Book Review: Video Night by Adam Cesare

Ready Player One of the horror genre…

Billy and Tom and been long friends and every Friday they have a tradition. They find horror films from the local video store and watch them. Sounds simple, but its a tradition, something they have been doing since Billy’s dad first bought one of the town’s first VHS machines. This Friday is different. This Friday, the horror they are accustomed to watching has become a reality around them as an alien invasion has started during their video night. Now they must fight to survive as their town burns down around them.

I’m going to start by saying that I really loved this book. The plot was a piece of well crafted simplicity that didn’t try to do too much, and because of that it was a lot of fun to read. The characters were fun and being a horror nerd myself, easy to relate to. While the book and the characters did fall into tropes much of the time, but when it comes to a 80’s nostalgia (this book is set in the 80’s) I feel that works for it. The 80s’ were the golden age for horror movies and this book is that love letter you have wanted. I just wish the characters went more into horror trivia mode and really played up their love for the genre.

I know that is a bad negative to a book, but I really enjoyed this one. If you’re a fan of creature feature horror films and live horror fiction, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

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My Rating 5/5

Book Review: Deadfall Hotel

Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…”

Richard has lost his wife and in his grief, has accepted a job offer at a very unique hotel. It is one of mysteries and wonder, and where the dead can walk the halls with the living. It is a place where dreams can take shape and pets can mutate into monsters.

This book is an interesting read with some odd directions, and for the most part, I found it highly enjoyable. Now I’ll say that with the caveat that I do not feel like many others will like this book. It has an odd detached tone to it while things are happening and it leaves the reader like you are never fully brought into the secrets of the hotel. I enjoyed that because our main character often never feels like he has fully been brought into the fold.

It also does not have a straight central story line where it leads to a massive climax that gets resolved. Instead, the book introduces us to the main character, we have a few adventures with him and his daughter and then the story is over and we are left saying goodbye. I’m okay with that, however the end isn’t fully explained and we’re left not fully understanding what changed. It is the ending that keeps me from rating this book higher.

I did listen to this as an audiobook and the narrator did a fantastic job. In fact, the next audiobook I am going to listen to, by pure coincidence, is also narrated by him and I am looking forward to it.

Rating 4/5


Purchase your copy today. Available in your local book store or on Amazon.
If in Wausau, WI, please make sure to buy your copy from Janke Books Store

Book Review: The Deceased by Tom Piccirilli

Jacob Maelstrom’s family had been brutally murdered by his sister ten years ago in their family home. He was eleven then, and was found in the closet with no memory of what happened.

Now, on the anniversary of the killings, Jacob is being summoned home by the ghosts. They want him to visit. He’s been away from the family home for far too long…

Mr. Piccirilli is an excellent writer and that alone makes this book an interesting read. He has a great way of pulling you into the characters and their surroundings. That being said, I wanted to like this book more than I do. The storyline was very disjointed which I’m sure was intentional to create a surreal effect, however I wonder how much better the book would could have been.

Another aspect of this book, and something not really important to the review, is that there are certain parts of the book that read like a gothic self help book on how to write a horror novel. He intersperses little nuggets on how to write. I don’t know if you will, but I enjoyed them.


Purchase your copy today. Available in your local book store or on Amazon.
If in Wausau, WI, please make sure to buy your copy from Janke Books Store

Book Review: Innocence by Dean Koontz

This book was much better than I expected it to be. I used to be a Dean Koontz fan, but had stopped reading his work around the time  the Odd Thomas books came out. I have tried reading his later stuff. There have been novels here and there that I’ve tried, but none of them could hold my attention past the opening couple of chapters. That has frustrated me as I hate giving up on a book.

I finally finished one of his more recent books, the first book in the Frankenstein series, and thought it was horrendous.

So I was greatly hesitant when I came into reading this book, had no clue what to expect, didn’t look up the description, I just started reading it as it was on sale and I thought, Why not….

Not only did I fall in love with this book, the characters and everything about it, the twists and turns, all of it… that I am now reinvigorated to give more Koontz books a second look.

The book follows Addison, a deformed young man who doesn’t know what it is, but something about his appearance drives men insane. It is due to this, that he stays hidden to the shadows, living under the city. He only leaves his underground dwelling at night, when it is safe to travel the city while others sleep.

It is on one of these travels when he comes across this girl who refused to be touched. It is through there odd relationship that the story unfolds as there is someone out to get her, and it is only together that they will find a way to survive.

This tale is beautiful in a dark and twisted sore of way that I love. It is not twisted in the way of gore, but in this amazing love story that happens as literally the world is ending around them. A disease is wiping out humanity and here we have this interesting love story that has so much to it. It is a great read, and so hard not to write a review about this book without giving away so much. Koontz did an excellent job of not giving away too much too soon, and keeping the secrets only at the fringe of what was happening.

I would highly recommend this book, and this is a series I will definitely purchasing the next book. I hope you enjoy it as well.


Purchase your copy today. Available in your local book store or on Amazon.
If in Wausau, WI, please make sure to buy your copy from Janke Books Store

Rating: 5/5

Book Review: Terror Byte by J. R. Park

Detective Norton is thought to be one of London’s best detectives but lately he is a haunted man. Just weeks ago his girlfriend was murdered leaving him with nothing but the job which he focuses on relentlessly. Then he is called in to investigate an office building where the entire staff is found brutally murdered. His only clue is the flash drive that curiously has his dead girlfriend’s name printed on it.

I must admit I have a lot of mixed feeling about this book. It’s short, and part me feels that it works because of it. However I also feel like the hindrance of the book is it’s brevity and that it should be longer with twists, turns, and added suspense. As it stands, it is an interesting book that is never sure what genre it wants to be a part of so it takes a limitless from each. You have the grotesque beginning with the gratuitous sex scene, and then you stumble through the noir until you find yourself reading a techno-thriller.

Now don’t get me wrong, I found the book to be engaging and worked my way through the short fiction rather quickly, however this book was not one of my favorites.

Rating: 3/5

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Book Review: The Family Tree by John Everson

Everson is at his best when he can write a compelling story that mixes horror with sex and in The Family Tree there is a lot of sex.

Scott Belvedere just inherited the Family Tree in from a relative he has met only once in a part of the country Scott’s father fled from. Not knowing his family history, Scott returns to his ancestral home to decide if he wants to sell the inn or continue to run it. Once there, he is shown the family tree, a tree that the inn was built around and has become rooted into the local traditions due largely to the healing qualities of its sap.

Everson has managed to craft a wonderful tale, following Scott as he leaves his home in Chicago to check out his inheritance. Scott isn’t too sure what he is going to do with the inn and barely remembers it from the one time his father visited home. Scott was much too young, and his father hasn’t talked about his family, making them all the more mysterious. Unfortunately for Scott, curiosity is what killed the cat. Now if he isn’t careful, it might also kill him.

There is a lot of sex in this novel. I knew coming into it that it was horror erotica, but it isn’t what I normally read so for people who know my normal tastes, I wanted to prepare you. The sap of the tree that heals as well as may just be the fountain of youth also tends to make people horny. At one point a couple starts having full on sex at the dinner table with everyone else there watching eagerly.

Which made me think of lot of the Bowie film, The Hunger. I haven’t seen that film in a long time, but I kept getting that vibe. This book isn’t about vampires, but there was a certain amount of creepiness that felt similar to me.

Overall, I liked this quite a bit and feel it to be one of my favorite Everson novels. I would recommend reading it.


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Book Review: An Unwelcome Quest

An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 book 3) by Scott Meyer

We are back in the world of Magic 2.0, following the adventures of Phillip and Martin. For those who are unfamiliar with these ‘wizards’, they are two time traveling men who happened across a computer file that gave them unlimited access to influence the world around them. See, all of life is a computer program, and these two as well as many others have found away to use that, propel themselves into the past and proclaim themselves as wizards.

Book 3 in the series follows these men as a former ‘wizard’ who had been banished and stripped of his powers reclaims said powers and forces our heroes with their friends into a fantasy video game. There, they must complete and epic quest to find out who is the chosen one that will live.

I just finished reading this novel, and I will start of by saying that I found this book to be the best of the series so far. The first in the book I had many issues with and it took me nearly a year before I finally worked up desire to read the second book. The second book was better and enjoyable enough that I went ahead and went right into the third book. I didn’t regret it.

This book was a lot of fun, and the characters are entertaining with most of them being fully developed with their own personalties. That alone is pretty good considering how many characters we had to deal with in this novel. The story itself flowed well, and continued at a good pace that I burned through the book at a good pace even with many of life’s interruptions.

The quest they are sent on was one of my favorite parts as it had a lot of fun poking holes in many of the fantasy game tropes that I myself have on occasion found frustrating. Have two separate parties going through the quest allowed for some fun moments as we got to see how two different sets of characters interact with the challenges that they faced and was quiet humorous as they came across some of the game’s glitches.

The book is a light hearted, fun read and for anyone looking for something like that, I would recommend. Though to really get a feel for the characters, you will probably need to read the other two books. It does try to tell you everything that had happened before, and you will probably be able to get the full story without them. Still, to really understand who Phillip and Martin as well as Jimmy and Gary are, you’ll want those additional stories.


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Book Review: Paradox Bound by Peter Cline

Paradox Bound by Peter Clines

Paradox Bound is the latest novel by Clines and follows a boy who grew up in a small town in Maine. Through the course of his life, this strange woman kept popping up now and again, never aging and always with an old antique car. She looked like she was from another time, standing there in her revolutionary war attire, and it turned out, she was.

This is now the third novel I’ve read by Peter Clines and this is by far my least favorite. It had some quaintness too it, and some moments I liked, but by and far I felt the novel was very predictable in how it approached the main storyline and filled with holes in some of the interactions with the minor characters.

Eli, our main character has grown up in his small town, and never made his escape when he became an adult as much as he claims the desire too. He works at a dead end job, and does nothing of merit. So when he meets this strange woman, one he has had chance encounters with all his life and has fallen in love with through their brief interactions, he chooses to help her.

This brings him in contact with the faceless men. Men who have given up their identities and had their faces removed to protect the American Dream. These men now have their sights on him as they feel he knows more than he is saying as they are after the woman. So of course, Eli now realizing that the strange woman is in danger, races after where he knows she will be, thus thrusting them into an adventure as they run for their lives. The faceless men always at their heels as they barely escape them at every turn.

I will say, one element about the book I highly enjoyed was the couples interactions with John Henry as he rides his train through history. Like I said, the book is predictable, but I still enjoyed it. If this was the first book written by Peter Cline that I have read, I would not have been so critical of it. His previous work has been excellent. This book, while it is good, I can’t praise as much. It is still a fun read, and I still recommend it. It is a fun romp through the bowels of history. Just remember, they don’t time travel. Nope, they travel through history (Okay that distinction throughout the book annoyed the hell out of me)…

Rating: 3/5

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