Prayer by Philip Kerr

 

Quercus Books

Description: A chilling modern horror story in which the source of the horror is totally unexpected – and utterly terrifying

Special Agent Gil Martins investigates domestic terrorism for the Houston FBI. Once a religious man, now his job makes him question the existence of a God who could allow the violence he sees every day.

Gil is asked to investigate a series of unexplained deaths of victims known for their liberal views.

When a woman tells Gil that these men have been killed by prayer, he questions her sanity. Yet the evidence mounts that there might be something in what she says, even more so when Gil finds that his own life is on the line.

This standalone is experimental for Kerr, where he invokes the devil to come out to play. Yep, Old Scratch hisself. RAWR. I feel Kerr has sadly mis-fired here and may have lost some of his fan-base.

Next up on my TBR is Kerr’s new one, Research, and I am now slightly nervous about just what the author of the fabulous Bernard Gunther stories is going to throw at me. But each book on its own merit, yes?

3.5* March Violets (Bernard Gunther, #1)
3.5* The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther, #2)
3.5* A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)
3.5* A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5)
1* Prayer
TR Research

The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

 

Description: Master storyteller and bestselling novelist Clive Barker creates an enchanting tale for both children and adults to cherish and retell. The Thief of Always tells the haunting story of Harvey, a bright 10-year-old who is suffering from the winter doldrums, and of a creature who takes him to a place where every day is filled with fun, and Christmas comes every night.

Opening:

No such thing as a free lunch, Harvey; didn’t your mother tell you?

Four all-day every-day Christmas dinners

Authoritarian Sociopathy: Toward a Renegade Psychological Experiment by Davi Barker

bookshelves: essays, nonfiction, summer-2014, fraudio, anarchy, psychology, boo-scary, bullies, casual-violence, games-people-play, gardening, gulp, how-to, lifestyles-deathstyles, mental-health, ouch, politics, published-2014, rid-the-world-of-tyrants, totalitarian

Read from July 14 to 21, 2014

 

Description: Numerous studies have shown us that those given authority are more likely to lie, cheat and steal, while also being harsher in their judgments of others for doing these same things. Science tells us people with power feel less compassion for the suffering of others.

Previous experiments also show us that those who are obedient to authority are capable of the worst forms of murder, and tolerant of the worst forms of abuse. They will even chastise those of us who resist corrupt authority. They become facilitators of evil, believing that obedience to authority absolves them of personal responsibility.

This is the fifth draft of a renegade psychological experiment on authoritarian sociopathy, specifically on police brutality. We aim to show the world beyond a shadow of a doubt, that power corrupts absolutely, and corrupt authority deserves no obedience.

Interesting front about plagiarism being about love, and who wants love policed. Hmmm

Stamford experiment just got worse
Milgram experiment
– Government has the monopoly of violence in a designated area

Nothing new here, really. Refresh yourselves with the videos linked to above so you don’t forget how we can all act like either laboratory rats or merciless tyrants.

Just the two hazard signs as rating

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ― Aristotle, Metaphysics

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

bookshelves: skoolzy-stuff, published-1794, gothic, gutenberg-project, e-book, summer-2014, classic, boo-scary

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: FutureLearn
Recommended for: Laura, Jemidar etc
Read from June 26 to 30, 2014

 

Read here

Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns,
And, as the portals open to receive me,
Her voice, in sullen echoes through the courts,
Tells of a nameless deed.

Opening: On the pleasant banks of the Garonne, in the province of Gascony, stood, in the year 1584, the chateau of Monsieur St. Aubert. From its windows were seen the pastoral landscapes of Guienne and Gascony stretching along the river, gay with luxuriant woods and vine, and plantations of olives. To the south, the view was bounded by the majestic Pyrenees, whose summits, veiled in clouds, or exhibiting awful forms, seen, and lost again, as the partial vapours rolled along, were sometimes barren, and gleamed through the blue tinge of air, and sometimes frowned with forests of gloomy pine, that swept downward to their base. These tremendous precipices were contrasted by the soft green of the pastures and woods that hung upon their skirts; among whose flocks, and herds, and simple cottages, the eye, after having scaled the cliffs above, delighted to repose. To the north, and to the east, the plains of Guienne and Languedoc were lost in the mist of distance; on the west, Gascony was bounded by the waters of Biscay.

Haddon Hall is the basis for Radcliffe’s crumbling, spooky castles.

Close reading exercise. What adjectives does she use? How do both descriptions connect with the emotions of the viewer, Emily? How is the heroine’s uncertainty conveyed? Are there any nouns, verbs or adjectives in particular which convey uncertainty? How, precisely, is the castle of Udolpho personified?

Towards the close of day, the road wound into a deep valley. Mountains, whose shaggy steeps appeared to be inaccessible, almost surrounded it. To the east, a vista opened, that exhibited the Apennines in their darkest horrors; and the long perspective of retiring summits, rising over each other, their ridges clothed with pines, exhibited a stronger image of grandeur, than any that Emily had yet seen. The sun had just sunk below the top of the mountains she was descending, whose long shadow stretched athwart the valley, but his sloping rays, shooting through an opening of the cliffs, touched with a yellow gleam the summits of the forest, that hung upon the opposite steeps, and streamed in full splendour upon the towers and battlements of a castle, that spread its extensive ramparts along the brow of a precipice above. The splendour of these illumined objects was heightened by the contrasted shade, which involved the valley below.

‘There,’ said Montoni, speaking for the first time in several hours, ‘is Udolpho.’

Emily gazed with melancholy awe upon the castle, which she understood to be Montoni’s; for, though it was now lighted up by the setting sun, the gothic greatness of its features, and its mouldering walls of dark grey stone, rendered it a gloomy and sublime object. As she gazed, the light died away on its walls, leaving a melancholy purple tint, which spread deeper and deeper, as the thin vapour crept up the mountain, while the battlements above were still tipped with splendour. From those, too, the rays soon faded, and the whole edifice was invested with the solemn duskiness of evening. Silent, lonely, and sublime, it seemed to stand the sovereign of the scene, and to frown defiance on all, who dared to invade its solitary reign. As the twilight deepened, its features became more awful in obscurity, and Emily continued to gaze, till its clustering towers were alone seen, rising over the tops of the woods, beneath whose thick shade the carriages soon after began to ascend.

Two and a half wet tissues is all I can muster for this drivel. I can recommend Thomas Love Peacock as a skit on the Gothic Romance genre: Nightmare Abbey is really very funny.

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz Forever Odd (Odd Thomas, #2) by Dean Koontz

bookshelves: published-2005, tbr-busting-2014, spring-2014, series, north-americas, boo-scary, ghosties-ghoulies, fantasy

Read from May 09 to 10, 2014


8 hrs 32 mins

Description: We’re all a little odd beneath the surface. He’s the most unlikely hero you’ll ever meet—an ordinary guy with a modest job you might never look at twice. But there’s so much more to any of us than meets the eye—and that goes triple for Odd Thomas. For Odd lives always between two worlds in the small desert town of Pico Mundo, where the heroic and the harrowing are everyday events. Odd never asked to communicate with the dead—it’s something that just happened. But as the unofficial goodwill ambassador between our world and theirs, he’s got a duty to do the right thing. That’s the way Odd sees it and that’s why he’s won hearts on both sides of the divide between life and death.

A childhood friend of Odd’s has disappeared. The worst is feared. But as Odd applies his unique talents to the task of finding the missing person, he discovers something worse than a dead body, encounters an enemy of exceptional cunning, and spirals into a vortex of terror. Once again Odd will stand against our worst fears. Around him will gather new allies and old, some living and some not. For in the battle to come, there can be no innocent bystanders, and every sacrifice can tip the balance between despair and hope. Whether you’re meeting Odd Thomas for the first time or he’s already an old friend, you’ll be led on an unforgettable journey through a world of terror, wonder and delight—to a revelation that can change your life. And you can have no better guide than Odd Thomas.

Having just dumped an early entry (Dragon’s Tears) it is with a sigh of relief to realise that I still love Koontz as a writer because he has adapted to changing times. Us readers have had to do the self same thing.

Jesse Garon Presley, his identical twin brother, was delivered stillborn 35 minutes before him. As an only child, Presley became close to both parents and formed an unusually close bond with his mother. The family attended an Assembly of God church, where he found his initial musical inspiration.

Datura id beautiful but poisonous

3.5* Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas, #1) (2003)
3.5* Forever Odd (Odd Thomas, #2) (2005)
TR Brother Odd (Odd Thomas, #3) (2006)

2* Phantoms (1976)
3* Icebound (1976)
TR The Vision (1977)
3* Whispers (1980)
TR Darkfall (1984)
3* Strangers (1986)
2* Intensity (1987)
1* Dragon Tears (1988) ABANDONED
3* Mr. Murder (1993)
3* Winter Moon (1993)
3* Tick Tock (1996)
2* By the Light of the Moon (2002)
2* The Face (2003)
4* The Good Guy (2006)
1* The Taking (2007)
3* Black River (2007)
2* The Darkest Evening of the Year (2007)
TR 77 Shadow Street (2011)

2* Fear Nothing (Moonlight Bay, #1) (1968)
1* Seize the Night (Moonlight Bay, #2) (1988)

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

bookshelves: spring-2014, dog-steals-the-show, e-book, environmental-issues, boo-scary, ipad, lifestyles-deathstyles, medical-eew, newtome-author, nonfiction, ouch, plague-disease, published-2012, tbr-busting-2014, zoology, sciences, bedside

Recommended for: GeeVee, Pat, Susanna, and all other disease lovers
Read from April 15 to May 01, 2014

 

Description: An engrossing, lively history of a fearsome and misunderstood virus that binds man and dog The most fatal virus known to science, rabies—a disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans—kills nearly one hundred percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. In this critically acclaimed exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh and often wildly entertaining look at one of humankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

If you can believe this, it IS my bedside read. Rabies has a better (i.e. worse) hit rate than bubolic plague: almost 100% death rate. Brrrr.

I have turned into a hydropochondriac – just how close did those pipstrelles come to the patio in the gloaming last night? And when Linnea’s microwave-ably small lap dog sneezed did some globules of spittle come my way?

I always wonder why those people who want horror stories never reach for non-fiction, because every chill the mind could possibly want is out there in reality.

3.5*

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

bookshelves: autumn-2012, slavic, nonfiction, ouch, nobel-laureate, fraudio, epic-proportions, autobiography-memoir, boo-scary, bullies, execution, gangsters, holocaust-genocide, lifestyles-deathstyles, philosophy, politics, published-1958, racism, recreational-homicide, true-grime

Read from September 08 to October 28, 2012


blurb – The Gulag Archipelago is Solzhenitsyn’s attempt to compile a literary-historical record of the vast system of prisons and labour camps that came into being shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917 and that underwent an enormous expansion during the rule of Stalin from 1924 to 1953. Various sections of the three volumes describe the arrest, interrogation, conviction, transportation, and imprisonment of the Gulag’s victims by Soviet authorities over four decades. The work mingles historical exposition and Solzhenitsyn’s own autobiographical accounts with the voluminous personal testimony of other inmates that he collected and committed to memory during his imprisonment.Upon publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn was immediately attacked in the Soviet press. Despite the intense interest in his fate that was shown in the West, he was arrested and charged with treason on February 12, 1974, and was exiled from the Soviet Union the following day.

Map of the Gulags

Image: An abandoned guard tower in one of hundreds of gulags (prison camps) across the Soviet Union, remains as a symbol of profound human suffering. First instituted by Lenin to imprison priests, political opponents, and common criminals, Stalin was then responsible for sending 12-15 million people to these camps. The prisoners were used as forced labor to work on massive industrial projects. As more laborers were needed for bigger projects and those falling behind schedule, Stalin justified the arrests of more people to be sent to the gulags. Millions were executed in these camps or perished as they labored on massive modernization schemes. It is said of the Siberian railroad project that the work was never done, nothing was achieved and it went nowhere. (credit: Jonathan Lewis)

Gruelling yet important; shocks one to the very core. Some books are best left unrated.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

    Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan
    Sean Harris as Joss Merlyn
    Shirley Henderson as Hannah Davey
    Joanne Whalley as Patience Merlyn
    Matthew McNulty as Jem Merlyn
    Ben Daniels as Francis Davey
    Andrew Scarborough as Magistrate Bassat
    Danny Miller as William
    Scarlett Archer as Beth

Production details: Filming began in September 2013 in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria. It was originally decided that the series would be filmed in Northern Ireland. The BBC was criticised for filming in Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria, as opposed to a location in Cornwall. An investment from Screen Yorkshire was provided for the series. The three-part series was commissioned by Ben Stephenson and Danny Cohen, both from the BBC.

Episode 1: (the mumbling one) Orphaned Mary Yellan travels to the remote Jamaica Inn to live with her Aunt Patience and brutal Uncle Joss. Isolated and alone, Mary must learn to navigate the perils of the smugglers’ world and her dangerous desire for Jem Merlyn.

Episode 2:

BBC receives over 100 complaints for episode one

The story itself remains a 3.75* read, however this TV miniseries is atrocious and I could not possibly recommend it.

Burning Girls

bookshelves: shortstory-shortstories-novellas, published-2013, e-book, spring-2014, anti-semitic, boo-scary, conflagration, disaster, doo-lally, eye-scorcher, families, fantasy, gangsters, jewish, lifestyles-deathstyles, mythology, newtome-author, ouch, tragedy, women

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Melki
Read from April 10 to 11, 2014


Opening: When we came to America, we brought anger and socialism and hunger. We also brought our demons. They stowed away on the ships with us, curled up in the small sacks we slung over our shoulders, crept under our skirts. When we passed the medical examinations and stepped for the first time out onto the streets of granite we would call home, they were waiting for us, as though they’d been there the whole time.

Within a few years, I was able to help my bubbe as she wrote out amulets to preserve infants from the lilim[..]

Bundism is a Jewish socialist and secular movement that originated with the General Jewish Labour Bund, founded in the Russian Empire in 1897. (wiki sourced definition)

Read online here

Spoilers after the break

Continue reading

In the Blood by Lisa Unger

bookshelves: published-2014, e-book, mystery-thriller, winter-20132014, north-americas, dodgy-narrator, psychology, epistolatory-diary-blog, boo-scary, forest, newtome-author, mental-health, eye-scorcher, families, recreational-homicide, revenge, bullies, the-wrong-pyjamas, doo-lally

Read from January 19 to February 25, 2014

Description: LANA GRANGER LIVES A LIFE OF LIES. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to control┬¡ling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

Dedication:

For
Ocean Rae
I love you like the cherry blossom loves the wind

Opeing quote:

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

William Blake, “The Tiger”

Opening to prologue: There are twelve slats of wood under my bed. I know this because I count them over and over.

Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve

I whisper the numbers to myself and the sound of it comforts me as I’m sure a prayer would comfort someone who believes in God. It’s amazing how loud a whisper can be. Surrounded down there by the white glow of my bed skirt, the sound of my own voice in my ears, I can almost block out the screaming, the horrible keening. And then there’s the silence, which is so much worse.

Suspend your belief and scorch your eyeballs through this suspense novel. You’ll have everything sussed by the time the denoument comes in the book, however there were some taut moments.

Crossposted:
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