Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Awakening by L. L. Foster

Gabrielle can see demons in a way that other people can't, she sees their real form. She can see the unnatural kind of evil that hangs around them. Trained by a priest in killing these creatures, Gaby's life is spent looking over her shoulder and trying not to stand out lest she is caught. But when Detective Luther Cross starts investigating her connection to a body the cops found, Gaby ends up with a whole new set of problems, one of which is that she finds herself attracted to him.

I really liked that the author took a more realistic approach to what it would be like to have the kind of job Gaby has. It isn't shown as glamorous, and Gaby is continually having to worry about hiding what she does. I also found it very interesting that she is shown as religious and believing that her ability to find and kill demons is a gift from God. Most authors try hard to get rid of religion in genre fiction, but the simple fact is that religion is a huge factor in our society. It was nice to see an author write a book that isn't preachy, but acknowledges religion as being a part of a lot of people's lives, including the main character.

The writing wasn't bad, but was rather flat and simple. There were also some spots I felt were rather melodramatic, and could have been toned down a bit with better word choice.
4 Stars

Hawkes Harbor by S. E. Hinton

Jamie Sommers is a confusing case to his doctor at Terrace View Asylum. He is a young man who will cheerfully and calmly tell stories of narrow escapes from hungry sharks in his days as a sailor, but starts panicking as soon as the sun starts to go down. From what the doctors have found out, Jamie was never a coward and lived a dangerous life few would risk, until he moved to Hawks Harbor. There he went mad under the apparent employ of a strange, old-fashioned man.

This book was very enjoyable. Some people may find it too jumbled and oddly paced, but I thought it was a good way of conveying Jamie's mental state. Jamie himself wasn't a particularly interesting character, but the development of some of the supporting characters (Kell and Grenville, especially) made up for that lack. Character interaction and the dialogue felt very real and solid. The writing sometimes took a turn t'wards the melodramatic, but for the most part was steady and clear.

This is a supernatural horror story that doesn't rely solely on things that go bump in the night to creep you out. Some of the most frighteningly intense scenes only contain threats, but one can easily see how Jamie would go crazy under the constant threat.

The book is pretty short, but manages to pack quite the emotional wallop into the 250 pages. If you like horror that is almost entirely psychological, you may want to give it a go.

4 Stars