Paperbacks from Hell, by Grady Hendrix

A beautiful survey of horror literature (using that term loosely) and those fantastic fucking covers from the 70s and 80s.

Paperbacks from Hell

Quirk Books, Inc., 2017, 254 pages

Written in dead letters... and covered in blood!

Demonic possession! Haunted condominiums! Murderous babies! Man-eating moths! No plot was too ludicrous, no cover art too appalling, no evil too despicable for the Paperbacks From Hell.

Where did they come from? Where did they go? Horror author Grady Hendrix risks his soul and sanity (not to mention yours) to relate the true, untold story of the Paperbacks From Hell.

Shocking story summaries! Incredible cover art! And true tales of writers, artists, and publishers who violated every literary law but one: never be boring. All this awaits, if you dare experience the Paperbacks From Hell.

Tasteless and terrifying, shamelessly schlocky, the golden era of pulp horror now mostly molders on the shelves of used bookstores.

My complete list of book reviews.

Speed reading towards the end

So when I am reading a book, there is often a moment where I realize okay here it is, this is how the book is going to transition and I can almost see the whole ending. I have a terrible habit of speeding up dramatically at that point — starting to skim whole paragraphs to jump to the conclusion. Do others do this? Is this a common habit of readers? Is this something one should fight against?

Golden Hair

A Witch's Printing Office

A Witch's Printing Office, Vol. 3 by Mochinchi

Further episode of the life of Mika. (Spoilers for earlier ones ahead)

The message left on the Guild board pans out in this book. Mika thus ends up supplying a bookstore. Also, she goes into a maze, is summoned as a creature from another world to solve a problem, an evil sorcerer bound in a book causes problems, sneaky backstabbing, a meal at Magiket, originality in spellcrafting, and more.

Blood Standard, by Laird Barron

An ex-killer tries to go straight, and he's a long way from Nome.

Blood Standard

G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018, 321 pages

A novel set in the underbelly of upstate New York that's as hard-boiled and punchy as a swift right hook to the jaw, a classic noir for fans of James Ellroy and John D. Macdonald.

Isaiah Coleridge is a mob enforcer in Alaska - he's tough, seen a lot, and dished out more. But when he forcibly ends the money-making scheme of a made man, he gets in the kind of trouble that can lead to a bullet behind the ear. Saved by the grace of his boss and exiled to upstate New York, Isaiah begins a new life, a quiet life without gunshots or explosions. Except a teenage girl disappears, and Isaiah isn't one to let that slip by. And delving into the underworld to track this missing girl will get him exactly the kind of notice he was warned to avoid.

At turns brutally shocking and darkly funny, heartbreaking and cautiously hopeful, Blood Standard is both a high-tension crime novel and the story of a man's second chance - the parts of his past he will never escape, and the parts that will shape his future.

He's big, bloodthirsty, brutal, and his banter is boss. He also has a soft spot for walruses.

Also by Laird Barron: My reviews of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, The Croning, and Occultation.

My complete list of book reviews.

The Amulet, by Michael McDowell

A bloody Southern Gothic from the golden era of paperback horror novels.

The Amulet

Avon Books, 1979, 352 pages

When a rifle range accident leaves Dean Howell disfigured and in a vegetative state, his wife Sarah finds her dreary life in Pine Cone, Alabama made even worse. After long and tedious days on the assembly line, she returns home to care for her corpse-like husband while enduring her loathsome and hateful mother-in-law, Jo. Jo blames the entire town for her son's mishap, and when she gives a strange piece of jewelry to the man she believes most responsible, a series of gruesome deaths is set in motion. Sarah believes the amulet has something to do with the rising body count, but no one will believe her. As the inexplicable murders continue, Sarah and her friend Becca Blair have no choice but to track down the amulet themselves, before it's too late...

Bloody, bloody Alabama.

Also by Michael McDowell: My reviews of The Elementals, The Caskey Family Saga, and Cold Moon Over Babylon.

My complete list of book reviews.
Golden Hair

Beyond the Hundred Kingdoms

Beyond the Hundred Kingdoms by Rod Espinosa

The Courageous Princess book 1.

The beloved Princess Mabelrose, her parents' only child, goes to a ball -- and has a horrible time. And when she returns home, a dragon kidnaps her. It intends to hold her for ransom despite her kingdom's poverty.

The tale winds on from there. It involves Mabelrose's tricking the dragon into leaving for a time, a magical rope, her father's leaving home in search for her, a sage, a king in a cage, a fair number of fairy tales, talking animals, and more.