Hammurabi Road

20837069Not often do you find a novella that combines dark humor, philosophy, suspense and good storytelling, but Hammurabi Road by Steve Vernon manages to do it. The story starts off with three men in a truck driving  to a remote area in Ontario to kill a fourth man who is tied up in the back. The three men in the front are Irvin, Donny and Hanny, who is telling the story. The man in back is Tyree.

Tyree has been accused by Irvin of starting a fire which burned down a hotel and killed Irvin’s brother. The three men are planning on enacting a little vigilante justice  by leaving Tyree on a set of  railroad tracks in the middle of nowhere as a train comes through. Things get complicated though when they slam the truck into a bear and some of the passengers start to have doubts over their objective.

The best part of Hammurabi Road is the dialogue between the characters. I loved how in the beginning Hanny and Donny were talking about things like rotten smells and the effect of a train hitting an animal, while Irvin remained silent. I felt this was a great way to introduce the characters. Irvin is the leader of the group, he is determined and has a bad temper while the others are talking because they are nervous and not sure if they are doing the right thing. This all came through in the opening dialogue and it was a great way to set up the story.

I also liked how the characters made observations about their surroundings as their situation is going badly. For instance when the truck hits the bear and all hell breaks loose, Hany points out the cigarette burn in the truck cab and what it looks like. To me that’s great storytelling because even in a bad situation people still notice things like that.

Another thing I liked about the book is how the author adds humor to a story that’s pretty disturbing at times. The scene with the bear is suspenseful but what they do to the bear made me laugh and cringe at the same time. I felt sorry for the bear but he takes the whole situation very well.  Later in the book there is an exciting scene between the three characters as the train comes down the tracks to obliterate Tyree, this was just as suspenseful as the bear scene.

I’m not going to claim to understand everything in this story but I did enjoy it. The characters were all great, I loved the setting and while the idea of revenge is a theme in a lot of books, Steve Vernon manages to give a fresh perspective on it. In the books I’ve read by Steve Vernon he manages to make Canada itself into a character through dialogue and how the people act. It reminds me of how Stephen King makes Maine a character in his books. If you haven’t read anything by Steve Vernon, Hammurabi Road is a good place to start. Steve is a great storyteller and I hope he  gets more attention for his work.

The Carvings Collection

18756153The Carvings Collection by Drake Vaughn is a mixed bag of stories that covers true crime, paranormal and psychological horror. The first story was one of my favorites called Dolls. It’s about a girl who has a doll that talks and doesn’t act like other dolls. I liked how the relationship the girl has with her dolls closely mirrors her parents relationship. I thought the end was a little confusing but it was a good creepy story to start the anthology. The next story was called Drivers Seat and is about a woman who is afraid to drive. I liked how the story was told, it had  a great idea behind it  but the ending was disappointing.

The third story is Master Key which is a creepy tale where some kids enter a secret passage in a school and learn about the school’s dark history. The next one is In The Chair which is about a man who killed his mother and then gets kidnapped and held prisoner by someone who believes he is doing gods will. I liked  how the author shows who the real villain is. The descriptions of the man trying to escape from the chair were gruesome and really made you feel empathy for the character. He made a decision to end his mother’s suffering but had to suffer himself.  I thought where the man was being held seemed a little far-fetched but it was still an entertaining story.

Another good story in this collection is called Sales. it’s about a man named Conner who is hired by a firm to harass a female singer in order for her to hire more bodyguards. The singer is much more than she appears, men who go to her apartment come out changed and it may take more than an ability to talk to save Conner.My favorite part of this story was hearing all of Conner’s observations about the people he meets. He is good at reading people but still doesn’t see the situation that he is walking into, great ending.

The Garden is another supernatural  story which is about two boys who steal some vegetables from an old man’s garden and find out about a horrifying secret in the man’s basement. I liked how one of the boys shows his loyalty to his friend despite his fear.  Next up is The Test. It’s about a man who tells his wife how a friend of his died. This story was one of the longer ones and had a lot of depth to it. There was a scene in a restaurant that was funny and sad at the same time. I also liked how its shown  that a past relationship effected the man’s present relationship.

One story in The Carving Collection that I would like to see expanded on is  Trip to V-Town. The story gets into a group of men’s journey into the vampire side of town to have sex in a vampire whorehouse. This was a really short one that managed to say a lot. I liked how one character is changed at the end from what he has seen and I felt the author was making a good point on how one group of people looks down on another group from the wrong side of the tracks. The Carvings Collection is an anthology for anyone who likes a good story and I hope to see more from Drake Vaughn.

HorrorAddicts.net 097, Lucy Blue, Frank H. Woodward, Dr. Rotz

New season starts soon. I will actually have a story on this season. Me writing fiction, now that is scary.

David

HorrorAddicts.net

Finale8PosterHorror Addicts Episode# 097

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

With Guests: Camellia Rains and Ari DaWintre

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

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10 days till Halloween!

lucy blue, frank h. woodward, dr. rotz, versailles, translyvania 6-5000

halloween traditions, type-o negative, bloody kisses, translyvania 6-5000, jay hartlove, the chosen, the wickeds, horrible disasters, dr. rotz interview, vampire nurse candy, midnight syndicate, mimielle, goth fashion, zombie george washington, wheelman press, brian herbert, the chef’s table, best band season 8 poll, versailles, free fiction friday, bite club, hal bodner, david books, charla, alexander beresford, frank h. woodward interview, black magic, kbatz, atlantic city zombie walk, most wicked announced, wicked women writers, winner, rick kitagawa, writer’s workshop, events, dead mail, haunted place to go, lucy blue interview

Goodbye, my darklings, until next year. Please be safe and stay spooky!

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