Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review: UNIVERSAL HARVESTER by John Darnielle

Publisher Scribe
Length 224 pages
Format paperback
Published 2017
Series Standalone
My Copy provided by the publisher

My Review
I went into this book thinking it was a creepy horror story which was to evoke feelings of nostalgia for the 90's video store, hiring movie after movie on vhs, watching through a semi fuzzed picture on a not flat tv screen, the story interrupted with ghoulish frames of the macabre as the lead character discover a ghastly crime or supernatural element, thrusting them into an interesting and dangerous story. I sort of got that for the first third, if not a little more, of the book before things changed. 

Universal Harvester is well written but I think it lacks a clear description, the cover synopsis and advance reader material is misleading. While the above mentioned horror and love for the days of vhs is there initially, the book evolves through different characters and time hops many years back and forth almost making the plotting feel a little disjointed - this is in large part as the reader doesn't quite know why the book takes the direction it takes - it makes sense at the end but is a deterrent to continue reading whilst it happens.

I couldn't read the first third of this book quick enough; it was creepy, dark, and Jeremy, the video store clerk, was interesting with a back-story full of tragedy and a story-line that seemed to be going places. Then the script flipped and the book took a strange turn and the initial enjoyment of the first portion of the book died out.

2 / 5 stars.