Reading Sanctum: Potpourri #5

Reading Sanctum: Potpourri is one of our continuing features of quick cut book reviews to help you find some otherwise innocuous books that might have escaped your attention. As a huge library/book reader geek, I love sharing stories about the books I am reading. So if you love books like I love books, then you just might love this feature, too.

The Night Boat by Robert McCammon is a horror novel that harkens back to the early zombie tales, where the walking dead were a consequence of a voodoo curse. Originally published in 1980, the horrific tale begins with a boom, and slowly weaves a terrorizing history that involves a German U-boat, its Nazi crew, and the indigenous population of a tiny fictional Caribbean island.

When a diver, David Moore, finds an intact submarine in the waters off of a Caribbean island called Coquina, Moore accidentally dislodges a live depth-charge explosive that causes the sub to surface. The vessel is, then, brought by tug into an isolated quay in the harbor, but from the moment it is attached to the island, a quiet pall hovers over the inhabitants.

A curse that should have been laid to rest at the bottom of the ocean has been raised, and the indigenous peoples of Coquina want it to be sent back to where it came from. The problem is, as usual, a museum will pay a tidy sum for the salvage. A choice must be made. Will the superstitious sheriff require that the ship be scuttled again or will the white diver sell his salvage to the museum and exacerbate the curse.

The things that walk Coquina at night are horrific and incredible. They hunger for flesh and are cursed to continue a mission that should have ended with either the sinking of the ship, or at the very worst, the end of World War II. A really terrific read.

There were a lot of horrific elements although the ending is a bit anti-climactic. 4 out of 5 Grey Geeks.

Something is Killing the Children is hard-core horror in sequential art form. It takes the antiquated horror maxim that children are sacred, and untouchable in a horror story, and refutes that with the very title of the book. This trade paperback is available for free on to read.

The plot begins with mysterious characters that the reader is unsure how they connect, and builds the suspense from there. Erica Slaughter is the protagonist who says that the disappearances of the children are tied to monsters and only she can kill them. The plot is dark and complex. The characters are three dimensional.

If you are looking for a superhero story because this is sequential art, you are going to be disappointed. This is horror in the truest sense of the word. Here there be monsters.

The art work is incredibly graphic in detail with a trigger warning for those who prefer their horror a little more tepid. I for one loved it and couldn’t wait for the next page. The pencils were clean lines, but also smudgy shadowing to convey a dark, moody story. The panel design is claustrophobic and lush. Much thanks to NetGalley and James Tynion for the opportunity to read this. A very high, horror recommendation.

It is not very often that the sequential art form is used well to convey true horror. In Something is Killing the Children, it goes above and beyond. 5 out of 5 Grey Geeks.

Eternal Midnight at the Video Store by Corey Daggett is a novella length fantasy horror story that I received for free in November to help me reach my end of the year goal on Goodreads. Clearly, I had little idea that I would be swept away by the narrative. Unexpectedly, I admit, I received an excellent story that fed a sense of nostalgia that geeks seldom acknowledge.

I remember a time when the video store was a place to congregate to choose what we would be watching over the course of the weekend. There were familial  arguments, and compromises reached. We even established relationships with the sales people. This tale celebrates those times.

Maci and Amanda work in their uncle’s convenience store. There is a video section in the back where Maci works, and Amanda works in the front. Maci is a little anti-social, preferring to inundate herself in the mediated realities of videotapes. Amanda is the gregarious sister who is constantly looking at her phone, speaking to every customer, smiling all the while.

During one night, a storm kicks up that is so severe that Maci and Amanda are forced to stay in the store, while the storm wreaks havoc to the outside, which they don’t mind really, they have plenty of food and hundreds of movies to watch. In fact, time seems to stand still, and when the store is attacked by demonic forces, the sisters must adopt a heroic stand at the video store.

I love this story. It checks all the entertainment boxes. If you want a geek read, this is it. Do not expect a perfect story. This looks like a first time author, and I think everyone who is a geek should check it out. I love new discoveries and this is me trying to give a new author a new audience.

5 out of 5 Grey Geeks for a FUN, nostalgic story that is not perfect, but checks a lot of the entertainment boxes. I’m hoping that the Mustache and the Beard audience check it out.

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