Scott Nicholson is an accomplished, mature writer, and so prolific that surely he seldom, if ever, experiences writer's block! Additionally, he is so not a prima donna writer that he collaborates very successfully with many other authors, weaving seamless narratives that excite, thrill, and delight their readers. When I set out to read-and review-a Scott Nicholson novel, my only dilemma is "Which one do I read first?"
Delightful! Lyrical prose-horror viewed through the kaleidoscope of realism and shifting reality-finely tuned characterization-and a pace that allows no stopping nor turning back-another Scott Nicholson gem! Every one of Author Nicholson's books I've read has been a winner, but some are even beyond exceptional, and "Creative Spirit" is one of these. I absolutely could not turn away from this book-I felt as if I was devouring it rather than reading it.
This is not a novel in which the horror begins up front: rather, like the little cat feet of a fog, the horror creeps along almost silently, waiting in the backdrop. On the forefront of the stage is a hundred-year-old mansion, with a powerful, wealthy founder who willed his estate to be a perpetual artist's retreat. Why? Most of the artists don't ponder, but are happy to enjoy the sightseeing and the opportunity to get away-and to exhibit their egos and vanity. But the mansion-and the entire estate-are a crucible where emotions fire up and spirits roam. No one but a very exclusive few understand this mansion's secrets.
Unlike "Creative Spirit," "Disintegration" is in your face horror-graphic, gory, repulsive. Yet, like a highway collision, the reader just can't look away, but must keep focusing on the story, racing through those pages to see what happens next, to whom, and how. "Disintegration" is gritty, not lyrical; cut-to-the-bone and then some, visceral. "Disintegration" deals with the kind of living nightmares we all pray never occur. It peeks in at the gory underbelly of horror, the death that lives just below the surface of our lives, the unexpected and un-forewarned events we cannot avoid. Yet, like a highway collision, the reader just can't look away, but must keep focusing on the story, racing through those pages to see what happens next, to whom, and how. I guess I should not refer to it as "horror"; the author terms it a "mystery thriller". Yet I found the events frightening enough to be considered horrifying, as is the imagery-graphic and gory. I will say this-"Disintegration" gave me the first nightmare I'd had in a while, and although it didn't cleave to the book, there was plenty of horror in it to remind me of its source. The reader poises involuntarily on the cutting edge of the abyss with this novel-I recommend not listening it while you drive, or reading it at work, or while you're cooking, because you're not going to be able to break yourself away till the end.
Does life imitate art, or art imitate life? Do journalists report news-are they "news-breakers," or "news-makers"? Is anything acceptable in the pursuit of sales and ratings? How far can we go before the ends no longer justify the methods employed?
Meet John Moretz, new hire for the Crime Beat at a barely maintaining newspaper in a small Appalachian community, where the scenery is gorgeous, and life is steady but seldom exciting. That was true-before Moretz appeared on the scene, but from almost the moment of his first day as the crime newshound, trouble explodes and the crime rate in the county increases astronomically. So does circulation, and so does his editor's opinion of Moretz-for a while. But all good things must come to an end-and editor Howard begins to notice some strange events in the arena of reporter Moretz; news that even law enforcement hasn't discovered, odd behavior, temperature drops-and Howard starts wondering if he'd really make the right choice which he selected Moretz over the several other applicants for the "Crime Beat."
Author Scott Nicholson weaves yet another enterprising page-turner, one with plenty of graphic, yet not gory detail, and a winner in his narrator, Howard, the newspaper's editor. In John Moretz he also creates quite an intriguing and charismatic character, gently persuading the reader to wonder "just how far will this reporter go in pursuit of a story?" "Crime Beat" is another not-to-be-missed Scott Nicholson novel-and will leave readers pondering each time they pick up a newspaper, or read an issue online!
I had a little trouble easing into this story (I thought I was dealing with the usual adolescent vampire angst) but by the end of Chapter Two, my intrigue was captured, and my interest was off and running. I'm not an aficionado of vampires of any stripe-but I am of thrillers and mysteries and horrors, and was gratified to find my interests fulfilled. Once I became hooked into the story, the subtle clues pointing to vampire nature became likeable and intriguing. I must say that for a person who dislikes vampires as much as I, this novel was quite enjoyable. I wouldn't mind reading it for a second time, even. There are even gentle touches of humour, found at the uproarious contrast of our vampire narrator, and the goings-on in the world around him-and there are totally unexpected, world-upending surprises and plot revelations, too. I give the three authors all credit for managing readers' suspension of disbelief so well: given the multiplicity of real-life details (the narrator, for example, attends night school and drives an older-model Mustang), I had no difficulty whatsoever accepting the plot line and characters as realistic. My only problem came at the end (following that seriously kicking denouement!): "Oh, why couldn't it last two or three more books?"
Scott Nicholson Library, Vol. 4 (Boxed Set)