I first read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in my late teens. It was winter time and I fitted it in between college classes and bus stops and it struck such a chord with me. The book is full to bursting with rich imagination, and images from that first reading that have stuck with me ever since. Which is why I won’t be watching the new TV adaptation of the book. (more…)
I first read Robin Jarvis’ The Whitby Witches when I was a child. I can’t have been any older than ten, because by the time I finished the series I had yet to leave primary school. And actually, I didn’t read them – my mum read them to me. It was probably her eyes that first alighted upon that fateful tome, bound with a leering hound front cover that arrested both our attentions in that little library up the road. We devoured it swiftly and ordered the sequels shortly after. After reading and loving those too, I requested the boxset from my Grandma for Christmas (she lived near Whitby) so I could own those fantastic stories for myself.
I’m halfway through the literary feast that is Dracula Cha Cha Cha, the third book in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series. I’d been intrigued by Anno Dracula ever since I’d spotted it in Waterstones and admired its Victorian cover design, but I actually read it for the first time after being lent it by my girlfriend a couple of years ago. It contains one of the best opening sequences I’ve ever read: a Jack the Ripper-style murder in London fog, seen through the eyes of the killer. I was hooked. What follows is in essence an alternate history but also a reinterpretation of that most infamous of vampire novels, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Count Dracula escapes his hunters, the protagonists of Stoker’s story, and takes Queen Victoria as his bride. Meanwhile, a killer in Whitechapel is hunting down vampire girls and gorily dispatching them.
I have just finished reading Flesh House by Stuart MacBride. It was brilliant, though I don’t know why I sound surprised – I’m not a MacBride novice by a long stretch, and I was in fact re-reading this one. I’ve actually read most of his novels – my first, the aforementioned Flesh House, must have been back when I was twenty or so. It was (and is) an extremely gripping police procedural, veined with a delectably black sense of humour and splattered with enough visceral detail to keep Jack the Ripper himself happy. After reading it for the first time, I tracked through the remains of his oeuvre, devouring his books on sight. Of course, this reading fervour rather blinded me to the chronology of his Logan McCrae series; I don’t think I read a single book in consecutive order, having started with the fourth and finishing with the first. Not a problem – they’re all great stories and they work well as independent novels. But that hasn’t stopped me going back and reading them all again from the beginning.