logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Christopher-Fowler
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-11 10:54
"Full Dark House - Bryant & May #1" by Christopher Fowler - DNF - reluctantly abandoned at 37%
Full Dark House - Christopher Fowler

The premise behind this book was intriguing: a Peculiar Crimes Unit, set up during the Blitz quietly to handle crimes that might undermine civilian morale, leaving lots of room for Mulder-meets-British-stiff-upper-lip humour.

 

The Unit is led by Bryant: an eccentric, ostentatiously intuitive, tactless, scarf-wearing, driven twenty-two-year-old who is more comfortable with exotic books than with ordinary people. His newly-hired first-day-on-the-job side-kick is the enthusiastic, scientifically-minded, charming, good-looking nineteen-year-old May, brought in as a detective despite his lack of experience because all the experienced people have left to fight the Germans.

 

The overall effect was that of a frenetic young "Dr Who" meeting "Endeavour".

I liked the spirit of it. It would make great television. It didn't hold my attention as a book.

 

The opening, in London in the 1990s when Bryant and May are still serving officers although they are both beyond the normal retirement age, didn't quite work for me. It asked me to care too much about characters I'd barely met. I had no context and so didn't get the emotional impact of the devastating fire-bomb.

 

Once the story flipped to London during the Blitz it hit its stride. The writing was strong on visuals, a little predictable on dialogue and way out there on the weirdness of plot.

 

The problem I had was that this retrospective visit to London felt a little too cosy and too nostalgic, a feeling that was amplified by the "Mystique of the Theatre" riff. The murder was surprisingly gruesome but carried little emotional impact.

 

I abandoned the book when my irritation with the changing points of view, sliding timelines and self-consciously look-how-clever-but-quaint-we-were-back-then technology innovations overwhelmed my interest in who had what to whom and why.

 

I'm sure many people will enjoy this. Maybe I'd have ridden with it more easily if there was an all-cast audio version but the text by itself didn't hold me.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-03 15:38
Im abgefahrenen Horror-Zug
Der Höllenexpress - Horror-Roman: Spannung, Abenteuer, Fantasy (German Edition) - LUZIFER-Verlag,Christopher Fowler,Stefan Mommertz

Eine Zugreise in Osteuropa während des ersten 1. Weltkriegs. Vier Passagiere steigen in einem Zug um den herannahenden Truppen zu entgehen. Doch sie ahnen nicht, dass auf dieser Reise der Horror erst seinen Anfang nimmt. 

Es handelt sich um einen Horror-Roman, der die typischen Filmelemente des Genres zu einer abgefahrenen Reise vermischt. Christopher Fowler spielt mit sämtlichen Elementen, die man aus Filmen kennt. Er nimmt eine Prise Dracula, mischt menschenfressende Käfer dazu, lässt Geister auferstehen und stiehlt mit einem Grinsen dem Teufel den Kochlöffel aus der Hand.

Die Rahmenhandlung ist in der Blütezeit der klassischen Horrorfilme angesiedelt. Ein Drehbuchautor stellt sich bei den Hammer-Film-Studios vor und wird aufgefordert, einen neuen Film zu schreiben. In diesem Abschnitt erlebt die Welt der alten Horrorfilme eine Wiedergeburt. Man sieht, wie Filmkulissen kreiert und umgestaltet werden, erfährt, wie in den 1960er-Jahren Schauspieler und Filmschaffende familiär zusammengearbeitet haben, und wie sich der Horror-Film langsam schon schwer getan hat, weil es an frischen Ideen gemangelt hat.

Kernstück der Handlung ist natürlich das Drehbuch, also die Fahrt im Höllenexpress. Hier steigen vier Passagiere in das dampfende Ungetüm ein, weil sie sich vor Soldaten retten wollen. 

Isabella ist eine osteuropäische Schönheit vom Land, die vom britischen Gentlemen und Abenteurer Nicholas errettet wird. Thomas wird von seiner herrschsüchtigen Frau Miranda - die sich von ihrem Eheleben mehr als die Tristesse an der Seite eines Pfarrers erträumte - in den Zug geschleift, wodurch alle auf der gleichen Reise sind, die in den Schlund der Hölle führen wird.

Diese Reise ist von altbekannten Monstern, schaurigen Käfern und einer ausweglosen Situation geprägt. Das Mysterium des Zuges schlägt zu. Die Passagiere können nicht entkommen. Und der Zugführer zeigt sich an deren Elend nur leidlich interessiert.

„… das hier ist mehr als ein Zug. Es ist eine Sammlung von Schrecken, die sich bis in die Unendlichkeit entfalten können.“ (S. 85)

Durch das Aufflammen klassischer Horror-Elemente hat mir die Reise sehr großen Spaß gemacht. Der Stil und die Handlung ist an die alten Horror-Klassiker aus der Filmwelt angelehnt und ich habe mich ausgezeichnet unterhalten gefühlt. Es dauert bis die Passagiere ihre Misere begreifen, bis sie das Geschehen verarbeitet haben und man weiß beim Lesen, dass wohl bald Endstation ist. 

„Der Höllenexpress“ ist ein wahnsinnig unterhaltsames Werk, das durch das hohe Tempo und seine horrormäßigen Figuren brilliert. Christopher Fowler hat sich mit seinem „Der Höllenexpress“ von der Masse abgehoben und die Zugfahrt hat mir sehr großen Spaß gemacht!

Wer also alte Filme und Monster mag, sich auf eine abgefahrene Reise begeben will und keine Angst vor Ekelszenen hat, sollte den nächsten Zug nehmen. Es ist eine Fahrt, die man nicht so schnell vergessen wird.

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-18 14:50
The Book of Forgotten Authors - Christopher Fowler,Christopher Fowler,riverrun

This book is a bibliophile’s dream. It is a cornucopia of potential hidden gems ripe for re-discovery. There are authors you will have heard of, surprise inclusions that make sense when you read about the wealth of writing they are no longer associated with. There are those authors who you will never have heard of, with none of their titles ringing any bookish bells, overshadowed perhaps by far more famous contemporaries. Then there will be those that will surprise because whilst the author’s name may have slipped from the collective memory their stories are household names.

 

It is extremely easy to read. The short, two to three page chapters dedicated to each of the 99 authors, interspersed with essays, mean that the reader can soon find themselves 10 or 15 authors in. It is a book that you can dip in and out of, oftentimes having to be put down so that the reader can research the books of an author they have just read about.

 

There are so many authors in the novel whose work sounds so appealing that I’ve had to create a list of those I want to read. In fact, this book arrived the day after I bought a copy of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, who’s author, Winifred Watson, features in The Book of Forgotten Authors. I stopped reading the later to pick up the former, and fell in love with the tale of a down at heel governess and her new accidental friends (but that’s another story). Having had the feeling that I will discover some new favourites by reading some of these forgotten authors already validated I can’t wait to discover more.

Christopher Fowler writes in an engaging, informative and fun style, one which draws the reader completely into the lives of the writer whose life’s work is summed up in a few pages. His love and passion for literature shines through, making the book the more entertaining for it.

 

This look at forgotten authors is of course subjective. There were over 400 discovered by Christopher Fowler, condensed to just 99. There may have been many others in the remaining 301 that someone else would have held in higher regard. There are some of the authors selected whose work I know I will probably not enjoy but others whose novels I know will fit perfectly with my bookish bent. Don’t be disheartened if not all of the authors appeal, the other benefit to this book is that you will find an author to re-discover just as much as you’ll find an author that won’t be gracing your bookshelves.

This is a brilliant reference book but is also a look at the vagrancies of the novel, the fads and fashions of different periods in history. Hugely popular authors have now vanished from the reading public’s conscious. This book will open the doors to a wonderful array of authors whose novels are waiting patiently to be read again.

 

Luckily some publishers are realising the joy to be found in older titles, with Persephone and the British Library being at least two who are re-publishing long forgotten favourites.

An informative reference guide but also an ode to the lost authors of bygone eras, The Book of Forgotten Authors is an entertaining look at the world of writing. It should perhaps come with a warning – this book will cost you a pretty penny in new to you titles you find you simply must have.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-09 21:14
Gilded Needles
Gilded Needles (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Christopher Fowler,Michael McDowell,Mike Mignola

“You are falling into inanity,” said Judge Stallworth coldly. “I have told you, the lower classes do not take revenge upon the upper."

My third McDowell and I think I am a little in love with his writing. How else did I just enjoy a work of horror fiction with a blood-curdling and violent revenge plot at the heart of its story?

 

In an earlier update I mentioned that I could see some similarities between Gilded Needles and The Godfather. I still believe this is true. Except that Black Lena Shanks and her daughters are far superior in every aspect to any of the Corleones:

 

1. They seek to grow their business interests openly. 

 

2. They do not pick fights with rivalling families for reasons of business. When they escalate operations, it is for deeply personal reasons. And, yet, they limit extent of their wrath and try to shield the innocents and bystanders.

 

3. They are not afraid to take on "the man" - or in this case, the police, a senior judge, the newspapers, and pretty much all of "polite society".

 

I loved the scene-setting that McDowell uses in the first chapters to give us that panoramic view of the Black Triangle (a district in the underbelly of New York) on New Year's Eve 1881: we get to be drawn right into the crowd and mingle with prostitutes,  opium addicts, drunks, the sick, and all the other destitute characters that make up the society of outcasts. All of whom are outside the law, because the law neglects them, and outside of society because they are not deemed to belong. 

 

Here is another aspect where Gilded Needles compares with The Godfather: I was struck that the society described in The Godfather excluded and dismissed minorities (and women) as valueless disposables. In Gilded Needles, the society is based on an inclusion of minorities - and most of the main characters and acting agents of the plot are women. Granted, most of them were murderous, but still, if McDowell's aim was to create an alternative society that thrived on differences, this worked incredibly well. 

 

Gilded Needles was published in 1980. When reading, I could not help thinking the McDowell was not only writing about 1882, but also about his observations about society at the time of writing. There are descriptions of political scheming that could have easily been set in any modern decade, as could the observation how the legal system may not in fact offer equal protection to all members of society, and let's not even go into the treatment of minorities by society. 

 

Anyway, there was a lot more to this book than a crazed gang of villainous women going on a killing spree to satisfy their feelings of revenge. But of course, one could also enjoy the book just with that plot alone. If not, why do we find The Godfather so gripping? 

 

As I don't generally like horror (readers of my posts may have noticed), I've been trying to figure out what it is about this book that drew me in so much. All I can come up with is that McDowell was an author who really understood the art of writing: His characters are spot on, his scenes are dripping with atmosphere, we get this narration that just shows us everything that is going on without telling us how to feel about it:  

In the drugstore, which was neither larger nor brighter nor appreciably cleaner than Lena Shanks’s pawnshop, three fat, gaudy whores, whose vermilion lay half a dollar deep upon their cheeks, huddled at a small low table, on which stood three large glasses of absinthe. There was a short candle jammed in the mouth of a bottle and its guttering flame shining through the liquid in their glasses cast green shadows onto their pallid, pudgy hands.

Their gossip hushed when Maggie entered and they watched her closely and with evident mistrust. The shop was run by a young man whose hair had fallen out, whose skin was scarred with the smallpox, and whose eyes worked at cross purposes.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said slyly to Maggie, “what can I get for you?”

“Powdered opiate,” replied Maggie. “Three ounces.”

“Twelve dollars,” the druggist replied and, plucking out of a little wooden box his one- and two-ounce weights, dropped them onto one side of his scales. Then from a large jar filled with white powder he measured the opium, slipped it into a pink envelope, and slid it across the counter to Maggie.

“Can’t sleep?” he inquired in an oily voice. “Bad dreams? Pain in the tooth?” Mischievously he had listed the common lies of the addict.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-28 11:51
Feel Me Fall – James Morris
Feel Me Fall - Christopher Fowler;Gary McMahon;Adam L.G. Nevill;Pat Cadigan;Paul Meloy;Ramsay Campbell;John L. Probert;Nicholas Royle;Simon Bestwick;Al Ewing;Conrad Williams;Mark Morris;Stephen Volk;Michael Marshall Smith;James Lovegrove;Natasha Rhodes;Joel Lane

‘I pictured her sticking her finger down her throat and bringing it back up later.

Derek asked, “Anything to drink with that?”

“Just water.”

No, I didn’t spit in her food. That’s gross. But I did wipe her bun on the bottom of my shoe.’

 

Secrets and survival in the Amazon 

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she's the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we'll go in order to survive.

 

I was contacted by James Morris himself to read Feel Me Fall in exchange for an honest review so here we go.

 

Feel Me Fall is a fantastic novel. From the very first page I was hooked and whenever I had a free moment, i.e. waiting for the bus, walking home, I had my Kindle out reading it (whilst I was walking, which I’m really chuffed with achieving). Emily is a relatable character, give or take a few obstacles that she goes through *cough* messing around with her teacher *cough*. So what she goes through and does you can’t help but feel sorry for her and understand the actions she takes.

 

*SPOILER ALERT*

 

Just a little bit after halfway, Derek (the possible bad guy, depending on your train of thought) begins to kill off all the males in the group by making it look like accidents and then even when a native stumbles across them and starts to lead them to civilisation Derek then kills him as well and destroys the only slither of hope the girls had for survival. This is very similar to what happens in the wild when a male feels threatened by another potential mate and attacks them to reinstate is position as the leader.

 

Overall, everyone needs to read this book. Like right now.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?