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books and reading

Little Heaven

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At some point, Stephen King recommended one of Nick Cutter’s books. I make a point to check out his recommendations when I can. I’ve learned that he is pretty spot-on with his recommendations. And Nick Cutter is for sure a great one. I’ve read The Deep and The Troop and enjoyed them both. The Deep was better, for me, but The Troop is more graphic if that’s your kind of thing. So, when I needed a western for the PopSugar Reading Challenge, I knew I had to think out of the box. I don’t like westerns, and I really have no desire to read them. I’m sure some are great, like Lonesome Dove, but I would rather read something Western-ish. I recommend Unbury Carol, if you haven’t read that one. It’s definitely a western but also really great.

The podcast. Books in the Freezer, mentioned Little Heaven as a horror/western, so I went with it for my selection. This book, however, took me a while to get through. I try to read while I wait in the pick-up line for my kids. I get a good 30 minutes of quiet reading time. And even with that time, I just didn’t connect to this book. Then the quarantine happened, and my reading got all out of whack. I couldn’t figure out where to fit reading into my day with all the homeschooling I’m doing now. So, this book went on the back burner for a bit. Once I picked it back up, I got sucked into it.

The story is told in two different time periods, 1960s and 1980. We start in 1980 where Micah’s daughter has been led away from their house by an entity. Micah immediately knows what it is, and then we switch to the back story. Micah, Minerva, and Ebenezer have been hired by a woman to go to a remote part of a forest to retrieve her nephew from a cult. Sounds easy enough, but they soon learn this forest is also inhabited by some mystery. As the cult dissolves, the mysteries rise.

Even though it took me a while to get through this one, I did enjoy it. I would recommend his other books first, though. They captured me from the beginning, and I flew through them. He writes a great horror novel, though, and I look forward to reading more from him.

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books and reading

The Troop

I apologize for the delay in posting. I’ve been doing a bit of beta reading. Side note- if anyone needs a beta reader, please contact me!

It is no secret that I love Stephen King. He’s just one of the greatest writers and I think doesn’t get the respect he deserves because he’s mostly known for being a horror writer. But he is so much more than that. He’s truly a master storyteller. So, when he recommends books, I make a note to read them at some point. For the 2017 book challenge, I had to read a book recommended by an author you love, so this was an easy category. I already had The Troop on my Kindle and just hadn’t gotten to it, yet. I have previously read another of Nick Cutter’s books, The Deep, and really enjoyed that one, so I was looking forward to another one.

Hoooo boy, this one was pretty intense. And gross. Like really gross, by my standards. I still liked it, but the grossness was a bit of a turn off. This is a personal preference, though. It says nothing about his writing or storytelling. The basic plot is that a troop of 14 year old Boy Scouts (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is…I forget exactly the specifics) and their Scoutmaster have gone camping on a deserted island just off Prince Edward Island when a sick guy in a boat comes along. The guy smashes their radio and the boat he came on no longer works. It’s clear the man is dying, and conveniently, the Scoutmaster is a doctor, but he can’t figure out what is wrong. As the story progresses, you get answers as to what the illness is, and unfortunately, how it spreads from person to person. Yep. It’s rough.

The boys (5 of them) have their own demons to face (one’s an asshole, one’s overweight, etc) which play into the dynamics of the situation. This book was reminiscent of The Long Walk (by SK under the Bachman name) where you wonder which one(s) will make it alive. It’s pretty clear from the onset that not everyone makes it home from the island. The story is also told after the event is over from the perspective of media reports, interviews, etc. These small bits are interspersed in the chapters.

But, like I said, you’ve been warned that this book is pretty gross in parts. I don’t want to go into detail to avoid spoilers, but if you are the least bit squeamish about the human body and illness, it might behoove you to avoid this one. I’ve read worse, yes, but I do want to just let you know.

Overall, I enjoyed Cutter’s other book, The Deep, more. That shouldn’t detract from this book though. It’s a great read. I truly couldn’t put it down, wondering who survives and just how horrific the story was going to get.

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books and reading

The Deep

So, I’m a big Stephen King fan. He’s one of my absolute favorite writers. I am slowly but surely working through his entire bibliography. And thankfully, he is an avid reader and likes to recommend books to his Twitter followers. When I came across his recommendation of The Troop, by Nick Cutter, I did a little research and found that Cutter has only written a few books, and I figured I might as well read them all. Through my Kindle lottery, The Deep was the first of his to come up.

And wow. Oh wow. What a creepy book! Premise is that the world has been taken over by a disease called the ‘Gets where everyone forgets things, starting with small stuff, leading to forgetting to breathe and dying. Young and old, alike, are afflicted. However, a new discovery in the depths of the ocean leads researchers to a hopeful cure for the ‘Gets. Luke’s brother, Clayton, is the head researcher, but living at the bottom of the world has its drawbacks. The dark plays tricks on people. The noises are eerie and reminiscent of children’s laughter. Luke is summoned to go retrieve his brother, because no one has heard from him in quite some time. Once there, Luke realizes the discovery, called ambrosia, isn’t the magic elixir everyone thinks it is. And the other researchers have slowly but surely lost their minds.

The creepy factor ramps up the longer Luke stays below. Occasional flashbacks give us insight into Luke’s life, namely his childhood with his abusive mother and brilliant brother. And these flashbacks play cleverly into the resolution of the book. The book is much more suspenseful and creepy than outright graphic horror, which I think makes it better. There are some rather gross parts, but nothing that I would consider graphic, but I also have a strong tolerance. If you love animals and hate to see them in pain, then I certainly would avoid this book, though. There are some animal testing scenes.

If The Troop is anywhere near as good as this book, I will be really pleased. It’s rare a book holds the suspense for the duration, but this one certainly did it.