The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy; 2015; $26.00; 403 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-4555-2824-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Woodstock;6/21/15-6/25/15
In some future time a virus has spread causing widespread death, also causing the Mutually Assured Destruction we were promised during the cold war. St. Louis has ringed itself with walls, cars, trucks and what ever they could use to build the walls to keep others out and the population under control. The new mayor is corrupt and is being battled by a subversive group that hides itself well. It is composed of many people including a young sentinel named Clark, and she has her brother York with her. One day a rider comes from the west saying there are others still alive, the mayor wants to kill her to keep people from leaving and gaining hope from her. He wants to maintain control as long as he can and doesn’t care how he does it. Clark and her childhood friend, a museum curator name Lewis Meriwether break the rider out and head west to Astoria, Oregon with her. The trace the route of a much earlier Corp of Discovery trip and discover things in the post apocalyptic towns that frighten and confuse them. They arrive at Astoria and find it is ruled by another despot, this one is named Aron Burr and there is a resistance here also, but they are working with the federal government, so Clark and Meriwether head east to meet with the President, Mr. Jefferson.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, it was almost an homage to THE STAND and reminded me of THE PASSAGE. It was an exciting story and I never really knew what to expect next.
What is with the title of the review? If you look at the front cover you can see that Stephen King says not to miss this story and he was right, what a tale.
Finders Keepers by Stephen King; 2015; $30.00; 434 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; 978-1-5011-0007-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 6/3/15-6/5/16
Our story begins in the 1970’s when a trio of thieves roust
JD Salinger, I mean Rothstein, the author of a bestselling trilogy of books. He stopped writing in 1960, never published another book and dropped out of sight. Two of the thieves think they are after money, but the third one is a fanatical lover of Mr. Rothstein’s work and is looking for any unpublished manuscripts. Two of the thieves don’t survive the day, the third gets away and stashes the manuscripts and money, but gets sent to prison before he can recover his ill gotten gains.
The story jumps forward to about 2010 and the family of one of the victims from the massacre in Mr. Mercedes. The son of the family discovers the concealed treasure and uses the money to help his struggling family. When they money runs out he tries to figure out how to monetize the manuscripts.
Just about that time the original thief is paroled and goes to find his long concealed treasure and is frustrated and vengeful when he discovers everything is gone. He can think of only one person who might have gotten the booty and so he goes after him. This is where the two stories intersect and the real suspense begins, the young man eventually gets help from a trio of characters from Mr. Mercedes, characters who had foiled part of the villains plans in that story.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, it is the second book in a planned trilogy, but you don’t have to have read Mr. Mercedes to appreciate this. It is good, in my opinion if books in a series can stand on their own.
What is with the title of the review? Three of the characters from Mr. Mercedes have founded a firm called Finders Keepers and the young man who finds the treasure is going by the mantra, finders keepers as he uses the money.
Why did I read this? Because Stephen King is a gifted storyteller and I enjoy reading his books.
The Gunslinger, The Dark Tower 1 by Stephen King; 1982; $18.00; 231 pages; Plume Books, New York, NY; 978-0-452-28469-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Sellwood; 4/10/15-4/13/15
This is a series by the man I consider to be America’s finest contemporary storyteller, but I can confused by this book. It is a story of the gunslinger pursuing the Man in Black across a desert wasteland that is reminiscent of the United States after an apocalyptic event. There are several layers to the story and every character seems to have a different set of memories with very little in common. The gunslinger encounters a young boy, a woman running an old west saloon complete with piano player, mutant mole people and visions. I am hoping that the second book in the series helps this one make sense.
Did I enjoy it? Only because I know how many people like it and the fact that Stephen King wrote it. The story didn’t make much sense to me.
What is with the title of the review? I went into this with the idea that this would be much better than it turned out to be, it seemed to be a muddled mess to me.
Blood Infernal, The Order of the Sanguines Series by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell; 2015; $27.99; 406 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-234326-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 3/27/15-3/29/15
The suspension of disbelief is critical. Vampire priest in the employ of the Vatican working to prevent the return of Lucifer to this world. They are working alongside a forensic archaeologist and a special forces soldier. The Knight of Christ (a vampire priest), the Woman of Learning (the archaeologist) and the warrior of man(the special forces soldier) are working together with many others and against the forces of darkness to keep an ancient prophecy from coming to fruition. The adventure travels all over the world and involves corrupted animals and humans and those who are working for the greater good.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, there is a great deal of real history in it and I like it when fantastical elements are added in.
What is with the title of the review? Stephen King in his book Danse Macabre that often the crucial part of reading a book with fantastical or supernatural elements is to suspend disbelief in those elements. For that seems most possible when the other elements are firmly rooted in reality.
Revival by Stephen King; 2014; $30.00; 405 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; Fiction; 978-1-4767-7083-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Capitol Hill; 12/23/14-12/26/14
The lives of Jamie Morton and Charlie Jacobs intertwine in this tale that starts innocently and moves deeper into horror. Jamie Morton is just a small boy when Charlie Jacobs comes to town as a minister in his small Maine town. Charlie uses electricity in all kinds of interesting ways, starting with demonstrations of electricity and relating it to the Christian life. After his wife and son are killed in a horrible automobile accident, Charlie rejects all aspects of Christianity but continues his search for a secret electricity. He finds all kinds of uses for electricity,3-D photos and healing powers. Meanwhile Jamie has grown and become a rock and roll rhythm guitarist with several different bands, he is severely injured in a motorcycle accident. As a result of the accident he becomes addicted to pain killers and then escalates to heroin. He is searching a carnival midway to make a buy when he stumbles into the path of Charlie Jacobs again, Charlie nurses Jamie back to health. After getting him somewhat healthy he uses electricity to heal Jamie of his heroin addiction and his limp from the broken leg in his motorcycle accident. Jamie works with Charlie for awhile before they go their separate ways again. They eventually cross paths again and that is when the horror really ramps up.
Did I like it? Yes it was exciting and suspenseful and scary and fun like most Stephen King books.
What is with the title of the review? SKU is stocking keeping unit or the barcode on most items and now it is Stephen King Universe, since most of the books seem to take place in the same universe. He mentions Joyland in this backstory of one the characters.