Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Monday, 28 September 2020
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Nick Bullman was a wrestling superstar. His alter ego, The Widowmaker, was the monster heel all the marks loved to hate.
Now, after a brutal encounter with two psychotic fans that left his face horribly disfigured, he’s just a monster.
Yanked from the spotlight and thrust into the shadows, these days Nick tries to live the life of an average Joe. He avoids mirrors. He's angry. He’s alone. And he likes it just fine that way...
Until he receives a desperate phone call from a young lady he barely knows—his daughter.
For the first time in over thirty years, Nick returns to his hometown of Midnight, North Carolina. There he will come face to face with old demons, forge new friendships, and make enemies far more dangerous than those who ruined his face, all in a quest to save the granddaughter he’s never met...and maybe find a little bit of redemption along the way.
Ugly As Sin is an electrifying tale of “white-trash noir,” a taut page-turner that skates the razor edge of a familiar, horrifying reality. At times heartbreaking, funny, and terrifyingly suspenseful, Ugly As Sin is Newman’s best work to date.
Friday, 25 September 2020
A surreal and horrifying thriller from Andersen Prunty.
Jack Orange is a twenty-something guy who works at a place called The Tent packing dirt in boxes and shipping them off to exotic, unheard of locales. He thinks about his girlfriend, Gina Black, and the ring he hopes to surprise her with. But when he returns home one day, Gina isn't there. He receives a strange call from a man who sounds like he is smiling- Mr. Grin. He says he has Gina. He gives Jack twenty-four hours to find her.
What follows is Jack's bizarre journey through an increasingly warped and surreal landscape where an otherworldly force burns brands into those he comes in contact with, trains appear out of thin air, rooms turn themselves inside out and computers are powered by birds. And if he does find Gina, how will he ever survive a grueling battle to the death with Mr. Grin?
Another visit to the strange world and fantastic imagination of author Andersen Prunty with his novel, Jack and Mr Grin.
For a while the book appears to be a kind of straightforward crimey-thriller with a woman abducted and a missing person investigation where the abductor, Mr Grin taunts the bereft boyfriend, Jack and sets him a deadline for saving Gina and an invitation to the showdown from hell where either Jack or Mr Grin will remain the last man standing. During the course of the novel, Mr Grin contacts Jack regularly and relays graphically to him what particular torment he is inflicting on Gina at that moment. Not pleasant, not nice and very difficult for both Jack and the reader to bear witness to.
Along the way, the fantastic, the absurd, the unexplainable all become part of the narrative and the norm for the story. People who assist Jack in his quest, become affected and hostile towards him as he (along with Gina's brother) continues his search.
Mucho weirdness ensues, a fair portion of which I found funny, strange, disturbing, unfathomable but actually quite interesting and entertaining. I don't think I'm going to suddenly change the reading habits of my last 30 years, but I think I can find room for the occasional venture into Andersen Prunty's strange universe.
Mr Prunty narrated this one himself and I think his somewhat deadpan style of narration made the story seem more personal and believable. Andersen was Jack.
Decent story, decent pace, interesting characters and interactions, occasional moments of humour. In some respects it's a testament to the power of love and the pain and sacrifice and suffering you are willing to endure to preserve that.
4 from 5
Prunty's The Driver's Guide to Hitting Pedestrians has been enjoyed before.
Read - (listened to) August, 2020
Published - 2008
Page count - 137 (4 hrs 15 mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format - Audible
Thursday, 24 September 2020
"She'd be better off dead!" Laura cried. "She's too rich, she's too fat. She chews her bank account as a cow chews its cud!"
I stared at Laura for a long moment. "Yes," I said slowly, "you're right - she would be better off dead. And you and I will see to it that she is."
Laura moved toward me. "Then, all that money will be ours ..."
An unhappy marriage, a man with a wandering eye and a rich wife, one who won't give him a divorce and ergo a cunning plan. Some people when they want it, they aim big and want it all...... career, money and the gorgeous girl.
Web of Murder is a well regarded noir of the late 50s and one which I've had on the pile for upwards of 10 years. Short and sharp and not overly racey as befits novels of the time that were still subject to quite stringent censorship.
I quite liked it without ever feeling I was in the presence of literary greatness. It's a straightforward enough premise and without spoiling things for possible future readers, things do not exactly follow the plan intended by our main character, Charley Brower and his floozy Laura.
Decent story with interesting characters, I was ambivalent as to whether Charley and girlfriend Laura triumphed. I didn't quite love them, didn't quite hate them, but wasn't a fan of the obstacle in their way either, Cora the wife. I was happy to ride the twists and turns and bumps that Whittington served up before a satisfying ending for this reader.
Whittington was prolific in his writing career, knocking out around 200 novels between 1950 and 1985, before his death in 1989. Web of Murder is the only one I have and while I'd probably pick more up if I ever crossed paths with them somewhere down the line (unlikely), I doubt I'll be actively seeking out the other 199.
4 from 5
Read - August, 2020
Published - 1958
Page count - 128
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback (an ugly,well worn, early 70s,30p, printed in Israel edition)
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Hart is "one of today's master thriller writers. " - San Francisco Review of Books.
About the Series:
Shelby Alexander is an aging ex-boxer and retired fixer who moves back to the small town of his youth to settle down. He'd like to spend his golden years fishing the waters of Michigan. But you don't live life as Shelby has and not make more than a few enemies. Throughout this pulse-pounding series, Shelby faces enemies both old and new, relying on the skills he's learned over the years to stay alive and bring his own brand of vigilante justice to the bad guys. Full of blazing action, close calls, and memorable characters, the Shelby Alexander series is one you'll want to revisit again and again.
About the Book:
A bullet slams into a wall just past Shelby’s head. A drug dealer offers him $10,000 for information regarding his dead sister. The local sheriff has Shelby in his sights. It’s just another day in the small town of Serenity.
Another day, another Audible book and another one I enjoyed from another new-to-me author.
High art? High brow literature? No, but a story which entertained and provided a few thrills and had me interested in reading more this author.
Our main man, Shelby is a fixer and is hired to dig into the death of a woman who just happens to be the sister of a local king-pin drug dealer. The local law aren't interested. Our drug dealer soon winds up dead himself and Shelby is somehow getting targeted himself by an unknown assailant. His enquiries continue.
Hard to put the finger exactly on what I liked about this one, but I'll have a go.
Likable main character, interesting family dynamic, he's a divorcee with a grown up daughter who wants him to reconcile with her mum, only he has a girlfriend his daughter's age. There's criminality and drug dealing and bad eggs aplenty and semi-indifference from the law. There's action, violence, danger, death, dastardly doings and a decent enough outcome. There's plenty of humour and wit present and a nice flow to things as the author gets us to the finish line in a reasonable but not breakneck pace.
If Dickens and Austen and Eliot and Hemingway = gourmet dining. I'm probably more a fast food merchant myself. Craig Hart's work probably won't be to everyone's taste, but he puts a lot of ticks in the boxes for me.
4 from 5
Serenity is the first in a six or seven book series. I'll be looking forward to devouring more of them in the future.
Published - 2016
Page count - 194 (4 hrs 9 mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format - Audible