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Just Can't Stop the Page Turning Horror?

D. Sippel "Rocker"
The list author says: "Welcome to the 4th installment of Page Turning Horror?! There is still so much to read of a potentially scary, thrilling, disturbing, or horrific nature that I continue on, plowing through book after book after book..."
The Prodigy
The Prodigy
"Nearly bereft of any blood, gore, violence, or sex, Noel Hynd spins another thought provoking spooky tale.  I often wonder about the nature of artistic vision and talent versus personal success and happiness, so besides Hynd's usual smooth writing and well developed characters, I also enjoyed this on a deeper level.  4 stars."
The Policy
The Policy
"Somewhat living in the shadow of The Association, even though I always flip quickly through any Little I read, The Policy didn't quite live up to my expectations.  In particular there is one very horrifying moment, but over all, the territory was just a bit too familiar.  Solid, but not spectacular:  3 1/2 stars."
Blood of the Impaler
Blood of the Impaler
"Attempting a prequel AND sequel to Dracula is a mighty big task.  Blood of the Impaler tries to do just that with mixed results.  Mainly abandoning Stoker's gothic style, Sackett goes modern with a pulpish tint.  There are some silly moments, but also some clever chills, including a fairly awesome origin of Dracula.  3 1/2 stars."
The Ferryman
The Ferryman
"Perfectly acceptable writing, but the story didn't hook me and this was a chore to finish.  The word that kept popping into mind was:  bland.  2 stars."
Sacrifice
Sacrifice
"Sacrifice is an improvement over Covenant, initially anyway.  I'm not sure that a sequel was called for, but there is enough rehashing and explanation that Sacrifice can serve as a stand alone.  Some of the initial ideas, especially the relationship between Joe and Malachai, aren't developed enough and the conclusion is basically the same as the first book.  3 stars."
Peaceable Kingdom
Peaceable Kingdom
"Similar to his novels, Ketchum's short stories vary in style, theme, and content.  What I find is there are some I really enjoy and some that just don't grab me.  This collection was hit or miss for me and hard to grade.  Over all, I enjoyed it slightly less than Bentley Little's The Collection, so 3 stars seems about right."
Dead in the Water
Dead in the Water
"After a few minor disappointments, I am back on track.  Dead in the Water is creepy, unsettling, and dare I say, even scary at times!  The first chapter would make a great short story on its own.  This is upper tier classic horror writing.  I'm surprised this isn't better known.  4 1/2 stars."
Monstrosity
Monstrosity
"Man, Ed Lee must have a great time writing this!  Monstrosity is crazy, over-the-top horror fun.  Even though the trailer trash stereotype was overdone, the plot well beyond plausible, and the ending a bit silly, I simply had a good old time tearing though this one.  Bravo Mr. Lee!  4 stars."
Dusk
Dusk
"My page turning came to a screeching halt with this one.  Dusk is a dense literate dark, dark fantasy with some great ideas and characters.  Especially loved the Red Monks.  The main problem is the story is very slow moving.  There's lots of sitting around and second guessing, which bogged me down even more.  Plenty of doom and gloom if you're into that.  Not sure I'll pursue Dawn.  3 stars."
The Stake
The Stake
"This should have been a breakout bestseller for Laymon.  It's got a great, clever concept, well drawn characters, lively dialogue, and a fast paced, thrilling plotline.  It's not as violent or gory as most Laymon, but might possibly be his best written novel.  Wonderful, fun read. 4 1/2 stars."
Picture of Evil
Picture of Evil
"This homage to The Picture of Dorian Gray is a creative update, sharply written, with some typically gruesome Masterton moments.  Besides the skillful writing and twisted tales, I am finding that Masterton's writing style actually increases the fright factor as he kind of lulls you in and then WHAM, something unexpectedly dreadful happens. 4 stars."
Lunar Park
Lunar Park
"Ellis sets his own rules (if he even has any at all), and Lunar Park isn't like anything I've read.  You're either going to love it or hate it.  It's far from a traditional horror novel, but does have elements of horror in it.  I think American Psycho is better, but I liked this odd novel enough for 4 stars."
A Fine Dark Line
A Fine Dark Line
"Similar in style to The Bottoms, Lansdale nails that Harper Leigh tone once again with this one.  It's straight late 1950's Texas mystery as opposed to horror, but a page turner nonetheless.  Hard to go wrong with Lansdale, as he is a talented writer regardless of genre.  3 1/2 stars."
City of the Dead
City of the Dead
"I'd been saving this one, but could wait no longer. City of the Dead almost defines page turning horror, loaded to the gills with start to finish zombie mayhem!  Keene pulls out all the stops and raised his own bar, even delivering his best ending to date.  Only trite dialogue and stereotyping of characters keeps this from a perfect rating; 4 1/2 stars."
99 Coffins: A Historical Vampire Tale
99 Coffins: A Historical Vampire Tale
"After City of the Dead, this comes off as super lightweight.  YA audiences might enjoy this and it is thrilling at times, but there are a few inconsistencies and contradictions, and it just doesn't aim high enough.  Not bad, but Wellington lacks pizzazz for me.  3 stars."
Book of the Dead
Book of the Dead
"Wall to wall zombies here, rife with 1980's style ultra-darkness.  With all story collections I read, there are hits and misses, although even the misses are OK.  Laymon & Lansdale contribute 2 of my faves.  Might be better to break it up than read from start to finish as it gets a bit much.  Solid collection 3 1/2 stars."
The Cold Spot
The Cold Spot
"Piccirilli fairly eliminates the poetry from his earlier horror prose to good effect.  The build-up comes across almost like Landale (not necessarily a bad thing), but as things darken up, Piccirilli puts his stamp on the work and delivers a gritty, straight-up noir tale that is a true page turner. 4 stars."
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives
"Even though I knew what would happen, Levin is such a good writer that I was hoping things might work out differently.  A short, fast read, this is certainly a page turner, but unfortunately a bit dated and not quite on the level of Levin's masterwork Rosemary's Baby.  4 stars."
The Resort
The Resort
"Another strong effort from Little, The Resort is just a small notch below The Association and The Store for me.  I appreciated the underlying ideas of assimilation into societies and taking aspects of your identity for granted and even thought the finish was pretty good (except for one misstep).  4 stars"
Contagious: A Novel
Contagious: A Novel
"Following up the 5 star Infected, Contagious picks up where things left off, but takes the story from internal to external, adding tons of Action with a capital "A".  Sigler has a gift for writing characters, possible rivaling that of Stephen King.  The scientific bits are still fascinating, but with the focus moving from horror to action, it didn't quite thrill me as much as Infected.  4 stars."
The Crook Factory
The Crook Factory
"Another well-researched, well written book from Dan Simmons, it had Hemingway, movie stars, German spies, and a fair amount of action.  Maybe espionage just isn't my thrill, because this didn't grab me nearly as much as The Terror.  Maybe a few more thrills, a little more danger?  3 stars."
Shutter Island
Shutter Island
"While certainly a page turner, even though he is not known as a horror writer, Lehane could have amped up the psychological horror to make for an even more effective thriller.  There is some great dialogue here, tailor-made for cinema.  Some of the twists foreshadow more than necessary, but over all, Shutter Island is an engaging thriller.  3 1/2 stars."
Jake's Wake
Jake's Wake
"John Skipp hasn't lost a step.  I think I now prefer his recent work to his classic '80's heyday.  The horror grips you from the get-go, pulling no punches.  This is dark, violent, gory horror for all fans of the genre.  The story is fresh, the characters detailed and the ending surprisingly effective given the difficulty of resolving the impossibilities presented throughout.  4 1/2 stars."
Death Mask
Death Mask
"Is this a kindler, gentler Masterton?  Yes, but nothing wrong with that.  The extreme gore and sex are pretty much gone, but there is still plenty of blood.  In exchange, the prose is smoother, the characters richer, with the same level of intrigue and imagination I've come to expect. I haven't read a bad Masterton yet. 4 stars."
Into the Fire
Into the Fire
"In vintage form, Laymon starts well and amazes with unpredictable thrills.  About halfway through, things settle in as the two storylines look to hook up and merge.  This is solid top ten-ish Laymon, but when the unpredictability waned so did my interest, albeit ever so slightly.  3 1/2 stars"
Hardcase (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries)
Hardcase (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries)
"Not horror, but hard edged noir with loads of ultra-violence, Simmons nails the vibe and the pages fly by.  Super easy to dive into with events quckly leading to a jaw dropping conclusion.  Not much depth, but great fun.  4 stars."
The Missing
The Missing
"If I knew Sarah Langan was this good I would have read her sooner.  She writes rich, detailed, and often quirky characters.  The evil is somewhat original and while reading, it almost felt like Stephen King in his prime.  At times the characterization was over-written, but I still enjoyed this book immensely - 4 1/2 stars."
Hater (Hater series)
Hater (Hater series)
"Danny's daily life was bringing me down more than the "hater" crisis did.  Once this got going, I was way into it and thought it one of the fresher and more original novels of the recent apocalyptic fiction wave.  Towards the end though, Moody makes a bold choice by doing a 180, and I felt shut out at the end, which dampens my interest for part 2.  3 stars"
The Shadow of the Wind
The Shadow of the Wind
"Within the first 150 pages, I was thinking Zafon is the next Marquez with Fermin rivaling Sancho Panza as best character ever!  After an extended lull, I wondered "what happened to the plot?"  Moments of this book induced true happiness like very few others, but ultimately, this is about 40% overstuffed, relying on telling rather than showing: 3 stars."
The Midnight Tour (Beast House Series)
The Midnight Tour (Beast House Series)
"The character development is very good, but where is the horror?  Similar to The Traveling Vampire Show and Funland, it takes forver to get to the actual main event, but unlike those novels, the payoff underwhelms.  Smooth prose and good characterization held my interest throughout, but lack of Laymon's crazy brand of horror can only lead me to 3 1/2 stars."
Dead Sea
Dead Sea
"Had to splurge for this one, but it was well worth it!  Possibly one of the scariest books of the sea ever, Tim Curran reaps many a watery grave of horror to arrive at something fresh and exciting.  I savored this one and highly recommend it to fans of Lovecraft, Hodgson, and Dan Simmons' The Terror. 1/2 star off for repetitious language leaves 4 1/2 stars!"
Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories
Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories
"This collection includes the 3 short 'novels', in case you were wondering.  Although the stories are relatively short, I really liked the character and would like Niles to do a true novel length story on Cal.  Cal is the crazier version of John Constantine.  Despite some stories being weaker than others and the repetition of intro story to story, this is fun 3 1/2 star material."
Michael McDowell's Blackwater, Volumes I and II:  The Flood, The Levee, The House, The War, The Fortune, Rain  (3-in-1 Volumes)
Michael McDowell's Blackwater, Volumes I and II: The Flood, The Levee, The House, The War, The Fortune, Rain (3-in-1 Volumes)
"Having just heard of Michael McDowell and his Blackwater series, I ordered a used copy of the 3-in-1 volume, which includes The Flood, The Levee, and The House.  Glad I did, because just The Flood would have left me hanging.  This reads more like East of Eden than horror, but the writing is literate and engrossing.  If Blackwater was on TV, it would be my favorite show.  4 1/2 stars."
Breeding Ground
Breeding Ground
"A suitable sequel to his engrossing "Slugs", Hutson doles out even more bodily fluids than ever before, pushing the gross-out factor as far as possible.  A bonified page turner, the questionable climax is rushed a bit once more, but this is solid enjoyment, and I am officially slugged out at this point.  3 1/2 stars."
The Burning
The Burning
"This is one of Masterton's best.  Evil Nazis make great villains, and once again Masterton throws some history behind his mythos to create a unique evil.  The supporting characters were especially good.  There is plenty of graphic death by fire, sex, action, and understated humor to please any horror fan:  4 stars."
Shadow Season: A Novel
Shadow Season: A Novel
"Another winning noir novel from Piccirilli.  This one is darker in tone than The Cold Spot, and what a stunning job of making the blind protagonist seem real and bringing the reader right there.  I love his prose and have quickly come to prefer his noir style over his older horror novels.  4 stars."
Scissors
Scissors
"This has some of Garton's deepest characters, and while the horror threat is original, you can see where this one is going.  It bogs down in the middle, but finishes strongly, and I liked the superhero element.  3 1/2 stars."
The House
The House
"I liked the idea of the house, but the set-up, alternating chapters between the 5 characters was too much, unless going for a several hundred page epic.  There is also a feeling of randomness when things happen.  Not bad, but Little has much better to offer.  3 stars."
The Keeper
The Keeper
"Another winner from Langan.  Her talent developing interesting unique characters rivals that of Stephen King.  She also has some effectively horrific situations, but as the horror plot develops to epic proportions, things get a bit out of control and then the finish is abrupt and confusing.  Outstanding for a first novel.  4 stars."
The Richard Laymon Collection: "Night Show"AND "Allhallow's Eve" v. 3
The Richard Laymon Collection: "Night Show"AND "Allhallow's Eve" v. 3
"Too bad these RL collection volumes aren't easier to track down.  Vol. 3 includes Night Show and All Hallow's Eve and is well worth your effort to get.  While the endings of both novels were skimpy, the stories flow like Laymon at his peak, and the presentation is top notch.  Could have been great with better developed endings.  3 1/2 stars."