Warning: May well be fake.
Favourite authors include John Connolly, Lee Thompson, Ed Lorn, Craig Saunders, Joe Hill, Kealan Patrick Burke, Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie, Michael McBride, James Newman & Stephen King. Just to name a few.
I also collect Signed first editions, wish I'd got more money, there's so many books I want and there needs to be more hours in the day.
3 issues done, getting seriously interesting. The artwork is awesome, I could put some of this on the wall, missus might not approve but I reckon the the fallout would be worth it.
Clown is going strong and has a quite gripping conversation with a young woman in the park where he shows his true form. Hellspawn shows up a little late and there's talk of the battle between heaven and hell. All good so far, I'm really liking it.
There's a religious cult leader being interviewed on TV show who has some pretty strong views on race, the jews and Homosexuals, don't know where that's going but I'd say he's going to get it somehow, maybe he's linked to the Clown, we shall see.
Killchain by Adam Baker is Infected books opening novella in their year of the Zombie series. Twelve authors, twelve zombie novellas and all to celebrate 15 years since the publication of Infected Books first novel, David Moody’s Autumn.
Set within the same world as Baker’s bestselling novels Outpost, Terminus and Impact, Killchain takes place at ground zero, Mogadishu in Somalia where a dead satellite crashed. The virus entered the population and quickly spread leaving the infected flesh hungry zombies.
The Russians are here desperately seeking an antidote and also here, not trusting them an inch are the Americans with rookie CIA field operative Elize Mahone. Her first live mission to assassinate the leading Russian surgical specialist using a troubled young man willing to die for their cause.
The Zombie horde are getting closer, the hit needs to be done before they can get on the last flight out but betrayal is the ruination of many a good plan and this one's no different. Elize's luck just ran out. This story doesn't concentrate so much on the battle against the Zombies but more on the political games of the superpowers in the form of four people, two on the mission, one having second thoughts about killing himself and one unfortunate enough to be caught slap bang in the middle of it.
This was my first read from Adam Baker and I enjoyed it, the story gets interesting as Elize tries to fortify the mind of her kamikaze attacker and her mission partner discovers a double cross.
The Marquis de Carabas is recovering rather nicely from a terminally bad case of death and the one thing he really, really wants? Is his beautiful coat back.
And it was truly beautiful, remarkable and completely unique, unusual pockets, some of which even he couldn't find every time he looked, magnificent sleeves, an imposing collar and made of leather the colour of a wet street at midnight. More importantly than all that, it had style and it made him the man he was, the Marquis de Carabas.
'The Marquis de Carabas liked being who he was, and when he took risks he liked them to be calculated risks, and he was someone who double-and triple-checked his calculations.'
The world building is phenomenally good, it's one of the many ingredients that go into making Neverwhere a place that feels just too real for words, a definite, dark imagery, full of magical things, slightly warped people and intrigue, lots of intrigue.
'The paths of London Below are not the paths of London Above: they rely to no little extent on things like belief and opinion and tradition as much as they rely upon the realities of maps.'
It's a joy to revisit London below, a dangerous journey indeed for the Marquis where he encounters a grievance that has festered for a long long time, the terrifying Shepherd's of Shepherd's Bush and even more fascinating, a member of his family. How the Marquis got his Coat Back is a quite fantastic Neverwhere short story, wonderfully written and filled with a charming prose that is simply enchanting.
How can I best describe The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker, well if you imagine the start being at one end of a swimming pool, and the swimming pool is filled with jelly (or jello to some) made from a cocktail of your favourite alcoholic spirits and liqueurs.
And to reach the end you've got to wade through this Olympic sized jelly filled swimming pool, right, so chances are you're going to enjoy a fair portion of it before you get full anyway. There's going to be some enjoyment, mixed in with some fucking hard work, there's going to be intense appreciation of the idea but it's not something you can possibly do in one go, it might take you weeks and you may even decide to eat your way through it, taking even longer. You’ll grow tired, weak even, your arms will ache but you’ll soldier on even though you think it’s just not bloody worth it.
There'll be all kinds of feelings going through your mind, a myriad of emotions, like why the Fuck did I start this massive fucking job now. Jesus fucking wept you will swear several times and hover over diving in again until you desperately need to just get it over with, as if your life depends on it.
So to recap it's going to be hard going, you'll love some of it, you'll get pissed at some of it, you'll feel like taking a break at regular intervals and you might even question your will to finish the job, even your sanity but if you do finish, it will certainly hold some sort of reward and a sense of achievement will prevail.
Anyway apologies for that rubbish but that's how I felt at times, I started this book in November and it’s taken me six weeks to read and I'm fucking glad it's over with. It's unquestionably genius, the writing is imaginative with wonderful prose, it's a great story but it labours horrifically, I loved it while at the same time I hated it and I'll never, ever think to pick it up again, in fact I'm going to cremate this fucker. Now I have a few other Barker tomes awaiting Imajica, Coldheart Canyon and Weaveworld, will I read them anytime soon? Only when I want to wade through jelly again. Nuff said.
"Things to do. People to damage"
The audio of Neverwhere narrated by Neil himself was one of my last books of the year but definitely ranks up there as one of my favourites of the year if not all-time.
As a narrator Neil Gaiman is something quite special, the different characters are easily distinguishable and I was left hanging on every word by an truly accomplished story-teller and perfect teller of stories.
I won't go into the plot detail, the books nearly 20 years old and its all been done a million times before but I am kicking myself for not having read this a hell of a lot sooner.
All the characters of London underneath and London overneath in this Neverwhere adventure are distinctly charismatic, magical and captivating. The two characters that for me stole every scene right from their entrance were the terrifyingly funny Mr Croup (the brains and the words) and Mr Vandemar (the blunt brutal one), could it really be anybody else.
“There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.”
Gaiman makes the city below completely believable to the point where you can picture it in your head, he makes you care for the characters and I was fully invested in the story, the world, everything. The city underneath is that little bit darker, that little bit dirtier matched by the people who live there, there's magical elements, wondrous creatures and a real life Angel, a fantastically grim urban fantasy setting. It's pretty much prefect.
“Now me,” said Mr. Vandemar.
“What number am I thinking of?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“What number am I thinking of?” repeated Mr. Vandemar. “It’s between one and a lot,” he added, helpfully.”
It was cleverly done with Richard, and everyone above forgetting who he was after coming into contact with those from beneath, forcing him to seek Door out and the start of a wonderful adventure. Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar are worthy of more stories, I'd love to read more of them, wickedly entertaining characters, as was the Marquis.
'A rustle in the tunnel darkness; Mr. Vandemar's knife was in his hand, and then it was no longer in his hand, and it was quivering gently almost thirty feet away. He walked over to his knife and picked it up by the hilt. There was a gray rat impaled on the blade, its mouth opening and closing impotently as the life fled. He crushed its skull between finger and thumb.'
In 2015 I read approximately 205 novels, novellas and graphic novels.
That’s around 110 novels, I counted them and it’s exactly the amount of novels I read last year but with double the amount of audios at 42 (makes me think there’s some cheating going on but no, I double checked), 80 novellas & short stories and only 15 graphic novels.
Best novels (I’m going to do this in blocks of 3’s because I can’t separate them, its bloody impossible) and its surprising how many audio's are amongst them, 2 from the top 3.
A Definitely Maybe 3-way tie for top spot
William Peter Blatty - The Exorcist (probably shades it for my favourite)
Stephen King – IT (What can I say - its a monster)
Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (Brilliant Urban Fantasy)
Harper Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird (a classic)
Neil Gaiman – The Ocean at the end of the lane (loved it)
Stephen King – Needful Things (Not many peoples favourite but its one of mine)
And the final 4 of my Top 10 comprising of more modern stuff.
Adam Nevill – Last Days (Nail biting tension)
Craig Saunders – Left To Darkness (Humour and horror combined perfectly)
Barbie Wilde – Voices of the Damned (Superb erotic/horror anthology)
Will Elliott - The Pilo Traveling Show (hell its Gonko)
Not quite there but deserve a mention
Mylo Carbia - The Raping of Ava DeSantis (Revenge doesn't come any sweeter)
Joe Lansdale – The God of the Razor (Will be reading more from Mr Lansdale)
Cormac McCarthy – No Country for Old Men (What a narration from Tom Stechschulte)
Simon Kurt Unsworth – The Devils Detective (dark and awesome)
Johnny Shaw – Dove Season (brilliant characters, good fun)
Stephen King – Joyland
Johnny Shaw – Plaster City
James Dickey – Deliverance (Will Patton narrates and is fantastic)
Lee Thompson - The Devil Gave Them Black Wings
Brian Keene – The Rising
William Faulkner - Light in August
Michael McDowell - The Elementals (great psychological horror)
Barbie Wilde – The Venus Complex (erotic & psychotic first person thriller)
Again I'll do this in a couple of groups because I can't separate them and in no particular order.
Kealan Patrick Burke - Sour Candy
Michael McBride - Snowblind 2: The Killing Grounds
Edward Lorn - Cruelty: Episode 9 &10
And in the second cut.
Lee Thompson – With Fury in Hand
Clive Barker - The Hellbound Heart
Michael Patrick Hicks - Consumption
Easiest one of the lot, there's 2 that stand out a mile ahead of the others and that's
The Sandman: Overture (simply stunning in its entirety)
Bedlam volume 1 (Just Madder Red and a violently brash story)
And Finally my Discoveries of the year, well the lovely Barbie Wilde would have to be up there closely followed by Johnny Shaw, Mylo Carbia, Michael Patrick Hicks, Michaelbrent Collings is one I intend to read more of, along with Joe Lansdale and the usual Gaiman, the King and James Lee Burke.
So thats it, job done.