Saturday, 13 December 2014

In the end only darkness by Monica O'Rourke

Extreme horror is a genre that I don't often read, I am not sure if I will enjoy, I am not sure if I want to enjoy and I am nor sure if I will find the experience at all pleasant. “In the end only darkness” is a brutal read and involves themes of torture and rape where everyday death is just a normal occurrence. That said I often question why I read particular books and how I judge what is good bad or indifferent? and indeed if I am entertained by a book whatever the subject that has to be a good thing. This book is a collection of short stories, dealing with the aforementioned themes, and as such (as I often find) some of these stories I will enjoy and some I will find instantly forgettable. There were a few gems here where I could honestly say the readers might question his own morals; “Oral Mohel” is a rather unusual and novel way for a "circumcision" to be performed (the clue being in the title) It certainly held my attention and was both an enjoyable and painful experience to read."An experiment in Human Nature" is a very difficult story of torture in the extreme but Mz O'Rourke concludes the story in a most satisfactory manner. "Feeding Desire with Jack Fisher" will most certainly test the human "prejudice" and what you think of as normal behaviour will be sorely tested in this (what I considered) a fun read and prob one of the highlights of the book .......

"For Diana, being thin was about as far away as Europe and not nearly as attainable. Folds of flesh covered a frame that, after worms and maggots someday feasted on her corpse, would prove to be of medium bone structure; meaning she would never be dainty or petite no matter what here weight; nor on the flipside would she ever try out for women's rugby....Diana being bed-ridden because of her rather rotund body had little else to do all day and night other than to watch television-and eat....Diana lived in a studio and spent her life sprawled on a pullout sofa that hadn’t been in its original position in half a decade. The sheet beneath her wet and stained flesh was filthy with crumbs and feces smears that she couldn’t quite reach to wipe away. The sheets hadn’t been changed in months”....
So this very obese lady has a constant relationship with food until the day Jack Fisher arrives and Diana is then able to combine her love of food with her new found interest in sex under the helpful guidance of Mr Fisher. So this story may question what we feel is right and proper in a world consumed by the perfect shape and the perfect body. It is an uncomfortable yet enjoyable rump and kept me reading irrespective of the subject matter There is also a great sadness to this story and a very unexpected ending.....is that not what reading is about? enjoyment and escape from the ordinary?

“The rest of Larry” provides one of the lighter moments in this dark collection. Larry awakens to find that he was not so much a person but a torso...”A skeletal torso at that, most of the meat having rotted off the bones or been picked clean by scavengers. He’d been chopped in half, that much was obvious. Parts of the blade were still imbedded in a rib bone From the base of the ribcage down, he was..well, in the immortal words of Gertude Stein, There was not there, there. Nothing but flapping tissue and shredded tatters of shirt.” Larry needs answers and he finds them in the hands of his wife and lover....a great story concluded expertly
I am certainly glad I read this book as the collection had some thoughtful and great stories that certainly made in impression on what I felt was morally correct.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A story with bite!!

Top Notch! This is everything a short read should be....snappy (little joke!) grabbing the readers attention (another little joke!)but most importantly sheer enjoyment. You know the situation you're trying to bond with your step daughter and suggest to her mum that both of you travel to a log cabin in deepest Alaska where you can stare at the stars (Ursa Major) and get to know eachother over a few days. So there you are snowed in...it's below freezing....you are miles from any town...and big daddy!! Ursa Major comes calling..are you surprised :)" The Great Bear. A flash image of the big dipper zipped through his mind, and he felt the irony of loving seeing Ursa Major in the sky the other night. Now it seemed like that was a million years ago."

I read this short story in one sitting and loved every minute. That wily old bear has got our two heroes trapped in the cabin and he is quite prepared to wait it out as he has already enjoyed his horderves (I'll not disclose that little surprise)Will old Ursa be sitting down to his main couse? or will Dan and Nicole escape his evil claws....read and enjoy! Well done Mr Little not only is this a great concise and cautionary little tale (for the wise) but a brilliant and well executed (no pun intended) conclusion....:)







Sunday, 26 October 2014

What could be greater praise for a book than to say that this is probably one of the finest novels ever available on the kindle and it’s thanks to darkfuse that Dark Father was published earlier this year....and what a cracking story it is.

There are three threads running; we have Jimmy Hopewell part time gangster and professional wife beater, one day Kate has had enough and escapes the the torture with her son Billy. Then there is Frank and the wife he loves Cindy with their adorable son Jake. In a medical facility/asylum lives Mack a deeply disturbed patient under the auspices of attending Physicians Doctor Kincaid and Doctor Faber. To delve deeper into the storyline would spoil the surprises that await the reader, all three stories have a thread that will become surprisingly clear as the novel concludes.

The novel in some ways is a mixture of crime and horror, Jimmy Hopewell’s lost (removed!) eye and his increasing ability to visualize the future adds a touch of humour to a somewhat monstrous character. “Jimmy stood there, his hair hanging across his brow, his face all but destroyed. His left eye was a black hole, rimmed with attenuated tissue and dried pulp. There was a large bruise down the left side of his face. His stubble was dark with blood.” However it is through Frank that we understand the real meaning of loss and what one sad demented individual will do to recapture the past. There is a wonderful sad and descriptive passage that illustrates the beautiful writing style of Mr Cooper and the deteriorating mind of Frank.....

“He swiped the brush across Cindy’s lips, creating the perfect smile, and then stood back to admire his work. He frowned; the effect hadn’t been adequately captured. He primed the brush with a fresh slug of paint, and then slapped it across her mouth again, even as Cindy was moaning, trying desperately to compress her lips. Frank took another step back and smiled, satisfied with his work, He repeated the whole procedure on the boy, taking more care this time, almost dabbing on the paint for fear of unnerving his darling Jakey, which would be inexcusable. He applied the emulsion with a kind of detached wonder, granting them both cosmetic smiles that stretched halfway around their face; not a disfiguring scar, but an extension of their elation. Unequivocal proof of their love.....He dipped the brush into the tin and drew an irregular line of red paint across his own mouth. “God, I love you” he said. His family sat across from him, unmoving, wearing smiles as wet and wide as a slashed throat.!

When I was 94% complete I still could not see how the author was going to complete this wonderful story and show the connection of the various threads to the reader...but I need not have worried in the hands of an expert the conclusion is crafted to perfection. If you enjoy dark fiction of the highest quality, with a touch of crime, a dash of humour and a great dollop of emotional heartbreak then I implore you to read this amazing story....I can’t recommend highly enough....so what are you waiting fo:))

Saturday, 30 August 2014

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Maybe it's something to do with the fact that I am on hols and as a little surprise my wife decided to invite my mother in  law to stay...you know the scene :( Your favourite seat in front of the telly is now occupied by the MIL, your beers have all disappeared from the fridge ( or cooler if you are reading this over the pond :) and you MIL has a smile on her face, all the cycling that you hope to watch (La Vuelta) has been replaced by English soap...eastenders...coronation street...and then there's the x factor etc...god help us!! Of couse lets not forget feeding time (at the zoo) all your favourite food and the money in your pocket is fast disapearing...so what's a guy to do but disappear to a quiet spot with a novel that he can just step into...disappear into...become part of and just enjoy the story and the ride for the hell of it.

If you read an average book of approx 350 pages then it's so easy to dip in and out off,and return to later, pick up the pieces and finish in a reasonable time whilst remembering all the outstanding descriptions and storylines. However with a 900 page book you need to seriously think about putting aside some quality reading time, not just 50 pages but at least 200 pages in a sitting. If you do this then you are richly rewarded often with and outstanding story that you cannot help become involved with. I am pilgrim is acturally about a secret service agent, Pilgrim,  taken out of retirement to find on of the greatest mass terrorists that world has ever known "Saracen" It is Saracen's sole objective to destroy America by the development and release of a deadly virus with no cure. That esssentially is the storyline but due to the length of the novel the reader has time to get to know both terrorist and secret service agent thus producing one of the greatest intelligent reads/thriller in the last year. This book has movie written all over it...and if like me you find yourself with some downtime, or you find yourself with the MIL for company "At my signal unleash hell" then you could do worse than make the acquaintance of Pilgrim and watch as he journeys the world to stop the evil intentions of the evil Saracen...and perhaps then he could help me with the MIL :)

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

I find Chris Carter one of the greatest thriller/crime writers of the modern age. He has produced in Robert Hunter a first class anti-hero, a detective working on the side of good but with a tragic past, which is revealed as this story progresses.

An unexpected accident causes, a shocking find is made in the boot of a car, and a suspect is immediately detained. Lucien Folter will talk to no one but Hunter, they have a past, and when Detective Hunter arrives a grizzly tale of horrific proportions unfolds with Folter at the centre. This is absolutely spellbinding storytelling and a story that gave new meaning to the word depravity.....I could not put it down and finished in two days...it is that good. The players at the centre are Hunter and Folter, good v evil, but who is leading who? and will the body count ever stop. Hunter is helped in his odyssey by the charismatic and beautiful Detective Taylor and as we race towards a bloody conclusion, in the search for the one hostage who might still be alive, Carter does not cease to surprise and manipulate the reader as once again he proves how his training as a criminal psychologist has helped make him an outstanding author.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Linwood Barclay A Tap on the Window

Don't get me wrong I quite like Linwood Barclay and what he does he does well...ie he looks at an ordinary man's everyday life..yes the sort of life you and I lead and everyday situations and from that shows how one simple mistake or incident can make a life unfold and all the cards come tumbling down....Take A Tap on the Window, Cal Weaver is on his way home and stops to give a lift to a young bedraggled teenage girl...yes you've got it an older man giving a lift to a young girl late at night...what could possibly goes wrong! Well naturally as this is a best seller the girl disappears and you don't have to look very far to find the no 1 suspect...yes Cal your head was right you should not have stopped to give that young girl a lift.

What follows is a story of lies/suspicion/guilt/intrigue done in the very Linwood Barclay way and guaranteed to keep the reader reading and the pages turning...and to an extent it works. The problem with reading lots of Linwood Barclay is that they all follow a similar storyline...ie a simple incident leads to lives unravelling...and so dare I say the word "formulaic" springs to mind.

In essence this is an ok read with some well written good moments take this example...At the start we quickly learn that Cal's son Scott died tragically and recent and Cal travels to the place of his death where he contemplates and tries once again to come to terms with his son's death..."As I always did, I surveyed the scene. Starting at the handicapped spot, rising past the four rows of windows, stopping at the roofline....How long would it have taken? Two seconds? Three? I saw his body falling, plummeting, hitting the pavement. Three seconds seemed about right. Certainly no more than that. What was he thinking on the way down? Was he terrified? Did he realize, once he'd gone off the edge, what he'd actually done? In those two or three seconds, had he wondered whether there was anything he could do so save himself?

So not the best Linwood Barclay (did however love Trust Your Eves) and it's always best to return to an author rather than consume all his writings in one long reading marathon session!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Another cracker from Mr Billingham!

Lets get one thing straight here...I think DI Thorne is a real "prick" of a man. He is self centred, egotistical ,driven,and treats female company in the most despicable manner. Louise his latest partner is ignored by him, he is always working and likes to avoid conversation and her compnay preferring to drink with his mates and refusing to recognize that it is him and him alone that is the constant cause of his relationship breakups. In this latest romp he has the company of a young lady called Anna Carpenter and he actually believes that he could have a relationship with her, that she really likes this super cool egotistical cop this real man old enough to be her father!...well DI Thorne get your act together and recognize that you have faults...lots of them...and if not sorted soon you will be left a sad old man....there I've got that off my chest and it is undoubtly down to the writing talents of Mark Billingham that I can feel such a strong hate for Tom Thorne. This is a first class detective story that starts with the gruesome recalling of an old case that DI Thorne thought was "buried" in the past. There are lots of surprises and a great action story that takes place in both the UK and Spain but the real star is the characterization of DI Tom Thorne this flawed copper with the bloodhound ability to find his man...leaving misery and destruction in his path! Great stuff.....look forward to the next outing!