Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shiver me timbers...

For those of you who enjoy a little tingle of fear, let me present Charles Gramlich's "Chimes".

For those of you who may not be familiar with Charles, he's a psychology professor and writer who lives in Louisiana with his equally talented wife--photographer and artist Lana Gramlich. Both of their blogs are worth following. Charles posts thought provoking blogs about writing and has quite a following; Lana's photographs are incredibly beautiful. Apart from that, they're just so darn cute. ;) (And now probably hate me, lol) But seriously, they're so supportive of one another that it always makes me smile to read their comments.

However, this post is about Charles's short thriller, Chimes. I thought this was going to be a horror story, and it was - but more in a Hitchcock horror kind of way. That is, more buildup of mental and emotional tension rather than a string of gory monster scenes.

I've read Charles's work before and one thing that I always take away from them is how deftly he creates a mood using scenery, sounds, and "average Joe" characters to build tension.

In Chimes, the protagonist, a woman, is alone in the house except for her sleeping baby, when she realizes there's an intruder. In one scene, she has to search for a flashlight in the dark and must reach into a closet, not really knowing where the intruder might be hiding.

"She wanted to run. Instead, she forced herself to open the closet and reach in for the Maglite, her skin crawling as the sleeves of raincoats and old sweaters brushed against her hands like the shed husks of monstrous insects."

That made MY skin crawl. And every time I thought I had this all figured out, he'd surprise me with a new twist. All in all, very creepy and enjoyable.

Charles has also written a number of other horror and fantasy fiction novels and short stories, as well as non-fiction work on writing. You can also listen to one of his short horror works, Thief of Eyes, in Sidney Williams podcasts, Fear on Demand. The line from that which hooked me was right from the start:

"She had lips that Satan dreamed of in his long fall to hell."

Loved that. :)

So, have you read anything lately, other than the daily news, which made your skin crawl?


  1. Kate, thank you so much for the great review! I really appreciate it. So glad you liked the story. As for Thief of Eyes, I'm actually rather proud of "the lips that Satan dreamed of.." lol.

  2. I love that line! I'll check out their blogs.

  3. I feel like such a wimp that I haven't read the story yet. I don't really like scary stories, but Charles is such a great writer that I'm psyching myself up to give Chimes a try.

    As to something that is making my skin crawl, I'm working my way through With the Old Breed, by WWII Marine E.B. Sledge. I say working my way through it because it is a disturbingly well written account of Mr Sledge's experience as a front line grunt on Pelileu and Okinawa. It's tough to read.

  4. Like you, I read "Chimes" and loved it as a edge of the seat thriller. Nice piece of work, wasn't it?

  5. CHARLES: You are most welcome. It was my pleasure. :) And you should be proud of that line. :)

    EDIE: They're really great. I think you'll like them. I would recommend even going back and reading the older posts as well, just to get caught up. :)

    TRAVIS: I know what you mean. I got the book a few weeks ago, but waited until I had a chance to read it in the daylight, lol. I'm a big baby when it comes to horror, but I think I'd classify this one as more of a thriller than straight horror. Although, if you're ever in the mood for something that will keep you up at night, listen to his podcast. Seriously creepy. :) There were scenes from that which still haunt me.

    RICK: It was, wasn't it? :) Good to see you over here. :)

  6. Thanks for the kind words on both of us, hon. As for things that make my skin crawl, I don't allow them in my life. Except for some of Charles' writings, that is!

  7. You're very welcome, Lana. :)

    Good policy re: the creepy crawlies.


Say what you will...