Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quick Reviews | Every Dead Thing and Gwendy's Button Box

Every Dead Thing is the first book in the Charlie Parker series by John Connolly.

Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker #1) by John Connolly

When former New York City detective Charlie Parker is pulled into the search for a missing woman, he finds insight into the murderer responsible for the slayings of his own wife and daughter -- a monster/artist/serial killer who uses the human body as his canvas and takes faces as his prize.

Aided by a beautiful young psychologist and two career killers, Parker becomes the bait in a trap set in the Louisiana bayous and faces a brutal confrontation with the killer known only as the Traveling Man.
Charlie Parker. Every time I come across the Charlie Parker series, I see nothing but high praise for it.

My first introduction to John Connolly was last year when I read his young adult novel The Gates. I was struck by his sense of humor, and I knew I needed to read more of his books.

Every Dead Thing was a great introduction to the series. I didn't find the dark humor I expected after reading The Gates, but I did find a solid thriller. The introduction of the Charlie Parker character took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting such a rough and heavy introduction. I'm taking it as a good sign that this will not be your average series.

I'm looking forward to continuing on with the next book. There are fifteen Charlie Parker books at this point so I may have a long treat in store.

7/10: Recommended Read

Review copy provided by publisher

Gwendy's Button Box is a horror novella from Stephen King and Richard Chizmar.

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told... until now.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.

One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: "Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me."

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat...

Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!

I think I've changed as a reader. They say no two people read the same book. I truly believe that. Back before I had kids, I loved books with kids in peril. I remember the night I started reading Mary Higgins Clark's Where Are The Children? I stayed up all night reading it in one sitting. After devouring Greg Iles' 24 Hours, I passed it around to family members. I remember how mad I was at Stephen King after reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I couldn't wait to read the story of a little girl lost in the woods. It was going to be scary, and King was going to show her no mercy. But it wasn't, and he did, and I became one of the folks who simply wasn't a fan of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

Gwendy's Button Box reminds me a lot of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Old me probably would have hated Gwendy's Button Box, but current me really enjoyed it. I'm not somehow a better reader, but I'm probably a changed reader. I won't even go near a book with kids in peril now that I have kids of my own.

I'm really curious what other readers thought the buttons would do? I did not expect the buttons to do what the buttons turned out to do. This has me thinking - do the buttons do the same thing for each person who becomes the proprietor of the box? The man with the hat said something along the lines of "you already know what they do". If Gwendy believed the buttons made it rain, would it have rained when she pushed the button?

I've read way too many magic treehouse books so you can probably guess what my buttons would do. My buttons would be far less sinister than Gwendy's buttons, but my responsibility as a button proprietor would also pale in comparison to what Gwendy had to face.

So Gwendy's Button Box has left me pondering quite a bit which is a great thing. Stephen King is an amazing writer. This book is worth reading just for the touch King puts on everything he writes. This is possibly my first Richard Chizmar story.

I don't know what else to compare a King story to other than another King story. (Who else compares?) There was an 11/22/63 feel to Gwendy's Button Box, but it's obviously a much, much smaller tale in scope. I feel like Captain Obvious when I recommend a Stephen King book, but fans shouldn't miss out on this one.

8/10: Great Read


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  1. It's funny how we all see books differently and even see them differently upon retreading. That's why I love books and reading. This button books intrigues me.

    1. I love it, too, Jenny. We each bring our own experiences to each story.

  2. Every Dead Thing does sound like a pretty solid thriller, and I love a long series like that. With 15 books that's a lot of good reading if a series turns out to be good!

    1. I've had a few friends say this is their favorite series. It's kind of amazing that it is still going strong after 15 books.

  3. I love the cover of Every Dead Thing. I read The Gates a long time ago and really enjoyed it but never continued on with the next one. I left my Gwendy comments on your Goodreads review so you know I liked it but wanted it to be longer.

    1. I really need to read The Book of Lost Things. I think it is related to The Gates.

      I get kind of bummed if I think about what Gwendy's could have been if it had been fully fleshed out. I'm pretty sure it would have been amazing. I'm satisfied, though. :)


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