Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Review: Like Death by Tim Waggoner

Like Death by Tim Waggoner

I have read lots of short stories by Mister Waggoner but this was my first time reading a full novel. I have very mixed feelings on the book. I personally loved it, thought it was an excellent mind fucking horror novel, but it goes off the rails a little bit at the end.

Some of the reviews I read on line have complained that the book doesn’t have enough plot, the people who say that didn’t read far enough. Infact if I had any problem with the book is that the plot becomes far too complicated towards the end. With too many threads and ideas. I didn’t mind but I could see how casual reader might get confused by the knotting twists and turns the book takes. The last 100 pages of the book introduces many interesting concepts and ideas, but i just thought a simpler approach to end would have helped.

The story is about Scott Raymond a man recently separated from his wife and son. He is crime writer who throws himself into his work, investigating the case of missing young girl Miranda Turner. While looking into the case he meets a girl by the same name who is a few years older. She seems oddly obsessed with Scott. His marriage is getting worse not better and he can’t seem to stop helpself from flirting no matter how wrong he knows it is. The young woman who seems interested in his case, and doesn't seem to mind dragiing him closer to the frayed ends of sanity.

Scott begins to have delusions and as this slow burn horror novel starts unfold the reality of comes into question. This is one of the best unreliable narrator novels I have read in some time. For the first two thirds of the novel it felt like horror novel written by Phillip K. Dick and then the last third felt like Clive Barker trip into a dark fantasy realm.

I feel like Waggoner tried to pack too many ideas into the last act of the novel, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to serious horror fans. I think a simpler end while less surprising could have felt a little more solid and in some ways more horrific. Find out for yourself. It’s one of the best novels Leisure put out. This is also a rare case where i really liked the cover art of this Leisure edition. Most important is Waggoner sold me on his other books as I intend to read more.

No comments: