Doctor Sleep and Meat

October 18, 2013 - 11:33 am No Comments

Doctor Sleep
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Page count: 500pp
Release Date: 24th Sept 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

This book is the ‘hugely anticipated’ sequel to the eponymous novel The Shining. In his introduction to it, King mentions two influences which encouraged him to write this book. One was a question asked by many pf his fans; whatever happened to young Danny Torrance? And he also wanted to use the well known urban legend of the cat in a hospice that sits on the bed of a patient predicting their death. King felt he just had to combine these two ideas and write about them.
The novel starts with an interesting interpretation of the events that actually took place at the Overlook Hotel that winter. One morning in March 1981, young Danny wakes his mom Wendy in the night and tells her not to go into the bathroom. Because some dead thing from the Overlook is in there. After that incident he refused to talk at all, and Wendy’s only option was to call in Dick Halloran, the amiable chef with a bit of the ‘shining’ from the original novel, to help Danny deal with the things he sees. As Danny grows older and fights with his alcoholism, the sights of dead people, and his ability to help residents at the hospice to ‘sleep’ (hence the title), he learns to live with the horrors shutting them up in an internal ‘box’. But Danny is not the only one with the shining. There is a powerful young girl who contacts him through his whiteboard and she is in danger from a group who want to eat her shining.
King’s magic is still there. It’s invigorating to read a master at work. King gets into the heart of his characters until they are living, breathing entities. The world King creates as Danny reaches adulthood, meeting all manner of people, is corrupt, cruel and dirty. The worst of humanity is on show here, with the theme of potential abuse running through the narrative. There is also a definite vibe here of ‘like father, like son.’ The reader wonders in the end if Danny will succumb to the darkness within him just like Jack Torrance.
In short, this is a monumental journey of discovery for many of the characters and is a breathtaking piece of work. After Gerald’s Game I left King alone and it is clear he is back on form here. However, at times I got the feeling King was being self-indulgent with some passages and perhaps the editors were wary of doing something that was obviously required; editing Mr King. Nevertheless, it’s a powerhouse of a novel.

Meat
Author: Joseph D’Lacey
Publisher: Oak Tree Publishing
Page count: 371pp
Release Date: Oct 2013
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Meat new cover

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meat-Joseph-DLacey/dp/178333195X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1382098467&sr=1-2

From Stephen King, we have the author who Stephen King said ‘rocks’, Joseph D’Lacey. This edition of Meat by D’Lacey is the re-release of his award winning eco horror. As a direct result of the research conducted for this novel, set in a meat processing plant, D’Lacey became a staunch vegetarian. Well, judging by the novel, he certainly learnt a lot to put him off regular processed meat. D’Lacey asserts that his aim in writing this story was to entertain, not to preach, and if the reader does think on the content, and the themes in different ways, then that is indeed a bonus.
The first character we meet is Bob Torrance (a homage to Stephen King perhaps) who is watching his colleague Rick Shanti at work at the Magnus Meat Plan. Rick, or Ice Pick Rick, is the calmest worker there; his firm control as he manages the stun gun to knock out the cattle, declaring “God is Supreme, the flesh is Sacred” making him stand out as an employee. But Shanti is changing; from the confines of the pens, Shanti can hear uber bull BLUE-792 ‘talking’ to the other cattle with raps on the doors. After all, this is the only way they can communicate, having had their vocal chords slashed. He has a deeply personal relationship with the cattle who are the ‘Chosen’ and his job is becoming harder every day, but it doesn’t do to go up against Rory Magnus the Meat Baron. For Meat is a way of life in Abyrne and the Parsons control this religion.
D’Lacey’s research becomes evident as he describes the slaughtering process in full gruesome detail, which makes for grim reading. Worse still, is when the reader realises that not all the meat comes from cattle. If a townsfolk, such as Grenville Snipe who gets a little jiggy with a cows’ nipples, is taken up to the Baron for justice, then it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what happens to them.
Meat justifiably won a major fantasy award following its release in 2009. Now, this re-release clarifies some of D’Lacey’s ideas and thoughts from the original story and ensures that this book again gets the audience it deserves.
There is a reason that D’Lacey rocks, according to King. And that’s simply because he just does!

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