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Book Reviews: Growth + Burning Paradise + Abracadaver + Before The Kilt

Growth by Jeff Jacobson
It will eat you alive.
From the author of ‘Sleep Tight’ comes this tale of unbound frankenfood. Genetically modified corn contains a strain of fungus and anyone exposed becomes a hapless incubator for the pestilential substance. The small town of Parker’s Mill is ground zero for an outbreak that is almost Becketian in its starkness. This is a good horror, reminiscent of early Stephen King.

This has GM corn as a terrible idea, a hard belly female police chief killing monsters, a bereaved father has a strange martyred kind of logic, a bully is a domineering presence, a fixer lies and tries to make it alright and then resents those who refuse to be rescued and a sheriff has an iron belief in his own verbosity. This enjoyable novel has a nicely ominous ending.

Best Lines:
“Men are on their way. And we do not want to be here when they come.”

“We going to some kinda weird sex party?”

“Of course it isn’t legal. We have three.”

Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson
From the author of ‘Mysterium’ comes this tale of world at peace since the Great Armistice of 2014. A world where human progress has been interfered with and directed by something otherworldly. Despite an intriguing premise, this bores. Various people systemically stalk and harass while conversing in snippy, irritated and impatient tones. There is hostility, paranoid fantasies and self-aggrandizing gestures by an unappealing slut with no redeeming features.

There is no palpable sense of suffocation just a lot of people with unshakable convictions that random events are a secret code to them alone. I felt coruscating disappointment. I don’t care about the petrifaction of humans or this unfocused heavily concepted mess. I felt disaffected after reading this and nothing in it is genuinely menacing.

Best Line:
“Beware the attention of strangers.”

Abracadaver by Laura Renick
After the rancidly bad ‘The Misfortune Cookie’, the ‘Esther Diamond’ series returns to form as she and her gang hunt down a corpse reviving demon. Also sadly Esther continues to be forever vulnerable to being a wretched victim of the astounding awful Lopez who acts like Esther should have grateful delight that he deigned to speak to her, gets angry at her voicing resentments, suffers embarrassment disorder that he had sex with her and makes it clear her role is to make him feel good about himself. Why does Esther keep placating him? Why is she still inexplicably chasing a man who is absolutely wrong for her and is mentally unfit? Lopez misinterprets her every deed, unceremoniously dumps her every other week, discredits her every word and is a fulsome ass. Apart from Lopez, this was good.

Best Lines:
“Almost as elegant as the floor of a public bathroom.”

“I got squat’s rejects.”

“A car breaking down is a sign of the demonic?”

“I didn’t conspire!”

“Aging out of the underwear game.”

Before The Kilt: How The Irish and Scots dressed in the 16th century by Gerald A. John Kelly
This is a badly written ranting take on Gaelic dress. It is full of author tracts, out of focus pictures, misspellings and is a sadly typical self-published embarrassment.
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