This was published in 1993 and comes from the author of ‘Cat’s Eye’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. It tells the story of Roz, Charis and Tony, three women who over the course of three decades have had their lives turned upside down by their one time friend Zenia.
Beautiful charismatic toxic Zenia blew into their lives, ensnared their sympathy, broke their trust and stole money and the men they loved. But Zenia is dead now. Isn’t she? This is a very good book about friendship, lost love and toxic people.
“That was all they could think of to do in those days, with women like her: throw them into wells, or off steep cliffs or parapets - some unrelenting vertical - and watch them splatter.”
“The dead return in other forms, she thinks, because we want them to.”
“Bread knives are not a viable solution.”
“Zenia, aphid of the soul.”
Agent of Destruction by Rutledge Etheridge
This was published in 1996 and tells a far future tale of how two space fleets, Silver and Gold, have fought a 600 year war. They plunder, destroy, raid and enslave planets for raw material to fuel their endless war.
But the fed up Grounders have been infiltrating the fleets for years as part of a plan to finally end the war. When Dane, a precocious teenager, is enslaved by the brutal Silver fleet - the day of reckoning is about to begin. This was boring and populated by foul people. It was followed by an even worse sequel.
“Whole cultures, buried in slag, their richness lost forever to the universe. It had to end.”
Nightmares & Dreamscapes by Stephen King
An anthology from 1994 and one of my favourite King books.
A man driven insane by grief plans and carries out the premature burial of a murderous mobster in the desert. This was creepily good.
The End of the Whole Mess
Two brothers try to save the world and end up destroying it. Okay,
Suffer The Little Children
An elderly teacher grows suspicious of her young pupils. Okay.
The Night Flier
A tabloid journalist chases a vampire with a pilot’s licence. This was okay but with dated technology. It was made into a dire movie with Miguel Ferrer.
A sequel to ‘The Night Flier’, a perv abducts a child and the child’s angry grandfather comes looking for them. Okay.
The Moving Finger
Bad things happen to a nice man when a finger pokes out of the plughole in his bathroom sink. This was good and funny.
In a world where zombies are rampaging, a woman waits to give birth on a remote island. This was good.
“Screams. Sounds like a toothless old man sucking up mashed potatoes.”
A couple visit a small town and are warned about rainy season, they don’t listen. This is excellent.
“Dairy farmers in Willow knew all about rainy season and had no wish to lose their milkers to the hordes of leaping, carnivorous toads. What in hell would you tell the insurance company?”
The Ten O’Clock People
Smokers realise some of their co-workers are monsters. Good.
In a small suburb of London, bad things happen. This is a good Lovecraftian tale.
“It was quite bad that summer. Quite bad. There were a lot of us who were afraid they might break through.”
“Sixty lost in underground horror.”
The House On Maple Street
The four Bradbury children learn something strange is going on in their house. They soon realise it is a way to rid themselves and their downtrodden mother of their vile stepfather. Excellent.
The Doctor’s Case
Dr Watson solves a case before his famous friend. Excellent.
“It was just the way he was made.”
Umney’s Last Case
A noir PI in an unchanging LA discovers he is the creation of a bitter writer who wants to steal his life. This was excellent.
“You can call it LA in 1994 if you want to; I call it hell.”
“Shooting a coked-up fashion plate named Dunninger who had killed three hopheads in the aftermath of a Hollywood dope party.”