Post Script: Slade House – David Mitchell

Cover Slade House

Slade House

David Mitchell

Hachette Australia

Sceptre

ISBN: 9781473616684

 

Description:

Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

 

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents — an odd brother and sister — extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late…

 

Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barrelling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.

 

My View:

First my dilemma – how to classify this intriguing little book? Horror is maybe too strong a word for this – or maybe I am just desensitised to the horror here by my other readings, paranormal – yes an element of ghostly other world here definitely, science fiction – a little maybe – there is the extra “dimension” in the narrative but not set in the future, fantasy – again a little of this here too….perhaps speculative fiction is the best fit? I like this definition by http://www.greententacles.com/articles/5/26/ :“Speculative fiction is a term, attributed to Robert Heinlein in 1941, that has come to be used to collectively describe works in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror…Speculative fiction is also more than the collective title for works of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. The term also embraces works that don’t fit neatly into the separate genres. Tarzan. Television’s Early Edition. Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tales that span the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Stranger in a Strange Land. The Twilight Zone. Stories by Edgar Allen Poe. Tales that have been labelled simply as ‘weird’ or ‘adventure’ or ‘amazing’ because there was no proper place to put them. Stories on the fringe.

 

When you’ve come across a story or movie or game that both is and isn’t science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror, then you’ve discovered speculative fiction.” [Emphasis added by author – me 🙂 )

 

Slade House is a work of intriguing speculative fiction – a narrative that evokes fear, tribulation and concern. As you read you just know something is not right, that the main characters should not enter that building, should leave quickly, and shouldn’t be so trusting… that something bad is going to happen… and of course it does! David Mitchell manipulates his characters beautifully, exposes their weaknesses and egos and hopes and then… tramples on them. Intriguing and enjoyable reading with a couple of delicious twists but for me the ending was just not powerful enough, did not make me gasp or fret or deliver the punch I was expecting. Yet still enjoyable – a book I will recommend and has made me add David Mitchell’s previous book The Bone Clocks to my wish list.

 

 

 

Post Script: The Troop – Nick Cutter

Reminiscent of early Stephen King horror stories.

The Troop

Nick Cutter

Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Gallery Books

ISBN: 9781476717715

 

Description:

Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith.

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

“Lean and crisp and over-the-top….Disquieting, disturbing,” says Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple PlanThe Troop is a visceral burn of a read that combines boldly drawn characters with a fantastically rendered narrative—a terrifying story you’ll never forget.

My View:

This is a striking, fast paced novel of action, desperation, unimaginable horror and so much more; this is also a story about life, coming of age, a study of personalities and individual responses to stress, fear, danger and death. In effect this could be seen as a clever but cruel unethical experiment, a psychological experiment designed to test the reaction and fortitude of 5 adolescent boys trapped on a desolate isolated island facing unimaginable horrors, one from within their own group proves just as deadly as the external forces they face.  This is a great portrait of the blackness within, and the heroism of a few.

 

The emergence of a youthful sociopath was a particularly harrowing portrait; in particular I found the kitty cat scenes disturbing and horrific, Cutter paints a picture to be viewed with a hand half covering the eyes, the internal debate to continue reading or not is brutal, continuing won in the end. Cutter has provided many scenes of such graphic realism I remember why I gave up Stephen King novels many years ago.  Cutters words are graphic, realistic and mind blowing. This book is not for the faint hearted.

 

The secret of the success of this work of science fiction is that it could easily be science fact.

 

Post Script: Of Fever and Blood – Sire Cedric

If you like your crime fiction spiced with a paranormal flavour this book is for you.

Of Fever and Blood

S. Cedric

Open Road Integrated Media

Publishers Square

ISBN: 9781480442221

Description:

This fast-paced, supernatural thriller is a race against time to defeat a deadly force.

Of Fever and Blood begins at the end of an investigation. Inspectors Vauvert and Svärta, an albino profiler, solve a series of sadistic ritual murders and the supposed culprits, the Salaville brothers, are killed in a standoff.

However, one year later, the killings start all over again, but this time in Paris. All forensic evidence point to the brothers, but how can that be?

Their investigation leads Svärta and Vauvert to Judith Saint-Clair, the deathly ill patient at a mental institution that also housed the Salavilles. They discover the incredible truth: Saint-Clair had manipulated the Salavilles into killing young women in order for her to accomplish magic rituals to stave off death. Nothing and no one will stop her from reaching her goal of eternal life . . . death is not an option.

My View:

It took me a littler while to get into this book, to get an understanding of the protagonists and feel invested in this story, perhaps it was because I felt the introductory chapters were perhaps more about descriptions – about the settings, the history, the crimes, rather than about the characters and I like a good character based read.

However the action quickly picked up the pace and I was intrigued with this paranormal/ crime/horror story. This was a complex narrative with plenty of plot twists, surprises and gore. This narrative is an interesting exploration of the secret and sometimes dark sides of our soul and asks the question – who/what do we see reflected in the mirror?  This is certainly one for the paranormal fans.

For more information about this author, his writing and a brief video discussion with Sire Cedric click this link:  http://www.openroadmedia.com/sire-cedric

PS You must check out this video – this guy has such fantastic hair!!!