Posts Tagged ‘nightmarish’

Pet Sematary

October 26, 2011

Author: King, Stephen

Title:  Pet Sematary

Genre:  Horror

Publication Date: 2001

Number of pages: 562

Geographical Setting: Ludlow, Maine

Time period: Contemporary

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: A young family moves from Chicago to a country house in Ludlow, a small college town in Maine. The doctor, Louis Creed, his pretty wife, his sweet little daughter, and a toddler boy settle in quickly and make friends with a local, elderly couple from across the street. It all starts well but the first signs of menace can be felt when the neighbor, Jud Crandall, warns the Creeds against the dangers of the busy road that separates their houses, and then shows them an old “Pet Sematary” located in the back of their property. When the family cat gets killed, Jud secretly takes Louis and the corpse into the woods, past the “sematary” and into the old, supernatural Indian burying ground known for sending dead animals back, and sure enough, the cat appears alive. But is it really? What is the price of the resurrection? What are the limits?  What does the neighbor’s statement “sometimes dead is better” mean? The rest of this bone-chilling story rapidly descends into a psychological horror tale of unimaginable loss, macabre death, undead evil, and supernatural powers of a place that “went sour.”

Subject Headings: Undead, Pets, Pet Cemeteries, Loss (Psychology), Supernatural, Small town life—Maine.

Appeal: creepy, menacing, horrifying, visceral, disturbing, nightmarish, chilling, dark, morbid, ghoulish, revolting, heart-wrenching, compelling, character-driven, suspenseful, fast-paced.

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: creepy, menacing, character-driven.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Stephen King Illustrated Companion: Manuscripts, Correspondence, Drawings and Memorabilia from the Master of Modern Horror by Bev Vincent: the book discusses King’s most iconic works and monsters, and tries to connect them to King’s personal experiences, thoughts and memories. Parts of the plot of “Pet Sematary” are based on King’s real-life experience and the connections are discussed in this companion book.

2) Encyclopedia of the Undead by Bob Curran: this book collects a wide range of vampires, werewolves, ghouls and monsters from around the world, traces their origins, and connects them to our psychology and archetypical fears.

3) Dark Woods, Chill Waters: Ghost Tales from Down East Maine by Marcus LiBrizzi: a collection of most chilling and menacing stories about Maine where deep, dark forests and harsh cliffs are reflected in the supernatural lore and stories of unimaginable horror and evil.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Walking by Bentley Little: a story of a chilling quest to uncover the source of a strange epidemic that turn people into walking dead and propels them to an unknown destination. Similarly to “Pet Sematary,” the story has a disturbing and menacing mood. It’s also fast-paced, character-driven and suspenseful.

2) Second Child by John Saul: a tale of an idyllic town of Secret Cove disturbed by a hundred-years-old legacy of an unspeakable evil act and channeled through a young girl, Melissa Holloway. The story is disturbing, menacing, fast-paced and addresses similar subject of disturbed “old evil” leading toward horrifying consequence.

3) The Good House by Tananarive Due: Angela Toussaint, the protagonist of the story, travels back to her family house to put a closure to the memory of her son’s suicide, only to realize that the town is possessed by evil ancestral spirits driving seemingly balanced people to suicide. Both “Pet Sematary” and this book are fast-paced and creepy horror stories about small town life, menacing supernatural and the psychology of loss.

Megan R.

The Broken Window — Audio Book

June 21, 2010

Author: Jeffery Deaver

Read by: Dennis Boutsikaris

Title: The Broken Window

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 12 Audio Discs

Geographical Setting: New York City, New York, USA

Time Period: Present Day

Series (if applicable): Lincoln Rhyme

Plot Summary:

Lincoln Rhyme, a recurring character in Deaver novels is a quadriplegic who becomes personally involved when his estranged cousin is charged with murder.  In what starts out as a simple murder investigation, Rhyme and his compatriots uncover a complex world of identity theft and data mining that was more than they bargained for.  Twists and turns abound in this thrilling tale of mistaken identity and murder.  Boutsikaris is a very effective reader in this audio version, giving a distinct voice to each character; he captures the feel of the novel and keeps readers entranced.

Subject Headings: Suspense, criminalists, detectives, murder, identity theft, investigation, data mining, information

Appeal: Fast-paced, suspenseful, complex, straightforward, smart, vivid, well-crafted, details of information companies and data mining, plot twists, nightmarish

3 terms that best describe this book: engrossing, frighteningly realistic, relentless

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Web of Deception: Misinformation on the Internet.  CyberAge books.  2002.

A look at what all users of the Internet, casual and professional, need to be aware of when surfing the web.  Details of information and data mining.

Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crimes.  Henry C. Lee.  2002.

A look at the investigative process; using real crimes and how the evidence was used to either convict or acquit defendants.  Straightforward, engrossing.

The New Forensics: Investigating Corporate Fraud and the Theft of Intellectual Property.  Joe Anastasi.  2003.

An introduction to the forensics behind finding evidence of fraud in a variety of crimes including money laundering and data mining.  Engrossing, vivid.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

A Drink Before the War.  Dennis Lehane.  1994.

In a complex plotline, two private detectives are hired to find a cleaning woman who supposedly stole confidential documents.  With plot twists throughout, the detectives find that they may be after the wrong target.

Deviant Ways.  Chris Mooney.  2000.

Jack Casey was an FBI profiler, and is now a detective living outside Boston with a new threat to the community in a killer who goes after entire families.  Smart, fast-paced.

Mama’s Boy.  Charles King.  1992.

A mute Trinidadian boy is the only witness to his adopted family’s murder, and the police’s only hope.  Vivid, complex, nightmarish.

Name: Kali Buseth

The Hungry Moon

November 4, 2009

Author: Ramsey Campbell

Title: The Hungry Moon

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 293

Geographical Setting: Moonwell, a fictional town in England’s Peaks District

Time Period: Present day (1986)

Series: No

Plot Summary: Located in England’s Peaks District, the town of Moonwell is a popular tourist stop named after a large cave that dominates the surrounding moorlands.  Each year on Midsummer Eve, the people of Moonwell hold a ceremony inspired by ancient Druid customs in which they decorate the cave with flowers.  However, this year is different.  When a charismatic Christian evangelist named Godwin Mann comes to stop the pagan tradition, Moonwell residents are quickly spellbound by his extreme religious teachings and the ceremony is abandoned.  As religious fanaticism grips the town, Mann descends into the cave to unroot its pagan forces, but instead encounters a tremendous evil for which he is no match.  Using the preacher as its host, the long-dormant evil reemerges from the cave in the body of Mann to lead the unsuspecting and faithful Moonwell residents to their doom.  As an ominous darkness turns day into permanent night and Moonwell is completely cut-off from the world, teacher Diana Kramer must interpret her terrible visions to learn how to save the town.  Why, Diana must learn, can no one leave Moonwell?  What are the pale, eyeless creatures lurking on the moor?  Why does the moon and its light seem so threatening?  Unless Diana can answer these questions, the unsuspecting people of Moonwell are doomed along with their souls.

Subject Headings: Evangelists, English;  Druids and druidism;  Small town life — England;  Americans in England;  Teachers — England;  Demons;  Good and evil;  Supernatural;  England;  Occult fiction, English;  Horror stories, English.

Appeal: measured, engrossing, menacing atmosphere, chilling, dark, ominous, supernatural, nightmarish, rural, small town, contemporary, plot-centered, some strong violence, strong female characters, dramatic language, some strong language

Three terms that best describe the book: Small town, Nightmarish, Supernatural

Relevant Fictin Works and Authors:

Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon — White Falls is just another sleepy New England town until young Jeb Taylor falls under the spell of an amulet with a sinister history centuries old.  As madness spreads from neighbor to neighbor, ex-con Billy Smith must decipher the dark dreams that have led him to this showdown with an ancient evil.  (measured, ominous, small town, nightmarish, supernatural, dark, contemporary, good vs. evil)

The Messenger of Magnolia Street: A Novel by River Jordan — When the sleepy Southern town of Shibboleth is threatened by an unnamed evil, three childhood friends return to save their hometown.  Trice, Billy, and Nehemiah must descend into the underground springs to battle the evil and correct decades-old wrongs in the little time that remains.  (small town, ominous, supernatural, measured, menacing atmosphere, good vs. evil.)

Curfew by Phil Rickman — When an ancient Druid monument is disturbed beneath the quiet English village of Crybbe, a long-buried evil is unleashed on the town and it’s residents.  A terrifying “being of light” called the Dragon rises to feast on the town, and it’s up to reporter Fay Morrison to prevent disaster.  (small town, ominous, supernatural, strong female characters, Druids, rural England, good vs. evil.)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Druid Source Book: From Earliest Times to the Present Day by John Matthews — Using historical stories and essays, this book offers an in-depth look at the mysterious Druids.  Included are fascinating classical accounts of Druid culture from Julius Caesar, examinations of druidic ceremonies, and a look at the druidic revival of the 18th and 19th centuries.  This book gives a greater understanding of the ancient peoples who summoned the lunar evil threatening to destroy Moonwell.

The Moon: Myth and Image by Jules Cashford — Using 175 illustrations, this book offers a comprehensive look at the moon and its influence on mythology, religion, and consciousness.  Beginning with early Paleolithic bone markings and moving to contemporary poetry, this book traces our centuries-old fascination with the moon as well as the customs and secular events it inspires.  In Moonwell, the annual “cave dressing” is thought to be a harmless custom mimicking ancient moon worship, but the lunar “being” within the cave proves to be more than a myth and hungry for human souls.

Peak District: Landscapes Through Time by John Barnatt — Written by the Senior Survey Archaeologist for the Peak District, this book examines the archaeological landscapes of Britian’s first national park.  Using maps and the latest research, it tells the story of the famous landscape’s evolution including details about prehistoric barrows, stone circles, Romano-British settlements, and nineteenth-century lead mines.  As a beautiful national park, the Peak District attracts many tourists to Moonwell, but the landscape also serves as the Earthly home of the unspeakable evil threatening the town and the world.

Name: Russ


April 1, 2009

Author: King, Stephen

Title: Carrie

Genre: Horror          

Publication Date: 1974

Number of Pages:  253

Geographical Setting: Small town of Chamberlain, Maine

Time Period: 1970s

Series: No

Plot Summary: There is a Carrie in every high school: a social outcast tormented by her peers. But Carrie White, the daughter of a maniacal and abusive religious fanatic and the sympathetic sixteen-year-old protagonist of Stephen King’s psychologically astute horror novel, is an outcast with a difference: she has the power to move objects with her mind, the power to bring about disaster–a power intensified in moments of emotional turmoil and anguish. This power peaks when Carrie, long the victim of cruelty and mockery, is invited to the prom by a popular and charismatic classmate at the behest of compassionate girlfriend, who feels guilty for her small part in the ugly incident that opens the novel. The results of her good intentions are blood, death and devastation. King excels at recreating the often horrifically cruel world of high school, and creates suspense through the reader’s empathy for Carrie. Although the story unfolds slowly at first, King lures you in with hints of the devastation to come, which is revealed through excerpts from articles, memoirs, and books about “White case” that are interspersed throughout the novel. A compelling and thought-provoking read that portrays the horror of violence and death alongside the horror of man’s inhumanity to man—or, in this case, teenager’s inhumanity to teenager. Red flags: cruelty, brief violence, brief sex.

Subject Headings: Bullying and Bullies; High School Students; Horror Tales; Horror Fiction; Maine; Parapsychology; Psychokinesis; Teenagers; Teenage Girls; Telekinesis;

Appeal: Psychological, suspenseful, compelling, deliberately paced, engrossing, sympathetic protagonist, dramatic, intriguing, frightening, occasionally violent, multiple points of view, well-drawn characters, character-driven, thought-provoking, evocative, interior, dark, foreboding, nightmarish, accessible, direct style, vivid, haunting, timeless.

Relevant Fiction: Myers, Walter Dean. (Written for teens but with appeal to adults, also focuses on high school students and cruelty culminating in a fatal outcome. Also uses a similar narrative device—multiple perspectives via interviews, articles, etc. to illuminate the events). Straub, Peter. Lost Boy Lost Girl (Features the supernatural, teenagers, sympathetic and richly drawn main characters, small town life, and multiple interpretations of events). Bradbury, Ray. Something Wicked This Way Comes. Features a sympathetic adolescent protagonist from a small town, the everyday commingled with the supernatural, and the darkness of the human heart.

Relevant Nonfiction: Gresh, Louis L. The Science of Stephen King: From Carrie to Cell, the Terrifying Truth Behind the Horror Master’s Fiction. (Scientific concepts used in King’s fiction, like pyrokinesis, as well as other authors’ fiction). Charpak, Georges and Henri Broch. Debunked!: ESP, Telekinesis, and Other Pseudoscience (Examines for validity and/or lack thereof pseudo-scientific subjects like astrology and telekinesis, the latter of which is depicted in Carrie). Simmons, Rachel. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls (Based on interviews with over 300 girls, examines bullying, aggression and cruelty in girls).