Horror Fiction

All posts tagged Horror Fiction

Book Review: Blood Cruise

Published August 31, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

bloodcruise1

The forbidden thrill of being a small town 14 year old diving into epic novels like Stephen King’s The Shining and Salem’s Lot can never be replicated. But floating through Mats Strandberg’s Blood Cruise, as an adult, definitely brings back a wonderful sense memory of those exciting, long ago afternoons.

While, joyfully, reveling in the visceral antics of grand horror fiction, this fine book also offers up an intricate look at the emotional lives of a wide variety of vacationers whose quick boat trip in Sweden turns into an odyssey of terror. Nicely, many of these individuals are relatable to queer terror lovers who often feel like they are left on the outside of both mainstream and alternative culture.

The proceedings begin with an introduction to Marianne, a still attractive senior citizen who feels as if life has passed her by. Readers will definitely feel for her as she is courted by a charming rogue and recognize all the insecurities and fears that she experiences as she begins to open up her heart and live again.

Nicely, another primary focus here is Calle, a former employee of the cruise line on which all the action occurs. His marriage proposal to his handsome boyfriend gone awry, this despondent romantic soon finds himself in charge of a couple of frantic pre-teens and eventually discovers the hero that resides deep within him.

Throughout, while rotating a dozen or so primary characters and various plotlines, Strandberg skillfully paints a true picture of life’s often harsh complexities. Here frazzled family dynamics, self image issues, rivalries and bitter regrets color in the personalities of all his characters. It is not always a pretty picture, but it is an accurate one …and as some of each reader’s favorite participants are bound to meet their deaths in a variety of unpleasant ways, it nicely binds the characters to us, making their ends all the more tragic. As all well rounded creative types do, Strandberg even paints in some nice emotional layers to his toothy, vengeful villains, granting them have a degree of sympathy, as well.

The most enjoyable thing here, perhaps, though is discovering the ways in which beloved individuals orbit into each other’s stories. Equally as fun, are those moments when one realizes that one personality’s point of view about themselves is often very different from those that encounter him or her.  These instances emphasize Strandberg’s talent for weaving not only a multi-faceted story but for inventing believable characters, as well.

A top ten seller across Europe, Blood Cruise, is available for purchase on www.amazon.com. Strandberg, whose book The Circle was turned into a hit movie by ABBA founder Benny Andersson, can be located on Instagram and Twitter @matsstranberg_ and online at www.matsstrandberg.se.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Casey Robinson’s The Van

Published January 8, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

VanA bike. A bike is good. A bike even helped Brad Pitt get away from some zombies in World War Z.

Any other form of transportation, though, can be suspicious – especially when viewed in the appropriate circumstances. Delightfully, here author Casey Robinson highlights just how creepy a vehicle in an alley can be with her short story The Van.

Now – run!!! But before you do, be sure to check out more of Don’t Turn Around’s conceptually brilliant short story horror videos at www.dontturnaround.com.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Book Review: Town & Train

Published February 17, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

town and train
When I was a kid, I loved Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Monroe, soap operas and horror films. Let’s just say that I didn’t fit in the small farm town of 600 that I grew up in…and all I dreamed of, at the time, was escape. Therefore, I can definitely relate to the beating pulse behind Town & Train, James K. Moran’s debut novel.

Taking place in a small, financially strapped Canadian town in the early 90s, Moran captures the wanderlust of both his teen and adult characters while simultaneously adding elements of Peter Straub and Stephen King into the mix. His invention of a supernaturally clouded locomotive, helmed by an evil shape shifting conductor is, also, certainly unique.

Unfortunately, while Moran definitely has talent, he lacks certain cohesive skills as an author, at this point in time. Much of the narrative here brims with awkwardness. This result is that, while he seems to know them well, his characters, ultimately, never truly come alive on the page. His ways of parlaying information about the town are odd, as well. Deep historical facts are planted in passages about both longtime residents and teen members of the community, giving off the vibe that everyone in this narrative is a historian, something which hardly seems possible.

While, Moran, nicely, tries to tackle issues of homophobia here, exploring the struggles of a bisexual police officer, this intent, also, falls a bit flat. It is not just the town’s hoods who use words like “fag” and “faggy”, but the narrative’s young hero, John, is often prone to use those terms, as well. This lessens the effect of Moran’s seeming point of ignorance, and, also, renders John’s toughened stance at the end of the novel a bit moot.

Still, Moran fares better as the novel gains steam and he creates some tense, nicely accomplished scenes of horror as he races towards the conclusion. It does seem odd that the death of one major character is kept almost entirely off the page during the interesting climax, especially considering the amount of attention that Moran pays to other details.

Thus, in the state it’s in now, Town & Train reads more like a noble failure than a truly successful excursion into social anthropology and fright. But, thankfully, there is enough of interest here to make one long to read a revised version of this tale. Moran, also, seems to be someone worth reading more of, whatever the project may be, once the kinks in his style are finally worked out.

Town & Train is published by Lethe Press, a publisher with a variety of very interesting queer genre books among their offerings. Dive into their impressive catalog at http://www.lethepressbooks.com.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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