Lazy Saturday Review: Beneath the Lake by Christopher Ransom

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy and concentrate less on the plot and writing and more on my general feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

beneaththelake
Title: Beneath the Lake
Author: Christopher Ransom
Series: N/A
Edition: Kindle, 449 pages
Publication Details: September 10th 2015 by Sphere
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

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Purchase

Thirty Years Ago: On a camping trip by a remote lake, the Mercer family enjoyed the vacation of a lifetime – until a violent tragedy forced them to make a decision that would haunt them for ever.

This Summer: When the younger Mercers learn their father is dying, the family reunites at the lake, seeking a second chance to put their lives back together. But something is waiting . . .
Four Days of Hell: Also arriving at the lake are estranged son Raymond Mercer and an alluring stranger, Megan, both ignorant of the family’s secrets. Within hours, they are all trapped in a relentless nightmare and fighting for their lives. Some places are better left. Some secrets are better forgotten. Some people are better dead.

Review

Oh, I wanted to like this so much…but it was a bit of a let down. I really liked Ransom’s debut The Birthing House, but I’ve tried a few of his other books and they haven’t had the same impact on me…(that was one creep-ass read). Unfortunately, Beneath the Lake was a similar story for me.

It started off so well! The opening was full of unexplained, extremely bizarre happenings which urged me to read on. Then we are catapulted 30 years ahead without knowing what actually happened that day at the lake- but knowing it was something terrible- and now the estranged Mercer family are planning a reunion there.

It all sounds good right? Well, it was for a while, but intrigue turned to boredom somewhere in the middle and I found it a struggle to get to the end. It just fizzled out for me I’m afraid.

I thought this had an interesting plot, but it peaked too soon, giving way to bad pacing. It did succeed in keeping me guessing for a while, and I did detect a constant uneasiness, but it just wasn’t enough to keep me hooked.

unicorn rating 2

Horns by Joe Hill

horns
Title: Horns
Author: Joe Hill
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 437 pages
Publication Details: June 2nd 2011 by Gollancz
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from a friend.

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Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with one hell of a hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

Once, Ig lived the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned American musician, and the younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, Ig had security and wealth and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more – he had the love of Merrin Williams, a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.
Then beautiful, vivacious Merrin was gone – raped and murdered, under inexplicable circumstances – with Ig the only suspect. He was never tried for the crime, but in the court of public opinion, Ig was and always would be guilty.

Now Ig is possessed with a terrible new power – with just a touch he can see peoples’ darkest desires – to go with his terrible new look, and he means to use it to find the man who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It’s time for a little revenge; it’s time the devil had his due.

Review

I saw the movie adaptation of Horns when it came out and really enjoyed it, despite not really liking Daniel Radcliffe as a leading man, and it really made me want to read the book.

I usually hate doing it that way round and will usually avoid the book if I’ve already seen a movie or TV version, but I’m so glad I gave Horns a go. It was pretty batshit, but I loved it.

Ig is a pretty troubled guy. His high-school girlfriend, Merrin – the love of his life, his one and only GF who he plans on marrying was raped and murdered, and the whole town is convinced it was by Ig’s hands when they discover that Merrin was planning to leave him.

At the beginning of the book (and the film), Ig wakes up feeling hella rough after yet another night of heavy drinking and casual sex…nothing new there, until he looks in the mirror and see that he’s grown horns overnight, and things get weirder and weirder from there on out.

Horns was definitely an experience. The first page was one of the best openers to a story I’ve ever read. I was stunned, and that’s after seeing the film and knowing what to expect. So good. I loved Joe Hill’s writing style; it was dark and delicious, with a brilliant black humour weaving through it.

The book explores what demonising someone can result in, and I loved the dark themes running through it. There is no ‘good Vs evil’ in Horns, it’s more like evil Vs the lesser evil. We are all evil in some ways, after all.

The movie seemed to stay pretty faithful to the book, which is great, but I definitely found the book even more sinister and mysterious. The only down side was that I lost interest a tad towards the end – I felt like it could have finished earlier!

However, I have the feeling that Horns is just the first of many Joe Hill books that I’ll enjoy.

unicorn rating 4