May 19, 2009

Four Reviews

I did a LOT of reading last week. I was unable to get to the library, so I gobbled up the paperbacks I had sitting around. And here they are.

The Manhattan Hunt Club by John Saul

I've heard before about the unknown numbers of homeless that live in the tunnels under Manhattan. In one book -maybe one of the Twilight series, can't remember for sure- they were made out to be feral vampires. This book marries the bride of the underground homeless to the groom of unconventional criminal justice. A secret club of movers and shakers selects men who have been convicted of horrible crimes, removes them from prisons, and sets them loose in the tunnels under the city. They pay the homeless to herd the criminals to certain areas, then go in, hunt them down and kill them. There were definitely some surprises. This isn't the sort of book I normally read, because it normally stars Detective One Week 'Til Retirement Too Bad His Wife Was Brutally Murdered, Lives On Coffee Grounds And Cigarettes Stereotypical And Boring As All Get Out Jingleheimer-Schmidt. In this book the heroes are a father and a girlfriend, neither of which have ever worn any sort of badge. Four stars.

The Appeal by John Grisham

Normally Grisham can be counted on for a good, satisfying read. The small-town proletariat triumphing over the big bad corporate bourgeoisie against all odds. The funny thing is that despite Grisham's status as king of the paperback aisle, he has tendencies to lean toward the side of Literature. The kind of Literature that expresses cold hard reality over a feel-good ending. Generally I prefer a feel-good ending. This book is more of the Cold Hard Reality variety. That was disappointing, but I have to admire Grisham's literary dignity. There's no need to summarize, if you read the second sentence that's it in a nutshell, minus the triumph. Four stars.

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

I don't usually review my Terry Pratchett reads on here because (a) no one ever seems to be interested and (b) it's very hard to discuss Terry Pratchett without making it sound ridiculous. But the premise of this one is hard to resist if you're a Phantom of the Opera fan like me. This is Terry Pratchett's version, and it is hilarious. What if Christine really couldn't sing at all, and was lip-syncing as a very fat girl sung behind her? What if the secret passages beneath the opera house contained more rats and slime than torches and sexy bemasked composers? Not Pratchett's finest, but really enjoyable. Four stars.

The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul

Yet another book I normally wouldn't even pick up. The sort I would normally totally avoid. This is a horror novel about a boy who is put into a private Catholic school where a priest regularly practices exorcisms on the students. But is he really exorcising something, or is he calling it forward? Unfortunately that never really becomes clear. There's some standard horror fare with chalk drawings on subterranean floors (Saul really seems to like the underground, as well as the name Jeff), maggots, entrails, and crucifixes both right-side up and upside down. It was an interesting read, but nothing unique or surprising. Three stars.

1 comment:

  1. I've never read anything by Pratchett but after reading this review I may have to pick one of the books up!


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