Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Inaugural Edition

Kevin’s Corner

Welcome to Kevin’s Corner, the inaugural edition. A special thank you to Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier who cleaned out part of the basement of their sprawling palatial mansion so that I could move in. I’m glad to be their pool boy and gofer as well as sharing a few of my thoughts about life, politics, parenthood, and of course, books.

Without books, we would be forced to talk to the animals and you know, for the most part they don’t have a lot to say.

Some of you may know me from rejecting my short fiction and other works. You are forgiven. The knives have pulled out, the wounds are healing nicely, and the doctors say I’ll be ready for more rejection soon. One so does have to pace these sorts of things.

Those few brave souls that did publish my fiction have all closed their publishing doors and the magazines are defunct. Thank you for taking a chance and if my prose had anything to do with closing, I am sorry.

Some of you may know me from my book reviews. Those that feel I wrote an undeserved negative review and was obviously a moron may find solace down by the pool at the burning effigy statue. You may also find editorial assistance down there as well right next to the slab stone inscribed, “You Don’t Get It.”.

Those that know me from book reviews and loved my work are truly special folks and are very much appreciated. You know who you are so I shall say no more about that.

As I sit here writing this it is almost two weeks to Halloween. Halloween has to be one of my least favorite times of the year. Some folks actually like to be scared which is something I never got into. They want to see the walls drip blood, the dead walk again, and all that jazz. Not me.

Not only do I not want to see any of that stuff or read about it, but Halloween also sets off the national retail orgy known as Christmas. Thanksgiving is bypassed totally in favor of the giant “give me/buy me” of Christmas. And as I sit here with the temp pushing way upwards past 80 my eyes are drawn across the way to a neighboring apartment complex.

One tenant has put up orange Halloween lights and a number of small flying ghosts along with a witch that hangs from the balcony. The adjoining neighbor has Christmas lights up along with fake icicles dangling from the porch roof and a decorated tree in the window. Death and Resurrection all in a few feet and a happy power company all rolled into one.

Some may see the dichotomy as a clever social commentary on the coming election.

“Vote now, America, and watch the fun! Choose the wooden puppet of the lobby you like the most.”

Others may see it as another reason the home improvement and decorating shows should be banned from television.

“Sir, you admitted you can’t program your VCR. That means you can’t put together the pool deck you saw on TV. Put down the power saw and leave quietly and we won’t press charges.”

Maybe it is time to throw another couple of hosts of such shows into jail. After all, we don’t have nearly enough “real” criminals to fill the jails now.

The clashing porch view across the way makes my head hurt and reminds me that more than anything, there ought to be a law. Heck, this is Texas. We can make a stupid law for anything. We still have laws on the books that one can’t leave a horse unattended on Main Street in downtown and remember, no spitting on the sidewalk.

“Save that spit for the ballpark, young man. Don’t forget to scratch and make your Mom proud!”

But in the spirit of the season, here are a couple of books that might work for you. It is amazing what I can be talked into reading in a weak moment because this stuff just isn’t my sort of thing at all. I don’t normally read the horror stuff. First in the pile is:

Father Exorcist
By Kevin Sheehan
Publish America Publishers
October 2004
ISBN # --Not Listed
ARC—Uncorrected Proof

Okay, I know what your thinking and I am not going to beat the old drum about POD, self-publishing and all that for several reasons. I will say this book along with his earlier novel; “Should Old Acquaintance Be Rubbed Out” are well worth reading and good stuff. While that book was a mystery and this is billed as horror, they both share twisted characters and a wild storyline.

In this case, Kevin Sheehan plays with the old idea of the ongoing battle between good and evil in sort of a televised wrestling match style. Everything is over the top and one has to be ready to rumble at any time. Representing good is the blind Father Michael who lives deep in the bowls of the Vatican. Representing evil is the Demon Cain “you know him, you love him) back for another rematch.

The battle begins in Vermont and soon moves to everyone’s favorite city, New York City. (How about them Yankees? As a Texas Ranger fan I loved that series. Okay, gleeful moment over, back to the review). Mankind is forbidden to know the actual truth of the battle between good and evil and Cain plans that the upcoming battle between himself and Father Michael will have grave consequences for all.

This novel was originally created as a graphic novel. Therefore, the character development is very limited and the focus is on the almost non-stop action. The action is very descriptive both in terms of violence as well as occasional sexual acts. Don’t read this one while eating and certainly don’t let the kids read it. It is written to be over the top but still some of this Bram Stoker award nominee book might be just a bit intense for some readers.

At the other end of the spectrum from the all out frantic and very graphic comes the next book on the pile:

Reach of the Claw
By Lawrence Crossett
LTD Books
January 2004
ISBN # 1-55316-117-3
Variety of Formats

“Aye, he could smell Luchorpan.
It was a fetid stench, and one that wouldn’t die.”

And no, he isn’t talking about the trash, which I still have to take out. Instead, the above quote comes from page 7 of this complex character driven book. The Luchorpan, a creature whose claws bring infection and which feeds off humans and anything else it can get has attacked the family Connor before. While the novel begins with that event in 1755, the primary focus is in the here and now where the Luchorpan is once again at work in the small town of Luther, Illinois.

Evil is at work here in the form of the Luchorpan who has ten year old boy Brent Mathers on the menu. Kenn Connor is here as well, on leave from the NYPD and for reasons, he doesn’t himself really know, he has the ability to find the thing. As strange things begin to happen and the Luchorpan does its thing, Ken must battle to save his own sanity, to be believed in an area where the townsfolk think he is nuts, and save one boy’s life.

For me, as I read the book, it really isn’t a horror novel. I think a “thriller” designation would be more appropriate as while it does horrible things, it can be defeated using normal everyday weapons. No special swords from underneath the neighboring monastery, white crosses, vials of holy water, or anything like that.

So, there you have it—the inaugural edition of Kevin’s Corner. A few thoughts, some rambling and a couple of book reviews. Who could ask for more? Okay, sir, you in the back, you want more? Okay, tell me what you want, what you thought, at