Thursday, December 29, 2016

#findtommy

 Disappearance At Devil's Rock - Paul Tremblay  3/5 stars
                                             
                                                       



     So, A Head Full Of Ghosts was one of my favorite novels of 2015, and then I heard about the new book, but I kept forgetting the damn title. Finally remembered it and then I got a copy for my Kindle app which I don't recommend by the way. There's a problem with Tommy's notes not showing up well and the only way to see them is by zooming in on them which becomes a pain in the ass after awhile. Fork out the cash for the dead tree version. Anyway, Devil's Rock is the story of a boy's strange disappearance, but this is a Paul Tremblay novel so nothing here is ordinary or run of the mill. I have twins that are Tommy's age so I felt a connection with this book. It's a parent's worst fear and Paul doesn't waste any time in getting us close to Elizabeth so that we feel her anguish. Each character is molded well, and realistic. They act exactly as they should, and you don't feel as if they're just there to move some pages around.

     The book itself is well written, which is exactly what drew me to not only this book, but Ghosts as well. This is a writer that has a knack for creating a story that moves at a steady clip and keeps the tension tightly wound. There's a darker, more sinister element lurking here and as the story develops you get pulled in without even thinking about it. I loved that he has given us a story that we can relate to and then throws in a few curve balls just to keep you on your toes. Paul Tremblay is a writer that knows how to hook the reader. Just when you think you have everything figured out, he switches things up. The mark of a good story teller is when he makes his readers feel comfortable, and then he changes the way we see a story, and the idea of how we think things are going to end. Just by reading this novel we already have an idea of what's happened, but it's the why that truly makes this book so good.

     While I loved the book, I didn't much care for the ending. It seemed to run out of steam at the end. These are all great characters, and the elusive Arnold is someone I wish we got to see more of but Paul seems to keep him in the shadows. As the book ends there's a surprise, but it feels almost like an after thought. After all of the buildup what we get is a bit of a letdown. I was expecting more, and as I sat there blinking at my tablet I was blown away by how good the novel had been. The race to find Tommy, and the reveal of who Arnold is, is the moment where you begin to hold your breath. There has to be something serious coming right? Right? No, it ends limply, but the entire novel was so damn good I can forgive him for that. I loved it even thought I felt the ending lacked some real power, and Tremblay is without a doubt one of my favorite authors. Is Disappearance At Devil's Rock one of my favorite books of year? Yes, and no. Yes, because Devil's Rock is a damn good book and one I will probably read again just in case I missed something the first time, and no because of the way it ended. I expected so much more and I kind of feel cheated.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Good Girl

    The Good Girl - Mary Kubica 5/5
                                                     
 

      When I borrowed this one from the library the librarian told me this was a little bit like Gone Girl, and I couldn't disagree more. Gone Girl burrows into your head kinda like a tapeworm, and refuses to leave, but the Good Girl is a different animal entirely. For a debut, this is quite strong and has the usual likable, and not so likable characters. James for instance, is a cold feeling father that makes the perfect villain. He's a horrible father, and a terrible husband so anytime he enters a scene you can almost hear a few boos and hisses. While the similarities to Gone Girl are no doubt popping up everywhere this one has sort of the same ideals, but Gone Girl is a much better novel and the surprises there are mouth dropping. I don't want to take anything away from The Good Girl because it does have its share of jaw dropping moments, but they just don't have the same impact.

     Mary Kubica is a decent writer and manages tell the story through three characters without the story becoming cluttered. This way, you get the entire story from a variety of different viewpoints instead of just one. This gives The Good Girl far more impact and you get to see a mother try and redeem herself while going through her own period of mourning. Owen of course, is the point of view that reveals the relationship between himself and Mia and how it begins to evolve from a simple kidnapping to something deeper. It's a plot twist you can see coming from a mile away, but it doesn't hurt the novel any. You already can suspect what's going to happen, but it also has one hell of a plot twist that you don't see coming. The detective portions are okay and are expected. We all know what his job is and his insight to the story doesn't add much depth, but it's a little break in the action.

     As far as thrillers go, this one was decent and continues the trend of smart, intelligent novels that keeps you interested without overwhelming you with plot twists that seem to go nowhere. Kubica's debut is suspenseful, and she keeps the story moving at a steady clip. It's those last few pages that really grab you, and ties everything up nicely. It's a well written, nicely paced piece of fiction that you'll find just about everyone gushing over, and for good reason. In the summer you want a novel that you can read at the beach, and in the winter you want something that makes you forget just how cold it is (if you happen to live in places where it gets cold). I'm a writer that loves a well paced novel and Kubica's debut is a solid read that grabs your attention and holds it. Is it better than Gone Girl? No, but it's still a damn good book and one I highly recommend.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Haunt

    Haunt - Laura Lee Bahr  5/5
                                                 



      Haunt could easily be described as an anti novel. It takes pride in not existing in just one genre. The strength of Haunt is in the writing itself. Bahr has a gift for creating a story that takes the reader on a journey that doesn't follow routine story telling. If you love books that break new ground this is a book that you will no doubt devour, and come back to just see if there's something you may have missed. For those that like books that follow routine story telling are going to find this frustrating, but that's okay. At its core is a narrative that flows well and you feel as if you're a part of the story even at its most confusing, but in the end everything comes together.
 
      The question is how do you review a novel like this? You can only talk about its brilliance and how it's a ghost story with enough twists and turns to give you whiplash. Each character is well thought out and interesting so that when the narrative shifts you don't get bored. All of these characters have some connection to each other and the narrative itself is what makes the story so unique. Haunt may be described as a bizarro novel but it's more than that. It's a well written anti-novel that takes the reader for one hell of a ride. You won't find a novel like this because it's original and groundbreaking. If you like your novels deep and beautifully written, then Haunt is a novel you should read.  When people tell you that genre fiction is dead, they're lying and Haunt is proof that it's alive and well.