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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

Pretty Good

The Ruins - Scott Smith

Some people are going to think I rated this too low, but supernatural suspense thrillers are not my game so it loses a star just for that. As its type though, it's pretty damn good. An in depth review would reveal too much to the potential reader, so let's just say once you get started it will be hard to put down.

 

The bogeyman in this sort of story is irrelevant, werewolves, rabid dogs, zombies, it's all the same. Pick one and get on with it. There's one here, and while not the most original, it's effective especially when given a twist. Clark Ashton Smith and William Hope Hodgson wrote stories using this particular trope way long ago.

 

The real trick in a novel like this is developing characters, even more than a plot, this book is character driven and Smith is great at getting in the heads of these people in a believable way. And we care about them even as the body count starts to mount. He actually gets to some deep issues about faith, fear, and the nature of death. We become empathetic, we get inside each character. Smith also does a good job of not making one of the characters an obvious "bad guy" in the group, too selfish, too bossy, etc. This leaves the bogeyman and his friends free to ravage our little jungle clan here and not reveal who's going to get it in what order and who (if anyone) survives. They all matter to us about equally.

 

Interestingly there aren't really any ruins in it, so don't be expecting some hidden cursed Mayan Temple to appear, it remains hidden in the jungle in some other novel.

I liked it and had a fun time reading it.