My Haunted Library

All things spooky. Your source for paranormal and supernatural book and movie reviews, strangeography, Halloween crafts and a little cozy fall baking.


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Review: Earthcore

Earthcore – Scott Sigler, 2017. 4/5

A bloodbath ensues when a mining company drilling in the remote Utah mountains unearths way more than it signed up for.

Connell Kirkland, once a nice guy, now a cutthroat asshole, assembles a high-tech team to bore a record three miles down and extract a mass of pure platinum. The haul will be worth a world-economy-changing amount of money.

But Connell has a lot of problems. He’s saddled with a puerile tech genius and his oversized ego. A psychopathic ex-NSA operative who lives for the wetwork. An aggressively unpleasant anthropologist. Oh, and folks who’ve gone into the mine have historically disappeared or been massacred. Then add in the fact that Connell and a handful of others get trapped at the bottom of that impossible shaft, and Connell’s literally in deep.

This is Sigler’s newly-expanded version of Earthcore. According to the author himself, it boasts 50% more words, more violence, and more character development than the first version, which was originally written in 2002, and first published in 2005.

There is an extensive build up before anyone even enters the mine, which is, frankly, frustrating, but Sigler keeps enough suspense going to hold your interest, and the delayed gratification is worth it. From there, the storyline races ahead with a few surprises along the way. My biggest beef is that there are not many likable or relatable characters, and most of the nice guys may as well be wearing red shirts. Kudos to Sigler for expanding those characters from the first version—and several do have personal epiphanies at the end—but, with a few exceptions, you don’t care much about them.

Sigler gleefully delivers plenty of “blood and nastiness,” and the…creatures…in the mine are creatively unique. But, maybe because I didn’t like the humans in the story that much, I ended up finding the monsters less terrifying, and even felt a little bad for them.

All that said, I flew through Earthcore and I’ll undoubtedly read the promised sequel. Sigler writes well, and this was a fun read. For some top notch sci-fi horror try Sigler’s Infected series.

rating system four crows


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Review: Deep Silence

Deep Silence—Jonathan Maberry, 2018. Rating: 4/5

Captain Joe Ledger and his team are back to save the world in what is possibly the series’ darkest installment yet.

A massive terrorist attack on Washington, DC, leaves hundreds dead. Ledger’s department, the clandestine DMS, suspects that a new baddie has refined an alien technology and is making a God machine: triggering earthquakes and causing madness, murder, and suicide in people exposed to its influence.

Even worse, the sitting U.S. president is an incompetent pawn for a far savvier foreign government. He disregards dire intelligence warnings, decides that his own DMS is a threat to his power, declares it unpatriotic, and vows to disband it. All this, despite the imminent destruction of his country.

Ledger fights the good fight for the freedoms of the average joe, battling ignorance at home and the sly and deadly machinations of a new Soviet Union. Ledger encounters everything from the evil legacies of former foes, to aliens and dark gods from a Lovecraftian universe.

I have been a rabid fan of Joe Ledger series for years, so I will warn you: Don’t pick this one up unless you’ve read the others. It won’t have the emotional impact, and you’ll be a little lost by references to past villains and their evil toys.

As always, Maberry delivers great battle action and intense fight scenes. Ledger’s military tech and weaponry put James Bond’s gadgets to shame. Rapidly changing points of view add to the tension and make you fly through the pages.

There is less character development in Deep Silence, which is mostly o.k., because by now we know these tough, true guys and gals. At the same time, I wished for a little more to soften things a bit, because this story is dark.

In Deep Silence, Maberry creates a unsettling political climate that is frighteningly, realistically close to that in America today. This realism somehow spills over onto the ideas of alien technology and Cthulhu-like monsters, making them disturbingly plausible. I very much enjoyed Deep Silence and it is a turning point in the series: but is isn’t my favorite. Maybe it is too uncomfortably close to reality. At the same time, it offers something I’m lacking a little bit these days: hope for the future.

rating system four crows


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Review: Viking Tomorrow

Viking Tomorrow – Jeremy Robinson & Kane Gilmour, 2017. Rating 4/5

In this violent post-apocalyptic world technology is dead, but Vikings are very much alive.

A few wise men with knowledge of the old ways, however, realize that their berserker future is doomed. Unless…

When Val, a brilliant young female fighter with a mysterious background, bests a mountainous challenger she becomes the leader of a fateful mission.

Her task? Travel across the wildly altered and dangerous European landscape to bring back vital genetic material. Val and her small but fierce team of warriors is the only hope for the future of the human race.

Along the way, the group battles everything from mutant horrors to twisted human gangs. Val not only faces threats to her leadership, but also recognizes that their nonstop violent encounters reveal a pattern of betrayal. Val must watch her back to ensure the mission succeeds.

Viking Tomorrow is good fun. It vaguely reminded me – in a good way – of the classic ‘79 film The Warriors – in which a NYC gang fights its way through series of hostile territories. Viking Tomorrow goes balls out (that’s a steam engine reference) from beginning to end.

Robinson and Gilmour offer us a fresh vision of a post-catastrophic future, with uniquely disturbing inhabitants.

There is lots of fighting. Lots. With big axes and flails and many other pointy weapons. Choreographed battles with all kinds of creatures. Humans. Sort-of humans. Monsters. Did I mention lots of fighting? Battles on ATVs. On motorcycles. On speedboats. (O.k., some technology survived.)

The narrative is definitely story-driven. While the authors do try for some character growth with occasional fleeting moments of gruff individual introspection, there’s just not a ton of time for development between all the extremely bloody battles. That’s alright. Viking Tomorrow is unabashedly full-blast action adventure. I’ll look forward to the second in the series.

rating system four crows