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review 2018-02-23 12:45
The Listener by Robert McCammon
The Listener - Robert R. McCammon

(Since this book is finally being released next week, I thought I would re-post my review. Any McCammon lovers out there, don't let this one pass you by!)

 

What a great story this is! Set in the American south during the Great Depression, The Listener is a unique tale. Starting with a man we'll call Pearly and ending with the opening of a free clinic, Robert McCammon sucked me in as he always does and now I have another book to add to my All Time Favorites shelf!

 

 

With a young black man as the protagonist and a few visits to characters we've met in the past, (I want to say so much more about them, but I can't spoil the surprise for you!), I wasn't sure for the longest time where this story was going. But when Pearly meets Ginger LaFrance, and joins her cold quest for riches, I knew I was in for the long haul.

 

Not since the book MINE, has Robert McCammon created such a cunning female villain. Crafty and OH SO cold, Ginger is capable of anything. When she concocts her evil plan with Pearly as her back up, you just know it's not going to go well. And when another of her family members joins their crew, you cannot help but feel that it was a mistake on Ginger's part. You also hope that Ginger doesn't succeed.

 

At a certain point in The Listener, you just have to hold on for dear life because this tale races to the denouement and you HAVE to know what happens. I recommend shutting yourself in a room for the last 50 pages so you can read it without being bothered. Trust me on this! You will be rewarded with an ending so poignant, yet so perfect and totally satisfying that you might find yourself with a tear in your eye. Not saying that happened to me, (it TOTALLY happened to me), but you know, prepare yourself. Perfection in an ending is so rare, but I think McCammon achieved it here.

 

The only bad thing about getting an ARC, (and in this case it's a REAL ARC, that I can hold and hug tight to my chest, not that I did that), is that there isn't anyone to talk to about this story. I can't wait for you to read it so we can talk about Curtis and Pearly and good old Nilla.

 

In February when it's released, I hope you will remember my words here today and hop on the opportunity to read The Listener. Please come and share your thoughts with me when you're done. I hope that Curtis invades your mind space as he has invaded mine, and we can talk about how much we both love him. Or perhaps we can talk about THAT character that was such a memorable part of another GREAT, (maybe the best?) Robert McCammon book, and how much we loved seeing them again? I sure do hope that we can, my fellow readers. I sure do hope we can.

 

The Listener has earned my highest recommendation!

 

*Thanks to Cemetery Dance for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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review 2018-01-01 15:52
Cemetery Dance Select: Michael Marshall Smith
Cemetery Dance Select: Michael Marshall Smith - Michael Marshall Smith

 

The Cemetery Dance Select series is a line of Limited Edition Hardcovers that will be available later in 2018. There are a number of authors involved and how it works is as follows: The author chooses which of their short works they consider to be their best or that had the most impact on their careers, or neglected favorites they feel deserve a second look. This volume, as stated above, features Michael Marshall Smith, (MMS). 

 

Even though I own several of Smith's books, I haven't read them yet, so this was a good way to familiarize myself with his writing. I loved it! This slim volume contains 4 short stories, all of which were excellent. Since they are short, it's hard to say much without spoiling anything, but I'll try.

 

THE MAN WHO DREW CATS is the first tale and my favorite in this collection. Vividly told and extremely compelling, MMS knows how to draw complete characters even in a such a short story as this. At times it was heartbreaking and at others, uplifting. (It was not surprising to discover in the afterword that this tale won The British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.)

 

LATER-I don't want to say anything about this tale, because...spoilers. However, this is another example of how MMS can make you care for characters in only a few pages. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE NIGHT In addition to short stories that pack a punch at the end, my other favorite type of short tale is the one that just IS. No explanations, it just is. (The first tale I think of as an example is Joe Hill's POP ART.) This is one of those and it's also among the finest examples of that type of narrative I've ever read. If THE MAN WHO DREW CATS wasn't so damn poignant, THIS would be my favorite.

 

THE WOODCUTTER A tale of magic and of going home. This was a very different type of tale as compared to the others, but I loved it. I especially liked the fact that I had no idea where the story was going until quite close to the end. And what a end it was!

 

I have a few more Cemetery Dance Select books to read, and I'm very much looking forward to them.  If this, and Kevin Lucia's MYSTERY ROAD are an example of the quality contained within these slim titles, any lover of dark fiction cannot go wrong!

 

Highly recommended!

 

*A HUGE thank you to Cemetery Dance for providing a paper ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-28 18:45
Mystery Road by Kevin Lucia
Mystery Road - Kevin Lucia

 

Mystery Road is a beautifully written, poignant story about a man caring for his dying father and the memories that suddenly return to him after decades of forgetfulness. 

 

Kevin Ellison recalls the day he was riding his bike to the local basketball court when he was 12. A road appeared. But he went to play basketball nearly every day, taking the same route, and has never noticed this road before. Where does it go and what does he find there? You'll have to read this novella and find out for yourself. 

 

I loved this story!  Even though I had an inkling of where it was going to go once events started to occur, I didn't guess all of it, and I still enjoyed the getting there. (In fact, the getting there was the best part.) Exploring the emotions of losing a parent, and of learning more about a parent's life before they had children-these are heavy subjects. But Mr. Lucia gets down in there, digging deep, and I'm not ashamed to say that I had a tear in my eye by the time I finished this sweet novella. 

 

Highly recommended!

 

*This book will be available as a limited edition through Cemetery Dance Publications' Novella Series. I wish I could tell you when and provide a link, but alas, I cannot. I will update this review when the information becomes available. I was provided a paperback ARC in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-05-29 01:18
Getting Hooked Everytime
Cemetery Dance - Douglas Preston,Lincoln Child

I just discovered Douglas Lincoln and Preston Child last year and I first read their book Dance of Death which features my now-favorite detective, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast.

 

Now I'm on their #9 Pendergast series because I feel the need to follow my favorite agent's adventures. He is quirky and unusual. He's the type of guy I would have wanted to meet in real life.

 

As of this current book I'm reading, I'm currently disappointed because Smithback's dead. He's one of my favorites also. He's a journalist and a friend of Pendergast. His unexplained death moves Pendergast and another associate, D'Agosta, to look for his killer.

 

What gets me hooked?

 

It's the entirety of it all.

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review 2015-03-06 00:00
Cemetery Dance
Cemetery Dance - Douglas Preston,Lincoln Child This novel starts off with William Smithback, a New York Times reporter, being murdered in his apartment by a man who had died a week earlier. Adding to the fact that the murderer had the appearance of a zombie, it was easy to conclude that this was the work of a zombie. Later, a zombified Smithback kills another reporter. On the case is Pendergast, an FBI agent with a knack of tackling very bizarre cases, and Lieuntenant D’Agosta, your typical gritty New York city cop. All of this leads to a sinister cult that is operating in Manhattan that follow Obeah and vodou.

Although there is a certain level of intrigue in this novel, and there is an interesting whodunit element to it, the story itself is convoluted and hard to believe. By the time the action had completed, I still did not understand how everything went down. When Pendergast provides an explanation I could only roll my eyes. The characters’ actions were so far-fetched and the premises that they were working on were so preposterous that it was hard to take this novel seriously. Although there were elements of the novel that I enjoyed, I just couldn’t get past the over the top lapses in reality. This is a novel I would recommend skipping.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street
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