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review 2019-09-14 15:42
"The Cold" by Rich Hawkins
The Cold - Rich Hawkins

 

You know how they say that you can't judge a book by its cover? Well "The Cold" has a GREAT cover. Which just shows how true the saying is.

 

I felt like I was stuck in one of those shoot 'em up games where I can never level up because I can't see that anything is actually happening except a whole bunch of things trying to kill me.

 

The fault is probably with me but it's not one I can fix. I just didn't get this book.

 

It reminded me of one of those huge canvasses you see in the Tate where the whole thing is painted densely in red oils. I look at it and go, "It's red. Why?" Better educated souls look at it and go, "It's red and it's art, great Art."

 

"The Cold" is a canvas painted with blood, more blood and even more blood.

True, there is a lot of white snow to make it easier to see and there are a lot of crushed skulls, decapitations, dismemberments and disembowelments to add variety but I still felt I was wading through blood.

 

So it's either art or it's a lot of blood. All I saw was blood.

 

The plot follows a very ordinary twenty-something Englishman (the only odd thing about him is his name - Seth Murphy - not typical for someone born and raised in rural Somerset) on a hellish journey. Seth is on a train in the middle of summer, on his way home from an unsuccessful job interview, when H P Lovecraft-style monsters fall out of the sky, bringing with them the onset of an Ice Age.

 

The monsters are everywhere and kill everyone.

 

Seth knows this because he's survived having his train peeled open while in motion and is now trekking home through the snow, surrounded by damage and death and big monsters keep turning up and trying to eat him and the people he's travelling with. 

 

Mostly by luck and the actions of others, Seth manages to journey on without getting killed. Almost everyone around him, especially those who carry weapons and try to organise a rescue, ends up being ripped apart. Seth is so scared he can't think or sleep or do anything other than react and try to survive.

 

Even by the end of the book, I knew very little about Seth or the people he's travelling with. They're all in shock. If they do talk, it's about how big monsters keep trying to kill them and how this can't be happening but it is.

 

It's very realistic.

 

It's not very interesting.

 

When I was about sixty per cent through the book and Seth has survived yet another attack that left most of his companions in pieces, Seth's one remaining companion, a strong-willed man who is handy with a weapon says:

 

“So, that’s it, isn’t it?” said Mack. “The end of it all.”

 

Seth stared off into the white fog beyond them, a part of him hoping that some immense terror would emerge to finally claim them, release them from this state of Purgatory

I shared Seth's reaction. I just wanted it to end too. It didn't. It went on until a whole lot more people were killed by increasingly horrifying creatures.

 

The prose style is clear and confident. It keeps captures the real horror and shock of extreme violence, unremitting threat, total helplessness and survivor guilt perfectly.

 

The point of the story seemed to be that, if big monsters dropped out of another dimension, caught us all by surprise, destroyed the weather, were very hard to kill and ate everyone they met, we'd lose and that any ordinary person caught up in the conflict will die or be traumatised or be traumatised and then die.

 

That's not really a surprise.

 

So what was the point of this story?

 

Well, why are some big canvases painted only in red?

 

No, I don't know the answer to that either.

 

I do know that, despite the well-described gore, the regular violence, the huge body-count and the wide variety of deeply repulsive monsters eating mankind, I got bored by this book.

 

I had no reason to care about Seth. Seth had no reason to care about himself.

 

Perhaps that makes this book art but it's not my kind of art.

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text 2019-09-13 17:37
Reading progress update: I've read 28%. - you know those paintings that are big canvasses painted entirely in red?
The Cold - Rich Hawkins

 

Well "The Cold" is like those paintings.

 

There is blood and more blood and more blood.

 

True, there is a lot of white snow to make it easier to see but still, at the 28% point, most of what I've done is wade through blood.

 

So it's either art or it's a lot of blood.

 

I haven't made my mind up yet.

 

The plot is so far is Mr Ordinary - Seth Murphy - is on a train in the middle of summer, when H P Lovecraft-style monsters fall out of the sky, bringing with them deep winter.

 

The monsters are everywhere and kill everyone.

 

Seth knows this because he's survived having his train peeled open while in motion and is now trekking home through the snow, surrounded by damage and death and big monsters keep turning up and trying to eat him and the people he's travelling with. 

 

So far, they haven't killed Seth. They've made him so scared he can't think or sleep or do anything other than react and try to survive.

 

I know very little about Seth or the people he's travelling with. They're all in shock. If they do talk, it's about how big monsters keep trying to kill them and how this can't be happening but it is.

 

It's very realistic.

 

It's not very interesting.

 

Yep, if big monsters dropped out of another dimension, caught us all by surprise, destroyed the weather, were very hard to kill and ate everyone they met, we'd lose.

 

I know that.

 

So what is the point of this story?

 

Well, why are some big canvases painted only in red?

 

No, I don't know the answer to that either.

 

I'll keep reading Maybe the author will find another colour somewhere along the way. Maybe I'll get to the end and go - "I hope Lovecraft was wrong". 

 

I'll keep you posted

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text 2019-08-14 01:42
Is This Considered Suspense? (Question for Halloween Bingo Square)
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

I don't read a lot of suspense, so I don't know exactly what qualifies. I know this book has been popular, and the premise looks interesting.

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text 2019-08-11 15:45
Day 11 Bring on the Horror
Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Tales - Bram Stoker,Kate Hebblethwaite
Dead Sea - Tim Curran
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories - H.P. Lovecraft,S.T. Joshi
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley,Maurice Hindle
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror - Robert Louis Stevenson,Robert Mighall
The Cold - Rich Hawkins
Ghost Story - Jeff Brackett
High Moor - Graeme Reynolds
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley

Ooooh, where do I start on this?

 

I like certain types of Horror. I've talked about it here before so I'll keep the recap brief, I don't like serial killers or blood and guts stuff but I'm perfectly fine with messy werewolves and other monsters.

 

I love anything psychic or occult, ghost stories, good werewolf or other monsters, including plants. I like something that makes me think. Weirdness can be good as long as it's not too confusing.

 

Strange, alternate dimension creatures are good too.

 

I used to love vampire stories, but Twilight and the Romance genre spoiled that. I find a few exceptions still worth reading.

 

I find most of the Horror Classics are very good. Original concepts like a haunted post box definitely get my attention (that was a good one BTW).

 

There's a lot of great stuff in the Horror genre. I lean towards the more literary stuff over the sensationalist in general.

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review 2019-08-10 10:38
The Cold by Rich Hawkins
The Cold - Rich Hawkins

TITLE:  The Cold

 

AUTHOR:  Rich Hawkins

__________________

DESCRIPTION:

"It was an English summers day like any other until the snow began to fall and kept falling. Within hours, the entire country was buried beneath a freezing white blanket. And hidden within the blizzard conditions things began to move and kill and feast.
Seth is one of the few passengers to survive the train crash. Now he and his fellow survivors face a new world of snow, ice and freezing fog, where they will be hunted like prey in the ruins of Great Britain.
They must run.
They must hide.
They must survive THE COLD.
"

_____________________

 

REVIEW:

 

 

This is a nicely written apocalyptic/horror novel that includes a variety of original monsters in a bleak, arctic world.  The scenery makes one shiver, the monsters are terrifying and the human dynamics and behaviour were realistic.  However, we never really find out what caused the apocalypse and the abrupt ending leaves a lot to the readers interpretation and didn't work for me.  I'm wondering if there is a sequel?  

 

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