Wednesday, January 11, 2017

CBR9 #2 - Southern Gods

I've had Southern Gods on my TBR list for so long I no longer remember why I put it there. Was it a recommendation from Amazon? From Goodreads? Did someone I know recommend it? Did it cross my path as a "If you liked __________ then you'll like this too!"

Maybe I heard it through the grapevine?

I only know that recently, I happened to come across it on my wishlist and decided to go ahead and splurge on it.

I'm glad I did.

In 1951 Memphis, war veteran and leg-breaker-for-hire Bull Ingraham gets a new assignment: a record company has lost one of their employees somewhere. Early Freeman set off to deliver new records to radio stations, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. His boss at Helios Records is anxious to find him...and also anxious to find a mysterious blues musician whose music can do terrible things to the living -- and to the dead.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Sarah Rheinhart leaves her abusive husband and returns to her family home, where she hopes to recover, surrounded by her young daughter, her invalid mother, and her Uncle Gregor's books.

Both of these characters find themselves caught up in something that will shake their entire lives to the core, and rewrite everything they thought they knew about the world, drawing them together in the face of an ancient and immortal evil.

I liked this book a lot -- the plot was tightly wound, bouncing back and forth between Bull and Sarah's perspectives. While I preferred Bull, Sarah was a smart woman, though not particularly tough. Bull more reminded me of Russell Crowe's character in LA Confidential -- a tough guy who spends the majority of his time solving problems with his brawn, but isn't incapable of  using his brain, too. The story itself is, as some have said, a bit Lovecraft-meets-Faulkner, though it manages to mostly avoid the pitfalls of both. The descriptions are lush, and I found I really enjoyed the writing style.

On the whole, I'd recommend this to other horror fans -- it's pretty graphically gory in some places, so it's not for the faint-of-heart. Still, it's a good story written well.

Well, here goes nothing: CBR9 #1 - Finders Keepers by Stephen King

Another year, another attempt to complete a Cannonball Read. Last year I signed up and then didn't do a single review, which was pretty sad. Luckily, it's a new year, and I have a new chance to read and review and say "Fuck Cancer!"

So here we go!

Finders Keepers is the second book in King's Mr. Mercedes series, and is again more of a dectective thriller than the typical supernatural fare that you'd expect from a Stephen King novel. In this book, our heroes--former police detective Bill Hodges, anxiety-sufferer and super hacker Holly, and college student Jerome Richardson--are called in on a case by one of Jerome's sister's friends. They find themselves in a race against time, facing a dangerous and single-minded murder.

I liked the book a lot--the events unfurled in such a way that I spent much of the novel on the edge of my seat, watching as multiple groups of people converged in a suspense-filled climax. However, I wish we could have spent more time with Bill, Holly, and Jerome, whom I grew really fond of during their adventures in Mr. Mercedes. The new characters were pretty good, though, especially Pete, the teenage boy on whom the action hinges.

This is a great book for those who enjoy detective thrillers, though it definitely needs to be read after Mr. Mercedes, and is clearly setting up a final showdown in the third book of the trilogy, End of Watch. There's also a certain amount to be said about King's thoughts on literature and literary obsession, which he weaves into the story with a deft hand.

On the whole, thumbs up!