Thursday, September 06, 2012

Heart-Shaped Fear

Though Heart-Shaped Box was published 3 years ago and I won a copy from some book giveaway website, I had not read the book. I sold my copy of the book to help pay for rent. I know. I'm bad.

I did finally buy a copy for my Kindle (I love my Kindle) and began reading the book -- and stopped. I couldn't go on. I got that feeling I used to get whenever the movie about Nostradamus came on cable and I, against my better judgment, decided to watch. It was that squirrely feeling deep inside that kept swirling and rising and expanding until I felt panicked and like zombies were breaking down the door and coming through the windows and I was trapped in the bathroom in the tub behind the shower curtain waiting for the end. I was terrified.

Nothing much had happened. A rock star bought a heart shaped box that arrived by courier and the story of the box had begun to unfold. There was nothing very scary about it, except I was afraid, and I love horror books. I've been a fan of the best and scariest writers of horrors for decades, and yet I could not go past the first few chapters of Heart-Shaped Box because I just knew in my cringing soul it was going to get worse.

It takes a subtle and talented writer to put me in that state and Joe Hill put me in that state almost from the first chapter. Once I get all the book reviews I have to finish done and catch up on the taxes for 2025, I will give it another try. I will get through it -- eventually -- but I want some assurances that I'll be able to read it in a crowded place with lots of light and people having fun.

An amusement park might be just the ticket. Or I could go to the Renaissance Faire just up the road a piece next June. I think a yard of ale (I hate ale almost as much as beer) would be helpful in numbing the rising fear. Anesthesia might also help. I could get someone to shoot me with that drug that still lets you feel but you don't care while I read. I want to get through it quickly, like diving into icy water on the first day of June, to get it over with as soon as possible. And it might not hurt to have someone hold my hand and be ready to whisper, "It's only a book. It's not real," over and over in my head while I read to keep me anchored in the here and now. Anything to help me get through the book.

From what I've read, Heart-Shaped Box is frighteningly good and I recommend it highly to non-fraidy cats.

Now, about those taxes for 2025.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Review: Going to the Bad by Nora McFarland

Going to the Bad by Nora McFarland is the third outing for KJAY news shooter, Lilly Hawkins, and I came to the party late. I did not, however, miss much, unless you include a smart mouthed, size 10 shoe wearing, salty shooter not afraid to get her hands wet -- or bloody -- when needed.

Lilly Hawkins isn't tall, beautiful, blonde, and perfect. She's far from perfect. She's a loose cannon with brains and guts that is the saltiest protagonist since V. I. Warshawski, without the expensive shoe addiction. Lilly is a take-no-prisoners kind of video journalist who is wary of the future, skittish about committing to her boyfriend and co-worker, Rod Strong, and dedicated to finding the truth in any story -- no matter where it leads.

In Going to the Bad Lilly is faced with her own past and the secrets that the people she loves are determined to keep from her. It all started with a shooting at her Oiltown home in Bakersfield, California on Christmas Eve and things kept getting more tangled and tougher to swallow as she faced the truth of her Uncle Bud's past that dropped the bottom out of her life. Lilly keeps going anyway.

What McFarland has done with Lilly is give us a dysfunctional female in a high pressure job she loves and a cast of screw-ups and average people caught in the chaos of life. Going to the Bad is dark and edgy with a ticking time bomb at its heart that never disappoints.