Those Across the River is my first Buehlman, but will not be my last. In fact, I downloaded another of his books just now.
I recently got a new phone that came with some fancy earbuds, so I decided to head over to Overdrive and check out an audio from my library, so I could try them out. I saw this book available and remembered that my friend Tressa has just recommended to me a book by this author just a few days previous. I downloaded Those Across the River knowing nothing about it, and I think that was the best way to go in to this story.
Set mostly in GA in the early 1930's, a damaged WWI veteran moves down from Chicago to a house he has recently inherited. In the letter he received about the inheritance he was warned not to actually live in the house, but of course, he does so anyway-along with his fiance Eudora. What follows is a well told, atmospheric and creepy story that went in a totally different direction than what I expected. There's nothing new or extraordinary here, but a well told and atmospheric story is always welcome on my Kindle, (and now on my phone!), and I enjoyed this immensely.
The narrator, Mark Bramhall, was absolutely phenomenal-I loved his Southern accents and voicing-they brought the story alive for me. I will be keeping an eye out for more of his work in the future. As for right now? I'm on to my next Christopher Buehlman book!
I highly recommend the audio of this novel!
This was a disappointing foray into a side story of the Dark Tower.
What I liked about it was its connection to King/Straub's novel, The Talisman. (Which is one of my favorite books.) If you've read it, you know that young Jack is trying to save his mom, (who is a Queen in another world), and she is very sick. When we first meet her, she is in a huge tent, fighting for her life. That huge tent is the main setting for this story. (A nice explanation of this comes in the foreword.)
This tale comes before the last entry in the graphic novel series, so we've gone backwards a bit in the timeline. I was okay with that but I'm not really okay with the change in how Roland looks and the artwork. While I loved the pencil drawings in the back, Roland looks like an entirely different person than in all the previous comics. I am having a hard time dealing with that. I think that the graphics in the previous novels are superior than the ones in this volume.
Overall, I liked the story and the setting, just not as much as the previous entries in this series.
The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!
Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.
After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":
"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."
I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.
"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."
They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.
If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.
Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism
(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)
Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.
Hometown is an atmospheric, sometimes surreal tale of horror, revenge and abuse in a small town.
Sometimes there are wrongs that can never be corrected. Even death can't set things straight. In the town of Dalry, something is awry and it's up to a group of old high school chums to figure out what. This proves difficult, due to the influence of a dead childhood friend, who often pulls them out of the hometown they know into some sort of parallel world that looks the same, but...isn't. Terrors live in that parallel world and not everyone will survive.
I loved how the story was told and the direction it took, but I had problems with differentiating the characters and their relationships with each other. It took a fair amount of the story for me to pull everything together as far as who everyone was and what was happening. Once I was able to get the characters straight, I didn't feel I knew them well enough to develop a deep caring for them. I felt more for the characters that were already dead, to be honest.
There were some instances where the writing reeled me right in, but there were also instances where a little more editing or proofreading might have helped. (The use of the word scrapping instead of scraping, for instance, happened more than once.)
Overall, though, this was a heart-wrenching story about a damaged family and how that damage can ripple outwards like a stone tossed into a pond-affecting everyone it touches. This tale does have a lot of heart, it just takes some patience and care to get there. Recommended because your mileage may vary and the issues I had may just be mine and mine alone!
You can get your copy here: Hometown
*I received a free e-copy in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*