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CBR4 #32 - The Catch-Up (Five Books)

I've decided that I am going to go ahead and just do blurbs on some of the books I've read over the past several months. That way at least I can get it out there that I have not allowed my brain to turn entirely to mush. Plus, maybe I'll find while I'm writing the short bits that I have more to say than I realized. For the moment, I am going to count this as one giant entry for CBR4.

1. Dead Man's Song by Jonathan Maberry - This is the second book in the Pine Deep series and picks up right where the first one ends. The story of things going terribly wrong in the small town of Pine Deep continues hurtling along. The main characters are finally starting to draw together and get things figured out, while still trying to fight off vampires, the undead, and the difficult memories of things that happened the last time things went wrong in town. This is still mostly a set-up for the final book in the trilogy, but it feels a lot less like non-stop exposition.

2. Far North by Marcel Theroux - This is the story of Makepeace, the sheriff of an empty town. The world as we know it has come apart and left behind nothing but the flotsam of a ruined society. After spending many years alone, Makepeace begins to long for the company of other people and heads out to try and find other survivors. However, it turns out that many of those who are left are not just poor company, but are actively dangerous. The story is a tale of post-apocalyptic survival, but not in a fun way. I found the book to be worth reading, but extremely bleak and not especially enjoyable.

3. Empty Promises by Ann Rule - Lesson: you can't trust anyone not to murder you, including those you hold dearest. I enjoyed it, but it is seriously just like every other Ann Rule book ever. Also, Multnomah County, OR is a fucking dangerous place, apparently.

4. Blockade Billy by Stephen King - This book is really more two novellas combined into one cover. The title story is a tale of 1950s era baseball, and of a rags-to-riches player named William "Blockade Billy" Blakely. Unfortunately, Billy has a secret that will result in his one season of play being wiped from the record books. The narrator--an assistant on the team--has a great voice, and the suspense of the story builds wonderfully. Sadly, the payoff isn't as great as I'd hoped, though it's still pretty shocking. The second story, "Morality" is about a young couple who make a shady deal that ends up ruining both of them. I didn't like it very much; it lacked the humor, chills, or literary gymnastics that I treasure about King's better work. On the whole, it wasn't bad--and necessary if you're a King completist as I am--but nothing to write home about.

5. The Dark by James Herbert - This book is spooky but didn't make a particular impression on me. A group of good guys band together to fight back against a rapidly spreading evil that travels in darkness. I felt that there was a lot of very exposition-laden bits, but that the story was still suffering from holes. There were some very good moments--the soccer hooligan riot, for example--but on the whole this is another book that, while okay, could just as easily be passed over.

Okay, that's enough of that for the moment. I will probably have to do a few more of these catch-up posts, and I'm also going to try and throw in a few regular posts as well. Just because I am behind doesn't mean I should give up. Forward!




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