Jay Turner is a broken and lonely man who has been adrift since his brother’s murder when they were children. Now, after twenty years away, Jay has come back to his hometown of Garron, Ohio, to uncover the truth about his brother’s death.
Full disclosure time, I’m a Trekkie and a fan of Wil Wheaton. Mr. Wheaton mentioned this short story he wrote in a YouTube video the other day and being a bookish person decided I needed to check into it. I decided to buy a copy and went into reading it with great trepidation. I’m a fan but the book is not of a genre I typically enjoy.
Decided to dive in this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised. Mr. Wheaton has talent. Of course, he writes all the time on his website but crafting a story is different. But, he is a reader and they tend to make the best writers. I’m not going to lie though it was a little rough around the edges, but the story did reach out and grab me.
The characters were believable and the plot did have a couple of twists and turns that I did not see coming when I picked the book up. The ending was well done and brought the story around full circle. The parts that bothered me were mainly near the beginning and revolved around word choices and lines that I thought were not needed. It had a hesitant feeling in the first few pages like many new fiction authors who are trying to work out their style. Trying to find their groove.
Bottom line I liked it, quite a bit and look forward to reading more by Mr. Wheaton. I hope he continues to pursue writing because he has great potential. If you are interested in reading this short story I could only find it available on the author’s site here: wilwheatonbooks.com
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Net Galley for an honest review.
A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.
In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.
A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.
And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.
Well, that was weird and I’m not quite sure what I just read. It was science fiction that read more like a horror story (of which I usually steer clear of, not a fan of scary). It almost felt like an episode of the X-Files or the Twilight Zone. The story is short, however, which encouraged me to press on as I figured the book would need to get to the point pretty quick. So stick with it as after three chapters I had a pretty good idea where the author was taking us.
The story jumps back and forth in time but the author is helpful in sharing the date of the current action at the beginning of each chapter. Being a short story that is quite mysterious there isn’t much time to become invested in any character but I did find myself drawn to Signalman and could see a series of these short stories that feature him handling these strange cases.
I’m not quite sure what or if there was a point to the story, besides being entertaining, as the story is almost as mysterious at the end as it is at the beginning. This is a book that holds its plot close as it slowly discloses what is going on. It is one of those books that lingers in your mind as you try to figure out what the heck you just read.
A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection; however, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.
“The Grownup,” which originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.
I must confess this is my very first read by this author. Shocking I know with the popularity of Gone Girl. I can not tell you how many people have told me I MUST read that book… Okay maybe I just didn’t count, but I would say it is at least half a dozen including one of my friends that knows my reading taste pretty well. I knew Flynn is a dark suspenseful author and I have to be in the right mood for a book where I know I might not like the characters and there is little possibility for a happy ending. I read to escape and her books just never seemed the right fit for me regardless of how often it is recommended to me.
That’s why when I saw this book up for review I decided that a short story would be an excellent way to try out this wildly popular author. I have to say it wasn’t bad, I think I might give Gone Girl or one of the other titles a try now. I liked the darker lead character, she wasn’t a saint by any means, but still likable. The humor was very dry, not laugh out loud funny (for me), but more of a make you smirk while reading. The story grabbed you with a great opening line and sucked you right in with just enough back ground information without bogging things down. This short story has tons of twists and turns in its mere 62 pages. Some I saw coming, some I didn’t. Readers that need closure at the end of a story might be frustrated with this one, but I kind of liked how the author left it with the reader getting to draw their own conclusions as to what happens next.
Over all it is a quick fun read that can fit in your purse or coat pocket to take and read when waiting for an appointment somewhere. It isn’t gory or really that scary, but it quite clever and I think fans of Flynn will really like it. If you are like me and haven’t read this author before this is a great way to give her a try to see if she is a good match for you. The retail price for the print version is a bit much in my opinion for such a short story, but it probably won’t stop fans from picking this one up to have in their collection. Personally would go with the e-version that is much more reasonably priced…
The newest Palahniuk novel concerns Madison, a thirteen year old girl who finds herself in Hell, unsure of why she will be there for all eternity, but tries to make the best of it.
The author described the novel as “if The Shawshank Redemption had a baby by The Lovely Bones and it was raised by Judy Blume.” And “it’s kind of like The Breakfast Club set in Hell.”
For my second venture into audio book land I chose this little gem… Being limited to the available titles offered by my library I thought this one was fairly appropriate for the chores I planned on doing while listening, shoveling shit. My barn needs to be cleaned out, a job that is tedious, back-breaking and filthy and Damned seemed like a good fit. The narrator of the book, Tai Sammons, seemed like a good pick for the story. She was pleasant to listen to, so I won’t rule out another book read by her.
This book is told from the perspective of Madison in a series of letters she writes to Satan, à la the book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. Now somehow my childhood escaped the reading of Ms. Blume’s book, but I am going to assume this a twisted satirical take on that book. The premise of this book was interesting and the author has some important ideas to share about society and damnation, but his message gets lost in his attempt to illicit shock value through his imagery. Stephen King has the same problem, in my opinion, they get so wrapped up in trying to be gross, scary, disturbing, or outrageous that the point they are trying to make gets diminished along with the story. It is like reading something written by a twelve-year-old boy, all fart jokes and sexual innuendos….
There were some redeeming parts, enough for me to grant it that second star. I appreciated how he tried to get us to look at the ridiculousness of celebrities and our worship of them. I felt for Madison and her life as a spoiled neglected child of movie stars and her premature demise. I thought some of the ideas he had about hell and damnation were quite clever as well. The twist at the end was too, but I’m afraid it wasn’t enough for me to continue with the next book. Now from the other reviews I have read earlier book by Mr. Palahniuk are better, so perhaps I will give one of those a listen to some day. For this book though, I’m glad I listened to it rather than read it. If I had been reading I probably would have DNFed, but when you are out in the barn shoveling shit without a WiFi signal, well I was motivated to stick with this one to the end.