Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stephen King's REVIVAL a Tale of Dark Healing Forces

Revival by Stephen King is almost an homage to the classic Horror genre authors who dared test the boundaries of true darkness --- writers like Poe, H.R. James, Blackwood, and Lovecraft.

But most especially, Revival is a modern echo of the Arthur Machen classic, The Great God Pan, about a woman who undergoes a brain surgery experiment and then dies after glimpsing the monstrous shadow world of evil she is suddenly able to see.

The King novel revolves around another obsessive experimenter with the healing force of electrical shock therapy --- the one-time minister Charles Jacobs. The story is narrated by Jamie Morton, who was a child the first time he encountered Jacobs. Over the decades, the two of them reconnect intermittently. Jacobs becomes a carny show healer, whose fame grows as he appears to evoke miraculous cures with his secret electrical therapy inventions.

But the cures Jacobs provides may have horrifying after-effects for his subjects. As he ages in later years, Jacobs persists in his research nevertheless, pushing ever closer toward the ultimate boundary of revival from death itself.

Revival is one of the darkest novels in all of Stephen King's Horror fiction. It's closest precursor would be the grotesque Pet Sematary. The novel builds slowly to a truly hideous climax and the blackest of visions about human mortality. Even seasoned Horror fiction readers may close the last pages of this tale with an involuntary shudder.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE BURNING ROOM by Michael Connelly a Top Crime Read

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch returns in The Burning Room, a new crime novel by Michael Connelly. Bosch is a hard nosed, tenacious murder cop in a highly popular continuing series of books by Connelly.

Bosch is now a veteran detective nearing retirement. He is currently assigned to the Open-Unsolved Unit that handles cold cases.

His new case involves a shooting victim who recently died from a bullet lodged in his body ten years earlier. As Bosch investigates, the original shooting may link to an earlier arson fire that took the lives of several children trapped in a smoke-filled room.

The novel's plot moves like a relentless machine as Bosch follows threads of old evidence that lead toward a powerful political figure who wants the case dropped permanently. But that's not how Bosch operates.

Another strong story element is the teaming of Bosch with a young new partner, Lucia Soto. It's a great combination as the energetic rookie detective Soto gains valuable learning from the hardened veteran Bosch.

The Burning Room is an outstanding crime read. Michael Connelly continues to be the best writer of police procedurals working today. Highly recommended.

BEACH RATING: 4 Palm Trees