Sunday, June 15, 2008

All Simian until today

I'm having to oscillate between two different manuscripts at the moment. Maureen and I are going through Chapter 1 of 'The Missing'(or the first part of the novel as it doesn't really have chapters) sending copies backwards and forwards to one another. At the same time I am printing off the first version of 'DarkFather', which is being read by Madame Vin. I'm hoping the stories don't become too intertwined by accident. I would hate for the Missing Man to suddenly pop up in The Gap.

I'm also at the start of a 'get fit for the Cairngorms bike ride' regime, which was going fine until I pulled the tendons on the inside of both elbows. They have been in exaggerated spasm since last Friday causing me to walk around with my arms bent like an Orang-utan. This has resulted in Madame Vin threatening to put things just out of reach and fits of giggles when I bend simian like to pick them up. Fortunately today the arms are once more straight making me feel all evolved.

'The Reapers' is the new Charlie Parker novel only it doesn't star Bird and instead focuses its plot on Louis and Angel. I think this book has been at the back of the mind of all John Connolly readers since he introduced us to the characters in the first novel. The two characters have grown with the books but their pasts, often hinted at, has never been fully explored. This book sets the record straight allowing us to watch Louis grow from a poor marginalised southern boy in a racist society through pain and anguish which leads him to becoming a cold hearted killer who is eventually redeemed (as much as a killer for hire can be). It also shows the love and respect Angel and Louis have for one another, the bond that keeps them together and the shadowy lives they must live to protect each other.
It also introduces us to the characters in their lives, from the humble and loyal mechanic Willy and Arno, the local bar owner Nate and the dark brooding presence of Parker, who you realise is just as fearsome (if not more so) than Louis.
As ever the book is well written, cleverly plotted at a fast and rising pace. My only gripe is that the character of Bliss, yang to Louis' ying, is skipped over a little too quickly. I wanted to know more about him, for him to built up like The Collector of previous books. Not that I'm complaining because as usual Connolly has produced a brilliant and creative thriller.

Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves however was a bit of a disappointment. Gaiman I've written about before and remains one of my favourite writers but this fell flat in both ideas and the language used. I haven't read anything by Reaves before so have nothing to compare it to. I don't know if it was the fact of co-writing a book that meant their individual ideas and voices were lost in the joint effort but I just found it lacking in imaginative sparks.
The Subterranean volume is as always beautifully produced, however there are a couple of glaringly obvious editing mistakes.

Finally I finished the week reading 'Arkham Asylum,' a 25 th Anniversary release of the Grant Morrisson and Dave Mckean comic. I first read this over a decade ago and though the story works only in fits and starts the art work is amazing.

Read this week:
The Reapers by John Connolly
Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrisson and Dave Mckean

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