• Horror Book Reviews

    The Sign of the Beast

    What I admire most about Oates’ brand of suspenseful horror is that she truly understands the predatory nature of people. Mrs. S—— is definitely the predator in this case, taunting and teasing Howard mercilessly, making inappropriate comments about his physical development. The story seems very straightforward, that this Sunday school teacher is dressing provocatively to entice young Howard, but by the halfway point my assumptions were challenged. Similar to Miao Dao, The Sign of the Beast deals with the confusion and shame that comes with puberty and the sexual awakening of an adolescent. Howard feels embarrassed about the way he’s treated by Mrs. S—— yet finds himself desiring her sexually.…

  • Horror Book Reviews,  Short Story Collection Reviews

    The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

    The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a large collection of novellas and short stories that include a wide variety of genres. Each time I turned the page to the next story it would be kind of a wild card and I never knew what to expect which was both good and bad. While it was nice that the variety keeps things fresh, it also made the collection feel disorganized. The stories in the anthology don’t fit any particular theme, instead they just seemed like odds and ends thrown into a master volume. This will probably not be a big deal to many, but for me it just broke the flow.…

  • Japanese Thriller Book Reviews

    Confessions

    A teacher finds out that two of her students murdered her daughter and finds herself conflicted between her duty as a teacher and her despair and drive for revenge. This book even from the premise sounds insane and incredibly dark, doesn’t it? Confessions is the debut novel of Japanese crime writer Kanae Minato and is one of only two of her novels that have been translated to English. After reading and loving Penance I knew that I had to pick this book up. This was actually a really difficult book to write a review for because when I finished reading I was left speechless for good and bad reasons. It’s…

  • YA Horror Book Reviews

    Ultimate Sacrifice

    A small town, a grisly ritualistic murder followed by whispers of a prophecy and sacrifice, the prospect of this book is terrifying. Ultimate Sacrifice is a young adult novel about a teen girl that finds herself and her family in the middle of a murder investigation with some horrifying implications. The book begins at a running start and keeps up a fast pace for the entirety of the book. I could sympathize with Vickie and the stress of having her family flooded with hatred and negative press, the pressure of suddenly being in the spotlight and suspected of the most heinous crime imaginable. I liked that the book showed realistically…

  • Japanese Horror Book Reviews

    Audition

    Audition may just be one of the fastest reads I’ve had all year, finishing in just under 24 hours. The story follows an aging widower named Aoyama, who holds an audition to find a new bride. The narrative focuses in on Aoyama’s feelings of loneliness after the loss of his wife, his relationship with his son, how he copes with aging, and his delusional romance with a young woman named Asami. Let’s be clear about one thing: Aoyama is not a nice man. It’s odd that many reviews talk about what a nice man he is because he has a good relationship with his son and seems to love Asami,…

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