My wife is a horror nut. Absolutely loves slasher films, ghost stories, generally anything where people get scared and/or chopped up – but she never gets scared of them. Ever. Until The Babadook.
Unsettling, superbly executed, original and wonderfully acted, it’s an utter treat – if you like your treats to keep you up deep into the night chattering to yourself.
Happy New Year, you filthy animals! Hope Christmas and New Year approached you in pack formation and pincered you in a joint headlock of glee.
The holiday period has been so jammed that I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like BUT…
Finished the luxuriously nuanced tale of An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman, and went straight into Carnosaur by Harry Adam Knight (John Brosnan’s pseudonym). The tonal shift could literally not have been more severe, but I found Carnosaur an absolute RIOT. As a big fan of dinosaurs in fiction, non-fiction and film, it kind of appealed to me on all sorts of different levels, but my word was it fun. Light, fast and easy to read, you’re thrown straight in at the deep end and the book just whizzes by. I’m going to have to dig out the film now…
Moved straight from that to the much-vaunted Long Way Home by Eva Dolan, which I’m now about halfway through. I assure you, the fuss is justified. It’s gripping in all the right ways, and surprising and enthralling to boot. It feels like the work of an old literary hand, sure and steady, but this is Dolan’s debut. What a career she has ahead of her, and her releases will surely be ones I will look out for for years to come.
Had a monster reading session last night, which felt just darn great for the soul. Finished James Oswald’s ’Natural Causes’, then stopped, dropped and rolled straight into ’The Guardians’ by Andrew Pyper, who I’m a huge fan of.
There is a lyricism to Pyper’s work, that bonds wonderfully with compelling characterisation, an eye for beautiful detail, and downright creepiness. I always know I’m in good hands when I’m in the company of Andrew Pyper – he is an all time favourite and I can’t wait for ’The Damned’ next year.
Just back on ’Natural Causes’ and James Oswald for a second, because I loved that book – really loved it. His protagonist McLean is a warm, funny, layered anchor point to a story that took me to places most unexpected. I will be giving zero away, but Oswald doesn’t just sneak a twist into the book, he actually sneaks a whole other genre in there, right under the readers’ noses. It is done with such a deftness that I found myself utterly gripped. I can’t wait to continue the series, and felt immediately how great the story, setting and characters would lend itself to a TV/film adaptation. I simply can’t wait to settle down with the next book.
With books like these, man… What a time to be alive!