Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Book Review: Horowitz Horror by Anthony Horowitz

So we meet again Horowitz Horror, you'll find that I'm even more horrifying now.

Welcome to a strange and twisted world where the spooky, the shocking, and the positively petrifying are lurking just out of sight.

A bus ride home ... turns into your worst nightmare.
A quaint country cottage ... has a grisly secret.
A man returns from holiday ... with bubbling skin and bloodshot eyes.

Horowitz Horror. It's all around you. Alive. Waiting.

Enter if you dare.

Horowitz Horror is collection of short stories, that I think was originally released as 3 stories per book but I originally read these stories as Horowitz Horror and More Horowitz Horror.  They have recently been released as just one book under Horowitz Horror (and now I have to make the hard decision over whether I will eventually ended up with double of the first stories). Seeing all the stories in the library (leaving my own copy of first part of the stories on the shelve at home), I thought I would give a reread and see how compares now that I'm no longer fourteen. I remembered like half of them properly.

I'm just going to go through each story:
  1. Bath Night: It is a story of a haunted bath which is a bit genius. The whole vulnerable aspect of bathing and being naked. This is one of my favourite story first time I read it, it still good but it doesn't really touch me that much anymore. Isabel parents buy a bath that she just doesn't like and blood appears in the water but her parents don't see it. I think Isabell might have something wrong with her as apparently after three days without having a proper bath (while still washing), she notablely smells. I'm actually glad I re-read this as I missed the big twist the first time I read it. 3/5 stars as it just not as good as I remembered,
  2. Killer Camera: The whole magic evil camera is a bit of cliché in the horror world as its been around since camera were invented. Everyone done it in some way. This one is slightly different as we get the background as to how the camera got that way. 4/5 stars.
  3. Light Moves: Staying in the world of haunted technologies. This story features a computer haunted by the ghost of a sport journalist. Lets just say this computer gives the best horse racing tips this side of the afterlife, which cause the main character, Henry to do some underaged betting and get himself in trouble. 5/5 stars as it actually has good twist.
  4. The Night Bus: Okay, here's a favourite featuring a tour of  Graveyards. It basically a twist on the ghost train idea, I think. Nick and his brother Jeremy find themselves stuck in the middle of London on Halloween (most of the story actually takes place after midnight). I just love this story. I gave this 5/5 stars because it awesome.
  5. Harriet's Horrible Dream: This is the first story of terrible person/child getting what they deserved. Basically, Harriet is spoiled little brat, has a dream that her father goes bankrupt and since they have no room for her, he sends her away a van to restaurant called Sweeney Been. I never really liked this story, nor do I understand why use kids who ain't fully grown. Less meat. I grave it 2/5 stars as I just don't care for it.
  6. Scared: Scared is surprisingly not that scary.  Its kinda like a Twilight Zone ep. The main character gets lost in the country, he's a dick and likes causing fear in his peers. It all ends happily for his mum. 3/5 stars because cause getting lost in a field means little to someone always lived surrounded by green background. Though, its get a whole star for good use of irony.
  7. A Career in Computer Games: This is not the best story involving computer games, no that title goes to a  Midnight Library story. It aright, it another bad kid getting their comeuppance and teaches the lesson of not signing legal things without reading it first. It also the only story involving aliens, possibly. I gave it 3/5 stars for cone men on motorbikes.
  8. The Man with the Yellow Face: A sexy young lad (this was originally written in 1999 btw) takes a photos of himself in mysterious photo booth in a train station. This is written first-person as reflection. With this reflectiveness you can feel what coming but its too much of a spoiler even to hint or joke about what happens. I gave 5/5 for a sexy train.
  9. The Monkey's Ear: This is amusing twist on the monkey fist story. You got dislikeable parents with their son Bart (not confuse with the one from Springfield) in a foreign market. Bart demands that his parents buy him a Monkey Ear which grants 4 wishes. As always these wishes goes astray and disaster is ensured. 5/5 stars for terrible parenting. This was where the first book ended and it was actually quite a strong ending, so good Editor choice there I guess.
  10. The Hitchhiker: Okay, so now we're on to More Horror. I just want to say that I always thought the stories in More Horror were better. The Hitchhiker is clearly inspired by known stories but is meant to be a twist on them. Not sure how really talk about this without spoilering this story as it actually petty simple plot.  4/5 stars for creative death method.
  11. The Sound of Murder: This was my favourite story in More Horror. It actually petty scary (in comparison) and comes in sort of chapters. I actually remember going to read it in Horowitz Horror (which I own) and realising that in it was in the other one (which I read from the school library). The main character Kate has been mostly deaf since birth and wears a hearing ad. Her hearing ad begins to play on up on the first day of term around her new teacher. She soon realises she can hear his thoughts. Kate only solution is to prove what he's thinking. I loved this story the first time and I still do. I gave it 5/5 stars for the Deaf hearing what others can't.
  12.  Burnt: This is probably the most horror-frying (puns are so fun) of the stories. It involves no supernatural stuff and the main character is really just a witness to the horror. Its also in diary format and features Anthony Horrowitz's sons (seriously, I went WTF and checked). It another thing I miss when I read it the first time, its not totally obvious, it just I happen to know something about Anthony Horowitz when these two kids said what their parents did, I went wait a second and confirmed my suspicion. Got to love me, solely on the fact I spent so much time on a single piece of Trivia. Tim has been sent on holiday with his Aunt Sara (blood relation) and Uncle Nigel. Uncle Nigel is piece of work and obsessed with gaining a tan. Yes, the horror-frying thing happens to him with irony ensured. 5/5 stars for descriptive skin rebelling.
  13.  Flight 715: If you've ever seen Final Destination, its that if death doesn't show up for revenge but not. Judith has a nightmare about her impending flight home and has to decide what to do about it.  Quite good. 5/5 stars for ending being twisty. Okay, its actually just because its set in Canada.
  14. Howard's End: This is awesome, because it kinda plays on what hell actually means and what it would be like. I won't say more. 5/5 stars for fluffy clouds.
  15. The lift: This is quite a weird one, meaning that written from the sort of point of view of a retiring detective investigating his last case (You just couldn't stay away, could ya Horowitz?). I never brought into this story, just seems too unrealistic and it another one where the bad boy gets what he deserves for being an arse but with cannibals this time. Wait, we've had a bad kid and cannibals before. 3/5 stars for middle age men.
  16. The Phone Goes Dead: David's dad buys him a used mobile phone where the past owner died holding it causing some ghostly callers. Not much else to say, the ending does leave you thinking. I give it 4/5 for island streets.
  17. Twist Cottage: Our last "Horowitz" story. This story involves a haunted cottage, sadly there wasn't really a twist to this story. What a waste of a title? Its also evil(ish) stepmother, sad father and unrealistic relationship. I never really understood why he married her or why she married him. Basically, its hinted that she only went to uni, doing a course for a subject she didn't like to marry a professor. Most professors don't make that much money, I mean if I was gonna go digging, I wouldn't go there. I gave it 4/5 stars as it actually quite good.
  18. The Shortest Horror Story Ever Written: I'm not going to rate this as it not much of a story. I've just got to say, its either taking a while to get to me or they don't count library books as I've only ever read this story in lib books.
Overall, my only problem with this is that its a bit too middle class. Like it seems that the only non-middle class kids in this, are bad, which of course is sending a bad message. Though, if you've ever heard Anthony Horowitz talk, it petty obvious which class he is in so it probably just writing what he knows. I give this 5/5 stars for being as non-scary as I remember.

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