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Book Reviews: The Fog + The Fire + The Late Show + The Hole

The Fog by Caroline B Cooney

Book 1 in the ‘Losing Christina’ trilogy. Christian leaves Burning Fog isle to attend school on the mainland. She and some friend stay in an inn run by Mr and Mrs Shevvington who are also principle and English teacher at the local school respectively.

From the start things go wrong. The Shevvington’s accuse Christina of being a liar and of being violent and disturbed. They turn people against her. Fellow island girl Anya has been driven to a breakdown by the Shevvington’s. But the more Christina tries to tell people what is going on, the more she is ignored and dismissed. Nobody else can see the devils lurking in plain sight. Her parents turn their backs on her, the Shevvington’s encourage school bullying and Christina fights to save Anya and herself.

This is a good but disturbing tale about bullying and slow attrition and gradual wearing down of self esteem.

The Fire by Caroline B Cooney

This is the third in the ‘Losing Christina’ trilogy. The second book ‘The Snow’ was a boring mess and a virtual copy of book one. Christina is tormented and isolated some more. The Shevvington’s continue their hate campaign against Christina and encourage classicism and brand her an arsonist.

Christina tries to get her obnoxious bullying love interest to help her, but he ignores her. Christina tries to help another girl who was driven to madness by the Shevvington’s. Everybody dismisses Christina and even when the vile couple are finally unmasked, there are no apologies. This was okay.

The Late Show by John Douglas

From 1994 comes this pulp horror novel with a ridiculous lurid cover. Bill Anders runs a flea pit cinema in a dead end town. He is an embittered old man who longs for the pre-1960 good old days. He hates modern movies and teenagers so when he gets possessed by an eldritch abomination, he decides to turn an all night horrorthon into a mass murder opportunity. Can a loser and the local foul thug save the day?

This is a boring mess populated by jackass characters and reeks of misogyny. It is full of proof reading errors, misspellings and mistakes. It is also full of horribly dated 90’s UK pop culture references: Michael Barrymore, New Order (?), Paul Gascoigne, New Faces (?), Poison, Barry Norman, Beadle’s About, cassette singles, call boxes, Crowded House (?), British Home Store (?) and Siouxsie.

The Hole by Guy Burt

Originally published as ‘After The Hole’ in 1993 and reprinted and retitled to tie in with the 2001 movie that starred Thora Birch, Desmond Harrington, Laurence Fox and Keira Knightley. This is the tale of Mike, Alex, Geoff, Liz and Alex who agree to be locked in a forgotten windowless cellar below their deserted school for three days. The prank is the plan of school joker Martyn who says it is an ideal way to avoid the geography field trip. Three days pass but Martyn never returns.

This slim novella is gripping and sinister and the twist ending is only suggestive of something truly wrong and twisted that took place at a boarding school. This is very good.

Best Lines:
“I didn’t realize - what he might be capable of doing, until it was already happening.”

“The air in the Hole was not so good any more. The smell from the lavatory was beginning to thicken in the main room as well.”

“Of course Martyn won’t let us out.”

“He’s walking around out there, acting normally, while we’re starving to death.
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review

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