Sunday, December 6, 2009

Book Review-Black House

It figures. The first softcover book I have bought and picked up in probably three years, and I can't finish it. Why did I even pick it up to begin with? Because I was a fan of the first book, the Talisman, written by Stephen King. And it only took me about six years to realize it was a sequel. Although in many ways, there is no resemblance between this and the Talisman, besides the main character.

First, the premise of the book: Jack, our hero is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the small hamlet of Tamarak, Wisconsin (sorry, Maime, I know you were hoping for another gruesome experience, but it's not just King's book this time). He is also retired. However, a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin by a killer dubbed 'The Fisherman.' The local chief of police, begs Jack to help his inexperienced police force find him. The investigation takes place in at least two parallel universes, one of which is called the Territories.

As I wrote earlier, this book is written by not one but two authors-Stephen King, and Peter Straub. Although King has been pretty heavy on descriptive language, this time it's so bland it's almost unreadable. But don't take my word for it. Here's the first paragraph. By the way, it should be noted that for any author, the first paragraph is your best shot of captivating the reader and drawing them in. Anyway, here it is:

Right here and now, an old friend used to say, we are in the fluid present, where clear- sightedness never guarantees perfect solution. Here: about two hundred feet, the height of a gliding eagle, above Wisconsin's far west edge, where the vagaries of the Mississippi River declare a natural border. Now: an early Friday morning in mid-July a few years into both a new century and a new millennium, their wayward course so hidden that a blind man has a better chance of seeing what lies ahead than you or I. Right here and now, the hours is just six a.m, and the sun stands low in the cloudless eastern sky, a fat, confident yellow-white ball (Reviewer's note: yeah thanks book, I had no idea what a sun looked like until now) advancing as ever for the first time toward the future and leaving in its wake the steadily accumulating past, which darkens as it recedes, making blind men of us all.

Don't expect the story to pick up after this paragraph by the way.

In fact, guess when the main character Jack is introduced: page 75, ladies and gentleman. I hope you really want to know what Tamarak is like, because you will have plenty of opportunity to read all about it. It might sound like I'm dissing Stephen King, but I actually like the guy, and I don't believe this his usual sort of narration. Maybe it's Peter Straub? Whoever did it, there's another aspect that I haven't even mentioned yet-the narrator also has a personality as well. Usually it will say things like, ‘oh, let's go here!' ‘Let's ignore this sex scene because we're not peeping toms.' I suppose this is to make the book cute and bearable, but by the end of it I wanted to throttle the invisible narrator and explore the book my own way. Maybe I wanted to see more of the gruesome murder scene. Or maybe I wanted to listen to the DJ some more. Who knows?

I really skimmed through this book trying to find something, any scene to hook me in and want to read more. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. To make things even more difficult, the characters are pretty bland and uninteresting (and Stephen King's a master of characterization as well!). Maybe one day I will pick this up, especially considering it's the only book I have not in storage.

Eh, hell, I'll just buy some e-books.

BOTTOM LINE: No grade, didn't finish.

No comments: