Wednesday, May 20, 2015

back to books on the bus

hello there

a post that does what it says on the box, i suppose, and as was alluded to, if not suggested, in my last one that went all Val Kilmer on us. after a few pleasant weeks of listening to some vibes on my travels i opted to return to a spot of reading. with two books completed, time for some reviews, then, look you see.

a look at the books that i read? sure, why not.



a quick, spoiler free review of them? certainly. Skin And Bone seems to be a sequel to a book that i had not read. had i read the first, i doubt i would have read this one, so no harm done. rather good. Normal ticks all the boxes as a contender for the worst novel i have ever encountered and i assumed it made it all the way from some proof reader's desk to publication either "for a laugh" or just to say "f*** you, this is what we think of you" to the book purchasing public.

with that out of the way, then, here's a closer look at both novels. be warned, some, as *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS AWAIT YOU FROM HERE ***. you have, as it were, been advised, so proceed with caution if you think you might want to read either of them with a minimal level of knowledge.

as usual, links appear out of convenience alone. 

first up is Skin And Bone, which as indicated above is apparently at least the second in a series of novels. the first novel is pretty much covered clearly within the first few pages. that first novel sounds very much like the protagonist was subjected to 300 or so pages of torture porn in it, so glad to have missed it, thanks.

plot? a recently returned to work police officer of the lady kind is thrust into a series of peculiar, quite possibly linked, crimes. the most interesting of these is easily the case of a lady who burned to death in a house fire but had strangely seemed to have been frozen first.  not helping the investigations much would be a rather wealthy, somewhat prominent family insisting on being involved, on the suspicion that the frozen then burnt to death lady might be their daughter.

it took me about 100 pages to clock that this was set in Australia. this is a most peculiar setting for a crime novel, in particular one which features rather depraved, disgusting and perverted criminals. Australia, after all, presents itself as quite the blissful, peaceful utopia, hence the rather harsh, draconian perhaps and certainly "we don't like you" approach they take to absolutely anyone who even thinks about going to the country. and even then, as was observed at verk, if the people let you in, every element of nature in Australia seems designed to kill you.

it reads really well, it makes use of some contrived co-incidences to get the plot moving and has some twists and turns that someone like Derek Bowie might describe as "satisfactory". this description makes it sound as though i was indifferent to the novel, whereas as point of fact i found it most agreeable reading. it doesn't get too graphic, despite the cover, but there are some rather unsettling images created. should you be a crime fiction fan, which apparently i am going on the books i seem to select, then i would not hesitate at all in suggesting you give this a try.

sssssh. can you hear that? that's the sound of many thousands of people who have written an average or below average novel, have not been able to get it published and have since discovered that apparently Normal by Graeme Cameron was more worthwhile than whatever they did shaking their heads and tut-tutting in between wiping their tears away. seriously, this is crap, as in i had to frequently check that a professional publisher issued this for sale and it wasn't all some sort of horrid vanity project.

plot? Graeme Cameron doesn't appear to know, and yet you want me to give it to you? an unnamed narrator has built a fancy house with an elaborate dungeon. he keeps kidnapping girls but does not interfere with them. he leaves them in the smart cellar or basement prison he has had built (and then killed the builder), leaves them for a bit, kills them and eats them.

apparently he is quite brilliant at this as he has never been suspected, let alone questioned or caught. but then apparently he is a complete moron, as for no given or even hinted at reason he has a bizarre reaction to the psychological effect one of his most recent captives has. this seems him, like, totally forget how to be a ruthless, brilliant and emotionless kidnapper, killer and eater sort of bloke. he goes, as it were, from being Morrissey off of The Smiths to being Neil Morrissey off of Men Behaving Badly.

if that all sounds like it's some sort of attempt to blatantly combine American Psycho with the novels of Thomas Harris and a dash of English eccentricity, that's probably because that would seem to be the intention that fails so miserably in execution. there is absolutely no rhyme, reason or purpose to anything that happens - no character development, no motivation and ultimately no engagement whatsoever with any character. i have disgraced myself by reading it and i am ashamed that i purchased it.

the only value this novel has, as far as i can ascertain, is to walk around with it on your head. as it simply isn't even worth sh!tting on, you can be assured that all birds will fly upside down when they spot it from the skies and not soil your smart hairstyle or fancy shirt. i note all positive reviews of the book i have found online have a nice little disclaimer at the end, thanking the publisher for the free advance preview copy. either they were eager to please in order to get more freebies, or they simply assumed this was a rough first draft and were being kind.

i appreciate that many people consider me to be a complete and utter twat. usually i don't argue with them, and concede that they are not too far from the truth. that said, some might be inclined to assume that just because i hated this book that it must in fact be good. please don't fall into that trap.




and, with that, a pause once again comes to my reading. i need at least 3 days to read a book on the bus. even when, as has been the case this week, the bus driver gets confused by road closed signs and has to do some fancy reversing. as i am only on the bus for another 2 days this week and then do not board one for another 5 days, back to vibes for a bit.

hopefully these reviews have, at the least, been of some mild interest to one or two of you!



be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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