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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 01:54 am:   

I'd like to buy a new book but am unsure which one (out of four possible choices) to purchase.
I'd appreciate your comments on any the following books:

Banquet for the Damned by Adam LG Nevill.
The Absence by Bill Hussey.
The House of Lost Souls by FG Cottam.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill.

Thank you :-)
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Michael_kelly (Michael_kelly)
Username: Michael_kelly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 70.31.36.208
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 04:51 am:   

Well, I've only read the Hill, and I was one of the few who thought it rather pedestrian. Couldn't finish it.

I've enjoyed a couple Nevill stories.
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Michael_kelly (Michael_kelly)
Username: Michael_kelly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 70.31.36.208
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 04:55 am:   

I should qualify that by saying I did enjoy most of Hill's collection, 20th Century Ghosts.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.196.179
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 06:26 am:   

Steve, I've yet to read any of those (although Heart-Shaped Box is somewhere in my teetering to-read pile), but I have heard good things about Banquet for the Damned.
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Skunsworth (Skunsworth)
Username: Skunsworth

Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 88.107.236.109
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 09:20 am:   

Actually, all of them are a little disappointing, to be honest. The Neville has moments that are good but feels like a story stretched out to novel length, the Cottam reads like it was written cynically (the supernatural element feels tagged on to a 'growing up in the 80s' novel) to make a name, the Absence is pretty good but I kinda wanted more from it and the Hill is good but is let down by a slow ending, I thought. Of the 4, the Hussey or Hill - both are certainly worth getting, but neither will shake your world.

S
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Skunsworth (Skunsworth)
Username: Skunsworth

Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 88.107.236.109
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 09:26 am:   

Go and buy Rakie Keig's Terror Island instead - excellent pulp fun!

S
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.26.90.161
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 09:29 am:   

Steve, if it's world shaking you want, read The Grin of the Dark instead.

Or Mo Hayder's The Treatment.
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Skunsworth (Skunsworth)
Username: Skunsworth

Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 88.107.236.109
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 09:31 am:   

Now here's a thing - I hated The Treatment! Thought it had the laziest use of (incorrect) mental illness in a thriller for ages!

Grin of the Dark is seriously good though, and The Overnighter is brilliant, if you're looking for a Campbell.

S
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.26.90.161
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 09:44 am:   

>>>Thought it had the laziest use of (incorrect) mental illness in a thriller for ages!

Not as lazy as Ruth Rendell's The Rottweiler, alas.
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Skunsworth (Skunsworth)
Username: Skunsworth

Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 88.107.236.109
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 10:05 am:   

Not read that - may avoid if it's even lazier that The Treatment!

S
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.26.90.161
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 10:18 am:   

Don't, whatever you do, read this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunted-Heart-Life-Times-Stephen/dp/1906779082/ref=sr_1_ 25?ie=UTF8&qid=1248855336&sr=8-25

If the rest of it is as accurate as the description, in which King is described as "now 70" . . .
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Skunsworth (Skunsworth)
Username: Skunsworth

Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 88.107.236.109
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 10:24 am:   

Wow.

S
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.26.90.161
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 10:38 am:   

She's written bios of Barrack Obama and Dan Brown. She clearly chases real dollars, not genuine facts.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 91.143.178.131
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 10:58 am:   

Heart Shaped Box I loved to bits. I think I'm slightly more enthusiastic about this title than others on the board, but if you want intelligent, scary and entertaining supernatural horror you can't go wrong with Hill's Book.
Banquet I thought had a great strong first half but a slightly weaker second half. Adam is a very good writer (and a top notch editor too), I just thought that this felt a little too traditional at times. However, his story in Poe's Progeny is wonderful and is easily one of my favorite pieces of supernatural fiction of recent years.
Obviously, if you want a piece of supernatural fiction that's going to rock your world you should pick up Simon Bestwick's zombie novel Tide of Souls: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tomes-Dead-Souls-Simon-Bestwick/dp/190673514X/ref=sr_1_1 ?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248857825&sr=1-1
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.196.179
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 12:14 pm:   

I should've mentioned that The Absence is also in my to-read pile, thanks to a certain mister S.K. Unsworth. Cheers, dude!
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 12:19 pm:   

Thanks very much for the excellent advice, folks. Now I'm really confused.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.121.214.11
Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 04:31 pm:   

Heart shaped box was one of my favourite reads last year. The Treatment is fantastic as well. It really did manage to get right under my skin. It's probably the darkest and nastiest mainstream thriller I've read in a very long time.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.74
Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 04:47 pm:   

I still think the scene in Adam's novel set in the evil house is a very fine example of its kind - one of the best, in fact.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.12.129.226
Posted on Tuesday, August 04, 2009 - 05:46 pm:   

"Now here's a thing - I hated The Treatment! Thought it had the laziest use of (incorrect) mental illness in a thriller for ages! "

Can you expand on that? which character, in what way lazy and incorrect etc? I don't remember any glaring innaccuracies but it's over a year since I read it.
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Skunsworth (Skunsworth)
Username: Skunsworth

Registered: 05-2009
Posted From: 88.107.131.166
Posted on Thursday, August 06, 2009 - 04:45 pm:   

It was particularly the notebook at the end - having worked with people with that kind of illness, it struck me as entirely unrealistic and seemed very unreal, whilst presenting an essentially lazy equation (mentally ill = killer/dangerous, which is actually very rarely true). I'll qualify by saying that I also didn't like Birdman, so came to the Treatment not expecting much, which may not have helped.

S
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.26.90.161
Posted on Thursday, August 06, 2009 - 05:47 pm:   

>>>(mentally ill = killer/dangerous, which is actually very rarely true)

Yes, of course, a mentally person is far more likely to be a victim of crime than the perp. But remember, this is crime fiction.

As for your other point, I bow to your experience here, though I don't believe Hayder is the kind of writer to get this stuff from textbooks: she's knocked around a bit . . .
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Friday, August 07, 2009 - 09:52 am:   

On the other hand, a psychopathic serial killer is almost certainly mentally ill in some way - especuially as nasty as they are in Mo Hayder's work. That's not saying that all mentally ill people are serial killers.

It's the tail/dog thing - all dogs have tails, if it's got a tail it doesn't mean it's a dog.
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 12:19 pm:   

Well, I'm about to order Banquet for the Damned.
I made the mistake, last time I posted in this thread, of opting to buy The Absence
and was sorely disappointed. I'm thinking that Nevill's book will be a class act in comparison.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 01:19 pm:   

Weber, the term 'mentally ill' implies either a diagnosis or the likelihood of one. Psychopaths (and most film 'psychos' are not psychopaths) are plausible and capable, they do not present psychotic symptoms, they generally have successful careers (e.g. police or Army chiefs, politicians, heads of institutions). When convicted of the crimes they have committed (and many of them just get away with it by disguising murder as necessary action) they are very likely to be judged capable and rational therefore to pay the full penalty of the law. To recognise these people as 'sick' rather than 'evil' would require us to dispose of the concept of evil altogether which I don't think our society is ready to do, however much sense it might make.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 80.47.123.190
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 02:40 pm:   

'I should qualify that by saying I did enjoy most of Hill's collection, 20th Century Ghosts.'

I'd buy this one. Like Michael - I really enjoyed it.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.170.85
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 02:46 pm:   

No-one recommending Sarah Water's new ghost novel, Little Friend?
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Steve Jensen (Stevej)
Username: Stevej

Registered: 07-2009
Posted From: 82.0.77.233
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 03:02 pm:   

Do you mean The Little Stranger, Tony?
I would buy it, but I'm a pauper - it's only out in hardback at the moment.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.253.36
Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 04:45 pm:   

To recognise these people as 'sick' rather than 'evil' would require us to dispose of the concept of evil altogether which I don't think our society is ready to do, however much sense it might make.

"Sick" is when a serial killer commits yet another one of his heinous acts.

"Evil" is when a serial killer commits yet another one of his heinous acts on someone you know.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.170.85
Posted on Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 08:29 am:   

Evil is when you do bad rationally, decide to do it. Manson was evil, the likes of Dhamer were sick; he seemed to show remorse, self-loathing. It's a tricky line, though.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.239.132
Posted on Friday, August 14, 2009 - 03:36 pm:   

Psychopaths (and most film 'psychos' are not psychopaths) are plausible and capable, they do not present psychotic symptoms, they generally have successful careers (e.g. police or Army chiefs, politicians, heads of institutions).

Well, Joel...

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090814/D9A2KAI01.html

... about a serial killer on the loose in North Carolina.

Experts weigh in. Quote: Forensic psychologist Dr. Michael Teague said the killings are probably the work of one person. "You're talking about a man who didn't finish high school, probably doesn't have a regular job, probably not married or in a stable relationship," he said.

Vivian Lord, chairwoman of the criminal justice department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said that if one killer is responsible, he is likely trying to cleanse the world of prostitutes or deliberately picking victims he knows won't be missed.


Wow. Thank you, Vivian. No one would have had even the slightest idea this was the kind of person being sought.
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 14, 2009 - 04:20 pm:   

But probably not a psychopath. That is to say, probably someone whose madness and violence would be easy to recognise if you could just find him. Psychopaths can pass for normal, that's the really strange thing about them. Someone who lives in bloodstained ruins is not a psychopath. He's [forum member's name deleted].
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.47
Posted on Friday, August 14, 2009 - 04:29 pm:   

So if I understand you correctly here Joel, Hannibal Lektor as played by Brian Cox was a psychopath, but as played by Antony Hopkins wasn't?
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Friday, August 14, 2009 - 05:25 pm:   

Yes, that's right.

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