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Book Review 2011

July 12, 2011
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A25. The Shining by Stephen King

It’s sort of surprising how many story elements that I usually associate with The Shining that aren’t actually in the book. Most notably the creepy twins. What is not surprising is how well The Shining holds up. King’s writing, while well grounded in the era in which they are set, is quite timeless in that it speaks to a lot of deeper aspects of the human psyche.

A27. The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

I ground my way through this book with a grim determination I usually only reserve for truly important things, like editing large batches of shrimp photos or cleaning the house before a guest comes over. Not because the story was bad. Not more so than Koontz’s usual fare. No, the reason I plowed through this audiobook was because the reader was so damned awful, and I wasn’t quite sure I cared enough about the ending to go find the hard copy. Half the time I couldn’t tell which character was speaking because the reader used the same nasal voice for them all, with slightly higher nasal voices for the women. Given Koontz’s tendency to have long strings of rapid fire quips, this did not work well.

The story isn’t half bad. A little unbelievable, but when you have an author whose most recently successful series include a guy who sees ghosts and guy who creates mutant horrors for kicks, a little extra suspension wire for your disbelief is probably the least you can expect.

4. Out of the Dark by David Weber

I was going to do a longer review of this book, based on its excellent handling of how populations would react to a large scale disaster. Then I reached the deus ex machina. And it pissed me off so much, that I vented my annoyance to Moose for about two days. Weber makes only one sideways sort of reference to the plot device in question, and readers will only recognize it as a reference if they are fans of a completely different genre of books. I felt much the same way as I did when I read Dexter in the Dark. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone who really wants to read the book and be surprised. It is a fairly good book, for all the usual reasons that Weber books are good. Realistic population dynamics, detailed battle tactics, and strong characters of all sexes, races, and nationalities. But I just can’t get past that ending.

Also, a note to Mr. Weber: Don’t think I didn’t notice the Mary Sue twins. Just because you gave one your first name and another a version of your last name does not mean you get to be off the hook for self-inclusion.

If you’re paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that I’m missing a couple of books. I gave a very special book to a very special young lady, and I really want to include her opinion in the review. So that’s in the queue. And audio book number 26 is getting its own review.

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