Tag: Genre

Stephen King – Danse Macabre | Review

Title: Danse Macabre

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, mainly because it’s non-fiction and obviously King has a reputation as the master of horror. Still, it’s a non-fiction book about horror with a little bit of memoir and autobiography thrown in, and that makes it a pretty fascinating book if you’re a fan of either horror or Stephen King.

At the same time, it’s definitely dated in a lot of places. For example, he mentions an exciting new punk band called The Ramones and makes a reference to a book he’s writing where a parent loses a child, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about Pet Sematary. Kind of weird really, because the Ramones later recorded a song of the same name.

He also talked about how Kubrick did a good job of the movie of The Shining, and that was weird to me because King famously doesn’t like it. Perhaps he changed his mind later on. He also talked about how there aren’t enough works about haunted cars, which he later changed with Christine (still need to read it) and From a Buick 8 (actually terrible).

The fact that it’s a non-fiction book means that by its very nature, it has something of a different tone to King’s other stuff, although you can definitely tell that he’s the one who wrote it. Perhaps it’s also that he was a little younger and therefore closer to the start of his career. Whatever the case, he comes across as almost irreverent at times, though not in a bad way.

He always treats the works that he covers with the greatest of respect even when he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the work in question. He acknowledges that something can be hugely influential and important to a specific genre of film and literature, even if he doesn’t like the work itself. It’s a bit like how you can enjoy rock music without being a fan of The Beatles.

I don’t think that this book necessarily has a widespread appeal, but if you’re either a Stephen King fan or a fan of classic horror – and let’s be honest, if you’re one then you’re probably the other – then this will be right up your street. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself walking away with a whole bunch of recommendations to check out. I know I have.

Of course, some of the stuff that he covers here is pretty niche, to the point at which you’d probably struggle to track some of it down. Other is much more well-known, from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist and even King’s own books. He also writes in a way that doesn’t ruin things that you haven’t yet experienced, which I was worried about. Good stuff!

Learn more about Danse Macabre.

 


Louise Candlish – The Other Passenger | Review

Title: The Other Passenger

Author: Louise Candlish

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 411

Rating: 4/5

I was sent a signed copy of this book for free as part of a bookish subscription box that reached out to me, but I don’t think that will influence my review. Still, I guess that’s a disclaimer for you.

The theme of the box that I received was all about the commute and this was pretty much the perfect book for it because it was mostly set on the commuter boats that people take to get into the city. As for the genre, it’s basically as close to generic contemporary thriller as you can get, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We have a lot of the classics tropes here, from an unreliable narrator to tons of twists and turns, complex interpersonal relationships and of course that little technique of jumping backwards and forwards through time to advance what’s happening in the present by bringing up something that happened in the past and which changes the way we look at things.

Other than that, I don’t really want to say too much about the plot, purely because as with most of these, half of the point is being taken by surprise. And I will say that while there were one or two things that I called pretty early on, there were also a couple of twists here and there that I didn’t spot.

It probably also helped that I received quite a nice edition of this, a hardback with the author’s signature in it, and so it was quite an aesthetically pleasing read, too. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of thrillers in general, as I tend to prefer either cosy mysteries, private detectives or gritty police procedural novels, but it certainly did the job and was a pleasant enough read, keeping me going until the end to find out the truth about what happened.

And that brings us on to the question of whether I’d recommend it or not, and that really depends upon the type of reader that you are. If you’re really into modern thrillers and you loved Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, you’re probably going to like this one. There are a ton of twists, more than I’ve seen in a novel of this size in quite a long time, and the characters are just warped enough to keep them interesting.

Learn more about The Other Passenger.