(Photo of Stephen King and son, Joe Hill)
I'm reading (well, one is an audio book) three very different books right now and, not unexpectedly, I find myself having very different reactions to them. As my sidebar indicates, I'm actually involved with four books at the moment but I've not picked up one of them for several weeks now, so I don't consider it to be active at this point.
I'm about 25% of the way through the audio book version of Paul Doiron's The Poacher's Son, a book about a Maine game warden whose poaching father is on the run in the Maine woods, suspected of having played a part in the gunning down of a policeman and a businessman. The story is interesting so far, though certainly not exceptional to this point, but I am really taking a dislike to the voice and delivery of the book's reader, John Bedford Lloyd. Lloyd's monotone delivery is fine for short periods but is dull and annoying for anything more than ten or fifteen minutes at a go. Lloyd's tone changed so drastically from the end of Disc 1 to the beginning of Disc 2 that, for a few seconds, I thought a new narrator had taken over the job. It turns out, though, that some anonymous sound engineer failed to keep the recordings set at the same parameters. I'm hoping this one gets better - and there's still lots of time for that to happen.
I'm about two-thirds of the way through Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross. This is an interesting look at the marriages of three men: one suspected of having murdered his wife by forcing her to eat something she was extremely allergic to and the two detectives trying to build a case against him. An interesting twist to this one is that one of the detectives is Sam Sheppard, the former doctor who had once been convicted of the murder of his own wife (based on the real Sam Sheppard's story). This is a well written novel and it is, by far, the most "literary" of the three books. I have a pretty high opinion of it so far and, depending on how the book plays out, this one should receive a high rating. It is, by the way, a debut novel, one apparently in the works for more than eight years.
And then there's Joe Hill's Horns, a horror novel about a young man who suddenly sprouts a nice set of devil's horns atop his head. The horns cause those exposed to them to share their innermost thoughts and wishes with the young man, often leading to disgusting admissions and truths he really does not want to hear about. Most of you know that Joe Hill is Stephen King's son and I'm starting to think that Joe has analyzed his father's work to the extent that his own writing is almost indistinguishable from his father's anymore. This is an ebook I downloaded from my library or I probably would not be reading it. As it is, at 50% of the way through the book, I'm still wondering why I'm bothering with it. Frankly, I'm finding that it is aimed at a whole different reading audience than the one I'm part of - and that "horror" has long since ceased to horrify or scare me at all. There's just too much content of the "gross out" variety to impress me that the book has much merit, and I'm only continuing it to find out the origin of the horns and whether the main character will finally shed them. At most, this will probably earn a 3.0 rating, maybe even a bit less.
I haven't abandoned a book in a good while, and seldom abandon them when at least 25% of the way through them, but Horns and The Poacher's Son are testing me.