About Me

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I write and live with my beautiful wife, Sandra, and sons (Solstice, Finnegan and Brahms) in a little-big house on a dirt road in a valley in the hills. My secret identity struggles through the grind of teaching high school English to the denizens of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review of Rain by Craig Saunders

Rain is a book that could only be written by an Englishman. John Marsh is a bookseller tormented by the tragic accident that enfeebled his wife and left her in a semi-vegetative state in a home. When an old patron leaves a message for him, little does he know his life is about to change; because the rain is coming. Rain is a dark, disturbing, and violent supernatural horror novel with superb moments of suspense and terror. The characters are memorable and dynamic, faced with a power that is truly terrible and unremitting. Any fan of Stephen King will love this dark jaunt. Normally, I'd give four stars to a novel that so thoroughly frightened me and gave me a glimpse at the dark side of reality, but there is a real reason why I would give any novel five stars: the book marked me. At its core, Mr. Saunders has intuitively placed a metaphor that resonates throughout the darkness and despair of the work: Rain. Bad times, like rain happen to each of us. Why? Sometimes, it is just because we were there. Tragedy strikes us, we were born to the wrong parents, or old age creeps up upon us. It is what seems elemental about our existence and the evil in the novel. The characters navigate this inner and outer-darkness to persevere, survive, and turn their eyes to the hope that the rain will pass, and that a new day will dawn. Such is all our hope, and it is a rare thing to read a book that reminds us of this in such a way that we truly taste the depth of human suffering and also the human hope that, also, seems elemental to our existence. Rain is a great first novel, from a writer who, one senses, has tasted that darkness, and reaches out to guide us through it in a novel with real literary merit.

The Scholomance on Spring Street

My short vampire tale about necromancy, evil, and kids up to no good, will be printed in Norgus Press's Re-Vamping A Classic Tale. A couple of years ago I had this image of kids in a club house doing some pretty weird things. The idea lingered and grew, and now, as I am sick with a fever, I get the good news that somebody liked it, and hopefully more folks will get to read it. That's the dream anyway.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review of Silas by Robert J. Duperre

First off, I'm not a dog lover. A couple of really naughty poodles have spoiled that experience for me, but I used to be. Reading, Mr. Duperre's fantastic novel of suspense and psychological drama has brought back a glimmer of what I used to love about our four-legged companions. But, don't get me wrong, this is not just a love letter to the canine order, this book is so much more. If anything, I might give this book a 4.5, because the casual reader might not know what they are getting into when they start the novel. There is so much genre overlap in this book, that it is hard to describe. In the middle of the novel the reader might be very confused and lost in the mix of sci-fi, suspense, fantasy, horror, and yes, poignant psychological drama of a man caught in a very nasty mid-life crisis. Then, you would be dragged right into the very experience of the narrator, thus revealing the book to be a genius piece of writing. The way that Robert Duperre explores the narrator's pain and anguish, is fully detailed and truly sympathetic. His mystical journey essentially creates the perfect metaphor for what happens to any of us psychologically who enter this dark realm of the soul. I would say that the truly frightening "monsters" of this novel are not half as scary as the ennui and depression that the main character suffers in the first quarter of the novel. There is also the promise of more, as it becomes evident that Duperre is creating a rich cosmology from which, hopefully, he will be pulling more threads into the skein of his stories. Disturbing, hopeful, and rewarding, Silas is a wonderful achievement.