I've said it before and I'll say it again ... there's something about Dries's books that simply blow my away. And 'A Place for Sinners' is no differenI've said it before and I'll say it again ... there's something about Dries's books that simply blow my away. And 'A Place for Sinners' is no different. They are impossible to predict, cunningly put together, beautifully written, and weirdly moving. Oh, and did I mention horrific? Because this one sure is. Very.
It tells the story of Amity Collins, a young deaf woman who goes on a long-in-the-waiting trip to Thailand with her gay brother. The two Collins kids have been desperate to get out from under their mother's loving, but constrictive grip, and away from their small Australian town (it's a real place - and I've been there!) where their family is still whispered about after a tragic event some years before. Along with Amity and her brother, we meet a small collection of characters, some good, some very evil, some linger in that wonderful place in between. All of their stories converge on an island off the Thai coast, where ... suffice to say ... all hell breaks loose!
Dries takes his time setting things up, but infuses all the build up with foreboding and suspense. You know something is coming, but you really can't tell what. And then it hits. Bigtime. It's as if Dries knew that the buildup would be big, but the PAYOFF had to be EPIC. The 'when the sh*t hits the fan' scene (trust me, you'll know it when it happens) is one of modern horror's great set pieces -- true, old fashioned carnage choreography. Subsequently, the following pages fly by. There are twists, turns, suspense, and that kind of Jack Ketchum-esque violence that so few people do well. And Dries being in that minority.
All of this leads to an ending that left me shaking and satisfied. But that's not it ... Where I thought the book was going to end, was only the beginning of a truly unexpected epilogue. These final thirty pages, to me, are comparable only to the ending of Hannibal by Thomas Harris. I couldn't believe Dries would drag me, as a reader, into the dark like that. I wanted to stop reading actually. But I couldn't. That was the point. That's horror. Real horror. Suffice to say, my jaw was on the floor.
But that's not to say that Dries is all gore. He's not. The prose is impeccably put together. And his characterizations are flawless. I love how he writes female characters, isn't afraid to make them ugly or unsympathetic, whilst always making them (frighteningly) easy to relate to. I like how he writes about homosexuality, too. I love how his characters have disabilities (the ways he describes Amity's silent world is just incredible, and easy to relate to; and Amity's mother is a borderline compulsive hoarder (very interesting/sad!)).
So what more can I say? I wish Dries would write more. And faster! And I wish he was more widely read. I need to talk to more people about this book lol. So what are you waiting for? Go and read it now!!!! ...more
I can't get enough of this guy's stuff. This novella (it's short, about 60 pages or so) was in another anthology I read somewhere, but it's been tweekI can't get enough of this guy's stuff. This novella (it's short, about 60 pages or so) was in another anthology I read somewhere, but it's been tweeked. It's sharper. More in-depth. Fun stuff! Twists and turns with a strong emotion core. Dries' writing is for horror fans who want to go against the trends. Sorry, no vampires, zombies or witches to be found anywhere near him. His horror is the horror of the soul. This stuff gives me nightmares. I can't recommend his work enough!!!!! :)...more
This would have made a nifty short story ... if it didn't stretch its already paper thin concept over hundreds of pages -- and if I hadn't already reaThis would have made a nifty short story ... if it didn't stretch its already paper thin concept over hundreds of pages -- and if I hadn't already read that same story half a dozen times. From Bradbury's The Illustrated Man, to movies like Ninja Scroll, Elektra, The Rage: Carrie 2, The Tatooist, Comforting Skin, episodes of The X-files ... to a dozen other borderline plagiarism riffs (especially William Friedkin's Tales From The Crypt episode, "On A Deadman's Chest", which INK blatantly steals from, chapter to chapter, even down to gooey sequences in which the tattoo (in that case, a snake) bursts free from the lead character's flesh and tries to attack him in the finale ... Only this version was better because it was shorter and at least had some gritty sexuality to it).
It's well written, no denying it, but it's all so tired. None of the characters are particularly interesting either, especially the lead female who seems to serve little purpose other than emotional page filler because the male lead is so paper-thin. And I don't know if I'm the only one, but if I read yet another Devil's Bargain-you-should-have-read-the-fine-print story, I'll pull my hair out.
Plot move for plot move, I picked everything coming and each time this happened, it looked better in my head than what was revealed on the page. The moment I met the devil, I knew the book would end with some kind of epilogue in which it forebodes his evil continuing - this is but one of many, many by-the-number mechanisms wrought through this mess.
Sadly, this is the first miss that I've read on the Samhain Horror line. It angered and frustrated me - and even with the boredom, I only finished it because I wanted to know if every plot move I'd predicted eventuated. And they did.
INK is a waste of its namesake. Come on Samhain, you can do better!...more