It's easy to compare this one to The Girl on the Train or even Gone Girl. It definitely has that vibe of psychologically damaged minds perpetrating da It's easy to compare this one to The Girl on the Train or even Gone Girl. It definitely has that vibe of psychologically damaged minds perpetrating dark deeds in the midst of a twisty, sinuous plot. It also shares the multiple POV narration, which when done well, can add SO MUCH to these types of stories.
As it does here. I would actually argue that The Kind Worth Killing is an even stronger and more page-turning book than The Girl On the Train (whose underwhelming ending left me sort of underwhelmed by the time I was done, especially after such a great build-up).
If you're going to write a page-turning psychological thriller piece like this you had better stick the landing, otherwise all your hard work leading up to the main event is going to feel wasted. It's all a house of cards, an illusion built using smoke and mirrors; you are asking the reader to suspend their disbelief and come along for the crazy ride. When it's all over, don't leave them feeling like they've been had. Play fair. Don't cheat.
The Kind Worth Killing has a very noir sensibility in its tone and execution that I just lapped up like cream. And no surprise because the author is channeling Patricia Highsmith's classic crime novel Strangers on a Train that Hitchcock adapted into one of my favorite film noirs. When people start talking and planning the perfect murder, you know anything can -- and usually does -- happen.
Along with its noir vibe, The Kind Worth Killing is also reminiscent of the old pulp fiction crime novels churned out on cheap paper during the first half of the 20th century -- where sex and violence are expected to go together like PB&J -- a marriage made in heaven if you will, or more accurately, hell. The characters are not meant to be likable, or even relatable, and the dialogue and writing style is strictly utilitarian -- nothing fancy -- just let's move the plot along here, we've got places we need to end up. It's not always easy getting from A to Z leanly and meanly.
I really enjoyed the multiple POV narration here. It's probably what the novel does best. Sometimes there is some overlap too -- you get the same event described to you again but this time by a different character. It would be easy to screw that up and just have things seem repetitive. Here it's executed with aplomb and adds depth and interest to the story. At least it did for me. I would love to see this as a movie, especially if they fully committed to a noir style.
Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed...
Sooooooo, here we are. Back to the more soap-opera-ish, plodding plot with a few in
Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed...
Sooooooo, here we are. Back to the more soap-opera-ish, plodding plot with a few interesting "twists" (for lack of a better word) thrown in. I was not riveted. Maggie going toe-to-toe with dickhole parents of dickhole kids is a less than inspiring sub-plot. More scheming by disgruntled community members. Eh, we've seen that number before too.
The Whisperers are sorta kinda interesting and new, I suppose, if you look at them with your eyes scrunched and squinting. It makes sense to me that there would be a group like this that would come along eventually. The real surprise is that it's taken this long, and perhaps how many of them there's rumored to be. Thousands? Really? That would be shocking indeed. For now, it's just a rumor and my fingers are crossed that this new "threat" turns out to be more than what they appear to be which is a step above same shit different day.
And Carl? Sweet jebus. (view spoiler)[After nearly bashing in the skulls of two douchebag out-of-control violent teenagers, he gets hit on by a strange new girl from the Whisperers group. And she's totally got a kink for Carl's empty eye socket. As in, she's totally into it. So much so she French kisses the damn thing (ewwwww)
Yup, like that. Then she takes his virginity. For the record, Carl doesn't put up a fight. But what should have played out as a nice sweet innocent scene has a twisted underbelly cause you know this young woman has got some serious problems and that she's been abused and raped by her group. Great. Cause the one thing the Walking Dead has been missing is some good 'ol pedophilia. (hide spoiler)]
Sometimes this series feels like an albatross around my neck, a monkey on my back, Sisyphus's Rock. I NEED THIS TO END!!!! I NEED AN ENDING!!!! Do you hear me Kirkman???? For godsake man, take mercy on all of us and please JUST FUCKNG END IT.
This is the turning point us zombified Dead Heads have been waiting for -- a genuinely new beginning, not just the illusion of one immediately undone This is the turning point us zombified Dead Heads have been waiting for -- a genuinely new beginning, not just the illusion of one immediately undone by human depravity and Rick Grimes assholery.
A few years have past. We have actual thriving communities now. More than one! Fresh baked bread is happening! Can I get a hallelujah people? Community members are trading goods and favors and working together and sleeping with both eyes closed at night. Children are playing, carefree and silly. Adolescents are keen to take on an apprenticeship in order to learn a valuable skill. Good ol' one-eyed Carl is among them, eager for Rick to finally cut the apron strings so that he can forge his own path to independence and competency.
Maggie is thriving ruling roost over the Hilltop and breaking horses. She's also mom to Sophia and little Herschel. Glenn is a huge void in this scenario and I miss him still.
Rick has calmed the sweet fuck down. He even will take the time to watch a sunset now. And delegate and build partnerships based on trust and respect. But what of good 'ol Negan? He's still with us. Serving a life sentence behind bars and taunting Rick every chance he gets. Right now he's convincingly neutralized but this is the goddamn motherfucking Walking Dead. Guys like Negan don't survive to become the good guys or the defeated guys.
There are new characters who are behaving the way Rick's group would have three years ago -- angry, paranoid, mistrustful. They can't believe what they are seeing and are certain something more sinister HAS TO BE afoot.
If Kirkman wants us standing firmly in the middle of the rug so he can brutally and viciously pull it out from underneath us again I'm quitting this series for good. Don't take us this far only to HULK SMASH it all to pieces again. This new threat? (view spoiler)[ Quite frankly I was much more excited to think that the zombies had become sentient. That it's just sick mofos running around sewn up inside zombie skins TCM Leatherface style? Meh. Do we really need more human depravity at this point? Shit sake. (hide spoiler)]
On to the next volume -- Whispers into Screams. Uh huh. Here we go -- out of the blue into the goddam black of an Arby's abyss again. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Can this series get any better or more exciting, Other Barry? I'm here to tell you it cannot. Up against it, this series makes cyborgs as interesting Can this series get any better or more exciting, Other Barry? I'm here to tell you it cannot. Up against it, this series makes cyborgs as interesting as watching paint dry. Cyborgs -- watching paint dry -- even the ones with removable vaginas of the lighting up variety. Just the tip, Archer. You want to lose that thing or what?
All Archer joking aside (and yes, that was totally for you Mara), Saga is a tremendous graphic novel series that continues to blow my hair back, my skirt up and my socks off. Don't even ask me where I left my vagina, but I'm sure it's gotta be around here somewhere.
This third volume of the Saga saga (see what I did there?) continues to up the ante on the crazy and the thrills. What I love about this series the most is that even though every other page contains something I've never seen before anywhere else, it all feels so very sane, and beautiful and universal. This is a space opera dealing with an age old bitter protracted bloody war between two different races. But our heroes Marko and Alana, born to fight each other, raised to hate and want to kill the other, have fallen in love. They have given birth to a mixed race daughter -- Hazel -- our intrepid sometimes narrator, a living symbol of all that is innocent and good.
Marko and Alana (and Hazel) act as our sympathetic entry point into this story and the wacked out landscapes and sundry denizens we encounter along the way. Their plight might not be relatable, but the love they share for each other and their family certainly is.
The Will may be an assassin extraordinaire with plenty of blood on his hands, but he also has a conscience and a desire to be a good man, kept in line by his lie-detector cat creature (who is even more awesome than the exotic ocelot). I heart Lying Cat, okay? Okay.
There's so much to love packed into this story -- the action, the heart, the energy and passion and tongue-in-cheek humor. Always with the humor. Whether it's captured in the text or in the artwork, dynamic sensational duo Vaughan and Staples find the humor existing everywhere in their tale, in the absurd, the poignant, the raunchy and the ironic. It's addictive and cathartic and all I want is more. Just MORE. Of all of it. ...more
So this is how this one begins -- and let me tell you, the opening passage gave me the shivers, the little hairs on the back of my neck stood to atten So this is how this one begins -- and let me tell you, the opening passage gave me the shivers, the little hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention. If Ms. Megan Abbott should ever wish to venture into horror, I have no doubt she could make that genre her bitch. Read this:
At night, the sounds from the canyon shifted and changed. The bungalow seemed to lift itself with every echo and the walls were breathing. Panting. Just after two, she'd wake, her eyes stinging, as if someone had waved a flashlight across them. And then she'd hear the noise. Every night. The tapping noise, like a small animal trapped behind the wall.
Eeeek! Like seriously, if that doesn't creep you out check your pulse because you might be dead.
So this gripping short story isn't Megan Abbott doing horror, but nevertheless does this lady have a flair for the dark and ... unhinged. She loves to troll the deep end of those viscous psychological waters, where things with teeth swim, and bite. On the surface this story is a period piece -- circa 1950's Hollywood. Abbott is comfortable here in her noir sandbox.
The Little Men features Penny, an aging actress who has given up the fight and has decided to move on and do something else with her life. A fresh start if you will. She thinks she finds it in a new place to live, a place that will be all hers that she won't have to share with anyone. Her landlady seems kind and generous (at first), her neighbors friendly and warm. But there's something not right about this new low-rent bungalow, filled as it is with a dead man's things.
As Penny begins to uncover more and more about the life of the man who lived in the bungalow before her, she also begins to see and hear things. Disturbing things. What's real and what isn't? Is Penny losing her mind or is there something more sinister afoot?
Reading this I could not help be reminded of the classic short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Both women in these stories are coming unhinged, but there's a gravity and justification to their decline that lends empathy to their plight. Both women are trapped in their lives with few to no options, and are suffocating from the stranglehold their current realities have put them in.
In Penny's case, 1950's Hollywood is a cruel and capricious mistress. Women are (ab)used until they are no longer wanted: "You were a luscious piece of candy, he said, but now I gotta spit you out." In the land of casting couches, you sleep with the devil and wake up in Hell.
This is a gripping read with layers and subtext and all the more remarkable for its short length. This is Megan Abbott at her most teasing and it is excruciatingly delicious. This woman will always leave you wanting more, always more.
A free advanced copy was provided through NetGalley....more