Tuesday, September 1, 2015

TenebrisTenebris by Tim Curran
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

They don't call Route 50 'the loneliest road in America' for nothing, it's not a road you want to break down on, no phone signal and you could end up with the worst kind of sunshine break. Jim, Rita and Dinah are traveling down Route 50 when a shape swoops down on them from out of the blackness, first disbelief, then dismissal and then 'it's coming' . An intense feeling of impending doom.

'It was like being in a dark room and knowing, knowing someone was in there with you sharing the space. You could feel them but you could never really be sure where they were until they reached out and touched you.'

Then something hit the SUV, scraped along the roof with claws and Route 50 suddenly turns into the road to hell, and not due to Chris Rea singing. Panic stations, absolute terror and the vehicle flips of the road, Jim's friends are literally ripped from the vehicle by something just a little bit frightening.

Conspiracy theorists are us contact him and Jim is drawn, quite willingly back to the scene of the incident, where he really, really shouldn't go within a million miles of. It becomes an obsession that is never going to end well.

As monsters stories go this wasn't one of Tim Currans best efforts, I kinda rode with it but, well, it was a gentle ride not one fraught with unnerving danger or scares. As folklore myths go, it was just too easy to find. I felt that if I went down Route 50 in a tank wearing a blindfold with earplugs in, I'd still run into this nightmare monster. I mean if you stood there and felt a sudden draft followed by a stench of death, then yep, it's just flown over you. I wasn't really bothered with any of the characters, they never felt real and I didn't care whether any of them survived. In conclusion, it's well written as all Tim Curran's stuff is, some will love it, I didn't.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

View all my reviews
Left To DarknessLeft To Darkness by Craig Saunders
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Left to Darkness, Craig Saunders gives us his twisted vision of the pre, present and post-apocalyptic dream, or nightmare in this case. Where the world changes in the aftermath of a meteor strike and a whole bunch of characters from very different walks of life, fight to survive.

Set around London, the gridlocked M25, nice to know some things never change, even at the end of days, when the shit most definitely hits the fan and everything else in the vicinity, you still can’t get off that bloody ring road.

Frank Liebowicz is a big bastard who beats the fuck out of people for a living, we join him on one of those jobs as he commits a schoolboy error of epic proportion, his quarry, faceplanting concrete before a scrap of information can be pulled, job definitely not done.

'On that note, Frank figured if he was going to fuck a job properly, there was no point in half-assing the bastard. So, he stamped as hard as he could on Johnny’s prone head, just in case. Big feet, hard boots, and 250 pounds, plus a lot of heart and soul.'

Dawn Graves, pregnant, sitting at home waiting for hubby, unfortunately he's late and that's because he's having his wicked way with new girl Silvia in the works toilet. Robert Graves is about to wish he never ploughed this particular field and to cap it all, he's about to lose his plough as big brother Sid intervenes in wickedly violent fashion. This is not the last we see of twisted siblings Sid and Silvia, they will be changed in the aftermath and not in a good way. Robby appears only briefly but his balls do swing merrily, as for his wife, she plays a vital role.

'The new girl had one high-heeled shoe on the tiled floor, and one bare foot on the rim of the toilet, pushing her ass back against Robby and groaning, head hanging down, hair over her face. Robert’s balls were swinging back and forth merrily in the gap between her legs.
What the fuck was her name?'

And policeman Paul Deacon, drafted into the riot squad, sees at first hand the frenzied and insane brutality, as the world plunges into madness. He then meets two particularly barbaric individuals, a brother and sister, and torture will be the order of the day.

All these characters have parts to play in this new world, when the skies stay dark and the atmosphere is full of dust, when psychopaths come to the fore, a naked man smokes as if the cigarette has only just been invented. A man of power and magic, and a man who spins the wheel of this new world as he seeks the last child.

'The smoking man wasn’t in the market for dying. Hadn’t been for a long time. He’d been… waiting? Dormant? The truth was frustrating for the smoking man, but best he could figure was that he’d been waiting a long, long time, in the wings. Now? Now it was his show.'

Craig Saunders writes with a style that is wickedly humorous yet dark and brutal, something to make you sit up and take note, danger, shock, then a laugh stifled. His stories literally snap, crackle and then burst from the page to slap you about the face, a true master of dark fiction who just cracks me up time after time. His characters are real, people you could imagine meeting, maybe having a drink with if you mixed in those circles, then maybe punching your lights out in a drunken argument, just because they could.

This is not God's country, it's the devils and Left to Darkness is the first book in the Oblivion trilogy, roll on the second.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

View all my reviews


Trilobite: Eyewitness to EvolutionTrilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution covers all aspects of trilobites, from the numerous subspecies to fossils and all points in between.

Confession time: I love fossil hunting and I've stooped so far as to buy a small trilobite fossil at a rock swap. I've found trilobites fascinating since I was a little fossil hunter back in the day so I was pretty stoked to read this.

I had no idea there were so many subspecies of trilobite and how widespread the species was. The fossil photos were pretty cool. This may have been a case of too much of a good thing. I love trilobites but not enough to make our relationship Facebook-official. Fortey's obsession with trilobites rivals Gusse Fink-Nottle's newt obsession. An entire chapter was devoted to how the trilobite's eyes worked.

Richard Fortey is a pretty witty writer, which makes the painstaking detail of some of the chapters much more palatable. His stories took the edge off of what could have been a much drier book. Still, I have to wonder how much of what he reveals is speculation, considering the trilobite has been extinct for millennia. On a side note, I don't see why there couldn't be a small relict population of trilobites on the ocean floor someplace. It worked for the coelocanth.

While I was tired of Trilobites near the end, I can't deny that it was a pretty enjoyable book. Three out of five stars.

View all my reviews