Tag Archives: horror

Review of NOS4A2, by Joe Hill

I borrowed an audio copy of Joe Hill‘s NOS4A2 through the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son. 

Review:

I’m surprised that I don’t have more to say on this one. But, having finished it, I’m just kind of like, “OK, I’m done.” I have no strong feelings either direction. I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it. I was disappointed in the lack of what I would consider a happy ending, though it did mostly wrap up. And I 100% appreciated having a positively represented fat man who was lovable and loved. Lou was absolutely my favorite character. (Though the fact that he lost all his weight in the end compromised the fat representation a little bit. Not completely though. He was fat the whole time he was heroic and wonderful.)

This was my first Joe Hill book and I didn’t remember that he’s Stephen’s King son when I picked the book up. I thought his writing very like his fathers and was a little surprised to find him referencing some of Kings work in the book. It was odd.

The narrator (Kate Mulgrew) did a great job with the exception of the times she stopped for dramatic pauses before finishing sentences. “He walked into the……kitchen.” That seriously got on my nerves. All in all, it was pretty good but didn’t blow my socks off.

Review of Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant

I borrowed an audio copy of Mira Grant‘s Into the Drowning Deep through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

The ocean is home to many myths,
But some are deadly…

Seven years ago the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a tragedy.

Now a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.

But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

Review:

These are mermaids of the old stories, the mermaids of nightmares, the mermaids closer to sirens that Ariel. And I loved them. Or well, not them, but the story around them. Yes, as others have commented, the book is on the slow side. Keeping the suspense high at the expense of pace. But I appreciated that. I also appreciated the love in various forms (familial, platonic, queer, straight, and strained). I liked that an autistic character got to be a hero and that somehow Mira Grant made me feel sorry for an endangered species hunting psychopath (that couldn’t have been easy). All in all, I really quite enjoyed this.

Review of The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle

I borrowed an audio copy of The Ballad of Black Tom (by Victor LaValle) from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

Review:

I found this a really powerful novella. It deftly shows how easily the injustice and cruelty of everyday racism can push even good men to monster-like acts. (I was going to say turn them into monsters. But I don’t think Tom is ever a monster; just emotionally beaten by the racial realities of the 1920s.) I found it especially poignant how, even after the fact, the primary white character erases Tom from the event, effectively hiding the embodiment of white America’s sins (and his own participation in it) from himself, rendering it moot. All in all, I found this atmospheric and evocative. Plus, Kevin R. Free did a great job with the narration. A+