31 August 2011

A Special Place by Peter Straub

 Before you read this review, I would like you to understand one thing - I really am a very nice person. Kind, Christian, I have friends and family who actually love me. Remember that, OK?

Question: What does a budding twelve year old psychopath need most?
Answer: A blooming psychopathic uncle to be his mentor.

And this is the premise behind Peter Straub's novella "A Special Place: the Heart of a Dark Matter". Thank goodness for short books. This truly was a dark book - I'm talking pitch, midnight, moonless black. Had it been longer, my mind and body would have rebelled. As it was, I was left feeling more than slightly nauseous at the last page. I believe this was the author's intent.

While other people were slightly uncomfortable around Uncle Till as the story progressed, Keith simply recognized a kindred spirit. Instinctively he understood what Uncle Till was really saying. Uncle Till also recognized Keith as a younger version of himself and began to plant ideas and shed light on a path of horror for Keith to follow.

The progression of Mr. Straub's horror story reminded me of some of Edgar Allen Poe's writings or Hitchcock's plays (which were heavily referenced in the book). It is not for the weak of heart. The ending is awful in the deepest meaning of the word and leaves an entire black career to follow in the mind of the reader.

Now's when I have to admit one of my personal quirks ... I love Edgar Allen Poe ... and Alfred Hitchcock. So, in a bizarre kind of way, I enjoyed this little book. Maybe 'enjoyed' is the wrong word. More like I was drawn to it ... like coming across a car accident, it is horrible and I hate the thought that someone may have been hurt but I still want to stop and watch. (now is when I'd like you to remember what I said at the beginning of the review. Thanks)

Character Development          5
Editing                                     5
Sex                                          4
Violence                                  5
Romance                                 0
Readability/Flow                    5


  1. ...well I guess all psychos need a mentor psycho, lol. Made me think of Dexter

  2. Wow this sounds so intense. I'm intrigued but I know that if I ever got the guts the read it, I wouldn't be able to read it in the dark. Fab review!


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