Kirjailijakuva
7 teosta 98 jäsentä 12 arvostelua

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Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
⭐⭐ 2 stars (it was ok)

RATING: R (Violence, Gore, Sexual themes)
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Forced pregnancy

I'll be blunt: The characters don't have any emotional investment in what's going on, so it's hard for me to. It was also hard to keep the 1700's characters distinct in my mind when they are never described and have no real personalities. Like if a Shakespeare play had no dialogue in it and you couldn't see the actors. So we have these empty names (that became forgettable and interchangeable in my mind) experiencing gruesome, graphic, paranormal, supernatural, and to their eyes surely Satanic occurrences/rituals/desecrations happening in front of them, and scarcely a word is said about an emotional reaction! A long-dead character materializes in a chair opposite a living character who was alone just prior, speaks to the character, and they just respond, it's like it didn't even register. That's not really what I hoped horror would be (somewhat new to the genre).

Then, this kind of narration, with hardly any reactions or responses from anyone, would be interrupted by immersion-breaking phrasing like "the ass-end of the restaurant" in the narration. That's right -- it wouldn't be said or thought by a character. Such as:

Matthew walked along a narrow hallway into the ass-end of the restaurant, where a makeshift dining room jutted into the parking lot at a 90-degree angle from the bar.


The ass-end!

The following whole paragraph is symptomatic:

Though Priscilla wasn’t fond of cops (small dicks, and everyone knew it), she wasn’t being evasive. She wasn’t sure that the events of the previous evening had happened. One minute she was fleeing that creepy house on the coast, and the next she was running up the staircase to her room. The cops were already acting like she was a bit of a flake, giving her the look that cops give edgy young women who might be lesbians.


Plot devices are parenthetically explained the first time they're introduced--removing the meaning from them--instead of SHOWING us and leading us through the past events as part of the story that made them meaningful in the present. For example, we just find out 'oh yeah one time this item was cursed, by a witch character you've never heard of and that's why his daughter cried when she handed it to him'...", etc.

At times I remarked on the seemingly emotionless characters. No time is spent on reactions or emotional responses: "Oh, a strange man just handed me a putty that I absentmindedly rolled into a ball and used as a salve in a wound caused by a phantom snake that may not have been real. On with the story! No need to dwell on it. If the characters aren't afraid then how can I be?!"

Not a whole lot is left as a surprise... And doesn't let any of the horror elements linger at all. They're always just over and done with in a flash. And plot elements with a TON of potential (like when Matthew finds mysterious audio files while he's recording a new song and realizes they are his aborted baby's cries) are just dropped on the reader's plate like an overambitious Sloppy Joe with no lead-up, no foreplay, no suspense, no lead-up.

About 20% of the way through the book, we are told point blank that Parthalán is the same name as Bartholomew and then the author lets that be a big reveal in the finale... maybe he forgot he said it before?

I also noticed that no real motivations or psychic connections are made, and the characters are a little one-dimensional. Also, there's no sense of progression, eating the heart out of someone's chest and other such shocking occurrences happen at a steady clip all throughout. Doesn't feel like a story as much like a series of episodic scenes from someone's demoniac imagination.

I don't think I was the target audience for this book, but I was grateful halfway through as things started to be told to the reader. A lot of open threads with no real connection to anything kept happening and it would register no reaction. A good example is half a dozen instances where Matthew (mmc) hears gunshots and still behaves as if he didn't hear them.

“No, stay here. Please.”
[Female character] nodded and Matthew went to retrieve [her] tote from the rented Ford Focus, hurrying back inside when he heard gunshots. [She] had found the guest bedroom. The door was closed. After tapping on the door and leaving the overnight bag in the corridor, Matthew went into the master bedroom, sat on the bed, and stared at the moonlit ocean.


Gunshots? This is introduced just like this. What gunshots are these? Is this nothing strange? Couldn't the characters say something (e.g. "hey um I just came to visit you and I'm sleeping over, were those gunshots?") There just wasn't enough context for this. Eventually I figured out it must have been hunters? Potentially the villain or one of his lackeys trying to shoot Jerusha the dove?

All in all it hasn't turned me off the horror genre altogether. In the end, it really wasn't what the front cover and title evoke. Not at all a typical ghost-haunts-house story.

And this book really couldn't ever survive a screen adaptation-- too many of the characters are "dat's da same guy!". So I guess it ends here for me Mr. Rigolosi! All the best to you. If a horror reader YouTuber I like brings another of yours up, I'll add it to the list (a little ways down).

I won this book on LibraryThing as an Early Reviewer. It took me several years to get through it all and put this to paper; I hope it means I can now win more books to review.
 
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chuff | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 29, 2024 |
In 1746, famed fundamentalist preacher Jonathon Edwards is feeling the heat of his own sermons as he enters another year of keeping his private sins quiet while publicly chastising other sinners from the pulpit. To ease some of his guilt, he sends his servant Bebhinn and their illegitimate son, Parthalan, to help set up a new township on a strip of land along the coast of Maine. What Reverend Edwards does not know is that Parthalan is more than just a surly young man, and he has no use for Reverend Edwards's Heavenly Father, as he has his own darker and more demanding deity to worship. Parthalan takes over everything in the new town of Agamenticus: the plans, the people, the buildings, the church. Before long, he'll have convinced hundreds of people to abandon God and turn to his own dark master. Two and half centuries have passed when musician, Matthew Rollins, needs a place to get away from it all, a place to spend time rediscovering his passion and hopefully writing a few new songs. A mysterious invitation to spend the winter at the beautiful Kinnawe house in Agamenticus, Maine, arrives...truly an offer too good to refuse. Matthew then starts out on a journey that will have him questioning his sanity, questioning reality, and questioning his own lineage. The chapters alternate between past and present as we travel along with Matthew. He discovers the dark and terrible secrets of Kinnawe House as well as those of the now nearly non-existent town of Agamenticus...and comes to face with his own shadowy past. The book has ghosts, devil worshipers, human sacrifices, and a sleep-deprived spiral into hallucinations and madness. Matthew is a mystery story all by himself, complete with a body covered with scars, a mother in the madhouse and no father to speak of and old "friends" who seem to be anything but friendly. Parthalàn is an outstanding villain without not a speck of good in him. He's vicious and cruel and cunning and will stop at nothing to get what he wants even if he has to take it by trickery or by force. Another wonderful character in the story is Helen Crowe, who lives down the road from Kinnawe House and fully embraces her role as the archetypal sage and caregiver. She's a woman who knows the answers to all Matthew's questions but is smart enough to let him figure most of them out himself. She gives him hints along the way such as: always leave one window in the house cracked open; stay away from the cliffs after dark; whatever you do, don't go in the old, abandoned church down the road. Eventually, past and present will collide as Matthew and Helen come face to face with the evil that dwells...some of it willingly and some of it not...in Kinnawe House as well as the village. Those that love ghost stories and haunted houses will really like this one.
 
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Carol420 | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 17, 2023 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I wanted to like this book, but it was a little too much for me to read comfortably. There was a lot of satanic rituals and gore. Not my cup of tea
 
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gpittfield | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 3, 2022 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
This is a novel that takes place in the present and the past making it very intriguing. It's a story about good and evil, and if you like horror novels, this one is perfect for you.
 
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librariansuzanne | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 22, 2022 |
I feel like I should have known with a synopsis this long (probably longer than my review) that this would be a convoluted story.
Matthew is a struggling musician who can't seem to catch a break. His mother is mentally ill, his girlfriend has dumped him, and his insomnia is so bad that he sometimes can not tell hallucination from reality. As if that isn't enough to deal with he has scars all over that mysteriously rip open and bleed profusely under certain circumstances.
When he is offered a stay in a beautiful secluded home on the peaceful coast of Maine if he will consent to be the caretaker it seems like a too good to be true opportunity where he can rest and relax and write some new music.
What he doesn't know is the horrific evil that has been present since the house was built, is still there, and waiting for him.
Told on two timelines that switch between the present day of Matthew and the 1700s when the house and non existent town were built we slowly learn the reason that Matthew never knew his father and the reason his mother went insane.
Because of the dual timelines there are a lot of characters to keep track of, some of whom were part of a devil worshiping cult, and others who hoped to thwart their leader's evil plans.
It was a bit confusing at times because some of the characters also changed names to Americanized versions, and several characters from the 1700s are still with us in the present day, some wanting to protect Matthew while others want to drive him to suicide.
I do enjoy a good historical fiction and when you combine it with horror I enjoy it all the more. I would have preferred not to have the name changes. There are some genuinely creepy and well written occurrences that happen to Matthew but their connection to the 1700s was at times confusing.

3.5 out of 5 stars
I received an advance copy.
 
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IreneCole | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 27, 2022 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
I received a free copy of this ebook from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Not your typical, modern ghost story or good vs. evil tale. This book is more atmospheric in line with Gothic tales of the 1800s. The story follows two timelines: in the 18th Century, the fictional congregants of Jonathan Edwards (of 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' fame) split off and relocate to Maine to settle a new town; 21st Century Matthew Rollins is a struggling musician who becomes caretaker of Kinnawe House for the winter months.

What follows is a chilling tale of mystery and uncovering the truth of a person's past infused with just the right amount of horror.
 
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Caitlin.Dionne | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 2, 2022 |
Tämä arvostelu kirjoitettiin LibraryThingin Varhaisia arvostelijoita varten.
A group of Satan worshippers in 16th century New England is related to the protagonist who lives in the 21st century. He receives notice that the house he inquired about is available. The problem is, he never inquired about this house. He then receives a letter saying that his stay there will be free if he serves as a caretaker. The book switches from 16th century, laying the foundation for the 21 century part of the book.

The book is well written but it’s just not my cup of tea. I enjoy paranormal books but not those based on Satan worshipping.
 
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wearylibrarian | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 24, 2022 |
I thought this was going to be a new cozy mystery series that sort of pays homage to all the cozy mysteries that have come before, but it felt more like a send-up that really wants you to know how clever it is. Sooooo, nope! Cute cover though.
 
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JessicaReadsThings | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 2, 2021 |
Circle of Assassins has a unique story line that kept me interested throughout. There are many people in the world that would like to have someone removed from their life but these people aren’t going to go out and kill them, right? Would they? -- Do you? Would you?

What if they read an ad in the paper:

REVENGE IS SWEET!
Every day we are brutalized by thwho hurt us, take advantage of us, steal what is ours, mistreat our loved ones, destroy our property, terrorize us psychologically, criticize and condemn us, or trample our self-respect. Enough is enough! It’s time to turn The tables.
Write to A care of Box 270 (For entertainment purposes only)

‘A’ placed the ad for his own reasons. He wasn’t sure anyone would answer but many people did - only 5 people were serious enough to carry through. They were from all different walks of life and all had their own reason for wanting someone to be eliminated from the face of the earth. These became the Circle of Assassins because if those who wanted someone murdered then had to murder of the elected victims.

The only problem with the plot I had was initially when the cycle of the Assassins was described to the participants it was a bit confusing. They were going to be known as A- E but then colors became involved and I got lost for a bit. The color theme seemed to be dropped after a bit though and it became clear what the plan was and what was to be done.

The participants were all different and the letters they wrote to ‘A’ telling their stories were as if real people were writing them. There was the older lady who just wanted to keep her neighborhood safe. The obnoxious brother who wanted his sister fiancée’ murdered and then 3 others. Mr. Rigolosi does a very good job of making their lives and problems real.

I may not have liked some of the participants in the Circle and I may have thought some of them did not have good reasons to want their candidates gone but each of their stories were told from the perspective of the participants including their feelings and reasons. The ending had a couple surprises that were totally unexpected and made the story all the better.
 
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Diane_K | 1 muu arvostelu | Jul 14, 2015 |
This was an absolutely delightful little mystery. The cover is deceiving as one expects a cozy mystery set in the 1920s, but it is actually set in the 21st century with the lead Miss Felicity Prim who just appears to be from a previous century. She's never heard of the internet, yet she has purchased herself a stun gun as she moves from NYC to a small cottage in Connecticut in order to take up the career of outsmarting criminals. Miss Prim is such a clever character, and the mystery didn't disappoint with all of its twists and turns. I truly hope this is the first in a series as I'm excited to read more of her criminal outsmarting adventures.
 
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spinsterrevival | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 26, 2014 |

I shared a panel with Steve Rigolisi a couple of weeks ago, and was intrigued enough by his descriptions of his books that I decided I had to get hold of one. This is it.

The novel is #2 in his Tales from the Back Page sequence, whose conceit is that each story starts with a small ad in the back of The Clarion -- which is essentially Manhattan's famous Village Voice. In this case the ad reads:

REVENGE IS SWEET!
Every day we are brutalized by those who hurt us, take advantage of us, steal what is ours [. . .:] Enough is enough! It's time to turn the tables. Write to A care of Box 270. (For entertainment purposes only.)

What "A" is setting up is, if you like, an elaboration of the old Strangers in a Train plot: five people will each murder the foe of one of the others; because there's no logical connection between each of the five murderers and their victims, they'll surely all get off scot-free -- especially since the scheme that's being set up ensures that no one, not even "A", knows the true identity of anyone else.

Well, yes. An English prof wishes her supposedly sexist, misogynist head of department to go permanent bye-bye. A subliterate Italian youth can't bear the thought of his idolized sister marrying the guy she loves. The elderly resident of a shabby-genteel area would like to see the demise of the recently arrived drug dealer whose presence is threatening to turn it into a slum. A priest despises the sociopathic hypocrisy of a local cop. And "A" himself wants to see a murderous paedophile rubbed out.

For a while I wasn't sure I was going to get on with this book. Its first 50 pages or so forgo straightforward storytelling in favour of reproducing relevant documents; this can be an enthralling narrative technique, but I'm not sure Rigolisi quite pulls it off. Thereafter, though, I was completely engaged. This book isn't really a thriller -- more like a dark comedy of manners -- but it's as engrossing as one. I have to confess I quibble with the morality of Nick Lang -- the partner of the murdered cop, latterly trying to clear everything up in the wake of all the killings -- but that was an irritation I found I could live with.

I'll be keeping an eye open for more of Rigolisi's Tales from the Back Page.
 
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JohnGrant1 | 1 muu arvostelu | Aug 11, 2013 |