Due to a broken hand my recent ability to post has been limited but that hasn't stopped me from satisfying my craving for reading. Lately I've been on a horror kick having read THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR by Christopher Ransom, THE TROOP by Nick Cutter, THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan, and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by Jack Ketchum. Currently I'm reading the excellent NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.
Of the recently completed books, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is the pick of a very good bunch. Based on a true story, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is a difficult read yet one that is hard to put down once you get started. Made more heinous by virtue of its true crime origins, the fictionalized account of a teenage girl's prolonged torture at the hands of her caregivers and neighborhood kids has all the hallmarks of a classic Ketchum horror with an added element of suspense and omnipresent dredd.
Explicitly gory, THE TROOP at times makes for stomach churning reading. The animal cruelty depicted is a little off putting and could easily offend the sensitive reader. While in context it did detract from the humanist horror inflicted upon the troop of boy scouts. Set on an isolated island a group of young boys and their scout leader fall victim to a man made virus that resembles a bout of worms but far deadlier. I found it to be a decent survival horror of sorts that borrows from LORD OF THE FLIES but doesn't capture the same level of emotional complexity.
THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR by Christopher Ransom (one of my favourite horror authors) blends a number of horror elements to create a deeply suspenseful and scary tale that is more readable by virtue of its interestng cast of characters than plot. Starting with a very engaging opening, THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR suffers from lofty expectations semi fulfilled. A stock standard middle class family, struggling to make ends meet has strange and mysterious neighbours who turn out to be anything but normal. Throughout the novel I kept thinking either aliens or vampires - I wont spoil which. Despite it's predictability, I enjoyed THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR.
A werewolf story narrated by the last of the species, Jack, a 200-odd year old who has been hunted by not only those who seek to rid the world of supernatual beings, but also vampires who want to see his blood flow red for different reasons altogether. Isolation and longing, a consistent theme throughout. Glen Duncan, as per usual, writes beautifully to provide his characters a voice as well as an established lore and gradual evloution of 'the last werewolf'. TALLULA RISING indeed.