Posts Tagged ‘Occult’

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle

December 26, 2017 - 10:23 pm No Comments

The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror by William Meikle
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on 9th December 2017
189 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

If you were asked living or dead, which authors you would pick to have at a dinner party, I can guarantee at least one of the great Victorian writers would be on your list. Masters of storytelling, their written stories are still read today.
An old Victorian manuscript is found in a derelict building. Penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, it captures 14 stories regaled to him, Henry James and Bram Stoker when other authors are invited to dine with them.
Before I review this book, there is a disclaimer, I have not read some of these author’s original works. However, after I read this book, I did google these authors to see what works they wrote.
So, with all these stories, there is a lot of choice and for this review I will write about my favourites.
The Immortal Memory: Leo Tolstoy: When Empress Yekaterina Alexeyevna requested a Scottish poet, who could narrate Burn’s in Russian, Captain Marsh knew he had his work cut out. The story is very descriptive of living in Russia, and how certain people suffered to survive. A tragic ending which has an impact on others.
To the Manor Born: Margaret Oliphant: Young Agnus Leckie, was the new maid at the Manor. Trading jobs, she soon gets introduced to the lady of the house. Throughout this story you can feel the love that the master had for his family. A harrowing ghost story that is beautifully written and with a poetic ending.
The Angry Ghost: Oscar Wilde: Tom had always been told by his Aunt Agatha that there were no such things as ghost. Aunt Agatha was a bitter woman who always thought she was right and reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s character Lady Bracknell in the Importance of Being Ernest. This was a comical read with a fitting ending.
The Curious Affair on the Embankment: Arthur Conan Doyle: Inspector Lestrade has been brought into a case of a missing lady. The only stipulation from the powers at be, is that he cannot involve Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade is drawn into the paranormal and must keep his cool when evil prevails. When I have read Sherlock Holmes stories, I have always felt that Lestrade was a bit of an idiot, so this was a refreshing change. Lestrade was very methodical as if he used Holmes powers of deduction. A paranormal mystery which will keep you gripped.
If you have read Songs of the Dreaming Gods, you will find 3 further stories of interest. The High Bungalow: Rudyard Kipling, In the House of the Dead: Bram Stoker and The Scrimshaw Set: Henry James. All three have elements of this book in them and I enjoyed the merging of the author’s work.
The introduction to each story gives it a personal touch and sets the scene for what’s to come. This is book showcases the author’s talents of writing in numerous styles. A great read that spirits you away to Victorian times.

Songs of Dreaming Gods by William Meikle

October 11, 2017 - 9:10 pm No Comments

Songs of Dreaming Gods by William Meikle
Published by Crossroad Press on 8th September 2017
178 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Called in, whilst on sick leave, Detective John Green is asked to head up the investigation to a gruesome multiple murder. On his team is Janis Lodge and Todd Wiggins and whilst they worry that he is not up to the job, they will always have his back. The house where the murders happened has history, but as the investigation unfolds, they not only find out about the cause of the murders but things that were hidden in themselves.
John Green was a no-nonsense copper; however, he was willing to put himself in danger to save others. Injured in the line of duty, he was on sick leave when he had the call. The further John investigates the more you find out about his past, and you realise what a troubled childhood he had, tormented by demons, but always wanting to do the right thing. Janis Lodge thought the world of John Green and even when there was doubts that he was up for the job, she always had his back. Even when he was recovering from his injuries, she was always there for him.
This story started out like any murder/thriller, but as the story progressed it became more sinister. The house had a life of its own and the flashback scenes were used to explain its history. John’s journey through the house and his confrontation with his childhood demons the Reapers, made me feel that there was no hope for John and that he was fighting a losing battle. Although I did find a bit of humour with John’s dialogue with Death. Some of my favourite scenes involved Janis and the porcelain dolls. Tapping into Janis’s childhood phobia, the dolls stalked her wherever she went. There was a lot of minor details, that all played an important part to the story and it was when items were removed as evidence that the scenes in the Police station became graphic. This story draws you in and you feel the oppression of the house. The repetitive song “He Sleeps in the Depths” really plays with you mind and I had it running through my head for days. The ending tied up the story perfectly.
This book grabbed my interest from the blurb and whilst I recognised the author this is the 1st book that I have read, but will not be the last.

Blanky book tour- Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke

September 18, 2017 - 6:31 pm 1 Comment

We are honoured here at Terror Tree to be involved in the Blanky book Tour. written by Kealan Patrick Burke. Today is the review of the creepy, heartbreaking book. Come back tomorrow to find out more about the author. If you like what you read, you can pick up a copy here.

Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke
Published 12th September 2017
73 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After losing their baby Steve and Lexi’s marriage fell apart. Not wanting to stay in the house, Lexi moved out leaving Steve alone. Living on alcohol and trash TV, Steve just wanted drink himself to an early grave. Until one night, he heard a noise from his daughter’s room, a room that had been empty for 6 months. After investigating he found Blanky, the blanket that his baby daughter took to bed.
Steven’s grief was raw, and you knew that is whole life had fell apart. However, he had a purpose once he found the blanket. He was getting his life back track, going out with his work mates and rekindling his marriage, but fate has an evil streak. After he started having the nightmares and disaster strikes again, he became a man possessed and he only has the blanket on his mind.
This story is enthralling, how something so innocent like a baby’s blanket can be made so creepy. Steven’s grief was real and as a mom I would not wish this on anyone. As you are reading this book, you are following Steve’s journey as he comes to terms with his loss and whilst you are feeling sorry for Steve, the author adds a twist that has you doubting your loyalties and I finished the book not knowing who I believed.
As this is a short story, it can be easily read in one sitting. Reading this it will have you displaying so many emotions and at the end I felt that I had ran an emotional marathon. Although, this is a horror book, it is also a story about grief and loss. This is the 1st book I have read by this author but it will not be the last. I have just downloaded a couple more to read.

The Rage of Cthulhu by Gary Fry

March 23, 2017 - 7:13 pm No Comments

The Rage of Cthulhu by Gary Fry

Published by Horrific Tales Publishing on 23rd March 2017

98 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

After being medically retired George and his wife decide to spend some of what time he has left travelling round the world. Starting off in the picturesque town of Whitby, George stumbles across a derelict foghorn station and whilst he investigates the damage to the building gets embroiled into a mystery of an ancient being which will follow him around the world.

Not having read HP Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, I had no idea what this creature was or the history behind it, but after reading this story, I am curious to find out more. From the start of this story you are drawn into a secret that has not been talked about in 50 years, from listening to the two old men’s tales or reading an ancient Norwegian manuscript, you are taken on a journey around the world only stopping when George gets to his final destination. Whether it was in George’s dreams, visiting different places and seeing new cultures all this added to the mystery of the Cthulhu. The use of George’s illness makes you doubt yourself whilst you are reading it, as I kept wavering between thinking it was all in his head and thinking that he was chasing the monster down. Even finishing this book did not solve my dilemma. I had sympathy for Christine, George’s wife as I felt she was struggling between letting him investigate the mystery and believing him and worrying about his illness.

As it is a novella it is a quick read and it is a book you can finish in one sitting. The suspense builds up slowly and I had to keep reading to find out what happened. Whilst reading it I was expecting something dramatic to happen, but when it did, the descriptive way the author wrote those scenes I was imagining being with George and watching him face his demon.

A well written tale of an ancient monster, this will have you gripped to the end a good horror read.

I AM PROVIDENCE by Nick Mamatas

February 8, 2017 - 7:54 pm No Comments

I AM PROVIDENCE by Nick Mamatas. Night Shade Books, New York. $15.99 (US). 241 page paperback. ISBN: 978-1-59780-835-4

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.

There is one kind of story that never seems to make sense. It is the first person narration of a person who turns out to be a ghost. The questions that hang over it is, who are they telling this story to, how are they telling it and who is listening? If the spirit has gone on to judgement and is having to justify their presence it becomes a different kind of story. Another kind of story that has a low success rate of being convincing is the one set at a convention, perhaps because genre readers are too familiar with them. It is almost on a par of a writer writing about a writer – we want the story, not the story of how the story was written. But like everything, sometimes you find an exception. Nick Mamatas has set his novel at a convention and the first person narrator is dead. His skill has made it work.

Although there are horror conventions with a Lovecraft theme that are held in Providence, Rhode Island, the one featured in I Am Providence is not one of them. Convention attendees may think they know people who have a resemblance to the characters in this book, but that is superficial. All conferences, whether genre, business or scientific have attendees with similar characteristics. That is to be expected. Here, the Summer Tentacular is the H.P. Lovecraft convention which draws this group of fans to the town. Most of them seem to write in, what they consider, the style of their hero. The impression given is that this is a place to have your ego stroked.

From the beginning, we know that Panossian is dead. He tells us so in the first paragraph. He is just as perplexed about the situation as a critical reader might be. He still seems to be able to think and hear. He wonders if this is a condition for all the dead and if this is a phenomenon that fades as his brain rots. What he does, as there is nothing else he is capable of, is to run through in his mind the events leading up to his murder and to try and make sense of them. He can also hear and try to interpret what is going on in the morgue. This excellently handled device keeps the plot going forward as well as filling in gaps in the narrative that only the victim would be aware of.

Paralleling, Panossian’s story, is that of Colleen Danzig. This her first Summer Tentacular and is the outsider through whose eyes we see the other, quirky characters. She appears to be an otherwise well-adjusted human. She becomes involved because, in order to save money, she is sharing a room with Panossian. They have not met before now, except on-line. Because of this, she is asked to identify the body. She is the viewpoint character in the present away from the morgue and aware of any developments in the police investigation.

The murder seems to revolve around a rare book which the author has bound in human skin. For this reason he hasn’t been able sell it on eBay, because they have a policy against auctioning body parts, and skin counts as such. Panossian was sent one of the only five in existence and has a private buyer for it, though for much of the time there is doubt over the existence of the book, or the potential transaction.

Mamatas is an author well versed in the writings and cult of H.P. Lovecraft and to add to the delight of the book, each chapter heading is the title of a Lovecraft story. The design of the book adds interest as tentacles insert themselves into the pages. And tentacles wind through the plot as the origins of the events here stretch back to a time beyond. Recommended.