A ghoulish gem for those continuing—or new to—this series.


From the Mortsafeman series , Vol. 2

In this horror sequel, a Vermont town prepares to host a Goth festival and hopefully maintain a centuries-old secret.

It’s 1987, and 19-year-old Chris Chandler has been released from the South Portland Juvenile Detention Center in Maine. After the gruesome events in Bemishstock, ending with the death of Mallory Dahlman and others, he’s continuing as a Mortsafeman—one who defends “the departed.” A man named Bernard Monsegur has asked him to house-sit his Marymount estate in Lewis, Vermont. Chris does so readily, because the vicious ghost of Mallory has taken revenge on a fresh victim in Bemishstock and he’d like to avoid the questions of journalist Jackie Cormier. Though Lewis is a dying town, Mayor Gerald Paget sees it as a potential tourist destination that utilizes, among other attractions, the Monsegur family cemetery. Wealthy librarian Rose DuCalice, Bernard's sister, finds the enterprise grotesque and hopes to stop it. On the mayor’s side is Gilbert Burgoyne, who’s inherited the decrepit Bijou Burgoyne theater from his father and is planning to transform it into a playhouse featuring violent “Grand Guignol” performances. Gilbert also happens to finance his art by stealing and selling skeletons. When Chris gets caught among these powerful factions in Lewis, he’ll do anything to soothe Mallory’s ghost and reunite with the enchanting Gillian Willard. This second installment of Blake’s (Dead Scared, 2017) series is quite the gift, complete with a black bow, to horror fans. He juggles the Gothic New England ambiance, the parade of sleazy characters, and the occasional supernatural mauling with panache. Gilbert is misogyny incarnate, calling his girlfriend, Doloroso Morgana, Dolli, “the best sex doll in the world,” while Paget treats his daughter, Geraldine, like a nonentity. Mallory’s manifestations are uniquely chilling, as her “blue glow” becomes a “crackling and fizzing,” akin to a blown fuse. The author will also charm those who love well-researched history, working into the bedrock of his plot the Gnostic sect of European Cathars from the Middle Ages. In addition, strutting, memorable characters make this chiller unmissable.

A ghoulish gem for those continuing—or new to—this series.

Pub Date: June 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77392-009-2

Page Count: 290

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2018

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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