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Still here and scribbling

January 28, 2019 Leave a comment

Wow. 2018, y’all. I thought 2016 kicked my ass, then that 2017 was an even bigger bully.

Until 2018 rolled around.

Pretty sure some of the past year will scar, but hey, it makes a body interesting, right?

I’m kind of amazed we made it through 2018, personally and politically. I’m kind of impressed that we’re not actually in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Well, not yet, at least.

So yeah, I’m not dead, though if you’re not following me on Facebook, that might be kind of a shock. I’ve been remiss in addressing the blog for a multitude of reasons, but here’s the kickoff entry for 2019. (It’s still January, and that still counts as the beginning of the year, damnit.)

With 2019 upon us, I thought I’d let you know some important writer-type stuff, like what I’ve got out for you to grab if you haven’t already (and if you have, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!), where you can find me, and some super-cool things I’m working on.

First, I have stories you can purchase!

In print! And digital, if that’s your thing. (I certainly won’t get all high and mighty about digital books. I have more than my fair share of digital and audiobooks, and if you saw my book shelves, you’d understand why.)

Caitlin Kelley is the Regional Monster Hunter for the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and one of the new Templars.

They are the first line of defense against the things that go bump in the night. 

They are the keepers of a centuries-old legacy of The Church defending the world against the forces of darkness.

They are a bunch of highly armed rednecks, internet video celebrities, soccer moms, and assorted broken nutjobs.

They are the new Templars, and this one has more issues than National Geographic.

and the only thing standing between her and the vacation she desperately needs is monster asses that need kicking.

Caitlin Kelley Monster Hunter Book 1 - Theresa Glover

Caitlin Kelley – Monster Hunter: A New Templars Novella

Who let the dogs out, indeed?!?

All Caitlin Kelley wanted was a chance to relax in New Orleans. Is that too much to ask?

Obviously so. Between the strange man/not man/something she chased through the airport and the monster terrorizing the French Quarter, this vacation is anything but Easy, Big or otherwise. Throw in her wisecracking companion Marty, a shadowy government agency that’s probably either in league with the bad guys or is even worse than the bad guys, and a creature roaming the streets of New Orleans that may or may not be straight out of the pages of Thor, and this novella is jam-packed with action, innuendo, and ass-kicking!

First in the series

 

 

 

A Touch Too Much: A New Templar Knights Novella (Caitlin Kelley: Monster Hunter Book 2)

A Touch Too Much - Caitlin Kelley Monster Hunter Book 2 - Theresa Glover

She’s crushing on a nun.

There’s a hydra in the French Quarter.

And a giant gorilla just stole her underwear.

This is not Caitlin Kelley’s best day. Much to her chagrin, it’s not her worst day, either. The newly-minted official Monster Hunter for New Orleans just wanted to drink a few (okay, many) hurricanes, eat more beignets than should be humanly possible, and otherwise enjoy her New Orleans vacation. Instead, she’s found herself relocating to The Big Easy, dealing with cops and federal agents, hunting down a walking nightmare, and representing all of humanity in a supernatural conference to determine the fate of the world.

And did I mention she has the ultimate in unrequited crushes – a nun?

Second in the series

 

 

 

And Book 3? It’s in the works, and anticipated sometime this year. 🙂

Set in the popular Bubba the Monster Hunter universe, the New Templar Knights novellas are comedic horror/urban fantasy tales of ordinary men and women battling to keep the world safe against the things that go bump in the night, often trying to balance normal lives with extraordinary side gigs. Fans of Bubba, Mason Dixon Monster Hunter, and the Monster Hunter Mom Jess Friedman will enjoy Caitlin Kelley’s hilarious adventures.

Check out the full world here, including Bubba, the one that started them all, and the full expanded universe:

http://falstaffbooks.com/catalog/catalog-by-title/catalog-ls-bubba/

 

Where am I going in 2019?

I’m already knee-deep in convention planning – and have already been to one this year!

The next one I’m attending is Con-Tagion, a one day convention for creatives that happens February 9th in Charlotte, NC. Check it out here: http://con-tagion.org/

I’m also planning to attend the SC Comicon in March, ConCarolinas in June, HeroesCon in June, Congregate in July, and DragonCon in August. Hopefully, I’ll see you there and get a chance to say “hey” in person! I’ll be selling books at most of them, even if not “officially,” and I’ll be glad to sign them, too!

 

More Interesting Stuff I’m Doing:

There are a couple of cool things I’m working on that you should check out, especially if you, too, are a writer. I’m part of the team that is Author Essentials and Author Essentials Workshops, which creates workshops and resources for writers. We put out a monthly newsletter with tips, insights and writerly motivation, and right now, we have our Paths to Publication workshop featuring John Hartness ready to purchase. It’s informational and entertaining, and a resource you need in your life if you’re trying to decide what your next step is for your finished manuscript. Other workshops will be coming along soon, including one on Evernote, and a mini workshop on writing query letters. It’s always free to join the community and stay informed, so check it out.

Stay tuned for more updates (including an actual newsletter, and a revamp of the website)!

Something Like a Review – The Chosen by John G. Hartness

August 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Disclosure: I know the author personally. I purchased this book with my own Audible credit because I wanted to read it. This post is simply a reflection of my desire to share a piece of fiction I enjoyed from an author I choose to support.

John is one of the best marketers I’ve ever seen in action. If you’ve seen him at a con, you know what I mean. No panel is complete without his signature “buy our shit” proclamation, and if you’ve never witnessed his epic readings replete with Sasquatch dick jokes, you’re missing out. So when he promoted “The Chosen” as “the book that got me fired from one of my jobs for blasphemy,” I knew I had to read it.

In true John style, “The Chosen” is an irreverent and humorous poke at things people take “super cereal.” He introduces us to an Adam and Eve (yes, THAT Adam and Eve) that will send the devout for their rosaries, an angel that will make you question both your definition and affiliation with good/evil and an unforgettable motley crew as they set off on a road trip to save the world.

One of the things I loved most about this book, and I did love it, was the knowledgeable and respectful ways religious belief was handled. And warped. I listened to this as an audiobook, but I’ll be getting my hands on a copy of “The Chosen” to see how the hell he managed to have his characters refute the creation story in a way that 1.) makes sense, 2.) was amusing, and 3.) respected the essence of the story. While I’m not religious, I could tell that Hartness is knowledgeable about the material, respects those who believe it, and yet finds ways of cutting through the poetic language and creating a plausible story.

So, if he’s so respectful, why might he have been fired for blasphemy? Well, let’s just say that after millennia of walking the Earth after their expulsion from the garden, Adam and Eve aren’t exactly what the faithful may expect. But after all they’ve witnessed, I can’t say that I blame them for the way they change. Character development, yo. Even though it’s not what many would approve of, the changes to their characters feels genuine, as if they really are people who’ve lived tens of thousands of years, witnessed some of the greatest tragedies of history, experienced their own personal tragedies and yet, still manage to function in our crazy world. Theirs is a creation story I want to believe, and the choices at the end are believable and fulfilling.

And what are those choices? Well, that’s what you’ll need to find out. Suffice to say that there’s a Pandora’s box feeling to the tone at the end (and if you know your mythology, you’ll know what I mean). I read this and was able to put all the recent tragedies and horrific occurrences aside for a little while.

Pick up this book – however you choose to ingest it, and read it. If you’re super sensitive about religion, this isn’t the book for you, but if you’re willing to have an open mind and enjoy a well-written piece of fiction with a religious (though not proselytizing) bent to it, this is the one I’d recommend.

Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 5 stars

Potential re-read: Definitely, especially to figure out how the hell did did what he did.

Dead-tree worthy?: Yes. You’ll find your own reasons, I’m sure, but from this writer, my purchase is motivated by the need to figure out how the hell did did what he did.

Something Like a Review – The Fireman by Joe Hill

The second I saw the promo for this release, I marked it down on my calendar. Fate intervened on my behalf and prevented me from buying it right away.

An ominous start for Something Like a Review from an author I’ve raved over in the past, isn’t it?

Patience, grasshopper.

My local indie bookstore hosted a release party for an author friend’s book, Daughters of Shadow and Blood, Book 2: Elena. While wandering the stacks, to what should my wondering eyes should appear, but an autographed copy! After spending roughly two hours cradling this substantial book to my chest, I knew I’d need to invest in a digital copy to prevent damage to my preciousssss.

Ahem.

Sorry.

Draco Incendia Trycophyton, aka Dragonscale, infects people all over the world. People spontaneously combust and spark wildfires decimating the land. The infected are feared, hunted and killed to contain the infection and prevent fires. But not everyone falls prey to the spore. Some learn to coexist with the fungus and band together to survive, living in harmony with the spore and each other.

This is a rich, complex story that has lingered in my mind long after finishing the book. The lush detail evoked a vibrant, post-apocalyptic world, but in the end, it wasn’t the spore I feared. Harper flees the world she has known after she’s infected and finds a group of survivors hiding out in the New Hampsire woods. Under the care of a mad leader, the group evolves into an zealous, persecutory evangelical knot more terrifying than the prospect of burning to death.

There’s a foreboding sparked by the realistic, plausible and almost prophetic example of the camp inhabitants and leaders and speaking to the larger problems in the real world lurking under the plot lines. Not only does it give the story depth, it creates a lasting impression of disturbance and unease.

And though expertly done, there were a few quirks that irritated me throughout the novel. Pop culture references are a pet peeve of mine because I think they can take away from the timelessness of the story. In this novel, there were a lot and covered everything from classic rock to Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. A few were great and integral to the character, but overall, I could have done with less and been happy. The other quirk I hadn’t noticed in his previous books was the habit of including little “throwaway” comments. These usually appeared at the end of chapters, and while they could be considered overt foreshadowing, they felt spoilery and frustrating. Omitting them altogether would punch up the tension, but that’s my opinion.”

Like NOS4A2, there were a couple of Easter eggs throwing back to King’s universe (like a character’s behavior leading to the comment that she had “forgotten the face of [her] father.” Even as hill builds a solid reputation for himself and his work apart from the spectre of his dad’s work, these little homages make my inner (and outer) fangirl squee with delight.

Overall, I loved this book and I’m glad I’ve read so few of Hill’s books that I still have plenty to get me through until the next one.

Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 5 stars

Potential re-read: Definitely, especially to figure out how the hell did did what he did.

Dead-tree worthy?: Yes. You’ll find your own reasons, I’m sure, but from this writer, my purchase is motivated by the need to figure out how the hell did did what he did.

Something Like a Review – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

 The first book I read by Joe Hill was 20th Century Ghosts, and that was before I knew anything about him. I was so smitten with his work that I looked for more. To my surprise (at the time), he had a new book coming out – NOS4A2. Since I’m kind of a nerd for reading license plates, I was stoked over the vampire reference. Get it? Stoked? *rimshot*

On release day, I bought the hardback – an expense only reserved for my most favorite authors – yet I still didn’t have time to sit down and read it. Since I had audible credits, I snagged it, downloaded it and listened.

Hill tells a fantastic story, weaving character and world-building detail with enviable skill. Victoria’s ability to find things leads her to a magical passage to take her wherever she wants to go. But even her benign magic goes wrong, leading her to Richard Manx and his ’38 Rolls Royce Wraith. Victoria escapes Manx’s attempt to  whisk her away to “Christmas Land.” Years later, it’s her son in Manx’s magical car, and she has to get him back before he’s changed forever.

One would think that a place called “Christmas Land” is a place any child would want to go, but Hill makes even the most appealing place a horrifying prospect. While you feel the child you were celebrating the prospect, the adult recoils as the story unfolds. It’s chilling, and not just because of the snow.

As if losing myself in a great story by a great author wasn’t enough, imagine my delight in discovering Stephen King universe Easter eggs. This was the story that secured future shelf space for more Hill books and recruited me to his legion of fans.

Though comparison to King is unnecessary (and a bit unfair), the biggest compliment I can pay Hill is that he’s taken up King’s mantle as a Master of Horror, and I look forward to reading more of his work.

Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 5 stars

Potential re-read: Absolutely. I want to go back and read the dead tree version and see what I missed!

Dead-tree worthy?: Yes. Just yes.

Something Like a Review – Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

We all have a special place in our hearts for the loud, brash personalities in our world. How else do you explain the popularity of the “carny-handed mango man,”or Nigel Farage?  Or the she-beast, Ann Coulter?

Granted, that place we hold for the blustery and abrasive might be a gator-filled swamp or an oubliette, but hey, those are places.

And sometimes, we seek out these personalities because we sense the benevolence behind the shock-and-awe tactics that make us laugh. For me, this is the lure of Chuck Wendig.

Everyone has their own opinion, of course, but I find Wendig’s particular brand of hyperbolic (and sometimes juvenile) humor is exactly the sugar to help me swallow writer life lessons and general insight buried within. I’ve drunk deep of his audacious wisdom from his daily blog posts at terribleminds.com, his Kick-Ass Writer and all his other writing books. But, until now, all I’d read was his writing advice.

Intrigued by the hype around his new cyber-thriller, Zer0es, I picked it up. The premise of technology becoming a horror thrilled me, and I had to see what he could do.

Overall, this is a great book, though I say that with a caveat.

When I was still in the first third of the book, my writing group was discussing what we were reading. I mentioned this one, and there was a lot of curiosity about it given Wendig’s blustery portrayal of himself on his blog. My only fair answer at the time was that it was … odd, but that I wanted to keep reading. The beginning, in my opinion, is somewhat jarring and disjointed. I felt thrust around, not really given a chance to orient myself with the characters, and how they were connected. In my opinion, there was something missing, though I still can’t identify what. As the book progresses past that point, however, and the characters converge, that jangling sense of disharmony dissipates and the story comes together in a beautiful, terrifying way and barrels through to its chilling end.

Wendig’s panoply of characters rings true to their stories, and histories, even if they become overwhelming and obnoxious at times. This is one of those casts of characters that is both unforgettable, and sometimes difficult to spend to spend time with. Wendig works a bit of magic, though, making you care about the most abrasive personalities even though you’d gladly reach into the story and slap them silly (I’m lookin’ at you, Rachael).

The punchy style and staccato rythym has been a matter of contention in some of his books. At times, I felt like I needed a break to catch my breath, but that sensation served the story. Wendig used the style to great effect and I’d argue that it was necessary to create the pace and physical effect on the reader that this novel achieves.

Zer0es is a chilling book because of the sheer plausibility of the technological horrors Wendig concocts.  We could be living with a similar, undetected tumor of dystopic existence growing in our midst. Our own Typhon might be watching now…

Definitely worth the read, I’d give Zer0es my standard “Lord of the Rings disclaimer” – get through the beginning, and you’ll be sucked in. Now, it’s all over until the release of the second book in the series, Invasive, in August.

 

Medium: Kindle version from Amazon.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 4 stars

Potential re-read: When I feel the need to be reminded of technology’s dark side, yes.

Dead-tree worthy?: Maybe. I think I’ll need to read through it again to figure that out. There is a certain amount of irony of only owning a digital copy, though.

Something Like a Review – Year One: A Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter Collection by John G. Hartness

Disclosure: I know the author personally. I purchased this book with my own Audible credit because I wanted to read it. This post is simply a reflection of my desire to share a piece of fiction I enjoyed from an author I choose to support.

One of the benefits of connecting with local writers is getting an opportunity to meet interesting people and discover stories you might not have found otherwise. Buying books becomes an act of shopping small, and when you find something you love, sharing that love promotes and supports people you know and care about.

I discovered John’s work after encountering him at ConCarolinas. And, yes, “encounter” is the correct verb. Though I was slow on the uptake, I did become hooked on Bubba and was curious about his other writing. His pitch for Quincy Harker snared me: “Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker had a son. They named him Quincy. His guardian angel calls him Q. Dracula calls him nephew.” Given my love for things horror, and his sense of humor, I was sold.

If I could imagine a figure from classic horror coming to live in Charlotte, North Carolina, Quincy and Uncle Luke (aka – Dracula, to the rest of us) would be the perfect fit. There’s plenty of culture to suit an old vamp like Luke, and enough to keep Quincy and Charlotte-Mecklenberg police officer Rebecca Flynn busy for a long time. And that’s before we through Federal Agent John Smith into the mix.

I already knew Hartness is adept at blending horror and humor, but in the Quincy Harker novellas, he skillfully tilts the scale away from the humor while still retaining snark to keep you snorting through Quincy’s one-liners. This series is darker, and deeper than the Bubba stories, but showcases John’s potential for range. His writing style is cinematic, and breathes life into the mundane that has me looking over my shoulder whenever I go through parts of Charlotte that show up in the novellas. This is one of those series that you can just imagine Netflix or Amazon Studios picking this up and making a series out of it. So, how ’bout it, guys? #HarkerTV Hells, yeah.

In the end, this is a series that should not be missed. The voice talent on the audiobook does a great job with all the characters, but especially Quincy. He’s the voice I hear in my head when I imagine this badass Demon Hunter. You can buy the individual novellas, but really, you’re going to want them all, so go for the compendium. It’s worth every cent.

 

Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 5 stars

Potential re-read: Yes, especially as the other novellas/collections are released.

Dead-tree worthy?: Probably, but I liked the audiobook so much that I probably will stick with that.

Something Like a Review – The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy

Disclaimer: I know this author personally, though I did purchase this on my own. My decision to review it to share my discovery with others is my own and not influenced or requested by the author.

Music has played a big part of my life since I was young. I stalked the radio with blank cassettes to make mix tapes of my favorite songs – which I considered the soundtrack of my life. I got addicted to the stories in all kinds of music and listened as much for the lyrics as the melody. Chasing stories brought me to dabble in opera. I lost myself in the stories from those as simple as Peter and the Wolf to my favorite opera, Pagliacci. But I’ve never had a love for an operatic story like Anthony, and his love for the Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. And while I’ve found stories that use music as a key part of the story, I’ve never encountered a story quite like The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy.

Earworms are a plague against those for whom music is an integral part of life. It’s like a skipping record in the brain and jostling the needle is nearly impossible. Imagine that your earworm is limited to 13 notes. Imagine that it has trapped you inside your own mind. Imagine that only an outside force can help you break through it, and that breaking through it is only the first step in navigating an opera in your own mind.

Anthony is nearly catatonic, stuck in a protective musical web, and Mira Tejedor and her unique ability to travel through Anthony’s mind is his only hope in resolving that which has trapped him there. Stepping into his world as Scheherazade, only she can navigate the Pictures at an Exhibition and make sense of the riddle of his mind.

One of the most unique aspects of this story is the intricate story Kennedy weaves. He skillfully and artfully weaves the narrative of the opera with mythology and layers that throughout the story of the world continuing around Anthony. Kennedy becomes our Mira Tejedor and takes us between both worlds, hinting at the mysteries, but letting us figure out what we can and leaving us to be surprised by the rest. I adore the level of complexity he’s achieved. The narrative’s richness is remarkable throughout the story, but can only really be appreciated at the end.  This is one of those books to be relished, to be consumed slowly for utmost enjoyment, but the reader is doomed to rush through it with a gluttonous impulse. I can only take comfort in knowing that Book 2 is DONE. As soon as I know more, I’ll share it with you…

Still not convinced? Try a sample here (with links to a free sample of the audiobook as well).

Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 5 stars

Potential re-read: Definitely.

Dead-tree worthy?: Yes, but it was so well done as an audiobook, that I think I’ll stick with this format. It makes the ride to work a pleasure – except the mornings when I couldn’t leave the car because I just couldn’t stop listening. (The author takes great pride and pleasure in this, kids. Remember to leave a review on Goodreads or any other site of your choosing and tell him how lat you were to work!)

Something Like a Review – Z-Burbia by Jake Bible

The longer this year’s political campaign runs, the more I’m hoping for the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

Then again, looking at some of the candidates, I’m not sure it hasn’t already happened. But this isn’t Something Like a Review about something as undead as the American political process. Instead, it’s about a charming gem of a book I discovered somewhat by accident. Let’s start over, shall we?

I am a little late to the zombie party. They seem to be everywhere. While I was in school, my stress dreams were always about the zombie apocalypse. Oddly, not in being afraid of it, but being in the midst of it and the weariness of having to endure it AGAIN. (Weird, right?) Then, when I could claim time as my own, I got into the cultural phenomenon known as The Walking Dead. Heavily. As in binged-five-seasons-in-4-days heavily. Then I remembered that I heard about (and wish-listed) a series at The World Horror Convention in 2015 by Jake Bible, and I decided to seek it out. I may be late, but the zombie party is still raging, and I’m glad that I found Z-Burbia.

With all the little suburban developments popping up like mushrooms, can you really imagine life post-zombie without imagining those clusters of cookie-cutter houses? Or of what survival will look like among the disparate families that inhabit them? Everyone knows that the HOA is the biggest pain point of living in these little suburbs…now just imagine if it survived the apocalypse too.

Gives you chills, doesn’t it?

Jake Bible does a fantastic job of creating a post-apocalyptic world rife with the challenges you expect – hungry zombies, resource shortages, and human threats – and sets it in the Blue Ridge mountains just outside Asheville, NC. And if zombies and cannibals weren’t enough to worry about it, he threads in the complications and frustrations of dealing with the HOA president and her cadre. Jason “Jace” Stanford (a.k.a. “Long Pork”) is one of the most delightfully sarcastic and funny characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Bible weaves Jace’s unique perspective through the horrors and gore of living through the zombie apocalypse in a way that kind of makes you want to hang out with him. If it weren’t for all the zombies and cannibals, that is.

This book was a lot of fun. I listened to it as an audiobook, which I think is the perfect way of enjoying it. Jace’s conversational asides draw you in, and the voice talent does a great job of presenting his sense of humor in a way that literally makes you laugh out loud. I very much look forward to reading/listening to the next books in this series.

Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com, or order an autographed copy from Malaprops (Indie) Bookstore in Asheville, NC

Overall rating: 5 stars

Potential re-read: Very possibly, but there are 6 novels in this series, so not any time soon. 🙂 New Jace is too enticing to revisit past Jace.

Dead-tree worthy?: Possibly, but I think I will probably stick with the audiobook. The conversational tone of this book lends itself so well to the medium, and the voice talent was great. The only drawback is that I giggled at otherwise inappropriate times, like walking down the aisle in the grocery store.

Something Like a Review – The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

July 13, 2014 1 comment

I will be the first to admit that I have a particular affinity for Quirk Books. Their sense of humor and mine are pretty well-matched, so when they offered me a chance to read and review The Last Policeman series by Ben Winters, I jumped at it. I had been interested in the first one when it came out, but school being what it is, I didn’t run to get because I didn’t need a distraction. With a light(er) course load now, I took my chance.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I will be doing a little countdown of my own to celebrate the release of the newest book in the series on July 17th. Look for the second installment bright and early on Sunday, July 13th (no, I won’t be getting up early, I just scheduled it that way. Ahh, technology…).

To risk sounding as if I’m waxing poetic, let’s just say that this book was pretty much a perfect fit for my interests. How could I not love it? The world is ending, and not just the slow (likely) death of destroying our habitat, or the sudden catastrophic end of nuclear war, but the conscious impending obliteration by asteroid 2011GV1, better known as Maia. With six months left until impact, the world and what we know as civilization is in a downward spiral and even though many are questioning or ignoring the rules that governed society, Hank Palace isn’t giving up so easy. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see it was set in Concord, NH, a city that doesn’t get enough attention for the colorful setting and characters therein. It’s been a while since I’ve spent any real “quality” time there, so I can’t say for certain if he’d gotten the details right, but there are enough that are true and long-standing enough that I recognized this world, though warped by an impending death sentence. Not only that, I could believe Hank as a New Englander, a level-headed, salt-of-the-earth type still doing his job, still doing what’s right while half the world is intent on pursuing their bucket list before the end. When confronted with a suicide, he’s not content to accept it at face value, pursuing the truth in spite of the impending end of the world. He investigates the lost life to uncover the real story.

I won’t give it away, but there is valor in Palace’s pursuit, and the adventure gives insight into this pre-post-apocalyptic world that made me want to look deeper into it and see more of it. Not only did I think Hank was believable and real, I found myself imagining that I knew the cop he’d been based on, though my real-life Hank Palace was from a different town and possessed a little less imagination and gumption.

The one issue I had with the story is probably more an issue with me than an issue with the story. The unraveling of the mystery and how quickly he figured the chain of events and the root of the explanation felt artificially quick, almost forced. BUT – since mysteries and police novels (procedural or otherwise) aren’t my normal reading fare, my expectation of a slower reveal and being able to pick up on and follow the breadcrumb trail may be unrealistic, making this my issue alone. Or maybe I just missed the clues. Overall, this was an enjoyable story and I was excited to pick up the next one to see what happened next, especially for the slow disintegration of a doomed society.

Medium: Dead-tree version provided for review by Quirk Books

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 4 stars

Potential re-read: Maybe. Knowing the end, I would like to go back and see if I can find the breadcrumb trail and determine if the resolution was as fast as I perceived it to be, or if I was just entirely oblivious (which is a significant possibility). For the “yes” side of the re-read question, I love apocalyptic fiction, and for the “no,” crime/police/mystery type novels aren’t my favorite, so while I enjoyed it, it’s not an immediate draw for a re-read.

Dead-tree worthy?: With the ever-increasing struggle for space and the wishy-washy answer regarding a re-read, I’m going to go with “no,” here. I’m being more picky with what books take up room in my life, and while I can’t justify space on the shelf, I could justify space on the Kindle, or the time to get it from the library.

Something Like a Review – Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s no surprise that when this book came out, I snapped it up at my local brick and mortar (albeit big chain) book store. I wanted it. Had to have it, but I was skeptical. I felt content that Danny Torrence got his deserved “happily ever after” when the smoke cleared and the therapy was concluded and perhaps after his hefty share of mood-altering drugs. I mean, it would be only fair after you lived through that kind of hell in the snowy Colorado mountains, right?

I bought it even though I was trepidatious, and I didn’t really have any concrete expectations of the book, which is probably a good thing. I’d read little bits and pieces of information about it, and it was enough that I thought I’d be able to engross myself in it while on vacation.

I’m glad I didn’t have any expectations; they probably would not have been met.

Doctor Sleep was not a bad book. It had some really interesting angles and elements, but it just didn’t…work for me as a sequel to the life of Danny Torrence. Even with his past, I feel like this could easily have been another character with the same “shining” he had and the story would not have suffered from the change.  The only thing I can think that might have changed my perception of the book was how long ago I read The Shining. While it wasn’t that far back that I don’t remember it, it’s far gone enough that I don’t vividly remember most scenes. Don’t get me wrong, the book left enough scars on my brain that they won’t ever be gone and I get chills thinking about spending a week in the Stanley Hotel (more about that later), but you readers will understand. I know, I remember, but they are the slightly sunbleached memories of paper decorations left too long in a window.

The True Knot’s pursuit of and acquisition of steam was great, and I liked precocious little Abra as much as I liked Danny when he was little. Danny seemed real, and genuinely a kid of a traumatic childhood, but in a sense, it felt like he was living the epilogue to his father’s life. The sins of the father, so to speak. His challenges were great, his guilt and his demons his own, but it just felt like something was missing from this book, though I don’t think *what* is something that can be defined. It was a pretty quick read for me, partly because the story is King’s typical ramp from the mundane into a crescendoing race for your life, and partly because I was invested in knowing what happened to Danny and how it all worked out in the end. I liked the book, but I didn’t love it and for a devout King fan-girl like me, that’s saying something.

Medium: Dead-tree version from brick-and-mortar store. 

Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com

Overall rating: 3 stars

Potential re-read: Maybe. When I have time, I may re-read The Shining and then go right into this one to see if it changes my perception of the book.

Dead-tree worthy?: As a collector of Stephen King books, yes. As a reader, this is a hefty volume to house when one is not in love with it. It’s hard to say. “Maybe” is the best, most clear answer I can give. YMMV.

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