I have been reading some books off of a Scary Books list that may have been posted in Laura’s sidebar, I’m not sure. YMMV, of course, and some of you may want to read or have even read these already and liked them.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Supposed to be the tale of a teen mass murderer. To the point at which I quit reading, it was dealt with through letters the mother is writing to her estranged husband. Her relentless navel gazing, anti-American, oh so sophisticated liberal whining really was too much. I get the point and I’m sure parents of teen killers go through all of the self doubt and questioning and more. Hell, good parents who have kids that turn out just unhappy probably go through it. What did I do, what did I miss, what could I have done differently, is this my fault? But the way the book was written gives me zero empathy for this woman or her child. I skipped through a lot of it to see if the story ever introduced the kid himself (it did) but it still didn’t capture my attention. I have read some reviews since then, a couple with spoilers, and even knowing what I didn’t get to doesn’t make it a better story, in my opinion. In many ways, it makes it worse.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Another psycho young child story. Like all the others, I didn’t read any reviews. If I had, I’d probably have skipped this one from the start. As I’ve mentioned before, I apparently have few problems with humans being blown to bits, killed, etc. Oh, there is a point at which I’m uncomfortable reading/watching it but it is a country mile beyond where I’m okay with reading about cute & fuzzy animals going through the same. I was initially hesitant because I’d read Crow Road by Iain Banks and was completely unimpressed and bored with it. I didn’t read enough to say if I’d think the same about the writing here.
Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Aging goth rocker and groupie fight against a vengeful ghost. This one I thought was pretty decent. The writing isn’t anything stellar and I couldn’t dredge up a memorable line if asked but the plot moved along, the characters were good enough to keep me reading and the ending wasn’t a let down. It would probably make a pretty good movie.
Hell House by Richard Matheson
I had expectations that I would like this since it was by Matheson. And I did indeed like it. Classic story of rich man on deathbed wanting proof of life after death sending team of experts to stay in haunted house and bring back said proof. There was a portion where it did drag when his leading expert spent pages explaining his pet theory of electromagnetic fields generated by every living thing accounting for all haunted or supernatural phenomena. It seems like many books where the author has spent a lot of time researching his subject tend to fall off into expounding as much as possible on the subject so all of that research doesn’t go unnoticed. Aside from that, it was a Matheson book. Decent and a pretty quick read.
Not on the scary books list:
The Guards by Ken Bruen
Based on this book Bruen isn’t worthy to empty Dashiell Hammet’s trash. The Jack Taylor books are billed as crime noir. They may be in subject matter, but in writing they are simply excreable. Or at least this one is. It is so badly written I can’t yet make myself try another one and may not ever. The Taylor novels made a good tv series. Bad book(s).