Monday, May 30, 2016

Beyond Helter Skelter

     The Life And Times Of Charles Manson - Jeff Guin 5/5 stars

      The Life And Times Of Charles Manson sounds like quite a whimsical little book doesn't it? Almost sounds like a feel good story that will pull at your heart strings a little and make you weep with joy. This isn't that kind of book. I have read a few books on Manson and the Family but most are terrible. They don't offer any new insight or even tell us who Manson really is. How was he able to convince these people to kill for him? The only book that came close was Helter Skelter. That was a fascinating glimpse of the Family and the Tate/Labianca it was the Holy Grail of Manson And The Family. Now we have The Life And Times Of Charles Manson which gives us an even deeper glimpse who Manson really is.

      The book not only gives us the full Manson story but also ties in the historical events of the sixties. We learn how Manson was able to manipulate his followers and yes even get them to kill for him  This is the perfect companion piece to Helter Skelter and offers deeper insight into just who Manson really is. Once you begin reading Guinn's book it's impossible to put down. Guinn has clearly done his homework and it shows. You aren't getting rehashed moments copied from the same sources. You get the idea behind Helter Skelter and how Manson felt that his hold over his followers was slipping so he had to do something drastic to keep them from moving on.

      It doesn't make you want to like Manson or his followers. It merely explains who he is and how he came to be one of those people that we continue to be fascinated by forty years later. If you want to understand just how vile, or maybe even desperate Manson is to be accepted then this book provides a lot interesting facts that expose Manson and shows us that he's manipulated us all. He wanted to be famous and he's done a bit more than that. He's become infamous. That;'s what he wanted all along and we gave it to him and keep giving it to him.

      The Life And Times Of Charles Manson is the follow up to Helter Skelter and actually edges it out to become the best book on Manson. You learn the truth and sometimes it's truly stranger than fiction. If you've ever wanted the true story of Manson and his Family this is the book to read. Shocking and riveting it's probably the one book Manson himself doesn't want you to read.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Crazies

     One Rainy Night - Richard Laymon 5/5 Stars


      If you've missed Laymon you've missed a treat. No truer words have ever been spoken when it comes to the late Richard Laymon. He was a man that delved into the darkest parts of the human soul and showed us that the greatest monsters are actually ourselves. One Rainy Night seems to show Laymon at a point in his career where he wanted to give everyone what he was accused of giving them. A total gorefest without any real characters or purpose. It would seem on the surface that One Rainy Night is just Richard Laymon being Richard Laymon. Horror that has all the charm and subtlety of a chainsaw cutting into your stomach. He's a hack after all right? I have read tons and tons of reviews of Laymon's work and all of the bad ones all tell us this.

     One Rainy Night is by far one of the greatest books that Laymon has ever written. All of the key elements are there and we see that not much has changed. Laymon is still violent, and it would seem that he doesn't like women all that much, The thing is that the book has an interesting premise and yes, it's by far the most violent Laymon book that I've read so far. The very idea that the rain is causing these people to become homicidal maniacs is intriguing but then you have the the survivors who are simply trying to survive. It's that element that keeps the pages turning. Why is this happening? Laymon has taken something simple and turned it sinister. Every time it rains my heart beats a little faster.

     Laymon knows how to keep a story moving. The pace just never lets up and you almost feel as if you should stop just to catch your breath. He knows how to weave a story and even at its most brutal and shocking it's impossible to look away. At its core, One Rainy Night is a tale of revenge. As the plot unfolds the reasoning behind the rain becomes clear. The ending did feel a bit rushed, but it's still a damn fine read that once again shows us that given the right conditions the real monsters are ourselves. Laymon knows exactly what his fans expect and this one ups the ante a little. For Laymon fans this is classic Laymon that delivers, but if you're not a fan, you're not going to like it and will tell as many people that will listen that he's overrated and not worth the praise that writers like myself continue to heap upon him. This one is what splatterpunk is all about it. This is Stephen King without a conscience my friends.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

All Hail The Sisters Of Slaughter

    Mayan Blue - Michelle Garza & Mellissa Lason 5/5 Stars


     I was given a copy of Myan Blue to review and I was excited as hell because I planned on buying it as soon as it was released. I still plan on snapping up the paperback because that is a cover that shouldn't be hidden on a Kindle screen. The Sisters Of Slaughter have been making quite a name for themselves in the horror genre and I for one am a huge fan. Forget this idea that women can't write horror because they can. The Sisters write horror that's so good it'll reach up and smack your momma! This is a debut that a lot of writers and horror fans have been chomping at the bit for and Mayan Blue is one hell of a debut.

      What I love the most about this is that sure, this may be their debut, but Michelle and Melissa write with confidence and a knack for writing scenes that are so terrifyingly real you may want to sleep with a night light on. This is the greatest novel that Clive Barker never wrote. When I read Mayan Blue it reminded me of The Hellbound Heart, but I have to tell you that this is no clone. It's all original, but it follows the same dark tone and doesn't hold anything back. This is a dark and violent novel that clearly shows that the Sisters did their homework and have written a novel that grabs you by the nuts and gives them a hearty squeeze. Clearly, this will no doubt please even the most jaded horror fan that thinks that there aren't any original ideas left in horror. Mayan Blue is the shot in the arm that we all needed.

      This is one of my favorite horror novels. It's dark, and gritty, and best of all it's well written. This is going to be one those horror novels that people are going to talk about and no doubt place high on their end of the year list of the best horror novels. If you haven't heard of Michelle and Melissa you will soon. Mayan Blue widens the blazing path that their short stories have already started. As a writer I'm scared of these women because they're so damn good. Mayan Blue offers horror fans a fresh idea that captures the imagination. One hell of a debut and one you should pre-order immediately.