The Mighty Blowhole - Here the Sun + Moon Do Battle (2012)

After dragging ass for over 6 years (...16 if you count when some of these tunes were originally birthed), the debut Mighty Blowhole album is available for your free downloading pleasure. 

Bass-centric, analog delay-sodden, trip-hoppity, instrumental post-rock...

Track listing:
  1. Space Fury
  2. As the Rapt Seraph That Adores and Burns
  3. At the Bazaar
  4. In the Cave of Sex
  5. The Masked Dyer
  6. Dripping, Pouring... Drowning (A Sketch)
  7. Chase, No Straighter
  8. Office Party
  9. As She Came
  10. The Night Naphthaline Magda Rose from Her Grave
  11. You Are All Tigers
  12. O Kali, Glorious and Terrible (A Portrait)
  13. These Hermetic Fields
  14. As the Reprised Seraph...
Guest musicians featured are John Brocato (8, 10), Andrew Hamiter (9, 11) + Victor Wilson (3), all of whom provided some truly excellent guitarwork that I'd've never come up with... And oldest + dearest pal Dave Sims was cool enough to let me use his mixing suite + his ears... thanks all around, fellers!


(No Such Thing As) Too Much Horror Business

Who you callin’ “Spook,” Peckerwood?

Dracula the Un-Dead (Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt, 2009)

I don’t mind audacity as long as the payoff’s good. And this book is audacious: co-written by Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew, it seeks to reclaim the world of Dracula from Hollywood and popular culture, which apparently have muddled the story since 1897, in a sequel that, broadly speaking, pits the Harkers, Van Helsing, and Arthur Holmwood/Lord Godalming against Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who’s like an ignoble lesbian Dracula on steroids.


As with so many allegedly good ideas, this book is one big “Yes, OK, but…” The story basics are intriguing, but there are too many problems, including one huge problem that can’t be gotten around: the writing is terrible. I’m talking bush-league, Dick-and-Jane-sentence terrible. And once you take a familiar story with familiar characters in a familiar genre and add “terrible writing” to the mix, you get a book that feels for all the world like it’s been phoned in, as though the authors figured they could just ride Mina Harker’s coattails for 400 pages instead of really honing this idea into something special (and, also, instead of proofreading). Another huge problem is that the narrative keeps jumping far too quickly from one character’s crisis-ridden scene to another’s, mimicking that soap-opera trick of zooming the camera in on someone’s over-emoting face as the ominous music swells and then CUT to more over-emotive nonsense. Over and over and over. And then there’s the book’s inevitability, because you know from very early on EXACTLY how events are going to unfold and how the story’s going to end, though I’m certain this inevitability was not itself inevitable – the tale, in other words, could’ve been handled far more artfully and telegraphed far less. There are some good elements, like scenes of high-octane gore, an intriguing Jack the Ripper subplot, and, of course, the lesbian Dracula I mention above: despite the absolute crap internal and external dialogue she’s given, Bathory is a straight-up badass who probably deserves not only her own film adaptation but also her own film adaptation in which she’s played by Noomi Rapace (the original and superior Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Seriously, she could be awesome on screen, so long as Stoker and Holt aren’t allowed near the screenplay (but Holt’s a screenwriter, so fat chance there).

Honestly, don’t waste your time with this book. Read something else.

Horns (Joe Hill, 2010)

Ig Perrish wakes up with horns growing out of his head, and he soon discovers that these horns (a) make people open up to him in shocking ways, (b) cause him physical pain, (c) allow him to snort puffs of smoke, and, later, (d) summon snakes. The backstory for all this, told through chapter-length flashbacks, is the as-yet unsolved death of his beloved Merrin and the community’s suspicion that Ig killed her. One of the neat things about this book is that, although it’s predictable, Hill does such a good job developing these characters into complex, realistic entities that the story winds up being not so much predictable as natural, simply going where required by the characters’ machinations. There are several impressively realistic dialogue-heavy scenes, which is rare in my experience; usually, heavy dialogue tends to shout “EXPOSITION! I’M COMMUNICATING IMPORTANT PLOT POINTS THROUGH TALKING!” Not here, thankfully. There’s also a weird villain who easily could have been the story’s weak point but isn’t, and that’s rare too. His name is Lee Tourneau, and I’m positive Hill knew what he was doing when he gave this guy a name so aurally close to Mary Kay Letourneau, the creepy and felonious Samoan cradle-robber. The first time I encountered Lee Tourneau in the story, I literally groaned, and for that I say: well-played, Joe Hill. You should positively read this book, so I won’t spoil any juicy bits (and there are plenty) by giving them away here, but I must mention two nifty echoes:

1. Whether an intentional overlap or not, Merrin is the surname of Max von Sydow’s character in The Exorcist, who is, of course, an exorcist. Since Ig grows horns and involuntarily draws out the baser instincts of those he encounters, does Merrin somehow function as an exorcist for him? Kind of, actually. Not in a direct way, but kind of. Enough that I want to read it again from that perspective.

2. In Restoration and early Georgian English literature, literal and figurative horns connote someone who’s been cuckolded (which is also where we get the modern sexual notion of horny). This too has some layered and slightly off-center application to Ig.

Highly, highly recommended.

Insidious (2011)

Horror for me is a tricky genre. Like anything else I read or watch, it needs to be handled specifically and realistically, but specifics and realism sometimes tamp down what might be scary, since they tend to deflate the fantastic and phantasmagoric. It needs to play on ingrained, traditional, even limbic fears, so it needs a degree of familiarity, but few things will ruin a horror piece like overly predictable paint-by-numbers hooey. And it needs to be scary – it needs to create those magic moments where your fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in even though you’re sitting quietly on your couch or in a theater seat. (These are all broad-stroke opinions, of course. Feel free to disagree with abandon.)

Based on these ideas, then, I’ve rarely encountered a film like Insidious that provokes such contradictory reactions from me. It’s overflowing with boilerplate horror totems:
  • Happy family in a new place
  • Less-than-stable wife left alone too much with her young kids
  • Unexplained occurrence involving one kid
  • Bizarre and scary events possibly caused by said occurrence
  • Recruitment of quirky paranormal investigators (complete with one warm, wizened female seer and two comic-relief technicians)
  • Revelation of past and heretofore unknown macabre occurrences
  • Epic showdown of Dark Forces versus once-happy family + paranormal investigators
  • A partially happy ending
How many stories have I just described? Poltergeist is almost a perfect fit, and I’m sure there are dozens of others. Additionally, the mother and father are too good-looking (oh, but she’s Rose Byrne – mmmmmmmmmm…), the kids are too cute by half, a few important plot points are too thinly developed, and the soundtrack and sound effects rely too much on sudden-jolt shock value.

And yet I’ve watched this movie several times, always with delight, and am even now anticipating watching it again. Why? Quite simply, it’s because the scary parts are really motherfucking scary. Considered in light of my beefs in the previous paragraph, the scary parts are basically set pieces – it’s not that they’re unrelated to the overarching story, it’s that they have a power lacking in the non-scary scenes. Lovely as she is, I don’t really care that Rose Byrne’s character is lonely. I don’t really care that her husband (Patrick Wilson) seems overly distant and unhelpful. I don’t really care (forgive me for saying this) that their son is in a coma-like state for much of the movie. I don’t really care that moving to another new house (they rightly think the first new one is haunted) does nothing to stop the weird shit from happening. But I sure do care when Byrne’s character sees a hulking figure walk past her second story window directly into her bedroom and then literally screech toward her as she scrambles off the bed. I sure do care when she’s playing LPs while unpacking at the second new house, hears the needle scratch off the record, hears a different song playing, and then sees an ultra-creepy little boy/man running around, laughing. (And whoever picked Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” for this different song is a goddamn genius.) I sure do care during several other moments that I won’t spoil for you here – suffice to say they're scary even when I already know they’re coming.

Maybe this care/don’t care business isn’t so strange. I mean, I don’t care too much about Laurie Strode’s, Danny Torrance’s, or Jim the courier’s woes, but Halloween, The Shining, and 28 Days Later… remain terrifying years after they first appeared. I suppose what all these films share with Insidious is that their money shots are exceptionally effective irrespective of plot/character concerns. (I mean, to examine the other side of the coin for a sec, how many horror films have I watched with zero money shots that worked on me? [Answer: 1, 117. I counted ‘em just the other day!]) Consider another, even lesser-known example: The Messengers, a 2007 release starring Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, and that piece of timber Kristen Stewart. Could you put together a less impressive cast? Maybe if you tossed in Keanu Reeves and Cybil Shepherd? And I swear to you the storyline hews to the list of totems I describe a few paragraphs above. Dumb as the floor. But the money shots? Hoo-boy. I paused on this movie while scanning channels a few years ago and was overwhelmed by its vapidity. Then a scene happened where Kristen Stewart is holding her baby brother in the middle of the night in their new house, investigating a strange noise, and we – and the baby – see a ghoul slowly approaching from behind Stewart. The scene drags on sparsely and mercilessly for I-don’t-know-how-long-but-it-feels-like-hours, and it is terrifying.

While they’re occurring to me, consider three more examples of weak horror movies with a handful of strong scenes:

1. Signs: I hate the lugubrious sentimentality in M. Night Shyamalan-a-ding-dong’s films so much I don’t even know what to say anymore, and this one is among the worst, with an asthmatic Culkin and Johnny Cash and a grieving anti-Semitic and his courageous return to his ecumenical collar at the end. But even all this silliness doesn’t stop a few alien-encounter scenes from being mightily effective (not the one of news footage on TV – that’s just comic).

2. Devil: Yeah, another Shyamalan schmaltzfest, which is a real shame because this one (five people trapped on an elevator with, apparently, the devil) could have been completely brilliant. The big reveal near the end, though, is a total masterstroke. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it. Yikes!

3. The Others: This movie’s not bad – its creepy atmosphere is dense and enjoyably oppressive – but Nicole Kidman’s mourning for her dead husband and hyper-vigilance over her kids’ photosensitivity become irritating more or less immediately. There’s also a (wait for it) “surprise ending.” But the film has several genuinely scary scenes, including one near the middle with a veiled figure and a marionette whose fright value makes watching the entire thing (to that point) worthwhile.

Shit, add to this the entire Paranormal Activity franchise. I went to see the first one in the theater, lured by the very effective trailers, and, despite some perennial complaints – How convenient that the film centers on two TOTAL cutie pies! When do these people go to work? PLEASE STOP FILMING YOU DICK! THERE’S A MALEVOLENT PARANORMAL PRESENCE IN YOUR MIDST! &etc. – it scared the shit out of me. I literally didn’t sleep well that night. Then the second PA film comes out, and although I’m averse to sequels, the trailers once again lured me in and goddammit if I didn’t find the second one more effective than the first. (Let me pause and bluntly summarize for emphasis: there is some really fucked-up shit in PA2.) So then PA3 comes out, and I say aloud “There’s no way that’s going to be any good,” and I don’t see it in the theater, but I do watch it on Netflix, and………yeah, it’s not as good as the first two. But it gets a few money shots so very, very right – the sheet-ghost in the kitchen? UN. HOLY. HELL. – that I’ve watched it more than once, delighted every time.

Anyway, I was talking about Insidious. It's definitely worth your time if you haven’t seen it (on Netflix Instant, et al.), if only because I’d like to know if you find any of it effective. Among its tried and true formulae, it even adds a few legitimate and scary surprises. Unlike most films we discuss here, it’s rated PG-13, which is probably about right considering the amount of profanity, gore, and nudity it doesn’t contain, though I can’t fathom my 13-year-old watching it until he’s older (my 18-year-old passed on watching after I described it to her – she knows her limits).

That's all I got for today. Come check some of us out on Twitter if you like laughing.


Figplucker's 21st Century Blues: Stop Breaking Down

Well, it's June now + time for another monthly installment of the blues.

This time, we go right to the wellspring with Robert Johnson, prob'ly the quintessential bluesman to most. Presented here, for your listening pleasure (?)... a reworking of his classic Stop Breaking Down.

Stop Breaking Down

Hope you enjoy... leave a comment...


Horror Upon Horror Upon Horror...

 Haven't done horror book reviews in a while, but I'm gonna make it up to you by hitting you with a motherlode of 'em!   Here we go...

The Ritual - Adam Nevill  (St. Martin’s Griffin - 2011)
Excellent horror novel that blends everything that’s best and scariest about The Blair Witch Project, Dan Simmons’ The Terror, Stephen King’s Misery, and (believe it or not) Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground.  Four old college friends who are on their way to not being friends much longer take a hiking trip into some ancient forestland in Sweden, near the Norwegian border.  Two of them are out of shape and in no condition for such a trek, and that becomes apparent when they’re barely able to walk from a twisted knee and severely blistered feet out in the middle of nowhere.  Thinking it’s crucial to cut the trip short before they get in worse trouble, they try taking a shortcut off the trail.  As you’d probably guess since you’re reading a horror novel, this turns out to be a damned bad idea.  They end up lost in an area that few have seen since the Bronze Age, and a large animal has been butchered and hung up in a tree.  Pressing onward, they find a creepy old house with a Satanic altar and a taxidermied goat-man in an upstairs room, an ancient burial ground that’s apparently gone undiscovered since the Viking days, and a church with lots of human and animal bones buried under it.   It’s soon made clear that something or someone with very bad intentions is stalking them... but that’s only the beginning of their nightmare.  Things become more horrifying and insanely desperate as it goes, and at times it seems the only happy ending possible might be a faster death for our protagonists.  This book is amazing; it would be easy for so much walking in the woods to get dull, but Nevill manages to keep it intense without a letup, and his characterization is top notch, making you get so much of a feel for each character that you even worry for the fates of the ones who are assholes, just because they seem so real.  Amazing atmosphere and incredible tension, this is one scary book and an absolute must-read.  It’s not often I’ll read a book over 400 pages long in one sitting, but I almost managed that with this one because I didn’t want to put it down.

The Woman - Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee (Dorchester Publishing, 2011)
Ketchum revisits the cannibal feral humans he created in Off Season and Offspring as the woman who's the lone survivor of her tribe is captured by a guy who chains her up in his basement with the premise of civilizing her.  But this "civilized" guy and his family are more sick and evil than she is; she's ruthless but in an animal-instinct way, while this guy's a sociopathic sadist who's already been living an extremely transgressive lifestyle.  Ketchum’s gone to the well of woman-chained-up-by-sickos horror several times now but it’s not losing any of its impact; this is one intense and well-written shockfest.  By way of an epilogue there’s a related short story, “Cow,” which is equally horrific.  This is the strong stuff and a must read for serious horror addicts who can handle it.

The Lamplighters - Frazer Lee  (Samhain, 2011)
A young woman whose drug use has left her with few employment options takes a job on an island, tending houses for rich people who belong to a mysterious Consortium.  The location of the island is kept very mysterious and she’s to have no contact with the outside world during her one-year term of employment, but the work is easy -- just light housekeeping and using utilities so the wealthy owners can maintain “resident” status and pay lower taxes.  The security guards who run the island are very strict, but soon she and the other workers are bored and seek to rebel.  They learn that the whole scheme is a front for something far more sinister than they expected.  It’s so sinister, in fact, that the impossibility of it all becomes ridiculous and blows the tension built up in the first half in a gory-but-preposterously-so cataclysm of Hellraiser -style shenanigans.  The second half of the book tries too hard and all the action becomes so busy that it loses narrative flow and gets tedious despite all the crazy stuff that’s going on.  There are some good gruesome images and the writing itself isn’t bad (though not amazing, either), and there’s some good here... but a whole lot less would be a whole lot more, because in the blur of all the mayhem I just stopped caring.  And that’s a shame after a pretty nice set up in the first half.  If your main interest is gory chaos, though, it does deliver that.

The Ceremonies - T. E. D. Klein  (Bantam Books, 1985)
Expanding his classic short story, “The Events At Poroth Farm,” into a long, detailed novel, Klein masterfully created a horror novel that must be considered one of the classics of the genre... and then he apparently called it a day because nothing’s come out since.  A young English grad student, hoping to write a paper and start a course on gothic horror, rents a building on a farm so he can get away fro New York and concentrate on reading the classics.  The farm couple he stays with are Mennonite types, very religious and living a simple antique lifestyle that he doesn’t fit in with very well.   He’s also started a relationship with a girl who was trained to be a nun, and it’s all part of a plot engineered by an old man who is the embodiment of an ancient evil creature who is trying to give itself a rebirth.  As the old man manipulates the girl into performing ancient rites, more and more hideously creepy things start happening in the farming community; dead cats return in evil form, abominations are born, earthquakes heave huge mounds out of the earth, snakes appear in hordes, and murderous old rituals appear to be on the verge of taking place again in the woods if the farmers can’t stop it.  To the grad student it seems as if some of the weirdness from Arthur Machen’s “The White People” may be coming true.  Very well-written and enthralling (which is a good thing since it’s 550 small-print pages), with a real sense of place, well-drawn characters, and an atmosphere of eerieness and mounting dread.  No serious reader of the horror genre should pass this up, and someone should see that it’s brought back into print.  And the references to classic horror lit are a bonus for serious students of this stuff, as well as drawing parallels between mythology such as Machen’s with the myth’s in the community’s Bible; it’s all fiction made “real” by belief.  Serious, important horror.

The Woman In Black - Susan Hill (Godine, 1983)
A welcome throwback to Victorian-style ghost stories, this creepy little novel follows Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor sent to an isolated old house in the English marshes to get a deceased and ill-regarded old woman’s papers in order.  While attending her funeral he sees a woman dressed in antique black clothes, very emaciated and withered as though in the last stages of a wasting disease.  He soon feels waves of malevolence from her, and spots her again when he visits the old house.  It’s surrounded by ocean fog and the road to it is under water whenever the tide comes in, so it’s cut off from the rest of the world... and, unluckily for Kipps, it’s very haunted, enough to threaten his sanity and his life.  Hill’s style is believably antiquated and she has a great instinct for drawing maximum dread out of all her creepy scenes.  It’s a quick read and well worth it even if you’ve seen the film adaptations.

 The first image is included for archival purposes only - that's the Leisure Book edition, and Leisure turned out to be a company that rips off their writers, so you should support Bryan Smith's work by buying the Deadite Press edition pictured in the second image.  And you should also buy it in paper to support my own paper-loyalty, but e-books are available, too, if you just gotta be that way...

The Killing Kind - Bryan Smith (Deadite Press, 2011)
Homicidal psychotics abound in my favorite Bryan Smith novel so far.  A young female serial killer named Missy, a.k.a. Roxie, kidnaps a guy named Rob and makes him witness her sadistic thrill-killings, and finally decides she’s in love with the guy.  Lucky him!   Meanwhile, a mixed-up girl named Julie, who daydreams about killing and collects gory crime photos, gets attacked by a couple of escaped mental patients.  One of them, Zeb, is a necrophile schizo and gets instructions from a voice in his head called Lulu.  He recognizes Julie as a kindred spirit, and she, in turn, finds her ultimate best friend in Roxie/Missy, and they have a ball going after a group of college kids on vacation... some of whom are pretty twisted in their own right.  Lots of gore and torture, and it’s a wee bit over the top but kept fairly realistic, which packs in plenty of tension.  Smith’s not afraid to kill of major characters and just being one of the book’s good guys doesn’t mean you’ll make it out okay, and just being one of the evil ones doesn’t mean you’ll lose.  But just about everyone suffers... except the reader, who has a ball if they’re into hardcore violence in the Richard Laymon tradition.  Well-paced, and with strongly-crafted characters who have some depth to them; these aren’t just cardboard figures waiting around to get gruesomely murdered, and that’s what gives all the killing so much impact -- you’re not just shocked by the gore (which is strong), but because it’s happening to someone you’ve come to know.  Good stuff!  And there’s talk of a sequel. 

The Axman Cometh - John Farris  (Tor, 1989)
After an overly-confident opening statement in which he promises too much, Farris starts up a good premise that goes completely off the rails by the end, and he screws it up just like Stephen King screwed up It and Duma Beach.   A girl who was the only survivor of an attack by an ax-wielding serial killer who chopped up her family (among others) gets trapped in a pitch-dark elevator during a blackout.  She becomes convinced that the killer is in there with her and he wants her to give him power by drawing him.  Even though it’s completely dark in the elevator, she draws other things instead, and soon her boyfriend is roaming through a fantasyland of children’s storybook animals, fighting with a plastic toy sword, Ernest Hemingway at his side.  And, yes, that’s as stupid as it sounds.  Apparently she has powers like that Simon kid who used to have a cartoon on Captain Kangaroo, and what she draws becomes real.  The flashbacks to her younger life and the murders are good, but the rest is ludicrous, too fanciful, and unsatisfying.  I’m surprised that Farris -- who’s usually a solid bet -- had such confidence in this when it’s one of his uncharacteristic duds.  Good enough to be worth reading (I tried doing it in one sitting as he requested but didn’t quite manage it -- got it within a 24-hour span, anyway) but don’t get your hopes too high, because the la-la-land finale is a big letdown. 

The Summer Visitors - Brooke Leimas (Signet, 1980)
Elizabeth and Anton are happily married, but then they get a visit from jet-setting cousins Christian and Leila.  Christian and Leila are suave, sophisticated, and seductive, charming everyone they meet... but those they seduce don’t usually end up well, and Elizabeth and Anton begin drifting apart as they fall under the spell of this couple, who may be more than simply attractive and captivating.  It’s pretty straightforward and not very hard-hitting, sometimes reading like a romance novel with a dark undercurrent more than a horror novel.  It’s not very scary but it’s not bad; the writing is fine and the characterization is good, it’s just perhaps a bit too ordinary.

The Unquiet Spirit - Marguerite Steen (Doubleday, 1956)
A man goes to visit an old school friend and finds that his friend and his wife are troubled by their 8-year-old son, Dominick John, who is an intellectual genius but also a cold-hearted little sociopath.   When the cat he’s had all his life is dying, the kid doesn’t wait until it’s gone to toss it in the furnace; that’s how bad he is.   His intelligence is so high and his manner so diabolical that they start thinking he may be possessed.  Also it’s revealed that the family has a secret history of insanity, and also an ancestor who was burned as a witch, and these become factors in dealing with the evil child.  This is written in a stiff, archaic style (along the lines of a gothic romance) and while it does contain a few creepy and supernatural elements, they’re weak and not nearly as shocking as the author intended (she seems to think it’s an atrocity that anyone would marry a man whose grandfather died in an asylum!), and while the little boy is evil, he never really does much of anything (aside from the incident with the cat) except make smart-ass, condescending comments and play with an Ouija board, so instead of being any kind of real menace, he just comes across as a spoiled brat in the midst of adults too timid to cope with him.  It’s not unentertaining (once you get into the groove of the off-putting style) and has its moments, but it’s not much of a horror novel.

Witch House - Evangeline Walton (DelRey, 1979, originally 1945)
Most notable for being the first novel published by Arkham House, this is unfortunately boring, tedious, and uninvolving.  It may have been stronger in 1945, but I doubt by much.  A mean ol’ lady named Aunt Sarai dies and leaves a will demanding that her descendents live in her old house for ten years if they want to split up her sizeable fortune.  They try, but the house has supernatural activity, mostly centered on Betty-Ann, a little girl who’s terrified of it all.  The family brings in Dr. Gaylord Carew, an exorcist of sorts, to stay with them and try to end the phenomena, but that doesn’t prove easy.  Most of the scary stuff is limited to sightings of a black rabbit around the grounds and the chessboard getting knocked over whenever they try to play, and there’s the old falling-chandelier-almost-hits-somebody gag.  What you’re left with besides that is a bunch of complicated historical family squabbles of a family who aren’t interesting enough to keep track of; these characters never gelled in my mind because the book never managed to make them different enough to make me care who they were.   And since their problems aren’t very interesting, either, and the prose is stiff, the book’s a long, deadening slog even at 196 pages.  By the end I was skimming just to fulfill an obligation I’d made by reading the first half of the book (plus I’ve meant to read this thing ever since I bought it as a child - if I didn‘t finish it now, I‘d never do it).  It’s a sincere effort, but not a successful one.

The Harbinger - Michael T. Hinkemeyer  (Pocket, 1980)
I am completely amazed that Hinkemeyer didn’t get sued by Jay Anson over this novel, because a more blatant rip-off of The Amityville Horror would be practically impossible.  A family, the Dovers (mom, dad, son, daughter) move into a house on Long Island where a guy named Roland Fontane shot his parents and brothers and sisters in their sleep.  As soon as the Dovers move in, strange things start happening -- flies attack a window, the husband gets obsessed with building fires in the fireplace, there are weird stains in the bathroom sink that keep reoccurring, and the wife keeps waking up at 1:25 each night, when the murders occurred.  All of this troubles their family friend, a priest; I’m guessing he read the other book and knew it didn’t end well.  Despite being obviously heavily derivative (this is the literary equivalent of a cover band), it’s a good read because Hinkemeyer’s not a bad writer and puts just enough originality (such as the house making everyone’s personality turn nasty, especially the young son, who becomes highly malevolent) to keep it interesting.  It ends up with some magical battles, which is something in horror novels that I’m never a big fan of, but for the most part it’s decent.  But it’s still so derivative that it’s main point of interest may always be that it’s an oddity.  I’ve meant to read this for decades ever since a nice lady at the local used book store threw a copy into my bag as a freebie.

And that's all for now... I gotta go read some more.  While you're waiting, you can follow me and a lotta other people on Twitter... learn how here!