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.
This is one of my Fave stats, I purposefully read authors I like to get them up the list, I've left the comic & graphics in this time and I'm a touch ashamed that James Patterson is in there - How could I have read so many of his books, pffft.
Ludlum & Salvatore have reached their peak but I think all the others are slowly rising.
I intend as I say every year to read more King & James Lee Burke but I'll add Neil Gaiman, KPB, Michael McBride and Craig Saunders to that list and whatever Ed & Lee Thompson release because I've pretty much read everything they've released and John Connolly goes without saying.
And a few authors I will try my best to fit in Jonathan Janz, Brian Keene, Joe R. Lansdale, Keith Deininger & more Clive Barker if I can face those mammoth tomes worthy of the Kings.
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Volume Three of Clive Barkers Books of Blood kicks off with Son of Celluloid and an escaped convict who dies in the building housing a movie theatre. His cancer evolves into a physical mass feeding on the strong emotions present and we witness all the fuckery that prevails.
Rawhead Rex sees a farmer inadvertently awaken an ancient monster that happens to be nine feet tall and quite ferocious with hobbies including killing and eating folk. All taking place in a rather sweet rural setting.
Confessions of a (Pornographer's) Shroud is the quaint revenge story of straight-laced Ronnie who is setup to look like the king of a pornography network. His revenge quest is cut short by his untimely death but that minor detail doesn't curtail his activities with ghosts and shrouds prominent.
Scape-Goats get stranded on the beach of a deserted Island where converging undersea currents accumulate masses of dead bodies on the sea bed. These dead bodies become fairly mobile when it comes to preventing their escape.
Finally Human Remains sees a young gay prostitute hired by an archaeologist for some action, get a little bit more than he bargained for when he stumbles upon a statute in the man's bathroom. Over the next few weeks his condition deteriorates, he's being followed, haunted and the cause is disturbingly unreal.
For straight out there horror Rawhead Rex ticks all the boxes and probably shaded it as my favourite, simple in its brutality and sometimes that's what I like.
I listened to the audio of Cabal by Clive Barker which comes in at fifteen minutes shy of seven hours and follows the disturbed protagonist Aaron Boone. Boone is a troubled man and is manipulated by his psychiatrist into thinking he's a serial killer. This modern day witch doctor, Decker, doesn't want to kill him with drugs he wants Boone to be his scapegoat.
Through rumour and heresy he finds himself heading for the fabled Midian, where monsters take refugee, hot on his heels is his jilted girlfriend and Decker, with his Button Face killer mask and persona close at hand. Boone thinks himself a monster, he seeks them and when he arrives in Median, he's bitten by a true monster of the Nightbreed and this is where the story gets interesting.
Horrifically imaginative, you occasionally see echoes of Clive Barkers intense and vivid imagery in modern fiction, I could name several pieces I've read in the last couple of years influenced by ideas in Cabal. The concept of Midian is fascinating, as is the Nightbreed but unfortunately detail was scant, just enough to whet the appetite, there was an almost purposeful lack of history or exploration of the place and the monsters contained within. Which in my view could have been easily fitted in, half a page here, half a page there, perfection could have been that bit closer with more thought on the world building.
Deckers Button Face mask was something I wasn't really a hundred percent certain with, a human monster with all the other things running round, was it needed? Could we have got away with just a normal knife welding psychopath, I think in the end it worked and usually I like the old killer mask philosophy. So yeah I enjoyed Cabal , some brilliant ideas, fluid writing and thoughtful prose, just needed more. Good stuff all told.
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic crime tale from James M. Cain and to be honest you just can't read this without Jack Nicholson being prominent in your thoughts.
Luck is on Frank Chambers side when he gets dumped in southern California with no car and no cash, doesn't sound too lucky admittedly but using his devilish charm he lands a job working at a small truck stop for Nick Papadakis. Then comes Nicks beautiful wife Cora and fervent lust bursts to the fore, and when Nick goes away on business, a torrid affair explodes.
Cora is the perfect femme fatale figure, tired of her situation, married to a man she does not love and wanting to own the diner. And Frank's arrival comes just at the right time.
'I bit her. I sunk my teeth into her lips so deep I could feel the blood spurt into my mouth. It was running down her neck when I carried her upstairs.'
Lust brings motivation and plan time as the lovers arrange an accident for husband Nick, not quite a romantic undertaking with murder and the insurance policy hanging in the background. The accident goes perfectly except for one itsy bitsy problemo.
Told in first person through Frank's eyes, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a tight little story at around 120 pages, a distinct slither of dread rolls through this story, along with a deep passion, spiralling desperation and a determination that's only ever going to end one way. Great story.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is an enchanting, almostly adult fairy tale that totally gripped me from start to finish. I listened to the audio narrated by Neil himself and its absolutely fantastic, I was literally hanging on every word and it’s very easy to disappear from life and immerse yourself in his narration.
Now my exposure to Neil Gaiman has been fleeting, I read his novel American Gods a good few years ago and The Sandman graphic novel series more recently but listening to The Ocean and Neverwhere in the past couple of weeks has invigorated a profound appreciation of his work and set me on a bit of a Gaiman quest. I'll be reading and listening to a lot more from Neil himself over the next few months and adding him to my top 5 authors, I think he definitely deserves it.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a man's recollection of a fantastical and breathtakingly engrossing story from his childhood memories. Our nameless narrator, avoiding a funeral finds himself at a house that plays on the fringes of his conscious and when he is invited to sit overlooking the water, wondrous and terrifying memories surface and at the heart of it a girl named Lettie Hempstock.
It's a story set in our world but with a little extra magical spice, add to that a young boy suffering at the hands of a beautiful but monstrous nanny and his only refuge being Lettie, the youngest of three generations of woman living on a farm close by. There's a world that exists outside the knowledge of the many and its left to the few to guard against wayward spirits and demons, there's always a cost though.
Gaiman teases a beautiful and exquisite tale, the audio adds significantly more of his vision, a precious whisper to be absorbed and coveted, something that you would love to hear again and again.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is simply magical.
The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood starts off with witness statements about a young girl missing, presumed kidnapped. We then go to the events surrounding the girl’s disappearance and the Fathers 50th birthday weekend celebration. The past timeline is interspersed with the present where the Father of the missing girl dies in mysterious circumstances handcuffed to a hotel bed and the majority of the cast prepares for the funeral. The death is not expanded on and he turns out to be a soulless man who deserved much worse than the cards he was dealt in life.
What really happened on the weekend of the disappearance is divulged as a finale and there's a bit of a twist that I saw coming from seventy two and a half miles away, or pretty much the beginning. The character development holds the story together by something like the last strand that's just about to break but to be honest the story bored the pants off me for the first two thirds and was altogether far too predictable with no real shocks or anything that gripped me.
Well I'm lost for words, The Sandman Overture is quite simply an extraordinary piece of work, one of Neil Gaimans finest, I've absolutely no doubt.
So my version is the HC Deluxe edition, containing a good few pages of extras, exquisite, gorgeous and some serious drooling done over every page. The thing I have to mention first is the artwork, sublime, mesmerising, magnificently bewitching (artwork covered *tick* although I may mention it again) and I could've spent twenty minutes on dictionary reference copying all the plaudits.
The artwork is done by JH Williams III, and he quite simply puts a world (or three) right in your lap and draws it like he's been there, astonishing, the perfect man to collaborate the creative genius that is The Sandman.
With Overture, Gaiman sets his thoughts to a prelude and explores the events that lead into the original Sandman series. We see Dream or Morpheus take on a quest of such import that the stakes are simply everything in existence.
On his journey Dream encounters multiple aspects of himself forcing a bout of severe reflection and mediation, here forms the core group of an innocent girl rescued and Dreams feline countenance for an intensely personnel adventure. We meet the majority of the Endless, The Corinthian with his toothed eyes, Merv Pumpkinhead, Lucien and even the temperamental forces of the old dears, bless them.
The artwork really is a thing of beauty, so many different styles for the various places we visit and different entities we meet, there's double pull-outs, one showing his many aspects and each a uniquely diverse vision of the man himself. There's panels of darkness, panels of haunting delirium mixed succinctly with an almost cartoonish backdrop. Fire, intense vivid colours, black and white ghostly panels, wording that spins so you have to turn the book upside down. There's a hell of a lot of work gone into this and its much appreciated, top job, easily one of the best I've seen.
Can't forget the story, starts slow but grabs you early doors and you can't get out, you don't want it to end. Seriously Overture is that good.
The extras are substantial, interviews with the artist, the guy who does the words, covers, colours and some more quite fantastic art.
The journey itself, well that's something you'll have to find out about all on your own but safe to say, with chocolate sprinkles on, that if you've read the Sandman series then Overture adds a treasure chest of delights and awesomeness. And did I mention the artwork, genius stuff.