Goodreads

Goodreads review: You Don’t Know Me

You Don't Know MeYou Don’t Know Me by Brooke Magnanti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, it’s not every book opens with a quote from the 1700s by a leading light in the field of anatomical pathology. But then, we’re dealing with a tiny town in the Highlands, where the morgue assistant’s a metalhead and the population are individual, to say the least.
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Goodreads review: The Decagon House Murders

TitleThe Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine a ten-sided house. Add to it murder mystery enthusiasts, each bearing a famous crime writer’s nickhame. Add a sprinkling of weird fiction ghostliness and gothic murder. Then kill everybody.
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Goodreads review: Wolf in White Van

Wolf in White VanWolf in White Van by John Darnielle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The short review? Songwriter writes book. Book digs a bit deeper into some of songwriter’s peccadilloes. People who like songwriter’s work will like book. EXEUNT.

I have to admit I was predisposed towards liking this book given that I am a fan of Darnielle’s music. Knowing how good the writing is in The Mountain Goats – an eclectic, honest and nerdily funny combo who’ve produced some of the best songs about a) peanuts, b) relationship decline, c) abusive adolescence and d) insurance fraud ever (I’m not covering goths, road trips, wrestling, Michael Myers or religion here, but take my word for it, they’re there) – I expected good things.
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Goodreads review: Outcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil’s Wing

Outcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil's WingOutcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil’s Wing by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So we remember what I said about the first volume of this series? And the second? And the third? Again, we can spin it out to the fourth: developing, slowly, with enough subtlety in the presentation to keep me reading.

This trade brings us pretty much up to date: at the time of writing there’s been four additional issues, so we’re still two off another collection. The show based on the property has been and gone, and is seems Kirkman is interested in keeping the slow-burn nature we’ve become accustomed to thus far. But this volume seems to feature more explaining than previous collections, and ramps up the fuck-is-all-the-town-involved? weirdness level.


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Goodreads review: Outcast, Vol. 3: This Little Light

Outcast, Vol. 3: This Little LightOutcast, Vol. 3: This Little Light by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Third volume through and we can pretty much take the previous thoughts I’ve had on this series and stretch ’em out again.

Once more, the story of possession and high stakes starring Kyle Barnes, his mate the Reverend Anderson and that blow-in who manages to look like a cross between Roger from Mad Men and an escapee from a Norman Rockwell painting.

See? (more…)

Goodreads review: Queen Victoria’s Bomb

Queen Victoria's BombQueen Victoria’s Bomb by Ronald William Clark
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book’s commonly touted as one of the precursors of the steampunk movement. It dates from 1967 and though I’d been keen to read it, I hadn’t found a copy. Having an interest in steampunk – the literature, not the habit of sticking cogs onto anything and wearing goggles down the shops – I figured that a three-ish buck version on Kindle was a safe enough bet. (more…)

Goodreads review: Outcast, Vol. 2: A Vast And Unending Ruin

Outcast, Vol. 2: A Vast And Unending RuinOutcast, Vol. 2: A Vast And Unending Ruin by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This will be a short review, largely because there’s not a lot to go on. You could probably read my review of the first volume and apply it to this one and you’d be fairly well set. The art remains affectingly retro, cinematic and draughtsman-like, and the pacing – while languid – is tight. So, second verse same as the first?

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Goodreads review: The King of Fools

The King of FoolsThe King of Fools by Frédéric Dard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short review for a short work? Why not.

Frédéric Dard was a prodigious creator, a Frenchman who was a prolific creator of crime novels, often taking elements of his own life to fuel his works. (The kidnapping of his daughter ended up in a book, and he said his biggest regret about dying was that he wouldn’t be able to write about it.) He wrote under a number of pseudonyms (Cornel Milk, anyone?) though this is the first time I’ve encountered his work. (more…)

Goodreads review: The Secret History of Twin Peaks

The Secret History of Twin PeaksThe Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, the new season of Twin Peaks is upon us, unfolding darkly. It’s as good a time as any to dive into Mark Frost’s remarkably produced tome, which offers a little in the way of backstory before we spool up for whatever he and Lynch have planned for the sleepy burg and its inhabitants.

The first thing to note is that this isn’t a novel per se. It’s billed as that, though it presents a collection of documents: a dossier. This should be unsurprising if you’re familiar with other tie-in works: both The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes (the latter written by Frost) were fictional but presented in the manner of documents – a teenager’s diary and a fastidious man’s audio transcriptions. And yes, it may appear slightly gimmicky, but there’s so much effort put into maintaining the idea that one can’t help but go along with it. (more…)

Goodreads Review: Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him

Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds HimOutcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This volume gathers together the first six issues of Outcast, a still-ongoing comic written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Paul Azaceta. It’s getting variable reviews, which I suspect are largely because of its author: for a while now, Kirkman (the creator of The Walking Dead in case you’re visiting our planet) has been considered kind of untouchable. And so, the tall poppy thing comes in.

(Cue record-skip noise. Here’s where I point out that I don’t know Kirkman’s work on The Walking Dead except from the TV show, which wore thin for me a couple of seasons ago. The best thing associated with the franchise, I believe, are Telltale’s great run of tie-in adventure games (the third, not so much), but this is open to revision when I finally get around to reading the omnibus versions of the work. Got it? Good.) (more…)