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Showing posts from November, 2014

CBR6 #16: Dead Sea by Tim Curran

I really wanted to like this book. It seems like it should be right up my alley: maritime disaster? Check. Horror? Check. Survival on the high seas and the idea that the other survivors are the real danger? Check and check.

And yet...

The premise was great -- a ship taking a construction crew to South American travels into a thick, mysterious fog and emerges in a place that is very clearly not right. The fog seems almost alive -- and very unfriendly. Plus, it's full of creatures that shouldn't exist, and ships that aren't where they belong.

There were some great characters, too. The first mate, the cook, the undercover corporate spy -- all smart, interesting characters with solid voices. There was a good, love-to-hate human antagonist as well as the unknown fog monster. There was even a tough, capable female character. I liked the parts where characters discovered the history of some of the ships that had ended up in this place. All that was great.

The problem w…

CBR6 #15: Joyland by Stephen King

Although I love his massive epics like IT and The Stand, I think where Stephen King shines the most is in his shorter fiction. At 283 pages, Joyland is comparatively short, but it allows the story to unfold in a more focused way, and avoids some of the bloated tangents that--though I love them--can make the longer works drag a little.

Devon Jones gets his heart broken, and on a whim decides to leave Maine spend the summer of his 21st year working at a small amusement park in the south called Joyland. As he learns the ways of the carnies--figuring how how to speak their lingo, keep the "rubes" in their places, "wear the fur," and "sell fun"--he also discovers the dark secret of the park--the unsolved murder of a young woman in the haunted house years before, who rumors say haunts the ride. Devon spends the summer saving lives and waiting for the predictions of the park's local psychic to come true. When fall comes, a chill will fall across…

CBR6 #14: The Drought by Patricia Fulton

Yes, I am in fact alive. Some things in my life went totally pear-shaped there for a while, but it has not stopped me from reading. (I can't say it's done anything for my motivation to write about what I'm reading, but that's sort of a lingering issue anyway.)

Jared Riley knows something is wrong in his hometown of Junction, Texas. His mother's headaches are getting worse, one of his good friends disappeared down a drainpipe, and the temperature seems to have taken on a mind of its own, bent on destroying the town and everyone in it. People are losing their minds, and strange things are happening. It's up to a small group of concerned citizens to figure out what's happening and try to stop it before it's too late.

I liked this book a lot. The characters all felt reasonably realistic, and I was interested in their stories and anxious to find out what would happen to them (though in some cases the answer would be "nothing good.") The plot moved …