BOOK REVIEW: Two Tales of Terror


Stone Hill: Shadows Rising by Dean Rasmussen was a fun read. At the beginning, the main character, Michael, is weighed down by guilt over his father’s death. As a result, he’s acting out – hanging around with a bunch of losers, shoplifting, drinking, and getting high. His mother has had enough and ships him off to Stone Hill to visit his grandparents for the summer.

But Stone Hill is not as he remembered it. No, the town is now under the control of a religious cult led by a supposed messiah, Pastor John. No one is allowed to leave and cell phones are taboo. In addition, Michael is warned not to go out at night – there are demons in the woods.

The novel is fast-paced with some very imaginative monsters, both human and inhuman, lurking around every corner. It’s the first in a series, so don’t expect all the threads to be tied up neatly at the end. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that some of the scenes in the tunnels were too drawn out and, for me, became tedious. But, overall, it’s a good horror tale and worth reading.

As a member of the Horror Writers Association, I received a free copy of this book in consideration for a Bram Stoker Award.

The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish is set in modern times in Edinburgh, takes the reader into Henderson Close, which lies beneath the city and has been opened up as a tourist attraction. Tour guides dress and act like people who actually lived in the Close in the 1800s. Hannah, the main character, is recently divorced and has secured a position as one of these guides. Other characters that play a strong role in this work are Aisla (the manager of the attraction), and fellow guides, George and Mairead. 

This is a ghost story and the ghostly main character, Miss Carmichael (a do-gooder), was murdered by ruffians while visiting the Close. However, her spirit is uneasy as not all of her assassins were punished.

This was an interesting and eerie read. It is very well-written and transports the reader into a strange and frightening world underground. I enjoyed it thoroughly until, unfortunately, the end. The author failed to tie up all the threads, leaving me, the reader, feeling very unsatisfied. What was with Mairead’s memory loss? And, what was that scene with her in the hospital all about? These and other threads were left untied. If this were a series, I would expect this; however, there is no indication that I can see that this is other than a stand-alone novel. However, if  you like ghost stories and tales that jump back and forth in time, you will enjoy this novel.

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