January 25th, 2008

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Happy Belated Stephen King Day!

So, yesterday, I discovered, was a Stephen King day!

Not an actual holiday, of course. Merely the day of release of a new King novel. hntrpyanfar and I have been celebrating this (by bringing home the gift of King's newest in hardcover), so imagine my surpise when hntrpyanfar received Stephen King's Duma Key... I'd mixed up the release dates on that one, mistakenly believing that it was coming out in February. Yay!

Also in the box was a second book: Lucy A. Snyder's latest collection Installing Linux on a Dead Badger and Other Oddities. I adored her first collection, Sparks and Shadows, and look forward to this one.

I cannot honestly say which of these books I am more excited to have received... Alas, I cannot read either until I finish some more Horror Reader.com stuff... But I'm excited.
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Another Book for the 2008 Read List

6) Dark Hollow by Brian Keene (Leisure Books, February 2008 release). Though this story first appeared as the limited edition novel The Rutting Season, first published in hardcover/trade paperback by Bloodletting Press, I haven't had the pleasure of reading it until this Leisure Books mass market paperback release.

While Brian Keene's reputation seems cemented in his wildly popular zombpocalypse novels (The Rising, City of the Dead, Dead Sea), I enjoy his other works a more. Zombies are a wee bit tiring for me, and though Keene invigorates that subject (and subgenre) with verve and skill, I find the writing in works like Fear of Gravity (an exceptional collection) and Ghoul (novel) more to my liking.

Though I'll offer a more detailed review at www.HorrorReader.com, I might as well give a capsule review here:

With Dark Hollow, this reader found something of a familiar premise:
A small town (located in Pennsylvania), which is caught up in its populace's petty evils and desires, suddenly finds itself beset by a monstrous, supernatural presence. Author Adam Senft and his neighbors discover the nature of this evil and must unite if they hope to defeat it. Does that sound like Salem's Lot to anyone else? Sure it does. As well as Bethany's Sin by Robert McCammon and a host of other horror novels. The setup is familiar. The execution is not.

Keene's characters are his greatest strength; sure, the gruesome bits, the suspense, the plotting, and the action are well executed, but I really like his characters. They seem like folks I wouldn't mind hanging out with, which is good, since, in effect, that's exactly what I'm doing whenever I open the book. Beyond protagonist and narrator Adam Senft, there are several other imperfect, multi-dimensional personailities on display, but the stand out creation has to be Big Steve, the protagonist's loveable (if cowardly) dog.

Thematically, this novel is something of a bookend to the aforementioned Ghoul, though with stronger female presences (which was my complaint about that previous work). Fans will spot plenty of references to Keene's other works, including his overarching mythos of The Labyrinth. Ultimately, these references are unnecessary for the enjoyment of the work, but Keene's variety of Constant Reader will certainly enjoy fitting this book into the patchwork puzzle of his oeuvre.

I, for one, cannot wait to see where all this Labyrinth stuff is leading...