While riding with his father on the milk route, Cory Mackenson witnesses a car plunging into a bottomless lake with a dead man handcuffed to the steerWhile riding with his father on the milk route, Cory Mackenson witnesses a car plunging into a bottomless lake with a dead man handcuffed to the steering wheel. Will they figure out who the man was before the memory destroys them?
Yeah, that's not a great teaser for this. How do you summarize a couple years in the life of a young boy?
I tried hard not to like this book. For the first quarter of it, it wasn't hard. Boy's Life feels overwritten for what it is and Robert McCammon was trying so hard to write like Stephen King that you could taste it. I thought about tossing it back on the to-read mountain. Then it grabbed me. I wolfed it down in less than 24 hours.
While it has some crime and horror elements, Boy's Life is a coming of age tale more than anything else. It reminded me of Stephen King's The Body (aka Stand by Me) at first, but it's a lot more than that.
Cory is eleven when the story begins, growing up in a small Alabama town called Zephyr. While the mysterious dead man in Saxon Lake kicks off the tale, it's really about Cory getting older and world-weary in Zephyr. Since the story takes place in the early 1960's, the civil rights movement and Vietnam are lurking in the background, as are the rise of corporations.
Cory's adventures with his pals were a lot of fun but also harrowing at times. I loved the beast from the lost word and Nemo Curliss. For a twelve year old, Cory was sure in the middle of a lot of weirdness, though. The bit with Rebel added this book to my man-tears shelf. Was Vernon Thaxter a stand-in for McCammon himself?
I thought about giving this a five but couldn't. While I enjoyed the book immensely, I felt like parts of it were cobbled together from various Stephen King tales, like The Body, Christine, Pet Semetery, and others. Also, it seemed excessively wordy for what it was at times, like I mentioned at the beginning.
All things considered, Boy's Life was a great read. Four out of five stars....more
When the daughter of a legendary reclusive film director commits suicide, disgraced investigative reporter Scott McGrath sees his chance for redemptioWhen the daughter of a legendary reclusive film director commits suicide, disgraced investigative reporter Scott McGrath sees his chance for redemption, for he crossed paths with the director, Stanislas Cordova, years before, costing him his family and his career. What will McGrath find when he begins tugging at the strands of Cordova's web?
When I interviewed Edward Lorn for my book blog, he mentioned this among his favorite books. At the time, I saw that it had some post-modern aspects and dismissed it as hokum. Last week, I chanced upon it on the bargain table and decided to give it a shot.
Night Film is the tale of a man's obsession. Picture Moby Dick but with a film director in place of the white whale. Scott McGrath was once a rising star in the field of journalism but lost everything when he crossed Stanislas Cordova. When Ashley Cordova commits suicide, the hunt is on once again.
The book has the structure of a detective story, interspersed with articles and web postings about Stanislas Cordova and his family and associates. Normally, I would scoff and pronounce this gimmicky crap but it served the story very well.
McGrath descends deeper and deeper into the web of dark tales about Cordova, pulling his new friends Hopper and Nora, both touched by Ashley Cordova in the past, down with him. Is Cordova Satan himself? Some kind of witch or warlock? A child killer? A genius or a madman? Who the hell knows?
I'm not really doing the book justice. I think the creepiest thing about it was that none of it is outside the realm of possibility. By the time I passed the 66% mark, I was contemplating taking a day off work to finish it. It wound up being an even crazier tale than I ever expected when I first picked up the book.
The writing reminded me of Tana French a bit, literary but still suited to a detective tale. I'll have to track down Special Topics in Calamity Physics when I get a chance.
(view spoiler)[I see a lot of people having trouble with the ending. I was pretty sure it would end the way it did once the ambiguous endings of Cordova's films were revealed. I did love the fake-out ending at the nursing home, though. (hide spoiler)]
If dark detective tales with a psychological component are your drug of choice, Night Film will be a great fix. Five out of five stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The week before Christmas, two men hijack an armored car and go on the run. Can they evade the cops long enough to get the money to their employer?
EasThe week before Christmas, two men hijack an armored car and go on the run. Can they evade the cops long enough to get the money to their employer?
Easy Death is a quick, suspenseful read. This tale of cops and robbers has a lot of twists and turns, made even more serpentine by Daniel Boyd's use of shifting viewpoints. The action shifts between several groups of characters and I got turned around a couple times.
One thing I really liked was that Boyd went out of his way to show that none of the criminals were all bad. Eddie and Walter cared about each other. I also liked the interplay between Ranger Callie and Officer Drapp. Even Brother Sweetie had more to him than I originally thought.
The 1950's setting eliminates cellphones, computers, and a lot of other technology that makes crime stories in the present day a little problematic. Walter being black and Callie being female also gives us a look at how much times have changed.
The repeated Christmas carol thing wore on me, though, just like in real life. I also thought the transitions were a little jarring in places. Other than that, Easy Death was a fun read and a worthy addition to the Hard Case Crime Series. 3.5 out of 5 stars....more
When Roger and Tooth are out shooting at tin cans in the mountains, they hear a woman screaming. When they go to investigate, they wind up in a hell oWhen Roger and Tooth are out shooting at tin cans in the mountains, they hear a woman screaming. When they go to investigate, they wind up in a hell on earth. Will either of them survive the ordeal?
The Summer I Died is the story of two friends who wind up captured by a psychopath in the woods and tortured. It reminded me of The Girl Next Door in that it's a bleak, powerful book.
It's a pretty brutal book and horrifying because it isn't that far out of the realm of possibility. The Skinny Man kept inflicted more and more tortures on Tooth while Roger watched helplessly.
The Summer I Died is a pretty powerful book but I can't say I actually enjoyed it. "Survived it" sounds more accurate. I did like the ending way more than The Girl Next Door however, and I never once contemplated not finishing it. I guess I'm going to slap the traditional safety rating of 3 on it. I won't be reading the sequel, however. ...more