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Search tags: Michael-McDowell
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review 2020-07-25 12:02
I wish it had better characters.
Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell

Apologies to Char who I know loves this book, but...

I didn't enjoy it.

On the one hand, as with The Elementals, the sense of place that McDowell evokes in his writing and the pervasive wrongness is extraordinarily effective. For that alone I would have offered a solid four or five stars. However, the characterisation was poor in this book and I love being able to empathise with characters and understand their motivations. Without those aspects I will always struggle to truly engage with a book. None of the characters felt real or sympathetic in any way.

The sheriff was lazy and stupid beyond belief, and the villains were Laurel and Hardyesque caricatures of evil, as portrayed by the moustached villain in a top hat laughing as they tie their victim to train tracks, there was nothing there that made them feel real at all. The other characters were just annoying.

The ghost was another bugbear, and the way this "mystery" was wrapped neatly with an earlier thread made me yawn. I have seen people rave about this book, especially fellow horror lovers, but it simply didn't move me. In fairness I was almost gripped near the end, but part of that might have been an eagerness to start my next read.

Posting this review on Booklikes was a Herculean test of my patience. Why is the site so slow and buggy???

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text 2020-07-24 09:56
Reading progress update: I've read 174 out of 292 pages.
Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell Am I the only horror lover who finds the baddies in Cold Moon over Babylon ridiculous? They're like Laurel and Hardy caricatures.
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review 2020-05-28 13:55
The Elementals
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

by Michael McDowell


You have to love a Horror story that starts with a funeral. This one had a weird aspect, but that soon got explained in a perfectly plausible manner. The deep south accent comes over easily and actually helped transport me from reality into this alternate southern world.


I found the author's voice engaging and didn't mind a slow build up in the beginning. A southern family have two holiday homes in a place called Beldame which consists of three houses on a beach with sand dunes. The third house is unoccupied and no one is sure who owns it, but it is getting slowly buried in a sand dune.


13-year-old India gets curious about the place and notices that her father, uncle and grandmother are afraid of the third house. They warn her about the more practical dangers of sand dunes and structurally unsound properties, but her driving curiosity makes her keep looking through the windows and photographing things. Things start to get a little strange.


This is well written and the characters are distinctive. The plot builds slowly, revealing inter-family relationships and how they've developed over time. Towards the end everything that has been experienced in the third house comes out and the action goes berserk, leading to a breathtaking conclusion.


There was a time or two when someone didn't see something obvious, but otherwise it was believable as far as anything involving supernatural activity can be believable and definitely had some chills and tension to satisfy the Horror enthusiast.

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review 2019-10-26 02:38
Cold Moon Over Babylon by Michael McDowell
Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell



Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned


One hot afternoon in July of 1965, Jim Larkin and his wife JoAnn were slowly paddling their small green boat upstream on the Styx river that drains the northwestern corner of the Florida panhandle.

- first sentence



Well, things only go downhill for the Larkin family after that. In the present, they are barely holding on to the farm and the blueberry crop keeps dwindling. After Margaret is murdered, things get even worse. This victim is not going to rest easy and she is determined to make someone pay. But... who killed her and why?


This book is well-written, suspenseful, and scary. I enjoyed the character development and trying to figure out who the killer was. I also liked seeing Margaret Larkin's ghost terrifying people. The final death is the best, well deserved, and perfect in the sense of irony and justice.


Well done and enjoyable. The middle was a tad slower, but the last quarter had me on the edge of my seat.


I read this one for the Terror in a Small Town square.

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review 2019-10-24 17:53
Gothic Square
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Nathan Ballingrud

Audio version - read by Matt Godfrey - he did a damn fine job.  I don't think I will be able to read another McDowell audio book unless Godfrey is reading it.


Thanks to all the Booklikers who read this and posted it about it.  Picked it up because of you all.


This is so damn good.  It's Southern gothic.  It's got monsters and ghosts.  It's a family saga.  It has a flood.  It's really, really good.  Wonderful use of atmosphere.

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