If I’d known in 1963 that the present was going to turn into such and interesting past, I would have paid more attention.
This was a great book. Nice cIf I’d known in 1963 that the present was going to turn into such and interesting past, I would have paid more attention.
This was a great book. Nice concept, even though I’ve been suspicious of time travel stories ever since John Connor went back in history to conceive himself. 11/22/63 was more like a mystery wrapped up in a love story, inside of a warp in the time-space continuum. Whatever that means.
Another great hang-out book from the literal King of the hang-out book writers, Stephen King. Great characters. Interesting locations. If there’s anybody out there in need of a best friend, Stephen King would probably create one for you for a few thousand dollars, but only as long as you can accept the fact they will die right when you start liking them most. He can make even the most boring places seem like sought-after vacation spots, or have them transform into the most pernicious hell on earth. Even though this book has an excellent ending, I hated when it was over. I always do. That’s what makes it a hangout book.
As it says on the jacket, this story is about Jake Epping traveling back in time to try and stop the Kennedy assassination. Stephen King apparently spent a lot of time in the Dallas/Fort Worth area doing research for this book, and it shows. Aside from having well-observed descriptions of the neighborhoods inhabited by Lee Harvey Oswald, he has one perfectly SPOT ON description of Dallas, Texas as a town possessed by an evil unmatched since the days of IT in Derry, Maine. Having lived my entire 59 years in the DFW area, I can tell you that his description of Dallas was not made up or mere artistic license. I never go into Dallas unless I’m armed.
So sets the stage for one of the best Stephen King books of all time. Some features to look for: a swing-dancing cameo appearance by Beverly and Eddie from IT, dealing with thumb-breaking bookies to place bets on events with known outcomes, an obscene amount of school-teacher sex (Come on! I know you have always wondered if teachers did such things!), and plenty of people dying in hideous ways. It wouldn’t be a Stephen King book without that.
To consider a novel (or a movie) successful, I have to feel afterwards as if I have been someplace and done something. After reading 11/22/63 I have been on a great adventure, made new friends, and returned home breathless and bewildered. I say you’ve gotta read this one, otherwise you’ll look back forty years from now and wish you’d paid more attention....more
This one was different. Instead of being about a writer from Maine it is about an artist from Minnesota. Stephen King did a convincing job of it, too.This one was different. Instead of being about a writer from Maine it is about an artist from Minnesota. Stephen King did a convincing job of it, too. He kept the descriptions of the art general and vague and yet managed to make me believe he knew something about the artistic process necessary to produce these pictures. Perhaps the process is easily related to crafting stories. One creative process is as good as another, I suppose.
Edgar Freemantle's near-fatal accident creates an ability to produce works of art so intense they bring top dollar at a local gallery. Edgar's accident also produces a lot of time to create these masterpieces while on recovery-hiatus in the keys of Florida, where King assembles the book's cast and crew. King must have been fresh from his own near-fatal accident when he wrote this one, because he writes about the miseries of recovery like someone who has recently been through it. Oh, did I mention the paintings were also magic? How did I forget that?
I recognized the name Freemantle as a revisitation of The Stand, but there is no indication that Edgar and Abigail Freemantle are related in anyway. For me, this book receives my highest acclaim, which is that of a great hangout book. King is great at making characters who are easy to be with. It is a sure sign of a great hangout book when you're sad when it ends, not because of the ending, but simply because it's over. I feel like I'm part of the book, and when it ends, I die a little bit right along with it. Nobody makes better hangout books than Stephen King.
Since I'm not wild about endings, no matter HOW they turn out, I tend to be hyper-critical of them. Early in his career, Stephen King didn't seem to know how to end books. It was like he just got tired of writing, so he'd kill everybody off in a few pages and call it done. (Pet Semetary, Carrie, etc.) He's getting better. I'd rate this ending as fair, but not as good as 11/23/63 (although he confesses his son, Joe Hill, had a hand in that one).
This is one of King's good ones. Highlights include: believable descriptions of the painting process along with a glimpse inside the hoity-toity world of art galleries, very detailed explanations of recovery from a near-fatal traumatic event, including the illusions and confusions of brain trauma, descriptions of daily life in the Florida Keys so excellent as to make you feel like you're on vacation while reading them, and last but not least, the characters, the people who become my pals, the ones you get to hang out with until the book is done. I feel like I've been somewhere and done something.
One of my favorite parts of a Randy Wayne White thriller is bar-hopping in a boat. I can't remember exactly which one it was that had this unique featOne of my favorite parts of a Randy Wayne White thriller is bar-hopping in a boat. I can't remember exactly which one it was that had this unique feature, but, being a fan of bar-hopping in any form, I thought it to be a brilliant idea.
Twelve Mile Limit had yet another different twist on the bar-hop. It was bar-hopping while wandering up and down the beach. Maybe this is a common theme in beach communities, but being a hopeless inlander, I found it different and charming. This bar-hop also had the unique feature of a rolling bar-room brawl to go along with the bar-hopping. What more could one ask for? We get to see Doc Ford kick the ass of an arrogant action/adventure movie star type, who, with his Aikido background and bad-ass reputation was so obviously patterned after Steven Seagal that it made me wonder what Steven Seagal had done to piss off so many people. Anyway, throw in Tomlinson, the loveable hippy philosopher, and a good time is had by all.
The story was a factually based account of a sunken boat and three missing people. Doc Ford's mission to get to the bottom of it led to South America, once again, as so many of Randy Wayne White's books do. The first time I was reading a RWW novel, he lost me on the jump to South America. I'm not sure which one it was, or why I couldn't make the leap to South America. I blame it mostly on my having the attention span of a 2-year old. But, I stuck with him this time, and off to South America we went. I suspect when a group of highly-paid, professional mercenaries end up going to South America to rescue kidnap victims from what is apparently an entire continent full of entrepreneurial kidnappers, it's sort of like shooting fish in a barrel compared to REAL wartime efforts. Pros going up against a bunch of amateurs with guns, a la Proof of Life, the Russel Crow movie about the same thing.
I liked this book quite a bit more than any other RWW novel I've read. I miss Tomlinson not being in the second half of the book, but I guess it would be out of character for him to participate in the inevitable bloodshed. Some of the features to watch for in this one are, talented octopi, Tomlinson becoming even more mystic to the point of psychic, and Doc Ford getting laid more than James Bond. There is plenty of action, too, including Doc Ford killing a man with his bare hands because he likes the personal touch.
That's all I've got on this one. Probably give it a year and I'll read it again.
The Dark Half is the closest thing I’ve read to a mystery novel from Stephen King. Of course it has his obligatory supernatural twist, but it was stilThe Dark Half is the closest thing I’ve read to a mystery novel from Stephen King. Of course it has his obligatory supernatural twist, but it was still laid out like a crime novel, and a pretty darn good one, too. I would say it’s your standard “a writer’s discarded pen-name comes to life and goes on a killing spree” novel, except I’ve never heard of such a thing.
This one was tightly laid out, well-organized, not quite so much a hang-out book like so many of his seem to be. I found it compelling enough to make it to the end and feel satisfied, and, believe me, if a book can’t hold my interest I don’t hesitate abandoning it, no matter how much I paid for it. Features to look for in this one: more writing mystique, an understanding cop, the mother-of-all killing sprees, and plenty of views of the Maine landscape.
On a technical note, I bought this book at the Sony ebook store, and I read it on a Sony Reader, and this version had so many spelling errors in it that sometimes it was hard to figure out what they meant. I eventually caught on that in every instance where there was the word “close” it came out as “dose,” but there were so many of these errors sometimes it was confusing: “bad” instead of “had,” “cheek” instead of “check,” “dosed” instead of “closed,” etc. And those are just a few of the simple ones I could figure out. Some were more difficult and took more thinking to solve. I guess the point is, I’m not SUPPOSED to be thinking about this. These are all failures of the Optical Character Recognition software. OCR software has been around since the late eighties, and been cheaply available since the nineties, but it’s no better today than it was then. The only difference is, now they run a spell check on it immediately after the the digitization of the text., but, as we all know, if the OCR error produces an actual word, the spell check won’t flag that. This is an outrage of the first order. I’ve run into the same thing with the older books on the Kindle, but since the books carry the same publisher information, I am assuming these digital files are supplied by the publisher, placing the blame for this outrage squarely on their shoulders. I’m sure they are converting all the older books into digital form at a furious pace, but that is no excuse not to give them the editing attention they require. ...more