Thomas Olde Heuvelt is obsessed with nipples. There are so many damn nipples in this book. Gross rotting witch's nipples, creepy sexual assault nippleThomas Olde Heuvelt is obsessed with nipples. There are so many damn nipples in this book. Gross rotting witch's nipples, creepy sexual assault nipples, giant metaphorical nipples. The nipples of a teenage boy are also described in detail at one point. This dude LOVES (or possibly is deeply terrified of?) nipples.
What does he not care for? Characters.
Also, I feel like -- ladies.
There are four (third person) POV characters in this book.
1. Concerned father 2. Rebellious but kind-hearted teenage son 3. Sympathetic town official named Robert Grim (lol?) 4. Grotesquely fat and just generally grotesque crazy lady who's also sexually assaulted at one point for no reason, and hey have we mentioned she's disgusting and she makes everyone eat pâté that's super gross
Hmm. One of these things is not like the others!
But the dude characters are just as boring and one-dimensional as the nasty fat pâté lady. I did not care about anyone in this book. For a novel that's supposedly about a town, I had virtually no sense of anyone in the community. They were all cardboard cutouts with vaguely silly names. Like a silly haunted tram ride at Universal Studios.
The atmosphere was equally thin. This is the Hudson Valley -- Headless Horseman territory! -- but Heuvelt couldn't manage to make his woods sound threatening. Suspense didn't build so much as drag -- events occurred, but there was no ramping up of tension. There was no tension.
On the most basic level, this book simply wasn't as advertised. The plot is thus: back in ye olden days, this town called Black Spring killed a woman and her children because they thought she was a witch. She put a curse on the town and haunts it to this day. The book's blurb then states: "The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting."
That last part sounds cool, right? IT NEVER HAPPENS. Rebellious But Kind-Hearted Teenage Son makes videos and has a locked website, but nothing ever gets released to the world. Here's an anti-spoiler right here: no footage nor information nor any curses relating to the witch ever "go viral." This does not figure into the plot at all. I was looking forward to reading something about the interaction of technology and old-world magic, but aside from security footage mistakenly giving Heuvelt the impression that he could or should switch from past to present tense sporadically, none of this ends up having any effect on the story. There is a town. There is a ghost. Both kind of suck. The end.
Meanwhile, I cursed myself with finishing this book so you wouldn't have to. You're welcome....more
What I love about Gillian Flynn are her messed-up, psychologically complex, and often borderline unsympathetic female characters, and the way she builWhat I love about Gillian Flynn are her messed-up, psychologically complex, and often borderline unsympathetic female characters, and the way she builds suspense. Those are both present here -- in this single-story volume that doesn't even bother with the pretense of billing itself as a "novella." However, the buildup is a lot more interesting than the denouement. As is often the case with thrillers and horror stories -- of which this is a fun fusion of both -- the more the author attempts to explain, the less compelling things become. Flynn attempts to maintain some ambiguity, but in this case that's not particularly satisfying either. Still, this is a fun read. (Why you would pay $10 for it, on the other hand -- that is beyond me.)...more
Huh. I saw this on the shelf at my friend John’s, flipped through it there, borrowed it, and read the whole thing, and I am still not sure if I have rHuh. I saw this on the shelf at my friend John’s, flipped through it there, borrowed it, and read the whole thing, and I am still not sure if I have read it before or not. This may be attributable to my failing brain, but I’m sure it’s also due in part to the fact that All His Engines is a fairly standard John Constantine outing: there are creepy icky demony things, and John (Constantine, not my friend) snarks at them and gets in over his head but ultimately outwits everyone and is awesome. I like all of that, and Carey pulls off that formula here with aplomb. Still: this is obviously not a standout tale, as I’m still not 100% on whether I’ve read it before. (I think the answer must be yes, or at least yes in part, or else I’m simply experiencing some weirdly specific déjà vu.)
Since this review seems to be turning into an extended episode of someone tapping a microphone and saying, “Hello? Is this thing on?” I will now use this space to complain: why hasn’t any of Paul Jenkins’ run on this title been collected as trades? I loved that run. Am I the only one?...more
Ryu Murakami (who I always think of in my head as “the other Murakami”—sorry, dude) certainly has talent as a shock artist. This book is brutally effeRyu Murakami (who I always think of in my head as “the other Murakami”—sorry, dude) certainly has talent as a shock artist. This book is brutally effective—in an intrinsically ridiculous, Fatal Attraction kind of way. I can’t even bother getting offended as a woman or, well, a person because the concept is really so dumb—and yet, it’s expertly paced, with (the other) Murakami evoking a sense of dread even when nothing explicitly frightening had so far taken place. That’s some skillful storytelling. And maybe you can rightly claim that it’s wasted on this idiocy (women are crazy! they will seduce you with their beauty and then do freaky-ass shit to you with a saw!), but on the other hand, I can’t and don’t begrudge anyone the need for the occasional doofy horror novel. I mean, I even kind of liked it: I laughed, I shivered, I rolled my eyes. It served its purpose. Well played, other Murakami. Well played....more
Damn. My feelings about this book are so conflicted. On the one hand, it contains a few pieces of imagery so staggeringly beautiful that they could haDamn. My feelings about this book are so conflicted. On the one hand, it contains a few pieces of imagery so staggeringly beautiful that they could have come from a Haruki Murakami novel—gorgeous, surrealistic setpieces that nevertheless are firmly anchored in the characters' stories and personalities. Hill continues to prove himself to be an excellent prose stylist, with an ear for dialogue and an inherent fairness to the way he treats his characters; the roles they end up playing are rarely what one might expect. I enjoyed the first part of this novel especially, in which Hill manages to evoke a real sense of horror and keep the reader ravenously curious as to what's really going on. However, as with his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box, I feel he's stronger in the set-up than in the denouement. Yet that isn't even my real problem with this book: it's that I think I, on the most basic level, vehemently disagree with what Hill is trying to say about the nature of good and evil—as much as I can understand it, anyway. My own views are so just so diametrically opposed to what (I think) this book is purporting that, while I enjoyed it on a, I suppose you could say, visual level, it ultimately left me cold.
However, it nevertheless also still left me excited to see what Hill comes up with next. His twisty mind is one I definitely want to watch; I have every confidence that he’ll write something truly brilliant one day....more
These stories are lifted directly out of the back of the original Zombie Survival Guide, so don’t expect any new material here. However, they’re extreThese stories are lifted directly out of the back of the original Zombie Survival Guide, so don’t expect any new material here. However, they’re extremely fun in graphic novel form, and if it’s been a while since you read Brooks’ first zombie book, as it has for me, I think you’ll still find these a treat....more
Continues from the excellent first volume (Welcome to Lovecraft) with a sophomore effort that’s equally imaginative and exciting. I shall be needing vContinues from the excellent first volume (Welcome to Lovecraft) with a sophomore effort that’s equally imaginative and exciting. I shall be needing volume three immediately, kthx....more
Why do I find published erotica so boring, and dirty fanfic so endlessly entertaining? Well, I suppose one theory could be that few erotic authors seeWhy do I find published erotica so boring, and dirty fanfic so endlessly entertaining? Well, I suppose one theory could be that few erotic authors seem to do much to make me care about their characters, and I am a big girl who needs her porn to pack some emotional wallop. Possibly true! But also, most of these stories--as with most of the erotica I've read--are just not hot. I guess my kinks just do not line up very well with the rest of the erotica-reading world?
This collection was better than the last one I read. I am intrigued by the blending of horror and sex, and a few of the stories in this book pulled off something interesting with the combo. This book is also beautifully designed, which is one of the main reasons I picked it up. (I think you're allowed to be shallow when reading about sex.)
The other reason I picked it up is that it has a story by Supernatural writer Sera Gamble in it. I don't think I'm letting any sort of bias/developing girlcrush affect me when I say that it's the standout tale. Actual characters and plot and thinky thoughts! Plus sex. That's how it should be done, guys....more