Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Booklist #2

1. Currently reading: 

 - The Keep, (Berkley Books), by F. Paul Wilson.  Have I said buy everything F. Paul Wilson has written yet?  BUY EVERYTHING F. PAUL WILSON HAS WRITTEN! There.  Obsessively readable.  Excellent POV and character development/voice.  A purpose.  Complicated characters you WANT to root for.  And in this little gem?  A conflicted veteran German Captain who despises the Nazis.  A mysterious nomad who may or may not be immortal.   Sneering Nazi SS who get what's coming to them.  Ancient, forbidden Lovecraftian texts and vampires that DON'T SPARKLE! Awesome stuff, as always.

- The Secret Backs of Things, (Cemetery Dance), by Christopher Golden. I've stalled a bit on this, but I'll get back to it soon.  That's the risk you take when you pick up an F. Paul Wilson novel...

2. Just finished:

- For Fear the Night, (Tor Horror), by Charles L. Grant
Unfortunately, Mr. Grant did it to me again.  Beautiful prose, I love how he creates tension and suspension with fragments and interjections, and the atmosphere here is so wonderfully moody and eerie...but there's no purpose.  No meaning. Death is a predator that stalks and lures us in - much like a Venus fly trap - and those who die die, and those who survive just do, by chance.  Also, even though I'm definitely a "it's about the journey" type of guy, the central mystery that serves as the novel's entire reason for being is never solved.  Grant's prose is worth ingesting and absorbing, though, so I've got several more of his on the shelf that I'll try.

3. Finished not too long ago:

- Frankenstein: Dead and Alive, (Bantam), by Dean Koontz.  Say what you will about how his last few novels have read a little thin (they have), this showed us a Dean in high form.   There are themes here.  A purpose.  And meaning: that if you separate the intellect from love, goodness, truth, beauty, justice, grief, hope and dreams, you get nothing but emptiness in return.  And, even for his thinner novels, (apparently EVERYONE hated Darkest Evening of the Year, while I loved it), there are times - especially in this world - when I DESPERATELY need Koontz's optimism, even if most his novels feature Golden Retrievers that may or may not be Jesus in dog form. 

- Nightmare, (Bethany House), by Robin Parrish.  I REALLY wanted to call this Parrish's best, most mature work.  And three quarters of it was.   He harnesses the first person narrative well, side-steps the CBA's "lame fake swear word" trait by writing strong dialogue, his research on ghost-haunting and haunts reads extremely solid and plausible... and the creeps.  Wow.  Honestly - and maybe I have a sensitive spot for ghosts - most of this creeped me out more than any book I can remember.  But the ending.  THE ENDING.  I just check out when an author builds up a precarious, suspenseful, tension-filled atmosphere that pushes the characters through ever more dangerous scenarios...and then everyone makes it, without a scratch. 

4. TBR - To Be Read/Review:
- Johnny Halloween, (Cemetery Dance), by Norman Partridge. This won't be sitting on my TBR pile for long, I assure you.   Norm Partridge is one of the finest and most versatile wordsmiths I've come across recently.  Lesser Demons  and Dark Harvest were splendid, the former one of the best short story collections I've read since Tim Lebbon's Last Exit for the Lost, the latter being a VERY tricky take on Halloween, and here comes this tasty treat:  more stories about the October Boy.  Review will be coming...