17 February 2010

18. Dark Hollow

Dark Hollow - Brian Keene

I decided I wanted to read a horror novel. I remember way back when reading Stephen King books and really like some of them. The blurbs on the back of this one struck me as interesting. Especially the one that says the author is "the next Stephen King."

First of all, why do we need a next Stephen King? If you were an author, would you want to be the "next" anyone? Wouldn't you rather be known for writing books people loved to read and then someone else could be the next you? I realized too late that the "next Stephen King" really means that the writing is not as good as King's because it does not stand up and make you take notice on its own merits. Stephen King's writing did.

This book is about a group of guys living in a quiet neighborhood in semi-rural Pennsylvania who get caught up in some supernatural evilness happening in the woods.

The main character is an author himself. He writes mystery novels. I found it interesting that the author of this book had the author in his book say that all authors write from their own experiences. Everything an author writes about has a piece of himself in it. It may even be subconscious in some instances, but all authors write from "what they know". That being the case, then Brian Keene probably has some pretty strange sexual preferences.

First sentence in the book..."It was on the first day of spring that Big Steve and I saw Shelly Carpenter giving head to the hairy man."

As soon as I read that sentence I thought I was in for a really stupid story that dragged on and on and on. One of those books that I just can't wait for the agony to end. One that I would have to trudge through like I was wearing weighted boots while walking in foot deep mud. But, the book was never that bad. I guess that line was supposed to be some kind of hook to get people immediately interested. It almost worked the opposite way with me. I thought it was a little too "in your face".

So, as the story goes, there is this satyr (ancient goat man god thing) named Hylinus who plays these pipes. The pipes make women come to him and have all kinds of sex. They lose all inhibition and desire nothing more than to have any form of sex they can with this goat man guy.

Oh, and there are all these spirits or demons or something that have possessed the trees in the forest. They protect Hylinus. They move around. They attack. They suck your bodily fluids out like they are drinking you. Stuff like that.

There is a reason for all this. They guys figure it all out when they go to this old house where people got killed and conveniently find a diary and some magical books in a trunk in the attic. Amazing how that all just fell into place.

Then there are the heroes. The author. The elderly retired engineer. The divorced fat lonely antique dealer. The blue collar biker dude (who they learn has a nickname..."Fuckstick"...ha ha), and the 20 year old community college dropout working at Wal-Mart that wants to play video games a lot. Then there is the detective that doesn’t believe their story, but humors them and plays along. He eventually has no choice but to believe them and becomes part of the team.

Some die. Some live. In the end the goat guy gets whipped upon.

Oh, and Big Steve...he is the author's dog. He is a really large wimpy dog that turns into a hero also.

What I found interesting about the book is that it was horror, but it reminded me of something else. It was disgusting at times. It was shocking at times. It was totally unbelievable at times. What was funny? The whole time I was reading it the relationship of the five guys cracked me up. The way they interacted with each other. The conversations they had. It reminded me of the movie "The Burbs". I kept waiting for Corey Feldman to show up. The story was not funny. Really nothing they guys did was funny. I have no idea why I kept thinking about that movie while reading this book. Odd how the brain works sometimes.

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