Posts Tagged ‘eerie’

Dead Love

April 4, 2012

Author: Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Title: Dead Love

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Geographical Setting: Tokyo, Haiti, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Singapore

Time Period: Present

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: Okay, here goes: Eighteen year old dancer Erin Orison (our narrator), a gloomy – but incredibly hot – product of European boarding schools, is summoned to Tokyo by her (evil!) father, also the U.S. Ambassador to Japan (as well as an important cog in the Consortium, an international secret society intent on unleashing supernatural evil upon the world), to appear in a production scripted by a famed Japanese choreographer.  After being somewhat murdered by Ryu, her bodyguard come lover and Yakuza assassin, Erin awakens in a hospital morgue a not-quite zombie, the full transformation having been botched by an unknowing hospital intern.  Erin is now caught in between a human and zombie existence, possessing consciousness and self-will, albeit in a hazy, dream-like state.  Enter Clement, the puppet master behind all these doings.  Clement is a ghoul (a ghoul being an eternal yet formless being that inhabits, and feeds upon, recently deceased corpses) and has been stricken from afar for Erin since she was an infant.  What ensues is a hunt around the globe for Erin (and the microchip inside her body that would unveil the Consortium’s dastardly plans).

Subject Headings:  Zombies, Conspiracies, Supernatural, Dance, Voodoo, Vampires—Dutch, Yakuza, Ghouls, Tokyo, Haiti, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Singapore, Secret societies, Assassination, Manga, Nightclubs, Pursuit.

Appeal:  Dreamlike, surreal, psychedelic, atmospheric, dark, foreboding, otherworldly, melancholy, moody, mystical, nightmare, eccentric, complex, well-crafted, literary, aggressive, brooding, menacing, weary, gloomy, bleak, eerie, ominous, stylish.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Surreal, atmospheric, eerie.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel W. Drezner

A professor of international politics, Drezner attempts to explain different theories on international political systems by supposing the various schools supposed reactions to the world being overrun by zombie hordes.  For instance, how would a realpolitik reaction to zombies differ from, say, a neoconservative one.  Could there be human-zombie alliances for political gain or security?  And would shock and awe be so shocking to the already dead?

The Epic of Kings: Hero Tales of Ancient Persia by Firdausi

This book is suggested by McFerrin in a footnote contained in Dead Love regarding the origins of ghouls.  These myths and legends from the ancient world include ghouls, demons, jinn, and many other supernatural rabble-rousers.

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting by W. Scott Poole

From colonial times, monsters have always loomed large in American culture.  This compendium examines the various things that have scared our nation senseless over the course of generations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Eiji Ōtsuka and Housui Yamazaki

Not only is one of Dead Love’s chapters presented in manga form, the prose does well in evoking the visual moodiness of some supernaturally concerned manga.  In this on-going horror series, a group of students at a Buddhist college, each of whom possesses a special “power”, go into business collecting corpses while acting out the last wishes of the dead.

Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

Chris’s only desire is to be a normal teenager: hang out with friends, pursue his high school crush, etc.. Chris also lives in a world where vampires are hunted down and killed like vermin.  Much like Erin, Chris has embarked on a slow, agonizing descent toward supernatural damnation, this time by way of vampirism.  Much like Clement, Chris has his own other-dimensional puppet-master in Chet the Celestial Being, a servant of a vampire lord.  This book is also hilarious.

Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link

This very highly acclaimed collection of bizarre and humorous short stories includes the likes of zombies, witches, ghosts, superheroes and a whole bevy of supernatural delights.

Name: Bill S.

Fahrenheit 451

October 12, 2011

Author: Ray Bradbury

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Genre: Science fiction

Publication Date: 1953

Number of Pages: 165

Geographical Setting: An unnamed California city in the United States.

Time Period: Distant Future

Plot Summary: Guy Montag lives in a society without any books.   Guy is a firefighter whose job it is to respond to emergency calls of citizens who are found with books.  His job is to burn those books, and in a sad instance, those who own the books.  This is a society purely based on entertainment delivered by TV screens in the household.  He is walking home from work one evening and meets a young girl, Clarisse, who causes him to question his job, his morals, his marriage, and his happiness.  Clarisse, in society’s view is considered mentally ill, but in our contemporary society, appears to be perfectly normal with a normal family- life.  Clarisse’s insight causes Guy’s to re-examine his life, which leads to disastrous consequences for Guy, his family and his co-workers.

Subject Headings:  banned books, book burning, censorship, conformity, dystopias, fires, futurism, mass media, reading, repression, totalitarianism.

Appeal: visionary, prophetic, accurate, scary, eerie, disturbing, bleak, hopeful, lyrical, dystopian, poetic, world-building.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  heroic, character-driven, atmospheric

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 1)Bradbury Chronicles: The life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller-Interviews with editors, friends, family and the author about the author’s work ethic, struggles, successes and inspiration.

2)Universal History of the Destruction of Books: from ancient Sumer to modern-day Iraq by Fernando Baez-This book examines the many reasons throughout history of the destruction of books (Novelist).  This book also makes reference to Fahrenheit 451.

3)Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi-Chosen for a contemporary and political take on book banning and illustrating “the power of literature to nourish free thought” (Kirkus Reviews)

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)1984 by George Orwell- a story with a timeless quality and political and social issues and a heroic protagonist.  A “dystopian classic” (Novelist).

2)Night bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger-A graphic novel that highlights the personal importance and memories associated with books we have read.

3)Brave New World by Aldous Huxley-Chosen for its literary feel, the protagonists feel there is so much more to be experienced than their “utopian”, totalitarian society offers.


The Keep

August 10, 2011

Author: Jennifer Egan; Audiobook read by Jeff Gurner and Geneva Carr

Title: The Keep

Genre: Literary fiction; Gothic fiction; Bestsellers; Audiobooks

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: Hardcover: 240; Audiobook: 7 discs – 8 hours

Geographical Setting: Castle in Central Europe; U.S. prison

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: After Danny’s involvement in a childhood prank that nearly left his cousin dead, he never expected to see Howard again. Yet when Danny is all out of options in his beloved New York, he finds himself accepting his cousin’s offer to help renovate a remote castle in Central Europe, despite his need for technological connections and an uncertainty about Howard’s motives for asking him. Howard’s goal is to create a hotel in which people leave technology behind to “be tourists of their own imaginations.” Yet as Danny explores the mysterious castle and gets to know the 98-year-old baroness who calls the keep her home, he and readers alike begin to wonder what’s real and what’s imagined. As paranoia builds in this storyline, another layer of uncertainty is added through the narration of Ray, a prison inmate who seems to be relating the story of the keep for his creative writing class. Eventually, these alternating threads weave together to form a complex tale with themes of power, imagination, connections, and how the past haunts us all. While some transitions and elements of the untraditional narrative structure don’t translate seamlessly to audio format, the narrators are able to make up for this by enhancing the book’s cinematic qualities and evoking a more emotional response from the listener.

Subject Headings: Gothic fiction, Castles, Cousins, Power, Revenge, Paranoia, Prison life, Creative writing, Story-within-a-story, Role of technology, Clash of old and new

Appeal: Atmospheric, atypical narrative style, complex characters, detailed settings, eerie, engrossing, interweaving storylines, multiple narrators, tense, tragic, vivid

Three Words or Phrases Best Describing this Book: Layered, creepy, cinematic

3 Similar Fiction Works and Authors
End of Story by Peter Abrahams (A psychological thriller based around a writing teacher in a prison and her connection with one of her students; a suspenseful page-turner for readers interested in the prison storyline from The Keep.)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Layered and eerie Victorian-era mystery with a strong sense of place; one of Egan’s style inspirations in writing The Keep.)

Different Seasons by Stephen King (This collection follows a theme of journeys through four distinctly different novellas, including the source story for The Shawshank Redemption, which most directly relates to The Keep; readers who enjoyed the eerie, cinematic quality of The Keep might want to check this out.)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts, and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages by J.E. Kaufmann and H.W. Kaufmann (Readers interested in the keep and its defenses, as described in pivotal scenes in The Keep, can turn here for a detailed, visual discussion of castles, keeps, siege tactics and weapons.)

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (Memoir of a former prison librarian and creative writing teacher, with parallels to characters from the prison thread of The Keep; moving, thought-provoking, blends moral reflections with wit.)

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle (An exploration of the power of technology and its impact on our social lives; readers who identify with Danny’s need to be connected or Howard’s desire to escape technology may be interested in this well-researched look at isolation and connectivity.)

By: Elaine

Sharp Teeth

June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010 by rayjani

Author:  Toby Barlow

Title:  Sharp Teeth

Genre:  Fiction – Horror

Publication Date:  2007

Geographical Setting:  Los Angeles, CA

Time Period:  Present Decade

Plot Summary:

Anthony takes a job as a city dogcatcher only to find himself trying to save three dogs from extermination.  A shape shifting, lycanthrope gang leader (known as Lark) has devised a scheme for domination of the normal human population of L.A.  Anthony unknowingly becomes involved in Lark’s plan when the female lycanthrope in Lark’s gang and Anthony fall in love.  These shape-shifters can change from human form to canine form at will; they do not need a full moon.  Anthony’s love interest (who remains nameless throughout the book) keeps her secret from Anthony.  The gangs are rivals, and one of the gangs seeks out and destroys meth labs and their owners for partner leaders in organized crime.  There are three rival pack gangs.  Lark’s pack is the “money laundering” gang.  Cutter’s pack (rival to Lark’s pack) is into organized crime involving drugs and competing meth labs.  The third pack is a battered and reduced pack of surfers who are out to avenge dogs that were adopted from the pound and trained to become gladiator dogs forced to fight for their lives.  After betraying Lark, Baron, a member of his pack, takes over the rest of Lark’s pack, forcing Lark to go undercover and recruit new pack members.  Lark allows himself to be impounded in the city kennel and is adopted by a needy woman named Bonnie, who treats him very well.  At night while Bonnie sleeps, Lark goes about rebuilding his pack.  In the midst of all this, Peabody, an L.A. detective, is investigating mysterious murders of city dogcatchers.  The “surfer” pack is responsible for these.  Meanwhile, Anthony’s love becomes the target for execution by Baron’s pack.  Baron sends his pack’s female, Sasha, to do the dirty deed but Anthony’s girlfriend foils the attack and kills Sasha.  She then goes into hiding, knowing she is being hunted.  Anthony becomes depressed and distraught over her disappearance and easy prey for initiation into Baron’s pack.  The rivalry and murder investigations culminate in a battle involving all three gangs and the meth lab partner kingpins.

Subject Headings:  werewolves, animal wardens, police, gangs in Los Angeles, murder, murder investigation, dogs, supernatural, drug traffic, Los Angeles, novels in verse, horror stories.

Appeal Terms:  eerie, creepy, unsettling, surrealistic, supernatural, vicious, gory, graphically descriptive, bloody, menacing, dark, violent, ominous.

Three terms that best describe this book:  visceral, unsettling, and surrealistic.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Canyons by P.D. Cacek portrays Lucius as the leader of a highly civilized pack of Denver werewolves who is holding off the invasion of a rival pack.  He does all this while avoiding his increasing attraction to a journalist who is bent on reporting on Lucius’s pack.

The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo has Marlowe Higgins moving from one town to another after a dishonorable discharge.  Higgins becomes trapped in an ongoing struggle with his werewolf nature that forces him to kill heinous villains during every full moon.  This eventually leads him into a deadly confrontation with a serial killer in a small town in Tennessee.

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris pits telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse against a race of unhuman beings who are more powerful and secretive than vampires or werewolves.  The smell of war is in the air in Bon Temps, Louisiana as vampires, werewolves, and werepanthers prepare for battle.  Sookie soon finds herself in the thick of it as she investigates a murder of a werepanther.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Streetwars: Gangs and the Future of Violence by Tom Hayden gives a hard look at gangs and youth violence in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.  He includes firsthand stories from gang leaders.

Inside the Crips:  Life Inside L.A.’s Most notorious Gang by Colton Simpson describes the home environment that led to gang membership for a member of one of L.A.’s most dangerous gangs.  Included are accounts of confrontations with rival gangs and his incarceration at Calipatria Prison.

Monster:  The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur, who is one of Los Angeles’s most notorious gang leaders, gives readers an inside look at the world of gangs including gang wars, politics, his climb through the ranks of his gang’s hierarchy, how he survived rival gang attacks, and what prison life is like for a gang member.


May 19, 2010

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Title:  Coraline

Genre:  Fantasy/Horror/Juvenile Fiction

Publication Date:  2002

Number of Pages:  162 (or 3:37:15)

Geographical setting:  England, outside of London

Time Period:  Present

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:  Bored and feeling neglected by her parents, Coraline Jones spends her days exploring her new neighborhood, apartment building, quirky neighbors, and odd black cat.  Her new apartment has a doorway which opens onto a brick wall.  However, when Coraline opens the door it leads to an alternate universe, similar to her world, yet different and seemingly better.  In this “other” world her “other mother” and “other father” are attentive, she has better toys, the cat speaks, and even the food is better.  Coraline grows suspicious and begins to see this “other” world is not her own.  When she returns to her world, her parents have been taken by the “other mother” and Coraline must rescue her real family, along with the souls of the children the “other mother” has taken.

Subject Headings:  Fantasy Fiction; Horror Fiction; Juvenile Fiction; Alternate Universe; Courage; Present day England; Children; Kidnapping; Good vs. Evil; Identity; Family; Parental roles;

Appeal:  detailed, vivid, quirky, strong secondary characters, eccentric, layered, eerie, engaging, witty, thoughtful, amusing, graceful,

3 terms that best describe this book:  character-oriented, creepy, engaging,

Similar Authors & Works:


Leszli Kalli – Kidnapped, A Diary: A diary style account of an 18 year old girl’s kidnapping by the National Liberation Army and her 373 days of captivity.  Relatively well treated, her diary details her relationship with her fellow hostages and her kidnappers.

David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day: A vivid, engaging, and character oriented set of short stories.  The essays deal with the subjects of family, behavior, and individual identity in relation to others and your environment.

Sigmund Freud – Das Unheimliche (The Uncanny): An essay which explores the concept of things being familiar and yet foreign.  Ideas regarding things not being what they seem and the issues of identity and essence are examined.


Stephen King – The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon: A psychological horror/fantasy story about a poised young girl lost by herself in the woods.  The book has an eerie and foreboding tone and is told with vivid detail.

Phillip Pullman – His Dark Materials: A children’s series with philosophical and religious themes.  They are fantasy/adventure books about a young girl trying to save her friend from evil, including her mother.  An imaginative and engaging series, these books are layered with meaning.

Ramsey Campbell – Silent Children: In the horror genre, a man kidnaps a boy and his sister from their divorced parents and hides them in their own home.  He intends to kill them to “save” them from their parent’s anger.

Name:  Summer