Years from now, when most of us are probably all dead and pickled, some crackerjack college kid named Eustace is going to do a thesis on Rob Cornell....moreYears from now, when most of us are probably all dead and pickled, some crackerjack college kid named Eustace is going to do a thesis on Rob Cornell. I’ve read most of his writings and there’s a tempting little morsel of a thesis topic - dads and daughters - hovering overhead like the Sword of Damocles just waiting for bright-eyed BA student Eustace to make his mark in lit crit.
In the mean time, though, I have to admit that I didn’t think that Cornell had the juices to keep the mojo at a high pitch the fourth time around. But I’m happy to admit that not only does he match anything that came before, he knocks this twisted fucker out of the park.
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Lockman Chronicles, then for Pete’s sake don’t start with Darkness Returns. It’s not that you’d be lost; you’d have forsaken the appetizer and entrée to get to the desert, and although it would be tasty, it wouldn’t be close to being entirely satisfying. It ‘s a terrific installment to this meal and even now I’m still savoring it, reminiscing over bits of action and dialogue with the toothpick of delightful recall.
However, if you indeed have read the other three books, and you’re waiting to read this because – oh I don’t know, maybe because you’re an idiot – get off your ass and dig right in like one of Cornells’ werewolves chomping down on a savory limb.
I’m not going to rehash the plot. That’s a waste of my time, as well as yours. But I am going to propose that the characters in Cornell’s toolbox have become more finely tuned, to the point where embracing them and their foibles and strengths is a reader’s joy. Particularly that daughter character. Yeah, I’m back to that. Jesse’s a piss in a handbag if there ever was one and I can’t wait to see where RC takes her in this continuing saga. At least, it better be a continuing saga or some nomad Michigan author should have his balls sawed off.
Yes, Lockman is our focal point for a good part of the book but Jesse comes into her own this time around. We get to see what Lockman sees, but through her eyes; experience what Lockman experiences, but with the vision of a teenager wise beyond her years; and we witness as she gains not only a greater respect for the man she calls Dad, but emotes a sincerity in the love she feels for him.
Then there’s Theresa. Sister May Francis what a fucked up, gun toting, egocentric, single-goal oriented banshee. Which is why I love her so much. There’s great writing here featuring all kinds of crazy but it’s Theresa and her antics that provide the very successful catalyst to move the story forward.
And then there’s Lockman. If ever there was a character with a stick of dynamite up his ass ready to explode, its’ Lockman. But it’s great to see him embrace the skills and strengths of his daughter and begin to work with her as a teammate, not just as a kid that he needs to protect. As such, we can empathize with him even more in his conflicting role of Daddy Warrior.
There aren’t many series out there that make me long for the next bite. But you’ve probably guessed that this is one of them. The ending not only leaves you wanting more, but wondering, “Oh shit! Now what Cornell? Are you dicking with us or are you serious?” But then again, these are Chronicles, and if you’ve read your Bible, Chronicles can take you all over the place, cover a lot of ground, and introduce you to all kinds of heroes and villains. My bet is on the new hero. My bet is on the daughter. (less)
Okay so these Lockman books kick ass. With a seriously big boot. But don't start reading them with this installation. You can, but let's face it. You'...moreOkay so these Lockman books kick ass. With a seriously big boot. But don't start reading them with this installation. You can, but let's face it. You're not that stupid. You are sensible enough to read these books from the start and then, after you get to this one and finish it, bang your head against the wall because you don't have time to wait for the next one come out.
The thing I like most about these books are that the characters are not cartoons; they are well-crafted, identifiable people that you can either love or hate. Hey, Lockman scares the crap out of me, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to sit down with him and have a cup of coffee, with, perhaps some biscotti? But seriously, I enjoy spending time with these characters so that when one is briskly taken from us, it sucks the big wet one.
Seriously, this is great stuff. I've only read the Lockman books but if Cornell's other novels are written with the same precision and attention to detail, then I think they'll fit in nicely with my summer reading list.
The book, if anything, is a misogynist's dream which is not my cup of gore. However, the story tended to pick up a bit as it progressed even though I...moreThe book, if anything, is a misogynist's dream which is not my cup of gore. However, the story tended to pick up a bit as it progressed even though I was disappointed with the zombie nuns. There could have been much more humor interspersed that would be more than just referring to every woman as a bitch, but at least the story kept me interested. If you want to see humor and sexism work well within the wrappings of a good story, check out "Dead Bob" by Leonard Norman.(less)