Supernatural: Bone Key (Book Review)

Bone Key is the third book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the second written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. Once again we join the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on another action packed adventure. Bone Key takes place during season 3, between episodes 8 (A Very Supernatural Christmas) and 9 (Malleus Maleficarum).

 

In this spooky tale, the boys travel to Key West, Florida, where some famous ghosts are terrorising tourists and murdering people. Can Sam and Dean figure out what’s causing the spirits to become supercharged, and save the day?

 

First of all, with numerous references to prior events, Bone Key isn’t suitable for anyone new to Supernatural, and those unaware of recent plot points which play major roles in the first three seasons of the TV show. Spoilers may ruin the suspense if you intend to watch the show at a later time.

However, for everyone else, this book has a creepy doll reminiscent of Chucky (Child’s Play) or Annabelle (The Conjuring) which I always find very unsettling, As well as famous ghosts, such as Ernest Hemingway and Harry Truman.

With lots of different characters, I found it a little difficult to keep track of everyone, and as far as story goes I’m not sure that it’s quite as strong as Keith’s earlier book, Nevermore. Thankfully though, this time around he manages to get Dean’s eye colour correct, and the characterisations of both Sam and Dean appear much more accurate.

It has a few adult themes that were somewhat questionable, such as the guy who attempts to sleep with numerous women, and unknowingly takes photos of them, just to get back at his ex.

Anyhow, at 3 out of 5 stars I found this book to be enjoyable, but not necessarily a story that appealed to my particular tastes. It had a slowish pace and didn’t have quite as much action as some of the other Supernatural books. If anyone wishes to check it out you can pick yourself up a copy of Bone Key from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Haunted Cruise: The Shakedown by Tanya R. Taylor (Book Review)

In the midst of divorcing her husband of seven years, Dellie Hayworth sets off to work on a test cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. The ship, known as The Caesar, will be her home for the next 14 days.

 

Haunted Cruise is my first book by horror writer, Tanya R. Taylor and I found it to be one of the better short novels that I have read in quite some time. The story has a quick pace, yet doesn’t feel overly rushed. The narrative flows along easily, hooking the reader into the story with sharp and pertinent prose. It is very well-written and highly compelling, so much so that I couldn’t help but read this in one quick sitting.

It took quite a while before the horror elements made an appearance, and I began to wonder if I was mistaken in believing Haunted Cruise to be a horror story. However, occult spectres did eventually appear and were remarkably creepy, as you would expect. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’d class this story as a typical haunting, however there are ghosts. I felt that the ending may have been a bit rushed, but overall this is a good short horror novel, at a little less than 200 pages, perfect for anyone seeking a quick read.

At 4 out of 5 stars I highly recommend Haunted Cruise to anyone interested in the horror or occult genres, or those looking for a short introduction to Tanya R. Taylor’s extensive catalogue. I’m definitely now interested in checking out more stories by this writer, and anyone else thinking of doing so can purchase a copy of Haunted Cruise via Amazon.co.uk here.

 

Hopefully, sometime soon I’ll be checking out Tanya’s Cornelius series of books, so watch out for those reviews in the coming months.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Book Review)

54 year old musician, Judas Coyne has a penchant for all things grotesque and when Danny, his personal assistant discovers a ‘ghost’ for sale on an online auction website, Jude just cannot resist the temptation to be the one to purchase it.

When the dead man’s suit arrives, carefully packaged in a black heart-shaped box, Jude has almost forgotten his spur of the moment purchase. However when an apparition of an old man appears to him that evening, Jude feels a little spooked.

He asks Danny to track down the female seller, so that he can make some enquiries about her late step-father only to make a startling discovery; Jessica Price is the older sister of one of Jude’s old fortune teller girlfriends, Anna May McDermott. When Jude broke off their relationship, Anna’s depressive emotional state intensified, resulting in the girl committing suicide. On his own death-bed, their hypnotist step-father, Craddock McDermott swore revenge against Jude for ruining his daughter’s life.

The ghost of Craddock is determined to haunt Jude and his current girlfriend, Georgia (AKA Marybeth), until Jude gives in to the old man’s demands and kills himself. Can Jude find a way to destroy the ghost, before it can destroy him?

 

Joe Hill is the son of Horror maestro Stephen King and Heart-Shaped Box is his first full novel. It is difficult not to compare father and son as you notice subtle similarities in their writing styles, and in a way typical to Stephen King, I feel that Joe fails to keep the reader interested in his story.

The plot of Heart-shaped Box seems interesting at first with the odd notion that ghosts can be bought and sold almost like property, but it soon begins to feel really dull and stretched out as the story slowly meanders along, with the creepy aspects being very few and far between.

At 2 out of 5 stars Heart-shaped Box has a good basic premise but doesn’t quite seem strong enough to warrant a large novel, being better maybe as a smaller, thinned down novella. Unfortunately, I soon lost interest and just willed this spooky tale to come to an end.

 

Anyone interested in learning more about Joe Hill and his first novel can pick up a copy of Heart-Shaped Box from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Horns – Joe Hill

Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Nevermore is the first TV Tie-in novel from the CW series Supernatural, featuring a brand new story from the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. This first book takes place during season 2, between episodes 8 (Crossroad Blues) and 9 (Croatoan), and is written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

 

As a favour to their friend Ash, Sam and Dean take a break from hunting the demon that killed their Mom and Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, to travel to New York City for a haunting case. Meanwhile, Sam has also noticed some unusual deaths that he feels are worth checking out, being reminiscent of a couple of Edgar Allan Poe stories.

Dean finds himself in his version of heaven – surrounded by classic rock music and great tasting coffee – as the boys stay with rocker Manfred Afiri, guitarist and lead vocalist for a seventies covers band, who happens to have a spirit haunting his house. While Dean loses himself in Manfred’s vinyl collection, Sam visits the Poe Cottage and the locations of the unusual murders.

The boys soon find themselves teaming up with some unexpected allies as they try to prevent more murders from occurring, and purge Manfred’s house of a lovesick ghost. All while learning more about their father’s past.

 

Favourite Quote:

Their father had taken to using the phrase ‘a cup of caffeine,’ since what they usually had was so bad, Dad didn’t want to insult it by calling it ‘coffee.’  – (p61)

 

At 5 out of 5 stars Nevermore is a great addition to the Supernatural series for the hardcore fans already familiar with the Winchesters. With its accurate portrayal of the characters it was really easy to imagine Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from the TV show driving around in the Impala, and investigating these odd cases, which added to my overall enjoyment of the novel.

The book has a quick pace and didn’t get boring. Although there are two separate stories which don’t really intertwine, the book is very well written with smooth transitions between each narrative. Being a rocker myself, like Dean, I loved all of the references to the classic rock music, and the soundtrack list that the writer created as an addendum was also fun.

 

Anyone interested can pick up a copy of Nevermore from Amazon.co.uk here. This is the first book in a series of tie-in novels, all written by various different people, which leads directly into the second book; Witch’s Canyon by Jeff Mariotte.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon – Jeff Mariotte

Supernatural: Bone Key – Keith R.A. DeCandido

The Séance in Apartment 10 – Ambrose Ibsen (Book Review)

Tori is a Nursing student seeking an apartment to rent close to the University campus, which will allow her to continue some extra classes over the summer, and hopefully allow her to graduate a little earlier than usual.

She finds herself inexplicably drawn to a small studio apartment in Moorlake, which is both close enough to the University for ease of travel, and also far enough away to allow her the peace and quiet that she needs to study.

With some free time on her hands before the summer semester begins, Tori invites some friends over to catch up. However, when Cat Meyers produces an Ouija board from her bag and announces that she wants to conduct a séance, the four girls decide to have a little drunken fun and call on the spirit of Tori’s dead mother. What could possibly go wrong?

 

It is unusual for a horror novel to get under my skin and truly frighten me, however Ambrose does a fantastic job with this incredibly spooky story. Written in the first person narrative, through the eyes of main character Tori, the plot begins in an entertaining enough fashion as the young student adjusts to living on her own for the very first time.

The book has a nice even pace, not quick enough to feel rushed, but yet not too slow or boring either. Both the story and the characters gradually mature and develop which keeps the reader interested and intrigued. While not exactly a long novel, it manages to pack in quite a lot of action and suspense within its meagre 170 pages.

The writer manages to instil an extremely creepy and spine-tingling fear of both the macabre and the occult, as Tori is stalked by a terrifying spectre in her cramped, stifling and run-down studio apartment.

This novel gave me cold chills and unsettled me in ways that I can’t quite explain, making me view Ouija Boards in a whole new and rather disturbing light.

There are a few spelling-mistakes or misused words that caused me a little irritation at times, and confusion at the very beginning with some irregular, jumbled formatting, but not really enough to detract from the chilling story.

The Séance in Apartment 10 is extremely likely to disturb those susceptible to the spiritual or paranormal world. I would not usually consider myself a believer in such occurrences, but this novel at 4.5 out of 5 stars, definitely left me feeling a little uncomfortable.

The short but creepy Séance in Apartment 10 by Ambrose Ibsen is a chilling read, so go get your copy from Amazon.co.uk and prepare to be spooked this coming Halloween.