Here's the books I read in January.
FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT BY STEPHEN KING
An oldie but a goodie. I think I like his short stories (novellas in this case) more than his novels sometimes. He really can cram the most amazing plot into fewer pages. I was a horror fan for all my teens and then I branched out into other things, but over the last 2 years, Stephen King has really made a comeback with me. There's so much of his back catalogue I haven't read. I started with his short stories and liked them so much, I've focused on them for a while and Four Past Midnight really is up there with the best. It gets 10/10.
THE LANGOLIERS - sleeping plane passengers somehow fly through a rift in time and when they wake up at an abandoned airport, they discover the Langoliers are coming - creatures with scary teeth that swallow up time. Actually terrifying and the story that has stayed with me the longest.
SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN - an author is accused of plagiarism by a crackpot from Mississippi. But all is not what it seems. Really tense, really clever.
THE LIBRARY POLICEMAN - another scary one about a guy with childhood memories of the 'library police' who borrows and then loses a book to find that actually, the librarian in question is long dead, but she's set the library police on him anyway. There's a lot more to his memories that just this however and a long-repressed event airs in a truly horrific scene, reader beware. Unsettling, just as Mr. K intends.
THE SUN DOG - a really clever and fascinating story of a young boy that gets a Polaroid camera for his birthday. The images all come out the same - a big black scary dog that's getting closer to the lens with every shot. Kevin ends up at the junk shop of Pop Merrill (uncle of Ace Merrill from The Body AKA Stand by Me and played in the film by the wonderful Kiefer Sutherland, fact fiends) who's a real piece of work, as the Americans say. He cons Kevin out of the camera and then rather wishes he hadn't. There's a real sense of building terror as we wait for the dog to escape the camera - morphing into a truly hellish beast as it does. Absolutely fantastic.
FOLLOW YOU HOME BY MARK EDWARDS
I've read a few of Amazon-published Mark Edwards. He always has great reviews. His books are well-paced and suspenseful and this is another of the same. Daniel and Laura are on a trip to Europe when it all goes wrong. In Romania, they're thrown off a train and end up at a house of horrors in the forest. Back home in London, strange things start happening and it looks like something's followed them home. Well worth a read. 7/10.
FIRESTARTER BY STEPHEN KING
Immersing myself in Stephen King's back catalogue, I asked for a recommendation from my friend Alan, who's read more of Mr. K than I have. He chose this 1980 offering featuring Andy, who has mind-control powers since an experiment in his youth and his daughter Charlie, who's a firestarter. They're on the run after the murder of Charlie's mother by a sinister organisation called The Shop who want to harness their powers. They're caught and the rest of the book is figuring out how they're going to escape. This one reminded me of something Dean Koontz would write as he's fond of characters with special powers.
It starts off at a pace, then I found it waning at about 60% in the compound the two characters are imprisoned in, although it picks up again. It's full of truly repellent baddies like the one-eyed John Rainbird, who I hoped for a nasty ending to all the way through and you root for the poor misunderstood heroes till the end.
I enjoyed it and it's worth a go for a quick read, but it's not one of his best. 6/10.
Coming next time:
The Lion Tamer Who Lost