CBR4 #35: Catch Up 2: Electric Boogaloo

In my ongoing attempts to catch up with my blogging for the Cannonball Read, here are five more mini-reviews on books I have read (I was going to add “recently” to this sentence, then realized that I read some of these in July, which is no longer considered “recent”. Oops).

1. Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris: These books just keep getting stupider and more outlandish, but I still keep right on gobbling them up. They are the literary equivalent of Velveeta, but I just can’t quit them. In this entry (allegedly the next-to-last in the Sookie series), there is a mystery, and some complications, and some stupid vampire politics, and stupid faerie politics, and Sookie Gets In Trouble Yet Again! Her relationship with Eric is down the tubes (boo, I really liked Eric) and there are just waaaay too many characters. I’m kind of glad this series is ending, because I think the author’s been tired of it since somewhere around book eight. I’ll read the final one when it comes out, but I’ll breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over. (The show became so unbearably stupid last year that not even Alexander Skaarsgard could tempt me to watch it anymore. And that is saying a lot about the level of stupidity, because he is VERY PRETTY.)

2. The Dead Path by Stephen Irwin: Nick Close sees dead people. Unfortunately, he only sees them repeat their final, fatal moments…over and over and over again. Even worse, one of these tragic souls is his beloved wife. Needing to get away from the scene of her death, he goes to visit his parents in his home town, only to find that his problem has followed him. And his hometown can be a dangerous place, particularly for children. Now Nick must use his dubious talent to find a way to stop the evil that lurks in the shadowy woods. This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything particularly thrilling, either. Nothing about it was especially memorable, and it didn’t exactly keep me awake at night with terror.

3. Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy: This is like a coffee table book of death and insanity. Author Michael Lesy has combined creepy photos from the late 19th century, taken by a little-known Black Falls, WI photographer with snippets from newspapers and medical records from the time–all from the same desolate area of Wisconsin. It reads like a litany of misery, death, disease, mental disintegration, and generalized anguish. I watched the documentary film narrated by Sir Ian Holm, which was pretty interesting, though creepy. However, the book is almost too much, and too morbid. I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone unless they were very interested in that area and time period. Plus, the author’s introduction and end-note are about as artsy-fartsy and pretentious as you can get without wearing a beret.

4. Pariah by Bob Fingerman: Zombies. This time, the main characters are the residents of an Upper East Side apartment building. They survived the initial apocalypse, only to find themselves beginning to starve. Luckily, a teenage girl comes walking through the throngs of zombies, able to move among them without being bothered. She’s their savior, but who–or what–is she? Where does she get her ability to move unnoticed amongst the undead? The apartment building’s survivors are both grateful and suspicious. And a few of them are not very nice people. In fact, they’re just as dangerous as the drooling hordes outside. This isn’t a great zombie book, but it’s not the worst I’ve read. There are flashes of ironic humor, and most of the characters are sympathetic. I didn’t think the main mystery of the plot was adequately explained, but it wasn’t all that bad.

5. The Pariah by Graham Masterton: This is another story about a widower who sees his wife’s ghost. However, John Trenton isn’t the only one who sees his wife Jane. And Jane’s ghost is not content with quietly haunting–Jane is angry. So are the other ghosts in the coastal town of Granitehead. As John comes to find out, something happened in Granitehead long ago that the town’s forefathers kept a dark secret. The problem is, that dark secret is starting to get out. Not a bad book, though I found it a bit draggy through the middle.

And there you have it — five books for the price of a single Cannonball Read entry! I have been reading a lot of horror stories this year (can’t seem to get enough of them) and it’s a genre that has a LOT of variation in quality. I’ll be getting to some better examples later on. For now, this is what you’re getting. 😉 Enjoy!


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