Not traditional horror fair, but nonetheless tapped from the horror-comedy vein, the first novel in Robert Rankin’s eight-book-long Ealing Trilogy (yes, you read that correct) is packed to the brim with the supernatural, as a malignant evil force in the form of a resurrected Borgia Pope vies to take over the world.
And where else for such a spirit to begin such evil acts, than in the West London suburb of Brentford. A pair of unusual miscreants in the form of beer-loving duo Jim Pooley and John Omally are quick to square up to the no-good goings on in their fair by-water, and they’re assisted by an even more chaotic and rag-tag bunch of fellow citizens.
There’s the semi-respectable Professor Slocombe, sought for his academic expertise, and high-quality contents of his liquor decanters; Neville is the part-time (read only) barman at the Flying Swan pub, which is the pair’s Shangri-La; then there’s Archibald, but maybe the less said about him the better. Click here to read more.. »
Poor Sookie Stackhouse. The 25-year-old cocktail-bar waitress from Bon Temps, northern Louisiana, can’t seem to catch a break. Cursed with a telepathic gift that severely hindered her attempts at a normal life, it also made her subject to a fair amount of poking and prodding from members of the psychiatric profession in her youth.
Sookie daren’t even date because of all this weirdness, and has found her educational and career prospects heavily impaired by her ESP-based handicap and its overwhelming effect on her concentration.
To top it off, when the first vampire she has come across walks into her bar she finds that she is unable to read his mind; subsequently she becomes tied-up in a series of events that will change her life dramatically. With the attempted murders of herself and the mystery vampire on the cards early on in the book, as well as the killings of several locals in this small, deep-South backwater, the stage is set for a rip-roaring supernatural-horror thriller with a healthy dose of Cajun seasoning. Click here to read more.. »
If the characters in Blood Games were aware of the unwritten, but assumed (by genre fans anyway), rules of horror novels then they’d probably think twice about taking their yearly, week-long adventure and thrill seeking vacation at the now abandoned holiday-spot the Totem Pole Lodge.
But for the five girls, close friends since their hell-raising college days, if it doesn’t involve actions of excess, high-spirits and general risk-taking, then it’s probably not something worth pursuing.
Threads of some of the girls’ more extreme past actions, often in relation to injustices upon their ilk whilst in college, are peppered throughout the book, particularly in its early chapters. These are generally wild and crazy recollections, sometimes veering on the extreme, and offer a fair back-story regarding the characters whilst allowing Laymon to get down to the nitty-gritty of building the present-day story arc. Click here to read more.. »
At its heart The Leaping is a novel of relationships, and of individuals intertwined together as they make their way through the melancholy and bittersweet paths of early adult life. The focus is on several friends who live together and all work at the same call-centre in Manchester, as they experience the fun and frustrations afforded by their environment.
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Work is dull, the atmosphere and duties vacuous, but bills must be paid after all, and the group of friends compensate for a hard day at the office by enjoying good company over numerous shared activities. Be it a night out on the town, a team game of Mario Kart, joint bemusement at the quirky behaviours of others in their clique, there is a solid support foundation should any of them need it.
Told from the first person perspective of different members of the group, but primarily of male leads Jack and Francis, the novel spends a fair amount of time grounding us in the lives of its charges. Fletcher does a great job of setting the scene and explaining the individual dynamics of the composite group members. Each is more fully fleshed out through anecdotes from other characters, who also share their own thoughts and worries, and also through the identity ascribed them by their own tastes in films, books, music and games. Click here to read more.. »
Sir Charles Baskerville’s corpse is found in the grounds of his Devonshire estate, Baskerville Hall, and despite a public inquest clearing up certain rumours regarding his death, certain private facts pertaining to the death are withheld.
These circumstances are revealed to famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes by Dr Mortimer, a troubled friend of the recently deceased. Concerned at raising the grim historical reputation that surrounds Baskerville Hall, not to mention discarding his closely held scientific investigative principles in the face of proper evidence, he has chosen Holmes as a confidant in the matter in the hope that he can elude to certain unexplained, possibly paranormal possibilities in the case.
Legend and local superstition has it that a demonic hound stalks the moors surrounding the area and the insinuation (backed by some evidence) is that such hound is responsible for chasing down Sir Charles and terrifying him to death. There is also concern that a similar fate may befall his heir, Sir Henry Baskerville, who has received an anonymous note warning him to stay away from the moor if he values his life. Watson is sent ahead to investigate the goings on alongside Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry, and soon discovers further mystery and hints at evil along the way. Click here to read more.. »