I do want this to go into a category of its own, but I can’t work out how to do this in this version of WordPress, never mind. (Edit, and now I’ve done it>>>”What I’m Reading”)
So, at the moment I have two books on the go – never do one thing at once do I?
The first one is a mighty tome – well it is to lift anyway:
The Straw Men by Michael Marshall. I won’t lie, at first I didn’t like it, as it appeared to be set in a small town in backwater America. With the exception of the town at the centre of the second book (below), I don’t like small, remote towns, I imagine most autophobes don’t! Anyway, it isn’t, and that was just the prologue anyhow. After the first massacre, the pace steps up a lot and Marshall follows a fairly binary/ternary approach, one chapter-one-version of the narrative, sometimes you may get the same two characters spilling over two or three chapters but no more than this.
What’s the story, morning glory?
Why, thank you (sorry I seem to be possessed by the spirit of someone, well-camp!). From what I can ascertain so far, there is a serial killer, who has already taken four girls from pretty much broad daylight. After he’s done whatever he does with them he sends a sweater tied with a ribbon made of their hair back to their home address – the sick little monkey! Right from the start of the story we are told that the nutter (sorry, mustn’t judge), raving lunatic, has Sarah who seems to be quite a feisty little madam, – I love Sarah she is so ‘owning’ being abducted. On his tale are a female Fed (Okay, I just wanted to try out saying that!) and an x-cop (potentially, he hasn’t really told us) and then in another direction is the protagonist – who again the author has deviously shrouded in a bit of mystery. The main guy – Ward is in town to bury his parents, but he gets a message which kind of throws a spanner in the works – I’m trying to rein-in the spoiler potential here.
And herein lies the originality of this tale. It’s told in split-narrative (damn, someone’s got there before me!). Sarah and headcase and the Fed and the x-cop are narrated in the third person, but then Ward is told in the first person – that’s brilliant, wish I’d got there first. This makes the pace nice and pacey (of all the adjectives I could have used!). Now I do have issues with Marshall’s writing style in that sometimes, I found he really overly described things – this is what put me off Dean Koontz. I’m sure it’s mostly salient detail that will become obvious in the final outcome…or not! I’m about two-thirds of the way through the novel at the moment and in that certain state when I’m enjoying it so much that I don’t want to finish it, but just have to do so. I’ll respond to this post when I’ve finished.
And now for the update: I hit my stride a couple of days into reading this and was most impressed at the way that the author united all of the characters. I guessed that the killer / kidnapper / psycho would prove to be Ward’s brother (What? You thought there wouldn’t be spoilers, ha!). If I have any gripes it’s that the book never even attempts a resolution. It’s so blatantly obvious that this is simply part one of a series and I can imagine that at the time of its first release, this would have really pissed people off. Luckily for me, I was exceptionally late to the game and only had to wait a few days for book two – which I didn’t want to start straight away as I didn’t want to read the entire series, back to back and then be stuck for something else to read, end up reading everything the author has ever had published…the usual obsessive me (I’m trying to take a break from myself!).
And now for book two, which to anyone who knows me well will come as no surprise:
The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost. Although I truly loved the series, the characters and the whole ‘TP universe’ I never really went a bundle on buying the merchandise. Okay so I did get ‘Falling’ on CD and the Julee Cruise album…and the soundtrack to Fire Walk With Me, but that’s all. This is the first TP literature that I’ve bought. And it’s really very good…so far. And the fact that this is written by Mr Frost and not Mr Lynch may indicate that it’s not going to get overly weird for the sake of being weird any time soon.
What’s it all about, Alfie?
Who’s Alfie? Okay, so this is written from the perspective of an FBI agent who appears to have found an in-depth dossier compiled by ‘The Archivist’ detailing events leading up to where the Twin Peaks series started. At first we are treated to ‘hand-written’ letters from the time of “Lewis and Clark” – apparently they essentially did a Magellan on the great North-Western territories (I’m just not cut out for historical writing am I?). For the record, these are bloody hard to read, there I’ve said it! Authenticity is one thing, as is suspension of disbelief, but then so is giving your readers a stinking migraine whilst they try and pick apart what’s been scrawled. I now feel kind of guilty for what my ungainly scrawling would have put my teachers through! (And breathe!).
When deciphered, I found some of these letters to be fascinating…and in no way subtle – banging on about the ring from the get-go. Most readers are now thinking ‘what ring?‘ – in the TP universe, there is a ring that if worn will bring about the demise of the wearer. In the series, it was pretty much not referred to, in Fire Walk With Me it was all over the bloody place, like they were trying to emphasise the thing. With it being here again, right from the start, although it’s interesting…it’s kind of ‘Well, so what? Could you show me another trick?’.
I’m not even a quarter of the way through this yet, it’s not exactly ‘bus-journey’ reading material owing to the aforementioned, hand-written letters, but I am loving what I’ve read so far. Opinion seems to be divided with regards to its reception by the hard core TP fans – they’re a funny bunch though! If you’re looking to gain an insight into series three (due out in May / June) thennnnn this is probably not going to offer much more help than clicking your heels together three times and reciting ‘there’s no place like home‘! If, like me, you’d always wondered about the mythology of the Twin Peaks locale and the plot lines which were meant to have happened prior to the series… then this could well be for you/us/me!
The update: Well, there isn’t one. For now this book has defeated me. I blame the arrival of Pepper the cat who gives me no peace at all when I am trying to read.