Wednesday, October 28, 2020

ROCCO's Top Ten Halloween Movies


As a member of the black cat family, it naturally figures my favorite holiday is Halloween! Both the human and I love scary movies!!!!!!!!  And October is the best time to watch them, Meow!!!!!!

Here are my ten favorite scary movies:

#10:  A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET:   The first time I saw Freddy Krueger he scared the fur off of me, meow!  Also I had kittymares for a week.  The plot concerns four teenagers living on one street in the fictitious town of Springwood, Ohio, who are invaded and killed in their dreams, and thus killed in reality, by a burnt killer with a bladed leather glove.   Notable fact:  Johnny Depp's screen debut.

#9:  ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968):  A huge fan of the book by Ira Levin, and the movie definitely delivered.  Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move to a New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and odd neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet (Sidney Blackmer, Ruth Gordon). When Rosemary becomes pregnant she becomes increasingly isolated, and the diabolical truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth. 

#8:  THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975):  Once again, loved the book by Ira Levin and the original movie, starring Katharine Ross, gave me the chills.  Joanna Eberhardt relocates with her husband and children from New York City to the Connecticut community of Stepford, where she comes to find the women live unwaveringly subservient lives to their husbands.  The ending still gives me the willies whenever I watch it!!!!!!!  (all those crinoline skirts and picture hats!!!!!)

#7:  Psycho (1960)  Who hasn’t been scared to death by this movie? Anthony Perkins delivers a truly horrifying performance as Norman Bates, mother-lover supreme.  Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm. Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the ramshackle Bates Motel and meets the polite but highly strung proprietor Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother.  Interesting fact:  Janet Leigh remarked that after filming this movie, she swore off showers and only took baths.

#6:  SCREAM (1996):  Some debate on whether this is more of a comedy than a horror film, but Wes Craven’s send-up of slasher flicks had me quivering, especially after what happened to poor Drew Barrymore!!!!!  It follows the character of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume known as Ghostface. The film combines black comedy and "whodunit" mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the clichés of the horror movie genre. Interesting fact:  Courtney Cox and her husband, David Arquette, were both in this film.

#5:  SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991):  Who wants Chianti and fava beans after seeing this movie????   Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee who is pulled out from her training to apprehend a serial killer, known only as "Buffalo Bill", who skins his female victims' corpses. For this she has to create a psychological profile and seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer played to perfection by Anthony Hopkins. 

#4: MAGIC (1978):  A little known but very terrifying film starring Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margaret.  Did Anthony know Hannibal Lechter was in his future?  Ventriloquist Corky Withers develops an unnatural attachment to his dummy, “Fats” and goes to the Catskills where he reconnects with old girlfriend Peggy (Ann-Margaret).Unfortunately, Corky has also turned into a serial killer at the behest of Fats.  A real chiller. Don’t watch alone.

#3:  HORROR HOTEL (1960): Also known as City of the Dead, this film stars Christopher Lee (who went on to fame in many Dracula movies) as a professor with an odd  hobby.  History student Nan Barlow visits a town where a witch was burned at the stake years ago on Candlemas Eve and ends up becoming a sacrifice.  Her boyfriend attempts to try and find out what happened to her at the peril of losing his own life.  One of the great early Hammer horror flicks of the 60’s.  Very scary in black and white.

#2:  BLACK SUNDAY (1960): One of the great horror flicks by Mario Bava, this tells the story of a witch put to death 200 years ago by her brother, only to return to seek her revenge.  Okay, it’s an Italian film dubbed in English, but it’s so scary you can overlook that.  Interesting fact:  this film launched the career of actress Barbara Steele, who does double duty as the witch and her look alike descendant. Also filmed in black and white, which I thinks adds to the errieness.




HALLOWEEN (1978)  Of course it has to be the original.  The music alone sends chills down my spine.  It had me jumping at every turn!  Michael Myers is committed to a sanitarium for murdering his teenage sister on Halloween night when he was six years old. Fifteen years later, he escapes and returns to his hometown, where he stalks a female babysitter and her friends, while under pursuit by his psychiatrist.  Interesting fact:  Jaime Lee Curtis’ screen debut!


There you have it!  My top ten horror flicks! What are some of yours???????



Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Today I'm spotlighting THE SUN DOWN MOTEL on the blog!

Welcome to Fell, NY. It’s no usual place.

TheSunDownMotel_UPDATEDFor decades, the small town of Fell has been a place where girls grow up being warned by their mothers to be careful or they’ll end up like Cathy Caldwell, the girl who was murdered and found under an overpass, or Victoria Lee who was killed and dumped on a jogging trail on the edge of town. There are a lot of dead girls in Fell.

One particular unsolved missing persons case is the reason behind Carly Kirk’s visit to town. Carly has always been fascinated by her aunt Viv, who disappeared in the 80’s while working at the Sun Down Motel before Carly was born. Using a small inheritance from her deceased mother, Carly leaves college to go to Fell and figure out what happened to her aunt thirty-five years ago. 

Soon Carly is mirroring her aunt’s life, working the same night shift at the motel, which hasn't changed since 1982. The guest book is still handwritten, the rooms still have actual keys, and the Wifi is spotty at best. But that’s not the only unsettling thing about the Sun Down Motel. Doors are opening themselves. Someone prank calls the front desk every night with only static on the other end of the line. Lights go out. And then there’s the mysterious smell of cigarette smoke with no smokers in sight.

As Carly uncovers more about the mysterious happenings at the motel and Fell’s secrets, she discovers that Viv had been trying to unravel mysteries of her own—including a possible serial killer working in Fell targeting women. If Carly can find the answers Viv was searching for, she might be able to solve the mystery that has haunted her family for years. But as Carly digs deeper, she puts herself in front of the same dangers that faced her aunt all those years ago.

The story moves between Carly Kirk in 2017 and her aunt Viv Delaney in 1982—two equally fearless women determined to uncover the truth.  James seamlessly weaves together both time periods and crafts a novel so scary and propulsive that readers will find themselves at the edge of their seats, ripping through the pages to connect the dots while simultaneously never wanting the ride to end.

About the Author
Simone St. James is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken GirlsLost Among the Living, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time.

Grab your copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Book debuts today, October 20.  Trade paperback from Berkley.

Friday, October 9, 2020

ROCCO's October Cozy Reviews

Meow!  It's time for our October cozies!!!!

first up:
Year Round Christmas Mystery
Vicki Delany
five stars

n the town of Rudolph, New York, the Christmas season should make spirits bright, but as the year comes to an end, so does a life, in the fifth installment of this charming cozy mystery series.

Christmas has arrived in Rudolph, New York, and Merry Wilkinson is looking forward to a much needed rest. But before that can happen, Luanne Ireland walks through her door. Luanne had asked Merry to help make decorations for her wedding, but has suddenly moved the wedding months earlier and is now demanding that everyone follow her lead, regardless of the cost.

But that cost is much higher than anyone anticipated. When Luanne's fiancé is found murdered at their proposed wedding venue, Merry resolves to restore peace and calm to the community of Rudolph. But the closer she gets to the killer, the more personal the case becomes, and Merry begins to worry that a death knell could ring in the New Year.

This is one of my favorite series as I love Christmas! that and Halloween are my two favorite holidays.  Vicki Delany is a talented author and every one of her series is enjoyable, this is no exception. Five Paws.

Haunted Homicide
A Haunted Mansion Mystery
Lucy Ness
September 29, 2020
Berkley Mass Market
Four stars

Avery Morgan has been hired to breathe new life into the Portage Path Women's Club, but first she'll have to deal with a dead body and a meddling ghost.

Avery Morgan has had a harrowing first week on the job as manager of the Portage Path Woman's Club. Not only is she in charge of a grand old home with a mountain of maintenance problems and scheduling nightmares--thanks to a recent fire in the Marigold meeting room--but she's also got Muriel Sadler to deal with. Muriel is the current president of the club, the one "nay" vote when the rest of the board voted "aye" to hiring Avery.

After a morning of dealing with another one of Muriel's snits and a meeting with the delicious and delightfully unsettling Ben Harkness, who will be handling renovations in the fire-damaged portions of the house, the last thing Avery needs is for one of the fuses to blow. Again.

She grabs her handy flashlight and heads into the basement, where she stumbles across Muriel's body. She also stumbles across an unexpected helper, Clemmie Bow, the ghost of a young woman who was accidentally killed in the building almost a hundred years ago.

Together Clemmie and Avery are determined to solve Muriel's murder before the killer sends Avery to join Clemmie on the other side.

A good start to what looks to be an interesting new series.  If you like mysteries with a touch of the supernatural, this might be for you!!!!!  Four paws.

A Lighthouse Mystery
Eva Gates (aka Vicki Delany)
Crooked Lane
October 10, 2020
Four Paws

When her former director is found dead in the water, librarian Lucy Richardson will have to get to the bottom of the mystery before the killer ends her tale.

It's summertime in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Bertie James's college class is having their 40th anniversary reunion. The opening night reception is held at the Lighthouse Library and Lucy and her colleagues have assembled an exhibit of library artifacts showing how libraries have changed over the years. After the reception, some of the women take a walk down the boardwalk to the pier, using flashlights to illuminate the dark path, but what's scarier than the dark is finding the former director of the Lighthouse Library floating lifeless in the water.

Helena Sanchez, the former director, wasn't much loved and spent the party being rude to almost everyone there. As a result, Lucy finds herself in deep water as she rocks the boat, questioning several suspects. But she'll have to batten down the hatches and fast before she's left high and dry...and right in the killer's crosshairs.

Crooked Lane picked up this popular series from Berkley and we are glad they did!  Four paws!!!!

A Crime of a Different Stripe
Sally Goldenbaum
Seaside Knitters Mystery
October 27,2020
Four paws

As sleepy Sea Harbor, Massachusetts settles into the glow of autumn, a baby-on-the-way has the Seaside Knitters feeling warm and fuzzy. Only, these crafty ladies can’t get too cozy when sweater weather delivers an unexpected arrival—murder!

While no-nonsense mother-to-be Cass Halloran tries downplaying her pregnancy and her frequent doctor’s visits as an “older” mother-to-be, a softer side of the lobsterwoman emerges as she joins the Seaside Knitters in knitting an abundance of delicate hats and booties. But in contrast to the happy news, terrifying events unfold at the town’s art series that puts a real chill in their New England fall . . .

Izzy Perry’s husband Sam had reservations about inviting his one-time mentor Harrison Grant to speak at the opening reception, although he never imagined the famed and charismatic photographer would rudely embarrass his hosts that evening. But when a dead body turns up along the wooded shoreline the next day, startling secrets come into focus that could undo the tight-knit community of local artists . . .

With a mysterious murder pitting neighbors against each other, Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and a vulnerable Cass find themselves entangled in a dangerous hunt for answers. Can four best friends somehow tie together scattered clues and pacify a list of potential culprits before a cascade of fallen foliage buries the pièce de résistance of a ruthless killer?

Who wouldn't want to read this with that gorgeous cat on the cover?  and the story isn't bad either LOL.  Avid knitters will enjoy the many referneces.  
Four paws.

OCTOBER 27, 2020

Make way for the long paw of the law as police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit investigate a baffling new mystery in Bending the Paw, by Diane Kelly.

A bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?

Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…

For a mystery starring a dog, it's pretty good. Top notch, actually. This series always delivers!  Four and a half paws.

A July release that we forgot to include!


Murder isn’t always crystal-clear . . . especially when the prime suspect discovers she’s a witch.
Violet Mooney owns The Full Moon crystal shop in quaint North Harbor, Connecticut. Still grieving her beloved grandmother’s recent unexpected death, she takes comfort in her fat orange cat Monty and her work. Not everyone in town is thrilled with her business, however. When disagreeable town councilwoman Carla Fernandez picks a fight over Violet’s "voodoo shop," the two have a very public confrontation. Of course, when Carla turns up dead, Violet gets little sympathy from the police as suspect #1.
But the shock of two policemen showing up at her door pales in comparison to the sudden appearance of her estranged mother Fiona and a surprise sister, Zoe. What Fiona reveals will rock her world and her sense of self—and reawaken her long-dormant mysterious power. Good thing. She’s gonna need it . . .
new mystery series by the writer also known as Liz Mugavero!  I enjoyed Liz's other series and since I am also a fan of the supernatural, liked this one as well!

Win one of ROCCO's review copies!
To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section. winner will be chosen at random.  US entries only, please.  Contest ends midnight, October 23.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020



Calling your attention to Book Number Five in the Lady Sherlock Series.

Sherry Thomas


Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, investigates a puzzling new murder case that implicates Scotland Yard inspector Robert Treadles in the USA Today bestselling series set in Victorian England. 
Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited. 
Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.
Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?


“With an increasingly beloved detective crew, this Victorian mystery offers thrills and sharp insights into human behavior.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Murder on Cold Street

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date:  October 6, 2020