Somehow over the years, Roger Zelazny has slipped by me. I've been aware of him as an author, I've just never found occasion to read any of his books.Somehow over the years, Roger Zelazny has slipped by me. I've been aware of him as an author, I've just never found occasion to read any of his books. When I heard that A Night in the Lonesome October was being released, and knowing that a dear friend is a diehard Zelazny fan, I picked up a copy and suggested that she and I read the book, one chapter a night, through the month of October.
Well, I'll tell you what, I had a lot of trouble sticking to my one chapter a night. I loved this book! Seriously, at the end of my nightly chapter, I wanted so desperately to keep reading, but I restrained myself. I found the whole idea, that numerous literary figures from across the horror spectrum have come together to play the Game, fantastic. Told from the point of view of Jack's familiar, a dog named Snuff, we are lead through the month of October as he tracks down clues as to which side of the Game each of the players are on. I loved this bit, as you try to figure out, along with Snuff, who is going to be pitted against who at the end of the Game. It was also fun seeing how so many literary (and in some cases, historical) characters were woven into this book. The entire story becomes a guessing game as you try to figure out who each of the characters are (some are obvious, some not quite so)and what role they'll play in the Game. I'm not saying what the Game is, as that's half the mystery as it is played out in the book.
Some might consider the next bit a little spoilerish.
If I had one quibble about the book, it's the abrupt end. There is so much build up to the finale of the story, that when it arrives, I was left a little shocked. It may just be that I wanted more of the story, but once the Game comes to an end, it is finished. No further explanation as to what happens to the characters, nothing. The story is just done. For me, it was just a little too unexpected, but I guess it works with the way the book is written, as we're only shown this one month of the character's lives.
End of spoilerish bit.
A Night in the Lonesome October is an immensely clever and entertaining book, a perfect addition to any reading that you may be doing leading up to Halloween. I'm fairly sure this will become a favorite of mine each October....more
This is a damned clever book. Taking place in an Ikea knockoff store called Orsk, Horrorstör is presented in a format that resembles a catalog that soThis is a damned clever book. Taking place in an Ikea knockoff store called Orsk, Horrorstör is presented in a format that resembles a catalog that someone would get in the mail from one of these flat-box furniture stores, complete with order forms, product descriptions and drawings of furniture sold in the store (that slowly morph in appearance and description into products that have a more sinister feel to them). Everything about the actual look and feel on the book is spot on in creating the feel of one of these catalogs. Kudos to the design team at Quirk!
The story opens like any other day at a retail location, with employees plodding along to their job. Amy is a disillusioned Orsk employee, and she's trying to stay out of her manager, Basil's, way, as she's sure he is out to get her and she's trying to keep from being fired before her transfer to another location comes in. Hendrix really gets the feel of the various retail employees. Amy, the disillusioned clerk who feels she's suited for better; Ruth Anne, the overly energetic and bubbly employee that everybody likes; Basil, the over optimistic manager who tries to turn everything into a learning opportunity for his employees; and so forth. On this particular day at Orsk, tho, something has happened that has Basil worried. Someone has vandalized a couch on the sales floor overnight.
The story falls back on several familiar horror tropes, yet doesn't feel familiar when you read it. The Orsk store is built on top of an old prison (the Beehive) that was demolished over a century ago, and since it's construction, there has been more and more unusual activity happening in the store. Thinking it's no more than vandals that sneak into the store at night, Basil decides to bring in two employees to stay overnight (Amy and Ruth Anne), to try to catch the culprits before Orsk corporate managers arrive at the store in the morning to evaluate what exactly is going on. What follows is a slow decent into madness for the Orsk employees as their world and that of the Beehive begin to blur and collide inside Orsk.
Really, this is one of the most unique horror novels, in both presentation and story, that I've read in a while. I'm hoping that there will be more to this story, as the ending leaves a little, tiny gap for more to happen. Recommended!...more