Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stephen King – Doctor sleep. How excited can a “Constant Reader” be?

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I dipped in and out of reading when I was younger, only picking up the most interesting covers from the library, namely books from the GooseBumps series and the occasional Harry Potter. I remember going into W.H.Smith, when I was a lot older, and seeing Duma Key in the paperback chart.

Stephen King is probably the best writer there is, mate,” my dad said. “But that one is pretty awful.”

Being the stubborn child I was/am, I bought it anyway and absolutely fell into the pages, not able to put it down. I was spending ridiculous amounts of time on my PlayStation, so anything that got me off that was a blessing. A good few years and a great many books later, I’m still excited to have a new King novel but…

…Doctor Sleep (Shining 2) is not The Dark Tower. I’m not saying it won’t be good and that I wont enjoy it, because I am biased, and I’m not saying I want him to continue with the Dark Tower, but a part of me knows I won’t get the same reaction as with those defining novels.

Here’s the teaser from http://www.stephenking.com/promo/doctor_sleep/

“On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in Stephen’s canon.”

Joyland, King’s offering from earlier this year, was excellent.  Review here: https://europaoutlaw.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/stephen-king-joyland/

This may have slightly dampened the excitement for another novel.

After hammering his books for the last five years, I do feel I’ve had his best and that makes my eye wander up the spines of someone else’s books.

That’s a good thing, right? Shouldn’t we always be inspired to sample as many different opinions as possible?

King will always be one of, if not my favourite author but I’m ready to go for something different. I want to be somebody else’s ‘Constant Reader’ and have the same feeling of total immersion I had for his work early on.

When I get to the end of “Doctor Sleep” I know I’m going to love it, but does that take an edge off it? Is the film you expected to be shite but turns out fantastic a better feeling than going to see a safe bet?

The only thing you can say, without any prejudice, is nobody knows. I’m sure it’s that air of doubt that keeps people coming back for more and even though 95% of me thinks this will fall in line as another good novel, that other, cheeky 5% is swinging back and forth from thinking it’s going to be amazing to utter rubbish.

One last thing is I really don’t like the UK cover.

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Which one would you pick? I’ve recently spotted a new book called Cat Sense, all about the psychology of cats, with pretty much same cover, but then again a lot of people did buy a Street Cat Named Bob…. Perhaps this says more about the animal loving British public and that a cute cat will probably appeal more than a rotting face…

Pre- order Doctor sleep Now published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd in the UK

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/stephen+king/doctor+sleep/9447644/

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Jo Nesbo – The Bat

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“Then Harry was alone. As we always are.”

Even though Harry Hole is now a well-established character in the world of crime fiction, this is the first time I’ve decided to pick one of these books up. I’ve been told for years by customers and colleagues that Nesbo is a must read. A flaw of mine is stubbornness and if somebody gives me a glowing recommendation I tend to stay away. Recently my stubborn ways have fallen a little, my recent found love of the Rolling Stones through close friends being one of the many examples, and as I get older I’ve come to realise that Andy James isn’t always right.

Harry Hole, a recovering alcoholic, is sent to Australia to investigate the murder of a Norwegian childrens TV presenter, Inger Holter, but on arrival he is firmly put in his place by the Australian authorities and told he is there only to observe.

Harry is introduced to Andrew Kensington, an Aborigine and Detective for the Sydney Police, who takes Harry under his wing and tells him a lot of tales about life in Australia as an Aborigine. This is my first of two problems with this book. There are a lot of stories that don’t really help you along. Situations are pretty easy to understand are often explained through storytelling and the first half of the book gets a bit bogged down with setting the scene. He also meets Birgitta, a Swedish redhead, and they begin an emotional relationship. Harry tells her his deepest secret, that he caused an accident whilst being intoxicated, which made him quit drinking.

The second half switches gear to full-blown thriller that nearly causes whiplash. I found myself having to go back and re-read some pages because I was franticly scanning in an attempt to relieve some tension. Harry falls off the wagon in horrific fashion and everything falls apart. It’s only when meeting the homeless Joseph, an ex-skydiving instructor, Harry discovers an important lead.

There are times when this book is fantastic. Harry is such a likeable fuck-up, but because this is the first Harry Hole book, I saw teething problems with a particular plot point towards the end that made no sense to me at all. I am being overly critical because Nesbo is considered at the very top of the Scandinavian crime pile. If you’re expecting to be blown away by this, you won’t be. This is a set up to Harry as a dysfunctional human and, even in times of detective brilliance, he still makes big mistakes.

What this has done is made me excited to read more. There is no way I can’t. Nesbo really engages and, unfortunately for my bank account, I feel he will be on the reading pile again very soon.  The only question now is do I wait for book two, The Cockroaches, or go straight in for The Redbreast? I don’t think I’m going to be able to wait for it.

Jo Nesbo’s Police, due for release in the UK this year, has sold out its first print run in Norway. They printed 270,000 copies. Further evidence that Jo is at the very top of this genre.

Jo Nesbo is printed by Vintage Random House

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Calling TIME on Cancer

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I’ve been thinking, for a few days now about putting together a sort of tribute to Iain (M) Banks who was unfortunately taken from us far too soon. I had the pleasure of meeting Iain on, technically, my second date with my brilliant girlfriend, Emma Silver. He was an absolute star and all round really nice guy.

So the idea me and Emma have come up with is to put together a short story collection that we can put on Amazon to raise money for a cancer research charity.

The theme I would like the stories to be based on is TIME.

Take that however you want it, whether it be time travel for just the passing of time; hurling like the doctor through time and space or just stuck in a room for a week. It can be anything.

The best and most exciting part is I want as much help as a can get.

Also I would like each author to dedicate their story to somebody that has influenced them or, like Mr Banks, is sorely missed.

I have and editor (thanks Emma ), now I need stories. So if you want to be involved in this project, drop me an email at EuropaOutlaw@outlook.com and I can sign you up.

I’m going to limit the places to thirty to start with, just so we can keep on top of everything but there’s no reason why it couldn’t grow. I also want a witty title for the collection. Calling time on Cancer is the best I got so help me out. Also want to pick the right charity. Macmillan have been one I have raised money for in the past.

Also tweet me your interest @EuropaOutlaw

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll look forward hearing from you and receiving your submissions.

Andy

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