Saturday 6 April 2019

The A-Z Blog Challenge, Letter F

Letter F of My Favourite Books by title
Three authors this time because all three need mentioning!!
But one genre - Horror first is Fear Nothing, from Dean Koontz, an American Horror writer. Here's the blurb:

Christopher Snow is athletic, handsome enough, intelligent, romantic, funny. But his whole life has been affected by xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare genetic disorder that means his skin and eyes cannot be exposed to sunlight. Like all Xpers, Chris lives at night - and has never ventured beyond his hometown of Moonlight Bay, a place of picturesque beauty and haunting strangeness; he knows it as no one else can possibly know it, is intimate with its shadows and darkest hours. Despite the limitations imposed by nature, he has always been determined to lead the fullest life and, with the help of family and friends, he has on the whole succeeded.

But for Chris - and all the inhabitants of Moonlight Bay - a terrible change is about to happen; a change of potentially catastrophic proportions.

Startling, mysterious, moving, Fear Nothing is a compulsive masterpiece of tension from Dean Koontz, whose internationally bestselling novels have sold over 200 millions copies worldwide and garnered extraordinary critical acclaim.

Dean Koontz is another big name Horror writer, and I came to him quite late, and he is actually one of the few authors I enjoy but don't own everything they've written - why?

1) He has so many books! (in excess of 45 and I only own 7!)
2) He tends to repeat the same characters/personalities, so if you read too many they get a bit samey.

However, he is a great horror writer, with superb story lines and this one is my favourites. It has a sequel called Sieze the Night, but this one captured me the most because of the characters - which may seem odd after saying they get samey, but in this one they are really well rounded - and not just human characters, but a dog too!

Besides the main character in this book, who is unable to to go outside except at night, he has a friend who is a surfer dude and a dog who he finds out is not just a dog, and they come straight off the page bringing humour and warmth, lightening the darker sides - and don't worry there is plenty of darker side!

Koontz also plays with the idea of animal testing and developing animal intelligence. The concept fascinated me and it was delivered in both a dark and light way in this novel.

*** second is Fluke from James Herbert. Here's the blurb: 

He was a stringy mongrel, wandering the streets of the city. Driven by a ravenous hunger and hunting a quarry he could not define. But he was something more. Somewhere in the depths of his consciousness was a memory clawing it's way to the surface, tormenting him, refusing to let him rest. the memory of what he once had been......

A man......

This book is unique in that it is a dog who remembers his existence as a man and tries to find his family. James Herbert writes from the dog's point of view and in such a way that you forget it is a dog, and don't find the concept difficult to conceive.

It's one of the few books where writing from an animal's perspective is done well and believably - with the exception of the book above (Fear Nothing).

In my youth I read several books where they tried to put across stories where animals had the same intelligence as a human, or were somehow possessed by a human, but none of them worked like Fluke. For its time, it was original and quite a breakthrough. He created something unique and it made him stand out from the crowd.

*** third is Firestarter, another Stephen King novel. Here's the blurb.

The Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka "The Shop") never anticipated that two participants in their research program would marry and have a child. Charlie McGee inherited pyrokinetic powers from her parents, who had been given a low-grade hallucinogen called "Lot Six" while at college. Now the government is trying to capture young Charlie and harness her powerful firestarting skills as a weapon.

You sick of me sharing King's novels yet? Well I had to add this one as it is has a special place in my heart: this book was the one that got me hooked on Stephen King's books and become a constant reader.

Why? Because he starts this book right in the middle of the story, which was unique to me then and is actually now recommended as a way to write. The story then unfolds around it and you get to find out what is going on with Charlie and her dad as it does. I also like the twists and turns in this novel, when you expect it to go one way but it doesn't.

In the modern day, the TV series Stranger Things is definitely a nod to this book - along with many others, like Scanners - and I feel it has influenced a lot of writing and storylines, as much as the Matrix has. King was the first to breakout using these themes and ideas with Carrie, but for me Firestarter delivered it much better.

And if you are sick of me raving about King's works, don't worry, he's skipping the next couple of letters.😉

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