S.G. Browne

What I Read On My Winter Vacation

With a couple of airplane flights and several hours waiting in the airport and time spent relaxing in a hammock beneath palm trees or on the beach or at the hotel pool, I had plenty of time to read over the past couple of weeks. Of course, I also spent some of that time doing nothing but existing in a Zen like tranquility, but I did manage to get through most of three books, all of them markedly different. Although I’m still working on Book #3, I thought I’d share what I’ve read and a few thoughts.

Pressure by Jeff Strand

I picked up this book last June at the HWA Stoker Award’s weekend in Los Angeles during a mass book signing, having met Jeff previously at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City. Admittedly, I was dubious about whether or not I would enjoy it, as it wasn’t what I was in the mood for, but I soon found myself caught up in the tension and frustration of a prep school friendship that turns terrifyingly bad and haunts the main character into college and beyond. Jeff manages to create an empathy for the main character and a growing frustration and terror at his helplessness as the story spans across several time frames. A good, pressure-packed thriller that doesn’t hold anything back.

The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay

I wanted to read this novel because it was one of the other three nominees for this year’s HWA Bram Stoker Awards for Best First Novel. I was further intrigued when I came across his second novel, No Sleep Till Wonderland, and read the back cover copy. It’s a darkly comic detective novel in the spirit of Raymond Chandler about a narcoleptic detective who struggles with sleep, hallucinations, and his relationship with his landlord mother. Although I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the main character as I would like to have been, I found the writing style and the humor engaging and entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down and looked forward to picking it back up.

City of Thieves by Paul Benioff

This novel by the author of The 25th Hour (I saw the film starring Edward Norton but never read the book) was recommended to me by Bill, one of the staff at my local Books Inc. I intend on going back to the store and thanking Bill for the recommendation, as this was one of my favorite reads of the past year. I finished it on the flight back to San Francisco and couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books that makes you appreciate the joy of the written word and how much of a pleasure it is when you come across an author who can string together words to create a memorable, affecting story.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is just my opinion, so if you pick up one of these books and don’t enjoy it, don’t blame me. But if you do pick up one of these, let me know what you think.

Until next time…

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