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text 2016-01-01 20:54
December Wrap-up
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane LP: A Novel - Neil Gaiman
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
The Incurables - Jon Bassoff

Not a bad month to be fair, there's a number of short stories as I chased my 200 book target and finally finished on about 205.


The best thing by far about December is the rediscovery of the one and only Neil Gaiman, two of my favourite books of the year came with Neverwhere and The Ocean at the end of the Lane + ranking alongside Bedlam as my best Graphic Novel was Sandman: Overture. All top class.


I will do a top 10 of the year tomorrow but for now its Decembers reads and I need to knock some reviews out.


More Gaiman to come this month for sure.


  1. Jon Bassof – Incurables (4*)
  2. Graham Masterton - Beholder (4*)
  3. Brady Koch - Numbers 16:32 (2.5*)
  4. Neil Gaiman – Ocean at the end of the lane (5*)
  5. Nick Spencer - Bedlam, Vol. 2 (4*)
  6. Alex Marwood - The Darkest Secret (2*)
  7. The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman (5*)
  8. Lee Thompson – After the fog clears (4*)
  9. Edward Lorn - Deck the Halls: A Christmas Horror (4*)
  10. Kealan Patrick Burke – Offline (3.5*)
  11. Kealan Patrick Burke - Offline: In the Flesh(4*)
  12. Kealan Patrick Burke - Underneath(4.5*)
  13. Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (5**)
  14. Neil Gaiman - Fortunately, the Milk (4*)
  15. Neil Gaiman – Coraline (5*)
  16. With a Voice that is Often Still Confused by J.R. Hamantaschen (4*)


I've lowered my target to 180 next year after doing 200+ for the last two years but that as ever includes shorts, graphics ... the lot.


And a Happy new year to everyone.

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review 2015-12-29 06:29
The Incurables by Jon Bassoff
The Incurables - Jon Bassoff

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Disgraced doctor, Walter Freeman, thinks he has perfected the Transorbital Lobotomy, a simple procedure he feels will cure a vast majority of his patients at the psychiatric hospital he has worked at for over thirty years. The other doctors do not agree and he is dismissed but decides to 'liberate' one of his successes, Edgar, a murderer who is now as meek as a kitten thanks to the procedure.

Walter decides to take his 'success' on the road and they tour town after town speaking of the positives of the procedure and how people can be saved.They come to Burnwood and there meet a variety of troubled and manipulative characters. Durango and his preacher father and Scent, the young prostitute who is desperate to get her hands on money hidden by her mother. Their stories converge into a violent finale where Walter is shown the real cost of his procedure.


The author has again brought together an amazing array of characters for his novel, Walter with his almost blind faith in the power of his procedure. This is mirrored in the story arc of Durango and his father, his father convinced that Durango is the messiash and can perform miracles and raise the dead. Scent's character was complex with the initial set up of her being a sweet girl who is hooking because she has no other options. She is soon revealed as someone violent, calculating and manipulative but her love for Durango seems pure and she is convinced this is what's needed to change her life, along with her mother's money of course.


The novel is set in the 50's and scratches the underbelly of america, showing the violence and poverty that confront people on a daily basis. It's fascinating and disturbing in equal measures but well worth the read.


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review 2015-12-27 19:48
The Incurables Jon Bassoff.
The Incurables - Jon Bassoff

I received The Incurables from Darkfuse & Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Oh man. Where to start with this!

I'm a new fan of Jon Bassoff, his style really sets the scenes for his tales. It wasn't too slow and the plot was awesome set in the 1950s you really get a feel like your almost there watching the whole story unfold. A range of emotions hits you while reading this and has defiantly made me want to read more of his works. Without getting too in depth with this review, I really, really recommend this as a read. Jon Bassoff has so made a new fan of me thank you Darkfuse :o)

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review 2015-12-21 20:13
The Incurables by Jon Bassoff
The Incurables - Jon Bassoff

'It’s a mean old world, isn’t it?'


Beginning in 1953 The Incurables by Jon Bassoff is a character driven tale with its heart set in madness and its thoughts desperate for tranquillity amidst the Incurables of society.


Thirty-two hundred lives he’d saved, give or take, and he wasn’t done yet. The famous Dr. Walter Freeman, the pioneer of the transorbital lobotomy but when his time is deemed over, there's no going back so he kidnaps his latest patient and it’s time for pastures new.


'Without hesitation, he grasped the ice pick and jammed the point into the tear duct. He then gripped the hammer and struck the ice pick, once, twice, causing an audible crack. Back and forth, back and forth he cut. Then, with a twisting movement, he withdrew the ice pick, all the while pressing his gnarled fingers on Edgar’s eyelids, preventing hemorrhaging.'


And that is a transorbital lobotomy, Woah WTF, this apparently, effectively treats patients with a history of anxiety, depression, insomnia and bouts of homicidal mania. Dr Freeman and Edgar find themselves on the carnival circuit wanting only to help those in need. And with a sign.


'The Amazing Dr. Freeman and his Transorbital Lobotomy. Ending Mental Anguish Today.'


Durango Stanton, sixteen year old Messiah, is also on the carnival circuit with his father, usually found sat cross-legged on a homemade throne, wearing a crown of thorns while dear old Dad preaches all the truths the sinners don't want to hear. And then there's Scent, a young woman who sells her body to survive, her Mother has loads of money hidden away, waiting for her lover to return, forcing them to live in poverty. So we have one crazy Father, one crazy Mother and as if sent from heaven, the good doctor.


“It’s the town. Out here in the middle of nowhere with all them ghosts whispering from beneath the bloody dirt. A town full of incurables, a town full of sinners, a town run by the devil. And wherever the devil is, God is sure to follow.”


The Incurables sees Jon Bassoff back to his best following a slight stutter with Factory Town, Scent was easily my favourite character, seemingly a fragile young thing with a dark side desperate for reparation but will she get what's due? In a place where insanity blossoms amongst the hopeless and faith doesn't mean a thing, only death.

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review 2015-11-21 22:31
An author with an unique and dark style of his own....
The Incurables - Jon Bassoff

Reading The Incurables is akin to being on the set of a wild west frontier town production movie possibly under the direction of one of the greatest directors of all times, John Ford and starring two of his favourite protagonists John Wayne and Victory McLaglen....”She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” comes to mind. Now if we add to this the language and character interplay in a Quentin Tarantino production such as Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta discussing the finer parts of a quarter pounder...”Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris? They call it Royale with cheese”....then perhaps you have some idea just how just how colourful and direct this character driven novel by Jon Bassoff is.

Doctor Walter Freeman offers hope to the ill and insane with his transorbitol lobotomy and he should know as he has performed over 3000 successful operations. When however he is sacked from his job at the hospital and he travels to the town of Burnwood “a debauchery-filled meatpacking town with plenty of history but not much future.” with his faithful companion Edgar (himself a recipient of transorbitol lobotomy) his patience and his faith in his ability will be sorely tested.

In this Oklahoma backwater he meets an assortment of odd, demented and violent cast of characters; Durango the next Messiah driven by his god fearing father Stanton...”Stanton had made prophecies before and none of them had come true. But Durango couldn’t help but believe, just a little bit. Not because he thought him to be a prophet, but because he was his father.” Scent the local working girl “Scent and the fat man drove in his badly rusted, badly dented Ford truck toward the Lullaby Motel over on Front Street. His calloused hands rode up and down her leg and she didn’t try to stop him. The radio played static-filled doo-wop. And out on the streets a heaping of destitution and debauchery.”.....Grady, Vlad and Kaz murdering psychopathic brothers out for revenge, and all this set against a town captivated by the charismatic salesmanship of Dr Freeman.

Jon Bassoff creates characters that “crackle” with electricity they can almost be viewed in 3d as their bawdy and colourful temperaments consume the reader from the opening paragraph. His directness and style in many respects reminds me of the writing of Donald Ray Pollock (The Devil All The Time) I shall look forward to reading future publications by Mr Bassoff as I know his best work is still to be written.

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