Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Thoughts on Several Books . . . I Can't Keep Up

So my idea was to post my thoughts on each and every book I read in to 2018, sort of like little reviews. I figured it would be a good exercise since I've grown to despise writing reviews. Turns out I also dislike updating my blog. I know, I know, blogging is dead. People don't read them anymore. Well, I know that's bullshit because I see the numbers. That's why I still post here, albeit infrequently.

That all being said, I have read quite a few books since Stirring the Sheets by Chad Lutzke (awesome little novella--seek it out and read it), and I've decided to put them all into this one post with a quick paragraph of my thoughts on each one.

Savage by Richard Laymon

Great book. Very unlike anything else I have read by Laymon, and I've read a lot of his books. Still doesn't take over my top two favorite Laymon novels (In the Dark and Night in the Lonsesome October), but Savage is most certainly number three. A historical horror that follows Jack the Ripper from England to the American wild west, this story takes the usual twists and turns you expect from a Laymon novel and adds a rich story that I was genuinely moved by, at times feeling extreme sympathy for our hero, and even anger with some of his motivations. Those are the kind of responses I cherish from a novel. If you find Laymon to be to exploitative or maybe just too crazy, give this one a shot. It's well worth it.

The Amulet by Michael McDowell

This is my second McDowell outing. The first was his acclaimed The Elementals, which is one of my favorite novels. The Amulet, however, falls far from the bar I've set for McDowell. A great effort for a first novel, but nothing more than a weird slasher story where the slasher is an amulet that causes people to murder everyone around them when in possession of the piece of jewelry. Pretty much that simple. As I read I kept hoping for some amazing twist that would pay off, but nope. The story goes right where you think it will. I heard that it was originally a screenplay that he turned into a novel, and it reads that way. A slasher film with a twist on the trope, but no pay off. I think it would have made a good movie in the early eighties, considering that the most interesting part of the story aside form our protagonist's growing insecurities concerning her war-damaged husband wrapped from head to tow in bandages and her vile mother-in-law were the various ways people died.

Panacea by F. Paul Wilson

Holy shit this was a good book. Wow. Not my typical fare, the story starts out like a medical thriller and turns into something so much more. Wilson is a master storyteller, this we know, but when I read something like this I'm left in awe, wondering why the hell I even try. The plot is incredibly weaved like a gorgeous tapestry full of hints and clues as to where you're going, but when everything is unfolded, you're still taken by surprise. Books such as this one separate the bestsellers from the midlisters. If I could write something 1/10 this good I would be a happy man.

Life by Kieth Richards

I like the Stones, but I'm no super fan (I'm a Beatles guy). I love rock/metal autobiographies, so I thought I would give this one a shot. Kieth Richards, if nothing, is passionate about music. That was one thing that made the book lag in the beginning. He spends a lot of time talking about the music that influenced him. Too much time. That aside, it's a good rock bio. He doesn't talk much shit and seems like a fairly decent chap, though he most certainly has an anger problem. The legend of Kieth Richards is bigger than the man himself, which is kind of interesting. certainly a great read for Stones fans, though I would have rather read one of those rock bios written from the perspectives of all the members of the band, like the Aerosmith bio Walk This Way or Motley Crue's The Dirt.

Whoopsy Daisy by David Allen Coe

Stumbled upon this on YouTube and listened to it at work one day. Not a fan of Coe aside from the album he did with the Pantera guys Rebel Meets Rebel (awesome record!). Written in '97 just after his wife of 14 years left him, this is kind of a depressing book from a guy who is in a lot of emotional pain. He talks about being famous and what it really means. he breaks down touring and what he actually earns, and discusses some of the mistakes he's made in life. Most of all, he breaks down why he thinks his wife left him. Here's a man haunted by his past. if you are a fan of David Allen Coe or, like me, just like autobiographies, give it a read. I would be interested in one of his previous books that's a more proper autobiography. Apparently he's written quite a few.

Lowland Riders by Chet Williamson

 I made it very close to the end but completely lost interest. A really cool Death Wish premise about a guy whose family is murdered by street thugs who in turn kills one of the murderers and then lives in the subway system fearing persecution for his crime. I wanted to like this novel, but I struggled with it because I stopped caring. It's like two separate stories that aren't getting along together, almost as if the supernatural elements were just thrown in. I hate giving up on a book within fifty pages of the end, but I had to move on to something else. I might go back in a few weeks and finish it...and I might not.

Well, that's it for now. I feel like I'm missing something. I started a few books that I had to put down, so maybe that's it. Anyway, I'm reading Slugs by Shaun Hutson, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison, The Ice Man: Confession of a Mafia Contract Killer by Philip Carlo, and The Auctioneer by Joan Samson. I like this method of short reviews of each book in one post. I think I'll be doing this from now on.

Happy reading, folks!

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