Writing and Reviews – Denise Pasutti
Well the spooky season (it is always spooky season for me) has come and gone. Pretty quiet Halloween season this year for the obvious reason. I did manage to get through 2 pretty damn good reads during the month of October. And here they are.
I finally decided to read ‘Horrostor’ by Grady Hendrix and it was quite a fun one. Amy is a listless 20 something working toward not much in an Ikea knockoff store called Orsk. Her path takes a drastic turn after strange things start to occur at night which leads her supervisor, Basil, to suspect someone is breaking into the store and vandalizing the kitschy, stylish furniture. In order to find the cause of the mischief, Basil has Amy and co-worker Ruth Anne camp out overnight with him in the store. Unexpectedly added to the trio is paranormal fanatic, Trinity, and the man obsessed with her, Matt.
So, yes this is essentially a haunted house story taking place in a department store. And does it work? It sure does. Amy isn’t really a sympathetic character. Her mediocre life of working in retail and not advancing beyond a floor associate is her own doing and this is pointed out repeatedly through the story. But reading through the bizarre night in Orsk and getting deeper into the characters and their experiences takes away some of that disdain for Amy. There were parts of this book that did remind me of House of Leaves but in a good way. The twisty turn environment that changes and morphs into a nightmare comes to mind.
Final Thoughts: It’s hard to get into many details without giving away the bizarre journey that Amy and her colleagues take and the aftermath of that adventure that she didn’t even want to be apart of in the first place. This was a quick and fun read and the images and descriptions of the Orsk furniture were entertaining as they went from mundane to macabre. Recommend for different type of haunted place. 4 out of 5 Brooka’s.
I loved ‘The 7 1/2 Death of Evelyn Hardcastle’ but was a bit uncertain about Stuart Turton’s follow-up novel, The Devil and The Dark Water. A murder mystery set in 1634 aboard an Indiaman ship on an 8 month journey to Amsterdam. A group of nobles, sailors, musketeers and one very cleaver prisoner set out on the high seas for a journey that turns from ordinary to sinister as the devil known as Old Tom begins stalking the ship and leaving his evil mark for all to see and fear. Bargain with Old Tom or face death once his 3 unholy miracles come to pass.
At the centre of the story is mercenary, Arent Hays who is traveling with and protecting his partner, the brilliant detective Sammy Pipps. Unfortunately Sammy has been arrested and imprisoned on the ship for crimes unknown. Other key players are the Governor General, his wife Sara and daughter Lia and his mistress Creesjie Jens. Throw in some shady musketeers and brutish sailors and, of course a leper ghost and the devil to stalk the ship and you have the makings of a very intriguing story with some murder added in.
Final Thoughts: At the end of the book in the Author’s note, he points out that genre isn’t easily defined and the story shouldn’t be confined to one. I would agree as it has several elements that keep it from being one type of read. The characters are interesting and finding out Arent’s tale is quite enjoyable and finding out how this giant of man became a soulful, thoughtful, compassionate person among the abuses of childhood and brutality of war and mercenary work is probably the part I enjoyed the most. If you like a mystery with twinges of the occult and supernatural, plus a wee bit of historical elements, give this a read. And the ending is wonderful. Stuart Turton is a brilliant writer. 5 out of 5 Old Tom marks.