Anti-Social Register ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Anti-Social Register
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 168
Words: 64K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

Once again Alfred Hitchcock, not-so-secret agent of the underworld, has been discovered consorting with known madmen, murderers, ghouls and other unsavory characters. Posing under a cloak of respectability, Hitchcock is clearly seeking to torpedo the Good Life. Although Hitchcock will not admit this sinister charge, the evidence is stacked against him, as witness his: ANTI-SOCIAL REGISTER.

A new and diabolic masterpiece of propaganda from Hitchcock and a handpicked team of talented collaborators totally dedicated to the cause of terrifying the good, the kind, the innocent of the world.

Includes the following 14 stories:

INTRODUCTION—Alfred Hitchcock

TUNE ME IN—Fletcher Flora

A QUESTION OF ETHICS—James Holding

THE TRAP—Stanley Abbott

A HABIT FOR THE VOYAGE—Robert Edmond Alter

THE EMPTY ROOM—Donald Honig

I’LL GO WITH YOU—Hal Dresner

THE WATCHDOGS OF MOLICOTL—Richard Curtis

THE AFFAIR UPSTAIRS—Helen Nielsen

I’M BETTER THAN YOU—Henry Slesar

A SIMPLE UNCOMPLICATED MURDER—C. B. Gilford

DEAD DRUNK—Arthur Porges

THE LAST AUTOPSY—Bryce Walton

ONE MAN’S FAMILY—Richard Hardwick

YOU CAN TRUST ME—Jack Ritchie

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this, enough so that I bumped it up a whole star from the previous book. Part of it was that almost all the stories were about bad people doing bad things to other bad people or bad people getting rough justice, usually at the hands of other bad people (again).

In A Habit for the Voyage we follow an assassin who kills without conscience and has survived because he knows the habits of other assassins. Well, that doesn’t save him and at the end we realize the person who killed him was another assassin. It was just glorious to realize that fact.

However, the cream of the crop for me was You Can Trust Me. A tough guy is hired by a small town mobster to recover an employee who has been kidnapped. Turns out it was a ploy by the employee, his wife and someone else. The tough guy kills them all, takes the money and makes it look like they all turned on each other or that circumstances were different than they were. The story ends with him working for the mob boss and the boss states “I can trust you”. It was just deliciously ironic considering the tough guy had killed 3 or 4 of his men, stolen thousands of dollars and was eyeing his connections.

Something about these collections by Hitchcock really resonate with me. He has a real eye for collecting these stories and does an excellent job of making sure only the best get included. When I look forward to a book I know the author/editor is doing something right!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rolling Gravestones ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Rolling Gravestones
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 179
Words: 69K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

ALFIE DOES HIS THING

The only grass that Alfred Hitchcock gets high on is the kind that grows in the cemetery, and the only acid that blows his mind is the sort that can be thrown in someone’s face. Diabolical death is Alfie’s special kick, and he wants you to enjoy it, too. For that purpose, he’s harvested a brand new crop of terror tales, and served them up to you with grisly relish. Here is the master’s personal choice of fifteen spine-chilling spellbinders.

Introduction by Alfred Hitchcock

A PLACE TO VISIT

      Stephen Marlowe

CALL ME NICK

      Jonathan Craig

DEAD STOP ON THE ROAD SOUTH

      Robert Colby

RUSTY ROSE

      Edward Hoch

HENRY LOWDEN ALIAS HENRY TAYLOR

      Helen Nielsen

THE ENORMOUS $10

      Jack Ritchie

FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED

      Rog Phillips

THE EXPLOSIVES EXPERT

      John Lutz

I HATED THE HIRED MAN

      H. A. DeRosso

A SINGULAR QUARRY

      Ed Lacy

SLEEP IS FOR THE INNOCENT

      Henry Slesar

SORRY, RIGHT NUMBER

      Charles Einstein

FREE ADVICE, INC.

      Michael Brett

A SWEET YOUNG THING

      Mary Linn Roby

THE PRICE OF FAME

      Richard Deming

My Thoughts:

This was just a very weird read. Not in a Twilight Zone, throw you a curveball kind of weird, but a plain old fashioned weird that actually kind of creeped me out. Some stories DID have a twist but enough didn’t that it kept me on my toes. I must say that psychologically speaking, Alfie played me like a bassoon.

Two of these stories stood out to me above the rest.

The first, A Place to Visit, dealt with a Straight Arrow dying, going to hell and partying it up with naked chicks and having the time of his life. The devil tells him that unfortunately, Straight Arrow has been too good and so he’s going to be sent up to Heaven, with all the clouds and harps. It’s also where his wife is planning on going, so Straight Arrow will be with her. Oh the horror! BUT! The devil tells him that the devil can make a deal with him. The devil will revive Straight Arrow for five minutes and all he has to do is kill his wife, so she’ll go to heaven and Straight Arrow will go to hell and back to partying with naked supermodels. Straight Arrow takes the deal and the story ends with rather predictable results. I have to admit that I laughed my head off when Straight Arrow learns the truth and has the floor literally pulled out from under him, plunging him into the burning stygian pits of hell. Despite the rather “questionable” theology, it was a really good story. Now I’ve ruined it for everyone else but come on, who couldn’t see that ending? No deal with the devil ever turns out good.

The second, Sorry, Right Number fit my misanthropic self like a glove. It was about two couples, one older and one younger, that have to share a party line for their telephone. If you don’t know what a party line is, go google it. It will build character. Well, the old lady is always hollering at the younger couple whenever they try to use the phone to the point where they’ve learned to pick up the receiver without making any noise. The younger husband does this one day and over hears the older husband making plans to murder his wife because of reasons. The younger husband shares the info with his wife and they debate what they should do. The younger husband finally decides that they need to call the police. When he picks up the line the old wife is on the telephone and chews him out for “listening” to her conversation. So he hangs up and lets nature takes it course. How great is that?!?!?

While those two were the highlights, none of the others were duds. Alfie chose well with these set of stories and I enjoyed them. The main reason I gave this only 3 stars is that the book as a whole didn’t pop for me and I don’t ever plan on re-reading this. A great filler and something different, but not something grand or great.

On a side note (I was going to say tangential, but there’s nothing tangent about it), there’s a certain blogger who usually asks if that is him on the cover, or me, or some such thing. I’ve decided to take a pre-emptive approach this time. Dix, you are the gravestone and I am the motorcycle. Alfie is of course Alfie. With that out of the way, I can now cogitate the important things, like why Ken is always arraying himself against mortals like Sir Otsy. No fear of me ever running out of things to learn.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Death-Mate ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Death-Mate
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 161
Words: 63K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover:

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag AND BURY IT! Especially if your troubles consist of somebody you don’t particularly like. That’s the sort of advice that makes Alfred Hitchcock smile, smile, smile—and he’s horribly happy to survey the dreadfully delightful results. Currently Alfie is overjoyed to be able to report that every day in every way victims are dying better and better—and murder has never been more masterful, and fiendish fun more free-wheeling, than in this brand new collection of terror tales by fourteen of the most cheerfully chilling writers you would never want to meet in the dark.

A collection of short stories consisting of:

Introduction by Alfred Hitchcock

The Human Fly by Syd Hoff

Two Bits’ Worth of Luck by Fletcher Flora (A Novelette)

An Honest Man by Elijah Ellis

An interrogation by Talmage Powell

Choice of Weapon by C. B. Gilford

Mr. D. and Death by Henry Slesar

Others Deal in Death by August Derleth

A Steal at the Price by James Holding

The Waiting Room by Charles W. Runyon

Everybody Should Have a Hobby by Theodore Mathieson

Beiner and Wife by Michael Brett

Select Bait by Richard O. Lewis

Punch Any Number by Jack Ritchie (A Novelette)

White Lie, or Black? by Hal Ellson

My Thoughts:

With this many stories, the variety was wide, and that was a good thing. Being crime fiction, it ran from good guys getting the badguys, to badguys getting away, to badguys killing goodguys to badguys killing other badguys to badguys just being badguys. It was quite the potluck of stories with something for everyone, most likely.

With this being an Alfred Hitchcock collection (he was a big editor back in the day and put his name on a LOT of books) things aren’t just normal twisted. Some of these are just downright creepy and twisted.

I think the best example of that was the story Everybody Should Have a Hobby. A retired man works with juvenile delinquents to help get them back into society. One boy is a real hardcase with arson under his belt but the man gets him interested in cooking. The story ends with the boy destroying the man’s kitchen, killing the man and realizing that his “new” hobby is to become a serial killer. Yeah, down right twisted.

I’ve currently got 10 of these collections from the 50’s to the 70’s and I am hoping that a collection of short stories will keep things fresh for each book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful ★★★☆½

hauntedhouseful (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 262
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories that purport to deal with haunted houses, things that go bump in the night and other such supernatural goings ons.

My Thoughts:

This was part of a “Young Readers” series put out with Hitchcock’s name on it. He wrote an introduction to each book but each consisted of short stories by other authors. I think I was introduced to these when I was 10 or 11 and I loved them. This particular one I re-read because I own it and needed a paper book to read while on lunch breaks. Kindles don’t deal well with sitting in a bookbag in sub-freezing weather for 8’ish hours.

Honestly, besides one story with a ghost and one story that involves a supposed haunted house, this book was more a collection of “boys adventure” stories than anything. Also, several of the stories are from other collections or novels. For example, one of the stories was the Sherlock Holmes “Mystery of the Red Headed League” and a long excerpt from “Tom Sawyer” that involved the story with Tom getting lost in the caves and finding treasure. Several of the other stories I am guessing were also parts of series that I simply wasn’t aware of.

That doesn’t mean they were bad stories, it’s just that the cover is extremely mis-leading. I did find the Sherlock Holmes story too long and the same for the Tom Sawyer excerpt. They weren’t nearly as short as the other short stories. I can easily see a 10 year old getting bored by them and putting the book down.

It helped lunch time pass tolerably well for a week or so, so I consider it to have succeeded at what I wanted it to do. I don’t have any desire to go search out any of the other “Alfred Hitchcock’s….” anthologies however.

★★★☆½

bookstooge (Custom)