I hate to say, I TOLD YOU SO, but Mark LaFlamme belongs right up there with the masters of horror: KING, KOONTZ, SAUL, JACKSON, and all the rest! I said that after reading his first novel, THE PINK ROOM, and I stand by those words.
The opening paragraph of his third novel pulled me in as easily as a fisherman hooking a batch of seaweed! Does this grab you in the same way?:
<< The ivy came for him first. A common ivy that hung over its pot like the hair of a mythical beast. A tendril dropped onto the back of his satin robe, snaked up over his shoulders, and coiled around his ear. >>
Ooooooooh ... creepy! If that isn't great horror writing, I challenge you to show me better.
VEGETATION is a story of revenge, a psychological fantasy horror as much as a character study of an arrogant, pompous, self-centered man, Bertram Luce. Luce has antagonized the entire plant kingdom by a heinous crime against an environmentalist who loved and nurtured plants.
And just how can plants get revenge on a human? What can they do to him? How many forms and varieties of vegetation does it take to get the best of him? In answering these questions, author LaFlamme captures the essence of each plant, taking his readers on the adventure of their lifetime.
VEGETATION is an unusual book because there is no protagonist, just an arrogant, unlikable antagonist who's getting his "just desserts," so to speak ... or should I say "just salad?" I suppose, technically, the plants themselves could be considered the "protagonists" of this book ... or even Gladys Fogerty, manager of a plant nursery, who's the first to notice trouble in her plant kingdom.
It's obvious that LaFlamme did extensive research when writing this novel. Not only did I enjoy a nail-biter of a story that kept me turning pages till dawn, but I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about flora; it's amazing how many products use plants in their production.
Kudos to Mark LaFlamme for writing such a high-concept, unusual book and making it come alive in believable fashion. This would, indeed, make a fine horror feature film--but only the best animators would be able to create the devious vegetation that springs full-blown from this author's awesome imagination.
I loved his debut novel, THE PINK ROOM, but I do notice that his writing in VEGETATION has become a little more clear and crisp.
The only drawback for me is that I doubt if I'll be able to eat my "veggies" for a few days ... or weeks ... or months. I wonder if the author is having that same problem?
Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, 2007