“Horns” By Joe Hill

horns

Pages: 397           Publish Date: February 16, 2010

After reading the synopsis I knew this was a novel I had to decipher, but wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never read anything by this author before. This novel is written by Stephen King’s son Joe Hill (Joe Hillstrom King). I can tell you that he is not as good as his father, but I believe in time he could accomplish the suspense and horror his father contributes to literature. That being said, I am only giving this opinion based on this novel, not of his other two. Joe has two other novels I have not read but will, eventually.

This is a narrative of Ig (our protagonist), his love & loss of a girl, and his spiral into madness. After an immense tragedy, a community is torn & therefore looking for a scapegoat. Throughout the novel Ig is said scapegoat. There are many characters involved that are complex, but none so complex that it takes away from the story. One of my favorite characters is Lee Tourneau. He is everything you hate, but a character developed so perfectly you kind of admire him.

I will never look at a shopping cart the same.

My admiration of Joe Hill is at a 3 ★ (out of 5), but as I said before, he could be the next great suspense / thriller writer of our time. Actually I’m going to add a 4th ★ due to the fact that his movie adaptation was better than any of his father’s.

Ending (yes most important) was somewhat hard to read. I think it is one  that is not absolute. Everyone can philosophize on what it means. So, my dear friends, I will let you draw your own conclusions & leave my hypothesis out of this one.

Au revoir.

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn

Pages: 252         Publish Date: September 26, 2006

I know my last review of a Gillian Flynn novel (“Gone Girl”) wasn’t the greatest, but I decided to give the author another chance. The reasons being I felt she had potential and the areas where her stories are set I am familiar with. Previously I did not speak highly of her as a writer. This novel has been a total redemption of her writing ability, which is striking because this was her debut novel. I now hold Gillian Flynn in a higher esteem than I would most modern-day novelists.

 

“Sharp Objects” is a story about a woman named Camille, who is a reporter for a newspaper in Chicago. She gets an assignment about a series of murders of young girls due to the fact that they occurred in her hometown. Camille has a history of being a cutter (of a unique variety) and very much dreads the return to see her family, with very good cause. The cast of characters are all believable and relatable, albeit crazy in their respective ways. The emotions and relationships conveyed in this novel are very engaging as well. They seem to be so real in fact, that I wonder how many of the characters are based on actual relationships. She also touches on Munchausen by proxy, which was a nice and rare twist.

 

I do not wish to divulge any spoilers, so I will leave you with my thoughts on the ending (as usual). There are so many persons of interest that I had trouble deciding who I thought the killer was, but the ending was refreshing and did not embitter me in the least!

 

“Inferno” by Dan Brown

Pages: 480            Publish Date: May 14, 2013

This is one of the few novels I anticipated so much that I pre-ordered it. I think Dan Brown has considerable talent & I always look forward to his next project.  I will admit I got myself very worked up counting down the days until I could tear into it.

Now to the ugly truth. I was less than impressed with Dan Brown’s writing in this, his fourth novel in the Robert Langdon series. He usually mixes the perfect concoction of history, drama, suspense, & visuals. The major problem I had with this novel was his formula was asymmetrical. He focused too much on giving the reader visuals, so much so that at points I was bored & wanted to skip pages. At times it actually almost felt like a guidebook rather than historical fiction. I know he travels a lot for his research & this undeniably had a Frommer’s feel to it. The story in it’s base form was highly entertaining, although the symbology & hunt for said symbols was not as good as in “The DaVinci Code”. High points? It did have a skillful & flawless ending. Dan Brown also managed to provoke thinking on the ever present issue of overpopulation.

It was on the NYT bestseller list for 17 weeks (11 of those weeks at #1) which I find truly remarkable because of the mixed reviews it received. In the end, I miss the sense of urgency that Dan Brown is known for, so I give it a 3 out of 5 stars. I will invariably look forward to Dan Brown’s future work & what secrets it may have the world contemplating.

~Geneva

“Coda” By René Belletto

Pages: 69       Published: March 2011

“It is to me that we owe our immortality, and this is the story that proves it beyond all doubt.”

This being the opening line, was the perfect exposition of this novella. My sentiments on this story comes down to two words: instant gratification.

I do not want to say too much about the story itself due to it being so succinct. The mystery commences to unfold with a frozen package of clams. It then proceeds on to, among many other things, a meeting with Fate in disguise as a beautiful woman. There are some very strange things that happened which I absolutely loved.  Renè’s writing is very thrilling, bordering on suspense. The story is told very quickly, so much so that I found myself reading in haste.

If you desire a quick, yet satisfying read I highly recommend this book. It takes minimal time to read and makes you ponder the paradox of death, fate, and immortality.

~Geneva

“Me and the Devil” By Nick Tosches

Pages: 387         Publish Date: December 2012

To be honest, the reason I selected this novel to read and review is because of the title. Who hasn’t had one of those sensations? Then, upon reading the synopsis, I was further intrigued.  Here it is for you:

An aging New Yorker, a writer named Nick, feels life ebbing out of him. The world has gone to hell and Nick is so sick of it all that he can’t even have a glass of champagne. Then one night he meets a tantalizing young woman who agrees to come back to his apartment. Their encounter is the most strangely extraordinary of his life. Propelled by uncontrollable, primordial desires, he enters a new and unimagined dimension of the forbidden and is filled with a sexual and spiritual ecstasy that is as intense as it is unholy.

Suddenly Nick’s senses are alive. He feels strong, unconquerable , beyond all inhibition and earthly morality. He indulges in life’s pleasures, pure and perverse, sublime and dangerous, from the delicate flavors of the perfect tomato to the fleshy beauty of a woman’s thigh. But Nick’s desire to sustain his rapture leads him to a madness and a darkness far greater and dreadful than have ever ridden the demon mares of night.

Writing in a lineage that includes Dante, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby, Jr., and Hunter S. Thompson, Nick Tosches may be America’s last real literary outlaw-a fearless, uncensorable seeker of our deepest secret truths and desires, from the basest to the most beautiful. Me and the Devil is outrageous, disturbing, and brilliant, a raw and blazing novel truly unlike any other. Like the man said: Read him at your peril.

  Alas, I did read him at my peril….

Nick is a master of adumbrating. I wasn’t quite sure were it all was leading for the first half of the novel. He is brilliant in how he makes words come together in such a manner that you feel like you are on this journey with him. His accounts are so vivid, that I was actually very impressed early on. He shares the dark side within him that not many can capture in such a beautiful manner. Also, he has accomplished one of  the best portrayals of  trying to ensnare such things as: the fine line between genius and madness, the war within us to conform,  as well as the complexity of explaining beauty and power.  Beauty, be blessed and damned.

After all that had happened in this novel, surprisingly, the ending left me very contented. I cannot say that about many novels. This is one of the more transcendent novels I have read in a very long time. I can tell it is one I will return to again and again. If  for no other reason,  just to remind me how completely intricate each of us are.

Postscript ~To have you even more tantalized~the one sentence at the end~”About the Author”~I found most dark & amazing upon finishing.

Geneva

“All the Numbers” By Judy Merrill Larsen

Pages: 304      Publish Date:  July 2006
    I read this book because an author in my book club received copies for us from Judy. I much appreciate when an author takes time to do such a well-mannered thing, but will say this is not my favored genre at all. Regardless, I will always give books a chance when being given them. So that being said…..on with the show!!
    Let’s begin with the plot:  The story is about an 11 year old boy being hit by a jet ski while on holiday and dying of a head trauma as a result, thereafter the writer shows how the family grieves and copes with death & also a lawsuit against the 18 year old boy who hit James. This novel also tries to conquer the age-old question of “why me?”, but it goes nowhere near giving the reader answers, philosophical or otherwise.
    Now on to the characters (being Ellen-the mother, Daniel-the oldest son, James-the younger son who dies, Anna and Sam-friends that own the lake house  and Bob-the attorney) were all very commonplace and unexceptional in my opinion. The only character I truly fancied was Bob. He developed feelings for Ellen while working on her sons’ murder case. He seemed to me a very patient, kind-hearted, empathetic man/ lawyer.

Overall, I found that the novel was a lot like a Jodi Piccoult, child-suffering, work of fiction which seems to be the popular tone these days. This was the authors first published work, so it being somewhat amateur I feel it was plain & very predictable. I do not favor this kind of reading material, so that  probably explains why others I know cried & I did not. I’m hoping my lack of tears is not because I am so cynical, but only because this novel’s theme does not rate very high with me.

~Geneva

“Gone Girl” By Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Pages: 419      Publish date:  June 2012

I am not one to read mainstream, contemporary fiction much, but after watching this novel get so many excellent  reviews I was intrigued. I will say I can understand the hype (due to the plot) which is a pleasant surprise that I do not experience very often.

Gillian Flynn’s writing style is easily readable, so I can see why the general public fell in love with this novel. Most of the story takes places in Missouri. She captivated the mid-west (which is where I am from). She speaks easily of the monotony of goings-on & delineates the river so well I could smell it. She also did well at describing the mid-westerner’s attitude. They are at the same time laid back & aching for excitement.

Another thing I liked about this novel was that every chapter ended quite suspenseful & the last 100 pages were very fast-paced.  The main character of Amy Dunne was especially well written, which is quite disturbing.

Now on to my aversions with the novel. She uses “thick” as an adjective a few too many times. Also, the ending is VERY anti-climatic. I am an ending girl, so while I may recommend this book to people, I will not read it again.

Overall I liked what to me seemed like the “Abandon all hope, ye who enter” thought of marriage. I think with some fine tuning she will have a promising writing career ahead of her.

I apologize to all of my loyal (& few) followers for my short & less passionate review of this book, but as you can probably tell the novel did not inspire me.

Geneva