Really liked this. Very similar to her previous (also awesome) book, but in a good way - with its creeping, oppressive atmosphere, the same slightly rReally liked this. Very similar to her previous (also awesome) book, but in a good way - with its creeping, oppressive atmosphere, the same slightly resentful young man driven by a need to prove himself amid a lethal adventure, soon overrun by the dark side of his surroundings.
I really loved how it came together, very vivid. It's not a hugely long read, just long enough to pass on a sense of horror amid the mountains. It helped that I had a gorgeous copy of it; that blue hardback felt wonderful to hold, and reading it and being drawn into the story was a real pleasure.
Also, kudos for not gratuitously killing the dog...! Though that threat did add extra tension....more
Inspiring, thought she really kicked ass, as you'd expect. Requires that you want the same things she does, in some ways, and pivots between 'you mustInspiring, thought she really kicked ass, as you'd expect. Requires that you want the same things she does, in some ways, and pivots between 'you must try being a rebel' and 'look presentable to get a job dummy', all good advice to anyone, male or female, aspiring to get somewhere.
Her life sounded like it was fairly chaotic but always in some sort of control - with an eyewatering amount of blagging and thieving in her early years. Seems that ebay and fashion and hard work was the right answer for her. It's all in how you interpret the advice and I found it interesting and uplifting, overall. ...more
**spoiler alert** Hiding this review because I'm planning to talk about events in it. Although it's been compared to modern thrillers, it clearly owes**spoiler alert** Hiding this review because I'm planning to talk about events in it. Although it's been compared to modern thrillers, it clearly owes more to older thrillers where the antiheroes are those who, much like Hannibal Lecter, administer death according to their own codes. while it's very pulpy, and its female characters are kind of obsessed with describing how their boobs feel (crushes against things all the time, owch) it's just interesting enough, and twisty enough, that I kept tuning back in to see where the next instalment took it.
The spoilery bit comes when you realise that no protagnoist is safe. It does the now familiar trick of switching between points of view per chapter, and for the first part we're following Lily and Ted on their paths, but then the whole game changes. I'm not convinced by the second time it pulls this trick, however, as it felt like introducing the detective (who loves to write awful limericks) so near the end was kind of reaching for a twist out of the blue. However, it's just treated lightly enough, and made into enough of a cat and mouse chase, that it gets away with it.
The final chapter also rounds it all off quite nicely if you like a sense of imminent justice approaching. Perhaps the detective will get a spin-off after all?
Basically, this is a light, slightly grubby thriller filled with indifferent sex and characters defined entirely by their attractiveness. But, it was entertaining enough, especially about a third of the way in (thank goodness Ted gets offed early on), and murderous fun to breeze through, if not taken too seriously...
Brutal and unflinchingly honest about the plight of victims and the nasty mindset behind the killers, this is an absorbing and smart thriller. Doesn'tBrutal and unflinchingly honest about the plight of victims and the nasty mindset behind the killers, this is an absorbing and smart thriller. Doesn't pull it's punches, but if you survived Silence of the Lambs you'll probably get a lot out of this. Quality serial killer pulp, very good....more
Oh, Pat Booth, what happened? From raunchy, 1980s capitalist name-dropping wet dreams to whatever the hell this story was about. It's all about a perfOh, Pat Booth, what happened? From raunchy, 1980s capitalist name-dropping wet dreams to whatever the hell this story was about. It's all about a perfect girl with a TERRIBLE name who realises she's the daughter of god and...OK, I didn't really finish it. There's a few sex scenes but honestly, nowhere near the awesome opus of Sisters, Beverley Hills, Palm Beach or even the early, sleazy fun of Sparklers. I am really not happy to report that this book is almost unreadable. But Pat Booth's other work is great fun, so I still strongly recommend looking at any work except this one....more
This has a detached mindset that does it not favours at all, and an ending that rushes and then kind of stops without delivering a satisfying conclusiThis has a detached mindset that does it not favours at all, and an ending that rushes and then kind of stops without delivering a satisfying conclusion. With all the flipping back and forth between old and young Tessie/Tessa, it really felt like we were being smugly misdirected the whole way. It sucks to know less than the protagonist, and then at the very end realise that a better protagonist was waiting all along.
Still, some lovely images, just not feeling like I enjoyed much of this, like the interesting bits were hidden out of sight or happened after the narrator got involved. Preferred Lie to Me for this sort of timeline messing and half revealed information....more
It began very slowly and then rushed at the end. I'd give this a low 3/5 stars as I wasn't racing to find out what happened, but was curious enough toIt began very slowly and then rushed at the end. I'd give this a low 3/5 stars as I wasn't racing to find out what happened, but was curious enough to keep going whenever I remembered to pick it up. Damming with faint praise here, I know. I found the inner life of the main character too boring to do more than skim through, and there seemed to be a lot of repetition, which is kind of the point I guess, given the emphasis on routines making us careless about who could be watching us. Very creepy, in that respect...
I find these psycho-thriller books interesting as they always paints a depressing world where everyone is secretly a psychopath, or, a higher than normal (hopefully) concentration of them exist in one person's life, and the plot of this one especially hinges on that. There are two big surprises, and where it ended with these was actually kind of depressing!...more
Wanted to like this more, though it's brief and terse setup created a bit of a taste for the story and characters, once I'd finished it. Feels choppyWanted to like this more, though it's brief and terse setup created a bit of a taste for the story and characters, once I'd finished it. Feels choppy to read, due to time jumps, but sort of got used to those. lt galumphs like a drunken stream of consciousness, trippy and full of dream logics. I will seek out the second one. Gunslinger himself is a likeable sonovabitch, although his quest makes no real sense to me. Yet....more
**spoiler alert** Hard to know how to feel, just a few minutes after finishing this. I've marked it for spoilers because the ending - the epilogue - r**spoiler alert** Hard to know how to feel, just a few minutes after finishing this. I've marked it for spoilers because the ending - the epilogue - really did make me want to throw the goddamn book at the fricking wall. SPOILER from here: (Also spoilers for Atonement...)!
Turns out, the last half of the book is all how the narrator would have liked and imagined the story to be. I have to admit, that's up there with 'its all a dream' and 'everyone's a doll' as an ending that irks me. But in this case, it's maddening that I've ploughed through the last half of a book, most of which I kind of enjoyed, only to be told that everything after the narrator left the family home to take care of her brothers diet is utter bullshit. So what we get is a suspiciously positive ending at a celebratory party, and then it shatters like a case of explosive diarrhea, contaminating the rest of the book.
And while this sort of ending works in a Gone Girl situation, or a Fight Club setup, or really anything where the plot is changed and can be reread in a profound way, in this we're left with 'nope he died, and I stayed put, and it's a bit sad yes but life goes on'. And, to be honest I wanted more. Or, I wanted to enjoy the story as it was rounding up to me. Even leaving it at the obvious jealousy and hint of a downturn to come would have been enough, at the point where Pandora and her health-freak husband reconcile at the party, and right afterward her 'big brother starts in again on the chocolate cake. That's a bittersweet payoff right there. Instead, though, there's a semi-Biblical deluge of revelation which UNDOES the last two hundred pages gone before. "You weren't EXPECTING a HAPPY ENDING were you? You SUCKERS".
As a result, I feel entirely underwhelmed. This is exactly why Atonement irritated the crap out of me, too. Reading how the narrator would LIKE something to be, without significant real life impact (like in, say, Fight Club) is just boring. That's the crime here. It's a boring way to end it with the reader. Oh, it's a fiction, yes, no shit, but it's a fiction within a fiction, and there it is. That is all.. Thin gruel. Byeeee....
So, *deep breath* I will still give Big Brother a solid three stars, because at least while it lasted, the interactions of brother and sister and grumpy husband and endearingly spoiled step-kids was kind of fun to watch. There are some thoroughly accurate observations on the psychosis that's developed around food, nailing the puritanical vs the self-hating mindset from opposite end of the spoon. Still, it's such an annoying finale that all those interesting, very insightful goodies get devoured by an epilogue so useless, so acidically unpalatable, that it promptly reduced all that came before it into gummy babysick.
Come for the yummy descriptions of food, leave before the party ends. And now I've finished it, I'm kinda starving......more
Read this super fast, it's an easy structure to get into, but it rattles along and I found it insightful having a walking disaster area as the main naRead this super fast, it's an easy structure to get into, but it rattles along and I found it insightful having a walking disaster area as the main narrator, I liked Rachel a lot, actually, quite admired her tenacity though I wouldn't want to be trapped near her when she's on a drunken bender. Not quite as complex as Gone Girl, I can't help comparing, but strong on its own terms. Could smell the commuter belt where this takes place, and sympathise with money woes. Like Gone Girl, it taps into anxieties like youthful aspiration gone sour and clinging onto toxic relationships.
Looking forward to the movie in October, too, which is another reason I got on with reading this one. Very glad I did. Thriller all the way through but a lot better than I was expecting! Recommended for a fast, addictive read. ...more
Really liked this, though I probably have little to add compared to all the other reviews and I have a strong sense of 'phew, I finally read that popReally liked this, though I probably have little to add compared to all the other reviews and I have a strong sense of 'phew, I finally read that pop culture touchstone everyone else ws talking about'. I had just finished Girl on a Train so was primed for this (though this came first).
So, while I didn't know a lot about it, enough spoilers had seeped into my subconscious to make me take it all with a pinch of salt. I was more worried about Bleecker, Amy's cat, tbh (he's fine!) but I think the appeal of this story is in reading between the lines, picking apart their relationship, and being fully aware you aren't getting the entire story most of the time. Which is fine. I also found the writing stimulating and was pulled in by the plot, it is a story that I couldn't resist zooming through just so I could read what had been said about it.
I'm also looking forward to seeing the movie at last. After reading this, I'm pretty sure that Ben Affleck was the perfect casting choice for Nick! Mainly down to 'so handsome and punchable' he's described as. Yeah. (Good Batman, though).
yes, other reviews are accurate here, after a lengthy buildup of dark room, terrifying encounters and cobwebs of memory just taking shape, it blows awyes, other reviews are accurate here, after a lengthy buildup of dark room, terrifying encounters and cobwebs of memory just taking shape, it blows away in a few paragraphs and....the end. plus an epilogue that frankly adds very little. I was half expecting a sort of Lovecraftian bodyswap payoff, but clearly I was reading too much into it.
Rating this a low three stars for atmosphere and accurate representation of the style and language of the era, AFAIK, but don't expect it to go anywhere. my copy also had a sample of her superior novel The Woman in Black at the very end, which is just taking the piss after the ending of this one....more
Wanted to like this collection more. A few too many stories descended into randomness without actually being clear wtf happened. Most memorable storieWanted to like this collection more. A few too many stories descended into randomness without actually being clear wtf happened. Most memorable stories for me were:
'Foster parents' by Paul Magyrs - Creepy one where the curtain twitching neighbours suspect their neighbours of foul play.
'Digging Deep' by Ramsey Campbell - Think I'd read this one before somewhere else, but as always he puts across a great sense of 'holyshitthings-gotout-of control-faaaast' and then just the screaming....
'Mortal Coil' by Robert Shearman - A cheeky take on a common question about death. The relief of fatalism. Liked this one the most....more