This is a very interesting and slightly disturbing book. Part of the disinfomation series, it is designed to inform as honestly as possible. It also s...moreThis is a very interesting and slightly disturbing book. Part of the disinfomation series, it is designed to inform as honestly as possible. It also serves as an excellent introduction to the world of torture devices.
It covers the basic histories and uses of well known devices such as the rack, the wheel, thumbscrews, the iron maiden and the guillotine. It also details other less well known devices such as St. Elmo's belt, the heretics fork, the garrote and the interrogation chair (as seen in the cover art). Each article comes with an excellent picture giving you a realistic idea of what the device looked like. In addition to detailing torture devices, it also contains interesting and miscellaneous piece of information such as the origins of the phrase "Sacre blue!"
This does not include extensive detail or a lengthy list of obscure torture devices and practices but rather paints a very accurate and general picture of the devices used in and around Europe (and borrowed in America). I would say that due to the realistic and honest descriptions and graphic nature of this book, it is best read in small doses.(less)
This book has one of the best opening lines I have ever read. "People are predictable. That is what makes them easy to kill." From there the book take...moreThis book has one of the best opening lines I have ever read. "People are predictable. That is what makes them easy to kill." From there the book takes several twists, turns leading to a surprising conclusion.
I will warn readers that this book was originally published in the UK and it was not 'translated' into American (car trunk = boot, kerb = curb etc.) but it does not hinder reading too much. I liked the structure of the chapters because it goes from a side-plot with the Oracle and sees it all the way through before switching to Prosper Snow's side of the story. It does not use the somewhat hackneyed technique of alternating chapters between protagonist and killer which was refreshing.
It is graphic in its detail however so this is not for the faint of heart or stomach. After all, it is about a twisted serial killer. At times I found certain parts to be a little clunky in the writing but it was not too noticeable or did it detract from my overall enjoyment. Rather, the flaws were somewhat refreshing since many writers are so 'polished' that most feel the same. It's nice to have a few imperfections but this book had enough to feel like a first novel.
I was annoyed because a back story of Prosper and his wife was never fully told. Who was driving? What happened afterward? All the characters know what happened but the reader can't? That bugged me. If the actual truth is in there, it was not clear to me. They also left their youthful antics incredibly vague. I really wanted more details of the aftermath of the incident they discussed.
Overall I enjoyed the book and am very glad I got an advanced copy but it had a lot of things going on with it that made it clear it was a first novel. I think Shaun Jeffrey will write many other enjoyable books in the future and will gain more finesse as he goes along.(less)
**spoiler alert** This review is rampant with spoilers. I can’t explain my opinions about this book without spoiling major plot points for people who...more**spoiler alert** This review is rampant with spoilers. I can’t explain my opinions about this book without spoiling major plot points for people who haven’t read it. I even mention the ending. Now that I’ve said that…
Overall, this was a well written mystery with interesting twists and turns with a level of realism that was unique. It’s about a case that is seems to be doomed from the start and shows the reader how it works. However, this book moved pretty slowly. It took its sweet time getting to the interesting bits but once it gets there, it hardly stays there. It felt like there were several false starts because they stopped before they went anywhere. It also hinted at something greater and more mysterious happening in the woods but that never lead anywhere.
The ending broke my heart. You know how you really like a book but its ending ruined everything for you? That’s what happened here. What happens between Ryan and Cassie in the end was just awful. I hated that he was stupid enough to completely screw up what they had and never tried to go back and fix it. I fully understand what Cassie does and it makes sense for the character but it just kills me that they were incredibly close and comfortable with each other and Ryan just faded into nothing.
It also drove me crazy that after all the time and interesting details, we never find out what happened to Ryan’s friends in that wood. I felt pretty gypped on that. And as for justice for Katy’s death, I watch enough Law & Order for that not to bother me but it was still a rip off. The best relationship between the characters in the book disappears, we never solve Ryan’s personal mystery after all the drama and focus on it and the actual psycho basically walks away.
The novel is good but it stops just when it starts and the ending, the final 40 pages, made me so disappointed that it kind of ruined the book for me. I know that I won’t reread it because of how it ended. It may have gotten critical acclaim but I think that applies if you don’t get too involved and lose yourself in the book. If you read to escape and lose yourself in literature, prepare to be disappointed. (less)
I do not like horror movies but I loved this book. It was funny, fun, and knew how to mock the genre as well as itself. It almost made me wish I was t...moreI do not like horror movies but I loved this book. It was funny, fun, and knew how to mock the genre as well as itself. It almost made me wish I was trapped in a horror movie, almost.(less)
Caveat: This is nothing like the movie. I knew that going in and the movie did much to preserve the essence/heart of the book, they are very different...moreCaveat: This is nothing like the movie. I knew that going in and the movie did much to preserve the essence/heart of the book, they are very different. The movie is more about modern science whereas Matheson's book is a new take on the modern vampire. I loved it because the main character was very much an everyman and endured hardships like everyone else. The vampires were also part science and part myth. The novel also strongly lives up to its name because by the end, the legend has been created. I would advise you find out how.(less)
I really enjoyed this book. It’s very different from his other works in its tone, imagery and overall narrative. Connolly describes this as a book abo...moreI really enjoyed this book. It’s very different from his other works in its tone, imagery and overall narrative. Connolly describes this as a book about childhood but is definitely not for children. I find that incredibly true. It has the narrative voice of a childrens story and borrows greatly from fairytales and little from mythology. It had a great deal of resonance for me because most of the stories were important to me growing up. Each fairytale used is tweaked or twisted so that it’s different and darker so that it better applies to the stories and characters. At the start of the novel, David (the protagonist) hears books talking and relating to one another. This becomes relevant throughout the course of the novel and is a spooky and vivid plot device typical of Connolly.
The novel also deals with issues almost every person has faced while growing up; overcoming obstacles, grief, loss, change, adversity, and the impact of our choices. I don’t want to tell too much or give anything away but I completely understood the motivations of the lead character and where he was coming from. While he was an imperfect protagonist, he was a familiar one in a sense. It was incredibly engaging and very difficult to put down. It was like a fairytale for grown-ups which was very refreshing. It’s lighter than other things I have read by him because the story deals with lose of innocence. It also has several chapters at the end which go into the history and interpretations of the fairytales and then repeats the story from the most historically or literary recognized telling. (less)
An excellent collection of short stories that represents the modern horror genre. Rather than resort to basic guts and gore like so many movies do, ho...moreAn excellent collection of short stories that represents the modern horror genre. Rather than resort to basic guts and gore like so many movies do, horror writers must find other ways to induce increased heart rate and higher blood pressure. This collection is an excellent example of how to do that. It is not based solely in reality but takes many liberties to step outside of it and I think Connolly does so artfully. He does not use it as a crutch but rather uses it to weave a compelling and interesting collection.(less)