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FOREVER ODD By Dean Koontz – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2010 by stanleyriiks

I read the first Odd book about a year ago, and thought it was marvellous. A twisted thriller with nice horror overtones, bringing something new and exciting into my life. Odd is the reluctant dead-seeing hero, out to stop a massive armed attack on the small town of Pico Mundo where he lives. The poignant and heart-rending ending stole my heart, and made me weep. It was a great book, anything that makes me feel something I can’t help but love.

That’s why this novel is such a disappointment. Expectations too high perhaps? Well, possibly, but writers shouldn’t set a standard with their first book in a series and then immediately let you down.

Here Odd finds his night’s sleep interrupted by a dead doctor, and on going to investigate, finds his friend has been kidnapped by a crazy woman. A crazy woman, who, it turns out, wants to lure Odd to his death.

Fairly simple, and yet it’s dragged out for over four hundred pages. This feels like a novel with a minimum word count, stretched almost to breaking point. It’s a testament to Koontz’s writing skills that he still makes it readable and mildly entertaining. But mildly is perhaps being too generous.

The book is long-winded and almost boring. It starts off far too melancholy, the character of Odd and his strange friends and relationships are put on the back-burner while the meagre plot is explored.

Only loyal fans should read this second instalment in the Odd Thomas series. I will be returning for the third novel, but it better be a damn sight better than this or I will be most upset!

VAMPYRRHIC By Simon Clark – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by stanleyriiks

I quite enjoyed this. It’s not normally my kind of thing, it’s a gentle, old-skool horror novel.

The premise is excellent, Thor (from Norse mythology) made a pact with a family a thousand years ago and gave them a vampire army to destroy all of Christendom. Unfortunately the family didn’t stick to the plan, and now, a thousand years later, David Leppington has returned to the family home to find that he is the last of the line, and expected to take control of the vampire army on its unending march to domination of the Christian world.

That would have been a great book. Unfortunately what we get is this great idea as the back-story. The main plot concerns David Leppington returning to his hometown, the town of Leppington, named after his family, and discovering the legend of Thor’s vampire army from his uncle, and then attempting to destroy the army before they begin their attack.

The first two thirds of the book set up the story as we are gradually given more information about the legend and the town. The story slowly and gently unravels, the vampires begin to escape and attack the human population of Leppington, but it isn’t until the uncle blows a hole in the bars imprisoning the creatures that the action kicks up a notch and David and his new-found friends, must fight for their lives.

Clark is a writer of such potential, as shown by the premise. But here he’s missed a massive opportunity. The book we’re given is in no way as exciting, entertaining or as passionate as it could have been. It seems this is a much more traditional, staid, and middle-of-the-road novel, playing safe rather than provoking any kind of emotion.

The writing isn’t Clark at his best either, his characters are all weak, limp-wristed, wet-wipes. Nothing there to incite any feeling.

Still, being the wrong book, a massive missed opportunity, a complete failure in potential, this still isn’t such a bad book. It certainly doesn’t have much going for it; but it’s a good little standard horror novel, similar to what Richard Laymon used to churn out endlessly.

Typical low-impact horror.