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Search tags: 7-hiding-under-the-covers
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review 2020-05-31 16:18
The Deep ★★★☆☆
The Deep - Alma Katsu

This book was kind of a mess. It was intriguing enough to keep me going to the end, but after it was over, my only thought was, "well, that's over". It had so many good reviews that I wanted to like it, but even with a generously open mind, I found it mostly annoying. 


The problem, for me, is it didn't know what kind of story it wanted to be. A well-researched,  fictional accounting of true historical events and real historical characters? A ghost story? A mystery? A romance? An unreliable narrator with a disturbed mind? I think it could have been any of these things, and done it well, if the author had just committed to a couple of these concepts. But she tried to do it all, and it just didn't work for me. I spent most of the time wondering what the heck was going on, and not in a good way. Extraordinary amounts of time were spent on characters who weren't central to the story. The narrative continually jumped between characters and tense and timelines. 


I'm rating it three stars, because for all its flaws it kept me interested and sort of entertained. Maybe this would have been better in a text version, although I felt Jane Collingwood gave an excellent performance as narrator. 


Audiobook, via Audible. 



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review 2020-05-03 14:57
If It Bleeds ★★★★☆
if It Bleeds - Stephen King,Danny Burstein,John Steven Gurney,Will Patton

Of the four novellas in this collection, the title story is unquestionably the best, and not only because we get to spend more time with Holly Gibney from the The Outsider and the Mr. Mercedes series. It's probably the most complete of the stories.  Mr. Harrigan's Phone and The Life of Chuck were classic SK "what if" games for the imagination. The last one, Rat, was not his strongest, but another "being a writer is hard" navel gazer mixed with Faust.


Audiobook via Audible, read by Will Patton, Danny Burstein, and Steven Weber. All do a fine job, but I was delighted to have Patton back and voicing Holly again. 

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review 2020-04-21 14:15
Imaginary Friend ★★★★☆
Imaginary Friend - Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary Friend is a hard book to review. I struggled even with deciding on how many stars to rate it. It's kind of a mess, in terms of pacing, plotting, and themes. Most of the characters are just archetypes. But the story and the imagery was so compelling I could not put it down or stay away for long. I kept coming back for more. I've been reading so much horror for so long that I'm not often moved or chilled, but there were many small moments in this book that felt somehow fresh and new and awful. 


It really needed a heavier hand with the editing, though. Remember the complaints about the LotR movie The Return of the King had about 10 different endings - every time you thought the story resolved, it picked up and told a new ending? That's this book. At one point last night, I was yelling at the book in my best Monty Python voice, "Get on with it!"  There was a lot of weird Christian allegory, but I'm not enough of a church-goer to parse it. 


And yet. And yet, I still would recommend it. 


Hardcover version, picked up on a whim at Half Price Books, when I set a goal for myself to pick a hardcover of an author I'm unfamiliar with from the Horror section, without reading reviews or anything other than the jacket blurb. 

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review 2020-03-18 22:26
Patient Zero ★★☆☆☆
Patient Zero - Ray Porter,Jonathan Maberry

I had high expectations for this, after really enjoying Lullaby. After a little over 20 minutes, though, I had to admit defeat and DNF it. The story wasn't terrible, but it could not catch my interest. Too much testosterone, maybe. I always enjoy Ray Porter's narration, but even he couldn't elevate the material enough to keep me engaged. 


Audiobook, borrowed from my public Library via Overdrive. 

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review 2020-03-04 19:32
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon ★★★★★
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King

This was a re-read (or re-listen) of a favorite old book. Rather than go into details, I'd urge you to read the excellent reviews by Chris' Fish Place and Mike Finn, both of whom were more eloquent than I could hope to be. This is one of King's books that is more character exploration than horror novel, although it has plenty of dark and frightening moments. As a baseball fan, I really connect with the way Trish is anchored by her favorite team and player, and the way the elements of the game reflect the ordeal she endures and how she copes and survives. 


The ending is not quite as weird as I remembered it, this time, perhaps because I read it this time with the context of knowing the full story. 


Audiobook ripped from CD, with a fantastic reading by Ann Heche. I had planned to post some photos of the popup book version that I also own, but when I pulled it off my shelf, I realized that static photos just won't do it justice. The charm is in the dynamic as the pages are turned and interacted with. So I'll have to do a video of me leafing through the popup book instead. I'll try to get that done this weekend. 

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