Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Passenger

The PassengerThe Passenger by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When her husband falls down the stairs and dies unexpectedly, Tanya DuBois cuts and runs, for she is actually a fugitive living under an assumed name. She switches identities several times but can she ever run from her past?

I got this from Netgalley.

I love Lisa Lutz's Spellman Files series dearly so I was pretty stoked to pick up her newest. It pains me to say it was a bit of a letdown.

The Passenger feels like a Lifetime movie to me. Tanya DuBuois is a woman on the run from a past that is only hinted at until the end. The marketing teaser makes is sound like she forms a Thelma and Louise partnership with Blue but Blue actually isn't in the book that much.

Eventually, Tanya/Amelia/whatever her name is hears that someone is writing a book about her and suddenly people aren't quite sure she should have been declared legally dead. Lutz achieves the paranoid feeling she's going for a few times. Otherwise, it's pretty unremarkable. I don't even know what genre to shove this in. It's marketed as a thriller but the thrilling bits are scattered pretty widely.

Still, it wasn't all bad. The last 20% kicked ass, once Lutz starting knocking down all the dominos she'd spent the rest of the book setting up. I loved the ending, complete with the unexpected metaphorical kick in the junk in the aftermath.

I'm giving this a three largely because of the ending but I wouldn't mind if Lutz stuck with Spellman novels.

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The God of the Razor by Joe Lansdale

The God of the RazorThe God of the Razor by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The God of the Razor is a collection of short stories by Joe Lansdale published by Subterranean press, bringing together all but one of his tales about the demonic entity from another dimension, the God of the Razor.

The first story is the chilling centrepiece and the one that started it all, Nightrunners is without doubt a classic in the horror genre and if you're into horror then you need to read this. Joe Lansdale is an audacious storyteller and this is by far the darkest of his stories that I've read, and in retrospect it's also by far the best.

We start with violence as a police officer pulls over a group of kids speeding in a black '66 Chevy, they're heading toward a particularly evil revenge mission and nothing will get in their way, not even the law.

Montgomery and Becky Jones are staying at a house by the lake outside Minnanette, a seemingly futile attempt at getting past the harrowing rape ordeal that Becky recently suffered at the hands of a young gang of killers. Clyde Edson was the rapist caught at the scene of the crime, who later hung himself in prison but his part in this story isn't over by a long shot courtesy of the God of the Razor. The black '66 Chevy is full of Clyde's gang, armed and just a little fucking dangerous, and they know where Becky Jones and her husband are holed up. And they are going for revenge.


So the story starts somewhere near the end and we then go back in time for an intimate look at all the characters, their stories and how everyone ended up in their current predicaments. Switching from past to present as the story progresses through brutality to outright atrocity and sheer brutality. A tale of violence, fatalities a plenty, and something else, something not of this world. Something that comes in nightmares, when the night is pitch black, and bleeds back into reality with devastating consequences.


Of the other six short stories King of Shadows was my favourite, a dark story about a young boy who goes to live with another family after his Father kills his Mother then slits his own throat with a razor. Death and sharp implements follow this boy, along with someone who wears the heads of his victims like shoes.


Unfortunately this collection is only available if you get the book and it is certainly well worth obtaining along with the fabulous artwork inside. You can however get Nightrunners on kindle and it gets my highest recommendation.

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

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Consumption by Michael Patrick Hicks

ConsumptionConsumption by Michael Patrick Hicks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Consumption is one of the most horrifically intriguing novellas that I've read for quite some time and it may just make you think twice about that special dinner invitation.

Each of the six guests received their invitations through the post, a twelve course tasting meal courtesy of the renowned chef Heinrich Schauer. Through the winding roads of the Gotthard Pass, over the Devil’s Bridge to reach a remote lakeside Swiss manor in the Leventina Valley.

In keeping with the evening’s dinner theme, each guest had been issued a unique demon’s masquerade mask. They were discouraged from talking about themselves, the evening was purely about the wonders cooked up by the chef.

We spend time with Heinrich Schauer as he prepares his dishes, stripping meat from the body strapped to the kitchen table and we see the effect the dishes have on the guests. An almost hidden undercurrent of rage that the food helped to fuel, feeding their inner demons.

'The monster was feverishly hot, no doubt a side effect of Schauer’s grueling excavations. He was sure that the beast would be howling if Schauer had not had the foresight to sever its vocal cords. No shared language existed between them, of course, save for the excruciating roars of pain and misery that were common to all.'

Consumption is a quite different tale of horror that resonates feelings of dread and shock, very well written, some great ideas and some darkness around the invention of various culinary delights. This was my first read from Michael Patrick Hicks and definitely won't be my last.

A 4.5* rating.

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

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Pigeons from Hell

Pigeons from Hell Pigeons from Hell by Robert E. Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While on vacation, two men decide to spend the night in an abandoned plantation house, ignorant of its terrifying past. Can they survive the darkness that dwells within the Blassenville house?

From the creator of Conan comes this creepy haunted house story. It tosses the usual horror formula out the window, going for quick shocks rather than building suspense. It got a little tense at times. However...

Much like H.P. Lovecraft's, I find REH's dialogue to be pretty wooden. Also, I thought some of the characters' actions and thought processes to be pretty illogical.

Since I don't want the review to be longer than the short story, that's about all I have to say. Pigeons from Hell is fun in a pulp horror sort of way but it's in no way Howard's best work. We can look to a certain Puritan adventurer and a barbarian from Cimmeria for that. Three out of five stars.

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