Posts Tagged ‘macabre’

Without Pity: Ann Rule’s Most Dangerous Killers

November 7, 2012

Author: Ann Rule

Title: Without Pity: Ann Rule’s Most Dangerous Killers

Genre: True Crime, Essays (Nonfiction)

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 431

Geographical Setting: Various geographical settings, but mainly Washington State and the Pacific Northwest.

Time Period: 1970s through 2002

Plot Summary: This collection of stories features some of Ann Rule’s most deranged and horrendous criminals. The book is a collection of twelve true stories about criminals, and includes three cases (the first three of the book) that have never been included in other collections. Ann Rule is a relatively popular true crime writer, and has published many collections of true crime stories, and this one is a collection of some of the worst from her first eight volumes. Each story is set up similarly, with an opening describing the particular town and the victims, and the tone is very reminiscent of a true crime TV show.

Subject Headings: Murder, Murderers, Criminals, Crime, Vic tims, True Crime, United States Case Studies

Appeal: Gritty, Compelling, Emotionally Charged, Menacing, Macabre, Chilling, Nonfiction, True Crime, Journalistic, Compelling, Realistic, Well Researched,

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Gritty, Journalistic, Well Researched

Similar fiction authors and works:

Azzarello, Brian. 100 Bullets Volume 1: First Shot Last Call

A mysterious man known as Agent Graves approaches strangers on the street and offers them the chance to exact revenge on someone who has wronged them in their past. He provides them with a gun, untraceable bullets, and guarantees immunity from any troubles, including murder. This first book in a collection of 13 graphic novels is gritty and chilling, and takes a look at what people will do when offered guaranteed protection.

Collins, Max Allen. Double Dealer: CSI Crime Scene Investigation Book 1

A homicide cop, a forensic analyst, and their team of hard boiled police force members work together to solve a murder. Fans of the gritty writing style of Without Pity, or fans of the television show CSI will surely enjoy this novel.

Ellroy, James. Crime Wave: Reportage and Fiction from the Underside of L.A.

This collection of short stories presents some dark and gritty fiction tales taking place in the L.A. crime scene. Fans of the gritty chilling writing style and the short story presentation of Without Pity will be sure to enjoy this fictional but no less dark collection.

Similar nonfiction authors and works:

Connelly, Michael. Crime Beat

This nonfiction work by a well known fiction writer is sure to interest readers. Connelly tells a collection of stories of his time working as a crime reporter in both Florida and Los Angeles, and how these stories have influenced his work as a bestselling fiction crime writer.

Schecter, Harold. True Crime: an American Anthology

This true crime work is a collection of stories from all different time periods. It includes some well known cases and also some lesser known ones, by a variety of authors from Ben Franklin to Ann Rule, and spans over 300 years of true crime writing.

Campbell, John H. Profilers: Leading Investigators Take You Inside the Criminal Mind

This collection of fifteen essays compiles stories from some of the nation’s top homicide investigators. It chronicles the investigation process and the mysteries that surround a variety of crimes, from murder to abduction.

Post by Ellen

The Haunting of Hill House

October 31, 2012

Author: Shirley Jackson

Title: The Haunting of Hill House

Genre: Horror, Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: 1959

Number of Pages: 182

Geographical Setting: Hillshire, Undisclosed probably Eastern United States location

Time Period: Late 1950s

Plot Summary: When Eleanor receives a letter from a doctor inviting her to stay in a beautiful country mansion for the summer, she jumps at her chance to finally get away from her mundane life. Yet even as she approaches the house she can tell that something is off kilter. After meeting her companions for the stay at Hill House, Dr. Montague tells his fateful crew the haunting past of the mansion and its inhabitants. The longer they stay, the more terrifying their time becomes, until finally things spiral out of control. This is easily one of the most terrifying books I have ever read, and a sense of impending doom permeates from the first page.  If you want to be haunted, this is the book for you.

Subject Headings: Haunted Houses, Ghosts, Interpersonal Relationships, Occult, Poltergeists, Paranormal Phenomenon, Loners, Single Women,

Appeal: Atmospheric, Chilling, Moody, Creepy, Menacing, Macabre, Suspenseful, Builds in intensity, Haunting, Menacing, Psychological, Dark, Dangerous, Elegant Writing Style,

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Chilling, Atmospheric, Haunting

Similar fiction authors and works:

Hill, Susan. The Woman in Black

Sitting around the fire on Christmas Eve, a family begins to tell ghost stories. As they take turns, one family member recalls a true event of terrifying trauma experienced in his twenties of a visit to an English countryside estate and the horrifying events that passed there. A gothic and creepy tale written in beautiful prose, this story is sure to chill your bones.

James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw

When a new governess is hired to take care of two children on an old country estate, life seems peaceful. However, this peace is short lived as evil spirits of passed on servants begin to torment the new governess. This story has a similar atmospheric and creepy tone, and pushes the question of sanity as the haunting become increasingly terrifying.

Reardon, Joyce. The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red

Written as a journal kept by a young wife, this novel tells the story of Ellen Rimbauer’s life in the haunted mansion Rose Red. The longer she stays living in the house, the more horrible events come to pass, and all are recorded in the diary that is so dear to her. Another creepy and atmospheric read about a terrifying house, this is sure to be a great read!

Similar nonfiction authors and works:

Boylan, Jennifer Finney. I’m Looking For You: Growing Up Haunted

An autobiographical story of Boylan’s life growing up in a haunted house, this story tells of several instances where ghosts and apparitions made an appearance in the Pennsylvania house she grew up in. While this is a ghost story, it also examines interpersonal relationships and the life of someone who feels to be more of an outsider.

Rule, Leslie. Ghosts in the Mirror: real cases of spirit encounters

This collection of true ghost stories is sure to haunt you! This collection of more than a dozen true ghost stories has been painstakingly researched and collected over many years. The variety of encounters, from haunted houses to ghostly travelers, is sure to chill anyone looking for some true to life paranormal tales.

Williams, Dorah L. Haunted: the incredible true story of a Canadian Family’s experience living in a haunted house

The title pretty much sums up what this book is about: a Canadian family who inhabits a haunted house. The story is chilling and the fact that it is supposedly true makes it all the more terrifying.

Heart-Shaped Box

October 31, 2012

Heart-Shaped Box Book CoverTitle: Heart-Shaped Box

Author: Hill, Joe

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting: New York, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia

Time Period: Present Day/Contemporary

Plot Summary:  In this chilling tale that should be read with all the lights on, aging rock star Judas Coyne is no longer touring and releasing album. Instead he spends his time dating Goth chicks, such as his current lady Georgia, and expanding his bizarre, macabre collection of artifacts including a witch’s confession and a snuff film.  So when his assistant Danny mentions an auction for the suit of a dead man that comes with a ghost, Judas is hooked and must have it.  But when the suit arrives, danger and chilling nightmares enter Judas’ life.  He begins to see the dead man everywhere swinging a deadly razor from a chain or rocking in a Shaker chair.  Judas cannot escape the ghost’s hypnotizing presence or the haunting words about taking “a ride on the nightroad.”  It turns out the ghost has a link to Judas’ past and it is out for revenge of the deadliest kind.  As the terror and sense of dread builds, Judas and Georgia are eventually forced to hit the road to face their pasts and solve the mystery surrounding the dead man to avoid the dreaded “nightroad.”  Winner of the Bram Stoker Award, it is a horror novel reminiscent of your favorite classic ghost stories but with a contemporary feel.  You will be wary with each turn of the page as the uneasy, menacing atmosphere builds throughout the story until its satisfying conclusion.  This is a great novel for both newcomers and seasoned veterans of the horror genre, and will have you rooting for its flawed, compelling characters to triumph over evil.

Subject Headings: Ghost stories, Rock Musicians, Suspense Fiction, Supernatural, Paranormal Phenomena, Apparitions, Men/Women Relations, Life after death

Appeal:  builds in intensity, atmospheric, chilling, suspenseful, menacing atmosphere, flawed characters, plot twists, well-crafted, uneasy mood, character-driven, creepy, dangerous, haunting, macabre, sense of dread, compelling, violent, engaging characters, foreboding, vivid storyline, descriptive

Three Most Relevant Appeal Terms: Creepy, Flawed Characters, Suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft

Horror fans and novices can enjoy this classic collection of ghostly stories from a pioneer of the genre.  Here are 16 classic tales to chill the bones and haunt your dreams, and are just as menacing and creepy as The Heart-Shaped Box.

Christine by Stephen King

Go from haunted suit to a haunted car with this classic novel by Stephen King. Written by Joe Hill’s father, here is a similarly compelling and suspenseful horror novel where teen Arnie Cunningham falls in love with a 1958 Plymouth car dubbed “Christine.”  This car is not as simple as it seems, and it starts to haunt and endanger Arnie as well as those around him.  With Christine, you can get to know the work of Stephen King to whom Heart-Shaped Box was dedicated.

Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson

A horror story that also has hypnotism and a similar mood, Tom Wallace mockingly agrees to be hypnotized at his brother-in-law’s party.  But when Tom awakens from the hypnotism, he discovers that he can hear the thoughts of those around him.  Even more compelling and terrifying, through this new ability he receives a message from beyond the grave that leads Tom onto a dangerous, creepy path in order to solve the message.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Crap I bought on eBay: 101 Crazy Bizarre, Seriously Weird, Ridiculously Raunchy Items Exposed by Cary McNeal and Beverly L. Jenkins

A great book for those fascinated by the macabre collection of character Judas Coyne.  The book highlights 101 of the craziest things actually bought on eBay by the authors.  Enjoy a mixture of laughter and shock as you browse these real-life items.

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars and Vince Neil

Get to know the crazy rock n’ roll world of Judas Coyne with this tell-all book about 80’s heavy metal group Motley Crue.  Written by member of the band with the help of music writer Neil Strauss, this book reveals the tours, drugs and alcohol, rock music and sex.  A fun glimpse into a crazy rocker’s world.

Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis by Robin Waterfield

Hypnosis was featured throughout the novel, and with this book you can become more familiar with it.  You will get to know the history, practice and modern uses of this controversial field.

Name: Margita Lidaka

American Gods

February 11, 2012

Author: Gaiman, Neil

Title: American Gods

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 592

Geographical Setting: America

Time Period: Current

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: 

Shadow, before being released from prison, finds out that his wife has been killed. On his way home, he is confronted by a man known as Mr. Wednesday, who seems to know a lot about Shadow and offers him a job as a bodyguard. Shadow’s acceptance of this offer takes him on a dangerous journey. Shadow is used for many strange tasks and he encounters things he never knew existed as well as various gods living in America. This novel follows the story of Shadow but at the end of each chapter, a little story about a certain god living in America can be found. Shadow, a gritty man, takes the reader on an adventure full of suspense and haunting images.

Subject Headings: National characteristics, American Fiction; Spiritual warfare Fiction; Ex-convicts Fiction; Bodyguards Fiction; Widowers Fiction; Fantasy fiction.

Appeal: Fast-paced, character-driven, intricately plotted, darkly humorous, dramatic, romantic, haunting, gritty, thought-provoking, suspenseful, macabre, witty, adventurous, compassionate, familiar, and well-developed.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Darkly humorous, macabre, and haunting.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: Erikson, Steven – Crippled God (A mortal woman challenging the gods); Parker, T. Jefferson – Storm Runners (Taking place in California, an ex-cop loses his whole family from a bomb explosion and takes on a job as a bodyguard); Harrison, Kim – Pale Demon (A bounty hunter goes on a cross-country drive across America with supernatural companions to clear her name).

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors: Azzarello, Brian – Filthy Rich (Vertigo Crime) (A hired bodyguard who ends up committing murder for his boss); Henderson, Jeff – Cooked: from the streets to the stove, from cocaine to foie gras (Story of an ex-convict who becomes an executive chef); Bailey, John – Gods and men: myths and legends from the world’s religion (Mythical Gods).

Name: Jun Yoon

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

November 9, 2011

Author: Mary Roach

Title: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Genre: Non-fiction

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 303

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: Contemporary, With Some Visits to the Past

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: In Stiff: The curious Lives of Human Cadavers, author Mary Roach does the impossible and makes the story of human cadavers humorous. Most people are very uncomfortable discussing what happens to the body after death, and the subject becomes even more difficult when religion is thrown in. Roach approaches the subject with a light-hearted approach and it soon becomes apparent that one needs to keep a sense of humor when it comes to corpses. Roach delves into some history, from the grotesque practices of pre-20th century anatomy labs to the infamous 19th century case of Burke and Hare, who murdered their victims in order to sell the bodies to anatomy labs. Roach looks at modern-day medical school practices when it comes to corpses, which are thankfully handled with much more dignity and with the consent of the deceased. In one particularly colorful chapter, Roach visits the cadaver farm at the University of Tennessee, where decomposing bodies are studied to help advance criminal forensics. Roach also looks at other ways corpses can be useful, including tests to see how humans are affected by car and airplane crashes, and the impact of bullets and bombs on a body. Stiff is really a tribute to the anonymous people who decide that they want their bodies to have a purpose after death, to help save millions of lives, since our bodies will all decompose eventually anyway.

Subject Headings: Cadavers, Human Remains, Death, Human Dissection, Medical Study

Appeal: Relaxed Pace, Lighthearted, Humorous, Macabre, Accessible, Engaging, Detailed, Colloquial, Well-researched, Witty, Educational, Informative

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Humorous, Macabre, Well-researched

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1) The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford. Besides being referenced numerous time in Stiff, readers will enjoy the similar humorous tone of this exposé about the American funeral industry.

2) Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab, the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. This book describes in more detail the body farm mentioned in Stiff, narrated in a witty and humorous tone by the doctor who founded the farm.

3) Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese. For readers craving more strange scientific experiments like the ones mentioned in Stiff, these short and amusing stories will satisfy their cravings.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales (Oxford World’s Classics) by Robert Louis Stevenson. This classic story is evocative of the dark streets of 19th century London, a world in which the murderers and corpse thieves, Burke and Hare, thrived.

2) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This classic tale of science experimentation gone bad is reminiscent of some of the experiments mentioned in Stiff, such as trying to resuscitate a freshly guillotined head.

3) Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs. This book is part of the Temperance Brennan mystery series. Brennan is a forensic anthropologist and in this story, goes to a crash site in the North Carolina mountains to identify bodies of the victims, but finds a body that was not on the plane. Readers of Stiff will enjoy this detailed look at the work of a forensic anthropologist.

Name: Elizabeth Allen

Heart-Shaped Box

June 15, 2009

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 376

Geographical Setting: Piecliff, NY; Testament, FL; Moore’s Corner, LA

Time Period: 2002

Plot Summary: What kind of man would buy a ghost over the internet? Judas Coyne, retired death-metal rock star, has somehow survived his career and now spends his time collecting macabre items. His latest acquisition proves to be as deadly as it is demented, and Judas must confront his childhood and adult mistakes alike to survive. Judas’ character develops beyond a rock cliché into a person the reader cares deeply about, and the secrets revealed between horrifying moments keep the pages turning.

Subject Headings: Supernatural, ghosts, secrets, hypnotism, men/women relations, rock musicians, horror

Appeal: Suspenseful, darkly humorous, graphic, character-oriented, driven, twists, macabre, psychological, violent, compelling, conversational, intense

3 terms that best describe this book: Macabre, psychological, violent

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Ghosthunters: On the Trail of Mediums, Dowsers, Sprit Seekers, and Other Investigators of America’s Paranormal World by John B. Kachuba (Study of ghosthunters, including spiritual dowsers)

A History of Hypnotism by Alan Gauld (Accessible history of mesmerism and hypnotism that examines both cases and theories)

Motley Crue: The Dirt—Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band (Very dark tales of abused groupies and rock hedonism)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Kill Riff by David Schow (suspenseful, revenge, violent, plot twist, death-metal background)

Ghost Radio: A Novel by Leopoldo Gout (revenge, ghost story, suspenseful, twists)

Bag of Bones by Stephen King (conversational tone, suspenseful, twists)

Name: Marisa

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

June 10, 2009

Author: Jeff Lindsay

Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Number of Pages: 288 p.

Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida

Plot Summary: The first novel in a series, this is a compelling and humorous account of a blood-splatter expert/sociopathic serial killer named Dexter. Dexter is working for the Miami police and is on a case in which he could help his sister achieve her promotion by working with her to find the serial killer or he could find the killer himself. The language is deliberate and edgy, the reader is taken on a trip through Dexter’s head as he maintains his appearances as a normal lab technician. Meanwhile, the killer is attempting to make contact with him, but is that really the case or is Dexter himself committing these gruesome crimes and slowly losing his mind?

Subject Headings: Serial killers – Fiction, Miami, Florida, Psychopathic criminals – Fiction, Forensic scientists – Fiction, Crime scene investigators – Fiction

Appeal Terms: engrossing, deliberate, explicitly violent, investigative, issue-oriented, chilling, edgy, explicit language, humorous, macabre, twisted, foreboding

Three Words to Describe the Book: chilling, engrossing, humorous

Similar Author and Works:

The Disappearance of Lyndsey Barratt by John Wilson. A psychological thriller in which two individuals, a journalist and a detective, try to uncover the truth of an act of revenge being enacted on attackers of murder which happened seven years ago.

Plain Heathen Mischief by Martin Clark. The second novel in a series where ex-Reverend Joel King is released from prison and must deal with life as an ex-con. A twisted plot in which he has troubles with his wife, a lawsuit, and just keeping his life on track.

Loverboy by R.G. Belsky. The return of a serial killer who also brings back his love for reporter, Lucy Shannon. She must figure out his criminal plan in order or survive.

Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors:

Killing For Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers by Pat Brown. A profile into the minds of serial killers, explaining how to identify who they are, how the selection process of victims goes, and how to avoid and safeguard oneself against them.

Murdered Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer by Michael D. Kelleher and C.L. Kelleher. This work explains the difficulty of profiling female serial killers. The book also gives descriptions of seven main categories and details into infamous women serial killers.

Swift Justice: Murder and Vengeance in a California Town by Henry Farrell. This is the true story of a kidnapping and murder which occurred in San Jose. The young boy who was murdered was avenged by a group of mob vigilantes who attacked the town jail and hung the kidnappers, taking matters into their own hands.

Name: Marta Siuba

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

March 25, 2009

Author: Jeff Lindsay
Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 304
Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida
Time Period: 2004
Series: Dexter, Book 1
Plot Summary: Dexter Morgan is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department. He’s also a sociopathic serial killer with an aversion to blood. However, Dexter is the good guy; he only kills other serial killers, particularly those who target children. When prostitutes start dying in a manner startlingly similar to Dexter’s M.O., he is torn between catching the new killer in town and sitting back and admiring his work.
Subject Headings: Adoptees; Brothers and Sisters; Crime Laboratories; Crime Scene Searches; Father and Son; Florida; Forensic Scientists – Fiction; Men/Women Relations; Miami – Fiction; Murderer-Detectives; Mutilation; Personal Conduct; Police – Miami, Policewomen – Miami; Psychological Fiction; Psychopathic Criminals; Secrets; Serial Murder Investigation; Serial Murderers – Fiction; Serial Murders – Fiction; Suspense – Fiction; Vigilantes – Fiction;
Appeal: accessible, atmospheric, black humor, candid, cinematic, conclusive, contemplative, contemporary, dark, eccentric, edgy, details of forensic investigation, direct, fast-paced, flashbacks, frank, grim, interior, intriguing, introspective, investigative, ironic, light, macabre, morbid, offbeat, plot twists, political, psychological, quirky, resolved ending, sarcastic, series characters, smart, strong language, suspenseful, thought-provoking, unusual, urban, violent, vivid, witty
Red Flags: Strong language, murder, torture, mutilation and dismemberment.
Similar Authors and Works (Fiction):
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Serial murderers, psychopathic criminals, psychological, suspenseful, violence, grim, child abuse victims, interior, action, chilling, smart.
The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey. Serial murderers, psychopathic criminals, black humor, satire, quirky, offbeat.
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. Vigilantes, psychological, suspenseful, secret organizations, assassins, fantastical, fast-paced, smart, well-developed, quirky, satirical.
Similar Authors and Works (Non-Fiction):
In Broad Daylight by Harry N. MacLean. Ken Rex McElroy terrorized the people of Skidmore, Missouri for years. When the law failed the community, several citizens decided to kill him themselves.
Wicked Intentions: the Sheila LaBarre Murders by Kevin Flynn. Sheila LaBarre killed two developmentally disabled young men, claiming she was “an avenging angel sent to kill pedophiles.”
The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation by N.E. Genge. This book contains step-by-step descriptions of the forensic investigation process with real and fictitious examples and plenty of references to television, film, and literature.
Name: Tori