Billy Summers

Billy Summers is a professional hit-man ready to retire after his final job. Except everything goes sideways, and things don’t turn out quite as he planned. If this summary sounds like something you’ve read or watched before, it’s probably because it is. The plot of Billy Summers isn’t anything new or revolutionary, and King showcases…

Spartan Gold

Married treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo stumble upon a globe-spanning mystery involving legendary figure Napoleon Bonaparte, some lost wine, Xerxes, and a lost treasure. With this premise, I went into Spartan Gold ready for an exciting adventure. Unfortunately, the only thing I got was disappointment. We’ll start with Sam and Remi, since they’re our…

Pirate Latitudes

Pirate Latitudes started out fine, and was interesting in the way that historical fiction books usually are. However, it went downhill rather quickly. The characters are all bland and completely devoid of any qualities that real humans possess, not to mention absolutely cliche in every way imaginable. Women exist simply to seduce men and practice…

The Removed

There are some books that are so bad, so disappointing, so unimaginably pointless that they kill your desire to read for a time. They leech away any hope, any light, any happiness that you once gleaned from the hobby. The Removed is one such book. It’s difficult to know where to start, so I’ll just…

Galveston

Life is hard, and it is not fair. Bad things happen to good people for no reason at all, and bad people rarely get what they deserve. These are the prominent themes of Galveston, brought to light through the story of Roy and the people he encounters along the way. I honestly wish that I…

Cloud of Sparrows

The year is 1861, and Japan has been opened to the West for the first time in two centuries. Foreigners bringing Christianity and Western ideologies threaten the culture and very identity of Japan, and the Great Lords fight against one another and against the Shogun. A country steeped in tradition is changing rapidly, and those…

The Devil All the Time

The aptly named The Devil All the Time is a brutal look at poverty, depravity, and faith. Packed with a cast of horrible characters that do awful things, this story is unrelentingly bleak and grotesque. While the plot is interesting, and the way it is told even more-so, one has to wonder if Pollock’s depiction of rural…

The Heatwave

Well, count The Heatwave among reasons why I don’t want to have children. Two seemingly normal people come together to make a child that is a psychopath, without any kind of reason or explanation. A child that purposefully torments her mother, kills animals, tries to murder her little sister? No thanks. I’ll remain childless. The Heatwave is great…

Blacktop Wasteland

Can a man ever really change who he is? That is the overarching question that Blacktop Wasteland strives to answer. Beauregard is a hardened criminal, guilty of theft and murder and known as one of the best getaway drivers there is. At the beginning of Blacktop Wasteland, he’s attempted to put that life behind him in a desperate…

The Fighter

Every time I pick up one of Michael Farris Smith’s novels, I am amazed at his ability to craft characters and story. The amount of depth and emotion and complexity he is able to weave into his stories is difficult to find in other authors. Having read Blackwood first, I was eager to delve into The Fighter and get…

Rivers

Rivers tells a tale of a world where humanity has finally caused the natural order to deviate, and hurricanes pummel large portions of the coastal United States. The rain hasn’t stopped for years, and nothing remains except cold and water and despair. Michael Farris Smith builds an atmosphere here that is simultaneously engrossing and terrifying, the…

True Grit

My love for Westerns stems from a feeling of nostalgia for a time that I never experienced. Romanticized or not, the American West elicits a feeling of wanderlust and freedom that is sorely missing in today’s world. To ride out into the setting sun, striking out across the plains and prairies in search of fortune…