sufferWhen is a vampire story not a vampire story? Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie is a story with vampires, but it’s not really about them. It’s about parents and children, and what a parent will do to save their child. It’s about what one is willing to give…and what the other is willing to take.

The setting is the small town of Lansdowne, a typical American suburb. We meet a number of residents early on: Joan Cooper, who runs a local daycare; her husband, Doug Cooper, a man devoted to his family but unhappy in many areas of his life; Ramona Fox, single mom who feels more than a little trapped by her life; David Harris, a local pediatrician who takes care of other people’s children while mourning the loss of his own young son. All of their lives are about to be changed by the Herod Event.

While the local news begins to run ominous reports, the local children all drop dead. Literally. Whatever they’re doing, whatever they are, the drop dead in their tracks. It’s happening all over the US and in a short span of days, it spreads across the globe. Every child in the world is dead.

Imagine that. The world grinds to a halt as parents mourn, as hospitals and mortuaries try to cope with the influx of bodies. There are mass graves, suicides, worldwide mourning for all these young lives. And then, just as they begin to think they’ve got a handle on it, the children come back. They sit up on the autopsy table. They claw their way out of shallow graves and call for help from their body bags. It is miraculous – they are alive and well where they were dead just hours before. But is it too good to be true? The children have come back hungry – not for brains, like a zombie, but for blood.

The average person has 10 pints of blood in their body; they can 1 pint every 8 weeks. But if your child needed a pint or more a day, how far would you be willing to go to get it? How long before what people will give willingly isn’t enough?

This is one of those truly creepy books where you know the bad thing is going to happen. You even know what the bad thing is. You’re really just waiting around to see how it all plays out. Reminds me of some of the classic Stephen King stories where you just know what’s headed your way. You know that someone is going to bury a person in the Pet Semetary, even though they’ve been warned not to. You know that there will be a showdown in Vegas with Randall Flagg. You just have to sit there, wincing, waiting for it. Suffer the Children does a pretty good job of pulling off this sort of suspense, giving you hints, showing you who is reluctant and who is more than willing to do what must be done. Creepy, but a good sort of creepy. This is one I enjoyed.

My copy of Suffer the Children was an Advanced Reader Copy, provided free of charge.

Quotables

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By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

If you are going to write, say, fantasy – stop reading fantasy. You’ve already read too much. Read other things; read westerns, read history, read anything that seems interesting, because if you only read fantasy and then you start to write fantasy, all you’re going to do is recycle the same old stuff and move it around a bit.

Terry Pratchett, British author and creator of Discworld

Hot Guys with Books

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By Lisa | Filed in Hot Guys with Books | No comments yet.

Love the cat, the hat, the coffee, the French brasserie in the background…but the scarf is a teensy bit twee for my tastes.

book cat hat

Quotables

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By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

Virginia Woolf, British modernist author

Hot Guys with Books

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I can never have too much Tom Hardy, especially with a book

FW 2010

New on the Shelves…

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By Lisa | Filed in New Books | One comment

And the latest from my mailbag, The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff:

chelseaYoung Adelia Montforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

the-sixth-extinction-james-rollinsAs soon as I read the description of James Rollins’ The 6th Extinction, I was hooked…

A military research station buried in the remote Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California broadcasts a frantic distress call that ends with a chilling order:

“This is sierra, victor, whiskey. There’s been a breach. Fail-safe initiated. No matter the outcome: Kill us … kill us all.”

How can you read that and not be intrigued? Clearly, there was some dangerous research going on and something deadly was about to be turned loose on the world. Who could be counted on to save us all? Apparently, only the Sigma Force team, led by Commander Gray Pierce. They have the military and scientific knowledge to decipher what was happening at the lab and track down the saboteurs who interfered – and who are working on their own deadly agenda.

I love a good covert operation, I love a good science storyline, and there is plenty of excitement in this one. When a garbled call comes in from the military research station, Ranger Jenna Beck and her canine companion, Nikko, head up there to check things out. She finds the gate standing open. (That’s never a good sign. No self-respecting, top-secret military base leaves their gate unlocked!) She gets a frantic call from her dispatcher, ordering her to get out of there, relaying the “kill us all” message, just as the entire base erupts in flame. That’s enough to get Jenna headed out of the compound at full speed … but why is there helicopter tailing her?

The story takes us from California to Washington, from the jungles of Brazil to the ice floes of Antarctica. It reaches back to Charles Darwin aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, and beyond, to the Library of Alexandria, for a map that may show the way to a lost continent under the ice, the terrifying secrets it holds, and the devastation it could unleash. There are mad scientists and evil geniuses, soldiers and mercenaries, and a mad rush to either save mankind or destroy it. That should be enough excitement for anyone!

I haven’t read any of the other Sigma Force novels (this is the tenth book in the series), but I can certainly see the appeal. Still, I found it harder and harder to suspend my disbelief (and I am a master of that particular skill). Although Rollins lays out the scientific principles and the current technology in the Author’s Notes at the end of the book, I still found it a bit much. A friend who has read the whole series says that they get “more eye-rolly” as they go on, which means I would probably love the early books. Although I sped through this one in pretty short order and enjoyed the twists and turns, I didn’t love it. It needed just a little more grounding in reality for me.

My copy of The 6th Extinction was an Advanced Reader Copy, provided free of charge.

 

New on the Shelves…

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By Lisa | Filed in New Books | One comment

Let’s start the week with a new book! From the weekend’s mail bag, I’ve got All That Followed by Gabriel Urza:

allA psychologically twisting novel about a politically-charged act of violence that echoes through a small Spanish town; a dazzling debut in the tradition of Daniel Alarcón and Mohsin Hamid

It’s 2004 in Muriga, a quiet town in Spain’s northern Basque Country, a place with more secrets than inhabitants. Five years have passed since the kidnapping and murder of a young local politician–a family man and father–and the town’s rhythms have almost returned to normal. But in the aftermath of the Atocha train bombings in Madrid, an act of terrorism that rocked a nation and a world, the townspeople want a reckoning of Muriga’s own troubled past: Everyone knows who pulled the trigger five years ago, but is the young man now behind bars the only one to blame? All That Followed peels away the layers of a crime complicated by history, love, and betrayal. The accounts of three townspeople in particular–the councilman’s beautiful young widow, the teenage radical now in jail for the crime, and an aging American teacher hiding a traumatic past of his own–hold the key to what really happened. And for these three, it’s finally time to confront what they can find of the truth.

Inspired by a true story, All That Followed is a powerful, multifaceted novel about a nefarious kind of violence that can take hold when we least expect. Urgent, elegant, and gorgeously atmospheric, Urza’s debut is a book for the world we live in now, and it marks the arrival of a brilliant new writer to watch.

Quotables

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By Lisa | Filed in Quotables | No comments yet.

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.”

Walter Cronkite, American broadcast journalist

Hot Guys with Books

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in a tree