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review 2020-04-05 14:35
Stinger - Robert R. McCammon

by Robert McCammon


McCammon is very thorough with description, yet at least in the first part of the book he seems to start every sentence with an overly long sentence that any English teacher would demand splitting into smaller bites. The picture he paints in this story is a bleak landscape of a dying town and the sort of effects it has on the people struggling to survive as jobs disappear and the local mine runs dry.


Against the backdrop of desperation and despair, an alien drops into the lives of the townspeople, followed by a second alien of a different nature and people start to get hurt. The reason for this happening is revealed slowly, drawing the reader into the conflict that underlies the presence of the aliens.


There were a lot of characters to develop in this story and I sometimes wished the narrative would go back to one group or another to keep better continuity, but it all sort of comes together in the last quarter of the book when the remaining townspeople are faced with an impossible choice of how to deal with the respective aliens.


One thing I will say in the book's favour is that several Mexican characters were developed well and played important roles. Yay for diversity!


I felt that Stinger was a little too formidable and I would like to have seen him have more vulnerabilities. As it was, the story seemed imbalanced and the actions in the last chapters less believable. After all, he was in an unfamiliar atmosphere with different gravity with flora and fauna he had never encountered. A lot could have been done with a dog allergy or a bad reaction to minerals in the earth, like sulphur.


Much could have been done with what he eats and possibly running out of time before the nutrients, air pressure or other factors become a problem.


Overall it was a fairly good read and there were some very original ideas, but not one for my personal favourites.

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text 2020-02-08 18:13
"Boy's Life" by Robert McCammon – abandoned at the end of Part One (23%)
Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon,George Newbern

"Boy's Life" has been in my TBR pile since July 2016. I'm finally getting to it as part of my 20 for 20 reading challenge to read books that are 20+ hours long. 


I can see why"Boy's Life" is one of those well-loved books that people recommend. It is a beautifully told story of one boy's life, eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson, in 1960s Zephry, Alabama. It tells of how he starts to unravel the mysteries of the adult world and to confront the darker things, hidden beneath the surface of his town, as he tries to help his traumatised father.


The storytelling is folksy without being hokey: think Stephen King meets Mark Twain and Stephen King mostly wins.


There is some subtlety here, with things have one meaning in a child's mind and another in an adult one and Cory occasionally being able to see both meanings at once.


The pace is slow, like the measured tread of the marchers that Cory watches on Good Friday, and the scenes build upon one another, layering meaning upon meaning and enriching the strange little world that is Zephyr Alabama.


I loved the description of the kids going to the Saturday matinee and getting creeped out by the second feature, a movie about an alien invasion in a sort of body-snatcher style, becoming worried that their parents too might be taken and changed. The twist that followed, when a meteor is seen in the sky that same night while Cory is staying at a friends house was inspired and convincing, linking the children's anxiety to reality as well as fantasy.


I also enjoyed the scene describing what happened to Cory in the flood.

I found the move between scenes a little choppy.


All the same, it's clear to me that, if you have the right mindset and give yourself permission, this is a book that will transport you back to the childhood you might like to have had, where magical explanations of day-to-day things, especially frightening, not to be spoken about, day-to-day things seemed as likely to be true as any of the alternatives and spoke more urgently to your heart.


I'm abandoning the book because, as far as I can remember, I was never that kind of child, so what is meant to be a nostalgic, semi-magical, semi-spooky remembrance of life when you were coming of age is too far from my experience for my imagination to find traction.


In the first chapter Cory, as the writer of the story and speaking directly to the reader about the story they are about to start, comments that we are born able to see magic in the world but that we have the ability "educated out of us" and that, once that's happened, we can never get it back. Well, my education must have been so thorough that I find myself fundamentally resistant to this way of looking at things.


I also find that I have very little empathy for Cory. He seems too nice to be true. He seems bright enough but he also seems to have trouble thinking things through. Maybe that's what eleven-year-olds are like. I no longer know any.


So, I've decided not to spend another fifteen and a half hours getting irritated with Cory and missing or rejecting the point of the story. I'm moving on to my next books

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text 2020-02-07 00:12
Reading progress update: I've read 16%. - can you be nostalgic for something you've never experienced?
Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon,George Newbern

"Boy's Life" has been in my TBR pile since July 2016. I'm finally getting to it as part of my 20 for 20 reading challenge to read books that are 20+ hours long. It's been highly recommended to me by folks here, so I'm looking forward to it.


I can see that the style is meant to evoke nostalgia for 1960's small-town life in Alabama and then add in a twist of something off-beat in a sort of "Stand By Me" way.


I found the nostalgia part difficult for two reasons. Firstly, when I was eleven, I was nothing like as nice as this guy. He's so wholesome, it hurts. I never did get the whole hero worship thing or wanting to be Batman or Tarzan. So, even if I'd lived in his small town, I'd never have seen what he sees. Secondly, I kept being struck by how different Zephyr Alabama is from my experience. It turns out that the "town" is 1,500 people. To me, that's a village. A small village. Then I'm told this tiny place has four churches. That seems an awful lot, especially if they're all different denominations. 1,500 people living next to one another with four different versions of God. And this place has a founder. I've never lived anywhere that has a founder. And so on.


I found it fascinating but in the same way I'd be fascinated by the world-building in an SF novel.


What won me over was the description of the kids going to the Saturday matinee and getting creeped out by the second feature, a movie about an alien invasion in a sort of body-snatcher style. I thought this was very well done and I can see how it might link to the wider story being told.


As long as the main character doesn't stay so alter-boyish, I think I'll have fun with this.





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review 2020-01-19 10:24
Für mich bisher der spannendste Fall des Problemlösers
Matthew Corbett und die Jagd nach Mister Slaughter - Robert McCammon

In Robert McCammons meisterhaftem dritten Teil der historischen Thriller-Reihe um Matthew Corbett erweckt er erneut die Kolonialwelt Amerikas zu schillerndem Leben.
Matthew, der mittlerweile als »Problemlöser« für die New Yorker Zweigstelle der Londoner Herrald-Vertretung arbeitet, erhält einen ungewöhnlichen und gefährlichen Auftrag: Zusammen mit seinem Begleiter Hudson Greathouse soll er den berüchtigten Massenmörder Tyranthus Slaughter von einem Gefängnis in der Nähe Philadelphias zum New Yorker Hafen eskortieren. Auf dem Weg dorthin macht Slaughter seinen Wächtern jedoch ein überraschendes und äußerst verlockendes Angebot – mit tragischen Folgen …

Mister Slaughter ist nicht nur die bis ins kleinste Detail fein ausgearbeitete Darstellung einer noch jungen Nation, sondern auch das zeitlose Porträt eines äußerst gewalttätigen Serienmörders, der seinen Häschern immer einen Schritt voraus ist. 


Meine Meinung

Dieses Buch hat mir seit Weihnachten Kopfzerbrechen bereitet. Nicht wegen der Rezension zum Buch und auch nicht, weil es mir noch gefallen hat, sondern ich habe die Rezension ständig wegen dem Foto vor mir hergeschoben.

Beim weihnachtlichen Aufräumen habe ich den Schutzumschlag in Sicherheit bringen wollen, nur weiß ich nicht mehr wohin.

Kaum zu glauben, aber der Schutzumschlag ist nicht mehr aufzufinden.

Ich hasse meinen Kopf, der sich einfach nicht erinnert.


Dennoch möchte ich euch meine Meinung zu diesem 5. Band der Reihe nicht vorenthalten, denn mittlerweile gehört diese Reihe zu meinen Lieblingen.

In den Büchern um Matthew Corbett macht man sich auf in eine längst vergangene Zeit und erlebt die spannendsten Abenteuer.


Zwar konnten mich die letzten beiden Bände um die Königin der Verdammten vor allem mit ihrem recht düsteren und dreckigen Setting in New York begeistern.

Dieser Band überzeugt mich hinsichtlich der Figurendarstellung.

Robert McCammon erschafft für diesen Band einen Zeitgenossen, der den Leser ans Buch fesselt, den Serienmörder Tyranthus Slaughter.

Bereits im letzten Band hatte er einen kurzen Gastauftritt, aber ich brauchte einen kleinen Anschupser meiner LR-Mitleser, um ihn einzuordnen. Zwischen den Bänden liegt einfach zu viel Zeit.

Tipp: wer die Reihe noch nicht kennt, lese die Bände in kürzeren Abständen, dann habt ihr das perfekte Feeling.


Die Charakteristika von Matthew, Hudson und Mister Slaughter waren besonders.

Der Autor erschafft für jede Figur ein ganz individuelles Dasein.

Und dem Leser wird sehr schnell klar, dass Matthew hier einen gefährlichen und heimtückischen Gegner hat.


McCammon macht diesen Band zu meinem bisherigen Favoriten, weil ich durchgängig gut unterhalten wurde. Und das nicht nur vom Protagonisten selbst, sondern auch von vielen Nebenfiguren, die die Geschichte bereichert haben.

Dazu zähle ich den jungen Tom, welcher bereits so viel Schrecken erfahren musste und auch in diesem Band nicht verschont wird oder auch das Mädchen Lark, welche nach einer Begegnung mit Mister Slaughter eine ganz andere Rolle einnehmen muss.


Und zum Schluss muss noch gesagt werden, dass der Autor den Leser auch schreibstiltechnisch an das Buch bindet. Die Seiten fliegen dahin und er baut so viele Dinge in sein Werk ein, dass einem einfach niemals langweilig wird.


Mein Fazit

Robert McCammon fängt die Zeit von New York im Jahre 1702 wieder perfekt ein.

Diese Reihe historischer Thriller gefällt mir mit jedem Band mehr und ich freue mich schon auf das nächste Abenteuer.

Kennst du die Reihe bereits?

Wenn nicht, lerne sie kennen!

Absolutes LeseMuss!


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review 2019-10-28 16:28
DNF at 10 Percent
They Thirst - Robert McCammon

I did not finish this at 10 percent. I got nothing to say besides the writing hurt my head. I either love Robert R. McCammon or I don't. This is definitely one of the ones I don't love. There is too much thrown out and none of it makes much sense. This is a shame though because the prologue was so freaking good. And then when it moves to LA I just started to feel overwhelmed. Since I only got up to 10 percent I can say that the characters are too many and the book should have just been vampires. Instead it just jumps around a lot and I had no idea what was going on.


These seem to be vampires as we have known them in older horror novels (Dracula) and not the Twilight and Discovery of Witches vampires. I still cannot get over vampire yoga. Seriously? So that part was good. I just thought that the writing was a bit much and I didn't have a character to really follow to anchor the story. This book read to me like "Swan Song" though with vampires which caused me to drop it quickly. 


I really could not deal with another long read this weekend (this is 531 pages) so gave up around page 55. I did skim to the end and woo boy, that ending was just odd. And also borrowed heavily from "The Stand." So now I get why other reviewers were complaining about. 

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