Book Review: Wereworld by Benjamin Percy

wereworld

Title: Wereworld

Author: Benjamin Percy

Release date: September 14th, 2021

It’s often funny how you’ll yell and shout about your own personal favorite author, practically begging people to read their work, but then have the same happen back to you and you realize – heck, I haven’t actually read anything from them.

That was the case with Adam Nevill. Gavin over at Kendall Reviews recommended Nevill’s work within the first day of us connecting. Nevill is now one of my fav author’s, easily.

So, it has gone with Benjamin Percy and my friend and frequent cover artist, Mason McDonald telling me time and time again to read Percy’s work. Shamefully (and owning I think five of his books) I’ve just now read him for the first time and wow! Wow!

This is a novella, so maybe for some that’s cheating, but within the 50 or so pages, Percy has crafted a story that is not only emotionally layered, but can act as a metaphor for our current world situation with the ongoing Pandemic. Saying that, you can read this without making that connection one bit and take it purely as a story of Lycanthrope mayhem.

I must add, the illustrations from Francesco Francavilla at the start of each chapter were glorious.

What I liked: The story itself takes place over twelve chapters, each chapter covering a month in the year of the werewolf outbreak and uprising. We follow Ted, a crotchety 50ish man who is married and has a daughter. He lives a life filled with structure and routine, but lately has begun to wonder if he’s truly happy.

That is until the Full Moon Massacre occurs and rumors begin to swirl that something is happening, something is being spread and causing people to change and develop a taste for flesh.

Percy writes so beautifully, with simple, straight forward prose that says so much with so little. It really is remarkable and reminds me big time of my own favorite author, Andrew Pyper. No fat, just lean muscle.

The character and neighborhood development/progression as each month passes was fantastic and in a way it reminded me of the early comics from The Walking Dead, where small, subtle changes occur that signify a larger shift in the world, but by the time it’s realized it’s too late to really do anything about it.

The ending was a pitch-perfect, spot-on BANG. I smiled reading the ending, knowing just how well Percy had set it up. It was like watching your favorite comedian delivering his trademark joke.

What I didn’t like: There was dread dripping from the pages, but I wished we would’ve had more carnage in some spots. It’s a minor thing, but when something is alluded too and you want to see the viscera fly, it can be a bit of a moment let down.

Why you should buy this: Percy has given us a fun, fast-paced romp through the darkness of the night. He uses the day to move the story along, while making you squirm and wince with each click-click of nails on the road. Ted was a great character and I loved how each month shifted the needle slightly, until ultimately we’ve arrived to a place where the needle can’t be moved anymore and full tilt bonkers has begun.

Thanks, Mason, for continuing to shout your love of Percy’s work and thank you Benjamin for such a great read.

Highly recommend for fans of werewolf stories. Outstanding.

5/5

Book Review: Night Terrors by Kristen Tomaru

night terrors

Title: Night Terrors

Author: Kristen Tomaru

Release date: July 21, 2021

I came across this book by chance, scrolling through the Horror Oasis Facebook page. The author (and illustrator) Kristen was looking for some folks to review it. I took a look on Amazon and Goodreads and bought a copy for Kindle.

The book is marketed as ‘nightmare poems for kids,’ but after having read this, I’d suggest that ‘kids’ would be more 10+ maybe even 13+. I myself have a five year old who is obsessed with all things dark and fantastical. He’s a massive Trevor Henderson fan, we’ve watched Beetlejuice already and we spend some time finding creepy creatures on Youtube and Instagram. Not to say he has free reign to watch and see anything and everything – we do monitor and I’ll typically pre-watch things – but we know his limits and stay within them.

Saying all of that – I wouldn’t read these poems to him. I’ll get into it a bit more later, but for a five year old, these would be too intense.

What I liked: Wow, are the illustrations in this book gorgeous. Stunning truly. Even reading this on Kindle, each and every one is so detailed and just phenomenal. This is a book that’d be a true stunner to hold in hand with a physical copy.

The book itself has roughly 16 poems and illustrations, each poem tied into the accompanied illustration (or vice versa). The poem tells a dark story about what you see and each one typically revolves around something coming and snatching/killing/dismembering the sleeping child during the night. Some are tinged with dark humor – we get one about a toilet bowl monster and one about a noxious-fart beast – but otherwise all are similar in nature.

For me, I was a massive fan of The Babadook and loved the book/rhyme that featured. Think of how that was and you’ll have a solid idea of what too expect, but darker, more extreme.

What I didn’t like: While I enjoyed each poem individually, as a whole the reality of each poem having the same layout/rhyme pattern/syllable pattern caused them to all feel a bit similar.

As will, as I mentioned before, the poems here are very dark, very bleak for their intended audience. I’d suggest you pre-read this or even preview it on Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature to see if you’d think it was appropriate for your little one.

Why you should buy this: This was a delicious batch of dark poems that I gobbled up. The illustrations are simply phenomenal. I’ll be grabbing a paperback of this in the future, because it is truly stunning.

If you’re looking for some really bleak poems, like Grimm Fairy Tales but darker for adults, look no further. Kristen has knocked this one out of the park.

4/5

Book Review: The Trench by Paul Mannering

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Title: The Trench

Author: Paul Mannering

Release date: March 20th, 2017

First, an apology.

Originally, I was contacted to see if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing Paul’s novel ‘Engines of Empathy.’ I started reading the book and it soon became evident that I was not the right reader for the novel. It has elements of cyberpunk/steampunk/dystopian futures and humor. I’ve never read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ but the ‘Engines…’ was described as being similar in nature and tone so I was intrigued. If that sounds like a book you’d be keen on – definitely give it a look. So, my apologies that I wasn’t able to complete ‘Engines of Empathy.’

But, I still wanted to read something from Paul and when I looked at the available books on Amazon, ‘The Trench’ jumped out at me. I love underwater-alien type books and if that cover doesn’t snag you I don’t know what will.

What I liked: The story starts out with the pedal-to-the-metal and never lets up. Michael and Nicole, two scientists both dealing with their own personal life issues find themselves together one morning when they’re scooped up by the military and transported to a secret submarine research base. Something’s happened and they need to find out what.

Mannering takes a classic story idea and throws us in head first. The action is fast, the death count incredibly high and the reason behind it all as fascinating and engaging.

I really enjoyed how the characters interacted and even the banter that develops between them works well. The survival aspect was great and Mannering made sure to hype the dread that grows with the reality that even if you survive the craziness, you still need to find a way back to the surface.

The ending is fantastic and as with most creature-feature style books does leave us with the possibility of a follow up but I’ve not found any evidence that one has been produced.

What I didn’t like: The one thing that this book has is fast-paced action. So much so that it also created two issues for me. The first was that the characters get to the base and we discover things have already gone south. I always love when we see the creature/alien type entity that always arrives in underwater horror actually arrive, so it was jarring that we were already past that point. The second was that with such a high body count, we don’t get much connection to many of the characters and as they get picked off there isn’t any emotion behind it.

Why you should buy this: If you enjoyed ‘The Abyss’ or Nick Cutter’s ‘The Deep’ this is definitely a book you’ll want to check out. Fast-paced and full of action, Mannering delivers a story that speeds along and will have you gripped from page one until the very end.

4/5

Book Review: Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper

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Title: Lost Girls

Author: Andrew Pyper

Release date: April 13th, 2000

It’s interesting how time and knowledge can seemingly shape or adjust how you read or experience a book.

‘The Demonologist’ was my first experience by Andrew Pyper. Shortly thereafter, ‘The Damned.’ Two of the darkest most haunting books Andrew has released. For me, back then, I had discovered a new-to-me horror author. A writer who wrote International Best-selling novels, but novels that were just as dark and bleak as anything by King, but also as gruesome and disturbing as any of the late night movies I used to stay up and watch.

Over the years, I’ve read the rest of Andrew’s books (as some of you may be aware of! HA!) and I’ve loved seeing the worlds he’s created and the heart-pounding situations we, as readers, get thrown into.

But oddly, it wasn’t until I was knee deep in researching his work for an interview I did with him earlier this year, that it even occurred to me that Pyper wasn’t considered a ‘horror writer’ by a large section of the reading population.

In fact – for many out there – Andrew Pyper is a crime-thriller author who has supernatural elements to his work. Thinking about this really threw me for a loop. I don’t actively seek out crime books (which is funny now considering) and crime fiction often doesn’t really excite me to think about reading it (which is double funny considering I have some work out there that could be described as crime-fiction based), yet here I am constantly gushing over ‘The Killing Circle,’ Andrew’s 2008 crime-thriller.

So it was, that diving into my re-read of ‘Lost Girls,’ that I found myself smiling at the reality of reading a book that is centered around a lawyer, a crime and a court case.

It has been some time since I’d read ‘Lost Girls,’ but I was excited for this re-read for so many reasons. To re-introduce myself to Andrew’s very first book was invigorating. He’d released a short-story collection prior, but that was straight forward fiction with no supernatural undercurrents. No, this was the first book Andrew had released, which won awards and resulted from his agent at the time contacting him to represent him. When he said he didn’t have a book, she said “you will,” and the rest is history.

What I liked: The story of ‘Lost Girls’ itself is simply. Bartholomew Crane is an up-and-coming, hotshot lawyer in Toronto. In a small town in northern Ontario, two teen girls go missing, presumed dead, and one of their teachers is accused of killing them. This teacher, Thomas Tripp, hires the law firm Crane works at to represent him and in turn the case is given to Crane.

But Murdoch, Ontario has a secret, something it longs to keep hidden, even if it keeps coming to the surface.

The prologue sets the stage here and it was interesting to see a novel written twenty years ago read and feel just as vibrant and fresh as anything Andrew’s ever written. There are some noticeable time-period parts that wouldn’t hold up today (Barth has a cell phone but hardly uses it, more-so relying on left messages at the hotel lobby and there’s no usage of email or computers) but otherwise you know you’re immediately in an Andrew Pyper book from page one.

I loved the slow-unravelling of Barth throughout. As he began to feel the hooks of Murdoch lock in and things begin to not only make sense, but also reveal themselves to him. There are a few incredibly unnerving moments throughout, but nothing as unsettling as when Crane comes across the cabin deep in the woods that really does unlock those hidden memories. That moment is the mental climax, if you will, of Barth’s descent. The tipping point, where after that everything cascades rapidly and he goes from running-on-fumes-coke-addict to full on unstable and unhinged.

Funny enough, there’s a scene where Barth looks through his hotel window one evening, only to see two teen girls in flowing dresses waving and beckoning him to come down. He can’t control himself anymore. Why are they tormenting him? He heads down, only to have a close encounter with a truck. This actually offers up a moment where, from that point on, you could argue Barth was actually killed by the truck and everything after is a maddening descent into purgatory. Andrew denies this (I know, I asked! And usually he’s coy and says the readers will make up their own minds, but for this one he rejected that as never a thought he had) but it definitely darkens an already darkened story.

As soul-crushing as it was, I also loved Barth’s interactions with the locals, especially as he comes to realize that many of them know who he really is, but also seeing how much these two girls disappearing has affected the town. As though a ripple has slowly washed over every one.

This is a dark story, a slow burn, and one that grabs and doesn’t let go.

What I didn’t like: As I’ve mentioned, the story opens up with an anxiety-inducing prologue, but from there until some time in, it becomes a fairly straight-forward crime-thriller. If you’re wanting a book that is supernatural from start to finish, this won’t be it. Pyper takes his time setting up Crane’s spiral and I think the term slow-burner is very accurate.

Why you should buy this: If you’re a Pyper fan, you’ve most likely already read it, but if it’s been longer than five years, I’d suggest you dive back into the lake and see if the Lady holds up. I found everything about her unnerving, creepy and horrifying. A perfect antagonist that doesn’t arrive until necessary. If you’ve not read anything from Andrew, this would be an excellent spot to start and introduces his easy way of telling dark, haunting tales that’ll stay with you for many, many long sleepless nights.

5/5

Book Review: Tales From the Parkland by Ronald McGillvary

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Title: Tales From the Park Land

Author: Ronald McGillvray

Release date: July 26th, 2021

I’ve not read any of Ronald’s work before grabbing his latest collection, but judging from what I discovered, I’m excited to check out whatever he releases into the world.

Lately, I’ve actually struggled with reading and reviewing short story collections and anthologies due to burn out and the marked effort reading and reviewing these releases takes. When I read novellas or novels I typically don’t take a single note, nor have to worry about remembering key details. With collections and anthologies it is the opposite. Notes on each story and key moments, as with 10-12 stories or more, it can be tough to keep things straight. From all of that, I was burned out on them.

Saying all of that, I’ve been slowly reintroducing collections and when Ronald’s released, I snagged it and bumped it up the TBR. I’m always a fan of discovering new-to-me authors but also new-to-me Canadian authors.

What I liked: Containing eleven short stories and a bonus novella, ‘Tales From the Parkland’ covers a lot of ground and the collection is a strong showcase of how many different avenues dark fiction can travel. McGillvary writes with ease and it’s evident that writing these stories brought him great joy, you can practically feel him smiling at the depravity as each story twists and turns.

The standouts for me would be;

The Garbage Collectors – a dark story of a new family in town that discovers a horrible secret. This one sped along and was unflinching.

Underneath the Stairs – a really quick story that made me laugh. As someone who lived in a house with a creepy basement, this really hit the spot for this reader.

Typo – a story about the unexpected consequences of entering in a website incorrectly. I loved this modernized horror story.

Orphans – this was a deliciously dark story about a strange storm and people seemingly different. Loved the sibling relationship that was showcased.

McGillvary did a fantastic job of making the reader feel comfortable almost immediately in each story, allowing you to just read and not feel like you’ve missed something.

What I didn’t like: As with every short story collection, some stories will hit while some will miss. This one had a ton of great stories and I think fans of dark fiction and short dark fiction will really enjoy what’s offered.

Why you should buy this: McGillvary delivered a really fun collection, filled with a lot of brutal themes. You’ll get werewolves, bumps in the night and things that aren’t what they appear. All making for a fast-paced read, but one filled with stories that’ll stay with you long after you’ve read them.

Great stuff!

4/5

Book Review: Rave by Konn Lavery

rave

Title: Rave

Author: Konn Lavery

Release date: May 20th, 2021

Konn Lavery is a new to me author, one who is also a local author. It’s been great connecting with him, as I’ve not met many other Edmonton based writers who write dark fiction. My first experience with his writing was in the ‘Prairie Gothic’ anthology, and so I was excited to dive into ‘Rave.’

I grew up in a very small town, in the West Kootenays of British Columbia. Knowing this was set in Prince George, a town I had family in, I was excited to see what type of carnage would ensue.

What I liked: ‘Rave’ follows a group of four friends who struggle with living their current reality. Seth, Tanis, Joel and April, all dream of leaving their small town lives behind, but all are afraid to actually make that leap. So, they drown their sorrows and fill their time when not at work with drugs and alcohol, as is the nature of many small town residents.

On this particular weekend, the four manage to snag tickets to an exclusive underground rave that is happening far out in the wilderness. Once there, things take a turn, when a strange thing arrives and people begin to die.

Lavery adds in a layer of mystery with a backstory surrounding Seth’s cousin, which has brought a sour taste to his family and anyone associated with his last name.

We also get to see the group unravel as they come down from a night of ingesting a lot of mind bending drugs. Lavery fills the final quarter of the book with a Major Motion picture level of blood and gore, ensuring that no one is safe and no one is spared.

What I didn’t like: Oddly, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Where I should’ve been shocked and horrified when characters met a bloody and gruesome ending, instead I just shrugged and carried on.

As well, there were moments where an odd narrator type POV came along and I wasn’t sure if I’d missed something from the beginning or if this was a way to move action along.

Lastly, there were a lot of exclamation points. I found it started to create a comedic effect when it should’ve been a serious moment or an action moment.

Why you should buy this: I’m a massive fan of ‘things going crazy in the woods’ stories and this one will tick all those boxes. Lavery delivers some fantastic dark moments and truly stressful, tense situations. With this one, people will really love the ‘survive at all costs’ turns and it makes for a fast propulsive read.

3.5/5

Book Review: Hetty by Eddie Generous

hetty

Title: Hetty

Author: Eddie Generous

Release date: September 18th, 2021

Big thanks to Netgalley, Omnium Gatherum and Eddie Generous (Unnerving) for approving me for this ARC!

I’ve become a big fan of Eddie’s over the years and have always enjoyed seeing where his writing mind will take us. He’s never shy to explore different genre’s, attempting new variations of the genre’s and introducing unique and intriguing characters.

‘Hetty’ is a prime example of just that. Taking a tried and true basis of a dark story and inflicting it and warping it to suit his story and how he wanted to tell it.

What I liked: The book opens with a bit of back story, of us learning about Hetty and how she was a schoolteacher but also was doing things she shouldn’t have been when no one was looking.

Fast forward and we get introduced to two people down on their lucks – Dane, a writer who is struggling with a recent loss and Winona, a young mother who discovers the truth about the man she believed was the one. Now, after becoming friends, they are working towards figuring out life in a new town, a small town with a secret.

Generous does a great job of showcasing how two different people, from two very different upbringings can attempt to co-exist, help each other out while also doing whatever it takes when it comes down to it, to bring back Winona’s son.

The build up to Casey’s disappearance had some truly, truly creepy moments and the aftermath of the event itself was great with Generous offering some twists and turns that had me flipping the pages, wanting to see just what happens.

What I didn’t like: It felt like a life time until the actual event happens and while it was definitely a slow burn to get there, some may find it a bit of slog at moments. As well, I wasn’t totally sure about how Dane was reacting to Winona at the beginning. It felt a bit forced, a bit ‘off’ from his initial introductions.

Why you should buy this: Generous is always an author that you know you can expect an emotional rollercoaster and with ‘Hetty,’ which may be the longest book he’s released thus far, he showcases his willingness to take a story and twist it, making it a dark and frightening piece.

Good stuff.

4/5

‘Hetty’ can be preordered here;

https://omniumgatherumedia.com/hetty

I will add the Amazon link once available.

Book Review: Wildfire by Duncan Ralston

wildfire

Title: Wildfire Season

Author: Duncan Ralston

Release date: June 1st, 2016

I’ve read a number of Ralston’s works over the years and continue to dive into his deeper back catalog. ‘Wildfire’ was one that I always had on my radar but for whatever reason just didn’t get to it. Recently, when I decided to read a quartet of Canadians (as my TBR had it lined up as though it was fate) I simply had ‘Ralston’ in my list. So, I flipped a coin and ‘Wildfire’ beat ‘The Method.’

Going in, I knew this was a quicker/shorter read than some of his more recent work (think ‘Ghostland’ and ‘Afterlife’) but knowing how well Ralston writes, I knew the story would still be filled to the brim with story.

What I liked: The story is set in remote Alaska. Bo and her almost-teenager son, Caleb live a simply, quiet existence. Off-the-grid and out of people’s mouths, as many in that part of the world prefer. But as dark fiction goes, a fateful trip into town turns their worlds upside down. During the wolf cull, Bo brings two wolves in that she’s hunted to get paid some cash and buy some groceries. It’s here that she has a run in with a world famous pop singer, one Bo has no idea who she is, but Rainey Layne is there protesting the cull and decides to set her sights on Bo.

From here, Ralston crafts a straight-forward thriller where we see the lengths Bo will go to not only keep her and Caleb safe, but to also make sure who she was in her previous life never sees the light of day.

I really enjoyed the way the three interacted as the story went on. Rainey who continued to try and use her fame and fortune to persuade Caleb in situations. Bo who was furious and wanted to kill Rainey but couldn’t knowing the police would inevitably discover the truth. And Caleb, who understood that he was all his mother had, even if it meant he didn’t get to live the life he longed for.

Duncan managed to get the tension between them just right, which at times felt like it was on the precipice of toppling, but that walking-the-line and pushing it to the max ultimately heightened the anxiety each of the three had within that small shack.

What I didn’t like: Maybe it’s my upbringing or my love of nature and living through almost two decades of forest fire season, but I struggled to believe a raging wildfire was burning in Alaska closer to October. It is possible, but it became a bit of a false-start. I was expecting the fire to rage around the people and force them to make decisions and try and survive, but ultimately it became metaphorical and had limited influence on the larger story.

Why you should buy this: For a story that was roughly 160 pages long, Ralston delivers a wallop and never really takes his foot off the peddle. We get thrown into a unique situation and get to see a chess game play out while knowing, ultimately, that when ‘checkmate’ is called, the outcome will be dire for all involved.

Great stuff.

4/5

Audiobook Review: Oracle by Andrew Pyper

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Title: Oracle

Author: Andrew Pyper

Narrated by: Joshua Jackson

Release date: August 18th, 2021

It should come as no surprise to ANYONE reading/seeing this review, that the second this was announced I jumped all over it and devoured it ASAP.

Now, obviously you are aware of my fanatical devotion to all things Pyper. But – to be honest – I was very worried about this one. Not that I didn’t think I wouldn’t like it. No, that I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy it. I’ve never done a single audio book before. I’m a very methodical reader and have a schedule and like to stay with it. I also don’t like distractions and enjoy being able to go back and re-read sentences, passages etc and digest sections.

Don’t get me wrong – if you love audio books, all the power to you – but for me, it’s always been tough to consider. I don’t have the time to sit and listen. That’s my reality.

But for this – I knew I’d need to force myself out of my comfort zone and attempt it.

A few things before we dive deeper into what makes ‘Oracle’ tick.

The first – I actually really enjoyed listening to this. It took me maybe three or four chapters to find a groove and to figure out the speed at which I found it to be most enjoyable (1.4x for me).

The second – Joshua Jackson absolutely NAILS this narration. I have no experience with anyone else, but his was picture perfect for narrating the story, for the characters and his delivery specifically for The Bone Man was phenomenal. I’d have to imagine he’s already under contract for the sequel drama ‘Oracle: The Dreamland Murders.’

Lastly – even with this being read by someone else and me not reading this – this is 1000000% an Andrew Pyper book. From the way sentences are crafted, characters dialogue, setting and environment as a character. Time and time again, you know you’re in Pyper’s masterful hands.

What I liked: Nate Russo is a haunted man. Suffering from an ability to connect with people and see events and horrible moments through touch, he’s not only running from his childhood, but also running from the feeling he somehow failed his family.

Pyper takes a simple man and a simple story and infuses it with all of the best bits from his previous work. This is crime-fiction, psychological thriller and haunted house all done to the nth degree. We get the dread of ‘The Guardians’ the hunt of ‘The Demonologist’ and the never ending fear of ‘The Killing Circle.’

But at the heart of this story, we get Nate Russo (who is a full on blend of Bartholomew Crane/Patrick Rush/Danny Orchard/David Ullman) who knows the thing that haunted him in his childhood home, the thing he called The Bone Man, is ultimately responsible for not only Russo’s gift, but also the mysterious disappearances Nate is now involved in solving.

Pyper weaves a fast-paced-who-done-it narrative, while using the small town aspect to make everyone a possible suspect and keeping the reader (listener) guessing with deflections and landmines all over the place. I would estimate that over a dozen times I said to myself ‘ah ha! it’s this character or that character’ and each and every single time I was wrong.

With The Bone Man, Andrew has finally delivered a true ‘monster’ story. The only other book he’s released with anything close to this would be ‘The Damned’ with Ash trying desperately to lure her brother Danny to the underworld. Here, we get a real/imagined, flesh-and-blood boogeyman which made me almost shout with joy when I realized that we were being given this type of story from an author as deft as Pyper. And guess what? He nails that character.

The Bone Man was absolutely terrifying. Every single time Jackson would slip into that voice, that timber and deliver the lines of The Bone Man, it felt like it was right beside me, as Nate did himself. And the beauty of The Bone Man character was that not only did we get a horrific and truly awful back story, but we had a WHY. A why to this man, this creature doing what it was doing and ultimately why he choose these innocent kids over and over again.

The secondary characters were great, Fernandes (I hope I spelled that correctly) and Tillman making for great cohorts to both work with Nate but also to keep him in check when he goes off the rails.

And I’ve often mentioned how Pyper utilizes setting so well. Here, the absolute best set piece was Russo’s childhood home, a place of darkened floor boards and wallpaper peeling from the walls. The descriptions of this place were so well done, so lush and vivid that you could picture it and smell it as though you were there.

*As a side note – I know some of you were thrown off when Joshua Jackson was announced as the narrator. For me, I smiled from ear to ear. Just ask my wife. A few years back I wrote an essay on how Andrew Pyper and The Tragically Hip made me a better writer. Within I reference one of my all-time favorite movies – One Week. Starring? That’s right – Joshua Jackson. You know who has a cameo in it? Gord Downie. The circle/cycle continues. Amazing.

What I didn’t like: It is hard to actually discuss what I didn’t like here – as I need to stay spoiler free – but this is the best I can do: the person ultimately responsible for the main events in this story – I wish we had a bit more of them earlier on and a bit more of their involvement. I can’t describe more of that, but when you listen to this and want to discuss it more later, feel free to DM me.

Why you should buy this: I’ll state this here and now (even though I’ve been practically begging for this since it was announced!) but this really does need to be released as a novel. Not only for those unable to hear or listen to audiobooks, but I think Andrew’s once again delivered a masterclass in story telling and how to phenomenally lay out your beginning, middle and ending. If you’re an Andrew fan, you’re already excited to get on this, but for those who haven’t experienced Pyper’s work yet – this showcases why he’s a master at crime fiction/dark fiction/psychological thrillers and emotional horror. He has a way of weaving words around and having them gnaw at your soul.

Another prime example of why Andrew Pyper is my favorite author. Now, I sit back and await the next novel.

5/5

https://www.audible.ca/pd/Oracle-Audiobook/B09384B2R4

Book Review: The Fisherman by John Langan

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Title: The Fisherman

Author: John Langan

Release date: June 30th, 2016

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect reading ‘The Fisherman.’ In fact, I was so intimidated by this book that for many years I didn’t even purchase it, believing whole-heartedly that I wouldn’t be a smart enough reader to digest this. I often worry about ‘literary’ horror in that I’ll be out of my depth with great/massive concepts and metaphors etc that I’ll not understand what’s going on and DNF because I can’t grasp the deeper meanings.

For anyone else who has this worry about this book – fear not. Langan is a stunning writer, absolutely, and operating on a completely different level than most, but his writing is also accessible and flows with such ease that you’d think your grandfather was telling you this story.

What I liked: The story follows Abe, a solid, dependable worker at IBM who finally falls in love, only to have that taken from him. After dealing with some of his grief, he finds he loves fishing. After another worker, Dan, also deals with lost love, the two of them strike up a friendship based on casting lines, catching fish and not speaking what rests just at the back of their tongues.

As time goes on, Dan, emboldened by some hidden discovery prompts the two of them to fish at this mysterious spot.

Langan does such a stellar job of showing a man just trying to carry on with his life, especially when the life he expected for himself and for his future, have been ripped away. Abe is instantly likeable, instantly feels like a character you’ve always known and his ache and grief fills you with ache and grief.

Of course, with dark fiction, things take a horrific turn. In this case we get two – an interlude of sorts where we learn the nature of how ‘The Dutchman’s River’ was named, as well as the last 3rd of the story when things occur and wrap up. Langan goes really dark throughout, but the character of Abe continued to ground this story and make you root for the man.

What I didn’t like: Honestly the back story of the river and how it got it’s name fell a bit flat for me. It should’ve had me riveted and engrossed, but instead I desperately wanted the section to end so that I could see what was going on with Abe. It does hold a purpose, especially with introducing The Fisherman, but I would’ve been personally happier if it was shorter.

Why you should buy this: The book itself was incredibly well done and the characters and moments throughout cut through into this reader’s heart and emotions. The ending was phenomenal and I loved seeing how Abe was able to kind of ‘find himself’ again, even if it was short lived. If this is on your TBR, I suggest you move it up and dive in, as the darkness that it holds was phenomenal.

4/5