Posts Tagged ‘ominous’

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.

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In the presence of mine enemies

March 28, 2012

Author: Harry Turtledove

Title: In the Presence of Mine Enemies

Genre: Science Fiction (Alternative Histories)

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 454p.

Geographical Setting: Berlin*

Time Period: Present-day (-ish)*

*In the Presence of My Enemies is a work of fictional alternate history wherein Germany has won the 2nd and 3rd World Wars (the 3rd resulting in the nuclear destruction of all significant American cities, and a new capital in Omaha, in case you were wondering about the home team) and has exterminated (to their satisfaction, at least—think slave labor) the world’s population of Slavs, Jews, Blacks, and a plethora of other racial, ethnic, and nationalist groups.  They are cozy with the Japanese Empire.

Series (If applicable): Not yet.

Plot Summary:  A small community of Jews, loosely allied by family and friendship, struggle to raise families, work, continue the Jewish faith, and survive clandestinely in “present day” Berlin as good “Germans” alongside their unknowing, yet legitimately Aryan, German friends and colleagues.  Adding to their many daily trials, the Reich has been hurled into a new and uncertain direction toward “reform” that leaves the Empire, and especially Berlin, in a heightened state of political and national unrest, boldness, and uncertainty, by the appointment of a progressive new Fuhrer and the political emergence of an enigmatic Party rabble-rouser (think Gorbachev and Yeltsin!).

Subject Headings: Nazi Party (Germany), Jews—German, World War 2, 21st century, Jewish families, Middle class families, Secrets, Secret identity, Identity (Psychology), Political upheaval, Political demonstration, Secret police, Police state, Fascism, Adolf Hitler, Revenge, Genetics, Germany—Politics and government, Genocide, Adultery.

Appeal: plot-driven, dark, surreal, steady, bleak, candid, claustrophobic, foreboding, melancholy, menacing atmosphere, paranoid, suspenseful, detailed, authentic, imaginative, intense, tense/anxious, multiple plot lines, thought-provoking, political, urban, concise, straightforward, ominous.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: plot-driven, dark, thought-provoking.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

While the suggestion of reading this book might seem as appealing to a reader as stabbing themselves in the eye with a fork, it does merit consideration as Turtledove’s Nazi Empire is wholly dependent on it as both their Constitution and their Bible.  While the plot line of radical reformists calling for adherence to the more democratic-minded first edition of Mein Kampf in order to extend freedoms, liberties, and self-determination to the citizens and conquered nations of the Reich is clever and ironic, the real shivers happen as it becomes clear that Hitler has achieved God-like infallibility and reverence in Turtledove’s nightmare world.

What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany by Eric A. Johnson

Can genocide become an everyday facet of society? Apparently so, the author would argue.  Over 3,000 Germans of the era (Jews and non-Jews, victims and perpetrators) took part in the research for this book.  The conclusion: the average German lived not in fear of the Gestapo or anything else for most of Hitler’s reign, but existed rather comfortably and prosperous.  The estimated 1/3 of Germany that knew of what was happening in the concentration camps, chose to ignore what was going on in their backyards, as well as those citizens that knew of the extermination through rumor.  By the time of Turtledove’s Reich, the extermination of millions (billions?) of people around the globe is viewed simply as historical fact and a privilege of the victors.  This book is a well-deserved kidney punch to German ambiguity and nostalgia when it comes to the pre-War years, as well as to those who think a movement like the Nazis could never threaten the globe again.

Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany by Marion A. Kaplan

This book attempts to answer the age-old question of why the Jews didn’t leave Nazi Germany en masse.  The author uses interviews, diaries, letters, and other first person accounts to portray a Jewish population as confused as they were frightened as the Nazis slowly stole freedom and property until they were trapped in a hostile country, completely deprived and isolated.  This book puts the machinations of genocide into motion with enough momentum to be a fully realized institution for the Jewish families in “Presence”, who know fully well any disclosure of their true identities would result in immediate execution.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Legendary and iconic sci-fi author Dick gives his version of a world in which the Germans and Japanese won the 2nd World War.  Almost a companion piece to In the Presence of Mine Enemies in depicting the goings-on on the other side of the globe, Dick portrays a 1960’s United States that is German-Japanese occupied and has reinstated slavery.  What few Jews who survived live hidden under the cloak of assumed identities.  Sound familiar?

1945: A Novel by Robert Conroy

This is another WW2 based alternate history.  The twist here is that instead of surrendering after the dropping of the atomic bombs, military extremists assume control of the nation, vowing never to surrender.  The ensuing U.S. invasion of the home island unleashes death and carnage in apocalyptic proportion.  This is all the more disturbing given the fact that in reality the Emperor being deposed in a coup by hardline generals vowing to fight to the last man, woman, and child was a very real possibility, narrowly escaped.

Into the Storm: Destroyermen, Book One by Taylor Anderson.

Again, WW2 is the stepping off point for this first book in an on-going series.  In the heat of battle the bloodies and battered destroyer USS Walker seeks escape from faster, deadlier Japanese boats by heading directly into a massive, otherworldly looking squall.  As the storm subsides, the Captain and colorful crew notice that while geographically things look familiar, everything else in the parallel Earth they find themselves trapped in is very, very different.  In no time at all, Walker is tossed into the middle of a genocidal (and carnivorous) war begun by the Grik (human sized vicious, but mindless, lizards) against the Lemurians (human sized noble and peace-loving lemurs).  As this New Earth is technologically somewhere in the 18th century, the allegiance, modern armament, and know-how of Walker and its crew may prove decisive to the fate of this world.

Name: Bill S.

The Shining by Stephen King

April 13, 2011

https://i1.wp.com/photo.goodreads.com/books/1249804065l/11588.jpgAuthor: Stephen King

Title: The Shining

Genre: Horror, Gothic

Publication Date: 1977

Number of Pages/CDs: 447 pages / 14 CDs (16 hours – Read by Campbell Scott)

Geographical Setting: Colorado, Rocky Mountains

Time Period: Present-day 1970s

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Jack Torrence accepts a position as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel set high in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  Wendy and Danny, his wife and son accompany him on the months long job.  The family sees the opportunity to reconnect and rebuild their troubled past as a family, and Jack hopes to use the time to overcome his struggle with alcohol and anger and focus his energy on his play writing.  While Danny has premonitions that spending the long winter in this hotel is his worst nightmare, what he does not know is that his visions are only a small snippet of the true terrorizing force that has wreaked havoc at the hotel.  As they become ever more isolated by the harsh winter conditions, Jack’s mental condition deteriorates and he begins hallucinating.  Wendy and Danny become more and more scared and paranoid that nothing is what it seems at the hotel, and even Jack is no longer trustworthy.  In the last third of the book, the story unfolds quickly and leaves you on the edge of your seat.  Campbell Scott reads this books with an intensity that embodies the terror of the Overlook Hotel.

Subject Headings: boy psychics, alcoholics, caretakers, family relationships, haunted hotels, resorts, supernatural, telepathy, violence in men, winter, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, murder.

Appeal: character-driven, fast-paced, atmospheric, creepy, menacing, suspenseful, compelling, detailed, builds in intensity, ominous, claustrophobic, unsettling, well-drawn, flawed, violent, strong language, detailed setting, isolated, descriptive, scary.

3 Terms that best describe this book: menacing, isolated, descriptive

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Dark Sacrament:  True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism by David M. Kiely – haunted houses, true case stories of demon possession, exorcism, detailed historical analyses, good and evil, demons.

The ESP Enigma:  the Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena by Diane Hennacy Powell – science writing, attempts to scientifically explain psychic abilities, extrasensory perception, paranormal phenomena, psychic ability, psychokinesis, accessible.

Spook:  Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach – science writing, accessible, engaging, witty, funny, life after death, paranormal phenomena, soul, using science to understand the paranormal.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Passage by Justin Cronin – horror story, character-driven, suspenseful, menacing, bleak, compelling, good and evil, survival, violence.

The Ruins by Scott Smith – horror story, suspenseful, atmospheric, creepy, menacing, violent, compelling, isolation, brothers, survival.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – horror and gothic fiction, character-driven, atmospheric, creepy, moody, classic horror story, isolated location, supernatural, good and evil.

Name: Jeannine Kropski

The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar

March 30, 2011

https://i1.wp.com/d28hgpri8am2if.cloudfront.net/book_images/cvr9781439176214_9781439176214.jpg

Author: Terri Cheney

Title: The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date: March 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: Late 1960’s – 1970’s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Terri Cheney chronicles her life as a young girl struggling with bipolar disorder while growing up in a suburban Los Angeles home in this engaging memoir.  She eloquently retells stories about her childhood and teen years, pulling the reader in with a sense of urgency through every incident.  Throughout the book, she is hiding a secret that she herself is too young to understand, even though on the outside she was a smart and successful student, beloved by her father.  Candid and straight-forward, Cheney doesn’t hide anything that happened to her as a child, nor does she make excuses for why she did those things, other than the fact that a force inside of her, whom she named as the “Black Beast”, drove her into this destructive, manic lifestyle.

Subject Headings: Bipolar Disorder, Childhood, Dysfunctional Families, Self-Discovery, Sexual Experimentation, Spirituality and Religion, Writing, Suburban Life

Appeal terms: Intense, dramatic, ominous, sexual, volatile, urgent, hostile, bittersweet, angst-ridden, complex, uneasy, evocative, candid, character-centered, morbid, bleak, angry

3 terms that best describes this book: Disturbing, intensely dramatic, emotional

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask by Hilary Smith

A funny and insightful book that dives deep into a difficult issue with humor only someone who has been there can truly write about.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir by Kay Redfield Jamison

A psychiatrist opens up about her life struggles with depression, varying from her personal stories to scientific knowledge about the disease that both distraught and thrilled her.

Where Are the Cocoa Puffs? A Family’s Journey Through Bipolar Disorder by Karen Winters Schwartz

The teenage daughter of a psychiatrist is bipolar, and every member of the family is affected by her behavior, though they handle it in different ways.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Written in free verse, this is the story of three psychologically troubled teens connecting after they are committed to a mental health facility after suicide attempts.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Largely seen as autobiographical, this is a fictional work about a young female writer in the 1950’s whose talent was overshadowed by her constant struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

A young teenage girl struggling with schizophrenia has to fight for a way to live sanely and escape the torments of her fantasies.

Name: Lian Sze

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.

Heart-Shaped Box

June 14, 2010

Author: Joe Hill

Title: Heart-Shaped Box

Genre: Horror fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 374

Geographical Setting:  U.S.A. (New York, Georgia, Louisiana)

Time Period: present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

Over-the-hill rock star Judas Coyne  lives comfortably on a farm in New York state with his lady friend-du-jour Georgia, his personal assistant Danny, and his two beloved dogs, Angus and Bon.  He also has a fetish for collecting strange and macabre artifacts.  When Danny comes across an auction for a dead man’s suit (dead man’s ghost included!), Jude can’t resist adding the find to his collection.  However, he soon discovers that the ghost’s surviving family member has ulterior motives, first and foremost of which  is revenge.

Jude must figure out a way to either placate the angry spirit or destroy him outright before the ghost exacts his deadly retribution on Jude and all those close to him.

Subject Headings:

Ghosts;  Rock musicians;  Supernatural;  Secrets;  Men/women relations;  Life after death;  Paranormal phenomena;  Apparitions;  Interpersonal relations;  Ghost stories;  Horror stories

Appeal:

reckless, spooky, menacing, malevolent, ominous, searching, intense, confrontational, secrets, bittersweet, angst-ridden, sarcastic, selfish, cathartic, rock ‘n roll jargon and references

3 terms that best describe this book:

Eerie, bloody, story of redemption

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction:

1)      Ghost Radio: A Novel – text and illustrations by Leopoldo Gout

An ex-punk rocker discovers a voice from another dimension in the static he hears during his underground radio call-in show.

Similarities:  rock and roll connected main character,  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, ominous

2)      In the Night Room by Peter Straub

The lives of two strangers intertwine when one loses her daughter and the other communicates with people from his youth, people who happen to be dead.

Similarities:  interpersonal relations, ghosts, paranormal phenomena, spooky

3)      Duma Key by Stephen King

After a terrible accident which leaves him crippled, Edgar Freemantle goes to the Florida Keys and rents a house in order to heal.  He takes up painting and soon discovers that his artwork begins to mysteriously reveal secrets surrounding his new landlady’s family history.

Similarities:  family secrets, revenge, paranormal phenomena, cathartic, menacing

Non-Fiction:

1)      Cryptopedia: A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange, and Downright Bizarre by Jonathan Maberry and David F. Kramer

A supernatural encyclopedia of sorts, The Cryptopedia provides chapters on angels, occult symbols, poltergeists, and UFOs, among others.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, supernatural, the occult, spooky

2)      Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach

Uses science to try to explain life after death and other paranormal occurrences.

Similarities:  paranormal phenomena, ghosts, life after death

3)      Every Rose Has Its Thorn: The Rock n Roll Field Guide to Guys by Erin Bradley; illustrations by Heather Bradley

A tongue-in-cheek guide that helps navigate the quirky road of rock stars and rock star wanna-bes.  True life stories, quizzes and illustrations are all here to inform and entertain the curious.

Similarities:  rock ‘n roll, rock stars, men/women relationships, sarcasm

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos

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

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

October 28, 2009

Author:  Jeff Lindsay

Title:  Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date:  2004

Number of Pages:  304

Geographical Setting: Miami, Florida

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If Applicable): Dexter, 1

Plot Summary:  Dexter Morgan is a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami police department.  This is a good job for him because Dexter has a secret life that only he and his late foster father Harry knew about.  Inside Dexter is a monster who needs to kill and it is currently controlled by the “Code of Harry” which states that Dexter is only to kill bad guys – not good guys.  This job keeps him close to those bad guys that need to be taken care of.  A killer is on the loose in Miami cutting up women and Dexter starts to relate to the killer and uses his insight to help his sister, Deborah, who is also a cop move from “streetwalker” patrol to homicide.  Dexter understands what makes this guy tick and he begins to admire the killers work.  He struggles to live his life like other normal humans but inside he feels the Dark Passenger demand that he kill again.

Subject Headings:  Serial murderers, Forensic scientists, Psychopathic criminals, Vigilantes,
Murderer-detectives, Adoptees, PolicewomenMiami, Florida, PoliceMiami, Florida,
Brothers and sisters, Father and son, Serial murders, Serial murder investigation, Crime scene searches, Crime laboratories, Mutilation, Secrets, Personal conduct, Men/women relations,
Miami, Florida, Psychological suspense stories

Appeal: Dark, Methodical, Thriller, Horror, Graphic, Mutilation, Ominous, Strange, Twists, Unresolved ending, Series, Chilling, Measured Pacing, First Person Narration, Creepy, Psychological Suspense, Madness, Serial Killers, Disturbing, Page-Turner.

3 Terms that best describe this book: Disturbing, Graphic and Suspenseful

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

3 Non-Fiction Works

Inside the Minds of Serial Killers: Why They Kill by Katherine Ramsland – This book details a wide variety of motives for why people become serial killers. It shows that there is not a profile for serial killers.

Serial Killers: The Method and the Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky – This book talks about the history of serial killers and documents the psychological, investigative, and cultural aspects of serial murder.

Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World’s Most Barbaric Criminals by Nigel Cawthorne – This book describes what makes ordinary people turn into killers.  It explores the minds of these people who commit these crimes and why people are so fascinated by them.

3 Fiction Works

Dearly Devoted Dexter: a Novel by Jeff Lindsay – Book 2 in the Dexter series continues the story of the first book.  There is a new serial killer on the loose and Sergeant Drakes is getting more suspicious of Dexter.

Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag – Two boys and a girl stumble on a murder victim of the “See No Evil Killer” who just may turn out to be the father of one of the boys.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris – Will Graham has the ability to project himself into the minds of psychopathic serial killers.  He is called on to investigate the murders of two suburban families.

Name: Chris S.

Maus

October 20, 2009

Title: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History (mid1930s to Winter 1944)

Author: Art Spiegelman

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 159

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical/Biography/Memoir

Geographical Setting: New York, and World War II Poland

Time Period: The Present, 1930’s and 1940’s

Series: Part 1 of 2

Plot Summary: Art Spiegelman tells the events of his parents’ last years as survivors of the Holocaust, and the effect it has had on him. Art, who was born after the war, is visiting his father, Vladek, to record his experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, gradually introduce increasingly repressive measures, until the Jews, drawn as mice, are systematically hunted and herded toward the Final Solution. Vladek saves himself and his wife by a combination of luck and wits, all the time enduring the torment of hunted outcast. Each scene begins at Spiegelman’s father’s home in New York. An important theme emerges as the reader grasps that fact that Art has had an extremely difficult time adjusting to his own life, due to the burdens he bears regarding his parents’ experiences. As both author and artist, Spiegelman portrays a very realistic view of the difficulties his family has faced as first and second generation Holocaust survivors in this graphic novel format. Readers won’t want to miss the second part of the story in Maus: A Survivor’s Tale II: And Here My Troubles Began.

Subject Headings: Holocaust, Memoirs, Jewish history, Hitler, Europe, War survivors, Comic books, Children of Holocaust survivors, Father and son, Jewish-American men, Jewish-Americans, Biography, Graphic Novels (nonfiction), History, Wars, World War II, Concentration Camps, Anti-Semitism, The 1930s, The 1940s, The 1970s, Auschwitz survivors, Nazi prison camps, Genocide, Suicide, Wartime Poland, Contemporary New York, Brutality, Deprivation, Gas Chambers, Judaism, Jewish, Politics, Genocide, Polish Army, Old Eastern Europe, Stereotypes

Appeal: engaging, stimulating, compelling, realistic, relatable, struggle, survival, dark, intense, visual, historical, heart-wrenching, family, relationships, fathers and sons, symbolism, heroism, ominous, tormenting, complex, chilling realism, suffering, humor, mesmerizing, colorful, flawed

Three terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced, Intense,Visual


Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Berlin: A City of Stones (2001) by Jason Lutes This graphic novel takes place in Berlin during the time period between the two World Wars. It uses black and white art, but it is not a gentle read. This novel shows some of the political changes that were, including the rise of the Nazi party and the increasing discrimination of the Jews. Readers should be aware that this book involves scenes which include sexual content and sexual orientation. Berlin was originally published in comic book form, 1-8.

A Jew in Communist Prague: Loss of Innocence (1997) by Vittorio Giardino — The first book in a series, recounts the childhood of Jonas Finkel, whose father is mysteriously taken by police in 1950 Communist Prague. Young Finkel is victimized by anti-Semitism, removed from school, forced to work as an errand boy, and isolated from his peers. The story ends hopefully as Jonas and his mother learn that his father is alive and being held in a prison camp.

A Generation of Wrath (1984) by Elio Romano – The story reads like a memoir, but the author considers it to be a work of fiction. It is an account of the author’s survival of five years in 11 different Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Occupied Poland. Elio Romano was 15-years-old, a member of an Orthodox Jewish family living in the quiet Polish town of Oswiecim, (or Auschwitz), when the German poured across the border. After he tried to escape to the Middle East, Romano was captured and dragged back to Poland, forced to help build the camp which soon became Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was liberated by the Americans in April of 1945, one of only 36 survivors of a last-minute German massacre.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Mendel’s Daughter: A Memoir (2006) by Martin Lemelman – This graphic novel is a true story about the life of a Jewish girl growing up in Poland during the 1940s, describing how the Nazi persecution led to the deaths of her parents and other members of her family, while she and her brothers survived the war by hiding in the neighboring forest. The story is in the form of a “memoir” told in the voice of Lemelman’s mother, Gusta, a holocaust survivor. Lemelman’s charcoal drawings and photographs give the story a very subdued, historical point of view.

Night (1960) by Elie Wiesel Night is an amazing autobiographical narrative, in which the author describes his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. One of four children, Wiesel was the only one in his family to survive the holocaust. Translated from the French, the English version of this book captures the author’s youthfulness. Wiesel’s autobiography is easily an equal comparison to The Diary of Anne Frank due to the suffering shared, and the emotional and spiritual journey the author must deal with as a young boy.

Fax From Sarajevo (1996) by Joe Kubert — This graphic novel details the true account of artist Ervin Rustemagic who was trapped during the Serbian seige of Sarajevo. The only way Ervin could keep in touch with the outside world was to send faxes to various people he knew. Joe Kubert is an American friend of Ervin’s and he received faxes, which he turned into this book. Ervin and his family (his wife Edina and two children, Maja and Edvin) were forced to stay in war-torn Sarajevo as the Serbs continued to attack the city. This book won an Eisner Award for best new graphic album and it won a Harvey Award for best graphic album of original work.

Name: Maurine