This is how crazy it can be in Texas. At the moment it is flirting with 80°. When I get up for my writing session tomorrow it will be on the way to the predicted low of 25° and it won’t get above 35° until noon on Friday. Yikes.
Some books stick with me more than others. One that did is The Night People by Jack Finney, author of The Body Snatchers that was turned into a film or two. Though it sounds like it might be about vampires or something of that ilk, it’s actually about neighborhood acquaintances who decide to have some nighttime adventures. It starts with one guy who has the irresistible urge to lie down in the middle of a road that’s busy in the daytime but mostly idle at night. Things progress. The friends have a picnic on the sidewalk at a strip mall. A cop gets onto their case: he is offended by their shenanigans, even though no one or nothing is being harmed. Things accelerate. The stakes are raised. I remember finding it utterly charming at the time. A paean to non-conformity.
This book came to mind as I was reading Sarah Pinborough’s magnificent The Death House last weekend. I’d heard many kudos about the novel, but I knew absolutely nothing about what it was about, by design. I went into it blind, and I loved every second of it. It’s been a long time since a book brought tears to my eyes, and this one did twice. I’m working on a full review for Onyx, but in a nutshell it’s akin to Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, with shades of Lord of the Flies and maybe even a soupçon of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The narrator is a Night Person, roaming the eponymous house while everyone else is drugged asleep. But then he meets a kindred spirit, and the adventures begin. Charming, coming of age adventures under the shadow of a known, bleak future. I haven’t been getting much reading done this year, but I set aside Saturday and read the whole thing from cover to cover. It’s that good. It doesn’t come out in the US until the fall, but it’s available in the UK now.
I got Amazon Prime recently so I could watch Bosch (well worth the cost, by the way), so I’ve been browsing through the other available offerings, and I stumbled upon Oz, about which I’d heard good things. I’ve seen the first four episodes: I see it as a precursor to Orange is the New Black. More serious than OITNB most of the time, with a marvelously over-the-top narrator, the guy who played Michael on Lost. J.K. Simmons is a nasty piece of work as the leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. I can’t believe I’ve never seen a second of this show before.
I received my contributor copies of Dead Reckonings #16 last night. Hank Wagner and I teamed up twice this time, once to talk about two books recommended by King (Christopher Golden’s Snowblind and Nick Cutter’s The Troop), and again to discuss the latest two King novels.