actual images for the characters so…we’ll have to just do without. So, here we go.
Meet Lauren Hill. She is a successful defense attorney. She’s never lost a case. She is the epitome of the butt of every lawyer joke you can possibly imagine. She has an attitude and an ego that both rival her acquittal rate. She is currently defending a man, Martin Maze, who is on trial for killing his wife. He maintains his innocence. She doesn’t care. Hill is unhappily married to her husband Dennis and has a teenaged daughter Constance, both of whom she hardly ever sees. Or interacts with.
Next, there’s Ryan Thompson. This self-assured young man is Lauren’s assistant. His job is to do whatever Ms. Hill tells him to. At this point, in his career and hers, his job is to act as co-counsel when needed (not that Lauren would EVER ask for help), pass her papers when in court, get coffee, make sure witnesses (and the defendant) make it to court and to babysit the defendant, Martin Maze.
Enter Martin Maze. Here we have an awkward shell of a man, destroyed by the loss of his wife and his inability to grieve due to having to fight for his own life. The Prosecution asserts that Maze threw his wife overboard while they were on a cruise. A cruise that was supposed to be a second honeymoon of sorts. Maze vehemently denies any wrongdoing in the matters concerning the untimely departure of his wife from this earth.
And of course we need the Prosecutor, Bradley, the fearless champion of the State. This is a very competent legal professional that has made one fatal career mistake. He is sleeping with opposing counsel. They are really smooth and do a great job of keeping it on the down low but, that’s practically career suicide in any job. Sleeping with co-workers, statistically, usually doesn’t work out well. However, yes, I know, there are exceptions.
Now, where would we be in a trial without a Judge to preside over the whole proceedings. In this case, that lucky judicious warrior of truth is Judge Howell. Howell knows both attorneys, Lauren Hill and Bradley. Judge Howell is a huge supporter of Lauren’s and thinks she is a fantastic and talented lawyer.
Constance is Lauren’s daughter. The poor kid is having a hard time adjusting to, well, everything. She’s dealing with teen angst, a breaking family, a mother that values her career more than life itself, knowing her mom is cheating on her dad. She also feels like her mother shuts her out a lot and isn’t interested in her at all, who she’s with, what’s going on in her life, where she’s at…nothing. Constance feels totally alone, unwanted and unloved, even forgotten by her mother. As with most teens, these emotions cause Constance to act out in ways that most parents would not approve of.
Finally, there’s Dennis. Dennis is Lauren’s husband. He is still completely in love with his wife regardless of the fact that she makes it perfectly clear that his mere existence and drawing breath in the same room as she is almost more than she can stomach. This is breaking Dennis’s heart more and more each day. He lives his life a partially broken man, trying to be as best of a father he can for his daughter. Dennis has dreams of being a writer but Lauren constantly beats him down and tells him it’s a ridiculous aspiration to pursue.
Now, while in court for Mr. Maze’s case, Lauren starts to experience some things that not only can she not explain but, she feels compelled to keep it to herself as she is positive NO ONE will believe her. What is her big secret?
Right in the middle of a side-bar conference with the judge at her bench, Lauren all of a sudden sees Judge Howell morph into, well, God. Yes, God. White hair, robe, the works. Can you imagine what that must be like to be a defense attorney in a murder trial, spinning the truth and facts and in the blink of an eye, you are face to face with God? Would you not feel like a total schmucko for at least a few seconds?
The rest of the story is about how Lauren deals with this new courtroom visitor, if he is real or in her head, the rest of the trial, her problems with her husband and kid, and oh yeah, the prosecutor she’s hookin’ up with on the side. This chick has a lot of stuff going on that could go really bad really fast if she’s not careful. But, does it?
I was a little leery of this story because of the religious aspect but, I have to say, I thought it all came together pretty well. While it may not have been something I would have normally bought off the shelves at the bookstore, I am glad that I was given a chance to read it. It didn’t take me very long to get through it. I do attribute a lot of that to the courtroom drama writing of the author. It was really good as far as that goes. But, there was a steady suspense/cliffhanger type factor to it too that really kept the pages flipping fast.
While I can’t recommend this for just anyone, I can totally see the people who are CourtTV buffs or perhaps crime drama buffs liking this. It definitely has a John Grisham type feel to it which can give you chills and increase your heartrate at the same time! I think this author has a special talent for the fictional law and courtroom drama stories and would really like to see more of that.
In February 1991, local Battle Creek, MI news anchor Diane King was fatally shot twice in her driveway when she arrived home with her two small children from visiting family. Diane was married to Bradford King for about six and a half years. They lived in a quiet farmhouse somewhat away from the hustle and bustle of the world with their two children, son Marler, age 3, and daughter Kateri, who was three months old at the time of her mother’s murder.
Diane was a strong, independent and successful local news anchor who had worked her way up from the bottom rung of the ladder after a mid-life career change. She was a beautiful and vibrant thirty-four-year-old woman with a radiant smile and a fantastic delivery for television. She loved her news career and she loved being a mother. She was close to her family and friends and though some co-workers felt her style in the workplace was coarse and aggressive, the vast majority of people saw her as compassionate and caring, kind and giving. And no one could deny her drive or commitment to her career or to her family.
Brad on the other hand…Brad was a forty-three-year-old Criminal Justice Instructor at Western Michigan University. It wasn’t so much a full-time gig. He was teaching one class at the time of his wife’s murder. The previous term, her had taught three. There, on the college campus, Bradford King was known as a friend to the students, his door always being open for students to ask questions and in particular, it was always open to students of the female persuasion. Although Brad wasn’t in the running for “Sexiest Man Alive”, he apparently made up for it with an impressive amount of charm affording him the ability to effectively sweet talk practically any female student he chose. Brad was not liked by Diane’s family because they either knew of or suspected his multiple affairs. They also thought he was somewhat of a leech, living off of Diane and her success without going out into the world and carving his own. He had already held down several jobs, military service, twelve years as a police officer and now as a Criminal Justice Instructor but, he went through his share of rough times just like anyone else.
Still, there was some conjecture about the marriage between Brad and Diane. Diane had recently been receiving creepy phone calls after she turned down a fan for a lunch date. Then she received a threatening letter like the ones people get in movies, the ones where they are comprised of letters cut from magazines and newspapers and glued to a page to spell out a message. Diane was basically being told she should have gone to lunch with this person.
Now, while Diane and Brad had told a number of people about this harassment, they decided they would work out a security system so that whenever she got home, she would NOT exit her vehicle until she saw Brad on the property. This meant sometimes she would wait in the car for a couple hours until he got home at night. But they had this completely worked out, no way she was to get out of the car without Brad being there.
So, on February 9, 2001 at (by my best guess) around 6:15pm, Diane pulls into her driveway with her two kids in the backseat. Her mother has called ahead to tell Brad Diane was on her way home. She is surprising him with the kids as she was supposed to leave them overnight with a family member. She gets out of her car, leaving her two small children in the back. Before she knows what is going on, she is shot once in the chest, the fatal shot. Then, moments later, a second gunshot rips through her abdomen right at the top of her pubic region. Behind the scenes, the off-the-cuff term for this is “the bitch shot” as in “Take that, Bitch!”. Her son is the only child that is old enough to know anything is going on and all he sees is his Mommy fall down to the ground.
According to Brad’s initial statement, he was home most of the day, received the call from his mother-in-law that Diane was on her way home, took a nap, ran a couple errands, ate lunch, worked outside for a bit and went for a walk. He says he went for his walk around 6:00pm. This was about the time he should have been expecting Diane home. He said that he returned to find her on the ground in the driveway. He phoned 911 Emergency Services at 6:40pm.
What followed next was over a year of frustration, setbacks, disappointments and undermined hard work at seemingly every turn. From the very beginning the police seemed to subconsciously work against themselves. Either they weren’t trained and equipped to handle the situation at hand OR they were and just didn’t use their training and equipment.
Many things in the investigation went wrong or were mishandled. The crime scene wasn’t taped off at the start of the investigation. That means anyone could have entered an exited the scene at any time. The husband and friends were allowed back at the scene before it had been released. There were no casts taken of the footprints at the scene. The list goes on and on.
This made for a tough case for the prosecution. It also made it very easy for the defense to try to raise reasonable doubt at trial.
Brad was a suspect from early on. It was very suspicious to everyone that Diane would have exited her vehicle if she hadn’t seen Brad. Plus, it was hard for anyone to believe that some stalker could have gotten on the property and lay in wait for her without Brad or the dog being alerted to their presence. Nothing was adding up. Additionally, months into the investigation, Brad told a number of people that the cops were, and I’m paraphrasing here, screwing things up and too stupid to ever find out who did it and they’ll never get it right.
Eventually, they DID get it right and after over a month of trial, Bradford King was found guilty of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison with no parole.
His defense attorney was a real piece of work and honestly, even though the guy has tons of people saying he’s one of the best there is, I wouldn’t have paid for his opening statement and closing argument. What a waste. He babbled as if he didn’t know what to say and being in a courtroom was new to him. Awful.
At his sentencing Brad criticized everyone involved with the entire process from the investigation to the trial EXCEPT his lawyer. He insulted the judge, the police, the detectives, the lawyers, the jury, the victim’s family, the system, everyone. The only TRUE victim in his eyes…was him. No matter what he claimed in his final statement.
In the end, his in laws got custody of his children, which he didn’t want to happen. He’s sitting in jail exhausting appeals with a public defender because the high priced attorney from his trial dropped him the day he was found guilty due to the fact that Brad had no money to pay for the appeals process…and this big time lawyer doesn’t work for murderers for free. King has lost support from the bulk of his family and friends. There may be one or two that still support him but they are few and far between if they are.
I found this book in a thrift store. I saw the word “stalking” and grabbed it. I actually had to look it up online to see what it was about when I decided to read it and was thrilled when I saw that it was about a true crime that happened in the 90s.
The book didn’t take long to read and it was interesting. I think there was a little too much time spent on the whole entire life history of the main players. I don’t know about other people who would read this but, me personally, I don’t really care about the suspect’s summer job as a teenager or his college student career. I think that may be going a little far. I think the author could have just started at where Diane and Brad met and went from there but, hey, to each his own I guess.
I also think the timeline layout of the book could have been a little more organized. We go from the day of the murder to a rundown of Diane’s life to the day of the murder again then we learn about Brad’s whole life, then back to the murder scene, then marital discord…the author just hops all over the place. The last third of the book is where the real meat of the story seems to be because that’s where we get the majority of the trial and the interrogations of Brad. I would have liked to have the life history stuff together after the introduction and then all the crime stuff together with the trial. That, I feel, would have flowed better. I found myself looking back toward the front of the book to refer to the beginning once I got to the trial portion of the story. Other than that, it was a good read.
Here we have the original short story by Stephen King, first published in Cavalier magazine in 1972.
I found it in Stephen King Goes to the Movies, which is a collection of his short stories that have been made into movies. It’s the same collection I found “1408” in.
The Mangler can also be found it its most common place, King’s collection in the book Night Shift.
Like many writers, it took King many years to become the master of the macabre we know him as today. During the time he was waiting to become a big success King held a number of jobs. One of them was at an industrial laundry service. The kind of place where hotels and such places send their massive amounts of sheets and towels out to get laundered. There, in a large industrial building full of steam and mechanical sounds from washing machines and dryers and the like, sits a machine called a mangle. This is the machine that presses and flattens large sheets, towels, tablecloths, etc. It can also be used to dry them at the same time they are being pressed by blasting them with extremely high temperature steam. Plus, there is a setting on this machine to allow it to fold the laundered items as well.
The first version of this was used as a wringer to wring excess water out of clothes. (I remember my Great Grandmother had a wringer that, after the clothes went through the washing machine, we had to feed each garment through one at a time, oftentimes more than once, and then we would hang the clothes to dry on the clothesline. All of this was done in the finished barn she had as none of the laundry facilities were actually in the house. This thing HAD to have been from the 30s or 40s at least. It was the same size as her washing machine.)
Anyways, the mangle is the star of this story. Nicknamed “the mangler” it is the heart and soul of the fear inducing spookiness of this twisted tale. The story takes place in an industrial laundry where a detective has been called in to investigate a horrible workplace accident that has resulted in death. A woman who was working the mangler had somehow gotten caught in the rollers, even though the machine had a safety bar and it was fully functional and in proper working order. Once the rollers had gotten ahold of her the machine pulled her into the pressing mechanism in a flash and well, mangled her.
During his investigation, our detective finds out that not only is this just one in the long line of many accidents involving this particular machine but, there are a number of people that believe this specific machine is haunted or possessed by something not of this world. He does some research and finds a list of horrible incidents that were written off as accidents but rumors suggest that’s not what really happened. There was a steam line that broke and burned three ladies while they were working. One gal’s dress got caught in a drive chain. Over the years various pieces and parts have randomly fallen off of the machine even though at every inspection it was checked and repeatedly reported to have no issues. Sheets constantly get caught in the folding mechanism. It just seems like one problem after another with this thing. He also finds out that it all started with an initial accident of a woman cutting herself on one of the clamps. A seemingly innocuous incident that apparently started a horrifying chain of events that led us to our fine detective friend.
Realizing that this may very well all come down to some sort of witchcraft or demonic possession he seeks the help of a friend of his. Together they come up with a plan of attack, a way to battle the evil trapped inside this mechanical nightmare. They only get one shot at this, for if they fail, they could unleash this evil and the consequences could be worse than they ever imagined.
You’ll have to either read the story or watch the movie to find out what happens.
I read this story so I could watch the movie and see how Hollywood did with bringing this King novella to life. So often they change things like they did in Cujo so, I was curious how they would translate this story to the big screen. I actually liked this tale. I do have to say that I am glad it was a short story. If it had been a full length novel, I don’t think it would have been as good which is why I am curious about the movie. Plus, I have wanted to see the movie for a while and I like doing the book vs. movie comparisons.
This was one of those King short stories where he got right to the point and ran with it. We started the story with death and we just kind of remained there in that general vicinity. The ending to the story was really one of the best parts and that’s why I’m not going to spoil it for you. Keep in mind this IS a short story so it’s not like it would take all THAT long to read, even for those who don’t read much. It’s worth it. Then again, almost anything King writes is worth reading in my opinion.
The interesting thing about this story is that it brings to life an inanimate object a way that is similar to the way he brings the hotel room to life in “1408”. Both stories are about conquering evil, albeit in a different manner. King has a special way of weaving sinister spirits and entities into his tales and having those evil things torment his characters. If you get a chance, this might be worth your while to pick up.
By Alvin Schwartz
Illustrated by Stephen Grammell
This is a collection of three books from my childhood, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981), More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984) and Scary Stories 3 More Tales to Chill Your Bones (1991). Collecting stories from folklore and urban legend, Alvin Schwartz retells these tales with his own flare and, at times, even adding a hint of comic relief to the darkness swirling in the mind as you peruse the pages.
I’m sure there are many from my generation, Generation X, that remember these books. There is actually a movie being made from them, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark being released in August of this year. I’m not sure what stories they include or from which books they pulled them from BUT, I’m hoping for a good and FUN film that takes me back to the days without cares like going back and reading these books again did.
Seeing as how these books are really meant for kids, they are broken down in each book into sections based on story content, whether the stories are scary, involve jump scares, have humor, include death as a main component, unexplained mysterious happenings, urban legends, those kinds of things.
This is a fantastic collection, perfect for parents and kids to share together, an activity that seems to have been lost with the advent of tablets, smartphones and the endless slew of video games available. When I was a child, my father and I read together every night before bed. And we read all kinds of things. He had a fabulous book collection that included great works like Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies, The Wizard of Oz and so much more. We took turns reading aloud but, it was always a book I chose. I don’t think I would enjoy reading near as much if it hadn’t been for those experiences reading with Dad. It got me to read something OUTSIDE of school, OUTSIDE of what THEY assigned and got me to search literature for something more than The Babysitter’s Club or R.L. Stine. (In all honesty, I NEVER read one book that was assigned in school, not one. I didn’t read The Outsiders, I watched the movie. I didn’t read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1984 or To Kill A Mockingbird, although I watched that movie too. Basically, if a teacher assigned it, it got put in my locker and was never seen again until it was time to turn the book back in. I certainly wasn’t going to pay for a book I had no intention of ever reading. However, if I had been given something like Catcher in the Rye to read, I probably would have read it because even at that young age I was well aware it was on the banned books list and that would have felt rebellious to me way back then. But alas, this was never the case.)
I can’t imagine any of these stories actually scaring any kids but, it’s hard to think back that far and put yourself back in that young of a mindset. There might be one or two in there but, seriously, some of these things I remember from Halloween parties at school.
The artwork is simple yet very effective. Some of the images are actually pretty grotesque for a kids book but, hey, that’s what I like about it. I liked it even as a kid.
My whole purpose for reading these again was to refresh my memory so when the movie comes out I had a better idea of how to gauge the final product. With the kind of technology and special effects that are available these days there is a lot of potential for this to turn into a well done film. However, with the “let’s do everything half-assed” mindset that seems to be permeating the entertainment industry, it has potential to totally suck as well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed yeah?
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trailer (all trailer spots and content in one viewing):
This is the third book in the series. And just as I expected, it didn’t disappoint. Brad Poage has a great talent for writing these short stories of terror. In three books, there’s not been one tale that is similar to another. Each is unique in its own story and style. I do think it was very wise to separate the stories out into three books. It seems like they are, either intentionally or by happenstance, grouped together although it’s hard to describe the groupings. They aren’t the typical ‘this section is ghosts and this section is zombies’ and stuff like that. But just like from the first book to the second book, there is a progression from the second to the third.
The third, this one, seems much gorier and much more gruesome. There are nastier and more disgusting and revolting images put in your head. I’m not complaining; you guys know I love the gore. There are incredible descriptions and details that, honestly, give you chills. And this book reads just as fast as the previous two, maybe even faster.
We read of a jilted lover and the insidious use of a seemingly innocuous video game. Then there’s a bittersweet tale about a young boy and his Science Fair project. We get to find out what happens when a harmless camping trip goes dreadfully wrong. Then, a heart wrenching tale about the comforts of a home cooked meal made with love. And what would horror be without kids learning the difference between fairytales and reality, or if there even IS a difference? We discover what sinister things await an unsuspecting dinner guest during a shared meal. We read of a poor woman as she sadly and helplessly watches her boyfriend suffer in agony from a torturous tooth ache. Then there’s a wicked tale detailing the horrors encountered in a gas station public bathroom not to mention a gripping story about a man struggling with the daunting task of survival. And then, a fascinating bit about how a new employee settles into her domestic duties.
Each story will strike the horror nerve for horror fans of all kinds. As with all of the Bedtime Tales of Horror books, there is something here for everyone. I can’t imagine how horror readers could ever be disappointed with this series. The length of each story is perfect for lunch hours, after dinner reading, bedtime or to read a number of stories in a row. It’s great because they are quick reads, well written, they keep your attention and you can get a little horror fix OR a HUGE horror fix…it’s up to you.
You’ll find the link to purchase below. Poage has a real knack for the macabre tidbits. I highly recommend this series.
I have to start this review with the statement that this book was nowhere near what I expected. It was sent to me to review as a horror novel but, it’s much than that. I was aware it would possibly have some erotica in it and though I’m not a fan of erotica, I gave it a shot. Although I didn’t care for the actual content really, I thought the book as very well written. It was a quick read. And if I were into reading erotica mixed with horror this would probably be something I would rave over. But, I will warn you, one has to have an open mind when approaching something like this.
Here’s the blurb on the back cover:
The book is set in city of Boston that is infected with zombies, roaming the streets and seeking human flesh—not to eat but to use as sexual servants.
Mattie, one of the tribe, wants out. She’ll do anything—manipulate, cheat, lie—to get what she needs to break free from the sex cult. Hayden Thomas, a tabloid reporter, and wonderkid, knows firsthand how cruel and consuming Mattie can be. Book smart, a good writer, and willing to do anything to get the story that will take his career to the next level, he’s made some depraved enemies.
“This is contemporary pulp horror that harkens back to the over-the-top Tales from the Crypt stories with a knowing wink to the present. I love that it’s set in the world of exploitive tabloid journalism!”
In a city that thrives on scandal and conspiracy, nothing is a coincidence. Beware: once you’re in, you’re in.
For example: In the book there are zombies that turn humans into sex slave zombies, like toys or playthings, to service the master when beckoned and become invisible when the master has finished with them. This applies to all of the slaves. The master is a male but still takes female AND male sex slaves.
Now, the sexual encounters described in this novel are not overdone, over exploited and fit the story in a fantastic manner. It’s not like the detail is SO specific that it takes over the book but, it IS specific enough that it definitely has an impact.
If you are not a modern, forward thinker, don’t even bother with this book.
But, if you don’t mind the erotica and you like zombie stories, this one will be a nice fresh read for you. The zombies have a more mystical and almost vampire-like essence, in the way they gather, the behaviors, the ownership of others below them…others they’ve turned.
I enjoyed the magical and mystical aspect. The zombies in charge are fantastic manipulators and eerily display an ability to use every bit of their sexuality and sensuality to get whatever they want.
But, more importantly, the rest of the story was really good. So, THAT part I DID enjoy. AND Drake is a great writer, I can’t dispute that. I thought the story itself was very thrilling and entertaining. A good horror story. Like I said though, it just wasn’t my thing. I’m also not going to hold my my disinterest in erotic novels cloud the fact that this was a good book. Even if it wasn’t my taste. I try to be as objective as possible. However, since I am a little conflicted, I’m not going to give a general target recommendation on this one. You’ve read the review. I’ve included the blurb. You can decide for yourselves.
About the author:
Isabelle Drake got her start writing confession stories for pulp magazines like True Confessions and True Love. Since publishing those first few stories she has written in multiple genres, earned and MFA in Creative Writing and became an English & Writing Professor.
When away from her keyboard, she watches films, especially classic noir, horror and romance, and reads (of course). An avid traveler, she'll go just about anywhere--at least once--to meet people and get ideas.
Get your copy at the link below:
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This is a short novella from Poage rather than a collection of short stories. This was longer, more detailed and had a lot of suspenseful and intense moments. Poage really hit the ball out of the park with this one. I do hope he continues to write some more in this novella format.
Bradley Poage is a fantastic horror story writer. It reads as if it were his passion. He is so creative and inventive with his stories that not one is the same as another.
This particular story is about a young woman named Danica. Danica has recently developed a debilitating bout of insomnia. Sleep deprivation can cause horrible reactions. People hallucinate, they can hear things that aren’t there, they can develop paranoia and sometimes even become violent.
See, sleep is nature’s way of resetting the brain. The brain is basically the CPU for the whole body. Sleeping is like shutting down the CPU so it can cool down and rest its inner working parts. It’s also a way for the brain to “reboot”. If it doesn’t get a chance to do this there can be dire consequences. Some people finally just pass out, some lose touch with reality completely and go crazy and some…well, some die.
Danica has had sleep problems before but, she thought she had gotten it under control. Soon, we find out that things become very complicated as mysterious voicemails full of horrible sounds keep getting sent to Danica’s phone. She has no idea who they are from or how they got to her but, it scares her something fierce.
Soon, Danica starts getting pieces of flashbacks and her gut keeps telling her something is wrong.
Will Danica determine the source of these menacing voicemails? Will she find out what they mean? Is there any hope for her to find help again?
You’ll have to get your own copy and find out. But I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed. This story could go right up there with a Twilight Zone kind of feel, it’s that good. I really hope you guys will check it out. It’s only about fifty pages or so. You should breeze right through it.
To purchase on Amazon, Kindle Edition please visit link below. Don’t forget to check out the other goodreads Bradley Poage has to offer!!!
Here we have a fantastic crime novel. The writer puts all of her years of experience and expertise into play for the completion of her first novel…and it’s a doozy. The story is about a pathologist who works at a hospital. Dr. Antoinette Day is known as Toni. Toni runs into a hard wall of ethics when another doctor, Dr. Sally Shore comes on board the staff as a temporary surgeon while the regular surgeon recovers from a quadruple bypass.
From the moment Dr. Shore arrives, Toni experiences problems with her. Dr. Sally Shore is a real piece of work. She thinks she’s the best the medical profession has to offer yet her capabilities and training seem to be from closer to the stone age of medicine. She is way behind on the use of up-to-date practices. She is absolutely and inexplicably condescending and rude to anyone and everyone she comes into contact with. She causes the dismissal of the hysto-tech in the lab, leaving Toni shorthanded. After many disagreements and heated discussions, Toni goes to the medical staffing board and puts her foot down. They are going to have to choose between Dr. Evil Witch and Toni. Meanwhile, a “too good to be true” replacement hysto-tech shows up. And there are some strange things about this gal. Toni starts uncovering secrets that had long since been buried.
That’s when things take a very dramatic and deadly turn for the worse. Dr. Day finds Sally Shore dead in Day’s office. This comes in the wake of an attack on the original hysto-tech, putting her in the hospital. Once Shore turns up dead in Toni’s office, given all the trouble they’ve had with each other, Toni is immediately the prime suspect. Now, she must race the police in a search for the truth to uncover the deadly deeds of a masterful criminal adversary.
Because I have long had a passion for forensic science, I found this novel exceptionally interesting. The author perfectly constructs a dynamic mystery, thrilling and captivating the reader with every turn of the page. The medical terms and situations are as accurate as a professional of thirty-three years can relate them. Therefore, the story has a very authentic feel. But, make no mistake, the book is not full of technical medical jargon that makes no sense. Although real terms and diagnoses are used, they are either briefly explained or used in a context where you can figure it out.
The story is also smoothly written and flows with magnificent ease. It was easy to get through this book once I finally got the chance to pick it up. I was shocked that this was Bennett’s first novel as it seemed to just pour out of her so effortlessly. With seamless transitions from chapter to chapter and gripping components, everything about this novel comes together like a perfect meal, from the mouthwatering starters to the decadent dessert.
I tore through this novel and found it a fantastic murder/crime thriller. I’ve been getting more used to reading fiction but this one was particularly fascinating and entertaining. I think those who love forensic science will be drawn to this novel. I also think those of you that like crime stories or murder mysteries will really dig this too. It’s sure to be a fast read for anyone who picks it up.