Thursday, September 29, 2016

Coldheart by Justin Robinson

Coldheart is the first story in this book.  I have a habit of not knowing anything about a book before I pick it up.  Imagine my surprise when I'm halfway through the book and I feel like the story is winding towards the end!  So, the first half of the book is actually the story of Coldheart, and the rest of the book is filled with short stories.  We'll get to those in a bit.

When I was deciding which of Robinson's books to read first, I chose this one because I was guaranteed cannibals.  This guy knows how to get straight to a girl's heart!  What I didn't realize is that cannibals is only such a small part of this story!  Basically, we have this crazy man who's ex-sister-in-law comes up missing.  Is she really missing?  He knows he's had episodes before where he's imagined things.  What he stumbles upon is far more than anything he's hallucinated before.  In a quest for truth and love, he finds himself in a world that only existed in his own nightmares before.

I could say a lot about Robinson's writing, but there's really only one important fact that I need to tell you.  This guy is a detail master!  There's plenty of description, sure, but it doesn't go overboard and it's the right KIND of description.  Everything is vivid and alive.  I was able to hear the huskiness in voices and taste the smog.  I'm truly impressed by this.  Most writers give you too much detail or not enough, they can drone or leave you hanging.  This guy gives you the perfect details to make this a reading experience.

I checked out some of the reviews after reading, and I can see where a few people were confused.  This isn't for everyone.  If you've never seen an episode of Buffy or Supernatural or Charmed or read a comic book, you're going to be left in the dark.  This is cult classic remake stuff.  Don't get me wrong, there's none of the cheesiness, but if you don't know what a wendigo is, then this book is going to feel like a waste of your time and you're going to be confused.  Don't read it and leave a bad review because of it.  Now, for those of you who do realize this is your genre, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the depth here.

After reading every story, I'm impressed.  They all tie in together. Some are more obvious than others, but it's all connected.  It's a sweet little universe.  All together, this is a beautiful puzzle.  If you're not a sci-fi person, you may be confused.  If you are a sci-fi person, I can't imagine you being disappointed.  I loved this enough that I'm adding it on the 'I need a hard copy' list.  I'll also be checking out more of Robinson's work in the hopes that all of his stuff is this great.

Dante Ascending:  A teenage boy wants to join a gang.  In order to do so, he must make it to the 13th floor of the gang's hideout.  The entire story is him deciding to join up and climbing the thirteen floors.

Wait:  OK This one was simply brilliant.  As soon as I started reading, I was reminded of Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter.  Talk about a flashback!

This one takes a few of the characters from Coldheart and let's you see some behind the scenes footage with them.  It's a horror version of The Dumbwaiter!!!  I'm so freaking excited!!!

If you haven't read The Dumbwaiter, I'm not going to tell you anything about it because it'll ruin the story!

The Menagerie: In this one, two lovers on a road trip explore a secret tunnel.  I was expecting some Tennessee Williams...and I got a hint of that but I also got a beautiful taste of Percy Jackson and Futurama!  Ok yes, I'm probably seeing connections where there aren't any, but it's great fun!

Dead Drop:  A bored, lonely woman decides to turn spy!

Stillwater: A woman wanders the desert looking for ley lines and ends up in a town that's being ripped apart by monsters.  This one had some great Desperation tones to it.

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