Kristy's Reviews > Swift to Chase

Swift to Chase by Laird Barron
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's review
Mar 07, 2017

really liked it

Check out the original version of this review on my blog,

What I've learned: just stay away from Alaska.

For me, this was more like 3.5 stars. When I started reading this book, I thought it was a really unique perspective and quite interesting. The chilling Alaska landscape and rugged characters really made things come alive. However, as I kept reading, all of the stories began to blend together.

I believe a lot of this was intentional, as this collection is like an anthology of connected tales about a group of Alaskan rebels. After a certain point, though, it became a little cumbersome. Really? ANOTHER story about an alcoholic group of sex-minded young adults getting murdered at an Alaskan party? History does repeat itself, but it was a bit much. Realistically, would this small Alaskan town even have any residents left if all these brutal, horrific, and enigmatic murders kept happening? Or, even more trippy... were they even happening at all? Dun dun dun...

With that in mind, in some stories, I just wasn't really sure what was going on. In some instances, that definitely added to the horror element - more mystery and more unknown = more potential for fear and trepidation. In many cases, it's more about the feeling and the throbbing pulse of the story rather than the actual content - and each story definitely felt like a living, breathing entity. But in others, it was simply confusing because I wasn't sure what had happened or why. Some of that was the writing style - which was eclectic and fun and robust, all in one. You can definitely tell Barron likes to carefully craft his sentences. Perhaps my English major muscles are just weak from not having been flexed in a while.

Then, there was the odd story out - "Ears Prick Up." All of the other tales in this book were connected or related in some way, except this one. It's set in some post-apocalyptic society and told from the perspective of an android dog that's been constructed as a war machine. The weak association here is that it is about a dog and about murder - two common elements throughout. However, it seemed a random story to include and really didn't seem to fit. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the dog is an unreliable narrator and the world he is seeing and experiencing is actually our normal world, in which case he might be one of the hellhounds from another story.

Overall, though, this book was extremely well-written. It was gratifying to see the ways in which everything connected, as each story revealed a few more details about the life and past of the main players. This was the first of Barron I've read, but I'd definitely check out some other (non-Alaskan) works of his.
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Reading Progress

February 19, 2017 – Shelved
February 20, 2017 – Started Reading
March 8, 2017 – Finished Reading

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