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Cradle of the Dead / Dark Waves Paperback – 30 Sep 2014
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Cradle of the Dead is very well written and some of the descriptions are beautifully poetic, such as 'the narrow windows blinded by their cataracts of rusting mesh.'Paul is easy to like, even if his job isn't. It has everything a good horror should have - characters you actually care about who aren't cardboard cutouts that are purely there to die. Even the gangsters are fleshed out, rather than being stereotypical bad guys that make you champion for their brutal demise. It is also scary without falling into the excessive gore trap. We won't give anything away about the ending, but we loved it. We weren't expecting it to end that way and we're glad it did.
We've become disillusioned with a lot of modern horror, which is either not scary at all, or uses gore purely for shock value. Roger avoids both of these and has written an excellent horror story which we would gladly read again. We can't wait to read his next book.
And the juxtaposition of this terrible place, the bosses menacing presence and the fear of his underlings, and the fact that this all takes place on Christmas Eve makes this all the more gruesome.
A very good crime story with a horrifying twist in the best horror tradition.
Dark Waves combines ghosts with science and does it very well. Infrasound and the possibility of it being the cause of many so-called Hauntings is an interest of mine; so I was intrigued to read this one. And I wasn't disappointed. The author does an excellent job of explaining the science in a very readable way with out too much 'info dumping'. Even I understood it.
The Devon pub and its 'haunted' cellar will certainly give you chills as the atmosphere makes the investigators doubt their sanity. Even the ghost hunter and sound engineer begins to wonder what's going on.
The story builds to a very satisfying and dramatic climax.
I highly recommend both these books.
If you get the paperback version, you also have the added bonus of a double bill with Roger Jackson's Cradle of the Dead. In sharp contrast to Kearns' Hitchcock-like introspective suspense, Jackson's story goes for the full-on John Carpenter shock-horror-out-there-run-for-your-bleedin'-life nastiness ! So that's something for everyone then... get your hands on a copy now folks.
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Now, you might wonder if this would get tricky, given ebooks and all. Would I have to upend my screen? Read upside down? As it happens, no. And, bonus, it removes any angst over which way to shelve it!
What it does mean is two quick, pulpy-fun reads in one! They share a similar overall theme of places with bad and/or haunted histories – an abandoned asylum in Cradle of the Dead, and a quaint old inn in Dark Waves – and the ways the evils of the past can reach out for revenge.
I initially thought, based on title alone, that Dark Waves would turn out to be one of those oceanic horror stories, with adrift lifeboats, sharks, starvation, etc. Instead, I got The Dawlish Inn, and since I’m a history geek with a particular fondness for the British Isles, hey, that was even better! I lingered, reading and re-reading the descriptions and details of the inn, far longer than any normal person probably would have done.
The inn, of course, is believed to be haunted. The protagonist is not exactly a ghost-hunter, but a scientific acoustic engineer – those waves? sound waves, durr – who’s been studying the physical effects certain vibrations can have. By disrupting those, he’s ended more than a few ‘hauntings.’ He expects that his new assignment to check out this inn will be no different.
(also, the chocolate? brilliant, love it; a legit psychopharmalogical explanation for post-Dementor treatment!)
Cradle of the Dead takes the abandoned-asylum setting but doesn’t toss in urban explorers or anybody digging into whatever atrocities went on there … it’s a handy, isolated place for a local crime boss to bring the people he needs to deal with. There’s even a potter’s field for body disposal.
Of course, when the crime boss decides one of his own men has to be eliminated, that poor guy already has a good idea of what’s waiting for him. But, little do any of them know that Alderville Asylum has been harboring its own other secrets, and the time has come for those secrets to be revealed. Soon, the chase is on, as would-be victims try to escape their captors, and the captors themselves are beset by worse threats.
Each book alone is a worthy, enjoyable read. Together as a package deal, you definitely won’t be going wrong.