Hello there and thanks for checking out my review. This is quite probably my all time favorite book in the world. I don't just say that lightly eitherHello there and thanks for checking out my review. This is quite probably my all time favorite book in the world. I don't just say that lightly either, I had to pause for a few seconds and look off to the side before I typed that. So you can tell I'm serious. This is a book I have read 3 times since its arrival in 2001. Now I will say, this is entirely my first time having read the "10th Anniversary Edition" with an additional 12,000 words. So I must say here and now that I'm not sure if what different things I got out of this book this time are because of the different person I am reading it now, or if its because its somewhat reworked version of the original story. I'd like to think its a little of both.
Let me start by saying that this book has a bit of everything. A fight in a bar, a bank robbery, death by sex, pasties (the delicious pie not the things to cover nipples), gods, monsters, marital problems, love, and even self-discovery. Its pretty much a book for all seasons, so one can't really say "its like this plus this" or "its this kind of book". Thats great too, because truly amazing and artful books should be like people, one of a kind.
Ok, now to what I got out of this book this time. I still loved the bank robbery, its one of the most clever and cool things I've ever read and always makes me smile. I also loved that even after three readings (partly because I'm lazy and don't go and sleuth them out on the internet like a good nerd) there are still strange folks in this book that I can't place in any mythology I know (and since I'm a nerd you can count on me knowing plenty). Yet the thing I noticed the most in this reading of the book was Shadow and his own personal problems, especially those with his wife.
It comes through to me a real personal feeling of loss and disorientation that comes from your marriage collapsing. Its a bitter sweet recurring theme of Shadow being cast to the wind by the loss of his marriage.
Now the last and final thing I got out of this reading, is something I always get out of reading this book but bares saying each time for how amazing I find it. This is a book that, in my opinion so quintessentially captures the Unites States of America (in all of its national discontinuity), and its written by a man who is not from here. I think it takes an outsider to see the forest for the trees if you will. I myself have always been an American, yet because I grew up overseas in 3 different countries, I find this land and its people often times more difficult to understand than other people and places. Neil Gaiman went and he discovered America, and then he wrote a beautifully amazing book about it.
Ok this got longer and more rambling than I intended it too so let me close with this. This book is really amazing in every way. Its amazingly insightful, its amazingly entertaining, and its amazingly written. Read this book because its fun to read and it will really make you think, and that's not a combo you get in the same book often. ...more
This is a fantastic book. Its a great jumping off point for someone like me who has never read F. Paul Wilson before. I got to see the mans range, andThis is a fantastic book. Its a great jumping off point for someone like me who has never read F. Paul Wilson before. I got to see the mans range, and he does have quite a bit of that. We go from voodoo revenge story to Post-Lovecraft to a story about the Joker, while covering all points between and beyond. Weird West, tables being twisted on a grieving father, a man who can't stop eating, mutant serial-killers, even gnomes (or some kind of little fay folk) with strong feelings about home security.
The three crown jewels of this collection for me were "A Day in the Life", "The Barrens", and "Definitive Therapy". "A Day in the Life" is a short story about Wilson's most popular character, Repairman Jack. He is an urban mercenary of sorts who you call when proper channels can't help you. Think 1980's "The Equalizer" but this man gets paid (he's got to live too) and as often as not deals with underworld scum as well as problems with a paranormal twist. The story is not art. It is a great piece of action/adventure asskicking fun.
"The Barrens" is a creepy journey into the unknown and uncivilized that is right next door. It takes you into the Jersey Pine barrens, and a more isolated spot I can't imagine. Yet its right next door to one of the most populace urban centers in the world, especially the U.S.A. Add to that mix, a sense of mystery and cosmic horror, and you have a pretty strange and delicious cocktail. Check it out if you are a fan of Lovecraft and Post-Lovecraft.
And last but certainly not least, is "Definitive Therapy". Its a story Wilson did to contribute to a collection of stories about villains from DC comics' own Gotham City. This was brilliant. Coming on the heals of the new Dark Knight movie and its brilliantly demented and sadistic Joker, this was excellent. We get to see The Joker inside Arkham Asylum, and really see him more as a psychopath than as a Batman villain. This involves a kind of "devil made me do it" twist that is great. For a die hard Batman fan like myself, this story was almost custom made for me.
So go check this book out if you like anything I've described above. And if not, give it a try anyways. Broadening your horizons is always a good thing (unless you broaden them into romance, cause then you've just gone too far..:P)....more
Wow, this book was excellent. This is the first thing I've read by Joe Hill, and it makes me look forward to great things from him.
This is, at its corWow, this book was excellent. This is the first thing I've read by Joe Hill, and it makes me look forward to great things from him.
This is, at its core, a basic ghostly revenge store. Of course this is like saying that prime rib is at its core, a cow. Its true, but how its cooked and presented by the cook. You start out feeling like the protagonist deserves to die. By the end of it, you are hoping with every fiber of your being that the protagonist turns the tables on his undead stalking death.
As my friend Noah said in his review, this book is full of rock music references as well as having a nicely offhand reference to Lovecraft, see if you can catch it.
Basically Joe Hill is an excellent writer. I can't put my finger on any one specific thing about his writing, but I can feel his father's influence in there. Its light enough that its not emulation, which is awesome. One Stephen King is more than enough. His own style comes through brilliantly. I was actually sad when I was done with this story, and those are always the authors I hold in highest reguard. Check this out if you like King's earlier, more supernatural yet moody stuff; or if you just want a good old fashioned supernatural ghost story. I found it refreshing myself. The bad guy was bad and scarey, yet not immediately annihilating. So many award winning horror stories I see in passing to day seem more along the lines of regular people doing terrible, but still mundane things. It was nice to see horror that revolved around emotion, the other side, the supernatural, and things that go bump in the night....more
This is a dark and strange ride with a man racked with extreme guilt and loss, and how these things quite literally transform him in to a devil. I reaThis is a dark and strange ride with a man racked with extreme guilt and loss, and how these things quite literally transform him in to a devil. I read it awhile ago and I can't believe I forgot to review it so shame on me. Just trust me when I tell you that if you are a fan of horror fiction (note horror, not splatter, there is a difference) then you should read this. You should really be reading pretty much anything that Joe Hill writes, but if you want to start here then go for it cause its all pretty much an emotionally riveting roller coaster ride....more
This was a great sophmore installment of this series. We see new characters come on stage and old characters dragged off in bloody tatters. We also geThis was a great sophmore installment of this series. We see new characters come on stage and old characters dragged off in bloody tatters. We also get to see how those in the country are doing after the zombie plague struck. And the ending, now I'm dying to read Volume 3. If you liked the first, you won't be dissappointed with the second....more
First and foremost, take it from a guy who has read more than his share of shared-world fiction (usually but not always, novels set in RPG worlds), thFirst and foremost, take it from a guy who has read more than his share of shared-world fiction (usually but not always, novels set in RPG worlds), this is the best one I've ever read! This is good enough to stand with the non-shared world fiction books.
And awesome expansion on the ideas of the Cthulhu mythos world and Lovecraftian themes. We've got WWII action, occult nazis, aliens, ancient hidden cities, secret government organizations, horror, action, adventure, its all here. Good characters that feel real and deal with some very crazy situations in there own uniquely gibbering ways. Complex plot that (for me) seamlessly weaves multiple mytho's devices into one synergistically amazing book. I hate to be mysterious about details but I really think anyone reading this should go and read this and I don't want to ruin any surprises for you. They are half the fun. ...more
I enjoyed this book overall. I thought it was an interesting depth of Hellboy I hadn't seen before, being the first non-graphic novel of him I've readI enjoyed this book overall. I thought it was an interesting depth of Hellboy I hadn't seen before, being the first non-graphic novel of him I've read. Hellboy comes off with a bit more dimension to him than I've usually scene in the comics or the movie, mainly because we are exposed to a relationship he's had. Perhaps this is something you see in other Hellboy graphic novels I haven't read (I've only read 1-3 of the collections), but it was still and interesting first for me. The flashbacks of how that particular relationship came about and then came to and end, were the high points of the book for me. Though the climactic battle with a monster at the end was also fun. This being said, I can't RAVE about this novel.
I've only read one other thing by Christopher Golden, and that was a collaborative effort between him and Mike Mignola. So I can't honestly say I personally have read him walking alone on his own two literary feet. I am told by sources I trust that he is a very good writer, and his work with Mignola would seem to indicate that to me. I'm hoping that this books slowness was just lack of interest on my part. I will warn that there is a slow section right in the middle of the book, where nothing seems to happen and we seem to learn things about Hellboy and his world that were already established thus making the section seem a bit dull and redundant.
So to conclude. Hellboy is great in this book, and it adds a welcome new depth to the character and his world (Abe Sapien has some cool time as the "point of view" character in this and insight into his character is cool as well). The writing could stand to be a bit tighter in my opinion, and loses some momentum in the middle. If you push on through though, you will be rewarded with a cool Hellboy Vs. Monster fight. Also let us all remember that this is a shared world fiction novel, and this sub-sub-genre of sci-fi/Fantasy has ever suffered from hinderances to the narrative heights it can soar to. If you love Hellboy, in the end you will enjoy reading this. If you don't love Hellboy, then maybe you should get out of my face cause why don't you love Hellboy you snooty bastard!!!...more
The origin of the Saint of Killers. It starts out like Unforgiven meets High Plains Drifter, and ends up like a western had sex with Vertigo comic's vThe origin of the Saint of Killers. It starts out like Unforgiven meets High Plains Drifter, and ends up like a western had sex with Vertigo comic's version of Hell. Plus you get the story of Cassidy's first encounter with another of his kind (beside the one that bit him). Beautifully written chaos, while watching our three main characters slowly unfold before our eyes. Its a great book and I can't wait for #4....more
This was actually my first time exposed to either of these stories, and let me tell you that this audio format is excellent. The reader had the perfecThis was actually my first time exposed to either of these stories, and let me tell you that this audio format is excellent. The reader had the perfect voice for portraying these erie tales of horrors from beyond our world. I can't wait to try volume 2....more
This is an excellent start to what I hope will continue to be a really good series. Though the opening of it is not wholey original (I think either 28This is an excellent start to what I hope will continue to be a really good series. Though the opening of it is not wholey original (I think either 28 days later ripped this story off, or vice versa. I'd have to look at the production dates), it chose a path I hadn't seen in zombie movies/books yet. Combined with real characters and the focus on the humanity that this disaster brings out in everyone, this makes for a very deep narative....more
To fight a Devil, become a devil yourself. That's my final thought after I finished this book. Here is the story of a man wounded in WWI, who encounteTo fight a Devil, become a devil yourself. That's my final thought after I finished this book. Here is the story of a man wounded in WWI, who encounters vampires and is started on a long and dark path. On this path and at different times, he encounters three men whom he befriends and shares part of his encounter with the darkness. Most of the book is spent telling the tales of how each of these men met Lord Baltimore, and what happened to them in their own lives to make them open to believing his unbelievable story.
I found all three of the tales the men shared, both of encountering Baltimore and of encountering the supernatural, to be very interesting. They seem to escalate, both in length and intensity, with each man. All 3 of the characters of these men are also very interesting. Each of their encounters with the supernatural has the feel of a true folk/ghost story. It is this level of authenticity that Mignola has always brought to his writing. Every time I read a Mike Mignola story, I can tell that the seed of that story started from a myth or legend or folktale he encountered at some point, and then he expanded from there. It gives everything he does a kind of eerie veneer of reality, as if I'm being privy to some crones tales of the old country.
The illustrations also add a nice flavor to the book, though I personally just kept wishing for more and more. I couldn't help but want the book to transform into a graphic novel. All in all a very enjoyable book. About the only negative thing I could say about it is that I wish we had seen more of Baltimore's trials and obsessive hunting of the vampires....more
This has been on my list of things to read for a long time. The premise listed on the back sounded awsome. A horror story in which the monster is bothThis has been on my list of things to read for a long time. The premise listed on the back sounded awsome. A horror story in which the monster is both hunter and hunted? Sounds great. And in some respects it was.
I personally like the "every town" approach. I don't like it for everything, but I find it can be cool for horror. It puts you into the story. I'm always a big fan of horror writers that let me fill in the blanks sometimes, to creep myself out more than they ever could. So the begining of this book is cool and very intriguing. Also let me state, that throughout the book, its one of the easiest reads I've had in a long time. Not that its overly simple, but Partridge does have a somewhat minimalistic writing style that just flows write off the page and into your imagination.
Also, the monster's creation is really great. Very unusual and just a little tense. Its actually one of the coolest horror momments in the whole book as far as I'm concerned.
So we come to the middle of the book. At this point I'm like, wow..this is really interesting and things are being revealed to be more complex than I first thought, which is good. Of course given that this is a minimalistic and short type of story, by the middle you see where things are going to end up, and pretty much just about the entire path you are going to take to get there. I'm usually a pretty "its not the destination but the journey that matters" kind of guy, but thats asking a bit much even from someone like me. Still, its a good book. Its not the super creep-fest I was hoping for, but its taking me on an interesting ride that I haven't really been on before.
So at this point I'm describing the book as a cross between "Pumpkinhead" and "Battle Royale", if pumpkinhead was at all sympathetic.
And then bam, lighting quick you are at the end. And its not a bad ending, and its not even a forced ending. Its the ending you knew had to be there, that you saw coming. Yet I couldn't help but be slightly disappointed. What? Thats it? Are you sure I'm not missing pages? Oh, ok. Well that makes sense, but damn...I was really kind of hoping for something less sensible and real, and something a bit more out there. But ok, thats not bad. I would sum up the style of this book as a narrative in reverse. Or at least it is a narrative tempoed in reverse. It starts off small and quiet, coming from a shadowy sunset. Then Wham! Some very interesting and crazy things are thrown at you, not to mention some excitment. And then it kind of just coasts along, and splutters out. And thats about the best I can describe this book, without giving anything away. Try it if you like creative writing, cause it really is some well crafted writing. Also try it if you want some horror outside of (at least for me) the normal vein....more
This is a good book. After having read it I see now how many things have descended from it. Its tone is not unlike that of Cormac McCarthy's "The RoadThis is a good book. After having read it I see now how many things have descended from it. Its tone is not unlike that of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". I found it interesting that one of the early focal points of the movie is the mans struggle with having no female companionship despite natural biological urges. For some reason that just never occured to me. I guess I always thought that the overwhelming horror of such a situation would just override such urges. Now I'm not so sure, one CAN get use to alot of things. Check this out, its go alot to say and has influeced many current smart and thoughtful books....more
I really enjoyed this. I know folks who didn't, but I'm not sure I understand why. It exposed me to aspects of Lovecraft's shared mythos that I'd neveI really enjoyed this. I know folks who didn't, but I'm not sure I understand why. It exposed me to aspects of Lovecraft's shared mythos that I'd never seen before, and I'm very much looking for the 2nd installment of this series in TP.
The story shares some broadstroke similarities with "The Call of Cthulhu" story. The art is good, and changes when ever the main character takes a trip into the dreamland. Gives the book a nice extra something. I'm starting to be very impressed with Boom!'s lineup of titles....more