Archives for: 2011
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From those needing a break and wanting something a little bit more grounded in reality, check out this new title...
Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside by Brad Steiger
Summary: Spotlighting news articles, historical accounts, and first-person interviews, this chronicle of human interactions with monsters will convince even the most hardened skeptic of the existence of the bogeyman, bigfoot, werewolves, and swamp creatures. Offering an array of wild reports—from the police officer who begrudgingly responded to a call about a long-haired woman flying over a suburban neighborhood only to find himself calling for backup when she attacked his patrol car to the motorist whose headlights illuminated a seven-foot tall, wolf-like creature that stood on its hind legs—this historical record highlights scary and unbelievable narratives. From slightly demented humans to spine-tingling paranormal encounters, each outlandish occurrence is detailed with thorough research and recounted with a storyteller's crafted voice.
Calling all King fans!
As an avid (rabid?) Stephen King fan it's been a banner few months with the announcements of film adaptations, TV series, and new novels coming fast and furious. Here's what King's Constant Readers have in store for them so far:
1. Ron Howard's film adaptation of the Dark Tower series as well as an accompanying TV show. Javier Bardem has been officially cast as Roland.
2. The rumours are flying that King will write for at least one episode of the returning Walking Dead series (if you haven't started watching this yet, don't wait a moment longer!) There's been speculation that King and his son - bestselling novelist Joe Hill - may even turn this into a collaborative effort - exciting, right?
3. Last - but not least - TWO new novels:
11/22/63 - Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine on an insane - and insanely possible - mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole - what?! Another Dark Tower?? I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. The Mayan calender might tell us that the world will end December 2012, but at least I'll get two more King books before it does :) :)
For more Dark Tower news check out The Dark Tower Official Website and Lilja's Library
-Trudi (a.k.a The Cryptkeeper)
Judge a book by its cover - classic edition
If you know me, you know that I love to judge a book by its cover. I find it a fun and addicting way to ferret out some real unexpected gems. For this post, I cast my net back into the past and just looky what I found :) I don't even care what these books are about - plot summary - who cares? I think the covers speak for themselves. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to read these!
-Trudi (a.k.a. The Cryptkeeper)
Calling All 28 Days Later Fans...
It should not come as any surprise that someone would adapt this story into a graphic novel but for those that didn't realize it, this nice little edition offers a treat for the fans!
London Calling by Michael Alan Nelson
Summary: Picking up where the first movie leaves off, this original graphic novel bridges the gap between the first film and its sequel. The novel features Selena and her new comrades who struggle against the infected, the American presence in the UK... and themselves. Selena is a survivor but even she must give pause when the mission has her breaking into the land she fought so hard to get out of.
2011 Horror Reading List Winner
The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) announced the winners of its annual Reading List awards in several categories, including science fiction, for books published last year.
The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin
Summary: Guilt ridden Nicholas Close retreats to his family home in Australia after the tragic death of his wife, only to encounter an ancient malevolence lurking in the nearby woods. Childhood nightmares and fairytale motifs combine in this emotionally powerful tale of implacable evil. Arachnophobes beware!
It by Stephen King
Summary: A promise made twenty-eight years ago calls seven adults to reunite in Derry, Maine, where as teenagers they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city's children. Unsure that their Losers Club had vanquished the creature all those years ago, the seven had vowed to return to Derry if IT should ever reappear. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that summer return as they prepare to do battle with the monster lurking in Derry's sewers once more.
Faerie Tale: A Novel of Terror and Fantasy by Raymond Feist
Summary: The town records have it listed as Erl King Hill, 'Hill of the Elf King'. To the locals it is known simply as the old Kessler Place. A great ramshackle house, it stands among deep woods, full of memories and myth. There are strange stories about the old place: talk of haunted woods, strange lights that dance like fire, buried treasure and lost children, now long forgotten. But for the Hastings Family, Gloria and Philip, and their eight-year-old twins, Sean and Patrick, and Philip's teenage daughter, Gabrielle, it is the stuff of dreams.
Dark Hollow by Brian Keene
Summary: After two miscarriages, writer Adam Senft's marriage is on the rocks, and his only satisfaction comes from his bond with his dog, Big Steve. One day, on a walk through local woods rumored to be haunted, man and dog come across a strange sight: a woman performing fellatio on a statue of a satyr—which comes to life and sees them. Soon, all the women in town begin disappearing, summoned to the woods by the satyr's hypnotic piping. When Adam gathers the menfolk to hunt down the satyr and retrieve the women, what they uncover is an unholy evil bent on protecting itself and spreading its seed.
Review: FVZA: Federal Vampire Zombie Agency
Courtesy of the Graphic Novels Blog.
FVZA: Federal Vampire Zombie Agency by David Hine
May's Review: First, let's clear up any misconceptions you might have about me. Yes, I have read Meyer's Twilight as well as watched the movie in a theatre and read the graphic novel. Yes, I do read the occasional paranormal romance involving vampires. And yes, I enjoyed watching Buffy on TV. But no, I don't think Robert Pattinson is cute. Nor do I spend all of my downtime fawning over how cute vampires are, how misunderstood they are, etc. As far as I'm concerned, vampires are meant to be vicious bloodthirsty creatures of the night meant to horrify not arouse you.
With this sentiment in mind, Hine portrays his vampires in FVZA as cruel ferocious killers with little to no regard for humanity. Unlike what you see on TV, Hine's vampires are deliberately ugly. My favorite line in this book was when the head vampire points out once a vampire is turned, he or she loses his/her physical beauty--meaning that the hair falls out, the skin turns ashen, the head starts to shrivel, etc. Gross!
Aside from the scary portrayal of vampires which is aided immensely by the terrific artwork, this graphic novel is also strengthen by a well-thought out storyline. The book opens with a FVZA (Federal Vampire Zombie Agency) agent named Landra Pecos ready to shoot her grandfather who has just been turned. In a series of flashbacks, we see her upbringing, her training and subsequent entry into the field, and the tragic deaths of both her brother and her lover which have brought her to this point. Intermingled with these scenes is the return of the vampires who were nearly wiped out by the FVZA in the 60s. This new wave of vampires is now plotting to utilize a zombie plague to bring society's to its knees by unleashing the virus into a small town. Ah, nothing like a little mayhem and chaos thrown in to amp up the adrenaline.
The story is obviously well-paced with a number of terrific plot twists at the very end. I won't reveal what happens with Landra and her grandfather but suffice it to say, you will be surprised. This was an enjoyable read from start to finish. Since there doesn't appear to be a sequel, if you enjoy FVZA, you might also want to check out Scott Snyder's American Vampire and Steve Niles' 30 Days of Night for the mere fact that their vampires are equally scary, vicious and just a tad bit crazy as well. Enjoy!
Make-up jobs to remember
Blastr.com counts down the most memorable horror movie villains (and their make-up) Read full article here.
Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare on Elm Street
Pinhead - Hellraiser
Samara - The Ring
Frankenstein's monster - Frankenstein
Leatherface - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Reaper - Jeepers Creepers
Graf Orlok - Nosferatu
Mrs. Garnush - Drag Me to Hell
Matt Cordell - Maniac Cop
Pluto - The Hills Have Eyes
Pennywise - Stephen King's IT
The Phantom - The Phantom of the Opera
Evil Ash - Army of Darkness
Dog Blood - the Hater trilogy continues
Dog Blood (Hater #2)
This is turning out to be a great series, so if you're a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction with an original twist on the zombie theme, then don't miss out.
Dog Blood is not as strong as Hater but a decent sequel that achieves the necessary plot development to move the story along to what will hopefully be a rousing finale. By now, we know what's going on so there's no mystery there (even though we still don't know why and for what purpose).
Even though Dog Blood lacks the fever-pitch level of suspense that grabs you by the throat in Hater, it is a gripping read nonetheless in the way it shows how most humans are "dealing with" the crisis. Most are refugees locked behind a perimeter that surrounds their ravaged cities, existing under martial law, depending on the military for every basic human need. All the while government soldiers and pseudo-conscripted volunteers, wage a war on the Haters in their attempt to wipe them out.
Dog Blood also raises some interesting questions about the Hate, whether it is a disease, an alien influence, or a genetic malfunction in some humans triggering an evolutionary dichotomy between man and Hater. Other than the bloodlust and insatiable need to kill the Unchanged, Haters remain recognizably human. But cannot or will not co-exist with non-Haters. So my hope for Book 3 is that we learn the true nature and purpose of the Hate and that Moody will take a closer look at the Hater goal -- if they succeed in wiping out the Unchanged and in taking over the planet, what will that "new world" look like, and how will they choose to live in it with no one ostensibly left to hate?
What I did find totally engaging here is Danny McCoyne's quest to find his five year old daughter, also a Hater. The ramifications of child Haters, and their possible role in the on-going war against humans, is chilling. What's remarkable is that McCoyne is no less sympathetic now, as a blood-thirsty full-on Hater, then he is in Book 1 as a normal Joe Blow underachiever trying to protect his family from the exploding violence. That's good writing. ::::::::::::::::::::END SPOILER:::::::::::::::::::::
Don't miss out on David Moody's Autumn series
The online zombie sensation that has been downloaded more than half a million times is finally available as a novel - including brand new material available for the first time!!!
Autumn (Book 1)
Autumn: The City
Zombie fans rejoice! One of the original zombie novels is back from the grave to remind us all why the walking dead are so scary, and what it means to have a front-row seat for the end of the world. AUTUMN is genuinely creepy, an atmospheric study of what happens when the dead come back--and what we have to do just to survive. -- David Wellington
In less than twenty-four hours a vicious and virulent disease destroys virtually all of the population. Billions are killed. Thousands die every second. There are no symptoms and no warnings. Within moments of infection each victim suffers a violent and agonizing death. Only a handful of survivors remain. By the end of the first day those survivors wish they were dead.
Then the disease strikes again, and all hell breaks loose. Read more here!
He is legend
He is Legend
An Anthology Celebrating Richard Mateheson
Richard Matheson, the New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, has inspired a generation of storytellers. Now an outstanding cast of top writers pays tribute to his legacy with an all-new collection of original stories set in Matheson's own fictional universes, including sequels, prequels, and companion stories to I Am Legend, Hell House, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere in Time, Duel, and Button, Button. (Product Description)
Featuring new short stories by:
Nancy A. Collins
Joe R. Lansdale
William F. Nolan
F. Paul Wilson
Richard Christian Matheson
...and collaborating together for the first time, Stephen King and his son, best-selling novelist Joe Hill.
2011 Black Quill Award Winners
Just discovered the Dark Scribe Magazine, a virtual magazine dedicated to the terrific books that keep readers up at night. Tons of great stuff but the most impressive feature is that the fact that they just announced their 4th Annual Black Quill Awards, which honors the best in dark genre (horror, suspense, and thrillers).
Here are the winners:
|BEST DARK GENRE NOVEL OF THE YEAR
EDITOR'S CHOICE: A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
Summary: The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body—and the shattered souls of all who were present. Years later, one man attempts to understand what happened to his wife and to his friends by writing a book about this horrible night, and it’s through this process that they begin to examine the unspeakable events that have bound them in ways they cannot fathom and find themselves face-to-face with the evil triggered so many years earlier.
|BEST DARK GENRE NOVEL OF THE YEAR
READER'S CHOICE: Sparrow Rock by Nate Kenyon
Summary: Six high school students have survived nuclear war in a high-tech bomb shelter, but they-re not alone. Mutated insects are hungry and the human survivors are the only prey.
|BEST DARK GENRE ANTHOLOGY
EDITOR'S CHOICE: Haunted Legends edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas
Summary: Darkly thrilling, these twenty new ghost stories have all the chills and power of traditional ghost stories, but each tale is a unique retelling of an urban legend from the world over.
|BEST DARK GENRE FICTION COLLECTION
EDITOR'S CHOICE: Occultation by Laird Barron
Summary: Pitting ordinary men and women against a carnivorous, chaotic cosmos, Occultation's eight tales of terror (two never before published) include the Theodore Sturgeon and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated story "The Forest" and Shirley Jackson Award nominee "The Lagerstatte." Featuring an introduction by Michael Shea, Occultation brings more of the spine-chillingly sublime cosmic horror Laird Barron's fans have come to expect.
For a complete list of winners, click on this link.
Review: The Fall
The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
May's Review: In the follow-up sequel to Del Toro's and Hogan's The Strain, The Fall chronicles the aftermath of the vampiric infection as nations slowly crumble and the Master sets his nefarious plans for world domination into motion. Amid this backdrop of suspended disbelief and gradual decay, our heroes led by vampire hunter Blade tries...Whoops! Sorry, wrong hero. What I means to say is that our heroes led by vampire hunter Abraham Setrakian and his band of followers, including former CDC member Eph Goodweather and exterminator Vasiliy Fet, struggle to save mankind only to find themselves drawn into a deadly war between two deadly vampire factions.
What I like about sequels is that the reader doesn't have to wait around for the main characters to catch up. None of this, "I wonder why my supposedly dead husband is now walking around and seems to be fixated on my neck" business. Instead, the reader is plunged right into the storyline that is filled with break-neck action sequences and plenty of suspense. The interludes are probably my favorite portions of the book because they reveal more of Setrakian's character, especially his all-consuming drive to kill the Master. I particularly liked Vasiliy's character in this book, especially when he reveals his hidden heritage and why he is helping Setrakian.
Overall this is a good vampire book with some moderate scare scenes. Enough to make me want to read the third and final book in the series which should be coming out this month.
In defense of horror
We all have a postulate buried deep in our minds: that an interest in horror is unhealthy and aberrant. So when people say, “Why do you write that stuff?” they are really inviting me to lie down on the couch and explain about the time I was locked in the cellar three weeks. Stephen King, Danse Macabre (1980)
In preparation for this year’s Freedom to Read Week (Feb 20-26, 2011) I thought I would do my small part and defend a much maligned genre (while reviewing a pretty nasty book in the process). Too often horror in all of its manifestations comes under the cross-hairs of censorship (and the egregious act of book banning). Because it is a genre that constantly pushes boundaries (and buttons) and is often steeped in violence either explicit or implied, horror will remain an easy target of those small-minded individuals who wish to sanitize (and anesthetize) our minds.
Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez was a tough book for me to finish and I nearly threw it down in complete revulsion more than once. Yet there was also something so utterly compelling about the story that kept me riveted and turning the pages to get to the end. Let’s call it the "slowing down to look at the accident" compulsion. In order to survive the worst circumstances imaginable the female protagonist makes a choice no human should ever make in order to save her own skin. It's brutal and calculating and really got me thinking...in the same situation, would I do the same? Could I do the same? And if I did, could I live with myself afterwords? If this book was half as tough to write as it is to read, my hat goes off to J.F. Gonzalez.
Understanding the appeal factor of horror is difficult for some people to comprehend – the same people who will look at you with a wary expression that screams: "how can you read that stuff"? To them horror is illicit, offensive and quite possibly damaging to society at large. Consuming horror in any shape or form should make us feel guilty, as if we are somehow mentally warped or that our moral compass is dangerously askew. Don't worry, it isn't. Horror appeals to many fans for very solid, rational, non-psychopathic reasons.
We love it because it's a genre that probes sensitive, taboo areas and it asks the difficult questions. The best horror fiction reflects back to us our collective cultural fears and everyday personal anxieties. Most importantly, horror allows readers to safely explore humanity's dark side, giving us a place where we can face our deepest fears from a vantage point of complete safety. In his non-fiction magnum opus on the horror genre – Danse Macabre – Stephen King explains that what the horror writer seeks to achieve is to locate societal “pressure points….terminals of fear…so deeply buried and yet so vital that we may tap them like artesian wells—saying one thing out loud while we express something else in a whisper”.
King deftly explains our attraction to the genre this way, and I've yet to come across anyone else who sums it up any better (or more honestly) than this:
Here is the final truth of horror: It does not love death, as some have suggested; it loves life. It does not celebrate deformity but by dwelling on deformity, it sings of health and energy. By showing us the miseries of the damned, it helps us to rediscover the smaller (but never petty) joys of our own lives. It is the barber’s leeches of the psyche, drawing not blood but anxiety....We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones (Stephen King, Danse Macabre).
PW's Best Horror Novels of 2010
A couple of months back, Publisher Weekly magazine released its annual list of the Best Horror Novels of 2010. Here is their picks:
Feed by Mira Grant
PW's Verdict: Grant (a pseudonym for urban fantasist Seanan McGuire) hits hard in a brutal tale of three bloggers following a Republican presidential candidate through the zombie-infested Midwest.
A Special Place: The Heart of a Dark Matter by Peter Straub
PW's Verdict: This exquisitely horrifying outtake from A Dark Matter depicts a young psychopath's first steps along the path of becoming a serial killer. Straub drags the reader into the dark interstices of a deeply troubled mind, where brutality and murder seem only natural and right.
The Body Farm
“There is a patch of ground in Tennessee dedicated to the science of death, where human remains lie exposed to be studied for their secrets. The real-life scientist who founded the "Body Farm" has broken cold cases and revolutionized forensics . . . and now he spins an astonishing tale inspired by his own experiences.” (Description taken from “Carved in Bone”)
About the Author(s):
Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, founded the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility—the Body Farm—a quarter century ago. He is the author or coauthor of more than two hundred scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career at the Body Farm, Death's Acre....
Jon Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science, and broadcast on National Public Radio. The coauthor of Death's Acre, he is also the writer and producer of two highly rated National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm. (Taken from “Bones of Betrayal”)
About the Books: Although the story and the characters are fictional, the forensic details, methodology and the Body Farm itself are factual (three such farms are currently operating in the United States for those of you interested) and are taken from Dr. Bill Bass’s personal experiences.
Disclaimer: Just a note for you sensitive readers out there, evidently we are dealing with some pretty gruesome issues (i.e.: the very graphic decomposition of dead bodies, mayhem and murder) so this series may not be for everyone.
Carved in Bone
Renowned anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton has spent his career surrounded by death at the Body Farm. Now he's being called upon to help solve a baffling puzzle in a remote mountain community. The mummified corpse of a young woman dead for thirty years has been discovered in a cave, the body bizarrely preserved and transformed by the environment's unique chemistry. But Brockton's investigation is threatening to open old wounds among an insular people who won't forget or forgive. And a long-buried secret prematurely exposed could inflame Brockton's own guilt—and the dangerous hostility of bitter enemies determined to see him fail . . . by any means necessary. (Product Description)
My Review: Not bad for a fictional debut. I did find this book a little too detail oriented and not in a Patricia Cornwall or Kathy Reichs kind of way…it was more like being lectured at in a university setting, which I guess makes sense given the author’s background. However, there was enough plot and action that carried the mystery and held my interest. At any rate, I thought highly enough of this book to continue on with the series…
Flesh and Bone
Anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton founded Tennessee's world-famous Body Farm—a small piece of land where corpses are left to decay in order to gain important forensic information. Now, in the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, he's called upon by Jess Carter—the rising star of the state's medical examiners—to help her unravel a murderous puzzle. But after re-creating the death scene at the Body Farm, Brockton discovers his career, reputation, and life are in dire jeopardy when a second, unexplained corpse appears in the grisly setting.
Accused of a horrific crime—transformed overnight from a respected professor to a hated and feared pariah—Bill Brockton will need every ounce of his formidable forensic skills to escape the ingeniously woven net that's tightening around him . . . and to prove the seemingly impossible: his own innocence. (Product Description)
My Review: I enjoyed this rendition of the Body Farm much better than its debut. Bass corrected many of what I felt were the shortcomings from Carved in Bone to make this book on par with some of the other forensic mystery writers out there. The forensic details were just interesting and grisly enough to be interesting but not too “teachy” and the main characters were much more fleshed out. Suspenseful and entertaining, this book was the clincher for me to continue on with the series.
The Devil’s Bones
A burned car sits on a Tennessee hilltop, a woman's lifeless, charred body seated inside. Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton's job is to discover the truth hidden in the fire-desecrated corpse. Was the woman's death accidental . . . or was she incinerated to cover up her murder?
But his research into the effect of flame on flesh and bone is about to collide with reality like a lit match meeting spilled gasoline. The arrival of a mysterious package—a set of suspiciously unnatural cremated remains—is pulling Brockton toward a nightmare too inhuman to imagine. And an old nemesis is waiting in the shadows to put him to the ultimate test, one that could reduce Brockton's life to smoldering ruins. (Product Description)
My Review: The devil was in the details with this one, as in too many details and plotlines not enough momentum to propel the story. I found myself just waiting around for something to happen which should not be the case in a thriller especially since there was three main subplots all occurring at the same time. Unlike the previous novel, this one was not tightly written or well planned. Bass seemed to have too many balls juggling in the air and thus was unable to fully develop and conclude any one of them satisfactorily. Despite its glowing reviews from all over the place I found this title to be the weakest one in the series.
Bones of Betrayal
The latest Body Farm novel finds forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton looking into an unusual death. A man’s body is pulled out of a swimming pool in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The autopsy reveals that he appears to have died after ingesting a highly radioactive pellet. When Brockton discovers that the victim was a key player in the Manhattan Project—that, in fact, he designed a reactor that was instrumental in the creation of the first atomic bomb more than 60 years ago—he realizes that to solve the crime, he must penetrate the secrets-laden history of the Manhattan Project itself. (From Booklist)
My Review: Bones of Betrayal is by far my most favorite book in the series. Brockton’s wry humour and Miranda’s (his research assistant) quiet insightfulness captures the reader from the very first page. The raw emotions and the unknown danger the characters find themselves in made me empathize with them that much more. I’ll admit, I found myself rooting for a happy ending.
The details in this book not only supplied the reader with the usual forensic information, but unknown historical facts regarding World War II as well. The very, very descriptive autopsy was...well umm…interesting...I could almost smell it! Overall, this forensic mystery was a captivating read with a very unpredictable ending.
Be careful who you slight
Slights by Kaaron Warren
After an accident in which her mother dies, Stevie has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people - everyone she's ever annoyed. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again. And Stevie starts to wonder whether other people see the same room...when they die (Product Description)
First of all, can I just say how much I love this cover? A bunch of new paperbacks arrived at the library a few months ago, and this immediately caught my eye for its supreme creepiness. For some reason it reminded me of that movie Jacob's Ladder, but I digress.
This is an exceptionally well-written book, with an original premise that's solidly executed, but reader beware: it is a dark, depressing, claustrophobic read that never lets up. It is a richly textured novel, quite literary, but also ruthless in its barbarity. This book will shock you and make you squirm, of that I am certain. It is a mystery wrapped up in devastating family secrets.
Stevie is a villain like no other I've read in a very long time. Getting inside her head is akin to cracking open a log on the forest floor and having all sorts of creepy crawlies come pouring out -- beetles, centipedes, maggots, you name it. The ick factor is off the charts. I wanted to feel sorry for her, find some reason for empathy, but she is just so completely rotten to her core that you can't. I'm telling you, you can't! Just when I felt myself starting to soften, my burgeoning empathy was squashed by a cruel or selfish word, thought or deed.
And it's not just Stevie: no one is likable in this book. There is no one to root for and I struggle with that kind of post-modern existential reading experience. I need a hero, or at least an anti-hero, someone with one redeeming quality to hang my hat on. But everyone is horrible. Maybe it's because they're seen through Stevie's eyes, but it doesn't matter because the end result is the same.
The first half of the novel reads like a coming-of-age story with lots of jagged edges. It's a slow build, but Stevie's reminisces are painful, ugly and uncomfortable to read because Warren's language is graphic, brutalizing, and scalpel sharp. Certainly not for everyone, but an intriguing and impressive debut.