Killing Floor by Lee Child

I thought: should I be worried? I was under arrest. In a town where I’d never been before. Apparently for murder. But I knew two things. First, they couldn’t prove something had happened if it hadn’t happened. And second, I hadn’t killed anybody. Not in their town, and not for a long time, anyway.

About the book: Killing Floor is a crime thriller novel by Lee Child. Published in 1997, it is Lee Child’s debut novel. It is the first book in the Jack Reacher series.
Short summary: Jack Reacher is arrested for murder, almost as soon as he enters the tiny town of Margrave, Georgia. But the tough ex-military policeman has been through much worse. Unable to convince the cops of his innocence, Jack Reacher decides to take matters in his own hands. As he tries to uncover the truth himself, he stumbles across a much deeper conspiracy in Margrave.
My thoughts: It was a good read. With the fast paced action, the twists in the plot, the strong (albeit stereotypical) characters – it was a really good read. It was the sort of thing that I’d very reluctantly add to a list of ‘Guilty Pleasure Reads’, though. What I didn’t like was the drama. The first thing I thought was it would make a good movie (I don’t know if there already is one..?!) At times I found it too brutal, I found some dialogues kind of cheesy, and I didn’t like the fact that most of the core happenings in the book were shaped by some pretty huge coincidences.
It felt almost as if the writer had planned the ending first, and wrote the book backwards. So when I read it from the starting, it was hard to believe how the characters guessed and assumed all the things they did; it was almost as if they knew the end. The plot holes were a huge disappointment.
I thought of the book as something written to attract a huge number of fans – which it rightfully did. It was a fun read, but I also thought it could have been much better.

Cujo by Stephen King

“They began to back up, and as they did, the dog began to walk slowly forward. It was a stiff walk; not really a walk at all, Ronnie thought. It was a stalk. That dog wasn’t fucking around. Its engine was running and it was ready to go. Its head remained low. That growl never changed pitch. It took a step forward for every step they took back.”

Cujo is a psychological horror novel by Stephen King. It is the story of a rabid St. Bernard. It is also the story of a little boy and his nightmares, a mother and a child, and an almost broken marriage.

Rating: 3.5/5

Summary: Cujo is a big, five year old St. Bernard, owned by the Cambers; a family in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. Cujo is a good, loyal dog; he loves his owners and they love him! That is, until he gets scratched by a bat and becomes infected with rabies. The dog soon loses touch with reality and turns into a crazy killing machine.

Four year old Tad Trenton lives in the same town with his parents, Donna and Vic. The little family has problems of their own – the scariest being the monster that seems to appear in little Tad’s closet at night. A frightening, wolfish animal that haunts Tad’s nightmares.

Fate brings the two together, when the only thing standing between the rabid dog and the mother and child is the broken down car they are trapped in.

My thoughts: Each book that I read by Stephen King, gives me one new reason to love him. This is not your typical thriller, and there are definitely some side-plots that seem unnecessary. The horror doesn’t start till halfway through the book and when it does start, not a lot happens. Still – I loved the book. For two reasons.

Firstly, as usual, Stephen King never disappoints you when it comes to the lives and the thoughts of the characters. Their stories are so intricately built – it is very fascinating. Even without the dangerous dog, there is a lot of evil in the town; just in the ways that people think, what they do. Each of the side-plots is a message on its own.

Secondly, what I love about King’s novels is that the monsters themselves are victims of circumstance. I pitied Jack Torrance (in The Shining) and I definitely felt horrible for ol’ Cuje when he got infected. I love that King has written parts from the point of view of the dog – the helpless creature, who hurts all over and doesn’t know who else to blame but the humans. The animal lover that I am, I really appreciated that King ended the book saying something positive about the poor dog. He wasn’t trying to be a monster, he was a good dog.

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Grab your current read, open to a random page and share two teaser sentences from that page!

  • “Reading a book, for me at least, is like traveling in someone else’s world. If it’s a good book, then you feel comfortable and yet anxious to see what’s going to happen to you there, what’ll be around the next corner.”
The Land of Laughs is a fantasy novel by Jonathan Carroll. It is about an aspiring writer who wants to write the biography of one of the most famous children’s writers ever. It’s about books and writing and fantastical worlds.

  • Rating: 3/5

  • Summary: Marshall France was a legend in the world of books – children’s fantasy stories to be exact, till one day he just stopped writing and disappeared. Thomas Abbey, an English teacher, is an aspiring writer and a Marshall France enthusiast. When Abbey happens to meet Saxony Gartener, a fellow Marshall France lover; they together decide to do something that Thomas has been dreaming of for ever – write France’s biography. After much effort, the two end up in Galen, Marshall France’s hometown – hoping to persuade his daughter, Anna, to let them write the book. Soon, they realize that the town has some dark secret. Meeting a talking dog is the final straw, before Abbey realizes that France’s fantasy world isn’t entirely fantastical.

    My thoughts: I liked three fourths of the book. It is a book-lover’s dream: the way they obsess over France’s books, his characters, his magical worlds. The characters are wonderfully written; Thomas Abbey, the English teacher who is the son of the most famous film-maker and has always lived under his shadow. Marshall France’s books have had a great influence on him as a child, and even now. Then there is Saxony Gardner, the woman who shares an equal passion for France’s books, so much that she encourages Abbey to go through with his plans of writing the biography, and decides to assist him herself. Along with Anna France, the town of Galen is like every small town you have ever read about, quiet and private but lovable. They are also the proud owners of Marshall France’s memories. Together, the stage is set beautifully for a magical story to unfold. Only, it doesn’t.

    Ever since Thomas discovers the town’s dark secret, things become entirely chaotic. The story takes a sudden turn and starts running in that direction. Before you have time to digest what you’ve read, more information is thrown upon you, and just when you place it together, the book reaches an abrupt end. The story is great, but it is too rushed. And the writing is great, but it doesn’t seem like one book. There is no continuity; it’s as if it is written by too different writers; at one point, the author takes time to describe a stranger’s nails, and at another point; he ends a life in five words.

    Like I said, I fell in love with three fourths of the book. The end ruined it for me. It is an eerily beautiful and unique story – but it could have been so much more.

    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

    “As a rule, Fat Charlie felt embarrassment in his teeth, and in the upper pit of his stomach. If something that even looked like it might be embarrassing was about to happen on his television screen Fat Charlie would leap up and turn it off. If that was not possible, say if other people were present, he would leave the room on some pretext and wait until the moment of embarrassment was sure to be over.”

    Anansi Boys is a novel by Neil Gaiman. This is the story of Charles Nancy, son of Anansi. Despite being perfectly normal sized, he is known to all as Fat Charlie. 
    Those of you, who have read American Gods know Mr. Nancy quite well; And, those of you, who haven’t read American Gods, should.

    Rating: 4/5

    “God is dead – meet the kids”

    Summary: Fat Charlie hasn’t met his father in ages. When he finally agrees to invite his Dad to his wedding, he learns that he has, in fact, recently passed away. Fat Charlie reluctantly goes home to his father’s funeral, not knowing the chaos about to ensue in his life. Accidentally crashing and ruining someone else’s funeral is the least of his worries, because soon Fat Charlie learns not only that he has a brother he never knew about, but also that his father was Anansi, the Spider-god.

    Soon, after getting kicked out of his own house and life by his brother Spider, Charlie realizes the full extent of his troubles. After some wonder, much magic and trickery and a load of family troubles, Fat Charlie finally begins to accept and understand his heritage and destiny.

    My thoughts: I enjoyed this book. First of all, it is fun and funny. You just can’t help but chuckle after every two sentences. I loved the combination of dark humour and wit.

    It is also very engaging. In a wonderfully mystical and slightly eccentric world, Gaiman has spun together a magical story, adding bits of mythology and folklore along the way. If you think about it, though, the plot is normal and the characters are like you and me, people you can actually relate to – they just happen to be gods too; that’s all. There is much more to the book than African legends and children’s stories – you learn about family and courage, and most of all, you learn that everyone has the power to rewrite their story.

    This book is very different from American Gods. It is light hearted and much less complex. It may not be my favourite Neil Gaiman book, but it is definitely worth a read (and some re-reads!)

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland… (by Catherynne M. Valente)

    …in a Ship of Her Own Making.

    I am reviewing this book as a part of the Follow the Blurb Reading Challenge.

    When souls queue up to be born, they all leap up at just the last moment, touching the lintel of the world for luck. Some jump high and can seize a great measure of luck, some jump only a bit and snatch a few loose strands. Everyone manages to catch some. If one did not have at least a little luck, one would never survive childhood.”

    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is a novel by Catherynne M. Valente. The book was first discussed in Valente’s previous book Palimpsest (which I have yet to read!) and was officially published in May 2011. The novel, as the title very clearly says, is the story of a little girl’s adventures in Fairyland

    Rating: 5/5

    Summary: September lives an ordinary life in Omaha. That is, until the Green Wind takes pity on her and she is whisked off by him to Fairyland. Her adventure begins atop a flying leopard, and as September enters Fairyland, she realizes how little the normal world knows about fairies and other magical beings. She meets three witches and learns about the evil Marquess who rules Fairyland. To help one of the witches, September grandly decides to confront the very irritable Marquess. Along her journey, September befriends the dragon-like Wyvern who believes his father was a library, along with Saturday, a unique boy who can grant wishes; she meets a soap golem and a herd of migrating bicycles; and comes across more whimsical and fantastical things than you can imagine!

    My thoughts: This might be the closest I’d get to reading Alice in Wonderland! I’d like to think of this book as a short, sweet fairy tale for adults. It is a beautifully written tale too; the usual message of courage and strength for the younger readers mixed with magic, excitement and a subtle but striking sense of humour. Along with the wonderful illustrations at the start of every chapter, the book is a pretty amazing read!

    The novel reminds me vaguely of a lot of fantasy books, and yet Valente’s Fairyland is quite unlike most magical worlds. The characters are unique and lovable. The Wyvern-library cross breed, called A-Through-L, is definitely one of my favourite characters ever. September initially seems a bit heartless (like all children) but you grow into liking her. Even the comparatively minor characters, right from the cheeky Green Wind to the sly Panther are absolutely adorable.

    The descriptions are so vivid, that you feel like you are visiting the world yourself. Full of its twists and quirks, this novel is one of the most wonderfully weird books I have read in a long time.

    Follow the Blurb Challenge

    I came across the Follow the Blurb Reading Challenge over at Jennifer’s Reading with Tequila. I haven’t participated in any reading challenges till date (and it has nothing to do with my very busy schedule.)

    “The plan is simple. I’m going to choose a book to read. Once I finish that book, I’ll choose a blurb from the front or back cover and read a book written by the quoted author. I’ll read 10 books in this fashion, just to see where I end up. Will all the books have a common theme? Will they be in the same genre? Will all of the authors be the same gender or ethnicity? Will they all have the same publisher? Are they all equally well known? Or will the books appear to be nothing more than a completely random list?”

    The Challenge with run from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 – and since ten books in a year doesn’t exactly sound impossible, I’m in!

    My Blurb Journey: (click on the title for the review!)

    Blurb: “A glorious balancing act between modernism and the Victorian fairy tale, done with heart and wisdom” – Neil Gaiman

    Blurb: “Gaiman has managed to tell the tallest of tales in the most heartrending and believable fashion, despite the story’s truly mythic scale. It is an important, essential book. As Pablo Neruda once said of another world-class novel, not to read it is the same as never having tasted an orange.” – Jonathan Carroll

    Blurb: “I can’t remember when I’ve been so blown away by a fantasy novel.” – Stephen King

    4. Cujo Stephen King

    (There was no blurb – so I am using the one by Lee Child on King’s Under the Dome – which I’m adding to my TBR list!)
    Blurb: “Seven words: The best yet from the best ever.”

    5. Lee Child