Ramble on Recent Reading.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I've been taking a break from Romance (with one slip up) for the last couple of weeks, and with pretty good results.

I've been taking a break from Romance (with one slip up) for the last couple of weeks, and with pretty good results.

First up is Michael Crichton's NEXT. The cover got me; it was on the shelves in either white, bright orange, or neon green (I chose the orange myself). The book showcases all the scary things happening--now or in the past, or theorized as possible in future--in genetics (research) and weaves them into a tale of betrayal, crossing boundaries and legal infringement/abuses.

Although, this isn't much of a 'story' as it is a series of loosely connected scenarios crafted around Crichton's research, if you have any sort of interest in gene therapy research, genetic patenting, etc., and it's possible misuses, you'll find this a pretty fascinating and entertaining read.

Sara Gran's COME CLOSER packs a whole lot of creepiness in a very slim page count--194, plus a 19 page excerpt of her previous book. Given the amount of white space, I suspect if this book was formatted like a regular MMPB its page count would be even lower. But considering I've read 400 page books that I didn't enjoy half as much as this one I still feel it was money worth spending. Without getting into a lot of spoiler, this is a story about demonic possession. There were a couple of plot points that felt a bit convenient, but considering we're already dealing with beyond beyond, I rolled with it. The horror of this book (and make no mistake, it is horrific) is not the "slasher, dead bodies pile up" type (although there some reference to violence and murders), it's more elegant and sly. More The Ring, or the original OMEN, than The Exorcist. I also think much of the story was an exploration of the protagonist’s marriage. That she felt unfulfilled, that she's chosen a certain man to love, rather than fell in love with him, and had deliberately created this persona to be, rather than grew in rounded person, and all that deliberation had left the crack that allowed the evil in. Or maybe the evil was always there? Maybe she had subconsciously invited it in to escape the life she'd made?

Joseph Wambaugh's HOLLYWOOD STATION. I haven't read Wambaugh in years, (The Black Marble is one of my all time favourites), so I picked this one up off the shelf and on the first page read: "And I missed wearing that Stetson. When we worked the mini-riot at the Democrats convention, a hot little lobbyist with nipples big enough to pack up and leave home said I looked like a young Clint Eastwood in that Stetson." *gg*. I decided to read this one at night, because I didn't want to read the Gran book last thing before I went to bed, then I misplaced it. But I found it this morning behind the night-table. So far I like the ensemble cast of characters (policemen and criminals), and you know Wambaugh is building up to a big score with all the separate plot threads converging at some point. Plus, he's got a damn good handle on graphic violence and black humour. So while I'm only part way through this one, I think it worth checking out.

Tara Janzen's ON THE LOOSE. I read this because I misplaced Hollywood Station. Ever watch Seinfeld? Remember that episode with the library cop? I could hear that guy reading this book in my head. *g* The sentences just had that type of flow. I liked the H/h though.

The first mention of John Connolly's THE BOOK OF LOST THING I came across, was weeks ago over on Amazon. I was checking something else out, and this title showed up in the sidebar as a suggested read. I've kept it in mind since then, so when I saw it on the shelves yesterday I grabbed it. There's a PANS LABRINTH vibe to it and so far very engrossing. So engrossing that I took the wrong train home and didn't realize it till I was one stop from the end of the line because I had my nose buried in this one.

I think after this run, I'll be fresh and ready to go back to straight romance genre books.
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Shesawriter said...

Even though you say it's short, I think I might check out Come Closer. It looks interesting.

vanessa jaye said...

Tanya, they're all good reads, but if I had to give a 'recommended read' to just one, Come Closer would be it. It's such a well-done book. The author pulls right into the psyche of the protagonists, and there's some really interesting background on the history of demons, their origination. And you get a bit of insight into the demon. It's been several days since I finished the book, and it's still fresh in my mind.

Shesawriter said...


I'll be ordering it from Amazon. My TBR pile is high as it is, but what the hell? ;-)

vanessa jaye said...

First of all-- ack!! on the typos (going to fix them in a sec).

Secondly, Tanya, I think you'll really enjoy the book. It felt very fresh, very modern without having that feeling of trying to hard. The protagonist was totally believable in her disbelief of what was happening to her.

While the ending is sad (horrific), I'm not sure how much in sympathy I am for the heroine, because in some ways I think she's at peace. See what I mean? The author made this a psychological study in many ways. (Not in a dry, I'm showing off my research way, just in a very fleshed out, deep character)

I was talking it up to a friend today, and I'm bring the book to work for her to read. I'll be interested in your opinion on the book.

Just look at the length of my comment. Any lurkers out there looking for a good read, I'm really recommending this one. It's not too scary/gross, but it's definitely dark and makes you think.

Gennita said...

Everytime I see the Tara Janzen cover, I still mutter "Jeezus." I dunno why ;-).

vanessa jaye said...

Is it because he has his pistol out? heh. ;-)

vanessa jaye said...

Tanya, I lent COME CLOSER to a friend at work, she was already in the middle of MIDDLESEX, but made the mistake of browsing the first page of CC, the next morning she told me was about 100 pages into CC and was really enjoying it. She finished it the day after. lol.

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