Books Read in November

Another month, another list of the books I’ve read and my thoughts.

Richard K. Morgan — Altered Carbon
Gillian Flynn — Dark Places
James Brogden — Hekla’s Children
Robert Aickman — Dark Entries
Sue Rainsford — Follow Me to Ground
Brain Evenson — A Collapse of Horses

Richard K. Morgan — Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon is noir, science fiction novel about a protagonist whose hired by a rich man to investigate his own murder, to put it simply and without delving into the sci-fi complexity of the Altered Carbon world.

I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of PKD with the sci-fi world, technology, and body jumping, but without the hallucinogenic feeling PKD novels typically have.

It’s perfect for anyone wanting a noir/crime sci-fi story.

Gillian Flynn — Dark Places

Dark Places is a thriller novel about a family murder, focusing on the daughter who lived. Twenty years later, she’s out of cash and rent’s due, so she meets up with murder enthusiasts. She’s hired to figure out exactly what happened that night years ago, and who actually killed her family, because certainty, she believes, it hadn’t been her brother.

Compared to Flynn’s Gone Girl, this book is dark. Seedy, too. It’s reveals the underbelly of adults and teenagers alike, things that people wouldn’t admit and want to know about a person. But, I still enjoyed it, kept wanting to read more and figure out what did happen to the protagonist’s family.

Great book, and I plan to reading more of Flynn’s work.

James Brogden — Hekla’s Children

Hekla’s Children is a horror/fantasy novel about four teenagers who go missing during a field trip while their guide wasn’t watching, dealing with his other issues, and they’re never found. This leads to the guide leaving the town, but returning nine years later to only find that one of the students came back…

This best book I can compare this novel to is Barker’s Weaveworld, where it’s not entirely horror but not entirely fantasy, a blending of the two, though Hekla’s Children is split down the middle (almost literally) between horror and fantasy. But, when the fantasy kicks in, it doesn’t slow down the story at all, nor brings with it any tropes that would make reading it a slog.

I enjoyed Hekla’s Children, though I would’ve preferred more horror than fantasy.

Robert Aickman — Dark Entries

Dark Entries is a short collection of some of Robert Aickman’s work. There’s not much I can add to praise Aickman already received/receives, being a master of the strange and macabre.

I’d just like to note that my favorite story in the book was “Bind Your Hair,” and I plan on purchasing more of his collections in the near future.

Sue Rainsford — Follow Me to Ground

Follow Me to Ground is a weird fiction novel about a daughter and her father who have the ability to heal illness, and live on the edge of a town where the locals visit them to be cured by opening their bodies and heads, digging through their innards, singing diseases and plucking tumors out.

This strange book is amazing, and Rainsford’s prose is wonderful, enticing, raw. It reminds of Gwendolyn Kiste’s work, as well as Aliya Whiteley’s, Kristi DeMeester’s, and Michael Wehunt’s.

I enjoyed it completely, though I wanted to know more after the story comes to a close. It’s no wonder it was nominated for two literary awards in 2019.

Brain Evenson — A Collapse of Horses

A Collapse of Horses is a collection of short weird fiction, and like many other Brain Evenson books, it’s strange and phenomenal.

Even stories that aren’t “as good” as the others are still enjoyable, because Evenson’s prose is so entrancing and easily consumable. I probably sound like a fanboy, and maybe I kind of am, but to me, Evenson really can’t do wrong and he works on a different level than more writers do.

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