Thursday, November 29, 2012


(Our house, in the middle of our street)
Blake Crouch is a much regarded name in the self-publishing game. He's tied closely to self-pub enthusiast J.A. Konrath. I've read many of Konrath's books (Disturb, The List, Origin and Whiskey Sour). But one of the first ebooks I read was a slim little number called Serial. It was only 8,000 words.

Seeing as how these guys go hand-in-hand and their writing styles are quite similar  I felt it was time to give Blake a try. So I decided on Eerie  a short novel of suspense and horror. This thriller boasted that it was in the same vein as The Shinning or The Sixth Sense. With a blurb like that, I had to see if it was all just hype or, in fact, the real deal.

Well, I've read the whole thing.

And I loved it.

What a change of pace.

The story, for the first few chapters, revolves around Grant Moreton, a Seattle detective, who is working a missing persons case. The trail leads him to a house which currently holds a person from his past. The two characters are confined to the house, unable to escape. Every time they try, they are blasted with extreme headaches and debilitating sickness, bordering on the brink of death. Not only are they trapped, but some fiendish thing is holding them there, a monster under the bed, so to speak.

This ebook had me clicking NEXT PAGE like there was no tomorrow.

It's no wonder that this book was so well balanced. It was written by two people. Blake and Jordan are brothers who decided to collaborate on this original idea. We get a bit of that insight with a question and answer segment at the end of the book. Blake and Jordan tell us that they wrote this book over a program called Google Docs, switching every time the other would take over. Technology has come a long way and it looks like more and more collaborations are being used in Google Docs.

This is Jordan's first novel but as for Blake Crouch, he holds 35 Kindle titles to his name.

Many of his ideas have been optioned for films.

Pretty prolific if you ask me.

Eerie is only $3.99 on Kindle.

Now that I'm more well acquainted with his work, I may give his novel Famous a try.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


(Take me away, I don't mind, just promise
 me we'll be back in time.)
My mind is officially blown. Yes, its true, my fandom for Stephen King has waned in the past, been on the ropes even, but now it has risen stronger from the once supposed dead ashes. This book has now become one of my top four favorite King books. The others being Insomnia, Desperation and From a Buick 8.

So what is it about this book that redeemed my love for King?

I would argue that it is a combination of things. It's believable, deep and suspenseful. A good recipe of a story that leaves you wanting more but satisfied by its drive and momentum.

Quite a while back, in a previous blog post, my wife and I were discussing the idea of time travel; what works and what doesn't. Can there be time viewing? Can you change the past? Are you able to bring something back? Will this cause a rip in the fabric and create a time paradox? These are the routine things we grapple with on every time travel tale.

But what if something new were added to the mix? You get something more unpredictable.

From what I understand, more time travel stories are throwing out the old rules and starting fresh. This is a complete rewrite to what we've already puzzled over. A step in a new direction and I welcome that.

Though I haven't seen films like Looper or Primer, I am told that they turn the genre on its head, offering new and exciting possibilities.

Change the rules: simple as that.

In King's book, an English teacher(who else?) is coming to grips from a fresh split from his wife who is an alcoholic. As he is coping he confides in his friend, Al Templeton, who owns the local diner not too far away. Al is increasingly looking older as the days pass. Al finally lets the cat out of the bag. He has found a wormhole that leads to the year 1958. The usual, believable  skepticism ensues until our hero, Jake Epping, finally decides to take the plunge.

It's obvious that king has done a lot of research for this book. Everything from the racial divide to how much a man could live on in those days is covered. It feels like you are transported to that era. Reading IS time travel, any way you slice it.

Al eventually convinces Jake to change the course of history by saying he should go back and stop the assassination of JFK. A noble cause but not without its strife's.

Turns out that the past itself is its own character in this novel. It is a stubborn, angry, bullying think which does not want to be changed. Sometimes it is referred to as a "machine with jagged teeth." Frequently it throws unfortunate coincidences in front of our hero. A tree blocking the road, a debilitating sickness, a car that threw a rod or a traffic accident, just to name a few. It's reach knows no bounds. This is a really compelling element to consequential time travel.

The characters are likable, the plot is fluid and its considerably shorter than Under The Dome. King held my attention to the very end. The novel is one I intend to re-read whenever I wish to travel back through time and catch up with Jake. And what's great is, I can go there again and again without fearing the consequences.

P.s. I liked the fact that his son, Joe Hill, helped him out with this one.

5/5 stars.