Monday, 28 November 2011

Review: Chill Run by Russell Brooks

You know a publicity stunt has backfired when someone dies.
Starving author Eddie Barrow, Jr., will do anything to get a book deal with a NYC publisher. Even if it means getting caught by the media while engaging in S&M with a female celebrity as a publicity stunt. What Eddie gets instead are details of a billion dollar fraud scheme from a suicidal client who's fatally shot minutes later. Now on the run from the law and the killers, Eddie seeks help from two unlikely friends—an alcoholic and a dominatrix.
With few resources, Eddie races to clear his name, unveil the fraud scheme, and expose the killers before he becomes their next victim. (via Goodreads)

I wasn't sure what I should expect from Chill Run but I ended up really enjoying it! Eddie is the central character in this fast-paced story – he's an aspiring author who at the beginning of the story has just lost his job, his girlfriend & family ties. But things get even worse for him when he witnesses a murder & is subsequently accused of being the perpetrator. This leads to himself and his best friends to flee, and search for a way to clear Eddie's name.

So, as you can expect, Chill Run is loaded with some very unpredictable twists and turns that'll keep readers on their toes. I must admit that I wasn't sure if I liked the characters all that much at the beginning (mostly because of the publicity stunt they tried to pull), but by the end they grew on me & I began to care for them.

If you enjoy some unpredictable mystery with some well-developed characters & plot ,then pick up Chill Run. It won't disappoint!

Rating: 4 / 5

Chill Run is released on 1st December 2011. To find out more, please visit Russell's website.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Interview with K.C. Neal – author of Pyxis: The Discovery

K.C. Neal is interviewed here today as part of her blog tour to promote her new novel Pyxis. If you haven't already, please check out my review of the book. So here we go! 

Thank you for doing this, K.C.! I loved Pyxis.
Thanks so much for having me on the blog! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it.

It’s got a pretty unique concept! Please tell us a bit about this paranormal world. How did your ideas form as you began to create it?
I knew I wasn’t going to write a paranormal book with any of the usual creatures. And that wasn’t because I was trying to be different; I really didn’t think I was clever enough to put a new twist on vampires or werewolves or fairies. I’m not really sure where the idea for Pyxis came from, but the first seed of the story was the pyxis box with the bottles full of mysterious colored liquids that influenced people’s emotions. I thought the story would center around the potions, but it grew into something much larger.

Are any of the characters or places inspired by those you know in real life?
Tapestry was inspired by McCall, Idaho, a tiny mountain town on a lake where I spent many, many summer days. It’s a really important place in my own personal history, and even though I didn’t grow up in a town like Tapestry, I always wondered what it might be like. For the most part, the characters are amalgams of many different people and my own imaginings. Angeline was named after author Angeline Kace, who is a good friend of mine. They share some qualities, such as deep loyalty to their friends and great enthusiasm. Mason isn’t based on anyone specific, but he’s the kind of guy I wanted to have around when I was Corinne’s age. Sophie, who played a fairly small part in Pyxis but who you’ll see a lot more of in Alight (Pyxis Series Book 2), is kind of a blend of three different people I know who are charismatic and fun, but also outspoken to the point that they often offend people. 

Did it take long to get the book drafted and edited?
I wrote the first draft of the book in 35 days. It might sound great to write a book that quickly, but looking back I wish I’d taken more time. It had a lot of problems, and I ended up dropping entire characters and subplots, and adding new ones. During a major revision that took about three months, I rewrote probably 80% of the book. At times it felt like it was going painfully slowly, but looking back now I realize the whole process went extremely quickly by most standards: from initial idea to publication, it was almost exactly 10 months.

The cover is gorgeous! It really has the ability to encourage readers. Who designed it?
Thank you, I really love it, too. The photographer is Tiffany Mize-Carter, and the girl in the picture is actually her daughter, which I think is really cool. The artist is Claudia at Phatpuppy Art, who is incredibly talented. She’s created some of the most stunning YA covers out there, in my opinion, and I feel very fortunate to be working with her. I can’t wait to see what she does for the next two books.

What can we expect from the next book in the series? (warning: you may not want to read the answer if you haven't read the book yet!)
I know I set up a lot of questions and mysteries in Pyxis, and almost all of them will be partially or fully addressed in Alight. For example, very early in the next book you’ll find out exactly how the pyxis liquids work and what they’re for. You’ll also find out who the other Guardian is, and let’s just say it’s going to make Corinne’s life difficult. Corinne also becomes involved in a bit of a love triangle, as a new love interest is introduced. One thing that will have a profound effect on Corinne is that she’ll find out she’s not the only Pyxis in the world. It will make things easier for her in one sense--it’s always better when you know you’re not alone--but also more difficult in the sense that she’ll realize her pyramidal union is extremely inferior in terms of abilities and how tightly bonded they are. And she’ll come to understand that these weaknesses would easily get someone hurt or killed. In Alight, Corinne must bear some very heavy burdens, which will test her in many different ways. I am very excited about writing this book; it’s going to be full of revelations and confrontations!

Are there any other writing projects outside of the Pyxis series that you’re currently working on?
I’ve started writing an adult series under a pen name, but I’ll be putting that aside for a while so I can focus on writing Alight. I’m also working on a novella-length book of bonus material to accompany Pyxis. It will have the prologue to Pyxis, so you can see what happened between Mason and Corinne before Mason left for Africa. It also will include Corinne’s journal as well as something from Mason’s point of view.

Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to budding authors out there?
One, find a skilled, more experienced writer to critique your work, and don’t fear criticism; a good critique will help your writing improve by leaps and bounds. Two, an idea for a story isn’t the same as a plot; a book needs a plot and a plot needs tension and conflict, not just cool ideas. Three, read voraciously; aside from actually writing, reading is your best training.

Lastly, is there anything else you'd like to mention? 
I love to connect with people online, and in particular through Twitter. Please follow me (@KCNealTweets) and tweet at me! To celebrate the launch of Pyxis, I’m doing a Kindle giveaway through the first week of December, so please go to my blog and enter the giveaway and spread the word. And last, of course I hope you will check out Pyxis - it’s only $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks again for hosting me, Sophie!

Friday, 25 November 2011

A sobering tale and some gratitude

In honour of Thanksgiving over in the USA yesterday, I wanted to share this story. Beware though, fair readers, because this isn't a happy tale; in fact it's quite a sad one. But I was so astonished when I read it that I thought I'd post it here as a reminder to myself and to also share a little perspective. This is one of the many insightful stories found in Paulo Coelho's book Like The Flowing River.

The Dead Man Wore Pajamas by Paulo Coelho
I remember reading a piece of news on the Internet that a man was found dead in Tokyo on 10 June 2004, dressed in his pajamas.

So what? I imagine that most people who die wearing their pajamas either a) died in their sleep, which is a blessing, or b) were in the company of their relatives or on a hospital bed – death did not come quickly, so they all had time to grow used to “the undesirable one,” as Brazilian poet Manuel Bandeira called it.

The news goes on: when he died, he was in his room. So, the hospital hypothesis is out and we are left with just the possibility that he died in his sleep, without suffering any, without even realizing that he would not see the light of day.

But there is still another possibility: assault followed by death.

Those who have visited Tokyo know that the gigantic city is at the same time one of the safest places in the world. I remember once stopping to eat with my editors before taking a trip to the interior of Japan – all our suitcases were in sight on the rear seat of the car. Immediately I said that it was very dangerous, someone was sure to come along, see all those bags and make off with our clothes, documents and so on. My editor just smiled and told me not to worry – he knew of no such incident in all his long years of life (in fact, nothing happened to our suitcases, although I kept tense all through dinner).

But to return to our dead man in pajamas: there was no sign of struggle, violence or anything of the sort. In an interview, a Metropolitan Police officer stated that it was almost certainly a case of a sudden heart attack. So the hypothesis of homicide was also eliminated.

The body had been found by workers of a construction company on the second floor of a building in a housing complex that was about to be torn down. Everything led to the idea that the dead man in the pajamas, unable to find anywhere to live in one of the most densely and expensive cities in the world, had simply decided to settle where he did not have to pay any rent.

And now for the tragic part of the story: our dead man was only a skeleton dressed in pajamas. At his side was an open newspaper dated 20 February 1984; a calendar on the table nearby gave the same date.

In other words, he had been there for twenty years.

And nobody had noticed his absence.

The man was identified as a former employee of the company that had built the housing complex, where he had moved to in the early 80s soon after his divorce. He was just over fifty years on the day that all of a sudden, reading the newspaper, he left this world.

His ex-wife never sought for him. It was discovered that the company where he worked had gone bankrupt right after the building had been finished, since no apartment was sold, and so they did not find it odd that the man never turned up for his daily activities. His friends were looked up, and they put his disappearance down to the fact that he had borrowed some money and could not pay it back.

The news ends informing us that the mortal remains were delivered to the ex-wife. I finished reading the article and wondered at the last sentence: the ex-wife was still alive, and for twenty years had not even looked up her husband. What must have gone through her head? That he no longer loved her, that he had decided to remove her for ever from his life. That he had met another woman and disappeared without a trace. That life is like that, once the divorce procedures are over there is no point in carrying on a relationship that has been legally terminated. I imagine what she must have felt upon finding out the fate of the man with whom she had shared a good part of her life.

Then I thought of the dead man in his pajamas, of solitude so utter and abysmal that for twenty years nobody in this whole wide world had realized that he had simply disappeared without leaving a trace. And my conclusion is that worse than feeling hunger and thirst, worse than being jobless, suffering for love, in despair over some defeat – worse than all this is to feel that nobody, absolutely nobody in this world, cares for us.

Let us at this moment say a quiet prayer for this man and let us offer him our thanks for making us reflect on how important our friends are.

{Part 1 & Part 2 of this story taken from Paulo's blog}
How horrible is that? The man was left there for 20 years, and nobody had missed him or wondered where he was, or even worried enough about him to go and look for him! This certainly puts things into a different light for those of us who are lucky enough to have families and friends who love us and would notice our absence. There are truly people out there who have not another in the entire world.

Me, I'm always complaining because a lot of my close family live in The Philippines and Australia, and I can't see them as often as I want to. Sometimes it really sucks, but at least they're there and with modern technology 'far away' isn't really that anymore. Plus I still have a small amount of family here, and I still have my friends – I'm not really alone like the man who died in his pajamas. It's just an important time, I think, to remember what we have and what we are grateful for. So I'd like to say thanks to those I have in my life today, for being there no matter how far away you are. Mahal kita!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1 – my after-watching thoughts!

I love it when you step into a movie theatre as a person living in one world, and then a couple of hours later you emerge from it feeling as if you've just entered another. Before long, though, this spell making everything have a, ahem, dazzling quality wears off and the world is once again stale in comparison.

That's how I felt when I watched Breaking Dawn Part 1 on Saturday. Even though I didn't think the film was perfect, by the end I was completely floored! I thought the second half of it was so much better than the first. Don't get me wrong; I loved Bella and Edward's wedding, and Isle Esme was completely gorgeous, plus I thought the arrival scene with the street party in Rio was a fantastic touch (I would've died to have been Bella during those moments!)

But what saved me from checking my watch was Jacob. I've never really been a huge fan of his; in Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse (book-wise and film-wise) I thought he was whiny and overly obnoxious, and really disliked him for being so adamant about hating Edward and trying to take Bella from him. But reading (and watching) Breaking Dawn really changed that.

(Psst! If you haven't read/watched Breaking Dawn, skip this paragraph and resume at the next!) He stops being so arguably selfish and starts showing respect for Bella's decisions and even the entire Cullen family. How he stepped up to protect Bella from Sam's pack was absolutely amazing! I'd say that's my favourite part of Breaking Dawn; when he essentially moves in to the Cullen house and really gets to know all of them more. I love the moment when Carlisle and Esme say something to Jacob about protecting their family, and Jacob turns to them and agrees that he now truly can see them as a family as strong as his own. He definitely won me over right there. Oh man, and those moments when Bella was dying on the operating table? Unreal. Though perhaps a little too much blood for me but what can I say, I'm squeamish!

So now I've hopped on the Team Jacob bus! I'm never going to stop believing that Bella and Edward are meant for each other – Bella and Jacob in my mind just doesn't work. But from the perspective of which character I love the most and appreciate that Bella needs in her life to keep her own sanity in tact, that's where Jacob comes in. He's definitely a loyal werewolf and an amazing friend to have!

I can't wait for Part 2 either. Part 1 ended with the most perfect cliffhanger! Though I do worry what they're going to do with it – if they want the film to do well, they're going to have to adapt the story a whole lot to make it interesting enough. The ending to Breaking Dawn at the moment pretty much lacks the right amount of transferrable cinematic form. So that'll be interesting.

I really want to know now, you guys, whose team are you on: Team Edward, Jacob, or Switzerland? And have you seen Breaking Dawn yet? What did you think?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Review: Keeping Cooper by Samantha Masone

It was the shoes that did it...

I realize that you’re not supposed to base a major life decision on something as inconsequential as footwear, but these weren’t just any old shoes. These were my Jimmy Choo polka dot sling back sandals. As a starving college student I couldn’t afford to pay retail so I surfed eBay and scored a pair for less than half the original price. Even so, they represented a major indulgence for me; I saved my tip money for two solid months to pay for those suckers.

And then Johnnie ruined them and threw them out.

Maybe I should be grateful on some level that Johnnie did what he did, but I haven’t managed to evolve to that point yet. I’ve done a lot of healing and a lot of growing, as my shrink used to say, but I’m still royally pissed at Johnnie about those sandals.
So pissed that sometimes I forget to feel bad about killing him. (via

Wow, I really enjoyed Keeping Cooper! Such an exciting thriller with so many twists and turns that you don't always know where to look or what to expect. The book tells the story of a woman called Casey who is fresh out of university and is thinking of going to graduate school. While she's back in her hometown trying to decide her next move, she meets Johnnie and the two of them begin a passionate love affair. However shortly after they move in together, their relationship reaches boiling point when Johnnie becomes possessive and violent, leaving Casey with another decision: should she stay with Johnnie and become his slave, or should she try to escape? After she has made her choice, Casey's life begins to take yet more unexpected twists as she meets new people and handles some pretty heavy situations.

Keeping Cooper is very well written and highly imaginative. There were some parts of the story, however, where I got a little confused, just because there's so much going on. Once or twice I lost my bearings and had to go back a page or two and re-read. I also thought that there were some bits that could've been omitted as they seemed to make certain parts drag on a little.

But really, these were minor ailments. If you enjoy some thrilling suspense, then you're going to want to read this. I'm very glad that I did as it's a great story!

Rating: 4 / 5

To purchase a copy of Keeping Cooper, visit or

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Review: New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin

Sam Hendry is not looking forward to starting at her new school. Things go from bad to worse as the day of truth arrives and all of her fears come true... and then some.
When Sam meets a different group of people who immediately accept her as a friend, she begins to feel more positive.
With her new friends and interests, will Sam finally feel able to face the bully who taunts her, and to summon up the courage to perform on stage? (via Goodreads)

New Beginnings is a great book for children who are having a hard time at school dealing with bullies. It very realistically tells the tale of an eleven year old girl named Sam who has transferred from a comfortable and familiar primary school, to a secondary school where she doesn’t know anyone and struggles to fit in.

I found it so easy to identify with Sam’s situation that I was actually brought back to my own days at secondary school. This was something I didn’t appreciate at first and even disliked, until I realised that this is exactly the way the book should make me feel. The children that read it are going to want to identify with Sam, especially if they’re facing bullies and need someone to relate to. Also, at this stage in my life, it helped me appreciate my freedom as a twenty-something not having to deal with school anymore! Well okay, apart from uni (but that doesn’t really count! Heh.)

New Beginnings is a very easy read (I managed to finish it in under 24 hours), so children won’t have a problem with it. There’s also a lot of extra advice for them on how to deal with bullies, and this will also prove valuable for parents who know or suspect that their child is being bullied.

Rating: 4 / 5

To learn more about New Beginnings and author Rebecca Emin, visit her blog:

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Review: The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

Begun in 1959 by a then-twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. Exuberant and mad, youthful and energetic, The Rum Diary is an outrageous, drunken romp in the spirit of Thompson's bestselling Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hell's Angels. (via Goodreads)

Don't let the title or description fool you because there is so much more depth to The Rum Diary than drinking and debauchery. I didn't find anything about it boring – every situation is as unpredictable as the one before it, and all the characters are offbeat and outrageous in one way or another. The book is set in late '50s Puerto Rico, when American writer Paul Kemp arrives on the island and takes a job at an English language newspaper full of unruly drunken journalists, the majority of which live with the threat of being fired on a daily basis. Paul himself is a cynical heavy drinker who is actually pretty intelligent, but his nomadic and self-destructive nature means that he hasn't achieved as much in life as he feels he deserves.

What I love most about The Rum Diary is that it's so beautifully written. Thompson has this ability to paint amazing pictures with words, and now I understand why he is such a celebrated writer. The way he illustrates the exotic air of Puerto Rico and lets us see into the workings of Paul's deepest thoughts is nearly on the verge of being poetic. Here's an extract I want to share with you; Paul is talking us through a typical day during his early months on the island:
'Those were the good mornings, when the sun was hot and the air was quick and promising, when the Real Business seemed right on the verge of happening and I felt that if I went just a little faster I might overtake that bright and fleeting thing that was always just ahead.
Then came noon, and morning withered like a lost dream. The sweat was torture and the rest of the day was littered with the dead remains of all those things that might have happened, but couldn't stand the heat. When the sun got hot enough it burned away all the illusions and I saw the place as it was – cheap, sullen, and garish – nothing good was going to happen here.
Sometimes at dusk, when you were trying to relax and not think about the general stagnation, the Garbage God would gather a handful of those choked-off morning hopes and dangle them somewhere just out of reach; they would hang in the breeze and make a sound like delicate glass bells, reminding you of something you never quite got hold of, and never would. It was a maddening image, and the only way to whip it was to hang on until dusk and banish the ghosts with rum. Often it was easier not to wait, so the drinking would begin at noon. It didn't help much, as I recall, except that sometimes it made the day go a little faster.'
Can you see what I mean? So, if you want to enjoy some excessive situations while reading beautifully written prose then The Rum Diary is for you. Definitely one of the best books I have ever read.

Rating: 5 / 5

Friday, 11 November 2011

Follow Friday – #14

This week's featured blogs are
 The Book Nympho

Not only is it Remembrance Day, it's 11/11/11! Trippy.

Here's this week's question:

Q: In light of 11.11.11 and Veteran's Day tell us about your favorite solider and how he or she is saving the world. Fictional or real life.

Wow, tough question. I had to think about it for a little while, but then I remembered a book I read a few years ago – From Baghdad, With Love. Jay Kopelman is a Marine serving in Iraq, and he comes across a little stray puppy he calls Lava. They soon become inseparable and the Liutenant Colonel decides that he wants to try and get Lava home to the United States with him. It's a beautiful true story.

Who's your favourite soldier?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Review: Ghoul Trouble (a Buffy tie-in novel) by John Passarella

Something wicked has been preying on Sunndale students—and whatever it is, its methods are pretty gruesome. Buffy locates some human bones that have been picked clean, and knows that she's dealing with an unearthly evil. Some help from the Scooby Gang would be ideal, but they've run into trouble of their own. Oz and Xander are literally (perhaps unnaturally) mesmerized by a hottie new chick band headlining at the Bronze, and Willow has been captured by Sunnydale's latest resident carnivores.

What they need is the Slayer. But in order to help her friends, Buffy must first dust a vampire—one that has an urgent interest in Joyce Summers, the unique ability to resist sunlight, and an open invitation to the Summers' house... (via Goodreads)

I enjoyed Ghoul Trouble – much more than I enjoyed the Season 8 comic book series – it's fair to say that I'm definitely more of a full-length novel girl when it comes to these tie-ins. It's written pretty well in that you can imagine all the characters speaking and acting in the same way as they would and did on the television show. There's a lot in the story to keep you interested too, as there are two separate sets of villains that Buffy has to deal with – a rock band consisting of all girls who have a supernatural ability to hypnotise men, and a vampire who can walk in daylight and enter private houses without requiring an invitation.

But while Ghoul Trouble is jam packed with plenty of Buffy-accurate fiends and festivities, I have one quite major problem with it: Faith. She is mentioned absolutely nowhere. Before the story even starts, there is a page that tells the reader that the novel ties in with season three of the television show. Season three is my absolute favourite season, so I know it pretty well. And judging by all of the events from the show that have been mentioned in the book to help the reader to establish the story's place in the Buffyverse, she should've definitely been there. It's not far enough along the season 3 time frame for Faith to have gone evil yet, as Giles is still Buffy's watcher. And it couldn't have been before she arrived in Sunnydale, because Angel has already returned from hell. So there's really no excuse for her not to be there.

So based on that, I'm going to take one full point off of the final rating. It's a shame, because any mention of Faith would've made Ghoul Trouble so much better. If the author didn't like her, then why not just get one of the characters to say that she was out of town or something? It makes no sense.

Rating: 3 / 5

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, and rum

I'll admit that I haven't read a single book by Hunter S. Thompson, but there's been a quote of his that has stuck with me the past few years:
'Too weird to live, too rare to die.'
It pretty much fits me perfectly! To myself and to many others, I can be classed as a pretty off-beat person who doesn't really fit in with certain moulds. And up until yesterday when I was watching Johnny Depp promote his new film on The Graham Norton Show – The Rum Diary based on the novel by Thompson – I found out just how much this one quote represented Thompson himself. Have any of you heard about the author's last moments and his funeral? If you haven't, this extract from Wikipedia might astound you:
Thompson died at his self-described "fortified compound" known as "Owl Farm" in Woody Creek, Colorado, at 5:42 p.m. on February 20, 2005, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

What family and police describe as a suicide note was written by Thompson four days before his death, and left for his wife. It was later published by Rolling Stone in the September issue #983. Titled "Football Season Is Over", it read:

"No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt."

Artist and friend Ralph Steadman wrote:

"...He told me 25 years ago that he would feel real trapped if he didn't know that he could commit suicide at any moment. I don't know if that is brave or stupid or what, but it was inevitable. I think that the truth of what rings through all his writing is that he meant what he said. If that is entertainment to you, well, that's OK. If you think that it enlightened you, well, that's even better. If you wonder if he's gone to Heaven or Hell, rest assured he will check out them both, find out which one Richard Milhous Nixon went to — and go there. He could never stand being bored. But there must be Football too — and Peacocks..."

On August 20, 2005, in a private ceremony, Thompson's ashes were fired from a cannon atop a 153-foot (47 m) tower of his own design (in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button - originally used in Hunter S. Thompson's 1970 campaign for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado. It has become a symbol of Thompson and gonzo journalism as a whole) to the tune of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" and Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Red, white, blue, and green fireworks were launched along with his ashes. As the city of Aspen would not allow the cannon to remain for more than a month, the cannon has been dismantled and put into storage until a suitable permanent location can be found. According to his widow Anita, Thompson's funeral was financed by actor Johnny Depp, a close friend of Thompson.

I think that funeral ceremony can be classed under one of the most bizzare and ingenious send offs in the history of mankind! Just how awesome is that?! Johnny Depp said to Graham Norton on his show that 'he probably thought that I would be the only one crazy enough to carry out his last wishes'!

Now after reading and hearing about Thompson, I want to find out more about him. And a good way into that is to, of course, read his books. I'm going to start reading The Rum Diary sometime this week so I can go and see the film and not feel guilty about not having read the book first! There's another interesting story about the manuscript to this film, as well. Apparently, as Johnny Depp again told Graham Norton, Thompson had written The Rum Diary in the late 50's/early 60's but had never got the book published. It wasn't until Johnny discovered the manuscript a few years ago and encouraged the author to get it printed that it actually make it to the shelves. Those two were a pretty remarkable fit, weren't they? So, seeing as I'm a huge Johnny Depp fan and am now completely intrigued by Mr. Thompson, I must see this film and fast! Then it'll probably be Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for me afterwards.

Seriously, why has it taken me so long to find all this stuff out?! Better than never though.

Any Thompson S. Hunter fans out there that can share some interesting and perhaps bizarre facts?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Short Stories on Wednesdays – #2

Short Stories on Wednesdays is a weekly event hosted by Risa over at Breadcrumb Reads, where the aim is to read at least one short story a week.

A few weeks back I bought a book of 19th century short stories selected by David Stuart Davies (here). I read the first story in the anthology yesterday, which was The Black Veil by Mr Charles Dickens. This is the story of a young man who has recently qualified as a doctor, and is sitting in his practice one cold and damp night waiting for his first patient. Eventually a very unexpected visitor arrives; a mysterious lady dressed in mournful clothing which includes a heavy black veil. She startles the young doctor with her distressed manner and cryptic requests, being completely vague about the condition of a man very ill at home but not wanting the doctor to visit until precisely 9 o'clock in the morning. Baffled by this strange request, he gently questions her can learn nothing else of the patient's condition, so he eventually agrees to do as she has asked. Then, when he attends the next day, he discovers something so heart-wrenching that it stays with him for the remainder of his life.

I loved this story. I've read some of Dickens' work before and I always enjoy the very generous, empathetic and enlightening qualities to what he writes. The condition of this dying man is kept so beautifully and mysteriously vague until the last couple of pages and the climax of the story is quite unexpected and very endearing.
You can read The Black Veil online here.

What short stories have you read this week?