Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gillian's Marsh by Michael Faun

(eBook/print; 2015, 2017: novella)

From the back cover

"Gillian's Marsh 1866

"The treacherous wetlands where a young woman, Louella Lee, ends up after escaping the horrors of her puritanical home in the town of Gillianswick.

"Collapsing in the black woods near the marsh, she is found by Red, a loner woodsman, and their rendezvous sets a nightmarish wheel into motion.

"Whilst their unorthodox relationship blossoms, stakes are burning in Gillianswick after a series of strange disappearances.

"Convinced that the town is in the grip of black magic and deviltry, overzealous Cyrus Reiterman initiates a merciless witch-hunt that eventually draws him to the betraying bog, where baleful forces await."



Review

This tale of witchcraft, lust, familial betrayal and violence, a malevolent tree and other horrors is a burn-through  and superb read, one that is worth owning if you are not squeamish and like your gory thrills raw with a nasty attitude.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

In Matto's Realm by Friedrich Glauser

(pb; 1936, 2005. Second novel in the Sergeant Studer series. Translated from the German by Mike Mitchell.)

From the back cover:

"A child-murderer escapes from a Swiss insane asylum. The stakes get higher when Detective Sergeant Studer discovers the director’s body, neck broken, in the boiler room of the madhouse. The intuitive Studer is drawn into the workings of an institution that darkly mirrors the world outside. Even he cannot escape the pull of the no man’s land between reason and madness where Matto, the spirit of insanity, reigns."

Review:



The second Sergeant Studer book is a decent, if overlong read. While Glauser's writing conveys well the sense of insanity in both the world and the institution, he lets a few of his characters ramble on too long about what often amounts to nothing. I understand that he is trying to create an atmosphere where one cannot trust his (or her) senses and that people dance around the veracity of their motives, but when your characters' villainy or better humanity are already somewhat transparent, psychobabble and other unnecessary obfuscations dilute the potential excellence of the story.



Matto's is a worthwhile book for its multilayered themes, mood and characters, just do not expect greatness -- rather, expect a sometimes interesting, flawed work from a fascinating writer.



Followed by Fever.

#

Two films resulted from this novel.

Matto regiert (English translation: Madness Rules) was released in Germany in 1947. Leopold Lindtberg directed and co-scripted the film. Alfred Neumann co-authored its screenplay.

Heinrich Gretler reprised his role as Wachtmeister Studer/Constable Studer (Gretler also played Studer in the 1939 film Wachtmeister Studer, also directed by Leopold Lindtberg).

Heinz Woester played Dir med Ernst Laduner. Irene Naef played Margrit Laduner.

Hans Gaugler played Leibundgut. Emil Gerber played Pfleger Jutzeler. Max Haufler played Pfleger Weyrauch. Emil Hegetschweiler played Pfleger Gilgen. Hans Kaes played Portier Dreyer.

Olaf Kubler played Herbert Kaplaun. Adolf Manz played Georg Caplaun.Walter Morath played Dr. med Neuveville. Elizabeth Muller played Schwester Irma Wasem.



#

Matto regiert aired on German television on September 14, 1980. Wolfgang Panzer directed the film, from Helmut Pigge's teleplay.

Hans Heinz Moser played Wachtmeister Studer. Walo Luond played Oberst Caplaun. Peter Leu played Herbert Caplaun.

Sybil Buri played Irma Wasem. Kurt Bigger played Dr. Blumenstein. Franz Lichtenhahn played Dr. Laduner. Carmen Klug played Frau Laduner.

Hans-Joachim Frick played Dreyer. Paul Buhlman played Gilgen. Fritz Nydegger played Schmocker. Franz Matter played Jutzeler.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Redemption by John Everson

(pb; 2017: third book in The Curburides Chronicles)

From the back cover

"What if you woke up in hell?

Alex hadn't really thought of what would happen after she dragged Ariana through the portal to close the gate between worlds. She hadn't given sacrificing herself a thought, she'd just wanted to end the demonic summoning before it was too late.But when Alex wakes up on the other side, in the world of the Curburide, she has to think fast if she ever wants to see Joe Kieran, or Earth, again. Her only ally is an occult serial killer. Demons are searching for both of them, and there's nothing demons love more than human fear and pain. They feed on it. In the world of the Curburide, demons are everywhere.

And they're
hungry..."



Review


Redemption is an excellent, fun, b-movie of a horror novel, with well-written characters, explicit and hellacious sex, gore and reader-hooking (and fast-moving) storytelling. Like its prequels, Covenant and Sacrifice, it is worth owning, with a finish that leaves this not-for-the-squeamish series open to continuation while successfully closing its immediate tale.