DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK Review

Review:

Disappearance at Devil's Rock: A Novel - Paul Tremblay

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I thought Paul Tremblay’s last novel, A Head Full Of Ghosts, was okay — I gave it three stars — but nothing extraordinary or memorable. I felt it borrowed too liberally from other, better horror works of the past, and it all resulted in a ‘meh’ experience for me overall. It kept me guessing until the end, and I thought the relationship between the two main characters — young sisters — was extremely well-written. I could take or leave everything else in that one, though.

 

Here we are, a year later, and Tremblay’s latest novel is out. I snapped up Disappearance at Devil’s Rock a couple of months back and put it on the back-burner for whenever I needed a breezy, fun read. With the Booklikes Halloween Bingo quickly approaching (Goodreads people: check the link to my Booklikes account in my bio for more details!), I needed a quick thriller to hold me over for a day or two. I didn’t want to get involved in an ambitious, lengthy work and risk getting started on the bingo a few days late. Tremblay to the rescue! I decided to give this book a whirl, and I was hooked from page one.

 

This is a story about a thirteen year old boy who goes missing in the woods. There is more to it than that, of course, but that’s the jumping off point and the event around which everything orbits. Within the first few pages Tremblay sunk his claws into me, making the excruciating fear of losing someone very real. I am not a parent, but I felt for mother Elizabeth in her desperate search for her son. The author drew the family dynamic well, and everyone — Tommy, the missing boy; Kate, his sister; his mother; his friends; the eventual antagonist — is written with incredible depth and plausibility. I felt for each character, and understood their motivations and fears and ideas. This is an author who clearly cares about the people he populates his stories with. I especially enjoyed reading the sections involving Tommy, Luis, and Josh. Tremblay certainly knows how to write teenage boys — the way they talk and behave felt very true to me while reading, often bringing to mind things my friends and I did and talked about at that age.

 

Above all, this is a mystery/thriller novel with healthy doses of horror thrown in. It had me in its clutches to the end, and I wish it was longer. Like A Head Full Of Ghosts, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock kept me guessing the whole time and the ending absolutely stunned me. I did not see it coming. This is a fine suspense novel of the highest order, and I cannot wait to see what Paul Tremblay does next!

Original post:
theguywholovesbooks.booklikes.com/post/1457493/disappearance-at-devil-s-rock-review

FINAL Halloween Bingo Book List!

After a week or so of online research and I have, finally, determined my list for the Halloween bingo! I tried to strike an even mix of new and old/popular and obscure. I wanted as much variety as possible, and I must admit I am pretty proud of my list. (Also, yes, I have nixed a few books from the version of this list I published a few days ago, for various reasons.) Here goes . . . 

 

 

 

Read by candle or flashlight: North American Lake Monsters, by Nathan Ballingrud 

Magical realism: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman 

Witches: Grimm Memorials, by R. Patrick Gates 

Horror: The Damnation Game, by Clive Barker 

Black cat: ‘The Black Cat,’ by Edgar Allen Poe 

Diverse author: The Good House, by Tananarive Due 

Ghost stories/haunted houses: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M.R. James

Young adult horrorAsylum, by Madeleine Roux 

Scary woman authorBroken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes 

Read with friends: IT, by Stephen King 

Grave or graveyard: The Orpheus Process, by Daniel Gower

Mystery: The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware 

Gothic: In A Glass Darkly, by Sheridan Le Fanu 

Creepy crawlies: Exquisite Corpse, by Poppy Z. Brite (wasn’t really sure about this category, but apparently this book is really gruesome and creepy?) 

Fall into a good book: The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury 

Locked room mystery: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper,’ Charlotte Perkins Gillman 

Dark and stormy night: The Bad Place, by Dean Koontz (was not too sure about this one, either, but my hard copy’s cover depicts a dark and stormy night . . . so, going with this one!) 

Set in New EnglandHarvest Home, by Thomas Tryon 

Full moon: The Nightwalker, by Thomas Tessier 

Vampires or werewolves: Interview With The Vampire, by Anne Rice 

Supernatural: Hell House, by Richard Matheson 

Classic horror: The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James 

Pumpkin: Usher’s Passing, by Robert McCammon 

Set on HalloweenThe Haunted Mask, by R.L. Stine 

 

There it is! I think I hit almost every author I wanted to, though I’m sad I couldn’t fit in Shirley Jackson, Raymond Carver, or Peter Straub. Ah, such is life. I think this list is very manageable — the only extraordinarily thick work in the queue is IT — so I should be able to get to cover all of them. Here’s hoping, anyway. Can’t wait to get started! 

Original post:
theguywholovesbooks.booklikes.com/post/1457406/final-halloween-bingo-book-list

THE BOOK OF REUBEN Review

Review:

The Book of Reuben: 2a Novel - Tabitha King

I first read this book in early 2015 and did not care for it. By that point I’d read almost all of Tabitha King’s catalogue and had grown to appreciate and enjoy her writing style. (No, she doesn’t write like her husband at all, nor would I want her to.) Most of her books are set in the fictitious town of Nodd’s Ridge, Maine, a small community where everyone knows each other and no local scandal goes unnoticed. The five Nodd’s Ridge books — Caretakers, The Trap, Pearl, One on One, and The Book of Reuben — revolve around a set cast of characters with a few variables thrown in. King’s books are very much character-oriented; she explores in depth the people of this town she’s created. The reader gets up-close and personal looks at the happenings, both good and ugly.

 

When I read The Book of Reuben for the first time my life was pretty hectic. I was nearing the end of a stressful college semester and I was about to undergo surgery on my back. I simply was not in a positive or steady state of mind. I wasn’t open to a book about ugly people with ugly problems, facing real life horrors like infidelity and the Vietnam War draft. Therefore, I had quite the adverse reaction to this one. I got 2/3 of the way in and couldn’t take anymore. I gave up on it, and almost gave up on King’s writing altogether. She paints pictures of struggle and fear so well . . . her novels are almost too much to take, sometimes.

 

Fast forward to the present. I am nearing the end of the initial stage of my college career, and plans for my future are much sturdier and clearer. I’m no longer making trips to Birmingham every other week for consultations with specialists. I’ve been in two serious relationships — one great, one horrible — and have put myself together after both. In short, I’m in a better place. So I decided to reread The Book of Reuben, and give it a fair shake. Am I glad I did; I enjoyed it much more this time around.

 

This book acts as the prequel to both Pearl and One On One, and takes place in roughly the same timeframe as Caretakers and The Trap. Reuben Styles, the protagonist of the story, wants nothing more than to find happiness, but he somehow always creates hurdles for himself. This is very much a coming-of-age story. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous ’60s and ’70s and the reformation decade that is the ’80s, the reader sees Reuben grow and work hard and fall in and out of love. He’s an average, blue collar man in a small town where everyone knows him, for good or bad. I love this guy so much. I love him in every Tabitha King novel in which he appears, and I wish King would write again — if only to give us an update on how this man is doing after all these years.

 

This is a tough, raunchy, and real novel. It isn’t for the faint of heart. It explores the joys and woes of sex, the pain of alcoholism, the dangers of fervent religiosity. There’s divorce and physical altercations. There is heartbreak. There is financial ruin. It isn’t pretty — these are rough, backwoods people who don’t live easy lives — but it’s a necessary and rewarding read. King’s grasp of character is awe-inspiring, and her poetic prose is stunning. This is story worthy reading, and reading again. Highly recommended.

Original post:
theguywholovesbooks.booklikes.com/post/1457163/the-book-of-reuben-review

CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF Review

Review:

Cycle of the Werewolf (Signet) By Stephen King - Author

Synopsis: When the full moon shines, a paralysing fear descends on the isolated Maine town of Tarker Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next, but snarls that sound like human words can be heard and all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated.

 

*****

 

The best thing about reading Stephen King’s books in chronological order has been discovering the few stories I’ve somehow missed along the way. Cycle Of The Werewolf is one of those. Despite being a King aficionado for a number of years now I had, somehow, never read this one, but I can now cross it off my list. It’s finished, and it only took me twenty minutes. Yeah, it’s a short one.

 

This story is a very straight-forward, harrowing tale about a werewolf that attacks the small town of Tarker’s Mill, Maine, once a month — on the night of the full moon. Since this project originated as a calendar for the year 1984, King’s writing is terse and direct, not getting bogged down in detail. And yet, he somehow still brings this small town and its inhabitants to life in that way only he can. It’s like magic, how he can do so much with so little.

 

I also really dug the illustrations in this book. They are moody and provocative, and capture the mood of the story perfectly. After I was finished reading I went back and looked at the artwork once more.

 

This is a very short, very effective book. Everything Stephen King does well is on display. I just wish King had ditched the calendar concept and instead turned this into a full-fledged novel, or at least a novella. The characters are interesting, and I wish I could have seen more of them. Extending the story could’ve worked. Cycle Of The Werewolf is a quick and fun read, and I would recommend it to all King fans who have not read it.

 

King connections: 

 

None, aside from a mention of Bangor, Maine. 

 

Favorite quote: 

 

 

“Lover,” she whispers, and closes her eyes.
It falls upon her.
Love is like dying.”

 

 

Up next:

 

Forget Weight Watchers; we’re trying a new diet plan. It’s Thinner

Original post:
theguywholovesbooks.booklikes.com/post/1457097/cycle-of-the-werewolf-review

Reading progress update: I’ve read 1 out of 368 pages.

The Book of Reuben: 2a Novel - Tabitha King

I read (most) of this book last year, and even wrote a review on it — but I did not finish it. My reading was interrupted by a surgery I underwent at that time, and I never actually finished The Book of Reuben. Tabitha King is one of my favorite authors (and not because she happens to be married to one of my other favorite authors), so I want to finally give this book its due. 

Original post:
theguywholovesbooks.booklikes.com/post/1455621/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-1-out-of-368-pages

Halloween Bingo!

So stoked for the upcoming Halloween reads bingo… 

 

 

Big thanks to Obsidian and Moonlight for hosting. You two rock! 

 

I haven’t made choices for every category yet, but here is the working list of stories and novels I will be reading: 

 

Magical Realism: American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

Witches: The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Horror GenreThe Damnation Game, by Clive Barker

Black Cat: ‘The Black Cat’, by Edgar Allen Poe

Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses: House of Leaves, by Mark Z, Danielewski

Young Adult Horror: I Know What You Did Last Summer, by Lois Duncan

Scary Women Authors: The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

Read With Booklikes Friends: IT, by Stephen King (c’mon, Char!)

Grave or Graveyard: The Orpheus Process, by Daniel G. Gower

Mystery: Not sure yet, but probably an early Koontz novel

Gothic: Rebecca, by Daphne de Maurier

Locked Room Mysery: ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 

Set In New England: Harvest Home, by Thomas Tryon

Vampires or Werwolves: Interview With The Vampire, Anne Rice

Supernatural: Carrion Comfort, by Dan Simmons 

Classic Horror: Turn Of The Screw, by Henry James 

Pumpkin: Usher’s Passing, by Robert McCammon (My paperback copy has a pumpkin on it.) 

Set On Halloween: The Haunted Mask, R.L. Stine 

 

So . . . yeah. Obviously still have a few categories I need to sort out (what exactly does ‘fall into a good book’ mean?), but that’s the working list! 

 

 

Original post:
theguywholovesbooks.booklikes.com/post/1454961/halloween-bingo